Archive for March 2010

Saturday morning

Getting my car tested, Araç Muayene in Turkish.

07.45 Arrive at Erol’s garage where the testers set up their mobile test station. The trailer with the rolling road inside it was left there last night and there are a few cars and people hanging around. A guy that I know says to put my registration number on a piece of paper they have on someone’s windscreen. This is the list for the order we get tested in. It’s a beautiful morning, clear blue sky, slightly crisp and cold. I’m fourteenth on the list. I wander along the road and take a couple of photographs. Some lads with a new motorbike ask me how long it takes and what time they will start testing, I say they will probably start at 9.30, they look disappointed. We pass the time of day, they want to practice their English. They ask me how old I am, how much money I get for my pension and how many children I have.

08.45 The testing trailer unfolds to the warble of a warning siren and flashing red lights. The little crowd steps back and one or two people nod sagely and explain how it all works to their friends and what is going to happen next. Meanwhile the world around carries on, Mustafa’s carpentry workshop next door wanders into life, Omer’s restaurant chimney issue’s smoke in a vertical line indicating that tea will be ready soon and people start passing by going about their daily life.

09.00 Apart from setting up nothing much has happened yet. The air of expectation among the crowd has become more subdued and some people further down the list have retired to their cars to catch up on their sleep while they wait. When dealing with official administrative tasks the average Turk in this area seems to have an infinite capacity for waiting. There are probably people in the cities and towns that are impatient but around my village at least there never seems to be a rush. At traffic lights however the story is completely different. Any gap is used to squeeze to the front and line up four or five abreast.

09.30 The first car gets looked at by the testers. Ten minutes to do the test then wait for the certificate, looks like I’ll be here till lunchtime. I go to my car to catch up on some sleep.

09.50 A guy leans in through the passenger window and asks me what number on the list I am. Fourteen I tell him, his car is parked right behind me. He says no-one told him to put his registration number on the list until just now so he will be here all day. I sympathise but stifle a chuckle. I know I shouldn’t be amused but sometimes you can’t help it, that was me a few years ago. He asks me how old I am, how much money do I get for a pension and how many children I have.

10.35 My documentation is done, I pay the fee and go back to wait in the car. Mustafa from the carpentry workshops stops by to say hello.

Kas area had a new series of registration numbers alloted to it about eighteen months ago. The numbers used to 07 Y **** but now it’s 07 SA* *** so you see some some people driving around with 07 SAD *** or SAG etc. I saw a middle aged woman with a SAG plate a couple of days ago, I don’t think I’d like that much.

11.20 My estimate of getting the car looked at by lunchtime might be a little optimistic, fingers crossed. I wonder how the dogs are doing at home, it’s quite warm in the sun now but they’ve got plenty of water and can get out of the direct sun. A couple of people have dived off to get lunch somewhere and if they’re not back I might be done sooner.

12.40 They didn’t come back in time and I was done sooner, now I have the pass certificate and little pink sticker on my front number plate. Off home for lunch now, thumbs up to the lads with the motor bike, yippeeee!

Posted March 21, 2010 by cukurbagli in Uncategorized


Sitting in the tea garden (çay bahçesi) in Kaş with a friend today I was treated to a demonstration of useful mass communication. My friend was in the middle of a sentence when the public address system interrupted him. Most towns in Turkey have a public address system that is used to make official announcements and for foreigners it isn’t long before it becomes part of the general hubbub of the town to be ignored along with the barking of dogs and tooting of car horns. Of course ‘official’ can be a subjective term and is often treated to a liberal interpretation. Thus my friend was interrupted by the announcer saying that someone had found a digital camera somewhere in the town and if the owner came to the Municipal offices they could reclaim it. What a wonderful system, why don’t we do that in UK?.

Not long after the aforementioned broadcast the loudspeakers boomed into life again. The fishermen had landed a really good catch and fresh fish was on sale in the square.

Now these are examples of a public address system being used for the advantage of the public. I know, I know, it’s a novel concept but it was nice to see a service in Turkey showing the way to do it to the rest of the world.

Posted March 19, 2010 by cukurbagli in Uncategorized

Car, spring cleaning, Kaş, scooter, cowboy hat, Facebook.

