Thursday, September 29, 2011

Interactive Post. Come on, Lurkers Show Yourselves.

Lately I have noticed more traffic to my blog. Who comes calling, I don't always know. Yesterday I had 108 page views but there were no comments to let me know who dropped by or what they thought of my blog. In an effort to "flush out" my visitors I'm going to steal, that is, I mean, borrow, an idea from Miranda Sherman at Moms Bookshelf and More.
She called her post "Getting to Know Me" I should call mine "Getting to Know You"  as well as getting to know me of course. It is an interactive post.

This is how it works.

  1. Ask me a question, anything...well obviously not quite anything, there are some things even I won't discuss in public. 
  2. Be sure to leave your name and a link to your website/your email address.
  3. I will "edit" this post by answering your questions in a numbered format.
  4. Answers will be numbered, named and linked to your website.
  5. So a win win situation for all of us
  6. Fun for me, I may get to know the "silent" majority, what you think of my blog, good or bad and you will possibly get more traffic to your site through links.
So here's hoping some of my visitors break their silence and ask some questions and  I don't end up with egg on my face with no responses.

  1.  Hello Jan  @ Weathering the storm.and welcome. I know you didn't have a question so I have one for you. How did you find your way here? I have had a quick look at your blogs and I'm looking forward to a more in depth read. I particularly like your poem in todays post.  Your photo of the mist on the mountains is stunning
  2. Hi Samantha @ What Little Things. To answer your first question, of course you can.  But then it was not my idea in the first place, and as they say "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" As for your second question, I haven't really lived abroad but I do spend two months months every summer in Turkey as well a week here and there. My best memory is, and it is an ongoing one, the look on peoples faces when they realise I speak Turkish. I look like the typical blonde "aging" tourist, overweight, fair skinned and these days usually some part of me not working...shoulders, knee back, ankle. Then I open my mouth and I speak understandable Turkish. Faces soften and attitudes change. I get called "abla" or "teyze" I'd prefer more of the first thank you. Abla is big sister, teyze, aunt. It's used for older ladies.
  3. Thank you Janine @ Reflections from a Red Head. I wish I could claim credit for the idea but that is definitely down to Miranda @ Moms Bookshelf and More. To answer you first question, (jeez that's you and Sam with two. I thought you'd both have had enough of me rattling on) it would have to be two posts. the first one being June Blizzard hits the Sunny South East Of Ireland because it typifies my normal life. The second would be Ihlara Valley because it is a mix of my travels in Turkey and my photography. Your second question, is that an invitation to contribute? Gulp!! How can I follow those wonderful contributors? But if it is I'll try to rise to the occasion.
  4. Marie, Rock the Kasbah, Thank God! An easy question, though one that inspires longing for the old days. I wish my answer was briefs, it used to be. Now I'm more of a Brigid Jones kind of girl!                                                                                           Off to work now to earn the daily crust. I'll be back later, hopefully there will be more easy questions. I'll have to say though it's kinda fun!
  5. Gattina @ Writer's Cramps Congratulations on five years of blogging. I wonder if I will be blogging for    such a long time
  6. Lucy @ Life Through LucyLastica's Lense  While I hope to explore a lot more of the world.....roll on retirement......if  I  could only one visit one more place in the world it would have to be back out to my place in Turkey. It is home,  but at the same time it is my escape. It is uncluttered, unlike home. Many of my favourite books, music and DVDs are there. The weather is so much nicer than home. I would also make sure if it is the last time I travel, I would only have a one-way ticket.
  7. Kara@  this question made me stop and think. My initial reaction was that I wouldn't bring anyone with me. I'd like to be there on my own. Then mature reflection told me that I might have no electricity, no shelter and might not be sure what I could eat. So I would bring Bear Grylls. He would get me organised, build me a tip top shelter in the palms. Liam Clancy  He had  the most beautiful mellow voice, I'd listen to him sing and tell stories all day.  Tom Hanks as Chuck Noland in Castaway  has at least four years experience in survival so he can give me some tips  and last it would be a toss up between Gordon Ramsey  to feed me or MacGyver who could get out of the tightest situation with a bit of chewing gum and a piece of string.   
  8. Muriel@40blogSpot    I feel at home wherever I'm surrounded by my own things. I live in the South East of Ireland and I'm definitely at home here. We are "blow ins" in the village we live in in spite of being here for over 30 years. I feel equally at home in my house in Bodrum because I'm surrounded by my own things. In spite of itchy feet I'm a nester. So whether it is for two months or thirty years, wherever there is a comfy couch,  my books on a bookshelf  and some bright light coming in a window, I'm home. 
  9. Alan @TBAOO Go on be daring! I act my shoe size and deal with 4 year olds on a daily basis so I do silly very well. As for personal, well if it;s too personal I'll just fudge it. Anyway, my life is an open blog. 
  10. Far Side@Far Side of Fifty I'm 53. As for the red and purple together, have you heard of Jenny Josephs poem Warning. It explains the red and purple.  There is even a Red Hat Society but that will be a future post:-)  
  11. Welcome Jim from Holes in my Soles. I enjoy travelling the world with you.
  12. Hi Lalia from Skank Rattle and Roll We ended up in Turkey quite by chance. Hubbie and I found ourselves in a position to go away on a package holiday.  We were 17 years married and had only been abroad once since we got married. Four children in five years didn't leave much in the kitty for travel. I went into the travel agents and told the lady I wanted to go to Corfu in August. She looked at me and said "No way." She wouldn't book it for us. When I asked why, she told me I would be like a granny there. I wouldn't enjoy it. In August it would be full of British lager louts. Lanzarote was my next choice. She slapped a postcard of Playa des Ingles on the desk and asked me what did I think of it. I replied "not much" I was told that was the right answer. She said it was crowded, noisy and full of drug addicts. I gave up and asked where was I allowed to go. She suggested Turkey and recommended the Marmaris area. I was certainly a case of the travel agent lady knowing her customers. We had an absolutely wonderful holiday, mixture of sun, sea, historical places, wonderful food and great shopping.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I'm a Guest Blogger!

On Tuesday, I did my first ever guest post  for Lucy at Life Through Lucylastica's Lense.  Lucy is a very versatile lady, one of my favourite bloggers, who reckons she is coming into her own. She blogs about her everyday life. She has made the transition from townie to "culchie" while setting up a very successful new business Jigsaw Care Services

Lucy has hosted a wonderful series called Chooseday Choons. Guest Bloggers choose a "choon" and tell why the tune is special to them. So if you want to know what my choice is click on this link and all will be revealed. This is the last in Lucy's "choons" series but, in the wake of her fans disappointment, she has hinted at the possibility of some one-off specials.

Monday, September 26, 2011

A September Day.

This morning when I got up the sun was shining. October is imminent and the leaves are turning wonderful shades of red, orange and yellow. But surprisingly the temperatures were warmer than they have been since I came home from Turkey.

In an effort to hold winter at bay, I donned white linen trousers. I can't say that I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder but I always feel happier when the skies are blue. It doesn't matter if the weather is cold, as long as the sky is blue. I also like to wear bright colours. Even when I am wearing dark clothes there is usually a splash of colour somewhere, it may be the purple shoes or a bright orange t-shirt under the black jumper.

I headed for school. I was on yard duty today which meant no break for me, but the children as usual continued to brighten my day. Two seven year old girls approached me to tell me that one of the boys in their class would not talk to them. One of the girls had broken up with him because she "was too likkle to be kissin' boys." He was heartbroken.

 The day passed. Another teacher was recording the weather with her class. This is part of our project with schools in Spain, Poland Turkey and England. She was so excited when she saw the temperature was 18.9C. She said she was definitely recording that as 19C. Two minutes later she looked at the weather station receiver again to see it had dropped to 16C again. Was it a figment of her imagination? No, the children had witnessed it too. We have been recording temperatures of 14-16C as has the school in Manchester in England with the other schools recording mid twenties to low thirties. We want to swop weather with the school in Seville while they would love our cooler temperatures. It has been a long hot summer for them.

The weather was so nice that once the dinner was prepared and on I headed out into the garden with the camera. Time to refresh the mind on the aperture setting. I also decided to play with the art filter.

The following photos show that in spite of the encroaching autumn, summer is not yet gone from the garden and my desire for brightness and colour is still being appeased.

Blue skies, light cloud cover and the fushia that is growing under the clothes line.

Try as I might, I can't hold back the changing seasons. 

Note to self: before I get down on my knees to take a close up of flowers, remember to change white linen trousers if it rained the previous day!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Grumpy, Grouchy and Grumbling.

Today I'm in a grump! I shouldn't be, my youngest daughter is home from Paris. I haven't seen her since Christmas. I wanted to go to the airport to collect her but instead I had to go to the Credit Union with Daughter No. 2 to collect her student loan. It's a joint loan. What as misnomer as I will be the one paying it back.

In Ireland there is no student loan system as there is in England where repayments are frozen until the student is working and earning above a certain income.

If you borrow for college here you must repay the money immediately. How? Get a job!

 But in the present economic crisis there are very few jobs to be found. Even before the crisis there were very few jobs because all the "student" jobs were being taken by the eastern European nationals who flooded here when times were good. This also meant summer work was in short supply.

Add to that a heavy reading schedule for courses. If you are serious about getting good grades  it doesn't leave much time for work.

This week, I sat down with Daughter No 2 and worked out basic living expenses, college registration - now a whopping €2000 per student- and decided we needed €20,000 to get the two girls through college this year.  They have to live in Dublin for the year, where rent and food is even more expensive than the rest of the country.

We would apply for €8000 in her name and €12,000 in Daughter No.4's name. Her loan is far less as she has not had to pay fees.

In the past this amount would have not been necessary but due to the economic crisis our joint income has been reduced by €330 per week.This  amount would pay their rent and most of their weekly expenses, leaving us to borrow only their registration fees.

They already have loans totalling  just over €19,000 as this is their third year in college and as it is Daughter 2's second time around she has had to pay fees.

I rang to see if the loan had been approved. To our shock, she was  only approved for half of the loan. Because of the credit crunch, the financial regulator has decreed that no-one can have loans for more than €25,000 regardless of their ability to repay them. As I'm the guarantor  on both their loans we are only allowed to borrow €4,500, taking us up to the ceiling limit. This will pay their registration and nothing else. It is of no relevance that we are already paying in excess of what the monthly repayment would be on these loans.

The advice we were given is that my husband goes guarantor for Daughter No.4. We can then borrow the money that is necessary for her. It is an exercise in red tape, due to the financial regulator.
The banks loaned huge sums to "fat cats" The Fat Cats defaulted. The country is now bailing them out. The Wan****, sorry Bankers, are still driving around in their BMW's and living in their million pound houses. They continued to pay themselves huge bonuses. There have been no arrests, no prosecutions. We are left to worry if our daughters will be able to finish their university education before we are grey.

We can access loans this year but next year we will be reaching the credit limit set by the financial regulator.  We have never defaulted on a loan , we generally pay them before their due date. We have never borrowed nor looked to borrow more than we could afford. We did everything right,  From the time the children were born, we made provision. We had a college fees insurance policy, that ended up being a joke. World wide market slumps  ensured that disappeared a long time ago. One year it would be the Asian markets, the next, the European markets. We'd have been better putting the money under the mattress. But next year we may not be able to get loans to see our daughters through their last year in college.

And in the meantime the government are increasing the registration fees,  seriously talking about introducing course fees and as usual have put no infrastructure in place to enable the students to afford the escalating costs.  The average family in Ireland have 2-3 children. How are they going to pay for their children to go to college?

Indeed. I don't often stick my head up over the parapet. I get on better  and I'm happier living in my rut. But someone just took a bulldozer to my rut and has left me on a cold windy pinnacle. Today I'm grumpy, I might even go so far as to say I'm seriously angry!!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Quotable Quotes?

"Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence." Robert Frost

I'm three weeks back in the classroom and life is settling back into routine. I thought I'd share a few of my favourite quotes from my students.

History lesson: When I popped out of Mammy's tummy I had a drink from her boobies"

Story time The tension was building as the children listened to the story of Jack and the Beanstalk " And the giant was chasing Jack down the beanstalk".......Child "Be the f##k!"

News time: "My mam is getting a new baby, you know those pills you take to stop having a baby, well she lost them and Daddy is quare mad"

"We grew a carrot at home. It was bigger than Daddy's shoe and bigger than his willy"

Miss are you getting a new baby?
Me "No"
Child "Well my Mammy has a big tummy and she's getting a baby"

But a four year old charmer made my day when I arrived at school this morning, wearing a dress. "Miss, you look like a princess"  He'll go far!!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Random Musings on Friendship

Following recent posts by a couple of blogging friends on the ups and downs of friendship, a summer spent with friends made in recent years and a weekend catching up with friends at home, I have been reflecting on the nature of friendships. I have been thinking of friendships that have come or gone, have grown or disappeared. How people I have met recently, can know me better than people who have known me all my life. How some friendships have nourished me and how some have wrecked my head, left me feeling restless and unsatisfied and of course vice versa.  How do we decide whether we should invest in a friendship or more difficult, how do we decide it is time to let a friendship go?

The Front Row is a piece I came across on Çimen Sevanç's lifecoaching website

The Front Row.

Life is a Theatre.........Invite your audience carefully.
Not everyone is healthy enough to have a front row seat in our lives.
There are some people in your life that need to be loved from a distance.
It's amazing what you can accomplish when you let go of or at least minimize your time with draining, negative, incompatible, not going anywhere relationships or friendships.
Observe the relationships around you. Pay close attention, which ones lift and which ones lean?
Which ones encourage and which ones discourage?
Which ones are on a path of growth uphill and which ones are going downhill?
When you leave certain people do you feel better or  feel worse?
Which one always have drama or don't really understand, know or appreciate you?
The more you seek quality, respect, growth, peace of mind, love and truth around you....
The easier it will be to decide who gets to sit in the front row and who should be moved to the balcony of your life.
Remember that the people that we hang out with will have an impact on our lives and our income.
And so we must be careful to choose the people we hang out with, as well as the information with which we feed our minds
We should not share our dreams with negative people nor feed them with negative thoughts.
Who's in your front row?

For me it has been a  hectic but rewarding weekend. On Thursday I drove to Dublin - 100km from home for a meeting about our new Comenius Project. The timing wasn't great as I had earlier arranged to meet up with the ladies from our Turkish class for a meal also in Dublin on Friday night.  We have been doing classes together for four years. We share the same passion for Turkey, and the trials and tribulations of learning a language mid life. Most of all, we share our stories and giggles about our "adventures" Each one of us could own the title "Cilgin Kiz"  Among the giggles there is the love, understanding and support for each other with the ups and downs of life, especially when dealing with ageing and elderly parents.
Reverting to teenage years, I had a sleepover with one of the ladies and true to form, we stayed up late and talked half the night.

The next day, I went to meet a friend. She was my bridesmaid thirty years ago. Over the years our friendship has been an easy one. We were school friends, went to college together, got married within a year of each other and our children are more or less the same age. Sometimes we don't meet for a while but we pick up the threads in a blink. We spent the afternoon in her kitchen, we didn't notice the time fly by as we discussed her son's upcoming wedding next Easter and we tossed about the idea of holidaying together next summer. Hubbie and I have a house exchange arranged for Norway and have invited my friend and her husband to join us. We also talked of our desire to retire in the next couple of years. Where have the years gone. How can we be sitting in her kitchen discussing retirement, when only yesterday we were in brown gymslips discussing boys!

I also talked with one of my oldest friends and arranged to meet this coming week. We were inseparable as teenagers. If she wasn't in my house, I was definitely in hers. We even lived together for a while when I was in college and she was working. During this period we had a falling out. In retrospect it was over nothing, but then, being young, we took ourselves so seriously. We parted ways though our lives followed parallel courses. We reconnected a number of years ago. The years fell away. So did any differences. We had wasted so many years through the foolishness of youth.

