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Dallas Dyson
To Turkey & back; adventures in life, romance, heartbreak & seeing the funny
To Turkey & back; adventures in life, romance, heartbreak & seeing the funny
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Demanding clients and long working hours had left me weary and grumpy with a headache so I decided to take young Ruby for a quick stroll as even though it was overcast, it was still very humid. Having left her for an hour and half that morning to do the…
Love Always Wags Its Tail
Love Always Wags Its Tail
crazytraintotinkytown.com

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So what’s a good day for you? A trip to the spa, beauty salon, picnic with the family or a lie in. For many carers a good day can be one where their loved one isn’t picked up by the police at 3am wandering the streets or found wandering around the garden…
A Good Day
A Good Day
crazytraintotinkytown.com

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Yesterday was one of the saddest days ever as my big beautiful black boy, Hobo at the grand age of 14 made his journey across the rainbow bridge. As he featured so much within the pages of this blog I felt that it was only right that I shared it with you.…
I’m Home
I’m Home
crazytraintotinkytown.com

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I think it’s fair to say that since the old fella passed I’ve lost my way a little stumbling around like a lost soul but I think he’d approve of me becoming self-employed which is my first step in moving on. Bereavement without a doubt, leaves a gaping…
Heartbeat At My Feet
Heartbeat At My Feet
crazytraintotinkytown.com

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One of the advantages of working from home is being able to enjoy the summer weather so I decided to take full advantage by obtaining quotes to have part of my garden decked. Subsequently, I contacted four contractors but as is the case here in Britain…
The Deckmaster
The Deckmaster
crazytraintotinkytown.com

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YOUR FREEDOM IS THE MOST EXPENSIVE THING YOU HAVE EVEN IF YOU'RE NOT THE ONE WHO PAID FOR IT

My great-grandfather William Frederick Cawley or Freddy as he was known to his friends was born and raised in Ballina workhouse along with his nine siblings in County Mayo, Ireland. Doubtless the family had a tough life and at the grand age of seventeen wanting to escape the grim poverty to which he had become accustomed he stole a horse and rode it to Dublin and when captured was given the choice of joining the Queen’s army or passage to Australia as a settler. As the mortality rate on the ships was fairly high he chose what he thought was the lesser of the two evils by opting for the military life and enlisting in the Connaught Rangers.

After basic training my great-grandfather along with the rest of his regiment who were also little more than boys, travelled from Ireland to Devonport where they sailed to Gallipoli, in Turkey to take part in the Battle of Çanakkale which would be a military campaign lasting eight long and fierce months, fighting youths not much older than themselves with huge casualties on both sides. The Turkish suffered an estimated 87,000 casualties, the British army 21,000 and the Anzacs 11421. Most of his comrades had never ventured further than their own villages and embraced this bold adventure singing “It’s a long way to Tipperary” throughout the voyage little knowing the hell that awaited them once they landed on Turkish soil.

Freddy was one of the “lucky” ones and when the young farm boy returned home he was a very different and irrevocably damaged man with a bad case of malaria which dogged him throughout his life and which he eventually succumbed to leaving a wife and eight children behind. In the years after the war he seldom spoke of his war years apart to recount the size of the Turkish bayonets. No doubt he along with many others was probably suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder but it would be several decades before it would be widely diagnosed and treatments made readily available.

So last night when I extinguished the lights, lit a candle and joined the rest of the nation in remembering the fallen on the occasion of the centenary of World War 1 in the #lightsout event, my thoughts wandered to Freddy and the thousands like him who had also made their own sacrifice returning to their homes in some cases altered beyond recognition and leaving them struggling to pick up the broken pieces of their lives.

Those heroes that shed their blood
And lost their lives.
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country.
Therefore, rest in peace.
There is no difference between the Johnnies
And the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side
Here in this country of ours,
You, the mothers,
Who sent their sons from far away countries
Wipe away your tears,
Your sons are now lying in our bosom
And are in peace
After having lost their lives on this land they have
Become our sons as well

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk

#gallipoli #lestweforget #ww1 #ataturk #turkiye #britisharmy #irishregiment
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THERE'S NO ONE QUITE LIKE GRANDMA

I think I may have said before that Ahmed has a huge family, thirteen brothers and sisters not to mention countless cousins, uncles, aunts and grandparents.
These days, Ahmed’s Grananna is almost unrecognisable as the once proud and capable matriarch that ruled the family with a firm but loving hand. Grannanna is a petite figure, never without the Turkish traditional dress of headscarf and bloomers, however, sadly lost within her own world of memories these days. At one time, she clearly was the strongest family influence, and has helped to raise countless children across three generations within her immediate and extended family. There will be no sunny retirement home for her I’m delighted to say. She will remain an integral part of the family and receive the same tender care that she has provided for her kinfolk over the years.

Today Grannanna was Ahmed’s responsibility and he decided to bring her along with us to the wholesaler. I should mention that Grannanna for some reason has taken an instant disliking to me and every time our paths cross, she shouts “fahise, oruspu!” at me. Now my Turkish is in no way fluent but I know enough to know that she isn’t admiring my shoes. Added to the verbal insults, she always does the spitting thing. Ahmed finds this highly amusing and when I ask him why she’s upset with me, thinking it maybe because I am living in sin with her favourite grandson; it’s apparently because I expose my arms.
After another day spent stacking shelves (once a shelf stacker ….), I had nipped back to the apartment for a quick shower and Ahmed had driven back to the apartment to collect me with Grananna riding shotgun.

