Category Archives: Uncategorized

Things we almost didn’t mention

Ashley-building

 

I’m not sure that we have photos of any of this but….

Early on in the spring or summer we took the bike to Pamucak beach and parked it up whilst we went for a walk.  Whilst we were walking ‘something’ happened to the bike.  We didn’t notice till we were a way down the road but, one way or another it had been knocked over and the end of one of the handgrips had come off.  We rode back to the carpark and, after some digging around, managed to retrieve it.  For a while we hoped it might be repairable but it had just sheared off through the metal.  The price of those grips in Turkey does not bear thinking about.  They’re quite expensive in the UK (and we weren’t due to go to the UK for quite some time).  Fortunately they are far cheaper in America and we were expecting a visit from some friends in March.  Parts were duly ordered, delivered to our friend and put in his suitcase so he wouldn’t forget them (thank you Wes).

Then Hilary got bitten by a spider.  Hardly noticed it at first, then enough pain to prevent sleep.  She let it go for a few days, at which point her leg swolled up most horribly and red lines developed, necessitating a trip to the local hospital and two courses of antibiotics, along with some magic water to apply to the bite and instructions to keep the leg elevated.  It soon started to improve and the two courses of antibiotics cured the problem.

Meanwhile, one morning when Ashley was watering our garden, our neighbour called us in to witness his carpets floating on at least 18 inches of our watering water.  It had seeped through from our tiny square garden into the lower part of his house.  We promised to fill that bit of garden in at the soonest opportunity.  Sadly this meant uprooting the bougainvillea which had grown up to cover our roof.  Ashley dug stuff up and, in the course of so doing, decided to use his rib as a lever.  And yes, it did break.  This made the rest of the work harder than it should have been not to mention more painful.

So, in between trips to Greece, we had a great week with our friends from America, got the part fitted, destroyed our tiny square of garden and paved it over with tiling.  It looked very sad at first but we’ve got some pots on there now and we intend to buy a lemon tree in spring, so it is filling up quite nicely.

Oh, and did I mention that Ashley built us a permanent barbecue on the roof?

He made an excellent job of it and has cooked some excellent meals on it.

With all this work, it’s hardly any wonder that if he’s not got tennis elbow, he’s got something pretty similar.  But it’s not slowed him down at all.

Hilary, meanwhile, has been working on costume for Conscience, a larp based on Westworld we shall be attending at the end of January.  This has included a full set of victorian ladies underwear, including a corset.  She’s still working on designing a hat!

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In which we almost acquire a cat

duman-and-the-tiles

Hilary has long been in the habit of feeding the local stray cats by the bin – especially in winter.  We do try not to let them become too dependent on us.  We travel a lot and cannot really take responsibility for a pet.  However, this grey cat was very friendly.  We called her Duman (with is Turkish for Smoke).  Because she was entirely grey.  We got back from our long Central American trip very late at night and there she was, on the doorstep, chatting away and…. very pregnant.

We took her to the vet who said we should bring her back four to six weeks after she had her kittens.  She had two kittens.  One was killed by one of the local tomcats.  The other…. well, she kept trying to hide it under our bed and we had to stop her from doing that because it would have been impossible to continue with that whilst we were not at home.

We were quite concerned about the situation when we went to Berlin for a few days so we built a kind of blanket fort on the terrace.  Sadly it was not enough protection as we never saw the other kitten after we got back.  Duman was fine though, so we took her to the vet.  She had her inoculations, she had her internal and external parasites dealt with, she was spayed.  The vet phoned us to come and collect her but, sadly, when we got to his office, she had died.  He was as distressed by this as we were.  He thought it must have been a reaction to the anaesthetic.  Whatever…. We never bought her home.

This year has been very tough on the feral cat population.  There has been a devastating viral disease (feline infectious peritonitis) which has killed a great many of them.  However, this winter there are a lot of kittens about.  The population is very resilient. But I am very wary of ‘adopting’ a street cat again.  I don’t seem to be very lucky for them.

Spring is for new beginnings

 

Ibis1-24March2017We have neglected this blog for a bit, we think this happened because after being here in Turkey for more than 5 years we ran out of new things to blog about.  This and we got lazy or busy or something – we never even blogged the trip to Athens and the museums there.  This is about to change and if truth be known there are always things to blog.

