Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Esra – 27 dogs in her garden   2 comments

I met a lady this morning who, at times, has more than 30 dogs in her garden. She looks after them, her name is Esra and she has her own dog sanctuary in the village of Gökçeören a few kilometres from my house.

I have known of Esra for some time, she has often helped at the Kaş dog shelter and has been very active in street dog welfare circles for some years but I recently found out she had a lot of dogs in her own garden. I thought that she could probably do with a donation of dog food so this morning I set off over there with the car loaded up with dry dog food and bicuits.

There are various road resurfacing projects going on at the moment so it was a slow and very dusty drive but eventually I got there. Gökçeören is a beautiful old village lying in the bottom of a steep sided valley running north/south in the hills between Kaş and Kalkan. A crossroad junction in the centre of the village leads west to Kalkan and east to Kaş, turning to the north or south the road soon becomes impassable to vehicular traffic and only foot or goat tracks remain.

As you may imagine with around 30 odd dogs running around at any one time the garden is a busy place, most of the dogs get on with each other to a large degree but if one finds a bone the ownership of it is bound to be contested. Some of the dogs love to play with water and turn it into mud.

There are others who are recovering from injuries or diseases and need looking after a bit, this sort of care and fostering dogs who are waiting to go to new owners in European countries or UK are the main reasons that Esra started her sanctuary. The plight of street dogs along the south coast of Turkey is well known and quite a lot of people try to do what they can to make life better for them, I look after 4 of them at my house but there are other people who have many more than that. I’ve not heard of anybody with as many as Esra though so I though I would show her a bit of support.

I asked Esra about the dog’s stories and of course they all have one, usually heartbreaking tales of hardship, traffic injuries and abandonment by previous owners. It’s all very distressing but there are places in the world where they are treated even more badly. It came as a bit of a surprise to find that the latest one I adopted had been looked after by Esra for a while. Little Sevgi had been abandoned, run over by a car, had her right back leg and tail amputated and finally been rescued while dodging traffic on a horribly wet night in Kaş and it turned out that Esra was one of her saviours. Here is her story :

Like most animal sanctuaries, Esra is in need of constant support, there is only so much that any of us who care about animals can do and she is pretty much giving up her life to look after them. I can’t go as far as Esra does so I think I will continue to support her as much as I can.

Posted August 22, 2021 by cukurbagli in Uncategorized

Wolfie and the artist   Leave a comment

A few weeks ago I was introduced ( virtually ) to a lady, Lindsay Midali, an artist who makes portraits of pets using pastel colours. I was immediately impressed by the quality of her work and wrote to her to find out what I should do to have some pictures done of my dogs. Good quality head and shoulders are all that is necessary so because I had some of Wolfie already I sent a small selection by email and waited to hear how the project was going. I received a photo by email after a week or so showing the picture in the early stages, it looked great and then the other day a photo of the finished picture came. I am mightily impressed, he is not an easy dog to draw or paint but the result not only looked like but gave a glimpse into his character too.

A lot of people who have seen it are also impressed. Lindsay is going to do portraits of two more of my dogs and I will post the results for you all to see. If you wish to get in touch with Lindsay yourself then here are her contact details.

Posted August 5, 2021 by cukurbagli in Uncategorized

Goings and comings   4 comments

It’s not often that I find myself having dealings with the clergy, a wedding, a few funerals, a christening but I never would have guessed that I would sell a religious man a motorcycle. It happened a couple of weeks ago, my friend Ahmet who used to be the Imam in the neighbouring village of Pınarbaşı called me and asked if he could come for a visit. Well of course, why not, he arrived a few minutes later.

Ahmet is quite famous, he is a young man who became an Imam (a Muslim priest) and performed these duties to the best of his ability as far as I know. Here he is making the call to Prayer.

While he was working as the Imam for the village he founded a rock band and began writing and singing songs on stage with accompanying musicians, something the Diyanet (the religious ministry) were very against.

In the end he was dismissed from his job and now seems to have a lot of time on his hands. Well he was quite interested in my bike, a BMW F650 GS Dakar model from 2004.

I had hugely enjoyed having the bike in my life, the roads to Kalkan and Finike having been resurfaced with nice smooth tarmac had become my playground. Lately I’d experienced a few little problems with it and went to great pains to tell him about them and make sure he understood that I was being completely up front about all of these. He was happy about everything and still wanted to buy it so I quoted a very good price to him (low and good in his favour) and he bought it. We went to the notary office in Kaş and sealed the deal. I didn’t think of it as losing money on the bike, I sold it for quite a bit less than I had bought it but because I had enjoyed it very much for 4 years or so I was very happy to pass it on to someone else to enjoy.

The next few days of seeing an empty space where the bike used to be were a bit sad for me so I started looking for another one. I found one that had a few small problems so it would interest me to put it right and once fixed I could have an enjoyable time with it. Another BMW, this time an R 1150 GS, another enduro style machine, this one a bit bigger both in engine size and general body size.

