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Sunday, 31 January 2010

Difficult decisions

Mr Ayak returned home yesterday to help me sort out some of my problems, the most pressing one being the injury to my back.

We decided to speak on the phone to his sister in Ankara before rushing off to the hospital.  She is an orthopaedic surgeon and was recently promoted to clinical director at her hospital.  I trust her advice and judgment, and would have phoned her myself when I first had my accident if my Turkish wasn't crap.  So a lengthy conversation ensued, with my relaying all the details and Mr Ayak doing the translation.  She doesn't feel that the coccyx is damaged or I would most certainly have tingling or numbness in my legs.  She explained that the fact that I fell so hard on my bottom causing the awful pain which shot up my spine, would be because the shock causes the vertebrae to close together, and that the pain I am experiencing will be the vertebrae gradually retracting.  However, she does insist that if in a week's time I don't feel any improvement then I must see an orthopaedic surgeon for more checks.  I only wish Ankara wasn't so far away because I'd rather see Mr Ayak's sister than anyone else.   Anyway she has recommended painkillers, no lifting, and moving about as much as possible.  So I'm trying to be positive and hope that the pain will soon go.

I've had to make a very difficult decision today.  Fortunately, Mr Ayak has made the decision easier for me and I know he's right.  I am having to let Monty and Milly go.  They are getting so big and strong and I can't manage them.  They are confined to the fenced-in area and their house and they are bored and constantly fighting with each other.  I've been trying to deny the fact that they are a problem, but Mr Ayak noticed it straight away.  He says they need more freedom and exercise, it's not enough to just keep them confined and feed them.  It's not fair on them.  He has a friend who keeps a number of gun dogs and he talked to him yesterday.  M & M would be highly suitable.  This man cares for his dogs, he feeds them well and they have a lot of space to run  around and exercise.

Because I've only had them for a couple of months, and they have lived outside, I haven't had time to domesticate or even train them, so better they go sooner rather than later.  Of course I feel guilty and upset about it.  I have rescued and re-homed a number of dogs since I came to live in Turkey so I just have to reassure myself  that I'm doing the same thing again and that I have given them a good start in life.  If I hadn't taken them in, they would most likely be diseased or starved to death by now.  The man will be taking Milly and Monty today or tomorrow.  And I know for certain that Mr Ayak would never give them to anyone who wasn't capable of giving them a good life.  Four dogs was never going to be easy...I should have thought it through.

I have to accept that I'm getting older.  I physically can't manage the way I could  years ago.  I'm so stubborn though, and I attempt to do things that are beyond my capabilities hence my accident last Tuesday. 

I'm so relieved that Mr Ayak has come home and is helping me with difficult decisions, and also sorting out a lot of practical problems too.  He will only be here for a few days, and of course I will be sorry to see him go again, but for the moment it's enough for me to know just how much he cares for me and my welfare.

We are both hoping and praying that this year will see a change in our situation, and that we can at last spend more time together.  Fingers crossed.

Friday, 29 January 2010

When it rains it pours

I didn't realise until I had a text message on Monday  from my friend in Antalya, that my landline was out of order.  On reflection I think it happened on Saturday night when there was a terrific storm right overhead.  At one point I heard a loud bang, as if something electrical had exploded.  When I checked the trip switches, everything was in order.  I checked the kettle, the TV, the washing machine, the oven, and everything else electrical, but I didn't check the telephone.

I reported it to the call centre, but having recently experienced Turk Telekom's inadequate service with my internet connection, decided to go into the TT office in Milas on Tuesday morning to report it again.

Returning home from Milas on Tuesday I decided to tackle the leaks around the windows.  It was a dry day and as more rain is forecast, it seemed a good idea to get it sorted out.  Armed with the silicone, and standing on a stool,  I set to work, and managed most of it.  Then I lost my footing, slipped off the stool and fell, landing very heavily on my bottom. So hard was the landing that the pain shot up my back and caused me to briefly pass out.  It took me some time to get up, and each slight movement caused me to groan in agony. 

When Mr Ayak phoned me a little later and I told him what had happened, he was all for getting the next flight down from Istanbul, but I'm not one to make a fuss, and it almost feels like emotional blackmail to expect him to come running back every time I have an accident.  So I told him to stay put, and I'd just wait and see.  After all I assumed nothing was broken or I wouldn't be able to walk about.

