Olive fields by Noreen

Olive fields by Noreen
Mysterious, primordial world

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Bumps on the road of life

O my word!  doesn't time fly? I didn't write anything here for the last two months.   It being winter, the nights are long and the days so short,  l kept myself  busy doing my usual daily run of the mill stuff. 
 I started and eventually finished  a small sunset oil painting.

I did quite a lot of baking, Mr. D. loves fruit cake and some friends came for afternoon tea.

 However, this winter much of my time was spent working on two short stories which might yet be long stories .   I'm getting through my 'To do list'!   I've a lot more to write . I constantly edit and re write.  However,  reading is my favorite pastime.

  I love reading. I'm able to read in large print on my e-reader. What a wonderful invention!  I alternate between reading and writing. 

 So life was moving along nicely, no huge highs, no lows and then  suddenly I get what is often referred to as "one of those bumps on the road".  You know, when something happens so  quickly, your life is turned upside down for a while.  
No!  thankfully, nothing life threatening but just a lot of hassle and unnecessary stress.

One Saturday morning l was pleased with my clear out of autumn clothes which I'd ironed and placed in a big bag for the local animal rescue fundraiser. I'd put the plastic bag carefully on the back seat  of my electric scooter.  It  took up most of the seat.
 Beside it, I managed to squeezed my rectangular picnic bag.  Inside the picnic bag, I had already tucked in my handbag and off I went. 

On reaching the town square I drove directly towards the fundraiser volunteers who were busily setting up their tables.  They were happy with my bag of winter clothes. The cake and bread table was in the process of being set up so I decided I would proceed to the vegetable market and return later for my supply of goodies.   My blue picnic bag was sitting on the seat of my scooter and I moved it slightly back into it's usual position. It always sits flatly on the seat due to its rectangular shape. It's ideal for shopping, you can fit everything into it.

I then continued on my way  to the Saturday fruit and vegetables market. It's only about 200 meters along the town.  I made all of my weekly purchases which l put in to the blue picnic bag.  
Then off I went again,  this time back to the animal fundraising stalls. By now the stalls were all set up and the delicious baked goods were on display.
I purchased some home baking and some spinach pies for lunch which  l planned on us enjoying later. 
 I remember putting the purchases and my handbag into the picnic bag at this point. I had one more purchase to make at the clothes market near the marina.I'd brought extra cash with me to buy birthday presents for a friend's two daughters whose birthday's  were the next day.

 I made my way slowly along the key towards the marina,  passing by people who sat outside the restaurants. I moved slowly because there were pedestrians sauntering along.  It still only took me about four  to five  minutes to reach the edge of the market. I parked the scooter and looked to my back seat expecting as usual to see my blue picnic bag.  Then it happened! 

Shock, horror! Nothing on the seat!  I started in disbelief! "O my God! Where could it be, it must have fallen off. "I thought frantically to myself.

I jumped back on and literally raced back retracing my path, checking the grass verges as I went back to the fundraiser stalls. I asked the stall holders if anyone had seen it or if it might have been handed in. No one had seen it.   l again drove back along my route.  There was no sign if it.

 I tried all the restaurants..... they hadn't seen it. Then I went back the route again before eventually going to the council lost property office. Someone suggested l make a statement at the police office. I did so. This took time because of my basic Turkish and their lack of English. They were very concerned for me and said if it was handed in, they would return it.
 By now, l had been out over 3 hours and decided l would have to return home and tell Mr D.
Mr. D.'s reaction was as l expected.  What was in your handbag? He asked frantically. I replied. "Our residency cards, copies of our passports. debit and credit cards, my phone which contained approx 50tl credit.and about 270tl in cash. Translates to over a weeks living expenses plus my purchases!!

At this stage, l still held the vague hope that someone picked it off the ground and would soon return it to me. My address was also in it.
I picked up Mr. D's phone and dialled my number. There was no ringing sound. Straight away the cold truth dawned on me ... My phone had been turned off  by a thief... who  had seen an opportunity and grabbed it.

All that evening I beat myself up. I was so annoyed for not securing the picnic bag as I always did previously before leaving  the house.
 l didn't venture  out again to replace the food purchases decided instead to punish myself by not having  the nice treats l had purchased for lunch.
I dreaded having to make the phone calls to cancel the cards, holding on the phone line, waiting,  all the security questions  and the meetings at the bank to remove my phone numbers from bank accounts ,  such hassle, and it's not done in just one meeting, something always needs to be signed again.... and  even worse l would have to go through the residency applications once again.....

The following morning l walked downtown and bought presents for the birthday girls. After reassurance from friends, l decided l would try not to dwell  on it.  Meeting friends and watching the children play at the party did wonders to cheer me up. 

