We decided it was time for a break from Selçuk so we took the bike down to Palamutbükü. This is a small, seaside resort between Datça and Knidos. We did not do a lot of sightseeing as there is not a lot in the immediate area to see and it is still rather too hot for strenuous walking. The bay is lined with beaches backed by restaurants, cafes and pansiyons. The vast majority of the people staying there were Turkish. It is very much a family resort.
We walked just out of town in the Datça direction and found a beautiful beach complete with kitten. We didn’t have it all to ourselves but it wasn’t crowded and the water was crystal clear. We ended up buying yet another cheap snorkel and mask so that we could look at the fishes. There were plenty of those, including some very colourful wrasse.
We got a taxi to Ovabükü, the next bay along on the way to Datça. This was more expensive than expected (though not unreasonable) so we walked back. It took us two hours and we got some spectacular views.
Palamutbükü is very popular and not the cheapest place in Turkey (certainly not in high season) but we ate well, slept well and stayed in a congenial pansiyon with a rather lovely garden.
A very relaxing three nights away from home and some truly wonderful riding both on the way there and on the way back.
The beach we found
We have been in the UK and Ireland. Hence quiet. Seeing family was great. Gaelcon was great. But it is good to be home.
It’s odd because the clocks went back whilst we were away – it now seems to get dark far too early and we are not used to the sun going down before we start cooking dinner. The weather here continues pleasant. Thundery showers were forecast for today but have not yet happened. It’s misty and difficult to see the more distant hills, but Selçuk is still a beautiful place.
Sadly the kitten who adopted us has not turned up. He went missing about a week before we left for the UK.
About all we have done since we got home is shop (there’s a market in Belevi on Sundays), cook, wash and clean. Hoping to be back to normal in a day or so!
Last year we had kittens on our roof. We wrote a blog post about them. We were determined to take them to the vet for ‘the chop’ as soon as they were old enough but one day, they just disappeared.
This year, the mother is back. Well, Hilary is convinced it is the same mother. She is nursing four kittens (though they appear to be of different ages and we are not sure that they are all hers). The first we called Woodpile Kedi because he first appeared in a pile of wood that was outside the house opposite us for quite some time (until some other neighbours complained). Then there was a white kitten and a tiny kitten (clearly the runt of the litter). These have now become known as Beyaz Kedi and Button. And another one. Easy to confuse with Woodpile Kedi although he is smaller and has yellow eyes (Woodpile Kedi’s eyes are green) and different amounts of white on his paws. This kitten is known as AWK. And yes, we are pretty sure these kittens are all male. In Hilary’s experience it is a lot easier to mistake a male kitten for a female than it is to mistake a female kitten for a male.
They are feral cats. Mother frequently hisses at us when we have the temerity towalk down our path. Woodpile and Beyaz won’t let us get near them. We give them scraps and even cat food from time to time, there is always water left out for them. All the kittens will come into the house when we are not looking. None of them are permitted to sharpen claws on the kilims Nor are they allowed to climb the suzani. They are not allowed on laps or tables whilst we are eating.
These are feral kittens. Button we can pick up as he is too small and weak to run away but AWK. Well, AWK has adopted us. He will sit on our laps whilst we are using the computer in the evenings, either in the house or on the terrace. He seems to like the warmth. And he resents it when we go out, comes running up to us when we return. He jumps up on us, whether we have food or not and generally acts like a very tame and friendly pet.
AWK is off to the private vet’s for injections and deworming early next week. The others will be taken to the Belediye for ‘fixing’ once they are old enough. If we can catch them!
AWK relaxing on Ashley’s lap
Beyaz and Button
AWK being feral
Woodpile and AWK
Hilary cannot go out!
AWK on the table
Mother with Beyaz and Button
AWK catches a mouse
It is another lovely sunny and warm day, so we decided to clean up the roof terrace. We’ve had cats up there for a couple of weeks, three young adult females and pair of kittens. They are wild / feral so do not really tolerate people that well, but we have given them bits of food to help the kittens along and not disturbed them a great deal. In return they have tolerated us a little more and the kittens have become more confident around us. The kittens are now at least 6 weeks old and to be honest it is time the family moved on or at the very least come to realise that the roof space is not exclusively theirs.
Moving a few bits of furniture around and turning on a hose pipe seemed to give the cats the idea they ought to move. The tabby kitten left right away with the adults, the black one hung around for a bit then left by the same route. Currently they are all on the roof next door, this roof like ours, has places the cats can shelter from bad weather, so we doubt they will go far or suffer from having their cat house reclaimed. Every now and then one of them would return, look around, and then leave again.
Some of hard furniture had residue from kills, dried blood mostly. Not pleasant but it came off easily enough. The cushion covers and fabrics we will wash, we haven’t seen any cat fleas on them but appearances can be deceptive and the chances of feral cats not having fleas is slim. We also washed and swept the floor and generally tidied everything up.
The hut, which is a lovely and sheltered place to sit in the winter sun, is now ours for a while. It was warm enough to sit up there this afternoon. No doubt at times they will make use of it, we don’t mind, not that we have a lot of choice. The sun is now setting, it is getting too cold for us to be up there. They can use the space for a while. They just need to get used to sharing.
At around 17:30 this evening we were headed into town to pick up a bottle of wine for dinner when our neighbour came up to us and told us he had seen a ‘katzi’ in our basement. Our neighbour speaks excellent German and often uses that language to communicate with us when he feels our Turkish is inadequate to the situation. It took a while to work out that he meant a kedi. Well, we had found the window wide open a day or so ago and we shut it so we expressed profound doubt. He was, however, certain he had just seen a cat leaping up at the window from inside our basement. We went in and had a quick look around. There was evidence that a cat had been there, footprints on a pillow, cat hairs on a bag, but no cat was seen.
Ashley had a proper look when we got home. The basement has been in need of a serious tidy up for some time. We do tend just to throw stuff in there. The cat was found in a corner behind the sofa and initially did not want to be removed. The cats here are pretty much feral, so she remained out of reach, probably frightened, and reluctant to make a run for the open window or door. Eventually after clearing some space so the sofa could be moved she made a run for it. She seems to have come to no harm. She seems to have done no harm.
We conveyed to our neighbour that Katzi had been found and that she had run away. We now have a tidier basement, it still needs some work but the incident prompted us to make a start, and the kedi has since been seen scavenging the bins for food.
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”.
We are very different when it comes to noise. Ashley filters out what ‘doesn’t apply’ to him. Hilary hears everything. She is frequently irritated by noises Ashley has not noticed but sometimes she hears something really interesting that he misses completely.
It is commonly said that living in Turkey is noisy. Some things are painfully familiar such as the car with an over-loud sound system and the windows open, but there seem to be less of those here. There have been more large social events nearby than we had over the same period of time back in London, but the street weddings end at midnight, we were lucky if the parties in London ended before dawn.
Here there are flocks of sparrows squabbling in trees, dogs barking, cats loudly disputing cat business, and the commotion when the vast number of jackdaws in the centre of town take to the air is reminiscent of a casting call for a Hitchcock movie. There is some traffic noise, cars, motorcycles, tractors, a train passing through town, light aircraft from the strip nearby, and the occasional jet 50 miles out from Izmir airport. There is a cockerel who crows at all hours of day and night (though he does seem to be learning about ‘dawn’ now and crows less at midnight). There is noise of human activity, chopping wood for fires, building work, people talking on the street, a chainsaw, people calling out for scrap metal and other unwanted items. There is the call to prayer and during Ramazan the drummer before dawn.
There are all these noises, but they are different from London noise.
In London the noise of jets was continuous, as was the rumble of traffic and the trains. The same can be said of human activity. The city hums with a constant drone of noise.
Here each noise is like a single unit, it happens and then passes. Then there is another noise, and this too passes. Planes, trains, road vehicles come in single units and pass in single units. The same is so with human activity, it occurs and ends.
Following on from springlike intimations… Yesterday it was sunny so, as part of our preparations for spring, we went up onto the roof to complete the painting of the roof terrace. This involved completely emptying out the hut-on-the-roof so we could get to the walls. We were able to inspect the full extent of the damage the cats have done to the beds up there. Fortunately we found no dead cats. They fight – there was a lot of blood – we were seriously psyched up for an encounter with a dead cat. But it didn’t happen.
We got rid of a lot more stuff. Old wood, mostly. None of it stayed anywhere near the bins for long. Rather worryingly nothing happens when we turn on the tap on the roof. Hopefully this will not lead to a major plumbing job. It will, however, be difficult to hose down the roof terrace if it continues to be non-functional.
We finished the painting, the roof terrace looks a lot better. Soon we should be able to make more use of it.
We just took our first trip back to the UK. The reasons for that were in a previous post. It was, of course, good to see family and attend Gaelcon (a huge Irish Games convention). It was, of course, necessary to consign our 15 boxes to the shippers (and pick up some warmer clothes). It was, also, sadly, necessary to take the Harley to the dealership. As we’ve posted previously, bringing vehicles out here from the UK on a permanent basis is next to impossible (we believe it helps to be of State Retirement age but, with the UK State pensionable age rising by the nanosecond, we’re looking at 5 years at the soonest which is a long time for the bike to be sitting in Ashley’s mother’s garage). On the plus side it was lovely weather for the ride from Luton to the Kings Road and the autumn colour on the trees was fabulous. We managed to get everything done and spend time with family and some friends. But I did find it very strange.
I am not sure that I was ready to go back to the UK. Everything here is still very new and exciting and I am really enjoying watching the seasons change, following the round of seasonal activity going on around me. I missed two weeks of this. The clocks have gone back and the sun goes down earlier because of that, because of the turning of the year and because it now goes down behind one of the higher mountains. When we first came out it went down just to the left of the castle. Whilst we were away the leaves fell off the tree that obscures our view of the castle. So we can now see the whole of the castle. Until the leaves come back.
Apart from friends and family there is nothing I was missing about the UK. I don’t miss the UK food. Well, OK, I am extremely fond of masala dosai. Which I didn’t manage to get whilst in the UK. We just didn’t get a chance to hit the Palm Palace in Southall. We did have an excellent meal in a Bangladeshi restaurant in Hitchin and some very good gourmet pub grub and Italian food in Willesden. The Queens Park / Kensal Rise area has come up a long way in the world since my childhood. Though I did keep pointing at buildings and informing Ashley ‘there used to be a cinema there’.
We arrived home fairly late on 5th November. We had left a bottle of wine in the fridge. We ate some cheese and some olives. We could have eaten nuts but I think we forgot we had them. This was fine (we had a burger at Gatwick). We drank the wine. We soaked barbunya. We lit the calor gas. It was good to be home…
Negative points about being home included the (probable) cat blood all over the roof terrace. It looked like some poor injured creature had dragged itself back and forth and all over the cushions. It took a lot of scrubbing to get it off. Dead flies everywhere. Easy enough to dispose of dead flies but they have been replaced by live ones. We have no idea where they come from. No fresh food in the house on Sunday and everything shut. Except one fruit and veg man on the market square opposite Tansas and, fortunately for us, the chicken shop. We bought aubergines and water melon, as well as foods you might well expect in this season (mandolins, beetroot, carrots). Yes, it’s November. We have eaten well.
No one, so far, has given us meat for Bayram. Though 7 local children have been round – not sure what they were wanting. The first lot (three little girls) got mandolins and the second lot (four young boys, who very properly kissed my hand and raised it to their foreheads) got dried apricots. They seemed surprised. I wasn’t really expecting visitors for this Bayram and am still not sure what they were expecting (it was clear they were expecting something). A truck comes round regularly playing loud music and collecting sheep skins.
The cats around here are pretty mean and tough. The fights are something special to watch and very noisy. They provide us with endless hours of amusement.
This particular cat is evil. This is the cat the other cats tend not to mess with. No idea when he lost the eye, but it does not seem to bother him. He continues to think he owns parts of our living space and approaches are usually met with threats and aggression. Today he allowed photographs. Now Gaddafi can terrorise the internets as well as the street.