I can walk about, with difficulty.  I can't sleep because I can't find a comfortable position.  My entire bottom is bruised, but strangely that doesn't hurt anymore.  The pain started around the area of my kidneys and has continued to move up my back since Tuesday.  The only comfort I can find is in sitting upright on the sofa with a hotwater bottle placed between my back and two cushions. 

Psychologically I'm telling myself it's getting better, but realistically I know it's getting worse, so I may have to give in and let Mr Ayak come back. 

Oh...and the telephone.  An engineer turned up on Wednesday, plugged his phone into the ADSL splitter box and it worked..so apparently there's nothing wrong with the line.  But he said I probably needed a new ADSL box and connection wire to the phone.   I managed to find a spare one of each in the shed, but the phone still doesn't work, so I clearly need a new phone.  This particular phone had a problem some time ago and I bought a new one.  The new one worked for a while then gave up.  I bought new re-chargeable batteries for the old phone, and that worked for a while, then gave up.  So now I'm confused.  Do I have two useless phones or is it a problem with the line? 

Oh...and the rubbish bin.  It's now four weeks and two days since it was delivered. It is full to overflowing and in spite of phone calls to the Muhtar, it still hasn't been emptied.

Oh...and the damp patch in the bedroom.   It's getting bigger.

Oh...and the garden...is now like a jungle.

I really think it's time for Mr Ayak to come home.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Hairdressers


There are good ones and bad ones...and mediocre ones.

And I've yet to meet anyone who hasn't had at least one disastrous experience at the hands of a hairdresser.  I've ended up in tears many times because of an awful haircut or the wrong colour.

That was when I lived in England. 

Since I moved to Turkey almost 12 years ago, and because we have moved around so many times, I've had countless hairdressers along the way....and I've rarely had a bad experience (touch wood).  Only one comes to mind...my current hairdresser's assistant coloured my hair and it wasn't quite the shade I wanted.  In fact I was probably partly to blame...I think I actually picked the wrong shade on the chart.  However, I didn't like it, I said so, and my hairdresser was happy to rectify it at no extra charge.

Turkish hairdressers are just fantastic.  I don't know if it's the attitude that's different compared to English hairdressers, but they take such a pride in their work, and their aim is to produce the best possible style and colour.  If you are happy then they are twice as happy!

I don't make appointments here...I just turn up at the salon whenever I want my hair done...and it's never a problem.  Everyone else does the same thing.  Sometimes it's done immediately, occasionally I have to wait, but I'm happy to sit and watch other women having their hair done, and the staff are on hand to provide a comfy chair and endless tea.

One thing I really like is not having to talk to the hairdresser if I don't want to, and I'm relieved not to be asked "are you going somewhere special this evening?"  or "where are you going for your holiday?"   Are these questions part of English hairdresser training I wonder?

You don't just have your hair washed by an assistant here...they massage the scalp as well...it's so relaxing. I've  always managed to get my hair done in exactly the way I want it...which I rarely managed in the UK...even though there are  language difficulties to overcome.  Hairdressers here do what the customer asks them to do...not what the hairdresser thinks is best.

Most important...certainly as far as I am concerned...is that the prices are incredibly cheap.  Another thing I've noticed is that when you become a regular client,  after several months, they charge you less!

A wash, cut and blow dry with my hairdresser, Atilla, started out at 7 lira (less than 3 pounds).  When I popped in this morning to get my hair cut, he charged me 5 lira.

Having my hair coloured was 25 lira (about 10 pounds)...but when I had a completely new colour done a couple of weeks ago, Atilla charged me 15 lira.

Having our hair done makes us feel good.  When I queried the price with Attila, thinking that he had undercharged me, he said quite simply that this was the correct price for a special customer.

Isn't that lovely?

Friday, 22 January 2010

Water...water...everywhere..


It's raining.  Oh boy is it raining.  And the gale force winds are causing the rain to hammer against the windows with such ferocity that I'm almost waiting for them to smash.  Unlikely of course because they are double-glazed.

However, I have now discovered that they haven't been sealed properly and there's water pouring in, down the walls and all over the floors and carpets.
A cupboard containing my books is also soaked...and so are the books.

I can't do anything about sealing around the windows because I'll have to wait for them to dry out first...and according to the weather forecast..it's unlikely it will be any time soon.  So at the moment I have spread out almost all of my towels to try to prevent any more damage.

