Saturday, 25 February 2017

February Brunch

When Spring has Sprung, as it does in mid February, it is best to head out to the countryside to enjoy the almond blossom, anemones and the acid green of newly sprouting nature. The photography group drove out to Etrim Village on Wednesday to take photos - at least the intention was to take photos but mostly we just ate.  Two hours spent over a village breakfast lulled me into a satisfied stupor that would have best been served by a nap under an olive tree. Consequently I have very few snaps to show for my trip. 

I do however remember what we ate:
Village flat bread
Fried eggs
Strawberry, raspberry, orange, pear, quince and walnut jam
Clotted cream
Herb pastries
Sigara börek/deep fried cheese pastries
3 types of olives
2 types of cheese
Tomato, cucumber and rocket (arugula)
Sweet buns
Deep fried dough with syrup
Fresh tomato sauce

Now I know why a true artist should be a least a little bit hungry. A full stomach does nothing for creativity.

Monday, 20 February 2017


I promised pictures of my newly finished wall-hanging, but promises are made to be broken. Said wall hanging is still in a hundred pieces and I'm trying to work out why.  What do I do with my time that stops me from finishing projects? A quick review of the last week shows three mornings filled with lycra-clad limb waving that over the years has gone by many names and now, that it is accompanied by plastic balls and elastic bands, is called Pilates.  The actual exercise only takes 60 minutes a pop but getting there and back and recovery time, write off the rest of the a.m. hours. Three afternoons were taken up with lectures - I learnt about the history of the Fertile Crescent, concentrating on Syria. Reminded myself of all I knew and had forgotten about Herodotus, erstwhile resident of Bodrum whose 2,500 or so birthday we should all be celebrating, and spent two hours in the entertaining company of Prof. Dr. Fahri Işık; hearing more about Hekotomnus and his mausoleum which, inconveniently, was built before The (Seven Wonders of the Ancient World) Mausoleum of his son which coined the word 'mausoleum' - more on that later when I've plucked up the courage. That's more history than I sat though in a week as an undergraduate. Add several kms a day dog walking plus a long walk with Jake's girlfriends Peri and Sevgi, plus an afternoon each spent at writing group and book club,  and the week whizzed past.  No wonder the wall is still bare. 

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Love from Bodrum

  No, I didn't buy him a red rose 

We just went for our usual walk through the centre of Bodrum and only twigged that it was St. Valentine's Day when we saw the balloons. 

We stopped to listen to the band and were handed a red rose and a chocolate.  I ate the chocolate so it was only fair that Jake got the rose.

We carried on the walk accompanied by a good cover version of an Eric Clapton classic, surrounded by young and old (but no dogs) carrying single red roses. 

Lots of Love 

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Pussies galore

Jake will be irked by this post, not only did I leave him for 5 days to visit Greece, but I'm writing about cats. He responded to his abandonment by not eating for 2 days and then by refusing dog food and only eating chicken, eggs and rice. He has had the sole attention of my daughter, treats and plenty of walks but he was keen to get his vexation acknowledged. He will have also noted that when he was responsible for the blog, the posts were more frequent.
I was on Hydra for 4 days and the difference between Bodrum and the island was pronounced; Hydra was very quiet, most of the cafes, hotels and restaurants closed and the streets empty, today in Bodrum there was a buzz in the air - cafes full and a craft street market in full swing. Maybe it is an island thing - I shall have to go to Kos to compare.

While on a lonely walk between Avlaki and Hydra harbour, I came across Valerie - busy feeding the island's street cats. I stopped to chat and found that like Bodrum, a few individuals take on the responsibility  of keeping the street animals alive during the winter. It's a stressful job as once started, it is impossible to stop and when charitable donations are added to the equation there are the constant accusations of misappropriation of funds to deal with, even though good hearted animal lovers are funding the work from their own pockets when contributions run dry.

Valerie and her followers

The street cats all looked sleek and well fed and The Hydra Ark tries to keep the feline population under control with regular neutering session. Luckily, unlike Bodrum, there are very few abandoned dogs.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Plans and Projects

Time to reclaim my blog before Jake gets ideas above his station.  He has already started telling me when he wants to eat, when he wants to walk and in the past few days, expressing his opinion on where he wants to walk by digging his heals in if I head in the wrong direction.  I have to thank him for raising my usual monthly hit rate of sixteen thousand to well over twenty thousand so I can only assume that folk care what this dog thinks. 

While on a flight of canine literary fancy I have also been busy making my house in Bodrum more comfortable. This winter seems to have been particularly cold for a long stretch (hence the shortage of mediterranean lettuces in UK supermarkets) and the house is built to the 20th Century Bodrum design of small windows and thin walls - even if the sun is out it has little chance to warm the ground floor living area. So having always wanted a window seat and the proceeds  of the land sale rapidly dropping in value as the Turkish Lira crashes, I ordered windows for my hardly used balcony and created a reading nook for myself.  It took 15 days to finish from ordering to windows to hanging the fairy lights and I'm having fun filling it with fripperies.  When a crisp North wind is blowing the clouds away and it's 5 degrees C outside, my snug with its East, South and West facing windows, is a toasty 24 degrees. 

Encouraged by the stress-free balcony project, I decided to make the evenings warmer too and bought a wood-burning stove.  That was the easy bit - it got messier as I got in a builder to knock down the existing fireplace, fit the pipes and re-plaster the wall.  This took 5 days and a bit of vacuuming and I have now joined a new class of folk who discuss logs, kindling, the price of a ton and the best type of chestnut to roast.  Keeping the stove fed and pumping out heat is a satisfying challenge and I hope my electricity bills drop as a result. 

