Dicing With Death

Quite a lot of people, whole families, die unnecessarily in Turkey every year. The killer is silent. Usually strikes at night when folks are asleep. And it is mostly poorer families who are the victims. The killer is well known with plenty of information and warnings distributed about how to stay safe. Still people die!

The killer is carbon monoxide and the weapon of choice is usually poorly maintained domestic solid fuel heaters.

Here in Turkey they are know as a ‘soba’. They come in all shapes, sizes and shades of brown, They are very cheap to buy and when properly maintained, incredibly efficient! Despite there being a safe, optimum length for the flue pipes they often span great distances across rooms because the hot pipe is a source of considerable heat distribution.

Until we built our cabin J and I had never owned or operated a soba. That we needed one, given the sub-zero winter temperatures, was a given. Our choice was one of those cute little jobbies with an oven built in that you can see above. Mindful of the dangers from lack of care/maintenance we have kept an eye on carbon build-up and carried out regular cleaning.

All had been well until we arrived for this stop-over. The days are a delight but night time temperatures are regularly quite a few degrees below zero. The cabin was cold so we got the soba going right away – except it didn’t! Smoke billowed out into the room and there was nothing for it but to open all the doors and windows and allow the fire to die down.

When it was cool enough I removed the fire bucket and pried open a couple of the easily reached flue pipes – they were clear. There was nothing else for it (by now it was evening and dark) but to put double quilts on the bed, have an early night, cuddle up and hope we didn’t get hypothermia. I can tell you one thing, it was so cold I went the whole night without getting up for a pee once let alone the usual three! Mind over matter or what!

pretty clean – no problem there

This morning, after reviving coffee, it was down to the job of a total strip down. What we found was horrifying and a lesson in not getting complacent! The speed of this build-up was staggering.

Common sense kept us freezing cold last night – by not chancing our arm and trying to keep a small fire in it also kept us alive! That said, I leave you with the following:


Tonight we sleep cozy, just one quilt and I bloody well know my bladder is not going to hold out!

Alan Fenn, up here!

20 thoughts on “Dicing With Death

  1. That was a horrifying sight!
    And as for it being too cold to need a pee…the body has its own survival techniques…

    1. Hello Danny! What are you doing reading ‘Archers, An Everyday Story Of Country Folk’? As for the stove, we burn pine mostly with scrub oak to keep it in. Not normally a problem as long as we do regular cleaning. I think the build-up occurs rapidly when combustion is restricted. We know enough not to be stupid and take any chances.
      Alan recently posted..Shall We Retire To The LoungeMy Profile

  2. I’m so pleased I’ve still got a brother and sister in law. !!!!! you were bloody lucky. And I’ve always thought that common sense was better to have an intelligence. !!!!!!! I am surprised at how quickly it has built up though. Enjoy the rest of your stay, it just goes to show you don’t have to getting up for a pee says she !!!!!!! Take care.

  3. Seriously, folks . . . . That was a toof-chattering story! Take care and keep the home fires burning. xoxo J and M

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