Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Things That Make Me Go ARRRHHH!!!!

After my blog about what makes my heart sing here is one about what drives me mad. I've discovered that this is my third moaning post about annoying things
Most of you agreed with my last ones so let's see who agrees this time.


Vax steam floor cleaner
Many of you will not need this appliance if you have the luxury of carpets in your home although it can be used to freshen up carpets, not clean them, only freshen them. We have a large hairy dog so to help alleviate the mess from muddy paws and hair we have wooden floors downstairs.
After years of using a mop we treated ourselves to a steam cleaner and the fact that it had a compartment for detergent made it ideal.
Yes it does the job, it cleans the floor, it's the before and after that drive me mad.
Sliding out the containers for water and detergent is just impossible. It has grips on each end but still will not move. I have seen complaints about this on websites from other people so it's not just me. When eventually it comes off so does the stopper so if you have any water left it's all over your clean floor.
Instructions say "Do not use any other detergent in this it has to be made by Vax" The Vax make is expensive so as one does I've tried the usual kinds in it. Something strange happened, normal pleasent smelling floor cleaning products all smelled horrible and stained the inside of the container. The makers have done something mysterious that makes any other dertergent than theirs smell. If I had to buy it all over again I would buy the cheaper version,without the detergent container.
Rant over.

Models 
My  daughter is being married this year and I have been looking at websites of those shops who specialise in mother of the bride outfits before.
 Every outfit is modelled by a girl under the age of thirty five. They are all a size ten or less and they are all tall. I see a few I like but they are never going to look the same as me as they do on a six foot tall size ten thirty odd year old.
It really puts me off going into those shops and looking in the mirror dressed in satin or lace and not resembling the photo on their website. I wish they would use older women as that is the age they are aiming at. The shops do say that the photos come from the people who make the outfits and not from them but it's their website surely they could take some photos themselves, is that not common sense?
After I loose a few pounds  stones I will venture into to those shops with my heavily corseted undergarments and a pair of high heels that I'll only ever be able to pose in and try on some outfits hoping I will find "the one"

Rant over.












People who ask and answer their own questions.

I want to know if this annoys anyone else. In  TV interviews with celebrities it has become common for them to more or less interview themselves. I'll give you an example.
Celeb to interviewer, " If you ask me if I'm happy, I would say yes at the moment I am happy. If you had asked me if I was happy five years ago I would have said no, at that time in my life I wasn't happy.
She didn't ask you, you didn't give her a chance.  Interviewers will have to be careful as they will soon be no need for them.
I have also came across this in many magazine columns the writer asking herself questions and providing the answers. Politicians are great for doing it as it gives them the opportunity to be asked the right questions and avoid the ones they don't know the answers to.
I don't think it has happened with any of my friends or family, I would have remembered falling on the floor laughing at the ridiculousness of it.

Rant over. 


Computers

 I like to browse the Internet. I visit online shops and fill my basket with things I love and then visit another shop. I very rarely buy anything but it satisfies my shopping gene. The next time I use the computer lots of adverts will show exactly what I've been looking at and I find this so annoying. It's like being stalked by the shopping police shouting,"We know what you've been looking at" I can tell what my husband has been looking at too,usually boring stuff like tools or cars.

Yesterday I had to made a banner for my book review blog. I googled how to do it and lots of people said to download a programme called Gimp. I downloaded it but it wasn't much good so I uninstalled it from my computer. What I didn't know was that it had also downloaded two toolbars and another three sliding window things advertising all sorts of nonsense. It took me ages to uninstall them as I first had to find out the strange names the had been called. The moral of this story is, free downloads on your computer are never really free, beware all the added but unasked for extras.

Rant over.

On a slightly happier note.....
My dad always said that I had to have the last word in an argument. I found this while browsing and I thought it funny.

  

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Goodbye to Another Dear Green Place.

This part has no fencing yet and the daffs are just blooming


Last week as I left our estate I looked to the other side of the road and saw a man putting metal fencing around the perimeter of the only green place I see before I come to the ugly warehouse buildings that hold,B&M Stores, Matalan, Lidl  and Carpetwise. Although these large shops are sometimes handy I enjoy green spaces too.


