Sunday 22nd March 2009. That was the day I wrote my first blog post. Since then I've done 2000 posts. How on earth have I managed to write so much?
A lot has happened since then.
The most exciting events were the arrival of my grandsons. Billy is now 7 years old and Jimi is 5 years old, and both at school. It seems like only yesterday that they were tiny babies. I love them so much but miss them dreadfully. I wish I could just pop over to see them much more often. A lottery win and a private jet would help!
I am going to the UK on 4th November, but just for 9 days. I wish it were longer but having booked the flights in June...well in advance to get the best price, and not knowing when, where, or if Kaya would be working, I have to accept what I can get.
This year has been a difficult one, for many reasons. So much has happened in this country, not all good,and the effect on tourism has been dreadful. Kaya has been in and out of work since the start of the season, finally giving up on tourism completely when it became apparent that there were very few customers and as a result bosses cut corners. They stop paying insurance. They make promises about wages but when it comes to pay day, they change their minds and pay less or nothing at all.
He worked at the sanayi for a couple of weeks, then was laid off. After a week or so he was taken back on again. He worked from early morning till as late as midnight some days and for two weeks work was paid just 300 lira...and no insurance. Just over a week later they took him on again. He hoped things might have improved. He worked for 8 days and was laid off again. Now, one week later, he still hasn't been paid. He continues to look for work, but winter is fast approaching so it's unlikely he'll find anything. In the meantime, he is doing work in the garden and behind the house, mostly to prevent water getting through the walls of the house and onto the balcony when the rain starts. Those of you living here know that when it rains here, boy does it rain. Torrential is an understatement!
We still consider ourselves luckier than most. We don't pay rent because our house is owned by my father-in-law, and I have my pension. There are so many others here who have far less, and have families to support. We are very fortunate to have the support of friends which enables us to continue to care for our 12 rescued dogs, and the others in our village and local sanayi, not forgetting several cats who we now feed.
The country is still in a state of emergency following the attempted coup, but apart from far fewer tourists, day to day life has not really changed. Security has tightened up at airports and there are more police traffic checks. But that's a good thing. I've always felt confident of security here, particularly at airports where you can't enter a terminal building without going through a scanner. I'm always more anxious about using Heathrow airport where people can wander in and out unchecked.
Those regular tourists who are not put off by the scaremongering UK press, and who still came here this year, will tell you that their holidays have been just as good as always. It's not safe anywhere these days, and Turkey is no more at risk than any other country. Let's hope 2017 is better, not just in Turkey, but everywhere.