October 2003

Saturday 25th October

We were both looking forward to this holiday because since the summer we have received emails from Hakan saying how well the building is going. Of course we do know that the electricity hasn’t been sorted out yet. As it is our wedding anniversary tomorrow, Mal booked us a room at the Hilton tonight, so that we could have a bit of a celebration, as we will be travelling most of ‘the’ day.

We left mid afternoon for a leisurely drive up to Stansted, had a couple of glasses of wine in our room and later went down for a celebration meal. We had our starters and by this time I was feeling really sick and a bit dizzy. The main course came and I just picked at this, not really wanting to eat anything. Foolishly I ordered a sweet, as I thought it would pass. Well, before the sweet came, I told Mal I would have to return to the room because I felt as if I was going to pass out. He evidently missed out on his sweet too, and just paid the bill! For the rest of the night I was sick and had diarrhoea. Great, up and down all night long.

Sunday 26th October…our wedding anniversary

We had bucks fizz ready in the room to go with planned our breakfast in bed. Needless to say that didn’t happen, in fact unbeknown to me, Mal was just about to cancel the holiday and get us home. Somehow I managed to muddle through, getting to the airport and surviving the journey, even if I was full of Imodium! We did manage to buy a new, much tinier digital camera in Dixons on the way out, partly paid for with the vouchers from the TV wash down (don’t ask), the last time we were away. This holiday, CTA have improved. We left almost on time but had quite a long wait in Turkey. I was exhausted by the time we arrived at the Olive Tree. We had booked a bungalow but instead had been given a second floor room, very nice but not with as many facilities as their bungalows. Tonight I really didn’t care and just fell into bed, relieved that I had survived the journey. Wonderful anniversary! 24oC on our arrival!

Monday 27th October

I felt a lot better today and so we went in for a light breakfast at around 9.00am. Mal had his usual plate loaded high while I just had a bit of yoghurt with a little scrambled egg afterwards. Looks as though there are mostly Turkish staying in the hotel, but then this is one of the International ones as opposed to just for holidaymakers. We ordered a car from reception and waited for ages for it to come. Turns out the guy had very few cars left and so we have been given his until tomorrow. He just took the £90, for the week, and gave us his car keys, no forms nothing! He is supposedly changing it in the morning.

Of course the first place we go to is the house. We did our usual stop half way up the road and stood there with our mouths open.

The outside has been painted and we have a chimney! As we looked around, it really looked good. All the flooring has been done and the grey in the quarry tiles makes them look just right. Also the blue floor tiles in the bathroom and en suite reflect onto the wall tiles. I think in the bathroom we could have had a few more ‘random’ patterned tiles (a few more than two that is.) I cannot comment on the en suite as they were painting in there and so we didn’t want to disturb them.

We are so pleased with the place, the swimming pool is making a bit more sense now that the concrete has been filled in. There is still a lot of finishing to be done here though.

We walked round and round just looking at it all. All the wiring is complete, we just need the supply now.

This gives you some idea of the inside. We are looking at the terrace at the rear, which faces the swimming pool. Through the left archway you can see where the two patio doors will go for our bedroom. Through the right arch (this is getting a bit like Rainbow!) you can see the hall and at the end, the front door, to the right is the living room and kitchen, from the living room you go through to the winter lounge and to the left, the first archway, goes through to the master bedroom and the utility room and the second arch, through to the main bathroom and the second bedroom.

This is the living room, with a new chimney (!) looking through to the winter lounge/3rd bedroom.

We then went back to the hotel as our rep was coming and as we are only here for a week we knew we would have to have our tickets checked. We told her that we asked for a bungalow. We also said that Mal had asked this morning and they said they were full (we think not!). However, we were now shown a bungalow and we said yes, we would move, so we went back up to our room and packed all our things. Mind you the porter did come and carry them all for us!

The Olive Tree- view from our first room

We then went to the supermarket and stocked up the large fridge . The previous room only had a mini bar. I was feeling much better now., thank goodness. So, feeling better we decided to go out for a meal. The fact that this car is going back in the morning, we decided to do one of the farthest restaurants to use up the petrol we had put in. We decided to go to the Stonegrill Restaurant. We noticed it had just opened when we were here in the summer. It is supposed to be a new idea from Australia (apparently not) where your food is brought to the table with a red-hot stone and you cook the food yourself. Sounded good, particularly as Mal wanted a steak. When we arrived it looked fairly full and we thought perhaps we should have booked but they had a table for two. We sat down and they brought bread, olives and oil to the table and asked us if we wanted soup or meze. We said neither as my stomach could not take too much but when they explained it was in with the price, being a bit tight, we told them to let the mezes started coming. I just picked at them because they were so nice! Then the stones arrived with the raw food and vegetables at the side. It was very good, particularly the King Prawns I had. Mal had fillet steak. He did comment to the waiter, on the way out, that it was cooked just how he liked it but it took a while for the waiter to catch on to what he meant but when he did he was laughing hysterically.