It was in the middle of Antalya city so I went to see it. I don’t know Antaya very well so I was a bit unsure of how to get there but it all worked out fine. A very small motorcycle dealer who only had three bikes on the front of his shop when I got there. Anyway he was very helpful and I went back a couple of days later to have a test drive and make a decision. I was surprised to find that I could put both feet flat on the floor while astride the machine and that helped to decide to buy it. The seller, Erkan, was very helpful and took me around the city to the notary’s office and the registration plate maker to get the official stuff done then to the industrial site area (sanayi) to get some mirrors. He also found a bike transfer company to transfer it to my house and I could drive my own car home, saved a lot of trouble.

Now all I have to do is fix a couple of things and get some insurance in Kaş and I’ll be ready to have some fun. Ahmet is very happy with my F650 and I’m very happy with my new bike so there’s proof, men are happiest with a motorbike in their lives.

Posted July 30, 2021 by cukurbagli in Uncategorized

Storks   4 comments

I had a trip to Fethiye on Tuesday, only an hour and a half by car but by far the furthest I have been since the Corona/Covid shit hit fan last year. It was really nice to get out and see more of the country and notice changes that have taken place over the last eighteen months. The purpose of the visit was to take a friend of mine to hospital for her periodic eye check and to visit a few shops that we don’t have in Kaş. On the way back near Alaçat I spotted a sight that is not unusual for this part of Turkey, a stork in a nest on top of an electricity pylon. Storks have lived in this area for probably many thousands of years, they feature heavily in the art and mosaics of the ancient archeology around here. We were going a bit too quickly in a stream of traffic to be able to slam the brakes on and stop for a photo or two, also my good camera was at home so I decided to go back to that spot on Wednesday armed with a long lens and a fully charged battery pack to get some good photographs. When I got back there I was delighted to see that not one but four storks were in the nest. Three of them had their back to the only accessible place I was able to stand but the other one was moving around.

The nest was enormous and had obviously been built over a few years, not only that but there were a lot of other birds perched on the wires going to the pylon. I walked around the pylon and tried from different angles and to get the best shots but with it being such a big nest and very high it was difficult, I really needed a fire truck with a high ladder, there was nowhere to get any better angle.

It wasn’t until I got back home and was able to zoom in on the photographs on my large screen that it became more obvious that the other birds had burrowed into the lower portions of the nest and created their own nests, so that was the reason they were all hanging around there, I had thought they were taking advantage of the shade afforded by the nest.

Whether the four were made up of Dad, Mum and two chicks or one parent and three chicks or even four chicks I have no idea, the one standing seems to look like an adult to me but I could easily be wrong.

Posted July 3, 2021 by cukurbagli in Uncategorized

Twelve Camels For Your Wife   4 comments

My friend George lives about 175 kilometres north west of me in a village called Kaplan. He’s holidayed in Turkey since 1972 and eventually decided to live here full time. His book about life as a visiting Turcophile and expat resident is an excellent read, his take on the realities of this wonderful country sighing in sympathy and laughing in agreement.

The ups, downs, adventures and misadventures are, by turns, hilarious, frightening, funny and sad. There are a lot of ex-pat foreigners living here from various countries and most of us can relate to some of Georges experiences, I doubt that many of us have had such a wide range of them though.

The back cover says this:

Charmed by the fulsome hospitality of strangers, enthralled by breathtaking archeological sites, dazzled by beautiful beaches and scenery the author fell in love with Turkey in 1972. The lifelong romance that followed has included many incredible, sometimes sad but more often comical situations as a regular holiday destination later became a permanent home. They include being arrested as a spy, watching a man swallow a snake, judging a beauty contest, being given a front row seat at a circumcision and seeing Turkey’s most famous criminal crash a plane. Whether you are a casual traveller, looking to live abroad or a seasoned ex pat the book seeks to explain Turkey’s sometimes crazy but endearing customs, habits and culture.

Anyone interested in Turkey would enjoy reading this book either for amusement or as an eye opener to the lifestyle of an ex-pat.

Get the book from

Posted May 5, 2021 by cukurbagli in Uncategorized

Become a Pen-pal   2 comments

A good friend of mine founded a website with the aim of introducing people with others who would like to write real letters with paper and pen then post them in a post box or post office. ( You don’t have to use a pen, typing is also acceptable )

It’s an old fashioned idea but something that feels more real and takes a little more thought. You can be as clever or interesting as you like and hopefully you will receive an equally interesting letter shortly afterwards, although the two letters I’ve sent so far have taken a long time to get to their addresses but then I am writing from Turkey. Perhaps I should ask for the airmail option in the Post Office?

Have a look at the site and see what you think, it could be fun. If you sign up you will receive a list of very different people (men, women, married, single) all with different backgrounds in very different places all over the world, choose one and pop an introductory letter in the post, you could have a new friend for life. By the way, it won’t cost anything.

Here’s the address:

Have fun.

Posted April 28, 2021 by cukurbagli in Uncategorized

Corona Virus, short personal update   2 comments

I’m now into week two of the official internment at my place here in Çukurbağ. I’m trying to keep up with events in Turkey and the rest of the world but it’s a bit difficult with all the wild exaggeration from some quarters and the blase attitudes of others. I just hope that as many people as possible can survive to see another year.

