Olive fields by Noreen

Olive fields by Noreen
Mysterious, primordial world

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Austria and Ireland December 2015

A little part of us remains behind in the place where we once lived.  It does not seem to matter how much time we spent there or how long ago it was.  It can only be recaptured on our return, rather like finding a lost favourite blanket, the familiarity, texture, warmth and comfort as it snuggles close around your body on a cold winter’s evening. You embrace it, feel it’s warmth until you put it down and leave.  You will return often in daydreams, thinking of it and wondering if it’s there now? And it being there yet again on your return.........

Well,  we’ve done it,  travelled home and back in one piece!  I still call this place home. I stood here and looked out over the fields where seven generations of my family have lived. I've been over these fields so many times, played as a child, watched our parents as they dug the soil to plant potatoes and vegetables. I remember the long warm summers of the 1960's when we made hay and had picnics of tea and sandwiches in this same field, the moonlight nights when my sister and I would climb out of our bedroom window, run over to the far field where we would lie on the grass looking up at the moon and the stars then hurry back and into bed unbeknownst to anyone!   I stood here last week and recalled those cherished memories. It seemed like a lifetime ago,.... it was long ago!..It's wonderful that my sister and her family live here still as it means I can always go back.  It's not lost to us.

Our trip from Turkey to Vienna and on to Ireland went according to plan.
 We packed our two small cases with a change of clothes and the rest of the space was taken up with presents. We walked the 15 minutes to the first bus station and began our journey to Bodrum airport.
 I’d spent days and weeks planning, looking up websites for the most convenient central accommodation, checked reviews, searched for a train to get us to the centre of Vienna, googled maps for an aerial view of the location. I took notes of the directions, phone numbers, train times etc and felt we were ready as we possibly could be.  Our flight arrived in Vienna on schedule.  I’d booked us a one bedroom apartment which turned out to be perfect.  The view from the window was awesome!
 It was warm and spacious and even had a supermarket nearby. The location was quiet and minutes from the train station.  One of the highlights was the beautiful Belvedere palace which houses two of my favourite paintings!

The weather was cold but we were lucky we missed the rain which they had in abundance on the previous day. We had four days in all.  The city is so well planned. The rich families of the city built their beautiful houses and palaces all around in one massive circle which we got to see first from a warm tour bus. It was called the red tour and you could hop on and hop off as you wished for 24 or 48 hours.
We gazed at the beautiful architecture and took lots of photos although not the best from a grubby bus window. 

 However the audio guide was very informative and from this we could decide which museums to choose and which to leave until our next trip. The next morning we took ourselves on a walking tour. This was most informative. The tour guide called Franz really knew his history and was really enthusiastic.  He brought us into many buildings which really helped; I was able to sit down and easy my aching back!!  This also gave us time for more photos. 

 Mr. D doesn’t do heights.  He has a massive fear of them.  I’ve lost out on so many wonderful photo opportunities due to his insistence on us both staying put!  So far in Vienna we had been on ground level, not as much as a small hill or even steps to take us to any height.  So when I saw the magnificent spire of St. Michael’s cathedral,  I heard this little voice in my head say   “I’m going up there,  I want to see that bell and look out over this beautiful city just once in my life”....
. And yes we did go right to the top!!     Mr. D. agreed but stayed by the door which leads out on to the metal viewing area. I was awed by the wonderful views and to be so close to that beautiful roof and bells.  I took lots of photos and eventually,  reluctantly descended the lift to ground level with a now relaxed Mr. D.

We took the blue tour the next evening which took us on a different route and as the daylight faded and night descended, we saw the city landscape from a different perspective. A wonderland of lights filled the sky and lit up trees and buildings with a wonderful Christmas theme.  We spent hours browsing the Christmas markets. 

