Our stuff finally arrived from the UK. Late December we got a message from our shipping agency that our stuff was on its way. They said that for import regulations we needed to have a stamp in our passports less than one month old, which resulted in a hastily organised and stormy trip to Chios and back. So we went to Izmir, met the shipping agency and headed to customs. It took all day, and in the end there was still more work to be done, a consignment before ours was being argued about. We left it with our agents and a week or so later everything arrived.
We were like children at Christmas, unpacking boxes and finding great things. Books, kilims, personal effects. We rediscovered Madhur Jaffrey.
The arrival of books and stuff brought about a trip to IKEA in Izmir, we needed somewhere to put all the stuff which had arrived. We had also used some cushions from IKEA furniture as packing for our boxes so we needed to go and get the chair frames. We survived IKEA and had the shopping delivered, assembly then needed to happen.
We learnt a great deal about using a soba safely. For a start the importance of keeping the chimney reasonably clear, tools for this are easily obtainable. It is a messy job but pretty essential. Equally important is having a carbon monoxide alarm just in case things to go badly wrong. We have learnt more since like do not use an extractor fan in the same room as a lit soba.
We obtained some local private health insurance. Our entitlement to NHS was over, or about to end. We probably could have gone back to the UK and got treatment, both of us worked in the NHS, we knew what to say and what to not say, but we felt it was a far better plan to get something locally especially since we were starting to plan to buy a motorcycle.
It snowed twice. Once early in the month and once at the end. We knew it got cold in winter, and that it is possible to go skiing in mountains an hour or so away, but had not expected snow this close to sea level. There were children and adults on the street playing snowballs – some of the children had never experienced snow before. The snow did not hang around, but parts of the month were bitterly cold. Due to the cold we had to buy more firewood, a friend recommended a place in the sanayı, the wood was more expensive but better quality. Unsurprisingly the better quality wood caused fewer problems with the soba.
On a warmer day when the sun was shining we took a trip down to Pamucak beach. We were rewarded by seeing flamingos on migration. They were spectacular to watch but sadly not keen to allow us close enough for decent photographs.
Continuing with the theme of getting a motorcycle we had the steps to the side of the house turned into a ramp and paved, and a new gate fitted. We had longer term plans to turn the basement into a garage but were not in a hurry to do this.
After the possibility of buying a bike in Usak fell though we had a couple to go and look at in Istanbul. We adore Istanbul so a trip there was never going to be onerous, but it did involve a lot of hanging about in the cold and rain, and one evening as we were walking across the hippodrome the rain turned to sleet and then to snow. After we saw the bike we liked we spent a lot of time hanging out in coffee houses whilst paperwork was being attended to. Finally everything was in place so we took a trip with the owner to a Noter to do the sale. It was lots of messing about, the first Noter did not want to do it, the second one was far more helpful. A translator was needed, so more hanging about waiting for one to arrive.
Eventually it was all sorted, we became the owners and Şadi had a load of money. By way of celebration we had lunch with Şadi at his place of work and he pointed out to us various staff from NTV. Given how cold it was we then arranged for Bosphorus Harley Davidson to ship the bike to us and headed for the airport to get a flight home.
We then had to sort out loads of paperwork for the bike. A dossier of documents to take to the police in Izmir, to have foreigner plates made up linked to my name and the vehicle. We had the dossier made up in Selçuk, there are people who specialise in this work – very much recommended. Once we had the plate from Izmir there was basic insurance, and some more comprehensive cover to arrange. It was a lot of running around.
We did a couple of really spectacular walks with Zirve Dağcılık. One to Nazarköy and one to the mountains between Lake Bafa and Milas. We had done some walking earlier in the year, on our own and nearer to Selçuk. The weather was warming up and the rains less frequent, so conditions for walking were getting better and better.
We arranged to have a couple of our kilims repaired. This took longer than expected but eventually they came back. The work was good. We then took a load to be cleaned, they had been used in London where there was no decent and realistically priced service to get them cleaned, then they got packed in our boxes, stored and transported. With the sun shining it was time to get them properly cleaned. It made a massive difference, and revealed colours we had never seen before.