80 fabulous years young

In March this year my mum turned 80. Some of my merry band of followers may remember me writing about my adventures doing fifty fabulous things to celebrate reaching my half century.

Funnily enough my mum didn’t think she would be able to come up with 80 things to do to celebrate this significant birthday. Just as well given that we are now in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic.

But luckily we did manage to celebrate with a week long agenda of outings and family gatherings including a surprise party, ten pin bowling and lunch at the Ivy in Winchester, before the lockdown commenced.

But the best bit of luck was booking our big trip away last year before all this madness began. While discussing possible birthday treats we decided a big holiday would be fabulous, both of us had always fancied visiting Canada.

So a plan was hatched ….. three weeks in the east coast, visiting Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Niagara Falls and finishing off over the border in Manhattan.

The next few posts are about our adventures in North America and bits of local information which might entice you to visit this amazing part of Canada.


I procrastinated so much about whether to do the Workaway holiday. As with many new experiences I didn’t know what to expect and even right up to when I boarded the plane I wondered if I was doing the right thing. But as soon as I landed in Limoges I knew I made the right decision and couldn’t wait to start my adventure.

I had the most amazing host in Susie, she is funny, witty and very kind. She had many funny stories to tell about her adventures in Morocco and in France and kept us laughing well into the night.

I met lots of new friends including my fellow Workawayers Karet and Karla, a lovely family from Australia and a couple who ran a cattery in the middle of nowhere. Also met lots of lovely customers in the tea shop and guest house.

Compared with my usual nursing career the work can hardly be described as taxing, there was plenty of opportunity to sit and relax in the sun and explore the local area.

I will definitely do it again, it’s a fantastic way to meet new people, have a cheap holiday and experience something new.

team pongo

En Vacance

When a person finds themselves single again there is always the dilemma of what to do for a summer holiday. A lot of my friends are married with younger children or in relationships. My sons are adults now and certainly do not want to spend a couple of weeks in a foreign land with their old mum. I’m not really a lying in the sun kind of person and definitely wouldn’t want to do that on my own.

So having scoured the internet for ideas for holidays for billy no mates I found a site called Workaway. In return for 5 hours of work a day, 5 days a week, (on average), a host will provide accommodation and food. There are hosts in a variety of settings offering all kinds of work worldwide. As this was my first adventure I decided to stay close-ish to home and look for a placement in France.

Imagine my delight as I found a vintage tea shop in the Limousin region in a small town called Le Grand Bourg. My joy continued when I discovered that I could fly directly there from Bristol.

According to the site, the work included baking cakes and bread, serving customers and helping out in the bed and breakfast attached to the tea shop. As none of this sounded too taxing I booked myself in.

The next few posts will tell the story of my grand adventure en Francais.


A glimpse of the future

On the TV at the moment there is an advert for a well known holiday company, in it a Spanish lady and a Turkish carpet seller are thrashing it out on a beach in a volley ball contest

It’s been on for a while and I never really took a lot of notice of it until the other day. On closer inspection I discovered that the Turkish carpet seller looks remarkably like what my soon to be ex husband might look like when he’s older.

I have to say it’s not a great look and I think I’ve had a very lucky escape in more ways than one.

Bring me sunshine

I am ashamed to say this poor blog has been hopelessly neglected recently.

Work has got in the way of my writing and I just don’t seem to have the time. I have had plenty of ideas to write about but haven’t had any spare minutes to get them online.

But in just over a week I have some much needed time off from work and I’m going over to Turkey to see my lovely hubby. 

My holiday romance with my husband continues, having read the small print on the UK Border Agency website I have discovered that I need 6 months payslips and the corresponding bank statements proving my income. So it’ll be another 4 months before Hasan can even apply for his visa, as I’ve only been earning above the required salary for the last 2 months.

There is good news though, Hasan passed his English exam so that’s another thing ticked off the list.

So I’m off to soak up some lovely sunshine, recharge my batteries and hopefully get to spend some time with Hasan, he has to work 12 hour days but may have some days off.



Hanging on in there

The other night I was watching the film “The Lake House”, I’ve watched the film many times because I love it. But this time after it finished I felt really quite sad because of the parallels, (loosely), in my relationship.

For those of you who don’t know the film it’s a fantasy romance where the 2 lead characters, Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock, are having a relationship but they are separated by time, 2 years. They communicate by letter via the post box at the Lake house where they both live, a bit confusing,  eventually they do meet up in the same time zone and live happily ever after.

Obviously my hubby and I aren’t separated by time, we have the wonderful Skype to keep in contact and I can visit him when annual leave allows, but this living in different countries sucks. I never thought it would be this tough and it’s been made tougher by my HR department’s inability to get  my pay right. As a result I don’t have a valid payslip yet with my correct salary shown for Hasan’s visa application. I sometimes wonder whether we’ll be together over here at all much before Christmas.

I’m sure some of you out there are thinking why don’t I just go back and live with Hasan in Turkey, I know sometimes I think maybe it would be easier. But now I’ve recovered from my illness I want to work, I want to resume my nursing career, a job I love and we need the money. To work in Turkey I would need a work permit, you can only get a work permit for jobs Turks can’t do, there are plenty of  Turkish nurses so I wouldn’t get a permit to do that. I’m not interested in doing poorly paid illegal work, it’s not worth the risk of getting deported and I’m worth more than that.

