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Here you will find all my old blog posts from back in the days when I started posting on MySpace. I started this in early 2007 not long after Türk Telekom made ADSL internet access available in Çukurbağ. Finally I got round to moving them here, there’s quite a lot of it but plenty of pictures. You can use the Archive links in the left hand column or just start at the top and keep scrolling down, the previous posts will load automatically.

I hope you enjoy it all.

To return to my current blog click the link in the column on the left.

P.S. By the way the picture above was taken in the summer of 2005 when I was having the house built.

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Posted January 30, 2013 by cukurbagli in Uncategorized

Computer, oranges and cake.

If you want a headache get a computer! Well that’s the sort of thing they used to say anyway. I’ve been having a problem with my laptop for the last eighteen months or so, maybe longer. The socket for inserting the mains cable had become loose on the motherboard and quite often it would stop powering the computer. That would have been ok if all I’d had to do was wiggle it and make the connection again but it didn’t like that. I had to switch it off then back on again (the computer engineer’s solution to a lot of problems) and only then would it charge the battery and power the computer. Because it’s an old computer now the battery won’t last more than one minute on the battery power so if I have to save something it had better be done quickly before it dies. I have lost work occasionally and I’ve had to interrupt Skype conversations too so it is a bit annoying. Well I got fed up enough last week that I took it apart and fixed it. There are instructions on the web that tell you how to do it so I wasn’t flying blind but it was a bit of a tense time because my computer is my link to the outside world and I didn’t want to have to go and buy a new one. So one day I set up a workspace on my dining table, assembled all my tools for the job and dived in. Here are some pictures of the bits, this shows how far I had to dismantle it.

Bits 2

Here is another one showing the computer screen with a picture of the bits on it. This proves that it worked after I finished the job, just for you doubters out there.

Bits on screen

Actually the little lights on the front of the laptop didn’t work when I put it together first, I had to take it apart again and fix that, it seems I didn’t push one of the connectors fully home, oops!

I was delighted recently to see that one of my cittrus trees had borne fruit. Citrus have a hard time growing up here because it is cold enough for a bit of a frost sometimes in the March nights and they don’t like that at all. They will grow well in a spot shaded from the wind though and of course you could wrap them up too. I picked one of them to taste, these are mandarins and it tasted beautiful so I picked them all before anything else decided to try them and I now only have two left.

Mandarins

Sometimes you see things that just make you laugh out loud before you can stop yourself. In one of the shops in Kaş the other day I had one of those moments. Wandering round the end of an aisle I spotted a display of cakes and this particular one caught my eye. A few people loked at me as if I was mad, well I am but they don’t know that, and anyway mad people find things to laugh at too. I bought a packet just to photograph them.

IMG_7653

Hope everyone has a happy and prosperous new year, especially the friends I had at West Dean.

Posted January 12, 2010 by cukurbagli in Uncategorized

Power cuts, ploughing.

A power cut is an inconvenience that usally causes a ripple of upset for an hour or so afterwards as sufferers recount their miseries to each other as though they are events worthy of the front page of a daily newspaper. The inconveniece usually lasts not more than a couple of hours at most and the returning electricity is received with cries of joy.

Here in my village the electricity goes off regularly for short periods while new bulbs are put in the street lights or some other work is done. Such a normal event is this that when the Belediye cherry picker is seen entering the village everybody knows that one of two things is going to happen. Either the electricity will go off or work will commence on the phone lines. For the former no further action is required of the village residents. For the latter a regular and frequent check is required to ensure the phone still has a dial tone. It is entirely possible that during the course of work one’s telephone will be disconnected and the action then is to ensure that the wire twisting ‘technician’ is informed before he leaves the area.

When I first came to live here thunderstorms used to cause power cuts every time. When a rumble of thunder was heard a sequence of actions was instigated that helped to ensure the minimum of disruption was caused. Oil lamps had to be filled with oil and, with extended wicks and lifted glass shade, placed along with a box of matches, so that they could be found easily in the pitch dark. A kettle had to be filled with water and placed on the stove, mobile telephones and other rechargeable items were plugged in to top up the batteries, television sets, satellite decoders, landline telephones and other sensitive electrical equipment had to be unplugged or risk being fried by a lightning strike and a good supply of dry wood would be brought in and put to hand near the stove.

For the last year or so power cuts caused by storms could be counted on the fingers of one hand. The installation of new pylons, cables and no doubt other equipment seems to have been a great success, until three days ago that is. Last Wednesday morning at about 8.30 the power went off. It has only been back on briefly since, long enough for me to plug in the rechargeable things, connect to the internet and reply to a few emails and have half a conversation on Skype. On that Wednesday the intermittent supply of power was a real pain. It would come on and raise my sprits only to dash them again five minutes later. Perhaps eight or ten times during the day this happened until it finally went off not to return and I went to bed fed up.

