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

A weekend in Istanbul

Since my last post I have been in Cyprus getting back to normal life and slowly but surely getting more of my PhD finished. I left the first smattering of snow in england and got back to a relatively warm and sunny Lapta. Very nice! I’ve been doing a lot of solo birding and practicing my Turkish which is fab!

This weekend I went on a mini adventure to meet my friend and have a change of pace. It was lovely to see him and to meet his various extended family members. We were staying in the Asian side of Istanbul, different than the last time I stayed there. We were right near the coast and the air was lovely and fresh. Loads and loads of sea birds around too! Mainly gulls and cormorants. We had a lovely sea food maze the first night with his cousin and his other cousins girlfriend. A couple of raki’s were added to the mix too, although to my surprise I didn’t get drunk! We stayed there until closing and then headed home. It was a lovely evening, and although most people don’t speak much English, I don’t even care. They tried to chat with me as much as they could and it was super helpful for my Turkish practice.

The next day (10th) is a special day in Turkish culture. It is the Remembrance Day of Ataturk, who is know as the Father of the Turks. This is the day he passed away and so the day is spent remembering him and his accomplishments. I watched a quick documentary in the morning, and I didn’t realise how much he pushed women’s rights forward. He actively encouraged women to have the right to vote and to be a more present part of communities. Anyway… in the afternoon we headed to Heybeliada island, one of the princess islands off of Istanbul. It’s a gorgeous island and home to a few extended family members. We had lovely home cooked food and I tried chatting with the Grandma in my limited Turkish. She was full of smiles. When it came to leave I got a huge cuddle which was lovely. I felt like one of the family! We then hopped on a little buggy type vehicle and had a whirlwind your by moonlight of the island. It was gorgeous. I’d love to see it in summer. We then hopped back on the ferry and then got back home. The night ended playing a street fighter game on the PlayStation, turns out I was pretty good!

Today we just chilled out, had food, chilled some more and then I had to head to the airport. He said my Turkish had come on quite well so I was chuffed. Just need to practice practice practice.

One of my highlights of the trip, although really geeky, is that I got to see my first every laughing doves. They are delicate looking birds and all around the pavements of Istanbul. So lovely. There’s lots of cats I got to fuss over too!

All in all it was a gorgeous weekend with gorgeous people and I miss it already. But back to my Cyprus home I go.

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

 

Honey Buzzards

I’ll keep it short and sweet this week.

I’ve been busy doing PhD work this week. A couple of times I made lovely banana pancakes with fried hallumi and that was the highlight for those days!!

This week I have seen hundreds of Honey buzzards on migration. It’s amazing to watch. The first big group I saw nearly made me cry!! They have spent their summer in Europe and are now heading back, from Turkey, to tropical Africa. You can look out to sea and see them all coming for the land. As soon as they get close to shore the air temperature gets warmer and they take advantage of the thermals and start to soar. They really are gorgeous.

I’ve also seen lots of grey herons migrating too. They form more uniform V shapes than the buzzards’ random groups and look very prehistoric! They’re usually heading west, parallel to the coast.

Aside from birds, I went to my first ever ballet this week at Girne amphitheatre! I watched Zorba the Greek. Wasn’t sure entirely was the story was, but the dancing was very impressive. And to be honest, being in an amphitheatre was pretty special!! I just kept looking up into the sky and watching the bats flitting above busily.

On Friday the apartment was invaded by 5 loud, laughing and lovely ladies! My mum, auntie and three friends have come out for a holiday! It’s been a happy couple of days so far and nice to have company!!

That’s it for this week.

Xx

Didn’t you know?… I yacht now.

Hello! Merhaba!

What a fantastic week I have had. It’s weeks like this that make me very happy that my life is so wonderfully weird.

I started my week boarding a yacht. Yes, that’s right, scruffy ol’ me went yachting!!! I was on the yacht with Captain Unal, Alex, Doug and Sarah. All gorgeous people. We made a really nice team. I joined the team in the evening and we went for some food at a local place. I had a salad with loads of chopped up walnuts which was really tasty. We also got a complementary plate of cooked sheep head so I gave that a try. Let’s just say…I shan’t be having it again. But still, it’s good to try new things! Our first night was spent in Les Ambassedeurs Marina in Girne. I had the double bed in the main part of the boat! The titchiest team member and the one with the biggest bed! Can’t complain eh? It was a slightly swaying nights sleep, but amazing none the less. I did wake up at one point though and completely forget where I was. Bit weird!

The next day we all woke up and had a lovely breakfast on deck before we headed off. I still couldn’t believe I was on a sailing yacht! Actually, I should explain. We were all on the boat to take part in seabird and marine mammal surveys. We had to sail along transects and count and ID anything we saw. It was a beautiful first day. The wind was on our side and so we got to do a fare bit of sailing rather than use the motor. Unal is an amazing Captain, full of character and so skilled! We saw Scopoli’s shearwaters, honey buzzards, marsh harrier…Perfect. That first day was also really nice to get to know everyone. We all had really different stories but got on well. I think my main addition to the team was my energy. I was very excited and I think Unal appreciated the buzz! We sailed west and then south the first day, all the way to Yesilmak. We anchored up in a small bay and me and Alex jumped into the sea! The sun was just starting to set, the sea was warm and we got given a wedge of watermelon each to munch on. Probably one of the best moments I’ve had all year. You can’t imagine moments like that, they just happen and when they do, you have to smile and embrace the magic. Back on board we ate tea, shared more stories and watched the stars. Scorpio, Mars and Venus were out in all their glory that night.

The second night on the boat was slightly more rocky. I was woken up a few times with big rolls from the waves, but it was quite exciting and different. We enjoyed another nice breakfast and then headed back to Girne, taking a different course closer to shore. We saw loggerhead turtles, Yelkouan and Scopoli’s shearwaters, turns, ducks, waders. Fab! Doug is a very experienced birder, he was a warden for the RSPB before he retired and so it was brilliant to get little nuggets of his knowledge. We had an in-depth discussion about hobbies and merlins. Aaah the life of a birder. We got back to the marina in the evening, Doug and Unal came back home with me to have a quick shower and freshen up. I said bye to Alex and Sarah before we left. It was weird not being with everyone, we’d had a lovely adventure. That evening I couldn’t stop swaying. The land is still and constant, the sea is constantly changing and unpredictable. My little head was a bit all over the place, I just needed a good nights sleep.

The rest of the week was spent doing PhD work and having a break at Silver rocks for a swim and to get some Turkish practice! I may have mentioned my yacht adventure once or twice….

Friday night came around and I got to see lots of my favourite people. I drove over to Esentepe to meet my Cyprus parents Michelle and Paul (and their new addition, Maisie the puppy). Always so lovely to see them both, we enjoyed a drink and a chat before heading to Roots. Anyone that keeps on top of reading my blogs will know how special this bar is to me. Some of my best nights have been in this bar, and the people there are out of this world. Ash, Hannah, Veysel, Katie, Aydn…The whole team was there and I got to spend an evening with lots of smiling faces. I did have shots and I did have rum and cokes. And yes, I was drunk. The night ended at Michelle and Paul’s, eating pizza and talking about all sorts.

Woke up in the afternoon! Had a few hours with Michelle and Paul, eating amazing bacon-y breakfast, fussing over Maisie and just enjoying the company. Headed home at about 3. I got home and made more plans. One of my favourite humans was back out in Cyprus for a few days, Sav!! I arranged to meet up with him and Alex that evening, have a BBQ at Robbo and Damla’s and have beer! We did just that. Me and Sav then went to a music festival in the old town of Lefkosia. It was an amazing setting and the stage we settled at was home to a soul band playing motown. I was in my element. Again, shots were had. When the band finished there was a spot of breakdancing. I’ve never seen it before, it was so impressive! I feel like they must scrape their heads a lot though, they’re always spinning on them! Eventually we made our way back to Sav’s place. It was a lot more difficult to find a taxi than we had hoped, but luckily my “superb Turkish skills” came into practice. I got us back. Sav just drank beer!

