Tag Archives: Selçuk

Home Sweet Home

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!

Riding the Tractor

back-terrace-sept-13We spend a lot of our time sitting on our back house terrace.  It’s sheltered there, shady for a lot of the day in summer and protected from the worst of the wind and cold in late autumn and early spring.  The only issue is that our back terrace is very small.  Just about enough room for the two of us (unless both of us have a project which needs the table) and just about enough room for our breakfast (though it is a bit of a puzzle finding space for all the different dishes).  So Ashley has had this brilliant idea to extend the terrace – this will mean less steps but steeper ones.  It will also mean more tiles are needed.

We went into Kuşadası earlier in the week to look at tiles.  We only went to the big places Koç Taş and Tekzen (though there are many very fine looking smaller tile specialists in the town).  We were not impressed.  Nor could we match our present tiles.

So we consulted our neighbour who we believe did the original build.  He didn’t have a spare tile (nor did we) but he knocked a part tile off the stairs and took it to his builder’s merchant.  Who, he said, was able to match it.  We found out where this builder’s merchant is (it took a few tries and misunderstandings) and headed there early this afternoon.

Sure enough – they were able to match our tile.  We bought 12 square meters.  And went to collect it from the depo in a tractor (which then bought us home with the tiles, much to the amusement of our neighbours).

We are thought very odd for this.  We do not have an usta to advise us.  We have not bought the cement and adhesive and sand and grout or other supplies that we will need.  We are probably not going to have this work done till late in the autumn.  But, we have the tiles.  And they are the same tiles as we have on the terrace now (so we only need them for the new bits, and won’t have to have the whole terrace redone) but they match the tiles in the back house which pleases Hilary.  All that, plus a ride on a tractor at about two thirds of the cost of the cheapest tiles we saw in the big DIY shops…

Selçuk Festival

Selçuk festival takes place every year at the beginning of September.  Dates are variable and it’s often very difficult to find out precisely when the festival is going to take place until pretty close to the last moment.  This year we thought we would miss most of it as we were off on a roadtrip (of which more later) right at the beginning of the months, but we were in luck and the festival didn’t actually start till after we got back.

There are stalls selling crafts (traditional and modern) and various other goods all over town and concerts at various locations.  There was a film show running more or less constantly under the aqueduct.  We took our longest wander round on the Friday night and the town centre was packed with people strolling around and enjoying themselves.  There were camels!  I think they were young camels.  They were not wearing their finery.

There are cookery demonstrations and competitions and some very interesting demonstrations of local craftsmen and women.  There was a tinner and people making the decorations you see on the camels in wrestling season.

There was a music programme and we heard some of the concerts were very good though we didn’t actually catch any of them.  There was also a lot of music on the streets and some of that was very good indeed.

We did do some shopping.  We bought a couple of beautifully made stools – turned wood with woven string seats.  They are comfortable and look very smart on the back terrace.

We didn’t get any good photos of the festival, despite having returned on a second occasion specifically to take them.   The living statues, however, were standing very still….


Health and Safety Culture?

For a few weeks we have been watching the house being built across the road.   It is fascinating, so different to how things are done back in the UK.   Essentially they are building a concrete frame, the concrete strengthened with loads of iron bars.  Bricks and everything else will then be placed around this frame.  The process involves wooden structures supported by metal beams being filled with concrete and left to dry. We have visions of these failing and a river of liquid concrete running down the street.  Fortunately we are uphill from the building and so far the wood and iron has held the massive weight of tons of liquid concrete.

Yesterday evening exceeded anything we have seen before in terms of health and safety.  We don’t expect to see hard hats.  Or builders footwear.  Or safety harnesses at use at height.  Wellies are good for wading through liquid concrete.  Hard hats are for others.  Harnesses are for Europeans.   This is normal.

But.  Working on the top of the second floor.  Manhandling the outflow of the housebuildingconcrete pump.  No hats or harnesses or any other safety gear.  After sunset, in the dark, with no lighting….  We can only assume when finished they counted out their workmates to be sure all were accounted for.

