Archives for category: Fethiye

Ok, so it’s been a while since I’ve been on here but, due to an unexpected change in my living arrangements, I now have a bit more time on my hands (isn’t it amazing how much time is spent picking up someone else’s underpants!).

One thing that has never and will never be on my Bucket List is diving. I’m asthmatic, I’m terrified of the thought of drowning, I can’t swim very well…so, what did I do in August? That’s right, I went diving…

My attempts at yoga in the last few years gave the opportunity to meet a young lady called Maria who, with her hubby, owns and runs a Diving Company here in Fethiye. Dolphin Diving to be exact. One day I was just walking past the dive boat and thought ‘ah bugger it, you only live once’ and found myself booking a ‘Try Dive’.

So, there I was on the day, crapping myself, nervously making conversation with the other divers, and convinced this was going to be my last day on earth.

After a beautiful journey to a small bay, and some basic instructions from Can (Maria’s rather dashing husband), I was sewn into a diving suit, strapped into the tanks and weighed down with a weight belt.

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Try Dive’s are really simple; you don’t have to learn about controlling anything except your breathing, the Dive Master holds your hand the whole time and all you have to do is flap your legs and look around.

The first dive was wonderful – so many fish, feeding the aforementioned fish, not drowning – you know, all that sort of stuff.

Second dive? Well, not quite so successful. Almost as soon as I got in the water I got water in my mask. I obediently did what Can taught me but forgot one crucial step and ended up with more water in my mask. So what did I do? Well, I did the thing any sane person would do, I panicked! But it was ok because my hero, Can, was there, calming me down, making sure I didn’t forget to breathe and before I knew it I was back on dry land (boat) relieving my journey into the deep.

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Will I do it again? I don’t know. Maybe. Possibly. Hmm, probably not. But I can at least say I’ve tried it and now go off and do something else that IS on the Bucket List.

 

Hello all.

Sorry, it’s been a while. I promise you haven’t missed much.

But now I’ve got something to tell you – I don’t think I’ve mentioned it before but I’ve recently started volunteering at the local cat shelter (Kedi Evi). Myself and a number of other dedicated volunteers do one or two shifts a week and spend a good four hours scooping up crap (there’s no polite way of putting it, sorry!). We must have over 60 cats there now so that’s a lot of crap!

Kitten season has just finished and we’ve been overwhelmed by the number that have turned up on our doorstep but, unfortunately, if we don’t take them then who knows where they will end up!

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cats 2

We’ve also got a couple who have been with us so long that they’ve become mascots of the Kedi Evi with Mr G (below) being the daddy of all cats.

Mr GAnd, yes, we’ve also had the old cat up a tree scenario but that meant firemen so you didn’t hear any complaints from me – until they turned up that is and I realised that I might get tall and dark but handsome obviously had a day off!

firemenAnyway, I’ve gone off theme a bit so where was I?

Ah yes, well, last November my beloved Munch passed away, aged 17, leaving a gaping 4 legged hole in my life.

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But all that changed when, one day back in May, I turned up at the Kedi Evi and found a gorgeous, almost new, bundle of fluff that had been abandoned outside the gate. I took one look into those big, sad eyes and knew there was a good chance that hole was just about to be filled.

There was only one aspect of this plan that I hadn’t bargained for….this cute, soppy eyed bundle of fluff was a puppy, a 10 week old puppy to be exact.

A DOG! Bloody hell, I don’t want a dog. I’ve never wanted a dog. I’ve still got one very old, very grumpy cat who will not now, not ever, accept a dog into the household.

But I picked this puppy up and it put a paw on each of my shoulders and buried it’s face in my neck and that was it, I was smitten, I was in love. I called Ronnie and asked “Can we keep it just for a few days until it finds a forever home?” (yeah right). He said ok, as long as it really was just for a few days.

Well, luckily for me, the puppy’s charm didn’t just work on me and it was love at first sight for Ronnie. It’s taken Scooby a little longer and there have been a few claws in nose incidents but we’re getting there.

Day 1 and she’s already pinched Scooby’s bed:

11048728_10153230424425141_7998993234083172172_n“He’s behind me isn’t he?”