Strangely enough, this afternoon, I had to go to the rescue of Sis-in-Law and her friend. I used to be good friends with her friend but she is one I said goodbye to a number of years ago. Her negative attitude was having a major impact on my life. Meeting again, reinforced my decision. I was happy she is now "on the balcony of my life"

Reason, Season, or Lifetime
People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
When you figure out which one it is,
you will know what to do for each person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON,
it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.
They have come to assist you through a difficulty;
to provide you with guidance and support;
to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.
They may seem like a godsend, and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be.
Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time,
this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.
Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.
What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done.
The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.
Some people come into your life for a SEASON,
because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.
LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons;
things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person,
and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.
It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

— Unknown

To all my friends, my life is richer because you are in it. I hope I can offer the same to you.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Liebster Award!

I am beginning to get a swollen head. In the past month I was nominated for "My Seven Deadly Links" by Penelope Pennie James of Don't Hang Up and Joy Page Manuel of  Catharis. Then I was awarded my Second Versatile Blogger award by Janine Ripper of Reflections from a
This has just been followed by the Liebster Award by French Yummy Mummy, Muriel of 40blogSpot
The award rules are as follows.

1. Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Post the award on your blog.
4. Bask in the love from the most supportive people on the Internet—other writers.
5. And best of all – have fun and spread the karma. 

So thank you Muriel. I appreciate your recommendation. I started writing this blog for fun and to record my travels and never imagined many people reading it. I am truly chuffed by the recommendations I've received. I'd like to think I received this one for my yoga moves 
Here are my five recommendations in no particular order:

Cathy Jones Title at ~just my thoughts Cathy is my all time favourite blogger. Cath's thoughts never fail to inspire awe at her talent for writing and photography as well as her wonderful sense of humour.

On the Ege at This is the blog of a "yabanci gelin, a foreign bride" who has a passion for travel and adventure, especially off the beaten track in Turkey.

For the foodies out there, this newly discovered blog Kathy at Carano's Cucina Her Arancini will make your mouth water.

A new discovery for me is Lynn Biederstadt's Sky Diaries Lynn is passionate about writing. Her blog is the story of her journey with the nature of writing.

And finally, another newly discovered blog for me Just stuff from a Boomer

Read, enjoy and pass on the love. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Yoga and me!

Well I promised a post about me taking up yoga. Yoga is not something I ever thought I would do but I'm always game to try anything once.

To set the scene, I have gained a lot of weight this year. I believe I was born in the wrong era. I should have been born in the seventeenth century. Rubens would have loved me. My figure would have been the width, sorry, height of fashion!

Venus at the Mirror - Peter Paul Rubens
I looked at some of the photos we took in Safranbolu and I nearly died of the shock. That large, large, lady couldn't be me. It was definitely time to do something. So I hit the pool. I started with swimming for 45 minutes twice a day. I like to lie down to exercise.

My neighbour also left me under no illusions about my weight gain. After the barbecue party, Deserted Wife approached me at the pool. She told me how shocked she was at how much weight I had put on this year. I should stop eating desserts - as I told you earlier I had been given the job on making desserts for thirty people for the barbecue as a punishment, so I pulled out all the stops. Telling Deserted Wife I only made desserts for parties was to no avail. I was told I needed to keep exercising  and stop eating until I looked like her. English Gent, sitting beside me as usual, nearly choked on his lemonade. He muttered under his breadth that she must have no mirrors in her house. One word, cellulite!!

In the meantime, Ankara Lady told me she had begun to go to yoga three times a week and invited me to join her.
Ankara Lady.

I had visions of having to stand on my head, twist my legs up behind me ears, chanting ooommm.

As I said I'll try anything once. So the following Sunday I set off and we met Liz our yoga teacher. She doesn't give classes as such but is happy to show a group of friends what's what. The setting was beautiful. Class was beside the pool.

The view from the pool.
 The first part of the lesson was easy.  All I had to do was listen as Liz explained her yoga background. This was easy. I could manage this. Class started off gently. There were just four of us. It was Hatha Yoga based on stretching and breathing. Funny how we had to be reminded to breathe!

I really enjoyed the classes. They provided some funny moments, like when I was told to drop my chin to my chest and then breathe. Had she not taken a proper look at me? This was easy peasy for the others but I was in danger of smothering!

I could stretch but could I balance? No wonder I keep having accidents and falling over. I have no balance. The exercises had me scurrying to the nearest wall for support. And as for trying to balance sitting down holding my feet out at an angle. That gave arise to some hilarious moments.

