Wednesday, 31 July 2013

I now know the Turkish word for Scorpion!

Last night I was up later than I normally am because we lost our Internet connection at the weekend and I was catching up on emails etc. At midnight I thought I really should be getting to bed, so shut the computer down and cleared up ready to climb the wooden hill to slumber land. At the very last minute I decided that before going up, I would sit on the terrace for a minute and have a last cigarette while watching the stars and enjoying the peace and tranquillity. Big mistake!

As I stepped out onto the terrace I felt a searing pain in my toe, looked down and saw a scorpion on the doorstep. Trying not to panic, I woke David up who was fast asleep on the sofa - enjoying his film!

"I've been stung by a scorpion what do I do?" The first thing that came to mind was to get the venom out. I don't have one of those little pumps for this, so I suggested as obviously I couldn't reach my own toe that David tried to suck it out. Surprisingly and in the heat of the panic, he tried but that didn't make any difference. How ridiculously we behave in a crisis.

I switched the computer back on and googled 'scorpion stings in Turkey' The first thing I saw was that if the sting was on the hand or the foot to elevate the limb, so still trying to read I put the affected leg up on the kitchen worktop. Next advice was to put a cold compress on the site, so David was dispatched to the freezer whilst I continued to balance precariously and carry on reading. The pain was excruciating and neither elevating nor the ice was making any difference at all. Next thing put vinegar on it, so again David dispatched to get kitchen roll soaked in vinegar to wrap around it. No difference still agony!

Other advice almost always included hospital visits, and one guy said he had rushed to the Esnaf hospital in Hisaronu where they had dispatched serum and then rushed him to the Fethiye Esnaf for further treatment where he was met at the door by a doctor and 4 nurses who had been advised of his imminent arrival., and that afterwards he went into shock. This is not starting to sound too good!

The list of potential symptoms were swelling, drooling, twitches, heart palpitations as well as more serious symptoms which include widespread numbness, difficulty swallowing, a thick tongue, blurred vision, roving eye movements,  seizures, salivation, and difficulty breathing and that death may occur. At this point I am thinking maybe hospital is the best option. I was tempted to just go to bed, but the pain was so intense I don't think I could have slept.

So half past midnight I rang our dear friend Eddie who was of course fast asleep to come and take me to the hospital. Bless him, his response was I'll be there in ten minutes. So off we all set to the Devlet accident and emergency in Fethiye.

On arrival I hobbled to the reception desk and asked if anyone spoke English. They didn't but rang a nurse who did and I spoke to her on the phone. I explained that I had been stung by a scorpion.

She said "stung? scorpion? what is this?"

Great I thought there aren't many different words to describe by phone with no hand language what has happened. In the end in desperation, between gasps of pain, I said "ANIMAL BITE INSECT!"

"Oh animal insect" she said as though that made all the sense in the world "I will come now". Are you a resident?"


"Give the man your residency book"

A couple of minutes later there she was and I was ushered through to a consultation bay. A lady doctor came along and took my blood pressure and disappeared again. Two minutes later the nurse came back and said they were going to give me serum intravenously and an injection in my hip. Which indeed was exactly what happened a couple of minutes later. Then a man came along and wheeled me off down the corridor. I thought great, now I'm being admitted to hospital and David and Eddie won't have a clue where I've disappeared to. But in fact I was wheeled into a four bay side room further down the hall and left complete with drip attached and the company of two other lady patients.

I lay on my stretcher bed and was in agony and the pain showed no sign of abating at all. With no pillow, my back soon began to ache to add to the misery and I couldn't work out how to sit up or roll over. If I rolled onto my right side I thought I would bend my arm and shift the needle and if I rolled onto my left side I thought I'll rip the needle out of my arm altogether. I then tried to work out how I could sit up using only one arm as I couldn't bend the other one. After a couple of fairly pathetic attempts and by grabbing the bed rail with my free left arm and much heaving I managed to sit up.

At that point the husband of the lady in the bed next to me appeared and talking in Turkish she must have told him about my contortions because the next thing I know this strange man is trying to help me lay back down again. Good god it's just taken me about fifteen minutes to work out how to sit up!

