Tag Archives: customer service

Little Surprises in Life

Today Ashley started the process of getting new glasses since his old ones are more than two years old and we were pretty certain the  prescription had changed.  We went with staff from the Optician in Kuşadası to a local hospital for an eye test, and learnt that for some unknown reason our GSS (Health Insurance) was no longer in place.

We paid for the eye examination (at 100 lira it was not unreasonable).  It should have cost a lot less, but had we cancelled, gone to Tire to sort the insurance out, then back to Kuşadası, all the running around would have significantly eaten into any savings.

Back at the opticians we ordered the lenses, varifocal, transition, with anti-glare coating and scratch protection, at a very reasonable price.  They will be fitted, into Ashley’s existing Flexon frames, and should be ready for collection on Friday afternoon.  As part of the general customer service Ashley had his current lenses fitted into older frames, Hilary had hers adjusted and çay was provided.

Then since we were in Kuşadası  and it was approaching lunch time we went for balık ekmek in the much improved square near the fish market.  It was, as always, cheap and delicious.  We did look into the fish market just in case there might be some tuna or swordfish – unfortunately no such luck.  We did learn that the restaurant / locanta next to the fish market will cook fish bought by customers on the market.  There was a good deal of trade in giant prawns, selling and cooking.  Ashley may give this a try at some point.

We’d gone on the dolmuş in case the eye exam involved something that would make riding unwise but, once we got home with a few bits of shopping we hopped on the bike and went to the SGK office in Tire (about 35 km up the road in the opposite direction from Kuşadası).  Which was fun and games as it is market day in Tire and, of course, we couldn’t resist a couple of purchases.  Anyway, the people in the office were as puzzled as we were about why our insurance was suddenly stopped.  They checked our documents, took some photocopies, filled out a form, and  they reinstated it…

With all the issues we have had with GSS we will be checking in the pharmacy that we are both properly on the system, but they definitely did something, as we have now been able to pay our current premium.

Immobilised in Yanıklar

ride-to-sparta-14Our motor cycle has a very handy device called an immobiliser.  This is there to prevent thieves from making off with the bike.  Unfortunately, from time to time, it also prevents us from moving the bike anywhere.

We had pulled into a service station in Yanıklar, a small and as far as we know, unremarkable village about half way between Fethiye and Göcek.  We pulled in to have a short break, stretch our legs and drink water.  We were, at this point, about an hour away from our destination (Koyceğiz, where we intended to stay for the night).  After about ten minutes Ashley clicked the immobiliser button and… Nothing happened.  He moved the bike (sometimes mobile phone masts can interfere with the immobiliser signal).  It made a lot of noise and flashed its lights.  He tried again.  Several times.  The very helpful pump attendant attempted to charge the battery.  We were not convinced you could charge a watch type battery that way but didn’t like to argue.  The immobiliser still failed to work.

Hilary took the battery and caught a dolmuş to Fethiye to attempt to buy a replacement part (and hope that this would make the bike mobile again).  The first few didn’t want to stop but, eventually, she embarked on a three quarter of an hour journey to somewhere near the bus garage.  Then she had to find a place that sold this fairly obscure battery, find her way back to where she could get the dolmuş then get off the dolmuş at the right petrol station.  This was very challenging for someone with no sense of direction who can easily get lost less than five minutes walk from home.

She set off in one direction, asking at some vaguely possible shops.  In the end she got directions to a saatçi (watch mender).  She followed those directions and came across a Curry’s / Computer World.  Where the very helpful assistant explained that they had sold out of the particular type needed but would have one the next day.  Hilary explained about the husband and the bike waiting in Yanıklar and got directions to Bimeks (a local electronics chain).  She understood that it was pretty much opposite the PTT (post office) but, before she found it, she found a saatçi in a little booth.  He threw the example battery to one side, scrabbled about in a box of batteries for some time, then came up with the desired item.  For 5 lira.

Hilary headed back to the place to catch her dolmuş – miraculously she did not get lost (and she passed Bimeks on her way).   Ten minutes and a can of ice tea later, she was on the dolmuş where, after a brief misunderstanding, the driver said he would drop her off at the appropriate garage (she had had the foresight to write down the name).

Back on the forecourt the battery was installed.   Two and a half hours after the problem was noticed, the bike started fine and we were on our way!

And yes, we did get to Koyceğiz in plenty of time to watch the sun set.

