What happened to the Turkish Fighting Cat?

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It is a long time since I blogged and for this I apologise, especially to my followers who asked me where my update was.

The reason is a sad one and it has taken me a long time to be able to write again. Even now there are tears in my eyes.

You may remember I mentioned we had been to see a little Staffordshire Bull Terrier called Lily who was in the Dog Shelter. There was such a strong resemblance with Fergus that we decided that when we moved to the new house we would adopt her and after conversations with Ali the vet and helpers at the Shelter it would be best for her to start her new life with Fergus on neutral ground, i.e. our new home.

I had at this point got back together with my boyfriend of over 3 years and on Halloween he suggested we get Lily as there was a constant worry that she may be stolen, sadly there are illegal dog fights in the area and any Pit Bull type dogs are often victims of these horrid individuals. I said ‘No, let’s wait till tomorrow because tonight is Halloween and Shelly is going out and staying with a friend and if we get her tomorrow it’s Friday and Shelly will be off school for the weekend’.

The following morning I received a telephone call from My friend Jim who helps at the Shelter to say sadly Lily had been stolen overnight. I couldn’t believe the irony of the situation and we were all very upset especially Shelly.

Lily at Didim Dog Shelter

On Friday night we went to Yenihisar and drove around and Turan put the word out that we were looking for Lily. There were appeals on Facebook sites but everyone seemed to think that Lily’s chances were very very slim. On Saturday we went to the shelter and Turan suggested we get a puppy, my mind was in turmoil as I kept thinking ‘what if Lily does come back?’ I know it’s weird logic but in my head I thought ‘maybe if we get a puppy she will come back’ kind of like tempting fate? So we looked around and there was such a sweet little blonde retriever girl there and we ended up taking her home with us.

She was very sweet and affectionate but by Sunday I was beginning to get concerned as she was so lazy and not-playful. A retriever puppy should be bouncing around and this little baby wouldn’t even walk up or down stairs. By Monday morning I was beginning to realize that there may be more wrong than just a new home and depression from being in the shelter. As it happened Fergus and The Turkish Fighting Cat were due injections so all 3 were bundled in to the car and Turan and I took them to Ali. The Turkish Fighting Cat had his injections thru the wires of the cat box and after about half an hour we got the 2nd jab in to Fergus who is absolutely petrified of needles! Almost as scared as the Vet was of Fergus’s jaws. We then brought in the puppy and the young vet on duty said she didn’t seem well and had a very high temperature so he wanted Ali to see her. We left Sydney as we had called her and took the still trembling Fergus and disgruntled TFC home. When we got back to the Vets Ali confirmed she was very sick and needed hospitalization, intensive and costly treatment including intravenous antibiotics and serum and there were no guarantees. At this point my phone rang… It was Jim with the news that Lily had turned up back at the Shelter!

Shelly and Sydney the retriever pup

After a telephone conversation with Val from the Shelter we left Sydney with Ali and went to the shelter to pick up Lily, we weren’t risking her staying there a moment longer.

Flippin’ ‘eck this is a long story … But what can I say … It’s what happened!

So now Lily and Fergus are in the flat with us, still waiting for military clearance to come back. Lily put Fergus in his place and we had a few near misses with her and TFC, I admit I was beginning to wonder if this was going to work?

If only they could talk!The next thing to happen I guess was the military clearance came thru and  to cut a long story short that I will revisit later moving day arrived. TFC went in the cat box with Shelly on her electric bike and I went on the back of a flat bed truck on my electric bike with the two dogs. Yes you read correctly the bike was on the back of the truck with me and the dog as and all my worldly goods!. I got some funny looks I can yell you. Mind you I guess I didn’t help my plight because I couldn’t help but sing ‘My ol man said follow the van and don’t dilly dally on the way, I followed on with me two staffordshire bull terriers..da da da da de da…….

