Welcome Harry!

Many years ago I lived in a lovely, small apartment overlooking the Bosporus. One day when I came home from a reporting trip to Turkey’s troubled Kurdish regions, I noticed a round hole in the wooden floor, the size of a tangerine, right in front of the kitchen door.
Puzzled, but tired I dropped my bags, went to the living room and sat down on the sofa with a beer. Home at last.
After a while something made my hair stand up on end –you know that funny sense you get at the back of your neck when someone is looking at you from behind. Cautiously, I turned my head. There, in the doorway, sat a big, brown rat on his haunches, and he was staring at me as if I was the one -and not he- not belonging there.
I’m not afraid of rats, but I don’t want them in my house either. I got up and waved my hands, hoping he’d disappear through the hole he had gnawed in my floor. Alas. Either he had forgotten where it was, or he didn’t feel like leaving.
For days I chased him around the house, closing the doors behind him of the rooms he had left, stuffing clothes in the gap underneath the doors after I saw him disappear through a slit I thought too narrow for his body. I hunted him, madly waving a broom stick after having tucked my trousers in my boots, because I read that when they panick rats might shoot up that safe-looking opening around your feet.
One day I managed to chase him through the wide open front door, but as soon as he realised his mistake, he turned around in mid-air and was back inside before I could slam the door behind him. Then, finally, I did it. He was really gone.
That evening I was reading in my bed. Just before I switched off the bedside light, I saw a shadow on the wall. His back hunched, the rat was tiptoeing towards the chest of drawers right by my bed. I heard him sneak into the bottom drawer where I kept my scarfs.
What to do?
I decided I couldn’t be bothered to get dressed again and start chasing him around the house again. I reckoned he just wanted to go to sleep, just like me. We both happily snored away in our soft beds. The next morning I got serious, however.
I got him out. He gnawed a hole through my window frame and got back in. In the end I did manage to chase him out of my house, but not out of my life. For the fictional character of Harry the Rat was born. He traveled with me often, and the children I met were fascinated by him. Now his first book is out –in German, as a special, limited edition for the German School in Istanbul. (The help of Levent Ozcelik was indispensible. Thank you, Levent!) You can see it here. When you click on the picture gallery, you can read a preview in German.
I hope I’ll find a way to publish it in English too. If you want to get to know Harry, look here.


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