Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Building, gardening and struggling with a brown pool

If in years to come you are still reading our blog and I mention that we are moving to a new house again, please all shout together "NOoooooooooooooooo!" It is so much more sensible to buy a resale property, where someone else has already done all the hard work and established the garden for you. We are still plugging away at attempting to sort our garden and frankly we are both exhausted! At the moment all of our time, energy and money is pouring into this project.

David, bless him is soldiering on with building sheds, laying paving and doing the building work. But to free him up to do that it means I am left to cope with pretty well everything else that needs to be done.

I know it is our choice to have four dogs, three cats and a vegetable garden, but when we share the chores it gives us something to do rather than vegetate in the sun and be bored. However, when one of us is taken out of the equation it's hard graft coping. In the mornings we do both share the housework, but then David gets on with the building and I try my best to cope with everything else.

I have been having horrendous problems with our pool. It somehow got a load of sand in it - either airborne or through the filter. But wherever it came from I have had a dreadful problem getting rid of it. When I vacuumed the pool, it came straight back up through the bottom jets, then being dispersed throughout the water, making it look brown and thick. It then takes several days to settle back on the bottom and make the bottom look dirty again!

This has not been good, as in this heat I do swim several times a day, purely to cool down between tasks and I have hated that I have not been able to do that. I have tried everything I can think of  to resolve this problem. I have checked the sand in the filter, tried to shock the water and eventually vacuumed the pool straight out onto the lawn, to prevent it going back in. Of course it then took the best part of a day to refill it. Of course vacuuming  it unsettled some of the sand, and some was resting on the lip at the bottom and the sides of the pool, so I have been in this muddy water with a broom and scrubbed down all of the walls. I then had to wait a few days until the sand that I stirred up doing this had settled on the bottom. This morning I vacuumed it on to the lawn again, topped up the water and finally I have a clean pool again. I am just praying that next time I have to vacuum, it doesn't do the same again. But today at least I have finally been able to swim again for the first time in about three or four weeks.

The vegetable garden has been really productive this year. We have really heavy clay soil here, but over the past year we have mixed in sand and loads of compost and horse manure and the soil has really improved so we are now reaping the benefits with a much better crop this year.

Really good courgette crop this year
I have courgettes growing so fast I don't know what to do with them. Most of them are more marrow size before I need them in the kitchen. As well as eating them as a vegetable, in other dishes and curried, I have searched the Internet for ideas and have made courgette chutney - very nice, and courgette cake - even nicer!

Last year the beetroot was rather sparse, hardly any of the seeds germinated, we just got enough to pickle some. This year I have loads and as well as eating it freshly cooked with salad, I have pickled some and made some beetroot chutney, which is great with cheese.

We've got loads of beetroot this year
We have lots of tomatoes - cherry, normal size and now the plum tomatoes are starting to turn red. There are enough peppers that I am not having to buy any. We also have a ridiculous amount of chilli peppers and although we use them for cooking all the time, I have also dried some and frozen some for winter use. The melons are doing well although none are yet ready to eat. Last year I made melon and ginger jam when we had a glut of melons, and although not to my taste David and visitors staying loved it, so I plan to make some more of that this year too.

Melons are coming along nicely and David is waiting for a jar of melon and ginger jam
Another vegetable that has been particularly successful this year is the okra, we have such a good crop that I have been able to freeze some for the winter. We love them and they are great to have in winter stews and home made soups.

In the rest of the garden, unfortunately the replanted palm trees were not looking too good. We had thought that we would wait through the winter to see if they came back to life. But the dogs decided they would help in the garden and have made the decision for us by digging the first one up! Now that they have done that we can see that they definitely did not survive which is a shame.

Little-E was caught on camera but she was not alone when the deed was done!!
We do have another plant that has been very successful though. Earlier this year I bought a packet of mixed Belle de Nuit seeds, and sowed them in pots before transplanting into the garden. They turned out to be a range of beautiful colours some plants having different coloured flowers on one plant. Known as the four o clock flower, because the flowers open out at night, they look stunning in the early evening, we love them.

