Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Today is Cumhuriyet Bayramı (Republic Day)

Ninety years ago today on 29th October 1923 the Grand National Assembly of Turkey formally declared the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire and Mustafa Kemal Atatürk became the first president of the Republic of Turkey. Atatürk considered this to be Turkey’s most important holiday.

All Government offices, post offices and some businesses will be closed today. There may be changes to schedules and routes of public transport. Many people will attend performances dedicated to Republic Day, and many school children will perform poetry readings and national dances for parents and teachers. Parades may take place in some cities and speeches are made. Atatürk is remembered on this day and many people will lay wreaths on his monuments or display flags depicting him. During the evening many towns and cities will have processions with flags and music to commemorate Republic Day and will often end with a firework display.

Enjoy your day!

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Back in the garden we are trying Hugelkultur beds

With the sheds finished (apart from the doors). We are cracking on with attempting to make a courtyard garden behind the house, while the weather is still so good.

As the garden at the back of the house narrows off towards the back of the property, it means that none of the walls are straight and it is a peculiar shape. Behind the new sheds David has been busy building the base for a concrete outdoor sofa. Behind that is a raised bed which tapers to square off the garden and will further our privacy along the fence adjoining the neighbouring property, by enabling us to grow climbers and shrubs in it. We have a big problem in the back garden with flooding in the wet season, so all of the beds there will be raised.

Whilst David has been carrying on with the building side of things, I have started the herculean task of levelling the site and filling the raised beds behind the sofa. I am utilising the mountain of earth we moved when laying the foundations for the sheds and from other areas of the garden. As I do it I am having to remove all the stones and boulders. The smaller stones I am tipping into the base of the sofa and the larger stones are being kept for making the walls of more raised beds. After three days of doing this I have aching muscles that I didn't even know that I had!

From the large mound of earth .............

............... the small stones are filling the outdoor sofa base ..................

............... the large stones are being heaped up ready to build walls ...............

........ then the soil goes in the raised beds
In an attempt to improve our very heavy clay soil I have decided to adopt the Hugelkultur method of building these raised beds. Hugelkultur (mound culture) is the system of building beds by including rotten wood, branches, leaves and twigs together with kitchen waste and manure. This method has apparently been used in Eastern Europe and Germany for centuries.

The idea behind this system is that it improves the soil and drainage, aids water retention and of course uses up all the autumn woody debris from pruned branches and fallen leaves.

I have slightly adapted the system to suit the materials I have to hand. You should start off with large pieces of rotten wood - logs and trunks etc. I am afraid mine are all earmarked for keeping me warm in the winter by going on the wood burner and I'm too mean to share it. So I started with some dead branches from trees off the mountain beside us which we had collected and used as pea sticks earlier in the year, then twigs which I collected. I then filled in the gaps with horse manure and wood chips, followed by kitchen waste, finished vegetable plants from the garden and the top off our compost heap. Then finally a layer of soil. Ideally the beds should then be left for a few months i.e. from autumn until the spring.

............ next the branches and twigs ..........

............ then the wood chips, manure, kitchen waste and finished vegetable plants .......

............ followed by material from the top of our compost heap - then more soil
These beds are around 4 feet tall and around 15 feet long, and trust me that is a lot of buckets full of soil, compost and branches. First I had to put in a bed of soil to raise it to a height where I could add the branches. The branches I have dragged in from the hillside, the soil I have de stoned and then tipped in a bucket full at a time and the compost I have carted from outside the gate and across the width of the garden  a box at a time. I have now reached the point where I have started to top up with soil so am now back to de stoning the large heap. This has all been incredibly hard work, so lets hope it was worth it. We'll see next year if the plants do well and it reduces the need for watering.

When the weather deteriorates and we are stuck inside, I shall make the cushions for the sofa. Hopefully next summer I shall be laying on it with an Efes in hand and enjoying the beautiful view, because that's what it's all about.


Thursday, 24 October 2013

Oh dear, village politics ............

We have now been living in Uzumlu for just over 18 months and call me naive or even stupid, but the fact that there are ex-pat 'village politics' has only recently come to my attention. Apparently the village is rife with gossip and ill will, with people falling into groups who support each other and hang out together and never the twain shall meet.

In a psychological sense gossip is a natural human occupation, stemming from our ability to communicate and our need for social bonding. In fact around two thirds of conversations are based on talking about other people absent from the conversation, and are often judgemental and negative in content.

