Friday, August 29, 2014

The Wild West

Back to school for another year. I've chosen to teach the younger children. Don't get me wrong, I have loved teaching the older ones but a change is as good as a rest!
I had forgotten how open the younger ones are. If parents knew what their children tell their teacher, they wouldn't let them out the door until they were at least 10.

First day: We were doing a lesson on Relatives, and had talked about all the easy ones like mother, father, son, daughter etc.  We got onto the harder ones like Mother-in-law, father-in-law etc.
"Miss, I know we're talking about in-laws but I've heard of outlaws. Are they the same?
"Not exactly."Chuckle. "An outlaw is someone who breaks the law."
Hand shot up.
"Oh Miss! My uncle speeds down the road on his quad and he doesn't even have a licence. Is he an in-law or an outlaw?"
"Erm. A bit of both. Now class, let's not mention any more relatives that have broken the law!"

I can tell it's going to be an enjoyable year!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Panic stations

Unfortunately all good things must come to an end, and it was my last day in Turkey. I had a terrible sense of foreboding all day which I couldn't understand as I am a very seasoned traveller and I like flying. The only time this happened to me before was the time I was flying to Rotterdam and when I got to the airport  discovered that I had left the ticket at home!!! So this did not make me feel anymore relaxed.
I was leaving for the airport at 02.45.
See, I have things organised like a military operation.
The airport is about a two hour drive away, an hour and 45 minutes if you get a mad driver who breaks traffic lights and weaves in and out of the lanes. I  booked a transfer taxi through Foley's Bar.
So there I was waiting with my suitcases in the car park of my apartment at 2.40 am. I like to be early!
5 minutes, 10, 15 passed. No sign of my taxi, which was very unusual as they are usually early. I was beginning to panic as I didn't have a number for him because I didn't book him myself. The caretaker was pacing up and down outside the complex waiting to direct the taxi in.
Still no sign.
Right, I raced down the street to Foleys, praying that there was still someone there. Of course there was!
They rang the driver to discover.
"Big problem. He went to the wrong place but he is on the way now."
Okay. Hopefully he will be there by the time I get back to the apartment.
No such luck.
I waited another 5, 10, 15 minutes. By now I was sweating and it wasn't the humidity. Even if someone went to the wrong place, they should be at the right place by now. Mahmutlar is not that big.
I needed another taxi. My caretaker didn't have the number of a transfer so I rang the person who I knew could help.
Paula, who was back in Ireland!
"Hello"said a very sleepy voice from her Irish bed. Well it was only 01.15.
"Paula, I'm really sorry", I screeched in panic. "I need the number of your taxi driver here in Turkey."
"No problem. I'll send it on."
Sure enough, one "bing" later and I had it.
Now I was in a bit of a dilemma. What if  the other taxi arrived after I had called the new one? Another two minutes passed and my decision was made.
I rang the new number.
"Hello", said a sleepy voice from his Turkish bed.
I quickly explained my problem and he reassured me.
"I will call one of my drivers. I will let you know in two minutes."
Two minutes of further agony.
Call back.
"I am sorry but all my drivers are busy."
"WHAT????", I wailed.
"But no problem. I will drive you in my own car."
"Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!"
"I will be there in five minutes."
More passing minutes of blind panic.
A taxi pulled up. I didn't know which one it was, the one who was 50 minutes late or the one who had dragged himself out of his bed to rescue a damsel in distress. I hoped it was the latter....and it was!
I threw my cases in the boot and off we sped.
He was one of the nicest taxi drivers I ever encountered. He saw the state I was in and reassured me that we would get there on time. As I was flying into Istanbul first, it was counted as a domestic flight and you only
have to check in an hour before departure. Having a touch of OCD I had given myself two hours to check in, in case they counted it as an international  flight seeing as I was going on to Dublin.
I have never done so much mental maths in my life. Every sign post that we pasted that said Antalya 130km, I started working out.
If a driver is going at 120km per hour and the airport is 130 km away, what time will it reach the airport and will the deranged passenger make her flight?
We got to the airport in 1 hour 30 minutes, so you can guess how many red light we went through.
I was on time. I could have hugged the driver but instead I threw all the euro I had at him. I'm sure he was much happier with that!
I queued up to check in. The two girls in front of me were missing something and kept checking in the bags , cases and showing the attendant something on their phones but she was having none of it.
Tick, tick, tick.
Thankfully the guy at the adjoining counter beckoned me over.
Eventually, I was checked onto my flight, with about 4 minutes to spare.
As I sat on my seat I said to myself
"I'm never going to Turkey again."

