You can check out, but you can never leave!

Arriving in Istanbul late at night, there was no more public transport, and certainly no ferry to across the water to Yalova. The only bus we could find was carting tourists straight to Taxim. So I guess that’s where we’ll go then. At least we already knew where to find a hostel there, and they had a bed free for us. Might as well go out for a beer and a game of tavla before bed then 🙂

The next day we had another yummie breakfast at the Jazz Cafe and popped into the spice bazar to buy a stash of turkish coffee, before heading to the ferry for Yalova. Once across the water, it was another hours wait for the bus to Kurtkoy of course (they are all timed so they leave just BEFORE the ferry arrives!) We decided to jump on the Kadikoy bus instead, and walk from there. Only this time we were unlucky. The bus terminated in a completely different spot in Kadikoy and we had far to walk.

And we were thirsty, having been too stingy to pay for a bottle of water in town, expecting to come past one of the many fountains dotted long the roads. When we finally found one, we almost drowned ourselves, drinking far too fast. A couple of guys sat behind a fence sorting tiny not-quite-ripe-yet pears. They came over and handed us a hand full through the wire. Just to be nice. They were really yum and refreshing too! (The pears, not the guys.)

We bumbled along, eating sweet mulberries off the trees and watching village life go by.People working the field in the shade of parasols.

Eventually we got to a road we recognised. And no sooner had we grabbed an ice cream on the corner, a car stopped to give us a lift. After we jumped in, he asked where we were going. Kurtkoy? Yup, that’s where I’m headed!

Back at Forest Gardens we moved into the prefab where Chevrel and Alan keep their seeds and which is normally a sort of dry/clean outside space for everything. After all the road was calling and we’d be leaving soon real soon; and the house was full with all the other volunteers. The next two days were to be split between working (we didn’t want to freeload of course) and fixing Seven, so we could set off on Saturday morning.

On the way back from the ride to the waterfall before France, Seven had been cutting out when idling and idling too high at other times, so that was to be fixed. I had no idea what the problem could be, so I checked the spark plugs, air filter and ignition coils. Sparks and coils fine, and the dirty air filter replaced, she seemed to run ok-ish, but now she made a hissing sound. I’d heard it before on Sasha, and in that case it had been air squeezing out at the loose spark plug thread. But this time the thread was fine, I was sure.

So I skyped Dave Wilkins. “Check the intake manifold. They often break when they get old on these bikes. If it has a hole the bike will run like shit. How does it run?” “Yeah, like shit!” Thanks Dave! The air box off I immediately saw he was right.

This isn’t the kind of part you carry as spare of course, so a bodge fix would have to do. I spent the rest of the day, gluing the hole with rubber solution from the puncture repair kit, then with superglue and finally I taped it up with tons of electrical tape for good measure. By the time I had the bike back together it was evening. I didn’t start it though, to let all the glue dry and stick some more.Glued together with tons of superglue... Then wrapped in tape...

The next day was spent working. Aidan built some steps out of railway sleepers around which Chevrel got busy planting rosemary.

I took some of the little vines I’d ben weeding a week before from the polytunnel and planted them into pots. They are the ones that are to go on the field next year.

Saturday was the big day. Nice as it had been, we were exited we’d finally be on the road again! We decided to ride to the market and buy supplies for our next few days camping. It was to be a test run before we’d pack up and leave. Aidan sped happily ahead, but I only got five hundred metres up the hill when Seven made a horrible squeaky sucking sound! The glue obviously didn’t hold! Worried bits of glue and rubber would be sucked into the engine, I turned her off and coasted back down the hill. So much for that then!

We parked the bikes back in their usual spot and went inside. Speaking excellent Turkish, Chevrel began a mission calling the parts department of BMW in Bursa 80km or so away, trying to convince them to order the part for us. It was agreed that we should go to a bank and pay a deposit into their nominated bank account on Monday and then they would have the part shipped over to theirs from Istanbul on Tuesday. Card payment over the phone is not possible. Apparently this is how its done in Turkey.

So we worked some more and waited for monday to arrive. There were bamboos to be split and re-potted. New planting soil needed to be mixed, which is backbreaking work: collecting soil from a heap in the veg garden, compost from one of the three heaps and sand, all to be mixed in a giant black tub.

We also had a chance to take the dogs for a walk. We’d been told of an awesome hollow tree past the restaurant with the tree house. Not quite sure of the way, we followed a little road up the hill, which the workhorses seemed to use. It soon turned into a tiny bramble-overgrown path. But the dogs seemed to know it, so we followed them over the hill and down towards where we could hear water.

