Saturday, 31 May 2014

May just flew by ....

When we dreamt of retiring to the sun, we imagined long, hot days stretching out before us filled with ambling around enjoying the scenery, reading books, swimming and laying by the pool - wrong! The reality is the equivalent of a full time job, sorting the garden and looking after our waifs and strays - four dogs and three cats. But does it matter - no!

We should finish the major work in the garden this year Inshallah,, and we are already enjoying the part we did last year, so we are driven now by the fact that we believe it will be lovely when we have finished. We are really cracking on and are well into the second half of our planned courtyard garden as well as having finished off the part we began last year. We now have the framework over our outdoor sofa for plant support and shade, and this week we have put a fence between the veggie garden and the courtyard which will stop the dogs trampling the vegetables and again provide support for plants. It will of course take time for the plants to develop and do their job, but we reckon that in a couple of years it should be starting to look as we imagined.

Lady muck enjoying the outdoor sofa - great spot for that power nap in the afternoon!

All the compost we have dug into the soil in the vegetable garden is really making a difference. The soil structure is now quite different and we are reaping the benefits of a much improved harvest. So far this year we have frozen a huge bag of peas, we are currently freezing down broad beans and I have made two batches of strawberry conserve from our own strawberries. We have lettuce, rocket, mustard and radish ready, the tomatoes and cucumbers are nearly ready and today I plan to pick the first of the runner beans. I have planted several herbs among the plants in the courtyard garden, so we also have a ready supply of oregano, coriander, parsley, mint, thyme and dill. The peaches are almost ready and for the first year since planting joy of joys, we have one apricot on the apricot tree, so maybe next year apricot jam could be on the menu!

The first of this year's crop of lovely fresh, sweet homegrown peas.

But it isn't all work and no play. Eldest son Paul and his wife came over earlier this month and together with friends we enjoyed an excellent meal to celebrate our first wedding anniversary at The Grape Garden in the village. Unfortunately cracking open a bottle of Uzumlu wine to drink by the pool before we set off was not the best idea I ever had. Potent stuff! I was more than a little squiffy for the evening out, had to go straight to bed on our return and took two days to recover! Hence unfortunately the photos from our evening out are not up to my normal standard!

Fabulous meal at The Grape Garden to celebrate our first wedding anniversary with family and friends.

In my last post I wrote about the lovely people we have met since moving here and two of the loveliest we met because of a cat! Two years ago a couple from Scotland on holiday here found a cat in appalling condition at Fethiye Fish market. They asked Animal Aid for help and donated money towards her veterinary fees and upkeep. To cut a long story short ( I will write her story on the blog soon), she ended up with us. Understandably, the couple wanted to know how she was doing and we were asked by Animal Aid if we would email them with an update from time to time. This I did and for the past two years every time they visit their house in Ovacik we meet up for a meal there. This week we visited them again, enjoyed a fabulous meal and excellent company as always. They have undoubtedly become friends for life.

Thomas our cat that suffered quite a serious road accident has been given the all clear from the vet and is now back outside chasing butterflies again, albeit with a limp! The vet X-rayed his hip and the broken bone has mended well. However, he suffered severe muscle damage and it will take time for that to fully recover. But he is a happy boy to be back to normal living. We just hope and pray he has learned to stay well away from the road.

Thomas happy to be back outside also enjoys a siesta on the outdoor sofa between chasing butterflies

Feeling deprived by the absence of the 3C's car boots through the summer, I have been going to the second hand sale in Fethiye for my 'buying junk' fix. Yes I did manage to come home with a bag or three of 'things' I just had to have!

But my major find has been two beautiful old carved wood chairs being sold cheaply by a hotel in Hisaronu. These are resplendent in the bedrooms as we know beyond all doubt that Red would confuse them for dog food if they were in the sitting room. Bless! She has eaten virtually all our furniture downstairs now and has made a good start on the plants in the front garden. One day she appeared round the corner with an entire honeysuckle bush trailing behind her. I could have cried as it had just got to an impressive size on our wall. I did think that she must be the most expensive puppy in the world through the cost of the damages and I may be able to get her into the Guinness Book of Records as such. But when I googled to see the most expensive puppy it was a Tibetan Mastiff sold in March of this year for $2 million (almost £1.2 million) so I can't even recoup some of the losses that way!

"I don't know what you mean - I've been picking roses again - ridiculous idea, I found it on the sofa!"

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Just a day in the village

One thing we can say, is that since moving here to Uzumlu, we have met some lovely, lovely people and yesterday when we walked down to the village it was no exception.

