It slowly came to us that there was something very interesting going on, something which had several neighbors on foot shouting advice and the occasional neighbor passing by on wheels shouting encouragement, discouragement or witticisms. We just had to see what was afoot outside and so we arose.
At our bedroom window we spied our neighbor Turgut and his wife, Ayşe, attempting to persuade their only cow to climb four steps, steps which we had constructed to make access from the road onto our land and through to a piece of common land which offers good grazing. Turgut was at the “bow” of the cow tugging on a shaggy painter line, whilst Ayşe was at the “stern” pushing with all her might on the broad muddy transom of the beast. Both were cursing, Turgut even throwing in the occasional English expletive picked up from me over the years. Please forgive me for that. I am guessing that the cow would tip the scales [or weighbridge?] at something like 2,000 lb, what used to be known as a short-ton, and this I absolutely knew: That gal was not ever going to climb those steps.
Perhaps the protagonists realized the entertainment value of their struggle because they continued long after it was clear to all that the quest was hopeless. Eventually Frau took pity on them, threw on a robe and went down to lead the trio through our main gate, the garden and our back gate, there to let the short-ton of beef graze contently on the lush grass and daisies of her temporary anchorage.
By the way, if you pass through our village, you may recognize Turgut’s cow by her horns. One is standard issue and growing as was intended, but the other has taken the shape of half the handlebars of a modern touring bike and stands above her head more or less at right angles to the other. Should you see her, I urge you not to laugh -- she gets embarrassed.
Returning to our front terrace with Ayşe and Turgut, we found two other villagers there, sitting at the table; they were Mustafa-Taxi’s daughter, the skinny one, with her new husband who nobody introduced, so we didn’t get his name. It seems that he’s from a village which we don’t like. Frau took orders for coffee. Our villagers drink tea for any other occasion but always coffee at our house.
These days, I need to take two medicinal tablets every day and after meals, so after breakfast is the best time, and if I miss breakfast I tend to forget the pills. Accordingly, Frau put two slices of bread in the toaster and shortly after, brought them out on the tray of coffee, toasted gold and dripping butter. I excused myself to nip upstairs for my pills. Fool! Returning a few moments later I witnessed the last corners of the two pieces of toast disappearing into the mouths of Turgut and Ayşe. I not only felt sorry for myself but also for our other two guests; so, leaving Frau to be hostess, I went to the kitchen and spent five minutes or so producing another four slices. I passed two on a plate to Mustafa-Taxi’s daughter and ate two myself, followed by my pills, washed down with lukewarm coffee. The unfortunate nameless husband [from the village we don’t like] got nothing.
Our guests left at about 9 a.m., just in time for us to catch the television news, only one hour or so later than usual, after which I took the cow a bucket of water, for which she was very grateful.
I had no sooner changed into overalls ready to start my annual whitewashing chores when we were interrupted by another visitor. I sincerely hope the young man didn’t hear us groan as he walked up the garden path wearing a broad grin. After brief introductions we had him sit down and drink a coffee with us. It transpired that he was an Irishman working at a nearby hotel. He had paid for his flights out and back but was living and eating free at the hotel in exchange for his work as a general handyman; an excellent scheme, we thought. We later discovered that we knew several of the business owners in this area advertising for such staff. Our new friend was called Colm and was a most amiable chap and we chatted for about an hour, which brought us very near to lunch time. Sensing that we were not going to do much work that day, we suggested to Colm that we go to lunch. We went to a newly opened restaurant which is being run by a Spanish chap and his Turkish girlfriend, both aged about 35. They turned out to be a lovely couple and in the short time that they had been open had managed to attract a regular clientele of young people of a certain type attractive to us. We had a very jolly afternoon and Colm departed for home the next day. We managed a full day’s work on that day and felt rather pleased with ourselves.
But…as we were preparing to start work mid-morning on the day after, we were interrupted by a visit from a young couple, this time from France. They had pedaled from France on their fine looking touring bikes, [one with handlebars to match the starboard horn on a cow of our acquaintance]. They were camping and planned to travel to the far east of the country. We learned that they had been told to visit us and the aforementioned restaurant by Colm, whom they had met the previous day in our nearest big town.
We took them to the restaurant and in no time they were getting on famously with the owners and the customers. Another young lady from Holland but currently working in Barcelona turned up and those three camped there for three full days. Parties resulted, some impromptu but one a planned surprise birthday party for our charming hostess. There was music on an accordion from our cycling French couple, the inevitable guitar and dancing by everyone except me.
Are you still considering “people of a certain type attractive to us”? Let us say that there was more than the average amount of hair between them, four or five languages being spoken, international music with ne’er a peep from Rod Stewart or Celine Dion and dancing which appealed to all those with less than 70 years of tiring adventure behind them. That was a fine week.