I landed in Dublin to teeming rain. As I got drenched I said to myself
"I want to go back to Turkey NOW."
See how fickle I am.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Proof that computers are cleverer than people

Computers can be cleverer than people sometimes.
I came home from a night out in Mahmutlar and decided to go on Facebook.
When I turned on my computer, it said

And I thought
"Fair enough. I'll log in tomorrow when I'm sober!"

Friday, August 22, 2014

Getting legless.

One of the stops on our road trip was to interview a lady who has just set up her own lucrative business - FROG FARMING!
It seems that Turkish frogs, or rather their hind legs, are considered a specialty in France and Italy and so she will exporting there in the autumn. I didn't know what to expect, but I did imagine a scene from The Plagues of Egypt with thousands of frogs clambering over themselves. It was much more relaxing that that, in fact the froggies seemed to have a great time splashing about in their pools and basking in the sunshine.
Enjoy it now, you don't know what's ahead of you!

Even up close, I didn't think Yumm yumm!

During your first year teaching out of college you do your H.Dip. The dreaded inspector/ cigire visits you several times to observe you teaching and then hopefully you get a piece of paper marked sásúil.  You are now a fully qualified teacher!!!
After several incidental visits it was my BIG DAY. I was going to be observed all day, teaching every subject.
Morning time went well and I taught English, Irish, Maths, Music and Religion. It was time for PE in the afternoon.
Now there was a hall in this particular school, unlike my current one. But because of overcrowding, the hall was used as an Infant classroom in the morning. When the infants went home early afternoon, it could then be used by the older classes as a hall.
My inspector gave me a few minutes to move back the desks and chairs to get it ready. In the process the nature table was knocked and the bowl of frogspawn in water hurtled to the floor. I reeled in horror as the little balls of jelly winked up at me, while I could hear the sound of approaching footsteps coming down the corridor. Visions of "FAILED" appeared before my eyes.
So I did what any kind, considerate teacher would do in the process.
With the side of my foot, I swept the frogspawn and water out of sight under the nearest cupboard. There were wails of
"Not at all", I consoled them. "It's nice and cool and dark in there, which tadpoles love, and they have loads of water. We'll get them out after our PE lesson!"
The door opened and in came the inspector. I began my PE lesson and the children soon forgot about the poor gasping critters under the cupboard.

I got my H.Dip! I didn't manage to rescue the frogspawn, well not alive anyway.

Soon afterwards it became illegal for teachers to bring frogspawn into the classroom. I'm not saying there was any connection to this incident!

Thursday, August 21, 2014


Our road trip adventure continued and we headed for the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Pamukkale.
Now for the science bit…. It is a mountain that has many thermal springs. When the thermal water spreads on a large area on the surface, the calcium carbonate content precipitates in the pools and forms gritty layers. At first it is in gel form and then it turns into travertines as a result of reaction with the air.
This basically means that it looks like an alpine snow scene!

With the sun shining on it, it can be seen from 20km away. Stephen was very disappointed when he saw it first as it looked much smaller than he had imagined. We explained it to him.

When we got there, it certainly didn’t disappoint. I expected to see skiers whizzing down the slopes. In order to preserve the surface you have to climb it in your bare feet. A bit like doing Croagh Patrick, only in the blazing sunshine.

I bet this is a sight you’d never see on Croagh Patrick!

Upwards and onwards. The view and sights were AMAZING.

It was sweltering so luckily there were pools to cool off all the way up.

