The Turk has disclosed his deeply guarded secret.  It seems he is a bit of an old softie at heart.  As you know since my mother in law’s passing our family has taken over feeding the Village Kedi’s.  This has been generally successful ie My Hurley Dog has only chased the cats a few times, the Turk always buys extra cat biscuits (when they are on sale) and Daughter is happy that the cats have not been discarded by the family.


Let me introduce you to Stanley.  Named by Daughter Stanley is a personable little beggar.  Has a very distinct meow you can hear two towns over and loves nothing more than to sit on your lap (or your shoulder).  I would often open my front door to find Stanley sitting patiently by the door in the hope of a feed or a pet and he would often walk around the block with My Hurley Dog and I (at a reasonable distance as My Hurley Dog would sometimes give chase).

When Daughter and I returned from Istanbul she did her usual head count of the Village Kedi’s and Stanley was missing.  “He’s probably just out in the garden somewhere,” was my suggestion.  Another couple of days passed and Stanley was still nowhere to be found, “Dead,” I whispered to The Turk out of Daughter’s earshot.  He would shrug and change the subject, after all he is not a fan of the Village Kedi’s.

Last Saturday night we were having a BBQ at my father in law’s house.  Suddenly Daughter screamed from the street out front.  I ran out to find her bent over what appeared to be a dead cat, “Mum, it’s Stanley.  Look at his tail!”

I looked.  Gangrene.  Yikes.  Poor buggar was probably hit by a car.  Probably about a week ago.  Frankly it was a miracle that it lasted this long.  I chased all the children away and ran to get a cage but by the time I returned Stanley had disappeared.  Daughter was distraught but The Turk and I got her off to bed and went back outside to search for him to no avail.

On Tuesday night I was taking My Hurley Dog for a walk when he started going crazy at an abandoned shop.  I stopped and stared at the door (must have looked like quite the goose).  I put my ear closer and could hear that distinct little meow albeit quite weak meow that belonged to Stanley.  I ran back home and grabbed the cage and The Turk.  He broke into the shop (“it’s ok it belongs to my cousin” was his reply when I questioned his breaking and entering) and searching through the darkness he finally found Stanley cowering in the corner.

With some BBQ chicken and a miracle Stanley came over to The Turk (still walking = good sign) and we got him into a cage.  Wednesday morning The Turk took Stanley to the vet and stayed with him most of the day (because he did not want him to be alone).  Stanley was operated on and unfortunately the gangrene was pretty bad.  He lost his tail but the vet was positive with the outcome of the operation.  Stanley should recover from this ordeal a little wiser (keep away from cars) and a little lighter (well he has lost his tail).

The Turk brought Stanley home last night and we moved the walking wounded in the empty apartment downstairs along with My Hurley Dog’s bed, more BBQ chicken, water and milk.  The Turk sat with him for a while “just to make sure he is alright”.


When I woke this morning The Turk was not beside me.  I got up and, on a hunch, scooted downstairs.  Low and behold there he was on the floor with Stanley asleep beside him.  Yep it seems The Turk is a bit of a softie despite his gruffness to most of the world.  He had better watch out.  People are going to think he is nice or something.


I was extremely lucky as a child.  I grew up in a home with a mum and a dad who loved me and with a brother that, well, let me just say that he loved me (or maybe liked me) sometimes.  Then when I was 19 I got lucky again when I met my natural mum and dad.  I have forged a good relationship with my natural mother and my natural brothers and sister not the same as with my adopted family but a good relationship nevertheless.  Unfortunately I lost my adopted mother in 1995 and my dad a little while back.  I still see my natural family as often as we can arrange it (well I did when I lived in Australia anyway) but my little family had become very tiny indeed.

One of our decisions to move to Turkey was to enable Daughter to have a relationship with her Turkish family and learn about her Turkish heritage.  Not every child can grow up to have the best of both worlds but we intend to give Daughter everything that we can.  So moving to Turkey it would be.

My luck continues in Turkey with family as well as I had a mother-in-law who I adored and a father-in-law who is a little batty but still a sweet old man.

My cup overflows so to speak.

Over the past couple of weeks my mother in law had had a cough.  Nothing drastic but a niggling cough that over time slowly got worse.  She had made numerous trips to the doctor and to the hospital but the cough was always there.  She still cooked her delicious meals and she still called me down “J-j-j-a-a-a-n-n-n-e-e-e” every morning for cay.  She still washed her husband’s clothes, made him dinner every evening and went to visit her friends in the village.  But you could see she was not strong.  Her smile was not as bright as it once was and her steps a little slower than they once were.  Her eyes showed more sadness but her heart was still full of the love that she gave to her family and friends.

On New Years Day my sister-in-law again took Refika to the hospital one last time where she fell into a coma and soon after passed away.  The sadness I feel right now is overwhelming me.  The tears that flow are real and pained.

I will delve further into this on another occasion but right now the feelings are too raw to process clearly.


The Art of Being Sick

I should have realised that this was coming.  There were warning signs after all.  The hot days had become merely pleasant and the light breeze had become blustery. A couple of nights ago I was woken by a storm that came crashing over The Village and when I awoke the next morning could see the light scattering of snow that announced the change of season.

Yes, I should have realised that this was coming but I didn’t . . . and now . . . it’s too late!  I am sick and I am grouchy.  I have lost my voice and I have a runny nose.  My throat hurts and my headaches.  I have chills and they are multiplying (although I am yet to lose control).  I have named this concoction of evil – the Turkish Lurgy.  I have it and I am crabby. The Turkish Lurgy is ravaging my body and I am certain that I will never recover.

“Nasilsin?”  How am I?

Well, frankly I am shit!  I look like shit and I feel like shit!

Normally in Australia, I would fight through the shit (sick).  I would soldier on with Codral and go to work, drop Daughter off at school and get on with life (spreading germs as I go).  Now, in The Village, I have reverted to my alternative personality known by many as Princess Janey.  This particular personality rarely presents herself these days however if she does make an appearance people shake in their boots and run for the hills.  Daughter has lived through Princess Janey before so has sensibly decided to ignore me and went to her cousin’s house.  Hurley is sneaking around for fear of upsetting the person who feeds him and even Kedi has retreated to hiding in my wardrobe while I recuperate.

I am currently in bed surrounded by tissues and propped up by pillows.  The Turk’s mother has taken over my house and is whispering demands to family members who scuttle off to carry out her instructions post haste.  I can hear the sounds of my vacuum humming, my washing machine washing and I can detect (even with my stuffy nose) the distinct smell of chicken soup simmering on my cooktop.  Unfortunately, I am finding it increasingly difficult to be gracious, surrounded by all the kindness and it is just making Princess Janey even more grumpy.

I spoke with The Turk on the telephone, “I just want to be left alone”.  “No darling, they do this because they love you.  It is the Turkish way.”

Hmph!  And so I push Princess Janey back into the recess of my mind and I smile at my mother in law when a tray is placed on my lap.  I smile at my sister in law when she hands me some Turkish syrup with instructions to take it 3 times a day.  I smile at everyone who pops in to ask me Nasilsin? and I am thankful that they do not know the word “shit”.

I think I will throw my duvet over my head and hide under here until they leave.


Why didn’t I realise this was coming?