Posted by: glenswatman | April 11, 2007

199709 Turkey England

MONDAY 1 SEPTEMBER 1997 – Our 9.35am flight back to Manchester is delayed by almost 2 hours.  We arrive in Manchester ENGLAND at about 2pm then start researching our options to get to Claire’s.  The local travel agents offer free shuttle buses to the airport and we hunt them down and offer them money to give us a ride.  £10 secures us a lift almost to Claire’s.  (It’s amazing had we not been in Turkey and seen just how well back handers work we would never have thought it doing it that way).  We are dropped off at the pub at Thornton and sit out having a drink.  Our first shock comes when we have to pay £3.50 for 2 pints and not 50p we have been used to paying.  Daz and his Dad Frank arrive to pick us up.  We get more information about the birth and learn that Claire is already at home with Daniel Lee.  He’s a little beauty with blue eyes and just a little bit of fair hair (must take after Granddad Steve).  Do a few things to help around the house and pick up a Chinese take away.  Borrow Claire’s car in the evening to visit Parkwood Street and the 3 little pigs that have turned the house into a sty.  David and his mates knew we were coming and intended staying in the house so we are amazed at just how bad it is.  The toilet is completely blocked and full of flies.  All the pans and crockery are dirty and piled up on the greasy worktops.  Everywhere else is generally dirty and smelly.  I get the three lads together and tell them that if they don’t want to be chucked out straight away then they are to tackle some jobs before we return.  By the time we get back from Sandra’s a bit of an attempt has been made but it still leaves a lot to be desired.



TUESDAY 2 SEPTEMBER – Do a few jobs in Keighley then pick Claire up for a shopping trip.  We haven’t bought anything for Daniel so this is a chance for Claire to pick what she wants.  She manages a few hours round town before feeling weary which is not surprising.  In the evening we visit Andy Lyle then Richard and Sharon. 



WEDNESDAY 3 SEPTEMBER – David says it isn’t working with him renting our house.  Too many “friends” know he is there and arrive to doss down.  At one stage there were 20 people crashing out in the house – and no on paying rent.  He is going to look for a small flat and we will do the house up and rent it out commercially.  To this end Craven Property Services call round to advise on rent ability.  Pop up to Claire’s to cook tea for us all.



THURSDAY 4 SEPTEMBER – Other estate agents visit but we decide to go with Craven who only deal with property rentals.  Scale 2 charges landlords an initial letting fee of 1 months rent then ongoing management fees of 9.5% + VAT.  I drive Claire over to Damart, where she worked, so that she can show off Daniel.  Do more cleaning up at Parkwood.  Steve goes out to bowling. 



FRIDAY 5 SEPTEMBER – The “For Let” board goes up and we get immediate interest.  David, Chris (Kelly) and Joe (Oswell) move out.  David and Joey are going to share a flat in Church Green.  Baby-sit at Claire’s in the evening but leave Steve behind at Parkwood Street as some lads have threatened to break in.  Apparently when David was in the house “mates” would break in through the kitchen window if he didn’t let them in through the door to stay.  I return and find there has been no problem so hopefully word has gone around that David has moved out.



SATURDAY 6 SEPTEMBER – We all sit together at Claire’s watching Princess Diana’s funeral on TV.   Virtually everything in England comes to a standstill with most shops closed.  Netty, Dave, Bobby, Nicky and Mum arrive in the afternoon to meet Daniel.  We take them down to Parkwood for tea.



SUNDAY 7 SEPTEMBER – I cook lunch for Claire, Daz, Mavis and Trevor.  Return to Claire’s where Paul & Elaine come up to pick us up and take us down to the Midlands.  They drop us off at Mum’s where we stay.



MONDAY 8 SEPTEMBER – Spend the day at Mum’s clearing out some things in the cellar.  Walk to Netty’s late afternoon and stop for tea.



TUESDAY 9 SEPTEMBER – Pop into town and sort out some photo developing.  Stay in at Mum’s in the evening.



WEDNESDAY 10 SEPTEMBER – Do the obligatory visit to Market Drayton market.  Mavis and Sian come round in the afternoon so I make another trip up town to show them round the market.  Return to Mavis & Trevor’s for the night.  Kevin and Sandra also call round to see us.  In the evening we borrow Mavis’s car to go to Worcester to meet up with our friends Karen and John for a pub meal.  It’s at the Talbot Hotel nr Knight Wick and very expensive and not especially nice.



