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Wednesday, 30 September 2009

An Award


I have just received this award from truestarr at Prospero's Cellphone here. Thankyou very much truestarr.

It's always a surprise to me to get an award...a very pleasant one. It's such a lovely gesture. It gives me the confidence to continue with my blog...and it does wonders for my self-esteem.

There are many blogs that I follow...and others I've yet to discover.. that deserve awards.   I'll be passing on this award to just a few of them within the next day or so.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Another Meme

I've been tagged by MelRoXx here for a Meme.  I'm really not very good at these, but as I have a little free time and nothing much to write about at the moment, I'll give it a go.  I have to answer the following questions:

TV/Movie Characters you relate with:

Not a good start I'm afraid, because I don't relate to any TV or Movie characters.

Three countries on your travel list:

Ah this is easier.  There are so many but the top three would be India, China and Canada....to experience three totally different cultures.

Hit the shuffle on your i-Pod...list out 3 songs

Oh dear...can't do this...don't have an i-Pod.  I'm old and most new technology goes way over my head.

Daily must haves:

Coffee...lots...far too much.
Cigarettes...bad habit but an enjoyable one.
A nap...because I don't sleep enough at night.
Time to spend on my laptop

Things you're confused about

Oh...where do I start with this one?  OK technology...it's too fast and furious.  There's just too much for me to get my head around. 

Complex electrical appliances...I have the simplest of microwave ovens....just start...heat/cook...stop. Same with cooker and washing machine.  I have a very simple DVD player which has been sitting gathering dust for months, and I still haven't worked out how to connect it.

And I'm still confused about some Turkish cultural things.  Sometimes doing the right thing by my own instinct turns out to be the wrong thing, and vice versa.

Browse your DVD or bookshelf...pull out 3 at random.

DVD...Complete boxed set of Inspector Morse...love it...can watch it over and over again. Absolutely adore the late John Thaw.

DVD...Life on Mars...first series...brilliant..can't wait to get the next series.

Book: Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith...Set in The Soviet Union 1953...have just read it...excellent.

Three things you wish you'd known earlier

How to use a computer

That it would have been sensible to listen to my solicitor when I went through a messy divorce.

Never judge a book by its cover...in other words don't trust people too much...outward appearances can be deceptive.  People are not always what they appear to be.

If you had to date a celebrity who would it be?

I would refuse...I have no desire to date a celebrity.

If you were a celebrity who would it be?

I wouldn't want to be a celebrity...sorry not a satisfactory answer...but an honest one.

If you had to give your blog a facelift what would it be? Awards, backgrounds or memes.  How about a giveaway?

Well I change my background occasionally...it's about all I can manage.
What's a giveaway?

And I'm passing this Meme on to Amagerican here, Prospero's Cellphone here and Jazzy at My Window on the World here ...oh you lucky people!

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Another satisfying day



This is a picture of "our" land on the outskirts of the village which appeared (by the date) to be taken exactly a year ago by my father-in-law (FIL).  When I use the word "our" ..it's because, even though I consider it to be his, he insists that it is ours.  It looks pretty barren in this pic, so I was amazed to see the transformation when I accompaned FIL and mother-in-law (MIL).  I think the date on his camera may be wrong because it is now full of trees, unless they grow this fast? What do I know?  Nothing about gardening...that's for sure! I'm going to ask him to take pics today, so that I can post them here for you to see this wonderful sight.

This is FIL's retirement hobby.  He has transported good quality trees from all over the country and planted them here.  Apples, pears, apricots, peaches, lemons, pomegranates, almonds, olives, and a few grapevines.  And most important of all...walnuts.   Within the next few years he intends to grow mostly walnuts. He recognises the fact that he is getting older and won't always be so active.  Although he is officially retired, he is still working to support his family, including his younger son, aged 27, who is still studying, and his very elderly parents (in their 90s).   Walnuts are easy to manage, and once picked will keep for a long time, so there will be no rush to get them to market.

