Archive for March 2008

Dogs   Leave a comment

I’ve been taking the dogs for a walk everyday for a few weeks now but I’ve just tried a different method that I’m very happy with and has produced instant results. Jenny and I talk every evening on Skype, the free internet phone service. A couple of weeks ago she told me about a TV program she’d seen where a Mexican guy called Cesar Millan (also known as The Dog Whisperer) helps dog owners to get control of unruly, savage or generally troublesome dogs. His philosophy is to establish himself as leader of the pack and not teach dogs to sit, fetch a ball, or anything like that but to just treat them like dogs. One of the important things he teaches owners is that dogs need exercise and should be taken for a good walk first thing in the morning. They should be on a short lead and be held adjacent to or slightly behind your leg so that they know you are the leader and you are leading them. It sounds a bit obvious and not new but also seemed like a good idea so I’ve been doing that. At between 6 and 6.15am I get up and take Wilf and Alf up the road towards Pinarbasi, I set a fairly fast pace and end up pretty knackered myself, we walk for about fifty minutes to an hour. As a basic way of establishing your leadership it works well and the dogs no longer pull this way or that, they point their noses the way we are going and get on with it. It’s good exercise for me too and my knees aren’t aching so much now. There is a goatherders camp by the road that we walk up and I hadn’t been past it with them because I knew that they had dogs and I was a bit worried about what might happen if they came running out. Well today I thought I would just keep going at a brisk pace and walk straight on past them and there wasn’t a problem. Alf became quite nervous and put his head down and they both pulled a bit but they’ll be better next time now that they knows it’s ok. They can’t see anything from the road and can only hear the goats bleating and the women shouting so it’s not surprising that they get a bit nervous. They can also probably smell a lot of strange things that I can’t. Once we were well past they calmed down quickly again and got on with the business of having a walk.

The sky looks pretty black this morning and we might be in for some more rain soon. One of the Coptic Gales was due on Tuesday and as they can happen a couple of days sooner or later and last for three days that’s probably what it is.

The Copts were (and still are) a Christian religious sect whose history you can read more about here Among other things they noted the existence of regularly occurring storms in the eastern Mediterranean area and named them.
P.S. Well the above was written yesterday and since then it has been raining quite a lot along with the gale we had and was still raining when I took the dogs this morning. Today one of the goatherder’s dogs came running out barking at us. Wilf immediately surged toward it and Alf ran round in circles. I overbalanced and ended up on my back with my feet in the air in the middle of the road with a dog on the end of each arm going in different directions! Bugger! I thought I ought to be able to do a bit better than this so got to my feet wondering what the best plan was. There was no chance of me carrying on up the road with the dogs pulling like they were so I took half a dozen big paces towards the goatherder’s dog and growled “Geertcha” at it in what I hoped was a menacing tone. Well it tucked it’s tail under and fled so off up the road I went with the dogs. 1-0 to us but we had to come back in about 20 minutes. Anyway the dog was nowhere to be seen when we returned so it wasn’t a problem but Alf was pulling a lot as we passed by, he doesn’t like it there very much.

Posted March 29, 2008 by cukurbagli in Uncategorized

Hole in the road, battery, Meis

Well I haven’t uploaded a blog for a while so this will be quite a long one, and lots of photos too.

Taking the dogs for a walk a couple of weeks ago I came across this hole in the middle of the road.

A drainage pipe had collapsed and this was the result. As usual with hazards in the road it was marked by a two or three rocks placed in the road on the approaches to it. Very easy to spot in darkness!! This sort of thing happens a lot at this time of year, the rainwater washes away lots of stuff, notably garden soil and driveways. During that walk I found some Irises, there were hundreds of them so next time I go that way I’ll collect a few for the garden.

About four years ago I bought a Bosch professional quality electric screwdriver which came complete with two rechargeable batteries and a charger. The batteries stopped holding a charge a couple of months ago and it was very disappointing to find that the replacements would cost over £70 each here in Turkey. I decided to modify one of them so that I could use a 12v motorcycle battery which I can buy here for only 35 Lira. I took the casing off and removed one of the cells to give room for the cable to be knotted, it will be more secure that way, then I unsoldered the existing cables and soldered the new cable in place.

