Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Day Three....

...without water.   It was cut off at 6am on explanation.   Mr A asked in the village and was given several reasons by people who actually didn't know why, but the rumour was that it was just for one day.  Later on, he found out from the Muhtar that it would be two days.

Last night we were informed that it would be off again today. Apparently the pump which brings the water down from the mountain is broken, and no-one has any idea how long it will take to fix.  A water truck went around the village yesterday for people to fill up containers with water which is only suitable for washing and flushing toilets.  They didn't get as far as us before running out, so Mr A had to strap containers to the motorbike and drive out to somewhere on the main road to stock up.

Needless to say we are becoming a bit smelly.  Thank goodness for wet wipes.

Our phone line has been dead since last Thursday.  After a couple of days of calling Turk Telekom, we established that the whole village is affected.  As with the water problem, it's apparently a big job and no-one can say when it will be fixed.   At least I have internet...albeit long as I disconnect the phone line from the modem.

So now for the positive stuff.  There are a fair number of lambs being born in the village at the moment.   This one was just three hours old when these photos were taken:

Mr A is continuing to "landscape" the garden and as soon as the top end has been enclosed with chicken wire we will be getting chickens.

I have managed to book flights for April so that I can be in England for Billy's 4th birthday on the 23rd and Jimi's 2nd birthday on the 29th.   Really looking forward to seeing them!

Jimi the artist
Billy's first guitar lesson

Making pizza


Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Jack Scott the Author

One of my favourite blogs of all time, Perking the Pansies is written by my friend Jack Scott.  He writes about his and Liam's experiences of Turkey, with such insight and lots of humour, leaving you waiting anxiously for his next post.

Jack is now fast becoming a celebrated author.  His first book Perking the Pansies, was a great success and one which I thoroughly enjoyed.  The sequel is due out this summer and I for one can't wait!

He now has two eBooks published.  Turkey, The Raw Guide (a guest post by me appears on page 100/101...ooh fame at last!).    The second,  Surviving the Expats.

Because I have problems with my internet connection at the moment, I have only managed to skim through Turkey The Raw Guide.   But as soon as this has been rectified, and by what I have seen so far, I can't wait to settle down for a few hours of uninterrupted reading.

If you haven't yet experienced Jack Scott's work, you are missing a real treat.  You can read all about his books and how to order them HERE

Saturday, 26 January 2013

It's definitely winter

The unpredictable weather of the past couple of months has come to an end.  We were very lucky this winter to have some glorious days of sunshine with temperatures up in the late teens.

This was followed by a cold snap when temperatures dropped to minus figures...followed again by days of warm weather.

The past week has seen gale force winds, rain and storms.  We had terrific storms here for the last two nights which prevented us from sleeping.  So loud was the thunder, it was like bombs exploding.

The torrential rain continues this morning.  The winds have whipped up to gale force again and we now have hailstones, some of which are the size of golf balls.  The wind has blown them with such a force at the windows, that if they weren't double glazed, I'm pretty sure they would have been smashed.

I'm snuggled up in bed under the duvet.  There's little point in doing anything else.  Mr A, however, hates being confined to the house, and he has started another project.   He is landscaping (I use the term very loosely) the garden.   The wooden fence along the driveway, which he built from scratch last year, has come down.   This opens up the bottom level in front of the house, and there will be steps down to this area.  When the weather is dry again, he is going to crazy pave the entire area, and eventually build a sturdy gazebo.

In the meantime, the wooden fence has been transformed into wooden frames, which will have chicken wire attached and will run around the entire garden, along the top of the dry stone wall which he rebuilt.  Most of the work is being done in his shed, and the fencing will be erected if the rain ever stops.

The top end of the garden will be fully enclosed with chicken wire, and the chicken house is sitting there waiting for inhabitants.   The end result will be a garden which prevents Poppy and chickens from escaping (whilst keeping them apart) and will stop other dogs, cats, sheep and chickens from coming into the garden.

It keeps Mr A occupied...and at least stops him building any more shelves!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Relieving boredom

It's that time of year when the weather isn't so good. A week or more now of torrential rain, or gale force winds, or storms...and occasionally all three, have meant being confined to the house.

It's tempting to spend too much time on the internet, snuggled up under the duvet, but I do try to avoid this as much as possible.

So this past week or so I have made lemon curd with lemons from our two trees in the garden.  I have done a huge jar of pickled onions.  I've baked  cupcakes, banana cake, apricot cake, and various casseroles in the slow cooker for eating and freezing.

I've tidied my wardrobe and drawers and thrown out a load of old tat and descaled the kettle and coffee machine.

I've kept myself pretty busy.  Mr A meanwhile has either been hammering wood in his shed, or spending time in the teahouse with all the old men of the village.

