I need to prioritise more and that is a fact! When we wandered back to the cabin this last time we knew that all the big, pressure jobs were jobbed. We were going to relax, potter, wander about, do the odd things that were always waiting, blog and J was going to spend time preparing her presentation on a moneyless world.
Nothing short of stopping to smell a few roses – our beautiful Isparta Roses!
It was not to be – good stuff as well as jobs got in the way!
Friends flew in from the UK and spent a week based at the hotel across the lake. They were, by turns, amazed at the beauty of the lake and surrounding areas, thrilled as para-gliders descended from the mountains, caught ogling men in rubber and roped in for interview as obvious foreigners.
Then J decided that she absolutely needed a garden table made from a pallet . . .
I’m entitled to look happy, it could have ended up like this . .
Anyway, back to the narrative – the lovely guy who built our dry-stone wall presented J with a bag-full of mixed seeds . . .
. . . which required that irrigation system be expanded to incorporate the vegetable garden!
Meanwhile, Ruddy Shelducks are flying over the cabin every morning and down to the lake –
image from chum at ‘Birding Turkey’
. . . and we watched Pine Processionary Moth caterpillars digging in to pupate (I know I’m going to be vilified in some quarters for not murdering them (and neither of us smoke)).
. . and put up the sign my dotty sister sent from UK!
Then there was the day we took our friends to the village of Akçaköy, birthplace of the great Turkish author and activist Fakir Baykurt. (J is going to translate some stuff about him and then I’ll write a post some time) ‘Fakir’ means poor or impoverished in Turkish and Akçaköy, the home village of the blacksmith and the carpenter who built our cabin, must look pretty much as it did when he lived there.
a couple of examples of occupied homes
Recently there has been a very interesting collaboration between the state, which granted access to land around the village, a very interesting local veterinary environmentalist who donated plants and the villagers who provided the labour. The objective is to plant vast acreages of lavender which will be tended and harvested by the villagers and sold on to the veterinary who will process the crop at his facility which produces natural lavender and rose products. We were amazed at the scale of what has been achieved in a very short period of time.
lavender stretching off into the far distance
All of this, though, was not the main object of our interest in Akçaköy. A year before Fakir Baykurt died in 1999 a library, dedicated to his grandmother, was opened in this still impoverished village. It is open to all but is there specifically for the children who use it five days a week. It is an astonishing legacy from a man, born into poverty, who, because of Atatürk’s dream and the vision of others like İsmail Hakkı Tonguç, went on to graduate from one of the Village Institutes. With the gift of enlightenment he grew into one of Turkey’s great men of letters – a ‘wordsmith’. His life and the library he left to his village has inspired generations of village children to read and study. His true legacy, however, is to be found in the well-above-average passes of children from Akçaköy moving on to University.
Here are a couple of photos from the village library, the story is for another time.
the reference room
one of the reading/study rooms
friend Patrick ‘salutes’ the source of a great concept
Finally, as we drove in to the village we were spotted by the family of our blacksmith and greeted like long-lost family.
. . and whilst there are butterflies and beautiful knockers to be found I’m there with a camera!
So, ‘things’ and ‘stuff’ got in the way of a bit of blogging resulting in an overly long tale. We came back to Okçular in time for Children’s Day and I’ll tell you about that and the surprise that went with it in a few days.
Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü