Monday, 31 December 2012

Home and back to earth with a bump

I arrived home last night with mixed feelings.   I'm not feeling too good.  I've been trying to fight off a flu bug since before Christmas and it won't budge.   It was worse on Christmas Day which was a shame, but the day was very enjoyable nevertheless.  However,I spent Boxing Day in bed...thank goodness I had a bed to stay in (at my friend's house).   She was away visiting her family, so I could at least feel sorry for myself without bothering anyone else.

My daughter and the boys visited her Dad on Thursday and returned Friday, so I was able to spend time with them before returning home.

Flights were good and on time, and I was greeted with torrential rain when I landed at Bodrum.  I was also greeted with 3 and a half weeks of housework.   OK Mr A had made a kind of attempt at keeping the place clean, but men are really not  much good at this are they?

He has what he thinks are good ideas.  He had erected a washing line in the sitting room, from one side to the other,  so I had to fight my way through sheets and towels to get to the bedroom.

He put some more electric sockets on the wall in the sitting room.  Excellent idea.  However, they are hidden behind a heavy piece of furniture so not very practical.  And he has put up a shelf on the wall which he thought would be perfect for the modem and the telephone.  The problem with this is that it is so high up that you would need to stand on a chair to use the phone.

Avoiding the temptation to beat him about the head, I smiled sweetly and went to bed.  I'll sort it all out this morning!

And it's great to be back to blogging.  I'll catch up with all your blogs in the next few days, when I've cleaned the house, removed the washing line, and repositioned the phone where I can actually use it.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Happy Christmas!

I know I won't have time for the internet from tomorrow onwards, so I would just like to wish all my followers a very Happy Christmas and a Peaceful and Healthy New Year.

...with lots of love xx

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Hectic time of year

I'd almost forgotten what it's like in the UK at this time of year.  On the rare occasions I've been here for Christmas I have arrived just before the big event and missed the run-up to it.

I don't really like all the commercialism that goes with Christmas.  The shops full of things that people feel they must buy but can't really afford.  I'm no exception..I've been caught up in the spending frenzy too.  I can't really tell you where all the money has gone, but it's disappearing rapidly like water down a drain.

I have had to buy certain things for myself.  I threw away my 37 year old boots and replaced them with some decent leather ones.  The only other footwear I had with me were ankle length walking boots, and having been caught in several downpours during the past week, these have suffered the same fate.  Not wanting to allow the rain to ruin my new leather boots, yesterday I bought some short nylon fabric boots, which were very cheap.  They will of course get wet, but they will dry out very quickly.

The old ankle boots were 12 years old.  It made me stop and think about how rarely I buy clothes and shoes these days.  I never wear dresses.  There's not much call for dressing up in our village!  The last coat I bought was also 12 years ago.  I found a coat in Sainsbury's of all places which was originally £45 but had been reduced to half price.  I also had a £6 voucher so I now have a new coat.  No doubt this will last for another 12 years or so.

There have been some memorable moments over the past couple of weeks.  We visited Billy's nursery school one afternoon, on a day when it was very cold and the frost looked like a gentle sprinkling of snow.  We all gathered around the Christmas tree outside and the children sang christmas songs.  It was just beautiful.

Billy and I had a day out in Windsor on Wednesday.  We caught the bus and browsed the shops so that he could choose presents for his mummy, daddy and Jimi.  He absolutely loved it and he chose very well.  He particularly liked the fact that every shop we visited gave him a chocolate or sweet!  He chose where we should have lunch....not surprisingly Pizza Hut...his favourite.  And he slept on the bus all the way home.  He is such good company and it was a real pleasure to spend this day with him.

Jimi is sleeping a little better at night these days, but he is a bundle of frantic energy.  I really don't know how my daughter copes with him.   He can be so naughty at times, but has such a cute smile that it's impossible to get cross with him.

I have my first "free" day today to re-charge my batteries in preparation for the hectic time ahead!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Moving around

Just before I came on this trip to England I wondered if three and a half weeks at my daughter's house might not be a bit much...for her and for me.

My visits are normally just for a week or a little more, which is fine.  Their house is small, only two bedrooms, so I have to sleep on the sofa.  It's comfy enough but with all the paraphernalia of Christmas being added daily to the house, it was becoming quite overcrowded. And I hate living out of a suitcase.

I sometimes stay at my brother's house but it wasn't possible this visit.  His daughter has just bought her first home.  Exchange of contracts had been delayed and my brother's house is packed to the rafters with his daughter's furniture, so no room to squeeze me in!

I had an offer from a friend of one of her spare rooms, and the run of her house.  I didn't want to offend my daughter by taking up my friend's offer so decided to go ahead and stay with my daughter. After a week of sleeping on the sofa and feeling like none of us have our own space, I made the decision to move to my friend's house for the rest of my stay.  I am really just sleeping there and going to my daughter's house every day.  I will of course be staying over for babysitting and for Christmas, but it does give all of us a bit of personal space when we need it.

I'm having a bit of a disaster with umbrellas.  I bought one in Turkey before I set off.  Used it for the first time last week and a gust of wind blew it inside out, broke all the spokes and the whole thing collapsed.   I bought another one on Friday, and lost it. (at least I thought I had).  I bought a third one yesterday, and promptly found the second one. 

I am about to hit the shops for some new boots.  My black knee high leather boots are leaking water.  The soles are coming adrift, and I'm not sure they can be fixed.  They haven't had a lot of wear and I'm very fond of them.   However they are 37 years old.  They are classic design and never go out of fashion.

I wondered if anyone else had shoes or boots as old as this?  Do let me know!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Addictive Blogging Award

I've been given this award by omentide (Hilary and Ashley) over at Pul Biber with Everything. They have been living in Turkey for just over a year now, coincidentally in a house in Selcuk that they bought from a friend of mine from my days in that town.

What I particularly like about their blog is all the useful, step by step information on getting through the red tape here during that first year.  An absolute boon to anyone about to make the same move.

Thankyou Hilary and Ashley.

I will be passing on this award to some of my favourite blogs in the near future when I have a little more time to post the links.

Day 5......

...and it feels like I've never been away.   The boys are developing so fast.  I can't believe how much Jimi has changed since I saw him in September.  He has an incredible amount of vocabulary for a 20 month old.   He recognised me immediately and calls me Nana (an improvement on Billy's name for me...Turkey Dog Nanny)

As my daughter and son-in-law were out on Saturday night and the boys were staying with their other grandparents, I used the opportunity to catch the train down to Swindon to visit a friend (a good friend I made through blogging 3 years ago).  We have met up previously in Reading but this is the first time I have visited her at home. We had a great time...chatting...and chatting...and more chatting. I stayed the night and after she and her husband took me out to a local restaurant for breakfast on Sunday morning, I caught the train home.

I also had a phone call from another blogging friend yesterday.  She is in England at the moment but, like me, has very little spare time.  We had hoped to meet up but it just wasn't possible.   The phone call was lovely.  We have communicated for a few years now but this was the first time we had heard each others voices, and it was really great to hear from her.  Don't you just love the way we make such wonderful friends through blogging?

