Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

My birthday and other things.   5 comments

It was my birthday earlier this month and I bought myself another motor bike as a present seeing as it was the only present I was likely to get. It’s a 1997 Kawasaki VN800, nice bike for the year, not a lot wrong with it, just enough to get me to fettle it a bit and change one or two things to suit me.

VN800

Very different to the BMW and very different riding style too. It ought to be a very relaxed riding style but it isn’t yet, that’s why I have to make a few changes. I’ll probably have to put a new rear shock absorber on it, the current one is rusted up and although it works to an extent it isn’t ery good, hopefully I can find a modern fully adjustable one that will fit. My plan is to take it apart and rebuild it properly over the winter, with some new nuts and bolts, new rubber components, maybe some new electrical parts and some wiring. I’ll leave the engine alone because it doesn’t make any strange noises and seems healthy enough. Should keep me occupied this winter.

I had a sad job to do last month, Aslan my neighbour’s dog who has been living with me for the past five or six years had to be put to sleep. He had a tough life what with being poisoned (deliberately) an incurable disease that progressively wore him down.

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Suddenly one day last month thousands of flies settled on and around him and he started to fade, I couldn’t let him stay like that and called one of the vets in to relieve his suffering. Goodbye old boy, rest in peace.

On a brighter note I had the opportunity to go to swimming at Patara beach and Finike beach last month and very pleasant days out they were too.

Then today I had a ride over to a place call Üçağız and it’s twin village Simena. The attraction here is that these places are very touristy but are very small and specialise in boat tours and boat trips along the sunken city side of Kekova island.

Simena can only be reached by boat or a walk of about four hundred meters up a rocky goat track. Doesn’t sound like much does but let me tell you it will make most people sweat in the twenty eight degrees celsius that it was today, the climb is about one hundred metres I would guess and then when you walk round the castle you descend another hundred and fifty through the village to sea level.

Photos of Üçağız

You can see Simena Castle with the flag flying from it.

Now we go to Simena

The road to Simena but first I have to park by the cemetery over by that beach.

And walkup the path to the castle

Tombs by the castle

 

That’s all, hope you enjoyed the photos. Just one more, a squirrel visited me on my birthday. Cute eh?

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Posted October 14, 2018 by cukurbagli in Uncategorized

The Owl and the Pussycat   9 comments

A ditty*
I
The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
   In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
   Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
   And sang to a small guitar,
“O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,
    What a beautiful Pussy you are,
         You are,
         You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!”
II
Pussy said to the Owl, “You elegant fowl!
   How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
   But what shall we do for a ring?”
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
   To the land where the Bong-Tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
   With a ring at the end of his nose,
             His nose,
             His nose,
   With a ring at the end of his nose.
III
“Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
   Your ring?” Said the Piggy, “I will.”
So they took it away, and were married next day
   By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
   Which they ate with a runcible spoon**;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
   They danced by the light of the moon,
             The moon,
             The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

By Edward Lear.

*Ditty – Noun. A short, simple song).

** A spoon with three wide tines one of which has a sharpened edge for cutting.

Well my little story about owls and pussycats starts with some more pictures of the owls who visit my garden at dusk. All three still come but now the young one has developed some self confidence and doesn’t hang around Mum and Dad so much, he’s starting to spot his own prey. At night my garden must be alive with little creatures because all three owls find plenty to eat and so do a couple of my cats, or maybe it’s the phase of the moon, at the moment the moon is a thin sliver but waxing with the first quarter on Thusday night and full in a week’s time after that, which is a complicated way of saying the moon is getting brighter every night for the next ten days and will be full on the twenty seventh. That probably means the owls will be seeing their prey more easily.

I’m afraid I can’t tell one from another yet, unless they’re perching in a row, so I’m not going to try to tell you which one this is because I have no idea.

Nor this one ….

nor this one….

What I will say is that they provide me with evenings full of interest and a good way to practice my flash photography, even if I do forget to put the batteries in the flash once in a while (ahem!).

The pussycat part comes with the arrival, after about three months absence, of my little cat Defne. The little sister of big Deniz she has been missing, nearly presumed lost, and I had almost given up ecer seeing her again. She is such a small skinny little thing that I do feel very protective towards her. While looking at the owls the other night I heard a little “miaow” and turned to see her trotting towards me.

She has obviously been getting some food from somewhere,in fact that might be a clue to why so many times in recent weeks I have come down in the morning to find the cat food bowl empty, she might have been a nightime visitor. Well she got a big bowl of meat to tuck into and a saucer of goat’s milk to help it down.

I’m very glad that she’s back.