This was when I really regretted leaving my swimsuit in the car L
I have no sense of the time but I suppose after about an hour we got to the top.

There we wandering through the ruins of the Temple of Apolion, where Apolion met the goddess Kybele.
I bet she didn’t forget her swimsuit!

The Ancient Pool is the main attraction. Its waters are said to have healing powers and cure a list of ailments as long as your arm!

In fact if it was nearer to home I’d give up the VHI altogether!
When Queen Cleopatra noticed that she was losing her beauty she sent her soldiers all over the place to find a healing water for regaining her beauty. One group visited Pamukkale and brought back a sample from this pool. When she washed her face in it, she noticed that her wrinkles immediately began to disappear. RESULT! So what did she do? Well, what any woman would do! She set off immediately for Pamukkale and dipped her whole body into the pool.
Because she was worth it!

After a brief rest it was time to make the descent. It was then that we came up with the idea of building the world’s largest water slide here and sure we’d be down in no time! Alas, we had to walk. We got down in one piece
Well apart from one suspected broken big toe……
Would I recommend it? Most definitely, but I have one word of advice.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Gulliver's Travels

We decided that too much of our holiday was being spent in bars and beaches and in beach bars so we set off on our road trip around Turkey in search of culture. On the way we saw all of these fabulous buildings. Because of its history, Turkey has come under the influence of many diverse architectural civilisations.

Oh, by the way, here I am standing beside one of them!
They are all to be found in Minicity Park in Antalya! You don't actually think we drove that far around Turkey, now did you?
 Though admit it, for a brief moment there you were very impressed with my interest in architecture!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

At least someone does.....

When I was coming over here to Turkey I drove to my brother and sister-in-law's house and left my car there.
I got this photo from Marese, entitled

Guess who misses you?

I have to admit, Roxy has never crossed my mind in the past week!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Just in case.

The Mahmutlar 4 (M4 for short) arrived in Turkey nine days ago. Unfortunately our luggage did not. In fact they managed to misplace a whole plane load of cases. While Turkish Airlines were very unhelpful, we could not believe how the locals here tried to help us. The number of people who had "a friend's cousin" who worked in Istanbul airport who tried to local them, was unreal.
Fiona and my luggage arrived three days later. Caroline's arrived later that night. Dawn's......was lost.
Everyday someone would ring the office for her and she was told
Day 1: It is in Istanbul airport.
Day 2: It is in Antalya airport.
Day 3: It will be dispatched tomorrow.
Day 4: It hasn't been located yet.
Day 5: We have no idea where it is.
.......and so on.
In fact Dawn spent the nine days of her holidays without any of her stuff. She was brilliant. I know if it was me, I'd have had a breakdown over it.
Again people were brilliant, offering anything they could to help. One lady, who had returned to Ireland, even rang the caretaker of our complex to tell him to let us into her apartment so that we could look through her wardrobe for anything Dawn needed.
Dawn, Fiona and Caroline were heading back to Ireland tonight. While we were out at our farewell dinner Dawn got a call to say that
It arrived at the apartment twenty minutes before she was leaving to go home!
She opened it, took out a new outfit to wear, closed it again and put it into the taxi that was bringing them to the airport. That's as much use as she got out of it all holiday.

All I can say is
"Dawn, you are a trooper!"
Look on the bright side. At least you won't have to spend all tomorrow washing out your holiday clothes!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

My Carrie Bradshaw moment

Never thought I would see the day...or night. Being recognised for my article in a magazine. Now to buy some new shoes!!!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Worst cases scenario.

We rang Turkish Airlines this morning. Great news. Our cases had been located and were to be delivered this evening. Happy days. We spent the day on La Perle beach , relaxing and talking about what we coveted most from our cases.
Toothbrush and special toothpaste
Shampoo and conditioner for curly hair.
The right colour foundation.
See, nothing major.
We arrived home to discover....that only two out of the four cases had been delivered. Yes, Fiona and I got our cases but not the other two.
Actually that was worse than no cases having been delivered. At least then we would have been on an equal footing.
You know that scenario in Big Brother where they divide the house into "Heaven" and "Hell". One camp have every luxury while the other have nothing. Well, that was us.
We had planned on how we would dance around the place when we eventually got our cases back.
Nope. Those who got their bags felt guilty because our friends didn't.
There was a moment of drama but then we rose to the occasion.
Look, we had two whole make -up bags to share tonight as opposed to a few bits and pieces last night. Out we went on the town.
What troopers we are!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Survival of the fittest.

