Thursday, 31 May 2012


Well it's not very good news  I'm afraid.  It seems that Beki has ovarian cancer.

She had a tumour the size of a tennis ball in one of her ovaries.  Mehmet has done a full hysterectomy and removed both ovaries. 

Mr A waited with her when she had the anaesthetic this morning and Mehmet has been phoning him every hour with updates, and Mr A then phones me.

It seems that the operation went well and Mehmet says he cannot see any signs that the cancer has spread.  Of course this is something that will remain uncertain, but we are trying to be optimistic.

The latest update half an hour ago was that Beki had come round from the anaesthetic and seems OK so far.  Mehmet is monitoring her closely and is reluctant to discharge her until he is confident that she is recovering well.  So she may have to stay there tonight.

We'll know more later and I'll keep you posted.

I'm not religious as you know, but I am so grateful to have found Mehmet.  I know it would have been difficult, if not impossible, to find another Turkish vet prepared to perform this operation on a dog.  Most of them don't consider dogs worth the trouble.  So in my own peculiar non-religious way, I am thanking something (I'm not sure what) for making this wonderful vet appear in our lives just when we needed him most.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Beki... off to the vet's tomorrow morning.  She came into season on 27th April and has been bleeding ever since.  The week before last Mehmet the vet examined her and said that it wasn't unusual for this to occur in older dogs but by last weekend I was getting more concerned about it so spoke to him.  He has put her on some hormone tablets which she has taken now for 4 days but they haven't made any difference.

So tomorrow he will do an exploratory operation to see what the problem is.  He will spey her at the same time because this will clearly reduce the risk of further problems in the future.

Because of her age, he tells me he has ordered in a special anaesthetic which is safer.  It will cost us a little more, but it's worth it of course.

I had been searching the internet concerning Beki's skin disorder, which I thought had been caused by Mr A trimming her hair too short.  It looks like it might actually be hormonal, so perhaps the haircut just exposed it rather than caused it.  Maybe tomorrow's op will tell us a bit more.

I know I'm sounding very matter of fact about all this but I am worried sick.  I love Beki so much and really hope she doesn't have anything seriously wrong with her.

Keep your fingers crossed for her please.

Monday, 28 May 2012

I only popped out to buy bread

You'd think that walking down the hill to the village shop early in the morning to get bread would be pretty non-eventful.   It's impossible to get there and back without passing village women busy sweeping their yards or milking their cows, who always stop what they are doing to say good morning, to ask how you are, where you are going and what for.

I've long since got used to this.  Most people would think these women are nosy.  They are a bit, but mostly they are just interested in the only foreigner for miles around.  I think they wonder if my life is completely different to theirs, that maybe I'm off to do something exciting.  They look a little disappointed when I say I'm going to the shop to buy bread.  It can sometimes feel like I'm living in a goldfish bowl.  But I don't dislike it.

Dursune next door was milking her cows when I left the house.  I asked if she wanted me to get her bread which she did.  On the way down the hill I met the man who regularly brings his flock of sheep up to the hill behind our house to graze.  This man has adopted a little street dog which he calls Tony.  I think he is hoping Tony will become a sheepdog.  Tony has different ideas.  He was more interested in rushing up to me for a bit of attention (probably because I give him the odd chewstick when he's passing my gate).  Hence the sheep just ran riot...eventually being called back by the man, and completely surrounding me.  The man tried to get Tony to encourage the sheep to move, but Tony just shot off up the hill.  The man just shrugged and smiled and eventually moved the sheep himself.

Having bought bread and started the climb back up the hill, I found myself complete blocked by a cow in a narrow part of the lane.  She absolutely refused to budge.  Her owner, with two other cows were further up the lane and she hadn't realised that this one wasn't following her.  I called out to her and she called the cow, who still refused to move.  So I had no choice but to grab the rope around the cow's neck..give her a good pull...and lead her up to her owner.

Finally I reached home and gave Dursune her bread.  Money never changes hands with me and my neighbours.  She handed me 4 eggs newly laid by one of her hens.  I pick up simits for her whenever I go to Milas.  I give her vegetables when Mr A buys too much.  She gives me olive oil and eggs.  I love it that bartering is still thriving in this village.  Even the shopkeeper, who had no small change  when I bought my bread, gave me 4 boxes of matches instead.  I don't need matches but it was that or Turkish chewing gum which is vile.