A view of the upper surface they were working on in the dark last night.  The concrete pump finally left at ten past ten…  Sunset occurred at approximately 7:45.

Talking the talk

There are  many really good, knowledgeable and reputable tour guides, we know a few of them well and, at times, share a chat and a beer with them.  There are others.  Various quotes and things that we have heard in and around Selçuk……

Quite a lot of people seem to believe that the badly-restored column in the Artemesion (the one with the storks nest on)  is the only bit of the ‘original’ temple left standing (original in this case meaning the one that was burned down on the day Alexander was born – we think, it might mean the one after that which we think was designated one of the seven wonders of the ancient world).  We have heard guides telling visitors it is ‘original’.

We have heard guides in Ephesus explaining to Koreans that the ChBasilicaristian religion involves a great deal of blood sacrifice.  This makes us wonder how much attention to pay to guides who say similar things about the classical Maya…

Some months ago we heard a guide telling someone that Paul was a carpet seller!  We assume the next stop on the tour was to a carpet outlet.

We heard a lady asking her guide whether the Romans had many wiEphesus-streetviewves (Hilary guesses she was fresh from a trip to Topkapı harem).  The guide solemnly replied that the Romans were highly moral and monogamous…  Ashley managed to avoid laughing till we were several yards up Curetes Street.

We have been told that, until quite recently, there was a sign, in English, at the basilica assuring visitors that, when Mary came to Ephesus, John welcomed her into his hose…  But the less said about that, perhaps, the better.

We heard two rather unfit Americans who were wandering around Ephesus discussing walking up to Meryemana.  We’ll be kind, it is possible if reasonably fit, it is all up hill and steep and, unless they know the back ways being mown down by a tour bus on the narrow winding road is a real possibility.  At least it wasn’t summer when we would seriously not recommend attempting that walk.

On Meryemana. Yes there are records that Mary came to Ephesus.  The oldest structure at Meryemana is Byzantine so unless Mary lived to the ripe old age of a few centuries….

Then again people (including Ashley) have been known to inform tourists that the Gappe is a large predatory bat that inhabits tunnels in London.

Lazing on (another) Sunny Afternoon

This time last year the weather had changed.  There was a huge storm after which there were showery days, cloudy days, some sunny days, but the temperatures were lower.  There were days when we needed to use electricity to heat water because there was not enough sun to run the solar system.  It got cold at night, we were using some heating in the evenings, and had put a quilt on the bed.

This year although there are signs of autumn, the weather is more settled, has remained largely sunny and warm.  There have been a few clouds, a few drops of rain, but nothing of note.  We have not used any heating.  We are still having dinner on the roof terrace, the doors and windows are open until late at night and there is no need for a quilt.  It looks like we have at least another week of fine and warm weather, set in the next couple of days to be approaching 30C.  It will not last, but for now we are going to make the most of it.

Today we ended up at Café Carpouza drinking home made lemonade and chatting with a friend.  We really like Café Carpouza, it is a great place to relax, especially when the sun is shining.


Now it’s mid-August we are no longer seeing storks on the aqueduct.  Oh, sometimes they are there in the evenings, but mostly they have gone.  We think they have gone to the wetlands to get fat before migrating all the way to Africa.

This year we first saw them in February, though we don’t think those particular birds stopped here in Selçuk.  In early March they started to occupy the nests.

In April they had clearly paired up (we believe storks pair for life).  By May we were able to see the chicks in the next and by late June they were weighed and measured and had started to exercise their wings.  This is fun to watch.  They jump up and down whilst flapping their wings.  Sometimes they take off and if that happens before they are ready, they crash land.  Usually somewhere the parents find them.  Though we did see one being cared for by builders on a building site.  They had phoned the Belediye who came and took the young bird to the vet.

The flying exercises continued throughout July and, by early August, they were flying around in small flocks.  With increasing competence.

Hoping to see them at Pamucak before they leave and that they will spend a safe winter in Africa and that most of them will come back next year.  There are still a few spare perches for the nests though, if all this year’s new generation return they will have to find some new spaces.  This year one pair nested and successfully raised chicks in a tree by the railway station so there are plenty of possibilities.