My first magpie

The past couple of weeks have been lovely considering all the restrictions that are on. Luckily I can still go on walks, still climb and still learn Turkish. So all my Amie hobbies are in-tact! Phew!

I actually went on a lovely walk with Mum last week. We decided to go and see the deer rut one afternoon. It was a nice day, even if it was a bit breezy, and we enjoyed being out in the autumn weather. We went to Lyme Park and had a wander up to Lyme cage. We saw a good few groups of deer and stood for a while to admire them. Some of the stags are huge and they were all roaring at each other to protect their hareems. It’s amazing how close they came to us, they’re so focused on their task ahead they don’t seem to notice people wandering around. There were meadow pipits flying over and a large group of thrushes too. We even got to see some Rooks which was a treat as I don’t see them much here. I used to see them all the time when I lived in Poland!

I went bird ringing earlier this week and the weather turned warm and the sky filled with sunshine. It was a welcome treat considering all the rain we’ve had up here in the north west. It was a great ringing session actually. We caught the usual finches and tits but also caught a Greater spotted woodpecker, a grey wagtail and a magpie!! I caught the magpie in the whoosh net and this time managed not to punch myself in the face when pulling the trigger! I’ve never ringed a magpie before and it was so lovely to see one so close up. The tail feathers are like beetle juice, when the light catches them at different angles they have an iridescent sheen of blue and green. People give magpies a bad rep and don’t like how cunning they are and that they eat chicks in the breeding season. The thing is, a bird of prey can eat small mammals or birds and it’s seen as an amazing hunter, but a magpie is seen as being nasty and sneaky. I don’t understand it myself, it’s doing what it can to stay alive. I love a magpie, I’ll always stick up for them!! It was a pleasure being able to ring one. The woodpecker gave me a hard time. It was pecking my fingers so hard but I just had to grin and bare it! I was left with pin pricks all over my fingers by the end of it!!

Rock climbing has been going so well. I’ve definitely seen an improvement this last week and have managed to ascend two different 6a top rope routes. I feel the strength in my arms is getting better and my technique too. I just love the sport and know I’ve found something I’m really passionate about. It’s great for my mental health as well as physical health which is perfect in these COVID filled times.

Another exciting thing from this week has been the publication of a paper of mine. The paper talks about the natural vocal behaviour of the Yellow-breasted boubou which is the study species for my phd. I feel very proud that this paper has been published and feel like it’s a nice positive step towards completing the PhD.

Other than my various hobbies and uni work I’ve been cracking on at the bar. The new restrictions and tier system are making everything a bit awkward and annoying but we’re all pulling through and making a bad situation as fun and lighthearted as possible! I’m glad I’ve settled in there now and can earn some money in these difficult times! Plus, knowing how to make cocktails is a life long skill, especially when at a party!

That’s all for now really. I’m sat here with the cat sat on my knee, snoring away. I think she’s realised I’m the warmest thing in the house so she’s taking advantage!! She’s too cute to move to be honest, so I’ll give her another 10 minutes or so!

Hope you’re all safe and sound.

Xx

It’s October already!

This week has been quite chilly and yesterday the heavens opened and it rained constantly for the entire day! The air is certainly feeling more autumnal, which for me is quite exciting as it’s my favourite season! When I was little this time of year was so exciting. We’d always throw Halloween parties for mine and Molly’s friends, I remember finding all the decorations in the garage and putting everything up. It was a big thing in our house growing up. And then shortly after Halloween we’d have bonfire night which is just magical, huge fires, roasting marshmallows and dazzling fireworks. So I think the leaves changing colour, conkers on the floor and cold crisp days tell my spirit that a lovely time of year is coming. Plus, I have a slight jumper obsession so its the time of year when I can start my serious layering! 😀

Since my last post I have been quite busy with various things. As usual I have been rock climbing which I truly love. It takes my mind off of everything else and I just focus on the route ahead. It’s challenging both mentally and physically which I think suits me! I’ve had a painful knee which has stopped me going as much as I’d like, but I took the advice of my cousin Ste and loaded on ibuprofen which seems to have helped!

