Thursday, 31 March 2011

The Visit

After much speculation about when they were due, the in-laws arrived  Saturday lunchtime.

I always intend to take these visits in my stride, but it never quite works out like that.  I get very anxious and this anxiety continues until they leave.  To be honest it wasn't like that all the time.  There were a few fairly pleasant moments when the relationship between me and my in-laws felt normal.

Mr A wasn't able to come home to see them.  He is still waiting for the motorbike and for his salary which should be due any day now.  So as is often the case, it was my duty to entertain them.   On Mr A's advice I didn't get any more food shopping because the in-laws usually arrive with lots of food and it would be expected that I would eat meals with them.  I've learned from past experience anyway that FIL doesn't consider the food I buy to be of sufficient quality for them.  It would seem that my cooking is not up to his wife's standards, so it's rather a waste of my time to attempt to prepare meals for them.

However before they arrived I made another microwave cake which I have to say was absolutely delicious...an improvement on the first one.  I made them coffee but FIL declined the offer of cake.  Maybe he thinks I'm trying to poison him.

As usual I had made up the beds in the spare room, but this time they stripped the beds and replaced with their own bedding that they had brought with them.  They brought some food but they left it in their large coolbox instead of transferring it to the fridge.  I had all the basics in the fridge and offered to cook for them but they declined.  Instead MIL picked some green stuff from the garden (don't ask me what..I don't know the name but it's similar to spinach) which she cooked with onions and served up with yogurt. It was actually much nicer than I thought it would be.   But for the rest of their stay, they ate nothing in the house.  They left their food in the coolbox in the car and presumably ate it while they were working on the land each day or they went elsewhere to eat.

I sat outside with them each evening and we did have some quite pleasant conversation, but there was a lot of criticism from FIL about most things.  For example, the reason why the apple trees didn't produce much fruit last year was down to how I watered them.  I had followed FIL's instructions but now it seems that I didn't do it correctly so I have now been taught how to do it properly.   There was much criticism of  and questions asked about Mr A...and daily phone calls from Mr A asking me what his father was saying about him.   I am well aware of Mr A's faults and don't need to be reminded of them.  And I absolutely hate being manipulated by both of them and being stuck in the middle.   I've had  other emotional issues going on this week too and all this has left me drained.

Mr A is not in the best of moods.   The guesthouse where he is staying is pretty dingy.  He's run out of clean clothes because there is nowhere to wash them and no time to do it.  But as soon as he has the motorbike and his salary he will come home, no doubt with a suitcase full of dirty washing for me...something to look forward to!

There was a lot of work to do on the land which would have taken the in-laws weeks to do, but on Sunday they hired a man and a rotavator which cut the work down considerably.  So  by yesterday afternoon they were finished and set off back home again.

So now it's just me and the dogs for the next few days.  It's going to rain today so I intend to stay in my pyjamas all day and do nothing.  Time to chill out and lose the anxiety.

Friday, 25 March 2011

It's Friday!

I can remember the days when I looked forward to Fridays...you know...the end of the working week and the whole weekend to look forward to.  But now it's just like any other day and I suppose should be grateful for the fact that the weekend won't fly by like it used to bringing another Monday morning far to quickly.

This is the good side of being retired...endless days ahead of you.  Most of the time I love that feeling but occasionally I get bored with having little to do.   It's good when I have something to look forward to.

Our plans for this year seem to be taking shape.  Mr A is going to buy a motorbike from one of his bosses, who has agreed to accept payment monthly, deducted from his salary.  He should have it sometime this week but won't be able to start travelling home each day until he gets his first salary cheque which is likely to be around the 2nd or 3rd April.  We weighed up the pros and cons of the motorbike versus renting an apartment in Kusadasi, and the motorbike option, even with the cost of petrol, is by far the cheapest.  

And....the in-laws are due to arrive tomorrow night.  Well we can't always have things to look forward to can we?

But in 4 weeks time I will be in England in time to celebrate Billy's 2nd birthday and the arrival of my second grandson.    I can't believe how two years can go so fast.   Just look at him now...a proper little boy.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

A Eureka Moment

Most of you have heard of my "Very Adaptable Cake"....or the "Turkish Cake" as it's now famously known in Costa Rican circles (thanks to my dear friend Fly).  If you haven't and would like the recipe you'll find it HERE.

You may recall my mentioning that my oven packed up the week before last, and I have so missed making my cake.  I usually make two or three a week when Mr A is here, and I would definitely make one when I'm on my own.

I was bored about an hour ago and decided to see whether I could cook my cake in the microwave oven.  Apart from the standard ingredients my flavours today consisted of some of the lemon marmalade I recently made with the lemons from our trees, and some sweet orange marmalade which I made yesterday with a kilo of oranges from the village market ("market" sounds a bit grand...it's actually just one fruit and vegetable stall).