The beautiful Belle de Nuit plants yellow, red and yellow and red flowers all on one plant.
David has almost finished the first shed. Finished enough that I have been able to tidy the place up considerably by putting away all the gardening bits and pieces and tools which previously were laying around on the path and under the stairs. In my wisdom, as I want a courtyard garden beyond the shed, I thought it was a good idea to have recesses put on the outside of the shed walls to hold oil lamps to light the path leading to this courtyard garden. Further than that I expected the stone surrounding each one to be cut to an Eastern type shape. Surprisingly David agreed to do this, but it meant buying a disc cutter, which we did. However, half way through cutting the first shape the disc-cutter ground to a halt, so it has now had to be sent off to the service engineers under guarantee, expected return two to three weeks. So that job is half finished and I can't plant the raised beds until they are done.

The first shed for the gardening bits and pieces almost finished bar my recesses
Meanwhile David has put in the foundations of the adjoining two sheds - one to be used as a kennel, the other as a wood store near to the house for the winter. When they are up we can put a gate up and hopefully that will mean goodbye to claggy, clay soil being trodden up constantly from the back garden onto the terrace and into the house.

Footings in for the new kennel and log store and the floors going in now
We have a real problem in the back garden with flooding when it rains, so as we go we are paving the area and putting in raised beds. It is a colossal task, and will take months to complete, doing all the work ourselves. Recently some new people moved into a villa close to us, and they are currently having their garden completely landscaped, with brick weave. The materials were all delivered on articulated lorries and a major team of guys have been working there all week. No doubt their entire garden will be completed in a matter of days. How easy life can be if you have the money!

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Four dogs and three of them under a year old - are we insane?

It was just over two weeks ago when our puppy Bebek's stroppy, unruly sister stomped into our lives to create havoc. How have we all got on? Well after a very shaky start things have really settled down, Little-E our 8 month old pup has earned doggy gold star of the month award and the new pup finally has a name.

Over the past two weeks, new pup has responded very well to training. She has to sit before she has any food and she has learnt where her own place for food is, so that she doesn't have to bowl all the others out of the way first to be sure she gets some. She has got the hang of this so well, that she even sits whilst I am preparing it. She walks well on the lead, and enjoys going out for walks.

sitting along with the others whilst their food is prepared - a big improvement I can tell you!!
She is still enamoured with the cats when she spots them. She tries to stamp on them with her feet and lick them to death. The cats are not really that bothered though. Çingene is not at all intimidated by her and Thomas teases her dreadfully by taunting her, then running for safety on a wall or a table, before the taunting and the chase begins again. She is slowly learning though that using her feet is not acceptable because when she is fully grown it will be like being on the receiving end of a head butt from Mike Tyson!

Çingene will not be intimidated
One of the reasons that Little-E has earned her gold star is because when pup first came, and ran after the cats, she roared up and put herself between them and warned her off. How utterly clever and kind is that from a dog who is only an eight month old pup herself?

Little-E stepping in as Çingene's guardian when new pup is near.
Little-E has proved herself to be the best big sister ever. She plays with the puppies and keeps them amused, but she is also teaching them manners, she takes no nonsense from them at all, and she's only half their size!

Bebek and her sister are like chalk and cheese. Bebek has a very calm and laid back personality. Her sister is pushy, boisterous and given an inch will take a mile. They don't even look alike. Bebek has much longer ears, is finer in build and is obviously completely different colouring. Having kept in contact with the lady who has the brother and another sister, I hear that she also has one of each colouring and that their personalities are very similar with the black one calm and the brown one completely over the top. I have therefore, come to the conclusion that the mother was probably mated by two different dogs and they have different sires. It would be so interesting to do a DNA test to see if this was the case.

I said in my last post about the dogs that I did not think that the sisters recognised each other, but now they are used to each other again I wonder, because they are very fond of each other. When they play, they talk to each other in high pitched voices that sound like aliens. Little-E has tried to pick up the lingo, but she certainly isn't fluent in alien speak yet.

Playtime complete with their alien style language
They are growing so fast that we have started measuring them each week and marking their height on the terrace wall. It's incredible when you can see last weeks mark and know how much they have gone up in just one week.

All four dogs now get along just fine, with the three pups becoming incredibly close. So it does seem to be an awful shame to split them up now. We really have to stop fostering dogs, because they always end up staying here! We are just a soft touch I know, but by the time they have settled in, it then doesn't seem fair to uproot them again.