Who would have thought that popping out to buy bread could be such an adventure!

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Not what it says on the tin

 Last Sunday afternoon I caught the bus over to Bodrum to meet up with Mr A when he finished work.  We visited Koçtaş, the Turkish version of B &Q, to buy some paint to decorate our bedroom.

I have not had good experiences with Turkish paint.  The colours are not as varied as those in the UK.  The Turks seem to like bright colours, or they just settle for good old whitewash.

Our house is whitewashed inside and out and it's frankly boring.  I had decided that I would like something different in the bedroom.  A very pale green or yellow.   The Turks don't do "pale".

In the past I have tried cheap paint and expensive paint.  There seems to be no difference, so I wandered up and down the paint aisle looking for some that was reasonably priced.   Above the shelves was a large board showing the colours.  I got quite excited when I spotted a pale green and Mr A called an assistant over to find me a tin.  "Are you sure it's the same colour as the chart, and the picture on the tin?" I asked.  He said it was but was happy to open it up for me to check.    It was BRİGHT green.   So we then pointed out a "pale" yellow.  He opened this tin and it was, as you may have guessed by now, BRİGHT bright that the thought of waking up to it first thing in the morning made me feel quite dizzy.

So, rather than settle for plain old white, I picked out  "Vanilla".  This wasn't quite what I wanted but it would do.

Yesterday, I started painting.  Has anyone any idea what colour Vanilla should be?  Not pink, surely?  This "Vanilla" is pink.   I don't like pink.   I watered it down so that it became a paler pink.  OK I carried on painting, thinking that maybe the colour would look different once it was dry.   It does look better, but it still looks pink.

Mr A told me that the amount of paint we bought would be more than sufficient to paint the entire bedroom.  It wasn't.  I now have two walls painted in pink...sorry Vanilla...and two walls still whitewashed.  It's not a good look.

Back to the drawing board then.

Friday, 25 May 2012


I'm not too keen on creepy crawlies but since moving to Turkey I've got used to seeing a lot more of them than I did in England.

As someone who was once a bit scared of spiders, I am now absolutely fine with them.  I've seen scorpions and snakes in our garden.  I just keep my distance.  Fortunately Mr A has now put some powder around the outside of the perimeter wall which will deter them apparently.

Because our house is damp, we tend to get a fair number of millipedes.  These also don't bother me.  They are quite small and when you pick them up to dispose of them, they curl up into a ball which actually makes it easier.

However, this evening I had the fright of my life.  I was putting things into the washing machine when I felt something pinch my finger.  I pulled it out immediately, to find a large centipede (around 3 or 4 inches long) attached to my finger.  I shook it off violently and screamed.  It landed on the kitchen table and I then had to decide what to do with it.  

I folded the tablecloth around it, took it outside and shook the cloth over the balcony.  Before doing so, I took a photo of it with my phone because I wanted to check it out on the internet.  I wasn't actually sure it was a centipede because I'd never seen one this size before.

I can't upload the photo from my phone, but I managed to find a picture of an identical one on the internet, and here it is:

Nasty looking creature isn't it?  My finger's a bit sore so it obviously bit me.  But I'm more concerned about whether there are any more of them lurking in the house.  I somehow don't think I'll get much sleep tonight.


I was just reading Perpetua's recent post where she mentions that she has three gardens that need to be kept under control.

I do envy her enthusiasm.  I'm in awe of all those people who get so much pleasure from gardening.  I wish some of it would rub off on me.  I used to regularly follow blogs that talked about self sufficiency.  People who grew enough food to live on.  I hoped that it would fire my enthusiasm.  It didn't.  Although I have the utmost admiration for those keen gardeners.

My late father loved gardening.  Not only did he enjoy tending his own garden, and an allotment, but would often be found helping others with their gardens.   When I grew up and had a garden of my own, my Dad would spend so much time trying to teach me the difference between flowers and weeds, what to plant and where.   None of it really sank in.  I seemed to be too busy with other things in my life.   He looked after all the gardens I had in England, up until he became too ill to do so.  I was very grateful for all his efforts because I always had a garden that was a pleasure to look at and to sit in.