Koyegiz-crowds

Would not happen in London

Well apart from having solar water panels which are pretty pointless for most of the year, plenty of hot water in the summer, when hot water is not required very much and very little in the winter….  One morning a week or so ago we noticed that water was flowing out of the top of the solar water unit.  This was cold water and Ashley had a vague idea that there was probably something like a ballcock regulating the water flowing into the system.  So, after a quick hunt for the right business card we phoned a local company that installs, maintains and repairs solar water systems.

We were told someone would be around in half an hour, this turned out to be an hour, but this really was not a big issue.  One of their staff lives across the road and it looked like they timed it to coincide with a tea break.  After being assured there was not an immersion heater in the system, (necessitating a dictionary to ensure we were all talking about the same thing), they drained some water and examined the interior.  Ashley was right, a broken ballcock, not so much broken, but half of it was missing.  This was replaced and everything connected back up.

The work took about 20 minutes.  The bill,  10 lira….  Less that £4.00.

In London.  75 quid call out, then labour, plus parts.  £100 minimum, probably more like £150.00.

Camaşir makinesi yeni gibi

Of course we are concerned about events.  Events here in Turkey, events in Syria, the health of Nelson Mandela and so on.   For us and others life goes on.  The day to day routine, work, dealing with what life throws our way.

Our washing machine was getting very noisy.  We knew there was a problem but had been ignoring it.  More recently it started to sound more like a jet taking off, loud enough that our neighbours commented on it, they asked if there was a problem with it.  Suitably shamed we decided the washing machine really needed to be properly assessed as either on its death bed or in need of life-saving attention.

There is a place in town which has loads of old washing machines outside, and obviously repairs and maintains them, so we dropped by and explained the problem.   They took our address and phone number, and said they would call in about an hour.  We rapidly did a bit of shopping and hurried home, only just in time, they arrived minutes after us.  They looked at the washing machine, pronounced it alive but in need of repair.  They said it needed a new ‘kazan’.  We nodded knowingly and later, looked it up in the dictionary.  It means cauldron.  They told us they needed to take the machine  away to investigate further, beyond the obviously worn out bearings.

We had a phone call an hour or so later saying it would be back with us in the evening, and quoting a very reasonable price.  Sure enough that evening the washing machine was returned, cleaned, polished and looking like new.  They fitted it, ran it to show us how quiet is was, explained we should run lemon salt through it at times to keep the pipes open.

Later our neighbours asked if we had bought a new washing machine.  No, Hilary said, but it is like new.

Furnishing the roof

new-furniture-for-roofWhen we bought this place we inherited wood furniture on the roof terrace.  It was in need of repainting, which we did in the hope winter would not kill the chairs.  We were overly optimistic, and the time and effort painting was wasted.  Winter killed the wooden armchairs.

We have been looking for replacements for a month or so, but it is early in the season and not a lot of garden and patio furniture was around.   It is May now, so on our way back from Izmir having had the bike fixed we stopped at a bamboo furniture place in Torbalı and poked around their stock.  They had just what we needed and we were quoted a very reasonable price.

We discovered this price included cushions and were shown various fabrics.  Most were bright, flowery, and really not to our taste.  Fortunately they had some striped fabric options one of which was much more to our taste.  We were asked a few times if we were sure, the sales people clearly thought we should have bright flowery fabric.  All the cushions we were shown also came with frills, we did consider asking not to have frills but they would probably have thrown up arms in absolute horror and not believed us.

We settled on the price and were told everything would be delivered on Sunday or Monday.  Sunday passed.  Monday lunchtime we phoned, were told they would be coming in the evening.  By 9pm we had given up hope and resigned ourselves to waiting another day or so.  Then we got called and told they were on their way.  Half an hour later we got another call, this time from the delivery driver who was lost in Selçuk.  We managed to work out where he was, met him, and by around 10pm we had our new furniture for the roof terrace.

Just in time really, the weather is getting lovely in the evenings.

Up on the roof

marble-inthe-hutAbout ten days back, after our trip to the opticians, we were taken to meet a marble merchant on the Sanayi.  We wanted to have marble sills put on top of the walls that run round the roof terrace.  This would stop the rain from sitting on them and gradually soaking into the walls where it was causing the cement to rot.  We also asked for sills on the staircase to the roof terrace to stop the water running off the sides and soaking into the concrete.  He decided that the staircase going up to the roof was dangerous and advised us to have it reinforced.  We agreed on a price (including all work) and he went away, promising us workmen a couple of days later.

