Archives for category: Cats

What? What is? Sun, sea, sand, Turkish waiters?

Well yes, all of them but what I am referring to in this instance is cat hair.

As you may know I moved over to Turkey with my two little lovelies and now I spend most of my time eating, wearing and picking up cat hair.

If I open a balcony door a gust of wind finds all the hair that has started it’s own eco-system under the bed or sofa and wafts it across the rest of the apartment.

I hoover practically every day but it is never-ending and it isn’t even the height of summer yet.

My only question is why aren’t the ruddy things bald by now?

Maybe I’ll take a tip from some of the local dog owners who shave their dogs’ hair really short so they don’t overheat in the summer. My favourite being the ‘lion’ in Calis who has been shaved except for the end of his tale and his head – if you need a Simba for the next instalment of Lion King then I think I’ve found him…

Hear me roar...

Hear me roar…

Well, I’ve survived my first week. I’ve not been deported, got lost, housed 100 stray cats or fallen into the marina so I think I’m doing pretty well.

Of course, at the moment, I stick out like a sore thumb. I am so pale that I suspect I give off a white glare whenever the sun rests on me, and I don’t mean a nice, sparkly, vampire kind of glare either. And there’s me walking around in cropped trousers and vest tops while the locals still shiver away in their jeans, jumpers and jackets.

I have to confess that I have been clinging to my friends who live out here, Julia and Mick, like a limpet. Julia in particular has had to practically prise my fingers from her arm but as the days go by I am getting braver; I’ve sat outside a bar on my own to use their wifi, I’ve checked out the local gym (not joined yet – small steps ladies and gentlemen, small steps), I’ve gone to the pet shop and the supermarket, I’ve even been into the local Turkcell mobile phone shop and topped up my phone credits on my new Turkish phone.

You absolutely cannot fault the service here. The Turkish people are incredibly helpful. One example is where I wanted to get some new nets for my lounge. I went into the net shop (with Julia obviously), picked some material I liked and then the owner drove us both back to my apartment there and then to measure up (no off the peg stuff for me you understand). He then apologised profusely, saying he was so very busy that he wouldn’t be able to get the nets ready for me until Friday…oh, did I mention that this happened on the Wednesday? That’s right, he was apologising for taking TWO whole days to get my order ready. In the UK, it would probably take two days just to get the quote. Impressed? Yep, me too.

Of course, there are the stereotypes too and I did get asked out by a waiter on day three…

Later this week I am going to see a lawyer with a rather dashing Turkish interpretor to sign a new lease on the apartment I have just moved in to and then the same rather dashing Turkish interpretor is going to help me get my residency, after which I’d probably ask him to marry me if another English lady hadn’t got there before me – damn.

The view from my 'office'

The view from my ‘office’

Then, thank god, once I’ve got residency I can get internet and TV at home. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s all been very pleasant forcing myself to regularly sit outside a restaurant by the clear blue water in a warm breeze whilst I check out my emails, facebook and of course, write my blog, but that doesn’t solve my TV problems. God, I miss TV, way more than I thought I would. I desperately need to know if Steve McGarrett has taken his shirt off in Hawaii 5-O, or if Derek Morgan has taken his shirt off in Criminal Minds, or even if Oliver Queen has taken his shirt off (again) in Arrow (I’m starting to see a pattern forming here…). Alternatively, I guess I could always watch a Twilight DVD and settle for Jacob taking his shirt off…

I’m also happy to report that the cats are settling in nicely. Munch is acting like she has been here all her life. Scooby, well, he’s still a bit shy but he’s moved from behind the headboard and now spends his days under the duvet in my bedroom, but he does come out in the evening so we are making progress.

So, that’s the story so far. I’ll be back soon to fill you in on my progress…unless I run off with the Turkish waiter of course…

Hi all. Firstly, thank you all for your good luck messages. Apologies for not answering them personally but internet access is a bit random at the moment.

Anyway, last time I wrote about travelling with cats I talked about my solution to gallivanting around the world whilst someone else did the ‘pet parent’ job. Well, this time, whole new ball game. This time, Munch & Scooby became (reluctant) international travellers.

Whilst there is no denying that the process of taking animals abroad is a very slow one, not to mention a hugely expensive one, the actual day of the move was very simple and easy. Firstly, myself and the driver from the pet couriers dropped the kitties off at the cargo terminal at Gatwick. Papers were signed, kitties were checked over, travel crate was transferred into the holding area. I did have one small moment of panic when I asked the nice lady what happened to them before the flight. Her opening sentence was ‘Well, when we’ve put them down…’ PUT THEM DOWN. What? What do you mean ‘put them down’? After I’d finished hyperventilating she finished her sentence ‘…out of the way, then we’ll give them some water’.’ Ah, ok, breath and relax.

