Tag Archives: Home improvement

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.

All Spruced Up

One of the tasks we had put off for a while was having the outside of the houses painted.  There really was no point in this until the basement was turned into a garage / work space, and the roof terrace lined with marble.  So finally, with all the other work done it was time to take this on.  We could have done it ourselves, but it would have been a big task, involved ladders, working at height (which we covered recently), and getting covered in paint.

When we had the basement converted the people who made and fitted the iron work offered to do painting, so we gave them a call.  They came round, looked at the work needed, came back with a painter who did some rough measuring and came up with a price for the work plus paint and bits.  We could have bought the paint ourselves but it was a lot of paint and easier to let someone else carry it all.

Two days later it was all done, all we had to do was provide tea.  The painter did an excellent job and managed not to get paint everywhere.  Today we cleaned up, put things back in place.  It all looks really good, freshly decorated, just like the castle for today’s public holiday.


I wonder where the concrete is

purple-plantWe had a wonderful three days traveling about in warm sunshine, a couple of days on the bike and then a trip to Izmir for shopping and seeing a friend.  We were going to do a blog post on spring flowers but it seems spring comes earlier in Muğla.  It is definitely spring.  On Monday we saw a stork over Pamucak, our first of the year.

Inevitably the warmth ended with black skies, bright flashes, rumbling thunder, torrential rain and power cuts.

The sun has now returned but it is colder.  This morning some men appeared and fixed a metal support to the base of our stairs.  Then the marble man came round to be paid.  We decided to do some preparations for summer, painting in the back house, and a bit of spring cleaning.  Today Ashley fixed the bracket holding the soba pipe to the wall of the terrace and did a few other bits around the place.  Meanwhile across the road, some people arrived and started measuring the empty lot (the house was demolished last year).  Then some workmen came with a load of wood beams and boards.  This was followed by one enormous concrete pump and two mixers.

There was a bitneighbours-watch-the-concre of drama around where to park the concrete pump, but eventually on the third attempt it was resolved.  Most of the neighbourhood came out to watch the proceedings.  The pump  could only be remote-controlsecured at the top of the street, so the pipe had to go right over a neighbour’s house and yard.   A man with a remote control skilfully lined everything up correctly.  Then the concrete started to flow.  When it is dry it will leave a level surface for building on.  It might take some time, the lot was not flat, the concrete-spreadingconcrete is ankle deep at one end and at least a meter deep at the other.  The wooden boards held back what must be a massive weight of wet concrete, we had visions of the stuff flowing down the street.

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…..

2012 – A Review Part 4 – October to December


Back in Selçuk we had the rear wheel looked at again.  As suspected it was badly worn and needed to be replaced.  The advice was to be very careful with it, don’t go too fast, and avoid all potholes, and get a new wheel as soon as possible.

October was also the month we heard about a new law which permits foreigners   to obtain a Museum Card – they give free access to pretty much every museum and archaeological site in the country.  Since buying the cards which are valid for a year we have made a great deal of use of them and strolling through Ephesus has become a regular occurrence.

We had a coLake2uple of really good days out with friends. The most spectacular was to Lake Bafa and Kapıkırı.

The broken wheel was an unplanned expense just as we started to have some alterations made to the kitchen.  New cupboards, and a cooker hood / extractor.  This involved taking out the old extractor fan and having a carpenter make new cupboards to match the old ones.  There were some delays to the work, we needed to get a second carpenter and as a result the cupboards only got fitted the day before we left for the UK.  This meant we would need to have the rest done when we got back.

Then it was off to the UK to see family and to Dublin to see friends, and to pick up a new wheel for the bike.


We had the kitchen finished as soon as we got back.  This involved having the extractor hood moved to the right height for the new units and the pipe properly fitted througDavlumbaz-lowered-with-fingh the wall, and getting a neighbour to help fill in the resulting hole in the wall.  It was starting to get cold, the last thing we wanted was a hole in the kitchen wall for the wind to come straight through.  Of course when the work was all done there was decorating to do.  It has very much been worth the hassle and expense, the kitchen is greatly improved.

Equally in need of attention was getting the new wheel fitted.  The wheel went on the bus to Izmir along with Hilary and Ashley carefully rode the bike.  We had a couple of hours to kill whilst the wheel was being fitted so wandered around Izmir and had lunch.