By the time we arrived at FevziPasa TFC had escaped! So much for keeping him in for a few days. All evening we were up and down searching but no, TFC has gone on an adventure. About 10pm we have all but given up thinking he must be on his way back to Altinkum when Turan who has some kind of sixth sence (remember Halloween) suddenly jumps up and goes to the site fence and on the other side there is a pitiful miaow! It’s TFC he’s managed to get one of his front paws thru his collar and is there on the other side of the fence. Shelly and Turan go round on the bikes whilst I keep talking to him. Within 15 minutes TFC is curled up on my bed Sleeping like a baby.

We settle in to life at Sultankent and we have to keep reminding Lily that TFC is not just a cat. Meanwhile TFC ventures around the site, comes on walks with us and the dogs. Amuses the neighbours when he accompanies me to the cubby hole next to the office to connect to the Internet and generally life is good. Our family has expanded from one woman a girl one Dog and one TFC to one man one woman a girl 2 dogs and TFC.

Two weeks later Shelly is at school and Turan and I go to Didim. TFC is out and about and the dogs are on the roof terrace because the garden fence is not built yet. On our return the dogs have managed to open the door to the roof and are in the house and it seems I was mistaken and TFC was in. I find my special cat dead on my bedroom floor.

The original Turkish Fighting Cat RIP

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Nearly Mangaled Cat

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The weather this morning is somewhat overcast to welcome us in to October, however the rain is not expected until Wednesday. I guess I shouldn’t moan, after all it is not the end of sunny days just the start of ‘slightly less predictable weather ‘ instead of ‘guaranteed to be a scorcher weather’.

The military clearance waiting game continues but life must go on….especially if you are a Turkish Fighting Cat. Gizmo’s life does seem to be rather more eventful than mine at the moment, not that I am wanting to do what he does, especially not the falling 3 meters on to tiles. Been there, done that, got the T shirt and the dislocated elbow due to proving that whilst Red Bull may give you wings Raki definitely doesn’t .

So some  time last week i am lay on my bed reading when I hear a cat fight outside, I ignore it TFC is in, so it’s not him, but then the dog comes hurtling in to my room whingin’ and carryin’ on woeful, ahh but remember he’s just a dumb dog, so I ignore him. Off he scoots back to the balcony where he continues with his moanin’, and then 5 seconds later he hurtles back thru the flat to my room to whine at me again. “Yeah yeah Fergus it’s a cat fight” says I.  Off he hurtles back to the balcony and repeats the process, I am now thinking to myself maybe he is trying to tell me something?  I get up, go to the balcony, peer over, and yes, you’ve guessed it TFC is downstairs in full battle. Wether he jumped or fell off the balcony  only he and probably the dog know, now there’s a thought….was he pushed?

I get to the door where Wonder Dog is jumping up and down like a demented super hero, he reminds me of  Scooby Doo’s nephew Scrappy Doo and he should be saying “let me at em”. We get down stairs and the dog sees TFC’s adversary off in a heart beat whilst I pick up a very angry growling cat. When we get upstairs I open the door and the two of them trot in but as soon as the door is shut TFC attacks the dog, flippin’ ungrateful or what?

So Sunday I decide to mangal…..no nothing to do with washing. Mangal is Turkish for Barbecue. I decide that I will invite friends to my new house and feed them. I enlist the help of Keith also known as Granville due to the fact that he spends much of his life running errands. We jump on our trusty e bikes, they are just like e cigs with wheels, and go to Kipa which is Turkish Tesco. Baring in mind before we get to Kipa I allready have a top box full off charcoal and a Barbecue where my feet usually go. Keith has an electric kettle with him, which strikes me as a bit daft seeing as there is a power cut most of the day, plus whatever other essentials he deems necessary for the expedition. Much hilarity is had in Kipa as Keith enquires if they have any trailers? We end up purchasing a rucksack due to Kipa being fresh out of trailers with 30 stickers donated by the nice chap on the till which I carefully stick on to a card plus 50 lira, cheap at half the price as my mother would say!

We make one more stop at Degisim which is the nearest thing we have too a B & Q but actually not that much like B & Q for paint and then we are off to Sultan Kent. No sooner had we got there than we get a message to call Shelly, it turns out that TFC has got out and had a rematch! This time Shelly has rescued him and he has returned with blood pouring out of scratches all over his face. I instruct her to wash his face and put on the antiseptic cream she had for her leg when she fell off her bike. Stupidly I forgot to tell her to take a photograph for my blog, really must get my priorities right.

