Monthly Archives: February 2012

The return of winter (hopefully brief)

Last week the weather was really pleasant.  It was mostly fairly warm and sunny.  We painted some of the terrace furniture.  There were bees on the spring flowers.

Yesterday morning after hours of rain and plunging temperatures it snowed.  Then as the day wore on it rained some more, and the temperatures continued to fall as the rain cleared.  By the early evening it was bitingly cold in a bitter north wind.  Last night the temperature dropped to around minus 5, this morning there is ice a centimetre thick on the roof terrace.  The north wind has now died down a little and there is bright sunshine, it is cold, barely above freezing.

We gather it has been a particularly cold winter.  We have used far more wood than expected and have some electricity bills that in part reflect the cold.  We have managed to stay warm and we have a good sized dry store currently half full of wood, far more than we will need this winter.

The forecast is that it will start to warm up by the weekend.  Hopefully as we move into March winter will become a thing of the past.  For the next few days we plan to stay at home in the warm and not care about the heating costs.

Talking the talk

Today we went to Kuşadası to sort ourselves out some Turkish lessons.  We start tomorrow.  We’ll be learning separately as Hilary did four years’ evening classes and Ashley did not.  Hilary will be revising her grammar then concentrate on speaking and listening.  Ashley will be learning some basic grammar then practicing everyday speaking and listening.

We think the price is very reasonable for private lessons, even though we have to add on the cost of travel to and from Kuşadası

On the way to Kuşadası our dolmus (and the one ahead of it) were stopped by the traffic police.  Everyone was asked for their ID.  It was a good test of our language skills.  Everyone’s ID except ours and that of the lady sitting next to us, were taken off and examined in a police car.  We got chatting to the lady sitting next to us who is French, but lives in Cologne.  It was very weird chatting in French because half the time the Turkish words were coming to mind (rather than either the French or the English).

After about ten minutes the IDs were returned and handed out by one of the passengers and we were on our way once more.

Our first century

This is our 100th blog post here on Pul Biber.

We have had a busy day after getting up late.  We have been preparing for summer, painting furniture on the roof terrace and sorting bits of garden.  Ashley has various wounds from moving plants, cuts from sharp leaves and thorns.  This evening our new gate was fitted this involved a fair amount of banging, welding and cutting of metal by moonlight.  None of which is really very exciting.

Thinking back over the 100 posts on Pul Biber, they have been our story of our move here.

We don’t have a specific theme or direction for the blog.  We’re not experts on Turkey, or, in fact, on any of the things we’ve posted about.  We started the blog as a way to keep in touch with friends and family and, hopefully, as a way of meeting new people.  As such, we think it’s been reasonably successful and, whilst we don’t get huge numbers of hits, we’re not playing this as a numbers  game.

It is also our story, and as much as some of our not particularly interesting to anyone else entries may not be particularly interesting…..  It serves as a reference for us.

In a sense, as we settle in, our day to day experiences have started to feel less like a whole new adventure.  This sometimes leaves us struggling for subject matter.  As time passes, as we settle in (and we’ve only been out here just over six months, we know we have a great deal to learn), the blog may well take a different direction – once we work out what that is.

At times there will be entries about new and exciting things, but life is not always about the new and exciting.  A friend of ours is posting photographs of everyday things, we think some of our day to day is worth recording here.

Getting stoned

Not what some may think!

For the last couple of days we have been having the stepped passageway and space between the houses paved with stone.  This includes taking out the steps and creating a sloped driveway, essential for when we get a bike.  We also happen to think it is a vast improvement on the old concrete which was starting to crumble badly in places.

The men are working really hard on this.  Concrete and stone are heavy.  They arrive promptly at 08:00, work through till lunch, disappear then return and work hard till 17:00.  We take them tea from time to time and yesterday they ate some of Hilary’s homemade chocolate and orange cake.

The work is done – bar the grouting of a small section towards the road.  Soon we will get a new gate and some other minor changes to the ironwork.

This is the final task we set ourselves when we moved here back in August.  Significant because we had said to ourselves that we should get the planned stuff done before splashing out on a decent bike.

Spring is in the air, this is all excellent timing.

Flamingos

Not for the first time we took advantage of a bright and sunny but cold day to go walking on Pamucak Beach.  We were rewarded with this flock of flamingos taking a feeding break on their spring journey north from central Africa.  It really was a wonderful sight.    Sadly the pictures do not captiure the full glory of the colour, let alone the movement as the flock flew, in formation, around the bay.

Not from Sweden

A couple of weeks ago we met with a carpenter and commissioned some furniture to be made as we wanted something to fit an exact space.  We had made some drawings to show him, and had some ideas about colour and style.  The meeting went very well, he seemed to get what we were after, a bookcase, and a storage box that doubled as a seat (it has a back and arms which were the carpenter’s idea and look good), and we added in a couple of shelves above a worktop in the kitchen.

We had initially been given earlier this week as delivery and fitting date but apparently there was an issue with sorting delivery.  We were telephoned and advised of this.

Today the furniture was delivered, mostly pre-assembled.  The shelves were fitted and the final bit of assembly completed.  Whilst the carpenter was here he attended to a couple of doors in the kitchen units which needed adjusting.

We offered tea, which was accepted, he gave us his business card, and we settled up the bill which was very reasonable.

We are still trying to come to terms with how much this furniture has improved the living space.  It makes the sitting area feel much bigger and we have places to put things away.  Both the bookcase and the sitting box have been decorated with wooden studs – difficult to describe but clearly necessary.

Better than green boxes

Today we were privileged to see recycling in action.

Our across-the-road neighbour has, for some time, been keeping rubbish on his roof.  The rubbish included an old, broken umbrella, plastic bags full of empty beer cans and other stuff which was harder to identify.  Many of these items had been put there by the bin men, clearly they have an eye for recycling.  Today we saw our neighbour sell it to one of the men who comes round with a cart, looking for saleable stuff in the street and the bins.  One of the unidentifiable items on the roof turned out to be a largish lump of lead.  Our neighbour made some money and his roof now looks considerably more attractive (though we think he is still saving rubbish for another purpose).

This afternoon we de-cluttered some outside storage space in preparation for some re-surfacing we hope will begin soon.  Various items went out to the bin – and swiftly disappeared.  Two broken hammocks rode down the street on the heads of young lads on scooters (the sort you push with your foot, not the motor kind).  They were kicking an empty paint can.

We now have our own bag of bits of scrap metal and plastic waiting for when someone comes around wanting it.  Someone comes around most days so it should be gone pretty soon.    

This evening we ate tuna bake – this was made with tinned tuna.  The oil in which the fish was preserved was carefully poured back into the can and the can was balanced right side up in the bin.  Before Hilary got back to the gate two cats had their heads in the can.  She’s hoping they got the scraps she took out later.

As Hilary just said, “It’s brilliant – much better than green boxes”.