Friday, 31 August 2012

TV Adverts....

The temperature has dropped.  It's warm and sunny and very pleasant.  I'm off to Bodrum to get a much needed haircut today, so I'll leave you with some TV adverts ....for want of something more interesting to blog about!
This one irritates me but also makes me laugh. The acting is so bad, I wonder how it ever achieved air-time.
I find these British Gas ads a bit creepy.  I don't like the way the ad people put almost human faces on these weird shaped animated characters.  For me, it's the stuff of nightmares.
Ah...but this one I really like!  The song by the Animals takes me back to my youth.  I think David Beckham is lovely!
Are there any TV ads...past or present...that you love or hate or just find irritating?

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Victory Day (Zafer Bayramı)

Today is a national holiday in Turkey, which celebrates victory over the allied forces in 1922, ending the War of Independence.

You can read more about it on Burak Sansal's website HERE

Burak Sansal has been a licensed tour guide since 1990, and his knowledge of this country takes some beating.

If there's anything you want to know about Turkey, you will more than likely find it on his website All About Turkey

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

A blog post I'd love you to read

I was about to do a similar post, but my blogging friend Back to Bodrum, beat me to it.

Please read it BY CLİCKİNG HERE.   And if you have a Facebook page, please vote and share.

Thankyou xx

Monday, 27 August 2012

Royal secrets


Has anyone watched the documentary recently shown on Channel 4, The Queen's Mother-in-law ?

I have a vague recollection of years ago seeing photos of the elderly Princess Alice, dressed in nun's habit, on the arm of her son Prince Philip, but don't remember ever reading much about her.

It seems to have been one of the better kept secrets of the royal family, and it's a fascinating story.  I've never been particularly fond of Prince Philip, but the story of his mother and the effect it must have had on his childhood, has left me feeling quite sympathetic towards him.

A quite remarkable woman, whose family were embarrassed  because of  her mental illness, and who spent time being hidden away in institutions, but who showed  incredible bravery in helping others.

And thank goodness the treatment of mental illness has come an awful long way since those days!

You can see it on Channel 4 catch-up or HERE.  It's well worth watching.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Laptop Problems

Last year, after I'd had my netbook for a couple of months, Mr A took it to a computer shop and paid to have Windows 7 in English installed on it.

I was delighted because now I wouldn't have to struggle with technical Turkish in pop-up boxes, and at least I might be able to understand most of what I'm doing.

Within the last couple of months a pop-up has appeared telling me that the Windows programme I am using is counterfeit.  Hardly surprising really, considering that a lot of what you buy in Turkey is fake.  Or as market traders, selling watches, sunglasses, designer bags, will proudly refer to as "genuine fakes".

I can't get rid of the pop-ups until I uninstall the fake programme and purchase a genuine copy.  I'm not really confident about doing this in Turkey, so I thought it best to wait till I get to England next month.

However, after checking prices online,  I discovered that Windows programmes are very expensive and it would seem cheaper to buy a secondhand netbook with the programme already installed.

Last week my brother checked eBay, joined an auction, and managed to get me an identical netbook (an English one...yay!) for £89.  He's checked it over and tried it out and it's in excellent condition.  I can't wait to be rid of these pop-ups which appear every few minutes!  

My daughter has finally had her laptop repaired.  It's not been working for fact I believe since last year.  Because of this we haven't been able to talk via Skype so I haven't seen my gorgeous grandsons since I was there in April.

So, this afternoon there they were on my screen.  I can't believe how much they have grown and it was so lovely to be able to see and talk to them again.  It was Jimi's first experience of a webcam and he seemed quite taken with it.  And Billy sang me some songs that he had learned at nursery school.

Only 20 more sleeps and I'll see them for real!

And this is them, talking to me this afternoon.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Disappearing Bloggers

We all have our favourite blogs.  I have, like most of you, my reading list which I check from time to time.

There are blogs that I read and almost always leave a comment.  These are the ones who regularly comment on my blog, and I like to return the favour.  But sometimes I just read and don't comment..usually because the topic is something that I don't really understand or on which I don't have an opinion , so feel that I'm not in a position to comment.   Others that I read and enjoy but can't think of a suitable comment to make.

Occasionally I start to follow a new blog and like to give encouragement by sharing the link with others.  I'll follow and comment for some time until I realise that this particular blogger hasn't taken the time to check out the blogs of their followers, or make any effort to support them.  This leaves me feeling a little disappointed, so I find myself drifting away from them.

Every so often a blogger that I have eagerly followed and enjoyed for some time just disappears without any explanation.   Some bloggers decide for one reason or another that they cannot blog anymore, and will usually leave a post to this effect.  But it's the ones that just stop that I'm curious about.