I left the overheating cut-out switch in place and crossed my fingers as I tried it out. Perfect! Then I tried it in the charger, it charged fine and even automatically cuts out when the battery is fully charged. Now all I have to do is make a connector to ensure the correct polarity rather than just connecting the wires to battery.

I’ll also make a pouch for the battery to fit on a belt and then I’ll be able to carry it around with me when I’m working on something. It will probably be even more convenient than it was before because the battery won’t have to be charged/changed anywhere near as often.

My friend Selahaatin (Selo) stopped me in Kas last week and invited me on a free trip to the Greek island of Meis 20 minutes away by boat from Kas. He has a new big boat now (he calls all his boats Altug) and news had gone round about the free trip so there were about 70 people on board when we set out.

Meis is a beautiful little place and even though it is so close to Kas everything about it is completely different. We got there in time to do a bit of shopping and then have lunch.

The restaurant owner, Angelos, looks after us very well.

It was a beautifully sunny day but quite cold in the shade and windy too.

Meis has what must be one of the sweetest little Duty Free shops in the world I think. I bought a nice bottle of Hennessy cognac, a bottle of what I hope is nice red wine and a big slab of my favourite chocolate, Cadbury’s Whole Nut, yum yum!

I had a walk around and took a few photographs too. Obviously the focal point of the place is the harbour and historically the people have gained their living from the sea through fishing and trade.

Although some of the fishing boats don’t look big enough!

There is quite a bit more to it than the harbour but it wasn’t really warm enough to go walking around looking for photogenic things. Maybe I’ll go again in a couple of months when they have the place decorated for summer and there are more flowers out.

The population has suffered a lot of ups and down from various occupying nations and was evacuated during World War 2. A few people returned after the war and now more are coming back but it is hard and expensive to do any building there because of regulations and the expense of importing all the materials.

That’s all for now.

Posted March 25, 2008 by cukurbagli in Uncategorized

Forgot   Leave a comment

Well I have just been going through some pictures and I realised that I didn’t post anything about going to Gömbe. Suleyman and I went up there in my car, he was most distressed to find some dog hairs on the seat and when I stopped for petrol he went and got a broom and swept it out but he did nothing but moan about it to everyone we met! This is on the road on the way up there:

The scenery up there is nice but you need something like snow, clouds or a sunset to show it off to it’s best advantage otherwise it just another picture of brown rocks, mountains and trees.
This one was on the way back down, a couple of the cedar trees that grow all over the hills there:

Gömbe town centre is very small but because a lot of the lower lying villages have their yaylas (mountain pasture/orchards) close by there is a large presence and the houses are very spread out. The place is really busy in summer when most people move up there with their animals and tend their fields. This is the town centre:

It looks more deserted than it really was. Most of the men were wandering around the centre chatting to each other, drinking tea and playing backgammon. There was no work for them to do in the fields at the time because there was snow everywhere and they don’t have anything else to do, it is an agricultural community and nothing much else goes on. They work very hard during the season though, long hours too.

A couple of days ago I was walking the dogs up the road towards Pinarbasi and I spotted this joint in the telephone cable:

so next time you’re griping because your all-singing-all-dancing fibre-optic broadband seems to be slow spare a thought for those of us who constantly have power cuts and access the internet through knotted string! I spotted another two poles with joints like it.

Thankfully I am now 99% recovered from the illness that has been giving me a lot of trouble recently. However I had the last antibiotic pill yesterday lunchtime washed down with some coca-cola. Stupidly I took it on an empty stomach and had an allergic reaction to it that was quite severe. It started with itching all over my face and shoulders, then my face and upper body went a bright red. A couple of hours later I started shivering and it got so bad I had to go to bed but kept shaking so much it was painful. It took about five hours to go after which I slept the night through. I can’t remember whether I fed the dogs or not but they didn’t seem particularly ravenous this morning. Thankfully I feel ok today apart from a headache which I’ve just taken some paracetamol for. Stanley the cat had to stay out all night but he’s used to doing that occasionally. He came home a couple of days ago limping badly with a wound on his left front paw. Looks like he was in a fight with something, he has two puncture wounds about 5mm apart so it could have been a little snake or a rat or cat biting with top and bottom teeth simultaneously. The cats do fight a lot in the spring, only natural I suppose but he has been neutered so you’d think he wouldn’t bother. He’s a lot better now, it has healed up well.