However, when I do log on to the internet, I tend to feel a little restless.  I browse blogs, watch TV programmes and spend far too much time on Facebook.  I scroll past all the uninteresting statuses (or is it "stati"?  Statuses doesn't sound right somehow.  Can't you tell I'm bored and restless?  I wouldn't normally worry about something like this). 

Anyway, I do my bit for dog rescue by sharing Turkish Animal Group dogs that are available for adoption, and also take a look at some other pages that I decided to follow.  I actually only visit these pages when I'm bored.  One such page is a debate group set up by expats in another (tourist) area of Turkey.  I won't mention the name of the town because I might offend someone.

A lot of the topics posted on this page are pretty boring.  Others consist of endless complaints by expats about Turkey, Turkish people, Turkish culture, habits, fact anything Turkish.  Which makes me question why some of these people actually choose to come and live here.

The problem with being bored and restless is that it makes me a bit argumentative.  So I go charging in to this debate page and add my comments.   I do quite like throwing the cat amongst the pigeons and the reaction I get.  It's quite interesting to watch people getting irate while I remain calm.   You know you've won an argument when someone replies..."whatever..." then promptly disappears.

Last night yet another post appeared condemning the street dogs.  This comes from those expats who having retired to their life in the sun, then decide that they don't want to look at starving dogs fighting for food.  They find it so irritating to have to look at something that has been part of Turkish life for hundreds of years.  It just doesn't fit into the "little Britain" they have created in their little corner of Turkey.  They moan constantly that "someone should do something about the problem"  while they sit and do nothing.

Most of it goes over my head and it's not worth responding, but then you get some woman saying "the street dogs should all be shot along with the wierdos who defend them". rag to a bull! I'm afraid I dived in and just kept going for hours (I even missed Celebrity Big Brother...the only reason I was up later than usual).   I continued until 1.30am.   I carried on with the argument again today I'm afraid, but with the help of a few other like-minded souls in the group, we seem to have got the better of a fair number of the expat "nasties".

So that's how I relieve the boredom.  What do you do when you are bored and/or restless?

Friday, 18 January 2013

The Finale

I went back to the dentist yesterday for my final appointment.  Just one filling this time, so I wasn't quite so nervous.  I meant to take one of my CDs to play, but I came out of the house in a hurry, so forgot it.

Erdem, the dentist, called me into the surgery.  He was sat at his desk, and I sat on the other side.  He said "I have found a fantastic video to show you".  Oh we go again.   It was the Russian Red Army choir, along with cossak dancers and acrobats.  Lots of loud, hearty singing, and leaping about....and that was just Erdem!

Oh well, I thought, this will obviously be the accompaniment for my treatment today.

He made no move to get up and start treatment.  We just sat there watching the video.   I was getting more anxious by the minute and just wanting to get this last filling out of the way.  But Erdem was in no hurry (why are Turks so laid back?).   The video lasted 20 minutes and we sat through till the end.

At last...time for my filling.   This was a difficult one.  The reason he had left it until last.  It needed three lots of anaesthetic injections, and an awful lot of drilling.  Fortunately, the music which accompanied this was some gentle instrumental  film tracks.

At last it was done....and an excellent job too.

Today, my mouth and jaw are a little stiff, but my teeth feel great. 

Unless there are any problems in the meantime, I won't be seeing Erdem again for another six months.   I have mixed feelings about this.  On the one hand, I hate having dental treatment...but I will miss the entertainment!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Secondhand furniture

In all the years I've lived in Turkey we have been reluctant to throw things away, if there's any chance that they can be re-cycled.

We  like to browse secondhand shops and have picked up many furniture bargains.  Mr A also has a tendency to find things dumped as rubbish, which he will pick up and bring home.  I have never seen skips here, but I'm sure if we lived in the UK, he would spend half his life rummaging in skips.

We would never consider buying electrical items from the secondhand shops here.  They really are not worth it.  Turks tend to use white goods and other electrical appliances until they are on their last legs, so it's rare to find something that's not faulty or rusty.

Last week we found a small secondhand shop in one of the back streets of Milas, and spotted a wrought iron table with a glass top.  It was very dirty, but it was in good condition.  The man wanted 35 lira for it, but with a bit of Mr A's expert haggling we managed to secure it for 20 lira.  We cleaned it up and here's the result:  (excuse the blurry pics please...a mixture of strong sunlight and my shaky hands)

In our garden we had a wrought iron stand that contained a flowerpot.  Mr A had found this dumped last year.   It was a bit rusty but Mr A cleaned it up and painted it with some black metal paint he had in the shed..  He then went to a glass shop in Milas to get a piece of glass cut to make a top at a cost of 15 lira.  So it has now become a smaller coffee table to match the one we bought in Milas.

We now have two lovely coffee tables which have cost us a total of 35 lira (approx £12.50).  Not bad! 

