Of This and That in Istanbul

The weather has been very hot and humid. Today it is threatening to rain (which would be a relief) but so far - nothing! We heard an extraordinary sound today, considering that we are in the middle of a city. We heard Christmas beetles (or cicadas, as they are also known). The noise was quite deafening and it came from the trees lining our street. David said that it's nature's way of fighting back from ever-encroaching urbanisation. Christmas beetles like to sing in unison, they are either all making a noise or silent; it's very odd!

Of course, they are not the only wildlife in the trees, there are also lots of bird's nests and, before the beetles, there were lots of baby birds chirping for their mothers. Fortunately, all the wildlife is quiet at night, as today is Sunday and we are waiting for our regular Sunday night opera! It is very popular, all the seats are taken an hour before the concert starts. We don't have to worry though, with our privileged position.

Patrons wait patiently, while the tenor, still in his shorts, talks with the sound man.

The opera is not the only music in our street, there are often strolling musicians, 
now that it is summer.

This week we took David's personal assistant, Nazlı, out to dinner, to thank her for all the sterling work she has done this year. We had a wonderful evening in our favourite restaurant, Cafe Cadde.

There is a new building going up just opposite us. I find watching the men at work quite compelling. It's like a horror movie; I'm expecting something shocking to happen every minute. It's quite nerve wracking, but it's hard to tear myself away. I can't think what 'elf an safety would have to say! In the photo below, the boards those men are standing on are quite loose, and rock as they walk about. The man in the middle was moving planks about and dropped one. I just hope that no one was standing on the ground!

Tomorrow, I am off to see the orthopedic surgeon again to get my stitches out, ready for our next trip. We are off to stay with Dick and Marilyn for a few days and then on to stay with Clare, John and Jessica, before returning to Istanbul for the arrival of Wayne and Raewyn, who are on holiday from New Zealand.


A Lady of Leisure

I have been lying about this week, literally, as I have been unable to walk. Last Saturday, the outer edge of the sole of my left foot was sore. By Sunday, it was too painful to walk on, so I massaged my foot to see if it helped. As I massaged my foot, I felt a lump. When I pressed it, it was very sore.

On Monday I went to see my doctor and she felt the lump and said that it would have to come out, so (and this is where all you NHS patients are going to be green with envy) she sent me immediately to an orthopaedic surgeon, who agreed that it would have to come out. He told me to go down to the emergency theatre and his assistant would prepare me. This I did and in no time, the offending lump was removed. I have to say that I was very impressed, not only by the speed of the response to my problem, but also to the meticulous attention to cleanliness and hygiene.

It turned out to be a thorn! Goodness knows how long it had been circulating around in my body! I cannot remember the last time I had a thorn in my foot or anywhere else for that matter. (Although, Erol is convinced that I picked it up running barefoot while being chased by a lion in Africa.) Apparently, my body had cocooned the thorn into a ball of matter, and it wasn't until it had got to a place where it was uncomfortable to stand on that I actually noticed it! Anyway, tomorrow they change the dressing and on Monday I have the stitches out! Which, incidentally, is just as well as we are off to England on Tuesday?

By the way, if you would like to read of survival in Africa, please read my article here.


Long Melford, England

Long Melford, where Dick and Marilyn live, is a fascinating village, dating back to 100 BC. It is mentioned in the Doomsday Book as part of a manor belonging to the Abbey of St. Edmudsbury (at Bury St Edmunds). The manor house from that time was the beginning of what is now Melford Hall, one of the two great houses in the village. The other is Kentwell Hall; also mentioned in the Doomsday Book.

Long Melford is so-called because of its 3 mile-long village street, originally a Roman road. It is a very pretty village and very prosperous-looking with a wide range of shops and businesses, including an amazing number of very high quality restaurants and pubs. Many of the buildings date from the fifteenth century and have been lovingly restored.

Melford Hall

This was the original manor house and has been the home of the Hyde Parker family since 1786. It looks much as it did when Queen Elizabeth I was entertained there. It is now managed by the National Trust and is open to visitors.