I then headed to the main terminal and checked myself in. Whilst waiting to board I saw one of those little golf buggy things drive up to the plane with the crate on it, un-attach itself and then drive off leaving the crate outside the plane. Passengers were asked to board but I wasn’t going anywhere until I’d seen that crate get loaded onto the plane. I very much resembled a lovelorn teenager from some bad romance movie, hands and nose against the window, tears in the corners of my eyes, snot running down my face. But eventually they got put on the plane and I headed for my seat.

Now, I have to say, Dalaman Airport was impressive in this instance. Not sure if you’ve ever been there but it is a pretty small airport, only 2 baggage carousels, £8 for a Mars Bar (roughly!) and not a great deal of shops. But when it comes to pet transport they’ve got it nailed. I was waiting for my luggage to come out when all of a sudden, behind me, I heard a plaintive little meow, I turned and there they were, being wheeled out of a side door by a man who, to me, was now eligible for the role of being my next husband! Paperwork was signed, luggage was collected and I was out of there in about 20 minutes. Sorted.

As for settling into the new apartment – well, Munch, how I admire thee – she got out of the crate, sniffed around, sat on the sofa, sniffed around again and then sat on the bed. No messin’. Scooby on the other hand disappeared behind the bed headboard for the first 36 hours and even managed at one point to get in the 4 inch gap behind the washing machine. Poor love.

Munch, all settled in

Munch, all settled in

Hmm, Scooby, not so much

Hmm, Scooby, not so much

I admit to behaving like a new mum over the last 2 days – reporting on Munch’s first poo in the litter tray, Scooby’s first meal, first time they both joined me in bed. And when Munch bravely ventured out onto my first floor balcony it was like watching your firstborn go out on a bike without stabalisers – I followed her around, arms outstretched, hands within inches of her back ready to make a grab for her. But I needn’t have worried, even she realises she can’t fly (although I suspect she might bounce!).

So, there we have it. Two international cats, embracing their new life in the warmth, avidly watching next door’s chickens. I think they will be ok you know.

As for me…well I’ll let you know how I’m getting on next time…

Right, well it’s almost time. Just under 5 hours until my internet and cable get turned off and just over 8 hours until our ride to the airport turns up.

Farewells have been made, tears have been shed, bags have been packed, flat has been spring cleaned, all recorded TV shows have been watched and the kitties are asleep and completely oblivious to the hell I am going to put them through in 8 hours time. I like to think of it as revenge for 15 years of being woken up at 4am for breakfast!

I can’t deny that I’ve spent a lot of this afternoon with my head in my hands going ‘Oh God, Oh God, Oh God’ – not because I don’t want to go, absolutely not – can’t wait to get there. But more because finally the reality of a year long dream is happening, right now.

I love the UK, it is my home and always will be but this time tomorrow I will, hopefully, be sitting on my new balcony in my new apartment with the warm air on my face and the kitties happily checking out their new abode.

But as I go into the final hours of my meltdown I will leave you with a poem that my friend, Sally, wrote about Turkey after her mum and sister visited…enjoy and I’ll see you on the other side…

The Trip.

“I feel I need a holiday” Molly had been saying,
but nothing had materialised, despite repeated praying.

Then one day a letter came, right out of the blue,
“A week away in Turkey, is what we offer you!”

“Here at Readers Digest, your custom’s valued deeply,
that’s why this vacation, is priced so very cheaply”.

Lynda said she’d love to go, to Molly on the phone,
“We’ll have such a good time & I’ll be your chaperone”.

They flew out to Antalya, when March was almost done,
happy & excited, their trip had now begun.

A busy week was scheduled, with others on a bus,
of Molly, almost 82, they really made a fuss.

Konya, Cappadocia, lovely Turkish food,
as for Whirling Dervishes, they weren’t really in the mood.

“Restore your youth with mud baths”, most hearing this would scoff,
but Molly, having three of them, found 30 years came off!

Emerging from a hamam, as she stood upon the street,
an elated Molly shouted, “rejuvenation is complete!”

She cast away her walking stick, & then began to prance,
people called “Marsallah!” & smiled at Molly’s dance.

Lynda tugged at Molly’s arm, “Mum it’s time we went”,
but Molly said “I’ve money, on a carpet to be spent”.

Ali, he was waiting, teapot in one hand,
“Welcome my dear ladies. First you must understand….”

“My carpets are so special, buy one if you dare,
Any place you wish to go, they will take you there”.

The carpet sale concluded, Molly felt delirious,
Lynda said “Oh Mum, you really can’t be serious!”

Said Molly “I feel marvellous, & have the urge to travel,
there’s so much world I want to see, with mysteries to unravel”.

“I see from your expression, you think I’ve gone berserk,
but I have lots of time, dear, whereas you must go to work”.

A worried Lynda, flying home, tried to have a nap,
did mother know the Skyway Code, & had she got a map?

Suddenly, across the sky, she saw her gliding gently,
making some adjustments, to her sat-nav, evidently.

Alongside Molly’s “L” plate, a sign said “TMV”
(“Turkish Magic Vehicle”, this means apparently).

Molly looked so happy, sipping linden flower tea,
she then produced a rolling pin, & made a gozleme.

Sensing Lynda’s apprehension, Molly held this sign,
“Please don’t fret about me, love, I will be just fine……

“I estimate my journey, might take about a year,
I’ll send you pretty postcards saying, I wish you were here”.

She blew a kiss & waved goodbye, as she drifted past the moon.
Molly, on her carpet, disappearing all too soon.

Considering a holiday, with Mum, where east meets west?
then follow the advice below, is what one would suggest.

Please avoid all carpet shops. Give mud baths a very wide berth,
unless you want to send your mother, soaring round this earth!

(Copyright Sally Maxted)

Well, here it is, the moment you have been waiting for…the big reveal of the third Bucket List item I ticked off last weekend (you’ve had sleepless nights waiting for this haven’t you?)

If you haven’t already guessed by the rather vague description in the title, I went zorbing on Saturday morning thanks to my friend and blog follower, Ian, who sent me a voucher for an, erm, zorb.

Julie and I turned up at the venue bright and early and, once the pods had been inflated we just had to wait for one other couple to roll down the hill in wild abandon before we did. If you’ve never been zorbing before I feel I should let you know that there is absolutely no way you can retain your dignity as you need to launch yourself through the hole in the pod or, in my case, get stuck half in/half out with your arse up in the air. Once you’ve regained your composure you get strapped down opposite your companion and then before you know it you are off…it only lasts about 30 seconds but that’s enough time for your stomach, brain and eyes to all go in different directions!

Not our most elegant moment!

Not our most elegant moment!

Ready for launch...

Go for launch…

I had an absolutely brilliant time and am so glad I crossed it off the list but no-one, not a single person, not even one of the employees warned me exactly how many of my nails would get ruined – three to be exact – I am sure there should have been something in the disclaimer about that.

And, not to be outdone, Munch decided to try her paw at homemade zorbing later on that day…

Munch zorbing

Me aged around 5, wasn't I adorable?

Me aged around 5, wasn’t I adorable?

Today is my 43rd birthday. I’m not sure how that happened as I am convinced I was only 22 when I went to bed last night.

But the last four and a bit decades have been pretty good to me. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my tough moments. I’ve lived with asthma all my life, I left home when I was 17 as I didn’t get on with my stepdad, my relationship with my own father wasn’t (and still isn’t) a lot better, I sat through an entire Britney Spears concert (without earplugs), I don’t often see 2 of my 3 siblings, all my grandparents have passed away and I’ve got a failed marriage behind me.

However I am a strong believer in the fact that it is the tough times that make you the person you are today. And today I like who I am. I am independent, self reliant, maybe a bit too cynical, debt free, honest, healthy and happy. I’ve only got a small circle of friends but I love each and every one of them dearly and I hope they feel the same way. My mother is also healthy and happy and I have a fantastic relationship with the sibling I do still see. I’ve had great opportunities to see the world and to do things many people can only dream about. And, of course, I have 2 cats whom I adore and who constantly bully me.

Cats

Conserving their energy so they can hassle me at 5am

And I hope today is merely the half way point in my life. It is certainly the point where I am making the biggest change I’ve ever done. In exactly one month’s time I will be packing up the cats and leaving these shores, having sold pretty much everything I have. I’ll be leaving behind family and long term friends and habits and customs that I am familiar with. I’ll be starting again in a country that has a completely different way of life, not to mention a completely different weather system. I will only know 2, yes 2, people out of a population of nearly 74m, I’ll be waking up to the sound of chickens and the call to prayer every day and I’ll be learning a new language (probably quite badly!).

But, since joining the world of blogging and reading other blogs, I’ve realised exactly how much sadness there is in the world. Of course I know there are billions of people who worry about where their next meal will come from, who don’t know if their family are alive or dead, who don’t know if they are going to see another sunrise. But I never realised quite how many people there are out there who are upset, confused, angry, hating themselves, hoping to find a direction in life.

This has made me all the more determined to enjoy every experience I can in life, grab all opportunities by the nuts and, most importantly to write about them in a way that will make you, my blogging friends, smile, chuckle, laugh out loud even – if I can cheer up just one person then I’ve done a good job.

As Helen Keller said “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing”. Well, I’m not quite ready for nothing so I’m going to blow out those birthday candles and start packing…

Woo Hoo! Let's Get Living

Woo Hoo! I’m Alive!

“As every cat owner knows, nobody owns a cat”

Ellen Perry Berkeley

If you are a pet parent you will know that they can seriously restrict your travel plans, unless you are as lucky as my fellow blogger, The Blonde Coyote, who has two adorable dogs who are more at home on the road than in front of a roaring fire.

Your options are usually limited to leaving them with family, getting the neighbours to pop in to feed them or dropping them off at a kennel/ cattery/piggery(?). Alternatively you can do what I did and find yourself an ‘Aunty Kelly’. Kelly is a lovely, bubbly, sweet Texan lady in her twenties that I met back in 2010 when I was looking for a way to travel more without feeling guilty about making my mum take 2 buses each way, each day to make sure that my little darlings didn’t experience hunger pangs (although not sure Munch has ever experienced hunger pangs and am convinced she could live off her own body fat for a week, if not a month!).

Kelly and her partner Jon run a pet sitting company, Tender Loving Pet Care, and they will look after any animal that comes their way, from cats and dogs to ferrets and chickens, and a pet visit costs from as little as £8 with a dog walk being from £7. Kelly also has an over-riding desire to look after a pig (she can look after my ex husband if she likes!) so if you have one that needs looking after let her know and that’s one thing I can help her tick off her Bucket List.

One of Kelly's snapshots with Scooby taking a lot more interest in her than he does in me

One of Kelly’s snapshots with Scooby taking a lot more interest in her than he does in me

The kitties absolutely adore her and she always leaves me a note for my return letting me know if they’ve embarrassed me or not, she sends me pictures of them during my absences, she sends them birthday cards and presents (I don’t bloody get anything though, humph), and, more importantly, for the last few years I haven’t had to put up with the silent treatment when I get home from holidays. In fact, I’m surprised they’ve not emailed me telling me not to rush back, although to be fair that may only be because they don’t have opposable thumbs. Note to self: they are cats, CATS, for god’s sake woman, get a grip.

Kelly with her own cat, Winnie

Kelly with her own cat, Winnie

I’m going to miss Kelly when I move to Fethiye, although probably not as much as the kitties will but I’ve got a dastardly plan which involves offering her free holiday accommodation that might, just possibly, coincide with a trip I plan to take…But for now, if you need a pet sitter and you happen to live within 10 miles of Halling in Rochester, Kent, UK drop her a line…she’s awesome.

Well, it’s been another expensive week at the vets.

They both had to go back for blood tests on Friday and Munch, being the diva that she is, threw a complete hissy fit and wouldn’t let the nice lady vet get anywhere near her (again).

So this morning I had to take her back and leave her there to be sedated so they could take her bloods. Munch, one day you will learn that the vet always wins.

Of course, I had the usual issue of not being allowed to give her breakfast and I could hardly feed Scooby without feeding her could I, so he had to wait too. You could tell their personalities just by the looks on their faces when they realised this. There’s Munch with her ‘WTF! Where’s my breakfast b***h? If I had opposable thumbs I wouldn’t even need you. Give me my food NOW!’ look and Scooby with his ‘What have I done? I’m sorry, I won’t do it again, please don’t stop loving me’ look.

When I came back from the vet empty handed, Scooby’s look changed more to ‘Damn, I am going to be a good cat. If I’m not she will put me in a basket and I’ll never be seen again’. In fact, he ran away from me any time I went near him. So, no doubt he was glad when she got home although she wasn’t quite so happy, she wobbled all over the place and didn’t even eat her food – jeez, she must have felt rough.