Just across the road from entrance to our estate

The dark  patch is daffodils that will never bloom


In a few weeks this space would have been awash with daffodils and green leafy trees. This green hilly space has always been here. The council houses which were behind it were demolished and private housing built in their place. Not that I'm complaining about that, it was a very run down council estate and the whole area has been much quieter since it has been changed.
Even although I saw the advertising board going up for new homes I still couldn't believe they would build there,as well as it being on a hill the new apartments overlooking it will have their view spoiled.


From opposite direction. Fencing in distance




A few days later and my worst fears were confirmed. Diggers were out working the land and I was surprised how quickly they had flattened it.

This green space was not abused by people. No children played football on it, no dogs were seen to foul it. It was not trampled by people taking a short cut as steps ran through the middle of it. Is this the reason it was chosen? Surely we can have green spaces to enhance an area that don't have to be functional?
 I can just imagine the goings on at the planning department.

" Oh no one uses it so no one will miss it."

" No they can't complain about losing it or their children losing a play area,it's on a hill for god's sake!"


"Hill? No problem,we'll soon flatten that"

"Who's going to care about trees and daffodils?"
 
This area is named by the council as, " The Corridor of Opportunity" they even have road signs telling you this. Opportunity for the big fat cats to build and make money,never mind thinking of informing the community first.
Within a mile radius over the years they have taken away, all local shops from two communities, a library, a school, a nursery, post office and a community centre and replaced them with more private housing at prices only a few can afford. It disgusts me.
At the moment only part of the green space has people working on it and I can't see on the builder's website if they intend to use it all,I hope not.

One of my blogger friends Carol Hedges  has been fighting the local planners and council for some time now and discovered that it's not easy to change things when big business is involved. She has been heroic in her efforts even speaking up in court to stop them using her green dear space.


Sometime soon our doors will be knocked and we will be asked if we are voting Yes or No for Scottish Independence. I'm so annoyed at this green place being built on that I'm reminded of something we used to say years ago, " Divorce the devil and then marry his brother" Why would you?
I have no idea which way to vote but I'm so glad I got that off my chest today.



Thursday, 6 March 2014

Is Your Heart Singing?


A few years ago I read  in a magazine that everyone should make sure they do something once in a while to make their heart sing. It has always stuck in my mind, but what makes my heart sing?
There's the things you would expect, like being told for the first time that you're going to be a grandparent, holding your grandchild in your arms, they all go without saying.
The birth of my own children; the euphoria of giving birth to a baby cannot be matched. That moment when all pain has gone and you have a new life in your arms,nothing can match it.
My son would say parachuting off the top of mountains makes his heart sing, how I wish it didn't.We each have different things that make our hearts sing, my "thing" may make you want to run and hide.

I love the theatre, musicals especially and when I'm there I get this feeling inside of me that makes me think my heart must be singing. It doesn't happen very often because it's so expensive to have a trip to the theatre these days.
Feeling low from a nasty virus I needed cheering up so on went my new Cliff Richard  DVD of his latest concert (I can see you running to hide)  All the old songs brought back so many memories of so many concert trips and singing along at the top of my voice made me feel good.
 I read in the newspaper that singing with a group of people in a choir can do wonders for your health and well being, more so than singing by yourself. I did sing in a choir when I was a child but my voice is so bad now I'd be kicked out but I do understand how great the feeling must be.




 Very often while on holiday, usually in Turkey there are some moments, special moments, I may be looking at beautiful scenery, or people watching from an outside bar and I get that same feeling, my heart sings.

There are times when I feel surprised at what makes my heart sing.
I believe that your heart singing is a feeling of contentment, that all is right in your little corner of the universe.






Today I opened the back door to let the dog into the garden. I left it opened and washed some dishes, as I turned there was my little robin sitting on my kitchen floor (I wrote about him in my last post) I spoke to him and put some food under the garden table hoping the pigeons wouldn't see it. He followed me around the garden again really listening to what I said to him, and I had that feeling, my heart was singing that something so wild would want to spend time with me, he actually left his food to follow me around. I felt like Snow White, now if I could only train him to help with the housework.