 And talking of blogging.  I have so little time at the moment so please forgive me for not leaving comments on your blogs.  I'm reading as much as time allows, and doing this post very early in the morning before the boys get up and the fun begins.  I'll catch up when I can.

It's going to be a busy time in the run up to Christmas.  Tomorrow I will go to Billy's nursery to hear the children sing Christmas songs, and next Wednesday I have a day out planned for just Billy and me.  We are going to Windsor to do his Christmas shopping.  He will be able to choose his presents for his mummy, daddy and Jimi.  We'll visit Santa, and have lunch out together.

In the meantime I'm doing as much babysitting as possible to enable my daughter and son-in-law to do their shopping and to have some much needed time out for themselves.  Jimi is such a handful.  He's incredibly energetic and wakes up on and off every night.  I don't know how they cope with so little sleep.

My teeth are fine now.  Only 2 more days of antibiotics and then I can have a glass (or 6) of wine.  Let the celebrations begin!

He looks like a little angel...looks can be deceptive!

..but Billy really is a little angel!

40 winks after nursery yesterday..wrong time to be sleeping Jimi!

Friday, 7 December 2012

Not a good first day

This is a very brief post due to feeling a little unwell, and being distracted by my two lovely grandsons.

Flight from Istanbul to Heathrow was fine, although my teeth/gums became gradually worse until my whole mouth was throbbing with pain.

Fortunately have a friend who works for a local dentist.  Phoned her early this morning and she managed to get one of the dentists to see me.  Not easy to do nowadays because I'm now considered a foreigner when I visit!

Abscess below bottom two front teeth...infection spread throughout the gums.  7 injections to anaesthetise so that abscess could be debrided and teeth and gums cleaned up as much as possible.  Strong antibiotics given, plus mouthwash, plus painkillers.  Pain should subside in couple of days, and antibiotics finished in 5 days.

No alcohol of course...and no smoking  (yes Maggie you are absolutely right smoking does the teeth and gums no good at all)

The boys are happy to see me but both have nasty cold/coughs, so we're a bit of a poorly household.

But they distract me and help to make me forget about my teeth.  I am looking after them this afternoon while their Mum and Dad do some shopping.

Back when I have some more time.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Blogging from Istanbul airport

The flight set off from Bodrum in the middle of a storm this morning..not pleasant at all.  There was so much turbulence that the cabin crew remained belted into their seats for the entire flight, so we had no refreshments.  It was like some kind of scary ride at Alton Towers.  Not something I'd like to repeat any time soon.

So I have 6 hours in Istanbul airport to calm down before the next stage of my journey.  I have wandered about, logged in to the internet with my dongle, had a couple of coffees in Starbucks and bought my duty frees.  Still nearly 3 hours to go < sigh >

I have doubts now about the dentist I found in Milas this week.  I thought he was very thorough. He did ask many questions about my health, one of which concerned allergies.  I informed him of my allergy to penicillin which was duly noted.

I was concerned about my bottom front teeth and gums as they had been sore for some days. I suggested I might need antibiotics because I had something similar a couple of years ago and antibiotics cleared it up.  He didn't agree and  prescribed anti-inflamatories and a mouthwash, but it didn't improve.  In fact it got gradually worse.  I had an appointment for a scale and polish on Tuesday but because I had bashed my knee I couldn't walk too well, so I cancelled and said I would be in touch to arrange all the treatment on my return from England at the end of the month.

Last night my teeth and gums were throbbing and I was getting quite anxious about having to find an emergency dentist the minute I set foot in England.  There was a storm last night and torrential rain.  However, Mr A phoned the dentist in Milas and said he wanted to come over to collect antibiotics.  He mentioned again my allergy to penicillin and I suggested erythromycin which I have had before, and which is commonly used by dentists for mouth infections.   He had never heard of it (I did give him the Turkish version so he should have).

Anyway Mr A (bless his heart) set off in this extreme weather on the motorbike to collect my tablets. When he reached the eczane he phoned the dentist so that they could determine what I needed.  Mr A phoned me to say that they didn't have erythromycin but suggested something else, plus a different mouthwash.

When the drowned rat Mr A returned, I opened the bag to find that the antibiotics were in fact...penicillin.  Not only that but the mouthwash is entirely unsuitable for my problem.  I checked it out on the internet and also with Mr A's sister who is a doctor.  So now I'm uncertain about this dentist, and may well consider going back to the one I found last year in Bodrum.

Not to be deterred Mr A set off again to Milas early this morning, returning the mouthwash and exchanging the penicillin for another antibiotic.

It made me stop and think about that comment recently.  You know the one?  About Mr A bringing nothing to the relationship?  

Well now...I am in desperate need of a cigarette and I have discovered a smoking area here in the airport.  It's not widely publicised...being at the far end of the building, up an escalator, round the back of a restaurant, and out on a terrace overlooking the runway.  But it will do just fine for now.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Off tomorrow morning

Well it would seem that my blog has won the  Bronze Medal in the Expat Blog Awards 2012 which is really rather now I have the badge proudly displayed on my sidebar ----->>>

Thankyou everyone for the lovely comments you made about my blog. I really appreciate it.

It's getting late and I should really be asleep, but I'm too excited!  I also have problems with my teeth which doesn't help.

Our new modem was installed today and is working well, after half a dozen calls to TTNet in Istanbul...and half a dozen different instructions on how to connect to our network!

 My flight leaves Bodrum at 11.30am and as I have just over 6 hours in Istanbul airport  before my flight to London, I will make good use of the dongle to do another blog post....providing it works OK. 

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Dentists and Dongles

It's not one of my better weeks so far.  I'm going through one of my accident prone phases again.  I've already cut myself twice on the same sharp object (surely once is enough).   I fell flat on my face, banging the knee which has still not recovered from the last fall about 6 weeks ago.  An hour ago, whilst moving furniture (again) I managed to gouge out quite a large chunk from a finger which has only just stopped bleeding.    And it's only Tuesday!

On a positive note, I have found a new dentist.  This time in Milas which of course is so much more convenient.  I had a check-up yesterday.  The clinic is very sterile, and you have to wear protective plastic covers on your shoes before you enter.  The dentist was very thorough, particularly in checking any health issues I might have, blood group, allergies etc.   I need some bridge and crown work done and an old filling removed and re-done, and a scale and polish.  He also prescribed some mouthwash and anti-inflamatories for my gums which are a little sore at the moment.

I intended to have the scale and polish today, but having left the dental clinic yesterday,  walked a few 100 yards to the chemist for my prescription, I promptly tripped up the steps and flew head first into the shop (banging aforementioned knee).  It was so embarrassing but people were very nice.  I couldn't wait to get out of there. So this morning I couldn't walk very well and decided to cancel the scale and polish.  It will have to wait until I have the rest of the treatment when I get back from England. 

And another modem bites the dust.   There was a storm forecast last night so I disconnected the modem and went to sleep quite early.  I woke up in the early hours, unable to sleep further so went outside to check the weather.  No rain, no sign of a storm.  So I decided to connect the modem and log on to the internet.