I’ve been bird ringing this week which was lovely. We caught over 100 birds which was great! I actually had my first try doing the whoosh net. Normally we use a mist net, which is a long vertical net that spans several meters. The whoosh net is different, it uses bungee cord tension to catapult the net forwards and over ground feeding birds. We use this for larger species such as Carrion crows, Magpies, Jay and Wood pigeon. I sat in the hide for an hour and waited for any crows to come down. It was a slightly dramatic ending, I pulled the cable with all my might to release the bungee, ended up punching myself in the face and the bird escaped! haha At least I tried eh?! Next time will be better I’m sure!

There’s been some other lovely things this week. I harvested my first ever carrots!! They were very short but smelt amazing, so I’m really chuffed. I also went for drinks with my friend Beth and had a lovely cocktail decorated with flowers, I felt like a blummin princess!

I’ve been doing work as well as my hobbies. In fact, one of my papers has been accepted for publication which is really exciting. I’ve also been working at the bar too, which is a nice change of pace in my week.

I have started to try and think of lovely things for each day, sort of like a gratitude journal. I find it helps me focus on nice things in my week. Yesterday the thing that made me smile was a sunflower finally bursting into colour in the garden. It chose the most miserable day to do it, but seeing it opened up was lovely and put a smile on my face. Another thing that has made me smile was seeing red leaves on the trees. Those colours are just magical to me! I am going to continue looking for all the lovely things in my life because it’s a nice way to be thinking.

That’s all for now!

xx

Back at it!

Well, here I am again. I took a massive break from writing blog entries. I can’t really put my finger on why I stopped exactly. At the beginning of the year my head was all over the place and I guess I just didn’t feel like it. And then COVID-19 hit and life went strange and a bit monotonous! Recently I’ve been thinking about starting to write again as I used to really enjoy it and it made me reflect on lovely things I had done every week, which must be good for my mind set! 😀

So what have I been up to?

During the early lockdown days of COVID when rules were strict and the roads were bare, I enjoyed walks with Mum and Mol. We were so lucky with the weather in March/ April and so we would walk everyday and enjoy seeing the flowers beginning to bloom and the birds singing. This year I’ve really appreciated the subtle changes in nature which has been refreshing. I now know the time scale of when different flowers appear and I even learnt to ID them. I remember one afternoon where I cracked the difference between meadow buttercup and creeping buttercup, I felt geeky and great! Nature has been really helpful during this crazy pandemic time, everything sometimes feels overwhelming and daunting but stepping outside and getting fresh air really helps.

As well as nature based stuff we’d do weekly family quizzes on zoom which was a lovely way to see the family. Me and Mol would also Skype Dad and Grandpa for a catch up because we couldn’t go and visit. Now lockdown restrictions have eased, it is so lovely to be able to see people and enjoy different company. Every day felt like ground-hog day but now little changes to daily life are welcome and lovely. I must admit, I think I gained an even worse houseplant obsession and my green family has exploded! I’ve heard talking to plants helps them grow so that’s my excuse for acting crazy!! Hehe

I am still bird ringing when I get the chance which I thoroughly enjoy. Ingrid always brings cake which is a treat and its nice to be with like minded people, to appreciate nature and just have a good old chit chat. In addition to my bird ringing hobby, me and Mol have started rock climbing. I used to do it in Poland, but since leaving I haven’t done any. I absolutely love doing it. We go a few times a week and do bouldering, we are waiting to pass our rope climbing course so we can be let loose on the walls. I have been practicing an overhang bouldering route and every session I get a little bit further and a little but more confident with the technique. It gives me such a buzz! We were able to go on an outdoor climbing trip one evening. We were a little apprehensive about it, but we enjoyed it so much, I think we both prefer the outdoors! We went to Lawrencefield quarry in the peak district, a gorgeous setting, almost fairy tale like. The people who went were lovely and really supportive. I think that’s what I like most about climbing actually, everyone we have met so far have been so nice and helpful.

I’ve also been doing my Turkish lessons which has been great. Another lovely distraction from the crazy COVID world. Unfortunately this year I haven’t been able to go to Cyprus, I don’t think I’ll be going this year at all. I guess next time I go my turkish will be better and I can have nice chats with the locals! 😀

I’ve been writing my thesis and sorting out various papers I would like to publish for my PhD. It is getting closer to the end point now and so I am constantly looking for jobs to make the next step in my career. I have completed a teaching english as a foreign language course during lockdown to give me another skill. So who knows what I will do in the future. I just hope something falls my way.

In the mean time I have started a bar job which I was so nervous about, but it is actually really nice. I had this weird fear about carrying the trays full of drinks but I feel like I’m fine now, balance is key!! I’m slowly getting more confident in the role and am just glad it is something I can be doing to get me out of the house and doing something a bit different. I’ve also made a few different cocktails now which I am sure will come in handy in the future. If anyone fancies a long island ice tea, I’m your girl!

Well, I think that’s it for now. England is going into more lockdown measures and so life doesn’t look like it will be getting normal anytime soon. But I have my rabbits and cats to cuddle and my lovely family to be with! Not bad at all!

xx

Edinburgh and Newcastle

I’ve not written in what feels like ages. It’s been so busy over Christmas and new year and I’ve really just wanted to enjoy being home with my lovey little family. Christmas was cosy and this New Years Eve I just decided to watch telly with Mol and get an early night. A lovely addition to the festivities was my cousin getting married, it was small and gorgeous and got to spend another day with all my family.

2020 so far has been nice and normal. Doing bits of work and plodding on with the day to day.

To mix things up a bit I decided to book a trip up to Edinburgh to see my friend Stacey. I’ve never been to Scotland and so it was pretty exciting for me! I should travel more of the U.K. really. Anyway, I went up to Edinburgh on Wednesday, and after a cancelled train and a bit of faff, I managed to give my friend a hug after nearly two years!!!! She lives in a van which felt even more like an adventure. We headed out to park up in the Pentlands, chatted and slept! The next day we did a bit of exploring Edinburgh to see some famous sites! Unfortunately I’ve got a cold so my entire trip I felt a bit yucky, but we made the most of it! We ate lovely pancakes and I felt constantly amazed at ALL the Scottish people in Scotland….. probably one of the more silly things I’ve ever thought or said out loud!! The second day was much the same, exploring more of the gorgeous city. We wandered up to the castle and just enjoyed each other’s company. Lovely!!

Friday evening I left the extremely chilly Edinburgh for a slightly milder Newcastle. I’ve been meaning to visit Newcastle for ages as my Nana bloody loves it!! I have a lovely excuse to visit now as my little cousin is at uni there. I arrived and met Katy and after dumping my stuff we went for some tea at a lovely Italian place! Her friend Izzy met us too which was nice, most of the chat was about cats. I think I’m officially a crazy cat lady!!! The next day we wandered into the city for brunch and looked at the sites. We saw the bridges over the river Tyne, spotted the castle and I just enjoyed seeing new places for the first time! I also managed to meet one of my northern friends too which was lovely! It was a happy and chilled day! Today me and Katy went back into the centre and managed to get a spot in the cat cafe for lunch. Best place I’ve ever been I think?! We got to chat with all the cats (I was actually the only person talking to the cats, no one else did?!?!) and had a brew and a toastie. Not bad eh?! We then went for a drink at this cool place made from loads of shipping containers and enjoyed some live music. Chilled again!

I’ve had a really lovely time on my whirlwind trip. So lovely to step out of the norm for a bit!! Now I’m on the train home and back to it tomorrow!

Not a bad 2020 so far!!

Xx

It’s been a while!

Oooops. I’ve not been the best at writing this blog lately. This is the first time I’ve written in 3 weeks. But to be honest, I’ve been busy with life and doing lovely things with lovely people!

I am now back in the U.K. for the Christmas break. I’ll actually be back for a while now which is nice. I don’t usually spend long at home so I’m always rushing and can’t properly enjoy it.

It’s been a few weeks of mixed emotions. Leyla, one of the kittens, became really sick and died. Poor little thing. Luckily the other cats are healthy and seem to be doing fine. So 6 lovely ones left.

Me and Doğukan went to Karpaz for a road trip one day. It was a really stormy day and so we couldn’t even paddle in the sea. But it was quite nice to drive in the thunder and see it travelling across the mountains. We visited a small beach on the way back and explored an old Greek church nearby which was cute! It’s nice to imagine the old times and what they must have been like.

It was Doğu’s birthday and we had a lovely day with his family! A few nights before we went out with our friends, Hannah and Ash, too. The family meetings are always so busy and crazy and I am constantly trying to understand all the Turkish! All of his aunties were over which was a first, usually there are one or two missing. They are all so lovely and it’s nice to chat with them. Even if it is very broken Turkish and English!

My last week in Cyprus my Mum and Beth came over which was lovely. I stayed with Doğu but we had nice times with them. One afternoon me Mum and Doğu went up St Hilarion castle. It’s the only castle I have visited in Northern Cyprus so I was really chuffed. The views were amazing and it was so silent up there. It must have been such a huge castle back when it was lived in. There were three levels with the lowest one being for soldiers. There were royal apartments with amazing views and various kitchen areas. We liked seeing all the plants that had started to take over again. Fun fact actually, St Hilarion is where Richard the Lionheart had his honeymoon and is the inspiration behind the castle in Disney’s Snow White. We loved the little adventure!!

The day after, Mum and Beth came over to me and Doğu for a wander along the beach and some tasty gözleme! Mum loved meeting the lady that makes the gözleme. She couldn’t wait to take a photo of her!

It was bittersweet when I left Cyprus. I was so excited to get home and see all my lovely family. But at the same time, I didn’t want to leave Doğukan and all our lovely cats. Being home has been lovely so far though. I’ve seen my gorgeous family and had loads of cuddles which is always the best! I’m really not getting used to the cold weather though. I know I’m complaining too much about it!

I’m trying to relax into being home and enjoying it. I always find it tricky to adjust when I get to a new place. Just for the first few days or so. I have a crazy time at home aswell because I’m in between my Mum and my Dads so I’m like a yo-yo! But it’s lovely anyway!

That’s all for now, a very quick update!

Xx

Sylvester

This week hasn’t been the best week, I won’t lie. It seems like we live at the vets at the moment! All the cats are now neutered and have started their vaccinations which is brilliant. That’s 8 cats altogether! Unfortunately, earlier this week, little Sylvester became really poorly all of a sudden. He caught a virus which attacked his lungs and kidneys. We tried everything we could to get him better but unfortunately nothing was working and we decided it would be the kindest thing to put him to sleep, rather than see him suffer anymore. We buried him in the garden and have sowed marigold seeds there to make it a beautiful spot. He was a gorgeous little thing, only 6 months old, but he had huge charismatic eyes and always loved a cuddle. I’ll miss him lots!

Unfortunately the cat drama doesn’t stop there. The next day we were taking all the cats for the next vaccinations. I noticed Lady Grey wasn’t her normal self and she just wanted to sleep on me and wasn’t eating anything. It turns out she had picked up something and had a really high temperature so she’s now on antibiotics. Later that day Leyla also became poorly, he too had a temperature and so is also now on antibiotics.

The other cats (touch wood!) are doing well which is nice. Bruce gives lovely cuddles so he’s made me feel better during all of this stressful period! I know I sound like a genuine crazy cat lady but I don’t really care! When you have down days or times when you feel a bit rubbish, animals always help make me feel better. Watching them do their own thing is lovely and most of the time puts a smile on my face. They like to cuddle and purr away and they are never nasty. They just make me feel happy. So if that makes me crazy, I’ll take it!!