I greased a pyrex-type dish and poured in the mix and popped it into the microwave on "high".  I cooked it for a total of 10 minutes, but kept opening the door and checking it, because I really wasn't sure how long it would take


On reflection, I think about 8 minutes would be enough, because the cake continues to cook when it's removed from the microwave.   I think it might also have been better in a wider, flatter dish, in which case I think it would take less time to cook.  It was also very easy to remove the cake onto a plate...it didn't stick or fall apart.




The texture is different...it's lighter.  And it's paler in colour....but the taste is good.




This cake has proved to be adaptable in so many ways hasn't it?



An Award


Although I'm grateful to be able to post at all during this blogger ban, I find it very frustrating not being able to respond to your comments....and even more annoying that, although I can continue to read your blogs using Anonymouse, I can't comment on them.  But rest assured I am reading, and as always thoroughly enjoying them.

I decided that I'd like to present the above award to two bloggers who have recently started blogging.  I can remember how delighted I was when I first received awards, and I hope this gesture will encourage you to continue:

 Perpetua at Perpetually in Transit, whose latest post is encouraging feedback from her followers.  I can't comment on her blog of course, but would just like to say...just keep doing what you're doing..and thankyou for following my blog.

And also to A Girl on the Coast.  Another interesting blog.  I notice that she hasn't posted for three weeks, but I hope this doesn't mean she has given up because I'm sure she has so much more to write about.

I'd also like to give the same award to Phil at Blogitand Scarper, a storyteller with a wonderful sense of humour.

And to Jack at Don't Poke the Monkey ...another excellent blog and one which I always look forward to reading.

I hope that all four bloggers may pop in here and pick up this award,  but because I can't notify them direct,  maybe someone will leave a comment on their blogs, directing them here?

And finally a huge thankyou to everyone who continues to read my blog, and for the ongoing advice and support you are always so willing to give.  It's very much appreciated.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Silly Saturday

I'm going to brave the dolmuş this morning and head off into Milas.  It rained yesterday and this morning the sun is out and I need to be out.  I'm hoping the bus won't be as packed  as it was on Tuesday.  I wonder why people don't seem to mind being on overcrowded vehicles.
A bus in Pakistan
A train in India

Not sure where this is, but it's something often seen in Turkey.


HAVE A GOOD WEEKEND EVERYONE!



Friday, 18 March 2011

Cooking without an oven

...maybe you thought I had some wonderful recipes for you to make without the use of an oven?  Sorry...no.  I'm actually hoping some of you can come up with some easy recipes for me.

My oven is electric.  The hob is gas which runs off a gas bottle...normal for most of Turkey.  Last weekend I switched on my oven ready to cook a bread pudding which I had prepared and to roast some potatoes.  I left the kitchen to do something else and when I came back I couldn't hear the familiar whirring of the oven.  I turned it off, checked the trip switch in the fuse box and it was down.  So I flicked it up and turned the oven back on.  It appeared to be working...at least the fan was...but it just remains cold. 

I can't find anyone locally to fix it.  No-one in Milas is prepared to come out to the village to do it....well not for me anyway.  I'm pretty sure Mr A could find someone but of course he's not here.  So I am adapting to life without an oven.  I've blogged before about electrical appliances in this country.  They just don't last.  I've lost count of the number of fridge-freezers, cookers, washing machines and other smaller appliances that we've had to replace in 13 years.  This cooker has lasted 5 years...much longer than it's predecessors.

I transferred the bread pudding mix to a suitable dish and cooked it in the microwave.  It didn't go brown of course...it looked very pale and unappetising but it tasted fine.  I chopped up the potatoes which should have been roasted and sauteed them on the gas hob.   Everything else I've eaten this week has been cooked in a pan on the hob or microwaved.

But I need some more ideas...particularly easy and cheap recipes for the microwave oven, so if you have any bright ideas please let me know.

Mr A's progress:   Work seems to be going well and they have customers.  There is no personnel accommodation however and he has been staying with a friend/work colleague for the past week whilst the man's wife and children were away.  They were due to return last night so Mr A had to move out.  He's now staying in a pansiyon (small guest house) where they agreed to wait for payment until he gets his salary...hopefully at the end of this month.  The small...and very slow...motorbike which took three hours to get him to Kusadasi has been sold to pay a couple of debts.  A wise decision as he is transported to work by company dolmuş so the motorbike was sitting gathering dust.

We are looking at various options which will enable us to be together this year.  We can rent an apartment for me to move over there.  Or Mr A could buy a more substantial motorbike on taksit (hire purchase) and travel home every night which he thinks will take half the time with a more powerful bike.  I worry about all this travelling and the dangers involved, but Mr A doesn't mind this and in any case says that he would really prefer to sleep in his own bed.

It's a case of weighing up the options and looking at what is most economical.  If we rent (and rental charges in Kusadasi are not cheap), we will also have additonal costs of electricity, water, etc....and again these charges are much lower in villages like ours than towns and resorts.  There are things that we won't have like internet connection or a garden for the dogs.  The motorbike option is looking like the most attractive one  at the moment.