As always we have been working hard in the garden and last week David put a metal framework up above the outdoor settee for plants to eventually climb up and over. In the meantime however, it is a tad hot sitting on it in the full sunshine. Consequently we decided to put some screening on the top, so yesterday we walked to the village to buy some from our local builders merchant.

On our way down the hill a car pulled up beside us and a couple asked us if they were on the right road to Cadianda. We explained to them how to get there and told them they were in for a treat as it is such a fabulous place to visit and with wonderful views on the way up there. Their English was fluent and we thought they were Americans.

Anyway, we continued our walk down to the village, went to the builders and bought the screening and then as Friday is market day decided to have a wander through the market. We were pleased to see the spice man was back as he had not been through the winter and we bought some garlic salt - the best we have found around here and a barbecue spice mix (with chillies in) which we are looking forward to trying.

Market day is a social occasion too.

Market day in the village is not just about buying and selling, it's a chance to chat with people too. We asked after spice man's mother and father both of whom we know well and we stopped for a chat with another of the other market traders we know. Then we carried on up to the square and sat for a while with our friend Nur who owns the plant and dastar material shop there and along came another English friend of hers who had just returned from a long stay in the UK, who we had never met before. So we stopped and had a chat with him.

David outside the new taverna style cafe in the village

All this chatting makes you a bit peckish and as a couple of weeks ago we had noticed that a new cafe had opened up along the side of the road on our way home, we decided to stop and try it out. It kind of reminded me of a Greek taverna and it was a great place for people watching on market day sitting on the side of the street. David had a potato borek and a cup of coffee and I had the Turkish breakfast and an apple tea. The lady sat on the side of the road and cooked Davids borek and my khavalti was all village produce and we both really enjoyed it.

David had potato borek ...........

............. freshly prepared ..........

........ and cooked by the side of the road ............

............ and I had the Turkish breakfast (khavalti) which also included the most amazing egg 

We were just leaving the village for home when the couple who stopped us earlier for directions to Cadianda drove past us coming back. They pulled up and said they wanted to talk to us and went to park. We wondered what had happened. Were our directions so bad they still hadn't found it two hours on? Did they hate it so much that they needed to tell us we were mad people for saying how lovely it was? Whilst they parked we felt like naughty school children summoned to the head masters office.

But no! They had so enjoyed their time at Cadianda they just wanted to tell us about their trip. What a lovely couple they were and we stayed chatting with them for a good half hour. It transpired that they were a retired German couple on holiday in Sarigerme.  Volker and Ingrid if you read this it was a pleasure meeting you and if you ever stay in this area again, please look us up.

So finally we set off for home discussing as we walked, the lovely people we have met since we came here, when a car pulled up beside us and an English gentleman who lives in the village but whom we had never met offered us a lift home. How nice was that? It was hot and the hill is steep so we gratefully accepted and he insisted on taking us up our track and virtually to our door.

So yesterday we thoroughly enjoyed our trip to the village and meeting new friends along the way. Gosh we are so lucky to be living here.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Thomas - our gift from the mountain

On Tuesday 18th September 2012 we had family here staying with us and we had been down to show them Fethiye market in the morning. We returned home for a leisurely afternoon around the pool and at around 6 pm we all showered and changed ready to go down to the village for a meal. As we set off out of the door we discovered three kittens in our drive.

Three little kittens ........

Our first thought was that they belonged to our Turkish neighbour as we knew her cat had kittens around the age of these. So we shouted over the fence and told her we had her kittens running around our garden and that we were concerned for their safety with our dogs. She said she didn't know how they could have got out, but came to the fence to take them back. However, as she reached out to take the first one she said that these were not her kittens, so we bundled them into our Labrador's flight crate for safety and went out for our meal.

Tom - always the one wanting a cuddle!

When we returned later that night we fed them and settled them and wondered where on earth they could have come from. It would not have surprised us if someone had dumped them inside our gate knowing we were animal lovers, except for the fact that we had been in the garden all afternoon and had not seen anyone go past. We came to the conclusion that they had come down off the mountain beside our house, although there was no sign of a mother cat. Maybe someone had dumped them up there.

We had no intention of keeping them as we already had two dogs and three cats, but we took them to the vets for a check up and later when they were old enough, back again for their injections, and when they were old enough to be re-homed we started to advertise them on the local animal aid Facebook pages for good homes.

When I had taken them to the vets for their injections the vet had a kitten the same age as ours recovering from a broken leg, so I went to the vets with three and came back with four, as it seemed a little churlish not to have her with ours for company. It suited us as the two tabby females were very close and the Tom was an odd one out, so it meant he had company too. Consequently we tried desperately to re home them as pairs so they could stay together.