I have been keeping myself out of the way for about a month, easy to do in winter here and my stock of food is usually fairly plentiful anyway so no problems here.

Tourism is going to wiped out in most of the developed world by the look of it and that will be a shame for the people running tourism related businesses but it will undoubtedly be good for the planet not to have so many people travelling, particularly by air. Reports of fish returning to the Venice canals is just one of the examples I noticed.

My efforts in the coming weeks are going to be focused on tidying up my garden, repairing my BMW motorcycle, finishing off building a wall and constructing a stone pizza and bread oven.

My pets are all safe and well as am I so good luck to all.


Posted March 29, 2020 by cukurbagli in Uncategorized

Another Bonus Day   2 comments

Yesterday Sunday, 02.02.2020, unusual because it’s date is also a palindrome, was another one of my bonus days, the days in the middle of winter that have blue skies and warm sunshine. I had visitors and we sat outside in the warm sun, talked and ate a variety of cakes, buns and savoury pastries with Turkish tea (Çay) and a drop of wine. We had plenty to eat and some left over for my breakfast, the dogs all had plenty of cuddles and treats, even Whisky who was brave and came close for some cuddles but didn’t want to be photographed.







Thank you Derya, Ann, Gamze and Laura for coming and bringing food and good cheer.




Posted February 3, 2020 by cukurbagli in Uncategorized

Christmas Day   2 comments

I wish a very Happy Christmas to all my readers. I think I have probably said this before but every Christmas day bar one has been a beautiful day with blues skies and today is no different.


The morning walk with the dogs was interesting, lots of evidence of the wild boar digging along the roadside. We walked for about half an hour then back home for breakfast.


Now off to cook my Christmas dinner…..with sprouts of course!

Posted December 25, 2019 by cukurbagli in Uncategorized

Cars, bikes, scrap and a poem.   6 comments

The car that I bought about four years ago has an electrical oddity that automatically locks the doors for you when it thinks you have forgotten. Since I habitually leave my car doors unlocked when parking behind my house this is an annoyance when I bring back from shopping sprees a couple of heavy bags of dog food or some large bottles of water. I bring the smaller shopping into the house first then go back for the heavy items by which time the car has locked itself. Thankfully I don’t usually leave the keys in the ignition when bringing the first batch of stuff in, until yesterday that is. You might think from my background in automotive engineering and maintenance that getting into a locked car whose keys are safely inside it would not present much of a problem but when the keyring also has my house keys hanging on it things become a little more difficult. Any tools or usefully long bits of thin metal were all locked inside so my ingenuity was severely tested for about half an hour until I resorted to the big hammer.

I hated doing it that way, apart from anything else it involved a lot of work with the vacuum cleaner and then two walks, one from the local garage back to my house and one back to the garage to pick up the car with new window fitted. Funny thing was my astrology reading for this month included a warning that I would have an unforseen expense, oooer missus.

My immediately younger brother is now the owner of two nice Triumph motorcycles from the 1960s. I’m jealous. This one….

and this one….

which he promptly dismantled.

We have liked Triumph bikes since we first got licences, I’ve had two or three and my youngest brother also had one or two back in the day. I’m currently having a problem with my BMW (pictures posted previously) and I think it’s going to necessitate a major strip down and possible engine out of the frame as per the photo above. I’ll let you know.

On the walk back from the local garage yesterday I came upon a truck parked close to my house, it was a scrap metal man (hurdacı in Turkish). My old wood burning stove that I replaced has been sitting on my front terrace for a couple of years looking worse and worse so I invited the scrap man to relieve me of it so he came to have a look at it. It is (was) big and very heavy being made of cast iron. The bolts holding it together were rusted and it wouldn’t come apart so he tipped it off the terrace and reduced it to broken bits by slamming a big rock down on it. Well I’m glad it’s gone but I thought it was a shame to smash it because someone might have made use of it. No pictures because I wasn’t quick enough.

I found a poem by Arthur Hugh Clough and thought the last verse suited my house particularly well.

Say not the struggle nought availeth,
     The labour and the wounds are vain,
The enemy faints not, nor faileth,
     And as things have been they remain.
If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars;
     It may be, in yon smoke concealed,
Your comrades chase e’en now the fliers,
     And, but for you, possess the field.
For while the tired waves, vainly breaking
     Seem here no painful inch to gain,
Far back through creeks and inlets making,
     Comes silent, flooding in, the main.
And not by eastern windows only,
     When daylight comes, comes in the light,
In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly,
     But westward, look, the land is bright.
Something I have enjoyed ever since I’ve been here, the sun comes up in the east, behind my house, light comes then the view to the west is of lighted mountains. I had photographs of it but I can’t find them now so I’ll take one or two tomorrow morning and add them here….  Finally found one, apologies for the quality, was on my phone. I leave my curtains open most nights and this is the view that I get if I stay in bed an extra half hour. Not bad eh?

Posted November 21, 2019 by cukurbagli in Uncategorized