I'm used to making plans and having them change from one day to the next, so none of this is out of the ordinary for me.  It's just a way of life here.   So watch this space.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Latest on Blogger Ban

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=court-decision-to-ban-blogger-cancelled-by-prosecutors-office-following-new-evidence-2011-03-16

The latest news on the blogger ban....although nothing has actually happened...ie it's still banned.  So it's a case of wait and see I guess

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

A much needed makeover

Summer's almost here.  Temperatures over 20 degrees today.  I've been busy this week cleaning the house, washing bedding and curtains, and suddenly it hit me.

Every year around this time I  realise that I have neglected my body all winter.  It's all too easy to hide unshaved legs beneath jogging pants, cracked heels under socks, and skin that needs exfoliating under layers of clothes.  My hands are cracked and my nails are a mess.  My eyebrows are out of control.

And now the sun is shining and I'm aware that I will have to start exposing some of this flesh that has been well hidden all winter....and panic sets in when I realise I really only have a week or so to transform myself into a new woman!

I've found various tools which were part of two manicure sets, a dozen bottles of nail polish, only two of which were not sticky or solid, and several jars of hand and body lotion.  I also have some natural algae facemask and exfoliating mitts left over from the hamam business.  Oh and a couple of new razors which should deal nicely with the hairy legs.

So I am sitting here typing this with a towel wrapped around my head and my face is bright green.  No..I'm not ill...it's the facemask.  In 10 minutes time I will rinse it off, get under the shower, shave my legs and exfoliate my skin.   Tomorrow I'll make a start on my hands and feet.   I will continue this regime from now on until I am beautiful.   OK...not so much beautiful but an improvement on my current state!

And talking of makeovers...Billy's had a haircut...not too short but it's quite lovely:


So...are you someone who regularly follows a beauty regime?  Or do you lapse during winter like me?

And I welcome any tips you might have which might help to speed up the process.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Packed in like sardines

I'd almost forgotten how crowded the village dolmuş is on Milas market day. In fact I haven't been on the dolmuş for months as any trips into Milas have been by car or motorbike recently. I decided against the 9.00am bus as this is usually crowded, thinking that the 10.00am one would be less so. I was mistaken. The dolmuş seats 14 passengers. The driver crammed around 29 people in...actually I lost count after 23 but I'm pretty sure this figure is accurate. I did manage to sit down on a seat intended for two, but shared it with a woman and 2 children. I had a heavy woman leaning on me for the entire journey..not her fault...she couldn't move, but she might as well have been sitting on my lap, she was that close!


It was warm today...very warm on the dolmuş. But because it's still March all the villagers were still wrapped up in their winter clothes, and they don't dare open a window at this time of year. Stifling doesn't begin to describe the atmosphere. We all tumbled out in Milas gasping for air, and I did some shopping in the market. I didn't stay long and headed for the bus station for my return journey. I had half an hour to wait for the next bus, but there were a lot of people waiting so one of the drivers decided to make an extra trip. I didn't realise until I got on the dolmuş that this extra bus appeared to be for the benefit of the men of the village...so there I was, the only female, wedged up against the window, surrounded by farmers who I don't think have been near a shower all winter....windows firmly shut. The journey seemed to take forever, as some of the men needed to pick up sacks of fertiliser, another stopped for some bags of kireç (whitewash), then the driver stopped to fill up with petrol.

I will not be going to Milas market on the dolmuş for the foreseeable future!

The latest news on Mr A. When I spoke to him yesterday he had been talking to his father on the phone. I don't know exactly how the conversation went but Mr A got the distinct impression that if we both stay in Kusadasi this season, leaving the house empty, then FIL may try to take the house away from us. I really don't know whether he would really do this or whether Mr A is being paranoid....or perhaps it's all about FIL and control again. Anyway Mr A thought it left us with two alternatives. He could continue to work in Kusadasi, I would stay here, and he would come home a couple of times a week. Or he could hope that the job in Bodrum comes up and move back. The problem with this job is that it won't start till around 15th May and it's uncertain how long it will last. The job in Kusadasi however seems to be going well. They have customers and the job could last until October or November.

Mr A slept on it and when I spoke to him this morning, he had more or less decided that we will both stay in Kusadasi, and we just take a chance on whatever FIL decides to do. I'm not sure we will rent my friend's apartment in Selçuk, for various reasons. I think she is happy to help but I do feel that it may well be inconvenient for her if she or her family want to stay there this year. She hasn't said as much but I don't want to make life difficult for her. Mr A has learned of an apartment very close to where he works which is likely to become available sometime next month. He will check it out and see whether they will accept the dogs staying there.

So no definite plans at the moment but it seems to be heading in the right direction.

I heard from Claudia of Seasonal Cook in Turkey blog, that she had learned that the blogger ban was about to be lifted and that it would take 4 or 5 days for it to be up and running again. I don't know how true this is, but we live in hope.

Monday, 14 March 2011

My 5 minutes of fame!



I was recently approached, along with several other bloggers in the South-west of Turkey to be interviewed for an article in the Hurriyet Daily News.  The interviews were completed before the recent ban, but the article appears in today's edition.   It's an interesting insight into what blogging means for those of us who have chosen to live in this country.