He is realistic, and doesn't think he will be able to move here for about 10 years.  So he has to make do with the long trips down from Ankara whenever he can.  This on the other hand suits MIL, because she is reluctant to make the move.  She doesn't want to leave her family and friends and is happier to come here for short visits.  I hope she has a change of heart, because I can see the joy on FIL's face when he talks about his land.  He refers to his trees as his other family.  He has planted them and nurtured them and they are now producing the fruits of his labour. 

So they have both worked non-stop on the land since they arrived..there's much to do.  Although one never knows how long Turkish families intend to stay (and it's rude to ask) I guess they have a good few days of work left to do. 

I don't mind how long they stay.  I am enjoying their company...we have so much catching up to do.

It was very humid yesterday..quite unpleasant, but fortunately it rained in the evening and the air has cleared.  We three sat outside in the rain, and enjoyed the feel and the smell of it, and laughed at the dogs getting muddy...until the mosquitoes started biting and we made a hasty retreat to the house.

I'm feeling very content and relieved that this visit turned out to be such a pleasure....indeed it's been another satisfying day.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

My Turkish family


I've never had a great deal to do with Mr Ayak's family, even though we have been married for almost 11 years.  Apart from the fact that we live so far apart, as I've mentioned before, Mr Ayak and his father have always had a very difficult relationship.

At the time of our wedding, they weren't talking so no family were present, just a few close friends.  For some years most of the contact I had with my father-in-law, who speaks excellent English, was on the telephone, and more recently on webcam.  During these conversations he has criticised his son a great deal, and this has made me feel uncomfortable.  I did however pluck up the courage during one such conversation, to tell him that in my opinion the very things that were the subject of his criticism, were mostly due to his not being such a good father to his son as he had been to his other two children, Mr Ayak's half brother and sister.  He was angry at the time, but a couple of days later sent me a long text message almost agreeing with my comments.

Over the years I have tried to build a bridge between Mr Ayak and his father.  At the same time, Mr Ayak's stepmother has done her best to do likewise.  It's taken a lot of hard work, but eventually it seems to have paid off, which resulted in my father-in-law giving us the house that we moved to in May of this year.  A house that Mr Ayak senior had been renovating with the intention of moving to with his wife at some time in the future...so for him to give up on this plan, I see as a huge gesture of goodwill. 

On the rare occasions that we have seen them, the atmosphere has always been tense.  Even though my mother-in-law doesn't speak English, she and I  sensed each others' discomfort, and we both seemed to be treading on eggshells when Mr Ayak and his father were in the same room.

So I have been dreading their visit this week.  I wasn't sure that Mr Ayak would be able to get home to see them so I knew I would be faced with having to entertain them...but in a way I had mixed feelings about this.  Perhaps it would actually be easier if Mr Ayak couldn't get home?  Maybe this would be better for all concerned?

They arrived yesterday afternoon, loaded down with bags of food.  Very generous of them, although I had already been shopping in Milas and most items were duplicated.  Then Mr Ayak arrived home an hour later...also with shopping...so then we had everything in triplicate.  Unfortunately most of it is perishable...what a waste (although I'm sure the neighbours will help to dispose of some of it).  The evening started out with the usual tension but gradually everyone relaxed and it was fine.

Mr Ayak had to return to work early this morning and isn't sure when he can next get home.  This has given me a long overdue opportunity to get to know my in-laws a bit better.  And it has indeed been wonderful.

I was anxious about being able to control  Beki, Poppy and Milly, because like most Turkish people, the in-laws aren't keen on dogs...but they've taken it all in their stride.  In fact they've looked on in amazement at my giving the dogs orders, and them actually obeying me (they don't usually...but maybe they had decided to give me some support today!).  And they've laughed at the dogs running rings round me and tripping me up when I've been trying to feed them.

They spent a few hours today down at the land on the edge of the village, pruning fruit trees, etc...and I am going to attempt to help them tomorrow (should be interesting!)