"OK" I shouted at him.

"OK?" he replied "

"Evet" I say. "Do you speak English? "

"No - Dutch" he said

So that was the end of that conversation. By know I am throwing my leg around with the pain which is still incredible, and I'm thinking 'twitches' one of the major symptoms.

After a while the nurse reappeared to check my drip. I asked her what the injection had been. She said it was pain relief. I said well it hasn't worked. She disappeared.

Five minutes later the drip has finished and she returns with another nurse, and tells me that they are going to attach a second serum drip, but this time with pain relief in it. Which indeed they do and I am left laying there watching the ceiling again and listening to the Ramazan drummer who has started his rounds to awaken the fasters for their breakfast.

About ten minutes later I have the most incredible urge to giggle, and after a few minutes I can no longer resist the urge and lay there giggling. I didn't realise scorpion bites turned you into a mad woman. Then I thought Ah! what is in this drip? After another half an hour of giggling as quietly as possible to myself the nurse reappears and tells me I can go home now, so she lifts the bottle of 'substance' off the hanger and carries it beside me as we go back to the consultation room, where the other nurse disconnects me and I am free to go.

As I turn into the waiting area corridor I catch sight of David sitting and I start to laugh, as I go to pay the princely sum of 88 tl for my treatment (around £30 - can't complain at that) I laugh. We go outside and get a coffee from the all night shop and sit outside and drink it. I tell them that I don't know what they put in the drip, but I can't stop giggling, which David and Eddie find hilarious.

We set off home at 3.30 in the morning and actually found it really interesting to see how many households were in the kitchen preparing and eating their breakfasts. A lot of Turks here clearly maintain the Ramazan tradition of fasting.

So we finally arrive back in Uzumlu at around four in the morning, and after a quick cup of coffee I set off to bed. By now the pain is coming and going rather than constant, but the pain is so intense I just cannot sleep in spite of how tired I am. I tried every position possible, I elevated my foot, I slept upside down in the bed and pressed my foot against the bedhead, I dangled my foot over the edge of the bed all to no avail. It was like every time the pain came it was a pulsation kind of feeling and nearly drove me mad. Finally at 5.30 I took some strong pain killers put on a tight slipper sock around my foot and finally went to sleep.

This morning I woke up to more a feeling of pins and needles and numbness than pain, but I have felt a bit odd - odder than usual - all day.

I hate wearing shoes and have never worn anything on my feet at home and quite often in the garden, but this has made me quite paranoid, and I have resorted to wearing crocs outside the house and looking a lot more carefully where I am walking. I am so glad that it was me and not one of the dogs that got stung at least.

I was stung by one of the light brown/grey scorpions which are worse than the black ones, it was quite a small one. Today we can see two marks on my toe, so I think it got me twice. It was an extremely unpleasant and hideously painful experience and I would urge everyone to be aware that they are around and to be careful. So now this year I have been bitten by Yakarca and a wolf spider and now stung by a scorpion, surely that's my turn done for a while. All I can say is after the pain from that sting I do not want to be meeting his father or big brother! Oh and the word for scorpion in case you are stung - akrep, a most useful word to know!

Sunday, 21 July 2013

A new young lady joins our family

When we lose a pet that has been a part of our family for many years, they can of course never be replaced or indeed forgotten and the home seems a lonelier place without them. Tyson's passing has left us feeling very sad and the other dogs have definitely missed his presence too.

The pecking order when Tyson was here!

Losing Tyson has hit us hard. He was larger than life with a huge personality and everyone who knew him loved him. He was a legend! For the past few months life had been difficult managing his illness and the personality changes it caused.

Since we lost him, life is very different. The bin has been able to return to the floor because he is not there to steal forbidden food which would disrupt his blood sugar balance. I can open the oven door with two hands, as I no longer need one free to hold back a large black head trying to steal food at risk of being burnt. I can fill or empty the dishwasher without him trying to lick the plates. We can go to bed when we like and get up when we like because we are no longer beholden to his strict medication and feeding regime. We can go out together again because we don't have to worry about his regime or having a fit. You don't realise until the gap is left how much you have re-organised your lifestyle to accommodate the problems.

I would happily trade all of the above returning to have him back, but sadly this is not an option. As I said in a previous post life goes on. So to that end and in an effort to make the home a happier place again we agreed to foster a 12 week old puppy who was in urgent need of a placement. Hence this little girl entered our lives yesterday and we will see how she goes.

Born April 23rd she is only 12 weeks old so should be a big girl when she's fully grown
Luckily she was delivered to us, as we don't have transport, and she entered our home and laid straight down at David's feet quite happily. When the couple who kindly delivered her had left we introduced her to our other two and it all went remarkably calmly.

Meeting the rest of the gang
By the evening she was tearing around the garden with our seven month old puppy Little-E as though they were life long friends. I think our German Shepherd will be very happy that she can back off from having to amuse Little-E all the time, which will allow her more time to devote to her favourite pastime of chasing flies.

She's met the cats and thinks they are most interesting!
By the evening puppy had become a dab hand at getting on and off the sofa - yes I'm afraid our dogs do sit on the furniture! In fact I have been known to sit on the floor and watch TV because they look too comfortable to disturb.

A normal night in our house with no seat on the sofa for me
We were a bit unsure about leaving her last night, but this morning when we came downstairs everything was fine and she had been as good as gold. She was on the sofa with Kizi our German Shepherd. She did only made it as far as the terrace to have a wee, but for a 12 week old pup we thought that was brilliant.

The three of them have played and played around the garden and now they are all crashed out in the cool of the house having a sleep. She even already has her own favourite corner to lay. She has fitted into this family as though it was meant to be.

She's found her own corner
The only problem we have is that she had been called Kizim, which is a lovely name, but unfortunately we have a Kizi so we have to now think of a new name for her. Any suggestions please?

Tyson can never be replaced and will always be remembered and loved for who he was, but this new little lady has certainly filled a void in our home and although we only agreed to foster her for a while, I already know she isn't going to be moving on.

Friday, 19 July 2013

My trip to the Pure Life Village at Beğiş, Korkuteli, Antalya

High rise hotels have ruined many beautiful coastlines and areas all around the world, so it was inevitable that globally, countries and the tourism industry are being encouraged to consider environmental, cultural and aesthetic concerns when expanding tourism. Unfortunately these factors are not always taken in to account, so I was delighted a few weeks ago to be able to visit Pure Life Village near Korkuteli which is an excellent example of sustainable tourism.

 Beğiş - an almost abandoned mountain village near Korkuteli
The Pure Life Village is the brainchild of  Mehmet Biçer, who is the General Manager of large hotels in Antalya and Oludeniz. His dream was to develop a tourism project which was environmentally friendly and would boost the livelihoods of poor people living in the countryside. A very good friend of mine had been asked if she would like to manage the houses for holiday let, so I went with her to have a look around and get a feel of the place.

The village of  Beğiş, 12 km from Korkuteli and around 1 hour from Antalya, had become almost abandoned as villagers moved away due to the fact that the village had no water and the younger generation left to seek work in a more modern world. Those residents that remain in the village live a semi-nomadic existence, spending all of the summers with their stock in the highlands, returning only in the winter months to spend time in their homes in the village.

Lunch break for the nomadic herders who live in the mountains with their goats as they have for many centuries...
Likely from generations of goat herders they are natural and skilled stock men with animals in near perfect condition ....

............. No mean feat with hundreds of goats spread across the hillside
The traditional houses built from stone, wood and soil are almost a century old, and the un-restored houses show for a very different lifestyle than that which we take for granted. With space for their livestock under the houses, the upper rooms had access via a hatch for managing their stock in inclement weather. Most of the houses have just two rooms, a small hallway and an outside flat roof. One room was for daily living, with an area for the children to sleep, the other would have been for the mother and father. There was no electricity, no running water, and life was hard for these people, by the standards we are used to. Water would have to been carried from the wells which collected the rainwater, oil lamps lit the houses and the toilet was in the courtyard. I found the village fascinating.