Here it is:

Blogging in south west Turkey: The tales that wag the blogs

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Sunny Sunday

It should be sunny today...it was a beautiful day yesterday.  The temperatures are still dropping drastically by late afternoon and down to around zero at night.  But yesterday was perfect for washing blankets and bedding.  There is so much dust here and it gets into everything.  I was going through Mr A's wardrobe and discovered that half a dozen of his shirts which he hasn't worn for a while had layers of dust on them so I washed them too...oh I hate ironing shirts!  I may make a start on curtains today.

I'm much happier now that I know the dogs will be taken care of while I'm in England..one less thing to worry about.  My friend Gwen has also mentioned the possibility of Mr A and I renting her place if Mr A stays in the job in Kusadasi, so this is another option which could make life a bit easier for us this year.  We can't make any decisions at the moment because it's early days for him in the new job.  Who knows how long it will last?  So I'm staying here with the dogs until I go to England on 21st April, when Mr A will come over, with a borrowed car, take me to the airport and deliver the dogs to Gwen.  If he is still working in Kusadasi by the time I return on 22nd May, then I will move straight over to Gwen's house.

So at last a plan seems to be taking shape.

I'll leave you with some pics of Billy.  I can't believe how much he has grown and I'm still experiencing such delight when I see him on webcam.  It's just lovely that he recognises me and calls me Nanny...I didn't realise how much this one word would mean to me.
Fun on the swings
Such a happy boy

Enjoying a day at the river with Grandad



Saturday, 12 March 2011

I promised to be cheerful today...

...and I'm trying...really I am!  Problems can usually be overcome.  It's important to remain positive and focused.  This is my current mantra.  If I repeat it often enough, I'll start to believe it.

The problem with getting someone to look after the dogs for the month I'm in England has been solved.  My dear friend Gwen,  lives in England and also has a home in Selçuk.  She comes over as much as she can and  it's her intention to retire here completely in the future, but commitments in England prevent her from doing so at the moment.  She is due in Turkey at the end of this month and hopes to stay for up to three months.  She loves my dogs and will look after them for me.  Understandably she doesn't want to stay for a month here in the village, so if Mr A can get the dogs over to her, she will look after them there.Thank heavens for good friends!

Mr A and I talked a bit more about what's happening.  Even though it would be better for both of us if he could work closer to home, if that isn't possible, the job in Kusadasi seems to be more reliable, so he may well have to stick with it.  He knows I'm unhappy about staying here for another year on my own, and we are trying to find a solution.  He is going to look around for a small place to rent over there.  It has to be small, furnished and cheap...and most importantly we have to be allowed to have the dogs there.  This is where the problem lies of course, because the Turks aren't keen on dogs and it's almost impossible to find a Turkish landlord who will accept them.    If we do manage this, it's also possible that I can work with Mr A on an ad hoc basis...just going in to talk to customers when they have large groups.  This will hopefully enable us to earn as much as possible to live on through next winter when there is no work.

There are a lot of loose ends which need tying up...lots to sort out...but it has made me feel a bit more positive today.

And there's always something going on in the world that puts all our problems into perspective.  The horrifying tragedy in Japan has left my speechless.  I cannot imagine what those poor people are having to endure and my heart goes out to them.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Finding work....

....is just so difficult in this counry, particularly for people like Mr A who rely on the tourist industry to give them a job.  There are too many people chasing too few jobs.  In today's economic climate, many people can't afford to have holidays so businesses close before they really get started through lack of customers.  And then you have the bosses who want people to work for them  but are reluctant to commit themselves by giving a contract or a firm starting date, but expect you to wait around for a phone call saying they have a day's work for you.

Mr A was interviewed by a carpet centre in Bodrum last week.  He returned there on Monday in the hope that he would receive a contract and be given a starting date.  He came away with very little, other than being told to be there next Tuesday as there would be a group of customers coming.  Thereafter he would be at home waiting to be called for the next group which could be weeks.

He spent this week ringing contacts and managed to obtain the promise of a job with a carpet centre near Kusadasi to start today.  This comes with personnel accommodation, so he set off on his motorbike yesterday with his suitcase for a journey which took him more than 3 hours.   He doesn't want to be away from home again.  I don't want him to work away from home.  But what choice do we have?  He has to earn money..he has to go where there's hope of work.  But of course there are no guarantees.

He will try to get back on Tuesday for the group in the Bodrum centre, in the hope that the situation there might have changed and that they can offer him something more permanent, because then he can come home and travel to work each day.  But I have a feeling that he is probably likely to have to stay where he is this year.

I thought I was used to him working away.  He has had to do it so often and I've always coped, but last year  I realised that this no way for a marriage to survive.  It takes it's toll on both of us.  I'm not sure I can continue to live this way year after year.

I am also concerned now that I have no-one to look after the dogs when I go to England next month, and I will be gone for over a month.  It's a big problem.

The in-laws are due sometime soon.  It won't be the first time I've had to entertain them without Mr A.  I'm used to it but I get no enjoyment from it, particularly as I have to grin and bear the criticism which is always forthcoming from FIL.

