Friday, 31 December 2010

A New Year


2010 wasn't really one of my better years.  I could write pages now about everything that's gone wrong but I won't because I have much to be thankful for.   .  So many people are far worse off than me.

2011 is full of hope.   I have so much to look forward to this year. The birth of my second grandson is due in April, around the time of my first grandson Billy's 2nd birthday, and I plan to be there for both events.

I won't be making any resolutions...I never have done..because I rarely stick to them.  I prefer to make them at other times of the year, as and when the time is right.

Do you make New Year's resolutions?  Do you stick to them? 



HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

And another modem bites the dust!

We've been having storms again during the past couple of days.  No doubt those of you who have been reading my blog for a little while will recall that we have had two modems destroyed by lightening strikes this year., the last one blew up whilst I was in England and Mr A had to replace it with No. 3 before I returned home.

I am more vigilant than Mr A.  Why?  Because I am a woman and I am more sensible.

When the black clouds appeared yesterday, before the thunder even started, I disconnected the phone line
and modem.  In fact I unplugged everything.  When the storm had passed I switched on again.  The storm came again, then disappeared, and then again.  Each time I disconnected everything.

Mr A arrived home last night and switched on his laptop.  It was getting late.  I switched mine off and went to bed.  I had only just switched off the light when there was a huge crack of thunder overhead.  I rushed out to Mr A and told him to disconnect everything.   "Oh..it's ok" he said "we don't have to do that anymore because TTNet told me they have sorted out the problem and we have nothing to worry about".   I wasn't convinced, and told Mr A so, saying that I'd rather be safe than sorry.  He insisted (why do men always think they know best?) and left everything switched on.

I went back to bed and 5 minutes later there was a bang.   Yes...you've guessed it...the modem had blown up again!  I can't begin to tell you how angry I was, and the air was blue......not from the smoke but from my language!  So no internet and telephone line dead.  Great!

TTNet have given us  modem No. 4  this morning.  They seem to have forgotten that the last one that blew up was in fact one that they had lent us whilst the previous one was being sent away for repair (it was beyond repair as it turns out).  So in fact we actually now owe them for the cost of 2 modems.  But they seem to be confused, not surprisingly,  and just handed over a new one.  I'm not complaining of course.

Mr A has spent over half an hour on the phone to TTNet customer service setting up the new modem to his laptop.  I hasten to add at this point that he hasn't a clue what he's doing.  So now, thanks to TTNet, he has wireless connection, but I don't.  So I am for the time being attached to a short USB umbilical cord..ie the laptop is attached to the modem and I can't use my laptop where I usually do.  That is until I can get hold of my brother-in-law in Ankara to sort it out for me...yet again!

Men...huh!!!

Monday, 27 December 2010

Memories of Göreme

Some of you may have read some of my posts about My Turkey Journey (see labels at the bottom of my page).   I lived in Cappadocia for 4 years, almost 3 of which were spent living in Göreme. 

During this time I worked in a small cafe owned by a man called Refik. He, his wife, brother, and parents, became good friends.  Mr A and I split up for a while during this time, and Refik and his family were a great support to me.   His parents still live in the cave house where Refik was brought up, and one of my friends in Göreme has just come across this video which is part of a programme made by the BBC.

You will see quite clearly what a wonderful sense of humour Refik has, and he was great fun to work with. He is one of those people that becomes friends with everyone he meets, and tourists come back year after year to visit him.

Enjoy the video.  It brings back wonderful memories for me of this beautiful part of Turkey.


Sunday, 26 December 2010

Followers and Friendships

I was reading a post on another blog recently about Blog Followers, and the way in which they come and go. And judging by the comments on that particular blog, it would seem that sometimes people take it a bit too seriously.  In other words if someone stops following their blog, they see it is a personal snub.  I do recall the excitement I felt when I first started blogging, when all of a sudden people started to comment, then added themselves to my list, and even though I may have been disappointed in the early days when some disappeared, I tried not to take it personally. 

Of course I'm aware that the numbers of followers fluctuate from time to time.  I have a vague idea that the numbers of followers on my blog are around the 65 mark.  Sometimes people stop following, but then others arrive to take their place.  I've done the same thing myself.  Occasionally one realises that it's impossible to find the time to follow every blog one would like to, so some inevitably fall by the wayside. 

There are also other reasons for ceasing to follow certain blogs.   I do find myself losing interest in blogs that seem to be all about giveaways (I don't get this at all...maybe someone would explain)...and also those that have added ads.  Oh I don't mind a few ads here and there, but some bloggers are actually writing posts which are specifically aimed at advertising a particular product.  Of course this is just personal choice, but I prefer to read about peoples' lives and experiences, and the stories they tell, sometimes funny, sometimes sad...with the odd photo or video thrown in for good measure.   Does anyone actually click on the ads on blogs?  I'd be interested to know...I never have.

We eventually end up with a pretty loyal band of followers on our blogs.  Those who you know will comment on most of your posts, and whose opinions are so welcome and valued...and these become friendships too.

This topic also got me thinking about friendships, and in particular internet friendships.  They also come and go.  Much like real life friendships I guess.  Although I think I would prefer to call them acquaintanceships rather than friendships.  .

I have made what I consider to be some very good friends via the internet, and some of them I've had the pleasure of meeting in real life.  For example, Bombshellicious, who I met on my recent trip to England.  We get on so well and I know we will be friends for life. 

However, I recently lost all contact with someone I considered to be a good friend who I met through an internet forum about 3 years ago.  We had very regular contact, almost daily, when a couple of months ago the emails started to dry up.  I found myself writing to her and asking if she was ok, and was sorry to have not heard from her for a while, whilst wondering whether I had said anything to offend her.   I had a couple of responses, in which the reason she gave for not being in touch was that she was spending very little time on the internet.  I thought this was a pretty good reason, so left it for a while.  At the beginning of the month I emailed her again...no response.   Then again just before Christmas to extend the seasons greetings.   And...nothing.   Which leaves me feeling that I must somehow have offended her.   I've asked outright if this is the case but I've had no explanation.   I know I should just let it go but I hate not knowing...it feels like unfinished business.

Real friends last forever don't they?  Even if you lose touch with a real friend for a while, you know they are still there.  One of you makes contact and you just pick up where you left off.   But you are never left feeling that there are loose ends that need tying up or questions that need answers.

