This week we asked friends and readers to suggest themes for our weekend charter. The sillier the better we said. We won't say that again. Thanks to your overwhelming response on facebook we're now very nearly committed to writing about pillar box makers' marks, for instance. Not entirely clear what these are supposed to be but they can be bought on the internet, if you're interested.
Obviously, we won't be able to discuss all those themes at the length they deserve in any one post. So here's what: I'll try to mention as many as possible in the weekend charter, as well as in the in-flight movie. Marianne is being a perfectionist and focussing on two of them in order to put together a perfect little pearl of a post.
Just to show you how hard I'm working, (and how mentally unstable some of our friends are) I'll highlight the things that were suggested to us in bold.
This is the way I go to work, early in the morning!
I live a pretty humdrum kind of life. As in nothing particularly exciting happens to me (except when my building catches fire) and I have routines I love and don't deviate from unless I really, really have to. Also, I live in a pretty uninteresting place – it's a university campus in central Anatolia. There's some square, grey, not quite completed or already falling apart buildings, some grass and a few trees - but only because the gardeners stuck them there – and, apart from the sprinklers needed to maintain the grass, absolutely no water. On days when it's not cloudy, and when the pollution isn't covering anything that's more than ten meters away, you can see the mountains. So it's barren, dry, a bit intimidating, and I don't usually see anything interesting on the 5 minutes walk from our flat to the office.
But I have seen something weird. I haven't mentioned it to anyone because although weird, it wasn't exactly top news and the opportunity to talk about it just didn't come up.
One day last autumn, on my way to the office I saw five keys. That's oneper each minute of the walk. And I don't mean keys that were in people's hands or bags, or in locks. I mean keys lying around in places where they didn't belong.
Key number one was in the rubbish bin just outside the lift on my floor. There was nothing else there, just the key. No identifying mark on it. Just one plain metal ring.
Keys number two, three, four and five were just lying around on the pavement, the grass, in the gutter (except it's not really a gutter, it's just the bit between the pavement and the road. We don't have gutters here. When it rains, there's waves on the road, and then the extra dry Anatolian earth swallows it up in a matter of minutes.) They'd just been dropped there, in places where my eye was bound to fall and to notice the glinty little things. A bit like Easter eggs but not egg shaped and metallic. I did wonder if I was hallucinating – but turned down the hypothesis on the grounds that it would be a rather pointless thing to hallucinate about. Or if I'd fallen in some kind of fantasy world and someone was trying to give me an important message. Or if I'd always been in a fantasy world but only noticing just now. You know, like in a story in which ghosts exists and you don't believe in them and then one comes knocking on your door so you wake up to the fact of ghostly existence.
In any case nothing did happen. I worried for a bit about all these people who'd lost their keys. I checked my pocket for mine a couple of times. But I didn't find myself near a mysterious door that needed unlocking. I didn't come across an old witch (or three) on the side of the road who wanted me to exchange an old key for a brand new one. But what I did do, was keep quiet about it. Until today, that is. Because who on earth would be interested in my seeing keys lying about on my way to work? So I filed it in my head under 'keys' and 'weird things happening on the way to work', and kept it there, revisiting it occasionally when the world seemed a little wonky and not quite right.
I suppose because the road is so empty, and at 8.30 in the morning there are so few people on it, I do get to notice every little detail that's out of kilter. Later in the day, I don't. So once, for instance, I ran my hand on a bannister that was covered in wasps. Their outrage was such that one stung me here and there and the rest chased me across the street! But wasps are not keys, they belong on bannisters. (at least they think they do!) It was still a mystery.
Now that, thanks to my daughter, I'm a lot better informed about some things, I suspect I know exactly what was going on. I won't go into the details, but let me just say that if I'd looked around carefully, I'd have probably spotted a police box lurking around somewhere on my way to work!
An entry for Vegemitevix's Friday Funny a place to go to for a good laugh and to link to if you have something funny you want to share.
Spring was late this year.
What I'm finding increasingly on my way to work, also, is flowers. Nothing particularly strange about that, of course – except that people were beginning to suspect that winter would never end and it finally seems like it has. Except that the flowers here are colour coordinated. You get a few weeks of one (sometimes two) colours, and then all those flowers disappear to make room for the next colour. So for instance when we were in Cappadocia at Easter, I was hoping to find a lot of chamomile, but it wasn't yet time for white flowers, and every thing was covered in pesky yellow things! Every thing apart from the volcanic lake we visited – there the flowers were all different colours. Apparently volcanoes affect the ground in such a way that plant colour is affected. They had sheep grazing there. I wonder if the wool will turn a funny colour. Saves on dyeing.
So right now Anatolia is in its early yellow phase. In a while we'll have white as well as yellow. Then the yellow will go and we'll have white and blue. Then, if we're lucky we'll have my favourite combination: blue and red. Lots of corn flowers, thistles, other things I don't know, and tiny poppies that start off as black and turn blood red when they open. You can't pick them as they die straightaway. You can pick some of the others but then you'll bring home lots of insects as well. Also I like having them to look at in the morning when I go to work, so I'd rather you didn't.