It looks so easy.

Ankara Lady had a sore back so modifies the exercise
Cilgin Kiz, what in the name of God are you doing??? 

Breathe, breathe, don't forget to breathe!

Looks slightly more graceful from this angle but my face was purple. Liz made me hold the position until she took the second photo

I learned the following at Yoga class:
  • The words for body parts in Turkish.
  • My sense of balance is terrible.
  • Mind is stronger than matter.
  • Don't moisturize before class, it's impossible to grip body parts and hold on when smothered in aftersun.
  • If at first you don't succeed try and try and try and try and try and try again.
  • The support of friends is better than the support of walls.
  • A belly laugh is good for the soul.
  • Don't look at photos of yourself, mind is stronger than matter, you can imagine youself graceful.
  • Yoga is a wonderful relaxant, if it could be bottled, someone would make a fortune.
I even learned to stand like a drunken stork - there's a definite lean to my right!
Best of all, five weeks and some swimming sessions thrown in, I'm down a dress size. Only two more sizes to go. Deserted Wife now allows me one spoon of dessert!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Versatile Blogger Mark 2

Now here's the dilemma. When they bring out a new version of a car it becomes Mark 2. It is usually the new improved version. When they bring out a second film, Home Alone 2 or Die Hard 2 it rarely lives up to the first one. I have now just received my second Versatile Blogger Award from Janine Ripper at Reflections from a Redhead..  Janine is an amazing photographer and has also begun a series of posts about the Beauty of Difference.

As for my award I'm wondering is it Versatile Blogger Mark 2 or Versatile Blogger 2. There's a world of difference. Perhaps I received this award for how versatile I am with the English language. In spite of frequent editing, I remain queen of typos and have invented a whole new version of the language to include new grammar rules, especially those pertaining to commas,,,,,,,,, Definitely versatile I think!!

Everything comes at a price! As part of Award I must:
    1. Thank the person who gave me the award. Thank you Janine. I do appreciate it. It is always nice to be recognized.
    2. Share 7 things about myself
    3. Pass the Award onto 15 recently discovered blogs and let them know (Whoa, this really is Mark 2, the last time I got this award it was 7 blogs.)
Right, seven things about me.

  1. I've been in school since I was four and I'm still in Junior Infants. I've managed to get into higher classes. I even went to college, but now I'm back in Junior Infants with the four year olds.  I'm actually on the other side of the desk now. Well, a lot of the time I'm on the floor and wondering how I'll get back up.
  2. I took up Hatha Yoga this summer - this will definitely be the subject of a later post. Just wait until you see the photos. Am I versatile or what?
  3. I have five brothers and I am an only girl. I always wanted a sister and Dad sure tried hard but all I got was a younger brother! Hence, I grew up with a Princess Complex. I'm definitely more comfortable in the company of men than women.
  4. I was an entrepreneur at the age of 6. I had three "Auntie Nuns" and an uncle a priest - my Dad's family. (You can see why he had to have 5 sons to keep the family name alive.) In spite of repeated warnings not to ask for money in front of friends, one day when my friend Helen arrived, I asked Mum for money to buy sweets. Well let's just say she was not versatile, she was volatile. There was an almighty explosion. To cut a long story short, I collected up all the "God Bless Baby" pictures that were beautifully handstitched and went door to door selling them. There were quite a few, 3 auntie nuns, 6 kids. You can do the maths. We had a party, we bought the sweets and ate them. But someone snitched. End of my entrepreneurial career as well as no pocket money for a month.
  5. I'm an avid reader. Until I took up blogging I always had my nose stuck in a book. Now it's usually stuck in the computer. But I got off to a slow start. I moved school at the age of 7 and couldn't read like the other kids could. Dad took me in hand, I caught up and took off. I had my bedside lamp taken from me for a week at the age of 10. I got caught reading Enid Blyton's "Hollow Tree House" at four o'clock in the morning.  
  6. I'm a stubborn old git. If I want something, I keep looking for a way to get it or to make it happen. If I'm right (and I always am) I won't let go. I will listen. If you can persuade me I'm wrong, okay, but you will have your work cut out for you. You better be a trained barrister, prepared to argue the hind leg off a dog, because you are wrong to start with!
  7.  I think I'm Jekyll and Hyde. I love to celebrate, to live life to have fun, but on one condition, that built into every day there is time and space to be alone and quiet for a little while. 
 On consideration of all of the above, I am definitely verbose, oops sorry versatile. Now that is definitely enough about me. I'm going to cheat on the next bit. Some of the blogs that I would have chosen have been "hijacked" by my blogging buddies who got there first. Some of the blogs that I'm going to recommend don't accept awards but they are well worth dropping by. So instead to giving them the award, I'm giving them my recommendation. So in no particular order:

