Stuff

From One Day To The Next

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The British will tell you that the dis-United Kingdom doesn’t have a climate it has weather! Much the same seems to hold up here in the mountains where weather comes and goes with a randomness induced by these very same mountains. The locals tell us that the two ends of the lake have different weather – when it’s raining there it’s sunny here – and we are only talking a handful of kilometres.

Between the ‘weather’ we admire the beauty of the masses of wild almonds that are in bloom. They grow everywhere in the hedgerows and at the edges of fields and leave the impression that we are in the middle of a candy floss forest.

J has been beavering away on her vegetable plot adding peas, beans, potatoes, coriander, parsnips, Swiss chard, parsley and cabbage to the onions and garlic planted earlier. A new plot has been cleared and made ready for melons, tomatoes, etc. Now we just have to hope that the wild pigs don’t decide to pay a visit!

In the process of plot preparation J was delighted to find that we will have some of the amazing Rhinoceros Beetles for company. If these wonderful creatures interest you here’s a link to a post I did a couple of years ago – any bug capable of lifting the equivalent of 60 tonnes has got to be worth time. click here

I’ve been doing what I do best and using even more rocks to create steps and improve the way up to the cabin.

Finally, to tie the title to the rest of this mundane prattle, here’s the day after the storm pictured above:

‘Still Life with Trees and Lake’

Whatever you are doing, enjoy life whilst you still can. Alan Fenn

'Burası Türkiye!' 'This is Turkey!'

Me Payamlı, You Jane!

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Our mountain plot is on the outskirts of our village in an area known locally as Payamlı (Pie-am-ler). Payam is the old name for the almond, badem in modern Turkish. The ‘lı’ bit on the end just means ‘with’ so Payamlı – with almonds. And with almonds we certainly are!

Yesterday friend Jane rang up about something totally unrelated but I was telling her about the almond blossom anyway. She got a little excited and wanted photos, then got mardy when she remembered that my phone hasn’t even got a camera let alone any ‘smarts’! So, using ‘other means’, here are some shoddy pics from my ancient compact camera to calm her down. The real thing is quite enchanting – like a pale pink haze over the whole area.

What is amazing is that, whilst there are a few cultivated areas planted up with almonds, the majority are just growing wild along the hedgerows and between the fields. Such is our delight in these beauties that we bought a couple today and planted them in our garden.

The thrill of arriving at our plot and immediately spotting that some of our very young trees are in leaf, in bud and in flower. J and I got a real kick out of that! In the main we haven’t a clue what we’ve planted, but with mixed nuts, raisins and assorted fruits our breakfasts are sorted!

So, Jane, this post is really for you. I hope it inspires you to drop by for a visit sometime soon. If you do it soon I won’t have to send more photos as the almonds turn more pink. That said, without television, what else would I be doing?

Alan Fenn, with Almonds up in the mountains.

Stuff

Loveliest Of Trees

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Alfred Edward Housman is, without doubt, my most cherished poet. He published only two books of poems, A Shropshire Lad and Last Poems and yet many of us know his beautiful, balanced, evocative verse without knowing anything about him.

Here his words that could apply to Syria or Afghanistan or Yemen or a child in Mosul whilst we are safe in our illusions:

They say my verse is sad: no wonder;

Its narrow measure spans

Tears of eternity, and sorrow,

Not mine, but man’s.

………….

This is for all ill-treated fellows

Unborn and unbegot,

For them to read when they are in trouble

And I am not.

. . and here on the beauty that surrounds us that we so often take for granted.

Loveliest of Trees

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now

Is hung with bloom along the bough,

And stands about the woodland ride

Wearing white for Eastertide.

 

Now, of my three score years and ten,

Twenty will not come again,

And take from seventy springs a score,

It only leaves me fifty more.

 

And since to look at things in bloom

Fifty springs are little room,

About the woodlands I will go

To see the cherry hung with snow.

Alan Fenn

Stuff

Before Your Very Eyes!

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A mighty conflict has been going on in my head between, on the one hand, conscience and on the other imagination/motivation. I suppose ‘mighty conflict’ is a bit hyperbolic, over the top even, but when one doesn’t have to worry about a boss or paying the mortgage little niggles can become big niggles.

I bet JRR never dreamt that little ‘Niggle’ would  turn into a bloody great big niggle when they strung the films out over how many Christmases?

Anyway, back to the plot. My niggle was finding something, anything, to stick up in a post. The old grey matter was not cooperating! Days passed! Then, this morning, there it was staring me in the face – a Cockchafer! No, no! Not a worn out ‘athletic support’ as we used to call them in polite circles.

I’m referring to to the real McCoy – Melolontha melolontha aka the Common Cockchafer, a fine and rather handsome beetle! He, for indeed he was a he, was lying on his back (a very common position for this species) legs waving in the air and looking very forlorn.

Beetles, having started their evolutionary journey about 300 million years ago, have done very nicely until encountering a problem with Homo sapiens and their, roughly, 6000 year-old ‘civilisation’! Flat, smooth surfaces are a pain in the back when one has landed on one’s arse and there is nothing to get a grip of in order to perform a forward flip! I mean, one just lies there, waving one’s legs in the air and looking stupid!

When seen with their best feet forward  Cockchafers are a pretty photogenic lot.

This is George. How do I know this is he and not Georgina? because George has seven ‘feathers’ on his antenna whilst Georgina has only six. Why does he need so many? Good question and as you have probably already sussed it has everything to do with ‘Makin’ Whoopee’. When the fancy takes Georgina she pumps out the pheromones and George, who’s usually hanging about on the off-chance of a bit on the side, will get those antenna tuned in anywhere up to a couple of miles away! Day or night it’s all the same to our bug-eyed Romeo and he will track this amorous lady down – even if it kills him! Love, they say is blind, and certainly where Cockchafers, brick walls and smooth patios are concerned it can lead to a  frustratingly long, slow decline of the libido.

So, when (not if) you next see George on his back with his libido limp and his legs in the air do him a favour and jack him up the right way, find him a tree and wish him ‘Better luck next time, mate!’ because, after all it’s a miracle that he’s got as far as he has.

Alan Fenn, indulging in some Coleopteraphilia.

ps here’s a bit of Ella ‘Makin’ Whoopee’.

Incredible Okçular!

What Else Does One Do

 . . on a wet, dark day when the sky is closed until torn apart by great, sizzling sheets of lightning? What else but share the light of a few glorious, multi-coloured candles. So here are just a few flickering lamps to brighten the day for any of you, anywhere, gazing out at a grey, guttering world. They were all taken just a couple of days ago on a short walk around to our beautiful Kocadere Valley. I know you’ve seen them all before but, let’s face it, waking up to a new day has got to be worth it!

Beautiful Anemone Coronaria

Tilly Tortoise taking the Spring sunshine

Bee Orchids (Ophrys) in all their diverse glory

spelunking goats

Cyclamen

those beautiful anemones again

Giant Orchid

a delicate little Fritillaria

Finally, a question: what has a hazelnut in every bite?

Alan Fenn, fascinated by the same-old-same-old!