Maybe scientists would say that your heart singing releases feel good endorphins that swim around your body awakening your senses and giving you the feeling of elation. I'm no scientist but that's what it feels like.
 As I get older I'm far more easily pleased and my heart far more eager to sing.
 Little things my granddaughter says can keep me elated for hours. A smile from her baby sister lightens my heart. Toddler boy's  little face showing his happiness at spending time with me brightens my day.
  Kind deeds,whether given or received, one of my special songs suddenly playing on the radio as if just for me all make me happy.
Sometimes we may have to go out and make the happy things happen, they don't always come to us gift wrapped. A walk in the country looking at the colours of the trees and sky. An outing by the sea,watching the waves crash against the shore, reading a good book.

On Sunday I went out with my daughter. She had found the perfect wedding dress for her wedding in November and wanted me to see it. Every mother knows that her daughter is beautiful and I feel the same about mine but when she opened the curtains of the dressing room and walked out in the most beautiful dress and veil I have ever seen....my heart sang.

What makes your heart sing?


Friday, 7 February 2014

My New Visitor.


 Last year around this time I was writing about a grey squirrel who was frequenting my back garden. I was so excited as this was the first time this had happened. I haven't been able to put out food for it this year as a neighbour about five gardens away is keeping pigeons and when I put food out it's like a scene from the Hitchcock movie The Birds. I do however have those little fat balls and seed in a hanger for the smaller birds. So no squirrel this year, I see it as it runs along the garden fences until it reaches the one that houses the horrible pigeons and better food.


A few weeks ago I was putting something in the garage from the door in the garden as I went to leave I noticed sitting on a shelf near the door was a little Robin Redbreast, so of course I spoke to him asking what he was doing in my garage and expecting him to fly away.  He didn't fly away but just chirped at me.
I looked at the shelf he was sitting on and right beside him was a bag of bird food. As I went towards it he flew outside and sat on the table which I have moved up against the wall outside the back door because of the high winds. He waited until I put out some food on the table and started to eat it. 
Since that day every time I go into the garden he flies down beside me. When I throw a ball for the dog the robin sits a foot away from me. When I do the dog pooh patrol around the garden he is there watching me when I look up. I always feel I have to speak to him which is unusual for me as I 'm not a bird person.



Yesterday my hubby said,"Your Robin has come for a visit" and there on my kitchen floor and looking very cheeky was the Robin. I couldn't believe my eyes, as I walked towards him in case he flew any further into the house he hopped outside and onto the table. I put out the seed and he feasted. 
Unfortunately the big horrible bullies from five gardens away saw the goodies and swooped down en mass.
I banged my kitchen door to scare them away but the spell was broken and Robin had flown away,oh how I hate those bloody pigeons.
Last night just after 5pm I was playing ball with the dog again. I could see the birds all flying back to their nests for the evening when I heard a little chirp,and there on a branch of a tree was my Robin. I put some food out for him and he hopped onto the table and was joined by another Robin and side by side they had their supper.
On telling my daughter about the Robin she said that Robins are said to be a departed loved one with a message for you. I'm always looking for signs (remember the rose ) so I decided to ask Google and this is what I found.


"The robin redbreast is a bird of Spring, a time of new growth and new beginnings. It flies into our lives on the winds of change asking us to weed our personal gardens and plant new seeds for our future. Rebirth and renewal require changes in all areas of life that have become stagnant and outdated. The robin redbreast teaches us to how to make these changes with joy in our hearts. Its song is a happy one reminding us to let go of our personal drama and learn to laugh with life. If this medicine is underdeveloped those with this totem are continually challenged by the prospects of change. Difficulties arise and emotional discord can surface. Learning how to release our attachments to the old is one of the life lessons the redbreast helps us master."


  According to Ted Andrews in the book Animal Speak, a Robin being around signifies growth in all areas of your life. So it is a positive sign. He says the Robin's trill is," a pleasant song as he sings to protect his territory, it suggests a need to "sing your own song forth" if you wish new growth.
 As a meaningful symbol for you, the robin is like an embodiment of the kind of energy you need to create and receive the new changes in your life."

I found it all quite interesting as at the moment we are preparing to sell our house and move to another area. As much as I want to move I am wrestling with letting things go,with starting afresh,with having to integrate into a new community. Like everyone else I have doubts, I doubt myself, I doubt the decisions I make. I want our lives to be better and I think this move will make it so,but there are still the creeping doubts.
If what I read about the Robin is true,and being the sentimental soul I am I believe this Robin was sent to me for the very reasons I have written about.
I have to clear out all the clutter in my life and look forward to sowing new seeds in a new place where my hubby and I will grow much much older together and where life will be just great.
Watch this space........


Tuesday, 31 December 2013

That Was the Year That Was.



We are all just recovering from the mayhem that is Christmas when New Year celebrations are upon us. Another page turned in our great book of life. As we look forward to our fresh clean page we also need to take some time to look back at the page we have just turned over. Was 2013 the year when all our wishes came true?

In the land of blogging and twitter I know of a few people who fulfilled their dreams this year and witnessed their first book being published and some who went from Indi  author to securing a publishing deal,well done to them all.



At this time of fun and merriment some people are also going through the hardest times they may ever have to face, I'm thinking of two of my twitter friends, one has had a traumatic time and I'm hoping for good news for her the new year and another for whom there can only be sadness ahead. My hopes and my prayers go to both of them, I hope they find peace and contentment in 2014.






Another year gone when I haven't fulfilled my resolutions. I've came to the conclusion I will never be a regular at the gym and I will never be a size ten. I much prefer to read books and eat chocolate.



If I had been going to the gym I would never have had the time to review over forty books this year.
What? You didn't know I had a book review blog? You can find it here

My family welcomed in my son and his partner's new baby girl on 23rd December just in time for her first Christmas and a lovely end of the year.

Looking Forward

2014 will be the year my daughter is married and the November date gives me time to start my diet and look for an outfit and the best waterproof mascara I can find as I will cry my eyes out that day. I am also going to do something I have been so scared of doing for so long. Bungee jump? No! I'm going to try out  contact lenses as I don't want to wear my glasses to the wedding (yes,I'm being vain)  and I still want to see how beautiful my daughter will be without screwing my eyes together. Okay, I'm a wimp but the thought of putting something in my eyes just makes me want to close them tight.





 2014 will also be the year we sell our house (fingers crossed) and move from the area we have lived in for so long. It's a big thing for us to do as we haven't moved around much during our married life but time for pastures new I think.  If I read any more books by Val Poore about living on a barge that's what my hubby may make me do! Watch this space!




 All that is left is for me to thank every single person who has read my blog this year and an extra big thank you and a slap on the back if you have left a comment you really are the creme de la creme.
Have a very HAPPY NEW YEAR  and I hope 2014 brings you all you would ask of it. 
I will leave you with my two little cherubs who make me realise just how very blessed I am. xx

Big sister Abi and brand new little sister Katie.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Turkey Diaries 2013 - The Tough Love of Country Life.

I'm squeezing in one last post of my Turkey Diaries before Christmas is here.

Camels passing through the village

This year's holiday has been a bit different, although we are living in a villa with a lovely pool we are in a semi rural location (Kayakoy) surrounded by fields and wildlife and as I said before I'm a city girl which makes some things that go on around us a little bit hard to understand although some of them may be cultural and not just because of the rural location.

Can you see the chicken?
The owner of the villa, Mustafa has a cow, one cow, it is owned by him and another two family members.
 It lives on it's own in the field just outside the gates of the villa. In the next field separated by a wall lives another cow and sometimes two, they are owned by another villa owner, the lady I spoke about who makes and sells bracelets. The other two cows are always fed first in the evening and when we are leaving to go for our own dinner the villa's cow is thrashing about and it's distressing moos cut into my heart. She is tethered by a rope and can't wander to look for grass to eat and anyway the sparse grass is burned and dry. The cow kicks her bucket where it's last meal was and gores it with his horns,I'm afraid she is going to lift her head with the bucket attached. She is hungry and  can see the other cows being fed. We meet Mustafa on the way out, he hears the cow and laughs, he holds up a paper bag containing what looks like leftovers of the family's evening meal with bits of bread and my heart sinks, that is going to fill that cow's belly for another day?
Poverty can't be the reason the cow only has scraps as it's owner has a shop, a huge house he lives in, a villa and talks about building another one.