The Christmas markets are covered stalls professionally constructed with wood and decorated beautifully with all the colours of Christmas.  You can buy all sorts of handmade goods. They have everything from cakes, sweets, jewellery, decorations, and ornate lights.  In the middle of the markets there are children’s play areas.  There was a puppet theatre, play park, donkey rides. The little children were wrapped up warm with chunky hats and gloves.   They were stalls serving mulled wine in big red mugs and you could choose which fruit you wanted added. I had one with strawberries and blueberries.  It warmed me up and was delicious! 

We walked and walked and were so tired when we got back to the apartment at night.  There is so much to see. We didn’t get in to see the beautiful opera house but plan to see it and also the hills of Vienna when we return hopefully in the summer months. 

We flew on to Dublin to a wonderful welcome from family and friends.  It was nice to touch down on Irish soil after being away for so long.  Dublin was in full swing.  Traffic was heavy.  They are extending the tram lines.  Christmas shoppers were everywhere.  I felt overwhelmed by the amount of people on the streets and in the shopping centres.  There were lines of customers at all tills and shoppers were weighed down with shopping. We were meeting friends at a French restaurant on Dawson Street and could not find a seat at 5pm in the evening, seemingly one has to book in advance.  Recession is well and truly over,  I’m so happy to say!   The next day, we travelled by train to Cork and stayed with my sister and family.  

 We had an early Christmas. My sister and I cooked Christmas dinner together, no set time, just called everyone and the cat! when it was ready,  sat down, chatted, drank wine, and a smoothie! eat chocolates and had a laugh. Christmas 2015... It’s up there with my top 5 Christmas’s ever. 
 Wishing all of you out there on the w.w.w.  a wonderful Christmas too!  xoxo

Saturday, 28 November 2015

The ritual before I travel

We haven’t set foot on Irish soil in 15 months! We were home in JulyAug of 2014.  It’s the longest we have been away without a return trip.  In 3 days time Mr. D and I are heading back to Ireland for a brief Christmas visit.  After much internet searching,  I eventually booked flights.  I’m always anxious when I click "confirm" also when I see the confirmation e-mail.  Mr. D does not like night flights or having to overnight at an airport hotel before an early morning flight.  He leaves the flight searches and hotel bookings to me.  So the pressure was on!  I decided to book a flight to Vienna en route to Ireland!  The short flight to Vienna will break our trip as we will have 3 days there before we fly on to Dublin.    The weather will be much colder than here and this week I’m trying hard to convince Mr. D to bring a warm coat and extra warm clothes.  For some strange reason he thinks he can wear the same clothes as he wears here.  He was exactly the same 2 years ago when we flew into London from Istanbul.  He wore a waist length jacket and was shivering as we briefly went around the streets of London.

My case is already packed.  We will be away for two weeks and only bringing 2 changes of clothes.  I can wash them at my sister’s house so this will save us dragging heavy cases on trains and buses. In the past, we used to travel with two 20kg cases.  There was always much huffing and puffing from Mr. D..... it went as follows: “OMG, what on earth have you got in the cases?,  I’m not bring cases any more!!!”    So now for the sake of peace we just bring a hand luggage case each.  On our way back we get to stay in Vienna for one day.  I’m planning on breaking the rules! hoping I can pick up a cheap bag or a small case and buy some goodies to bring back to Turkey. I hear the chocolate is Heavenly in Vienna.  Mr. D loves cheese so he might agree to us doing some shopping.........I’ll let you know how it went, later!

 Nevertheless,  I’ve been so busy in the last few weeks in preparation for our departure.  I’m doing a ceramics course and I really put pressure on myself to complete my project. I didn’t think it would be finished in time but I surprised myself!  I was determined.  It’s now complete and drying on a shelf waiting for my return when hopefully it will have dried without cracking! and be ready for the next stage,  the kiln. 
I always have this thing of getting everything put away and tidied up before we leave the house. I packed away my summer clothes and brought out the winter clothes, washed and put them in the wardrobe ready for when we return. I did a bit of gardening, I’ve pruned some of the big rose bushes and also cut back the bougainvillea. The weeding can wait until January! Today I made 4 pots of marmalade. 
The Clementines are perfect just now and I’ve promised them to friends.  I picked some large oranges too but will use those for orange juice.  We will call to them tomorrow to say goodbye.  They too will be travelling over the next few weeks and we probably won’t see them again until January. On Monday, we will bring in the balcony furniture. I’ll  clean out the fridge and the cooker.  I’ll bring in the last of the washing from the line. I’ll check yet again that the printed tickets, passports and money are in my bag.  Mr. D will pack his case, he usually does this in five minutes on the night before we travel.  
  On Tuesday morning, we will head out early having switching off the electricity and water,  we will head for the airport. I will take a deep breath and relax when we have checked in................I’d love to hear how other people deal with travel and being away from your normal routine?

Thursday, 29 October 2015

It's nearly here!  Winter........... yes that was my first thought on  waking this morning.  I've always hated winter.  It fills me with dread, I sense depression looming, waiting to pounce as soon as I have a weak moment when it can descend upon me and take up residence.  The days getting shorter,  lack of light, grey skies, cold and wet weather are the perfect conditions.
BUT,  my second thought this morning was a positive one.  Yesterday was a really great day.  It started with some really good news. A friend of a friend had just seen the link to my art website and guess what?  She loves my paintings and wants to buy one!
How soon can you get it to me? she asks excitedly. 
It's been a while since I've sold a painting.  I haven't done any marketing,  it takes so much time and effort to get art noticed and I'd rather be painting!  So when someone suddenly out of the blue says "I'd like to buy one",  it's a great feeling.  I see so many artists doing such wonderful work that I'm always amazed when someone actually wants one of mine.  Such a vote of confidence, it's the best gift especially at this time of the year.  My heart which was heavy with so much pain and suffering in this world of ours suddenly feels lighter.  I'm going to try really hard to hold on to this feeling for as long as I can.  My thoughts will now focus on starting my next painting. I'm in the best place. 
My art website badly needs to be updated but here it is for what it's worth. Have a peek when you have a minute.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Last day of September.......time flying by

It's the last day of September and I simply don't know where the months has gone!  We have been so busy. 
 Friends of friends had to fly back to England rather suddenly.  Their brother was due to have urgent heart-surgery and a surprise party was planned for him prior to his operation.  They asked  if we would take care of their elderly dog "Molly", their 3 lovely cats and also feed the street cats who come daily for their food.  We were glad to do this,  they live near us and all went well.
They must have been pleased with our care-taking as they have asked us back again to cover their annual trip home next year and suggested we would do well if we started a house-sitting business!  We would maybe consider this at some time in the future maybe in another country if we ever get the time.......

It's also been great to have friends over from Ireland for a taste of summer. We spent leisurely time with them attending summer concerts as well as many afternoons on the beach with our Turkish and English friends. 
 I've been trying out new recipes and forcing my friends to sample them,  there's nothing nicer than tea and cake on the beach!

Last winter we joined a local group Herodotus Academy (H3a).  It is a wonderful organisation of very talented people who give their time freely to run classes and get-together to do various things.  We are in the walking group, and the photography group.  I also joined the art group with h3a as well as a local art group and writing group. This year I have signed up for craft work and also a ceramics course! Together Mr. D and I have signed up for the geology group.  Except for the art group, all the other groups stop for the summer months and will resume again next week. 

We worked at our art until the end of July but it became too hot in our little village venue and we had to stop, we finished off with a lovely night out having dinner at a seaside restaurant, and dancing the night away to some great music.  
I don't know if  I'm being a bit too ambitious,  I like to do so many things and they all take so much time and effort. Mr. D would far prefer to sit at home and watch TV or read a book.   We spend so much time in buses travelling to various places on the peninsula.     I v'e always been a bad traveller.  With the uneven road surfaces, overcrowding on buses and  bad drivers here, travelling can be a nightmare!  I would love to buy a little electric bike.  It would be great for visiting our friends who live in the next village and also it would be so handy for shopping.   Hopefully I will be able to convince Mr.D!
I love to read and during the summer months I gladly allocate my afternoons to this.  Under the shade of our loquat tree,  in the quietness of the afternoon, I pretend I'm on a desert island, I put my feet up and recline with my book and a glass of chilled fruit juice,  I'm in my favourite place.
But one can't stay here all day.  I drag myself from my "o so comfy" recliner and have a swim, then after a shower I reluctantly start dinner.   Soon I will watch the sunset from the roof terrace,  another day ends.  I glance at my long "to do list",  cross off the few items done and add a few more, it's never complete. The day is not long enough but hey that's life,  Tomorrow is an other day!

Friday, 14 August 2015

Expressions at home and abroad

As a child in the 1960’s,  I remember a few expressions used by my father when greeting people or seeing them at work. When he met someone he would say “Dia Dhuit” which in English means God be with you, or “Dia is Mhuire dhuit” which means God and Mary be with you. On saying goodbye he would say “Go n-éirí an bóthar leat!” which translates to “may the road rise with you”  or Slan leat, also for good bye.  By then in Ireland these expressions had almost died out except for the areas in the west where Irish was still the first language. These areas were and are still called “The Gaeltacht” and children and adults can go there to learn and improve their Irish.
Many things changed with education, more people were completing secondary school and continuing on to university. Those that couldn’t go to university could feed their thirst for knowledge in their local library which were always busy places. 
Television especially American TV series and films exposed us to a wealth of new expressions some good some shall we say colourful!  If you listen to radio or TV interviews you will hear many words and expressions which we have adopted from America and now form part of our language.  Listening to a radio show recently where people were being interviewed sounded like the dialogue from the movie “The Godfather” or “Scar face” and this is their normal language!   I smile as I think, if my parents were alive today,  I would have to translate for them!
 When we started school we quickly picked up expressions from our school friends.  I remember first saying “Hi” and thinking I sounded really modern saying something which the grown-ups did not say! My father criticised this term of greeting saying there was no sentiment or meaning in it, it meant nothing! However we continued to say Hi and still do today.

In Turkey where I live now.  There is a whole language of thoughtful and colourful expressions for every occasion and can vary with the time of day!  They are also very demonstrative of their feelings and show friends how happy they are to meet them by a warm embrace followed by a kiss on both cheeks accompanied by lots of  greetings like “Selam,”  Hoş geldiniz  Welcome and “Hos bulduk,”  happy to be here, When my neighbour catches sight of me crouching over and tugging at a cluster of stubborn weeds,  she will say “Kolay Gelsin”.  This term is used for anyone working,  it can be gardening, painting, doing repairs work, building ect and it translates to “may it come easy” My reply will be “Sagol”  which is a friendly way to say Thank you.
We get asked to join in family meals a lot here,  it does not matter what they are eating,  they want to share it.  Before and after a meal  the person serving the meal will say “Afiet Olsun”.  It means “enjoy your meal” or may it be good for you, and they are very surprised to hear that in English we only say this before a meal and never after!  To the person who cooked the meal they say  “Elenize sağlık”  which means  “health to your hands”.Allah Allah  means “good Lord”,  this you will hear anywhere and everywhere!    
 If someone is ill,  they will wish them well by saying “Geçmiş olsun,” which means “may it pass”,  But it can also be used in response to something like, “My mother-in-law is visiting”. In that case you could precede it with an Allah Allah for emphasis.   If someone sneezes they say “Cok  yasa” which means “long life”.  You will hear this even if you sneeze on a bus when the person does not know you but they will still wish you a long life!
When someone buys a new dress, a new handbag or even a new car they will say “güle güle kullanin” and this means “use it smiling.”
If you speak about the future,  you will hear them say “Inşallah” which means  God willing”. Just like our parents used to say long ago “With the help of God”
When saying goodbye  (used by the person leaving) they say “Hoşçakalın”.   Güle güle” is the response and said by the person who is staying!