Last week was a tough one in many ways, it being the week that some moron hacked into my email and sprayed my friends and contacts with unwanted messages, as well as the week that I sent three female kittens to Kayseri to be neutered, only to have just two returned to me along with a huge dollop of guilt over the demise of the third.
But the sun is out, the forsythia is in bloom and for the first time in more than four months it’s possible to open a door or window without risking hypothermia. So pushing the problems to one side I took a turn around my property to assess the damage done by the successive snowfalls and thaws.
Living in a cave-house is not, you see, like living in a conventional one. Everywhere I looked the snow had caused bits of the walls to crumble and it’s only when all the fallen stone has been cleared away that it will be possible to see how deep the damage runs. But already I’ve spotted buried cables that are exposed to the light again, and the stone ledge topping the wall of my terrace now looks more like a series of speed bumps than the nice smooth surface of yore.
The courtyard garden is in a woeful state since the snow brought down much of the çubuk (twigs) lining the walls to protect them. This has now become entangled in the branches of the roses and the forsythia, and disentangling it is not going to be easy. Everywhere I look there is fallen Virginia creeper, the erstwhile ruby-red leaves now sunk into a dismal brown mush covering every flowerbed. As for the terracotta pots that once held colorful geraniums, most are now just cracked and broken containers for dead twigs.
Needless to say, the building season is in full swing again. These days I’ve become so used to the sound of drilling that at first I hardly noticed that it had started up again right beside my house. Then I opened the gate and found that the steps that run up beside it to the hotel at the back were all being dug up.
“We’re widening them, abla,” said the builder, which is all very well except that I also needed to take them up to put in place some kind of defense against the water infiltration that turned this winter into a protracted nightmare. Then again, perhaps this was really a blessing in disguise. When I lived in the UK a common cause of complaint was that the electricity people would come along and dig up the road one week, only to have the telephone people come and dig it up again two weeks later. “Why can’t they get their acts together?” we would wail in unison.
So now there’s been some conferring, and while I was hefting çubuk and rotted Virginia creeper the builders were inserting a new pipe into the trench for me. It was a close call but by a stroke of luck we actually seem to have managed to coordinate our projects.
Pat Yale lives in restored cave-house in Göreme in Cappadocia.