Well I hope you all had an enjoyable Christmas Day.  Our's was much like any other day here, except that I did cook a roast dinner and made a huge trifle.  I made Mr A pull a cracker and wear a silly hat for 10 minutes...but then we just switched off Christmas and got back to normal!


Incidentally I've put comment moderation back on my blog, because I've noticed a lot of blogs being spammed at the moment and it's only a matter of time before it happens here.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

An (un)Christmas Cake




I really want cake for Christmas.  The problem is twofold.  I don't have all the ingredients to make one, and it's really a bit late to be thinking of it on 23rd December.

So...what was in the cupboard?  Some dried figs from this year's crop, nutmeg, cinammon, honey.  OK that will have to do.

So here is my excuse for a Christmas cake (based on my tried and well-tested basic cake recipe).


100g butter - softened
140g sugar
2 large eggs
150ml milk
280g plain flour
10g baking powder
pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg
Honey
Chopped dried figs

Whisk the butter and sugar, beat in eggs and  milk.   Stir in the honey and chopped figs (I'm afraid I didn't measure the quantities but I guess it would be about half a coffee mug of honey, and as many figs as you want!)

Add the flour, baking powder, nutmeg and cinnamon and beat well.  Bake in a lined loaf tin at 160 degrees for approx 45 minıutes to 1 hour, or until you can insert a knife and it comes out clean.

Season's Greetings


One of my favourite Christmas songs.  One that reminds me of my Dad, childhood christmases....many happy memories.

Well most of you won't have to dream of a white Christmas this year because there's no doubt the snow will still be around on Christmas Day....along with freezing temperatures.  If you are travelling to be with family and friends..do be careful.

Spare a thought for the elderly, the sick, the homeless and the lonely at Christmas.  Do what you can to make it better for them.

Wishing all my blogging friends a Very Happy Christmas with much love xxx




Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Lemon Curd and Shortbread

I was asked for my recipe for lemon curd from one of my followers, OJ, so here it is.  I don't know where I found this recipe but I've had it for years.  I only make up a small quantity at a time because it doesn't keep for longer than a week or so in the fridge.

6 oz (150g) granulated sugar
Grated zest and juice of 2 large lemons
4 large eggs
4oz (100g) unsalted butter

Place the sugar and lemon zest in a bowl.  Whisk the lemon juice with the eggs and pour over the sugar.  Add the butter cut into small pieces and place the bowl over a pan of simmering water.  Stir frequently until thickened...about 20 minutes.

Pour into pots and store in the fridge.

********************************************

I'm about to make some shortbread today, so I thought I would also share my tried and tested recipe with you.  Another one I've had for years and which uses semolina for an extra crunch.

110g melted butter
50g sugar (the original recipe says caster but granulated works just as well)
150g plain flour
25g semolina

Mix the butter and sugar together.  Fold in the semolina and flour.  Mix and form into a dough.  Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for a couple of hours, which helps to stop the dough from crumbling too much.
Flatten the dough and form or cut into shapes.  Bake on a lined baking tray for approximately 15 to 20 minutes on 200 degrees.

(I usually double up on the quantities for this recipe...because I love shortbread and can never get enough!

Happy baking!


Please note:  The pics I've used are not mine, they are as close to the ones I make as possible.  Simply because I've finished up the last lot of lemon curd....and when the shortbread is cooked today, it will be eaten before I have time to get the camera out!

Monday, 20 December 2010

Portakal and Mandalin

Portakal (oranges) and mandalin (mandarin oranges)...this is the season for these lovely fruits.

Mr A bought these mandarin oranges at a market yesterday.  About 5 kilos cost him a total of 1.5 lira (just over 40 pence).  They were cheap because they had blemishes on some of the skins...which made absolutely no difference at all to the juicy, seedless fruit inside.

Several years ago, when we lived outside Side, Antalya, our apartment block was  next to an orchard and there was such a glut of portakal and mandalin that the owner insisted on giving us huge bags of them every day.  We had so many that I was squeezing litres of juice from them and storing in the freezer...and I attempted a kind of marmalade/jam...which wasn't terribly successful.

We have two lemon trees in our garden and the fruit are coming along nicely.  They are much larger than last year but they are still a bit green, so not quite ready.  Although last week, we ran out of jam, so I picked some of the lemons and made a quick lemon curd, which was delicious.  Even though the lemons were hard, they still contained a lot of juice.

I remember when I was a child, that mandarin oranges were a treat, and we only had them at Christmas.  And here I am now, with so many of them that it's hard not to take them for granted.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Making a cosy room for the Winter

Even though the outside temperatures are still good at the moment, our house is very cold.  If we hadn't had so much rain this week,  you would find me sitting outside to warm up.

We have an air-conditioning unit in our sitting room, which we can use on the warm air setting for winter, but I am reluctant to use it for two reasons.  I don't want to push up our electricity bill anymore than necessary, and I actually don't like aircons in winter or summer...they give me a headache...so it's hardly ever used.

We have one large electric fire, but again it uses too much electricity

Mr A was talking on the phone to his father a couple of days ago and Dad mentioned that there was a soba out in the old house. The soba is a wood and coal burning stove which is used extensively by Turks for heating their houses.  They come in all shapes and sizes, some even have ovens for cooking.

I had first-hand experience of using a soba when we lived in Cappadocia, where they are a necessity during the long winters when there is heavy snow and temperatures plummet to minus 20 degrees.  We had a fairly large one then and it was enough to heat the whole house as long as we kept all the doors open. They are a bit of a nuisance though.  It's a real chore having to go outside in extreme weather conditions to empty the ash from the internal bucket every morning and refill with wood, coal and kindling. And the pipes need cleaning every couple of weeks.  Oh what a pain that is!  Dismantling them and trying to get them outside without depositing black soot over the carpets and furniture.

However, we know it will inevitably get colder so Mr A set about searching for the soba which was well hidden in the old house, and which we  would never have discovered  if Dad hadn't told us it was there.  It needed a good clean up by Mr A and it was ready.  We can't afford to buy coal but we have a lot of wood to burn so this will be sufficient for our needs.

We don't have a chimney in our sitting room to take the pipes, because this room was formerly the terrace. But we have them in the kitchen and the two bedrooms. The kitchen chimney is being used for the cooker extractor fan, and I'm not happy about the soba being in our bedroom.  I like a cool room to sleep in, with the window open...as long as I'm warm enough in bed with an electric blanket...or a hot water bottle when we have a power cut.

Mr A on the other hand likes to sleep in a hot room.  We need a compromise on this one.  So we have placed the soba in the spare bedroom (picture above).  This room is for the in-laws when they come to stay and for guests.  We have two sofa beds in there, and with the soba lit it will become a very cosy Winter sitting room, where Mr A can sleep if he wants to, and if I find it too hot I can retreat to our cool bedroom.

We haven't actually got round to lighting it yet, because Mr A has been out trying to sell the mesır macunu products for the last couple of days...and has been returning home late.  I have thought about lighting it today, but even though Mr A has been onto the roof to check that the chimney is clean, I'm a little reluctant because I had a bad experience in Cappadocia once, when having lit the soba, black smoke billowed out and the house was full of it.  He is doing a Sunday market today, and  will be home late afternoon, so I'll let him do the honours.

And I am sure Beki remembers us having a soba years ago, because yesterday I watched her as she went in to the room and spread out in front of it.  After 5 minutes or so, she got up, sniffed it, realised it wasn't hot and came out of the room in disgust.  Aren't dogs clever?  No doubt she will be looking forward to our cosy winter room as much as I am!

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Silly Saturdays




Goodness me...Saturdays come around far too quickly these days. No sooner have I written a Silly Saturday post, it seems like I'm writing another one.
This post is a little more serious than previous Saturday posts, simply because it's a time to put things firmly into perspective for me.

I've been having a good old moan about how difficult my life is at the moment and I stopped dead in my tracks after talking to a dear friend on the phone on Wednesday. She has just been diagnosed with breast cancer and is waiting to undergo surgery and radiotherapy.   P is one of the first English women I met when I  moved to Turkey almost 13 years ago.   We have lots in common and enjoyed many happy times together.  OK I've met a lot of expats over the years, and can honestly say that there were only a few that I could call real friends and P is one of them.  

She moved back to England about six years ago, taking two dogs that she'd rescued from the streets, going through the heartbreak of putting them in quarantine for 6 months, and eventually having them with her where they settled well into their new environment.   She had lived in Turkey for many years and spent a lot of her time feeding and looking out for the stray dogs and cats.  To be honest, it was the distress she felt at not being able to do more for the strays, that finally prompted her decision to move back to England.

We've been through periods of not keeping in touch as often as we should have done.  I used to try to visit her for a couple of days on my trips to England, but it hasn't been possible recently, because my limited time has been taken up with my daughter and grandson.

I blogged about her in August.  She was back in Turkey for a short holiday, and we had chance to meet up and have lunch together in Bodrum.  Since then I've spoken to her on the phone,and she recently moved house and is now living closer to her family.   One thing I am sure she is very grateful for now that she has this battle to fight...having her family around to support her.

She is in my thoughts now and I am hoping for the best possible outcome for her.

So my Silly Saturday post is really about telling myself not to be so silly about my problems, but to stop and think about those people who are facing far more serious crises in their lives.

This is the time of year to reflect and to realise that there is always something to be thankful for...there are always people far worse off than us.  

Friday, 17 December 2010

Custard, Chocolate and Chewsticks

Christmas arrived early in our little house in our remote village.   Here I was, sheltering from torrential rain and mopping up the leaks...no matter how you think you've found all the places where the rain comes in..it still manages to get in somewhere!

Mr Ayak sold my gold chain.  He got a friend to fix the car and he put petrol in it. He ordered some stock of mesır macunu products, which will arrive this morning, so he will set off to start selling it around the villages.

He also bought a new gas bottle.  Several days without one saw me getting very excited at it's imminent arrival...how sad is that?  And he bought some food...just basics but you all know how I can make marvellous meals from almost nothing....I've had plenty of practise!

A dear friend made a lovely gesture of goodwill yesterday...I won't go into details because I wouldn't embarrass them...but suffice to say it was so kind that it made me cry and it has made me realise just how lovely people are.  I may not have a religious faith, but I will never lose my faith in human beings.

Mr A also checked my postbox in Milas and picked up a couple of Christmas cards for us.  Along with them was a parcel from my friend who has a house in Selçuk and who you may recall visits me when she's over here (always laden with treats for the dogs!).

The parcel contained several bars of Cadbury's chocolate, 6 packets of custard, and a bag of chewsticks for Beki and Poppy, and a lovely christmas card and letter.  It arrived just at the right time...it cheered me up immensely.

And I'm afraid I have to own up to scoffing a considerable amount of the chocolate last night until I felt quite sick!  But hey...it is nearly Christmas isn't it?  The season of goodwill...when you realise just how special people are.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Rain and Scams

I took this photo on Monday morning at around 7.00am just before sunrise.

The dogs had woken me up and wanted to go outside. I thought the sky looked so beautiful that for once I grabbed my camera instead of crawling back into bed.

And within an hour it started to rain and has continued to do so on and off all week.  It's been very heavy at times and we've discovered a few more leaks in the house.  Our car has taken a good soaking and is now not working.  Mr A is also not working, and without use of the car it's difficult to find work.  He has been on the internet and made lots of phone calls, but he needs to be out there looking.

He is pretty depressed...not surprisingly...because his latest venture has turned out to be a scam.  He spent weeks out getting customers for a company supplying tracking devices for cars.  He did well..he's good at selling.  The customer places the order and pays the company direct, then Mr A supposedly takes his commission.  He had earned over 3000 lira...which we desperately need.  But he didn't get paid.  

I didn't realise that the "company" was in Istanbul and that Mr A had dealt with them on the internet and by phone.  Had I realised this in the beginning I would have been suspicious.  The telephone lines for the company have been dead since last Friday and the website has disappeared.  I really wish Mr A was not so trusting.  The customers who paid have apparently received the equipment, so they haven't lost out.  But no doubt there are hundreds of Mr A's all over the country who have secured orders, at considerable cost in petrol and time, who will get nothing at all.   I suspect that the equipment concerned was "off the back of a lorry" and had to be shifted quickly and this was no doubt the fastest way of doing it.

So we are back to square one again...nothing new there...we never seem to get further than square one!

I made a decision yesterday to get Mr A to sell the gold chain he bought me for my birthday.  I don't get sentimental about such things.  I thought he was too extravagant at the time he bought it and I'm much more practical.  We need money, so reluctantly he caught the bus into Milas to sell it.  We now have some food and will get a new gas bottle today.  And we have petrol and the car will be fixed today.  We are also going to order some more mesır macunu for Mr A to sell in the local villages.  It won't make us a fortune, but it will keep us (almost) afloat for the time being.

I'm angry about this bloody internet scam.  There's little we can do about it.  Little point in reporting it to the corrupt police or jandarma, who would no doubt just shrug their shoulders and do nothing...all I can hope is that Mr A has learned from the experience.

Onwards and upwards (as they say)...I won't be defeated...I'll attempt to stay positive!

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Dogs

I come from a family of dog lovers.  We've always had dogs.  My very first dog...my own dog..was a present from my parents when I was 12 years old...a black poodle called Chippy.  I loved him.  When I left home, he was very settled with my parents and younger brother so he stayed with them.  When he died they replaced him with another similar poodle called Tinker.

During my first marriage I had two Yorkshire terriers called William and Daisy.  I was devastated when they grew old and died.  Later on we rescued two more dogs, a Jack Russell called Tom,and another called Scruffy.

I have mentioned before that I have rescued a number of street dogs since I moved to Turkey.  We kept them for a while, got them vaccinated and neutered and found homes for them.  Sadly we can't afford to do this anymore.  But I did keep Beki who is now around 8 years old, and of course we took Poppy in over a year ago.  

Sam
When my daughter was 12 years old (or thereabouts) she had her first dog...a Cavalier King Charles called Sam.  She adored him and when she set up home with my son-in-law Sam went with her.  They decided to get a cat, a ginger called Ringo, who got on very well with Sam.  I know she constantly worried about how much she would miss Sam when he was gone, so I think she felt that having Ringo around would eventually soften the blow.


Sam lived to a ripe old age and finally died just before Billy was born.  Very sad because it seems that Billy also loves dogs and he never had the chance to get to know Sam.   When I speak to him on webcam Poppy jumps up on my lap and Billy gets very excited.  Billy also loves Ringo the cat and they have become the best of friends.

Stella's father has always had dogs too and Billy enjoys his visits there....as you can see from these pics taken yesterday:

I like this dog bed!
Are you awake?

Let's be friends!

I have a feeling that Billy will have a dog of his own one day when he's old enough to take care of it....all little boys and girls  should have a "best friend"...don't you think?

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Silly Saturday

Here we are again...another Silly Saturday.

What's silly about this Saturday?  The weather!  It's crazy.  Winter has literally arrived overnight.

While the UK and other countries have been experiencing freezing temperatures and snow, we have had sunshine and temperatures around 20 degrees and higher.  Until today.

No gradual change...no autumn.....just an immediate jump from summer to winter.  I have weather widgets on my laptop and whilst the temperature in my home town in England is now 9 degrees...here it's 6 degrees.

So I've been packing up my summer clothes today...they won't be needed again for a few months.  The dogs are reluctant to go out in the garden and Poppy has been shivering so is now wearing her woolly jumper. 

The house is very cold so having done all my housework and other chores, I've now crawled back into bed in my winceyette pyjamas with the electric blanket on.  Brrrrr!

Friday, 10 December 2010

Frustrating Friday

It's been another one of those weeks. 

Our internet connection has been playing up again.  OK we have a new modem...very nice... but our connection is frankly just crap!  TTNet don't care.  Why should they?  They have the monopoly on internet in Turkey and they can just ignore your complaints and carry on charging exorbitant prices for a diabolical service.

And for two days the telephone line has been dead.  We rang Turk Telekom from my mobile phone. They gave us a number to ring to report it (and why on earth couldn't they just deal with it?).  The number is 121.  You dial it then get automated options and you just keep pressing the keys.  It takes 2 minutes to complete the procedure (without talking to an actual human being) and you are charged 2.5 ytl for the privilege.  But what's the point?  That was yesterday morning and nothing has happened.

It's warm again today but not sunny, so we have no hot water.  I would normally just heat up water on the gas hob but yesterday the gas bottle ran out.  I no longer have an electric kettle because the last one died some weeks ago and even though it was still under guarantee I can't get it replaced.   Don't ask me why.  It's a whole other story concerning Turkish guarantees...not worth the paper they're written on. 

It's a bloody pain having to heat up water in the microwave. In fact it's pretty much impossible to cook everything in the microwave.  But we can't get a new gas bottle because we've run out of money.  Why?  Because Mr A is waiting to be paid for orders he obtained for the company fitting tracking devices to vehicles.  It should have arrived yesterday...but it didn't.  Nothing new there of course...we're pretty much used to waiting for money.

I have toothache...I need to see a dentist.  Poppy has problems with her teeth...she needs to see a vet.  We need a new gas bottle.  We need to pay bills.  It all takes money...and we just wait.

Well I feel so much better for getting this all off my chest....and I will end on a more positive note.

The sun has just come out......and best of all...Stella had her 20 week scan yesterday and the pregnancy is progressing well and we now know that she will be having a brother for Billy.  She and my son-in-law are delighted, and so are we.  Billy is just going to love being a big brother!

Update:  The phone line is now working..Just as well as I planned to tell them today that I wouldn't be paying my phone bill this month.   Now I just have to tackle TTNet and try to get them to improve on their service!

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Back to Reality (and stuffed mushrooms)

My two week trip to England seems ages ago even though I've only been back home for four days.  I've almost forgotten how cold I was.  I walked a great deal.  I caught the bus every morning from my brother's house into town, and then had a half an hour walk to Stella's new house...ears and hands frozen...nose running...brrrr! Then did the same return journey at the end of the day.

They have settled in well in their new home.  They have had a lot of sorting out to do, but they're getting there.  Stella is so looking forward to next summer when she will be on maternity leave with Billy and the new baby and will at last have a garden to sit in.  She is very tired and needs a break...I'm so proud of my daughter and the way she copes with everything.

The weather here is glorious.  It's like the early days of summer in England, and unbelieveable that it's still like this in December.  Mr Ayak spent half the day gardening yesterday, while I sat out in the sunshine and watched...it's back to t-shirt weather...wonderful!

Mr A is waiting for money to come from a job he is doing at the moment.  Ah!  Waiting for money!  The story of our life!  So as usual we are on an economy drive.  I brought a few goodies back from England but sadly we have eaten most of them...the chocolates are all gone, but I still have a little bacon and some Double Gloucester cheese.  Mr A brought home some large portobello type mushrooms and I decided to stuff them yesterday.  I had made up a packet of sage and onion stuffing, brought from England, to have with chicken the day before, and had some of the stuffing left.

I chopped and fried some onions and garlic in olive oil, added some chopped bacon and the stuffing to the pan and then stuffed the mushrooms.  I sprinkled some grated cheese over the top, drizzled with olive oil, and popped them in the oven for about half an hour.  They were absolutely delicious.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Village Photos

Just came across some more photos on our village Facebook page.   The first four are of the long road leading from the main road to the village...our house is on that hill in the distance.





These two photos are taken from the hill behind our house:



Great photos aren't they?  And I hasten to add that they weren't taken by me!

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Home again

I had a wonderful time with Stella and Billy in England and the two weeks just flew by, but it's great to be back to warmer weather again!

My return flights were on time and I only had one little niggle with Pegasus Airlines.  I always pre-book my flight meals.  It's just easier that way.  On the outward flight to England, the tray arrived with a label with my name on attached to it.  However on the return journey yesterday, the cabin crew were dishing out the trays with the labels, and I didn't get one.  I asked where my meal was and was told I wasn't on the list.  I was shown the list, and sure enough I wasn't on it.  Now I know I booked my meals and I paid for them, but the stewardess insisted I hadn't.  I asked her how come I got my meal on the outward flight with no problem?  She said she didn't know and could do nothing about it.  She then walked off.

I pressed my service buzzer.  Ten minutes later she returned.  I said I would like a meal and if necessary I would pay (again) for it and take it up with Pegasus Airlines when I got home.  She then said that apparently they had two meals with names on them, but those people weren't even on the flight.  So I said it would seem that the company had made a bit of a mess of things.  But she still insisted I wasn't on the list, but she would bring me a meal as soon as possible.

In the meantime I ordered and paid for a drink, and the steward said he would come back later with my change.

My meal arrived, and the stewardess said she would return later to collect my money.  She returned to say that as the two allocated and paid for meals had not been consumed by the missing passengers, she had decided that I wouldn't have to pay for mine.  By this time I couldn't actually be bothered to repeat that I had paid for mine.

And the change from my drink?  It didn't appear and I had to ask for it just before we landed.  All a bit irritating and it would be good if Pegasus could just improve on their cabin crew training.

Mr A and the dogs were pleased to see me and I'm loving the fact that I can go back to wearing t-shirts again instead of layers of jumpers and coats!

I'll leave you with a few (not very good I'm afraid) snaps of Billy...I'm having problems with my camera...well that's my excuse!





Friday, 3 December 2010

Final Friday but no Silly Saturday

I won't have time for a Silly Saturday post tomorrow because I will be travelling home.

This two week trip to England has of course flown by, as it always does, but I have really enjoyed my time here.  It's given me a chance to renew my relationship with Billy.  It's difficult at his age to remember his grandmother from 6 months ago.  Anyway I've spent a lot of time with him and I think it may be easier from now on for him to remember me.

It's also lovely to see my daughter looking so well in her second pregnancy.  She is very tired.  She has had an awful lot on her plate recently, but she's coping and looking great.  The 20 week scan is due next week so we will know if it's a boy or girl.

I've managed to catch up briefly for coffee with a couple of friends, and of course I had the lovely day with Bombshellicious last week.   I've been staying with my youngest brother, M, as I always do, but haven't yet managed to catch up with my other brother D.   So I am visiting him this morning.  I'm then off to my daughter's for lunch and farewells...probably tearful ones, and this evening my brother M is taking me out for dinner.

It's been a great visit, but I'm ready to get away from the cold here and back to warmer weather...and Mr A and the dogs.

Have a good weekend everyone.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

My first Advent calendar

I have never had an Advent calendar...not one ever..in my entire life.  We just didn't have them when I was a child.  I did buy them every year for my children..the ones filled with chocolate, and they loved them.

This morning my brother gave me an Advent calendar filled with Thornton chocolates...what a treat!  And it prompted us to start reminiscing about our childhood Christmases...lovely memories!

Well it would seem that pretty much all of the UK has had snow...apart from this little corner of the country.  We had a few flakes yesterday, but it didn't settle I'm pleased to say.  It is exceptionally cold though and I am finding it very difficult to cope with it, particularly as the temperatures back home are considerably higher!  This weather reminds me that I have arthritis and osteoporosis, and that I don't even notice it when I'm back home, because I clearly live in the best climate for these conditions.

You may recall that I have had two modems hit by lightening this year.  The first one exploded into 1000s of pieces and set fire to the carpet.  The second one blew up but was sent away by TTNet to be repaired about a month ago, and TTNet kindly lent us another one to use whilst ours was being fixed.

Last Thursday when I tried to ring home, the line was dead, and Mr Ayak didn't appear on the internet all day.  He eventually phoned me to say that this third modem had  been struck by lightening and that the phone line was also affected.

On Monday he went out and bought another new modem, and got Turk Telekom to repair the telephone line and set up the internet connection again.  He used all the money he had to do this, saying that he thought that if I knew I had no internet to go home to, I might decide not to return home!  (I have to admit that the thought did cross my mind!).

Actually I am kind of looking forward to going home.  But I do feel torn.  I love spending time with Billy and my daughter, but I miss Mr A, my dogs and my home.  I would love to be able to visit England more often...a lottery win and a private plane would do the trick!

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Sunday in England ( Blog Post No 400)

I love Sundays in England.  A day of relaxation and Sunday roasts.

I always stay at my brother's house when I visit.  I have a cosy room with a double sofa bed and TV.  I used to stay with my daughter years ago but it wasn't really practical.  They've never really had enough space for guests and I'd have to sleep on the sofa.  But also we find that if we spend too much time together then we start to have those silly little mother/daughter spats.  We don't have real arguments but because we spend so much time apart there's always a little tension on both sides when we get together.  It settles down of course by the time I return home, and then we end up wishing I was here for longer.

Last Sunday was my first day here and I spent the day with my daughter, son-in-law and Billy.  They moved house recently, so SIL was busy decorating, and my daughter catching up with paperwork and other things, which left me time to get to know Billy all over again.  Then later my daughter cooked a roast dinner and my Sunday was complete!

I've seen them every day but one since I arrived and it's been great.   We were a little disappointed at the switching-on-the-lights ceremony yesterday.  We missed the Elvis impersonator whilst we were in McDonalds, but apparently he only performed one song then disappeared, then the lights were switched on by someone else.  The lights in the town are a big disappointment...rather pathetic really.  However the firework display following the switch-on was very good.  Billy enjoyed watching the pretty ones, but when there were bangs he hid his head in his Dad's shoulder.

So today I am off to visit a friend for coffee at 10am and then I'm off to my daughter's for the rest of the day.  My son-in-law is out today, so we may go shopping, or if it's too cold we'll just relax in front of the TV.

And checking the temperatures, I somehow think it will be the latter...it's minus 5 here now....and it's 20 degrees back home....the thought of which makes me feel even colder!!

I've just realised that this is my 400th blog post....and I am amazed that I can find so much to write about...a lot of it's drivel of course, but it makes me feel good, and I hope I haven't bored you all to tears!

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Silly Saturday

Today is going to be enjoyably silly.

My daughter and I are going to see the Christmas lights being switched on in the town.

There will be lots of activities for children throughout the day, including a visit to see Santa.

What I do find particularly silly...and I can't stop laughing about it...is that they didn't manage to find a "celebrity" to switch on the lights.  So they have the winner of a local talent competition to do the honours.  He is an Elvis impersonator...groan...and will be performing for an hour before he switches on the lights.  We thought we might just pop into McDonalds for a happy meal when this happens!!

This will be followed by a firework display from the roof of the town hall.  So should be a pleasant Saturday.

The snow that's sweeping the country hasn't yet reached us, but it's on it's way...and I'm not looking forward to it at all.  The temperature here is -1 C and have just checked home and it's 22 C!

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Meeting a fellow blogger

Tuesday was a great day.  I met up with a fellow blogger for the first time.... Bombshellicious

As a result of following each others blogs for some time, we progressed to talking on Facebook and MSN.  We realised pretty quickly how much we have in common.

We both caught trains on Tuesday and met in Reading.  We spent most of the time talking, drinking coffee, eating a late breakfast (courtesy of some vouchers provided by my lovely brother), and getting to know each other better.  "Bomb" attempted to take photos with her mobile phone.  She took loads..and we fell about laughing at the results.  She sent me two of the snaps of us together  yesterday and this is one of them...I expect she will use the other one when she writes about our meeting.

We both knew when we first started chatting on the internet that we would hit it off...you just have a feeling about some people.  But we both agreed on Tuesday that we felt like we had known each other for years...in fact I wish I had known her for years...I know we would have had such fun together.

She is a lovely person, and such good company and the day flew by very quickly.  We are both hoping that we can manage more opportunities to meet up in the future.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Blogging from the UK

My flights from Bodrum to Sabiha Gökcen Airport, Istanbul, and then on to Stansted, on Saturday were on time, and the service was very good.  This is only the second time I have used Pegasus Airlines and I am very impressed.  Their prices are almost half of those of Turkish Airlines.  I would definitely recommend them.

It is of course an absolute joy to be spending time with my daughter and Billy.  I was again anxious that after 6 months he may not remember me, but I needn't have worried.  We are getting along very well, and he is perfectly comfortable with me.

I seem to be having problems with my camera...well to be honest it's probably me rather than the camera. I'm taking lots of shots of Billy and none are coming out too well.   I was just about to post up one of them but Blogger is playing up so that's put pay to that!

I am keeping up with all my favourite blogs...but I don't always have the time to leave comments.  So apologies for that...normal service will be resumed on my return home.

And yesterday I spent the day with a blogger friend.  We met up for the first time and really hit it off.  More about that tomorrow.

Friday, 19 November 2010

New Blog Title

In case you're wondering why my blog title has been changed slightly, I decided to include my username "Ayak" in the title, because I think there are other blogs out there called Turkish Delight.....after all it's not a particularly original name for a blog by someone living in Turkey.  I never did have much imagination when it comes to choosing such things!

At the same time I thought I would change the picture in the header to something more appropriate for the season...although I hasten to add that it's not indicative of the weather here at the moment, which continues to see temperatures in the mid 70s and higher, during the day.  Very unusual for this time of year...I'm not complaining of course, but I have had to frantically search for winter clothes to pack for my trip tomorrow, as I'm still walking around in t-shirts!

Silly Saturdays

Well this is a bit silly anyway...because it's Friday and not Saturday.

But I haven't got time to be silly tomorrow because I will be travelling to England.

So maybe you can all write something silly instead to make up for my not having an opportunity to be silly tomorrow.

I'll blog a bit while I'm in England if I have the chance, even if it's to post up some new pics of Billy.

Have a good weekend everyone xxx

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

A Royal Engagement

So after goodness knows how many years (the number varies according to which newspaper you read...from 7 to 10 years)...they've finally announced their engagement.

And the newspapers are doing what they do best...whipping everyone up into a frenzy of royal fever, which will reach it's pitch when the wedding takes place in Spring or Summer next year.

Last night, regular programmes were postponed in favour of an interview with the couple, or the story of their romance, etc etc. 

I used to be very patriotic...many years ago...but gradually over time I became quite disillusioned by the whole thing.  When I was younger the royal family were somehow detached from the rest of us mere mortals.   There was a kind of mystery about them, but the subsequent divorces, scandals, and unsavoury antics that were played out in the press for us all to see, showed them to be just the same as the rest of us.  Except of course that they are NOT the same.  They have wealth and privileges that the majority of us will never experience.

Of course the scandals within the royal family have happened for centuries.  We read about them in our history lessons at school.  But because it was "history" it somehow (to me) didn't relate to our current royal family.

I will never to this day understand the outpouring of grief at the death and funeral of Diana.  How is it possible for people to show such distress at the death of someone they didn't know or had never met?  I don't underestimate the good work that she did with the charities she supported.  But that was her job.  The men in the "family" join the services, but are mostly protected from coming to any real harm.  It's what the royals do.  There are no other suitable roles for them are there?  Apart from taking endless holidays..

I do of course hope that William and Kate have a long and happy marriage.  But I wish this for all young couples embarking on a life together.  I feel sad for William that he won't have his mother at his wedding.  It's sad for any young man in that position.

The press and media will continue to do their job over the next few months.   The newspapers will be full of it...it's a distraction from the really important things going on in the world...soldiers dying in pointless wars, acts of terrorism, recession, poverty, etc.   Maybe this is what the public want?  Who knows?

Judging by many comments from readers to online newspaper reports this morning, we no longer want or need a monarchy in Britain.

What do you think?

Monday, 15 November 2010

Update (Mr Ayak's adventures)

I haven't mentioned Mr A much lately.  It's that time of year....winter...when there is no work about and no money coming in.  I usually find it a bit depressing to keep talking about it.  But I'm in a good mood today.

Mr Ayak hasn't wasted time.  He managed to sell almost all of the mesir macunu stock...slowly but surely.  It just about covered petrol and basics, but not enough to pay the bills or buy more stock.  A couple of weeks ago he managed to find some building work.  He was promised 50 lira a day, plus 20 lira petrol money.  The first and second days he waited around on site, along with other men, and the boss didn't show.  On the third day he worked from 7.30am until 8.00pm.  He was paid 30 lira...not 50.  It's a fair distance from here and it costs 25 lira each day for the round trip.  What use is 5 lira (about 2 pounds)?  What's the point?

He has been all over the area looking for work, and during the past week decided to search the internet for jobs instead of wasting petrol.  He found a company who manufacture tracking devices for cars.  I don't know all the details, but they are likely to be used by taxi drivers or haulage companies and such like.  He travelled to Denizli where the company is located and a supply of these devices will be delivered here on Wednesday.  As I understand it, he takes orders...the money is paid into the company bank account and then Mr A will receive commission on the sales.  It's only 15% so he will have to sell a lot to make a living.

In the meantime he has the company's website on his laptop with a demo video, and he set off yesterday with his laptop to see if he could generate some interest.   He has managed to get 5 provisional orders.  If they go ahead the money will be paid and the goods delivered on Friday, then hopefully the commission will be paid into our bank account.  I say "hopefully" because I am sceptical.  This is Turkey and I never believe anything until it happens.

In his spare time, Mr A has managed to completely secure the garden with chicken wire, to prevent Little Miss Houdini  (Poppy) from getting out and  other dogs from getting in.  He has also given the doghouse in the old house a makeover.   A couple of floorboards have been replaced and the front boarded up with some sturdy perspex boards which we found in the old house.  This makes it water and windproof but lets the light through.  The door has been removed so that Poppy and Beki can go in and out when it's raining.  And he has fixed corrugated metal to the ceiling so there are no leaks. They have carpet on the floor so it's very cosy.  So we no longer have to shut Poppy in the house when we are out.  Both dogs have the run of the garden and a nice place to shelter.

All the windows have now been resealed with silicone so no more leaks!  This has been tested by the storm we had early this morning, and it's great that I don't have to put down towels to mop up the rainwater. Lots of other niggly little repair jobs in the house have also been done.

I now feel quite happy that I can set off to England on Saturday, knowing that the house is secure and the dogs are safe.

I had originally booked my flights to stay just one week in England, but managed to change the return flight so that I can now stay two weeks.  I am so looking forward to seeing Stella and Billy.

Only 5 more sleeps...can't wait!!

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Silly Saturdays

Silly clothes...awful clothes. Things that we thought looked wonderful when we tried them on in the shop, but once we get them home they get banished to the back of the wardrobe.

Or perhaps items of clothing that have been bought for us by our nearest and dearest, that we then feel obliged to wear.

 Mr Ayak means well...bless him...he used to buy me clothes for my birthday.  Not any more.  I tactfully put a stop to it.  I had to or I would have been forced to wear a paper bag over my head so that I wouldn't be recognised.  Just look at these bright orange dungaree shorts he bought for me when we had only been married a short while:


And because I didn't want to upset him I felt I had to wear them..for a while at least.  I hated them...they are just not me, and at the earliest opportunity I "lost" them.

He bought other clothes for me which I fortunately don't have photos of.  It wouldn't have been so bad if he had taken me with him to choose something...but no...he liked to surprise me!

The last thing he bought was about 3 years ago.  It was a top/blouse/whatever in a silky material in the brightest of colours...lime green, blue, orange..with a huge bow at the neckline. It was just hideous.  I tried it on...and thank goodness it was too small.  "That's OK" says Mr A "I'll take it back to the shop and get a bigger size".  "Maybe I had better come with you so I can try it on"  I suggested, and he agreed.

Well it must have been my lucky day, because they didn't have it in my size so I was actually able to choose something more appropriate.  It was then I explained to him that I really didn't need any more clothes.  I have enough to last me a long time.  So from then on he bought me flowers or chocolates....and this year he bought me a gold chain....which was lovely.

And thinking about the orange dungarees reminds me of my paternal grandmother who used to buy me half a dozen pairs of bright orange stockings (I never wore stockings, just tights) every Christmas.  I think they were called American Tan...does anyone remember that shade?

So tell me about your clothing disasters...whether bought by you or someone else.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Nothing much to say really!

I'm not in the mood for blogging at the moment...can't think of anything to talk about.  We have ongoing internet problems, power cuts, water cuts...but the sun's still shining!

So until I can think of something interesting to blog about, I'll leave you with the latest photo of my darling Billy:

Sunday, 7 November 2010

A Village Wedding

Although our village is remote and very olde worlde Turkish, we actually have our own page on Facebook!
Those people in the village with internet access post up photos, so I thought I would share a few which were taken at a wedding recently held in the village.

The bride arriving at the ceremony.  The formal part of the wedding which usually takes  place in Milas:




Then back to the village and the celebrating begins. 



Let's dance!





Cooking enough rice to feed the entire village takes some brute strength!