I can’t face another boring winter with nothing to do and sometimes not enough money to heat the house because there is no work for Hasan. I can’t cope again with not seeing him in the summer when he does seasonal work from 8 in the morning till midnight or sometimes later. In order to have a comfortable life in Turkey you need to have money in the bank or get used to living hand to mouth like a student. I’ve already done that when I was actually a student and have no desire to live like that again.

Also I want Hasan to experience where I come from and my culture. I want him to meet the rest of my family and all my friends. I want him to get a British passport so that he can travel more  freely without having to get a visa. At the moment there’s not many places he can go without a visa, however there are plenty of war torn countries we could holiday in, I hear Syria is lovely this time of year!

I don’t think it’s too much to ask to share my life in my country for a while with the man I love.

But getting back to the film there is a scene where Keanu and Sandra meet at a party and dance to a Paul McCartney song. The song is just beautiful and the lyrics make me weep just a little bit.

Now Keanu and Sandra may not be your cup of tea but I have a soft spot for them, you could always just shut your eyes and listen to the music.





Where were you when…..

On this day 35 years ago the King died.

The King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley, was found dead at the age of 42 from a suspected massive heart attack in 1977.

As I wrote in my last post, my dad was Elvis’s biggest fan and his music was played a lot in our house and that’s how I became a massive fan too.

It’s often asked, where were you when you heard Elvis was dead.

I was with my family on our annual holiday in Weymouth when we heard the sad news. My dad was devastated and I think it was the first time I saw him cry. I was only 10 and a bit bewildered at the time, but later understood what was going on.

To this day my Elvis songs are constantly played on my ipod and will continue to be enjoyed for many years.

Bodrum blues

After a lovely 2 weeks with my hubby, Hasan, in Turkey I had a nightmare time at Bodrum Airport while checking in for my flight home. On the journey there Hasan and I were wondering if anything had changed at Bodrum airport as I hadn’t flown from there in a while and it wasn’t the prettiest place in the world the last time I was there.

So imagine our surprise when we got there and discovered the new international terminal, it was a vision of contempory design, gleaming and shining like a new penny. There were lots of airport staff milling around in smart new uniforms and all seemed well.

Or so I thought…….unfortunately a new terminal equalled new systems which didn’t seem to cope with large numbers of passengers. I arrived 10 minutes after the check in desk opened and there were 2 desks opened, there were about 30 other passengers left in the queues waiting to be checked in and there we stood for 1 and a half hours. While we stood going nowhere the gate opened and the plane began to board. One by one the desks were shutting down due to the systems giving up under the pressure and the staff flapped around worryingly.

Being Brits we remained patient for quite a while but as the time for take off was fast approaching tempers were starting to fray and it started to resemble a scene from ‘Airline’. Eventually with minutes to spare I was checked in and Hasan was ready to punch someone! I was angry because it was a stressful end to a wonderful time with Hasan. We couldn’t say goodbye properly because I had to do an olympic sprint through passport control and security. We not going to be together for 5 or 6 months and it would have been nice to have a better end to my visit.

Just passing through

Another story from my recent visit to the Marmaris area of Turkey.

A lot of the time when visiting places of interest that we read about in brochures, we drive straight through other lovely places without stopping on the way. When we decided to visit the ancient site of Amos we also made a conscious decision to stop off at any little village or town that took our fancy. After travelling down a very steep and winding road through the Taurus mountains we came across the little seaside village of Turunç.  The area was a continuous settlement from Helen to Byzantine times and from then on it’s been inhabited by many living off the the sea and the abundance of natural resources such as wild herbs and agriculture.

Now it is a pretty holiday destination, boasting beautiful clear waters, apartment hotels and a small but perfectly formed beach. It is still a working fishing village and has a food market every Monday. Dotted around the mountains there are blue boxes everywhere collecting pollen to make pine honey that is sold locally.

Our next trip to the ancient site of Cnidos took us through the town of Datça, we stopped there on the way back home. The town itself is not much to write home about and if you woke up there after arriving on a night flight you would think the travel agency was having a laugh sending you there on holiday. But after walking around a bit more we discovered a pretty harbour, 3 small beaches with beautifully clear water and a cake shop that serves the most lovely carrot cake. The Datça area boasts 9 villages scattered around the peninsula with lots of little bays and coves. It is also possible to take a ferry to Bodrum and the Greek island of Rhodes from the harbour. On the outskirts of the town there are a collection of old windmills, most of them are derelict but a couple have been renovated to make very quirky houses.

Our last port of call didn’t involve a stop off on route to another place, it was my last but one day so we just wanted to go for a drive somewhere. On the map I spotted what looked like a beach called Amazon, we followed a long winding road and ended up eventually at nothing really but a couple of wooden boating platforms. So we carried on around a dirt track that ran along the coast until it ended at the most beautiful bay in the Gökova National Park. There can be found the Amazon Club, a costly but interesting holiday centre with the best private beach.

There is still so much to see in the area and I can’t wait to explore some more, I’m planning another trip to see my hubby in May before I get stuck into the return to nursing course.

You can check out my posts on Amos and Cnidos here, History galore and Cnidos or Knidos whatever you prefer