Wednesday, 25 July 2012

IDLING ON FETHIYE HARBOUR AND APPLAUSE FOR FETHIYE BELEDIYE FOR INTRODUCING DRINKING STATIONS FOR THE STREET ANIMALS

On Saturday I arranged to buy a throw that someone was advertising on the Buy, Sell or Swap Fethiye Facebook page, so on Sunday I caught the dolmus down to Fethiye to meet the lady there to collect it.

Obviously it was too good an opportunity to miss for a wander around Fethiye, so I went in early to do just that. First stop an iced coffee at the Address Restaurant to sate my withdrawal from the beautiful Fethiye harbour and for a spot of people and boat watching. I arrived at the harbour around 10 am so was able to spend a very pleasant half an hour watching holiday makers clambering aboard the boats in anticipation of their day out at sea. One of the day trips is an absolute must for visitors to Fethiye - a most enjoyable way to spend a day, swimming in quiet bays, watching the stunning scenery, partaking of a lovely lunch washed down with an Efes or two and a very good way to top up the tan!

IDLING AWAY HALF AN HOUR WITH AN ICED COFFEE,
WATCHING THE BOATS SET OFF ON THEIR DAY TRIPS
PEOPLE AND BOAT WATCHING ON FETHIYE HARBOUR

Having quenched my thirst, and had my fill of the delights of the harbour, I set off to complete my next task. A few days ago I was delighted to report on our Facebook page that Fethiye Belediye (Council) have installed 30 drinking stations around Fethiye for the benefit of the street animals, and I wanted to see if I could find one.

I have mentioned in previous posts that street dogs and cats are a continuing problem in Turkey, but that great inroads are being made by the local Animal welfare charity - Animal Aid Fethiye, who work tirelessly to raise money for the neutering programme, support for the animal shelter and veterinary fees for injured or sick animals. Their work is really making a difference here. So it is a wonderful step forward for those animals who are on the street through no fault of their own, that Fethiye Belediye have now installed these for their benefit. They are connected to the mains water so fill automatically.

ONE OF THIRTY NEW DRINKING STATIONS PLACED AROUND FETHIYE
 FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE STREET ANIMALS
So WELL DONE Fethiye Belediye for that. Now perhaps they will follow some other districts in Turkey and think about feeding stations too.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

ITS HOT, HOT, HOT IN UZUMLU, TURKEY - AND I DON'T MEAN THE WEATHER

Now let me tell you that when it comes to chillies, curries and peppers, I am no wus - I like them hot. I like chilli peppers on my bread and cheese, I am the first one to have the grabbers in the chilli pepper jar to have with my cheese and onion gözleme (pancake) on the market. I like piri piri sauce in my soups and chilli flakes on my food. Plus they say chillies are good for your metabolism, and lets be honest anything that speeds mine up has to be a plus! Its taken several years for David to actually enjoy chillies or curries that I make as he used to consider them too hot. He has become acclimatised or immune over the years.

Well today I met my match, and as David is still in the UK for another couple of weeks and I am still home alone it was a scary few minutes.

When buying vegetable plants for the garden, I obviously ensured that they included chilli peppers. I have been picking peppers now for some weeks, in fact the pepper plants have been particularly prolific. Frankly I have been disappointed in them, as whilst they have been very nice, hot they have not been.

TODAY'S HARVEST LOOKING FAIRLY INNOCUOUS  - WRONG!

This afternoon I did a garden patrol and collected some produce that was ready for gathering. As you do, I had a little taster when I got indoors, a cherry tomato - yummy! nothing like tomatoes straight from the garden, a radish -  crunchy, crisp and delicious! a green pepper - lovely! a small green pepper (which I thought was a chilli pepper) - very nice, but certainly not hot, a second type of green chilli pepper - again very good but certainly not hot. Then last but certainly not least a small red chilli pepper from exactly the same plant as the green one I have just tried. WOW!!! I have never, ever, ever, ever in my entire life tasted anything like it - I had to spit it out! My eyes bulged and wept, I felt as though my mouth, tongue, throat and stomach were on fire and within minutes my stomach was attempting to reject this alien creature! They say with hot curries you should eat bread, not drink water, but unfortunately in my attempt to lose weight I have not been buying it while David is away, so had none. I ate a radish, I ate a tomato - no help what so ever. I'm thinking how embarrassing that I have to call paramedics because I've eaten a chilli pepper. I drink water, I drink milk and finally after about 5 minutes the pain slowly starts to subside. I am going to live to see the day out after all.

THE RED DEVIL!!! - YOU CAN SEE THE TINY BITE I HAD

Another lesson in life learnt! 57 years old and still learning - a bit pathetic really.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

RAMAZAN - 2012 dates and how it may affect your holiday

This year Ramazan takes place from 20th July through to 18th August. The dates during which Ramazan takes place are dependent on the Lunar calendar so therefore, move forward each year by around 11 days. Ramazan (Ramadan in other countries) is the 30 day Islamic holy month and for Muslims is a time of fasting, prayer and celebration. Fasting does not just mean not eating, it means nothing passing the lips - so no eating, drinking, smoking, chewing gum and for the strictest Muslims no licking of postage stamps, no sexual intercourse during daylight hours and even swimming and taking showers in case water passes the lips.

Ramazan is a time to slow down from wordly affairs and cleanse the inner soul, and teaches the practice of self control, sacrifice and empathy with the less fortunate. It is compulsory for all Mulsims from the age of puberty, apart from the elderly, ill, infirm or mentally ill people. Also exempt are pregnant women if they believe harm will be caused to themselves or their baby, menstruating women and women nursing new born babies. Some people who are unable to fast for reasons of ill health or age will donate food to the poor instead. Some children will participate by completing some fasting as preparation for when they are older.

Obviously at the moment Ramazan is taking place at the height of the summer when it is extremely hot here, so it must be incredibly difficult to go all day in these temperatures without so much as a glass of water. Tempers must get frayed and it is suggested that road accidents increase during Ramazan when tempers are fraught and concentration is distracted. So if you are in Turkey during Ramazan be very careful driving around!

The Ramazan drummer walks the streets in the early hours of the morning, beating his drum to wake the fasters for their breakfast 'sahur' (suhoor). As sunrise is around 4.00am that is an incredibly early awakening and the drummer may start between 2.00 and 3.00 am!

Ramazan is also a time of celebration and after sunset families and friends and communities will gather together to partake of 'Iftar' the meal taken at sunset to break the fast. In Fethiye there is a carnival atmosphere in the evenings with stands along the harbour, and events and concerts taking place. Fethiye gets very busy during Ramazan and in particular it may be best to avoid going to restaurants around sunset when the Turkish families hit them hard. Equally the restaurants tend to be quieter during the day due to the absence of Turkish families, although I have seen families sitting with their children whilst they eat, and of course not all Turkish people are practising Muslims.

Because we live in a tourist area Ramazan does not noticeably affect us, with most restaurants open throughout the day. But do spare a thought for the chefs and waiters who are probably fasting while serving you with food and drink all day. That must be very difficult! If you are travelling to more remote areas take food and drink with you as it is more likely that restaurants will be closed during daylight hours.

So all in all Ramazan should not really affect you if you are holidaying here, just spare a thought for those who are observing Ramazan during your stay, for instance it would be more respectful if eating, drinking or smoking during daylight hours to do so subtly and not walking around in public.  It is more likely to affect you at the end of Ramazan when  the Seker Bayrami festival starts as during that time banks are shut for the best part of a week, some business may be shut on some days and ATMs can run out of money. But more of that in another post.






Friday, 13 July 2012

GOATS A PLENTY


Anyone who has known me for a long time will know that many years ago I kept goats myself. We drunk their milk, we made yogurt and cheese and yes we ate the meat. It is unfortunately impossible to have goats milk without the nanny goat first having kids, and of course it is not possible to keep all the male kids so they, like bull calves go for meat. I can remember a lot of years ago my city dwelling brother in law coming to stay and serving roast leg of goat with all the normal roasty trimmings. We said nothing. After the meal we asked him whether he had enjoyed his meal. His reply "It was the best piece of lamb I've ever tasted".