My car is going in for it’s annual check this Saturday. I took it down for Erol to give it a thorough check over and do any necessary repairs. It cost me two hundred and thirty five lira but if it gets through first time it will be worth it. I was never a great one for administrative things but dealing with officialdom these days just wears me out. Everything seems to take forever and I shudder at the thought of it. Just one thing I’ve got to do myself, the connector for the back lights is a bit dodgy and occasionally they don’t work properly. I’ll take it apart, clean it up and tighten the connections.

The new marina is coming along well. Shells of buildings are ready for finishing, the main breakwater is done and bouys are marking the anchorage points for the pontoons.

It looks like it will make a big difference to Kas and probably bring in a lot more tourists. I hope it’s a success in every way.

This time of year my thoughts turn to smartening the place up after the wild weather of the winter. I’m making plans to do a lot more to the projects I’ve already started and hopefully I’ll get them finished this year. I’ve decided to do a bit to each of them each day. If I’m lucky that will mean things get done without too many injuries this year. I’ve had a lot of small injuries in the last couple of years that stopped me working to best effect so finally in my life I’m learning from my mistakes! Only took 61 years!

I have a small solar panel for charging batteries. Around this time of year I start thinking about using my scooter instead of the car so while the car was in Erol’s garage for two days I connected up the panel to my scooter battery and let it charge up. It worked well but when I tried to start it petrol came pouring out from underneath the fairing. A rubber hose had perished. It’s not like it was when I was a lad, then there was one pipe from the tank to the carburettor and replacing it was simple. On this scooter there are about five pipes and they go to strange little valves and things, you’ve also got to remove all the plastic fairing and stuff to get at it. A two minute job that takes an hour and a half. I called in at a motor accessory shop in Kas to get a new piece of pipe and after being sent to three different places I managed to get some. It was the wrong size and an astronomical price and when I got it home I couldn’t use it for the purpose intended. I managed to use one of the other pipes and the new one substituted for the one I cannibalised. Hope you followed that, the upshot is that I fixed the problem and I’m now using the scooter. It’s cheaper to run too so that makes me feel good.

I stopped at the corner in Ağullu a couple of weeks ago where a guy sells fruit and veg most days. While buying some of it I saw another guy selling jackets and I bought one that seemed as though it would be windproof. I wore it today on the scooter and it turned out to be an excellent buy, I’m very pleased with it. Of course it has a fake badge on it, Lacoste might object but I can say that even if it didn’t come from their factory they should be proud of it bearing their name. Not every fake is crap quality.

This is a photo of a very dear friend of mine called Rachel. She is American and lives in Houston, Texas.

Rachel is a professional restorer and conservator of ceramics and glass and if anybody out there needs help in this regard I can thoroughly recommend her. Her work is of the highest standard which is probably why she does work for museums. This is a link to her website. Every year there is an event in Houston called the Valley Lodge Trail Ride where groups of folk with horses ride in from outlying districts to the Rodeo Parade in Houston.  Rachel’s group travel from Brookshire to Houston, seventy one miles on horseback looking like they’re headed for a roundup, this is so cool and I wish I could do it, and is she cute in that hat or what? Yeeehaaah, you go girl!

Social networking is a phenomenon that I’d managed to avoid to a large extent. Recently though a few people have been bending my ear and inviting me to join various sites so much that I felt I was being churlish in not wanting to. Consequently a few weeks ago I joined Facebook and have been amazed by all the friends I’ve connected with. It’s been very nice to see  and link up with them but I’m still not particularly happy about joining it. Maybe it’s that I don’t really ‘get’ it. It seems that you have to be at your computer for a large part of your day to tell everybody what you are doing, what you have done, what you are going to do and comment on other people’s plans and achievements. Well I’m not usually in front of my computer that long and would rather write about what I have done and leave it at that. I’ll give it a try and see if I feel any benefit or get warm fluffy feelings about it but quite honestly I wonder if I’ll still be interested in it in three or four months time. I might get used to it though.

Posted March 18, 2010 by cukurbagli in Uncategorized

Here’s one I made previously

A new friend said that I should put a backward link to my earlier writings and photographs because they were missing out, so here it is.

Backward Link

Clicking on ‘View all blog entries’ and then clicking ‘older’ a few times will take you back to the beginning. Don’t expect too much, it’s only my jottings, but some of the photographs are quite nice..