Back in the UK I managed staff and I learnt very early on not to rush in on the say so of an individual's version of an event. This being for two main reasons. Firstly because often the story was not told directly from the person originally involved and when stories are passed along the line they tend to become somewhat embellished and changed along the way. Secondly because different people do tend to perceive the same situation in a different way. The old adage "Two sides to a story" is so often proved to be correct. Often when the other perspective is pointed out, someone can feel differently about something.

Personally I am not interested in gossip. I don't believe most of it anyway. I like who I like and that is my choice. I also will go where I want because that is my choice. I don't expect anyone to dismiss me because I have been known to talk to someone on their dislike list. I don't expect to not be welcome in places because it is known that I have been elsewhere or talked to someone who doesn't go there.

Because we are busy and because of budgetary restraints, we very rarely go out. However, when we do we will continue to go where we feel like going and talk to whom we wish to talk to. Not everyone gets along with everyone else, I understand that. But I'm not interested in anyone's opinions on someone or somewhere else. I make my own choices, based on my own experiences.

Although it doesn't involve me personally, I still find it a terrible shame that anyone lucky enough to live in this beautiful place, could even have the time to care what other people are doing. I don't!

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Happy Birthday with tears in my eyes

Much as we love living in Turkey, and know that it was the right decision for us to come here to make our home, there are sacrifices to be made. The biggest of these by far is being away from our family and friends on a day to day basis. Today is my first grandchild's first birthday, and my heart aches that I am not able to be there to celebrate it with her and my daughter.

First paddling pool
In general we decided that moving here would mean that in fact we would spend more time with the family. Back in England we were all rushing about working and caught up in the rat race of life, with brief visits whenever we could manage to get together. Since living here when the family come to stay they are on holiday for a length of time and we have quality, uninterrupted time together, and that is more valuable than the fleeting moments we had before.

First lollipop
My grand-daughter made her visit to Turkey in May and we were not only able to share a wonderful time together, but also to watch her enjoy many firsts in her life. I met her from her first flight on an aeroplane to her first trip overseas. Watched her paddle in her first paddling pool. Eat her first lollipop. Have her first swing in a hammock. Sit in her first high chair. Walk in her first baby walker. Go on her first boat trip. Saw her first tooth come through.

First boat trip
For all of this I feel truly blessed. But I still want to be there on her first birthday. This morning I sang 'Happy Birthday' to her on the phone, and spoke to my daughter for an hour. But it's not the same and I can't wait until she visits us again next year.

I have decided that I am not prepared to miss out. I therefore now pronounce that Rosie will have two Birthdays every year. One in England and a second in Turkey. She will have presents and a party with guests and all the trimmings. So there!

Happy Birthday to my wonderful Grand-daughter Rosie.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

My wedding ring returned

Yesterday I went to Calis to meet the man who had found my wedding ring at the car boot on Sunday. His name is Ali Bozkurt and I am telling everyone, because what this man did meant the world to me.

Meeting Ali Bozkurt a truly good and honest man
Until I met Ali, I wondered if it really was going to be my ring. I know that's ridiculous because the chances of two women being foolish enough to lose their ring at the same car boot on the same day are trillions to one, but I still couldn't quite believe it until I saw it again. I know how very lucky I am to have it returned and I can't thank Ali enough.

Ali you are a good, honest man and a true gentleman, it was a pleasure to meet you.






Monday, 21 October 2013

The mobile veterinary neutering bus visits Uzumlu with great success



Today Uzumlu was visited by the mobile neutering bus. I am aware that the bus has previously visited other villages, but that the crew were unable to persuade the local people to use their services, so I popped down to the village mid afternoon today to see how they were getting on here. I was delighted to hear that they had already neutered 17 cats and 2 dogs.

Turkey has a major problem with unwanted dogs and cats, many of whom are left to survive on the streets. So make no mistake 19 animals that will no longer breed and produce more unwanted animals to be neglected and abused is a wonderful result.

It was such a successful day that the bus will be returning tomorrow to carry on the good work that longer term will help to make a difference.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

"Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today"

My grandmother who lived with us throughout most of my childhood, was a great one for her 'sayings' and one of her favourites was the Thomas Jefferson quote "Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today."

