Friday, 28 July 2017


I have been amazed over the past few years by the number of new friends I have made, thanks to the internet and social media.  Many of them I have been fortunate enough to meet in person.

We can often think of our retirement years being rather quiet, and even though we keep some friends for many years, we don't always see them as often as we'd like as we get older.

It seems to be working in reverse for me.  I have made a lot of new friends in recent years, mostly in my age group.  I've also rekindled friendships with those I haven't seen for many years.

A lot of my recent friendships have been made through blogging but also a shared interest in animal rescue and welfare.   I have met up with friends who live in Turkey, but also those who visit for holidays.  I am looking forward to meeting up with more in the near future, and also a lovely new friend in the UK when I visit next month.

So to those of you who are my friends, both new and old, thankyou for your friendship,your kindness, and for helping to make my retirement years much more fulfilling.

Monday, 24 July 2017

I've been gone for some time....

....for more than six months...from this blog that is.   I'm still here, still in this remote village, still looking after my 12 rescued dogs at home, still helping to care for dogs in the village and at the sanayi.

Kaya (my husband) does most of the work with the dogs at the sanayi, mainly because he opened a car valeting business there last November and he is there every day.  Business could be better...much better...but we are muddling through, and to be honest Kaya enjoys being there with the dogs so we are hoping things will pick up with the business so he doesn't have to give it up.  Should that happen, the dogs won't be forgotten of course.  We have been feeding them there for several years now, so that won't stop.

So, catching up on what's been happening over the last six months.   Day to day life hasn't really changed.  I visited my daughter and grandsons in England in March and will be going to see them again on 22nd August for two weeks.  Something I am very much looking forward to.  It will be the first time I've actually managed to see them in summer.  When Kaya was working in tourism, he was away most of the time so my visits had to be out of season.   Fortunately, he is close enough to home to be able to pop back to feed our dogs while I'm away.  I will certainly be glad to get away from the intense heat and humidity.

I had a visit from my cousin last month.  We last saw each other 15 years ago when her father, my uncle, died.  She is a year younger than me and we were very close as children, but she moved away and we had about 40 years or so to catch up on!   It was her birthday last week and her daughter booked and paid for her flights to visit me again in October.  The weather will be cooler and it's hoped we can see more of the country this time.

It's just over a year since the attempted coup here and we are still in a state of emergency.  Life has changed for so many people, although I would prefer not to go into details (it's best to avoid talking about such things) but life for most of us goes on as normal.

Last week there was a big earthquake in Kos and Bodrum.  We were lucky not to be affected by it.  It was felt down in our village but not here at the top of the hill.  Those of us who have lived here for some time, take it in our stride.  Certainly friends in Bodrum, who spent a couple of days and nights mostly outside their homes, dealt with it all in good spirits and humour.

My Facebook page AYAK'S ANİMALS (Rescue and Welfare) has taken over from my blog and anyone wishing to follow our work with dogs and cats, please feel free to join.

I am hoping that I can get back into blogging again.  I miss it, but lack inspiration most of the time, so I'll see you again here when the mood takes me.

Thursday, 5 January 2017


 A friend just posted this photo on Facebook, with no comment.  It didn't need one.   The great Ataturk did so much for this country and gave it's people such hope.  I wonder what he would think of the country today.

Today, after yet another senseless attack, there is an overwhelming feeling of sadness.   There is also fear, because no-one knows where or when something else will happen.

I have been saying for so long that it's still safe to come here, but after today I don't feel I can keep repeating these words.  I personally don't feel fear.  At my age, fear seems to take a back seat.  Every day is a bonus, and I believe in fate.  When my time is up so be it.  I've had a decent innings and I'm grateful.

I feel a sense of strange anticipation (if that's the right word) more than fear, because no-one knows what will happen next.  I also feel sad that I won't be able to encourage my daughter and grandsons to come here to visit.  Why would I even contemplate putting them at risk?

I'm not religious.  If I were I would be saying "pray for Turkey".  Prayers don't help.  They don't stop people dying.  But if prayers give some people comfort, then fine go ahead and pray.

This is a big country.  In most places life will go on as normal, as it will for me.  I'll still be feeding dogs and cats and not venturing much further than the nearest town for shopping.  I'll still be asking my neighbour Sevke to stop letting her chickens into my garden, or Dursune to stop allowing her baby donkey to run riot up and down the road, making my dogs bark!

It's a simple life, with very little excitement, which suits me.    What is going on in the rest of the country though fills my mind with incredible sadness.

 I just want it to stop.  I'd like to feel optimistic again, and see this country return to some semblance of normality.

Rest in Peace all those who have died and great sympathy to those they have left behind.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

In Remembrance of Freddie Mercury...and another

Freddie Mercury died 25 years ago today.  One of the greatest talents that ever lived.

I was reminded of him when someone posted the song "Who wants to live forever" on Facebook today.

I first heard the song in the film The Highlander.  It was in my social work days and I was working with young people coming out of care, and supporting them in the community.  The film was recommended by one of my clients, a young boy just 17 yrs old when I first met him.  He was a very troubled young man who had suffered years of abuse and ended up in care.

This young man died at 19 years old.  He was beginning to turn his life around, was very intelligent and seemed to have a good future ahead of him.   Sadly, that wasn't to be.

He was a big Queen fan, and friends thought it appropriate to play "Who wants to live forever" at his funeral.  One of them got in touch with one of the members of Queen.  They sent a lovely letter of sympathy, together with the album containing the song.  Not only that, they also sent flowers.

I am also a big Queen fan.  Every time I hear this song it makes me cry.  For the loss of a wonderful performer.    But also for the tragic loss of a young man who had his whole life ahead of him but was taken far too soon.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Guilty Feelings and Paranoia

Being paranoid has always been part of my depression.   It's a horrible state of mind.  I may say something to someone, or write something, and then on reflection think I may have offended.  Worse still I can also feel that I am disliked or even hated.

When I'm not depressed, and more rational, I can put it all into perspective and realise that my feelings are unfounded...but it takes a while for it to fall into place.  I'm not sure those who don't suffer these feelings will understand what I'm saying, but those who do will get it, I'm sure.

These thoughts came to the surface again during the last few days.

Kaya had to sell our car.  Financially it was a drain on resources, particularly as he has been out of work for a while.  It also meant that he could attempt to start up a small business with the proceeds so at least he would have something positive to focus on.  This is all underway and we are hopeful that it will get off the ground in the not too distant future.   He gave me some money from the proceeds, which, along with a gift from a friend, enabled me to book two nights away in Izmir next week with a friend.  Something we have talked about for a while, but which I wasn't sure I could afford.  So now I was in a position to go ahead.

Then come the feelings of guilt, because at the same time I realised that I would soon have to ask for help again with funding for the animals we care for....our 12 rescues and the others in the village and at the sanayi.  So I naturally feel that I shouldn't be wasting money on a trip but should be using the money for the dogs and cats instead.

I actually wrote a post for my Facebook page to ask for help, but then didn't post it...because I felt guilty.

At the same time, something cropped up about people who operate scams connected with animal welfare.   They raise huge amounts of money which apparently lines their pockets rather than benefit animals in need.  This can have a bad effect on the genuine rescuers, because naturally people are wary and are reluctant to donate if they feel that they are being scammed.

So I then start to wonder if those who help me with my work, may think the same about me.  This is what paranoia does.  Hence, no post on Facebook.   I had a good response in October, and I was so grateful as it enabled me to stock up with food, medication, flea collars, and also to clear vet bills.  But so far have received just one gift during November, so funds are starting to run low.

I did discuss these feelings with a close friend today, and she told me that my planned trip and the work I do with animals are two separate things.  She also suggested that I write about it.  So here it is.  I'm not sure if it helps me, and part of me still feels I should cancel my trip because the animals come first, but maybe when I'm in a better frame of mind, I'll look at it differently.

This post wasn't easy to write.  It makes me feel vulnerable. However, I have an overwhelming need to be honest.  I will only post it on my group page because some of it may help others genuinely involved in animal welfare and rescue.  They may also think that they could be tarred with the same brush as scammers.  The genuine ones that I have come to know, will, like me, just keep going regardless.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Looking forward

You might recall my last blog post when I talked about the need sometimes to escape (HERE) and of course I spent nine days in England from the 4th to 13th and had a lovely time.  It was wonderful to have  time with my daughter and grandsons, having not seen them since February.

The boys are growing and changing all the time and I miss them so much.  It's really difficult to say goodbye.  I'm hoping it won't be too long before I'm able to see them again.

I do find the travelling exhausting, and  never sleep well in a different bed.  I was also very stressed about one of the sanayi dogs, Elif, who had been badly injured in a traffic accident.  In spite of my insisting she be put to sleep, the vet disagreed and wanted to operate.  To cut a long, sad, story short, she was kept at the clinic for several days and Kaya removed her and took her to Mugla.  All this happened whilst I was away so it was constantly on my mind.

