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


  1. I did one winter in Fethiye and hated it. I wasn't geared up for how cold it gets. Tiles floors and uninsulated walls made the house feel colder inside than it was out. No sun, no hot water- got wise to that an had an element installed in the tank on the roof but still took am age to heat up. Missed instant hot water, baths, central heating and carpet so much. Now leave an electric blanket at my home in Turkey....just in case....We're all heading in the right direction...nights are getting lighter..won't be too long

    1. It's amazing how cold it gets here. People who only visit Turkey in the summer would be surprised how cold it can be in the winter. You are so right about the houses though. On the sunny winter days it is definitely warmer outside than in the house! There is light at the end of the tunnel though not many more weeks left now until summer.

  2. It won't be long before we are all complaining about how hot it is - Good luck with the lemon tree, I do the same with my bougainvillea.

    1. Funnily enough a friend said earlier this week, we will soon be complaining about how hot it is. I never complain about the heat though. I can tolerate heat much better than the cold. Yes fingers crossed for our lemon tree. I tried to grow bougainvillea here but it didn't survive. Maybe I'll try again and wrap it in the winter like you do. Good idea!