About six years ago, when mobile phones were far fewer in number than now, a tall antenna was erected virtually overnight on a hillside overlooking our valley. It was, and still remains, a bit of an eyesore, and although we have no use for a mobile phone ourselves, we accepted it as a necessity.
The following spring we paid our annual visit to one of our oldest Turkish friends with a view to relieving him of a kilo or two of plums from his 200 or 300 plum trees. We were astonished to learn, however, that his total crop had come to little more than a couple of kilos. He was a very disappointed old man as were Frau and I of course. We asked him why he thought his crop had failed, and in response he pointed to the aforementioned antenna on the hillside some two kilometers away and explained that it was the reason; the mobile phones had zapped (my word) his plums.
Oh, how we sniggered later in the day when we told our friends of the old man’s silliness, and I admit that we have retold that crazy theory once or twice a year since, always amongst sniggers about the foolishness of our older villagers.
It is now time for a foolish immigrant to eat humble pie. Yesterday on the TV there was a news item about the phenomena known as “colony collapse disorder” which is resulting in a severe reductions in bee populations all over the world. It was reported that one theory being carefully studied was the possibility that mobile-phone radio waves are disturbing the ability of the bees to navigate their way back to their hives; the magnetic field of the earth seems to be important to that end and radio waves may be interfering. That theory has not yet been proven, but it is being taken very seriously.
Now, the reduction in the bee population is a very grave matter, something like 80 percent of the pollination of plants is done by bees. That’s not just your roses and daffodils, my dear. That’s 80 percent of all food crops including, of course, plums.
So there you are, it appears that our old farmer may have been streets ahead of the world’s scientists in seeing a problem. Hey, if the world’s crops fail very significantly maybe they’ll ban mobile phones. Now that I would more than welcome.
Perhaps I should take other pearls of wisdom that we hear from our villagers more seriously. Perhaps scientists will eventually learn that trees felled in the week of a full moon really should not be used for building, and that breathing the same air as a dog does indeed cause death. That mobile phones cause brain disease is, of course, proven. One only has to stand in a supermarket for a while, or attend a funeral or church service to see the proof. So, “colony collapse disorder.” I wonder if it might also affect the ability of ex-pats to navigate their way back to their hives? I would not object at all to the partial collapse of a few of the British colonies around these parts. Readers in different parts of Turkey may feel the same about colonies of Germans, or possibly Russians.
Yesterday I met a chap, quite a decent sort I thought, who I soon learnt was a founding member of the “Yeşilköy Residents Association.” I have changed the name of the particular town for obvious reasons. As readers know well by now my hackles are very sensitive and easily roused, so rise they did, and I asked the chap how many Turkish members were in the association. The answer was that there are none. I asked about Germans? Again, there are none. So I asked our friend if he didn’t think that perhaps they should call their Association “The Yeşilköy British Residents Association”? He didn’t answer me directly, but tried to persuade me that they had tried to encourage Turks and people of other nationalities to join. I then asked him where the association met. A trump!
(This is true.) He said they held their meetings at The Winston Churchill Pub. To say that my flabber was well and truly gasted is an understatement. To encourage Turkish and perhaps German members to join they hold meetings in a pub, and a pub celebrating Britain’s wartime leader to boot.
Perhaps one or two socialists amongst them objected to the venue, as they now meet at a different pub; a pub with an unprovocative name, but which has seldom seen any customer from outside of Britain. Come on micro waves, get on and zap the navigation systems of a few of the Brits around here.
I did suggest to our friend that if the Vietnamese of Harrogate, or Accrington for that matter, set up an association claiming to be that town’s resident association then the good occidental Yorkshiremen or Lancastrians of that fair town might be a little upset, but I fear that my words fell on stony ground. Stony ground is also a problem when one becomes involved in a conversation about immigrants to Britain. If you point out that we are immigrants here in Turkey, then you are likely to receive a significant shower of spittle so intense you will be spluttering. The logic seems to be that if you have a pension, then you are not an immigrant. Scientists, please, please, please do this: Discover the radio frequency which does not disturb our busy bees or any other insects from going about their business relating to the carefully balanced food chain, but does severely disturb the homing ability of the less-thinking humans -- and of course there are such in all nationalities -- from returning to their “Villa wi’ pools.” Better still would be a frequency which confuses those folk into returning to their country of origin. No, it need not be usable for communication purposes; I rather envisage an in-car machine with an omnidirectional antenna which we may aim at the offending arrogants. I could use it on any tourist who wears the union flag, too. Please, scientists of the world, awake and save the bees, but see an equal need.