At least the garden is tidier than it was a week ago.  There's still work to be done but it will have to wait.  Mr A also whitewashed the spare bedroom yesterday before he left.  I cleaned up the mess after him (and there was a huge mess!), washed the curtains etc, so it's ready for the inlaws visit.

It's very cold at the moment.  There has been snow in many parts of Turkey, and although it was forecast for this area, it hasn't appeared...as yet.  The weather affects my arthritis and my joints are painful.  Beki also suffers with it too and doesn't spend too much time outside.  We're just trying to stay warm and positive...but it's not easy.

The blogger ban continues and there are no signs of an end to it.  It's frustrating not being able to comment on other peoples' blogs or to respond to comments on mine, but at least I can continue to post at the moment.

Although if I continue to post in this depressive mood I'm pretty sure my followers will disappear!

I'll try to be a bit more cheerful tomorrow...promise!

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Who loves chocolate?

Well I do for a start!  If I'm honest I'm a real chocoholic.   And it seems to run in the family.

Here's my daughter at around the same age as my grandson Billy is now:



And here's Billy enjoying chocolate pudding today:


Tuesday, 8 March 2011

What's with the weather?

The weather here in Turkey is pretty predictable.  You look at the sky first thing in the morning and you pretty much know what the day is going to be like.  I have a weather widget on my laptop and if I check that it's usually quite accurate.  However, recently it's all over the place.  I check the forecast for the next few days...I go back to it later in the day and it's changed.  Yesterday had me sitting outside in a t-shirt.  Ooh summer's nearly here...or is it?   When I checked the forecast last night it would seem that temperatures were about to drop drastically and there was even a chance of snow for Wednesday!  But that forecast has now changed again...the mention of snow has disappeared...so who knows?

The blogger ban continues, and there isn't much news about what's actually happening.  However it would seem that President Gül has taken an interest...see this report.  So it may be a glimmer of hope...watch this space.

Mr A set off for his second interview in Bodrum yesterday.  Halfway there, the wheel came off his motorbike so he phoned the carpet company who were happy to wait for him while he got it fixed...more expense!

I was hoping to see him return with a signed contract, but this hasn't happened yet.  He has been told the job is his but when companies delay dishing out contracts you can never be certain that they definitely will.  The season doesn't start properly yet, but there is a group of customers arriving on the 15th and he has to be in Bodrum for this.  He will then be at home for a further couple of weeks, but on call if required.  And he also has to be prepared to travel to their other branches should the need arise.  I'll feel a lot happier when this job has been confirmed in writing.

In the meantime he is continuing to work on the garden, and if we don't have more rain, then hopefully he will be whitewashing the spare bedroom walls towards the end of the week.

It sounds like Mr A is doing all the work around here doesn't it?  But I've been busy too, sorting out cupboards in the house, and clearing out more junk from the old house, as well as the usual stuff like housework, washing, ironing, etc.  Much as I'd like to just sit and watch Mr A work, there's always plenty to occupy both of us!

And if there is indeed snow tomorrow I'll have my camera ready.  It's such a rare occurrence in these parts...I must make sure to record it!

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Busy Week Ahead

The in-laws are due this month, and as usual Mr A is busy tidying up the garden.  I'm afraid it tends to be neglected most of the time.  Neither of us really enjoy gardening...we do try to muster up enthusiasm, and I follow Heiko's and Mr H's blogs for inspiration..oh I wish I could be like them!   I could blame it on the fact that my arthritis makes it quite difficult for me to do an awful lot of gardening, but if I'm honest I just don't have green fingers.

My Dad was a brilliant gardener.  Years ago when he was still alive and I lived in England, he used to look after my garden as well as his own.  He just loved it, and I loved having him around.  He did try to encourage me to take an interest, but it never really worked.  He would have taken great pleasure in getting his hands on our garden here.

It's a good thing that we have these visits by the inlaws though, because Mr A is always anxious not to disappoint his father, who as you know criticises everything we do.  So the garden is now looking good.  Mr A has spent two whole days digging and clearing weeds.  He still has half of the garden to do but it's getting there.  He is also about to move the chicken wire from the perimeter and place it so that the dogs won't have access to the areas where we have fruit trees.  They do enjoy digging holes and they always seem to do this more when FIL is here..it's almost like they are deliberately trying to annoy him!  They will still have plenty of room to run and dig from now on, but they won't be anywhere near the trees.

We also have to repaint the spare bedroom because the walls have been affected by damp.  Fortunately the last few days of good weather have helped to dry it out.  There are also parts of the kitchen and sitting room which need re-painting.  I was going to undertake this task.  If we were using ordinary paint it wouldn't be a problem.  But we use kireç (whitewash) and it's incredibly messy.  But it's also very cheap.  Two bags are all we need to do the job and they cost just 2 lira each (less than a pound).  Mr A has insisted he has time to do it all.

