In difficult times the importance of social networks can make the difference between succumbing to depression or pulling through relatively unscathed by the process. As retirement looms I am aware of our social support system: friendships, community resources and activities in which we participate. The MOTH has recently joined the local Men’s Shed and seems to have found his niche amongst a set of older coves who enjoy drinking copious amounts of tea and telling a story or two.
Many eastern European cultures take a different view of friendship. While young boys can be found in small groups in western countries, the boys in the photo above are starting a tradition of sitting in the town square and enjoying “food”, conversation and each other’s company.
The month we spent in Turkey exposed us to so many facets of the culture. As an avid observer of people the number of men ‘doing coffee’ at sidewalk cafes was a marked difference to our western culture. Walk down any street in Australia and more than likely cafe tables occupied by small groups of women; in Turkey it is common to see groups of men socialising around a game of backgammon.
Tavla, the Turkish name for backgammon, is often played around pots of strong Turkish coffee and most establishments have backgammon boards for customers’ use. The rules are similar but not exactly the same as Western backgammon.