I had only been logged on for about 10 minutes when, without warning there was a huge flash of lightening, followed by a loud bang.  No it wasn't the thunder, although that followed minutes was my modem exploding.  This is the fourth modem to have been struck by lightening since we moved here. 

Later today my knee was a bit better so Mr A and I went into Milas.  I had a hunt through cupboards and found a dongle (such a stupid word don't you think?) which we got free on some deal with TTNet a couple of years ago.  At that time it was connected to the Avea service provider, who would send out monthly bills.  I wasn't keen at the time, but Mr A was quite excited...he loves freebies, so we signed up with Avea.  Sure enough the novelty wore off and even though I asked Avea to disconnect, they kept sending bills.  Finally when I refused to pay the last two, they disconnected it.

The Avea shop in Milas has changed a great deal.  The people there are much more efficient than those of two years ago..  I wanted to know whether I could reactivate my dongle but on a pay-as-you-go tariff rather than monthly bills.  They can now do this.  My next question was how long would it take to reactivate.   If it was going to take some time there would be little point as we would hopefully have a new modem in the house anyway.  They said it would take less than half an hour.

So we sat in comfy chairs, were served tea, while the staff inserted a new sim card into the dongle, phoned to get it activated, then plugged it into my laptop, downloaded the software...and that was that.

Next stop TTNet, to get our modem we thought...completely dead, so now we have a new one.  The problem is that there are so many connection problems in the area that it won't be installed and wires repaired for a day or more.

The dongle is working fine.  I can blog, check emails, etc.  I can't do some of the things that I normally do but at least I'm connected.  It will do for now.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Only 5 more sleeps....

...until I see these gorgeous bundles of fun

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Chicken house

Mr A has been busy for the past few days making a house for the chickens using old scraps.  We love recycling materials.

Placed against the old house at the top of garden


Note the two nesting baskets and in the middle a sleeping area and perch
Now all we need are the chickens to go in this space.

Saturday, 24 November 2012


Dursune's chickens are beautiful.  The best kept chickens in this village.  I admire them greatly and we have decided to  get some of our own.

Note our old washing machine. Still in Dursune's garden!

Yesterday, Mr A helped Dursune to build a new chicken house in her yard.  The old one had collapsed because she just didn't have the strength to make it secure enough. 

Daily visits from one of Dursune's chickens

Most of her chickens are happy in the new house now, but there is one who prefers to be outside day and night.  She makes several trips into our garden and is very tame.  Poppy barks at her but she just ignores it and continues to forage for tasty morsels in the soil.

Excuse my appearance...just out of bed!

Dursune came round for coffee early this morning, and we had a long discussion about chickens.  Her advice is invaluable, and today Mr A has set about making our own chicken house in the garden. 

When it's complete, we will buy some chickens from Milas.

I'd still like a donkey and a watch this space!

(Click on photos to enlarge)

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Sharing too much?

I had the following comment on my previous post from an Anonymous follower, although she signed  herself "Ione:

I've read your blog often but have not commented, as much as I can remember. I love reading about your living in a different country and how you adjust. But I must admit, I don't understand why you are with Mr. A. He doesn't seem to add that much to the relationship. He is often gone, leaving you alone in a strange country and is not very nice to you when his family is visiting. And his family is atrocious. Also, I have wondered if you could live much better with more financial security if you were back home, living closer to your grandchildren. I hope you don't mind my saying this, but you did put "it" out there, you feelings of dissatisfaction. I don't mean to be a mean troll. Just wondering why you remain? Ione"
and this was my response:
"Anonymous/lone. Welcome to my blog, and of course I don't mind you expressing your opinion. I always welcome honesty. To try and answer your questions. I am with Mr A because I love him.I am the kind of person who accepts that no person or relationship is perfect. It also has to be understood that life is very different in this country. Wives are very used to being alone for months on end because their husbands have to go wherever they can find work. Yes I am often alone, it's true, but after 15 years living here it is no longer a "strange country". It's my home. I certainly would not be more financially secure living back in England that's for sure. The cost of living here is much lower, and it's easier to live well on less money. I have no property in England, I receive my pension, and if I moved back to the UK I would be one of the many having to rely on benefits to live. I prefer to be self-sufficient here to be honest.

Yes Mr A's parents are awful, and I hate it when they visit. Mr A, like most if not all Turkish men, will behave differently when his parents are here. But I think most people behave differently when in the company of their parents don't they? It doesn't last. If it did I am sure Mr A and I would have given up years ago. For all his faults, he is a kind and loving man with a good heart.

So when you ask why I remain, I hope I have explained. I stay because the positives far outweight the negatives."
I went back and re-read the comment because I have to admit it bothered me.  I wondered why someone would say something like "I don't understand why you are with Mr. A. He doesn't seem to add that much to the relationship", or why they wondered if I wouldn't be better off financially living back in England close to my grandchildren.
I felt at first that it was a little judgmental and how could they possibly know what Mr A adds to the relationship, or whether I would be better off in England.  After all, this person doesn't know me...or maybe they do?  How would I know if it's someone I know when they post anonymously?
Another thought crossed my mind.  Perhaps I share too much information about my life on this blog.  Although I'm pretty sure I don't disclose enough for anyone to make the above assumptions.  But nevertheless, it got me thinking about what I do write.
I write a lot about my feelings.  I have often mentioned that I find it therapeutic.  I also appreciate the interaction between me and my followers.  Mostly you all seem to be fairly like-minded people.  Sympathetic, empathetic, with a good sense of humour, and often with trials and tribulations of your own which you share on your blogs.   I guess I gravitate towards those who blog about their lives...the good times, the bad and the interesting.  We seem to have built up a kind of support network for each other, and some really good least that's how I feel.
So I would like to thank "Ione" for her comment which has given me food for thought and I'd like your views on whether you think we sometimes share too much about ourselves on our blogs?  If we do, does it matter?  Should we be bothered by the assumptions others make because of it? 

Tuesday, 20 November 2012


It was late morning on Saturday.  Mr A was on his way back from Milas, and I was pottering around in the kitchen.  Poppy was outside barking furiously at the gate, which usually means there's someone there.  I popped out to have a look, and lo and behold...the in-laws.

They haven't been to visit for a year now...thank goodness.  In fact Mr A had said that they wouldn't be coming again as they have undertaken another retirement project.   My brother-in-law Yakup has a house in the countryside, nearer Ankara, which FIL gave him.  It has a lot of land, so FIL is building a house there for him and MIL  Naturally I am pleased about this because it means I no longer have to put up with FIL's hateful comments (always when Mr A is out of earshot).

I have also learned that although MIL is always very sweet to me, she often encourages FIL's attitude towards me.  I can't stand people who are two-faced.  At least FIL is honest in how he feels about me.

Unfortunately, earlier that morning, Mr A and I had had a huge row.  We hadn't had chance to resolve things, so weren't talking.   Don't you just hate it when people turn up when you're in that situation, and even though you are seething, you feel the need to put on a brave face?

So there they are...turning up unannounced.  All the way from Ankara.  How hard is it to make a phone call to say they're coming?  Of course I should be used to this.  It isn't the first time it has happened.  I used to think it must be a cultural thing.  It's's just bloody rude.

