There has been momentous changes in the political landscape and the eyes of the world are focused on Turkey, Syria and the Kurdish issue. But apart from the rarely seen refugees and the drop in tourist numbers, life here in Fethiye remains much the same. Building development proceeds at breakneck speed, the traffic is more insane and cars ever more luxurious, businesses open and close with bewildering speed and prices are rising exponentially.
Well it’s been quite a while! Where do I begin? I suppose with where I left off nearly two years ago. I was given the all clear after 20 weeks of chemotherapy ( protocol Folfox 4 ) which followed six weeks of combined radiotherapy and chemo for 5 days a week up in Antalya, What with the driving and the side effects it wasn’t a pleasant time.
That brings us to January 2015 when I had an operation to reverse my colostomy and six months of recovery and every reason to be optimistic.
Then, in June the doctors found that the cancer had come back. This time it’s in my liver. For an active, fit, teetotal, non-smoker, to say I was shocked and dismayed is an understatement. The current position is that my condition is inoperable and I need chemotherapy every two weeks to manage the cancer. Luckily, I can get this treatment here in Fethiye under the exceptional Dr. Ugur and I have had 20 treatments to date and I’m still standing! Gina has been brilliant. loving, thoughtful, generous with her care and ever present. I will never be able to thank her enough.
Despite the recent setbacks, I’m restarting this blog as I want to get back in touch with you all and pass on my observations on life here in Fethiye. In that way I plan to get motivated to paint a bit more often. For obvious reasons I won’t be posting as frequently.
The sun was shining as I took a walk from here to Calis along the promenade today and things are moving. The new marina already has 50 or so, small motor boats sparkling as they bobbed about in the breeze. Workmen were laying more roads and pavements and you can now walk or cycle for an uninterupted 3.7 Kilometres from Fethiye ferry pier. The intrepid can, with suitable footwear, continue along to the newly created Duck Islands. There’s a lot more development to come, including a vast area of former marshland, opposite the Devlet Hospital that was drained and is being raised and levelled. A few of the new restaurants have already closed for lack of trade, others are expanding and it’s fascinating to watch how much changes on a daily basis.
Lots of things are conspiring to keep me away from the easel at the moment and I’ll write about them when time allows. I did manage to complete a preliminary sketch of our new Yorkies towards creating the full work requested by the boss for her belated Xmas present. I am really pleased to have captured their different personalities at this early stage.
The political problems here are escalating as various factions try to protect or take advantage of the exposure of scurrilous behaviour by some of the governing heirarchy and their families. There are many newspapers here all of which seem to be aligned to, if not actually printed by, the parties concerned. My long serving ex pat friends tell me they have seen it all before but sadly, my Turkish is nowhere good enough to seek out the wood for the trees, so we wait nervously as the Turkish Lire and the Stock Market collapse and anticipate raging inflation and high interest rates after the March elections.
Xmas within Turkey as opposed to without turkey, an entirely different thing, is surprisingly festive. The shops are full of decorations (which I think the Turks use to celebrate the New Year ) and lights glitter everywhere, (but they are actually there all year). The papers are full of restaurant ads for Xmas and New Year Specials sandwiched between the latest news on corruption in the banking and political world, (just like the UK) and people are smiling (it’s funny but but they do that a lot round here!)
It’s been a hectic week topped off with the arrival of 2 Yorkshire Terrier puppies today. Gina has been searching for another small dog for a while and then we finally heard of a litter in Yaniklar, only just down the road. Gina couldn’t pick between the two little girls and decided to have both! Then, I was asked to show my paintings at an exhibition of English artists at the Sarnic Gallery in Kayakoy starting this Sunday. It’s also the eve of the Calis Xmas Fair and I am hoping for a successful day tomorrow, at least the weather forecast is looking great for the Festival. Meanwhile, I had some cards printed in the UK for our mothers and this was the painting I used.
I am not going to discuss it further but Fethiye was jammed packed solid yesterday for the visit of the Turkish Prime Minister so we went for a walk in the hills above Olu Deniz enjoying the great company of Hash Harriers. We found some different views out over the lagoon, maybe some new landscapes to paint and had a great day.
This is a reworking of an earlier painting that I’ve done to remind me of the atmosphere of Calis cemetary. We walk our dogs on the hills above and were sad to see that the reckless concrete development of Fethiye continues without respite. The canals in this area, once the home of egrets and kingfishers, are starting to resemble a scene from a L.A. car chase and the the gravel paths and overgrown verges that crossed Calis cemetary are gone, cut back, levelled and smoothed over with grey concrete. I love progress but a bit of forethought is desperately needed at the moment.
Though tinged with sadness as Summer ends, my thoughts this Monday morning turn to all the interesting things we get to do now the weather has changed. Our winter weather is like September in the UK. So coming up this week we can look forward to more daily painting, hill walking the dogs, catch-up with movies, pick and preserve the autumn harvest, start the DIY on the boat and house, join exercise groups, take Turkish lessons and more. I won’t go on but this lifestyle depends on staying fit and well and so we keep our fingers crossed, appreciate how lucky we are and never take anything for granted.