I used to follow auntiegwensdiary.  Such an amusing lady.  Her posts often made me laugh out loud.  The last time she posted was in January HERE.   And then...nothing.  I wonder why she stopped blogging.  I hope it's not because something dreadful has happened in her life.  I hope it's simply because she just got fed up with blogging.  I'd like to know if everything's OK with her though.

Are you curious about the bloggers who disappear?

Monday, 20 August 2012

Resurrecting Old Posts

It's that time of year when for whatever reason, it seems difficult to find much to write about.  I blame it on the heat, which appears to make my brain sieze up.

I was talking to my friend BtoB the other day about my journey from Cappadocia to Selçuk and it occurred to me that I could dredge up some old posts and re-publish them.  They might prove interesting to those of you who haven't followed my blog since I started it.

This is the one I was talking about:


I'm a firm believer in fate. The move from Goreme to Selcuk happened incredibly quickly, due to a series of coincidences or whatever you would like to call them...
Mr Ayak had secured a job in Selcuk. We talked on the phone about the possibility of me moving there. But I was happy in Goreme and a bit uncertain about moving to a town I didn't know...and had only passed through once years before on a trip to Ephesus.
So here I was...on a Sunday...pondering about it, when there was a knock on the door. It was my landlord. He had come to tell me that his son was getting married. I offered my congratulations..then he told me that he would need me to leave the house as he wished to give it to his son and new wife.
As I have mentioned before...rental accommodation is very difficult to find in Goreme and it was very unlikely that I would be able to find something else.
About an hour later Mr Ayak phoned me and I told him my news. "OK"...he said..."just move to Selcuk now. I'll find a house to rent and organise removals".
A little while later he phoned to say that he had found a company who had a truck up in Kayseri (60km from Goreme) that had just made a delivery and was due to drive back empty to Selcuk the following day. This would cost about half the normal price to travel the 900km to Selcuk.
There was obviously no time for Mr Ayak to get up to Goreme to help me pack up and if I decided to do it, I'd have to do it alone. No time to think it through...I just did it. To this day I am certain that if I had had the time to give it more thought I would have talked myself out of it!
So.....I was up all night packing up the contents of my house, and the truck arrived the next morning. My landlord found some men to load my belongings on to the truck. And we set off.
The journey...all 17 hours of it...was an absolute nightmare. The truck cab was quite small. I had to put Beki in a small space between me and the driver. Beki was moulting at the time. Because she was nervous, she dribbled and farted. The driver had very strong body odour. He also didn't speak a word of English.
17 hours!! I can't believe I survived it. I just kept telling myself that I'd never have to do anything like this again so I just had to get through it.
To be fair...the driver was very kind. Bearing in mind that most Turks don't like dogs..he was very tolerant of Beki..even taking her for toilet walks when we stopped for refreshments.
We arrived in Selcuk at 6.30am on Tuesday morning. The battery on Mr Ayak's mobile phone had died and I couldn't contact him. The driver and I sat in the truck on the outskirts of Selcuk wondering what to do next. Finally an hour later Mr Ayak phoned from a borrowed phone and came to meet us.
Then we set off to the house he had rented for us.......

Saturday, 18 August 2012

I'm on a mission today

I was very tired last night, after a fairly hectic day, so went to bed earlier than usual.

Whilst I was asleep I was aware of the sound of a donkey crying.  In my semi-conscious state, I didn't react straight away, assuming it was my next door neighbour, Dursune's donkey. 

At around 5am I was wide awake and concerned.  It occurred to me that Dursune's donkey doesn't do this at night.  If he was in distress, Dursune would be out of the house like a shot.  She adores her donkey.  So I wondered if perhaps she was ill, or worse.

It was pitch black outside.  I got dressed and went out with the torch.  Just outside our garden was a donkey (not Dursune's) tied with rope to the telegraph pole, with a metal bolt through it's hoof attached to the rope.  He was in a terrible state.   He was scrabbling around for food.   I fetched a couple of carrots from the house and took out some water.   He was so thirsty, he drank 5 litres.

I wasn't sure what to do next but I couldn't leave him so I cut the rope, with the intention of trying to coax him into our garden.  He was too scared and I wasn't strong enough to move him.  So he trotted off down the lane.  I'm not worried about him coming to harm in the village.  He will wander about, find food, and maybe find his way home.  At least he is free.

I am however really upset that someone could just leave him there.   I am determined to find the culprit.  I am sitting near the window now, watching and waiting, in the hope that the owner returns.  It's already very hot and if the donkey had still been tied up, he would have had no shade, food or water.

I haven't mentioned this incident to anyone, just in case they forewarn the culprit.  I want to catch him and confront him myself.  If he doesn't appear by late afternoon, then I will be setting off around the village to see if I can find him.   He'd better watch out...I am not best pleased!