They walked through the gate and I welcomed them with a smile (through gritted teeth).  Mr A returned and they sat outside.  Mr A asked me to make tea.  That annoyed me.  Of course I was about to do so, but because we weren't exactly on good terms, I resented him telling me what to do.  I served tea and sat with them, but was totally ignored and excluded from the conversation. 

Apparently they had come to collect household items that they had stored in the old house, so the three of them set about removing them and carrying down to FIL's truck down the hill.  In the meantime, I made a large pot of cauliflower soup.  I had very little food in the fridge as we were about to go shopping.  A couple of hours later, Mr A came into the house and asked me what I had prepared for lunch.  He saw the soup and said "Is that all?"   My response was that if people turn up out of the blue, I can hardly be expected to produce a 3 course meal.

There was some cooked chicken in the fridge so I sliced that.  Also some salami, which we don't particularly like, but Poppy does.  So I added that to the chicken with some tomatoes, and bread.  They only ate the soup anyway and didn't touch the meat.

Mr A insisted they stay the night.  I made up the beds and they went to bed early.

They were up at the crack of dawn on Sunday and ready to go.  I offered them breakfast but they declined.  I said goodbye and they left, with Mr A following on the motorbike.  I assumed he was going into the village to get bread.   More than an hour passed.  I phoned Mr A to ask if he was bringing bread for breakfast.   He said he and his parents were down on the land doing some work.  I asked if he wanted breakfast.  No, he had already eaten breakfast with his parents, as they had brought food with them.   Excluded again...I think I get the message.

I have never known such rudeness from anyone.  And I am still not best pleased with Mr A for appearing on this occasion to collude with them.

Sometimes I wonder why I'm here.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Leave well alone!

All I wanted to do was to change the photo at the top of my blog.

I did that without any problem, and should have left well alone.  But then I decided that the font for the blog title should be changed...and that's when the problems started.

Don't ask me how I did it, but two or more hours ago my sidebar disappeared.  I searched for all the stuff posted on the sidebar and eventually found it all at the bottom of the page.

In the meantime I somehow managed to reduce the font size and the background.

Eventually I clicked and dragged all the stuff from the bottom of the page back onto the sidebar...every link and by one.   I'm surprised my mouse hasn't died in the process.

I returned to the template advanced settings and tried to change the font size again....can't do it!  And now my brain hurts.  My eyes hurt too because I'm squinting to read the ridiculously small font size.

So if anyone else is also squinting, I apologise but at this point in time I haven't a clue what I'm doing, so I'd best leave it as it is before I end up deleting the whole blog.

Edited to add I gave it one more shot and have managed to increase the font size...but can't change the colour.  Now I am definitely going to leave well alone!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

And what's Mr A doing these days? might well ask.

Not a lot.  He has been out of work since 30th September, when there were no longer any customers at the hotel hamam in Yalikavak.  A few days later, just before Kurban Bayram, his elderly grandfather died and he made the long journey to Ankara for the funeral, which because of bayram, took place a day later than would normally have happened.

Since then, he has been looking for work, but we all know how difficult it is to find anything at this time of year. 

There are things he should be doing at home, like re-sealing gaps where the rain gets in, and various other DIY jobs on my list...yes I have a gets longer by the day.  However, he doesn't seem to be able to muster up any kind of enthusiasm, so I've given up  nagging reminding him.

He did go for an interview a couple of weeks ago at a 5 star hotel in Bodrum.  They need someone with good English to work in their reservations department.  It's an all-year job, and not only did he know the general manager there, but his father worked for the hotel temporarily some years ago.   A case of "it's not what you know but who you know".  The job comes with personnel accommodation and food, as is usual with hotel work.

They have offered him the position to start on 27th November.  I'm keeping fingers and everything crossed that this one works out, and that he sticks with it.   

In the meantime, because we need to budget, he has  sold the car and bought a motorbike.  Petrol is just so expensive here, and we have to make cuts wherever necessary.  He's not too unhappy about this, because he has always preferred motorbikes to cars.  It's a comfortable bike, similar to the last one we had, which is fine for me...although I won't be on it much during the winter months.

It will be more economical for him while I'm in England next month, because he will finish work around 5pm, and instead of staying at the hotel, he will  come home to take care of Poppy.

With this in mind we have bought a lovely sturdy plastic dog house for her which will be on the balcony.  She will be outside every day while Mr A is at work, and although the balcony is covered, this will give her additional shelter from wind and rain.  At the moment she has no interest in it.  She refuses to set foot inside, but hopefully she will overcome her fear within the next few weeks before I go.

The weather here is still lovely for this time of year.  Glorious sunshine every day and it's great being able to sit outside.  It's saving on heating costs too.  Although the temperature drops at night so I may have to think about switching the electric blanket soon.

I'm getting excited about my trip next month and looking forward to Christmas with my family.

The Christmas ads are appearing on UK TV already..some good...others irritating.  I absolutely love this John Lewis ad.  I know it's silly but it makes me cry!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Expat Blogs Contest

The winner and runners-up of this contest were announced  last night, and you can read the winning entry HERE

It's an excellent piece and full of really good advice to anyone who is thinking of moving to another country.

The contest itself turned out to be not quite what I had expected.  but I'm glad I was brave enough to enter.  As most of you will know by now I'm not a competitive person, so for me to even think about entering something like this is a bit out of character...done literally on the spur of the moment, almost at the last minute befure I had chance to change my mind!

(And if I'm totally honest, the prize money was an incentive!)

I'd like to take this opportunity to say a massive thankyou to those of you who took the trouble to leave such lovely, encouraging comments on my entry.....words that mean so much more to me than winning.

Congratulations to the winner and runners-up..very well done.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

A mark of respect

At 9.05am today, Turkey will stand still to remember the death 74 years ago of one of the greatest men who ever lived.

Ataturk is mourned as much today as he was then. 

You can read more about Ataturk on my friend Burak Sansal's website HERE.

In fact, there's not much that Burak does not know about Turkey, and his site is always a useful point of reference for me. 

In remembrance of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Are we there yet?

What I really mean, is winter here yet?  It ought to be by now, but it's still too warm.

Temperatures are still up in the mid 20s, sometimes a little higher, and I'm still wearing my summer clothes.  OK I do try to fit in with the locals, who, as soon as September has gone, start wearing their jumpers and jackets.  I put a cardigan on the other day to go into Milas, but was sweating buckets by the time I got there.

The Turks do behave as if it's winter.  Some villagers are lighting their sobas, because I can see smoke wafting out of chimneys.  The village shop has stopped selling icecream (they say here that you shouldn't eat it in winter because it will make you ill).  The dolmus windows are firmly shut (because a draft will make you ill), even though it is stifling with the sun shining on the windows.  Not to mention quite smelly, because no-one showers much in winter (in case it makes you ill).

I put the quilt on the bed some weeks ago, because it should be colder at night, but end up kicking it off after a couple of hours.  Sometimes when I'm unable to sleep I get up in the early hours and sit out on the my winter dressing-gown..which is too warm, but protects me a little from the mosquitoes...yes there are still plenty of them buzzing about..they really should have hibernated or died, or whatever they do, by now.