We have just spent a wonderful evening chatting about all sorts of things.  My mother-in-law has being showing me photos of my nephew, who is 4 years old, and of course I have been showing her pics of Billy. Lots of ooh-ing and ahh-ing from both of us.  Not having a proper barbecue, father-in-law made a charcoal fire in the garden and cooked on that, and mother-in-law and I prepared the rest of the food together.

Much to my pleasant surprise, I will actually be very sorry when they leave.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

A truly lovely Award


I am really pleased to receive this Award from Jazzy. If you've not looked at her blog here and particularly if you like excellent photography..pop over there.


I'm especially pleased because Jazzy also gave this award at the same time to Gaelikaa, whose blogs I absolutely love.  If you haven't experienced them already, have a look, you won't be dissapointed  here and here.


Jazzy passed on this award to two of us, so I think I should do the same.   There are so many blogs that add sunshine to my day that it's really difficult to choose......so here are two for now, and I've no doubt I'll be passing on this award to many more soon.

Both of these bloggers live in France, they have totally different writing styles.  I find myself hanging on to every word, and waiting eagerly for their next posts:

French Leave   link    and

Not Waving but Drowning  link

If you haven't already visited these blogs...do have a look.

Monday, 21 September 2009

How about a few more pics of Billy?





The Insomniac's Checklist

Ramazan's over.  I should now be able to sleep.  But it's now Bayram (public holiday) for 4 days and there is much celebration going on with music, singing and laughter that can be heard late at night throughout the village.  To be fair it stops around midnight, but then I have the problem of Beki on guard-dog duty...barking everytime a human or cat passes by.

And I'd also forgotten that young puppies are much like young babies, in that they need feeding a little and often.  So Milly is needing my attention, and warm milk, around 2 or 3am, together with a little cuddle and reassurance to get her to go back to sleep.

Sometimes it's just easier to give in and stay awake all night.  I learned this a long time ago...there's no point in fighting it.  So this is my checklist for wiling away the night hours:

1.  Read a good book (this will often induce sleep so I always try this first)

2. Surf the net.

3. Answer overdue emails.

4. Check MSN to see if any of your friends are logged on and also unable to sleep..and have a chat.

5. Catch up on the ironing.

6. Put the washing machine on (this is sensible and cost effective as we have a cheaper tariff after midnight)

7. Watch television (isn't it wonderful that these days almost all TV channels broadcast 24 hours a day?

8. Do some housework (of course this is only possible if you are alone and don't have adjoining neighbours)

And finally...what I found myself doing at 4.30am:

9. Move the furniture around....my bedroom now has a completely different layout...and the energy used enabled me to have a short nap at around 5.30am before the dogs woke me up at 6.30am.

But please do try to take catnaps during the day...as I fully intend to do today.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Updates without photos


I really  must buy myself a camera.  Throughout my life, cameras and I have never seen eye to eye!  I break them.  Not deliberately of course. I honestly don't know why I'm jinxed.  Years ago, before I got into social work, I worked as a Studio Manager for an industrial photographer for 5 years, so you would think that I might have picked up some tips... not so.  I could organise the backdrops, make the appointments, hire models, control staff....but I steered clear of cameras.

One of these new digital thingies would probably be best..but of course they're not actually new are they? Everyone these days has one...except me.  The last proper camera I had is still lying in a drawer somewhere with an unused 35mm film jammed in it...it seized up shortly after I bought it.

I've since made do with disposable one-use cameras...they do the trick and I don't need to worry about breaking them.  But now I'm blogging I ought to have a digital camera so that I can upload my pics...the ones I have used on my blog so far have been courtesy of others.

So I will look for one when I next go to England.  If anyone can recommend one that is simple to use, idiot-proof and very cheap...do please let me know.

In the meantime just a few updates:

Milly's second day with us has seen her venturing out of her garden house and being a little braver than she was yesterday. She no longer screams when Beki comes near her.  Although Poppy and Milly are about the same size, Beki is quite boisterous with Poppy. It's almost as if she knows Poppy isn't a baby, but that Milly is, and that she must be gentler with her.  Milly's making quite a lot of noise to attract my attention, and the other two are joining in.  I'm just relieved that my neighbours also have noisy animals...donkeys, goats, cows and chickens, so I doubt I will receive any complaints.  I searched everywhere in Milas for flea collars today as I don't usually Frontline the dogs during the winter...but could find none.  So have Frontlined the three of them to make sure Milly doesn't share her fleas with the other two.  So all in all she's doing well.