Friday, September 2, 2011

House swap, A Suitcase and the Internet!

Saturday evening my first ever house exchangers Margaret and Dennis arrived. They had spent four and a half hours in Ephesus that morning and were happy to sit down and have a chat while I put the finishing touches to dinner.

Margaret and Dennis had come from Akaroa in New Zealand. Spring ıs beginning there but it was only a few weeks ago they were snowed in.

 They have an apartment in Christchurch which is what they have on the home exchange website. The apartment is in central Christchurch and unfortunately has been damaged quite severely in the recent earthquakes.The first two quakes, last September and February, didn't do much damage but the last one in June had a more severe effect.
Repairs are underway and they hope to have the work finished before Christmas. The future is not as good for Christchurch Cathedral which has been very severely damaged.

I cannot see us visiting in the near future. Hubbie doesn't like long flights. We went to Thailand a few years ago and on returning I was warned that it was the last time we would travel that far. Add to the fact that the area is now in a major earthquake zone, Hubbie will be digging in the heels and staying firmly in his own back garden. I think it is our daughters that will be cashing in this "credit"

Margaret warned me that we better not leave it too long or she might be dead!

She wanted instructions on how things worked and I handed her a folder. Dennis took one look at it and started to laugh. "You're a school teacher aren't you?" he enquired. I nodded and he smiled. Margaret is a retired teacher and he recognised the similiar organisational tendencies.

It wouldn't be long before I destroyed my good impression! After spending a lovely evening together, I produced my mobile internet and we soon had it installed in Dennis' new netbook. They decided to head to bed as they were very tired. The summertime heat in Ephesus is intense. The heat beats down and is reflected back by the marble. There is very little shade.

I sat down to read my emails and do a little work. The time flew by and soon it was time to leave. Metin came to carry my bag out to the taxi and wave me off. I bet the taxi driver was wondering why I was wearing sunglasses at 02.30 in the morning. I had been wearing them since I got up. As always on my last day, saying goodbye to Gulsum, to Metin, to the house, and most of all to my relaxed life, the tears flowed.

We arrived in a fraction of the time it should have taken us to get to the airport. There was a blanket on the back seat  of the taxi and I had to root it out to fasten my seat belt. The driver wasn't too pleased as he spent five minutes straightening it out when we arrived. But at the speed he was driving and how he took corners, I was not going to take any chances.

Next came security check in. They scan the bags as you enter the airport.
In my case: A large pot of homemade strawberry jam
                  2 pots of hot pepper paste,
                  5 packets of Yufka pastry - similiar to filo pastry
                  Sundried tomatoes
                  meatball spices
                  spice mix for chicken.......

This list does not include antibiotics for a friend that can be bought over the counter, two months supply of  Nexium. This has been subscribed for me. In Ireland this costs €56 per pack of 28. The same costs €15 in Turkey. In addition the generic equivalent of Zovirax for cold sores is less than €2 for 10mg whereas Zovirax is €9+ for 2gr at home. One of these days I'm gong to be accused of drug running!

My case sailed through, but then I was asked to empty the contents of my handbag. All I can say is it was an education for the security man. I keep everything including the kitchen sink in there. He gave up and I was waved on.

 There were no problems at check-in my bag at 28.5kg, was 1.5kg under the generous 30kg allowance. It wasn't long before we boarded. I settled into my seat, put my hand into my pocket. Disaster. The mobile internet was in my pocket. Denis will no longer think I'm highly organised.

There was nothing I could do. I closed my eyes and slept until we reached Istanbul. Once there, I rang Metin, confessed my sin and  then headed for home and reality.