Tomorrow he has to go to the carpet centre in Bodrum again to negotiate and hopefully obtain a contract to start work with them on the 15th ...fingers still crossed.  This will leave him a week to finish everything here.  He also reckons that he is going to find time to work on his father's land on the outskirts of the village.  I doubt it very much, but this is the main reason for the inlaws visits, and Mr A reckons that the more work he gets done, the less time they will be staying...good thinking Mr A!

I'll leave you with a few more photos of the village.  These were taken from our village Facebook page so I can't take the credit for them.





Friday, 4 March 2011

Silly Saturday

Yes I know it's still Friday but access to my dashboard is becoming almost impossible. I've managed it three times today and was looking for silly laws on the internet and copying them for this post, and each time my post wasn't saved and I lost it. Also, whilst posting this way, through the backdoor, I can't "preview" my posts either, so apologies in advance if there are any typos. There may also be big spaces between the lines....this is something that has always happened to me but which I am usually able to adjust once I've previewed my post.


So this is attempt No. 4...Silly Saturday...being posted on Friday...just in case I can't get in here at all tomorrow!

Anyway, while I was thinking about this silly blogger ban, I got distracted...as usual...and was reading some recent news reports.

You might be interested in reading this report  from Hurriyet about two men being fined for drinking when they were actually under the limit! Whilst you're on that page, you will find links to other "Related Stories". This one for example shows that the police find it difficult to implement laws correctly. I've always been aware of a lot of petty bureaucracy in this country, but the more I search and read, the more I realise just how much silliness exists here.

To lighten the mood, I'll leave you with some more silly laws. I can't vouch for their accuracy but I'll post them anyway. There are lots in Turkey of course, but this one made me smile:

"It is illegal for men over the age of 80 to become pilots."

............and from around the world:

It is illegal for a cab in the City of London to carry rabid dogs or corpses

Under the UK’s Tax Avoidance Schemes Regulations 2006, it is illegal not to tell the taxman anything you don’t want him to know, though you don’t have to tell him anything you don’t mind him knowing

In Alabama, it is illegal for a driver to be blindfolded while driving a vehicle

In Indonesia, the penalty for masturbation is decapitation

In Thailand, it is illegal to leave your house if you are not wearing underwear

In the UK, a pregnant woman can legally relieve herself anywhere she wants – even, if she so requests, in a policeman’s helmet

Have a good weekend!

Comments

One of the most enjoyable aspects of blogging is receiving comments from followers.  And I always get great pleasure from being able to respond to these comments.  So you can imagine how frustrating it is for me not to be able to do this at the moment due to this wretched ban.

I also love commenting on other blogs and again am really irritated by the fact that I can still read them, albeit anonymously, but that I can't respond.

So I just wanted to do a post (while I have my dashboard..which comes and goes) to thank you for your comments.

Thankyou to Rosie, me, Perpetually in Transit, jan, auntiegwen, Mr H and  Maggie for your good wishes and support.    Also to  Seasonal Cook in Turkey who is also affected by the ban, but is managing to get around it by emailing her posts to a contact in the U.S.

Charlotte Ann, Fly in the Web and Kelloggsville ...also a big thankyou for your support and for offering to "host" my blog in some way.   Kelloggsville, Nomad (also in Turkey but cleverer with internet stuff) , Phil, Jack Brooks and jedilost ...you have all offered me technical advice, some of which I attempted but failed, some has worked, and other stuff has simply gone over my pc numpty head!   Thankyou for taking the time to offer help..it's very much appreciated.

And finally... ( hoping desperately that I haven't left anyone out) thankyou Bombshellicious for adding yourself as an author to my blog, so that I have a way of posting if all else fails.   I would have been happy for any of you to have my password and do this for me,  Bomb seemed to be the obvious answer, because we speak on MSN almost every day and she's a bit of a technophobe like me, so we have a bit of a laugh whilst we are muddling through together!    You have all become friends and it's lovely to have friends who are willing to help when we have problems.  I hope I am able to return the favour some day.

And now I suppose I should try to think of something suitable for my Silly Saturday post tomorrow.  I could just write more about this ban...one of the silliest over-reactions this country is fast becoming famous for!

Thursday, 3 March 2011

A New Day....

...and the problems continue.  Here is another article which tells you about the ban.   I have been searching for advice on dealing with this problem, and to be honest it all becomes so technical and complicated that I have made the decision to just stick with it until the ban is lifted...whenever that's likely to be...how long is a piece of string?

The way I will operate  at the moment is that when I have access to my Dashboard I will write a post and publish.  If I lose my dashboard, I will get Bombshellicious to post for me.

Please rest assured that I am reading all your comments, and in some cases where I either have your email addresses or if you are on my Friends list on Facebook, I will respond if necessary.   As far as everyone else's comments are concerned, I would just like to say thankyou for continuing to read and comment on my blog....your support is really appreciated...thankyou.   I am also "anonymously" browsing your blogs, so I'm thankful I can read them and keep up to date with what's going on in your lives...although again I can't comment.