If any of us had something go wrong because we had not done something we should have, she would immediately say "Well did you think of it yesterday?" Then, if as it inevitably was, the reply was "Yes" she would say "Then that is when you should have done it."

Well my word haven't I proved her to be right today! For the past few days since we have had a downturn in the temperature, my wedding ring has been quite loose. Obviously my fingers swell up a bit in the heat. A couple of days ago I even had a conversation with David about it. I told him how loose it was and that I was afraid of losing it, but that for obvious reasons I really didn't want to stop wearing it either. I didn't want the size changed because it then will be too small next summer. So after our discussion I told him that I would take it off my finger and put it on the gold chain I wear around my neck for the winter months.

So the decision was made - easy!

But did I do it 'then' - No!

So today I lost my wedding ring at the Çalış car boot sale. As is our habit following our visit to the car boot each month we went to the Eyna Restaurant for one of their great English breakfasts and as I arrived I realised my ring was missing off my finger. David and I retraced our steps and I spoke to stall holders where I knew I had been rootling through their things, and I even left my telephone number with some too, in case they found it amongst their stuff later. But all to no avail.

As soon as we got home I posted on both the Calis Children's Charity and the Fethiye Area Expat's Facebook pages that I had lost my ring at the car boot on the off chance that someone had found it. I really did not expect there to be any response other than sympathy from some of my friends. I posted this at 1.20pm. At 1.59pm someone posted that it had been found and handed in and that they would send me a personal message about it.

It transpired that a Turkish gentleman who had a stall at the car boot had found it and had contacted them. I have since rung him and arranged to collect it tomorrow when I can get a lift down to Fethiye.

Earlier today when I lost the ring, both David and I were fairly philosophical about it. Accidents happen. I won't say I was not upset because I was, but in the enormity of life it is not huge - just very personal. But when I heard that the ring had been found and handed in by a Turkish guy - then I cried and when I rushed outside to tell David tears formed in his eyes too!

It was a huge relief to recover such a personally valuable item. But more than that it was a reminder of why we live here amongst the wonderful Turkish people and their old fashioned values, with  honesty and family respect high amongst them. If I had lost this ring in the Norfolk town I moved from, I truly believe I would never have seen it again.

But the real moral of the story is that we should listen to my grandmother's wise recital of Thomas Jefferson's quote -

"NEVER PUT OFF TILL TOMORROW WHAT YOU CAN DO TODAY"


Friday, 18 October 2013

Bark, bark, bark,bark Ahhhhhhhhhh!

The one thing I can't accept with our four rescued Turkish dogs is their constant barking at the slightest noise. It really doesn't take much to set them off. If three are asleep the fourth will wake the others up and off they will all go. Someone in the field opposite our house, our neighbour in her garden, a passing cat, chickens, goats, even a bird daring to land in the garden or doing a low flypast is enough to kick them into vocal mode.

I actually do not have a problem with them barking when there is a reason i.e. a stranger is wandering about, or someone at the door or gate - that's a good thing. What I do have a big problem with is that they won't stop when told. I have kept dogs all of my life and up to now I have never had a dog that barks incessantly before. The trouble is that one starts it off and then all the others rush out and join in. I have had up to five dogs before, but still never had this problem. Maybe Turkish dogs are more vocal, or more insecure or just more downright difficult who knows!

Shouting doesn't work. It just makes more of an irritant for the neighbours and the dogs probably just think I'm joining in. Long term I intend teaching them to bark on command and then to stop barking on command. But with four that will take time.

Left to right Kizi,, Big Red, Bebek, Little-E
In the meantime I have settled on a distraction and reward routine. When they rush out barking at whatever, I go out and rattle their 'tit bits' container and call them nicely (when actually I want to ring their necks). As soon as they return which they do, they each get a tit bit for which they have to sit first, as they do for all their food. This works beautifully, but it's very time consuming given the amount of barking they do. Plus as this happens numerous times a day I have had to reduce the quantity of food they have at mealtimes or they would all be like barrels.

Red getting attitude because Bebek has moved closer to me!
In other respects the dogs are all great. Little-E is back to normal having been neutered recently. The pups are due to be neutered in the next few weeks as they are fast approaching 6 months old. We still have to watch Big Red carefully as she can be totally over the top with the cats and the other dogs, As I prepare their food she watches Little-E and dares her to come near and she still steals my tea towel several times a day, but she does respond to 'no' better now. Bebek of course remains eager to please as ever. If any of the others are told off she removes herself and watches as if to say "Huh how naughty, I wouldn't do that" We call her Miss Goodliness when she does that. It's Kizi's busy time of year at the moment because there are lots of flies about which she hates and has to chase away. They do have battles from time to time and funnily enough it normally involves Little-E and one of the pups. She may be 'little' but she doesn't give in.