11112217_10153259983150141_4028450535096947750_nAll that’s left for me to say (whilst I wince and rub the tooth marks on my arm, leg, other arm, head etc, etc, etc) is “thank you for choosing me Cookie, there is absolutely no doubt you’ve changed my life for the better.”

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Hang on…..what’s that rumbling I can hear in the background? I think it might be Munch turning in her grave…

Every so often I like to write a little post about someone who has done the same as me – given up everything they’ve ever known and moved to a new country for a new beginning.

So when my friend, Sue, invited me to lunch I figured it was as good a time as any to have a chat with her about how she ended up here in Fethiye after spending most of her life in Alberta, Canada.

SueThe first thing I learnt about her is that when she invites you to lunch you say yes – and make sure you wear lose fitting clothes. There’s me strolling down to meet her at her home, expecting a sandwich, maybe some ice cream if I’m lucky but, blimey, how wrong I was. There on the table was a chef prepared meal including salad, a chicken thingy with mushrooms and cheese (not sure that’s the technical name for it but hey ho) and some chips in honour of my British upbringing.

lunch

Anyway, after stuffing myself and getting away with gently suggesting I take a doggy bag home with me, we began the interview and this is what I found out…

Sue originally discovered Fethiye after being on holiday in Marmaris in September 2012, where a friend suggested a gulet trip that departed from Fethiye. She admits to being a bit reluctant but ended up falling in love with not only the area but the boating lifestyle. Soon afterwards she started looking at ways she could orchestrate a move here and how she could make a living legally.

Like most of us, myself included, it was a bit of a pipe dream but then tragedy struck and her house in Alberta completely burnt down on Christmas Day of 2012. Not only did Sue lose everything she owned, she also lost some of her beloved pets.

As if this wasn’t enough to persuade her it was time for a change, a few weeks later she suffered a series of detached retinas and lost a significant amount of vision in both eyes so couldn’t continue her Project Management career that she’d worked so hard to establish.

Now, at this point, I think a lot of us would have said ‘oh **** it’, settled down with a large bottle of vodka and locked ourselves away from the world.

Well, not our Sue, she saw this as the opportunity she had been waiting for – after all, aside from family and friends, what was there now to keep her in Canada – no home, no job, no pets, no nothing.

Of course, we can’t forget the issue of her not now being able to see particularly well. Before coming to Fethiye she had to have extensive operations that involved something like fluid being removed from her eyes and replaced with Freon gas (must admit I cringed and stopped listening at this point!), and a dreadfully long recovery which included many, many months of “face down” bed rest, starring at the carpet of the hotel where she had stayed since the house fire.

The upside of this was that it gave her time to consider her options – it was either that or watch Jeremy Kyle – and she came up with the idea of buying a gulet, living on it and offering week long cruises around the gorgeous coast of Turkey.

Swiftly moving on to January 2014 and we now find Sue the proud owner of the Neşko gulet thanks to a travel agent in Istanbul and his contacts who helped her find the boat. It wasn’t in great condition mind you. So with the help of some great Turkish friends she renovated the entire vessel, installed new bathrooms, air con, seating – you name it, it was replaced. The same friend introduced her to Kamil, who is now her Chef and she also employed a Captain, Master Sailor and a Cadette and on April 1st 2014 the gulet hit the water for the first time. It didn’t sink, which I think is always a good thing for a boat and they took their first paying passengers in May this year.

Nesko

The most popular cruise route, and Sue’s favourite, is the Blue Cruise from Fethiye to Kekova, where her guests have seen turtles, dolphins and colourful fish as well as some stunning scenery.

Of course she doesn’t quite know what she’ll be doing in the future but for now, sailing on the open seas and sharing this wonderful country with visitors from all over the world is enough to keep her smiling. And, let’s face it, when you think that a mere 17 months previously her whole life was a smouldering pile of ash, I reckon the girl’s done good.

If you’d like to know more about Sue’s gulet cruises you can visit her website or Facebook page.

Me? Well I’m hoping she’ll get so much business from this blog that I’ll get a free trip but, in the meantime, I’ll settle for another one of those chicken thingy’s…

Crew

My sister is what I would call an accomplished horse-woman, which in my eyes is anyone who can get on a horse and not immediately fall off the other side.