We did have a storm last night and more rain than we have had recently.  Maybe this is a sign that winter is here.   But no.  It's another warm morning and at 7.00am I'm on the balcony in my summer pyjamas, and the sun is trying to break through the clouds.

It doesn't look like the winter clothes will be needed until I go to England on 6th December.  And judging by the weather forecast there, they will be put to good use.

(By the way, the recent interview I gave to Expat Blogs has been published, if you would like to have a look here)

Monday, 5 November 2012


I've had this conversation many times with people in my age group.  This thing about memory and the way in which we can recall incidents from many years ago, but can't remember something that happened yesterday.

When I was in Milas recently, collecting medication from the eczane, I looked at one of  boxes at the name of the drug, and instantly remembered that it was marketed by a pharmaceutical company that I worked for more than 35 years ago.

Sitting on the bus I let my mind wander back to that time, recalling the name of the company.  I had many jobs during those times and only worked for this particular company on a temporary basis for about three months.  Not only did I remember the name of the company, but also the full names of the two pharmacists I worked for and the other secretary whose office I shared.  I can clearly recall the way they dressed, the hairstyles, how they preferred their coffee.  I even remember one of them saying that her favourite breakfast was grilled tomatoes on toast.

I am amazed that I can recall so much detail from so long ago, but so little from some recent events.  It's almost like the older we get, the more the memory plays tricks on us.

I was then reminded of being asked many years ago what my very first memory was.   This one is still very clear in my mind.  I was just over a year old (I later verified this with my mother).   It was a sunday and my mother had cooked a roast dinner.  My dad had gone to the local pub for a few drinks and had been told what time to be home for his meal.  He was late...very late...and slightly worse for wear.

My mother was furious and when he walked through the door, she threw the plate of food at him.  He ducked and it hit the wall.  I was playing on the floor and can still remember peas rolling under the chairs.

What was your first ever memory?

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Writing contest

I recently told you about being nominated for an award by Expat Blogs.  And some of you  have left comments on the page at the Expat Blogs website. 

I am overwhelmed by the lovely comments you wrote and I want to thank you all very much for taking the time to do this.  It is really appreciated.

Being a little bored this week, and with plenty of time on my hands, I  did an interview with them and this will be appearing sometime this week.

They are also running a contest four times a year, and the first one had a closing date of 31st October.  I decided to enter, as have many others from all over the world.

I don't expect to win, but it's helping to keep my brain cells ticking over.  As they say...use it or lose it!

The entries will be judged this week, and we have been encouraged to share our contributions on Facebook, Twitter and our blogs.

This is the link to my entry:
if you would like to read it.  Apparently it will also help with the judging if people leave comments after the entry.  So if you feel inclined to do so, I will of course be very grateful.

Thankyou xxx

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Ants in November?

What's that all about?   They should be long gone by now.

Surprisingly, there weren't so many ants in the house this summer...far less than usual.  It seems that they were just hiding and waiting, and when the sun came out did the ants.

Yesterday I made a chocolate cake and put it in an airtight cake box on a side table in the kitchen.  Next to it was an airtight tin full of biscuits.  I opened the cake box half an hour ago and there were these tiny ants crawling all over the cake.  I checked the biscuit tin and found the same.

I suppose I could have brushed them off and kept the cake and biscuits, but I just didn't fancy them, so they went in the bin.  What a waste.

So I have been all over the kitchen with the ant spray and hope that they have disappeared.  I never thought I'd say it, but roll on colder weather so we can say goodbye and good riddance to creepy crawlies for a few months.

Thursday, 1 November 2012


Hope those of you who celebrate it had an enjoyable Halloween.

Here are two little boys who had a lot of fun:

Billy the Pumpkin


Jimi the Skeleton

I miss my two gorgeous boys...only 5 weeks until I see them again

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

A little bit of pampering

You may recall me telling you about the bad haircut I had shortly before my last trip to England in September.  It was one in a series of disastrous haircuts over the past year, and I was beginning to give up hope of ever finding a good hairdresser again.

Do you remember the salon I found before the bad haircut?  They were very busy at the time (a good sign) and couldn't fit me in.  So being impatient, I settled for another salon resulting in the bad haircut.

Today, Mr A and I were both in desperate need of a haircut, so we went into Milas.  He visited a barber and I went to the previously visited busy salon  and they were able to oblige.

 The hairdresser washed and cut my hair beautifully, just the way I wanted it.  I am delighted.  I also had my eyebrows and top lip sorted.  They are very into cottoning here, which can be a little painful, but it is quite effective.  At this salon they waxed,  cottoned, trimmed and plucked until they achieved perfection...not one tiny unwanted hair in sight.  And it didn't hurt one bit.

The total cost...22 lira (approx £7.60).  At last I have a decent hairdresser! 

I must tell you about the amazing cream I use for burns.   I'm always burning myself on the cooker, the iron and boiling water, as I did yesterday.

It's called Silverdin here in Turkey, but in the UK it's known as Silvadene . I first discovered this cream because it was given to me by Mehmet the vet for Beki.  During her last few weeks, she had a very bad skin disorder on her back.  The cream helped a little, but to be honest I think she was so ill then that nothing would have completely worked.

I remember googling it at the time, and as is frequently the case in Turkey, medication for humans is often used for animals.  I read then that it was supposed to be good for burns.  When  the tube was finished, I bought another one from the eczane, but never got around to using it, so kept it in the fridge for future use. 

I wish I had taken a photo of the blisters on my fingers yesterday, and again today to show you the results of using this cream. As soon as I had burned my fingers, I ran them under the cold tap, dried gently, spread the cream on the blisters and wrapped in sterile gauze (as per yesterday's photo). After about an hour the stinging subsided.

I removed the gauze this morning and there was no sign of blisters or redness, no pain...completely healed.  This stuff really works.

So if you're clumsy like me, I'd recommend keeping a tube of this miraculous cream handy.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Shopping in Bodrum

After a couple of very windy days, and rain last night, the sun came out again this morning and it's been very warm all day.

Mr A needed to see someone in Bodrum about a possible job, so I decided to go over with him and meet up with Gwen.

I also had to visit the Turkish Airlines office because my flights have been changed for December so had to be re-confirmed. 

I have been past a new shopping centre several times called Midtown.  It's on the outskirts of Bodrum on the road to Turgutreis, so we decided to have a look.  It's beautifully set out, and there are lots of lovely shops for browsing, although not necessarily for buying...mostly designer stuff beyond my means.

There are a few cafes to choose from and the prices are quite reasonable, with seating outside as well as inside.  It was very quiet though and I wonder how much business they will have.  These shopping malls have sprung up all over Turkey.  We've visited a few and they never seem to be very busy, with the exception of Forum Bornova in Izmir, which I think is popular because it has an Ikea store.

The photo is blurry.See reason below.