Proud 'Billy' with his girls
Well now we are living in Uzumlu we see goats all the time. In rural Turkey the keeping of goats is still widely practised, and most of the Turkish families in our village keep at least a couple of goats. These goats provide them with milk, meat and fibre and often they will make the milk into cheese which they then sell to supplement their income. It is very common to see them being walked along the hedgerows and scrub land or to see villagers collecting branches and forage to take back to their goats, which are often kept under or near the family home.

The kids go too

Larger herds are often taken up the foothills of the mountains early in the morning not returning again until early evening. They are accompanied by the goatherd who stays with them all day, gradually moving them along, before eventually bringing them back down the mountain again at night. You can hear the goatherd calling them and chivvying them along up in the mountain throughout the day, although you cannot see them as they are lost in the trees and too far away. But when early evening comes you will see the goatherd bringing them back down again to safety before night fall.

The stragglers on their way home

When we were first here we used to wonder what the funny noises were up in the hills next to the house. Now we know it is the goatherds up there with their goats.


A large herd heading up to summer grazing

We particularly like watching the really large herds being moved. In April they are moved up the mountains to graze on the mountainous shrub lands throughout the summer months and will be brought back down around October time. There will be herds of hundreds of goats and sheep being moved along the roads, together with several goatherds, donkeys carrying their belongings, and lots of dogs. We love to watch these go by our house, and watch them until they meander their way off into the distance.
Meandering up the road to mountain shrub lands

Monday, 9 July 2012

MY WORD, I'VE GOT BIG MELONS!!!

How did I ever find time to go work? With David still in England I am busy all day and every day at the homestead, so still no trips out for me at the moment, I am sorry to say. When he returns in three weeks time, I have every intention of making up for that by getting out and about a bit and seeing a bit more of this lovely country and the people who live here.

But until then its mainly gardening and persevering with the new animals. The German Shepherd who I am sorry to say remains unnamed, although 'Devil Incarnate' comes to mind, is now finding her feet and has become a secret chewer! So far I have found her quietly chewing the irrigation system, a radiator cap and the other night I woke up to a lot of noise in the small hours and on further investigation discovered that the dogs were playing ball and between them had managed to tear the seat of the new sofa!! So new dog now has to sleep outside on the terrace as she simply can't be trusted. She also digs the garden and treads on plants and then carts the soil into the house on her feet. Bless her!
Inca lurking behind an oblivious Çingene

Frankly the saga with the cats is not going much better, whilst Horrace now tolerates the new cat Çingene, Inca's hate crusade continues and if ever anyone cut their nose to spite their face it is certainly her! I have sealed off the chimney that she hid in, I have now shut the doors to under the stairs, which was her next hidey hole so now she has squashed herself  between the wall and a wardrobe and is lurking there under a radiator! Meanwhile Çingene carries on regardless without a care in the world.
Wow! How quickly do melons grow.
But meanwhile everything is growing in the garden and suddenly melons are there. Now I have never grown melons before so this a particular pleasure and I cannot believe the rate at which they grow. The first fruit to appear that I noticed, was about the size of a walnut, the next day it had quadrupled in size and has continued at that rate - its incredible!

 I am now eating lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, courgettes and aubergines out of the garden which is most satisfying and I have even made some peach jam with the last of the peaches off the tree.

I have spent most of this week carting the stones which we had dug up out of the garden, and there has been barrow load after barrow load of them. But nevertheless it is a good job done and after the clear up we will be able to dig over some more land and start to think about putting paths in place before the winter.

