We couldn’t immediately identify it as a goat. My first thought was that it was a bird. Frau thought it our lodger the fox. In retrospect, quite what sort of bird cries like that I cannot imagine. She went to investigate while I carried on my supposedly quiet hour by shouting abuse at a murdering head of state who had the effrontery to smile at us from the television screen. (I’m thinking of installing a protective screen in front of the TV if the news goes on as recently.)
The lost soul was a young billy-goat. Frau carried him from our little forest, where she had found him, into our garden. She fed and watered him and set about attempting to return him to his mother and/or owner. I’ll not bore readers with the details of the six phone calls over the course of the next two hours that eventually got the kid to its natural mother, but I will report that she and I had long conversations, sometimes heated, about its possible future; heck, we have enough four-legged friends around the place.
Foxy is settling in well and loves to play the same games as do puppy dogs and kittens. She is quite possibly the very first fox to ever play ping-pong in Turkey. We visited the forestry people recently to ask if they had a program for resettling such animals into the wild. They don’t, but were very friendly and sympathetic and suggested that we keep her for about a month after which, in conjunction with them, we will release her into a nearby national park.
I fear that we won’t get too far from the subject of animals when I tell you that we currently have half-a-dozen visiting European friends in the vicinity. One family of four is travelling in a camper van, having excused themselves from work for a year. They travelled to Turkey via Greece from where they adopted a lovely young puppy dog named Nina. Having lunch together in the abandoned Greek village of Kayakoy, we speculated that perhaps Nina was the first Greek dog to return to the village since the Greeks were expelled more than 80 years ago. I admit that we got a mite philosophical when we saw that she had absolutely no hesitation in making friends with the local Turkish dogs.
Meeting interesting people
We also met another two very interesting people. A young Australian girl named Sandy Robson, who is kayaking from Germany to Australia. She is retracing the same 50,000-kilometer voyage made by Oskar Speck some 75 years ago. When Speck arrived in Australia, he was arrested and interned as a possible enemy agent; a fate that may well have befallen Sandy had her plan to paddle a kayak in Iran come to fruition. Fortunately, though granted a visa, she is expressly forbidden to kayak there! Her current travelling companion is a Serbian chap who was refused a visa. Paranoia abounds, now as then. Both paddlers were excellent company. You may google Sandy by name.
Oh, I nearly forgot, our nearest neighbour’s son was married at the weekend. The family has land but it is all farmed so is not ideal for partying, thus they took over the two-acre land of our old village school. A couple of hundred plastic chairs were hired, along with some tables, and, to our dismay, one of those “Gypsy” bands. (Not my choice of words, it is what they are generally called.) Two drums and a reed-driven trumpety thing, possibly a “zurna.” They played what to our ears sounds like the same tune over and over again for hours on end, starting at 10am and going on till midnight -- most painful. Regretfully we scored another faux-pas by arriving too late on the second day but our hosts were most gracious and forgave us (I think).
In the short time that we were at the wedding, we noticed that while the groom looked most handsome and smart in his wedding suit and the bride looked gorgeous in her gown, Dad was still in his farming clobber with rubber galoshes and about a week’s growth of beard. I had worried about wearing my standard-model village flip-flops, but when it came to entering the house to offer the happy couple our congratulations I noticed that all the footwear at the front door was an exact match to mine; the challenge was going to be getting out of the place with either the same pair as one came in with or, preferably, a slightly newer pair.
Before we left, we noticed the two Nuris sitting a little way off. Nearly Normal Nuri was beaming his extravagant smile and still stuffing huge handfuls of a pink cream-cake into his cavernous mouth while Normal Nuri was smoking two cigarettes. I think that perhaps one cigarette was being nursed for NNN while he ate his cake, but his devoted brother NN was making darned sure that the glowing tip of the cigarette didn’t die down. We spent a few moments talking to them, but I’m sorry to say that I’m unable to recall what it was that we talked about, Frau doesn’t know, either.
We had a brief chat to our imam who is a very easy-going chap and has always been very forgiving of my transgressions. He did remind me, though, that it is about time I whitewashed the walls of the mosque again -- that’s the garden walls, not the building itself, which is a mite too tall for an old man to tackle on a ladder.
The wedding party(s) had been without alcohol so it should not have been a surprise to us when we arrived home to find half a dozen village drinkers sitting on our terrace, all of whom greeted me most effusively while barely acknowledging Die Frau. They then sat staring up at me expectantly. I decided to play dumb and simply sat down myself and began talking about the wedding. Eventually, Mustafa Taxi took the decision that subtlety was a waste of time when dealing with foreigners and he asked outright whether I had any whisky. I didn’t, but we did have wine and I admitted it, and so the lads’ splinter wedding party started and lasted for about two hours. When we heard gunfire an hour or so after they left, we concluded that the party had continued somewhere down mid-village. No, nobody was harmed by the gunfire, just maybe a low-flying bat or perhaps an offending road sign -- nothing to concern yourselves with.