I continue to "talk" to Billy on webcam most days.  My daughter sits him in front of her laptop in his high-chair so that I can watch him being fed.  He's just starting on a little solid food..baby rice, pureed vegetables etc...and it's a joy to watch him.  He's also discovered how to scream and insists on doing so whilst my daughter and I are trying to talk..attempting to join in or interrupt the conversation..which sends us into fits of laughter.  He also pretends to cough...it's so funny!  I am so looking forward to lots of cuddles with him at the end of next month.

Mr Ayak came home last night.  He did think that the job had come to an end...and I was looking forward to him being here for a while.  However, it would seem that there are still a few customers about so his boss wanted him back today.  So he got up at 6am...tidied up some of the things in the garden that I couldn't manage, disposed of some rubbish, and set off back to work at 7.30am....on a borrowed motorbike with no number plates...oh don't ask!  I'll never know how he gets away with things like this...but he does.

We anticipate him being back home sometime next month before I go to England.  He'll be here to look after the dogs while I'm away for 2 weeks, then he will probably be off to Istanbul to work for the winter.  Not ideal...but needs must.

I have a couple of English friends popping in for lunch tomorrow on their way to the airport which will be great. I haven't seen them for a while so we have a lot of catching up to do.

My in-laws are due to arrive from Ankara within the next few days. It's the end of Ramazan today and a public holiday for the next 4 days. I've no idea when they will be here or how long they will be staying, but as I've mentioned before, this is normal Turkish family behaviour.  They are just not expected to tell you so that you can make plans for meals etc.  I have had to adapt to the Turkish wife mentality, and make sure I have sufficient store-cupboard food to produce enough meals.  It never fails to amaze me how Turkish women are able to receive unexpected guests and somehow, from what they have in their cupboard, produce a banquet.  I haven't quite got the knack but I do try! 

So that's all for now............

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Ideas for cooked chicken


I eat a lot of chicken.  Most other meat is quite expensive here.  But in any case I'm not over keen on red meat. 

As I spend a lot of time on my own a whole chicken can last several days so I try to think of different things to do with it.

I always boil a whole chicken in a large pan because then I have stock to use for soups and casseroles, and also it's good for mixing with food for the dogs.  So I'll then use the cooked chicken for curries, stir-fry with peppers, brocolli, onions...and anything else in season. Also chopped up in a salad...particular tasty in a salad made from mixed cooked beans and tossed in olive oil and lemon juice.

One of my favourite uses for cooked chicken is a kind of filling for fajitas.  We can buy something very similar to the fajita pancakes here, and I always have a pack in the freezer.

The basic mix consists of chopped onions fried in olive oil, to which I had crushed red pepper (or chilli) and some yenibahar (I think allspice is much the same).  To this I add the chopped cooked chicken and heat it through.

To fill the fajitas, first spread some red pepper paste (or tomato paste if you prefer) in the centre of the pancake, add chopped lettuce, some of the chicken mixture and finally some grated cheese.  Roll the pancake up and enjoy!

This chicken mixture is also a good filling for jacket potatoes.

Nothing is wasted because the dogs eat any leftover meat plus all the bones.  And before anyone panics at the thought of feeding dogs chicken bones...please don't worry.  It's perfectly safe..if dogs are used to them from an early age, they learn how to digest them...and they are very good for their teeth and bones.  I was reassured of this fact years ago by an Australian vet.  Far better for them than some of the tinned dog food you buy in other countries.  And of course Beki, who has eaten them for the past 7 years, is living proof!

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

My first Meme

This is my first meme and I was tagged by my kindred spirit in India, Gaelikaa http://gaelikaasdiary.blogspot.com/ . If you haven't seen her blog, do check it out...it's a wonderful read.


