Friday, 27 March 2015

It's so hard to say goodbye ...

A few days ago our poorly cat Çingene passed away during the night. We miss her so much. As I had explained in previous posts she suffered from a viral infection - picked up during her life on the streets and also chronic kidney disease. She came here for terminal care (prognosis a few weeks - months at best) almost three years ago, so she did well and we feel blessed to have been able to show her a loving life in the country after her years of struggling to survive on the urban streets.

After a couple of weeks of being quite poorly, she seemed to be a lot better. We enjoyed a few really hot sunny days and she was able to go out again to visit her old haunts. On the third day of her going out to enjoy the sunshine she did not seem so well again, so I brought her back in the house and settled her in her bed with her hot water bottle. The following day, she refused to eat and her condition deteriorated throughout the day. By evening she was almost unconscious and she slipped away peacefully during the night.

It was as if she had rallied to revisit her favourite places before she said goodbye. She is buried in the garden of her haven alongside her friends Peggy, Horace and Tyson. 

She will be fondly remembered for:

Her appreciation of home comforts

Her love of the dogs

 Her fussy eating

 Her demanding behaviour

 and those beautiful eyes

 RIP Çingene we will see you again at Rainbow Bridge one day.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Spring is springing!

After an appalling few weeks weather wise, this week there are definite signs that spring is sprung. The last couple of days have been really sunny and although we will have storms and rain for a few weeks yet, looking at the long term forecast for March these are broken up by several sunny days. Now I can start to come out of hibernation and look forward to another of our beautiful summers. You will often see that I moan and complain about the cold weather, but you will NEVER see me moan about the heat!

The plum and peach tree are well in bud and the roses are starting to get new shoots. In the veggie garden the first lettuce are on the way as are the peas and broad beans. Last year we got 20 kg of fruit from both the plum and the peach tree, and enough peas and beans to last us for the whole year. Will this year be the first year we have fruit on our apricot tree? Now five years since planting, last year we had one apricot so we live in hope.

Plum tree in bud

Broad beans coming on well

It's so good to be able to get outside again, although also a little daunting with all the jobs that need to be done. Yesterday we ate our lunch outside for the first time this year and it was just wonderful to be doing that again.

David is able to crack on with the building. The wall by the drive is fully built with blocks now, just needs a bit more facing stone, and he is well into the block work for the shed.

The toilet and sink are back insitu in the bathroom where we had the leaking pipes, and we are waiting for the concrete floor to finish drying out, so that the wooden floor can be replaced above it. We really need the room up and running by mid April, so this weather should help our cause considerably.

Donkey man (we've never known his name), has brought his donkey up from the village to graze, as he does each year. We came to an arrangement with him last year that we would provide water for the donkey, and a couple of times a day he brings it to the house for a drink. We have bought a huge bowl which we have put outside our gate for her, and yesterday she was tethered to our wall, so I was able to go out and give her a good brush too, which she seemed to really like.

Donkey happy to be back outdoors

Last year it was March 21st when we saw our first tortoise out of hibernation. One very small tortoise adopted us when we first started coming here five years ago, and each year it has returned to the garden a little bigger than the year before. So hopefully we will see him/her again soon.

We have our first firm dates for family coming over to stay, and although that isn't until September we are really looking forward to that.  We didn't have many visitors last year because everyone had made the effort to come over the year before to our wedding. So this year we are hoping that some of our friends will be coming over too. We love showing off our beautiful corner of the world to guests.

Soon they should be announcing the dates of the Yesiluzumlu mushroom festival, and we love a wander into the village for that. Usually it takes place towards the end of April, but in typical Turkish fashion, the dates are only announced a short while before the event.

So at the moment all is good here at 'Fogies Place' Happy, happy days!

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Goodbye February 2015

Well here we are on the last day of February. Thank goodness, I hate February! It's too cold, wet and miserable for us sun lovers. Usually the worst month of the year.

This morning I woke up to the loudest clap of thunder I have ever heard, and of course our electricity immediately went off for three hours. True to my word, I have since the last cuts purchased a second hand gas heater and it has been a godsend. But yesterday the gas ran out on the cooker so I had used the bottle from the heater to cook last night. So I still didn't reap the benefit of it while the power was down. Now I am looking out for a second gas heater and a spare gas bottle. That should cover every eventuality.

Every winter I am lulled into a false sense of security as we approach Christmas and the weather is still not too bad. Cold at night admittedly but still with some nice sunny days when you can get outside to do things. Consequently, I am always surprised by how cold it starts to get in January. In January the weather starts to get colder with plenty of storms and rainy days. Bringing with them the electricity cuts that so often accompany the bad stormy weather here. We have had a particularly cold winter with several nights below freezing, even snow flurries on two occasions and it has caused havoc with some of our more tender plants. Some may recover some may not, we will have to wait and see what happens when the weather improves.

Looking back at my post on 28th February last year, I mention that "we have been blessed with some glorious weather for the last couple of weeks" Well that didn't happen this year! However, we are getting the odd sunny day now and hopefully they will soon get to be more frequent as we move into March. I do hope so.

David has been doing odd bits and pieces in the garden when the weather has permitted and has nearly completed the wall between the drive and the back garden, as well as having made a start on his shed. He is so looking forward to having a 'man cave' again. He doesn't know yet how much toot is moving out of the house into yet though!

The hard landscaping of the back garden has taken a lot longer than we thought, but it is well on the way now. The reinforced concrete hearths have gone on the barbecue and outdoor oven, so they should be finished in time to use this year. When I look back to a picture taken last spring you can at least see a difference.

hearth going on the oven base

Picture taken in March of last year

Picture almost one year on - walled raised beds, paved, bases for barbecue & oven in & wall going up

I don't 'do' outdoors in the cold, so I have spent a lot of my time, taking up an interest I started years ago, which is tracing my family history. My father and mother split up when I was only four years old, so I have never known much about my father's side of my family. So nobody was more surprised than me to discover that almost all of that side of my family originated from County Wicklow in Ireland, and I have had great fun discovering more about them over the past few weeks. I am back to the 1700's, but now it's getting difficult because Ireland sadly lost nearly all it's records during the Irish Civil War in 1922 when, after an explosion, fire destroyed the building in which they were kept. Nothing is ever easy is it? But I have always loved Ireland and it has given me a real urge to return and look around the places from which my family originate. Half Irish huh! I am so pleased.

I have only left the house twice in February. Once to go and do our monthly shopping, and another day to go to the car boot. Oh joy! I love those car boots. This time I purchased a brass oil lamp for the back garden, a rug for the sitting room, rose plants and a catering size stainless steel cooking tray complete with a drip tray to use in the outdoor oven. Then on to Eyna restaurant for a full English breakfast, followed by a rummage through the 3C's charity shop - love it!

On my last blog post I wrote about our old cat Çingene and how poorly she was. She was so poorly that for three consequetive nights I thought she would pass away in the night. I know that if at that stage I had taken her to the vets he would have put her to sleep. But as she was not in any distress and knowing her like I do, I felt inclined to give her a chance. She is still with us and is a lot better than she was. I am now thinking it is 50/50 that she will make it through the winter and into another spring.  We must not ever underestimate her spirit or sheer bloody mindedness to get through. I am still making her hot water bottles for her bed, but sometimes she is moving to sit on the radiator or a dog, and she is eating well again now, so there is hope.

Red can't work out why Kizzy is wearing a cat!

Roll on summer that's what I say!