Monday, 30 July 2012

Well done TAG!


TAG go to huge lengths to rescue starving, injured or abused strays left to die in the forest, abandoned by the roadside, hit by cars......They recently drove 14 hours each way to save a litter of desperate puppies dum
ped in a rubbish tip with no mother.

Please support them by liking their facebook page above and joining their facebook group below ♥♥

They have just received a call today about a puppy found poisoned - this is one of the daily dangers stray dogs face in Turkey.   This was one of a litter of pups and their mother that are living in a forest.  Karen has been out daily to feed them, she has frontlined and wormed them.  The TAG shelter is full at the moment, so she is desperately trying to find a way of rescuing them.

 We are delighted that TAG has at last gained charity status.  It opens up so many more doors, and makes it far easier to fundraise for this work.

Please spread the word...thankyou xx

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Olympic Fever

Well it's started.  For the next two weeks we will hear of nothing else.  I'm not at all interested in sport.  I'm not a competitive person at all, and I think you need to have this characteristic to be enthusiastic about sport.  I am thankful that I am not in England at the moment because I think the olympic obsession would drive me nuts.

I do however like a spectacle.  I missed the first hour or so of the Opening Ceremony, but stayed up until around 2.30am watching the rest of it.

It was in my opinion a pretty amazing show, and I can really appreciate how much effort it must have taken to organise such an event.  Well done to Danny Boyle...I think he got it just right.  And well done to the thousands of volunteers who made it all possible.

So many things were impressive but the ones that I will remember most are the wonderful James Bond/HM The Queen spoof  parachute drop.  It proves she does have a sense of humour.

The cauldron was magical.

I love the fact that the olympic torch would have travelled within an hour of 95 per cent of people in the UK on its way to London.  The were so many torchbearers who had a story to tell, and for whom this task was a privilege.  I particularly loved the ex-Liverpool footballer Owen, carrying his torch through Batterseas Dogs Home, with a pitbull on a lead, with other pıtbulls forming a guard of honour.  What a fitting memory to Lennox, and all pıtbulls being condemned to death for no reason.

And a great historical moment.  Saudi women taking part in the games for the first time ever.  Brilliant!

One part of the ceremony I didn't like was the way the great Mohamed Ali, now a very sick man, was handled like some kind of puppet.  His total incomprehension at what was expected of him was uncomfortable to watch and it actually made me cry.  Why couldn't he have just been there, watching, that would have been enough.

I also felt that Paul McCartney was totally wrong for the climax.  He can no longer sing and it was embarassing.  I'm sure there's far more talent to choose from.

All in all though, it was pretty good, and something that should make the British feel proud.

Now I'll just withdraw from all this for the next two weeks, and look forward to the closing ceremony!

Did you watch last night?  What did you think of it?

Friday, 27 July 2012

That moment when..... realise you really do love your brother!

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Time for an update

...not that there is much to say.  My life is plodding along nicely.   I'm avoiding trips out at the moment because it's far too hot.

Mr A has been working at a hotel hamam in Yalikavak for the past week.  It's not been a good season so far, jobwise.  He has been here, there and everywhere for the past few months.  He has worked and not been paid.  He has had promises that his accommodation would be paid for...and it hasn't.  As a result, money has been going out rather than coming in.

So far with the current job, although he isn't earning a great deal, he has accommodation and food.  The downside is that he hasn't managed to come home since he started, because it costs too much in petrol.

While he is away I have responsibility for the garden....not good.   I haven't a clue what to do with it, so I'm sticking to watering everything.  This causes me a great deal of discomfort because in spite of covering myself in clothes and insect repellent, I am still being bitten unmercifully.

 We have had a good crop of tomatoes and I have sun-dried some.  Actually that's not completely true.  I started them off in the sun but they attracted too many insects, so I finished them off in the oven.  I have now bottled them in olive oil and garlic.  I have also made a large quantity of tomato sauce, with peppers, onions and garlic, and stored this in jars.

I did experiment with preserving them in vinegar. I only did 3 jars, which is just as well because they don't look good so I may have to dispose of them.

I now have a pretty impressive store cupboard containing all the above, along with apricot jam, plum jam, green tomato chutney and spicy apricot chutney.

We have an abundence of grapes and I am thinking about making grape juice...if anyone has tried this, I would appreciate some tips please.

I am eagerly waiting for the figs to ripen.  I love fresh figs, and I also intend to make lots of fig jam.

