Alan, You Must Have Kontrolation

When J and I first settled here in Turkey, our good friend Emine taught me two valuable life-lessons. The first came when she observed me ‘go into one’ when faced with the Byzantine bureaucracy and my very first, totally disinterested bureaucrat – ‘Alan,’ she said, ‘you must have acceptation!’ The second occurred when I gave my instructions to a workman and then walked away naively assuming that he would get on with the work as directed. ‘Alan,’ came the admonishment, ‘ you must have kontrolation!’


These two aids to sanity and survival in Turkey have served J and me well over the years – we are, after all, only slightly abnormal and still hanging in here and having a whale of a time!

Anyway, back to the here and now . . those of you who have been following this irregular narrative of late will know that J and I are doing a bit of California Dreaming and having a cabin hideaway built in the mountains somewhere.

string theory

Knowing the way things work here and knowing that random questions arise at random times in line with the ‘Chaos Theory’ – or was it ‘String Theory’? lordy, it’s so hard to remember, we decided we needed to be around.

So, Saturday saw us up at 5 o’clock and back on site by nine, and it was a hive of activity. Timber being treated and steel framework sprayed – we dived backwards and forwards shopping for more nuts, bolts, screws and paint.



Lunchtime saw the whole crew driving over the mountains to the home of our demirci/blacksmith for a meal with his family and a surprise (for J and me) in the village of Akçaköy. Now, Akçaköy is an amazing place – on the outside it looks poor, poverty-stricken even. Photogenic in its dilapidation, it was the home of Fakir Baykurt. Born into poverty, Baykurt went on to graduate from the amazing Village Institutes and become one of the great authors and social agitators in modern Turkey. (if you don’t know about this wonderful exercise in social engineering then do, please, click on the last link) The village boasts a library and a population that reads, nine out of every ten students from this village graduate from university and all because of Fakir Baykurt.


Fakir Baykurt2

Fakir Baykurt

at some point I will do a post about the village and Fakir Baykurt

But I digress – apart from the wonderful meal that we all enjoyed, there was a surprise in store for J and me. Knowing how we love and treasure old things a deal was waiting to be struck between our blacksmith who wants to please his beautiful wife and his wife who hates the 60+ year old doors in their home and us who simply adored them from the moment we first saw them. A deal was done – wife gets the doors she desires and we get the doors of our dreams for our new cabin home.

cabin 3

at some point this will be the external door


and this and its mate the internal doors

Back on site, tea on, we await delivery of the roofing . .


the most important bit of kit on site

cabin 6

roofing delivered and paid for

Sunday was amazing! Apart from the usual ongoing work, our neighbour and all-round decent guy Ramazan turned up and set about organising our midday meal. (three) Chickens in a tin, baked spuds and onions, pickles and honey for afters! Look at these pics . .

cabin 7

cabin 8

40 minutes later (and you thought your new NEFF was the bee’s knees)

cabin 9

the guys with the scoff

cabin 10

luncheon is served

When the day’s work was done, we were invited back to the home of Irfen, our blacksmith cum project manager. What a delight to eat with the family in their kitchen before retiring to the salon where all manner of social issues were discussed. There is no doubt about the extent to which ‘village folk’ have a handle on world affairs. Our hosts were desperately disappointed that we declined to spend the night – we old farts needs our pills, toothpaste and clean underwear – another time, with a bit of planning!


Irfen’s sister (nurse), Irfen, his wife Ayşe and children, J, Mum, Dad

Thursday saw the internal metalwork completed and the carpenters moving ahead with cladding. Lunchtime we planned to take the crew to the beach pide/pizza place, When we got there we found that a young man working for the forestry had provided a meal for everyone who came to celebrate his wife’s survival as a pedestrian from an horrific road accident – he even paid for the drinks!! What an amazing place this country is. Tomorrow the car will be serviced  and Thursday is MOT day – we also need to fit in a lot of mundane stuff before heading back down the ‘Rabbit Hole’. Ain’t it great!

Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü

30 thoughts on “Alan, You Must Have Kontrolation

  1. I know the need for acceptation and kontrolation…as you say there are similarities between Turkey and Costa Rica! I’ve seen some North Americans going off on one on the Wagnerian scale in my time here… offices, in restaurants, on buses…

    You’re among some lovely people there, aren’t you!

  2. Hi just read your lovely true story, oh! how it makes me realize how much is missing from our every day life here, those lovely people might not have much in the material side of life, but oh! how they make up for it with there neighbourly, helpful, caring for each other ways, no one will ever be lonely, how we could do with some of there way of life here right now, it was the best thing you both could have chosen to do and I’m really pleased for you , I know you have also given a lot back, so all the best and enjoy it all. I can’t believe how hard your crew has worked it’s coming on great, I think Keith could do with your crew’s help his is going very slowly !!!!! the weathers not helping now. The two doors are great and will finish every think off nicely, it really is all amazing.

      1. I’m really pleased for you both and when you get to stay over night I’m sure there will be even more fun and interesting delights to come.

          1. Well that’s going to be for you to find out !!!!!!!!!! By the way I’ve had another Cornucopia Magazine. Many Thanks ,xx

  3. Well, NEFF, scoff and MOT for us, too! Have to say, we’re beside ourselves with jealousy over the doors. They’re worth building a special house just for them. It’s so wonderful that you’re surrounded by such wonderful, friendly people. That’s a big reason why we love Turkey.

    1. Like you guys, we simply cannot get our heads around those incomers who choose to hide away in some sort of gated ghetto rather than experiencing real life. As for the doors, when I asked if it was OK to take a photo Irfen said ‘Of course. They are your doors!’

  4. Hi Alan and Janet. What a wonderful life. I am soooo jealous. The doors are really beautiful and your new village neighbors seem fantastic, I remember days like that in my community in the West of Ireland, many moons ago. Best wishes to you both. Enjoy it all. Mary

  5. Love, love reading your post and this wonderful adventure you are having with amazing folks around, that’s what makes home special for me! And that door! and that chicken meal for lunch!! can I come and cook for you all ? 🙂 would be dream to come true! All the best, cok selam ve sevgilerimle – keep on enjoying the ride! Ozlem

    1. Thank you, and of course you can come whether you cook or not – you will be so welcome. On second thoughts, this could be a whole new cookery chapter/course ‘The Chef Goes Wild’!

  6. @Alan

    Thanks! Just trying to acclimatized to the weather after being in California for so long. Think our blood must have thinned quite a lot … just waiting or it to thicken up! 🙂

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