At almost all gatherings you will find the men sitting seperately from the women.


The interesting thing about village weddings is that everyone is invited. Even if you happened to be a stranger...just passing...you would be invited in to share in the festivities.

During Mr A's recent travels around villages selling mesir macunu he has been dragged into several weddings and fed very well.  At least it saves me having to cook him a meal on his return!

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Silly Saturday No. 3

It's another Silly Saturday.

I was just flicking through channels on my TV website, just as the credits were scrolling on the screen at the end of a programme and noticed that the person with the job title "Audio Mixer" had the name of Denny Mouthon. A name kind of suited to the job!

Do you know anyone who has a name that is appropriate to their job or character? 

I have mentioned before in my blog, when I lived in Goreme we had a man who delivered our gas bottles.  His name was Fahti (pronounced "farty")....Fahti the gasman!

I once worked with a lady called Betty West, who married a Mr East.  Of course she would often say that she didn't so much get married as change direction!

So...come on my dear friends...see if you can come up with some more!

Friday, 5 November 2010

Guilty Pleasures

Guilty pleasures...we all have them don't we?  And sometimes we don't actually feel guilty about them...which is even better!

Chocolate is my No 1 guilty pleasure...which I don't really feel guilty about these days.   I have always been very selfish with chocolate...particularly Cadburys or real Belgian chocolates.  I don't like to share them.  I know that makes me sound very mean.  I'm not...I'll give anything I have to anyone in need...just not my chocolate.

When my children were small they had enough chocolate and sweets..perhaps more than they should have...so when I had chocolate for myself I didn't feel it necessary to share it.  My guilty pleasure at that time was, having put the children to bed, to have an early night snuggled up in bed with a good book and a big bar of chocolate.   Sometimes, one of the children would wake up and wander into my room, just as my mouth was full of chocolate.  They would say "what are you eating Mum?"...I would swallow quickly and reply "nothing darling".   My daughter actually remembers this and we laugh about it now.

I have decided at my age that I no longer have to feel guilty about it.  I hardly ever have chocolate..and almost never Cadburys.  Except that I have a lovely friend in England who has occasionally sent me parcels of it.   She knows how much I love it.  She has just informed me that she posted some to me on Wednesday...so I have a parcel to look forward to next week.

Another pleasure which I do still feel guilty about is going shopping to buy things for myself.  We have had such lean times here that I've just got used to not feeling that I should treat myself too often.  In England I loved shopping for clothes.  Since living here,  I really don't need lots of clothes.  I only ever buy what's necessary.  The weather has been very mild and I had not really looked through my winter clothes until a few days ago, when I realised that I didn't actually have any warm jumpers.  It will get colder here, and my two week trip to England will require warm clothes.  So yesterday I set off to Milas and out came the credit card.  I bought two lovely jumpers and a cardigan.  They weren't expensive but I did have pangs of guilt as I bought them.  Although I did also buy something for my daughter which I hope will fit her growing bump, so that made me feel a lot better.

By the time I arrived home and gazed at my purchases...the guilt had completely disappeared!   Maybe this post should have been entitled "Not Guilty Pleasures"

So tell me...do you have any guilty pleasures that you want to share?

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Poppy's haircut

This is my dear little Poppy at her best.  Her coat is beautiful.  Until you get up close that is.   She hates being brushed and it's essential to do this every day otherwise she ends up with knots and tangles in her hair.

Unfortunately over the past couple of weeks her hair has become quite matted...in spite of my best efforts at de-tangling it every day.

So I decided to give her a trim.  Easier said than done.  She wriggles like a worm at the sight of scissors, and I've been trying to snip off the tangled bits each day for the past week without much success.

Yesterday Mr Ayak decided that there was only one thing for it...it would have to be done with proper hair-cutting shears.   He has a friend who is a barber in Milas who gave him a hair-cutting kit a couple of days ago.  It's not a particularly good quality kit, and not a professional one of course, but the barber sells them in his shop.  It comes with all sorts of attachments which Mr A decided were suitable for Poppy's haircut.

So he shut himself in the bathroom with Poppy and there they remained for 3 hours.  There was no squealing from Poppy...not a sound...just Mr A making soothing noises to calm her ...and at one point actually singing to her!

When they emerged, Poppy was completely shorn from head to toe.  It was a bit of a shock but I'm sure it will grow thicker now, and hopefully we can keep on top of the tangles day by day.  Although the weather is still warm during the day (mid 70sF) it gets very chilly at night...and will no doubt get colder soon, so I was a bit worried about Poppy being cold, so last night I made her a little jumper out of one of Mr A's old ones.  I'm useless at doing this sort of thing...and although it looks OK now I'm pretty certain it will fall apart quite soon.  So here she is:

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

No time to blog!!

I mentioned in my last post that the Turkish government had at last lifted the ban on Youtube.

To be honest I had never even looked at Youtube before the ban, so apart from seeing that other people had uploaded videos on Facebook and blogs, I never gave it another thought.  After all I couldn't watch any of these uploaded videos...all I could see was a blank white square.

So I started browsing Youtube this week and was pleasantly surprised to find that Youtubers upload TV programmes, including all the soaps that I normally watch on my UK TV website.  If I missed any of these previously I could never find a website where I could watch them.  iplayer for example doesn't work here.

I am still experiencing problems with my TV website.  I have been emailing the website who don't seem to be able to tell me what the problem is.  I've also been in touch several times with TTNet because we are also having connection problems.  So all in all I don't really know who is responsible...but I have at least been able to catch up on Youtube with the programmes I've missed.

There are also a couple of series on UK TV that I have really enjoyed, and I have been gradually building up a collection of DVDs which I buy from Amazon....not when they are first released as they are quite expensive...I just wait until the prices come down.  This means of course that I am several series behind.  But I have now discovered them on Youtube...so I had been looking forward to spending the winter catching up with them, and saving myself the cost of buying the DVDs.

However, it seems that my happiness at being able to access Youtube will be shortlived...as this article explains.  Youtube is likely to be banned again any time now.  It's all so bloody silly isn't it?

The reason I have had no time to blog over the past couple of days is simply that I am frantically watching as much as I can of my favourite programmes on Youtube while I still have the chance.

So no doubt I will be back to my daily blogging again quite soon