Some of you have kindly offered more technical advice, or ways I might try to gain access to my blog.  Again, many thanks for taking the time to do this.  I can assure you that I have tried everything within MY capabilities.   My internet capabilities are limited however.  As I've mentioned before, my brother-in-law in Ankara often helps me with problems by gaining access to my laptop, whilst I sit back and watch the cursor click and move.   He would be the first to tell you about the many times I've absolutely messed things up by trying to solve the problems myself.

I have the added problem that my laptop is Turkish.  Although I have changed every possible setting to English, a lot of the instructions for operating it are still in Turkish.   I can't do anything about that, but you can imagine how frustrating it can be to start to deal with a problem in English, and halfway through the process, the instructions revert to Turkish.   Naturally I can understand simple instructions in Turkish, but when it starts to get technical,  I panic and my mind goes blank. 

My brother-in-law is a very busy man. He has very limited free time, so I emailed him at the beginning of the week and will wait patiently for any advice or practical help he can provide.  In the meantime I will continue like this.

I've had a really bad head cold this week, along with an upset stomach, so I'm not at my best.  I tried to stay in bed yesterday but it didn't work out that way.  Mr A, like most men, seems to forget that I'm not feeling well.  He was working out in the garden all day.  It's very muddy out there right now, and to avoid trailing it into the house, he just kept calling out to me when he needed something.  So I was in and out of the bedroom all morning.  Eventually, I just gave up and got dressed.  It's funny the way women will just carry on with daily life regardless of how ill they feel, whilst men, at the first sign of Manflu, take to their beds!  (Apologies to my male readers if you happen to be one of the rare men who don't behave like this!   If you're not...maybe you'd best keep quiet about it!)

We had to pop into Milas on Monday morning. I went into Carrefour to pick up a few things, leaving Mr A in the car park with the motorbike.  When I came out he was talking to a man in English.   This man and his wife live about 10km outside of Milas.  They are both English, and shortly his wife arrived and we all introduced ourselves.  It's quite rare to find foreigners living in Milas.  Those who settle here tend to gravitate towards the tourist areas.  Anyway they seemed very pleasant and we have exchanged phone numbers and intend to keep in touch.   I'll look forward to some REAL English conversation in the future!

This morning the sun is shining so I intend to make the most of it.  I plan to take a book and my mp3 player outside and relax while Mr A continues with the gardening.

Have a good day everyone x

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Links

OK...while I have my dashboard and before it disappears again...possibly for a long time.  Here are some links which will help to explain the current situation a bit better:

from Hurriyet

from Eurasianet

Ridiculous isn't it?

Yet another update

You're probably all pretty bored with this by now...you must be because I am!


In my last update I said that I was able to post by using the tools on my dashboard....because I could at that time actually access my Dashboard.   Well...then I couldn't (access my dashboard that is).

Some of you kindly offered me space on your blogs to post, or alternatively offered to post on my blog for me.  In this respect, and as I speak to her on msn every day, I asked Bombshellicious if she would kindly do this for me.  So she got into my blog with my password and added herself as an "author"...hence the previous post.

I was just typing this post up on an email to send to her, and decided to check the words that appear in Turkish on the screen every time I click on the link for my Dashboard....when all of a sudden I was able to access my Dashboard again!   WTF!!!   This is peeing me off bigtime!

So now I am typing this post again from the tools on my Dashboard.  BUT I am going to leave Bombshellicious' status as author on here, because you can bet your life I'm going to need her any time soon!

Current state of play:   

I can access my Dashboard
I can post using tools on my Dashboard
I cannot respond to comments on my blog posts
I can read my list of blogs that I follow but I can't access them
I can use an anonymous facility to browse...both my blog and your blogs but cannot post comments.
I have a rotten cold which is getting progressively worse and my brain hurts.
The sun is shining but it's doing nothing to make me happy.
I need an early night.

Thankyou Bomb for your help (please don't go away because I'm sure I'm going to need you) and thankyou to everyone else again for your kind comments and offers of help.  I have picked up some very useful tips from you and because of this I won't be beaten by this idiotic ban.

PS...After I posted this I lost my dashboard again.  But after a while I realised that I could in fact get it again as long as I didn't try to access it through Google.  I really do not understand all this...ouch my poor head!

PPS.  Now you see it...now you don't...aaaargh.   One minute I have the dashboard and the next I don't.  I have no idea what's going on...so stick around Bomb!

Test post from Bombshellicious on behalf of Ayak

This is a test post by myself on behalf of Ayak she is now not able to access her blog at all at the moment .... we are just trying something out and hopefully if this works she will post via me and let you know whats what .... bear with us cos its like the blind leading the blind both of us are non technical lol.

Update

The way things stand at the moment.  I can post using the backdoor as mentioned in my previous post.  I can't view my blog or post on it in the usual way.   I can't respond to any of your comments.  But thankyou so much those of you who have responded.  I am getting email notifications and can also view these through the backdoor, ie by using the Comment section on my dashboard.

Thanks to Nomad I can also use a link which enables me to browse anonymously, which means that I can also read all of your blogs, but unfortunately I can't comment...browsing is all I can do.   But I am delighted that I can at least read blogs now.   Well that is unless someone removes this facility too.