THURSDAY 11 SEPTEMBER – Spend most of the day with Mavis up at the town centre shopping mall. Go to Lisa and Mick’s in the evening.



FRIDAY 12 SEPTEMBER – After a lazy morning we have lunch at Telford.  Trevor drives us over to Pete & Carols and we walk around to Di Bloores for a chat.  We all go up to Paul & Elaine’s for an evening meal and we stay the night.



SATURDAY 13 SEPTEMBER – Our 22nd wedding anniversary.  Steve and Paul join Kevin to go to the Wolverhampton Wanderers match in the afternoon.  Elaine & I play squash.  Meal at The Bridge with Evo’s, Scott’s and Spooner’s.  I buy a second hand computer for £70



SUNDAY 14 SEPTEMBER – Go to Pete & Carol’s for lunch after which they take us back up to Claire’s. 



MONDAY 15 SEPTEMBER – Worked on Parkwood Street.



TUESDAY 16 SEPTEMBER – More work on the house with a break in the afternoon when we go up to Claire’s for tea.



WEDNESDAY 17 SEPTEMBER – Visit the Corneal laser centre in Leeds for a final check up on my laser surgery, no problems.  Evening at Rod & Nancy’s with a Chinese take away.



THURSDAY 18 SEPTEMBER – Evening meal at Sandra’s where we stop overnight.



FRIDAY 19 SEPTEMBER – Steve’s 43rd birthday.  Tie in a few last minute jobs, currency, computer battery, letting agents, Skipton investment bonds.  Take Claire and Daz out for a meal at the Beeches in the evening.



SATURDAY 20 SEPTEMBER – Take Claire on another shopping trip to get things for Daniel and over to the Damart sale.  Evening at Richard and Sharon’s.



SUNDAY 21 SEPTEMBER – A late dinner at Claire’s as everything has to fit in around Daniel’s feeding times. 



MONDAY 22 SEPTEMBER – Claire takes us to the airport along with Daniel and we have a very tearful farewell.  Flight delayed by just 1 hour this time, aren’t Turkish airlines doing well.  Barry and Cicek are there to meet us back in TURKEY and it almost feels like we are coming home.  Feel much more at home abroad now than back in England. 



TUESDAY 23 SEPTEMBER – Barry needs to renew his 3-month Turkish visa so we volunteer to join him for an overnight visit to Greece.  Cicek phones and confirms that the border crossing is open until 5pm but no one has confirmed this with the border guard who tell us it closed at 12 and will remain closed until 9am tomorrow.  Fortunately the border town of Edirne is only half and hour from Bulgaria so the day tri p to Greece is replaced with a day trip to BULGARIA.  Barry’s frustration is soon replaced with joy at finding out how cheap food and drink is in Bulgaria.  He can’t resist treating himself to a second ice cream at10p a time.  We eat in a bar at the local village of Svilengrad and then again in a restaurant near the border.  Kill time by playing a couple of hours pool.  In order to obtain another visa you must be out of t country for 1 calendar day to enable the new visa to show a different date of entry to that of departure.  We approach the border on the Bulgarian side at 11.30pm expecting a slow crossing but are processed very quickly and have to spend time in no mans land to avoid arriving in Turkey too soon.  Pass through the Turkish procedure very quickly but at the last barrier we find we are one stamp short on the documents and get sent back to the beginning to run the gauntlet for a second time before being allowed into TURKEY.  Arrive back in Istanbul at 4am for a short sleep in preparation for customs expedition number 2 to retrieve our van from Istanbul airport.



WEDNESDAY 24 SEPTEMBER – The usual Turkish slow antiquated procedure is in full flow as we arrive to collect our motorhome.  There is a definite art in ignoring people before taking two minutes to shuffle one piece of paper from one side of the desk to another – think they should be working in a main Post Office in England!  No problems with the van, it feels good to have our home back (or as most people would say good to be back home).