I think you get the idea how it works from the stone in front of me, not that there is any food left on it! To the right you can see Mal pointing to the ‘healthy’ part of the sign outside!

Back to the hotel where we sat outside drinking wine until quite late.

Tuesday 28th October

Oh dear, perhaps I shouldn’t have had so much to eat last night! Back on the Imodium and today. We went to the pharmacy and bought Loperamide (same as Imodium) but this is 30 tablets for approximately 70p!

We had breakfast, well, Mal did and then we called Hakan and arranged to meet him at 3pm at the house. We then made arrangements to visit Gwen and Pete tomorrow.

We then decided to go and have a wander around some of the new shops that we noticed had opened since summer. Well, when we got out of the car, the wind had got up and all the dust was going into our eyes and mouth and eventually we gave up and headed toward the hotel. Then all of a sudden a storm broke out! Well, the traffic just seemed to come to a standstill and the rain was torrential, thunder and lightning too. the rain was so heavy that I couldn’t even see where I was driving and when we managed to get up the road to Çatalköy, we found the road totally flooded and the water was just pouring down in rivers! By the time we did get back to the hotel Hakan called to say that the roads were so bad could we meet him tomorrow instead. We readily agreed.

At about 4.30pm we decided to go up and see the house again but, because the Girne ‘bypass’ was grid locked, we didn’t get there until dark (about 5.30pm!) but we put the car headlights onto the house and wandered around anyway.

On the way back we stopped at Yenihans and had dinner. As usual, it was very good. Incidentally, the guy did not bring another car and during today we have told three different people in reception that we want the insurance documents and each time they ring him and each time he doesn’t come. Mal is getting close to telling him to collect the car and we will go elsewhere. They keep telling us the Police won’t stop us but having been stopped by them before and taking account of the erratic way in which the Turkish Cypriots drive! At least the rain all dried up. The picture on the left shows Mal chilling-out at the bungalow after his big dinner at Yenihans.

Wednesday 29th October – Turkish Republic Day

Mal managed to do an hours work first thing this morning. He has quite a lot to do while he is away as he did not have time to do it before we left. Had breakfast and then managed to get our car insurance cover from reception, at last. Headed off to Peter and Gwen’s. Lots of chatting as usual and Gwen made us some lunch. The fellas got quite engrossed in something or other!

We had arranged to meet Hakan at the house at 3pm, so we had to leave and go up the hill. We had a lot of discussion with Hakan. It seems he didn’t get the attachments that we emailed him with pictures of the wardrobes that we wanted and so was going ahead with the picture he sent us, which is not what I wanted. There is also some difference of opinion over the choice of kitchen cupboards, so we all agreed to meet up with his carpenter tomorrow afternoon. At least we can try and explain what we want and he has also seen the door handle that I took to show him and we still have to choose the kitchen wall tiles. I have also told Hakan that I want a dark worktop and he suggested that dark granite would look nice and we agreed. Once again this is more money because we want granite but we felt the additional cost was reasonable. The wood for the beams is sitting in the middle of the living room, so that is going up very soon. We have to remember that this is the last time we see it before it is complete. In theory on our next visit, New Year, it will be finished! We are therefore madly trying to think of everything. Although the temperature has dropped and it was cloudy this morning, this is how quickly the weather changes. I took the photo below while we were at the house with Hakan because it was so clear that you could actually see Turkey in the distance.

On the way back to the hotel we went into Burhan’s, a furniture shop we liked before with a really helpful owner (not when we were not happy later on). We made decisions on a really nice sofa bed that looks like a sofa and not an effort to disguise a bed. We also got him to write down details about the two chairs and the table we want for the terrace and the colour cushions we want, so we have all the information ready when we bring the deposit in December. He will then make them all by February. Another major job sorted.

In the evening we drove to Mirabelle’s and had three courses each, I had their fish of the day as I often do here and the fish was really delicious. When we had finished we were given Turkish coffees and brandies ‘on the house’. Excellent and all for 44 million TL (about £17.50)

Thursday 30th October

Mal decided today that he really must get his exam work done, so after breakfast he set to. This is in the back garden of our bungalow.

We had to meet Hakan and his carpenter at the house at 12.30pm. Well, much to our surprise, the wardrobes were already there and all the doors were lying on the floor. In other words, the wardrobes were already decided and I wasn’t going to get what I had asked for. Mal said not to worry about it and if we didn’t like them we will have to replace them later. At least we are having plain doors and not that awful standard pattern on them. I know the same thing is going to happen with the kitchen units but I have asked for one of the top cupboards to have frosted glazing. I know we have little selection here and I think we are both thinking we will leave it up to Hakan and then change it afterwards if we don’t like things. This now seems the easiest way. I did try to explain ‘beech’ kitchen units but seeing as pine is the only wood used here, you will understand why I am giving up!