He would have loved our garden here.  He would have enjoyed fighting the uphill battle with the we don't ever seem to be able to win.

My beans appearing through the soil
Fortunately Mr A, having left aside his woodwork phase of the winter months, has developed a keen interest in the garden this year.  He is spending all of his free time before and after work, digging, weeding, planting and nurturing flowers and vegetables.  He has also tried to get me interested.  A couple of weeks ago he handed me a small bag of pinkish beans and asked me to plant them in the garden, giving me clear instructions on how to do so.

I didn't really follow his advice.  I dug out a couple of small trenches, and just threw in the beans and covered them up...rather than spacing them out as I had been instructed.  Surprisingly they are actually growing, and Mr A has now put in canes to support them.  You'd think that this would have created just a little bit of excitement in me wouldn't you?  Not a chance.

I physically can't do weeding and digging these days because of my arthritis.  But I don't really need an excuse because even when I feel guilty and try to do something useful in the garden, I get bored with it after half an hour.  I do have responsibilty  for watering though, because Mr A doesn't always have time to do this.  Mind you, according to FIL on a visit here last year, I don't water properly.  But then he would say that wouldn't he?

Am I odd?  Is there anyone else out there like me?  Am I the only one who would rather look at a garden than work in it?

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Our new best friend.... Mehmet the vet.  I've mentioned him before.  I recently did a blog post about him and posted the link to his website on my sidebar.  He's the best vet we have ever encountered in Turkey.

Beki has been in season for what seems like forever.  I have been getting a bit concerned about her.  You may also recall that before I went to England, Mr A gave Beki a haircut.   It was the first time we had attempted this but her hair gets so thick during the summer that we thought this would be more comfortable for her.

Poppy has had several haircuts since we rescued her, and her hair grows back fairly quickly but it seems like Beki has reacted badly to her hair being cut.  It was fine at first, but gradually the skin on her back started to turn black, and was quite sore in places.   I've tried to keep her out of the sun as much as possible as I was sure this wasn't helping.

I spoke to Mehmet at the beginning of last week and he suggested dabbing it with iodine, which has helped a bit.  But Mr A spoke to him on Saturday and Mehmet said he would pop out to see us, but it would be late evening.

He came at around 10pm, having only just finished another long day at his surgery.   He says the skin can be treated, but it may be a long process, and hopefully the hair will grow back eventually.  He gave her an antibiotic injection, plus two further injections of other substances which should help.  He also put some cream on her back, and left me the remainder of the tube. 

As far as her long season is concerned, he examined her and says that everything appears OK, that this can happen with older female dogs, and just to be patient and give it a little more time.  If I am still concerned at any time, then he will look at it again.

He has suggested daily fish oil capsules for Beki, which I bought yesterday.

Just before Mehmet left, I asked him how much we owed him.  He replied "30lira for you".   This is just over £10.   This couldn't possibly be right.  It would probably only cover his petrol out here, let alone the cost of 3 injections.  Of course I queried it, but he insisted that this amount was absolutely fine because "You take good care of your dogs and that makes me happy". 

What a refreshing change to hear this from a vet in a country that generally has no concern for dogs.

What a lovely man.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Smile please!

Billy and Jimi having fun

Good friends as well as brothers

Jimi is one determined boy!  No sense of danger.
And finally....I have seen this ad hundreds of times, and it always makes me smile:

Have a good weekend xxx

Thursday, 17 May 2012

This week.....

....has been quite an eventful one for me.  I spend a lot of time on my own for weeks, even months, and then all of a sudden things happen.

Mr A returned home on Monday.  I probably can't keep up with his movements..just imagine what it's like for me!   When he went over to Kusadasi to work in March, I did try to tell him that not only would he miss his home (and me of course) but he would have to pay for a hotel to stay in, his food, laundry etc, and this would cut a big chunk from his salary.  He doesn't listen to me, but after a while he realises that I am right.

