December 2008

Monday 1st December 2008
The sun was out and blue skies, a lovely day for the 1st December.

A lot of the day was spent sorting out things for the SOS ‘Here Comes Christmas Again’ on Friday.

I did manage to spray some of the weeds on the drive.

West Ham managed to keep Liverpool to a 0-0 draw. Mal will be pleased!


November 2008

Wednesday 19th November 2008
Mal and I went to the bank in the morning (rate:2.46ytl) and then went to Alsancak Belediyesi to pay our first water bill under Alsancak. Our bill was 34.94ytl. We had to go to the bank first and went in there with a big wad of money, not knowing how many other bills they were going to give us. I still have memories of last year going in to pay my 10ytl for a dog license and coming out with a lot of invoices totalling 170ytl!
Mal handed the bill over, getting prepared for the printer to print more invoices off. The lady behind the desk asked for 3ytl! Mal corrected her that she had the wrong person. She then found the correct account and I counted out the odd money and she looked totally mystified. She then handed us an invoice for 18.28ytl. We paid up and she stapled the bill to the invoice. We are totally confused now and are wondering why she only took that amount. I am sure all will be revealed in the future! We have never experienced this before, paying less than the bill is!
I checked in our post box to see if we had any post. A lot of post seems to go ‘astray’, so when I was in the UK, I sent a card to our post box… still hasn’t arrived! So where is all the post going?
We then went on to buy some more plants at Perova Garden Centre. They have really nice basil plants there for 5ytl. We also bought bougainvillea, myoporum and a chilli plant. She gave us another chilli plant! I don’t think Rosie was too impressed with the smell of the chilli!
We bought a copy of Cyprus Times and bless you Ali, our advert for the SOS fund raiser was on the front page.   In the evening Lena, Ingrid and I went to Pizza King for our girlie night out and a free cocktail for the ladies!

July 2008

Friday 18th July
Rosie has appeared to be better since we have been back and then yesterday afternoon it started again. So, out first thing to get another ‘sample’. I am becoming much more expert now and a full jar!!!

I walked her around the village and sure enough, just as I have been told at 6.30 in the morning, the village is all getting water. I even checked a water meter and yes the wheel was going round, the water running into tanks was not a figment of my imagination. Funny that the only meter I could find was on a British owned house.

I reached the end of the village, the last old village house which now has a flourishing vegetable garden and  the gentleman there even said ‘gűn aydin’ to me as he watered his vegetables with his hose.

The inspection pit, which Willy and us paid for the padlock and cover to be fitted has also been unearthed (it had been covered over by the winter rains and mud) so someone has been tampering with it. This was where we were turned off last summer as the Muhtar decided to give the spare key to anyone who wanted it, to turn us off at will.

As I have said before, we bring tankers to top up the swimming pool but to have no mains water for a month is no longer a joke.

I then took Rosie to see Firdez again with her sample and Firdez felt her stomach but said she was so tense, yes she was, she would do anything to get out of there.  I have to ring tomorrow for the result of the sample.

When I got back Willy came over to discuss our NON water situation. Mal and Willy decided the first step was to talk to the Muhtar again. Off they went.

In brief, the Muhtar said  there is no water from the tank we are connected to. When asked why we had been connected to that tank at great cost, he appeared to suggest it had something to do with us not having gone through the correct procedures to get legal water. However, Willy found it difficult to translate what the Muhtar was saying and therefore we can not be sure the exact reason we are not getting water apart from the fact we are foreigners!!! (Stage 1!)

In the afternoon Grandad sat gambling with the boys, it was all our money and not their money!

The boys were swimming again in the early evening and then watched ‘Wall-e’.

I knew Rosie wasn’t right, she seemed rather miserable all day.

June 2008

 Sunday 1st June

Rosie and I went for a lovely long walk at quarter to 6. By the time we got back, it was hot! Rosie just lay down on the cool floor!

I forgot to say in yesterday’s entry, when I was at Gwen’s, her friend Elaine came round. The previous night Elaine and a gang of others went for a meal at Bizim Han. They sat down and looked at the menu and saw that their ‘pot’ dishes that used to be 8ytl, then went up to 12ytl are now 20ytl! A bottle of Cankaya was 30ytl. I was pleased to hear that they all got up and started to leave. The owner asked why they were going and so they told him his prices were a joke. They ate elsewhere. It is not as if you are even paying for the ambience there. Well, it’s the only vote most of us have here….to vote with our feet. Well done Elaine and co. When will they learn?

Rosie is happy to be back home and sleeps a lot of the day because of the heat.

I watched the Motogp in the afternoon….Rossi is back to his old form (or rather his bike is) after a disastrous last season. He is now leading by 12 points…Spain next weekend.