A traditional house un-modernised - animals below, living accommodation above
As part of the tourist renovation, water has now been connected to the village for the first time and those houses which are available to rent have been sympathetically restored, providing the mod cons we expect, such as electricity, plumbed toilets, showers and inside stairs etc. whilst retaining a lot of their original features. All of the restoration has been done traditionally without the use of modern tools or technology. This makes for basic but fairly authentic accommodation.

Renovated village houses offer basic traditional accommodation
The houses each with their own garden are supported by a communal area where there is a pool, dining room and BBQ facilities. Meals can be provided and are prepared using local and organic produce.

The communal area offers a pool, sun loungers, dining room and BBQ
Whilst the project is in it's infancy at the moment, it is hoped that it will offer the opportunity to experience group activities such as traditional Turkish cooking, local crafts etc in the near future. In the meantime it offers a very different and enlightening holiday alternative, set amidst stunning scenery where lovers of nature, walking and Turkish history will find it a fascinating place to visit.

Whilst I was there we visited the nearest town of Korkuteli, which we really liked. There were most main banks, a good selection of shops, several restaurants and cafes and even a library.

The mountain scenery is stunning
We also drove up into the mountains where the scenery was simply stunning and the villages were like stepping back in time. I was surprised to see that in the plains between the mountains there was thousands of acres of corn being grown, and all of it standing tall, healthy and weed free. No need for crop inspectors here. We can only assume that although the corn stretches over many acres, individual families are responsible for pieces of it, because we saw a family harvesting some, with the children on the tractor, Grandma wielding the pitchfork to stack the cut stalks ready for straw and mother and father cutting the corn. Teamwork that any corporation would be proud of.

The best quality, weed free harvest I've ever seen
We visited a village high up in the mountains, where clearly they do not often have visitors, because we were stared at as though we were aliens just off the space ship, and when we stopped to talk to them they were incredibly shy. Originally we thought if we continued over the mountains we would eventually reach Antalya, but when the tarmac road turned into a dirt track we did begin to wonder, so we asked a small boy of about 7 or 8 years old who was walking through the village.

"Does this road go to Antalya?"

The boy looked at us for several seconds and thought before replying "I don't know".

Trying a different approach we asked "What is further along this road?"

Again he seemed suspended in time searching for a reply and then pushed his shoulders back, stuck out his chest, looked us in the eye and said "Another village".

We thought that was brilliant!

Village life high in the mountains
As it seemed unlikely that the rather poor rubble track led anywhere other than higher up the mountain and possibly 'another village' we decided to turn around and head back to the 'Pure life village'. However, busy as we had been chatting and admiring their ability at corn growing, we had not noticed that we had passed another track, and as we retraced our drive we came to a fork in the road with absolutely no idea of where we had come from.

Hmmmmmmm! Which way?
Choosing one at random, it soon became apparent it was not the way we had come, but we opted to continue anyhow and passed through another couple of villages, before the road turned into track and we continued up and down through the most beautiful mountain scenery, at times up there along the snow line.

A very large mosque in the middle of nowhere - Why? for the herdsmen perhaps?
Eventually the track started downwards and we passed through thousands of acres of forestry, before eventually joining the Fethiye/Antalya road having travelled full circle. On our way we passed marble quarries, goat herds which may or may have not been tended by our  Beğiş villagers, a huge mosque in the middle of nowhere, presumably for the nomadic herders, fabulous scenery, villages with houses we would have considered inhabitable, friendly but wary villagers and fascinatingly a house with a stone in which had clearly been robbed from an ancient site. It was a great way to spend an afternoon.

A bit of stone robbing here I think
So what was my verdict on a stay at the Pure Life Village. A fantastic and different idea of somewhere to stay, not yet brought to it's full potential. You really need to have a car. It is possible to get to Korkuteli by public transport and be collected from there and if you are content with local walking only and bring your food and drink with you OK, because the nearest shop is in Korkuteli 12 km away. But if you want to explore and visit the fascinating local area and it would seem a shame not to, then yes you do.