He finally considered all of these things, and having received a call from the Bodrum hamam boss where he worked last year, decided to take some time off from the Kusadasi job and explore the possibility of working at the hamam.  He started there on Tuesday.  The Kusadasi job was originally only temporary, but they had asked him to stay on.  He wanted to keep his options open in case the hamam job didn't live up to his expectations.  This evening he tells me that he will stay with the hamam and has informed the Kusadasi people that he won't be returning.

I am of course delighted that he's back home.  I hadn't realised quite how much I had missed being able to  chat in the evenings, and to sit with him on the balcony in the mornings drinking coffee, before he set off to work.  It's also so helpful that he can now get my shopping for me on his way home from work, to save me struggling on the bus and up the hill with heavy bags.

Mr A's woodwork phase seems to have ceased for the time being and the latest obsession is to make the garden pretty with lots of flowers.  The past two days has seen him arrive home with plants and pots and as I write he is outside digging up soil and planting.  The garden has been somewhat neglected while he's been away and there's a lot of weeding to do, but he enjoys it and will have a couple of hours of daylight to do this when he gets home every evening.

I've had visitors this week.  Yesterday Gwen and Suleyman called in for a couple of hours, on the way back to their hotel in Bitez from their house in Aydin.  They were accompanied by Gwen's parents who are over from England for a month.

And today I had a visit from a blogging friend, BacktoBodrum, who I recently met for the first time.  A very enjoyable afternoon.

Next week looks set to be busy too.  The other Gwen, from Selçuk will come over at the beginning of the week for a couple of days.  I also plan to visit Gwen in Suleyman in Bitez, and Karen from the Turkish Animal Group will hopefully be collecting me from Milas towards the end of the week, to take me to the dog shelter for the day.

All this activity has helped to lift my depressive mood.  However, an hour or so ago I opened my emails to find one from the sister of a dear friend in England (I'll call her P).   P was the first real friend I made when I moved to Turkey almost 14 years ago.   About 5 years later she returned to England to live but we have kept in touch.  The year before last she came back to Turkey for the first time since she had left.  It was for a short holiday in the August.  I met up with her in Bodrum and we had lunch and such an enjoyable time together.

In the October, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  She had to wait until January for a biopsy, by which time they could not operate because the cancer had spread to her liver.  She has spent the past 15 months undergoing chemo and radio therapies, and has suffered immensely.  Two months ago she was told that there was nothing more that could be done for her.

This morning she finally lost her battle.   I know she had reached a point where she had had enough, and the only consolation is that she is now at peace.

Rest in peace P.  I will miss you so much my dear friend. 

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

A Guest Post by Fly in the Web

Many of you will already follow two great blogs by Fly in the Web, French Leave and Costa Rica Calling.  If you haven't come across them, do take a look....I can guarantee you will enjoy them.

Fly is busy trying to raise awareness for a cause close to her heart, and I have invited her to my blog to do this guest post:

You are swimming in the ocean.
Suddenly, you are netted and hauled into a boat.
Your hands and feet are cut off and bleeding you are thrown back into the sea where, unable to swim, you slowly drown.
A nightmare.
But it's not happening to is happening to sharks trapped in the waters off Costa Rica's Pacific Coast, to feed the taste for shark fin soup of the well heeled and well connected in China and Taiwan.
Costa Rica has laws forbidding the practice...but little method of enforcement and, it has to be said, despite the efforts of conscientious law enforcement officers and judges, the blind eye that is turned is of Nelsonic proportions – as always where large amounts of money are concerned.
You may know of the campaigning group Avaaz.....they have recently made it possible for people to use their organisation to start individual petitions, with the idea that if these petitions gain enough momentum, Avaaz itself will take them on.
I have started a petition. The link is here:
Please support it, please tell people about it.
We all know that where a lucrative trade exists, law is pretty ineffective – only money talks to money.
Costa Rica depends largely on its tourist industry and promotes its 'green' credentials to attract visitors.
Pressure on that industry – clients telling agencies that they won't consider Costa Rica as a destination until this disgusting trade is abolished – will do more than any protest to the government.
Costa Rica has a big outsourcing industrial sector.
For those of us with 'Intel inside' our computers, there's a strong chance that these chips will have been manufactured in Costa Rica.
Customers asking Intel whether they are happy to be associated with a country that does not control this barbarity might have some effect – companies being so worried about their corporate images.
I am not a seasoned campaigner...I am a complete numpty about social networking...but Avaaz can do all this if only enough people will support this petition. the sharks from the sharks that prey on them.