What to do during a power cut is a personal thing but my evenings are pretty easily taken care of. Cooking my dinner on or in my wood burning stove (akin to a mini Aga) is usually my first priority. I have a selection of meals that I prepared previously and stored in the freezer for just such an occasion so all I have to do is warm them enough to eat. Having eaten I feed the dogs. After that I may play my accoustic guitar for a while or read by the light of a torch powered by a motorcycle battery, then go to bed. What to do during a stormy day is not so easy. When the wind and rain are shredding the flora in my garden and working (or even just being) outside is impossible then pacing back and forth, hands deep in pockets, complaining bitterly and loudly is one possibility but I soon get fed up with that. Reading is a always a favourite, assuming there is sufficient ambient light.

I well remember reading novels as a youth sitting in a tent on a hill overlooking the Welsh coastal village of Amroth with the regular Wednesday or Thursday storms threatening to pluck the tent and me from the field only to deposit the wrapped bundle some miles away. Don’t you just love family camping holidays? Eh? Eh? In my house even angling the book towards a window does not provide enough light when a heavy cloudburst occurs.

Sometimes I try to imagine the work going on to repair the faults and reconnect the power. I wonder how they are getting on with it. Is someone hanging on to a pylon by their lower legs while straining to plait together the broken strands of cable? Are there men sawing noisily at a huge tree that got blown over bringing down a mile of cable with it? Wielding their chainsaws perilously close to their sandal shod feet while balancing precariously on a branch being sawn by others? Or maybe in a backroom of a power station someone is laboriously hand winding new wire onto the giant rotor of a generator with a crane standing by to lift it back into place and the whole to be reassembled and producing electricity in a couple of weeks time?

As the water in my five litre kettle pings it’s little boiling noises atop the wood burning stove I find time aplenty to wax lyrical about the possibilities. A week may be a long time in politics but three days is a long time without power. Is the food in the freezer going to spoil? The prepared stuff won’t but I have a leg of wild boar in there that I would be very disappointed about if I had to give it to the dogs, although they, no doubt, wouldn’t sympathise at all.

Stanley the cat curls up on his cushion near the stove and the house goes dark again as a new downpour starts. It will be a fine year for the crops next year.

A couple of weeks ago Nadir was ploughing his field using a wooden plough drawn by his horse and his donkey, an unlikely team I agree but they worked well together. How else would he do it?

Photobucket

How old is that plough? Only about 10 or 12 years, people still know how to make these things in some parts of the world. The field is too small to get a tractor in and if he bought a rotorvator it would be sitting idle for the rest of the year but his beasts can carry his crop to the mill in the next village and bring the resulting flour back home. He planted his wheat, broadcasting it from a pouch hung in front of him like a kangaroo’s pouch, and now it is three inches high already.

Well the power eventually came back on and everything returned to normal. People used to ask what we did before electricity, then they asked what we did before TV. Now I suppose they ask what we did before the internet. What will be next I wonder? Will I survive to see it? Do I want to?

Posted December 19, 2009 by cukurbagli in Uncategorized

On my travels

I haven’t posted anything for what seems like ages, sorry about that. Anyway a few weeks ago I went to Hungary so here are a few thoughts about the place and a few photographs of Budapest.

As soon as I got there I developed a pretty bad case of flu / swine flu / bird flu / man flu / or maybe it was just a cold, whatever, it made me feel crap. Actually looking back at it, it made me feel even more crap than I gave it credit for at the time. I put on a brave face of course (I’m such a hero, not.) but looking back at it I didn’t feel anything like my usual self until the last couple of days.

There are some wonderful things in Hungary, I’ll tell you about two of them. The first is Bogratch, a kind of stew made in a big cauldron that is suspended over a fire. I’m sorry I thought I had a photograph of it but apparently not. What a wonderful name though, the apparatus is called a bogratch as is the resulting dish so one can invite people to a bogratch in the same way as saying “come to a barbecue”. We had a bogratch on my birthday and the guests brought some Hungarian wine which didn’t get opened that day so it was put it in my bag to bring back to Turkey. Once back here I tried it and spread the drinking of it over two evenings, it was very nice indeed. Very similar to a lovely oaky Burgundy, thank you very much to the guests, I might come back for some more sometime.

While on the subject of drinks the other thing that I wanted to mention is Palinka, a sort of home made alcoholic spirit that keeps everybody warm on a winters’ night. I’ve drunk similar things, I just can’t remember when! I’ve always advocated drinking the locally made brew or distillation wherever I’ve been, I’ve found that nothing suits a place better than the stuff made on the spot and Palinka is no exception. It can be made from various fruits and apparently it can legally be done at home but the finishing must be done at a government regulated distillery which limits the alcoholic strength so that buildings are put up straight and white lines stay in the middle of the road. Some people do use it as a winter heart-starter at breakfast so providing you don’t work with dangerous machinery and the guy next to you doesn’t either you have a fighting chance of coming home from work in one piece.