The Mangal was a great success, I think, I had a few G & T’s  😉 and we all had a lovely time. I firmly believe our antics on the e bikes, that would have been a respectable support act to any police motorcycle display team were worth it.

Oh and I forgot to tell you about Saturday! Well we went to Didim Dog Shelter to see a little staffie called Lily and ended up spotting Thor our friends Michelle and Alistairs dog in jail, so obviously we let them know and with the help of Marie Louise and Alec he was sprung, dunno if they had to post bail?

I am now off to take Fergus for a walk with Lily to see if they get on, actually I should be taking TFC, seeing as he is the boss and Fergus is after all just a dumb dog, regardless of the fact he saved TFC’s skin!

Update on the weather… It has rained!  imageBrian Sarah and Granville on Garlic chopping duty imageGerry Alec Marie Louise Brian And Keith aka Granville

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Third time lucky

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So the house is found, the purchase agreed but before anything else can happen as a yabanci (foreigner) I have to apply for Millitary  Clearance.

I have known Brits suddenly get nervous when this process is first mentioned, especially the ones who haven’t been very careful about parking their car.  Truth is the Milliary check is not about the purchaser and whether they paid all their parking fines or committed any other heinous crimes, but in fact wether the property is close to a Military zone, and incidentally there is also another proviso which precludes us from buying property in preservation areas. Until I have my Military clearance in place I wIll not be able to get the Tapu or as we Brits call it Deeds.

So Ms Independent here decides that she is going to make this application herself, I don’t need an Estate Agent after all my survival  plan b which was in play before I retired was working in an Emlak (Estate Agent).  So it was on a Tuesday morning 3 months into the school holidays  that I dragged an unsuspecting teenager out of bed and off to the Tapu office. I should explain that since arriving here a couple of days after her 11th birthday Shelly has been attending Turkish School and unlike me is fluent in the lingo. Underage family members are not considered outside help by the way. Well fluent she might be, but familiar with the terms pertaining to Military clearance she certainly is not, but between us we managed to find our away to the correct lady in the Didim Tapu office who advised us that we needed everything in triplicate plus a copy of the sellers kimlik (ID Card).

The next day I returned alone, Shelly wasn’t missing out on any more lie ins, flipping ‘eck she’s back to school in a couple of weeks. This time armed with all my photocopies including the owners kimlik I am feeling confident but oh no where is the ‘Dilekci’? Maybe more importantly what is a ‘Dilekci’? I know ‘Dilek’ means ‘wish’ and from what I understand it’s a letter….Dear Santa, I have been a very good girl this year…. springs to mind.

The ‘Dilekci’ it turns out is the application letter that actually asks for the Military clearance. Interestingly the letter is from the seller asking for permission to sell to the ‘yabanci’ so on the third day I returned with the Dilekci and woohoo my application was accepted. That was 4 weeks ago yesterday and it isn’t back yet. I said I will come back next week, but in true Turkish Civil Service style the lady shrugged her shoulders and said ‘maybe after Bayram’, this wasn’t good news as Kurban Bayram isn’t until 15 October as far as I know. So apart from picking up bits of furniture and palnning the renovations there’s not a lot I can do.

Anyway I am sure you are all wondering how the Turkish fighting cat is? Well as I write there are loud ‘yowells’  emanating from the bathroom. Shelly set about cleaning the balcony and chucked a bucket full of water down just as the unsuspecting TFC rounded the corner! Unfortunately the water had bleach in it so off to the shower it is for poor Gizmo! Or should I say poor Shelly?

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Why you shouldn’t mix up Ev and Evli.

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As I said I have now been in Turkey full time for almost 4 years and my Turkish is very slowly evolving but it’s a slow process for 2 reasons 1) Learning a language in middle age is always a challenge & 2) I live in a Tourist Resort where English is widely spoken. OK, enough with the excuses, I firmly believe if you want to live in a foreign country you need to speak the language. I am now taking Turkish lessons with a wonderful local couple Bev who is English & Metin who is Turkish so I am trying.