This is a very easy meme.  Firstly you pick up the book nearest to you...turn to page 161 and copy out the 5th sentence.


I'm a third of the way through this book.  I've read several Tess Gerritsen books and enjoy them immensely. Keeping the Dead is the latest in a series of cases being investigated by  forensic pathologist Maura Isles and detective Jane Rizzoli.


Now...I don't usually manage to get the latest novel by a particular author, but a friend in Scotland just sent me 6 brand new paperbacks which is wonderful.  In fact this past week has been a bit like Christmas.  I've had a few parcels from friends containing toys and medication for my dogs, Birds custard and Cadbury's chocolate...could life get more perfect?


Anyway....page 161...the 5th sentence reads:    "They've asked me all the questions you'd expect"


And that's it...easy isn't it?  I'm now going to tag 5 more bloggers and ask them to do the same.


Amagerica  http://amagerica.blogspot.com/

Prosperos Cellphone http://prosperoscellphone-truestarr.blogspot.com/

Not Waving but Drowning http://drowninginfrance.blogspot.com/

Spinning the Wheel http://thebritsvirtualhouse.blogspot.com/

French Leave http://real-france.blogspot.com/

Monday, 14 September 2009

A couple of recipes

I love green beans.  I can eat them cooked or raw.  One of my favourite recipes is Green Beans in Olive Oil.

Cover the bottom of a large pan with olive oil.  Add a large chopped onion, one chopped bell pepper and a large peeled and chopped tomato and sautee gently.  Add a kilo of prepared green beans, a pinch of salt and a dessertspoon of sugar.  Add a little water...not too much..just enough to steam the beans.  Bring to the boil, then simmer for about an hour until the beans are soft.  Stir occasionally to make sure all the beans are being cooked.

This recipe is delicious hot or cold, and lovely with garlic yogurt.




There are lots of recipes around for Mercimek (or lentil) soup, but mine is very easy.  My Turkish husband tells me it's the best mercimek he's tasted...so it must be OK  (unless of course he's just trying to please me!).

I never measure out quantities but it doesn't really matter because if your soup is too thick you can water it down. 

Place some red lentils in a large pan, add chicken or vegetable stock if you have it, or water.  Bring the lentils to the boil and simmer for about half an hour. 

In a separate pan, sautee some chopped onion in butter or margarine.   When soft add some flour and mix into a paste.  Add this to the soup carefully, to make sure it doesn't stay in lumps...a whisk is good for this.
Carry on simmering the soup for another half an hour, stirring occasionally, and at the same time adding seasoning...salt and black pepper....or one or two stock cubes.

The Turks serve mercimek soup with a sprinkling of crushed red pepper (or chilli flakes) and a little lemon juice.

Mercimek soup freezes well and almost seems to taste better on defrosting and re-heating.

Enjoy! 

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Rain!!!

We have rain this evening...the first since April.  I couldn't contain my excitement and rushed out into the garden with the dogs and enjoyed that wonderful feeling of the raindrops soaking through my clothes and the delicious smell as it hits the parched soil.
My pleasure was short-lived however.  I hadn't had the television on all day, and when I finally switched on to catch the news I discovered that elsewhere in Turkey, particularly in Istanbul, there have been flash floods. The latest news reports 8 people killed and 3 missing.
In Saray, in the province of Tekirdag, close to the border with Greece, rescue workers    recovered the bodies of a mother and three daughters and were still searching for the father who had been swept away.  Just one of the tragic stories that are emerging.  More rain is forecast for the area tomorrow.
We are so lucky...we've only had a shower here....and I feel so guilty now about enjoying it so much.
I don't think I will ever feel the same way about rain again.

Monday, 7 September 2009

I need sleep!

I've started to write this at 1.40am...a time when I would normally be asleep.

Ramazan is playing havoc with my body clock....and not just mine...it seems to be affecting others  in the village too.

I'm an early morning person, so no matter what time I go to bed, I still wake up around 6.00 am...sometimes a bit earlier.

There's a man in the house up the hill behind us.  He is quite hard of hearing, but he does enjoy music, so plays it very loudly.   I don't mind this at all.  He's a very pleasant and cheerful man, and I think he deserves the pleasure he gains from his music...in any case he seems to like all the old traditional Turkish music..which I also enjoy so I don't mind listening to it.  I usually go to bed around 10.30pm and read for a while. I hear him walk up the hill shortly after, on his way home from his evening visit to the teahouse, and minutes later he switches on his music.  He invariably switches it off before midnight, and I go to sleep.

Since the start of Ramazan, he's been arriving home later...around midnight...and playing his music till about 2.30 or 3.00 am.  I think he is probably eating also at that time, which means he then doesn't have to get up just before dawn to eat before fasting.  So when the music stops, I drift off to sleep, only to be woken up an hour later by the drummer.

This also disturbs the dogs, so I have to get up to calm them down and stop them barking furiously...and whilst I'm outside I notice a fair number of houses in the village with their lights on...so obviously others can't sleep too.

I make my way back to bed, knowing I won't sleep, and even if I do I will be woken up at 6.00am by the dogs demanding food, and the shepherdess and her flock of sheep going up the lane.

I'm like a zombie during the day. The tiredness and the heat is sapping my energy.  Sometimes I can manage a nap during the day , but it's not always convenient...particularly when it happens on the dolmus on the way back from Milas.

I went to bed tonight (last night) very early...at 9.30 and fell asleep immediately...but for some unexplained reason woke up suddenly just after midnight..  And do you know what?  The man hasn't been playing his music tonight...it's deathly quiet...perfect for a good night's sleep.

But here I am ...wide awake! 

Sunday, 6 September 2009

The Splash Award

I've been given the Splash Award by MelRoXx http://melroxx.blogspot.com/
It's awarded to blogs which allure, amuse, bewitch or inspire you.  I'm not sure I can live up to all that Mel...but thank you for thinking I do!

The terms of the award are:

Put the logo on your blog/post.


Nominate up to 9 blogs which allure, amuse, bewitch, impress or inspire you.  You don't have to give it to 9 people..any number will do.  If you don't want to pass it on...that's OK too...just add it to your sidebar

Let them know that they have been splashed by commenting on their blog.

Remember to link to the person from whom you received your Splash Award.
 
My nominations are: 
 
Gill at http://drowninginfrance.blogspot.com/
 
Spinning the Wheel at http://thebritsvirtualhouse.blogspot.com/
 
The Accidental Fan at http://accidentalfan.blogspot.com/
 
In Search of the Good Life at http://floppysunhat.blogspot.com/

Get stuffed!

I love Turkish stuffed vegetables.  It's a good time of the year to get stuffing.  The grapes on the vine are finished, leaving an abundence of leaves to be used.

There are lots of vegetables in the market just waiting to be stuffed:  aubergines, bell peppers, courgettes and the most enormous white cabbages. Even the courgette flowers get stuffed...in fact anything that looks like it can be stuffed is fair game.

Most Turkish women have their own recipes for the stuffing mixture.  I vary mine depending on what I fancy at the time.

Mostly the main ingredient is cooked rice.  Although I often use bulgar, soaked in boiling water with a stock cube added for extra flavour.

Then it's really up to you to add whatever you think will make a tasty stuffing.   Chopped onions and tomatoes, fried in olive oil, tomato paste, allspice, crushed red pepper (chilli), chopped parsley and dill.  If you want to add meat to the stuffing then minced beef or lamb is good, or one of  my favourites...chopped chicken livers.  Meat in the mixture is particularly good for stuffed cabbage leaves, aubergines and courgettes.

Prepare your vegetables:  

Bell peppers should be thin...slice off the tops and scoop out the insides.  Save the tops to use as a lid...but another good idea is to use tomato peel as a lid.

The most suitable vine leaves are those with thin veins.  Cut out the stalk and a small "V" shape to get rid of most of the tough veins.  Bring to the boil in salted water, simmer for a few minutes and drain.