There is a large Carrefour supermarket in Midtown and I decided to do my food shopping there. I notice that Bodrum prices are higher than Carrefour in Milas.  I did however find something that I have been wanting to buy for a long time, at a very good price.  An electric kettle with cay (Turkish tea) pot on top.  I needed a new kettle and I'm afraid I avoid making cay because it's messy so poor Mr A puts up with teabags..he is of course delighted that he can now have proper cay every day.

I did a very silly thing when I tried out the kettle for the first time.  I boiled water in it and poured it in to the washing-up bowl.  Then for some unexplained reason I stupidly put my fingers in the boiling water.  Ouch ...blisters!  They are now covered in my special burn cream and wrapped up.  So please excuse blurry photos because they were taken with one hand as was the typing of this post.       And it's taken ages!

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Expat Blog Awards 2012

I received an email today to inform me that I have been nominated for the Expat Blog Awards 2012.  I am of course very flattered.  There are many expat blogs around which are far more interesting than mine, so I'm not expecting to receive an award, but I am delighted that I have been nominated.

As part of the judging process, they would like to receive comments from my followers.  I've copied and pasted the details as follows:

"The Expat Blog Awards 2012 which will be decided late December, where a
Gold, Silver and Bronze award will be given for each country. One
judging criteria will be based on reviews left on your listing, and so
it's a good idea to get some of your regular readers to leave a quick
note for you. Of course, this isn't the only judging method, but it does
show you have some loyal readers and let's us hear their feedback."

Here's the link to the page if you feel that you would like to leave a few words:

Thankyou xxx

Friday, 26 October 2012

The wrong day

How could I have got the date wrong?  For some reason I had it firmly fixed in my head that Kurban Bayram started on Friday.  I could have checked my diary of course, because it clearly stated that it started on Thursday.

On Wednesday Mr A decided to go down to the land in the village and pick the rest of the pomegranates, as someone had offered to buy them.  While he was there he had a phone call from Ankara to say that his grandfather had passed away.

As you may be aware, funerals here take place the day after death, and it's customary for every member of the family to make the effort to get there, no matter how far away they live.  The fastest way for Mr A to get to Ankara would be to fly.  Unfortunately there were no seats available on flights leaving on Wednesday, the earliest being Thursday.  So he would have to drive there...the most expensive alternative with the high cost of petrol here.  It would take him 10 hours, but at least he would arrive in time for the funeral.

I emptied my purse, except for some loose change, and Mr A withdrew what he needed from the ATM and off he set.

Yesterday ( Thursday), still thinking I had time to do shopping before the start of Bayram, I went down to the village to catch the bus at 9.00am.  I started to have doubts when I saw hoards of men coming out of the mosque.  They are not very religious in this village.  The only time they attend mosque en masse is at the start of a religious festival.  Amongst them was one of the bus drivers, who saw me waiting at the bus stop.  He informed me that there were no buses today as it was Kurban Bayram...and in any case even if I went into Milas, the shops would probably be closed.

With the loose change I popped into the village shop and bought some bread and then returned home.  OK I have enough food to last until Mr A returns...but I am a smoker (I know...filthy habit) but at this point in time I knew I wasn't going to last for several days with half a packet of cigarettes.

Mr A phoned and informed me that because of Bayram the funeral has been delayed until today (Friday).  No doubt he will then stay on for the rest of the holiday with his family.

I explained how I had got the date wrong and was now unable to get into Milas until he returned.  He told me to go to the village shop and ask for cigarettes and tell the man I would pay later.  I know this is common practise...everyone does it...but I can't.  I find it too embarrassing.  I'd rather go without.

 So he phoned the shop and has asked the man to give some cigarettes to our neighbour Mehmet who brings my post, and tell him to drop them off to me when he passes by, which he duly did last night.   Aren't people lovely?

Another reason for not actually wanting to set foot outside the house on the first day of Kurban Bayram, is that I can't face witnessing the slaughter of sheep.  After so many years I accept it, even though I don't like it, but I prefer to shut myself in the house until it's over.  I'm relieved that I had set off for the 9.00am bus before it started.  If I'd left it until later I doubt I would have been able to avoid it.

Moral of this story  (note to self)...always check your diary.

Kurban Bayraminiz Kutlu Olsun.

Thursday, 25 October 2012


courtesy of Wikipedia
Continuing with my interest in Spain, here is another guest post by my friend Marina at Destinia.  This one is about Granada...another city I would love to visit:

A tour around Granada and its tapas.

The city and province of Granada is located in the southern region of Andalucia, in Spain. Nestled between the Sierra Nevada mountains and the sea, this city is known for its culture, its ancient palaces and its generous servings of tapas.

Granada was one of the last Moorish kingdoms, and Moorish architecture is present in most ancient buildings, including the Palace of the Generalife, one of the city's main attractions. The Monasterio of the Cartuja is another city landmark, an ancient monastery.

The Alhambra is the city's main monument, a place visited by millions of tourists each year. This ancient Moorish palace has many gardens with fountains, tiled patios and towers that date from the Nasrid dynasty. Visitors can walk around the many gardens and take tours around the ancient Arabic palaces, where there are courtyards decorated with colourful tiles and rooms filled with ceramics and mosaics.

The city's Old Quarter is the historic center where the city's Santa María Cathedral is located. There are many chic restaurants and shops in this area, and visitors will be able to spend an afternoon visiting the many tapas bars in the area. Calle Oficios is one of the mains streets and is filled with many shops and handicraft stores.

The Basilica of Nuestra Señora de las Angustias is one of the city main churches, as is Granada's Cathedral. The cathedral was built after the conquest of Granada on the site on an ancient mosque. Inside the cathedral there is a large altar, several decorated chapels and a burial chamber where the Catholic Kings are buried. The cathedral is located in the city's Old Quarter, which has narrow cobbled streets and small traditional houses that have been converted into bars and restaurants.

After exploring this city visitors can try local tapas, which are small appetizers accompanying a drink. The tapas of this region are larger and vary from simple bread with olive oil and jamón ibérico ham bite to typical dishes from other regions. A typical night out starts with visiting several tapas bars and tasting the various tapas while enjoying a caña beer and a sangria. Many of these bars are located in the Realjo district.
Albaicín is a district located across from the Alhambra. This district is known for its traditional bars,
centered around the Plaza Large square, where visitors can enjoy a café con leche with pan con tomate in the mornings, gazpacho at lunch and many types of local tapas at dusk. The district is located on a hillside, and visitors can climb up to its highest point, the Plaza of San Nicolas, to enjoy views of the Alhambra and the city. The Mirador of San Nicolas, located in this district, is a large observation platform near the St. Nicholas Church.


Thankyou Marina.



Wednesday, 24 October 2012


Within the last few days Autumn seems to have arrived.  A bit of thunder, a little rain, and chilly mornings and evenings, but the days are still lovely.  Plenty of sunshine to enjoy outside on the balcony.  The duvet is back on the bed and my big fluffy dressing gown is back in use, particularly early morning.

I still love to watch the sun rise, whatever the weather.  On the balcony with my first coffee of the day.

