Beggar Thy Neighbour

Susan and Chuck invited us to their pre-Christmas shindig. They live in Gökcebel, a sprawling village in the foothills above Yalıkavak, in a charming detached house surrounded by a pretty well-manicured walled garden.  As we arrived Susan presented us with a Manhattan. She mixes a mean cocktail and it nearly blew my head off. The usual suspects were in attendance with a few out of town extras to add to the vetpat mix. After a short while of mingling and polite conversation, we became trapped in the kitchen with merry widow Maureen from Windsor. She thought us very entertaining because she so loves the ‘gays’. She didn’t exactly endear herself by comparing us to Colin and Justin, the two queeny Scottish daytime TV interior ‘designers’ who devastate the homes of the unsuspecting with cheap and nasty kitsch. Realising she is incurably stupid rather than malicious, I let it pass.

Susan laid on a sumptuous festive spread. As we tucked into the sausage rolls, Liam chatted to naked capitalist Francis from Weybridge, who lives near Gümüslük with his wife Dotty, who apparently is. He retired from property speculation a few years ago and is a great admirer of Margaret Thatcher. He made his first fortune by buying and selling discounted, state subsidised council houses. Christ, even the Iron Lady hadn’t intended that to happen.

Having escaped the clutches of merry Maureen and fat cat Francis, we retreated to a bitter but discreet and sheltered corner of the garden for a furtive fag where we soon attracted the attention of Patricia from Bitez. She told us that she also owns a house in Wandsworth, south London, so she’s worth a bob or two. I engaged in a little small talk about the area, since I grew up there. The main advantage of living in Wandsworth, she said, is the low council tax. Mind you, she doesn’t think she should pay anything as she lives permanently in Turkey. “Do you know why your council tax is low?” I enquired. She didn’t. “Well, never be old, never be young, never be disabled or the parents of a disabled child” I explained. Patricia pondered a while, playfully twisting her hair and caressing the vulgar bauble welded to her finger. “Oh, I don’t care about people like that” she sniffed. I hope she never ends up in a wheelchair.

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