In May she came to visit, along with her boyfriend, and was keen to do some horse riding in the local area. Now, as she is my little sister by 12 years I obviously have a responsibility to look after her, spoil her and make sure she gets all she desires so off I toodled down to the local tour company and before I knew it I’d arranged for four of us (that’s 1 accomplished rider and 3 idiots) to ride around the hills and valleys of Kayakoy whilst also ticking off number 56 on my Bucket List.

Now Turkey isn’t known for it’s health and safety so it wasn’t a great surprise to learn that riding helmets were optional and that there weren’t any questions beyond ‘have you ridden a horse before’. The first half of the 3 hour trek was very sedate and luckily enough the horses were trained so well that you couldn’t get them to veer away from the set path which was damn good seeing as the aforementioned set path, in a lot of areas, was just a foot wide track with a plunge down the mountain awaiting you on the left.

We then had a 20 minute break in a lovely little cafe in Kayakoy discussing our experiences so far, at which point my other half admitted that he had spent some of the trek with his arms wrapped round the neck of his horse – something I’d had the misfortune not to see.

Anyway, the second half of the trek was due to begin and we were given the option of staying with the sedate group or going with the more experienced group. Obviously, being the idiots that we are, we volunteered for the more experienced group.

I was given another horse this time, a faster horse, which I was assured was equally as obedient as the last horse. So I mounted quite confidentially only to discover, to my horror, that, yes, the horse was obedient but this unfortunately meant that it followed, nose to arse, the lead horse which galloped ahead to make sure the path was clear.

Now I’ve been informed that my horse only actually galloped for a few strides but you trying telling that to a first time rider. As far as I am concerned the ruddy thing galloped for miles, along winding paths, in between foliage, even jumping over a fallen tree at one point and, apparantly from the back I looked like an expert horse-woman, but from the front it was a different story – panic across the face, white knuckles, blisters from holding on too tight – GET ME OFF THIS BLOODY HORSE…

But I survived, I loved it, it was great value for money at only £15 for a half day and, most importantly, I got a picture of me on the horse, on a plate –  you couldn’t ask much more than that could you?

horse

Now, please excuse me while I hobble inside to find the biggest, softest cushion to sit on while my backside recovers…

I wasn’t planning on writing anything this week but I wanted to share this short story of what happened to me today.

Then

Then

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Demented looking dog!

Now

Now

Still demented

Still demented

The story starts in 2009, when I first visited Fethiye. I stayed with a friend, her boyfriend and their puppy, a gorgeous Black Labrador called Gece, which means ‘night’ in Turkish.

I spent many happy hours with Gece, feeding her biccies, cuddling up to her on the sofa, putting up with her snoring next to me at night – each and every minute with this friendly, beautiful, happy dog was an absolute pleasure.

Anyway, 2 years down the line and I was still visiting Fethiye but Gece had moved on with her ‘daddy’ and I no longer saw her.

Then, today, whilst at yoga class I stroked the Black Labrador that lived there and heard a friend of mine call her…you guessed it…Gece. After a bit of investigation I discovered that it was the very same Gece I knew and loved. I don’t know if she remembers me but, despite being a number of years older, she is still friendly, beautiful and happy and I am so glad I will get to see her on a regular basis again.

I know this story may not be of interest but it made me so incredibly happy that I had to share it with you, my online friends.

Enjoy the rest of your day 🙂

Unbelievably it was exactly 1 year ago today that I was sitting in a cold, dark flat in Kent, kitties in a crate, waiting for a nice man called Mark to pick us all up and take us to Gatwick to begin a new chapter in our lives – living in Fethiye, Turkey.

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Well, what a year it’s been. Myself and the kitties have settled into a lovely apartment, and figured out a way of getting into said apartment whilst avoiding the over-friendly Turkish lady that lives downstairs. I’ve met some wonderful people, both Turkish and British, with a Russian thrown in for luck.