The Mugla vet hoped to operate but promised that if there was no improvement he would euthanise her.  She waited another week and eventually the decision was made to end her suffering. It should have happened sooner of course, but at least she is now at peace.

An enthusiastic welcome awaited me from the dogs, and also Kaya (although I think maybe he was relieved that I had returned to clean the house, do the washing, ironing, etc...he does his best, but men, and in particular Turkish men, don't find household chores easy!).

He has been busy in the garden though, and there are repairs to be undertaken to the fencing around the big dogs' area which were damaged during strong winds.  In fact, Melek, Chas and Blondie managed to escape through a gap which was quite worrying.  However, they returned none the worse for their adventure.

Kaya is still not working and there are no jobs around.  He has wanted to get out of tourism for some time now which I think, in the current situation in Turkey, is a good idea.

We made a decision to sell the car, and stick with the motorbike.  Not an easy decision but financially it makes sense.  It also means that Kaya is hoping to start up a small business with the proceeds of the sale.  I won't talk too much about that at the moment as I don't want to tempt fate, but he is not someone who will just sit around waiting for something to fall into his lap.  So we'll see how it goes.  Fingers crossed.

He also insisted that I have a little of the money for myself.  So that, together with a gift from a friend, will enable me to go to Izmir for a two day break on the 28th.  It's something I've been hoping to do with my dear friend Fleur, and we had been making provisional plans.  So the hotel is now booked...with a request for a bath of course, and we are really looking forward to it.

Thanks to gifts over the past month or so, we were able to settle vet bills and stock up with food, and to all those who have have my most grateful thanks.

We will of course have to stock up again soon, so if anyone would like to help, please email me at, or send me a message on Facebook (the link to my group page is on the sidebar).

Have a good weekend everyone xx

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Sometimes we just need to escape.....

....because we feel trapped.

 I love our dogs, and  I enjoy the fact that we can help so many other dogs and cats in our area, but occasionally I have a desperate need to get away from it all.

Those of you also involved in animal rescue and welfare I think will understand what I mean.  Even having one or two dogs can restrict you.  You can't just pack a bag and set off somewhere on a whim.  You need to put your pets in kennels or find someone to look after them.  Easy with one or two dogs, but 12 is a different kettle of fish entirely.  Who in their right mind would want to look after this many dogs, not to mention the cats, and keeping an eye on the dogs in the village and sanayi?

In 18 years, Kaya and I have never had a holiday together.  We've never even been away for one night together.   If I want to go to England to see my family, I have to choose a time when he is not working so that he can be here to look after the animals.  Likewise, on occasions when he has been working away, I have to be here.

I haven't seen my daughter and grandsons since February.  I usually try to visit on Billy and Jimi's birthdays, 6 days apart in April, but because Kaya started work in March this year it wasn't possible. My daughter's birthday is in September, and I have missed an awful lot of them because it's a busy time in tourism.  That makes me very sad.  I would love to be with her on her birthday.

Of course I book my flights way in advance to get the best prices, but had I known that Kaya would be out of work before the end of the season, I could have gone to the UK sooner than 4th November.  Nevertheless as the day approaches I am very excited and so looking forward to being there.

I tell myself at this point in time that it will be such a relief to have some time away from barking dogs and endless feeding of same, but I know I'll probably miss them.  It's a real dilemma.  If I could win the lottery (difficult as I never buy a ticket!)  I could  buy a huge piece of land for the dogs and employ someone to care for them if I just fancied escaping for a few days.  Perhaps a private jet to pop over to England?  

Kaya tells me that he is done with tourism.  He's not getting any younger and it really is a young man's game.  The long hours are exhausting and take their toll.  I'm hoping that he can find something locally which will make life a lot easier for both of us.  If that happens then I fully intend to go to the UK for my family's birthdays next year.  Better still, I'd like them to come and stay with us.   We'll just have to wait and see.

This post is beginning to sound like one big whinge, but it's not really because I don't regret the decisions I made.  Caring for these animals is a commitment which will last as long as I live.

But an escape now and then would be nice wouldn't it?

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Nothing stays the same

Sunday 22nd March 2009.  That was the day I wrote my first blog post.  Since then I've done 2000 posts. How on earth have I managed to write so much?

A lot has happened since then.