Similarly with the cabbage leaves..cut out the stalk and a V shape, blanch and drain.

Stuff the peppers and add their lids and place upright in a large saucepan.   Add about an inch of water.  Cover with a lid, bring to the boil and simmer for about half an hour, until they  are soft.

With the vine and cabbage leaves...place some stuffing in the centre...fold the sides into the centre and roll them up....Place side by side in a large pan, add a little water and simmer until cooked.

With courgettes and aubergines...slice lengthways and scoop out the flesh from the middle.  Add the stuffing mix (and I find that meat in the stuffing mix is best for these vegetables)...place in an oiled roasting dish...cover in tin foil and bake in the oven until soft.

Any of these cooked stuffed vegetables can be served hot or cold.  They are particularly enjoyable served with natural yogurt (I always add some chopped garlic to mine).

So...get stuffing!

Friday, 4 September 2009

Life goes on

I recognise this street...at least I think I do.  I have no sense of direction.  It takes me quite a while to find my way around a new area.  But there are a lot of streets like this one in Milas, and I have spent a great deal of time getting lost, whilst attempting to find my way from the bus station to the post office, and then to the shops.

Occasionally I set off in one direction and wander around for ages and have trouble finding a familiar landmark.  Other times, to my pleasant surprise, I discover, more by luck than judgment, a shortcut to where I'm going.

Yesterday was a good day in this respect.  I got off the bus in Milas at 9.30am...collected some money that Mr Ayak had sent me from the post office.   Walked to my favourite supermarket on the other side of town, picked up some essentials, and found another road leading to the bus route and managed to catch the 10.00 am bus home. It helped of course that there were no queues in the post office or supermarket.

I had hoped that Mr Ayak would manage to get home for a night this week. To be able to do so, it would have cost him the equivalent of 5 days pay to borrow a car and put in petrol....but as I haven't seen him for three weeks now, we felt it was worth the expense.  However, it didn't happen.  Evenings seem to be their busiest time and he just hasn't been able to get away.

I had run out of drinking water yesterday and its impossible for me to carry one of the 19 litre containers up from the village.  My rubbish has also been piling up and needed to be disposed of.  My neighbour called out to me last night to tell me someone was looking for me. A man with a tractor had arrived with  a container of water. Mr Ayak had phoned him to ask him to deliver it and to take the rubbish away.  I paid him for the water and had great difficulty in persuading him to take some extra for his trouble.  I love the way people are so willing to help without expecting something in return.

The Ramazan drummer continues to wake me up at 3.30 am...then the dogs at around 5.30am wanting to be fed.  Only another couple of weeks of this, then the in-laws will arrive.  In the meantime, an English friend who has a holiday home in Selcuk, arrives on Saturday for three weeks, and will be coming up to see me for a couple of days next week.  I'm so looking forward to some English conversation!  I might even attempt a tour of Milas with her...it's a lot more fun getting lost when you have company!

And so...life goes on.....

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

When Billy met Matthew

When I returned home from England on 25th May after the birth of my grandson Billy, I left my brother in a state of excited anticipation at the imminent arrival of his first grandson.

As it happened, Matthew arrived the day after I returned home...and much to the delight of my brother it was also his birthday...a double celebration.

Ours is a strange family.  For generations we've never been close....only getting together for weddings and funerals.  It's not that we don't get on well when we do meet up with relatives, it's just that no-one ever seems to make an effort to stay in touch.

I am very close to my brothers now...although this seems to have happened more in recent years. I have a son and daughter and my brothers each have 2 daughters.   We hoped that they might all become closer to each other than previous generations, but unless someone makes an effort to get everyone together...it doesn't happen.

I don't think our family is any different to lots of families these days.  People are busy...life is so fast...there never seems to be enough time to stop and say...let's all get together.  I know my youngest brother feels the same...and to be fair he seems to be the one in the family who makes more effort to achieve this.

So this weekend he arranged a family gathering, and Billy (on the left) met his second-cousin Matthew.  I wish I had been there!  

Let's hope that this new generation will become closer than previous ones.