On our return from the party I got a message via email. A friend had been ringing me all afternoon. She had good news!  
"Come over straight away! it read. Seemingly a  purse was handed in to a small grocery shop on the other side of town by the bin man who found it beside the garbage bin.

 I was so  relieved on walking into the shop to see my little purse. The bank cards were still inside,  as were our copy passports and our Residency cards.  The cash was gone!  But we expected that!
The next day I searched all along by the bins but as I expected there was no sign of the handbag, phone or picnic bag. 

 Next  job  was go to the bank and apply for new cards. I had already cancelled them over the phone. I bought a new phone and registered a new SIM card. It took four visits to the bank before they finally had a new phone number on our accounts. I couldn't use my old number because it was registered  to the shop owner where I purchased the phone first day!

Needless to say, l no longer bring a handbag or phone with me when I go shopping. I use another big bag for the shopping which is secured to the seat of the scooter before I leave and every time since, I double and treble check!

Monday, 23 October 2017

GOZLEME Cheese/herbs/spinage in a wrap

You can buy gozleme in resturants all around Turkey.   I like to make my own.  I mix lor cheese, finely chopped spring onions, parsely, dill, spinage or green peppers.   I add a little mint.  Next I cut the light sheet of dough (yufka) into shapes and fill with the mixture.

  I coat the dough with olive oil as this makes it stick when I fold the dough into shape.  

Then I fry them quickly in a hot pan with a little olive oil.

 They are delicious with salad for lunch.


We have two markets here on every Saturday of the year.  The food market is situated in the centre of the town.  On every road leading to the centre you will see the large vans belonging to the traders.  They arrive around 9pm on Friday night and start setting up their stalls.  There is a friendly banter between them.  They have worked side by side for many years.  You will often see three generations of the same family working a stall.  Everything is carefully set up to show the produce off to it's best advantage.  They are ready early and greet the new day and their many customers with a friendly greeting and a radiant smile.

The early morning sunlight highlights the vibriant colours of the fruit and vegetables.

This man sits proudly with his homemade jams, fruit and fruit juices, all from his own farm.

This lady is buying "yufka" a very thin sheet of dough which is used to make "gozleme".  I buy this too and make my own gozleme.  it's like a wrap which contains cheese and herbs and you can fry it in olive oil.  It's delicious!

   The heads of lettuce are huge, we eat it every day in salad for   lunch.  The herbs are sold in bunches.


Smartphones have become plentyful here despite being very expensive.  The lady is reporting on her sales so far this morning!

                                                    I'll have this one please!

Aubergenes (egg plants) like everything else is sold by the kilo.  There are many ways of cooking these.  They blend well with so many other ingrediens to make a delicious dinner.  We eat them at least once a week.

                                      This man is selling bare root roses.

This couple have sat on this slot for as long as I am coming to Turgutreis, since 2004.  They are just outside the post office which is next to the market.

The other market stretches from the main street right back as far as the marina. It is very busy with tourists from May until mid October. This market has clothes, handbags, shoes, household items,  handmade soaps and beauty products, ceramics, ornaments, fancy goods ect.  You can hear the stall holders calling out their prices,  even their children are trained in from a young age.  They learn the art of selling and customer care.

In the middle of  both markets  you can  buy Simit, these are bread rolls covered in sesame seeds. They are delicious with tea!

                             It says everything  5 Turkish lire! 

                                             Only 5 TL. They always have customers!

               T-shirts and handbags are very popular with tourists.

When I told them I would put the photos on the internet,  they said  "take a photo of my stall!"

                               This man was very proud of his shoe display.

                                                   Beautifully scented soaps.

                                                Tablecloths, bedspread and curtains.

Always a bargain to be had at the end of the summer season.  I've bought dresses here over the past few years!

Sunday, 15 October 2017


We are back in Turkey.   The weather is wonderful at this time of the year.  28c in the afternoon and around 20c at night.    A few days after our return, we did a two week house sit for friends who had to go to England but I still managed a swim last week and the sea was still warm.
We are now catching up on the jobs that have mounted  up while we were away! The garden had overgrown, so much that I couldn't tackle it myself and for the first time ever had to employ two men to cut it back.


If felt strange seeing two strangers working in my garden, pruning back plants which I have planted and tended to since I first started this garden back in 2005, but it was either pay them to do 3 hours work or spend 2 weeks doing it bit by bit myself and have to take painkillers to alleviate my back pain.  I was sensible for once and decided to put my health first.  Now that the heavy pruning is done,  I can use my small pruner to cut back the bits they missed!  I've washed all the floors,  the windows can wait!  I'll buy some new plants to replace a few which died during the long hot summer.  When that's done I hope to start on another canvas,  maybe an autumn scene?    I love autumn eventhough where we live there is very little autumn colour.  Lots of greens and of course blue!

