Following on from the Turkish desire for all things modern is the Turkish dislike for all things old. Not ancient old, which is Antik and therefore valuable in a monetary sense and protected by law and common sense, but just old, Eski, which is considered worthless and faintly embarrassing, proof of a less than modern existence.
A case in point – I was scrambling through the demolition debris of our current renovation project the other day looking for old bricks to be reused in the patios. I love the colour of the old bricks, such a soft warm glowing sunlit colour, their uneven surface, their weather worn, time scarred, and rustic wholeness. I was diligently pulling them from the rubble, knocking off bits of old daub and soot (most can be found in the old chimneys) and piling them up for safe keeping. Metin, our incredibly proficient structural engineer, looked on with his best “She’s foreign, she does stupid things” expression. “I’m saving them” I told him, “They’re lovely”. Metin assumes expression of polite agreement. I appeal to his economic sense. “At home these would cost 5 ytl each!” Metin is shocked, but then what else can you expect from a country that sells eggs in six varieties, he is learning that England is a bizarre place. (It’s a long culture shock story, I’ll write it up some time).“They are weak and old and new ones would be better” Metin suggests.I know they are weak, but they can be treated and saved and used again. They can be sealed to keep their integrity and the warm true colours are nicer than the new bricks which are a harsher red and quite gritty. I only want them for terrace and patios not structural work so I am going to give it a go and for the duration of the rebuild I will keep my hoard of old bricks safe from helpful Turkish workmen who want to throw them on the rubbish trailer. I just hope the shame of having old stuff on the site does not upset Metin too much!
I had no hope with the old beams though. They were so lovely. Massive tree trunks with hand hewn ends they had been sitting there for 150 years, drying out and curing, used every day in their old home. Sadly they also had some squatters in the form of woodworm and beetle and there is nowhere within 1000 miles that could treat them and preserve them – not that I had long to enquire because the chain saw was whipped out and they were sliced and diced and into the bread oven before I had a chance to make further enquiries. Eski is out of favour, bring on the veneer!!