I am not a fluke!

This week has been okay. Nothing majorly exciting but nothing really bad. So all in all, it’s been good.

I went on a walk with Mum to start the week off. It was a lovely sunny day so we decided it would cheer us up to get out and get our faces warm! I always love the walks with my Mum. We always chat about things, really random things. And we always point out the ideal places for fairies to live.

It snowed again this week. So obviously the roads went into chaos. I was having a small procedure at the hospital on Thursday so me and Mum had a sleepover at Nanas so we were closer to the hospital and could actually get there!! Nana was chuffed, I think Grandad was too in his own way!

I’ve just been resting for the rest of the week really. Last night my Grandpa came over to my Dads and we had a curry for an early birthday meal for me! I’m travelling back to Cyprus on my birthday so it was nice to actually do something for it.

Something has really stuck in my head this week. I was chatting with my Mum and I was really curious about how something worked. She said she wasn’t too bothered and didn’t really think about things in that ways. She said I was a thinker, I always want to understand things and figure out how they work. It gave me a weird confidence boost. I’ve always thought, ever since getting into my first uni, that it was a fluke! Everything was a fluke and I shouldn’t be where I am now… but actually, mum saying this made me think “do you know what, I am curious, I do wonder, I am in the right place!”. Something just clicked and it was really nice. I’m quite quick to underestimate myself but I need to try and stop. Everyone is in the place they should be. Nothing is a fluke!!

That’s all for now.

Xx

Birds/ kuşlar

This week I have done lots and lots of lovely things. Most of them have involved all sorts of beautiful birds, which obviously makes me very smiley!

On Monday I went for a walk around Fernilee reservoir with my Mum. It was a bit of a dark and gloomy day but we just wrapped up warm and headed out. I took my binoculars to spy any fluttering lovelies en route. We saw the usual culprits, blue tits, great tits and coal tits…robins, blackbirds and goldfinches. But we also saw three bullfinches which was a really nice sight and also two cormorants. I was really chuffed, I took the bullfinches as a good omen, how couldn’t I? They’re just so lovely.

Tuesday wasn’t bird related but it was quite dramatic. We got snow overnight and so my Mum’s village went into a bit of chaos. Me and my Mum set off in separate cars but followed each other on the main road out, it was standstill traffic so we decided to turn around and head over the top road. My sister had already set off that way but not long after our attempt, we had to abandon the cars because it was just too icey. We managed to get my car back home and warmed up and made a plan over a cup of tea. We eventually got them back and I visited my cousin Megan and my gorgeous nephew Max before they headed back to Exeter.

Wednesday I had another avian adventure, this time with Mum, my auntie and Renee. Renee took us around her regular dog walk in Didsbury. We saw loads of ring-necked parakeets. One was perched quite close to use so I got a really good view. They’re so gorgeous but it was really weird to see them in cold Northern England! We carried on around the walking route and got to the river. My Mum spotted a male and female goosander, the first I’ve ever seen! I couldn’t stop watching them, they kept diving down to get their food. The final sighting was a gorgeous grey heron, it posed for us on a branch overhanging the river. Renee gave us some lovely homemade soup for dinner to warm us through. Such a great day.

Thursday was the best birding day I’ve had in a really long time. Me and Mum set off at half 7 in the morning to get to Martin Mere wetland reserve. We made our way around all the different hides to look at the wild birds that over winter at the mere. There were loads of whooper swans, pintail, pochard, shelduck, wigeon, black tailed godwit, ruff, cormorant, lapwing, white fronted geese, pink footed geese and greylag geese. I could have sat in the hides all day, it’s so relaxing and lovely to just watch all the birds interacting and feeding. We saw two of the whooper swans stood out of the water which meant we could see their coloured leg rings. I typed the numbers into the computer and found out that NFX that was first ringed in 2010 and has flown 27,000 miles. This equals more than once around the entire globe! Such amazing birds. The whooper swans breed in Iceland but come further south in winter. A man working at the reserve got chatting to me for ages. He told me that the male whoopers choose the wintering ground and the females choose the breeding grounds. He also drew my attention to the female pochard ducks on the mere. Female Pochards usually over winter in Spain, away from the males. But three females had been spotted at the mere, I managed to see 2 of them. They are like a muted version of the males, their colours standing out less. I love learning new things, it was really nice chatting to him. After the hides we walked around the collection area that contains species from all around the world. I think my favourites were the cape teals and the buffleheads. We made our way home and I had to quickly get ready for a bird ringing meeting. We all met at a pub to talk about our group and the months ahead. Nice to see the people I don’t normally ring with.