I went to Budapest on the day before my flight back to Turkey so that I could do a little sightseeing and take a few photographs. Budapest straddles the river Danube with Buda on a hill on the west side and Pest on the plain on the east side. It has a long history and plenty of impressive old buildings, a lot of which were damaged and have been rebuilt since the last world war. This one is the Royal Palace built for the Habsburgs but apparently never lived in by them.

From up on the top of the palace you can see across the river Danube to Pest and the countryside beyond.

On the way back to Turkey I was a little disappointed to see LOL written above the windscreen of the aeroplane. Wonder what that’s all about.

My guitar playing friend Rob stayed in my house with his dog Pancho to look after my dogs while I was away and I was pleased to see that he still had all his hair and was capable of smiling when I got back. Thanks for that Rob.

Continuing my travel month I went to Izmir to see some friends and had a very good weekend. Izmir city is very busy and noisy. Approaching it on the motorway I came over a hill and saw that the complete landscape was covered in buildings. I was sure I’d have trouble finding the place I was supposed to be staying. For a bloke living in a little village used to seeing perhaps a dozen cars passing my house in a day it was a bit of a culture shock to say the least, crowded and very busy.

I did like going across the bay on a ferry….

….. and the one that we caught was timed just right to get a nice sunset shot.

I also visited Çesme, a small town to the west of Izmir where a lot of people have their summer homes. It is a tourist place really and is very quiet out of season. A nice relaxing place that I’m much more suited to. On the way back from there I took a couple of shots to show you how crowded the motorway is.Ahead…..

and to the rear…….

The road back to Kas gets gradually worse the further east that you come until the last few miles along the coast where the road is clinging by it’s toenails to the cliff rising steeply out of the sea. In the winter storms the sea spray can cover your car in a couple of places.

Posted November 9, 2009 by cukurbagli in Uncategorized

Gerry and the grape thief

Up on the wall in my kitchen I have often seen a little movement out of the corner of my eye but I’ve never been quick enough to catch what it is. Some would say I’m not quick enough to catch a cold, so it’s not surprising really. Well this evening I was sitting outside on the veranda watching the colours of the sunset and I fancied a beer. So I came in to get one and Stanley the cat was on the kitchen worktop looking at the roof and mewing at me. I had a look where he was looking and saw the latest addition to my menagerie, Gerry the Gekko. He’s a dear little thing, there are one or two more of them in the house and they do a good job catching the flies and any other insects that happen to be around. By the look of his tail he’s been a bit too close to Stanley, it looks as though he’s grown a new bit of tail. I’m very pleased to have him as a guest and I hope he can find enough food.

I caught a grape thief red handed the other day too. He and a few of his mates have been coming to my vines quite often.

Posted September 4, 2009 by cukurbagli in Uncategorized

Cute Baby Hedgehog

This is a completely gratuitous picture of one of the cutest hedgehogs I’ve ever seen and that is the only reason it is here. A very dear friend of mine in Hungary sent it to me, she feeds it with tinned cat food and it waits on her back step for it’s dinner every evening. I think this time it looks as though it’s tucking into some leftovers, unless the cat food manufacturers have started putting peppers and beans in the food!

Meet Hedgie

Is he/she cute or what? Don’t you just want to cuddle him??

Posted August 7, 2009 by cukurbagli in Uncategorized

Forest fire!

The smell of smoke gets my attention pretty quickly, well living in a wooden house it would, wouldn’t it?

I was sitting in the shade on the porch with the dogs and had just got 11 across on a crossword I was doing (Clue: The awe inspiring restraining the flighty. Answer: Feathered.) when I noticed that I had been sunconsciously sniffing the air. There was no trace of burning in the house so I looked further afield and spotted a large billow of smoke rising from behind the mountain on the other side of the valley. The smoke was coming my way.

Forest fires are a pretty common problem here in the summer, most of them get seen and put out quite quickly, for which we are very thankful. Some, however, rage on for days and destroy large areas of vegetation and all the animals within. Turkey has a pretty effective Forestry Fire Service and in a TV program a few months ago they showed the technology for spotting and monitoring the fires, the systems they have for managing the fire fighting effort and the fire crews and their equipment.

So when I heard the straining engines of a propellor driven aeroplane that sounded like it was going pass close by I raced for my camera. I was just in time to fire off some shots as one of the water bombers clawed it’s way past trying to gain height just after scooping up a full load of sea water.

WaterBomber

We see these aeroplanes a few times during the summer now, they are quite recent purchases by the Turkish government I think and they must be effective because the fire was extinguished very quickly. A fact that I was pleased about.

We had an earthquake a couple of days ago! the epicentre was quite close to Kas and the magnitude was 4.5. I was sitting on the veranda enjoying the evening at about 8.30 and suddenly it all moved. The dogs barked like mad and some of the water in the pool slopped over the side. When you think how many millions upon millions of tons of the earth are moved it kind of puts your life into perspective a bit.

Posted August 1, 2009 by cukurbagli in Uncategorized