Ionia Guest House

Luxury accommodation in the Aegean countryside

Tag: truck

The joy of Sketchup

Almost as soon as we got here, we needed to build things. A mattress on the floor is OK, but it’s better to have a bed. And with the old kitchen knocked out by our plumbing work, we needed a better alternative to washing up the dishes with a garden hose. Surely we could rig up an outdoor worktop that would re-use the old sink?

The free 3-D design tool Sketchup has been really handy for this sort of thing. We started using it a few years ago, designing a re-modelled kitchen for our house in Southampton. We used it a lot more when we had to get planning permission for our straw-bale bungalows here in Turkey. I know that for simple jobs you can just sketch things on the back of an envelope, but having the ability to see how something is going to look in 3-D is really addictive. It’s also helpful for buying the materials: knowing exactly how much timber you need, for example.

Double bed planned in Sketchup.

Double bed planned in Sketchup.

Bed coming together in the real world.

Bed coming together in the real world.

OK, so the bed was a straightforward job, but I was pretty happy about getting it done with only a handsaw, hammer, and nails. (All the fancy power tools are still in our shipping container.) And then the outdoor sink was something I’m sure I would have messed up without Sketchup to help plan it out.

3-D model of the outdoor kitchen worktop.

3-D model of the outdoor kitchen worktop.

The outdoor kitchen: tiled and stained and seeing lots of use.

The outdoor kitchen: tiled and stained and seeing lots of use.

At this point maybe you’re thinking that I am getting a commission from the people who make Sketchup, but sadly no. I just like it a lot. The next job is designing our indoor kitchen as the room is now tiled and ready to go.

Kitchen after tiling but before grouting.

Kitchen after tiling but before grouting. (The orange stuff on the wall is meant to stop the mortar from crumbling.)

Not to mention the real work of designing our accommodation and landscaping up in the orchard, but that’s another story…

OK, so this post was possibly a bit dry for people who are not that into amateur carpentry. So, apropos of nothing, here’s a picture of some recent visitors-turned-fig-picking-volunteers crammed into the back of our truck.

Poorly paid fig pickers distracted with a ride.

Poorly paid fig pickers distracted with a sunset ride to the lake.

And finally, some more gratuitous cat photos.

Şurup reclining above our heads, nestled in the grape vines.

Şurup reclining above our heads, nestled in the grape vines.

Round 307 of Şurup and Tarçın's endless wrestling match. If you think of Şurup as Mt. Miyagi and Tarçın as Ralph Macchio it all makes sense.

Round 307 of Şurup and Tarçın’s endless wrestling match. If you think of Şurup as Mr. Miyagi and Tarçın as Ralph Macchio it all makes sense.

It’s a new car!

Well, not new exactly. More like 2007.

We were feeling increasingly guilty about borrowing Sirem’s mum and dad’s car. And we needed something capable of carrying a load of timber or tiles or plants home, but also able to pick up four people and luggage from the airport. So we bought a double-cab Toyota Hilux. We heard they were tough and reliable: you do tend to see them on the news being driven around conflict zones, for example. Very happy with it so far.

The new truck. Our transformation into proper rednecks is now complete.

The new truck. Our transformation into proper rednecks is now complete.

Better have a road trip to test it out, right? We had to go to Izmir anyway, to sort out some paperwork for our here-any-day-now container. So on the way back we got off the highway and drove to the town of Tire, in the next valley north of ours. Then home via some narrow, winding roads across the mountains.

It was a bit of a gamble, as we weren’t 100% sure there was a proper road going all the way across. But we’re so happy we took the chance: the scenery was breathtaking. We knew that our place sat in the foothills of a decent-sized mountain range, but we didn’t realize how beautiful and secluded it was up there.

Looking north, with Tire in the distance.

Looking north, with Tire in the distance.

The view across to the other side of the Kuçuk Menderes valley.

The view across to the other side of the Küçük  Menderes valley.

The first part of the drive we were climbing with views of the farmland around Tire. Then we got over the ridge and we were up into a different world. Steep hillsides covered with figs even at that altitude, and deep ravines sheltering villages of old stone houses. It was so quiet up there, and at least 5 degrees cooler than down on the plain.

Range after range of hills, looking east.

Range after range of hills, looking east.

You get the feeling they don't really need the fence. There was nobody around.

You get the feeling they don’t really need the fence. There was nobody around.

We have to go back soon…

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