The most exciting events were the arrival of my grandsons.  Billy is now 7 years old and Jimi is 5 years old, and both at school.  It seems like only yesterday that they were tiny babies.  I love them so much but miss them dreadfully.  I wish I could just pop over to see them much more often.  A lottery win and a private jet would help!

I am going to the UK on 4th November, but just for 9 days.  I wish it were longer but having booked the flights in June...well in advance to get the best price, and not knowing when,  where, or if Kaya would be working, I have to accept what I can get.

This year has been a difficult one, for many reasons.  So much has happened in this country, not all good,and the effect on tourism has been dreadful. Kaya has been in and out of work since the start of the season, finally giving up on tourism completely when it became apparent that there were very few customers and as a result bosses cut corners.  They stop paying insurance.  They make promises about wages but when it comes to pay day, they change their minds and pay less or nothing at all.

He worked at the sanayi for a couple of weeks, then was laid off.  After a week or so he was taken back on again.   He worked from early morning till as late as midnight some days and for two weeks work was paid just 300 lira...and no insurance.   Just over a week later they took him on again.  He hoped things might have improved.  He worked for 8 days and was laid off again.   Now, one week later, he still hasn't been paid.   He continues to look for work, but winter is fast approaching so it's unlikely he'll find anything.   In the meantime, he is doing work in the garden and behind the house, mostly to prevent water getting through the walls of the house and onto the balcony when the rain starts.  Those of you living here know that when it rains here, boy does it rain.  Torrential is an understatement!

We still consider ourselves luckier than most.  We don't pay rent because our house is owned by my father-in-law, and I have my pension.  There are so many others here who have far less, and have families to support.  We are very fortunate to have the support of friends which enables us to continue to care for our 12 rescued dogs, and the others in our village and local sanayi, not forgetting several cats who we now feed.

The country is still in a state of emergency following the attempted coup, but apart from far fewer tourists, day to day life has not really changed.  Security has tightened up at airports and there are more police traffic checks.  But that's a good thing.  I've always felt confident of security here, particularly at airports where you can't enter a terminal building without going through a scanner.  I'm always more anxious about using Heathrow airport where people can wander in and out unchecked.

Those regular tourists who are not put off by the scaremongering UK press, and who still came here  this year,  will tell you that their holidays have been just as good as always.  It's not safe anywhere these days, and Turkey is no more at risk than any other country.  Let's hope 2017 is better, not just in Turkey, but everywhere.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Reasons not to blog

I have been wondering why I seem to have lost my enthusiasm for blogging.  Not just writing blog posts but reading other blogs too.  It used to be one of the first things I would do in the morning after rising very early to feed the dogs.  I'd settle down with a coffee and catch up with my favourites...and then do one of my own.

So this morning I was drawn to a blog post by one of my many blogging friends, Annie in Spain, who seems to feel the same way, and she blames it to a certain extent on her smartphone.  I must say I hadn't thought of this, but I think she's right.

Because of the dreadful service from TTNet, my internet connection comes and goes...and sometimes stays away for several days.  Although I never wanted a smartphone, I'm now glad I  have one and am using it a lot more than my laptop.  I have it permanently connected to Turkcell internet which is much more reliable.  I can take photos of my dogs and cats, or if I am out and about, and upload immediately to Facebook.  I don't have to mess around transferring the photos and then uploading to a blog post.  I don't have to keep logging in with my laptop to check Facebook or emails.  A ping on my phone tells me someone has responded to a post on Facebook, or that I have an email or message on Messenger or Whatsapp.

The downside is that my eyesight is just not good enough to do a blog post from my phone....that and the silly little keyboard with it's predictive text.  So blogging gets pushed to one side.

My last blog post was on 17th August, with updates about the dogs and cats, and also Kaya's work situation this year.  At that point he was on his third job of the season.  Sure enough, that one didn't last either.  He's now been out of work for over a week.   He did get paid what he was owed, which is always a bonus, and he has been looking around for work, and thinking about other possibilities which will get him out of tourism.  In the meantime we are in the middle of Kurban Bayram which this year has been extended to 9 days, so nothing is going to happen workwise until the holiday is finished.

He is using the time this week to do jobs around the garden.  He has re-done the cat area and you can see  what a good job he has made of it.  We bought 4 cat boxes at a good price in Bodrum which are now on a high platform along with cat food, easily accessible to the cats, but not to the sheepdogs who have recently been stealing the cat food.

He has also knocked down part of a stone wall at the side of the house and is cementing the area where we try to park the car (with difficulty as it is a narrow space)  to make it easier to get in and out.  There is more work to be done to tidy up the big dogs area at the back of the house, so he will be kept busy for a while.