Thankyou Fly, and I hope my followers will also help to spread the word.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Cultural differences

Anyone in a mixed race marriage, living in a foreign country, will experience problems in adjusting to the differences in culture.  It's inevitable that there will be misunderstandings and confusion at times.

It takes an awful lot of understanding and compromise to make such a marriage work.

For the most part, I think I have adjusted well to life in Turkey for almost 14 years.  I embrace a lot of the differences.  I like the way the Turkish people are so welcoming, so willing to go the extra mile to help you if you have a problem, so unlike the indifference I often experienced when living in the UK.

I like the neighbourliness..not just in villages where it's almost expected, but in every area where we have lived.  They welcome you to their community.  They bring you produce from their gardens, food they have cooked, and I enjoy returning the favours.

There are some things though which I find difficult to live with.  If you marry a Turk, you marry his family.  Of course there are positives to this but some foreign women find it suffocating and often this can be the cause of the marriage breaking down.

I consider myself fortunate that we have never lived close to Mr A's family, so there has been no interference.  We have just lived our own lives without being controlled by his family.

Things changed when we moved to this village, to the house "given" to us by my FIL.  As much as he insists that this is our home, it doesn't actually feel like it.  His name is still on the deeds, as it also is on the houses he has given to his two other children.  It really means that he can come and go as he pleases.

In theory I don't have a problem with welcoming Mr A's family to stay in our home (even thought FIL and I dislike each other), but I do find it difficult to come to terms with the way in which Turkish families can turn up whenever they feel like it, often without prior warning, and stay as long as they like.  It is really not the done thing to ask them when they are coming or how long they will stay.  According to Mr A to do so would cause offence, and would show lack of respect.

Last week Mr A mentioned that FIL would be bringing Mr A's grandfather here for a visit.  Seeing how distraught Mr A was, and still is, over the recent death of his elderly grandmother, I certainly felt that this was a good idea, and of course will make him welcome.  The fact that I have to also put up with the spitefulness of FIL at the same time, isn't a pleasant prospect, but I will rise above it.

The problem lies with the fact that we have no idea when they are coming.  I have a couple of friends who would like to come and stay, at different times, but I can't make plans to accommodate them because I don't know when FIL and GFIL will be here.

I have tried to get Mr A to ask his father to give some idea when they will be coming, but he won't ask, because he feels, like most Turks, that families are entitled to come and go to each others homes as and when they like.  I suggested that I ring his father to ask, tactfully of course, but Mr A insists that this is rude, that his father will take offence and not come.  Which means of course that grandfather won't be coming either...and for Mr A's sake, I don't want that to happen.

Mr A says family are more important than friends.  Of course I agree up to a point, but my friends are important to me, particularly those living in different parts of this country.  They make up in many ways for the lack of time spent with my own family.

So I asked Mr A what would happen if I invited friends to stay and his family turn up while they are here.  He can't see that it's a problem.  He says they can all stay.  We only have one spare bedroom, so where would they all sleep?   You see, the Turks have no problem at all with filling a room full of people, happy to sleep on the floor.   I admire the way they are so adaptable, but I can't live like this, and I can't expect my friends to be squashed into a room to sleep with people they don't know.  They, like me, would expect more privacy.'s a problem.  One I can't seem to overcome, however hard I try.

Am I being unreasonable?  I'm beginning to think I haven't adapted so well to this life as I thought I had.


Check out

Friday, 11 May 2012

Depression and Dreams

I've talked about my depression in past blog posts.  I'm going through depression at the moment.  I don't worry about it too much.  I'm used to it.  I know all the signs and the triggers.  I go with it.  Fighting it is counter-productive.  If I want to crawl back into bed, I do.  Getting anxious and trying to "snap out of it" or "pull myself together", as those who haven't experienced depression will often suggest, isn't an option.

Something I have noticed during these bouts is how strange and vivid my dreams are.  I put this down to the fact that, as I understand it, dreaming happens when you are not in a deep sleep, and because I find sleep difficult at such times, I nap when I feel like it.  It's then that I dream the most.