So that's my life at the moment.   Looking forward to cooler weather, and also to my visit to see Stella, Billy and Jimi in September.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Tommy's Progress

It's six weeks since I found the emaciated puppy in our village, and Karen from the Turkish Animal Group came out to rescue him.

He is making slow progress.  He was all skin and bone, and had the worse case of mange that Karen's vet had seen.  Because of this he has been isolated at the shelter to avoid infecting the other dogs.

As with all the dogs Karen rescues, she has fallen in love with him.  He's a cheeky little chap and because he's on his own at the moment, she plays with him as much as possible.  He loves to play ball.

You can seen from these pics how much he has improved in this short time with good treatment, food and a lot of TLC.

He will be available for adoption as soon as he is completely fit.

T.A.G. has over 60 dogs in the shelter now, waiting for homes.  Karen also goes out and about feeding dogs in towns and forests, and making sure that they have water in this scorching heat.

 Donations and sponsorship are desperately needed for this work to continue, and if you want to help, you will see the link on my sidebar.

Tommy is one lucky boy isn't he?

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

A plug

This is a short post for my blogging friend Carol, whose blog is called Not only in Thailand

 Some months ago she set herself a challenge to do a drawing a day for a year, and each month she holds a draw for one of her followers to win one of her pieces of art.

Carol has now set up a shop on etsy called Art is Autobiographical. where her work can be purchased.  She's asking her followers to spread the word and I am happy to do so.

Good luck Carol xxx

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Ramazan re-visited

Special Ramazan pide bread
Today is the third day of Ramazan.  In the early hours of Friday morning...3.20am to be precise...I was woken up by the drummer, who for some reason decided to stand outside my gate (the only non-Muslim in the village) and bang his drum non-stop for half an hour.

Oh great, I thought, if this is his place of choice, then I have a whole month of this to look forward to.

Fortunately, yesterday morning and this morning, I heard nothing.  Either he has parked himself elsewhere or I have slept very deeply.

It's the worst time of the year for fasting.  This heat is relentless and not being able to even partake of water must be real torture.

I wrote a more detailed post about Ramazan three years ago.  You can read it HERE

Friday, 20 July 2012

Off the Leash

Perpetua's recent post included a little cartoon video of Simon's Cat, which made me laugh out loud.

It reminded me of another cartoonist Rupert Fawcett, most well known for his character Fred.  His latest series of daily cartoons which I follow on Facebook, feature real conversations between dogs.

Rupert's cartoons make my day.  You can see more of  Off the Leash on his blog HERE . © Off The Leash - all rights reserved & Rupert Fawcett's other creations can be viewed on his website HERE

Wednesday, 18 July 2012


Oh're thinking...she's not doing another post about dogs!   Well I did say that I couldn't find much to write about at the moment.  And you know how much I love dogs so I'll always find something to say about them.

I mentioned a few weeks ago that Poppy was suffering from sleep incontinence.  She had one or two accidents after she was spayed last October, but as it didn't happen often, I didn't place too much importance on it.  However it seemed to get much worse when Beki was ill and my time was taken up looking after her.  Poppy didn't have much of my attention then and I now think that this affected her and maybe the problem was mostly psychological.   Those of you who don't have dogs may think this is crazy, but those of you who are very much dog people, will definitely know what I mean.

Mehmet the vet prescribed some tablets for Poppy, which she took for 10 days.  She actually stopped wetting in her sleep the day before she started on the tablets, and hasn't had one accident since, and she's been off medication for over a week now.

With the temperatures up in the mid 40s at the moment, Poppy was in desperate need of a haircut, so yesterday we took her to the clinic and Mehmet trimmed her...or rather shaved her.  It's very short, but neat and tidy and she's so much happier.  He also cut her nails, and emptied her anal glands (not a pleasant task but essential for some dogs).   She was shampood and frontlined and we bought her a very smart new collar.  I'd love to show you before and after photos but I can't upload them at the moment.

I made a decision not to take in any more dogs, but it doesn't stop me looking out for the dogs in the village.  I leave containers of fresh water outside our gate every day, and have posted on our village Facebook page for the villagers to do the same.  I'm not sure they will take much notice, but one or two men have responded by re-posting my advice.

The women just down the hill from us who pass our gate every day with their sheep, have a dog outside their house.  I had a go at them a few weeks ago because the poor animal was tied up on a short chain with no water.  I took him food and a container of water, which I asked them to refill every day.   I tried to explain that the chain was unnecessary, because if they regularly fed and watered him, he would not run away.   I took the chain off to prove the point, but the next day they had tied him up again.

So I got Mr A to have a word with them.  He's much more forceful than me.  They've finally got the message.  I had a spare tube of Frontline and worm tablets, so a few days ago Mr A went down and administered them to the dog.  His owners haven't named him, so we call him Sammy.  Although we haven't adopted him, we will continue to feed him and make sure he is worm and flea free.

You may recall the emaciated, mange ridden pup that I found a while ago that we named Tommy.  My friend Karen who runs the TAG animal shelter hired a car to come over from Didim to rescue him.  The following day he was checked over by her vet, treated for fleas, ticks, and severe mange, vaccinated, etc, and had to be kept in  isolation until the mange had cleared up.  I am happy to report that he is doing well.  He's a cheeky little chap and it never fails to amaze me that in spite of the awful start in life that these dogs have, they still have character and nothing can crush their spirit.   I'm waiting for a photo of Tommy which I'll post up as soon as it arrives.

TAG recently entered a competition to win 5000 dollars to buy a much needed secondhand van to assist in their constant rescue of dogs, trips to vets, collection of food etc.  As you know TAG relies on donations, and the cost of renting cars to rescue dogs in distress is using precious funds that could be spent on food and vet fees.  Sadly we didn't win, and the fundraising efforts continue.

If you want to help by donating, sponsoring, adopting, or just by spreading the word, you will find the link on my sidebar, and also the chip-in for the vehicle fundraising...or visit the Turkish Animal Group (T.A.G) page on Facebook.

Also for Facebook users, TAG are trying to win £500 worth of dog food and treats, so you can help by going to this page   and entering the following link in the comment box   ...before the end of July please.

Thankyou xxx

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Trying to catch up

Time seems to be passing far too quickly these days.  The week my daughter, Stella, was here disappeared in a flash.  I can't believe that another week has disappeared since she returned home.

The weather here is hot...very hot.  The temperatures are up in the 40s now and set to rise to around 50 in the coming days, due to a heatwave making it's way here from Africa.

I hate the heat.  I feel trapped...confined to the house.  The mosquitoes this year are evil.  I always avoid going outside after dusk, but it makes no difference this year..these nasty creatures are biting during the day as well.

One attempt to get into Milas at the beginning of the week failed.  I walked down the hill to the village to catch the bus.  My clothes were soaked with sweat and I felt sick and dizzy, so I returned to the house.   Eventually I managed to get much needed shopping when Mr A drove me to Milas late Thursday evening.

Mr A is having a bad season workwise.  He has been to-ing and fro-ing.  Kusadasi...Bodrum...Kusadasi...back to Bodrum.  I've actually lost track of his movements.  He hasn't worked at all this past week.  He's trying to find work.  He's put out feelers, searched, talked to people, and has reached the point where all he can do is wait for phone calls.  He's passing the time in the village teahouse during the day, and working in the garden till late evening.  We both get stressed and bad-tempered at times like this, so he is wisely keeping out of my way.

I don't feel very inspired as far as blogging is concerned.  This post is a good example of my mood.  I'm moaning about everything and I really don't want to continue like this, because I'm sure it will drive you all away!

The weeks of Beki's illness, and my daughter being here, prevented me from finding the time to follow my favourite blogs, and I'm trying to catch up with them now.  So forgive me if you haven't seen comments from me for some time.

Meanwhile, as I gradually melt, I will do my best to find something cheerful to write about next time!

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Save Lennox

This dog is due to die this week.  He has been on "death row" in Belfast for two years.  He has done nothing wrong, but the "powers that be" think he looks like a pitbull so they are going to kill him.

It has caused outrage throughout the world and a determination to boycott Belfast should this murder go ahead.

If you are not familiar with the entire story THIS ARTICLE will tell you all you need to know.  It also provides links to petition sites and email addresses, should you wish to join thousands across the world protesting at this injustice.


UPDATE.  The following status update on Facebook posted an hour ago by Victoria Stilwell who had offered to pay all costs to transport Lennox to the US to live in her sanctuary:

"Just got confirmation that despite other options, pleas for mercy from hundreds of thousands and personal appeals from the First Minister, the BCC killed Lennox this morning. I'm sickened, outraged, and devastated for the Barnes family."

Rest in Peace Lennox, knowing that thousands of  caring people tried for two years to save you.

Belfast City Council I hope you can live with what you have done.  If there is a God, may he forgive you.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Eating out in Milas

In my previous post I talked about the wonderful lunch my daughter and I shared in Bodrum for my birthday.

