Thursday, 11 February 2016

We're back and here are some winter photographs

It's over seven months since I last posted on our blog. I don't know why. Our last post was a sad one written when we lost our cat Inca. Since moving here four years ago, we have sadly said goodbye to all three animals that came with us from England. Our dog Tyson developed a serious and terminal illness, our cat Horrace died of old age and then in June we lost Inca suddenly and unexpectedly. Also along the way we suffered the demise of two other cats that we had adopted here. Peggy who lost her life at only a year old to cancer and the street cat Çingene who came to us with chronic kidney failure for short term terminal care but in fact enjoyed life for another three years. Maybe it was having to write yet another piece about losing one of our animals that pushed me away from writing more for a while, who knows?

However, a lot of people have told us that they miss seeing the blog, and actually we miss it too. Therefore I will endeavour to put pen to paper (as it were) again.

Obviously over the past seven months we have done an awful lot of things, so it is hard to catch up in one post. Last year we enjoyed the most amazingly hot summer which just went on and on and on. We spent quite a lot of the time with family and friends who were over for their holidays. It was both great to see them, and great to down tools from our projects and spend some time out and about again. Something we have very rarely had the time or money to do. It was wonderful to spend time with people we love and miss since moving here and to show them around our beautiful part of the world.

Even in winter the beauty of our surroundings is undeniable

Our biggest highlight of the year, was when I discovered I had a small pension which I could take and this allowed us to buy a car. It is only an old Turkish car, but it has made a difference to our life which is immeasurable. No more struggling back up the hill to our home with all our shopping in tow, no more missing bargains in town because we can't get there, and if we want to go out even just to the village, we can without the worry of how to get home again or being put off by the long walk back. The freedom it has given us is incredible.

The Fogiemobile

In between visitors and with the benefit of having the car we have been able to get out to buy building materials as we need them and other bits for the house and garden, so although we have not finished by any means we are a lot further forward than we were. I know I say it every year, but we really do expect to be virtually finished with our landscaping and building this year. We'll see!!

I have said before that the hardest thing for us about living in Turkey is missing family and friends, and nothing brought this home more than when my daughter gave birth to a healthy, bonny boy in September. Up to now my daughter had visited every year since we bought the house six years ago. Due to her pregnancy she was unable to come last year, and I missed her visit so much. We don't have the budget to be able to fly back and forth to England so as yet I have not met Harry my grandson, but I am so looking forward to meeting him in May when I am returning to England for a short while.

This year we have enjoyed the warmest, driest winter since moving here. A complete contrast to last winter which was extremely cold and fraught with long term electricity and water cuts making me thoroughly miserable for the best part of three months. Even so we will be glad when it's over and we can start to spend the majority of our time outdoors again.

Winter sunshine in Hisaronu ....

...... and a deserted beach in Oludeniz ......

........... but still the paragliders come

We are really looking forward to 2016. Hopefully we will finally finish the garden. We have family and friends already booked to come out to see us. In fact we have already had friends out to stay for a week in January. Our first winter guests and with the weather being so kind we had a lovely time and were able to venture out and about. It's very different here in the winter and very beautiful.

But we really look forward to the freedom the Fogiemobile will give us. We can't wait to set off exploring, having afternoons at the beach, popping down to Calis to watch the sunset. Ooh so much to do. We'll let you know where we go and how we get on. I'm glad to have kick started the blog again, it's good to be back!

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

A sad day, but life goes on ....

When I posted my last blog piece full of excitement and hope of living a more normal life now that most of our building work nears completion, little did I know that, that very same evening life would give us another knock.

Every night when we are finished outside and come in, we check that our cat Inca is in before we shut the front door. Inca as many of you will know from previous posts is a most anti social cat who by choice lives mostly upstairs. However, in the summer months she will wander about the back garden which she loves as it is a peaceful haven away from the dogs and the hurly burly of everyday normal life.

When we moved here she was very lucky to actually get here. When she did she spent the first few days up the chimney and repeated this when new animals came into the house. When we had lots of people around during the week we got married two years ago she huffed off up the mountain and after several days we thought we had lost her. But she returned after around a week when everyone had left again. You can read more about how difficult she was in many previous blog posts including her story in Meet Inca aka Hissing Sid

Anyway I digress. David came in for the evening and before he shut the front door I went upstairs to check that Inca was back indoors. I couldn't see her so I checked under the sofa in our upstairs office (one of her favourite hidey holes) and was extremely shocked and upset to find her dead!

She was laying as though she was asleep, and we can only assume that she had a heart attack. Maybe because of the heat? Who knows. But she looked extremely peaceful as though she had passed away in her sleep. She was seventeen years old but was the absolute picture of health with no signs of any illness at all. So we bade farewell to the last of the three animals that we had brought with us from the UK when we moved here, as she joined the others under the tree in the corner of our garden.

Because it was so unexpected, we were in shock for several days and it has taken me this long to find the strength to write about our loss. A sad, sad day. RIP Inca

However, life goes on and we have continued to beaver away with our projects. The garden is really coming together now, and we have been able to have a final tidy up and move the heaps of building materials from our drive and clean it for the first time in a long, long time. It is wonderful to come home to a comparatively normal house rather than the building site that has greeted us for the last two years since we began the work.

As David's shed is now complete it has been an absolute pleasure to help him move his tools and bits and pieces into it from the wood store and all around the house. So now we have storage space back in the house and the wood is finally in the wood shed instead of sitting in the drive.