Yesterday was a bright sunny day.  I was changing my bedding and discovered that the bottom sheet where it tucks into the bed, was wet.  I pulled the bed away from the wall to find an enormous damp patch...which has clearly been slowly creeping up the wall  for some time until it reached my bed.  So I've had to move the heavy double bed to the other side of the room where the wall is dry.  No doubt the rain will help to increase the size of the damp patch.  There is obviously no damp course around this house...something that will have to be rectified pretty soon.

The garden is flooded and an hour ago I waded through it to feed Milly and Monty in their doghouse..which is also leaking, but they don't seem too bothered.  Beki and Poppy naturally have no intention of leaving the house.

The problem is that because we have such a warm climate here, we don't notice all this until it rains..by which time it's too late.

.................................

UPDATE on the internet problem.  I'm still losing my connection from time to time...but I am not in the mood for another round of pointless telephone conversations with TTNet.   I might just throw the laptop through the leaking windows.

UPDATE on the rubbish bin....which was finally delivered 3 weeks and 2 days ago.   Wonderful I thought.  But they haven't yet been to empty it...great isn't it?

I feel another pyjama day coming on....possible several!

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Connection problems













I've got used to having power and water cuts.  I don't like them  but I can live them.

However, when I have internet connection problems I get very wound up.

The internet is my link to the outside world.  It has become one of the most important aspects of my life in this isolated village.

I can chat to my daughter and grandson on webcam, and also to my husband in Istanbul, when he has access to a webcam.  It's easy to catch up with friends by email or on Facebook.  And of course it enables me to blog.  Something I was reluctant to do at first, but now enjoy immensely.

Recently it has given me the opportunity to watch UK television via a website, so I can watch the English soaps and Celebrity Big Brother amongst other things.

On Tuesday afternoon I suddenly lost my internet connection. I couldn't access any websites.  I appeared to have a good wireless connection and being somewhat of a pc numpty, I couldn't really understand why I couldn't get access to the internet.

I phoned the TTNet call centre in Istanbul, as I have done previously when I've had problems.  You dial the number, and then after a recorded message in Turkish, you press the 9 key for English.  This is where the problems start.  I don't know what the TTNet criteria is for English-speaking call centre operators is, but I always manage to get someone whose English is minimal.  Don't get me wrong...they do try to be helpful, but even if I speak slowly and concisely, it takes absolutely ages to get to the root of the problem.  So the first call lasted about 45 minutes, while the man tested certain things, and then he said that he would make out a report and an engineer would ring me back within an hour.   OK...this is Turkey...they work on Turkish time so I expected to wait 2 hours.   Nothing. 

So I phoned back 3 hours later.  Another operator...so I had to go through the whole process again...even though I tried to explain that I had already done this and was awaiting a call from an engineer.  Another report was filed and another promise of a call by an engineer...which didn't happen.  So I gave up and went to bed.

Yesterday morning I phoned again.  Same story.  An hour later I phoned yet again and was eventually informed that this was not a TTNet problem but that there was obviously a problem with either my modem or my laptop and that I should see a computer engineer.

Well of course we have no engineers locally, so, armed with my laptop and modem I set off to Milas to find one.  After much searching I found a very helpful young man who tested both my modem and laptop, both of which were working perfectly. I returned home, after waiting a long time for a bus, all ready to give TTNet a piece of my mind...if I could make them understand me of course!

When I returned home and plugged everything in...it was working fine.  I was on-line for half an hour...and then we had a power cut.  But that's OK...I'm used to it.  Finally two hours later I was back on-line again and connected to the internet.  

I lost my connection again once last evening and again this morning...in fact it disappeared whilst I was half-way through this post and not all was saved...aaargh!

So...it surely is a problem with the line?  A TTNet problem?  Those of you who are experts will confirm this?

As I'm typing this, I'm connected.  But for how long?  I have a feeling that I may well be getting very angry with TTNet  today.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Pyjama Days


Do you ever have one of those days when you just can't be bothered to get dressed?  Yesterday was one of those days.

I got out of bed at 6.30am to feed the dogs and let them out as I usually do around this time.  Sometimes I stay up if I have things to do, but often I return to bed for an hour or so with a cup of coffee and my laptop, before showering and getting ready for the day ahead.

But the weather was dreadful.  Storms and torrential rain which saw M & M scurrying back into the shelter of their dog bedroom, and Beki and Poppy back into the house.

So I spent most of the day in bed...just surfacing occasionally to check on the dogs and to get myself food and coffee.

 Up until fairly recently I would have felt guilty about staying in my pyjamas all day.   I might also have been bothered about being seen out in the garden or on the balcony in my pjs but when you live amongst village women who wear shalwar pants..my pjs don't really look out of place.  In fact one of the nicest things about living in this environment is that you can really dress down and know that people don't judge you on what you wear.

Pyjama Day is a term I picked up from my daughter.  I have good memories of such days with her when we would slob out in front of the TV and eat chocolate.  I'm pretty certain that now she has Billy in her life, there's little opportunity for her to indulge in a PJ day.

My attitude has changed in recent years.  I no longer have feelings of guilt about doing nothing all day.  I have worked pretty hard all my life, I'm now retired and I can please myself.  I no longer consider such a day to be self-indulgent or lazy.  I don't do it often because then it wouldn't be a treat.

In spite of the awful weather, it was a most enjoyable day in bed with the electric blanket and the laptop. And today I feel rested and relaxed and ready to get dressed.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Celebrity Big Brother


Is anyone else out there brave enough to admit they are watching it? 

I'm totally hooked and I'm trying to work out why.

It's voyeurism isn't it?

It's a bit like that feeling you get when you are travelling on a bus or train at that time of day just before sunset, when people have switched on the lights in their houses, but haven't yet drawn the curtains.  You somehow can't stop yourself from peering in.

The current series of CBB has been running for a couple of weeks now.  I' ve only heard of a handful of the 12 so-called celebrities taking part.  Vinnie Jones, Stephanie Beacham and Ivana Trump.  They ARE celebrities I guess.  But what about the rest of them?  What constitutes a celebrity these days?  We have a girl who is only known for dating a Rolling Stone, and a man who is only known for dating Jordan.  A woman famous for making millions out of prostitution, a topless model and a handful of  popstar has-beens.  Oh and not forgetting the bible-bashing and less well-known actor who is a brother of  the more successful Baldwin clan.

I've always been a bit of a people watcher...and I do find myself listening in on other peoples' conversations.  I think most of us do this, but maybe we don't admit it.  And naturally CBB gives us the perfect opportunity to indulge in this.

At the start of their time in the Big Brother house, all the "celebs" appeared to get on well and were very polite to each other.  But don't we all do this when we first get to know new people?

However, the more time spent with people, the more the cracks start to appear.  It's human nature to either like, dislike or become indifferent to certain characters, and to form allegiances, and therefore break off into smaller groups...and naturally this has happened in the Big Brother house.

There are always going to be some of them who will "play" to the cameras..but mostly I think that they forget they are being watched, and then we begin to see their real characters.

Now that the first two evictions have taken place, the inmates are showing their true colours.  Things are really hotting up...and I'm enjoying every minute.

I don't know what this says about me really.  I could say that I watch it because I'm bored (which I am).  It could be the novelty factor...because I now have access to UK TV programmes so have  been unable to watch previous series. It may have something to do with the fact that winter means more time indoors and less opportunity to go out and about.   It could be because I'm just plain nosy (probably true).

Whatever the reason...I'll be glued to the screen until the last person leaves the house...the winner.  And I sincerely hope that it will be Vinnie Jones...the most likeable character of them all.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

True Crime

I've always been interested in crime....no no!...not committing crime..just reading about it.

I love authors like Patricia Cornwell, Ruth Rendell and Ian Rankin, to name but a few.  I also have another favourite author, Barbara Nadel, who I met a few years ago when I was living in Goreme.  She has been a regular visitor to Turkey for more than 20 years, and her novels are very similar in style to those of Ian Rankin, except they are set in Turkey, mostly in Istanbul and the central character is  Detective Inspector Ikmen.  She spends a great deal of time in Cappadocia and once wrote a novel set in the area, with characters based on local people.  We had a great deal of fun trying to work out who they were!

I've also had a lifelong interest in true crime.  The criminal mind fascinates me.  Years ago I thought about writing a book on the ciminal mind and how childhood experiences can influence the way some people turn to crime.

Many years ago I had a good friend who was the Head Librarian at New Scotland Yard.  We spent hours discussing various criminals, and she used to lend me lots of books, many of which had involved considerable research on her part, and for which she received mention in the "credits".  She also used to bring home transcripts of trials for me to read...the most shocking one being of the trial of Myra Hindley and Ian Brady.