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I’ve become involved with a great charity. I’ve started smoking (again) and given up (again). I’ve lost weight. I’ve started doing yoga with a sadistic teacher called Suzie as well as doing Thai Chi with a slightly less sadistic teacher called Jane. I’ve swam in the sea on New Year’s Day. I’ve walked off a mountain. I’ve got two more tattoos. I’ve been on more boat trips than I can count. I’ve purchased a pushbike and learnt how to avoid the erratic Turkish traffic and, probably most significantly, I’ve fallen in love, with both a motorbike and a human being.

I’ve visited some great places in Turkey, including Kayakoy and Ephesus & Pamukkale and I’ve got some great overseas holidays coming up including Hawaii and Nashville & Memphis. Plus I’ve got a few bucket list items to look forward to – visiting Istanbul, horse-riding and flying over a volcano to name but a few – which I’ll bore you with when they happen.

There is no doubt that this move is one of the best things I’ve ever done so if you are sitting there, reading this, thinking about something you really want to do, then go for it, don’t make excuses, don’t hold yourself back for the sake of a mortgage that needs to be paid – there are ways around anything if you try hard enough.

Roll on the next year…

20140410_134538I’ve realised there are a few things on my Bucket List that can never technically be ticked off as they involve an on-going process rather than simply completing a single event…so I’m gonna cheat with this one…

No. 55 on my list is ‘Learn to Speak Turkish’ and since November 2013 I, along with a bunch of others, have been attending 2 lessons a week with a lovely lady called Angel who runs one of the local bars. This lady ain’t daft – we turn up for free lessons and end up running up bar bills which, of course, need to be paid.

Anyway, 6 months on and we’ve all completed the course, got our certificates (and a free Kit Kit) and I now feel like I have got to grips with some basic Turkish. No I can’t have a full blown row in the street with a Turk about the price of vegetables but I can order 999 mousakkas should I wish to, as well as tell a shop keeper (or my other half come to think of it) what I need, don’t need, want, don’t want, like, don’t like, have and don’t have. I can also tell the difference between a bread shop and a kitchen shop which saves embarrassment as well as quite a lot of money.

And thanks to Angel I’ve also learnt how to pronounce and spell some English words differently. Who knew that verb was actually spelt with a w, that ‘because’ is pronounced in a way that might suggest you have a large abode, or that ‘excuse me’ involves a squeeze?

And I can’t finish without mentioning Tarik, who filled in when Angel was on holiday – myself and the other students will never quite forget the different layers of clothing after encouraging him to remove his as he went along – not that he needed a lot of encouragement mind you.

I’m looking forward to the new classes that start in October but in the meantime I’m off to order 392 big red shoes just because I can…

 

Hi all.

I know it’s been a while since I last posted but I’ve been busy doing something that wasn’t actually on my bucket list although it probably should have been.

So what is it?

Well, are you sitting down? Are you ready? Ok then, here we go…

…I’ve been ‘HAVING A RELATIONSHIP’ although it isn’t with Bertha despite the fact she is a lovely girl.

The most surprising thing about this relationship isn’t that it has lasted about 3 times as long as any of my previous relationship, and as it’s only been 7 weeks so far, that shows how piss poor I’ve been at relationships in the past, but the fact that it is with someone (lowers her voice) older than me. How the bloody hell did that happen? What happened to all my plans to be a life long cougar? Ah well, they went out the window when this fella came into my life.

But anyway, enough about him, let me tell you about Bertha. So, who is she you might ask? Is she this guy’s mum, daughter, cute kitten? Well no, none of the above – she is actually his motorbike and god I love her. I’ve never been a biker chick despite my dad and stepdad having bikes when I was young. I’ve never had the desire to ride the open road with the wind rushing through my hair and I’ve never had the urge to get a soggy bum (from the wet seat in the rain you filthy lot) but as soon as I saw Bertha I fell in love.

Bertha

I thought up a bunch of chat up lines I could charm this guy with, ranging from ‘I’d like to have something big and throbbing between my legs’ to the more subtle ‘I’d like to have a ride on your bike’ (well, that’s subtle for me) but as it happened I didn’t have to ask because he did, although it was along the more traditional lines of ‘do you fancy a coffee some time?’.

Anyway, since then myself and Bertha have spent many happy hours together, laughing when we ran out of petrol, enjoying the sea breeze as we rode the coastal road, battling the rain, oh the joy is endless. I’ve even bought my own helmet which I think shows my willingness to commit.

helmet

Hold on, what’s that you say? How’s the relationship with the guy going? Well, yes, that’s going pretty well too…

As most of you know, I started volunteering at the 3C’s Children’s Charity in Çalış earlier in the year.

I didn’t plan to get overly involved but then I found myself agreeing to do things I never would have thought of doing – the first being dressing up as Mother Santa at the annual Christmas Fair.

I thought that would be it but the buggers got me again and I found myself agreeing to do the New Year’s Day ‘Splash’ – 5 minutes up to my neck in the sea, on 1st January – yeah, sure, no problem.

So, there I was, with a bunch of other daft individuals, dressed up in a costume and being watched by 100 or so people. The countdown began…5, 4, 3, 2, 1…and surprisingly we all ran in – I guess it’s a bit like taking a plaster off, always better to do it quickly.

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Anyway, turns out it wasn’t so bad, well not until I reached the sudden drop in the sea and found myself not being able to touch the bottom – I sure didn’t want to go that far!

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George, one of the Committee, kindly let us know how long we had been in there…1 minute, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 4 minutes and finally, 5 minutes.

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Well, I can tell you I have never been so happy to accept a hot water bottle off someone although, I guess unsurprisingly, no-one wanted to give me a hug – can’t think why.

Anyway, it’s done now, I enjoyed it and we raised a decent amount of money for the charity but for Pete’s sake, if anyone sees me agreeing to something like this again, give me a slap, preferably a hard one…

Now, I’m not a fan of Christmas, never have been. For 4 years out of the last 5 I’ve spent the day itself at home, wearing some fetching pjs, curled up with the cats and anticipating the new episode of Doctor Who. I don’t put any decorations up, using the excuse that the cats will just pull them down and at work I had to be coerced into putting up and decorating the office tree.

But this year, despite it not even being Christmas yet, I’ve gone way off the scale in the other direction, and it’s all in the name of ‘charidy’.

Shortly after arriving in Fethiye I began volunteering for the Çalış Children’s Charity (3C’s) – a charity that raises money to help young people in the local area by providing much needed equipment for groups and individuals and by providing services that contribute to the health, education and vitality of the community.

And yesterday we held the event of the season – the Çalış Christmas Fair – over 200 hundred stall holders selling their wares – homemade cakes, jewellery, ornaments, English foods….pretty much anything you might want to get your hands on.

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Busy day at the 3C’s stall

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In fact, a busy day all round

The 3C’s volunteers worked long and hard to make the event a success. We battled through rain, wind, rain, sun and rain to get everything ready in time but to see so many smiling faces on the day made it all worth it.

And the one thing I learnt from all this…when a particular pair of ladies (they know who they are) are sorting out the costumes for the pre-promotional tour on the ‘Santa Wagon’ just make sure you are nowhere near them. Unfortunately I was and I am now the proud owner of a rather short, actually scratch that – a very short, Mother Christmas outfit.

So, there we were, the day before the Fair – me, Father Christmas, an Elf and, erm, Mickey & Minnie Mouse – all ready to clamber aboard a decked out truck and head out to do a tour of the Fethiye area handing out leaflets and sweets.

Ready for the off...

Ready for the off…

Now I was hoping that maybe being in a Muslim country meant we might just be able to pass by the casual, and slightly baffled, bystander and be on our way but…no, the Turkish guy with the megaphone sitting in the front of the truck had different ideas and I suspect there are a lot of Turks out there still shaking their heads and tutting while thinking ‘those crazy Brits’.

Working it on the Santa Wagon

Working it on the Santa Wagon

As if that wasn’t enough, we had to don the garb again for the Fair itself but by now I’d kinda got a bit attached to the outfit and actually decided to wear it all day. I reckon I must be on about 50 Facebook pages this morning.

And next year…well, I’ve offered to be Minnie Mouse as the lady doing it said she got too hot. She thinks I’m doing it because I’m a nice person. I know I’m doing it because under all that garb people won’t know it’s me…

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