Sunday, January 27, 2013


Normally the road past our house down to the ocean looks like this:

Today it looks like this:

The cats that hang around our place are not amused: 

Everyone else, however is pretty excited:

Happy Snow Day!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Crafty Projects

Sam and Johanna made these fingerless pleather gloves.
Nicole made this fabulous knit and braided headband from a photo she found on the 'net.

Johanna made these leather bracers.

I made this mobius scarf.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Have you seen my bank?

My first stop in town today was the bank. I thought it was odd that their sign was gone from the building when I got off the bus, but it's Turkey.  I crossed the street, glanced in the glass door and saw emptiness and plywood on the floor. They've moved before since we arrived in the region so I didn't think much of it.  The ATM was in it's same old place so I stuck my card in, jumped through the hoops and got NOTHING. 

I just chatted with Cam.  His employer is having problems depositing his pay cheque because our branch no longer exists.  Cam didn't say so - but I'm guessing he got a "Why didn't you tell us you were changing banks?" phone call from the corporate accountant.

So it appears that ING Bank has moved their branch lock stock and bank accounts to Canakkale; a twenty minute ferry ride and depending on the actual location of the branch perhaps a 30 minute drive from Gelibolu. If the branch is gone, there will be no one here to maintain the ATM so I guess we're looking for a new bank.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Two Bicycles

Cam bought two bicycles today.  He arranged for them to be delivered this afternoon since he had to work.  I think they're going to be a hit.  They're adjustable too. So 5'8" tall Nicole and 5'1" tall Sam can both ride the same bike. Of course they're perfect for Johanna and I too!

Johanna takes a turn while Nicole helps Sam.

Nicole and Sam
What a traffic jam in our neighbourhood looks like - two flocks on the same road!
The front half
Sam using pedal power and Nicole lending a helping hand.

All Critters Great and Small

"Alexander Beetle" or one of his small relatives?  The bugs are back. Today I saw this fellow, a lady bug, a wasp, and a mosquito.

Beetle vs Cats

Cats ready for their close up - Nicole has her lens trained on them.

Can you count to 9?

These two sit on the window ledge and watch me make supper!

Sausage is new to the neighborhood.  When he first arrived he was barrel shaped. (hence the name)  He's lost lots of weight.  We think he was a drop off or left behind by one of the summer residents. He follows us on our walks and greets us like old friends.

Friday, January 18, 2013


Cam's been working every day lately supervising lease construction. He's usually out the door before 8 am and back home in the nick of time for supper at 6 pm.  There's been a few days when we've waited supper for him till after 6:30 or 7 p.m..

With one vehicle and the closest grocery store 20 minutes away by car, that means shopping is usually accomplished in the evening or at a moment's notice when Cam has a work related trip to Gelibolu.  If we're out of water or bread, sometimes Cam will stop in a small town and buy us "enough" to tide us over.

We try to buy enough meat, vegis and bread to last 5 - 7 days when we do shop but we have limited freezer space - just the top of the fridge for storage.  Unlike home, food does not "last" endlessly without being frozen.  Meat purchased today must be frozen or cooked the next day or it won't be safe to eat.

Yesterday, Cam called in the afternoon.  He suggested we go out for supper and then for groceries.

While Cam's boss was here in December, he gave me two bottles of cabernet sauvignon from a winery they'd visited the previous day (He gave Cam shoes.*). According to the Chairman of the Board this was much better wine than we'd enjoyed from Melon Winery last spring.  Turns out I agreed with him and told Cam that I was now in a new "wine bracket".

So last night one of Cam's colleagues offered to show us where the winery was. The owners of Suvla Wines (husband and wife) bought 80 hectares of vineyards in 2003, but only opened the shop and bottling facility in April 2012. The shop is located in the town of Eceabat.  There are signs on the E90 to direct you.  Eceabat is about 40k south of Gelibolu on the peninsula.  The E90 between Gelibolu and Ecebat is under construction so this trip always feels long and it doesn't help that the road follows the sea so there are few places where it is safe to pass the tractor & wagon, cement truck or tour bus.

We arrived at the winery in the dark about 5:45 pm.  The gate to the compound was open but the lights in the store were out. Never the less, Cam's colleague rattled the door and the owner turned the lights on and let us in. I don't know if our visit was prearranged but business hours in Turkey are flexible.  Besides wine, Suvla also sells their own extra virgin olive oil, soaps, cheese boards, olives and preserves (fruit,  jellies, pastes) made from grapes, tomatos and olives.

