I am very law abiding - I'm also a bit obsessive about having the correct papers and licences. I also possibly have an OCD about insurance so after Teo died I went not once, not twice but three times to the bank to check all our insurance policies were in order. They were, I was assured, all three times. How long have I lived here? I really should have known better.
On the Thursday before the wedding I was driving home with the car stuffed to the brim with booze. Jake was squashed into a corner of the back seat by 4 cases of wine and I had beer in the boot and Rakı in the front, so I suppose it was sod's law that I got stopped by the traffic police for a routine check. Aware in these increasingly alcohol-averse times that I was a mobile caricature of a middle-aged ex-pat, I started to explain about the wedding but the cop wasn't interested. My compulsory road insurance was out of date. Now I was pretty confident that it wasn't but my agent was on holiday so I rang her assistant. She was on a course in Istanbul but answered anyway but couldn't do anything until her lecture finished. So being Turkish, I ignored my British reticence to disturb a well earned holiday and rang my agent's mobile and she, being Turkish, answered, even though she was on a beach. She was equally sure that I was legal, having faced me three times in the past three months. She would ring back in 5 minutes. She didn't. By this time I had been asked to step out of the car and a fine had been issued, as according to the polite policeman, the computer is never wrong and my insurance had run out (but my tax and fully comp insurance were fine, but that didn't cut any ice). By now Jake was also out of the car and we were both sitting in the roadside traffic office, tea had been provided plus the number of an insurance agent to get me the required piece of paper as my agent had suddenly remembered that she was on holiday and wasn't returning calls. But the car was still in Teo's name as I'd been desperately trying to finish the paper work for the two houses before Esi's wedding. As Teo was no more, I couldn't buy the insurance - stalemate. The car would be towed away. I'm glad to say I found this situation funny, the only real annoyance was that I had had my always-messy car valeted that morning as I was picking up family from the airport later in the day. The friend I rang also laughed when I explained what had happened but did arrange a hire car for me. My son-in-law-to-be was very gracious in driving 35kms to collect me, the dog and the booze and taking me home, and my house guests very kindly drove me to the airport to collect the hire car so I could pick up my family. Even the policeman said he was very sorry to have stopped me and if he'd known about my husband he wouldn't have. (Not sure how I could have indicated my newly widowed status while driving - suggestions please below)
Eight days later I got my car back after a 90 TL fine paid at a government approved bank, 150TL notary expenses to change the car into my name, 1,850 TL for compulsory insurance (it was 500 last year, but I had to use the probate to do it as you can't change the name without insurance unless the maximum possible is charged), 85 TL for a change of log book, 480 TL for the hire car and 330TL to get my car out of the pound. Just the kind of expense one needs after a wedding! And if there is a moral to this story I think it is either 'ride a bicycle', 'don't die' or 'immediately burst into tears if a policeman stops you'.