Yesterday, from outside I heard the phone ring. J answered, ‘Günaydın Bayram. Nasılsınız?’ (Good morning Bayram (our muhtar). How are you?). I turned back to the job in hand at my temporary workbench of making a chopping board that would fit over the kitchen sink.
stow the silly remarks, that includes the assembly jig for clamping and glueing
Conversation over J wandered to the cabin window, took a couple of photos of the only worker around, and said ‘Bayram is asking us to be at the school tomorrow. Something about a white flag and some people who want to meet us. I told him we were away but would try to be there.’ He had, apparently, sounded disappointed that we were unable to commit.
Now, the reason for our prevarication was simple enough – ‘the workers were revolting!’ Well, not exactly ‘revolting’ – not even remotely. Let me explain; the electrician had missed out fitting a socket in what will be our ‘cozy’ corner. When the fridge was delivered there was no electricity and so service were waiting to complete the installation/guarantee process. Finally the carpenters, with just a few hours of work to finish off, had bogged off to a thermal spa for a few days! All of these guys were scheduled for Tuesday.
Tuesday was the closest we could get to a ‘definite maybe’ time with any of them and as we have learned from experience, there are 24 hours in any given day give or take a few more either way! Having seen the electrician who was carping that he was busy and would ‘do his best’ to make it at some point, we put him off until our next visit. We then spent an anxious day fretting as the hours slipped by. Just as it was getting dark the carpenters arrived and set about blasting saw dust all over the place!
bedroom and bathroom surrounds nearly finished – just the main door to go
In the middle of it all the service arrived, took a few interior photos to show their friends on Facebook, and sorted the fridge.
So, with everything that could be sorted sorted, we were up at the crack of dawn this morning and ready to hit the road back to Okçular.
sunrise over the lake
We had no idea what was planned at school. What we found was a playground full of children and their parents and friends. Tables and chairs were laid out by classes with tables already laden with food that each of the families had provided.
J and I were met and escorted to the ‘protokol’ table populated with the mayor and a multitude of managers and other ‘suits’!
view from behind the roses at the top table
Speeches and explanations of the White Flag followed: it seems that our village school has been thoroughly inspected and has qualified to fly a special flag that denotes that it has passed all the health, hygiene and clean environment criteria. It was a great compliment to the regular staff and to Yeliz who takes care of the gardens and general cleaning.
Okçular school staff together with Education Manager, Mayor and Muhtar
It was also an honour for J and me to be included and for the contributions to the school that money from the Okçular Book Project has made over the years to be recognised by the senior education manager.
Now we are back home we have a week to prepare before we return back down the rabbit hole together with a lot more tools and my trusty ‘Work Mate’. Having failed to find anything we like very much to furnish our lakeside cabin in the mountains I’ve decided to do most of it myself starting with the divans for the ‘cozy corner’. Tomorrow it’s back to the pile of logs lying outside the gate!
Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü