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?

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

April is a big month for the Fogies

April is definitely one of the most momentous months for us. On an everyday basis it is the month when we begin to change from winter mode into summer one. The outdoor furniture goes back outside, the terrace starts to be an additional room in everyday use, the pool is cleaned and prepared for the season, the heating goes off, and most important of all - sunshine starts to be regular rather than a spasmodic affair.

Of course the sunshine means that we can get outside again and David is doing well with his building tasks and the garden is looking fairly good. In the veggie garden peas and broad beans are almost ready to start picking, we are already eating lettuce and the leeks and onions are doing well. But we have high hopes for the fruit trees this year. Plums and peaches are looking good, but more importantly we look as though we should at long last, five years since planting, get our first apricots and our first mulberries.We did unfortunately lose our lemon tree to the hard frosts this winter so we have to accept that Uzumlu and lemon trees do not mix - we were warned - and replace it with something else.

In the village life changes too. The goats and donkeys start to reappear and a few days ago we watched the first nomadic herd coming along the road and off up to the mountains for the summer. The shops, cafes and restaurants step up a gear with longer opening hours and summer menus. The village of course also hosts the three day mushroom festival which is great fun. Summer is in the air!

First large herd of sheep and goats going past our house this year

But April is also a big month for us on a personal level. It was April when we first saw and fell in love with our present home. It was Friday April 13th when we moved here together with our animals and incredibly we are now into our fourth year of living here. April 19th was David's 67th birthday and April 23rd was our pups (sisters) 2nd birthday.

We don't bother to go out much other than shopping in the winter, but this month we have ventured down the hill to Fethiye, Calis and Oludeniz and it's great to feel like going out and about again. We love to wander along Fethiye harbour and to take in the stunning views of the bay over a coffee. We see that early holiday makers have now arrived and the town is starting to have it's summer buzz.

Pit stop for coffee and to take in the wonderful view

One of the things we love about being here is that you never quite know what you are going to see, and last time we went to Fethiye we saw a car with it's number plate fixed to the back by putting it in a picture frame, and as we were crossing the road, suddenly along came a band dressed in traditional costume followed by hundreds of school children carrying plaques marching down the road and all the traffic ground to a halt as they made their way through the streets.

Out shopping and suddenly .. a band!

In Calis last week the beaches were still empty, although the sun loungers were piled up in the car park ready to go out, and the shops and restaurants are getting ready for the season. The activity in Oludeniz was manic as all the businesses were busy preparing for the new season to begin. The atmosphere was electric.

One small boy thoroughly enjoying Calis beach to himself, but not for much longer.

Today has been really hot. 42C in our garden and the local goats have taken over our pile of sand as their resting place. Bless!

So all in all we're feeling good and looking forward to a long hot summer.