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. . not in the ‘pissed as a newt’ sense but as in ‘my brain has gone walk-about’! On a personal level the days drift gently by and my only worry is finding something to waffle on about.

It’s not that I’m unaware or uncaring about the crap that is being dished out by the monsters who lord it over the huddled masses of the world. I do know that I am able to live the life I have in the way I choose because of privilege. The privilege of being born where and when I was.

What if . . ? It’s something I spend a lot of time thinking about.

A couple of days ago my dear neighbour Ramazan was spied up a tree at the bottom of our plot up here in the mountains. Curious, I picked up my camera and wandered down to see what was going on.

Ramazan is a retired policeman on a very small pension. He grows vegetables on his plot and keeps bees, not as some hobby but because he needs to subsist at a reasonable level. He’s very good at bee-keeping and has about 16 active hives! This is what he was after . .

His wife passed up a stick and a bucket on a rope . .

A quick tap and before you know it, ‘Ramazan’s your uncle’, and the swarm is in the bucket and transferred to its new home.

Now, my point about privilege is this; J and I are hobby gardeners, we do all this cleaning, weeding and planting because we enjoy it and because we can. Our neighbours do it because they have to! I know for a fact (because it happened last year) that some of Ramazan’s wonderful honey will come our way together with some cream from his goats and he would be mortally offended if we offered to pay for it. Privilege is a barrier to hide behind for those who choose to. Human kindness on the other hand . .

Privilege lets me have a vanity pond for no better reason than that I love the wildlife that it attracts. My neighbours need to channel their energy towards that which is productive. I, on the other hand, can sit on my arse, beer in hand and delight in the arrival of the first damselflies and dragonflies of the season . .

Libellula depressa – Broad-bodied Chaser (male)

Ischnura pumilio – Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly

Whilst I sat around and communed with nature J was hard at it planting tobacco seeds in the nursery bed . .

. . and proselytising to our gorgeous İsparta roses.

actually labels for Goditia and Forget-Me-Not.

Privilege has its privileges but I hope I never lose sight of our commonalities or lose touch with our neighbours – whoever and wherever they are.

Alan, in a privileged place

14 thoughts on “Out Of My Skull

  1. Always such a pleasure to read and see your photos Alan. Keeps us in touch with the beautiful place that is Turkiye. Hoping to be there again before long

  2. We have always kept a veg garden going though I suppose we dont have to in the sense in which your neighbour does, to support his income.
    Still, you never know! Hard times have a habit of not announcing themselves!

    Most of our neighbours grow what they can by way of veg as much as to have fresh produce without herbicide as to augment their incomes…one neighbour uses our land when rotating his hives and gives us some honey to satisfy his sense of honour….but there are also the ´soy pobres´ who think that as rich gringos we should give them our produce…plantains, sweetcorn, fruit.
    I have disabused them of that idea, pointing out that they too have land which they are too lazy – and, in a sense, too entitled – to use for growing crops.
    Oh, they wail…but the plantains aren´t yours…they grow on the stem naturally. The plants increases naturally…
    So bugger off and put some offcuts in yourself…I´ll give you those willingly…
    Rich cow, comes the reply, though not in those precise terms.
    Another neighbour, who sells fruit and veg from door to door, describes the soy pobres as follows: they buy an orange from you and they want you to peel it for them…

    Currently it is the avocado season…and ours are coming from trees which come from seed Leo planted himself.

  3. Thanks Bruv for another one of your great write up’s and I can most certainly vouch for Ramazans honey it’s just so Yummy. !!!!!

  4. Alan,
    There you go, counting those newts and dragonflies again. Keep up the good work. (Sometimes we feel the same way as we watch our ‘retired’ neighbors still hard at work while the hardest work we do is collect and spend our pensions.)
    Take care, xoxo J and M

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