We had a really good winter last year. So this years weather is a bit shocking for those of us that don't do cold! Winter came earlier than normal and we have had our heating on since the beginning of November. Usually it's well into December before we start to use it. OK we did have some sunny days in November, and in fact we had a lovely barbecue on the beach one day and it was really warm, but in general it's not a pleasant winter this year at all. The people who only ever visit Turkey for their summer holidays would be amazed to discover just how cold the winters can be here.
Christmas day was quite warm and we were able to sit outside for most of the day, but since then the weather has really changed for the worse. We have had an almost constant deluge through January. First rain, then sleet, then snow and now more rain and thunderstorms. Whilst the snow has not settled in the village itself, the mountains that immediately surround our house have been topped with snow for the first time in the seven years we have owned it. In fact a local man told us that it is 19 or 20 years since he remembers them being covered in snow like this year.
The higher mountains are deep in snow, and at the weekend there was a traffic jam along the Uzumlu to Fethiye road, because of all the Turkish people taking their families up to Nif (a village a bit further up into the mountains than we are) to play in the snow. Many Turkish families do not have cars, which means that a lot of children living in Fethiye do not get to enjoy this experience. So I was amazed and delighted to see that last week the Belediye (council) transported two large dumper trucks of snow down to the school playground for them. The staff could hardly contain the children when they saw what was happening outside and they burst through the school doors with squeals of delight, straight into it to play. What a fabulous sight that was.
But there is a darker side to the weather. The heavy snowfalls in and around Istanbul have meant that hundreds of flights have been cancelled. Two of our friends flew over last weekend and were stuck in Istanbul for two days waiting for a flight to Dalaman, As I write, more flights are being cancelled due to the continuing bad weather. Today we have heard that the road from here to Antalya is also closed (both routes), and today the storms have caused damage in Fethiye town centre with the winds bringing trees down which in turn have damaged people's cars and kiosks along the harbour front.
Closer to home we suffered serious flooding in the garden. Last year a new villa was built opposite us and whereas before there was a ditch at the bottom of the mountain that then ran down into the field in front of us, now that option is not there. Consequently the water is running down the mountain, across the track and straight through our gate. At one point our raised beds were underwater and the water level was as high as seat height on our outdoor chairs in the back garden.
The water is running down the mountain. Before it disappeared along the ditch. Now that has been removed it's filling the road.....
........ coming through our gate ..........
.......... and flooding our garden and the sheds!
In the foreground and also at the back the lower raised beds were completely submerged and the water level was up to seat height on our outdoor chairs
So all in all it is not a good time to be needing to travel in Turkey or even to go into town, so we are holed up at home in the warm which is definitely the place to be right now. Maybe because of early winter weather we'll also have an early spring - we can live in hope!