Winter is here

There are quite a few differences in our environment now that it is definitively winter.  Firstly, and most obviously, it is cold.  This morning we used the AC for a quick blast of heat before breakfast, backing it up with the oil filled radiators, this evening we lit the soba almost as soon as it got dark.   It rained very hard in the middle of last week – we’re told it doesn’t usually rain that hard – we had a river down the street but, fortunately, nothing leaked.  It’s dry now but more rain predicted for next week – at least the cloud holds the warm in.

So it’s cold.  The sky remains bright blue (when it isn’t raining) and the air is beautiful (when it’s not obscured by woodsmoke).  We hear more songbirds than we do in summer.  This morning, in zero degrees, taking the soba bucket out to the communal bin, I saw a black and white wagtail crossing the road a few yards to my right.  We see a lot of black redstarts and all kinds of small birds (usually too distant for us to identify).

The fruit and vegetables we get on the market are still super-fresh (one or two days out of the ground at the most) but they are different.  We still get lemons (cheaper and cheaper) but the mandolins are giving way to oranges and apples now.  We are experimenting with the apples to find the ones we like best.  There are still aubergines, but they’re 4 lira a kilo and looking fairly sad.  The courgettes look more like marrows.  The leeks are fabulous, we have learned to love celeriac, and the spinach tastes like spinach should taste (the mud washes off easily enough though it leaves hands feeling cold).  But produce is worth a post on its own…

The street, on the whole, is quieter.  People go in when it gets dark so there’s no gossip to be heard in the street at night.  The air is thick with smoke.  The wood smoke smells nice but the coal smoke doesn’t.

There is not so much rubbish in the communal bins.  We find this a bit of a puzzle.  We don’t live in a ‘holiday’ area so it’s not that less people are around to make rubbish.  The bins still fill up with builders’ rubble but, we guess, there’s not so much agricultural waste around.  The only explanation we can come up with is that people are burning stuff they would otherwise have thrown away.  You can, after all, put more or less anything that will burn into a soba.  In addition, they also throw away stuff which is still burning – bin fires are a constant hazard when taking out the rubbish.  Hilary has learned a rule ‘if the bin is closed, it’s probably alight’.

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7 responses to “Winter is here

  1. Bonfires seem to be a way of life in some areas. Certainly it’s the case in our village where we have no rubbish collection now. It was only because we complained to the Muhtar about this when we moved here that we finally got a bin (empty oil drum) after 18 months..but there was no regular collection and rubbish could pile up for weeks…not pleasant in the middle of summer. A few months ago the bins were removed and we were informed that Milas Belediye would collect rubbish in future from two large bins in the centre of the village…quite a trek for us. Of course our neighbours are not bothered. They’ve always burnt their rubbish so I guess we’ll have to join them.

    Oh and I agree about the vegetables at the moment…the spinach is so delicious isn’t it?

    • The communal bins are just across the road from our gate. This is good in some ways and bad in others… The bins are nearly always left open – and full of cats scrounging on the rubbish.
      They get emptied every day except Wednesdays and men from the Belediye sweep the street periodically.
      If our neighbours are burning their rubbish most of them are doing it inside their houses.
      The spinach tasted fantastic, but it was muddy and took a bit of washing.

  2. While looking up what a soba was (having had brain-fart, and not thinking to look through your backposts), I came across another ex-pat’s blog that I found delightful as well. Not sure if you’ve seen this one or not: http://www.kirazlivillage.com/wordpress/?p=1654

  3. And now, of course, looking at your sidebar, I see you have… I am going to either hang my head in shame for my lack of observance, or blame the cold – we just had our first “real” snowfall this past week (“real” meaning “snow which actaully stays on the ground past noon”), and my brain is obviously frozen!

    • Well, you have a proper winter – we just have a pretend one. Though, a few hundred miles away they do have snow with ski resorts and everything. Something I would rather avoid.

      No problem with extra plugs for for :http://www.kirazlivillage.com/wordpress/ . It is one of our favourite blogs. Kirazli is not far from here – about half an hour away – and the house is as fabulous as it looks in the pictures, if not more so.

  4. We’re lucky here in Bodrum. Our bins are just across the road and are emptied daily. We even have recycling bins dotted about the town but I don’t think they’ve caught on yet. Still, it’s progress.

    • We’ve not seen much formal recycling here but the neighbours are glad of anything they can use and we have a lot of rag and bone men coming round (though most of them are after the big stuff an not interested in our meagre offerings). Apparently they don’t empty the bins on Wednesdays due to the Wednesday market. I’m not sure what the connection is but that’s the only explanation we have. Bins across the road are convenient but the odour can waft up to our terrace on hot nights.

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