Fitting in to the family
When I was a child of about 8 or nine I can remember going to the cinema with my mother. I have no idea what we actually went to see, but the supporting film was 'Big Red' a film about a setter called Red who would not conform to his masters plans. We loved that film and sat and sobbed - as you do in the Walt Disney animal films! So because she is big, because of her colour, because she has a problem conforming to rules, and because that film meant so much to me new pup's name is now Red. She is here to stay and she knows it! We must be insane!

Here to stay and very much at home!

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Çalış boat co-operative so much more than a water taxi service

One of the Çalış water taxis
One of our favourite things to do is to catch the water taxi to Çalış from Fethiye harbour in the early evening so that we are in Çalış in time to catch the sunset. We love the trip across the bay, it's a wonderful opportunity to view a different perspective on the beauty of Fethiye surrounded by the mountains.

Leaving Fethiye in daylight ...............
We then enjoy a leisurely meal before catching the water taxi back to Fethiye for a nightcap before catching the dolmuş back to Uzumlu. It is delightful to glide down the Çalış river in the dark before approaching Fethiye lit up for the night across the bay.

............. and returning to Fethiye at night on the water taxi
But up until this year although we had been on boat trips from Fethiye, we had never set out on one of the Çalış boats. However, in early April a friend of ours had family staying and organised a boat trip for them and we were invited to go along. Being early in the season the boat that we were meant to go on, was actually not ready, so another of the Çalış boats stepped in and we set off on Ali Tuğsat's boat ALİS 1.

Ali told us that this was his first trip of the season and the lad that was with him was on his first day at his new job, being trained by Ali. Completing the crew members was Ali's mum who comes along to do the cooking, and as we left Çalış 'Mum' disappeared down into the galley to prepare the food.

We had just cleared the first island and settled into the trip when Ali came to ask if we would mind if he helped another boat that had broken down. He explained that the Çalış boats were run as a co-operative and they all looked out for each other. Of course we didn't mind. There's nothing like a bit of drama on the high seas!

Stuck out at sea awaiting help from a co-operative member ..........
So we went straight to the boat which had ground to a halt in the middle of the sea, and needed to get to a point where the fitters could get on board to fix it. Tow ropes were thrown and tied and we towed the boat to a cove where the fitters were already waiting by the time we drew in and they quickly boarded the boat and had it mended in no time at all.

........... being towed in for assistance
We were glad to get in the cove because in honesty it was a tad on the chilly side out at sea in early April. But there in the sheltered cove the sunshine soon warmed us up, and a couple of us even dared to have a dip in the sea - albeit a rather quick one, the water was fairly cold!

There are beautiful coves to see, which is not possible other than by boat
Ali's English is excellent and he is a fervent supporter of football - Fenerbahçe in particular. He told us about the Çalış boats and how they are run as a co-operative. Each of the Çalış boats have to take turns in being the water taxi, but outside of that they do day and evening trips, both publicly and they are available for private hire. After each boat takes it's expenses for diesel and food costs etc. the rest of the money is shared. So if any boat is not required on a particular day, they are still being looked after by the other members of the co-operative. It is a very good system and really seems to work well for them.

More of the Çalış Co-operative boats
Then it was lunchtime and 'mums' food was served. Wow! What an excellent cook. We have been on many boat trips before and we are usually served with either chicken or fish, salad, bread and pasta salad, followed by fresh fruit. This food was in the premier league let me tell you. With some lovely and unusual Turkish home cooking, it was like having lunch in a Turkish home rather than a standard boat barbecue. Unfortunately I was so busy eating that I didn't manage to take any photos of the food. Highly, highly recommended. Well done 'mum'.

Ali Tuğsat skipper of the boat ALİS 1 and his super cook mum
The rest of the trip was very enjoyable and relaxing and we finished off by passing close to the island in the bay on the way back to Çalış, which for nosey people like me was a wonderful opportunity to have a closer look at the Island.

We were able to have a good nosey at the probably super expensive properties on the island in Fethiye bay
We were so impressed with Ali, his boat and especially the food that we immediately booked it again for our family to have a sunset cruise the night after our wedding in May, and guess what, we were his first sunset cruise of the year. So two firsts on ALİS 1 this year.

Again we had an excellent trip with superb food. Unfortunately when we moored up to watch the sunset the clouds came over and we couldn't see it. But that didn't detract for one minute from us having a brilliant night. Ali put music on and we drank from his well stocked bar, and partied the night away.