Last month the wheat in the valley bottom was harvested and then the stalks chopped for bedding, here is a picture of my neighbours having theirs chopped ready to store for the winter.

Posted July 14, 2018 by cukurbagli in Uncategorized

Owls   2 comments

In the rocky ridge at the back of my house there are some holes in the rock face and a pair of owls live in them. Some nights in summer they sit on my roof and in the big eucalyptus tree, I often hear them calling to each other and this week they brought their recently fledged offspring to hunt whatever they could find on my garden. Unfortunately I was caught off guard and didn’t have my camera set up for the best shots, hopefully everything will set up and ready next time.

The owls seem to be fairly happy about being approached as long as I don’t get within about ten feet of them. The adults brought this year’s baby to see what it could find to eat and it successfully caught and ate something that it spotted about four feet from the back wall under the vine where I usually park my car. I suppose I’m going to have to leave it parked further away for a while, well that’s not a problem since the grapes are going to start oozing juice before long.

I took a few photos of all three of the owls on the vine frame at the house too but those were with the camera on my phone and even with a lot of computer manipulation the images are not fit to be posted here.

This one seems to be the smallest, I’m not sure if that means it’s the baby or the mother. My dogs bark at them and it’s quite eerie to see them gliding around silently in the late twilight, their soft feathers don’t make a sound and I can imagine the surprise of their prey.

I hope to capture a few more shots in the next couple of weeks and hopefully I’ll be better prepared and they will be a lot better quality.

Posted June 26, 2018 by cukurbagli in Uncategorized

Two Plates and a Shot Glass   Leave a comment

I have always liked the written word and have often tried to be creative in my own writing. This evening I came up with an idea to improve my creativity by thinking up a strange title and then writing something to fit, here’s what happened:

Two Plates and a Shot Glass.

I was invited to a friend’s party, he’s quite a bit younger than me therefore so are most of his friends. It was a very enjoyable party, good food, plenty of booze and the guests were very friendly and chatty. I had been there a couple of hours and as it was getting late and most of the guests were obviously settling in for the long haul I was starting to think I’d give it another ten or fifteen minutes before saying goodbye when two young ladies turned up who had obviously been partying somewhere else. One was a tall, smoking hot, redhead whose scarlet minidress and stilettos accentuated every curve that it was nearly covering, the other looked like a biker chick, nearly ninety kilos dressed in denim and leather with a face like a smacked arse. She scared me a bit.

Reaching behind me I found my glass by the kitchen sink I was leaning against and started to plan my route out of the house avoiding the biker chick when suddenly the redhead appeared in front of me and pressed herself against me as she leaned over my left shoulder and threw up into the sink behind me. That kind of surprised me a bit then I realised she was mumbling something about going upstairs together. I saw the kettle out of the corner of my eye about a nano second before it hit my temple. The last image I caught as I sank to the floor was of the biker chick opening the door of the dishwasher to beat me over the head with it, on the rack inside the dishwasher were two plates and a shot glass.

 

Well that was fun 🙂

Posted April 9, 2018 by cukurbagli in Uncategorized

Piano, Tyres, Moon.   2 comments

As I’ve mentioned a couple of times previously I bought a piano and started to teach myself to play it. It’s a ridiculous statement actually, teaching yourself anything is pretty impossible because if you don’t know how to do something how can you teach yourself? It’s not the first ridiculous statement I’ve ever made and I doubt it will be the last.

What I have really been doing is learning from books, on-line courses and video tutorials available online, that has been fine up to a point but my progress has been quite slow. A few weeks ago by happy accident I was put in touch with a retired piano teacher who had moved here from Istanbul. I started lessons with her and my progress has speeded up a lot, particularly reading music.

However there has been one problem, her piano had a duff key. The “C” key above middle C didn’t work correctly, it’s resting position was lower than the other keys and it needed to be hit much harder than normal to make a sound and it was driving me nuts. Obviously that could not continue so we decided to take the opportunity of a months visit she was making to Istanbul for me to bring the piano to my place to fix it. Actually at my last lesson before taking the piano the “E” key below the already faulty “C” also developed the same fault. I knew nothing about the workings of an electronic piano even though I have one myself so much research online was needed. I found most of the information I needed and set about dismantling the piano to ascertain the cause of the fault.

With all the component parts spread around my kitchen it soon became obvious what the problem was. In an electronic piano with “hammer action” to mimic the feel of a real piano the plastic keys, both white and black, act upon a hammer bar to operate the switches controlling the electronics. On this particular model the hammer bar, made of black anodised steel, is fitted into a white nylon mount  that rotates through a few degrees when the key is pressed and actuates the switches. There are no springs involved which surprised me a bit, the resistance felt when hitting the key is controlled by the length and weight of the hammer arm, the whole action is then returned to it’s normal resting position by gravity, just like a real piano.

