It is winter holiday time in Kirazli. The children are off school and the farmers are off work, enjoying the gap that comes between the olive harvest and the blossoming of the almonds. Spring is on its way and this is a time to put your feet up for a few weeks, desultorily chainsaw up a few trees and pass the long hours in chat in the tea shops. For the village wives it is cleaning time and they are going house to house helping each other on the major cleaning exercises that Turkish housewives insist upon. They work all morning and then spend the afternoons gossiping in the sun in the square.
As I have the only vacuum cleaner in our section of the village (as well as the only ladders/tools/partner who can fix things) there are regular knocks on the gate as the ladies borrow it to clean the soba smuts from their walls and surfaces. It always comes back immaculate on the outside but with the filters totally clogged but I don’t mind because (a) Nick will jet wash the filters and (b) I will receive food gifts in return and nothing is nicer than fluffy warm batter bread baked on an open fire.
My thoroughly confused garden doesn’t know what to do with itself. We are getting days of very warm weather interspersed with bursts of frost and my geraniums and pansies are alternatively growing like mad and wilting in despair when it freezes. The climbing rose by the waterfall is covered in buds and fluffy red baby leaves and will suffer badly in the next inevitable frost but my oleander seems happy in its new home in a spacious planter by the pool. I fully expect it to turn into a full blown tree this year now it is out of the cramped pot I tortured it in for the last four years.
The warm days encourage a little more light maintenance and now the pool is back to crystal clear happiness it’s time to do those other little jobs that need doing at this time of year. We get a massive temperature variance here and it plays hell with wood – learnt that the first year here, don’t put wooden windows in! – and so the decking and the outside furniture needs a little teak oiling to protect it and keep it looking good.
Any day now the almond blossom will bloom and soon the valley will be covered in it, in the mean time we enjoy the sun in the courtyard during the day and lunch outside in the warmth before we close all the doors and windows again as the sun sets and the evening chill descends.