Yesterday evening I went to Manchester for a meal with Dad, grandpa and Aileen. We enjoyed a couple of drinks in my Grandpa’s favourite pub, Sam’s Chop House, before heading to the Bar and Grill for food. Turns out me and Grandpa aren’t that posh, we both kept dropping things or spilling things. I definitely think my conservation and field work career is the right one for me!

It’s been a really nice week. I’ve seen lots of really nice birds and enjoyed time with my lovely family. One of my friends gave me an idea a while ago. He gave me a small pebble and said that whenever I am grateful for something to touch it and think ‘thanks’ or to just think of it with the same thought. I found that pebble the other day and I feel I’ve had lots of reasons to say thanks this week. I am really thankful for my gorgeous family. I’m thankful for my lovely friends, even though most of them live ages away from me, I know they are there. I’m thankful that I’m doing what I love. I’m also really thankful that marshmallows exist.

Anyway, that’s all for now.

Xx

How to catch a duck…. or not.

This week has gone by quickly. But it has been dotted with nice things.

I went for a nice walk with my Mum and my Sister on Tuesday. We went around Chadkirk and for once in this gloomy week, it was sunny! I saw a buzzard, grey heron, lots of long tailed tits and the usual suspects like robin, great and blue tit.

In the middle of the week I met up with my ringing group at the pub. We’re arranging a bird ringing trip to Cyprus so I was giving them both the information they needed and having a general chit chat. It was snowing very lightly up on the hills. First snow I’ve seen this year. We warmed up in the pub with a nice hot chocolate.

Yesterday morning I went to Redesmere Lake to do some mallard ringing. I’ve never ringed a duck before so I was very excited. I followed my sat nav and found the place. Jake, John and Ingrid were already there and had caught me a gorgeous female mallard. Her orange feet were so soft, I’d never even thought about ducks feet before, but they were. It was a bit rainy and the wind was cold but we threw more seed to entice more birds towards us. For this type of ringing we use a hand net and wait until one of the birds is within reach but with their bum towards us so they are looking away. Very quickly you have to reach forward and trap the bird and carefully take it out of the net. It really does have to be quick though, the slightest twitch of the net and all of the ducks will fly off. Ingrid gave it a go and after much patience caught a lovely male mallard. It was then my go, I waited and waited. Threw seed and gave them some encouragement. My opportunity came. A duck had his back towards me and was within the reach of my short arms. Unfortunately the pressure got to me and I completely fluffed it. I did it all so slowly that they had all flown off before the net even touched the ground. I guess beginners luck doesn’t exist when catching ducks! Never the less it was a lovely morning and always nice to chat up with my ringing people. We saw a great white egret and a great crested grebe too which is always a bonus.

Apart from that I’ve just been doing work, my Turkish homework and seeing my gorgeous family.

I had a lovely chat with my Grandpa the other day. He told me to make lots of dreams. Not dreams that are too ridiculous, but just make them. And go and get them. He told me that life is too fragile and that I just need to grab the nettle with my hands and go! My Grandpa isn’t one for huge conversations, so having this talk with him was lovely. It’s one I’ll remember forever.

Some of my dreams have already come true and I have plenty more to get on with.

How exciting.

Xx

Tallulah

This week has been a strange week. I was feeling all optimistic that the New Year would be full of loveliness. Cliche I know, but 2018 was so rubbish, 2019 has to be a bit better. I had a really nice New Years Eve with my friends Andy and Pete and their friends and family. It was nice to see the New Year in with a glass of red wine and some fresh out of the oven, spring rolls. I rang my Dad at midnight in a drunken daze, I just remember him laughing at me. Goodness knows why?!

New Year’s Day came and my Mum got a panicked call from my Nana saying the cat, Tallulah was missing. We searched all evening and the next day I went door to door passing out posters of our little love. A lady caught my attention and said she’d found her in her garden. She had been killed in her kids football net. Poor little thing. I was really upset and luckily this lady gave me a hug to calm me down. I took Tallulah home in a box and told my Nana, Grandad and Mum the sad news. Tallulah was a character from the day I found her. She was originally from Cyprus, I found her at the Turtle Project base when I was working there. My Mum took her in because she was living over in Cyprus at the time. Since then, the tiny, flea ridden kitten grew to be a gorgeous, sassy companion. She kept my Mum company over in Cyprus and then when we flew her back to the UK she gave her love to my Nana. We’re so sad our moody but loving cat has gone, I’ve never known any animal quite like her.

So as you can imagine, it wasn’t a great start to the new year. A nice distraction was having my friend Tom visit for the day. I took him on a couple of my favourite walks and showed him a tour of Amie’s life! We went to Etherow Country Park and it was nice to see 7 cormorants as well as 5 tufted duck! I also got quite close to a couple of eager pigeons which put a smile on my face.

This weekend my Nana decided she needed another cat because the house was too quiet for her and grandad without one. We chose Lilly from a local sanctuary. She’s settling in fine, even if I have got a few scratches. I think I pushed my luck when I tried to tickle her tummy!

I’ve just been on a drizzle filled walk with my Dad to once again feed the ducks. We came across some really weird geese hybrids. Pretty sure they’d been crossed with a turkey. The tufted ducks were still there and the cormorants too. Nice to see as always.

After a dramatic week I’m looking forward to life calming down again. The Christmas and New Year period really turns everything upside down. I want to just crack on with work now and feel the inspiration of the new times ahead.

That’s all for now.

Xx

Farewell to 2018

Since my last post it has been Christmas and is now nearly the new year. Christmas went by quickly this year but there were lots of lovely moments. On Christmas Eve, Molly, Mum and I went on a walk in the Goyt Valley. We went early so the grass was covered in frost and there was a chill in the air. It was nice though, the sun was shining so our cheeks soon got warm. Within the first few minutes we saw a Red grouse poke it’s head up above the heather. We had an idea it might have been Father Christmas in disguise! After the walk we stopped off at the Bake House in Whaley Bridge for a warm sausage sandwich and hot chocolate. I made my way to Dads after that. We wrapped up and headed out on another walk. This time we went to Etherow Park and enjoyed feeding the birds. It was especially fun watching the Black-headed gulls catch the food mid air. We also saw a diving cormorant and 2 sunning themselves high up in a tree. I really enjoyed it. Christmas Eve evening I made Paella for the family and we played some games.

Christmas Day was a little different this year. It was a strange day without having my Grandma there. She would have set the table all festive and made sure everyone took time to come and see it. We decided to have dinner at home this year and so Grandpa came to us. Me and Molly are in charge of Christmas dinner so our day was spent preparing and then eating! In the evening me and Mol nipped to see Nana and Grandad and then went to Mums for our little Christmas evening.

Boxing Day involves a big celebration at my Uncle and Aunties with all of the family from my Nana’s side. We play games, drink and chat. I, glad to say that the girls won the Pictionary trophy for the second year in a row. There was only 10 seconds in it!! A few of use went to the pub afterwards to carry on the festivities.

The days after Christmas I have just been relaxing. Now I’m waiting for 2019 to arrive. 2018 has been quite a tough year for me and my family, I’m looking forward to moving past things and making nice new memories.

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and has a lovely New Year.

Xx

İngiltere’de çok soğuk (It’s really cold in England!)

Just a quick one this week. I’ve seen lots of my lovely family and enjoyed getting further into the Christmas spirit. I have to say though, it’s blummin’ cold here now! We had freezing rain yesterday and I swear the wind was trying to blow me away!!

Anyway, earlier in the week I spent a crisp, sunny and misty morning with my Mum, Nana, Aunties, Renee and my gorgeous little nephew Arthur. We all went to Chatsworth to enjoy a coffee and a wander around the Christmas filled shops. I got the best cuddles from little Arthur and enjoyed seeing his perfect smile. The grounds are so beautiful, I haven’t been in years so it was lovely to see them.

On top of the he lovely start to the week, I got to spend time with my Sister in her days off. That’s always a treat for me. I miss her so much when I’m away. And she is always so busy with work, so any time I get with her I cherish!

I’ve seen lots of my Mum and my Dad and had lovely times with my Nana and Grandad and my Grandpa. I also got to see my Godmother Louise which was lovely and had a scrumptious tea with my Auntie Jane!

That’s what Christmas time is all about, seeing everyone you love. If I’m honest I prefer the run up than the actual day. The run up is full of lovely days and lots of treats. Makes me realise how lucky I am with all my gorgeous people in my world!

Here’s to another happy week.

Xx

Christmas is coming

Not written a blog post for a couple of weeks. I’ve been all out of sync with staying at my Aunties and being out of routine. Although, whenever I am in England I don’t tend to have much of a routine anyway…. oh well.

So the second week of dog sitting was fine. We went on lots of lovely walks and had a few more settee cuddles with them both. I have to admit though, I think I am definitely a cat person. Dogs are lovely and give amazing cuddles, but I can’t deal with the hair and the dog smell and the jumping up. A lovely thing is that they make you go for walks and so I saw a few woodpeckers, some goldcrests and lovely sunsets!

The Christmas spirit is slowly arriving. I have now helped decorate 4 trees! Mums, Nana and Grandads, Grandpas and Dads are now twinkley. I’ve eaten 2 mince pies, drank a glass of mulled wine and eaten lots of chocolates. I mean, I have three advent calendars!!! The Christmas films are slowly but surely being viewed. Although I still have a few of my all time favourites to watch! The Grinch is the winner of course. I’m waiting until Molly has an evening off before I watch that though!

Now on a slightly more serious note… this week in Cyprus there has been severe flooding caused by a hurricane that swept through the island. People have been killed in the devastation and there are still people missing. Roads, buildings and cars have been completely destroyed. As well as people’s homes and precious possessions. Seeing the videos and photos of the place I now consider home was really upsetting. We later found out that my Mum’s apartment had been flooded, luckily most of it was soaked up by the soft furnishings! I actually wrote an email to BBC news hoping that they might report on this disaster but I never even got a reply. I am quite disappointed actually. We always get shown such biased news. I feel like this should have been highlighted, maybe to get help for all the people who will have lost so much and can not afford to fix it. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus isn’t a rich part of the world and these people who are so caring, generous and kind have lost so much. I guess if you aren’t Russia, the US or anyone discussing Brexit (which is a bloody shambles) then it doesn’t really matter, right?

Anyway, rant over. To finish my week I enjoyed several hours of bird ringing this morning. I met Jake and Ingrid at 7 to put up the nets and get sorted. A new trainee called Caroline joined us, she swears a lot but so do I, so it was quite funny hearing her call a Blackbird a ****head for biting its own tail! We got a really nice variety of bird species today and some that I haven’t handled in a while. Siskin, goldcrest, Reed bunting, Redwing, bullfinch, goldfinch, greenfinch, great tit, coal tit, blue tit, dunnock, and a gorgeous Robin! I love bird ringing because it takes my mind off of everything, so it’s nice to de-stress and just be outside. My fingers always go a little bit numb, I guess that’s part of the fun!

Xx

A week of walks

On Tuesday I came back to the U.K., leaving my Cyprus home for a couple of months to be around my gorgeous family. That meant leaving over 20 degree heat and sunshine for the very chilly and grey Manchester weather. I can’t complain though. I absolutely love jumpers and so now that I am back I get to pick a different one everyday and wrap up with a scarf and mittens!!

It was so nice coming home and getting cuddles off my sister and Dad and seeing my Nana and Grandad and my Grandpa. This time of year we all just sit with a brew and enjoy cozy chats inside. Perfect.

I’ve been staying with my Mum at my aunties house since being back. We’re house sitting and dog sitting the lovely Henry and boystrous Bruno. I get very heavy but cosy cuddles every evening and enjoy lots of walks with them. I’ve nearly been pulled over a couple of times when Bruno spotted a squirrel, but luckily I have stayed up right every time!

It’s been really nice hearing some birds that I don’t get to hear in Cyprus. Blue tits are usually calling their ferocious little call, wrens trill away and a great spotted woodpecker gave us a performance too. Makes me smile.

Saturday me and Mum went to the Christmas markets in Manchester to meet Elisa. She’s Molly’s hippie godmother and she’s lovely! We sat and enjoyed some mulled wine and ate some gorgeous garlic mushrooms!

This morning and family visits I went for a super quick visit to my favourite bird ringing site. It was a huge pay off. Not only did I get to handle some old favourites and chat with my lovely team, but I also got a ringing tick in the form of a gorgeous female Brambling as well as a huge slice of cake freshly baked by Ingrid! Today I had my cake and ate it too!

My cheeks have felt very rosy this week and I’m happy to be surrounded by my family. I’m a lucky lady!

Xx

Grandma

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I usually write my blog post on a Sunday, I round up the week and reflect on what I’ve done and how I have felt. It’s been a couple of weeks since I last posted. And it has made me realise how quickly something so life changing can happen. On Friday 12th October as I was flying home from Cyprus, my Grandma passed away after a brave two year fight against cancer. I was so excited on the plane home, looking forward to seeing her and telling her my latest silly adventures and I really wanted a cuddle and to tell her I loved her. Unfortunately I didn’t get that chance. She decided it was her time and when it happened it was peaceful and pain free. I have since thought that she chose that time because she knew I was coming back to be with my family and so she knew that there was a new matriarch ready to step in. Not that anyone can really take her place…

When I was younger I was very close with my Grandma. As soon as me and my sister arrived at their house I would run and jump on her knee, that was my seat for the remainder of the stay. Some evenings me and her would wrap up in blankets and lie on sun loungers outside watching the stars. She’s always spoil me and Molly with sweets and cakes and strawberries with melted chocolate. She’d sit through countless dance performances to Shania Twain or Girls Aloud or even Irish dancing!!! We’d try on her wedding dress and pretend to be princesses. She didn’t care that we eventually ruined it because for those moments we were utterly joyful.

Growing up and we still stayed close but becoming adults meant less time to visit, especially when I am always travelling. Instead we’d have phone calls and catch up. Any achievement I’d get a card from her. Every single card said “Grandpa and I are so proud of you”. Her whole life was about the family. Everything she did was for my Grandpa, Dad, Molly and Me. She was this calming presence to all of us.

It’s hard to write enough to explain how gorgeous she was.

The relationship my Grandma and Grandpa had was special and it has shown me what love should be like. She was 15 when she met my Grandpa. The rest, as they say, is history. They supported each other through thick and thin and supported the family between them. I remember being so embarrassed if they would dance together, but really it was beautiful to see them so happy. It makes me sad thinking that she won’t meet my future husband, but I have to think that she’s watching someone and smiling.

She has left a really huge gap in the family.

She was a kind, caring, loving and beautiful woman. And I am so lucky to have called her my Grandma.

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Oh what a beautiful week.

I am writing this as I listen to the Motown Party playlist on Spotify. Pretty much sums up my mood from this week, utterly joyful!

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After writing my last post I headed out for a drive. A drive in the small jeep that has no roof and no windows. I got caught in a storm and was pelted with grape sized hail stones. My little fave didn’t know what had hit it, literally! I managed to pull over, I was absolutely soaked and frozen. A bakery nearby had it’s lights on so I knocked on the door and they let me in. They were such kind people. They opened their big bread ovens and let me stand in front to get warm. They gave me lots of tissues to try and dry off. They just wanted to help me. This was all done with little communication due to the language barrier. Before I left they made a dress for me to wear out of a bin bag. If there was another downpour, I now had a shield! This is why I love this Island, the people are just glorious.

Anyway…

The start of the week was the creation of a memory I will never ever forget and something I have wanted to do for a really long time….. SKINNY DIP! And it wasn’t a drunken escapade in the middle of the night, but a glorious bathe in the warm mediterranean sea in the warm October sun in a beautiful bay. I was very happy and had a huge smile on my face. It’s a beautiful thing to do.

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Anyway, less naked-ness. I went birding by myself this week. I took myself and the scope to Kalkanli and Korucam wetlands. Unfortunately Korucam was completely dry, but Kalkanli had a nice array of species to admire. Teal, Shoveler, Mallard, Little Egret and lots of Coot. I was so happy when I was on my solo adventure. I smiled and sang and didn’t give a damn about anything. I bloody love my life, I love everyone in it and I love being the solo weirdo that I am!

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This week I still had my auntie Karen, Jenny and Renee visiting which was lovely. Wednesday night was quiz night again and we came up from being last in the first half to coming third overall by the end!!! Silver Rocks Sunnies smashed it. I think the anagram round (in which we got them all!!!) helped a lot. And obviously our vast knowledge of British Kings and Queens……

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On the last night of their visit we went to one of my favourite restaurants, Tervetuloa. The owner, Afet, is one of the coolest women I have ever met and the meze her mother makes is to die for! Stuffed courgette flowers are a delight and a zingy citrus dip was a nice addition. Lovely! I tried a dish I’ve never had before, a traditional Cypriot dish called Macaronie. It is long pieces of macaroni pasta mixed with minced lamb and herbs and topped with a soufle type of cheese sauce. Simple but bloody delicious! Although apparently I have the stomach the size of a Cyprus warbler’s and didn’t eat a lot. I saved it for the next day!

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The morning the girls were leaving we took a drive to Horseshoe bay further west of Lapta along the coast. We expected a lovely ramble along the coast but were left pretty depressed by the sheer amount of plastic everywhere. Honestly, it is a disgrace. Baby wipes, plastic bottles, cigarette butts…. I could go on. I found a plastic bag in a bush and filled it with what I could. I couldn’t help think I was fighting a losing battle. But I guess every little helps. If you are reading this, please try and think of one way you could reduce single use plastic… Instead of plastic water bottles use a re-usable metal one. Instead of baby wipes use cotton wool and water. We share this planet and we are treating it dreadfully. It’s selfish and unnecessary.

Anyway…..

The girls headed off and so to cure my glum mood I went to Roots bar in the evening. As usual I got drunk on various shots and rum and cokes. It was a reggae party and so the atmosphere was really fun. Love that place and my little family there.

I have throughly enjoyed this week. I have smiled at lots of little things.

Here’s to another week of smiles and loveliness.

xx