Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday night in the Heybeliada 'hood

I love my little computer laptop notebook legtop whatever the hell it is thing. It is small and sleek and works perfectly well, and survives off the dodgy electric here, and has a nice clicky keyboard. And to think, was almost suckered in to buying a mac! Ha, big expensive stupid things [enrages half of friends and all of family].

But S has just got her laptop back from the fixing shop, and I've got laptop envy, the screen is about nine times the size and has got a cd/dvd mouth what mine ain't. Jealous rage.

Anyway, no matter. Here, lookee, a snapshot into Friday nights in our manor. (I love the fact that I can use that expression and have it very nearly be true. Smiley face.) This was about half an hour ago, now I'm half heartedly watching some godawful dreadful film thriller with the college boyfriend boring beefcake one on buffy season 4 trying to be all mean and threatening. It blows! Oo, he's just said "get the fuck out of my face!" Bless, I just want to pat him on the head.

It's quite pleasant. I'm feeling all domesticated. Computers whirring indoors and tomatoes growing away in the garden (more of this later, when not battling the symmetry deadline) and everything in general, functioning as it ought, ah happy days. If I had a beer it would be nigh on perfect, but - FUNNY THING - the alcoholic late night beer runs have rather dried up these days, what with them taking half an hour and involving a 1-in-8 climb. We do have a bottle of some very suspicious looking cooking wine, but I think it's probably not drinkable. There's a turkish name for horrible plonk - "dog's dead" and I think it probably falls into that category.

Ramble ramble ramble. Right, I'm going to stop this uncoordinated poorly thought out stream of conciousness rubbish, it's getting out of hand. Bye bye!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Survival of the sweetest

Heybeliada (and Istanbul, and Turkey in general I think) goes in for street cats and dogs in a big way. I'm not sure they could accurately be described as 'strays', as most seem to have a very clear stomping ground, and a very firm idea of where they get their grub from - usually a combination of rubbish bins and the benevolent public putting out scraps.

But on the other hand they most definitely aren't anybody's pets. Actually, when I first came here on holiday it was something that really jumped out at me, (Literally!! Ah ha ha!!! No, not literally at all - read on.) all the cats minxing insolently about and packs of dopey looking dogs sat in the middle of the road.

All these street creatures, great and small, are dead laid back though. Which came as a relief, about the dogs in particular what with me not being the biggest fan and all that. (In my experience big scary dogs are big and scary, and small yappy type dogs are just...unnecessary. They yap too much, y'all! And on occasion sick on you, or shit. How is that cute?)

But this lot here are all of a nonchalent bent, and whilst they might follow you up the street a bit or make a half-arsed attempt to sniff at your backside - they're obviously not *that* fussed, and at the slightest discouragement give up and slouch away again.

I reckon there's got to be an element of town based natural selection going on here. As I understand it, going back decades at least and I think centuries, the authorities from time to time make an attempt at sweeping up the streets and dealing with the dog population once and for all. But - if they're not much bother and don't harm anyone, they presumably fall down the list of things for the municipality to worry about. So for dogs, there's got to be an evolutionary advantage to being docile.

For the cats, well it's a bit more complicated. They seem to fall in two camps - scraggy, feral, nimble on their toes around the dustbins streetwise scrappers. Or sleek, sweet, and dumb as fuck charmers.

We seem to have acquired one of the latter - look at the poor little sod below, trying to stretch his legs and nose out into the sun to prolong the basking. (I don't have photographic evidence, but believe me - he was still in the same spot half an hour later, by now completely in the shade, waiting for the sun to go back on 5 billion year's habit, and move back in the sky to where it was. Bless. Idiot.)

Anyway. This one hasn't exactly been encouraged round our manor, so much as not-quite-as-vehemently disencouraged as the other nasty furballs that turn up whenever we have a barbeque. The others get a chasing, or an olive stone or two chucked in their general direction. But this one - it has to be admitted, on purely aesthetic reasons - gets tolerated. It's got a name and everything - Kuş burnu - literally translates as 'bird nose', but means rosehip. (Which earns me nothing but disapproval from the neighbours, I'm sure - when I come home it bounds up to me in the misapprehension it's going to get something from me - mistaking me for the softer touch, S, no doubt. Anyway, in the process of saying hello/fuck-off, scrounger, there's a lot of "what's going on, Kuş, how you doing, Kuş" etc etc, which no doubt the nosy neighbours take as my dire turkish not being able to distinguish between cats and birds...)

ANYWAY, the point of this ramble is to bring you on to some quite vile truths about (my) nature. S found a bunch of kittens in one of the bins yesterday - most of them apparently nosing around for food, but this one below just sat there dazed and confused. So she rescued him and brought him home.

How cute! Even I was impressed. Daw, how cute. BUT. and this is the crucial point - not cute enough. Like I said she found it in the rubbish and it looked like it, it was all claw-y, and screamed incessantly, and despite being obviously weaned, with big teeth and all, couldn't work out what to do with the food we put down directly in front of it.

So we did the reasonably decent thing, and gave it milk and food and all that shit, and gave it a basket and blankets to sleep in outside, hoped against hope that it would work out how to, yanno, eat and drink by itself, and not go wandering off after dark.

But there was a lot of squawking in the night, and when we woke up, no cute little kitty. Bastard must have died. Anyway, this is my point - if it was just a *bit* more cute, we might have brought it in. If it weren't *quite* so dumb, it might, like its brothers and sisters in the rubbish bins, have worked out how to scrap for food, or at least stayed where it was put once it had failed to strike out on life on its own. As it is - aw, I can't believe I'm actually feeling bad for the little fluffball, but I am - as it is, I do believe it got ate.

RIP little kitty. Don't sic the RSPCA on me, everybody else.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Norse Gods Stopped Play

Did you know, my biggest bro was going to come and see me this week? He was due to fly out this Thursday just gone.

I am beyond peeved.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Money! It's a gas.


I earned that. Someone paid me that, for services rendered. No, not those sorts of services. You dirty minded thing you. For teaching English, la. Which for all my blustering about how it was not what I wanted to do, is not actually that bad, and since it does apparently transmogrify old rope into CASHMONEYS it is not, frankly, to be sniffed at.

I might do something frivolous with it, like pay the electricity bill or something.