Ashley-buildingThis spring Ashley built a brick barbecue.  A new thing for Ashley, and a whole set of skills to learn.  It is done now, ready for summer and pretty soon we’ll be inviting friends around and making more use of it.  One of the great things about being retired is learning new skills, and doing new things.

We’ll be writing more on the Central America trip.  This got delayed because we never got it together to sort out the photos.  There is an absolute mass of photos, mostly from archaeological sites or of wildlife and nature.

On the subject of photos we bought a DSLR and a decent lens.  There will as a result be more bird photos.  We got lucky, on the first test run we happened to be wandering around Pamucak and found migrating glossy ibis.  No doubt in summer we’ll be off to Kerkini for some bird photography.

Another thing that will appear is material about a project we are planning.  We’ll be poking around a few places in Greece looking at property in need of a little restoration.  Before anyone asks we have no plans to move from Selçuk, this has very little to do with events here.  The new place will be a means of maintaining our European Citizenship, something which is very important to us, so this project has far more to do with events in the UK.

We seem to have acquired a cat.  This is fine, but we need to not make her dependent, we go awayduman-and-the-tiles too much for that to be fair on her.  Truth be told she adopted us.  When we got back from the 8 weeks away in Central America, she greeted us, and…..  It all went from there.  We took her to the vet, she was pregnant at the time, so she’ll need to go back after kittens.  She is no longer pregnant but she is keeping her kittens hidden.  Still turns up two or three times a day for food!

So there are going to be lots of things to blog about, learning new skills, life and living here in Selçuk, our travels and more.

 

Berlin – October 2016

 

 

berlin-l04

I have wanted to go to Berlin for many years – the museums contain many things I  wanted to see (things that are not in the British Museum or Istanbul, or even the Louvre).  And, at the end of October I finally got to go there.

We both liked Berlin – it’s a pleasant enough city – and, whilst the weather was colder than it was here in Selçuk it was not too cold to wander around if adequately wrapped up in fleece, hat and jacket.  The metro system worked well once we discovered that you can’t feed the automatic machine notes larger that 10 Euro, and whilst we were staying some distance from the centre, it was easy enough to get around.  The first night we went to a microbrewery where we drank beer and ate sausages.  Then we had a full day of museums….

Berlin has a museum Island.  It has six museums on it and you can buy a ticket to cover all of them.  We managed four (with a brief break for currywurst).  We did (in order) the Altes museum, the Bergama museum, the Neues Museum and the Bode Museum.  At which point we were museumed out.  I was hugely determined to see the Bergama museum, even though parts of it are currently shut for renovation.  It contains many of the brick mosaics that led up to the Ishtar gate (other bits of which are in Istanbul and the BM).  I really wanted to see that.  The Assyrian items came as a very pleasant surprise.  And I had completely forgotten that the Miletus gate is also in Berlin.  You can see it at the top of the page.  Miletus is less than an hour’s ride from Selçuk so it was easy for us to visualise it in its original location.

I’m just going to leave a gallery here….  So much amazing stuff!  And some of the best red figure ware I’ve seen anywhere outside the British Museum – not even in Athens….

 

 

 

 

And, finally, Kos

greek-islands-20165

We wound up on Kos where we had arranged to meet friends for lunch.  We stayed at the same little Pansyion we stayed at last time we met those same friends on Kos.  They live in the UK but like to take their holidays in Greece!  The Pansyion is set back from the very quiet ‘strip’ in the quiet tourist resort of Lampi which is an extension of Kos Town and an easy walk from the harbour.  The hotel is set in farmland and you can sit around the pool watching the puppies chase the goats and chickens in the field next door.

Kos is genuinely a ‘holiday island’.  It has wall to wall tourist resorts all around the coast and a few farms in the middle.  We had great fun taking the hired quad bike over dirt roads through the mountains, bumping over rubble, turning round at dead ends and finding some beautiful views.