A nice thing this week has been finding a cute frog tucked away in a Yukka tree. He stayed there for a few days and switched leaves a couple of times. He was cosy and cute!

That’s it for now. Hopefully next week is brighter!

Xx

Crazy cat lady

It’s been two weeks since my last post! Time has flown by, which can only mean that it was filled with lovely things.

The main this time happen involved all the lovely cats! There are 8 cats staying at Doğukan’s house, they sleep in the shed and rule the garden! They are all related by the grandma cat MiuMiu. Then there are two Mum cats, Chezi and Misty. Chezi has little Lucky and Misty has Lady Grey, Sylvester and Leyla. Then there is Bruce, he’s a titchy one that turned up one day and settled right in. Anyway, Lucky got sick again which meant we had to take him to the vets. Turns out he had picked up gingivitis an the little fella went down hill quick. So it was more antibiotics for him. We arrange with the vet for all the cats to get neutered and vaccinated, so all week we’ve been going back and forth with various cat family members! But it’s lovely to know they are all safe and healthy and no more kittens will be arriving! The stray cat issue is a big thing here in Cyprus!

Apart from cats, we’ve been tending to the garden. The broad bean seeds we sowed are looking great and have sprouted with lovely leaves. The carrots continue to grow and the kale is doing well. One problem has been with the spinach. It turns out spinach is extremely tasty to basically every invertebrate in the garden and so the whole crop has been demolished. We found moths, caterpillars of a variety of species, slugs and snails. We’re going to experiment with egg shells on the soil to try and keep the problem from happening again and we’ve planted strong smelling plants nearby as apparently they don’t like them! Let’s see shall we!!??

I’ve had a funny head this past week and my anxiety has been high. One evening me and Doğukan decided to go to the sea side for a stroll along the beach. Oh my goodness is was lovely. I paddled in the sea and enjoyed the feeling of the sand between my toes. I don’t know what it is about the seaside, but it always hypnotises me. I don’t want to talk when I hear waves, I feel like I’m interrupting them. It was just what I needed to clear my head for a bit!

And whilst talking about lovely things, last night we went to our friends house for a yummy take away and a catch up. Ash and Hannah came over to us last week with their son Olly so this week we went to them. Both times were lovely and it was just nice to meet up and have some wine. I’m already looking forward to next time!!

One more exciting thing happened I just remembered! Doğukan was asked to play the drum part for an advert jingle on the radio! We went to a studio and I got to sit in the booth with all the buttons! It was really cool!! Honestly, there must have been a few hundred buttons and I have no idea what they all did!!??

Anyway, there’s a brief update. That’s all for now!

Xx

One poorly kitten

This week has been another lovely week in Cyprus filled with sunshine, smiles and sea views. There was a small hiccup in the middle of the week as the youngest kitten, Lucky, becoming really sick. One afternoon we noticed he was limping and then he became really tired. The next day he was the same and so we took him to a vets nearby as he wasn’t eating. Unfortunately this vet was pretty rubbish, she just gave him an injection of what we presume was antibiotics, didn’t check his temperature, didn’t check his foot that was sore, nothing…. She just told us to come back tomorrow. Later that night he got a lot worse and quickly went downhill. Dogu took him to an emergency vet and the vet said it was a 50% chance of whether he’d survive. He had a dangerously high temperature and his breathing was bad. They kept him in all night and gave him lots of fluids and started him on a shock treatment of antibiotics. Luckily he pulled through. We have had to go back to the vets each evening for more antibiotic injections but he is returning to his normal self! phew!!!

Apart from the cat drama, the week has been lovely.

We have enjoyed a few wanders into the countryside. It has actually been lovely to do this in the evening because some different birds are around since the last time I was here. There are lots of singing Robins defending their territories. Stonechats are everywhere now, sitting on their thin perches. I even heard a Black redstart a couple of days ago. They have a weird and wonderful song!

