When I planned my virtual tour, I knew the book would have to take centre stage. There would be little point if it didn’t. But I didn’t want to just bang on about it and do the hard sell. People would get bored and simply switch channels. I know I would. I had to find a theme, something to maintain interest. I also wanted to say something related to the people that have kindly let me loose on their blogs. A theme gradually emerged: me. My favourite subject.
Today’s post is on Helen’s European Journey. Elegant Helen is wander-lusting gypsy-like across Europe (well, so far across Iberia – give ‘em time) in a travelling caravan with hunky husband and two pretty pussies in tow. So, folks, I give you… me and caravans. Not the dusty camel trains of antiquity hauling exotic goods along the ancient Silk Road from China to Anatolia, but the common or garden static metal type of my childhood. It’s a tenuous link, but stay with me.
Happy New Year to pansy fans one and all from a stormy, rain-sodden Bodrum. In the best tradition of the New Year and all those cheap-to-make review and top ten TV compilations I give you:
Perking the Pansies Top Ten 2011
An eclectic mix of the mad, the glad, the sad and the bad, the old, the bold, the sold and the gold. It’s interesting how few of these posts are actually related to expats directly. The list represents around 20% of all hits to Perking the Pansies (out of about 500 posts). Fancy that.
Our neighbour, bubbly Beril has just returned from an extended stay in Ankara to see family. She’s been away for about three weeks leaving Bianca, her fluffy white pubescent pussy and child substitute, in the expert care of hubby Vadim (not that they’re actually married – deliciously scandalous in these parts). She’s returned to a shocking discovery which has rocked her world. No, Vadim hasn’t developed a Rakı habit and taken up with a local floozy. That wouldn’t be that shocking. The fluffy feline has gone from precocious kitten to feisty minx, seeing off the competition and guarding her territory with feline gusto. The girl’s got balls. No really, the girl’s got real balls. Bianca has become Bianco.
Our neighbours have rowed little of late. There was a time when we were regularly disturbed by bubbly Beril screaming like a banshee. Beril has an excellent set of pipes which she can use to volcanic effect. I think the acquisition of Bianca the snow white cat a few months ago has calmed the spirits and silenced the guns. Bianca is an inquisitive creature. She’s now firmly in charge of our shared garden and tolerates no incursions by rivals. I often see her patrolling the low garden wall looking inquisitively out on the world beyond. I hope she doesn’t get too bold otherwise she may get set upon by the mean felines that strut their stuff by the communal bins or end up as road kill along the busy thoroughfare where the speed junkies race.
Living in the centre of busy, bustling Bodrum means compromise. Hubbub abounds. It comes with the territory. It’s part of the charm. We filter out the mad traffic, high-pitched horns and loud rows. We’re from the Smoke and old London Town is not so different. It’s the price worth paying for the short skip to the marina inns and eateries that serve to remind us that we’re sophisticated boys about town (or so we think). Calm country living in the middle of a muddy field is not our style. But, (here comes the but) we are wrestling with the double whammy of ferocious, veracious miniscule flies and barking mad, howling hounds. The midget midges circle us like we’re rotting corpses. The mozzie net has been re-erected above our bed as our only line of defence.
The flies will die but there’s no easy solution for the dogs. As all emigreys know, most Turks have an entirely different relationship with man’s best friend. Here in Bodrum you will see some dogs on leads but they tend to be the toy variety attached to the over-dressed well-to-do. Most mutts hereabouts perform the traditional guard and protect function, chained up outside. For our considerable sins we’re surrounded by four of them. Passage down our busy thoroughfare, even in the small hours, is constant. So too is the barking. We’re serenaded by quadrophonic yapping 24 hours a day. Have people not heard of house alarms?
Turkey is the land of the genuine fake. It can be a fun experience bartering with the ruddy bovver boys down the pazar to get a couple of lira knocked off the knock off. Sadly, much of what’s dropped off the back of a tractor isn’t made in Turkey. We’re talking cheap counterfeits from the Far East, particularly China. No one expects the goods to last, no guarantee given, no refund offered. It’s all part of the cut and thrust of travelling market life.
As cooler nights approach, attention turns to winter wear and keeping the tootsies snug and warm. I hear Ugg boots are all the rage these days. I’m not sure why. They look like something my granny used to wear (actually that’s not true, my grandmother was only ever seen in court shoes – she was poor but stylish, but I digress). Genuine Ugg boots are made by a reputable manufacturer Down Under using sheepskin that is humanely produced and a pair can cost up to £200 a throw. As a carnivorous leather wearer (shoes and belts, not chaps and thongs) I can hardly complain about the use of animals in the rag and shoe trade. Times are hard and because of the cost, many people may be tempted by cheaper fakes that are flooding the markets in Turkey, Blighty and elsewhere. Please don’t. Allegedly, some of the imitations are made from Chinese racoon dogs that are skinned alive for their pelts. Yes, you read right – skinned alive. This gives a whole new meaning to the phrase cheap and nasty.
Don’t believe me? Check out this article (be warned the images are graphic)
Alas, poor Tabatha is banished. Bianca, our neighbour’s fluffy white kitten has grown into a pushy, precocious teen feline and has made it abundantly clear that Tabatha is felix non grata. Bianca is now top cat. After Tabatha was caught catnapping when we endured the invasion of the big black rat I can’t say she’ll be much missed. However, I do hope she’s found a new playground for her orgiastic nocturnal activities and not become another road kill along Bodrum’s busy byways.