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

FLIGHT CANCELLED and a tour of Frankfurt!

We had the house cleaned. We had used up the last of the fruit, meat and vegetables and were well organised for our travel tomorrow.  I went to the pool and had a lovely relaxing last swim.  While I floated and swam about, I thought back over the last few weeks.  The temperatures had reduced to a nice managable heat and we had seen three different towns east of Malaga.  We had eaten and walked in Rincon de Victoria,  Benajarafe and Torre del Mar.
 The south of Spain is very different to western Turkey.  In Spain there is a huge amount of high rise buildings.  Where you don't have high rise,  the buildings are very close together.  Most of the detached houses have high walls surrounding the whole site.  You have to travel inland to see houses with big gardens. The cities do have big parks so this gives the residents a change of scene without having to travel very far away from their homes.
 In Turkey, where we live on the Bodrum peninsula,  we are used to seeing large villas on large sites all with big gardens. We can walk to the sea in six minutes!   I brought my thoughts back to the present and did one last lap of the pool.  I said "Adios" before strolling back up to the house.

  On entering, I was greeted by Mr. D who said "Our flights to Frankfurt have been cancelled!"  I thought he must be joking and waited a few seconds to see if he would start laughing,  but he didn't and added "they just sent a text".  I checked my emails immediately and yes they had  confirmed it.  We could get a refund or book another flight with them but we still had the problem of missing our connecting flight from Frankfurt to Bodrum.   I then checked the options for connecting flights from Frankfurt to Bodrum which was the rout we were booked on for the following evening!   Wo and behold!  No flights with that airline to Bodrum until a week later!  I checked another airline  but their prices were 700 Euro each and felt this would be far too expensive.  After searching alternative options,  I felt it was better to stay with the same airlines as maybe our insurance would not cover more expensive alternative airlines.  So I rebooked both flights.  The Ryanair one for the Thursday,  6 days later because I was afraid they might cancel again,  and the connecting flight to Bodrum for the following Friday at a cost of almost 300 euro just to change our date!   As it happened the flight was half empty!   We would  have to pay the trains and hotel in Frankfurt for one night.  I spent most of the day online trying to find out from Ryanair which flights they  would be cancelling for the rest of that week.  At this point they said they were going to cancel fights every day for 6 weeks but did not tell us which ones.  I asked people on the Ryanair facebook page to please ask for a LIST,  this would help passengers to make changes to their plans and reduce the disruption.  It took about three or four days but they eventually published the list.  Up until then,  we didn't know if our rebooked fight would again be cancelled.....   We were very lucky we happened to be staying in our friends house and that we could stay another 6 days.

  View from terrace towards the sea.       

 On the following Thursday, we eventually set off at 6.45am to catch the early morning bus.  I was anxious as usual thinking we would sleep it out,  eventhough, we never sleep it out!  I woke every hour and got up at 6am.  I still managed to forget the lovely salad sandwiches which I made up to have on the flight.  Instead we had to pay 17 euro for cheese and ham criossants and 2 teas!!

We arrived in a cooler but pleasantly sunny Frankfurt.  We navigated our way through the large airport from terminal 2 to terminal 1 and from under this terminal we took the train to the city centre. We decided the best thing to do first was take a tour of the city.  We waited outside the train station for about 45 minutes. There are no seats and standing around is not the best for our already tender backs! We were relieved to see a blue hop on hop off bus approaching our stop.  We promptly bought tickets on boarding the bus and for about 50 minutes we got to see enought to let us know where we should return to on the next morning.

 We then found ourselves a hotel where we were able to freshen up and leave our cases before taking an evening walk of the streets nearby.

 We found a lovely German restaurant where I had my most delicious ever vegetarian meal.  It consisted of a Tofu burger with salad and chips.  Sorry I didn't take a photo, my back at this stage was aching and  I was so hungry,  I couldn't wait to sit down.    Mr. D enjoyed his meal too, a 100% pure beef burger with plenty of salad and a nice selection of chips.  We were quite pleased with our choice of restaurant.

By the time we finished dinner it was  dark and we noticed the coolness of the night air when we stepped outside. We strolled and admired the different shop windows and made our way back to the hotel.  Tomorrow was only a day away!

After breakfast on Friday morning we left our cases at the hotel.  "The old town is only about 10 minutes walk" said the hotel receptionist as he bid us a cheery smile.  It took us about 20 minutes but it was worth it. It was beautiful!