Friday, 29 June 2012

UNUSUAL MILKMAN

When we have come to Turkey for holidays we have suffered the long life milk because it is all we have been able to find here. In fact on our first self catering visit and not knowing the Turkish word for milk we bought Ayran which is in similar cartons and is a very popular salty yogurt drink but trust me is disgusting in coffee or on your cereals! We know of many other people who have made the same mistake.

Anyway, in the absence of any fresh milk we have suffered the long life milk - but it just is not the same. So imagine our delight when we discovered that we could have fresh cows milk, and that even better the dolmus driver would bring it to the end of our track to collect it in the mornings.

The best milk ever!

So we now walk down to the end of our road to meet the dolmus on a Monday and a Thursday to collect our lovely fresh cows milk. The dolmus draws up with all the passengers in it and we get on to do our transaction with the driver. It is delivered in old soft drinks bottles and is the princely sum of 3tl (£1.06) for a 2.5 litre bottle. The next time we take the washed out empty bottle and it give back to him. The milk is always lovely and cold and it is the best milk we have ever tasted, thick with cream - yummy - and lasts in the fridge for a week easily. Only in Turkey!!

Thursday, 28 June 2012

R.I.P. TO OUR STREET DOG

Those of you who have visited Turkey will know that one problem here is the amount of animals that live on the streets. In our area we are very lucky to have the Animal Aid Fethiye Group, a charity which raises money to support the local animal shelter with their neuter and return programme. The money raised by Animal Aid also pays for : food for the shelter, medicines, Bedding, Equipment & toys, Vet fees ( for street dogs and cats) for neutering and for vets bills for any animals which are injured or ill. Their members work tirelessly for these needy animals, and are sometimes able to find foster or permanent homes for the injured or youger animals. Those of you who have read previous blogs will know that we have a dog and a cat which we are currently looking after for them. Others have to go to the Animal Shelter just outside Fethiye where they will be looked after and hopefully later find homes.

Due to the neutering programme the situation is better than it was a decade ago when I can remember literally dozens and dozens of dogs wandering around the town and hanging around the restaurants for scraps.

Animal welfare in Turkey has been lacking and often unwanted pets are just left abandoned in the countryside. However, new Animal Rights laws are coming. http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/more-measures-on-the-way-for-animal-rights.aspx?pageID=238&nID=21477&NewsCatID=339 lets hope they make a difference.

When we returned to Turkey in April our small street of three houses had gained a street dog since our last visit. He was a young dog and the neighbours had been feeding him and giving him water. He was wary of strangers and was an extremely good guard dog, barking if anyone he didn't know was about.especially at night. Once he got to know us he was extremely friendly and our dogs talked to him over the fence every morning when he came to get his food from our neighbour. Occasionally he had a friend with him who looked the same type and age and I would think was a brother. But most of the time he was alone and he was very pleased to see us all. If anyone walked down to the village he would happily walk along with them, enjoying the company. He was a very content dog but I did worry what would happen in the winter when there is a lot of rain here and it can be very cold.

However, fate stepped in and last night our little fellow was hit and killed by a car. We will all miss him terribly he was part of our life here.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

HISSING SID AND THE BAG SNATCHER

Since the rescued dog and cat arrived last Sunday it has been very difficult introducing them to each other. When they arrived Inca shot off up the chimney, Horrace shot off upstairs and Tyson threatened the new dog - bedlam!


"I want to eat you ....."
The new cat was safely in a large cage but the new dog spent most of the first day laying beside the cage licking her lips and leaping at the cage at the first sign of movement from inside. Then Tyson would muscle in on the excitement and bark and jump on the dog - great this is going well.

That night I put new dog out on the terrace to allow Inca and Horrace to appear from their hidey holes to eat. Inca ate her tea and shot back up the chimney. Horrace took one look at new cat in the cage hissed and shot back upstairs. So I took him some food and water upstairs and put a litter tray in the hall.

Day two, after an initial run around together the dogs settled reasonably well and new dog spent most of the day laying outside the cat cage but in a slightly calmer manner than the day before. Inca remained up the chimney and Horrace refused to come downstairs. That night when Inca came out for food I blocked the chimney so after eating she joined Horrace upstairs.

Day three, the dogs and new cat all seem calmer so I let out the new cat and started to teach new dog what 'NO' means! New cat disapeared out of the garden and out of sight. Just when I was thinking I would never see her again some 3 hours later she wandered back in much to the delight of new dog who had obviously missed her terribly.

Days four and five stuck in the same scenario with Horrace and Inca refusing to move from upstairs! Well I can't go on like this so I decide instead of putting the cat in her cage I will leave her the run of the house for the night to introduce her to them while the dog is outside.

There am I busy in the kitchen some time later when suddenly there is the most horrendous noise in the hall. I rushed out there to find Inca, who had obviously been caught in the middle of using the litter tray when new cat arrived, in the middle of her business whilst still managing to turn herself into 'Hissing Sid' (who else can remember Captain Beaky?). New cat just sat and stared at the spectacle, Inca shot back upstairs.