Kentwell Hall

This is privately owned and is world famous for its re-creations of history, especially of Tudor Life in 1535, when King Henry was still at the height of his powers. In 1970 Kentwell was neglected and in bad condition. Patrick Phillips took on the enormous task of restoring it back to life; a remarkable achievement.

Holy Trinity Church

At 250 feet (76.2 metres), Holy Trinity Church is the longest church in Suffolk. It was built in the fifteenth century by wealthy wool merchants and has the most stunning stained glass windows. One of the windows is very interesting as it was donated to the church by the local Freemasons’ Lodge.

I found the colours of this window to be wonderfully luminous as it was back-lit by the sun.

This is the window donated by the Freemasons. Note the masonic symbols in the 6 small windows at the top.

As I stayed such a short time, I only managed a fleeting glimpse of all there is to see in and around Long Melford. I hope to be returning in July (this time with David) so that we can spend more time with Dick and Marilyn and get to know the area better.

Long Melford also has top-of-the-range cars! Here Dick is conferring with the owner of this Aston Martin!


East Anglian Sojourn

For us, Jessica was the star of the Ballet Show! She danced beautifully. Unfortunately, we were too far from the stage and my camera wasn't up to the task of capturing the moment, so I don't have any photos yet. I hope to get some soon, meanwhile, here is a photo of Jessica with Clare.

Last Sunday, Clare, John, Jessica and I went to lunch at The Swan in Hoxne (pronounced Hoxen - don't ask!) with Dick and Marilyn (David's cousin). We had a wonderful lunch and, afterwards, I went back with Dick and Marilyn, to stay with them for a few days in their village of Long Melford (so-called because it has a very long village street).

After a good lunch at The Swan in Hoxne.

The next morning we went on a tour of this historic village, which dates back to 1 000 BC. I will go into more detail about this fascinating village in my next blog. We had lunch in the Crown Hotel - and dinner too! Excellent! In between lunch and dinner, Dick and Marilyn's daughter, Katie arrived with Amelia and her new baby. Delightful!

Dick took this beautiful photo of Katie and her baby with his Canon EOS 450D 
(I am very jealous!! That is the camera I want!)

Dick and Marilyn enjoying a glass of fine wine at The Crown in Long Melford.

Dick's MG outside his house in Long Melford, Suffolk.

On Tuesday, Dick took me for a spin in his MG, we roared through Sudbury and Cavendish - pausing only to take a photo of the latter's typically chocolate-box scene. It was great fun! Later that afternoon, Philip and Michele visited, with their son, Jacob, who showed me his scrap book of their holiday in the Cayman Islands. Such a beautiful memento! Dinner that night was at Gappmaiers; a real gourmet experience!

Philip, Jacob, Marilyn, Michele and Me in Dick and Marilyn's garden

Life can be so hard sometimes!

Wednesday was my last day with Dick and Marilyn and they drove me back to Hockering. On the way we visited Bury St Edmonds. This is the old capital of East Anglia and where the matyred Saxon King Edmond was brought to be buried. We walked in the gardens of the great Abbey of St Edmund and examined the ruins before going into the cathedral. There, they were rehearsing for the visit of the Archbishop of Canterbury. St Edmonsbury Cathedral (begun in 1503) is magnificent and it is difficult to imagine that the striking Lantern Tower was only completed in 2005!

St Edmondsbury Cathedral. 
Can you believe that the magnificent tower is only four years old!

Jessica was very excited on Friday as her granny went to school to help with the afternoon sewing activity! Jessica is making a pencil case from felt, which she has decorated with coloured stripes. Unfortunately, British laws don't allow proud grannies to take photos of children in schools (in case another child is inadvertently in the photo and the parents can sue!!!!!), so I cannot show a picture of Jessica sewing, but she was very good!

Now I am back in Istanbul and the weather is hot and sunny. The Sunday night operatic concerts have begun again and David and I can enjoy them from our seats in the gods!

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