David is like a child at Christmas playing with his new toys, as he is in his shed at every opportunity, sorting it out, and even sitting in it to drink his coffee. We have laughed and said we could hang a hammock in it and get a small TV and he could move out there for the summer. He is like a man obsessed!

The flower seeds I planted are coming through and it is lovely to see a bit of colour back in the garden. The peaches are virtually ready and I shall soon be making jam and chutney from those for the store cupboard.

I normally avoid commenting on anything other than our own lives in the blog, but I have been devastated to see the coverage in some of the UK press about the dangers of holidaying in Turkey, and just have to comment on this one. There are so many Turkish people who rely on tourism for their livelihood and need to earn enough money during the summer months to keep their families all year round and I find it very sad indeed that the press are publishing the articles that they are.

Yes terrorism is a threat. Not in Turkey particularly but worldwide. They don't mention that Britain is also on high alert, preferring the sensationalism of slamming Turkey. We feel as safe here as we would if we were in the UK. It could happen anywhere. I just hope that people are sensible enough to find out for themselves rather than cancelling their holidays on the back of these articles.

Tomorrow is the day of the monthly second hand sale in Fethiye, so we all know where I will be in the morning. I wonder what bargains I will find this time. I'll let you know.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Feeling blessed

After an incredibly hot few days here in Uzumlu, today we have thunderstorms and rain. So at last an opportunity to sit down and have a catch up on the blog. Summer is definitely here and even though we have bad weather today it is still lovely and warm and the rain is interspersed with sunny spells. A couple of days ago the temperature on our front terrace in the shade was 34C, and was 38.5C in our back garden in the shade, where it is more sheltered from the wind. We put the thermometer in the full sun and it promptly went off the scale which goes up to 53C, Phew! That's when I am glad of the pool for a quick dip to cool down. The temperature in our pool at the moment is 24C so it is warm enough to get in now without shuddering with shock as you descend the steps. Lovely! I just need to buy an inflatable chair so I can float around like lady muck with a drink in hand as I take a break from the jobs.

We have been so busy for the last few weeks, that May just passed us by in a blur and now here we are more than half way through June as well. I don't know where the time goes, but our lives here just fly on by.

We spent the first half of May spring cleaning the house. We washed down every nook and cranny, cleared out every cupboard and drawer, washed every curtain and when we had finished we were exhausted. It was jolly hard work, but very satisfying when done. We finished this herculean task just in time to spend some time with friends over on holiday from England.

It was great that friends were able to visit us on our wedding anniversary and we basically spent a whole day eating and drinking. The day began with the most fantastic Turk Khavalti (Turkish breakfast) at our local Cadianda restaurant in the village.

Fantastic khavalti at the Cadianda .....

..... more than we could manage to eat

It was delicious although it did beat us - we couldn't manage to eat it all, and after we all decided that a walk around the village was in order to work off some of the excess. Luckily for me the village charity - Animal Care Uzumlu who recently formed are doing a fantastic job in raising money and providing care for local animals in need - were holding a table top sale. Well, we all know how I love a rummage through the second hand sales and yes I did manage to buy a few bits and pieces!

Rummaging in the heat is thirsty work, so then it was off to Eddy's place for a drink and a sit down for a rest, before a look around the market. Then we all came back to the house and enjoyed an afternoon of chatting in the garden before changing and going out for dinner in the evening. It was a lovely, lovely day.

Pit stop at Eddy's Place

The biggest down side to moving here is missing family and friends, so it was really nice that we were able to meet some more friends for the day in Hisaronu where they were over on holiday, the following week. It was three years since we had seem them and it was just wonderful to catch up and hear all their news.They are returning to Turkey in August and we are looking forward to them coming to stay for a few days then.

Another friend holidaying in Ovacik came over and spent the afternoon with us and joy of joy brought us some packets of seeds, so they have been spread around the garden for hopefully lots of lovely colourful summer flowers in a few weeks time.

Talking of the garden, the main strawberry crop is now in. We have so far picked 9 kg some of which have been made into the first of this year's jam. The peaches are almost ripe and will be the next fruit in. I said on a previous post that we were hopeful for our first apricots this year. Sadly we actually only have three! But that is a start. We can only hope for more next year. Last year we had eleven pomegranates for the first time from our tree. This year the tree is laden with fruit.

A lot of fruit on our Pomegranate tree this year

 Three years ago we planted one grapefruit and one Clementine tree. One of them has seventeen fruit on for the first time. The only problem is that I can't remember which way round we planted them, so we have to wait and see what they turn into.

It's something - but what is it?

At last all of the major building work is completed in the garden. There is still plenty of finishing off to do, but we have reached the point where the really hard graft is done and everything we do will tidy up and the garden should now start to look more and more like a garden and no longer like a building site. I can't tell you how good that makes us feel.

Now that we will no longer be spending money each month on building materials, we have decided that we are going to buy a car. It will only be an old Turkish banger, but having it will open up endless opportunities for us to be able to get out and about a bit more. Although the dolmus service and the bus services are excellent here in Turkey we find it is still difficult for us to go out far because of not being able to leave the dogs for too long. Even going to Oludeniz by dolmus means a three hour round trip travelling without allowing for waiting time, which means we don't bother because it's not worth it for the small amount of time we have left to be there. Having a car would halve this which makes it a lot more viable.

So at the moment we are feeling truly blessed. Our garden is almost finished, another wonderful Turkish summer is here and we will soon have the time and means to get out and about a lot more to enjoy more of this beautiful country. How lucky are we?