Ultimately, though, Kos is about eating and drinking and sitting on the beach. It does have some spectacular beaches and we did go swimming, though we didn’t take photographs.  Ashley excelled himself by finding the little restaurant we ate in two years ago, it’s just above the village of Zia, but, sadly, it was shut.  We hope not permanently.  We struck it lucky again though by finding a lovely restaurant (Taverna Zia no Stress – highly recommended)  at the top of Zia which claimed to have the best moussaka in Europe.  We took that as a challenge.  The moussaka was very, very good indeed and the stuffed courgette flowers were wonderful.  It was also very quiet, given that Zia itself was as busy as usual.

The next day we had a fish lunch with our friends and their young son.  We were right on the beach so he was able to run off and play safely.  We ate a lot that afternoon so, in the evening, it was mezzes  at the restaurant local to our hotel.  This was the mezze plate to go with wine.  There was a different one to go with ouzo (mostly seafood)

The one fly in the ointment was when we put Ashley’s cash card into a cash machine which ate it.  This was a cash machine attached to a bank, but it was a Saturday and our ferry left for Bodrum early on the Sunday morning.  It was at this point that we discovered that Garanti Bank’s phone line does not work on our mobiles when we are outside Turkey.  Thankfully the bank machine immediately re-credited Ashley’s account and we were able to cancel the card from the bus to Aydin on Monday morning.  A new card was ordered on Tuesday and arrived at our bank in Selcuk within a week.

 

 

 

 

Island Hopping – We moved on to Nisyros

greek-islands-20161We spent two nights on Rhodes then caught the big ferry to Nisyros in the late afternoon, arriving around sunset (and it was a beautiful sunset).  We stayed in a really old fashioned hotel with a sea water swimming pool.

Nisyros is a small island (we got round it in less than a day on our hired quad bike) with a couple of seaside towns and a couple of villages up in the mountains.  Well, I say mountains but, in fact, the island is one large volcano.  We stayed in Mangreek-islands-201610draki where the ferry (and a host of day trips) dock.  There are plenty of seafront bars and restaurants but the nicer restaurants are up in the square, away from the sea front.  We ate very well (and cheaply) on Nisyros.

There is a very nicely restored castle above Mandraki – a pleasant and not difficult walk.  That’s where the picture of the windswept trees was taken.  I don’t know why we didn’t take photos of the castle (which is mainly a curtain wall).

The main attraction on the island is the volcano itself (there’s a very interesting volcano museum) and the actual caldera.  You can walk right into the caldera and explore it.  It bubbles and smokes and smells of sulphur.  We were lucky to get the place to ourselves – we arrived as one bus tour was leaving and left as the next bus tour arrived.

Island Hopping – First Island was Rodos

butterfly-valley

 

Back in September we went Island Hopping.  Apart from sheer enjoyment and recreation, we had two motivations.  Firstly, friends were holidaying on Kos and we arranged to meet them for lunch and secondly we wanted to escape Turkey for Kurban Bayram.

We started out by heading for Marmaris to catch our (booked) ferry to Rodos.  When you travel at the start of Bayram it is good to book everything well in advance.  The bus station thought we were crazy trying to book our bus to Marmaris a week in advance, right until they discovered that there were only two seats left…

As it turned out, when we got to Aydin there was a man waiting for customers to inform them that the bus we had booked had been held up in Istanbul and was running 5 hours late.  He booked us onto a bus with a different company (and we got 10 lira back as the new bus was cheaper).  All went well till just before Muğla where the bus broke down…

Hwp_20160910_16_22_11_proalf an hour later the crew got it going again and we arrived in Marmaris with enough time to grab a late lunch before our ferry left.  On the ferry my favourite waiter bought me the first espresso freddo of the holiday.  It was not to be the last…

Rodos is lovely, but somewhat expensive.  We stayed in the old town in a quiet little hilary-in-nyserrospansyon and took breakfast at the local bakery.  We had a wildly expensive dinner one night (with avocado stuffed with prawn cocktail – very ’70’s as the couple at the next table commented – and swordfish) in a rooftop restaurant with a great atmosphere.  We ate in Psinthos twice.  That’s a lovely little village with several great restaurants round the village square.  We hired a quad bike and rode around.  We took loads of photos in butterfly valley.

Last time we went to butterfly valley we didn’t see any butterflies.  It was the wrong time of year.  This time we saw….. millions.

 

And some other  creatures: