I realise that I am very fortunate, that most people don’t get to have a flat or home in a second country, well more people than you’d expect do, but for the most part it’s not exactly a normal everyday thing. The flat we have is far from luxurious, being on the 14th floor made it cheap, and being in a district which isn’t the trendiest also made it cheap. So from time to time I get frustrated that I picked Mersin, even though that’s where Husband’s family are, and dream that perhaps we could sell up and move west. Trouble is not only is that totally out of our price range (bloody expats pushing the prices up buying their holiday home in tourist areas!), it would also defeat the object for the boys.
So here we all are in our non-touristy, stupidly expensive to get to, home in Mersin. Pluses are that we can come straight here and don’t have to pack a load of stuff that we would for a standard holiday. It’s full of all our ageing rubbish. Which is comforting, but after a couple of days it starts to creep in that one of the reasons I left is that things are just a little bit shit. Not a lot. (actually if you’d asked me a few years ago my opinion would have been different but I was living in Ankara then and I most certainly wasn’t “Living the Turkish dream”) But just a little bit shit.
I do like my flat, it’s not ideal, but it’s ours. It’s just the crappy standard of things I come across here. When we first bought this place we did up the kitchen, and made a few changes to the bathroom. I wanted things nice, so bought a fancy bath/shower tap. Trouble is it’s always been a bit shit. Because we are on the top floor, despite not having water pressure problems, the hot water from the solar system has always been dodgy. So we added a pump. Oh the pump! Rather than bringing about improved pressure and a continuous flow of hot water, as opposed to the dribble without it, it has brought something mindnumbingly ridiculous into my life. I can have cold water, I can have skin searingly hot water, but what I can’t have is Goldilocks water–water that is just right. Apparently, according to Husband, he has ‘done the best he can’ because the plumber couldn’t solve it (hmm plumber, read man who comes, stares, and occasionally fiddles with things). My theory is that my funky tap has a thermostat which, to put it bluntly, is nackered. I think my theory is held up by the fact that my elusive Goldilocks water can be sourced from bathroom and kitchen sinks. They don’t have the same freeze burn cycle that I ‘enjoy’ in my shower. The plumber, however, has informed us tough, nothing can be done, so no one is investigating my theory. Freeze burn it is then.
This year though, my bathroom sink tap has decided to join in the fun and high jinks. It leaks, but not as in a washer needs changing and drips leaks. No, this is far better. It has decided to spring a leak in the bit where there is a part that screws on to the end of the tap. And not just one leak, but a whole series of small but perfectly positioned leaks. So you forget they are there till you’re violently assaulted in the eye as you bend towards the tap. As of yet I haven’t been caught out too badly but I’m sure it’s just waiting to spray me just perfectly so I look like I’m leaking. I’m certain Husband is aware of the leak, but as yet no fix. He appears to hate fixing, so things remain just that little bit….
These are just some of the reasons I don’t offer this as a place for friends to come and stay. You need to have a solid appreciation for the fact that things are far from perfect, to be able to stay here.
If this were home for more than a few weeks I would have to start taking things in hand, but even when I lived in Ankara and had stuff done, it always seemed to be just that little bit shit. I never really had the confidence that things were being done properly. And probably I am being a tad harsh, because I’m trying to sort out a major renovation project in the UK, and am rather worried that it too will turn out not quite as great as I hope. I’m convinced that workmen have ultraviolet vision and see mug written on my forehead with those special pens.
And before you accuse me of being all down on Turkey again, because I do do that so well–sorry, trying, and I think I was born a jaded old man rather than one of those perky young things who come here with rose tinted glasses. There are some things that already have made me smile. This is just one:
Look at the size of that for a balloon whisk, it’s almost as tall as me. My wedding anniversary present this year was a fancy stand mixer, which husband bought as a grand gesture. I think because he felt that my request for a balloon whisk was rather meagre. I mean I get that mass catering is pretty standard here, but I can’t even begin to understand how you could actually whisk anything with an implement of this size. And now, just because I know it exists, I want one. It barely costs a tenner!
Which brings me to the beans:
Forget your poxy, lucky to get 10 in a pack at Asda rubbish, this is is a modest amount of beans. I’m letting the Turkish housewife side down here buying a packet this small. Clearly I’m not a Turkish housewife but, if I were, nothing short of a standard supermarket carrier bag filled with 3Kgs + of beans would cut the mustard here. Doesn’t matter that family sizes are getting smaller in the big cities, it’s almost compulsory to come home from the market with at least 3 kilos of anything on your list, with the exception of parsley and then it has to be a bunch the size of your own head. I’ve sent Husband out with a shopping list today and I just know that he will come home with at least 10 bags, each containing only one key ingredient and weigh in at several kilos apiece. (Men doing shopping, whenI knew they weren’t going to be doing any of the cooking, was something it took me years to get my head around).
So while I might find somethings erksome and a little bit shit, I have my beans and waiting for me in the pressure cooker are enough chick peas to feed an army, because over here, when it comes to food, they don’t do anything by halves.