If you are not interested in nature, walking and exploring mountain villages then you would consider yourself miles from civilisation. But if you do like to see traditional Turkish villages, and enjoy the fabulous scenery, walks and nature, then it offers a very different holiday destination. For somewhere to totally unwind - perfect. There are teething problems with the houses, and the village was lacking in written or verbal information about what to do and where to go.  I suffered from meeting Yakarca (see my recent post 'a fairly grim three weeks ...') and the mosquito nets need attention. But these are problems that the management are aware of and are addressing.

Would I go again?  When it is properly up and running, the current problems have been sorted and there is an on site manager, I (and my insect repellent) will definitely visit again and I look forward to exploring that part of Turkey further. Many of you will have visited the 'Ghost town' Kayakoy and wondered what it would have been like to live there. This is a good opportunity to find out about traditional Turkish village living.

If this proves to be successful, it will save an almost abandoned village from extinction, providing the villagers with a means to remain in their homes for time to come, which is what sustainable tourism is all about.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Life goes on ............

After three dreadful weeks, we have picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves down and moved onwards and upwards as they say. There are other animals in need and we have put feelers out to see if there are any we can offer a permanent home.

Yesterday we visited the Fethiye Animal Shelter to see what was there, and of course they had a lot of animals looking for a home. But we came home with none. Tyson is a hard act to follow, and we are both used to large dogs. We are very aware that several people are looking for and able to have small to medium sized dogs, and we feel it would be better for us to have a 'biggy' that others either do not want or are unable to accommodate.

Fethiye Animal Shelter where the premises are clean and the dogs are well cared for
If anyone reading this post lives in the area and feels that they are able to offer any animal a good home, here are some of the current residents of the Shelter on the Uzumlu road out of Fethiye.

Some of the cats ............

and some of the dogs .............

We are having huge problems here at the moment with our water supply. For the last four weeks we have not had any water for more time than we have had any, and this makes life very difficult. We have learnt to keep water in buckets and bottles around the house to cope with household chores, but we are often having to water the garden in the height of the sun as we have to water the plants whenever we are lucky enough for it to appear.

The courgette plants are doing really well, but watering them is a problem

David has restarted his shed building project, which is coming along really well and I am back out in the garden. The vegetable garden is doing much better this year, partly due to the soil being improved and partly due to learning from last years mistakes. Last year I bought three courgette plants of which only one survived and produced very few courgettes. This year I made compost pits and grew them from seed and they are doing extremely well. I collected the first courgettes today and was surprised to find that one of them had become a monster in the space of  couple of days.

Today's courgette harvest with the one that fast tracked to a marrow.
I have also returned to my Turkish lessons, and very kindly the teacher offered me a free private lesson today to catch up on what I have missed during the last couple of weeks. It gave us the chance to discuss my progress, or more accurately lack of it. It was great that we were in full agreement about how I am doing. That my pronunciation of Turkish is appalling. In the words of my teacher "You speak Turkish the same as if you are speaking English"! That my grasp of Turkish grammar is very good and that my memory of new vocabulary is bad. But I won't give up, I just hope that my teacher and I live long enough to crack it.

We have now lived in Uzumlu for fifteen months and during that time we have introduced over forty people to the village who otherwise would never have been here. Some are relatives, some long standing friends, some new friends who we have met through our blog. Without exception they have all loved the village and a few are seriously considering coming to live here in the future. So I was very pleased to see today that a lady from the village has started a new Facebook page for property for sale and rental in the village, and I have added the link to our 'Useful sites' page.

Both David and I were overwhelmed at the quantity of comments, personal messages and emails we received from Turkey and around the world after our last post which was our public goodbye to our beloved Labrador Tyson. Your kind words meant a lot, were a great comfort and we thank you all so much.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

A fairly grim three weeks for us .......

I am very aware that some of my posts over the last few months have been rather depressing in content rather than promoting the delights of Turkey. But when I started this blog I wanted it to be a warts and all tale of our lives in Turkey so I do feel that I need to write about the bad times as well as the good. So here is a résumé of my last three fairly miserable weeks.