Inca alias 'Hissing Sid'
This morning I woke to what I thought was a rumbling noise - my immediate reaction - another earthquake! No, Inca on my pillow swearing at new cat who had the audicity to come upstairs into her domain. To his credit Horrace just stared at the happenings. New cat totally unfazed just calmly left the room, leaving Inca with her eyes bulging, carrying on hissing and actually looking very silly.

After a couple of cups of tea, and feeding the animals I went back upstairs to wash and dress and when I came down I went outside for something and found my bag on the terrace. It was not there earlier and now it was completely empty, no money, no wallet, no anything in fact. I have to be honest and say that whilst losing all my money is a catastraphe of the highest degree, my immediate reaction was horror at the thought of having to go all the way to Fethiye on the bus to replace it. But hang on - no bus fare!!!! All money gone - no notes, no coins.

 As I returned to the kitchen I saw my wallet laying on the kitchen floor, with some saftey pins and my Turkish mobile phone. On closer examination I discover that the bag is not quite empty, in the back my passport, residency documents and driving licence are still there. My English mobile was still on the table where I had left it together with my Kindle. What sort of thief would not have taken those too?

I sat down with a cup of coffee, close to tears and decided it must have been an opportunist thief and someone who needed money desperately, and only money, or who didn't know how to get rid of the other stuff for cash. I heard my neighbour out in the garden and thought I will have to ask her to ring the Jendarme (we have military police in the village). I thought this is going to be so embarassing and how am I not going to cry? The Jendarme are going to say how stupid I was to leave the door open while I was upstairs, but I had left it open for the dogs who I had just fed. 

Subtle dirt & tooth marks
Mulling all this over as I drank my coffee a thought occurred to me - how had they got in with the dogs loose. Although Tyson is pleased to see anyone he is big and scary looking and new dog is a good guard dog and would definately have barked. I just couldn't work it out - but all the money had definitely gone.
As I went out to find my neighbour I saw a piece of paper laying on the lawn. As I got closer I saw there were several pieces of paper on the lawn in fact. On closer inspection I find it is my money, so I walk from one end of the garden to the other and find that in fact it is not just the notes but the coins are also strewn around the garden - this is becoming very odd! Especially as the money is spread along the route the dogs take when they chase each other.


"It was her"
"It was him"
I take it back inside and have a closer inspection of the bag - there are some very subtle teeth marks, it is obvious now that one of the dogs has taken it and carted it round the lawn with the other chasing to grab it, spilling the contents as they go.So two strong suspects.  I think I know which one took it and which one did the chasing because I know how they do it with their ball - but of course there is no evidence M'lud!!





TURKISH LESSON NUMBER 2

When I awoke this morning it was overcast, so bearing in mind I had to bike to the Cadianda Restaurant today I dressed in trousers, teashirt and socks and trainers. I sorted the animals out by leaving the Newbies on the terrace and the others in the house and loaded all the rubbish bags on the bike to drop off on the way.

When I was ready to go I noticed that new dog (really must decide on a name) had eaten a plant I had on the terrace waiting to go in the garden and there was earth everywhere!! Knowing it would make me late I cleared it up as being late seemed preferable to coming home to an entire pot of earth rolled in by a German Shepherd for 3 hours. So by the time I had done that and dropped the rubbish off in the bin at the end of the track I arrived last to the lesson hot, sweaty and pre-occupied with ideas of what other hideous crimes the Shepherd could have committed by the time I returned home!

The tutor started by coming round to look at everyone's books to see what practice we had been doing at home since last week. Yes you've guessed it I had an empty book - no time - looking after the newbies! First problem, which the tutor was very nice about while everyone else sat smugly thinking how bone idle I had been!

Now for the last few days I have had a bit of a cold - I think its because the temperature has dropped from the mid 40s of last week to the mid 30s - but whatever it has left me with a bit of an ear problem consequently I couldn't always grasp what the tutor was saying today so when everyone else was spouting in reply I looked on in horror wondering if I could manage to grasp what we should be doing before my turn came to say something. Second problem, everyone thinks I am a thicko now!

We were sitting in the lovely garden of the Cadianda Restaurant and suddenly I have insects crawling all over me - probably because I got so hot and sweaty rushing there at the last minute. Third problem, I am twitching and contorting in my chair everyone now thinks I am lazy, a thicko and now also an entirely mad woman.

Then the clouds broke and the sun came out with a vengeance, not condusive to someone sitting in trousers and socks and trainers! Fourth problem can't see now because of the sweat pouring down my face making reading the white board almost impossible so I have to keep asking what they are doing now I am an idiot!

Anyway today we did fruit and vegetables, shopping words and phrases, Turkish names for other countries, north, south, east and west directions and how to put 'de' as opposed to 'da' on the ends of words depending on their last vowel and in Turkey they have eight vowels to worry about!