Because we didn't intend keeping them we didn't give them names. But the two tabbies we referred to as the princesses, the tom as Tom and the new addition as Peggy because of her peg leg. After a few weeks the animal aid group arranged for a lady in Calis to have two and she chose Tom and Peggy. I was a bit upset as I was rather hoping to persuade David to keep Tom as he was always the 'in your face' affectionate one. He was always the one hanging on the crate door when you went past and loved to climb all over you when he was out whereas the girls were more self contained and aloof.

Anyway, we took the two down to Calis and left them in their new home. A little while later the two princesses also went together to live in Calis with some lovely people, where it was obvious they would be greatly loved and cared for. So we congratulated ourselves on having managed to re home four abandoned kittens.

The Princesses went  together to a lovely home in Calis

Unbeknown to us at the time however, Tom was to return! Animal aid had received a report that there were two abandoned kittens in Calis and when they went to catch them they were none other than Tom and Peggy. Peggy was suffering from colitis and was quite poorly and Tom had a large abscess on his neck. Both cats received veterinary treatment and we agreed it was only fair that we had them back again.

So both of them were back with us by Christmas 2012. We were offered homes for Tom but we refused to let him go without his best friend Peggy who was a poorly little thing and we subsequently lost her last year to cancer at only a year old. So Tom stayed and became Thomas and he is a very, very special cat.

Tom and his best friend Peggy were both back with us by Christmas

Both David and I have had many cats over the years but Thomas is unlike any of them. He is incredibly affectionate and loving and his trust in us is unconditional. He will jump on our laps, flip over on his side and totally trust us to stop him falling off - which he would if you didn't catch him. He has obviously missed Peggy greatly as our other cats are older and don't play. But he has made an independent life for himself and he is always busy. He checks the banks and the mountain for butterflies which he loves to chase (and eat if he catches!), he terrorises both next doors cats and our other cats, he is always busy. But if he is passing he will expect a quick cuddle before he goes off on his next adventure. We love him dearly.

Thomas asleep with Little-E

Last summer he opted to stay out at night, as does one of our other cats, so when he did not re-appear one night last week as we locked up, we were not too concerned. We just thought Thomas thinks its time for his summer schedule. However, we were concerned when he was not about when we got up the next morning. Thomas can't manage long without food! Funnily enough David had told me only a few days before that he had seen Thomas up on the road, and I had said "Oh no I hope he doesn't get run over".

David set off and scoured along the side of the road calling him, he went all around our property and up into the mountain calling him for an hour or more - nothing! We were very concerned because it was so unlike Thomas not to be around. A couple of hours later we heard a feeble "meow" and when we ran out we found Thomas laying on the front doormat. To this day we do not know how he got there. We saw nobody and nobody has since told us that they found him, but it seems incredible that he could have got home himself.

He was talking to us pitifully and we carried him in on the doormat to assess his injuries. He did not seem able to move his back end and he had several cuts and grazes with one on his back leg which was down to the bone. It was obvious he needed immediate veterinary attention but of course we have no transport. This is the first time we have been in a muddle through our lack of having a car.

First I tried to hire a car but the local car hire guy was away, so couldn't help me. I rang everyone living in the village whose number I had and nobody could help me. The frustration and feeling of helplessness was unbelievable. I put a plea on the village news page on Facebook asking if anyone could help me, but got no replies. After around 2 hours Thomas also had swelling on his head which concerned me and as a last ditch attempt before we tried to find a taxi, David managed to find our friend Eddie at a friends house. He came straight away and finally we managed to get Thomas some help.

Our wonderful vet Serkan looked him over and x-rayed him and thankfully his spine was not damaged as I had suspected. He did however, have internal injuries, cuts, bruises and a broken hip. He gave him several injections and we returned home for him to be caged to allow his hip to heal, which the vet felt was preferable to an operation.

We had tablets to give him which wasn't a problem. But after a few days he still hadn't eaten or drunk anything much or been to the toilet, so we had to return to the vets with a very poorly boy. Once there he suffered the indignation of having a feline style enema which produced some bloody faeces, presumably from his internal injuries and we returned with two anti- inflammatory injections for him to be given two days apart and some glycerine to put up his bottom to help him poo every third day.

Two days later he had his first injection and started to eat a little food. The following day was scheduled for the glycerine. Thomas however, must have heard me say this and had other ideas because when I went armed with my plastic glove and glycerine I discovered he had managed to go to the toilet on his own!

It is now twelve days since we found him in such a sorry state on our doorstep and he is much, much better. He is eating, drinking going to the toilet unaided, starting to weight bear on his back leg and most important of all is wanting a cuddle and purring again. We are optimistic now that he will make a full recovery, which fills our hearts with joy because this is the third time he has got himself to our home and we can't imagine a world without Thomas!