But my main grizzle today is that we wouldn’t be doing all these trips if the authorities spoke to each other a little more often. It definately seems like the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. There’s DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) telling me we don’t need to do blood tests and the pet courier company saying we do. It took me about a week to get a definitive answer and it turns out the Turkish authorities have changed their rules recently but haven’t got round to telling DEFRA. I knew I should have trusted the courier lady right from the start.

But I’m going to cling to the fact that my two vets have the surnames of Hope and Lovely and that my courier lady’s surname is Bunny (not sure what came first, the job or the surname!) – that’s got to be a sign. Right?

Part of my thinks that if I didn’t have the cats I could have been there already and thus avoid the snow that is blanketing England. But the bigger part of me knows that I wouldn’t dream about leaving them behind and that my life out there wouldn’t be complete without them getting under my feet and leaving cat hair in my food.

I guess it’s official, I guess I’ve known it for a long time, but I really am a mad cat lady…

Sian, cat whisperer

Sian, cat whisperer

And…hot off the press…just minutes ago I got confirmation of my travel date. 15th April. Woo hoo.

Damn. It’s real. I’m really going. PANIC!

Morning all

We all know I’ve got two cats – Munch & Scooby.

Due to the fact I live at the top of a block of flats with limited access, they are indoor cats. This means I know where they are at all times.

Well, at least I thought I did!

All cat lovers know that they can get into mischief when left to their own devices so I like to keep an eye on them and make sure I haven’t accidentally shut them in anywhere and I ended up spending a full 15 mins looking for Munch this morning.

Now, as you know, she isn’t a small cat so there are only so many places she can hide. She wasn’t in a cupboard, she wasn’t under the bed, she wasn’t in the washing machine (well, you never know), she wasn’t behind the sofa, she wasn’t behind the tv, she wasn’t behind the curtain…where the hell was she…?

Then Scooby dived in to help with the search, literally, and that’s when I heard a little squeak. Ha, found her, curled up in my bundled up duvet.

It’s a bit cold, I think I might join her.

Munch in hiding

Well, what a productive week it’s been my friends.

On Friday I took the kitties to the vets for their rabies injections. Now anyone who has been following my blog will know that Munch turns into one big claw as soon as she sets her eyes on the vet. However, I’ve now come to the conclusion that this has nothing to do with being frightened of needles but more the embarrassment of being put on the scales, because my Munch, bless her, is not the slimmest cat in the world…and us women don’t like to weigh ourselves with an audience do we?

The other reason I know it isn’t a fear of needles is because Munch isn’t afraid of anything. How many other cats do you know will stare down a vacuum cleaner rather than run behind the nearest sofa? Maybe she thinks it dispenses food. I don’t know.

Fearless

However, in the end, to be on the safe side, we went with a stealth attack. As she cowered in the back of the cat basket we simply took the top of it off. I guarded the front, my sister distracted her by tapping her on the head – apparantly a good distraction technique although if someone was tapping me on the head I’d probably punch them – and the vet did her stuff. Voila. Done.

The lovely Scot working hard

In other exciting news, my buddy Scot came round to decorate my flat on Saturday. Now what can I tell you about Scot? Well, firstly I can tell you that I’m not spelling his name wrong. His mother either nodded off or the pen ran out when they were doing the birth certificate but he does only have one T at the end of his name. Scot is what is known as an ‘Essex Boy’ – he’s got the gift of the gab, he’s got charm, he’s got the gold chain round his neck, he’s got a great sense of humour and an enormous smile. He also, I discovered this morning, cannot tell the time, arriving 2 hours late but I guess you can’t have everything. I tell you now though,  if I was 20 years younger and knew then what I know now this poor guy wouldn’t even make it out of my flat before committing to marriage and children. He really is one in a million. And he paints really fast. Bonus. Although in hindsight that may be because he can read my mind and wants to make a rapid exit before I finalise my evil plan.

And did I mention my sister is buying my flat? No? Well she is. Awesome.

And my final bit of news. Well, this really is the icing on the cake. The company I currently work for have agreed to take me on as a powerpoint specialist – that basically means making documents look pretty. But I can do this from the bed/balcony/bath/bar/beach in Turkey and I can choose how little or how much I work. I’ve even worked out I only need to work 3 days a month to earn enough money to live on. Sorted.

But, is it all going too well? I don’t know. I worry. What if a cat gets ill, what if I get ill, what if  my mum gets ill? What if my flat burns down before I sell it? Ok, ok, I’m getting silly now. I’m going to stop worrying and be very British and have  a cup of tea and a biscuit.

See you soon….

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