We are now at the height of the tortoise mating season and they are rampaging all over the garden. I’ve found 6 or 7 today alone, they have been relocated outside the fence. Here’s one of them from today:

Wilf thinks they are there just for his amusement and catches me unawares because he spots one and makes a dash for it before I can stop him, because he is on a lead it nearly rips my arm off. He will then carry it around until I take it off him, which is usually pretty quickly. If I can get him to drop it on command I will be really pleased but realistically I’ve got more chance of winning the lottery.

Posted March 24, 2008 by cukurbagli in Uncategorized

Not very well   Leave a comment

There was a drilling rig at the development site across the road from my place a few days ago. They must have been drilling for water since they’re also building about 30 houses to sell. It makes sense for them to do that rather than have several water tanks or even one large water tank. 30 houses are going to need a lot of water and then there are the gardens to consider, in summer they will need three or four tonnes a day for that size of development for the gardens alone. When all the houses are sold and occupied even more will be needed. The existing pipeline couldn’t possibly cope with that even if the water got up the hill that far.

At least the rig wasn’t too noisy and they didn’t start drilling too early or carry on much after dark in the evening. There are a few houses a lot closer to it than mine so it might have been a bit noisy for them. It looked like they were packing it all up on Monday but they just shifted the rig a few yards and have started drilling again now so maybe the first hole was no good. The drilling rig has now gone so I’ll have to have a walk over and ask if they struck water.

I’ve not been very well for the last week, in bed most of the time with sinusitis, flu, headaches, bad throat and generally feeling awful. Suleyman rang me up to go round to their house for dinner last Monday and when I got there he had the living room as hot as a sauna and he and his daughter Hatice were coughing and sneezing all the time. I should have known better than to stay but I’ll know for next time. Actually I did force myself to go to Kas on Thursday because the car was due for its annual check. Happily I was able to let Seyfettin do that for me while I went to see Dr Munise. She prescribed antibiotics which I got from the pharmacy then I waited for the car, came straight back and went to bed.

It’s now Monday afternoon (10th March). The dogs are a bit happier, I was able to take them for a walk this morning. I’m still feeling rough but not as bad as I was. I’m still lying down and sleeping in between taking the dogs out though, can’t manage much else. I’ve been trying to write this for the past week and every time I start I get tired and go back to bed, so I’m going to post this now I’ve got this far. Sorry if it all seems a bit scrappy and disjointed but that’s about how I feel just now. I’ve included a picture of a flower that has opened just outside the kitchen door, just thought it looked nice.

Posted March 10, 2008 by cukurbagli in Uncategorized

Rainy Sunday   Leave a comment

Today is cold, wet and miserable outside and when it is like that there is nothing better than to sit in a nice comfy chair by the fire. So that’s what I’m doing, sitting by the wood-burning stove. I watched the Superbike racing on TV from Philip Island in Australia. Some good racing, a nasty accident at the start of the second race and two wins for Troy Bayliss in front of his home crowd. Kenan Sofuoglu had a reasonable day too considering he’s only just moved up to Superbikes from Supersport. Later on I watched Robert Mitchum sorting out a rebellion against the government in Mexico. Old films are really great to watch and not full of swearing, bad acting and computer effects.
I went for a bike ride with Dave up into the mountains yesterday. Most of it was on dirt roads or forestry tracks which was a lot of fun.

We went through a village called Dirgenler and the area that was burnt by a forest fire last year. It was an enormous area turned into what looked like a wasteland. I felt sorry for all the animals that must have been caught in it. We had a minor hiccup caused by a puncture on Dave’s bike but overall we had a nice ride out and met some nice people. We plan to do it again before too long.

Posted March 2, 2008 by cukurbagli in Uncategorized