Over the month we gradually moved into the front house and then closed down the back house for winter.  We started using the high quality wood (we bought a tonne of it earler) in the soba.  We now know we must not use the extractor when the soba is lit, and so far have had no problems at all with the soba.

The local nonsense about the end of the world started.  There was talk about only Şirince and a village in France being saved from some sort of apocalypse brought about by the end of the Mayan Long Count.  It is a count, a measure of time, when it ends a new one starts, but we guessed it would be good for the local economy.


The apocalypse thing got increasingly out of hand.  People started to get concerned about safety.  Rumours of thousands of people converging on Şirince started.  Come the day there was a massive media circus, loads of police and emergencySirince2 services present, and access to the village was being restricted on safety grounds.  We took a stroll up there by way of the forest roads, just to see what was going on.  The village was packed but not much more than is normal for a Sunday in summer.  In the end it was all a bit on a non-event and as expected nothing else happened.

We bought two new radiators to help us stay warm.  High tech things, made in Sweden, they seem excellent.  They were also incredibly easy to fit.

We learnt that the KGS card we have for the toll roads is being phased out.  The other system, OGS does not work for bikes because it works on front number plate recognition.  A new system called HGS was being introduced, this works on a bar code recognition when approaching the toll booths.  The sticker with the bar code is meant to be mounted on a forward facing surface, a windscreen.  We now have the sticker with the bar card mounted on a card and plan to hold it forward when approaching tolls.  We have not as yet tried this out, December was cold and we had no pressing reason to hit the motorway to Izmir.

We did a lot of social things, in particular towards the end of the month.  Meeting friends in Izmir and Selçuk, evening gatherings, the usual stuff for this time of year.

Winter Warmers

So far it has not been a cold winter, not like last year which was described as exceptionally cold, although there have been a few cold days and nights.  Locally distributed (well from Bursa) wall mounted space heaters from Norway are verykitchen-radiator popular with people we know here and have been highly recommended as extremely efficient and effective.  Getting some would mean we could stop using the floor standing oil filled electric radiators we inherited which although reasonably effective are more costly to run and tend to get in our way at times.  They also tend to gather dust and are difficult to clean.

Yesterday we bought two.  One for our main living space and a smaller fitting-the-radiatorsone for the bedroom.   Today they arrived.  In less than an hour we had them fitted to the walls, mounting them really was very simple.  They look pretty good, are very neat and tidy, and most importantly belt out warmth really quickly.

If they are good enough for winters in Norway they should do just fine here.

Our new Kitchen – Part 2

Back from the UK our priority was to get the kitchen finished.  Apart from anything else it would be getting cold soon and the hole in the wall would not aid keeping warm.

The first step was to get the extractor hood moved to the right height to fit the flue.  For this we were told we needed to go back to Beko and get their people to do it, otherwise we would invalidate the warranty.  So we did.  We went to their retail outlet and explained what was needed, in Turkish since very little English is spoken there.  There was initially some concern because there is a minimum height the hood must be from the stove top.  We managed to explain that lowering the hood would not be a problem, the hood had been mounted well above the minimum of 75cm (or standard as it is known here).  The engineers came around later that day, moved the hood to the right height, and fitted the flue.

This left getting the hole filled in, tidying the wiring, and of course there was some paintwork which needed touching up.  Ashley really must remember that even when only using small amounts of paint it is a good idea to change into decorating clothes.

We showed the hole in the wall to your neighbour.  He is a master builder so we hoped he would be able to solve the problem.  He agreed with us that it could not be filled from the inside without taking out the cupboards and that doing this would create further problems with the flue.  He looked at it from outside, the problem there being the hole is high, about 6 metres from street level.  He did not seem to think this would be a problem, agreed he could fill the hole, mentioned something which turned out to mean scaffold, and fixed a time and date.  Pretty much all of this was done in Turkish, he speaks various other languages, including German and Arabic, but not English.

Come the day it turned out that what he meant by scaffold was a long ladder which he spent an hour or so making out of planks and other pieces of wood, a bit like a siege ladder.  Once made and in place, up went a couple of buckets, and various tools.  Before long the hole was filled with a few bricks, everything cemented in, and the grille replaced.  Our neighbour then took the siege ladder apart, saving the wood for whatever task it is next needed for.

Hilary provided lemon drizzle cake which seemed to be appreciated, and we now have a draft free kitchen.