Thursday, 16 August 2012

All Inclusive

All inclusive package holidays seem to be very popular these days.  They don't appeal to me in the least.

I only ever tried one all-inclusive, and that was to St Lucia many years ago when my children were very young.

The photos in the brochure were very misleading.  People sitting around a vast swimming pool, with lots of space, sipping delicious looking cocktails full of fruit and other decorations.

The reality was somewhat different.  The pool wasn't so vast and it was very crowded, with very few sunbeds.  And as for the cocktails...these were actually slopped into plastic cups with no fruit or even ice.

The wine that should have appeared on the table at lunch and dinner (included in the price) never did, unless you asked two or three times for it, and it would invariably arrive after you had finished eating.

We had booked and paid for two large adjoining rooms...we actually received one room, being informed on arrival that the hotel had been overbooked.  The service generally was pretty grim.

It wasn't a cheap holiday.  We  paid more than £4000 (one child free and the other half-price) and this was almost 30 years ago.  We stayed for the first week, complained bitterly, and were finally moved to another hotel for our second week.  The meals were included, but not drinks.  We paid extra and it was well worth it.  We later received a refund of our additional expenses from Thomas Cook, together with a case of wine as compensation.

I decided then and there that I would never again do an all-inclusive holiday.

All-inclusives, in my opinion, have been very damaging to tourism in Turkey.   Tourists are now getting very cheap deals.  As a result they stay in their hotels and don't venture outside to see this beautiful country.  They are not spending money, and local businesses are closing down as a result.

Half the fun of a holiday abroad is to get out and experience a bit of the culture, and to taste the different food.  The food in all-inclusive hotels is NOT typical Turkish cuisine by any stretch of the imagination.  People just don't realise what they are missing.

I do understand the mentality of the all-inclusive tourists, that they pay one price and know what they're getting for it.  But it does tend to encourage them to stay put in their hotels from the start of the holiday till it ends.

Mr A is working for an all-inclusive hotel at the moment, in the hamam.  Naturally, if someone wants to experience a Turkish bath they have to pay for it.   You would be amazed at the number of people who think that all-inclusive means absolutely everything, and they feel most put out if they are asked to pay extra.  He tells me of one family of four who told him they couldn't possibly pay extra for anything as they had only brought a total of £50 spending money with them for two weeks.

I recall my friend Gwen telling me last year that whilst she and her husband were running the small hotel shop, where you could buy cigarettes, sweets, biscuits, sun lotion etc, that customers had helped themselves to icecreams from the fridge and walked out without paying.  When she called after them to pay, they informed her that they assumed they were included. When they were politely told they were not free, they put them back in the fridge.  This happened many times.

I know money is scarce these days, so I understand that people have a budget when they go on holiday, but it's still possible to do holidays in Turkey that aren't all inclusive, without breaking the bank, and the experience is far more enjoyable.

Monday, 13 August 2012

London 2012

The Olympic Games were amazing. 

The closing ceremony was just fabulous...who would have imagined that it could match the opening ceremony..but it did.

I promised some more Off the Leash cartoons.  Here are the rest of the doggie olympics:

(© Off The Leash - all rights reserved & Rupert Fawcett's other creations can be viewed on his website HERE)

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Beating the heat

I'm still trying to get through my daily routines in this scorching heat, but it's not easy.  My body clock is now all over the place, due to nights when it's too hot to sleep which find me doing ironing and other chores which I can't face during daylight hours.

I can sometimes manage a couple of hours sleep around 3am when it's not quite so hot, but I'm up and about at 5.30am. I'll do cooking at this time, water the garden, sweep the balcony and driveway, or do some housework.  I then enjoy sitting on the balcony around 6.30am with a coffee.  But by 7.30am it's hot and I go back inside the house. 

During the mornings the sitting room is hot so I stay mostly in the bedroom with the ceiling fan on.  If I need a nap in the afternoon, I move to the sitting room and switch on the aircon for a couple of hours.  Two hours is as much as I can stand of the aircon before getting a headache.

After the fiasco on Tuesday when I attempted to get shopping in Milas, only to be left waiting for my return bus for two hours, I made another attempt yesterday.

This time I caught the bus to Milas at 8.40am.  There weren't any passengers to pick up on the way so the journey was faster than usual.  I got off the bus at the Carrefour supermarket on the outskirts of the town at 8.55am, to find that the supermarket was shut for staff training.  I therefore walked to the next supermarket, Migros, arriving at 9am.  Thanks to the aircon in the shop I was able to dash around and pick up my shopping and get through the check-out by 9.15am.  I crossed over the dual carriageway just in time to catch the bus to the village at 9.20am.  Back home by 9.55am, feeling quite satisfied that it worked out this time.