I napped this morning, as a result of being wide awake at around 3am.   In my dream, my blogging friend, Fly in the Web, (who I have never met), pulled up outside my house in her car.  This of course is highly unlikely as she lives in Costa Rica.  She produced some bedding plants for me from the boot, and I invited her in for a coffee.

This is when my dream gets frustrating. I send Fly out to sit in the garden  while I make coffee.  My house suddenly changes into one I don't recognise.  I can't find the coffee, and after searching and finding it, I can't get the coffee machine to work.  When I do, I make a complete mess of it.  All this is taking so much time to do.   There are also a lot of people wandering about in this strange house.  I don't know any of them.

When I eventually produce coffee and take it out into the garden, there is a table but no chairs, and Fly isn't there.  She is in fact at the bottom of the garden, taking part in a yoga group!  I told you this dream was strange!  Finally we both go into the house.  I tell all the strangers to leave and Fly and I sit down to chat.   Then I woke up.

I have two recurring dreams.  One where I am trying to get to a certain place and there are just so many obstacles in my path that it's impossible to get there.  I've heard others talk about this kind of dream.  I think it's a fairly common one.

One that is particularly disturbing for me, is when I dream about my son, who has been estranged from me since I moved to Turkey almost 14 years ago.  In my dreams everything is OK.  We have normal contact, and he comes to visit me here.  This dream is so real, so believable, that when I wake up, for a moment I actually think it's true.  It makes me incredibly sad to later realise that it's not.

I know there are books and probably websites that analyse dreams, but I've never been tempted to look at them.  I'm not sure I really want to know what they mean.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Unexpected things.

I had a real chuckle today.  I must say I needed it, as I've been slowly sinking into one of my regular depressions this past few days.

I was on the dolmuş coming back from Milas this morning.  As we left the town and were on the main road we were flagged down by a little old lady.  She must have been around 90 if she was a day.  She was typically Turkish dressed...shalwar, headscarf, etc. She had a tablecloth strapped to her back, containing whatever it was she was transporting from A to B, as do many Turkish village women, and she got on the dolmus with the help of her stick, which was once the branch of a tree by the looks of it.

She told the driver she wanted to get off at the top of the hill, just before we turn off the main road to the villages.

There were seven or eight other people on the bus.  A mobile phone started to ring. And this was what was unexpected...the old lady produced the phone from her shalwar pocket.  You just don't expect someone like her to have a mobile phone...totally out of character.

She put it to her ear...without pressing any continued to ring while she shouted "Mehmet"  into it.  Others on the bus told her to press the answer key.  She ignored them and carried on shouting to Mehmet until the phone stopped.  This happened again...twice...and each time everyone on the bus was shouting at her to press the answer key. But she just ignored them and carried on shouting.

She then passed the phone to a woman sitting behind me and asked her to ring Mehmet.  The woman couldn't find the number, and passed the phone to another passenger, who also couldn't find the number, and the phone continued to be passed around the bus, and then back to the old woman.

She put the phone to her ear, without pressing any keys and proceeded to shout "Mehmet" into it.

We reached the top of the hill.  The bus stopped for the old lady to get off.  We all watched as she walked away from the bus, still happily shouting "Mehmet" into the phone, at which point everyone, including me, burst into laughter.

I wonder who Mehmet is?  Maybe he gave her the phone but forgot to show her how to use it.  Or perhaps he did, and she refused to listen to him, like she refused to listen to everyone on the bus.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Sunday trip

Sunday isn't the best day for dolmuş travel.  The buses are less frequent, are usually packed with people visiting families, and seem to take twice as long to get to their destinations.

However, this Sunday, having been nowhere since I returned from England, I was anxious to get out of the house.

I decided to go over to Selçuk to visit Gwen (this is Gwen1 who looked after my dogs, not to be confused with Gwen2 who is married to Suleyman...I seem to have a number of friends called Gwen at the moment).

I left the house at 10.15 to pick up the dolmuş from the village at 10.30am to Milas. It was jam-packed with people.  Mostly teenagers  who I guess think that wandering around Milas for a couple of hours is more exciting than spending Sunday in this quiet village.  Turkish teenagers are so polite and considerate.  They don't rush for seats on the bus, they let adults go first.  They help the elderly on to the bus with their shopping. They're lovely...a credit to their parents and I believe, the result of discipline in schools..something sadly lacking in many other countries.  

I had a half hour wait in Milas for the bus to Soke.  This is the longest part of the journey, but a picturesque one, especially the drive through Bafa, with the sun shining on the lake.  But it's very uncomfortable on a dolmuş.  The last time I came this way was when I visited Gwen2 in Aydin, on a large bus

From Soke, I caught the bus to Kusadasi, then changed again for the bus to Selçuk, arriving at Gwen's home just after 2pm.

Gwen had cooked lunch for us, and we spent an enjoyable few hours sitting out on her balcony in the sunshine.

Thankfully, Mr A had decided to travel home on Sunday so he collected me at 6.30pm and we did the return journey by car, which took just less than 2 hours.

After an hour pottering around the garden in the dark, and drinking coffee, Mr A returned to Kusadasi as he had an early start on Monday morning.  I hardly see him these days, but it's probably just as well.  He's depressed, bad tempered and tired, so not particularly good company.

I'm still wondering when FIL and grandad will be coming.  I hate not knowing.  I'm seriously considering taking the dogs over to Selçuk and staying with Gwen while they are here.  I know it's the coward's way out,  but it's tempting.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

An Important Visit

Mr A's very elderly grandmother died three weeks ago.  She looked after him from a very early age, after his mother left when Mr A was just two weeks old.  No-one ever talks about Mr A's mother or the reason why she left.  From my experiences of my FIL, I somehow think that the blame may lie with him.  It must have been an act of desperation for a mother to leave a two week old baby with his father.

Time moved on.  FIL remarried and Mr A's stepmother had two children, who Mr A adores.  He has a very good relationship with them and his stepmother.  But it is his grandmother that he has always referred to as his Mum, because he lived with her and his grandfather for most of his childhood.

He is still distraught.  He came home late last night and was so upset that it was difficult to console him.  I think he is suffering a great deal of guilt because he hadn't seen his "Mum" for 18 months.  And three weeks ago when she had been taken into hospital, and while he was making the long journey to Ankara to see her, she died before he had chance to say goodbye.  I think it will take him a long time to recover.

His grandfather is now also very old and frail and Mr A doesn't want to leave it so long before seeing him again. 

He has just phoned to say that FIL will be bringing grandfather here for a visit..  We have no idea when this will be or for how long.  Maybe just a few days, but who knows?  

It's not a problem for me to welcome his grandfather here.  Although I only met him and grandmother once for a few days some years ago, they showed me so much love and made me feel very much part of their family.

My problem is with FIL.  On his last visit he was very nasty to me and actually told me he didn't consider me part of this family.

It's going to be very difficult.  Mr A is not going to be here, other than late evening until early morning, so it will be up to me to entertain grandfather and FIL.   FIL's English is perfect so naturally he will communicate with me in my language.  Grandfather knows no English, so will be unaware of what is being said.  I have a feeling FIL will do all he can to make me feel uncomfortable and give the wrong impression of me to grandfather.

Maybe I'm being over concerned or even paranoid about this visit, but frankly I'm absolutely dreading it.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Back to reality and not taking anything for granted

Twelve days in the UK had me taking quite a lot of things for granted.  Now back to reality.  Summer has arrived with a vengeance.  From cold and rainy England, I was suddenly transported to temperatures up near 30 degrees. 

Unfortunately it's also very humid and we really need a storm to clear the air.

The UK has a hosepipe ban.  Ridiculous really considering the amount of rain that fell when I was there.  But at least when you turn on the tap you get water.  It's a different story here.  The start of summer brings the regular water cuts.  Since I returned the water has been off for around 4 hours every day.  It wouldn't be so bad if they switched it off at the same time each day, so you could plan when to shower, switch on the washing machine, do the washing-up and water the garden.  But that doesn't happen.  

I managed to do a lot of washing throughout Monday night as I couldn't sleep.  Just as well as the water went off early on Tuesday.  But the garden has been neglected.  So I was up as soon as it started to get light this morning.  I spent nearly two hours giving it a good soaking.  I was just about to take a shower.  Turned on the tap...and nothing.

And ticks seem to be a big problem this year.  Beki and Poppy picked up quite a lot while they were staying with Gwen in Selçuk.  I have showered them, frontlined them, and they also have flea collars.  But every time they go out in the garden, they are picking up the odd one.  The tick treatment is working up to a point, so the ticks will drop off or are easily removed.  But these nasty little creatures seem immune to whatever you use to deter them.

Mr A says there is something he can get to spray the garden to get rid of them, but he is so busy at the moment that I'm not sure when he will be able to get home.

If anyone has any ideas or solutions for ridding the garden of ticks, please let me know.

It looks like the dogs and I will be confined to the house for the next couple of weeks, to avoid the ticks and also unwanted attention from the male dogs of the village, as Beki is in season.

It should give me chance to spend time on the internet.  Although I have had connection problems every day, and we are also getting regular powercuts.

So this is my reality...never taking anything for granted.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Memorable Moments

Where did that 12 days go?  The time just whizzed by, but I have some wonderful memories.

Billy and Jimi waiting for me to arrive.

I arrived to a great welcome from an excited Billy which made me so happy.  Jimi was a little wary at first but not for long.  He latched on to me for the entire trip and we enjoyed some lovely cuddles.

Jimi climbing on everything in sight
Jimi is walking.  He's also climbing.  He is an absolutely fearless little chap.  He throws himself into everything without any sense of danger.  He falls over. He bumps himself.  We gasp and wait for the screams...which never come.  He just gets up and throws himself at the next challenge.

He is so different to Billy in every way, who is a sensitive and intelligent little boy. Much more cautious than his younger brother.  

Off to nursery school in the rain

And Billy started nursery school last week.  His anxious mum spent the first day there with him and worried about whether he would settle and want to go back the next day.  But he loves it.

My daughter and I managed a day of shopping in Reading on the 21st for birthday presents, together with lunch at our favourite restaurant.

On the 23rd we celebrated Billy's 3rd birthday with a trip to his favourite Pizza Hut.   During the week my daughter managed to decorate her bedroom, whilst I sorted out her kitchen cupboards and fridge.  Something she hates doing, and is now delighted that everything is in order. I also blitzed the garden in readiness for the planned joint party for the boys.

We had the party on the 28th and the house was filled with family, friends and children.  The rain continued but it didn't deter everyone from having a good time.  We erected two large gazebos in the garden so that the children could play in the sandpit, ballpond and playhouse.

Sunday 29th was Jimi's 1st birthday and the present from his mum and dad was a slide.  He soon got the hang of getting to the top, albeit by climbing up the slope.  He then put his hands and feet in the air and literally threw himself down.  We had spread a large duvet on the sitting room floor as it was too wet and windy to put the slide outside.  Just as well as this cushioned his landing as he hurtled to the bottom.

In the afternoon, my son-in-law looked after the boys to give my daughter and I a last chance to do a bit of shopping and have lunch together, before I set off for my brother's house for my last night.  I was leaving at around 4.15am on Monday morning so was reluctant to wake the boys up so early to say goodbye and disturb their much needed sleep.

And then back to Turkey.

I arrived home last night and busied myself with loading up the washing machine while Mr A went to the shops for food to keep me going for a while.

He had collected Beki and Poppy from Gwen in Selçuk before picking me up at the airport.  They both had ticks.  Mr A had paid a visit to Gwen on Friday to deal with them, as she found it difficult, but they had picked up more.  Beki has also just come into season.  I had the task of removing the ticks, showering them, and putting more flea and tick treatment on them.  Poor girls were a bit traumatised but at least they're clean. 

Mr A will be staying with the carpet job in Kusadasi after all.   The Torba hamam job is commission only which is always unpredictable, but the Kusadasi job will pay a monthly salary.  They have also agreed to pay for Mr A's hotel accommodation which will help.  I've hardly seen him recently, but he will be able to get home a couple of times a week.  We had considered renting accommodation in Kusadasi for us and the dogs, but the extra expense isn't worth it.  I'm just thankful he has regular employment to see him through until  winter.

I'm exhausted.  It's been a hectic couple of weeks, but very enjoyable.  Now for some much needed sleep!


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