Fistik continues to improve with the medication and special shampoo for her condition.  She will continue with regular fortnightly checks with the vet.  She won't be cured, but she is a lot more comfortable.  Blondie's leg is now fine.  She gets an occasional hotspot.  I spray with the Bitter Apple Spray. She doesn't touch it and it heals.

We carry on with the feeding of dogs and cats in our area.  Food is regularly dropped off to our recruited feeders in the village, and to the sanayi where the kind workers there feed between 20 and 40 dogs each day, which they supplement with scraps from a food factory there.  All this is thanks to contributions from friends, without which we wouldn't be able to continue.  Thankyou so much.  (If you would like to help you can either message me on Facebook or email me at

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Getting back to normal

When I say "normal" I mean I am attempting to get back to normal blogging again.

I could blame the intense heat of summer for lack of inspiration but I think it's really that you have to be in the right frame of mind to write.

So, what's been happening lately?   Kaya is on his third job since the start of the season.  He joined the tour company at the end of March that he worked for last year.    As anticipated, the season started off badly.  Scaremongering (mainly from foreign gutter press) has put people off coming here for holidays.  Businesses have closed down and many people are out of work.   Anyone with a job considers themselves lucky.

Naturally the greedy bosses play on this.  As in Kaya's case, fewer people were employed, but those who were still had to work ridiculously long hours.   Then the boss decides to cut salaries.   Then he doesn't pay up when he should.  Finally it is discovered that he hasn't paid employee insurance.  So Kaya managed to secure a similar job in Didim.    He set off full of optimism, but I wasn't really surprised when he returned just over a week later, having experienced the same attitude from the new boss.

For the past month he has been working back in Bodrum for a private health clinic.  Again he is working stupid hours.  It started well at 12 hours a day, but this has increased significantly and as a result he is tired and very grumpy.  But at least he is being paid and he gets one day off each week.  He'll stick it out, and there is a possibility that they will also have work for him during the winter months.  Fingers crossed.

A lot has happened recently in this country.  An attempted coup last month, and a four month state of emergency imposed.  There's so much more to all this of course, but I don't want to clog up my blog with anything political.  Suffice to say that there really doesn't seem to be any change to daily life here for most people at the moment.

And the dogs (and cats).   I think I am fortunate (touch wood) that my 12 rescues remain relatively healthy.  Megan still limps from time to time with her arthritis but is taking a daily supplement to help with her joints.  The problem Blondie has had with her ankle for almost two years has finally been sorted.  After many vet visits, antibiotics, an operation, and so many other remedies that didn't stop her from licking and re-opening the original wound, we finally hit on the cure.  Bitter Apple Spray, which can't be bought here, but a friend kindly brought over from the UK for me.  So the lampshade was finally removed after four months, and so far no further problems.

Fistik has always suffered with skin problems, and has also been back and forth to the vets for months now.  Her skin is black and scaly and she is losing her hair.  We finally have a diagnosis and treatment started.  It's a chronic condition and there is no cure, but hopefully the medication and special shampoo will prevent her scratching so much.  She will have to be checked on a regular basis and medication adjusted or changed.  It's a costly exercise, but worth it if we can make her life more comfortable.

We now have around 7 or 8 cats visiting the cat area at the side of the house to be fed and watered every day.  And we continue to provide sacks of food for the shepherd and his dogs,  the Hoca and the dogs he feeds, Annie's mum for Annie and other dogs, and our feeders at the sanayi, as well as food for our neighbour Dursune's cat Tekir and 3 other cats she is feeding.   We also administer worm and flea treatments for as many animals as possible, and provide vet treatment for sick or injured animals.

Since PayPal ceased operating in Turkey on 6th June, many friends who once sent money to help with caring for the dogs have stopped.  PayPal was so easy for people to use so I anticipated this.  Some friends however have found a way to continue to help and I am so grateful for their efforts.  But a difficult season with low earnings, and just my pension, means we may have to consider cutting back on what we provide.  It will be an absolutely last resort, and avoided for as long as possible.  If you wish to help, whether you live in Turkey or the UK, there are easy ways to do this.  Just email me at for details or message me on my Facebook group page.

We are now past the middle of August and although the days are still very hot, there is a very slight drop in temperature at night, which is a relief.   I don't do well in summer and can't wait for Autumn, Winter and Spring.   That's when I really feel I am back to normal!