The very beautiful area near Korkuteli, Antalya
Three weeks ago I went with a friend to visit a nearly abandoned, derelict village which is being slowly restored as a holiday destination. I jumped at the chance and found the visit highly interesting and enjoyable and I will write a piece about it at a later date.

We arrived quite late at night, in the dark, and of course what is the first thing you do, when arriving somewhere new? You look around your accommodation. We turned the lights on upstairs and downstairs and seeing that there were mosquito nets in place went back down to have a drink and relax before going to bed.

I got settled in bed, tired and looking forward to a good nights sleep before getting up the next day to explore our surroundings in the morning. Within minutes something bit me on the arm, which I ignored at first. This was followed by successive nips, so I put on the light to investigate. There was no buzzing as mosquitoes do, and I couldn't see anything so settled back down again. Minutes later another bite, then another, then another and so on! Eventually I tracked down the tiniest little insect and managed to exterminate it. Settling back down again - yes within minutes another bite. So began one of the most miserable nights of my life, and hardly any sleep. I wrapped myself up in a sheet like an Egyptian mummy, with just my eyes poking out, then after about ten minutes was so hot that being bitten seemed preferable to dying of heat stroke. This mummy outfit on, mummy outfit off continued all night, with me getting increasingly tired, yet still totally unable to sleep. Truly one of the worst nights of my life.

By the next morning (and I have never been so pleased to see one!) I was covered from head to toe in thousands - and I do mean thousands of bites, which itched as nothing ever has. In the light of day, my friend and I discover that the mosquito nets whilst looking wonderful in the dark actually were not attached to anything at the bottom, flapping in the breeze. So when we had arrived and turned on and left on all the upstairs lights it was like "Hi guys, want to come to a party tonight!"

We were then informed that I had been bitten by Yakarca which are apparently fairly rife in the Antalya region. They are the tiniest insect imaginable, but I can assure you all that the bites cause intense itching, and when scratched, because you can't not scratch them, they become open weepy sites. When we returned home a few days later I was covered in them and looked like I had some horrible disease. I had been to a pharmacy in Korkuteli and got Kalomin and some anti-histamine tablets and they made no difference to me whatsoever.

Just some of my scars three weeks after the attack!
On the back of my hand in a space the size of  a 10 kurus coin there were twelve bites. Multiply that by my entire body and there seriously were thousands! Another couple of days on they were worse, and driving me insane with the itching, so I googled Yakarca on the Internet and read that they can lead to a parasitic disease called Leishmaniasis which can be fatal. I thought at this point I should go to see the Doctor, who prescribed different anthi-histamine gel and tablets. Thankfully within a couple of days the relentless itching started to subside and now at the time of writing and three weeks on I am just left with white spots in my tan where they have been. Hopefully I am going to live a little longer after all.

As if all of the above wasn't enough to contend with, I returned to our cat Peggy being ill as explained in my last post, who had to be put to sleep on the Saturday. I suffered from a serious bout of diarrhoea for 48 hours. Then the following Saturday our Labrador Tyson became ill again after two very stable months. He suffered several fits through Sunday and Monday, and on Tuesday although no longer fitting was obviously very poorly. I stayed with him all of Tuesday night and took him back to our vet on Wednesday. The vet carried out an ultra-sound and discovered that the tumours on his pancreas had now spread to his bowel and other organs, and upsettingly, but not totally unexpectedly he was put to sleep in my arms that afternoon.

Tyson 'The main man'
As with all our animals, Tyson's body came home with me and he is now buried in our garden with his favourite yellow bobbly ball, and we have planted a Passion flower on his grave.

Tyson was only 9 years old and I have know him since he was puppy of 6 weeks old. He flew to Turkey with us last April, and was 'The main man' in the dog hierarchy here. I don't have words to describe how much he will be missed, or how very sad our home is.