We have done some more olive picking this week and finally finished the trees in the garden. Its not easy work! I now fully appreciate olive oil! The time it takes to pick all the olives in a way that doesn’t damage the trees is so long! After we pick them the family sort out which olives will be used for oil and which for eating. The oil ones are taken to an olive press and the lovely elixir is made! The olives for eating are bashed with a stone, soaked in salty water for days, and then are ready! Dogu mixed his olives with garlic and oregano and olive oil and they are just so lovely! So much so that I actually got a saw tongue from eating so many!!!!

We have been busy in the garden his week. October in turkish is called Ekim and it is related to the word Ekmek which means to sow. We have been planting broad beans which was fun! We are also watching eagerly for the other crops to grow. So far there are carrots, garlic, parsley, artichoke, spinach, kale and sweet potatoes growing! We picked a lot of loofahs this week. A natural, organic alternative to plastic sponges! We have so many!

Other things we have done this week are eat Gozleme (a thin bread type thing filled with cheese or whatever you fancy!). The lady that makes them is so lovely, she always gives us extra treats! She was impressed with my turkish grammar which was nice to hear! We also went to a bazaar yesterday that our friend Deniz helped host. It was full of little stalls which handmade trinkets. One stall was full of homemade crystal bead bracelets and I was sold! A new sunstone bracelet is now in my possession!

Other than that, we’ve enjoyed seeing friends, eating good food and watching amazing storms!

Nice!

xx

Olive picking

Another week has gone by and I’m yet again in another country!! On Tuesday I flew to Cyprus and have loved every minute so far! I got to cuddle my lovely Doğukan and have lots of love from all of our cats! How can that be bad?!

I’ve seen lots of other people this week too. I met Doğu’s friend Orçun for the first time. He was so lovely!! And I’ve also seen our friend Mert which was great. We were talking about different Christmas traditions which made me all excited! I’ve brought some Christmassy things over with me to show everyone!!

We’ve just been enjoying being back to normal really, and chilling out at home. This weekend a lot of Doğukan’s family came over to help us pick olives from the trees. It’s so funny when they all arrive, they are all chatting away and then trying to chat to me, but I can’t understand everything so I just nod along!! When they come they always bring amazing food though, so it’s brill!! In total be picked around 200kg of olives on Saturday and we still have more to go. Today has been hard to collect them because a storm came in and made it really windy!! I’m so excited to taste some of the olive oil once it’s done!

Last night we went to see our friends Ash and Hannah which was so lovely! It was just great to catch up and enjoy nice stories. It was also nice to have some wine too!!

So that’s the week really, mainly olives and friends. What more could a girl want?!

Xx

Lots of smiles

I’ve been in England this week, which has been lovely. I absolutely love being with my family, and it’s made even more special considering I’m always away.

I went on a lovely country walk with Mum and Beth this week. It was a sunny day which made a nice change, and my cheeks felt lovely and warm in the autumn sunshine. We saw some handsome highland cattle up close which was great. They were kept behind a gate though which was good, they have bloody massive horns!! We also saw the deer which was exciting. They have started the rutting season and so the males were busy defending their hareems. I love hearing them roar and watching the dynamics!

Apart from that the week has been fairly chilled out. I’ve just loved having cosy evenings! For some reason when I’m at my Dads house, a competition breaks out involving a balled up napkin and a vase. It’s a throwing competition between Dad and Grandpa, and it’s so funny to watch! They get so competitive!

Yesterday, me and Molly went to an old teachers house. Mol is doing her teacher training and so we went for a chat and a brew! Oh, and we got a slice of chocolate cake!! It was so so lovely to see her, after 12 years!!

I’ve only got a couple of sleeps until Cyprus so I’m just going to make the most of being with my family and getting cuddles. I’m so excited to head back there and see Doğukan and all our lovely cats!!

Until next time.

Xx