Ionia Guest House

Luxury accommodation in the Aegean countryside

What have we really been doing?

It’s been a while since our last post. Sorry about that: must do better!

We’ve been a bit distracted. We have lots of projects to work on, as usual. But more than that, one of the cats (Molly) has been ill: liver problems brought on by the stress of the move. Which makes us feel very guilty. And means a 50 km round trip every morning to get IV fluid treatment for her at the university vet clinic in Aydın. Thankfully, though, she seems to be getting better.

So: what have we really been doing? I looked back at our previous blog posts and it struck me that often I would write about something just because I had a decent photo of it. No big deal, except it doesn’t give you a representative view of what life is like here. Sometimes cool things happen and I am not quick enough to get the camera: two camels being led out of the neighbour’s front gate, or a dapper old man riding past our door on a donkey, coming down from the mountains carrying a rifle as old as he was. Sometimes you don’t get the camera because it doesn’t feel right. You don’t want to be rude and in-your-face with people you don’t yet know very well. And sometimes you’re just busy.

The point of this post is to talk about the stuff we don't have pictures of. Nevertheless, you will be needing some pictures, so here's our place from the street.

The point of this post is to talk about the stuff we don’t have pictures of. Nevertheless, you will be needing some pictures, so here’s our place from the street.

A typical un-photographed day for us starts early as we’re woken up by either the call to prayer or a tractor going past our bedroom window. Then we go back to sleep until about eight in the morning when we get up to reliably blue skies and the hope that someone else has already started making breakfast. Sirem and I take Molly to the vet clinic in Aydın: a flat, straight drive into the morning sun, with the mountains on our left. Treatment takes a couple of hours, but the staff are good people. On the way back, if Molly is in a reasonable mood, we try to do some shopping. A stop in the sanayi (industrial estate) to buy tools and building materials, or a stop in Germencik for fresh bread, cheese, and eggs.

Shopping in Germencik

Shopping in Germencik


By the time we get back, it’s lunch time. After lunch, if it’s a hot day (and all of them have been) a siesta is tempting. Then we get started on something that’s actually useful: tiling, plastering, painting, concreting, working in the garden — that sort of thing.

This is how the bathroom looks now. It might seem all that great but that's because I didn't give you a proper "before" photo showing how the walls and ceiling looked.

This is how the bathroom looks now. It might not seem all that great but that’s because I didn’t give you a proper “before” photo showing the crumbling walls and the dark and dirty ceiling.

The current state of the garden. The neatly dug beds are due to my dad's efforts while he was here.

The current state of the garden. The neatly dug beds are due to my dad’s efforts while he was here.

Early experiments in lime-washing the walls are inspected by Tarçın.

Early experiments in lime-washing the garden walls are inspected by Tarçın.

Around sunset on every alternate day it’s time to go and collect figs. We walk around all 65 trees, looking for figs that are already on the ground, and shaking the trees a bit to get the partially dried figs to fall. We’ve got other jobs too, like laying the figs out to dry, sorting them into different classes, and rinsing them in salty water to help preserve them for the winter. This last step gives them a fantastic shine though.

One of our better figs.

One of our better figs.

If lunch was big we don’t eat a lot in the evening. Or sometimes it’s the other way around. Dinner might be just bread, cheese, potato chips, and a beer. I say “beer” in the singular because the truth is we’re drinking a lot less than we did in the UK. I remain a fan of beer but after a day in the sun it only seems to take one to make me want to lay back in a chair and look at the stars.

As the evening goes on we referee a few fights between our cats and some of the local strays who wander in, and then eventually bed.

What else have we been up to? Just recently we found a good local welder in Germencik, and he put us onto his friend the window guy, and so we had new windows and security screens installed on some of the rooms. There’s not a lot of crime here, so hopefully we needn’t have bothered, but it gives us some peace of mind when nobody is home.

Security grille and fly screen for the kitchen.

Security grille and fly screen for the kitchen; new window in the background.

In earlier photos of the garden, you may have spotted a half-ruined shed at the back of the block. I was a bit worried about this because it looked like the roof might collapse, so last week I decided the time had come and I pulled most of it down. No cats were inside. Now we’ve got a source of roof tiles, timber, and cinder blocks to recycle elsewhere.

The shed after my amateur demolition.

The shed after my amateur demolition.