R.I.P. Tyson

Friday, 12 July 2013

Our animals 'Peggy' - A posthumous story

As you all know we are great animal lovers and try to do all we can to help any animals in need. A short while ago I started to share the stories of our animals and started with the two cats that we brought with us from England - Horrace and Inca.

I intended to gradually write about all of the animals that share our home and our lives. Unfortunately I had not yet written the piece about our little female cat Peggy when last Saturday, she suddenly became very ill and had to be put to sleep. I feel that her story should still be told and have decided to write about her posthumously.

Peggy entered our lives suddenly last September as a young kitten. I had taken three kittens down to the vets for their injections, and there all alone in a cage was a young kitten who was recovering from a broken leg. She had just had the plaster cast removed and had been there for 4 weeks. Apparently she had been hit by a car as a very tiny kitten. Also due her first injections that day, when the vet went to get her he discovered that she been bitten by an insect and her face was swollen, so instead she had to have antihistamine injections.

It seemed such a shame that she was all alone and had nowhere other than the animal shelter to look forward to, and extremely churlish not to take her back with the three abandoned kittens I was currently caring for. So I left home earlier to visit the vets with three kittens in the basket, and came back with four, a fact that David who had stayed at home took very well I thought. I think he knows me by now.

As it happened two of my three kittens were very close and the other was a bit lonely so the odd one out was able to pair up with the new one which was really nice to see. Animal Aid had named her Peggy, because of her 'peg leg' when she had a cast on, and that name just stuck.

She was very nervous and very shy, which when you consider that she had only ever been handled to have something nasty done to her i.e. injections and having her leg fixed was not surprising at all. But alongside her new partner she gradually gained confidence and although she wouldn't be picked up for a long time, she gradually started to come to us, and would then sit on our laps and let us stroke her.

A few weeks later a home was found for her and her partner to go to together and we took the pair of them down to Calis to their new home. We were so pleased for them both, but it wasn't to be, as just a few weeks later we were contacted by Animal Aid who had been called out to kittens which had been abandoned and it turned out to be Peggy and her friend. They collected them and unfortunately Peggy was suffering from Colitis and was not at all well, so after some more veterinary treatment they came home to us again in December last year.

The lady from Animal Aid who brought them back to us, said that whilst Peggy was with her she was very timid and shy and didn't like being handled, so it was a great relief when she settled straight away, and seemed very pleased indeed to be 'home' again. We decided there and then that we would keep her as it was just not fair to put her through any more changes. We also decided to keep her feline friend as we felt that she leaned on him quite heavily for confidence and they had become very close.

Peggy loved the Christmas tree
With Christmas around the corner, we had a hilarious time decorating the tree with the help of the kittens, and throughout the festive season we were busy removing kittens from the branches amongst the tinsel, they loved it.

In the New Year we were offered a home for her friend, but we wouldn't let him go as we felt Peggy needed him. So together they went through the rest of the winter and into spring when they began to really investigate the big outdoors, but Peggy never went further than a few yards away from our property, she liked to stay where she felt safe and secure.

Although she grew, she never did well, had a very peculiar gait, almost a kind of goose step and always seemed a little bit simple and we wondered if she had actually suffered a head injury when she had her accident. But she thrived and was happy so we loved her as she was, and she did become very affectionate with us, but was always wary of strangers. If I was wearing a jacket or cardigan she loved to get inside it for a cuddle, I think it made her feel safe.

One of Peggy's favourite places to sit

One of Peggy's most notable attributes was that her poos were the largest I have ever known a cat pass. Most dogs would have been proud of them, hence her nickname 'Peggity Poo Poo'!

Last week I was away for a few days, and on my return she seemed to have a slightly distended belly which I was keeping an eye on then a couple of days later she suddenly seemed very poorly in the space of hours. I took her straight to the vets and following an ultrasound it was discovered that she had advanced cancer, and unfortunately had to be put to sleep. I am so grateful that her demise was so sudden and she didn't have to suffer. It seems so unfair that such a young cat should have to have suffered so much in her short life, and I am also so grateful that for at least a short while we were able to share her life and watch her enjoy it to the full.

R.I.P. Peggity Poo Poo