Archive for February 2008

Entrance   Leave a comment

Today I thought I would show you what my main project has been for the last three months. I wanted to make a proper entrance to the property from the road so work started on it just before Christmas. Ramazan was helping me for a few days each week but that seemed to tail off and I ended up doing it on my own. He had other work to do and probably got paid more than I would pay him too. This is what the entrance had looked like since we moved in. No that’s not my digger, but I wish I had one like it sometimes!

We had a gate made and fitted but apart from making a smooth surface on the drive we had just used it like that really. So just before Christmas I started. First the trench alongside the road surface was dug out to make a gully for the rainwater to go down and then some concrete was laid to form the walls.

I made a bridge across the gully with wooden slats and laid concrete reinforced with steel rods. It’s four inches thick and will take the weight of a loaded lorry in case I need some more sand.

It’s pretty much all rock by the road so digging that out was a bigger job than I thought. I had expected a bit more soil. The drive was widened at the same time by cutting into the bank and making a straight edge to the drive. A wall would be built along there to hold back the soil and rainwater. The walls were built first using concrete and rock then a layer of rock was put down on the drive surface and concrete laid on top of it. All the concrete was mixed by hand by the way, no ready-mix because it’s too sloppy to lay on a slope like this, and I couldn’t afford it anyway.
Here’s what it looks like now. Pretty good I reckon. When I have saved up some money I’ll buy some flat stone and cover the drive surface with it, the walls will be rendered and painted although I have to straighten up the top of the far wall first, it’s a bit wonky at the moment.

This end of it could do with a bit extra concrete laying to form a lead-in to the drive because it feels like you’ll drop down the hole if you’re not careful when you’re driving towards it. I’m pleased with it and considering I did most of it myself, quite proud too. Although I have needed a few weeks off to let my back and legs recover from it!

Posted February 29, 2008 by cukurbagli in Uncategorized

Flashback to 1952   Leave a comment

Here’s a bit of a laugh. This photograph of me was taken by my Dad sometime in 1952 I reckon. I hadn’t started school then and I well remember that little suit, a ‘Siren Suit’ my Mum called it. This was taken in the back garden of our house in Springfield Road, Sutton Coldfield. It brings back a lot of memories. It was probably one of the first rolls of colour film that my Dad used, Ilford colour slide film.

For those who are interested I copied it with a slide copier fitted to my Canon EOS 350D digital camera.
I’ve got a couple of boxes of these slides, all taken around the same time so I might post up a few more when I copied and sorted them.

Posted February 26, 2008 by cukurbagli in Uncategorized

Snow   Leave a comment

Today I got up to take the dogs out at 5.30, it was pitch black because the moon had set sometime earlier and there was full cloud cover and I noticed that there was a bit of snow on the car roof. Went back in and back to bed for an hour and when I got up again it was light and there was snow everywhere! There’s only about an inch or so but it changed the look of the village for a little while until the sun came over the hill.

Anyway I wanted to get the little bit of concreting on the drive done this morning but the snow has put paid to that plan. I have another job in reserve though, the thread broke on the leg of a pair of trousers so I’ll sew that or I’ll be walking around with one leg longer than the other. There’s also a button to sew on another pair of trousers so that might as well be done too. The weather forecast is for sunshine until Saturday now I will be able to do the concrete later in the week.

The dogs and I went for a little walk up the Pinarbasi road yesterday and they enjoyed having a good sniff at new things. Wilf found a bit of carpet that he carried for about a mile but got fed up with it eventually. We found the remains of a donkey that had died and that gave them something to have a good look at. Surprisingly they weren’t all that interested in it but they were very interested in one of the goatherders’ dogs which was there too. With the two of them pulling it was hard to hold them and the leads were cutting into my hands. They are a lot stronger than you would expect for dogs of that size, Alf is the stronger, much more stockily built than Wilf.

I’ve been a bit disappointed in the firewood that we’ve had this winter. It is all pretty useless and burns very quickly. It puts out enough heat but the fire won’t stay in all night and when I check it in the morning it is cold. The house wasn’t too cold first thing but I was fed up with having to start the fire again so a couple of days ago I bought some coal in Agullu and tried banking up the stove with that. It worked a treat! In the morning there was a nice bed of hot coals and the house was nice and warm. It also makes the house smell of coal a bit which took me back to my childhood.

Posted February 18, 2008 by cukurbagli in Uncategorized

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Well there was I saying we could do with a bit more rain for the water reserves and my wish was granted. For the last few days we have been having biblical quantities of it, even some hail too. It will be very good for the crops this year. The almond blossom isn’t out yet but the buds are there, waiting for a warm spell probably. I heard that some of the trees in Spain have blossomed already, maybe it’s a bit warmer there.

I said that I was going to do a bit of gentle pickaxe work getting another section of the drive ready to concrete. Well I did a little bit but the rain stopped me from doing more so that’s on hold until we have a couple of dry sunny days and the soil gets a bit less glutinous. It sticks to the pick and shovel and you end up wielding a stick with 10 kilos of mud on the end of it.

Yesterday I bought some more trees and planted them. 6 fig trees and 4 almonds. I put them in what was the vegetable garden which has been well cultivated and manured so they will do well there. I planted all of them in under an hour! Only got Jenny to thank for preparing the soil so well, in any other part of the garden it would have taken a day and a half to dig 10 holes.

We have had the constant noise of the excavator preparing a piece of land near us for a new house to be built. Well I say preparing land but that implies there is some soil. Actually it is a rock outcrop overlooking the village.

It will be interesting to see building progress.

I took Wilf and Alf for a walk up to the top of the ridge at the back of the house yesterday morning. That was a nice walk first thing in the morning but I was too worried about the cold and ended up very hot. Got some nice photos though and the boys had a nice time smelling all the new things. There was a lot of evidence of wild boar around too, some of it only just outside our fence. I’ve heard them lots of times when the dogs have been barking. Here’s a view of the village from halfway up there.

This morning I had a drive up to the top of the mountain, close to the top right of this photograph, and got a couple of photographs of the mountains further north all covered in snow. I didn’t have my polariser with me though so they’re not as good as they could be. Suleyman and I are going to go up to Gombe into the mountains on Monday or Tuesday. All the rain we had here will have fallen as snow up there so should be able to get some nice photographs, watch this space.

Posted February 15, 2008 by cukurbagli in Uncategorized

Limping   Leave a comment

Hello boys and girls. Alf is limping on his left back leg today. Yesterday he wasn’t limping and the day before it was his right leg so I don’t know what is happening.

I’m starting to get withdrawal symptoms because I haven’t made any concrete for three weeks now as I’m supposed to be looking after the injury to my knee. Well I’m going to have to do something tomorrow I think, a little gentle pickaxe work on the drive is probably the best. I had a bonfire to get rid of trimmings and dead grass yesterday, also got rid of some rubbish that Wilf brought back from one of his forays into the world outside the garden.

Went over to Kasaba to see some friends the other day and took the dogs, they had a great time. David and Juliet will run some motorcycle off road holidays in the near future. Here’s David in front of their enormous stone house.

I went to the restaurant in Agullu for lunch today. Ă–mer has a variety of dishes on the menu but one of the things that he is very good at is pide, a bit like a pizza and you can have different toppings too. I like them a lot but don’t eat them all the time, only special occasions like the second Thursday in the month .

Not much else to say today really. Hope you’re all happy and well. All the best for now.

Posted February 7, 2008 by cukurbagli in Uncategorized