And the wandering nomad has returned.  Yes Mr A is back.  He's only been away in Antalya for a couple of weeks.   Work hasn't been very rewarding for him this year.  I've actually lost track of where he's been this season.  So much travelling here and there to try to earn money.  Every year we live in hope of him coming home with pockets full of cash to see us through the winter months, but it rarely happens.  This year is no exception.

The only advantage to him being away from home so much, is that wherever he is, he has a bed and he is being fed and earning just enough for his everyday needs.  This means that I take responsibility for myself and I'm pretty good at leading a frugal life.

He hates being in this situation and it hurts his male pride to have to ask me for anything.

There may be a job lined up for the beginning of December, but it's a little uncertain at the moment.  In the meantime, we needed to think of something for him to do now.  He has in past winters bought supplies of Mesir Macunu and travelled around the villages to sell it.  It's very popular with Turks, particularly as winter approaches, because they truly believe it cures all sorts of ailments.  It's difficult to find in shops outside of Manisa so it's fairly easy to sell it locally and produce a profit.

So we decided to spend a few hundred lira on supplies.  Mr A spent time on the phone yesterday organising an order, which the company said would arrive by cargo today.

Later in the afternoon, the company rang to say that the order was ready for despatch.  However, they couldn't find a cargo company to deliver it before Kurban Bayram.   Bayram doesn't start until Friday.  Today is Wednesday.  Cargo companies have decided to extend the holiday and are apparently closing at midday today.  So we will now have to wait until towards the end of next week to receive supplies.

It kind of reminds me of how this extending of holidays has occurred in the UK.  Anyone else remember the days when we finished work on Christmas Eve and returned the day after Boxing Day?  And when New Year's Day wasn't a bank holiday?  Now the two holidays have blurred into one, resulting in more than a week's holiday.  Looks like Turkey may be following suit.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Rain and Vegetables

There are grey clouds in the sky today and a storm is forecast, but it doesn't feel like it's going to happen.  We have rain too, but so little it's hardly worth mentioning.  In fact I walked down to the village to get the rain...but I didn't get wet enough to have to change my clothes when I returned to the house.  But it was pleasant to feel a few drops on my skin.

Monday is market day in our village.  I use the term "market" loosely, because it mostly consists of one vegetable stall.  Although today there were two more vendors who had their vegetables laid out on the ground.  This does happen occasionally and I know exactly what will happen when I approach them.

They all start calling to me at once because they want me to buy from them.  I do what I always do.  I bought potatoes from one, leeks and beans from another, and a cauliflower from the third.  Everone's happy.

Talking of cauliflowers, they are just fantastic at the moment.  They are huge though.  This one weighed almost 4 kilos and it was the smallest one I could find.  It should be enough to feed me on cauliflower cheese for a week.  It was just 2.5 lira (about 85pence).  A kilo of lovely green beans for 2 lira will make one of my beans in olive oil, and the potatoes and leeks will make a huge pot of soup for eating and freezing.  

I spent a total of 8.5 lira (less than £3.00) and have more than enough fresh and healthy food to keep me going for some time.

I did call into the village shop to buy chicken livers for Poppy though...I doubt she would be happy with just vegetables!

Friday, 19 October 2012


Apologies to those of you who tried to play the music clip that I posted up yesterday.  It played perfectly for me yesteday but today it wouldn't.  I tried for half an hour to sort it out but to no avail.  So I've deleted the post.  I never had problems with posting up videos before Blogger changed I'll blame them (even though it's probably me!)

Anyway thankyou Fly, Maggie and Perpetua for your comments.

I had an enjoyable few days with my friend Gwen.  Although we chat regularly on the phone and she is only a couple of bus rides away, circumstances meant that we hadn't actually seen each other for about four months so we had a lot of catching up to do.

We are both chatterboxes and we don't stop for breath.  It's exhausting but very enjoyable.

The weather here is glorious with temperatures reaching as much as 33 degrees during the day. 

Mr A is still away working in Antalya.  There aren't many customers so he's not earning much, just enough for his everyday needs.  But he has accommodation and all meals, and it keeps him occupied.  No doubt he will return home at the end of the month for a couple of days and then set off again...probably to Istanbul, to work for the winter.  I sometimes forget I'm actually married!

We make plans every year to avoid being in this situation, but somehow it never quite works out.  He has tried very hard to find a "normal" job but when you have worked for so many years in tourism, it's really not that easy.   I don't like it but after 14 years I'm pretty much used to it.  Before moving to this village nearly 4 years ago it didn't seem much of a problem because we lived in areas where I had friends close by, but here it's completely different.  Too far away from everything.

On the positive side, I still love waking up every day to the village sounds and the view to die for, and if this lovely weather continues for a bit longer, that's a bonus!

Have a good weekend everyone xx

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Things that work

The antibiotics have worked.  I am feeling so much better today.

My camera hasn't been working for some time.  I wasn't too concerned for a while because in any case I couldn't, for some reason, upload photos on my old netbook.

Today I took the camera into Milas to see if it could be fixed.  As it turned out it was a very simple problem, easily sorted, and the man in the shop refused payment.  Turkish people can be so kind and helpful.

I have mentioned before on my blog about the variety of items that people load onto the village bus.  When I once said that a live sheep was on the bus, you could be forgiven for not believing me.  However, because I had my camera with me today, I have photographic evidence.  As I stepped on to the bus in the centre of town, it was almost full of passengers...and a ram in the gangway..which I had to climb over to get into the only available seat.  Don't ask me why it was on the bus.  As everyone else took it in their stride and didn't bat an eyelid, it seemed inappropriate to ask.

Anyway, as you can see I have managed to upload the photos onto my "new" netbook (exactly the same model as the old one, only English) with no problem at all.

Here's a photo of Poppy and her new bed.  I bought it last week but she was very wary and it took her two days to pluck up the courage to get in it.  It's so cozy that it's difficult to get her out of it now.

I may not be around for a few days as my friend Gwen (the one who is married to Suleyman) is staying with me. It's almost the end of the season and she is bored at the hotel in Bitez and needed a break.  I haven't seen her for ages and we have lots of catching up to do, so not much time for the internet.  I'll catch up with all your blogs later this week.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Childish retaliation

I am a pretty tolerant person.  Most of the time.   I don't like a lot of noise however.

Some noise can't be helped of course.  Roadworks, traffic, building works, etc.  They're part of everyday life and I accept that they are necessary.

The Turks on the whole are quite a noisy race.  Until we moved to this village, we lived in rented apartment blocks.  I have had more than my fair share of noisy neighbours.  Those who sit out on their balconies until the early hours of the morning, shouting and laughing loudly, with no regard for those people who are trying to sleep.   I have rarely complained though..unless it goes on indefinitely.  Even then, I'm quite polite when I complain.  To be fair, most Turks take complaints very well.  They act on them.  They don't take it personally, and they don't bare grudges.

This village is quite peaceful on the whole, unless there is a wedding taking place, in which case there will be loud music, sometimes for a couple of days.  Again, it's part of life and I suffer it without complaint.

Sevke is our next door neighbour. She is a lovely elderly lady.  She lives alone and is very quiet.  Unless she has family visiting when they all talk loudly and excitedly out on her terrace.  That doesn't bother me.  It doesn't happen often and I'm happy because Sevke's happy to be with her family.