Eventually the two hour lesson comes to a close and I cut my losses this week and make a hasty retreat. Fifth problem incredibly hot and approximately 2 kilometres to home - all uphill. I don't even try to ride the bike apart from one tiny stretch of flat through the village that amounts to about 100 yards. But let me tell you that if it is hard work walking uphill in soaring temperatures it is even more exhausting pushing a bike. I keep stopping to 'look at the vista' - actually to get some breath back - and when cars or people are in sight I press on smiling as though I am absolutely loving it and not at all like I just want to lay in the gutter for a few hours respite! I pass holiday makers who are ambling down the road thinking how lucky I am that I obviously live here and how healthy I am to be biking and I pass locals who know I am insane for having a bike. But I smile at them all as I pass them by and then stop to 'look at the vista' again as soon as they have gone out of sight. At last I get home the animals are all fine and I jump straight in the pool to cool me down. Frankly I'm dreading next week but no pain no gain as they say!



Saturday, 23 June 2012

OFF TO PAY MY DUES

Some days just don't turn out how you expect do they? Today I had to go into Fethiye to get some money out of the bank to go and pay for my new settee for the terrace. This was the first time the animals would be left on their own since the Newbies arrival last week so I was concerned as I set off in the morning.

So much so that I got up at 05.30 this morning to give me time to sort them out, feed them and decide how to leave them all safely. I have left Inca and Horrace upstairs, Tyson in the kitchen and the Newbies on the terrace - the cat in her cage and the dog loose. In trepidation of what I should come back to I set off for the 07.45 bus because it is the only dolmuş  that stops at the bottom of our lane and saves me the walk to the village.

Now although we have had the house here for over two years, we have not yet had the time to turn left out of our track - so what a delight when because the  dolmuş was running late he picked me up on the way up to the next village rather than on the way back down. I spent the next ten minutes with my nose pressed to the window looking at what was about and the verdict - absolutely stunning scenery we will definately be having a mosey up there when David comes back

Water dolmuş heading in to Fethiye harbour
By the time I had walked from the drop off point in Fethiye to my bank it was ten to nine (in Turkey the banks are open from 9-5 so much more sensible!) so I sat on a bench and waited for it to open. There was already an orderly queue forming. One of the cashiers came out at 8.55 to clean the glass door and on the dot of 9.00 the security guard opened the door and in we went.


Money collected I headed for the Harbour to get the water taxi to Calis to settle my bill. Just missed one - oh dear - had  to have a cup of chocolate at Address Restaurant while I wait! Handy it's just next to the water dolmuş! Suitably refreshed I set off on the next boat - I always thoroughly enjoy the trip accross the bay to Calis which takes about 30 minutes and ends almost next door to where I needed to go in Calis.

Business complete I am lucky enough to catch a dolmuş back in to Fethiye right outside the door, do a bit of shopping and buy a yarim kebab to eat while I am waiting for the dolmuş back to Uzumlu. Unfortunately I have my times wrong and there is one just waiting to go - so no kebab for me! I stuff it in my trolley and head off back to Uzumlu.

When we reach the village I stop off at a friends house because I have promised her I will go with her to help her sort out a pool she is looking after that she has problems with. As her shop is quiet she invites me upstairs to their house for Kahvalti (Turkish breakfast - which can be at any time of day!) good job I had discarded the Yarim kebab! Had a very pleasant hour chatting and partaking of the Kahvalti (fresh bread, cheese, tomatoes, olives, jam) and 4 cups of çay (Turkish tea). I am trying desperately not to be rude by staring but can't stop looking round their house! Like many of  Uzumlu's village houses it is hundreds of years old with crooked walls and crooked floors and crooked narrow doors and we all laughed that if I was in desperate need of the bathroom it wouldn't do me any good because I wouldn't get through the door! But I was fascinated with their cooking equipment and the old open oven and their beautiful and very old çay pots.

Anyway Kahvalti done it was time to go to look at the pool. They announced that it was too far for me to walk so they had arranged for a friend to take me on the back of his scooter, whilst my friend went on the back of a scooter driven by her brother with his leg in plaster with her holding his crutches for when we reached the other end! I tried every excuse to get out of going on the back of a total strangers scooter - I had my shopping trolley - I was too heavy - I liked walking blah blah blah!! Their reaction was your'e too tired, you will fit fine, don't worry the shopping trolley will go on the front. So off we went in convoy the poor guy sandwiched between a bulging full size shopping trolley squeezed in the front of him and a bulging hot sweaty English Fogey squeezed behind him, followed by the brother with his broken leg in plaster on his scooter with my friend behind holding the crutches!!

Incredibly we arrived safely dealt with the pool and flushed with the success of the adventure I readily agreed to a lift home complete with shopping trolley - how much easier than walking up the hill to home.

You see some days just don't turn out how you expect do they??