In October I wrote that despite tree clearance and a new road being driven through the ex-forest next to our house, the forestry workers had promised that the land would be replanted. Having lived long enough to have developed a healthy sceptical disregard for official promises, I have been expecting builders to turn up and develop the land into either housing or worse-still, a factory. I'm extremely happy therefore to swallow my cynicism, chuck out my pessimism and re-embrace my inner Pollyanna. About 3 weeks ago a mysterious white line appeared dividing the cleared land in half, then an announcement boomed discordantly from the village loudspeaker system telling us that the forestry commission wanted to recruit temporary workers (35TL a day - about £12.50 - roughly the minimum wage in Turkey). A week later the saplings started being delivered and ever since an ever-changing group of men, women and children have been planting fir trees on the southern side of the white line.
Two days ago, a more professional-looking, hard-hatted, florescent-tabarded crew of men arrived and started planting carob trees on the north side of the line. I can't find out how long it takes a carob tree to mature but in a few years our bare expanse of mud is going to look very different. I withdraw all my brickbats and send laudations and much gratitude to the Forestry Commission.