We wanted to write about our first impressions of our street. This way we will be able to see how our perceptions develop as we go on living here, as the seasons change, as the year turns. As we get to know our neighbours as families and individuals.
The street traffic is mostly tractors and small motorcycles. Agricultural trailers are frequently parked up. Cars are actually a rarity. There are a couple of women living locally who wear sleevless tops and no scarves – they have turned up here in taxis but the cars have never parked here for long. There was an estate car here yesterday but we think the driver was selling something. Despite being in a town it has more of a feel of a village agricultural community.
Children play football, hopscotch and other games. They ride bicycles if they have them. Just around the corner we saw a child ride his bicycle right into the back of a truck. Neither was hurt. I’ve seen children playing a game similar to the one I knew as jacks when I was a kid – we threw a ball up into the air then picked up special pieces – as many as you can before you catch the ball again. Here it was being played with big stones and smaller stones.
Some of the local women sit out on the street, gossiping, or talking. Not sure what they are talking about. This is mostly in the evenings. By day they are in their houses – sometimes we can hear the television but mostly, we suspect, they are working inside. Last night (again, not on our actual street but in the neighbourhood) we saw an old woman weaving on a hand loom. We see a lot of women working with their hands on balconies in the evenings – looks like they are doing something like tatting.
There are dogs living in some of the houses, opposite us lives a rather good looking Rottweiler. Someone told us they are an illegal breed here but I’m not sure whether that is true. We have only ever seen the Rottweiler in its own garden. We’ve been told that it has wandered the streets alone and frightened the children.
There are many cats; most seem to live in the shared bin on the corner. If they don’t live there they certainly gather there for cat social events and it can get noisy at times. We’re beginning to recognise some of the neighbourhood regulars. There’s an old tabby Tom with a foul temper. He hissed at Hilary when she found him asleep in the sun on the terrace and, apparently, once, when our landlady was chasing him, he responded by leaving an ‘offering’ on the doormat. There is a white cat with a ginger head and a tabby tail – a surprisingly attractive combination.
This shared bin is emptied on a daily basis – the cats do not seem to mind. Presumably they get fresh food daily. The garbage truck comes every morning. Today someone swept the entire street. We’re not sure whether this is part of the belediye service or whether he did it out of the goodness of his heart or just because he was fed up with the mess and the dust.
There is a local shop nearby. It sells bread, mineral water, sweets and all kinds of stuff. We have bought jam there and cling film which is called stretch film in Turkish (only with a Turkish ch) and dolap poseti (cupboard bag) by the man who works in the shop.
A lot of cooking happens outside; the air is scented with wood smoke. This evening our neighbours are cooking a stew or soup, more likely soup given it is Ramazan, over a small fire pit.
We can sit on our roof terrace after dark enjoying the cooler temperatures and taking in the sounds and smells of the street. Drinking beer is optional.