I ask Mustafa about the herd of cows which have suddenly appeared in a adjoining field. He says that the locals all bring their livestock to the field so they can all go to market at the same time. Our cow has one month left before he makes the trip. I'm thankful that we will be home by then and I won't have to look at the empty field. A bit further down the field a horse is tethered too, all day long in the heat with no shelter.
I would never make a country girl.I would give all the animals names and wouldn't be able to send them to market. I am a contradiction, I eat meat without thinking and yet the thought of those poor animals going to slaughter fills me with horror. Throughout my stay here I don't eat meat very often but it is hard to find a good vegetarian meal.
The next morning the holding field for the cows is filled with black goats and the herd of cows are...no more.

                                                  A Mother's Love 
Tonight, returning from Fethiye we are walking down the pitch dark lane towards the villa with only our trusty torch guiding our way,we hear the most horrible guttural howling sound in the distance. Have you ever wondered what a monster would sound like? It would sound like this noise we are hearing right now.
 It would be normal for us to be running in the opposite direction but being one with nature as we now are we march bravely on.
We reach the front door and hubby goes inside to pour some drinks (well,we're on holiday). I decide to take in the washing. I hear the noise again, much louder and very near, the low guttural howling.
You remember those film where the girl hears a noise and goes to investigate and you're shouting at the screen, "No!" ? Well you'll be glad to know I ran into the villa and locked the door.
Hubby laughs and takes the torch to investigate.By this time we have decided that it must be a cow, not the villa's cow because I always shine my torch on it as we pass and it was sleeping. Hubby can't see anything but the very deep mooing goes on and on and sounds very angry. We think it's maybe a cow who's wandered off and is lost somewhere in the ruins behind the garden.
Our bedroom is at the back so we didn't hear it during the night .
Next morning, sure enough it's still very angry. I was out of bed first and feeling braver in the light of day I walk through the gardens following the noise.There is another villa across the way from us (bracelet woman) and in the field at the bottom of their garden is a black and white cow. I look over to see if it is trapped or hurt but it has been tethered there by a long rope and it's not happy at all, it doesn't want to be there.
 Every time it gives a loud moo it is answered by another moo not quite so strong. I go to the back of  our villa and look out into the field behind us. There is only one cow, the black and white on has gone.
It's only now I realise that the cow left behind in the field is very young and this is who has been replying to the loud moos. That's when the penny drops as for the second time during this holiday the book I've been reading African Ways by Valerie Poore helps me out. I remembered her saying that at the farm they separated cows from their calves during the night and then milked them in the morning before returning the cows to their calves.
The calf. You can see he's tethered
The cow in such distress is crying for her baby and has been all night long. I see the owner of the cows coming with a bucket and a few minutes later mother and baby are reunited. What a sight! It brings tears to my eyes. The mother cow is licking her baby's face all over while the Turkish lady is milking her then the baby takes over and suckles and peace reigns once more.

The howling cow,she's now saw and fed her baby .

I watch for a while then leave to get my camera when I get back Mustafa is there watching too. I tell him the cow was wailing all night and he shouts in Turkish over to the owners, probably telling him how stupid I am.
I ask why the cow was moved and he says something about new grass but I've read Val's book and I know the truth. By the time I take my photo mother and baby are now eating their own little piles of hay but they keep their eye on each other just to make sure.

 Mustafa tells me the black goats are going to market today and as he's talking a flock of sheep enter the field beside the goats, next in line for market.
It seems the cow will go into the field tonight beside the villa's cow, she'll still be able to see her calf so maybe she'll be calmer.

The cows and black goats taken with zoom lens.
It all seems cruel to a townie like me  but what it proves is....mothers do not like to be separated from their children and will cry and howl and let everyone know, until they are back together once more.

I savour my last day here.I wander around the gardens and draw the surroundings in my memory. I look at the clear blue sky and remember it's colour. The heat from the sun will have to keep me going all through the winter. We will not return to this villa, there are so many other villas in so many other beautiful places to experience and of course,other countries to explore. Perhaps next year my diaries will be written in one of those countries instead of Turkey,who knows?
Now let's get on with Christmas!