On the other side of Sevke is a house which is empty most of the time.  It is owned by a family who originally lived in this village but now live in Izmir.  During the summer months they have come to stay every weekend.   From the moment they arrive they turn music on full blast, and they don't switch it off until they leave.  From Friday evening until Sunday evening it goes on and on.  It's so loud that even if I close the windows, plug in my earphones and listen to a programme on my laptop, I can still hear it above whatever I am trying to listen to.   I can't imagine what it's like for Sevke, who is much closer to them than I am.

When Mr A was here last week he had a friendly word with them and they turned it down.  However, he is away now (and I am sure they are aware of this).    They arrived on Friday night and the music was louder than ever.

So now for my childish retaliation.  Sevke is away this weekend.  I decided to get my own back by playing loud music with all my windows open.  There is a slight problem here though.  Although I have lots of CDs, I don't have a CD player and I can't play them on my netbook.  So...I plugged in an old portable TV that someone gave us.  I then found a scart lead in the shed and attached it to the TV and to a DVD player that someone else had given us, but which had been gathering dust in a cupboard.  I inserted a CD and voila....loud music!

I found that an old  Bryan Adams CD had the desired effect.  After an hour of ear-splitting music, the noisy neighbours got the message. 

They turned off their music.   I turned off mine.   Peace was restored.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

IBS..a vicious circle

I was diagnosed with IBS about seven or eight years ago, after undergoing various tests, including a colonoscopy, to make sure my symptoms were nothing more sinister.

IBS sufferers all have their own triggers.  A flare-up can be caused by many things, including diet and stress. It can also run alongside depression.    In many cases symptoms can be quite mild and they don't interfere too much with daily life.  Some people can have quite nasty attacks (me included) and it can be very debilitating, with chronic stomach and back pain, nausea and fatigue.

I manage mine pretty well most of the time.  I try to be careful with my diet, and I'm not someone who likes to use medication unnecessarily.  However, my trigger is stress and anxiety.  This leads to a bad attack that can last for weeks.  Which makes me tired and depressed.   Which leads to more anxiety.  Which means an attack can go on and on and on...until the cycle is broken.

Occasionally my IBS attacks result in a bowel infection and necessitate a visit to the hospital, where various tests are carried out, antibiotics and other medication are prescribed, and this helps.

My current flare-up has been going on for a couple of weeks.  It started when Mr A's job finished earlier than expected.  He was home for a week but he was very stressed and grumpy.  This in turn causes me stress.  It got worse when he set off for Antalya last Monday to work in a hamam for the rest of this month.  Antalya is so far away and although I am used to being here on my own, it has made me realise just how isolated I am in this village....and this makes me anxious.

I hate visits to the hospital.  It's difficult enough to get through the system if your Turkish is fluent.  When it's not, it's almost impossible.  Believe me..I've attempted to do it on my own.  I need Mr A with me, and he won't be back until the end of the month.

I have got to know a lovely pharmacist in Milas who speaks English.  I went to see him on Wednesday and explained my problem.  His wife also suffers the same condition so he knows what he's talking about.  He felt sure that I had an infection so suggested a course of antibiotics (having researched the internet for the one he felt best for me) and some antispasmodics.  I'll give them a go and hope that they work.   Otherwise, I will just wait until Mr A returns and make another trip to the hospital.

He also mentioned the benefits of pomegranates.  A small amount of juice each day apparently helps.  His wife also boils the pomegranate skin and drinks the water.  She swears by it.  I'll try anything!

IBS is a common condition, so I feel sure that some of my readers are sufferers.   I wondered if you would share your experiences and any tips you have for dealing with it.


Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Blogger email notifications

This new Blogger dashboard is driving me nuts!  Is anyone else having problems with it? Or is it just me?

I can't seem to do any of the simple things I managed to do with the old dashboard.

The one thing that is annoying me most is a problem with email notifications.  I previously had emails whenever someone commented on one of my posts.  It was so useful.  I'd press "publish" and then reply.  Easy peasy.

Now I get the occasional email when someone posts, but mostly I don't.  I only discovered this one day when I went to my dashboard and noticed a number of comments awaiting moderation.  They had been there for a couple of days so I'm sure my followers must have thought I was ignoring them.

When commenting on someone else's blog, I always click on the button which will send me an email when the blogger replies to my comment.   I don't get these at all now.   I thought I was being ignored and only discovered I wasn't when I went back to the blogs and trawled through the comments.

It's infuriating.  It's such a simple thing, but when you're busy with other things and you don't want to miss comments and responses, it made sure that you were kept up to date.

OK.  I'll admit I don't respond well to change.  But I do accept it if it improves things, and I eventually get used to it.  But I can't for the life of me see how this new dashboard actually improves anything.

Anyone else finding it difficult?

Monday, 8 October 2012

Guest Post

You may recall that I recently published a guest post by my friend Marina at Destinia, all about Seville.

I am fascinated by Spain and Marina has promised some more posts from time to time. I hope you find them as interesting as I do.

Here is her post about Barcelona:

The city of Barcelona is located in the northeastern region of Catalonia, in Spain. This city is known for Gaudí's architecture and its many cultural landmarks. A trip to this city offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy cultural landmarks and local food.
Gaudí's style can be seen in many buildings in this city. The city's symbol is the Sagrada Familia, an unfinished cathedral designed by Gaudí. Visitors can climb up one of the towers, from where they can enjoy views towards the city and the sea. The east façade of the cathedral represents the Nativity scene in a baroque fashion, and the Glory and Passion façades decorate the building.
Other buildings by Gaudí include Casa Batlló and La Pedrera, both of them located on the Passeig de Gràcia, a main street known for its boutique shops and restaurants. There are audio guides and tours available at Casa Batlló, an ancient mansion which offers views towards the city.
Park Güell, located on a hill in the city, was designed by Gaudí. A large, colourful mosaic dragon greets visitors into this park. Gaudi's old home is now a museum in the park. The park has several areas and a large porch with twisted columns, and there is a tiled observation platform at the top.
The Gothic Quarter is where Barcelona's Cathedral and several churches are located. This quarter is known for its Gothic architecture, with narrow stone streets and many small squares.
The country is known for its tapas, small appetizers served with a drink which vary from region to region. Traditional Catalan tapas are served in many of the city's centric bars, and visitors can savour local produce at the centric Boquería market.
Poble Espanyol is the Spanish Village, an attraction that replicates small towns and villages from several regions in Spain. Each small town in this artificial village sells traditional products typical of each region.
Montjuïc is a palace located in the city. The fountain in front of the palace is one of the city's main attractions, mainly during the afternoons, when the fountain is lit up and the fountain spray start to move.
La Rambla is one of the city's main streets, joining the centric Catalonia Square to the statue of Christopher Columbus by the sea. The street is lines with many bars, restaurants and shops and there are many flower shops and street performers.
Sports are part of the city, which was host to the '92 Olympics. There are three tourist bus routes around the city, and one of the lines tours the Olympic Village. The Camp Nou stadium, where Barcelona F.C. Plays, is another of the city's attractions.