This morning and into the early afternoon I just enjoyed being with Sav and Alex. I made us Halloumi and salad sandwiches and after a good re-fuel was ready to make the journey back home. I drove home with the windows down and my music loud. I sang and I smiled. What a fantastic week.

I feel very cheeky this week. Is it fair that I have so many gorgeous people in my life? Not just my amazing family, but my friends. Pretty sure I’ve hit the jackpot? Anyway, I’m wrapping up this week listening to “Above the cloud’s of Pompeii” by Bears Den and I’m smiling at being in the present. It’s pretty damn good.

xx

Ciao Italia

It’s that time of week again. Another blog post full of more glorious adventures! This past week I have been in 4 different countries, all so different but all with their own unique charm.

The week started off in Poland. In the early hours of the morning on Monday Beth and I woke up and got a taxi to Poznan bus station. Our bus left at 04:00 and by 09:00 we had arrived in Berlin. I slept for most of the journey and didn’t even realise we’d gone through the border! We had a few hours to kill once we were in Germany. I had my huge 20kg bag and smaller rucksack so I couldn’t be much of a tourist. We decided to walk the 2 mile walk to Charlottenburg Palace. Such a bad decision. My little legs had had enough by the time we got there. And my hips were so bruised from the huge bag! It was hot and I was tired! The palace is beautiful though. To be honest, Berlin is beautiful. There are trees everywhere and the architecture is grand and elegant. Lovely balconies all around that I wouldn’t mind sitting on and enjoying a good brew and a biscuit! Anyway, we left the palace and headed to the airport. Checked in and got food. I decided to get Käserkrainer which is a cheese filled sausage. They recommended it with potato salad with a dash of extra black pepper. It was lovely! We boarded and headed to Italy.

We arrived in Naples and headed for a taxi to take us to our hotel. The driver was lovely, he had an app on his phone so he could translate what he wanted to say into English. We had a good conversation actually! We arrived at our hotel, Hotel Joyfull, checked in and headed to the city. Another taxi and more exposure to the crazy driving that seems to be the Italian way. We passed one of the 5 castles in Naples. Had a glimpse of the narrow streets of the old city. It was a place of energy. We got dropped off at L’Antica Pizzeria de Michele. Apparently the most famous pizza place in Naples, which is the home city of pizza! There was a ticket system to get a table, but even though the queue was about 50 people, we were still seated within half an hour! There are two choices of pizza and three choices of drink, marinara or margarita with a glass of coke, beer or water. We shared one of each type of pizza. I can’t do justice to how delicious the pizzas were. The crusts were thin but doughey, and the tomatoes sauces were rich and yet slightly sweet. The mozzarella can speak for itself. It was a meal for the Gods! After the pizza we had a little explore of Naples. We went through Spaccanapoli, the old part of Naples. It was full of history and character, tiny alley ways with washing hung from every balcony. The smell of cooking filling the air. We came across the Cathedral too. A great first impression of Italy.

Up early and down for a breakfast of Italian pastry. I tried Sfogliatelle, a layered pastry filled with a sweet creamy sauce. After a refuel we headed to the Port, to get a bus. It was a 5km walk but it meant we got a better view of the city. Most shops have tiny stalls outside filled with different breads and pastry. People walk through the streets drinking a quick espresso en-route. Mopeds wiz by and car drivers constantly beep their horns. We arrived at the bus station, bought our tickets and got on the bus headed for Pompeii.

35 minutes and a quick nap later and we had arrived. We bought our tickets and headed in. The city entrance is a huge archway, with a steep road leading up to it. A huge wall surrounds the city as part of its defences. When you enter it is a maze. It has been preserved and excavated so well. It felt as though it was still a thriving Roman hub. Poppies were in flower and found space to grow in the old house plots. Mount Vesuvius was in the backdrop, powerful and threatening but at the same time magnificently beautiful. My favourite part of the whole trip was seeing the statue of the Centurion. He was a huge metallic figure, standing guard of the city. His presence gave a really warm, protective feel. I could go on and on, but there is too much to tell. You should go. It’s incredible. After the city of Pompeii we had lunch and I finally tried proper Italian ice cream. We headed back to the hotel after a long hot day of history! I had a traditional pasta dish called Penne Genovease. It’s an onion based sauce found mainly in the Napoli region. It was lovely.

