The show is over and the curtain has fallen on our final Anatolian performance. It’s been a long and successful run but they’ll be no ovation or encore. As we said goodbye to Gümbet, Liam and I reflected on our time in this ancient land of paradoxes and plenty. Turkey has provided a restful respite for our weary bones and taught us that we can live differently and work with less. This is a profound lesson that many would be wise to copy. We don’t regret a single second of it.

We’ve both enjoyed and endured some extraordinary exploits with some extraordinary people. From the outset I called our cast ‘the mad, the sad, the bad and the glad’. This epitaph was no less true in Bodrum than it was in Yalıkavak three years before. From our first encounter with the pretentious expat rat pack to the Bodrum Belles, the Gümbet Gals and the Bitez Babes all sorts – the ladies of this small corner of Asia Minor do what they can to live their lives in dignity and grace. Many succeed. Many don’t. Listen up, ladies. Take a little advice from an old pro. When your ship is holed beneath the waterline, head for the lifeboat. Don’t flounder about like flotsam just because the sea looks inviting.

We’re not looking forward to the downside of Blighty life – the unpredictable weather, the fretful recession or the endless whinging. Let’s face it, some of our compatriots, whatever shore they wash up on, have turned whinging into a class act. Nevertheless, our course is set and it is a step forward, not a step back. But, there’s a sadness in my soul. I shall greatly miss our entertaining encounters with the hopeless, the hapless and, yes, the happy go lucky. So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, adieu to the emigreys, vetpats, semigreys, VOMITs, MADs, Emiköys, and sexpats. You gave me an unexpected tale to tell and for this I thank you. The next instalment is on the story drawing board.

18 thoughts on “Hit the Road, Jack

  1. Bon Voyage Jack and Liam, I head out tomorrow for my annual sojourn, I hope you have a wonderful time back in the UK and may all your troubles be small ones. xxxx

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  2. Oh goodness Jack. This is SO sad. I know how difficult it it to uproot yourself. We may be doing the same thing in the next year or so and I have done it before. Each time though, doesn’t make it any easier. Just enjoy your happy (and even your not-so-thrilling) memories, and make sure you do go back and visit – and things will get easier. Life goes on, whether we want it to or not…

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  3. Wishing you all the best in your new adventure — and hope it will be an adventure, a happy one. Four years is a good stretch in a foreign country and it looks like you had a great time. I’ve just stated reading your book.

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  4. We really enjoyed meeting you and Liam and will miss those mad and entertaining dinners and afternoons sat chewing the cud. Hopefully we will survive the madness (if not the heat!). Come back and dip your toes in the warm water sometime?

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  5. Ahhh, so sad, the last chapter of life’s rich turkish tapestry. Look forward to new instalments about your return to shag pile. Enjoyed the book.

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  6. I shall miss reading your comments about Bodrum. I go there quite frequently and regret never having met you, even though I’ve looked for you in the cafe; never mind, another life … good luck with your next chapter.

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  7. It was an experience meeting you both and I know there are many a gal, babe and belle missing you, even the Ortakent!!!! ones. Be good be happy and when I die I want you to write my obituary.

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