THURSDAY 25 SEPTEMBER – We have refused Barry & Cicek’s kind offer  accompany them to the Embassy to sort out a few forms for their wedding!  Two days of officialdom on the trot is as much as we can cope with.  We spend the day restocking the van before lazing about.  In the evening we go to TGI  Fridays for a meal and try out the flaming cocktail where they pour alcohol from the bottle onto your already flaming alcohol filled glass.  You have to drink it as they pour to avoid the glass over flowing and the table catching alight.  Makes flaming sambucas look very tame.  After the meal we go to visit Alp (the man we played squash with) and his family at their flat in the city.  We help their eldest son Timor with his homework learning the English alphabet.  His natural mother is English but hadn’t taught him any English but his Turkish step mother Gamze realises that to get on he needs o speak English.



FRIDAY 26 SEPTEMBER –  Cicek’s mother Gulistan comes round to the house to put up some curtains she has made.  The Turkish tradition is for the brides mother to prepare the bedroom and deal with the decoration and furnishing of the new home.  Although she is only a couple of years older than me she looks older dressed as a traditional Muslim woman with her head covered in a scarf.  She tells me that on Cicek’s hen night it is traditional for the groom’s mother to put a gold coin in the brides hand after she has painted them with some green stuff.  As Barry’s mother isn’t coming she asks if I would like to do it.  After establishing that Barry will provide the coin, I agree. 



SATURDAY 27 SEPTEMBER – Back in tourist mode we visit Dolmabache Palace.  It’s very nice but a bit gloomy inside.  It has been built on reclaimed land at the side of the Bosporus and has beautiful gardens.  Inside everything you see which is yellow coloured is real gold and there are some enormous chandeliers.  Afterwards we visit Malta Kosku (Malta Pavilion) in Yidiz Park for an all you can eat buffet.  This is where the wedding reception will be held next Saturday evening and it’s a lovely spot.  In the evening we visit Cicek’s brothers house for a BBQ.  I have now been enlisted to video the wedding that may be a challenge as I don’t understand all the procedure.  Cicek’s brother Yavuz is delighted with the Tottenham Hotspurs pennant we have bought him and says it has been a childhood dream to own one.  His wife Cigdem is also pleased with the Elton John tape “Candle in the wind”, so pleased in fact that she leaves it playing continuously for over 1 hour.



SUNDAY 28 SEPTEMBER – Early in the afternoon I set out with Barry & Cicek to go to her friend’s wedding at Izmit.  Cicek says it is just outside Istanbul on the Asian side.  Although we leave at 2pm for the 4pm wedding we haven’t allowed enough time as it is actually 90km away.  First there’s an accident on the motorway slowing down the traffic and then we are delayed by procedure before we can enter the Naval Base where the wedding is being held.  We don’t have all the correct papers for the vehicle so have to park nearby and walk onto the base.  Arrive just before 4.30pm and see the last 5 minutes of the ceremony.  As we don’t understand what is happening anyway Barry and I are not too worried and at least we are in time for the food.  Wrong, a bottle of is served with a straw followed by a small plate with a few cheese straws and sweet biscuits.  The large plates and cutlery are just for show and 10 minutes after our arrival we are back in the car.  Barry assures me that their wedding will be a little different.  Back home I cook us double egg and chips followed by a dose of Faulty Towers – typical Turkish evening!



MONDAY 29 SEPTEMBER – A two-hour ferry hop from Sirkeci, Istanbul (£1 each way) takes you to the Princess Islands in the Sea of Marmara –  4 largish and a few small islands.  All of them ban motorized transport.  Our first port of call is Heybeliada where we wander the streets before eating lunch and then catching the complimentary boat over to the largest island, Buyukada.  Here we hire a horse and carriage to do a full tour of the island.  Lots of very nice wooden colonial style houses, beautiful scenery and shady pine forests that leave you wondering where in the world you are.  We arrive back in Istanbul to his the rush hour traffic and our ½ hour journey back takes 2 hours. Barry does a bit so shopping on the way from the people who walk up and down between the cars.  Four small carpet rugs and four assorted candy bars and purchased and roses, tissues, toolboxes and other bizarre things are rejected.



TUESDAY 30 SEPTEMBER – Steve & I take the motorhome up to Kilyos beach in the morning.  We are the only two people on the beach and even we give up when the clouds roll in.  Drive back to Barry where the sun stops us playing board games and entices out to sunbathe.  In the evening we go to the cinema at the Princess Hotel to see Con Air and follow it with a visit to Pizza Hut.  Do some more work on my computer and find it quite exciting to find a letter Netty put on it two weeks ago.





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