Here we all are setting off on our sunset cruise. A motley crew if ever there was one!
Actually it was mostly me that did the partying! Ali's boat has a system that you can connect an ipod or phone to and one of our sons put on some rave music, I even danced to that! I was the only one who attempted to dance to Zorba the Greek as well! In my defence after the stresses in the run up to our wedding day it was the first time I could really relax and let my hair down in a long time. I think the family forgave the mad woman in her 50s partying the night away!! Thankfully there are no photos, that I am aware of anyway!

We finally docked back in Çalış around midnight and fell onto the dolmuş that we had hired to take us all back to Uzumlu. I bet some passers by wondered why an Uzumlu dolmuş was driving around in Çalış!

Having done both the day and the evening trip on ALİS 1, I would never by choice use any other boat in the future. Ali was a fantastic and amenable host, and as for 'mum's' cooking wow,wow,wow! Can't wait for the next trip, we highly recommend his boat.

Private hire of the Çalış boats this year is 35 tl per person for the day cruise including all food but not drinks. 25 tl per person for the sunset trip again including your meal but drinks to be paid for. These prices are for the first ten people (minimum charge) after that 35tl and 25 tl respectively. Ali's boat will hold 27 people and is a lovely boat not yet two years old, with sun deck and cabin. It is a great idea to hire it privately for family and friends to enjoy a tailor made trip.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

How we came to meet the lady waiting for the cows to come home ....

When we used to visit Turkey for holidays, we went to all the usual tourist stops on organised trips and thoroughly enjoyed them too. But one big advantage of actually living here is that you can travel at your own pace, and often the journey is as enjoyable as the place you have actually set out to visit.

A few weeks ago  a friend and I went to stay at the Pure Life Village at  Beğiş near Korkuteli and I wrote about our adventures there in a previous post, but at the time I did not describe the drive there and that too is worthy of mention and proves the point I made above.

We set off from Üzümlü around mid afternoon. Neither of us had eaten before we left, and we were not sure that we would get food at the village arriving late, so after about an hours drive we stopped at one of the roadside restaurants for a meal.

"Waiting for the cows to come home"
I can't tell you how many times we have stopped at one of these places, ordered something purely because we recognised what it was, and then seen a Turkish person arrive and have an utterly splendid meal, just because they knew what to ask for and we didn't. Not that we have ever had a disappointing meal, but we do like to try new things, and these places more often than not don't have a menu.

So it was great to be making this journey with a Turkish friend who could order for us both and I just waited to see what we got. First of course we were served with salad and bread, but shortly after a plate of meat arrived. I tried it and it was delicious! My friend asked me what I thought it was and I said it was fabulous lamb! Lamb is my favourite meat so I was really happy. She explained that it was Kuzu Kelle or for us Brits more commonly known as lambs head!  Don't know if I would have ordered that but it was superb, and I would definitely eat it again. She told me that is a very popular Turkish dish which is usually served with the meat still on the skull complete with eyes. She had asked for the meat to be removed and served on a plate and I thank her for that!

Kuzu tandır - lamb cooked slowly over several hours in a wood oven, until the meat just falls off the bone
Next along came ciğer (liver), this appeared in a sizzling pan, and prompted by my friend we added cumin and lemon juice, neither of which I would have thought to have with liver. Again superb!

Ciğer (liver), sizzling in the pan small cubes simply cooked in olive oil
Getting a bit full now, but then along came a platter of kuzu pirzola (lamb chops). I had been watching the guy cook these on a barbecue by the roadside and they smelt wonderful, and tasted even better, especially with my new trick of sprinkling cumin on top. Just as I thought I was bursting another plate of lamb chops arrived, well they had to be eaten didn't they? What a great meal, I really enjoyed it.

Lamb chops cooking on the roadside barbecue
After we had eaten we had a good look around the grounds. We were shown how they cook the lamb in the wood ovens, slowly so that it just falls of the bone. We saw the washing up water being heated in a massive cauldron heated above a wood fire and we saw the meat chillers with whole lamb carcasses hanging.

Heating the water for the washing up
But the absolute highlight of the day was meeting Grandma who was waiting for the cows to come down from the pastures higher up the mountains, and she stood complete with a large stick which was either to herd the cows or to lean on, or possibly both. She was waiting for them so that she could prevent them from running onto the main road. She had the most magnificent set of eyebrows. What a character, and what a lovely lady.