He is going through another of his woodwork phases at the keeps him occupied...although I have forbidden him to make any more shelves!  He has been out in the shed hammering and sawing for the last couple of days.  I have no idea what he is making but no doubt he will surprise me with the result quite soon.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Four to go...

..fillings that is.

Two more fillings were done today and they are excellent.  It was worse than Friday's appointment though.  Much more drilling, which took well over an hour.  But only one more to be done on Thursday and that will be it for the time being.

You will be pleased to learn that I wasn't subjected to a repeat performance of The Sound of Music today.  The dentist asked me if I would like to listen to some music, and what kind of music I'd like.  I said classical music would be nice. I felt this would be more relaxing.

"Oh good" he replied "I have quite a collection of classical music" and he got out a large collection of CDs.   To be honest I just wanted to get on with the treatment.  I hate all this waiting about.  So I suggested he chose one.   He told me he had a compilation of different classical pieces so suggested he played that.  Fine by me.

I settled down in the chair, and had my injections to the accompaniment of Nessun Dorma.  Wonderful...very relaxing.   When the drilling started the music seemed to gather pace.  There were an awful lot of loud marching-type tracks, and a couple of overtures thrown in for good measure....Tchaikovsky's 1812 and the William Tell overture.  Much too frantic and did nothing to calm my nerves.

For my last appointment on Thursday, I will do what Janice suggested and take one of my own CDs.
I think a little bit of George Michael could be quite soothing. 

Sunday, 13 January 2013

It could have been Spring...  The weather was glorious, with the temperature reaching 17 degrees at one point.

Most of my day was spent out on the balcony, making the most of the blue sky and sunshine.

Of course, as soon as the sun starts to go down, the temperature drops dramatically and we know it;s still winter.  But it does help to lift your mood and everyone seems so much happier.

One little chap who wasn't too happy for a brief moment today, was a lamb who is only a few weeks old.  He has been out walking past our house with his mother and their owner during the past week, and this morning Mr A picked him up for a cuddle.  With the shepherdess on the other side of the gate with his mother,  Mr A handed the lamb to me for a hug.  Gorgeous little lamb.  We put him down in the garden for a little while, but he cried for his mum.  Mr A opened the gate.  In rushed mother sheep to "rescue" her baby. 

Looking for his mother


Saturday, 12 January 2013

A treat for....

...all you Sound of Music fans....

So now please promise me that none of you will turn up at my dental surgery on Monday to sing along with my dentist!

Have a good weekend xx

Thursday, 10 January 2013

The Singing Dentist

I can't say I enjoy going to the dentist.  In fact I do get quite anxious.  I particularly dislike injections and drilling, and I faced a fair amount of both today for my first two fillings.

My new dentist appears to be a bit of an entertainer.   I think he feels that his performances help to relax his patients.

He sensed that I was nervous, and decided that it would be a good idea to play a video on the screen which is right next to the treatment chair.

He fiddled about with his computer so that he could find what he informed me was his absolutely favourite film of all time.   At last, it appeared on the screen.   "The Sound of Music".   (groan).

OK everyone has seen this film haven't they?  You can't have avoided it, whatever your age. It appears so often on TV.  I've been forced to sit through it hundreds of times over the years, and I'm afraid I do find it very irritating...particularly the songs which, once heard keep going around in your head for hours on end.

My dentist (whose name is Erdem) played it at full volume whilst he drilled away at my teeth.  Every so often he would pause at certain points in the film to exclaim excitedly "I love this bit...hahaha it's so funny".

But best (or worst) of all he sang along to every song.  He was word perfect so he has clearly watched the film many times.

I can't ever remember sitting in a dentist's chair, having my teeth filled, with the urge to giggle.  It was certainly a distraction, and I forgot all about being anxious.

He apologised when he had finished with my teeth that we hadn't managed to see the entire film, but promised we could watch it again at my next appointment next Monday......can't wait!  Hmmm......

Tuesday, 8 January 2013


Still feeling a little uncertain, I headed off for my appointment with the Milas dentist yesterday.

I had made up my mind that if he mentioned crowns and bridges again, or if I wasn't satisfied with the scale and polish, then I would go elsewhere.

I needn't have worried.  No further mention was made of bridges and crowns and I had the best scale and polish I have ever had in my life.  I am not kidding.  My teeth have never been so clean.  He worked solidly for over an hour, scaling with both electric machine and hand tools, in between and around every single tooth. Over and over again until gums and teeth were spotless.   I needed anaesthetic, but to my delight this dentist used a spray anaesthetic rather than injections, and it was very effective.

He also gave me a lot of useful advice and with the aid of a hand mirror, instructions on how to keep the gums and teeth clean and healthy.

The abscess seems to have disappeared, so nothing further needs to be done.  I do however need 5 fillings, which I suspected would be the case.  These will be done in three appointments over the next couple of weeks.