I also saw all the original documentation relating to Jack the Ripper (I'm pretty certain that my friend wasn't really allowed to bring these documents home...because I had to sit up all night reading so that she could return them the following morning).  It was utterly fascinating, to see statements from witnesses, some who couldn't read or write, having to sign  with an "X".   So many authors have written about Jack the Ripper and so many have speculated about who he was, but no-one knows for certain.

Recently, in fact since May 2007, I have been following the case of Madeleine McCann who disappeared whilst on holiday with her family in Portugal.  The three year old Madeleine and her younger twin sıblings, were left alone in their apartment, whilst their parents and friends went out for dinner.

The parents have always insisted that she was abducted, but the Portuguese police thought otherwise. Former PJ inspector Goncalo Amaral who headed the investigation, insists that she died in the apartment and that her parents concealed the body.  He wrote a book about it and the parents of Madeleine have taken action against him.  They are suing him  for 1 million pounds for libel.

My personal feeling is that the parents may have lied, that they may have something to hide.  But I have tried to keep an open mind about it, and always base my opinions on actual known facts.  There have been lots of ridiculous theories on many forums discussing the case..but they don't interest me at all.  I'm only interested in the truth and the evidence...of which there is very little.

Today is Day 3 of the libel trial in Lisbon.  I've been following it avidly from Day 1, via reports on Twitter from Sky TV.   The trial is expected to end today, although the judgment may take longer.

It's a good job we've had rain here for a few days, because it has given me the perfect excuse to be glued to my laptop screen.  It's riveting stuff!

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Updates

"Any idiot can face a crisis – it’s day to day living that wears you out." ~
Anton Chekhov


Mr Ayak: Well.. he was waiting yesterday to hear whether he had secured the job he was interviewed for the day before.  I asked him not to tell me again that he was about to return home unless he was sure it was going to happen.  He didn't get the job, but the boss from the place where he had been working up until now, informed  him that business showed signs of picking up and he would like Mr Ayak to stay on.

So he will continue to work for peanuts until the beginning of March...but peanuts are better than nothing..and March isn't so far away.

My four lovely dogs:   Beki and Poppy have been in season together for the past couple of weeks.  Poppy lives in the house anyway, but Beki has also been inside during this time, as a precaution.  The most difficult time is over now, and the constant visits by various male dogs, attracted by the scent, seems to have subsided.  Beki is itching to get back outside again. Her domain is the balcony and most of the garden, where she is content to bark furiously at any passing cat, dog, sheep, cow, goat or donkey. Poppy just pops out to go to the toilet, and also tries to escape through the bars of the main gate.  Something she can no longer do as it has been covered with chicken wire by my friend L while L & A were here.

Milly and Monty's territory is the fenced-in pen with access to their sleeping quarters...the lovely house made for them by Mr Ayak which is part of the old house in the garden.  (a doghouse so comfortable that my neighbour informed me that it's better than the house she lives in!).  M & M spend their days play-fighting, eating and generating enormous amounts of poo!  Where does it all come from?  They also enjoy dragging pieces of of the carpet remnants from their doghouse out into the pen to sleep on in the sunshine.

Milly is quite obedient.  When it's time for bed, I go into the pen and just say "go in the house" and off she trots...she never has to be told twice.  Monty, however takes a little more persuasion, but eventually they both settle in their house with the door closed, and I hear nothing from them until the following morning.

I'm aware that I need to have Monty neutered at some time.  I'm watching him closely and waiting for his testicles to drop ("collybobbles" as Mr Ayak calls them)...then it will be time for the "snip".  I'm also considering getting Milly speyed as well, as she will continue to live outside, and if I don't get it done, there will be problems with stray dogs.

The fence is still standing and fairly secure....although M & M are getting much bigger and stronger and it's only a matter of time before the chicken wire will prove to be unsatisfactory..so it will need to be replaced with something more substantial at some point.

I continue to have regular contact with Billy on webcam and so enjoyed watching him in his highchair yesterday eating his tea..he's growing and changing so fast.  He's an absolute joy.

The garden is in a terrible state. I can't keep up with the weeds so I've given up.  We have young trees dotted about, and Mr Ayak cleared all the weeds and debris last year before he went away.  At first I did a bit of weeding each day to try to keep on top of it, but as soon as the rain came last month, the weeds just shot up and are now higher than most of the trees!  The arthritis in my back and my hands have made it impossible to deal with the weeds, so I'm afraid they will just have to wait until March when Mr Ayak returns.  He tells me not to worry about it...but I do hate looking at the mess.  We were hoping to grow vegetables this year, but there's a lot of work to be done first.

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

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Disappointment

~ There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love. ~
(Martin Luther King Jr)

I've hardly seen Mr Ayak since July last year, when he went off to the other side of  Bodrum to work in a hotel.  The pay was not sufficient for him to commute, so he stayed in personnel accommodation and lived on personnel food.  Not a pleasant experience, as anyone who has seen "personnel" accommodation in Turkey would confirm.

He managed two short overnight trips home when his parents arrived in September...although they monopolised him each time, so there was no time for us.

He came back on 24th October, in time for me to set off to England on the 25th for two weeks, whilst he stayed and looked after the dogs.  I returned on 9th November, and he set off on the 10th to work in Istanbul, where he has been ever since.  Apart of course from his half-day return trip by air to take me to the hospital.

I have been trying to get used to the idea that I won't see him again until he returns in March.  Just over a week ago he was told that the job in Istanbul was finished...not enough customers.  So he has spent a week looking for work in Istanbul for the rest of the winter.  Naturally I'd like him to be here, but there is no work locally at this time.

Two days ago he phoned to say that in spite of his best efforts, he was unable to secure another job, so he would be returning home within the next day or so.   I'm supposed to be worried about the fact that he doesn't have work, but to be honest I was delighted at the prospect of him coming home. 

This morning he phoned to say that just as he was about to set off, he heard about the possibility of a job which he will be interviewed for this afternoon.   I wished him good luck...but I had my fingers crossed at the same time because I don't want him to get it.

I know that's bad of me...we need the money...but I need him here.

To say I'm disappointed is a huge understatement.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Refuse collection


Oh what an interesting topic I can hear you say!

It's not something I thought about much, before I came to live in this village.

In every other area we've lived in Turkey, I've always been pretty impressed by the service provided by the Belediye.  There were no individual bins provided to households..but sufficient large metal bins with heavy lids placed along roads, so you never had to walk too far to dispose of your rubbish.

None of this recycling nonsense that goes on in the UK....where sorting your rubbish into various containers has almost become a full-time job.  Of course I'm not against recycling...quite the opposite.  I'm pretty certain the Turks invented recycling.  They find uses for everything so there's very little that ends up in the bins.  And we also have men with little home-made handcarts who rummage in the bins early in the morning or late at night, and remove large plastic containers, and other things that can be sold on.  If anyone has anything of use to others, ie old household items or clothes, they are generally placed in plastic bags next to the bins for the rummagers to take.   Any waste food is often placed next to the bin for stray cats and dogs..it doesn't present a hygiene problem because it's not there for more than a few minutes.  There are always cats lurking, watching the bins, ready to pounce.

And the bins are emptied EVERY day.  The binmen I've seen also sweep up any rubbish that happens to have missed the bin..unlike some binmen I've seen in England, who just seem to ignore it.

However...this wonderful system doesn't appear to work in villages...well not in this one anyway.

When we moved here in May, the first thing I looked for was a rubbish bin.  There wasn't one. I asked Mr Ayak what people did with their rubbish.  He wasn't sure but guessed they probably burnt it.  Although to be honest I haven't seen that many bonfires so I really hadn't a clue what they were doing with it.  Maybe they just recycled absolutely everything?

There isn't a Belediye (local council) in this village. The Muhtar (village chief) is responsible for the water supply and rubbish collection.  So I asked Mr Ayak to discuss it with him.  Well he's had many discussions with him since May, and until recently there were only two bins in the centre of the village...one outside the school and one outside the teahouse and shop.  None at all for all the houses on the hillside.  So I have had to make do with carrying my rubbish down to the village and placing in one of the two bins.

Then a couple of months ago, bins started to appear on the lanes towards the bottom of the hill.  Large empty oil drums, painted bright blue, with "Muhtar" painted on them in white.   Progress at last!  Mr Ayak asked the Muhtar several times if we were likely to have bins up as far as our house, and he said we would...in time.
Just before Kurban Bayram, we were told that we would get a bin within a week.  Kurban Bayram was two months ago.

My two friends L & A from Antalya who stayed with me over the Christmas period, one day walked into the village to get bread.  The Muhtar introduced himself and invited them to take tea with them. He asked them how I was settling in etc.  They said I was very happy here, it's a lovely village, but that they thought that it was a pity that I had to walk down the hill to dispose of my rubbish.  L & A left on 31st December at around 9.00am.   At 10.00am a bright blue rubbish bin arrived, and I was asked where I would like it placed!  It will be emptied once a week and there will be a small charge added to my two-monthly water bill....no problem.

The reaction from my immediate neighbours is rather amusing.  They have come out, in turn, to stand and stare at the bin, and have a bit of a discussion about it....but they haven't used it.  One neighbour asked me if I had to pay for it.  I replied that 3 lira would be added to the water bill every two months. And I explained very carefully that the Muhtar will charge ALL villagers the same amount.  But I think they believe that if they don't use the bin they won't be charged....we'll see.

In the meantime, on the one occasion that I took all 4 dogs out of the garden and up the hill behind the house, I discovered on the far side of the hill that rubbish had been dumped.  I have never seen anyone going up there with rubbish so I guess they must do it after dark.  With the gale force winds we have recently experienced, some of this rubbish has been blown down the hill and into my garden.  Mr Ayak has spoken to the Muhtar about it who promised to make an announcement to the effect that anyone caught dumping rubbish will be fined.  Whether it will make a difference remains to be seen.

I do believe it's more than a coincidence that my friends comments to the Muhtar resulted in the prompt delivery of the rubbish bin.  They also mentioned that the road surfaces in the lanes leading up the hill are pretty dangerous, to which the Muhtar replied that he is planning to get them resurfaced...I live in hope!

They also let it slip that they will be returning within a couple of months and may consider buying a property here.  I also happen to know that the Muhtar has several old properties up for sale!

Sunday, 3 January 2010

New year fever


We've had gale force winds here on and off for several weeks, although the temperatures are still good...around 65 to 70 degrees F..remarkable for this time of year.

With the strong winds comes dust. Even if I keep all the windows and doors closed, it still manages to get in somewhere...most likely the same way as the draughts which I noticed over the last few days.  There were minute gaps in the silicone around the window frames. I hadn't noticed them before the gales...in fact I believe the wind was so strong it probably moved the frames a little...causing the cracks.

I recall us having spare tubes of silicone. I couldn't find them anywhere in the house, but whilst searching I realised how untidy my cupboards and drawers had become in such a short time.  So I was distracted.  Out came the contents of drawers and cupboards and I proceeded to discard rubbish.  Oh...and at this point I just need to tell you that the Muhtar had our rubbish bin delivered two days ago...at long last...so at least I don't have to drag my bags of rubbish into the village anymore!

I was distracted again by the state of the kitchen floor where I had dragged everything out of the cupboards...a mess which had by this time drifted into the sitting room...so I got the vacuum cleaner out...proceeded to vacuum the mess...a bit too enthusiastically...and the plastic brush and the connection to the metal pole just snapped in three places.   I thought we had superglue somewhere...but couldn't find it. Only one thing for it...I would have to venture into the old house in the garden and search.  This building is dark and dingy, part of it at the front has been converted into a house for Milly and Monty, but the  main part acts as a shed really...storage for all sorts of things....but it's a nightmare trying to find anything.

I spent almost an hour in there and managed to find two tubes of silicone, some strong adhesive tape, a plastic shelf unit, and my old vacuum cleaner (which is very heavy and the reason why I bought a lightweight one some months ago....for lightweight read flimsy...hence easily breakable).

I tried repairing the new vacuum cleaner with the tape but failed so I had to clean up the old one, which necessitated taking the whole thing apart because it was so dirty...but at least it works.

Being unable to locate the applicator for the tubes of silicone I just had to squeeze it out and apply to the gaps around the windows with my finger...but at least there are no longer any draughts.

I adapted the shelf unit into two sections which fitted perfectly into two of my kitchen cupboards and thus enabled me to put everything back in some sort of order.

Then I vacuumed and cleaned everywhere.  I just managed to hear part of a message on the village public address system that the water would be going off in half an hour, and would be off for 24 hours.   Just time for a shower and to fill containers with enough water to get me through the rest of yesterday and today.

It all started with the dust.  I could have just got the duster out...but I get distracted so easily....I call it New Year fever....from which, thankfully, I have now recovered!


PS...You've probably noticed I've changed my blog background AGAİN.  I have Karen  at Background Fairy here to thank for satisfying my obsession!

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Billy's First Christmas...photos

Billy making a huge attempt to enter into the spirit of Christmas, in spite of being poorly:










And I'm pleased to say that he is feeling very much better now.