Ahmed rather unwisely and a tad irresponsibly, had left Grananna sat in the car alone whilst he attempted to hurry me up. Bracing myself for another verbal onslaught and the annoying spitting thing, me and my buff arms marched out to the car. Unfortunately, Grananna was no longer in the car or anywhere in the immediate vicinity. After quite a few curses, Ahmed drove the car around the neighbourhood trying to track down his errant grandmother.

Two hours later and countless phone calls to various family members, we were none the wiser. It was getting darker now and the beach front bars were beginning to get busier. I was a little worried to be honest and suggested we walk along the sea front to see if she’d taken a shortcut home.
Suddenly I noticed this little wizened old soul sat all alone alongside a glass of raki in the busiest bar. Her face shone with happiness whilst topless bar boys danced around her. She clapped along and joked with them as if they were her grandsons and for a short while I could see a shadow of her former self. Ahmed was less than impressed and quickly paid her bar bill. Waving goodbye to her new-found friends she reluctantly allowed herself to be led away by her favourite grandson, her adventure already forgotten by the time she had fastened her seatbelt.

Ahmed on the other hand is still a little traumatized and has assured me he will be saying extra prayers at the Mosque this week. Families – don’t you just love them?

#grandmother #grandma #turkish #turkiye #expat
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I’ve got a secret; one I’ve been dying to share with you for a week or so! I’ve been debating for some time whether to go freelance and I’ve done it. The deciding factor for me was after an uninspiring 1:1 with my area manager in which I was told “the…
Letters From Heaven
Letters From Heaven
crazytraintotinkytown.com

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CHILDHOOD IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL OF ALL LIFE'S SEASONS

Most of our village shops had closed gradually over the years having been undercut and replaced by the more competitive supermarkets springing up on retail parks all around the surrounding area. At one time there had been a furniture shop, optician, cobblers, women’s outfitters and an elderly dapper gentleman called Mr Coles owned the sweet shop. I can still vividly recall the sparkling glass counters, polished wood and even now the smell of beeswax and cough candies will transport me back to that sunny little shop with the old bell over the door to alert him to a new customer. The row upon rows of tantalising sweetie jars full of pear drops, toffees, gobstoppers or winter mixture which were ceremoniously removed from the shelf and the tinkling sound they made as they were carefully measured out into the old-fashioned metal weighing scales. I remember being able to be able to buy two ounces of any sweets wrapped in a small triangular paper bag which accommodated my meagre weekly pocket-money. The more expensive and luxurious cellophane wrapped boxes of chocolates, adorned with floral pictures, were kept on the top shelf and no supermarket box to this day has ever been as desirable or as opulent.

In the days long before Health & Safety became paramount, come rain or shine, a huge fluffy ginger tom cat called Duke spent his days sleeping in a padded wicker basket in the corner of the shop stirring only to greet customers especially the children whose legs he would wrap himself around leaving them giggling with delight. A trip to the sweet shop was never the same for me unless I stopped to tickle him under the chin and listen to him purring like my Dad’s old lawnmower. He seldom left the shop although on occasional sunny days he would lie across the doorstep to ensure that he never missed welcoming a patron.

My mother’s birthday was imminent and it was inevitable that I wanted to give her one of Mr Cole’s boxes of chocolates and I reckoned that if I only bought my sweet rations every second week I could save enough with the rest of my pocket-money to buy a small box of chocolate truffles as a birthday present. So determined was I that I ventured into the shop one afternoon after school, my grubby ten-year old fingers counted out my pennies carefully onto the shop counter but Mr Coles said that unfortunately I hadn’t got enough but he could put the chocolates away for me until I did. We agreed that would be the best thing to do and each week I would call into the shop just to check that he still had my box of chocolates and hadn’t sold it to someone else. Of course, now that I’m all grown up I realise that few people would have indulged a young child with a smile, courtesy and endless patience.

Cycling through the village one afternoon after school with my friends I noticed a dirty orange fluffy mound at the side of the road. I stopped to investigate and was surprised to discover that it was Duke who sat trembling in the kerb, terrified of the passing cars, so I propped my bike up against the wall and scooped him up into my arms. He mewed piteously once he recognised a friendly face “It’s alright old fella, I’m taking you home” I reassured him. Duke allowed me to gently place him in the basket on the front of the handlebars of my bike and I was able to guide us both back to the comfort of the little shop with one hand on the handlebars and one gently restraining Duke.

Poor Mr Coles was beside himself with worry when I eventually arrived at the shop but his relief was all too evident when he realised I was returning his companion and it was worth every second of the cautious walk back to the shop. As I left them to enjoy their emotional reunion, Mr Coles hung the closed sign on the door and locked up for the afternoon overwhelmed to have his chum return home safe and well.

A week later as I’d saved enough to pay for the chocolates and I proudly called in with my pennies jingling in my pocket. Mr Coles smiled a greeting whilst disappearing to the stock room as I was reacquainting myself with Duke. He came back with chocolates beautifully wrapped and as I went to count my money onto the counter, he placed his hand across mine and said “Put that away young lady, your money’s no good here today”. Taking the pencil from behind his ear he wrote across the receipt with a flourish “Paid in full with grateful thanks from your friends”.

Of course, the shop has long ago been replaced with a fish & chip shop but the echoes of that one kind act have remained with me throughout my life and whenever I am given a box of chocolates I think of that little shop and my good friends Mr Coles and Duke.

#childhood #childhoodmemories #children #memories
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As children when the old fella kissed us goodnight the evening before our birthday he would deliver what became known in our family as the birthday speech, more eagerly anticipated than the Queen’s Christmas Day one. His speech started with the immortal…
The Queen’s Speech
The Queen’s Speech
crazytraintotinkytown.com
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