Little-E guarding the marrow I've just brought in from the garden
They all have there own very individual personalities and we love them all dearly. We wouldn't be without any of them for the world!

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Getting married in Turkey - what we had to do

The really lovely thing about getting married in Turkey is that you can have your wedding anywhere - on the beach, in a tiny rural village, at a restaurant, anywhere you choose, or you can of course have the ceremony at the Registry Office in town. The choice is absolutely yours.

Photo credit: James Dorrington
As we got married in Turkey ourselves earlier this year, I thought it may be useful for other people thinking of doing the same to know the current procedure, so here is a run down of what we needed to do.

Our wish was to be married in our village and to take the vows and have the reception at a restaurant, so in our case we had to approach Uzumlu Belediye (our village council) to arrange the wedding.

In the UK, there are restrictions on where you can and can't be married, in Turkey however, it can be wherever you decide. Also back in England, the dates have to be booked months if not years in advance to ensure that you can be married at the place you prefer on the day and time that you choose. In Turkey they think you are crazy if you try to organise it early, because here they tend to send out the invitations a few days before the wedding, and you can just turn up at the registry office and ask to be married there and then, providing you have all the correct paperwork. You may just have to wait your turn!

Because it was important to us to marry in the village where we live, we approached the Registrar in Fethiye months before the wedding, he told us to come back three weeks before the wedding with the paperwork. In any case when we did go back he sent us to our local council, so that had been a waste of time.

For a foreigner to be married in Turkey there is particular paperwork that you need to obtain, and in our area - Fethiye, it means travelling to the British Consulate in Antalya - twice. In other parts of Turkey you will need to establish which Consulate you need to go to. If you are living in the UK and planning a Turkish wedding you can obtain the 'Certificate of non-Impediment' in the UK and bring it with you.


View Larger Map


So for the benefit of anyone who is thinking of doing the same , this is the current procedure. You are required to make an appointment at the British Consulate before you go and you need to take the following original documents:

Birth Certificate - this must be a full copy which includes your mother's and father's names. They do not accept the smaller version.

Passport

If you have been married before you must also take your Decree Absolute. Plural in our case as we have both been married twice before.

If you have any name change from your birth name other than due to marriage you also need to have your deed poll.

On arrival you are given five different forms to fill in, all of which include your current address, and on some pages this was required twice. As we have the longest possible address these took forever to complete. While you are completing the forms the staff will be checking all of your other documents and taking photocopies of each one.

The cost of the application was 195 tl each and the process took about 40 minutes to complete. The Banns are then posted on the British Consulate notice board for three weeks.

On or after the 22nd day you return to the British Consulate (again making an appointment beforehand) to collect your certificates and pay  another 185 tl each. It is best to take all of your official documents back with you as we saw a different staff member on our second visit and she couldn't find where her colleague had put their original copies and needed to see them again. It's a long way from this area, to have to go back for something!

Having acquired your certificate of non-impediment, these then need to be taken to the Turkish Governor in Antalya in our case, to be stamped and signed. The governor's office is in the city centre and the office is closed for lunch between 12.00 and 13.00 each day. There is no charge for this, and you can just turn up inside working hours, no appointment necessary.


View Larger Map

Once you have your certificate of non-impediment stamped, you then take this to the person who will be conducting the ceremony. In our case Uzumlu Belediye. They will also require 5 passport type photographs. Bear in mind that a copy of the photograph is put in your wedding book, so you may like to have your hair done and wear make up and a decent top at least. I wish we had known that first. We had to rush off and get some taken, I had an old T-shirt with my bra straps showing and a bad hair day and David had a  Sid James 'Carry On' T-shirt on! Once they have completed another form you then take this to the doctor who needs to sign this paperwork, before returning it to the office arranging your marriage.

On the wedding day, you will need to have two witnesses with you. Their nationality does not matter, but they should not be related to you and they will need to have their passports with them as the passport numbers are placed on the certificate.

The ceremony is very brief, involving only that both parties and the two witnesses state their names and that they know of no impediments to the marriage, and all four of you then sign the paperwork at the end of the ceremony. The ceremony will be conducted in Turkish and if you do not speak Turkish you will need to arrange for an interpreter to be present to translate for you. You can reply in English, in which case the translator will translate back, but as the only things you have to say are your name and 'yes' - 'evet' this is not really a problem.

Within a matter of minutes you will have become man and wife, you will receive your marriage book and the celebrations can begin.



After the wedding we did have to visit the Registry Office in Fethiye to obtain an apostille certificate of our marriage. If you have residency in Turkey you should then notify the authorities within 15 days of your name change.

As for the wedding day arrangements, the only thing I bought in the UK was my dress. I bought it in a fleeting visit home from EBay, didn't really like it, but thought it had potential and had it significantly changed here in Turkey. Everything else was organised here without difficulty.

We found it easy but quite time consuming organising the wedding ourselves, but we never found the need for a wedding planner and enjoyed the challenge. Some businesses we would definitely use again, some we would not but here are the details of the people who provided excellence as far as we are concerned.

Photo credit: James Dorrington
Invitations - Işık Ofset. We were really happy with the quality, choice and price of the printer we found. They had hundreds of samples to look at. We had the invitations printed in English on one side and Turkish on the other for the benefit of our Turkish and English speaking friends. They were surprisingly reasonable. Situated in the precinct in Fethiye their address is Otopark Caddesi, Demirci İşhanı No 17, Fethiye  Tel: (0252) 614 78 43 email - isikofset@windowslive.com

Brides dress and accessories - Fethiye Brides. Run by an English lady Stephanie Blythe who is wonderful and very open to listening to exactly what you need and helping you find it. Although she only altered my dress, she does have a range of stunning bridal gowns for sale and rental, shoes, veils, tiaras, jewellery and handbags. They also stock evening wear, bridesmaids dresses and flower girl dresses and now they also offer bespoke made to measure men's wear. Most of their dresses are made to measure and the shoes, tiaras and jewellery are all hand made. I had hair combs and jewellery made to my specification and they were lovely. The shop is in Günlükbaşı, Fethiye. The address is 953 Sokak, Günlükbaşı 48300 Fethiye Tel: (0252) 613 61 95 The facebook link is https://www.facebook.com/GelinlikButik

Photo credit: James Dorrington
Cake - Without a doubt the best cake maker around - ever!! Sam (Granny's Orange) made us exactly what we wanted. We chose two different types of cup cake on a tier stand with a top cake too. They were absolutely mind blowingly beautiful and utterly delicious. Sam is very used to catering for individual requirements and is more than able to make exactly what you want. Book her early though because she is understandably a very busy sought after cook. Of course she also makes fantastic cakes for any other special occasion - birthdays, anniversaries etc. She can be contacted on her face book page where you can also see many pictures of her beautiful cakes https://www.facebook.com/grannys.orange?fref=ts

Photo credit: James Dorrington
Entertainment - One thing we definitely both wanted was Turkish entertainment and we had a Turkish band, traditional Turkish folk dancers, a belly dancer and two fire-dancers. They were all wonderful and really encouraged us all to join in with some hilarious results! I can recommended them all they were brilliant. We arranged this through Ahmet who runs a dance school in Fethiye. He can be contacted on 0 533 423 66 77 and can also provide other types of entertainment if you prefer.

Photo credit: James Dorrington
Flowers - I will not recommend the company we purchased our flowers from, because although they were lovely and just as we had booked, they demanded a considerable amount of extra money over the price we had agreed, and got very nasty about it. We opted for imitation flowers and that had two advantages. One that the shop can make them at their convenience ahead of time so the price should be more negotiable and two because real flowers may not stand up to the heat here very well.

We were also very grateful to our friend James Dorrington for remaining teetotal on our wedding day to take the fantastic wedding pictures for us after we were let down by our photographer the week before the wedding. Obviously James is not normally around to take pictures in Turkey, but anyone wanting a photographer in the Bristol, Bath area of the UK can contact him on his face book page:- https://www.facebook.com/DorringtonEvents

We held our wedding at the Camlik Restaurant in Uzumlu and we can't thank Ertan Cetinkaya enough for the wonderful job he did of making the day so special for us. Unfortunately this restaurant is no longer open as Ertan has moved on to manage the Park Alya restaurant just up the road. We were his first wedding and he had nearly as many sleepless nights as I did, but it all went well on the day.

We had great fun planning and organising our wedding day. The Turkish people are wonderful at 'making it happen' so whatever your requirements they will help you achieve the day of your dreams. Almost anything is possible here. So if you are planning on a Turkish wedding, you will not be disappointed.




Saturday, 12 October 2013

The opening of the new Animal Aid Fethiye Charity Shop - a great success

The brand new Animal Aid Fethiye Charity Shop raising funds to help animals in trouble

Lover of second-hand sales, auctions, car boots, jumble sales and charity shops that I am (obsessed even), nobody was happier than I was to be standing on a pavement in Günlükbaşı this morning.

Alongside several other Animal Aid supporters I was waiting for the long overdue moment when Animal Aid Fethiye finally had the Grand Opening of their new charity shop. For years the members of this charity have held street sales of donated items to raise money to enable them to continue with the excellent work they do here. For years these people have kept all of these items in between the sales, in their private homes. Now that they have opened their shop, some of the usable space in their homes must have increased threefold.

Balloons going up ready for the opening
I don't know if anyone slept on the street outside last night in anticipation of the doors opening (I may have if I had given the idea a thought), but when the doors finally opened it was like the first day of Harrods sale. Within seconds the shop was heaving with people clutching armfuls of items they wanted to purchase.

People gathering and waiting patiently for opening time on a hot sunny day
The shop was large, well laid out and had clothes (men's and women's), shoes and boots, belts, books, Cd's, Dvd's, bric a brac, jewellery, cards, postcards, pictures, household items - throws, blankets, pillows, cushions and some electrical bits and pieces including two television sets. I understand that they also hope to sell furniture items, although due to space they will be stored elsewhere.

As one would expect I did not come home empty handed. Our current garden project is building  an outdoor sofa and I found three matching white throws, ready to put on it when it is finished. I also bought 6 books and three Cd's. Very happy!

I sincerely hope that people will continue to visit the shop which is open on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays 10.30 to 3.30. It is very well situated in Günlükbaşı, just a few yards down a side street opposite Bim supermarket, and on the Günlükbaşı - Çalış to Fethiye dolmuş route - just get off at Bim.

If you are coming on holiday here pop in to buy your holiday books 3 for 1 tl rather than using your weight allowance lugging them here. When you go home and your suitcase is heaving with all the goodies you have bought then donate some of the clothes you don't need to this worthy cause. You know that dress you bought months ago because it was perfect for your holiday, then when you put it on here it was not as perfect as you thought, give it to help save an animals life.

The work that Animal Aid Fethiye do here to alleviate the suffering and neglect of animals is amazing. So many people give up so much of their time to help the animals, and the shop will be entirely run by volunteers, but they need funds to continue this wonderful work, so please help them if you can.  You can take donations to the shop of items or money, and they can always use blankets and animal food too. Together we can all make a difference.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Kurban Bayrami - The Feast of the Sacrifice (updated post)

Kurban Bayrami is the most important Religious Festival of the year and is a four and a half day holiday. This year the festival commences on Monday 14th October with the half day 'Arife' which is a day of preparation for the festival ahead.


Kurban Bayrami which falls around 70 days after Ramazan, is the festival of sacrifice in memory of the ram sacrificed by Ibrahim in place of his son Ishmael. In Islamic rules every family who can afford to should sacrifice an animal, sharing the meat with family, friends, neighbours and the poor. One third of the animal being kept by the family, one third being given to friends and neighbours and one third being donated to the poor.

Some of the large herds of goats and sheep having been coming back down the mountain during the last few days
Turkish law now makes it illegal to sacrifice animals in public places, however this law is not always enforced and it can be difficult to entirely avoid the sacrifices taking place, usually on the first day of the festival. In Fethiye the Beldeiye (council) will be setting up a temporary abattoir on the Tuesday Market site where people may have their animals slaughtered by professional butchers for a small charge. The animals slaughtered have to be at least one year old (in the case of camels and cattle - two years) and must be healthy. Some families prefer to make charitable donations in lieu of a sacrifice.

As with the Şeker Bayramı during the festival people will travel to visit friends and family, strengthening family ties and giving the children an opportunity to bond with older members of the family.

People will often buy their children new clothes to wear for the duration of the festival, in turn giving their old ones to poorer families. Kurban Bayrami is also the time of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.

As this year's dates fall from Monday to Friday inclusive, it is likely that many people will take the opportunity to have a holiday.  So expect resorts to be particularly busy this week. With so many people travelling it means that transport can be chaotic particularly on the first and last day of the festival. So unless you have to, you are probably better avoiding the roads on these days.

Banks, schools and Government offices will be closed for the duration of the festival and shops and supermarkets will be open for reduced hours, so it is best to stock up before. Over this weekend the shops will be heaving with people stocking up for their holiday period and the markets will also be incredibly busy.

You may find that some restaurants will be closed on the first full day of Bayrami Tuesday 15th October.

This year's Kurban Bayrami concludes on the evening of  Friday 18th October.

So this year many banks, schools and official offices will be closed for a full week. Some banks may stay open until lunchtime on Monday, so be sure you have all the money you need as A.T.M.'s often also run out during the course of this week.

İyi bayramlar!

Sunday, 6 October 2013

A cold wind doth blow

I know I seem to be obsessed with the weather at the moment, but I can't believe how cold it has suddenly become. There is such a cold wind at the moment that it feels cold even when the sun is shining. We are so pleased that we have put the new sheds where they are because it has given us a really enclosed small courtyard area to sit in providing a little suntrap out of the wind. Such a shame we don't have the time to just sit there all day.

In fairness, not once during the summer have I complained about the heat and we have carried on working outside throughout the summer, so I do feel entitled to moan about the cold. Already the fleecy jim jams have come out of hibernation and last night I actually took a hot water bottle to bed with me. Call me a wimp if you like but I really hate the cold. We are only just into October and it shouldn't be this cold yet.

We do have central heating run by a wood burning stove, but it seems too early to light it yet, quite apart from the expense of running it for longer which is not really written into our budget. Last year the pipework in the hall sprung a leak. Of course the company that installed it are no longer in existence so we have to decide what to do about that. I know we have had all summer to sort it, but then it wasn't a priority, now it is.

One of the big problems with buying a villa here is that they really are built for summer occupancy, and it takes time and money to make them comfortably habitable for the winter months. When we had our central heating system installed a couple of years ago, we even had to have the existing fireplace removed and a new one built. It looked very nice but was not functional in any way at all. All of the heat went straight up the chimney and all of the smoke filled the sitting room when we tried to use it, so we were cold and choking!

We thought we would get one step ahead and have heating installed whilst we were holidaying here, so that it was ready and waiting when we moved here permanently. In spite of assurances that the company we used could finish the job during a three week holiday we had booked, as we entered week three it was obvious it wasn't going to be the case. Unfortunately, I had to return to work so it was David (as he was self employed) that changed his flights and stayed on to see it through. At the time I was a bit jealous, but actually as things turned out it was a good thing.

David came down one morning half awake and as he stepped off the bottom stair he realised he was ankle deep in water! The entire bottom floor of the house was awash. The rugs were bobbing along past him as he went into the sitting room and all of the furniture, including our brand new sofas, were sitting in a flood.

On first sight he said he didn't know whether to be angry or cry and didn't know where to start with clearing it up. After a coffee however, he set to and it took him all day to clear up, and a few more days for all the furniture and rugs to dry out in the garden. It transpired that the brand new firebox had sprung a leak and water had been running out all night. Eventually he managed to clear up, they sorted the unit and incredibly all the rugs and furniture survived undamaged, but it still wasn't a pleasant time for him.

It isn't just the lack of heating in these villas that is a problem though. Our open plan sitting-room/kitchen has windows on all four sides and lots of them. Fabulous as this may be in the summer it is hideous in the winter. In the future we may well separate the rooms in an attempt to stay warmer in the winter. We have put insulation around all of the Windows but they still let in a draught. I am seriously considering sealing some of them up for the winter the Turkish way - putting tin foil over them. I really don't care how it looks or if is a bit darker than normal as long as I am warm!

I would certainly urge anyone purchasing a property with a view to moving to Turkey permanently to consider how much it would cost to stay warm in the winter months. It does get surprisingly cold here at times and it is a few degrees colder up in Uzumlu where we live than it is down at the coast.

In the press today it has been reported that we can expect a cold winter  "The General Directorate of Meteorology has forecast that Turkey will experience very low temperatures this winter, seeing a decrease in temperatures of between three to 10 degrees Celsius." (taken from Sunday Zaman).

We have some friends who are going to Thailand for most of the winter, I think I may have to slip into their suitcase. When they arrive I can get out of the case with a bottle of wine in my hand and shout "Surprise!!!!!!"

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Rain, rain and more rain!

Well what a cracker of a storm we had here last night! Magnificent lightning and very loud cracks of thunder. Over a period of some hours it circled around the mountains. Of course we had the obligatory power cut that we so often get when we have these storms, but it was soon back on again.

Our older dogs Kizi and Little-E have seen it all before, but for the two puppies, it was a totally new experience and they reacted to it exactly how I would have imagined they would. Bebek just quietly took it in her stride, she is so laid back. Big Red was fascinated by it and met it head on by rushing outside to watch it and bark at it!

Big Red facing up to last nights storm
This morning there is still thunder in the distance and there is very heavy rain, so the animals are all stuck indoors. Bebek is just making the most of a lay in, Thomas and Big Red are amusing each other with a game of tag around the furniture.

I'm coming to get you ............

...... Haha! Got you!
Bebek just can't be bothered with it all

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Rain! and a great night out in Çaliş, Fethiye and Üzümlü

Oh joy! Oh bliss! It's raining and I can have my first night off from having to water the garden in 4 months 2 weeks and 2 days. We can have an early dinner and a slobby evening in front of the TV and reading our books. I didn't think I would ever hear the day when I would be pleased to see rain, and certainly I would prefer it to be a one off, rather than frequent, but tonight it will do nicely - thank you!

We are forecast thunder storms through the night and certainly the sky looks full of promise for that to be a reality. I love watching the storms they can be so spectacular up here in the mountains. In England the storms seem way above you, whereas here they seem to be around you. It will be interesting to see what the pups make of it, in their short lives (just over 5 months) they haven't even seen rain before never mind thunder and lightning.

The change in temperature today has meant the dogs are a lot more active, they have been chasing around the garden all day. We had a rather abrupt wake up call this morning when Big Red managed at last to work out the downstairs door handle, and being the adventurous, intrepid puppy she is, she couldn't resist exploring the stairs and beyond for the first time. Eventually she found us and leapt on the bed with great excitement. She may only be 5 months old, but she is already around Labrador size and solid with it, so to have her jumping on you in delight first thing in the morning is not really the best way to wake up. She was so very pleased with herself!

On Saturday night we went out for our gratis meal at Çaliş and had a brilliant evening. It was such a long time since we have done anything like that, it was quite an adventure. We set off at 4.30 in the afternoon to walk down to the village to catch the 5 pm dolmuş to Günlükbaşı, where we changed to the Çaliş dolmuş. We stopped to pass the time of day with the Estate Agents who found us our house, and then settled down at the Restaurant with an Efes to watch the beautiful sunset.

The Çaliş sunsets never disappoint

We had never been to Vojo's before so were very pleased to discover that they did Indian food which we love, so we settled for sharing Chicken Madras and Chicken Tikka Masala with mushroom rice and chips.


It made a change to have an Indian meal
After our meal we caught the water taxi back to Fethiye. We love that trip across the bay seeing the lights of Fethiye in the distance. It's something we never tire of doing. 5tl well spent in our opinion for a lovely view, day or night.

The lights of Fethiye ahead of the water taxi crossing the bay from Çaliş
We enjoyed a leisurely stroll along the harbour front, before walking to the dolmuş station via the new gardens along the harbour. It was the first time we have walked through them in the evening, when the fountains are working and lit, so we watched them for a while before getting the dolmuş back to the village.

The first time we've been to Fethiye in the evening to see the fountains going
We had managed to do all this and catch the 8.45 pm  dolmuş back to the village so as the night was still young we decided to finish a lovely evening out by having a nightcap at the Winehouse in Uzumlu.


A few months ago the Winehouse started having live musicians on a Saturday evening, but as we have not been out lately we had never been to check it out. We had a most enjoyable hour sitting quietly on the front terrace listening to the music going on upstairs, until eventually we were drawn upstairs to enjoy it all the more. There were three Turkish lads playing electro acoustic and bass guitars and drums, and performing a variety of rock classics. Just our kind of music and we eventually went home after 1.00 am! Well out of practise at nights out, it took us all day Sunday to recover!