As far as British summers go, 2013 wasn’t that bad – a nice opening, a moist middle and a glorious finish (sounds like someone I know). A few rainy days but little to write home about, apart from one late evening a few weeks ago. Mother Nature threw a hissy fit and chucked a squally storm across the flatlands – snap, crackle and pop, with water coming at us from all angles like an out of control car wash. I was busy tippy-tapping when I noticed a small dribble of water gently trickle down the wall from the corner of the ceiling, rolling behind my laptop screen. Liam and I ascended to our boudoir tucked into the eaves to investigate and, yes, you guessed it, the roof had sprung a leak. An urgent call to our landlady led to a quick inspection by a middle-aged builder sporting a beer-belly and fetching multi-coloured socks, chosen by his daughter, he told me.
Erection day came. I was minding my own business when my attention was drawn to a fella in the semi-buff with more muscles than Brussels playing with his poles right within my line of sight. Yes, him and his tools were only feet away. It was all a bit like a car crash – you know you shouldn’t look but you just can’t help it. Not a lot got done that afternoon, I can tell you, not with the steamed-up spectacles and dripping windows. It all brought back cheerful memories of my x-rated peak-time thirties and that Diet Coke Ad (the original, not the recent sequel). Who said life in Norwich was boring?
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Book Tour Intermission
I’ve interrupt the book tour for a heavy weather warning. After a gloriously long Autumn, winter violently thundered ashore – all crash, bang and wallop. We rushed to get old towels strategicaly placed around the house like thin sandbags to stem the impending flood. We’ve learned our lesson the hard way. Once again the street light next to the house blew up like a Roman candle with sparks flying hither and thither. Thankfully, the house lights stayed on but it was touch and go for a while. Light bulbs flickered like a slow strobe until the storm blew over. We lit candles and unplugged the fancy electricals as a precaution. This was on the same day that the water pressure dropped to a trickle. No bracing showers for us. Just a whore’s wipe.
Last night, the heavens opened and we were entertained by a real snap, crackle and pop of a storm. What is it about Turkish raindrops? They seem so much heavier than the Blighty variety as they fall to the ground like cluster bombs. As we watched the spectacle from our balcony, our courtyard became littered with adolescent olives and the road outside was overcome by a river of brown sludge that sloshed against our garden wall. We unplugged our fancy electricals as a precaution against the strobe lightning, positioned towels at vulnerable points around the house and hoped for the best.
At least the town’s first autumnal wash did douse the semi-parched garden. At the beginning of the summer, our neighbour took sole charge of our joint plot and made a valiant effort to keep it well watered. His initial enthusiasm eventually waned to half-hearted resentment; he seemed very pleased with the biblical downpour. We were less enthusiastic. Midway through the tempest, our roof sprang a leak and our fuse box, which is illogically located on an external wall, tripped. Compared to some, we got off lightly. We’re planning a joint birthday shindig this month; our birthdays are two weeks apart. At this rate it will be illuminated by candles and guests will be entertained by transistor radio while they sup warm white wine and dance around strategically placed buckets.
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We were spited by a vengeful Old Testament deluge punctured by a spectacular light and sound show that lit up the sopping sky and cut the power. Prodigious pulses of horizontal rain assailed every crack and cranny, through every easterly window frame and beneath every threshold. Towels were requisitioned and old cushions commandeered to ebb the relentless biblical flow. The bucketing, biting blast blew over, a catastrophe was averted and we retired two by two.
Tariq the Toothless, called at the house clutching a Red Crescent parcel from Jacqueline and hunky hubby, Angus. Jacqueline and I met at an interview in 1990. I was doing the interviewing and she got the job. She is a wonderfully undemanding friend who I may only see once a year. When we meet we simply carry on where we left off, mixing lascivious gossip with incisive social and political comment (or so we think).
Jacqueline’s package contained an assortment of magazines – cutting edge political commentary and Heat. The timing was impeccable. We are in dire need of extra kindling as we vainly attempt to keep warm during the wettest winter Asia Minor had seen since the Great Flood. I fear if the deluge continues our house may slowly slide down the hillside.
Asia Minor is blessed with a soaring landscape wrought by tectonic movements over countless millennia that has created a jagged terrain of outstanding natural beauty. However, there is a definite downside to living half way up a mini mountain, even if this does afford an incomparable sea view. No-one warned us that the virtually vertical crumbling concrete access road leading to our house is impassable by car in the rain and treacherous by foot. During the cold weather monsoons, water teems down Mount Tepe transforming the drive into a fast moving stream swollen by dribbling tributaries from all corners of the site. Water continues to trickle for days. Not much fun when hauling up the monthly shop.
The pitiless Turkish winter is suddenly upon us and we are woefully unprepared. We are being mugged by a posse of violent electric storms processing across the horizon, a savage spectacle that crashes ashore trapping us inside. Generally, Turkish houses leak, have no insulation and precious little heating; and ours is no exception. Our double height living room is like a drafty village hall with a blazing open grate that only warms a few square yards. Towels are strategically placed against every crack and crevice to keep the water at bay. The power is up and down like whore’s drawers. I fail to see Turkey emerging as an economic powerhouse if the electricity company can’t keep the lights on. Fearing frostbite, we recline in double coated socks, mummified in a duvet and vie for possession of the hot water bottle.
It’s a striking reminder of my pre-central heating childhood days, when the bed was too cold to get into at night but too warm to get out of in the morning. We sprint to the loo for a morning pee, wear sexless layers and have reverted to copulating under cover.