Posted March 17, 2010 by cukurbagli in Uncategorized

Dogs, veranda roof

My neighbour Mustafa came past the back of my place the day before yesterday so I told him about his dog. He said that four or five dogs had been killed by the poison so somebody is going to be on the receiving end of some retribution when they find out who did it. While we were talking I took the opportunity to ask him if there was any spare milk now that his cow has had a calf. He told to come and get some so I went yesterday with an empty five litre yoghurt container and his wife Hanife filled it up for me. It costs me six lira and it’s lovely milk.

I’ve been repairing the veranda roof for the last three days. I painted all the wood that I got with stain on Thursday yesterday started to lay the shingle roll. With a superhuman effort I finished this evening at six and tidied up a bit, fed the dogs and went to get a well-earned beer from the fridge. No cold beer! I’ve had to put a couple in the freezer so while I’m waiting for them to cool I’m writing this, then I’ll have a shower and they should be just right by then. I’ll have a beer and a good sit down as my old Granny used to say.

Posted March 6, 2010 by cukurbagli in Animals, Building

March winds do blow.

Windy wasn’t the word for it this morning. I got up at 6.15 and took the dogs for a walk up to the end of the road and back, takes about an hour, and on the way back there was one point where we couldn’t make any headway. The wind was so strong that it stopped me and try as I might I couldn’t move forward. It was only a big gust of course and I was soon able to move again but my hat blew off twice.

Anyway we got back to the house and had breakfast after which I started a little job putting a new cutter wire into the strimmer, the plastic stuff doesn’t last five minutes with all the rocks in the garden. As I was doing it a gust of wind came and with a lot of noise lifted the shingles, roofing felt and boards off the veranda roof frame and three of the boards disappeared over the back of the roof and landed about twenty yards away. March winds eh?

The veranda roof is something that I made myself and to be honest I was quite proud of it. I wasn’t expecting it to have to withstand hurricane strength winds though and had used fixings that I thought would hold it all together. Well I was wrong. Here’s a picture of the newly complete roof in June 2007:

I was delighted and proud of it, I thought it blended well with the house and it seemed quite strong enough however this is what happened this morning:

You can see that there are a number of sheets of oriented strand board (O.S.B.) that are missing as well as the shingles and roofing felt having been peeled back. I suppose the wind got under the edge and once it started lifting there was no stopping it. Well I got some wood ordered this afternoon to repair and strengthen the construction of it and I’ll pick up some more roofing felt and a few rolls of shingle tomorrow morning. I think rolls of shingle will be better as it is easier to hold down. I’m also using 2″ screws to hold it together now and reinforcing the edges so the wind can’t lift anything.

I suppose there is always the possibility that, having made it much stronger, the whole roof will take off next time. Well we won’t have long to wait because there are some more strong winds forecast for Monday, I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Posted March 3, 2010 by cukurbagli in Building

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I’m sad today. Often I let my dogs off their leads first thing in the morning so that they can go and have a bit of a run around in the bushes at the back of my place. Yesterday my two big dogs Wilf and Alf ate something bad for them, it could have been rat poison or just something that is bad for dogs, I don’t know but they were in a bad way for a couple of hours. I’ve decided that letting them off their leads first thing in the morning is not a good idea so I am going to reinstate the early morning walk that I seem to have let slide in recent months.

Well this morning I took them for a walk a couple of times round the garden and I found my neighbour’s dog, the one that I call Skinny, lying dead. He had obviously eaten some of the same stuff as mine had. Poor Skinny, he never did anyone any harm, quite the opposite in fact, I feel really sad about him.

Skinny has been coming to play with my dogs for about a year now I think. Shortly after I first saw him he had an infection in his right eye and although the vet had a look at him it was too late and he lost his sight in that eye. Another time he was taken to the vet in Fethiye by another of the Brits living in the village and neutered. He was nothing but skin and bone in those days, I’d been giving him food most days and recently he was starting to look a bit better, he was also starting to be happy. He played nicely with my dogs and came bounding happily when he saw me and at last seemed to be enjoying life. Well that’s all ended now, what a shame. I’ll go and tell the neighbour later on today but I don’t suppose there’ll be much sadness there. Dogs seem to come and go around here, there are only a few that last more than a couple of years.

R.I.P. Skinny, hope you enjoy yourself in doggy heaven.

Posted March 2, 2010 by cukurbagli in Animals