Next day and another early morning. This time we were heading to Amalfi to see the gorgeous villages hanging onto the beautiful coastline. It took around 2 hours. I got talking to a lovely Italian guy who gave me information on how to get back later on and where to find the best ice cream. The drive to Amalfi really was beautiful. The towns are literally embedded into sheer cliff faces. I’m pretty sure magic must have been involved in the making of them. Where there aren’t houses there are lemon trees, with lemons the size of my head! The bright yellow and blue of the sea is something from a perfect dream. We spent the day sunbathing and relaxing on the pebbles. I was a bit of a wimp and only went waist deep in the sea though…

After more ice cream we started the very long journey back to Naples. It took a winding, two hour bus journey and a hot and sticky 2 hour train journey to get back. It would have been bad but the views just made me smile. We eventually got back to Hotel Joyfull and packed ready for our early flight home the next day.

After a long morning of travelling I got back to the UK. After so many different countries I was finally home. I spent the first day with my beautiful little sister. We chatted all day, ate amazing food for tea and relaxed on the settee together until we both fell asleep. I got to see my amazing Dad too. He gives the best cuddles and we always laugh. It makes me happy to see them. I’ve been able to see most of my family which has been lovely, most of my cousins and my gorgeous nephew, grandparents and the various pets! I’ve loved every second.

Being back home for this short break is lovely. It’s like pressing a reset button. You get a full charge of hugs and cuddles. A full dose of northern charm. So many brews you can only ever taste tea. And the kindest smiles you could wish for. I love being home and I love all my home people. It’s nice to have so many people to miss and so many people I get to look forward to seeing.

I’m one lucky bird.

2 hangovers in 1 weekend

This week has been lovely. As usual. The weather is still lovely and the birds are still singing.

I was in the office during the week doing PhD work. It’s always lovely to see everyone. And I also had another Turkish lesson. Slowly but surely I will get there!

A nice mid week treat came in the form of home made cookies and shisha. Donata has her own shisha set so we enjoyed an evening on the balcony smoking and drinking kwass. Kwass is a Lithuanian bread drink. It’s weirdly tasty! I love evenings like that, when it’s nice and warm and the sun sets really slowly. We had a lovely chat and just relaxed.

On Friday my friend Beth arrived. She wanted to come and visit Poznan again and have a mini adventure with me! We’ve been enjoying Poznan night life! On Friday and Saturday we went out in the old square. In the normal Amie style, I had lots of tequila and danced my sandals off! I also decided to try and speak as much Polish as I possibly could. Alcohol definitely makes me more confident in languages!

We leave Poznan tomorrow. It’s been so lovely seeing all of my people in this part of the world. But I can’t stay in one place for too long. Time to move again. Next stop is Naples!

Pilots in Poznan

This week has gone by in a flash. It has been really lovely and with a mix of even lovelier people!

Earlier in the week I went for two nice walks. One was in my lunch break where I went to the huge reed bed nearby. The reed warblers were so loud and joyful. The same day Donata and I went for a forest walk. We were graced with chaffinches, greenfinches, blackbirds, blue tits, great tits and tiny wrens. My idea of heaven.

On Tuesday I had my first online Turkish lesson. I have to learn a foreign language as part of my PhD and so I’ve decided to learn Turkish because of my connection to Northern Cyprus. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll be able to write a translated version of my blog!! For now I know how to say “I would like a coffee please” which is vital for me.

Thursday evening came and me and Donata went to my amazing Czech families flat for something to eat and a catch up. Pavel cooked an amazing salmon, cream and spinach gnocchi. Bloody delicious! All washed down with red wine of course. It was so lovely to see the kids too. Astrid is the calmest baby ever, Hynek just wants to climb on things! It’s always so nice to see them.

As well as work I’ve been practicing my drawing. This week I did a lion for my Dad. The strongest, bravest man I know.

Anyway….then the weekend came.

Saturday day was spent relaxing. In the evening we got ready and heading into the Old Town to meet Donata’s friends. The rum and cokes started. We had several each. After the first few we went into the Ratusz (town hall) as it was open all night with free admission! Being slightly drunk inside a museum is hilarious. I’d highly recommend it. We went to a bar after that. Had more drinks. Me some Dutch fighter pilots. Drank some more. Moved on to another bar. Had tequila. Met the pilots again. It was light by the time we headed home! Such an amazing night!

 

Today we are hungover.

I just wanted to end with this…When we were at the Czech family’s house, Marketa commented that she has never seen me so calm and relaxed. She is the second person to say this to me during my visit here. Kasia said the same to me last weekend. It makes me feel really good that I have come a full circle in a whole year. I’m back to Amie. I’m so happy in my lovely little life. I think for now it’s just great to be in a flow that suits me. You only live once. This isn’t a dress rehearsal or a practice run. This is the now. I’m just going to enjoy it all. And most important thing, I’m going to enjoy being me!

24 hours in Istanbul

I normally don’t write mid-week posts. I like to keep it for the weekend. But I just can’t wait to talk about my latest adventure!

From Northern Cyprus I took a quick flight to Gökçen airport in Istanbul! After buying my visa and getting through passport control I was greeted by my gorgeous friends Simla and Donata. We all met whilst living in Poznan last year. Simla is from Istanbul and had invited us ages ago!

Loaded with my huge bag, we set off to the bus stop to start the journey to Simla’s house. Mid way through the journey we stopped in Levent for some food. We tried to go to the shopping centre but security there is really strict and I wasn’t allowed through with my field knife! So we opted for a kebab place instead! We were recommended the iskender. This is döner meat on top of chunks of soft bread soaked in an amazing tomato sauce. All with a huge dollop of yogurt on the side. Of course I had to have mine with pickled chillies.

Driving through Istanbul was actually lovely. It’s so different to what I had imagined. It is so green! There are lots of trees and when you look up to the hills, it almost feels as though nature is in control and the houses are just adapting to it. Quite refreshing really. We crossed the river and I spotted several seabirds and smiled. It felt like a utopia!

Anyway… A couple of buses later and we were home. I met her cat, Kedi and we rested up for an hour or so. Istanbul is massive, travelling across it takes a really long time! Especially with traffic!

First port of call was the Grand Bazaar. We entered through a side gate. Again, loads of security. Simla took the lead and we weaved our way through the hustle and bustle. The curved tunnels could lead you anywhere, like a maze, each with its own treasure at the end. We took the route to the coffee shop. It was much needed. We drank a Turkish coffee each and told each other our fortunes. Apparently my journey is far from over and I have lots to look forward to. All good.

Coffee stop was over and we headed to the Spice Bazaar. A different, more modern feel, yet still really old! Turkish delight could be seen as far as the eye could see. And the smell of spices filled the air and our noses! Gorgeous! We entered one of the many Turkish delight stalls and got lots of tasters. It is the best I have ever tried. I bought a small box, and am currently eating a pomegranate piece as I write this.

From the Bazaar we then had a quick tea stop and then went on the the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. They are both magnificent buildings, intricate and mesmerising! It was call to prayer and so we weren’t allowed inside the mosque, but to be honest, just seeing it from the outside was enough. We shared a simit as a snack which is a Turkish style pretzel covered in sesame seeds. It was delicious! And just what I needed!

We began the journey home, using metros and buses. It was quite late but we were peckish and so Simla took us to try tavuk göğsü. This is a desert made from chicken. It’s literally very finely shredded chicken mixed with milk and magic I think! Then it’s covered with cinnamon! We had ours with vanilla ice cream. It was pretty tasty, and I’m very open to different foods. But I won’t lie, it was hard to get past the fact that it was chicken!

Home and bed for us! Long, long day!

The next day Simla had an exam early in the morning so she left and me and Donata got ready for breakfast. We wandered through the streets to find coffee and food! We found the perfect place and I put my limited Turkish to good use. We got iki Nescafé ve iki sandviç (2 coffees and 2 sandwiches)!! We got our taxi shortly after and headed to the airport.

It was amazing trip! I’m already looking forward to my next visit!

It makes me smile when I think about all my friends dotted around the world. It makes it seem small and it makes me want to see as much as I possibly can. I don’t spend money on clothes or bags or makeup. I spend it on flights because the memories you make at all these destinations last forever!!

Cement, chicks and castles.

Since my last post I feel like I haven’t had chance to catch my breathe! It’s been a full on week or so, but I have enjoyed every minute! I mean, you only live once, why live in the slow lane??

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After my post last week I arranged an Easter Egg hunt for all of the volunteers which was exciting. Although, I think I was probably more excited than them! It was very hot and so they had to do it super quickly so the treats didn’t melt! That afternoon was spent making anchors for some marine based work coming up. We had to make wheelbarrow loads of concrete to fill tires. It was my first time making concrete, but I was pretty chuffed! No electric mixer, just brute strength and a good mixing technique (I tried to copy my Nana’s chocolate cake batter-mixing technique). I’ll have to show my Grandpa the photos when I get home, as a retired builder and plumber I imagine he will be chuffed!!!

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We had a new arrival in the glorious form of Robyn (but we call her Bob, so as not so confuse her with Robbo). We picked her up from the border after a quick scan of the west coast for stranded turtles. Sleepy house was the most full it has been this season, with a total of 6 volunteers!

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A new experience for me was leading my first bird ringing session as ringer in charge. Unfortunately it was a slow morning, but we caught some house sparrows, cetti’s warbler and a beautiful male blackcap. That evening we had an amazing BBQ. Lamb burgers, beef meatballs, salad and plenty of helumi! It was all washed down with an ice cold Efes!

It was Fran’s last day this week and so us Kuskor lot decided to go to Kantara Castle to do some birding and sightseeing. The views up there were absolutely breath-taking. Probably some of the best I have seen. We could see right out to the Karpaz and all along the mountain ridge stretching across the north. We saw a raven, swifts, blue rock thrush and plenty of great tits.

This weekend was spent on the Karpaz peninsula. On the way there we had to make a pit stop so I could ring a rescued kestrel and release it. It was a gorgeous male, quite calm and in good health. He had been well looked after. We took him to a nearby field to release him and enjoyed watching him speed off into the horizon. Most sights are nice when there is sunshine and blue skies, never mind when there is a gorgeous kestrel too! Anyway…The whole team went up to Karpaz for fisheries work and breeding bird surveys. We got so much done, it was amazing! We saw our first Roller of the year which was probably my highlight so far! We also saw several types of wheatear which was brilliant, I always think they look quite elegant. Me, Tom and Bob went for a meal so Tom could try a meze before he left. We were there for a few hours and chatted lots. I love evenings like that, where the conversation flows and you don’t know how it got so late so quickly! It was nice to have a weekend of adventure, the Karpaz is a gorgeous part of Cyprus. It is speckled with amazing beaches made up of caramel coloured dunes, wild donkeys roaming for food and unique villages full of fishermen.

The weekend was long and exciting, but Monday came and we had to say goodbye to Tom. I can’t quite believe how quick the time has gone, we’ve had such a nice time with him in the team. I said goodbye to him at Sleepy, but me and Bob had a busy day ahead. We had to give our first ever bird guide to a lovely man called Gerard. We took him to see various spots around Lefkosa and Famagusta. He saw 13 new species which was brilliant. I think my highlights for the trip were a spotted redshank in summer plumage and a great spotted cuckoo.

Briefly we were down to 4 in sleepy house, just me, Sav, Rupert and Bob. But… this morning I found a house sparrow chick hanging out of his nest, very cold and in a bad way. I am now a mother to a gorgeous chick, who never stops tweeting and loves a tasty ant or earwig. And now, sleepy house has 5 members again. He is called Freddy Benjamin Attenborough and is a little love. Anyway… on that note, I’ll have to leave this entry so I can go on the hunt for more grubs for my little one. Maybe then I’ll get some peace and quiet eh?!

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