I also mentioned that I don't eat out in restaurants that often, but one place Mr A and I often visit is Ziyafet Pide in Milas.

My daughter and I briefly visited Milas market last Tuesday, and I thought it would be a good opportunity to take her to Ziyafet Pide for lunch.  She remembers enjoying pide when she visited us  many years ago.

The pide on the plate is just one portion.  We had two.  It was accompanied by salad and roasted peppers, and we each had a cola.

Can you believe how much this cost?  Just 15 lira in total for the two of us, which is just over £5.00.  Incredible value and delicious too.

A new Lavazza coffee house has recently opened in Milas and happens to be right next door to Ziyafet Pide, so we rounded off lunch with a delicious cappuccino.

Oh what bliss to at last find somewhere in Milas to get a decent coffee!

Monday, 9 July 2012

Eating out in Bodrum

We don't eat out very often.  If we do, we tend to use the Turkish fast food establishments that serve pide (Turkish pizza) or kofte (meat balls) which are delicious and very good value for money, and only occasionally do we eat at restaurants, usually when recommended by friends.

On Friday my daughter and I did a day trip to Bodrum, and she had insisted on treating me to lunch for my birthday.  She wanted us to find a restaurant that overlooked the sea, where we could eat fish and drink wine for a leisurely couple of hours.

I've had a few bad experiences in the past when eating in restaurants in the busy tourist areas.  You need to be very careful because it's so easy to be ripped off by unscrupulous restaurant owners out to make a fast buck.

However,  it is possible to find restaurants that serve good quality food at reasonable prices.

Most restaurants will provide a set menu.  They don't always advertise the fact, because naturally they will earn more if you choose from the a la carte menu.  But ask and invariably they will be happy to give you a fixed price.  It's particularly useful if you want to eat fish, because this is sold by weight if you order a la carte, so a fixed price set menu is ideal.

Don't be afraid to ask the prices of everything before you order.  Much better than getting a nasty shock when the bill arrives.

We found a lovely restaurant in Bodrum called the Denizce.  It is situated in Cumhuriyet Caddesi.  The ground floor is very spacious and there are a fair number of tables overlooking the harbour and the castle.  There is also a further terrace upstairs with more beautiful views out to sea.

On request, the owner was happy to provide a set menu of sea bass, salad, rice and chips, and a beer or soft drink for 22 lira each.  We had a good selection of mezes to start with.  Far too much for the two of us, and this was just 15 lira for the plate.   We had a decent bottle of Doluca white wine at 29 lira.  So the total bill amounted to 88 lira.   The exchange rate on Friday was 2.82 lira to the £, therefore the total bill was less than £32.

The food was delicious and the service was excellent, and the restaurant and facilities were very clean.  I noticed that there were highchairs available, and also baby changing equipment in the spacious ladies toilet.   Those of you living  or holidaying in Turkey will know that it isn't always easy to find clean toilets, so this was a pleasant surprise.  They even provided disposable plastic seat covers for the toilets!

I was very impressed by the Denizce restaurant and thought it a good idea to use my blog to recommend it.  And no...I'm not being paid to advertise it...I'm just one very satisfied customer!

Have a look at the photos on their website HERE

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Looking at things differently.

My daughter arrived on Sunday evening, not as much of a nervous wreck as I expected her to be, after attempting to conquer her fear of flying.  OK she didn't actually enjoy the journey, but she managed to get here!

We haven't done much yet.  Actually we may continue to do very little for the rest of the week.  She is exhausted and really needs sleep and relaxation.

I thought that she may be bored here, and had made a few plans for day trips.  But we've only managed Milas market for a couple of hours today, a pide for lunch, and wonderful coffee in a newly opened Lavazza cafe in the town.  Other than that, she is relaxing, reading and sleeping.

Having lived in this village for more than three years now, I seem to have taken if very much for granted.  I often moan about being isolated.  In fact I whinge  a bit too much  about my life here.

I was  very surprised when we arrived home with my daughter at the enthusiasm she had for our environment.  She said "Mum, I never imagined you lived in such a fantastic place".   It stopped me in my tracks.   I started to look around me again, almost with fresh eyes.  Yes it is fantastic.  The view from our house is to die for.  The people of the village are so friendly, welcoming and helpful.  My daughter hasn't visited me in Turkey for 11 years, and then it was when we lived in tourist areas.  This village is like nothing she has ever experienced before, and she loves it.  She definitely intends to return next year with my grandsons, because she knows they will love it too.

I am delighted by this.  My attitude has changed over the past couple of days.  I am at last very grateful for what I have here.