So it seems I have found myself a good dentist after all.  

Monday, 7 January 2013

Blowing away the cobwebs

The weather is changing.  The temperature has dropped quite dramatically in the last day or so.  No rain at the moment, which is good, and it's not windy, so even though we can still sit outside, we need to wrap up well.

Last year I found some duvet covers in Kipa in Bodrum that I really liked.  They were a bit too expensive for me at the time, but when I popped in there a month or so later they had been reduced to half price, so I snapped up a couple of sets.

I had been using blankets and sheets for years and intended to buy a new duvet as soon as I could.  However I discovered that an old patterned quilt that I had actually fitted inside the new duvet covers. But I'm now waking up at around 3am because I am cold.  We needed a thicker duvet.

We did think about renting a car yesterday.  Rates are very cheap at this time of year.  The plan was to drive over to Bodrum and check out prices of duvets, maybe have some lunch.  We needed a day out.  

Mr A was convinced that if we wrapped up well, we could go on the motorbike.  I had my doubts but I went along with it.  I looked a lot like the Michelin man in the many layers of clothes I put on, and I made sure I had a scarf wrapped around my mouth under my crash helmet, so that the cold air wouldn't aggravate my aching teeth.

We browsed most of the supermarkets in Bodrum, had lunch in the Midtown shopping centre..delicious kofte with fried potatoes and peppers...excellent value at 5 lira each.   There were quite a lot of duvets to choose from.  The prices varied enormously...from 46 lira to 250 lira.  But there appeared to be no difference in the thickness/warmth.  None of them were thicker than our old quilt.  So we bought the cheapest one, which is now inside the cover together with the old quilt...and it's perfect.

I definitely needed my warm bed when we returned.  The journey back on the motorbike reduced me to a block of ice.  I couldn't feel my legs, they were so cold. 

But on a positive note, the fresh air really helped to clear my sinuses for an hour or two, so well worth it.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Another trip to the dentist

You may recall the discomfort I suffered on my recent flight to England due to an abscess in my gums.  I was so fortunate to have a friend who works for a dental practise...the same friend whose house I stayed in for the best part of my visit this time.

The dentist was great.  He x-rayed, anaesthetised and drained the abscess, gave me antibiotics etc and all was back to normal within a few days.  My friend bought me an electric toothbrush for Christmas which is such a useful and welcome gift.

Another abscess has appeared within the last few days.  This time in a tooth in the top and back of my mouth.  I'm also having sinus problems so it's difficult at times to know which is causing the most pain.

I still have doubts about the dentist in Milas who I saw before I went to England, and who failed to diagnose the abscess, but having been advised by the English dentist to get my teeth cleaned on returning to Turkey, I made an appointment for Monday for a scale and polish with the Milas dentist.  His English is pretty good which makes it easier to discuss my treatment with him, so I decided to give him another chance.

Yesterday afternoon the pain was unbearable so I phoned him and he asked me to go to the surgery.  He didn't x-ray the tooth (which I hoped he would do) but he did clean the area around the tooth which seems to have eased the pain somewhat.  He said he would look at it again on Monday before cleaning and decide what to do next.

I still don't feel very confident in his ability but I'll decide on Monday whether to continue with him or find someone else.

I'm hoping I've misjudged him and that he will prove to be as good as other dentists I've used in Turkey over the years.  I haven't actually met a bad one yet so fingers crossed.

Thursday, 3 January 2013


I have talked about my lovely neighbour Dursune and how well she cares for her animals.  They are her life and her reason for living each day.

When I arrived home from my trip to England on Sunday, Mr A told me that Dursune was selling her cows.   Her health is not so good, and her family have been trying to get her to slow down for some time now.   She has been so reluctant to give up on her daily routine, but both Mr A and I have noticed that it's a struggle for her.

The cows left on Monday and I hadn't seen Dursune in three days.  Mr A checked in on her yesterday, and she really didn't want to talk, other than to say that she felt that she would die if she didn't have her cows to look after.

She's getting older.  We all are.  In fact I don't think Dursune is much older than me, but she has had a harder life than I have and hasn't aged well.  If I was 20 years younger and didn't have my own health problems, I would have encouraged her to keep the cows and I would help with them.

This morning I was up early.  There was a stray dog outside the gate, scavenging for food.   I came out to feed him but he ran away.  Poor dogs are always so terrified of people until they  realise you mean no harm.  I walked down the lane looking for him with a bowl of food, but ended up leaving it on the ground in the hope that he would return.

I then saw Dursune walking towards me.  She looked so sad and dejected that it broke my heart.  She started to tell me about her cows and I told her I knew.  The tears welled up in her eyes and I just wrapped my arms around her and we both cried.  I asked her to come to the house for a coffee, but she just wanted to walk on her own.

There are no words of consolation for such sadness.