The shell of the main wardrobes

Carpenter with wardrobe doors

The painters are also painting yellow around the windows, but at this stage we are definitely letting Hakan get on with it and we’ll change it later if we can’t live with it. There seem so many things that are just getting done and we are not being consulted about, so I mention the ‘local stone’ that is supposed to be covering the outside chimney and three window places. Ah, Hakan has forgotten these (after originally telling us local stone is expensive or at least the cutting of it is labour intensive). He now says that they have been so quick painting the external areas that he had forgotten the stone and then he looked at us all dewy eyed! Funnily enough on looking around at all the new houses that are going up Mal and I had already come to the conclusion that it did look a bit naff, so we agreed we would forego this and bargained for something else in its place. We are now having all the surrounding concrete area of the swimming pool finished off in brick and a storage cupboard made at the front. Seems a fair deal (we hope).

The left hand picture shows the yellow paint around the windows and the right hand picture shows two of the window areas and the chimney, which will no longer be covered in local stone!

I suppose the caption for the left hand picture should be ‘one day’ but the positive thing concerning the electricity is that poles have been delivered to the land below us and they are ours. Seeing as the cost of installing each pole is around £5-600 and there are 15 poles here………….

Discussions – Mal & Hakan

Hakan – always on his mobile!

Poor Hakan, as he talks to us his mobile is permanently ringing.

There is a man on our roof…he is fitting the solar panels!

By now we think we know all the details we have to find out before we leave and what we have to let Hakan know by email. On the way back we called into Simtaş to choose the granite we want. We have found it and have its name but unfortunately the only guy in the shop couldn’t speak any English and didn’t seem to know prices, so we didn’t get very far but at least can tell Hakan the name of it and hope it is not the most expensive one in the shop. The ‘main man’ from the shop had already met us on site earlier to measure up. The fact that it took him 20 minutes to find the house doesn’t bode too well for future visitors but Mal is going to do a map with the help of his GPS. Still looking for the ‘right’ house name. We then came back to the hotel and Mal had to continue with his work for the rest of the afternoon.

In the evening we drove along to Le Jardin restaurant and were lucky to get the last table. We were really impressed. It was a nice restaurant and the selection of food was enormous. An excellent three-course meal.

Friday 31st October

We were up really early today and into the restaurant for an early breakfast. This is dog-walking day!! The forecast said it was going to be 26 degrees but it certainly didn’t look like it to us and as we drove higher into the mountains, to get to the rescue, the cloudier it got. We didn’t really mind and thought at least it would be better than when we came in the summer. They were pleased with the dog leads I took again, only about 30 this time but they are still desperate for more.

We decided to take just three dogs this time, Pharaoh (my favourite – I am stroking him in the left picture) and two black dogs, Pansy and Pickle. Well, that is what we thought, the dogs thought differently and Hamish (the big dog in the right picture, a permanent resident in the centre!) and two of his friends including Alfie, decided to tag along with us. They really had such fun. Pharaoh doing his gun dog bit and racing up and down the mountains. Hamish, Alfie and Pickle joined forces and went everywhere together and Pansy stayed at our heels the whole time.

It really is such a nice mountain range where the dog rescue is and such a lovely walk but I have to admit, climbing up the mountains this time, I was really getting out of breath. I put it down to not being well at the beginning of the week! At least it was good exercise. This was a first too; we managed to deliver 6 dogs back. They all stayed with us all the time.

The last picture here is the worst, poor old Pharaoh, tied up again. He doesn’t seem to get on with a lot of the other dogs. There are photos of him at the rescue when he was brought in, literally skin and bone. He has made good progress.

We later drove into Girne and had our lunch in Akpinar.

We then went to look for kitchen wall tiles and discovered in the first shop that they only had four styles! I didn’t like any of them and know exactly what I want. I did find a spare tile with a colour that would be OK but, no sorry, can’t get hold of those any more. Here we go again. At this stage we gave up. We drove up to the house and took some photos from the mountain. We also went inside the house and the carpenter was there, fitting the ceiling beams. There was also a guy who told us he laid all the tiles on the floors but our conversation was not too good as he spoke no English and as usual we struggled with Turkish.

Looking much more like a house now!

The day finished quite unpleasantly with a phone call saying that Torin had an accident at work and had been air ambulanced to hospital but Rhys assured me that he was OK. I rang him straight away and he was on his way home, bruised and battered and sounds like he’s lucky to be alive having fell 6 metres. Poor thing.