Zeytin, the dog, is still very pleased about her change in status from street dog to garden dog. It’s not really cold at night yet, but nevertheless we gave her a little house. Well, OK: a cardboard box with a blanket inside. She was incredibly happy about this development.

"Nobody ever gave me a house before!"

“Nobody ever gave me a house before!”

And finally, here’s a picture of a different sort of visitor. This guy sat on the back of one of our chairs and posed for photos for quite a while before he had to fly.

Grasshopper is ready for his close-up now.

Grasshopper is ready for his close-up now.



  1. That’s a lovely post :-)

    • Jason

      16 September, 2014 at 9:05 am

      Thanks, Lorraine. You are too kind. I thought it was time for some plain speaking, anyway. :)

  2. I can see why you might pass on taking a photo of a guy carrying a rifle. If he was having a bad hair day things could get out of hand.

  3. Love it. :-)

  4. What an interesting insight into your normal ‘day to day’,. Interested , of course, as opposed to nosy!
    What a difference from your life opposite @ 82.
    Well done , you two. Keep it up!

  5. Fantastic to hear about a day in the life of you! Thaks for writing such a lvoely post and taking pictures for us all to see :)

  6. Benjamin Schumann

    16 September, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    always pleased to see a new post, thx :-)

  7. John and Marg Noble

    17 September, 2014 at 12:16 am

    Hi Jason and Sirem
    Great to hear from you and to see the developments with your project in Turkey. You seem to be making real progress with your plans and we wish you well. Sorry to hear about the cat’s health problems .
    We are sending this message from Brugge in Belgium. A spectacular old town which we will continue to explore tomorrow. We are in the middle of a great holiday which we wil shortly be adding to with a river boat trip from Amsterdam to Basel. All the best from us.
    Marg and John

    • Jason

      17 September, 2014 at 1:06 am

      Thanks very much. Hope you’re enjoying Brugge / Bruges, and it goes without saying that I hope you’ve seen the movie “In Bruges”? It’s a great film.

  8. hello from villach, really a great thing you are doing there, and all the lovely animals…so cute and funny!!! love and kisses, also to suremes sister and her parents!

    • Jason

      17 September, 2014 at 12:22 pm

      Hi, Ilse. Great to hear from you. I am glad you like the animals. :) Will pass on the greetings and good wishes.

  9. Keeping our fingers crossed that Molly gets better soon. Please let us know how she is.

  10. I know you said some other things, but my brain is stuck on you get up at 8am *sobs about the toddler alarm set to stun at 5:30am*
    Hope your cat gets better soon :(

    • Jason

      18 September, 2014 at 10:43 am

      Well, if it makes you feel any better, farmers get up early and sometimes we get the tractor alarm at 5:30am. Or the barking dog alarm.

      Thanks for the good wishes for Molly. We hope your toddlers learn to sleep in soon. ;)

  11. Stuart 'Chinchilla' Rossiter

    22 September, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    [I’ve decided to give myself an animal epithet in each comment for no good reason. I think my life might be lacking something…]

    Yes, sometimes photos don’t really capture the rhythm of life. Nice little insight. Your fig photo is very Rembrant though; am looking forwards to seeing ErkNob branded figs in my local Sainsburys soon. (I will waive my royalty rights for the branding.)

    Hope Molly gets back to normal soon; I think that Daisy is aware, since she has been upping her vole and mouse capture count recently, no doubt in a bid to secure sustenance for her weakened relative.

    Thanks for sharing all the thoughts/details of life there so far. I voyeuristically await future installments (brushing aside any twinges of jealousy :-) ).

    • Jason

      22 September, 2014 at 6:06 pm

      Thanks, Chinchilla. Appreciate both the branding tip and Daisy supplying the extra protein: it’s the thought that counts.

  12. Unlike Donna, I’m surprised you’re up at 8am!
    Hope Molly gets well soon :( but loving the posts and particularly the model grasshopper.

    • Jason

      24 September, 2014 at 11:10 am

      Hehe. Well, I say “up”, but sometimes it is hugely tempting to go back to bed. Or sort of lounge around in the courtyard with a coffee before facing the tasks of the day. :)

      And thanks for the good wishes for Molly. She’s starting to eat more on her own so things are looking good, we think. And less yellow in her eyes and skin seems to be a good sign that liver function is coming back. Hoping she’ll be back to her normal grumpy self soon.

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