I've had some more advice and instructions about improving upon this but my head is full of cold today and my brain isn't functioning as well as it normally does...haha which isn't brilliant at the best of times!

So from having absolutely nothing in the early hours of this morning....I now have a limited blogger service which is a hell of a lot better than none at all.

Thanks everyone for your kind words of support and for continuing to read even though I can't respond.  It's very much appreciated xxxx

The way to get around bans for pc numpties...part 3 (or test No. 3)

OK...You all know by now that I struggle with technology.  Fly in the Web insists that I have helped her with the technical side of blogging.  But it's very much like the blind leading the blind.  I try to do something on my laptop and it fails...many times...then somehow I manage to achieve it and promptly forget how it was done.  I then attempt it several more times before I actually remember how to do it.  Only then do I pass on advice to Fly, and because she's like me, she understands my  long-winded explanation.

Of course there are probably easier ways of achieving these and the real pc whizz kids may snigger at my explanations...but so what? If it works for me...and Fly...that's OK.

I've just woken up after only 3 hours sleep.   I have a stinking, streaming cold and ended up falling asleep early last evening, and then was wide awake by midnight and switched on the laptop.  That was when I discovered that the ban on Turkish bloggers had been imposed.  I clicked on the link in my Favourites which takes me to my blogger dashboard...and nothing.

I only have email addresses for a few of you, and some of you are friends on Facebook, so I sent messages to let you know what had happened.  I had a reply from Nomad who also lives in Turkey, with lots of advice about proxys and doman names and other techy stuff, which I just couldn't grasp.  He does know though that I am a pc numpty, so he won't mind me saying that I didn't understand most of it.  And if you read this Nomad...please know that I am always very grateful for your advice...please don't stop giving it, because one of these days it will hopefully sink in (I hope).

Fly and Charlotte Ann have also offered to provide a space on their blogs for me to submit my posts and for them to publish.  Thankyou for that.  The problem here is that I cannot access anyone else's blog as well as my own.

I've sent an email to my brother-in-law who helps me when I'm stuck.  He gains access to my laptop and sorts things out and when he has time I'm hoping he might be able to sort out a proxy for me so that I can access my blog, and your blogs, post and comment as normal.  But I have to be sure I understand what I'm doing first and that might take time.

Anyway I'll get to the point in a minute (you see...I did say I was long-winded).

So before I succumbed to my 3 hour sleep, I clicked on to the link for my dashboard and it appeared.  I then clicked on "Edit Posts" and could view my posts that way.  Then I clicked on "Comments" and could view all the comments on my blog.   Are you with me?  I can't actually open my blog but I can see these things through the tools on my dashboard.  That was when I wondered if I could actually write a post this way.  So I clicked on "New Post"...typed the first test...then the second...and clicked "publish".  It seemed to work...at least it came up as "published" and appeared as such on my "Edit posts" page.  And then by some miracle when I opened my laptop half an hour ago, I found email notifications from some of you responding to my test posts.   I then went again to my Dashboard, clicked on "comments" and could read them there as well.

I'm now quite pleased that I've discovered this way of posting and receiving comments, even though I can't respond to your comments.  I hate it that I'm restricted in this way, and particularly because I can't now access any of your blogs.  The ban is on Blogger, who have upset Digiturk, who then complained to the government, who clearly couldn't be bothered to deal with it in the way that most governments would, by weeding out the culprits...it's easier to impose a blanket ban...like they did with Youtube and which was only reinstated recently.

Blogging is such an important part of my life.  I think many of my loyal followers know that I'm pretty isolated in this little backwater Turkish village, and the friends I've made through blogging mean so much to me.  I can't imagine how I will feel if I lose this form of communication entirely.  I don't know if I will be able to continue to blog this way "through the back door" but I'm hoping that I can and that you will continue to leave your comments, and forgive me for not being able to respond to them.   I'm very sad that I can no longer read any of your blogs.  You can't imagine how frustrating it is that I can see my Reading List on my Dashboard but when I click on them I get a message saying that access has been banned by the government.

So I'll continue like this for as long as I can, and also hope that my brother-in-law may help me find a way to get back to blogging, reading and commenting normally.

And this is an other test

Please be patient with me.  You may see my previous post about the ban on Blogger in Turkey.

So now I'm posting again because I want to be sure that my previous post was published.

If it was...and indeed if this post appears...please someone...anyone...comment on it and put me out of my misery.

Thankyou xxx

Testing

This is a test post.  I have no idea whether it will be published because from 6pm last night the Turkish government imposed a blanket ban on Blogger....see this link

So it would seem that because of something that someone did that the government didn't like...again, as with other websites before such as Youtube, everyone suffers.

I'm trying to find a way round being able to post and receive comments.  I can't access anyone else's blogs anywhere...but I can still read comments if I click on "comments" on my dashboard.

The only way I will know if this is published is if someone comments...but I won't be able to respond.

And frankly I haven't a clue what I'm doing!