Tag Archives: village life

A Fowl Tale with a Happy Ending

“Sad Girl’s in trouble,” observed Steve as I came into the kitchen one morning.

I joined him at the window to see our neighbour, Hüseyin, walking down the road towards one of the nearby restaurants.

Trotting beside him, at the end of a length of string, was a chunky, honey-coloured dog – a bit like a Labrador but with more fur and shorter legs. Sad Girl, as we’d christened her, had appeared a few weeks earlier – a victim of the most recent round-up and redistribution of street animals by the local belediye, or council. (Don’t get me started. The general treatment of cats and dogs here is one of the few things I actively dislike about life in Turkey.)

She had a mournful face – hence the name – and seemed a bit bewildered, but settled quickly. With food forthcoming from two restaurants at one end of the road and a family from Istanbul near the other, she certainly wasn’t going hungry – as her bulky frame showed. She had places to shelter from the rain, enjoyed meeting people who walked by, and – although clearly not a young dog – had a playful nature and plenty of energy. The only thing lacking was love and attention, so she was welcomed into our garden whenever she cared to come. She never stayed long – lots of pats, a tummy rub and a bit of fuss, and she was off again.

It seemed, though, that things might be about to change.

“She was in the field over the road, digging,” explained Steve. “Hüseyin and his wife came along and watched for a bit, then Hüseyin went over and pulled a dead chicken out of the hole in the ground.”

Oh dear. But there was more…

“Then he walked to a patch of dug-up ground on the other side of the tree and pulled out another one. I think he’s taking her down to the restaurants because he thinks one of them has adopted her.”

An hour later, I looked out of the window to see Sad Girl trotting back up the road towards us. The string hung loosely from her neck….and in her mouth she carried another dead chicken.

It might sound amusing, but we were worried for her. In a village like ours, livestock is a precious commodity. If our dog killed a neighbour’s chicken, we’d be expected to pay them 80 lira (around £14.50 at time of writing) in recompense. We know a couple who opened the door one night to be confronted by a Jandarma officer and an angry farmer demanding 1,200 lira (around £218) for a goat that went missing after one of their dogs chased his flock.

We didn’t see Sad Girl the next day, or for the few days after that. It seemed she’d been killing chickens on a regular basis – not for food, just for the fun of it – and people had had enough.

We feared she’d been quietly got rid of and that would be the end of it. But then, driving along the road one evening, Steve spotted her – on a lead, accompanying a member of the Istanbul family as she fed a local pod of street cats, a daily task.

Sad Girl, it seems, has found a permanent home. She’s one of the luckier street animals…and the village chickens can breathe a cluck of relief.

 

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“It’s ok, we’re safe to walk the streets again. Tell the rest of the girls.”

 

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As One Door Closes…..It Stays That Way!

“I can’t get into my room!” shouted my daughter from upstairs. Her dad and I looked at each other and rolled our eyes.

“Yeah, right,” I muttered, going upstairs to sort it out. A minute later, it was my turn.

“Steve….we can’t get into Emma’s room…”

The cause of much wailing and gnashing of teeth by our in-house teenager.

The cause of much wailing and gnashing of teeth by our in-house teenager.

We’d just returned from supper with friends. It was a chilly evening and the plan, once home, was simple – light the fire, slip into snuggly pyjamas, make a cuppa and watch Silent Witness. Now, though, that was on hold. The door to our daughter’s bedroom just wouldn’t budge.

“It’s like it’s locked,” I said, prompting Emma to look worried and ask if we thought anyone was in there. I found the key and tried it; it turned easily but the door still wouldn’t open. The handle waggled up and down, but whatever mechanism it is that makes the latch retract wasn’t working. (I have no idea if it’s called a latch, by the way – my locksmith terminology isn’t up to much. I mean the bit that goes in and out of the door frame when you turn the handle.)

“I can probably get in through the balcony door,” mused Steve. “But it’s too dark to try it now, it will have to wait until morning.”

So I made up a bed in the spare room, and Emma tried to hide her mortification at having to wear her mum’s pyjamas. I pointed out it was only like an impromptu sleepover, and at least she had access to a bathroom and could brush her teeth. Like that’s news to cheer up a teenager missing her iPad and cuddly blanket.

The following morning, Steve climbed a ladder onto the balcony and tried to get in that way with a spare key, discovering too late that Emma had left her key in the lock on the other side. There was nothing for it – call in the cavalry.

Our friend Eser arrived and tried that perennial favourite, picking the lock with a credit card. No joy. Finally, we capitulated and called a locksmith.

He turned up an hour later, a youth of about 12 years old (or at least that’s what he looked like) riding a moped. With a flourish, he withdrew a very bendy bit of plastic from his bag of tricks….and slid the door open in about 30 seconds flat. He replaced the broken lock, too, the whole operation done and dusted in no more than 25 minutes.

We were grateful while hoping our external doors wouldn’t prove quite that easy to master, should we ever have a similar situation with them. Emma, meanwhile, was just happy to have her own pyjamas back.