This weather is set to continue for weeks to come.  I hate it. I'd like to go out and about more, but the thought of standing around waiting for buses in this heat  makes me feel ill.    I can't wait for cooler weather and a return to a normal life.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

The early bird....

...doesn't always catch the worm, or in my case the bus.

Yesterday, Tuesday, was market day in Milas.  I am reluctant to venture out anywhere at the moment because it's just too hot, and the walk up the hill to our house is a killer.  But I was in need of vegetables so decided the best thing to do would be to set off early.

I walked down to the village at 7.15am and it's a hive of activity at this time.  Men, women and children marching down to the collection point with the milk from their cows, in all shapes and sizes of containers, transported on the backs of tractors, in hand carts, shopping trolleys, or simply carried by hand.

Bread being delivered to the shop.  Groups of men waiting for service buses to their jobs out of the village.  Tractors heading off to the fields, with trailers attached carrying women about to undertake a hard day's work.

For some silly reason I thought there wouldn't have been many people on the 7.30am bus. I couldn't have been more wrong.  It was packed like sardines.

I had enough time to buy my vegetables in Milas market and made my way back to the bus station with 5 minutes to spare to catch the 8.30am bus back to the village.  Only it had left early.  I had been so pleased with myself for making the decision to do my shopping early and return home before it got too hot and now found myself having to wait for the next bus.

This is where it becomes annoying.  On market day the regular timetable goes out of the window.  After the 8.30am bus has left,  the drivers will not head back to the village until they have 10 passengers on board.

So I waited...and waited...and waited.  Two hours!   By which time it was very hot and I was extremely bad tempered.  The bus left just after 10.30am and I struggled up the hill with my shopping, arriving home just after 11.00.

Never again!

Monday, 6 August 2012


OK...I'm going to have to hold my hands up now. 

I have to admit that in spite of my recent post about having no interest in sport other than the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics, I've actually been watching some of the events.

I can't tell you names of athletes and events, other than Jessica Ennis and Andy Murray, but I am pretty amazed at how much I have enjoyed watching sporting events in which I would never normally have any interest.

I think it may have something to do with the number of gold medals that have been won by Team GB, the cheers of the crowds, and how such occasions seem to stir up feelings of patriotism.

But mostly I find myself in awe of these young athletes, and their utter dedication, stamina and discipline.  They are such an inspiration to young people everywhere.

I saw this on Facebook this morning which says it all for me:

Saturday, 4 August 2012

The five senses

It's all too easy to take our five senses for granted, and not appreciate how much they enrich our lives.

I was thinking about this yesterday after the storm, and how wonderful it was to be able to smell the wet earth.

As you're reading this, just stop for a few moments to appreciate what's around you, and tell me what you can hear, see, touch, smell and taste.

I'll start you off:

I can HEAR the whirring of the ceiling fan, a dog barking somewhere in the distance, the donkey next door moving about under the shade of a tree.

I can SEE out of the window a clear blue sky and brilliant sunshine,  the grapevine hanging heavy with fruit, the fig tree with lots of green figs, not yet ripe enough to pick.  Poppy stretched out on the cool floor sleeping deeply, and the breeze blowing the curtains.

I can TOUCH the keyboard on my laptop.  Isn't it amazing that this small machine can do so much?  Keep me in touch with family and friends. Enable me to access what's going on in the world from this remote village.  Watch TV, send emails and blog.

I can SMELL shepherds pie cooking in the oven and lavender furniture polish.

I can TASTE iced coffee which I just made with a spoonful of vanilla icecream floating on top...delicious!

Now it's your turn..................

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Wonderful storm

After weeks and weeks of scorching heat and humidity, today we had the mother of all storms.  And what a blessed relief it was too.

It gradually built up during the day until the sky was dark grey, then the thunder and lightening started.  It was so loud at times that the house shook.  At one point Poppy actually fell off the back of the armchair where she usually perches to look out of the window.  I don't know if it was the vibration or the shock!  It was quite scary at times.

As usual I unplugged everything electrical, and pretty soon the power went off anyway.  It rained quite a lot which will save me having to water the garden this evening.

Amazingly, the temperature dropped from 37 degrees to just 20 degrees in a matter of an hour or so.

The storm has now passed, and I am enjoying the cool breeze and the smell of wet earth.  I'm making the most of it as no doubt the heatwave will be back again tomorrow!

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

More Off the Leash

Some more Off the Leash cartoons, with an Olympic theme.  To make you smile!

 © Off The Leash - all rights reserved & Rupert Fawcett's other creations can be viewed on his website HERE