In this piano the plastic key has an aperture underneath into which fits a rubber grommet on the end of the hammer arm and the problem was caused by the this grommet having perished and disintegrated leaving the key unsupported when at rest. The can see the aperture on the bit extending below the key in the picture above.

The hammer arms are shown here.

The shape of the grommet can be seen in the photo below. Apologies for blurry pic.

I found that replacement grommets are not available, the whole arm has to be bought at a cost of ten quid each. Highway robbery I thought, eighty eight keys multiplied by ten quid ends up being more than the cost of the complete piano! So I would fix it. I had found a lot about taking the piano to bits but what I didn’t find was an idea of how to fix it so I had to invent something. My first idea was to make a new grommet by cutting up a pencil eraser. I was quite hopeful about this but it didn’t have enough stretch and it split when I tried to slide in onto the hammer arm. The second idea was to make a mould and with the hammer arm positioned in it I would squeeze some silicon sealant into it and wait for it to solidify. This too failed because the mould didn’t allow the silicon to solidify and the second one I tried hadn’t solidified even after thirty six hours. In the end I laid down a layer of the sealant on a piece of metal then rested the hammer arm on it and covered over the top of it with another layer of sealant. This only took a few hours to set and then I cut it to the correct shape with a scalpel.

When I assembled it all and tested it I found it impossible to feel the difference between the repaired keys and the original keys. Very good result and less annoyance during my lessons, they’re hard enough anyway.

Last month my bike went in for a service and I took the opportunity to have some new tyres fitted. I love having new tyres, they make a bike feel so much better.

These tyres are more suitable for road use than the old dual purpose “road / off-road tyres”. Much better road holding on the new tarmac which the local council seem quite keen on laying for us at the moment, and for the dirt roads there won’t really be much difference, I don’t intend to be doing any extreme mud plugging, I’ll only be going onto dirt roads in the dry summer months, the bike is too heavy to get out of difficult places by myself anyway.

I spent some time and effort locating a position from where I could take a photograph of the so-called Blood Moon that we had at the end of January. I was able to include an evening view of Kaş but the camera had to be set with quite a wide aperture because of the lack of light, it was quite a cloudy evening too. Anyway this was the result, I’m quite happy about it even though it didn’t show the moon as red as it really was, all to do with aperture, exposure and available light.

We get some pretty spectacular skies in winter here, here is one from New Year’s Eve last year.

And another from January this year.

Posted March 21, 2018 by cukurbagli in Uncategorized

2017 Ends   8 comments

This is just a short note to say thank you to everyone who has read my blog this year, I hope you enjoyed it. It’s been a bit of a strange year internationally, sometimes it has seemed as though the world was going mad and then along came another story to renew faith in humanity. As an eternal optimist I always think things will end well however calamitous they appear. My “to do” list was edited, quite a few things successfully completed but more ideas have been added, I intend to work a bit harder at it this year.

I have now been here in the village for fourteen Christmas Days and all but one of them has been a beautiful day with clear blue skies and brilliant sunshine. Generally I have enjoyed this year as you probably noticed from the blog content. I hope you all have wonderful New Year celebrations and whatever other winter celebrations your religion or culture enjoys.

Here is a picture taken on Christmas Day 2017.

The view from the bottom of my driveway looking west towards the foothills of the Taurus mountain range and the ancient Lycian city of Phellos on the top of the ridge.

Posted December 31, 2017 by cukurbagli in Uncategorized

Mountain Scenery   8 comments

 

What is it about some people? They just have to go and see what’s over the next hill or climb to the top of a mountain just to see what there is to see from up there. Well it appears that I’m no different. My mate Bob and I had a couple of “elevating” trips recently, the first one to the top of the island of Meis (yes I was there YET again) and another to a mountain in the Taurus range not very far from Çukurbağ.

Ten days ago it looked as though we were going to lose the the easy route to Europe because the ferries that sail between the Greek island of Meis (Kastellorizo) and Kaş were going to be forbidden to ply their trade so some of us decided to be on the last boat out of Kaş. The attractions of Meis are different for different people of course, my particular wishes this time were threefold, to get a bottle of duty free brandy for Christmas, to have another plateful of Angelos’ big prawns in garlic sauce and to climb the steps to the top of the island. You can see the white of the steps going up to the top in this photo.

The two boats that go to Meis were both pretty full and it seemed to take an age waiting to be processed through the Greek immigration office but eventually we were free to roam the island. First was a bit of breakfast and a coffee then Bob and I set off up the steps. The first snag is climbing out of the town to get to the stairway and we were both breathing deeply before we set foot on step number one.

