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….
It is still hot in Selçuk, not quite so hot, but still hot. Meanwhile post Ramazan and Bayram the street is starting to resemble a building site. This morning more sand and cement were delivered along wıth machinery. So during the day it is hot, noisy and very dusty – cement and concrete dust gets absolutely everywhere.
This evening we had a cold beer on the shore of Lake Eğirdir, wıth wonderful scenery and a cool (dust free) breeze.
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 concrete 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.
Most evenings it is staying above 18C in the house without any heating, so we decided we no longer need the wood soba. It if gets cooler (and there probably will be some cold nights) we have plenty of other heating options, but we can dispense with burning wood. Today we cleaned the flue, a messy task, soot gets everywhere, and put the remaining wood away. As a result of using a wood stove the walls need a wipe down and a lick of fresh paint, this will get done over the next week or so.
Whilst we were cleaning the flue and packing wood away our neighbours decided it was a good day to gather in their garden and cook outside, their first such event of the year. We therefore had to stop work late morning to eat gözleme and be social, and then mid-afternoon another enforced break for kısır and coffee, followed by reading of the coffee grounds. Apparently we are going to come into lots of money, go travelling on a plane and a boat, attend a wedding and so on. Odd that, we are going to a wedding on Saturday, and we are planning a trip to Greece in the summer which would cover the boat part. It goes to show the coffee readings are never wrong!
The swallows have returned, more are arriving every day. For the last few days there has been one on the wire outside our house. It might be one of the pair from last year, they nested next door and raised several broods. Today there was a pair, singing together, investigating the nest from last year. It is good to hear them, good to see them, and good to know the rising number of flying insects is going to be hunted and eaten.
We 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 bit 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 secured 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 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.
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.
We do not fast for Ramazan. We are not sure how many of our neighbours are fasting. Some of them most certainly are not but we guess that many of them are not. It’s tough this time of year for those who are fasting, the daylight hours are long and hot and those who fast do not allow anything to pass their lips. We know that the Ramazan fast is extremely important for devout Muslims, so we try to be a bit discrete when eating during hours of daylight. Our back terrace is not precisely hidden, but it is secluded, people actually have to look in our direction in order to see us, so we do have breakfast there (long, long after the sun has risen). We’ve been eating dinner pretty late anyway, it’s more pleasant to eat after the blasting heat of the day has passed. So waiting for the Iftar hour is no hardship, and our roof, where we eat dinner for nearly half the year, is very overlooked.
The restaurants and bars in town are mostly open and doing a roaring trade. Tourist numbers seem to have risen again, or maybe we’ve just been going into town when the tourists are about. During Ramazan we go to bars and restaurants about as often as we do at other times. The tea houses remain populated, men playing backgammon and okey, there are less tea glasses than during other months, but hardly none. There are plenty of people eating, drinking and smoking on the beach, so we don’t worry about sipping our water or drinking an ice tea. The burquini count is definitely down (but they are not entirely absent from the beaches).
We have heard the drummers most nights. They come round at around 03:30 to wake people up in time to eat before dawn. A week or so back they toured the district, collecting money. We gave them a few lira which seems to have improved our standing in the neighbourhood. It was wonderful to watch, as, like the pied piper they collected a huge crowd of children.
We love the Ramazan pide which become available this time of year. These are breads, flat but pillowy, wonderfully chewy and spiced with sesame and nigella. One thing that puzzles us – there is a huge premium set on getting your pide hot from the baker – there are queues for hot pide from when they appear (soon after five most evenings) but, if you are fasting, you can’t eat it till sunset… They smell so delicious that they must be very, very hard to resist.