Afterwards we said goodbye to Cam's colleague who was headed to Canakkale by feribot from Eceabat; we returned to Gelibolu.  We went to Kumsal for supper.  Nicole, Sam and I had kofte (Turkish meatballs) served last night with rice, french fries, a fried tomato and long green pepper.  Johanna ordered chicken shish; usually that's most of a chicken breast cut into cubes and grilled on two sticks.  Cam ordered mixed grill - so he got lamb, steak, chicken and perhaps kofte.  Johanna and Cam got the same sides as the rest of us got. 

In a Turkish restaurant you are aways served bottled water and endless bread (toasted or fresh). They also bring a big serving tray with a selection of starters for you to choose from: beans, peppers, yogurt, brains, aubergine. We usually order a tomato and cucumber salad - like a Greek salad but without lettuce or cheese. Last night we also ordered "white cheese".  This is a triangle of feta-like cheese served with ... tomato and cucumber!  We also ordered borek which are piping hot phylo bundles filled with cheese and spinach or sometimes meat.

After supper we went to the grocery store.  With the 5 of us zooming around with two carts, it doesn't take long for us to get the job done.  However there were no eggs available and very little meat available last night. Eggs seem in short supply lately.  The bread bakery was closed so we had to buy bread from the grocery store.  They have bread in sliced loaves like we have at home in Canada, but here we prefer to buy fresh bread from the bakery.

* So he wouldn't have to carry them home in his suitcase!

Monday, January 14, 2013

They're at it again

It's the navy today.  They've got at least a couple of boats on the Saros and they've been lobbing shells at one another all day. We can see the dark outline of the ships from here and feel the percussive thump of the shells.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Only In Your Turkish Grocery Store...

We went grocery shopping yesterday. This sight greeted us:

He's standing on a shopping cart, washing the security cameras. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


There was an earthquake yesterday with an epicentre near the end of the peninsula we live on.  Depending on who you listen to it had between 5.8 and 6.2 magnitude. (Montreal Gazette) The girls and I were together sitting on my bed.  I had my head down knitting and thought that the girls were moving around on the bed.   When I looked up I saw the bathroom door swing back and forth on its hinges and heard the electric heater rattle.

This was my second quake.  The first one I experienced was a mild tremor in San Francisco in the late 70's.

According to Wikipedia, there are about 500,000 quakes each year with 1/5 of those being large enough seismic events to be felt.  Quakes in Turkey are very common, but it is only recently that the government passed legislation to ensure that new buildings are built to quake proof standards.  Unfortunately, shoddy workmanship, poor quality materials, inadequate design  and the bribery of inspectors has meant that even new buildings will sustain damage. Turkey's Earthquake

Global Incident Map This site keeps track of global earthquakes as they happen.

What grows on trees?

 In our yard . . .

cats grow on trees!

This is the same kitty who was sitting on top of the barbecue chimney yesterday. We've been feeding the cats.  Earlier in the fall there were as many as nine coming each day; three adults and six kittens. Lately we only see between two and four cats. This one is one of the kittens - now mostly grown.  

Friday, January 4, 2013

Corlu Road Trip

We tagged along with Cam today.  He had to take the car to the dealership for service.  The appointment was for 10:30 am which meant we had to be on the road no later than 8 am.  It's 200k from our door to Corlu and it takes a little more than two hours. He bought the vehicle in Ankara (8 hours from our home) so that his employer's business manager could help him with the transaction: payment, licensing, road tax and insurance. The nearest Nissan dealership to our home is the one at Corlu.

Cam dropped us off at the Orion Shopping Mall.  Malls in Turkey are a relatively new shopping alternative. Most cities, towns and villages still hold weekly or biweekly market days when vendors set up tables in the city center. You can buy everything from socks and underwear to fruit and vegetables. The malls often have many "brand name" stores like Nike, Polo, Adidas, or Pierre Cardin. However the goods they have for sale don't seem to be any better quality than the ones you might find at the local market (pazar in Turkish).  One nice thing about the mall however, is that if you're trying to buy "socks and underwear", you won't be waited on by a tween boy and his dad, like you might be at the pazar!

We had lunch at the food fare. Johanna, Nicole and I chose to eat Turkish pide from "Sampi", while Sam opted for a McDonald's cheeseburger and fries. Pide is a rectangular flat bread covered in meat and vegetables - like a pizza but without sauce and sometimes without cheese.  It's cooked while you wait.  The girls had sausage and cheese.  Anytime sausage is on the menu it is typically what we would think of as a cocktail wiener served whole or sliced. Today was no different.  Because I'm not eating much dairy any more, the girls ordered my pide with ground meat (beef I think) and finely chopped onions.

The best part of the food fare experience, from my perspective, was standing at McDonald's with Sam and watching the young male waiters at the Doner/Pida place swan around the girls.  All the activity died away once Sam and I joined them at the table, but it was fun to watch.

Cam picked us up about 12:30 pm and we zoomed home.