There are four hundred and one steps and for the first half of the climb there are short sloping sections between sets of three or four steps and you are eased gently into thinking it will be easy but that soon changes, breathing becomes more laboured but this is mitigated by looking back to the town to seen everything slowly receding as you gain height.

And then you get to the top

My breathing had gone back to normal but my heart was still pounding.

Once at the top we went and had a look over at St Georges church and then started back down.

The walk back down left my thigh muscles quivering and I was glad to finally reach Angelos’ Athina restaurant for a beer and a plateful of prawns, they are really delicious. Going back to Kaş a sense of uncertainty was all over the boat as none of knew when we would ever be able to take the trip again.*

I like being in mountainous country and a few months ago I bought a motorbike designed and made to go off-road so putting the two things together means that I can go and have some adventures in the local and not quite so local hills and mountains. Put like that it sounds very interesting and enjoyable, well it does to me anyway. In reality what it means is that I can dramatically increase my capacity to get myself into awkward situations where turning round to retrace my steps is not an easy option. On the side of a hill when what was already a narrow goat track reduces to nothing the only thing to do is lie the bike down and then drag it around to point in the direction you should have been clever enough not to leave. Having said that, when I get back home and sit with a beer and my dogs and no injuries except my pride I feel a certain sense of achievement and satisfaction. I keep looking for new adventures and Google Earth is my friend, or it could be the little voice on my shoulder telling me to go and try something harder, “go on it’ll be great” it says. That’s how the next “elevating” episode started.

Bey Dağ is a 3070 metre high mountain in the Taurus range up near the Elmalı pass on the way north from here. Google Earth shows lots of little tracks, dirt roads really, criss-crossing the lower slopes with cultivated fields, some small buildings and other man-made features. Should be fun eh? And maybe I could ride close enough to get to the top?

I’ve said before that discretion is the key to keeping the rubber on the road and I’m developing a sense that tells me when discretion is leaving the room, I could hear discretion slamming the door behind it when I was thinking about this trip so I asked Bob if he’d like to tag along and we’d go in my car. Less chance of getting into trouble and two heads are better than one, right? He jumped at the chance.

So last Monday we went, just to get as close as we could and make a plan, left Çukurbağ about 8.30 and drove up there. I’d made some notes on the features and turnings that I could see on the computer screen and printed a couple of maps, with only a minor mistake in the village of Küçüksögle we left the tarmacadam and headed upwards.

My notes worked well and we would have lost our way without them. Superb scenery to see, sorry about the dust on the sensor.

interesting things to see,

fantastic blue sky to see, there’s an aeroplane in there too, you’ll probably need to put your spectacles on to see it thoough.

and coming round one corner a bloody great rocky mountain to see.

We reckon on getting to the top of that? I think we both realised that this was much more than a jolly jape and we’d better take it seriously.

Eventually finding our “base” for the day we stopped and had a bit of a look round, also climbed a small hill to see if the mountain looked any different from there, it didn’t.

For me, being in mountains really brings home to you how unbelievably massive the forces are that slowly push and shape our world.

On the way home we stopped for a mixed grill at the restaurant by Finike marina, we’ll be going there again I should imagine.

After we had returned to Çukurbağ, Dave, a friend who has been doing a lot of off-road biking around the area mentioned that he and some friends had been up this mountain on their bikes, crossed over near the top and came down the other side. I had to go and have look at the route he had taken near the top because if we used the same route it would save us quite a lot of climbing and maybe make it possible to get to the summit and return home in one day rather than staying a night up there. Since I was going by myself I rode up on my bike and followed his route at the top which brought me out much higher than we had previously been.

Dave and his friends had needed to help each other, using ropes as well, to get their bikes across a particularly difficult traverse, I wasn’t about to attempt it alone so just had a walk across to check it out, this is it.

It’s completely impossible for a car to cross and there are no other ways to get as close. It’s easy to walk though and we’ll start from here. I had a think while I sat in the sun and made a sandwich, turkey and cheese if you’re interested, and had a drink of water. It is still going to be a two day job for us, we want to have a pleasant time and not just attack it as a job to get done and go away, but I had a nice day out on the bike again.

This is the mountaineers hut we’ll stay in hopefully.

It’s not far from the hut to where we’ll start from.

Stay tuned for the final ascent, weather permitting.

 

  • The day after returning from Meis we heard that the potential ban had been lifted and the ferries now run as normal. Phew!

Posted October 22, 2017 by cukurbagli in Uncategorized