Wednesday, 30 April 2014


A massive storm on Sunday evening knocked out our electricity and communications.  The lightning was so violent that planes were unable to land at Bodrum airport and were diverted to Izmir.  I had considered travelling on Sunday so I'm extremely thankful that I came back earlier.  Our power came back but we are still without phone and internet.  I'd hoped to write about the Global Run on Sunday but that will have to wait as the photos are on the desk top.  One silver lining in the lack of an internet cloud is that I've not been distracted from reading my book club novel.  "The Luminaries" by Eleanor Catton is over 800 pages and I'm 75 % through it.  I'm still trying to convince myself that it's a worthy Man Brooker prize winner, but it feels a bit of a slog.  I hope the last 25% is a killer. 

We are trying to use a different restaurant everyday to sign up for an internet fix. Today it's Musto's opposite the marina.  We are sitting outside,with the dog under the table, listening to the rain splattering the sun awning above our heads. We've already had coffee and if this rain keeps up,we'll have an excuse to stay for one of their great burgers. 

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Flag Iris

I've been unusually busy for the last week and my blog has suffered as a result. I didn't have time to write, but I've been carrying my camera around and couldn't resist stopping to snap these beautiful iris plants in front of a disused church in Hydra.

My first job yesterday when I got home to Bodrum was to rush out to the village to see if my pot plants had survived nearly two weeks without water.  They had, but the weeds in the pots hadn't - which was an unexpected bonus.  On the way back, I passed these iris growing by the side of the road.

Here I should write something philosophical about flag iris growing under different flags - but this week's travel has done little to broaden my mind and has left mine rather numb.  All suggestions for a killer last line gratefully received.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Easter Sunday

I was promised candles and fireworks. Nobody mentioned a hanging.  The fireworks were more like mortar shells. If I'd sailed into the harbour with no prior knowledge,  I would have assumed that war had been declared.

An effigy of Judas was hanging over the harbour for most of the day and then at 8pm,  was well and truly  annihilated by multiple musket shots up the rear accompanied by cannon fire from the sea wall. 

My image of Easter has been changed forever. No more bunnies, fluffy chickens and chocolate eggs.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Happy Easter

Happy Easter. I'm in Hydra and have been watching my first Orthodox Greek Easter since 1981.  That was in Rhodes and the excitement of someone setting alight the pony tail of the girl in front of me, has dimmed my memory of the service.  Tonight most of the islanders and visitors on Hydra gathered at the small harbour of Kamini to wait for the arrival of the Epitaph ( an icon carried on a bier to represent the body of Christ) . I wasn't expecting to understand any of the service but  "Kyrie Eleison" was repeated constantly and as this is familiar to anyone who worships in the Anglican church, I felt quite at home. After the prayers, The Epitaph was walked into the sea, (at nine thirty, on a chilly, blustery evening this really is an act of devotion), blessed and then carried back through the streets followed by the crowd.
Tomorrow I'm looking forward to candles and fireworks.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014


One of the Turkish bloggers I follow lives in the next village to ours. They live a similar life to us, away from the crowds, enjoying the countryside and the simple life ...until last week. Their beloved black lab/retriever, Carlos, picked up a cheese sandwich spiked with pesticide and was dead before they could do anything about it.   The  grief at not being able to protect their dog, even though they were walking together, is hard to read. The blog is finished.  The poison was probably aimed at foxes raiding chicken coups, but that doesn't make anything better, does it.  

Twenty years ago we lost our Alsatian/Anatolian Sheepdog, Brian to poison.  Despite arthritic legs he'd taken himself off after a bitch on heat and was poisoned with 6 other dogs outside Mumcular.  One reason we had Jake done was to stop him chasing the girls. I couldn't bare to lose another dog in the same way.  But how can we keep him safe, if poison is all around.  One idea is to make him wear a muzzle when we are out.  He hates it, but by giving him treats before and after he wears it, he is just getting accustomed to it.  I will have to explain why he's wearing it to everyone we meet as I don't want him to get a reputation as a vicious dog.  

If your dog picks up poison it is important to make them sick as soon as possible.  I was always told to force yogurt down their throats but our vet says this is the wrong thing to do as the fat in the yogurt accelerates the absorption of the poison into the gut.  He suggests 3% Hydrogen Peroxide  (Oxsijenli su in Turkish) by mouth.  The easiest way to get it into the dog is using a syringe to make swallowing easier. Administer 1 ml for every kilo your dog weighs.  This should make your dog vomit.  I'm going to take a bottle and syringe on long walks from now on.
I found a good web site which explains in detail.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Baking Hot

The last time my father was featured in my blog, he was baking beetroot and apple bread in his kitchen in Sturminster Newton, Dorset.  This time he's getting his hands floury with master baker Mehmet Ali and his assistant Halil in the kitchen of Taş Fırın bakery on Turgutreis Street in Bodrum.  In the winter, I buy my daily loaf from this oven and when I asked if my inquisitive dad could come in and see how they bake their bread they said "Any time". So we turned up at 3 pm for the afternoon baking.  This bakery is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and turns out 2000 loaves per day.  Each lump of dough is individually weighed by Halil at 310 grams and then hand-shaped by Mehmet Ali.  All the bread in this bakery is made by the sour dough method. Mehmet Ali showed me us his drum of fermenting  flour and water that harvests natural yeasts from the air creating a natural rising agent. As I'm used to paying a fortune for sour dough loaves in London, it had never occurred to me that the 1 Lira I pay in Bodrum was buying me a very trendy loaf.

A bakery from the past from Eski Bodrum

When I first came to Bodrum, only crusty white bread baked in wood-fired ovens was available. Bought hot from the bakers, it was a challenge to get it home without devouring half on the way. Most families would consume several loaves in one day.  In the last 15 years, wholemeal loaves have appeared and now corn, rye and oats are all used in bread making, sometime all at the same time.

Izzet in charge of the slicing machine

Wood-fired ovens gradually disappeared over the years as more efficient electric ones took over so it's one of Taş Fırın's selling points that they still bake all their bread using firewood. The  oven is cranked up to 300 C and reduces to about 200 C during the 15 minutes cooking time, much hotter than domestic bread making and probably why the crust is so irresistible.

Dad's beetroot and apple bread recipe

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Signs of Summer.

Summer arrived last week.  The first charter flights of the year started landing at Bodrum airport. The first cruise liner docked and filled the town with visitors on a day that was already heaving with free-concert goers and the sun not only came out, but warmed us up so much that even those who doggedly hang on to their jackets all through April had to abandon long sleeves or melt. Our daily dog walks along the beach were shelved as the bikini clad began to stake their claim on the sand and anyway Jake looks rather overdressed in his long winter coat among the half naked.  A few hardy souls were even swimming.  The prospect of summer coming reminds me of summer past, especially of our old friends Kath and Dave who spent some of their epic road trip with us and let us join them in their adventure.  I don't have to look far to think of them as their gift to us is growing just outside the window; a young lime tree bearing at least twenty tiny fruit.  By any reckoning that should be good for a few months supply of gin and tonic and the odd Thai curry.

Cheers to good friends. 

A lime tree, a rare sight in Bodrum.

Tarting up carries on with the cruise ship in the background

Red sky at night

(I tempted fate by writing this post - the wind has now blown the clouds in and cardies and jackets are back on.)