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Turkey Diaries 2013 - Fiery Skies, A Ghost Village and Chickens




It's 7am and I can tell by the  smell in the living room that it's been raining overnight. I go outside and inhale. It's a wet,musty smell of damp soil. The earth in the vegetable garden where the fig trees grow has turned a dark red colour from it's soaking. There are patches of mist everywhere.The rain must have came and went  during the night because it's mostly dried up. I hope the clouds blow away soon. 
As I sit at the table on the porch writing this the sun is rising in the east, fighting it's way above the thick cloud. The sky appears to be on fire as it is bathed in fiery red.  I hope the sun breaks through and we have a good day ahead.


I look over at the ruins of the ghost village which were once inhabited by Greek people who were forced to leave and settle in Greece during the population exchange of 1923  and my mind starts to wander, thinking about the people who lived just a stones throw away from where I am seated. The houses are all built on a very steep hill and every house was positioned so it would have the same view of the valley below, could you imagine planners doing that today? The people who lived there must have been very fit climbing up and down to get to shops and their homes. At the uppermost point is a church I can't begin to imagine how exhausted they would be going to Sunday services. 
I took this with a zoom.
The steepness of the village is part of the reason I haven't walked through it yet. The temperature has stayed around 37degs and I don't think I'm capable of even a few hundred yards uphill. My husband is of the mindset that the houses are just derelict buildings and not worth seeing. I would still like to visit but as the local council are starting to renovate some of them including the church it might be more interesting to visit when that has been done, but it will still be a trek uphill.
You can just see the church at the top and from the other side there are many more houses and a steeper climb.





The clouds are being blown away


                                                             Learning to love chickens

A few weeks before leaving for Kayakoy I read an online review about the villa, " The owner comes everyday to clean the pool and look after his free range chickens that run around the garden." What? I didn't sign up for this,chickens! I didn't know how I cope and breathe a sigh of relief that my daughter will not be with us as she has a bird phobia especially with the kind that don't fly and just flutter.
The first and last time I was anywhere near chickens was when I was nineteen and being interviewed for a job as a children's nanny. The interview took place in a large stately home in Dumfries and I had to stay there overnight. I was shown around the large gardens. The children had ponies,rabbits and guinea pigs. The mother took me into a large barn and when she opened the door I saw what seemed like hundreds of chickens all fluttering and clucking. I listened to the mother with my eyes wide and my heart in my mouth as she explained that part of my job would be to clean out the hen house assisted by two young children as she wanted them to be involved in everything. If she had offered my a small fortune I still would have refused the job, children, yes, chickens, no.

Back to my chickens in Turkey. There are ten in total. What amazes me is that they are all so different. Mr Rooster is magnificent as he struts up and down definitely in charge. His plumage is brown,green,yellow,orange and many shades inbetween. Some of the girlies are white,some black and some spotted. A young black  cockerel makes up the family. Over the two weeks we have been here he has grown, his feathers are becoming more colourful and his tail feathers are curling like his fathers. I wonder when he will find his voice? Don't believe that cockerels only crow in the morning, that just isn't true. Cockerels crow morning,noon and night,in fact every hour of the day. They crow in reply to other neighbourhood cockerels and they crow just because they can,well wouldn't you?

I told them to get in line for a photo,but they're shy.

 



Have you ever watched a cockerel as he crows? He throws back his tiny head,looks like he is taking a deep breathe, throws his head forwards and forces the sound out with every ounce of energy he can muster. That is why his crow is very, very loud, especially when you're sunbathing by the pool and he is by your side.


The chickens run about in a gang, when you see one you know the others are lurking just around the corner. They tour the garden scratching the ground for tasty snacks. Sometimes when we leave the villa in the early evening they are sitting on the wall just outside the gate, the gang leader and his followers,checking us out.

The boss!
The gang.

I think she's quite an old lady.

We've even seen them jump into the fruit trees and knock the fruit down to peck at. 
Mr Rooster and his fan club have a good life here. The cats don't seem to bother with them and there are no foxes here, an idyllic life.


I thought this chicked looked very refined but she wouldn't stand still.

I never thought I would be so amused by chickens or that I would spend so long watching them and indeed writing about them. My only problem with having chickens would be that I would treat them as pets and I'm so glad I won't be here when they meet their inevitable end.  I will miss this when we're home in Scotland.  

I'm not the best at taking a video but here is a little trip around the garden and pool with the cockerel crowing just for you.
p.s blogger went a bit mad today and it kept changing my type at the start and won't let me change it back.