It all started so well.
Dawn, Fiona,Caroline and I met up and headed to the airport for our flight to Turkey. There was a 40 minute delay in Dublin and another one in Istanbul but we arrived in Antalya at around 9.30 pm.
"It'll take us an hour and a half by taxi to get to Mahmutlar.Plenty of time to go out when we get there."
We stood at the baggage carousel with all the other passengers from our flight and waited....and waited. What was unusual was that NOBODY was taking any of the cases off.
A lady appeared and announced
"Baggage closed. If you do not have your luggage go to Lost and Found."
There was a stunned silence, then uproar.
"What do you mean? You've lost an entire plane load of luggage???"
Seeing as there were all these unclaimed cases, it was obvious that they had mixed up two plane loads. Some other poor unfortunates were in a far away airport looking at our cases going around and around and around.
We joined the queue at Lost and Found and filled in our forms. When we asked the "helpful" lady behind the desk when would we get them, she just shrugged her shoulders.
"But we are on holiday.We have nothing with us."
"That's not my problem."
Two of the girls with me work in H.R and they nearly fainted with shock at her reply.
"But do you work here in Lost and Found?"
"Yes, of course."
"Then it is your problem."
We went out to get the taxi that Dawn Nugent had booked. We took it, that this was meant to be us!

Anyway we headed to the apartment. Two days later and we still have no luggage! Luckily, Marese and Emma have left clothes here, so we have been rifling through them and creating new outfits. We may even have used Finian's flip flops!
For four EXTREMELY high maintenance women we are coping very well. There were shrieks of excitement in the apartment as we were getting ready to go out.
"Look, I have a lipstick"
"Great. I have a cover stick."
"Perfect. And I have a bit of foundation."
It's amazing what few supplies you can actually survive with when needs be.

we have just gotten word that our cases have been found and are on the way to "our station". No idea where that is, but here's hoping that we get them tomorrow.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

My morning constitution

It was a glorious summer morning so I decided to go for my walk just after breakfast.
I find that if you get the healthy bit out of the way early, then you can get a good run at the rest of the day!
On my way I spotted a Bulmers' bottle that someone had thrown on the side of the road. Being the good citizen that I am, I picked it up to bring it home to be disposed of in the correct manner.
Firstly, it looked unsightly.
Secondly, there was a risk that it would roll onto the road into the path of an unsuspecting car, namely ROXY!

So I would like to take this opportunity to explain to my neighbours and any passing motorists that THAT was the reason I was striding down the road at 8.30 this morning with a bottle of cider in my hand.....honestly!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Confessions of a shopaholic

For Mam's 80th birthday we brought her to engage in her favourite Being the organised, savvy shopper that I am, I had my list ready of the things that I needed and so prevent unnecessary purchases

  • swimsuit
  • suntan lotion Factor 50
  • mosquito repellent
  • 2 bras
  • knickers. 
I hadn't factored in the Summer Sales with up to 70 percent off.
I came home with

  • a Chanel-type jacket
  • navy sweater
  • print trousers
  • 4 bras
  • no knickers!
I would count that as being a VERY successful shopping expedition!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Glamorous octogenarian

This weekend sees my mam reaching her 80th birthday.
This morning I brought her up to the local hairdressers, where she gets her hair done every Saturday.
See it’s not off the ground I licked it!
When she was suitably coiffured the staff had a lovely surprise for her…….a birthday cake. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her so excited. All the Blue Rinse Brigade sang a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday”.

At the risk of sounding like Pollyanna or Mother Theresa it really is small acts of kindness that make life worth living.