I spoke to Mal on Skype in the evening, it really was like two tin cans and a piece of string, that was when I could hear! We will not be using  eXtend  much longer!

10 – Marine Turtles

Marine Turtles

August 25th 2004

In order to celebrate my last pay packet we decided to visit the Marine Turtle Conservation Project based at Alagadi. The two were not related, they just occurred on the same day. Although I was originally trained as a Biology teacher, my biological knowledge is very limited. Teaching degrees in the 70�s tended to be light on subject content compared to specialist degrees. My interest in biology was mainly in the area of the environment, possibly because of that decade�s fashion for such matters, but I still now find nature fascinating. I�ve had very little time to develop this interest and was happy to visit the project�s headquarters along with a hundred others on that day.

A short introductory video told the story of the two marine turtle species that visit the North Cyprus coast; the green and the loggerhead turtles. Apparently there were only 300 green turtles left in the Mediterranean and half of these returned to breed along the North Cyprus coastline, the majority at Alagadi. Turtles return to their birthplace to lay up to 100 eggs at a time. They do not become fertile until they are 30 years old and live until they are about 80. Unfortunately only about 1 in 1000 of those survives for this return journey to lay their eggs. Hazards include predators and human intervention in the environment. A major example of this being the island�s economic need to expand, in order to cope with the influx of tourists and people like us who have homes here. A huge road building programme during 2003-4 has resulted in a great deal of damage to beaches which are the breeding grounds of the turtles. The turtles are programmed to return to these grounds and are unable to find alternatives if this environment has been made unfavourable for breeding.

We decided to sponsor a green turtle named Celia who regularly travels back and forth between Alagadi beach and Tripoli. We are able to track Celia�s journey from day-to-day by the use of the internet and a satellite tracking device attached to her. Doing this has made the marine turtle issue more real, as we check each day to see if Celia is still around and has not become prey to natural predators or human pollution. I dread the day when we receive a message that the satellite signal is no longer available.

At the project headquarters, a small hut in reality, we were shown buckets of turtles which had been excavated from nests the previous night. They were desperate to get going, there little legs thrashing in the air as a volunteer showed a loggerhead turtle to us. They seemed too small and vulnerable to embark on the 6000 km journey that Celia regularly took on her round trip between Tripoli and Alagadi beach.

Buckets of turtles were given to the younger members of the group to carry and I could see from their eyes that given a chance they would like to take one home and keep it in the batch. They proudly carried their turtles for half an hour to where they were to be released. At the release sight we were shown one of the project activities; excavating a nest from which turtles had earlier emerged and made there way down the beach into the rough waves. Volunteers dug away sand counting eggs which had previously held turtles and those which were infertile. The nest contained 32 eggs which had carried live turtles and 34 infertile ones and a live turtle! It was surprising to suddenly be presented with a wriggling turtle which had been previously covered with � meter of sand and to think that even before embarking on their incredible journey it would have to burrow its way through all that sand.

We were told that the proportion of male to female turtles in a nest depends on the temperature; the hotter it is the more female produced. With Cyprus� 30-40oC temperatures this meant there were a lot more females on the beach. The males stay out at sea, never to return to land again.

The sole occupant of the nest we saw evacuated was added to one of the buckets as we joined the rest to view the release of the turtles. The sun was beginning to sink below the horizon and the beach began to be covered with wriggling turtles desperate to begin their journey. The success rate would be much higher with us spectators around as we would frighten of land and air based predators. There was nothing we could do about those waiting in for the turtles. It was remarkable the speed with which the turtles were off down the beach, these were no tortoises.

One of the dangers which turtles face are made-made tracks which they fail to climb out of. We watched as some turtles had problems even surmounting the holes made by our footsteps; climbing at nearly 90o in some cases. As they touched the sea, massive waves grabbed them and swallowed them up. We looked on in despair wondering why we were watching this cruel spectacle, only to see the turtles bobbing to the surface a few meters away, paddling at unbelievable speeds out into the Mediterranean. Within a few second they were out of view. A few turtles lay motionless on the beach as if they were dead but when a volunteer picked them up to return them to their buckets they immediately started whirling their legs. Apparently these turtles would be released when the sun had set as they preferred to leave under the cover of darkness.

As we made our way back to the car we both said how glad we were that we had made the effort to see the turtle release. There is always a danger in retirement to feel that with so much time to do things that nothing gets done. We are always meaning to see the sites of this new country but have probably fallen into a pattern of feeling we are on holiday and that we should �enjoy� ourselves by sitting around the pool reading books. I am used to conserving my energy for my return to work, forgetting that I�m never returning to work unless I positively want to. Now is the time for me!