Summer has arrived big time and it is hot, hot, hot here now. It's funny how quickly you change, when we came here for holidays we were out in the sun every waking hour to get tans to go home with, now it is a case of working around the heat to get things done. I get up at 6.00 am (although I always did that when I was working), but now instead of sitting with endless cups of coffee, I try to get jobs done before the heat of the day kicks in. During the day I tend to do things indoors and often in the afternoon I either have a siesta, or read a book for a couple of hours because it is just too hot to function at all.
Actually it seems in Turkey that the late afternoon, early evening can be the hottest part of the day, so it is generally quite late when I get to start watering the garden, and even later when I get to eat because you just don't fancy a big meal when it is so hot. Today it has been 36C in the shade and it is supposed to be even hotter by the end of the week. There have been very strong winds today, but whereas in England the cold cuts right through you these winds blow hot air, but they are incredibly powerful and will blow anything about which isn't anchored down. So I have spent some of today retrieving plant pots and battening down the fencing.

I understand from David that the weather in the UK has been fairly appalling, and he is desperate to get back home to the sunshine. On my part I will be glad to have him home and to share the workload at last!

"Hey! Wake up I've got a ball"
HEY! WAAAAKE UPPPPP!
 I'VE GOT A BAAAAALLLL!

"Bet you wish you'd got a ball?"


"I want the ball"


"Give me the ball"

"GIVE MEEEE THE BAAAALLLLL
 NOWWW!!"

"Hey! I've got a ball!
 I bet you wish you'd got a ball!!!!

Monday, 2 July 2012

HOME ALONE AND BUSY, BUSY, BUSY....

Our very first olives ... ever!
Plums on our plum tree
At the moment half of the Fethiye Fogies is in the Uk, David has returned to England to sort out the rest of our belongings - there will be no turning back then, all bridges will be burnt. So the other half  'Moi' is not getting out and about much at the moment, being busy holding the fort.


Who knew Okra grew upwards?
I am currently pool maintenance person, head gardener, cleaner, shopper, laundry maid and servant to the cats and dogs, so not much time for anything else. I did however, manage to attend the third Turkish lesson, where to my delight there were two new recruits so I rose the ranks very slightly. No doubt they will have time to have done their homework and overtake me by next week! But I don't care because as luck would have it they live further out of Uzumlu along our road, so this means that starting next week they have agreed to give me a lift - no more walking back pushing the bike up the hill - Hooray!!!!

Our home grown apples
Beans plants are growing
The garden has been hard work as I ignored it for two weeks getting ready for, and having my daughter to stay. But today I can see I am winning the battle and it is really satisfying to see that our hard work is actually producing some results. We both enjoy gardening but when we were both working we didn't have time to do much so it is great to be able to grow our own fruit and vegetables.

Pomegranates are starting to grow

Actually, in Turkey there is very little need to grow your own produce because fruit and vegetables are plentiful and inexpensive. There are fruit and vegetables here that we had never seen before and walking through the Fethiye produce market on a Friday is an absolute delight. The vegetables here are so varied and good that sometimes we realise that we haven't actually eaten meat for several days and we haven't even missed it. 
Big peppers.....
and little chilli peppers
Cucumbers for our salad
However, as we have a fair sized garden we choose to still grow some of our own and at the moment we have plums on the plum tree, apples on the apple tree, peaches which are the best I have ever tasted, tiny pomegranates just starting to grow and even olives on the olive tree. The first of the tomatoes are now ready, and we also have cucumbers, peppers, okra - I never knew they grew upwards! - fresh herbs, the cabbages are coming on well for the winter and the melon plants are full of flowers so there is some hope there too!  
Courgettes are coming along
But I am slowly coming to realise that gardening in England, where we really don't have to worry too much about watering, is very different to gardening in Turkey. I can see now why the Turks plant their vegetables in rows in a trough and ideally on a slope because then you use minimum amount of water as it reaches the plants quickly and isn't wasted across the rest of the garden. If the trough does slope you can just put a hose at the end of the row and the water will run along of it's own momentum - simples!  Of course for the first few weeks we watered the English way and wasted no end of water. The other advantage of course is that the foliage doesn't get wet, the water goes straight down to the roots, obvious really - but it's taken me three months to realise. Living in Turkey is such a learning curve.
Big tomatoes .......
and aubergine

and little tomaotes




Oh, and new cat has a name - Çingene (pronounced chingena) which is Turkish for Gypsy and seems very apt.