As my blog continues you will also see that regardless of the fact that my Turkish is more than a bit lacking I am an independent little sod and will whenever possible try and do things by myself regardless of the consequences. On a number of occasions whilst attempting to speak Turkish I have made a few mistakes. Once when trying to say a house was for sale I said ‘Cucumber House’, easily done when you consider Satalik means For Sale & Salatalik means Cucumber. I have been known to mix up Yarim (Half) & Yarin (Tomorrow), you get funny looks when you ask for Tomorrow’s Kilo of Tomatoes in the Market. The other problem I have is being unable to distinguish Ev which is House and Evli which means married….Last year when my Carpets were returned from their annual clean the nice chap said ‘Evliyseniz?’ as I was just in the process of moving in to my newly rented flat I said ‘no’ because I heard the Ev bit and thought he was asking me if it was my house. He was of course asking me if I was married. and whilst I had answered correctly the sensible answer would have been ‘yes’ because saying ‘no’ was like a green light for the never ending texts and phone calls I was bombarded with from the very eager and persistent carpet man.

There are in Turkey lots of small housing estates known as Sites, many of them in this area were built 20-15 years ago on a co-operative basis and are generally made up of semis and quasi semis. Within the resort area I live they are either built extremely close together making them not that much different to an apartment or are larger with more space but way out of my price range. There are however some that are located out of town that have much more space and are affordable.

A site my friend George lives on is Sultan Kent which is just off the Akbuk road before the road sweeps up to the left to Denizkoy. The properties here are 3 bedroom semi detached with nice little gardens and the whole neighborhood is surrounded by countryside and farm land, so off I go on my electric bike to see what’s available. George is not in residence he’s gallivanting about between France and Kent but his next  door neighbor Hasan who is the local Mukhtar is there and he is a lovely man and very helpful. There are a number of houses for sale in various conditions all within my budget but I am drawn to one house in particular because whilst it is certainly needing a fair bit of TLC it is in a super corner plot facing the park. On the unattached side of the house is an area of pine trees and I know this is the one. The owners are in residence and Hasan knows how much they want for it so off we go to have a proper look round and make an offer. Now Hasan doesn’t speak English but he’s a bright chap and has sussed how ‘Sarah Turkish’ works, basically ignore the tenses and fill in the gaps.

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I knock them down by 5000 lira and we agree to meet the following day when I will give them a small deposit. The next day we meet I pay the deposit get a receipt everyone shakes hands and they give me the key! Crikey it’s not like the UK, no greedy solicitors, this is all agreed based on the fact they trust Hasan, Hasan trusts me and I am going with my gut instinct that says this is the right property for Me, Shelly, Fergus & The Turkish Fighting Cat, especially The Turkish Fighting Cat who is really just not into living in a 1st floor flat. To be fair it doesn’t suit the Dog either but being he’s just a dumb Dog he doesn’t care where he is, as long as he’s with his family.

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Wanna fight?

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I am only kidding, remember that for future reference!

I have wanted to write a blog for ages but I never knew what to write about. Recently something happened that means I now have a story to tell…

i came to live in Turkey almost 4 years ago with my daughter Shelly who was 11 and our Staffordshire Bull Terrier Ferguson, we now have extended our family to include Gizmo our Tutkish Fighting Cat who is the inspiration for my blog title.

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We have survived somewhat haphazardly after the initial survival plan went a bit skewiff…………through no fault of my own I hasten to add. Anyway survive we have in various rented apartments, the last of which is very nice but not really suited to my brood. There was never any real chance of us getting our own place and creating our own little haven, until I discovered that my IIH meant that I could claim my private pension early on medical grounds.

With a small lump sum and a monthly pension I am now able to buy my own little place. I could have chosen from a variety of fully furnished apartments in the resort of Altinkum where I currently live, but my dream is for something a little more Turkish with its own front door and a garden. Can I achieve my dream  with a mere £30,000? As ‘The little engine that could’ says “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can”.
This blog is going to be the story of me, a single woman in Turkey, finding, buying, refurbishing and furnishing my little dream house.