My next project can be achieved without help but was suggested by Mary of The Adventures of Cılgın Kız Blog. My window seat has an empty white wall crying out for decoration so my crochet hook has been busy and although I haven't any idea how yet - my wall hanging should be catching the rays by the end of next week.  

Jake is annoyed at my constant concentration on a crochet hook and has been stealing leaves and balls of wool whenever he gets the chance. He probably has a project of his own in mind. 

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Jewish Cemetery in Bodrum


My first visit to the Jewish cemetery in Bodrum had to be aborted - It was 2012, the graveyard was in a very neglected state, the grass so long that the gravestones couldn't be seen and there were two camels tethered below the graves.  I was a young pup and became hysterical at the sight of these strange animals - camels are still on my list of 'most hated' just after thunder, helicopters and birds.  It is interesting to note that the word camel comes from the Greek word kamelos and is of Semitic origin.


By 2014 the graveyard had been tidied up and, after a walk by yesterday,  I can confirm that the cemetery is still being looked after.
A famous educator, Avram Galanti, was born in Bodrum in 1873 and from his 1945 book - 'Bodrum History', we know that in 1894 from a total Bodrum population of 6003, 3608 were Muslim, 2264 were Orthodox, 86 were Jewish and 45 were 'foreign'.  When the law was passed that made Turks take surnames, Galanti chose Bodrumlu.

If you'd like to know more about this under-researched aspect of Bodrum life,  'The Bodrum Jewish Cemetery' has just been published, written by Siren Bora with photography and translation by C.M. Köseman, detailing all the graves and giving an insight into the lives of the Jewish community in Bodrum.

To visit on foot,  take the exit road from the main bus station, turn right into the narrow road behind Migros supermarket, walk past the entrance to the High School and the cemetery is on the corner of 1804 Sokak, Yokuşbaşı.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Mandarin Festival

Snow is falling in Istanbul again and the knock-on cold snap hit Bodrum at mid-day. While I'm shivering I like to remember that Sunday was a warm sunny day and the castle square was filled with citrus fruit. It was the Mandarin Festival week end. 

I cozied up to a few stall holders, got a few strokes in return ....

....but only jam was on offer as a freebie, no one would give me a bun. 

I don't like eating mandarins but if my boss (it makes her happy to think she can tell me what to do) spends too much time at the computer, I sneak a mandarin or orange from the fruit bowl and start to pat it around the Afghan rug.  If this doesn't stop her typing, I scratch the sides of the rug and start to bury the fruit - that usually makes her jump up.

In view of this I thought she might buy me one of these knitted mandarins but no - I'll have to make do with the juicy squashable kind.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

On Temple of Mars Street

Spolia (Latin, 'spoils'), the repurposing of building stone for new construction, or the reuse of decorative sculpture on new monuments, is an ancient and widespread practice whereby stone that has been quarried cut and used in a built structure, is carried away to be used elsewhere.

This post has been delayed because my mistress couldn't remember a word.  It happens a lot these days as she is in need of a brain reboot. Usually the forgotten word comes to her a few hours after she realises that she's forgotten it and she has a note book beside her bed to record all the mislaid words, but this word has been irretrievable for a couple of weeks.  Then on Friday she went to a talk on Bodrum architecture and managed to ask several architects, archaeologists and historians, who all scratched their heads until one said he was sure the word began with 'sp' and then ' spolia' was re-found to much relief. I could have done without the word as I know that the door step I sniff daily was once adorning a temple, well over 2,000 years ago. 

I'm allowed to sniff but not lift my leg as my mistress says it takes her back 40 years to when she sat listening to Dr Ken Wardle, learning about egg and dart relief in her first year Classical Greek Architecture lectures at the University of Birmingham. I show respect and wee elsewhere.


I'm pretty good at recognising spolia now - it is everywhere I walk

The castle is the perfect example of reused blocks - there is a very good chance that the lion on The English Tower was part of the Mausoleum decoration, it certainly pre-dates the castle construction by a couple of millennia.  I will remind my companion to take her camera on our walk tomorrow and post some more pictures of spolia before we forget the word again.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

A week is a long time in paw licks

I'm extremely glad that I'm a dog. I don't have to worry about constitution-changing votes in parliament or the Turkish Lira losing value by the day. My life is measured in walks, dinners and cuddles.  One week is 21 walks - 7 dinners and hopefully 100s of cuddles.

My daily perambulations do lead me to notice that the weather is odd. This is the longest cold spell in my 5 winters but at least we have only had ice to contend with, not deep snow like my furry friends in the rest of the country, and it's good to hear that many shopping centres and individual stores have been letting stray animals shelter inside during the bad weather.

I'm very lucky on the cuddle front, apart from those I get at home, I'm stopped two or three times a day on my way around Bodrum and given a cuddle by complete strangers, usually accompanied by a selfie shot or two - it's a bit embarrassing being addressed as 'my sweet', 'my sugar' or 'my dear' all the time but I prefer that to being called a sheep, which is a daily 'joke' at the taxi rank.  I've barked back a response a couple of times but we have to keep on the drivers' good side in case I ever need to take a taxi.
Thank you to everyone who said that I looked handsome in my rain coat and suggested I get a hat - I've never seen a sheep in a hat and coat so I might consider this as a remedy to the taxi drivers name calling.