Suddenly the dogs disappeared. Climbing through the last brambles we found them drinking from the river. We had reached the restaurant. The tree house is a work in progress and you can’t go inside yet. So we sat by the swings under a tree and ordered chai and then explored the electricity generating watermill they had and their smaller hollow tree.

Unsure how much further the tree would be, we took the road back to Kurtkoy. Bruno’s limp had got quite bad from the long walk and Troy was exhausted. Her fur is as thick as sheep’s’ wool and this heat is a nightmare for her.

We also did some work in the field of course. More corn and beans and cucumbers were planted and Aidan dug a drainage trench.Dramatic skies over our newly planted row of corn

When Monday finally arrived, Aidan and I took the morning bus to Yalova to go to the bank and then we would do the market shopping too, and cook dinner that evening. Chevrel had confirmed our email with BMW that morning, so they could send their bank details, and she’d reassured them we would definitely pay today.

We took a number at the bank and sat down and waited till it came up. And waited. Finally it was our turn When the lady at the counter eventually understood what we wanted, she said it was impossible. To pay money into an account, you need a national tax number. (It’s a bit like a national insurance number or an ID number in Turkey.) So we left and text Chevrel, who gave us theirs, while we waited at another bank. No luck there either. The person whose number it is must sign a document. And I didn’t want to fake Chevrel’s signature as banks keep copies of these and it may cause trouble for her later, when they find the fake.

Maybe at a cash machine, they said. You can pay money in there. But you also need the date of birth. I text Chevrel and she sent me that too. Then the machine said “incorrect ID” without further explanation. Back to the first bank. They also want a signature. The cash machine at the post office wants another number as well. By now Chevrel isn’t responding anymore as she’s at work.

We take a number at the post office. But its a super long wait. After half an hour sitting frustrated in the shade, we go and have a coffee. And miss our number at the postie by one minute. Fuck it, we’re not waiting another hour again! We try all the cash machines on the way to the market, there are at least a dozen. Some don’t speak English. Others tell us after we’ve typed in all numbers, bank account details and even amount, that they can’t process the transfer. WHY WON’T ANYONE TAKE OUR MONEY?????

Its late afternoon by now so we give up and go to the market. Some stalls are already packing up. We whiz through, but miss the bus from the bus station by seconds. So we decide to go back through town and buy some much needed beer. We ended up catching the bus we’d missed earlier by the side of the big road towards home. Sweet!

When Chevrel gets back that evening, I bombard her with our story of woe and frustration and she phones BMW even before she gets out of the car. The parts guy seems pissed off, as he won’t let her get a word in. But when she relates how everyone refused our money without all sorts of identification and signatures, he seems bemused by the absurdity and banter commences. He has ordered the part anyways and we can pick it up tomorrow. Yay! Chevrel is a star for sorting all of that!

So on Tuesday we rode on Pippa to Bursa. Aidan wasn’t allowed to stall the engine though, as Pippa had developed an electrical fault, seemingly draining the battery, so she couldn’t start by herself. We had been jump-starting her off Seven.Pippa getting a jump start off Seven

When we turned off the main road a security guard asked us who we were looking for and then had another car lead us straight to BMW.

After we’d been taken inside and sat down with a glass of cold water, the mechanic came outside to see what Pippas problem was. Of course this time Pippa started. We described the issue and they said they’d have to keep Pippa for the day tomorrow to go through all their procedures as decreed by BMW and it could take a whole day to fix her. At 60 Euros an hour that was far to expensive for us! So we agreed we’d give it a try ourselves tonight, and if we couldn’t fix it, we’d be back tomorrow. They took our details just in case, we paid for Seven’s part and off we went, regrettably passing up on the guys’ offer to go for lunch, since we had some greasemonkeying to do.

Back in Kurtkoy we got working on Pippa straight away. But our efforts finished almost as soon as they started, since we couldn’t find any circuit that was drawing a charge from the battery with the bike switched off. So it wasn’t a short as we’d suspected. And we were out of ideas. Especially since the battery seemed to be charging fine, when the bike was running, and after having run to Bursa, it was almost fully charged and Pippa was starting by herself.

So Aidan carried on building the wall he’d started the other day.

And I took Seven apart and fitted the shiny new intake manifold instead. The bikes so fixed, we would leave the next day 🙂

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