Wall-painted-last-yearThe marble montage man turned up when expected and got to work on the roof.  He did a full day’s work (he was very efficient and pleasant) and said he would come back the next morning if it didn’t rain.  It rained.  It rained pretty marble-sill-and-plantswell every day for a week.  But, when it didn’t rain, he came round again with an assistant and finished the job.  It looks very good (in our opinion).  The only problem he encountered was is he had to remove one of the brackets holding the soba flu, this needs replacing.

underside-of-stairsYesterday two men turned up and chopped the rotten cement out from under the stairs, replacing it with concrete.  That was in the morning.  We spent the afternoon cleaning up.  It looks solid but will need a coat of paint (most of the exterior could use a coat or two of paint!).

As ever, the men who did the work were proper craftsmen.  Polite, pleasant and fixed-concretehelpful.  We are now waiting for the man to come round to get the money.   He doesn’t seem to be in any great rush for it, though we’re sure he will be round in due course.

stairs-with-marble-lipWhilst cleaning up we discovered that some of the stairs do not slope down from the back to the front.  They slope slightly to one side and the water can’t run off them due to the new marble sills.  So the plan is to retile (either ourselves or get someone to do it) with non-slip exterior tiles and slope them in the right direction…  In the meantime, some of our steps are developing small puddles when it rains.  And that is our fault entirely – something we didn’t think of when we asked for the work to be done.

We also noticed that some of the old roof furniture has not survived winter and needs to be replaced.  We recycled the rotting wood chairs.  They were covered in gloss paint but one of our neighbours was happy to have them as firewood.

So the marble work is done and it has created four new tasks, fixing the soba flu, the stairs, exterior painting, and buying some new terrace furniture.  It never ends…..

I can see clearly now… (but it is still raining)

Feb-13-aAbout a week ago, Hilary fell over in the Artemis Temple and scratched her glasses.  She also sustained some nasty bruises but those have gone now…  The scratches were too deep to polish out and, whilst they had no drastic effects upon her vision, Hilary was due for an eye test anyway.  So we decided to get her new glasses, involving a new eye test and a new prescription.

On Monday we went to Kuşadası to visit Lara Optik.  They are highly recommended on the Kuşadası forum.  Our confidence in the place was further boosted when a friend walked in at the same time as us.  Necdet was very helpful and very personable.  He arranged an appointment at Ada Göz, a private eye hospital which offers a hefty discount for people with GSS – the Government Health Insurance scheme in which we are enrolled.

not-a-cruise-shopWe had an hour or so to spare so we went for tea at Guvercin garden, the Belediye run tea garden right on the waterfront.  No cruiseships this time of year though the harbour was not exactly empty…  It seems the US navy were in town although we did not see any sailors.

After tea one of the guys from Lara Optik gave us a lift to the Eye Hospital, whereupon we discovered that Hilary was not registered for GSS.  Ashley was registered and Hilary should have been registered as his dependent…  We ended up payıng for her eye test.  120 lira.  Not unreasonable but somewhat annoying.  For that she not only got an eye test and glasses prescription but examination, treatment and eye drop prescription for some irritation she’s been suffering recently.

Back to the optician for a discussion of options.  Hilary chose some frames and expensive varifocal lenses    All in all about what the same as the equivalent would have cost in the UK.

The next day we went to sort out the Health Insurance problem.  Not being on the system was worrying.  This involved a trip to Tire on the dolmuş.  It was market day so things were hectic.  Ashley remembered the way to the SGK office where, after we explained what we wanted, the security guy issued us with a numbered ticket.  We waited about half an hour then explained to the memur that Ashley was on the system but Hilary was not (we had taken along our translated and notarised marriage certificate, though they already have a copy of that).  At first we were told it was because we had not got the paperwork from the nüfus office in Selçuk.   We explained that we had delivered that back in September.  Then the memur who originally dealt with us came over, showed the other guy how to put Hilary on the system, put her on the system and told us that she would be on the system should we return to the hospital straight away.

new-glassesToday we went back to Lara Optik in Kuşadası to collect Hilary’s glasses.  They are purple and, she thinks, quite becoming.  As they are varifocals it will take a while to get used to them but she already notices a big improvement for reading, sewing and using the computer.  And hopefully (inşallah) in future seeing her feet and the corresponding part of the ground at the same tıme.