Wednesday, 31 January 2018

It's winter again

We are in the midst of our winter now and I'm not enjoying it one jot. In fairness it's been a better year than most, we have had a lot of sunny days amongst the rains and storms, but it still doesn't do it for me.

Preparing for the winter months is actually quite hard work. It's like living a life of two halves - winter and summer. Coming into the winter usually late October or early November we reluctantly collect all of our outdoor cushions, throws, furniture, solar lights and trinkets and bring them in for the winter until the weather is good enough for them to go back outside again - usually in April. Over the years as we have developed our garden we have made quite a lot of seating areas and I really miss them in the winter months. I just love having the choice according to the weather and the time of day. We have covered areas for sitting in the shade, enclosed areas to be out of the wind on windy days and of course full sun spots for morning and evening as the sun swings round.

We were told when we bought fruit trees that lemon trees would not survive up here. I know that a few people have managed to grow lemon trees successfully in very sheltered areas down in the village, but we are a fair bit higher than the village itself and we do have winds that cut across our garden which is not conducive to being successful with the more tender plants. We are now on our third attempt at growing one and now every winter we wrap it up. So far we have got it through three winters, but it is getting harder as it gets bigger and bigger!

Our lemon tree wearing it's overcoat, hat and scarf

We have also learnt over the years, that leaving our pots out is not too good, as apart from the fact that the plants in them get frost damaged and die, a lot of the pots get damaged by the frost too. So now we collect them all up and cover them in fleece for the worst of the winter months.

All the pots are collected up and covered up for winter

Last year when we had torrential rain we had a completely flooded back garden, so this year David has set up a sump in the paving in the back garden which is our lowest point, with a pump which we can switch on if the rain water starts to build up. So far this has worked a treat and saved us a lot of problems.

Pump in a sump to prevent any flooding

Previous years we have also cleared everything from the terrace where the driving rain and winds cause havoc. However, a friend of ours had the awnings on her terraces replaced and the old ones were going to be thrown away. So I asked if I could have them and clever David has managed to put them up on the corner of our terrace that suffers from the wind, and in front of our patio doors and this has made a huge difference, meaning that we have been able to keep the furniture on there, it's somewhere for wet dogs to dry off, offers protection for our patio doors and we have somewhere to sit. We even have a zip up door where our gate is. 

Our makeshift terrace covers

We have a wood burner which runs the central heating, so we have four tons of wood delivered in the autumn, this year we stacked it in our wood stores in record time - within a day, so we were very  pleased with ourselves. Once we have achieved all of the above we feel we are ready to handle winter, and can start winterising indoors. 

As I've mentioned before most houses are built here for summer living and are somewhat lacking in comfort in the winter. We learnt a few years ago that putting bubble wrap on the windows makes a massive difference, so we now put them up on all north and east facing windows. We change all the sitting room curtains for heavier winter weight curtains and all the rugs go down on the floors. 

We sort through our wardrobes and put away all of our summer clothes and replace them with the winter clothes which we store in the top cupboards through the summer.

Now I count the days until we have our summer back, at least here that is assured. I hate the cold, I hate having to wear loads of clothes, I hate that the house seems cluttered with all the outdoor bits and pieces.

However, even I have to admit it isn't all bad. We have the car boots through the winter, and we all know how I love them! Earlier this month on a lovely sunny day, we headed up to the mountains for a BBQ, and it was actually warm enough to sit in T-shirts. We have started playing in a pool competition one evening a week, which we really enjoy, and I don't have to go into Fethiye Centrum at 8.00 am to be able to park, if I need to go to the bank. Also I can use the cold as an excellent excuse to need lots of comfort food - stew and dumplings, apple pies and crumbles, chocolate, promising myself that when spring is here I will eat more sensibly again.

In spite of the perks I still yearn for summer and the warmer weather. Winter is just not for me. I can't wait to be reversing all of the above chores and getting all our summer stuff out again. Trust me it is not at all the chore that putting it away is. It's absolute pleasure!

Up in the mountains a beautiful place for a bbq. Photo credit Chris Tatam

Striking up the BBQ ready for a lunch in the mountains

We never tire of the stunning views around our village. Photo credit Chris Tatam

Monday, 1 January 2018

A sunny start to 2018

We've done things differently this New Year. Breaking with our tradition of drinking copious amounts of alcohol and partying until the small hours on New Year's Eve, this year we had just two or three drinks, a humble meal of ham, egg and chips and were in bed by 11.00 pm.

Consequently instead of spending New Year's Day slobbing around the house nursing hideous hangovers, we were up early and off down to Calis to watch the crazy people who had agreed to dip in the winter sea for charity. This is an annual fund raising event for the Calis Children's Charity - a very worthy cause - that has run for several years but today was the first time we had actually gone down to watch, mainly because one of our friends was insane enough to be doing it and we wanted to support him.

Beautiful Calis in the winter sunshine

Well the sun does shine on the righteous, because it was a fabulously sunny day to be at the seaside and Calis looked very beautiful. We were amazed how many people turned up to watch and support the participants, the promenade and the restaurants were packed with people enjoying the day.

People were out in force to support the event

Even mermaids love an Efes!

The man with the 'Golden Gun'!

It is a tradition that the participants wear outrageous costumes and this was certainly upheld this year. Whilst waiting for the 1.00 pm swim to commence mermaids happily chatted to animals and James Bond made an appearance complete with golden gun!

All those taking part completed the obligatory 5 minutes up to their neck in the sea to achieve their sponsorships, and a large amount of money was raised which will go to help children in need and the local animal charity. Well done you all!

I videoed the entire event, but unfortunately when I came to put in on the blog, it has disappeared, so you will have to take my word for the fact that hundreds of people watched the event and applauded the bathers admirably when they had competed the 5 minutes in the sea.  

Every year since I can remember I have made numerous New Year's resolutions and to date I can't remember a single one I have achieved. So this year I have made none and maybe, just maybe I will amaze myself by managing to succeed in one of the old ones! 

A very Happy New Year to you all. May 2018 be a wonderful year for you. We wish you health and happiness.