Retirement age means nothing to these village ladies - still working hard
More than suitably full we settled our bill and returned to the car. As we were getting in it, another patron of the restaurant pointed out that we had an almost flat tyre, so we headed off slowly to the next garage, to ask someone to check it out. The verdict was that it needed changing and that there was a tyre place at the garage in the next village. So we topped up the tyre with air and set off to find it.

Not the swish tyre bays we're used to but the UK could learn a bit about service from here!
By now it is gone 7.00 pm on a Saturday evening, in the UK there would be no hope and we still had a lot of miles to travel. Drawing in to the next garage we saw a tyre place in the corner, door open, but no-one there. On the door was a telephone number so we rang and the man said he would be there within 30 minutes. Meanwhile, we topped up the gas in the car and were chatting to the petrol attendants when within ten minutes the tyre man arrived. It took him less than another ten minutes to remove the tyre, point out the nail in it, mend it and have it back on the car. What service that was at approaching 8.00pm on a Saturday night. Would that be possible in the UK? I think not.

Quickly fixed and back on our way
So on our way again through the most beautiful scenery to Beğiş, destination reached. Another fantastic journey through stunning mountain scenery and meeting awesome Turkish characters and yet again being recipients of the wonderful Turkish hospitality and service.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Sisters re-united, but the new one is no angel!

Two sisters together again

Our puppy Bebek is so gentle, kind and loving that we were really expecting her sister who we had agreed to foster, to be the same. Instead she is a stroppy teenager with attitude! Within the first hour or two she had nipped all our other dogs, and ran up to bite our German Shepherd as she was simply walking past her. Not a very good start.

We had wondered whether the two sisters would recognise each other, but I can't honestly say that they did seem to. Although just before she was due to arrive, Bebek laid on a concrete pad in our front garden looking up the track as though she knew she was coming, that was a bit weird!

At only three and a half months old new pup is already considerably bigger than Little-E and an inch or so taller than Bebek. Where Bebek is quite fine in stature, this one is chunkier and more solid, and consequently is maybe rather used to throwing her weight around.

She's a very large, solid three and a half month old baby
But what may be fine when she is a puppy is not acceptable behaviour from an adult dog of the size she is likely to become, so yesterday we had some serious lessons in who is alpha dog here and it was a bit shocking for her to discover it actually was me!

We had already been warned that she was a chicken and cat chaser, so we were glad that the cats tend to lay holed up during the heat of the day which gave us a chance to sort the dogs before that added ingredient arrived to join the melee.

Bebek and Little-E were both good with her and tried to play gently together hoping she would join in. Later in the afternoon she did start to play but her body language was very hostile and aggressive. Gradually throughout the late afternoon and evening, she started to be a little bit more amenable and by later in the evening she seemed a lot more comfortable.

Our two pups tried to include her ...........
........................ and Little-E tried to befriend her but she just wasn't comfortable with it
In her defence she had a very long journey to reach us, and was apparently very sick on the way. Also she had briefly been to another home the week before which did not work out, so she would have been feeling a bit confused bless her.

She gobbled her dinner up and when the cats started arriving for their tea, it was almost an anti-climax because she really wasn't that bothered at all. Yes she looked at them, yes she followed them, but chase them, she did not.

So by bed-time last night she had two points in her favour. One, not too bad with the cats. Two, she is very beautiful.

When we came down this morning she had been well behaved all night. No noise, no chewing, no mess. As today has progressed so has her behaviour, and now she is quite happy being near her sister and Little-E but is still a bit wary of  Kizi our Shepherd.

She is very beautiful and very clever
This afternoon I had a small siesta on the settle on the terrace (as you do this weather) and she laid next to me. When Çingene one of our cats jumped up too, she leapt forward to intimidate her. But the problem she had was that I haven't yet met anyone or anything who CAN intimidate Çingene. So Çingene just kept coming which culminated in pup backing off and jumping over the arm of the settle to escape! So now she has slid another notch down the 'place in the pack' stakes.

When we named Bebek we had a spare name as we had such trouble deciding between two. We thought that we would call this pup the other name which was Melek (Angel) but unfortunately it just does not suit her in any shape or form! So at the moment the jury is out on that decision.

"It's my ropey and nobody is having it ......................
"not even when I'm asleep!"
Today has been a lot better, her behaviour is not so hostile, she is playing with the others, she has her own new toy 'ropey' which she is very proud of , and Little-E has thought up a totally new game for them to play. It is called 'I'm the king of the castle' and involves one of them (more often than not Little-E -but then it was her idea) leaping on the sofa and standing on the back of it yapping at the other two whilst they run round and round it trying to pop up and surprise her from a different end of the sofa. They played this game for such a long time this afternoon that they all had to lay down for a nap!

Much more normal behaviour today
We so hope she settles and fits in with us all, but I can't see her as ever being angel so yet again we search for a name!

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Bebek the puppy settles into her new home

I believe in fate, and our new puppy had our name on her the day she was born I am sure of it. Life moves in mysterious ways, because how she meandered her way to us from so far away I just can't imagine, but she did. On Saturday she will have been here for three weeks. So how has she settled in to the family?

Bebek - Baby
As mentioned in my post 'A new young lady joins our family' I spoke about how she walked in the door and laid straight down as if she belonged, and how meeting our other two dogs passed without event. Also that we had to think of a new name because Kizim which she was called was too close to Kizi who we already have - our German Shepherd.

We asked readers of our blog and facebook page to offer suggestions. There were some excellent suggestions and after much deliberation we shortlisted two. We just could not decide between those two and in the end we each wrote on a piece of paper which we thought. When we showed them to each other we had each chosen a different one. But in the end we agreed on Bebek (baby) as her new name.

Not really lap dog size but 'our baby' loves a cuddle
She seemed very happy with our choice because within a couple of days she responded to it, and as she settled it really seemed to be the right choice. She just is our baby! Somebody commented that when she is fully grown the name won't be right. I disagree, babies are indicative of new beginnings which we needed after losing our beloved boy Tyson, and she will always be our baby.

At first she was a bit too interested in the cats! But she soon came round and now she is as good as gold with them. This afternoon she was laying asleep on the terrace next to one of them quite happily. She also fell in the pool three times in the first few days, so she has had to have a crash course in swimming and more importantly how to get back out, as we only have ladder steps.

Bebek loves her swimming lessons!
She seems very relaxed here and is very loving. In the mornings when we come down, or if we have been out, she screams with excitement to see us, and likes to be picked up and cuddled a lot. Might be a bit tricky as she gets bigger, but it's OK for now.

Our eight month old puppy Little-E is totally in awe of her and they play together for hours. They have had a couple of spats when things get a bit rough, but it soon passes over and they are busy playing again.

The partners in crime when questioned had no idea how the sun lounger cushions fell off or indeed got torn! In fact one of them did their best to hide the damage !!!!!
Sometimes the German Shepherd will play with her, but she seems more pleased to be able to stop having to play with Little-E and lead a somewhat more mature life, so everyone is happy. But Bebek will often lay with her when they are having a siesta.

Little-E watches over her new best friend
She has been to the vets for her second multi injection, and returns next week for rabies then after that kennel cough. She was a very good girl and not at all bothered, and enjoyed her day out with us which included lunch at a cafe and a pint in a restaurant on the way home.She's really good on a collar and lead and loves to go out for her walks.

But the really spooky thing is that she is gradually developing lots of Tyson's little ways. She cocks her head to one side when you speak to her. She lays upside down with all her legs spread out. She sticks her head in the dish-washer to try and lick the dirty plates. She smells into the air like he did - for instance if there were goats about, or a strange dog outside he knew before the others because he could smell them. She loves to carry things about. Neither of our other dogs do these things and it seems like Tyson sent her to live with us. I realise that sounds bizarre, but it's how we feel.

Bebek cocks her head to one side just like Tyson used to do
For those of you who are not aware Bebek came from a litter of five puppies born to a street dog which turned up pregnant. A lovely caring lady took them in to care for them. Unfortunately the bitch was very poorly and unable to feed the pups so this lady hand reared them from about one week old and has really done an excellent job. All the puppies look superb and one was re-homed which then left three after Bebek came to Fethiye.

She is happy to keep two of them, but has been looking for someone to take another bitch puppy for some time. We were therefore delighted when last week we heard she too was going to a forever home in Dalyan. Unfortunately this did not work out and she was returned after a couple of days. This left the lady with mum and three large and boisterous puppies which were getting to be too much. So as the situation reached a crisis this week, we agreed to at least foster Bebek's sister so she is travelling down to Uzumlu on Saturday to join us here and we will see how it goes.

But fate moves in mysterious ways and we do have a spare name at the moment ..............

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Birthday Girl hit the cocktails!

Yesterday was my birthday, and as I commented on our Facebook page I reluctantly entered the last year in my 50s. As you get older the time seems to pass a lot more quickly. In fact since moving to Turkey in April 2012 we feel that our lives have just flown by.

Birthday girl on the cocktails!
I found this birthday very profound. I don't know why, because for most people it's the big '0's that have the biggest impact, but I definitely did not like this one coming round. For the first time in my life I actually feel vulnerable and that I am not immortal after all. It's scary to have less time in front of you than you have behind, and I can't help thinking of all the wasted years caught up in the rat race of life, not having the time to enjoy or savour the moment.

But it makes me so glad that we made the decision to come to Turkey before my retirement age, especially since the British Government seriously extended my retirement age. Unfortunately I am 3 months the wrong side of the new retirement age kicking in. It means that we have to live on a tight budget and can't go out as much as we would like to, but we are here while we still have the health to be able to enjoy this beautiful country and that as a certain credit card would say is priceless. It's not all about money. If we had waited we would probably never have got here and what a regret that would have been. So as from now, I am going to make the most of life and enjoy it while I still can, and I began to do that yesterday.

My birthday kicked off with  cup of tea and a birthday card from David. I can't imagine how he managed to get hold of one, because I'm not aware that he has been anywhere, but he did, so that was a good start to the day.

It was my Turkish lesson in the morning, where I treated myself to an iced coffee, instead of my usual nescafe or water. So that was a pleasant change. My teacher and fellow students sang 'Happy Birthday' to me in Turkish - albeit falteringly - and that was brilliant.

Birthday girl and her beloved enjoying a meal (and cocktails) at Eddy's Place, Uzumlu
We had a fairly normal afternoon with the usual chores, but Eddie came to pick us both up in the evening and took us down to Eddy's Place, one of our favourite restaurants in the village for a meal. Even better, Eddy's place does a range of cocktails and they seemed very fitting indeed for a Birthday Girl!

Good choice - but which one? I know I'll try several!
I had actually never had a cocktail there before, so it seemed only right to start with an 'Eddy's Special' which was Vodka, Malibu, Archers, orange juice, pineapple juice, Grenadine and Bols blue. This was served with all the trimmings and a sparkler, so good choice - yummy!

An Eddy's Special - very nice indeed!
The thing about cocktails is that they slide down so easily, so I was ready for my next one before we had even ordered our food. Next came a 'Mojito' - Bacardi, lime soda, dark sugar, fresh mint and lemon. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm! That one slid down easily too!

 Next a Mojito - mmmmmmmmmmm!
Whilst drinking this one, we did all manage to choose our meal. I went for the Meatball casserole, which is superb, Eddie chose Spaghetti Carbonara and David as always after ten minutes perusing the menu decided on Moussaka - again! I really don't know why he bothers to look at the menu. But in his defence it is his favourite meal and he says it is very good there.

Of course you need a drink to enjoy with your meal, and the Mojito was nearly gone as we went to the table so I chose a Kamikaze next - vodka, cointreau, lemon juice and lime juice.

Then a Kamikaze enjoying the evening now!
It would have been nice to have taken some pictures of the delicious food, but for some reason last night I seemed focused on the cocktails. But the food was superb and we all thoroughly enjoyed our meals. Because we had all opted to have chips extra to our meals, unfortunately none of us could fit in a dessert. This was a terrible shame because their apple and mulberry crumble is just fabulous.

But there was one cocktail I had my eye on right from the start. It has all my favourite ingredients - Baileys, Tia Maria, chocolate and cream. Now how can anyone resist that??? But the problem was that there's something a bit odd about a nearly 60's lady asking a young and virile barman "Please may I have an or--sm" But it was my birthday and it's my favourite and I needed one, so with three cocktails under my belt I was finally brave enough to ask!

Afraid to ask until I had drunk three other cocktails but the best one of all!

A lovely birthday, good company, a fabulous meal and those cocktails .....................!!! A wonderful day!