Perking the Pansies

Perking the Pansies

Our hobbling tour of Bodrum was something of a boozy whirlwind and confirmed I can’t do multiple piss-ups anymore. It was season’s end with flight prices to match, but the interminable limp through Stansted was a brutalising experience when compared to our little local airport. Working to a slum-it budget, we bagged ourselves a hotel in Bodrum for eleven quid a night, breakfast included. Nothing much worked in our barrel-scraped digs but the family-run gaff was clean and convenient. This was the first time we had set foot on Turkish soil since we called time on our Anatolian adventure in 2012 and we were determined to make hay. Naturally, the wedding of the year was the main event but we also wanted to share a jar or two with some of our old muckers, so we pitched our standard on a Bodrum Beach and waited for battle to commence. The onslaught came in waves and after nine hours of friendly fire, talking ten to the dozen about everything under the moonlit sky, we staggered to the nearest taxi rank. A huge hand to all the Bodrum belles and beaus who really made our day. You know who you are.

These images are as blurred as our vision was by the end of the evening.

Of course, no trip back to Bodrum would have been complete without a reunion of the Sisterhood…

… the antidote to the VOMITing sickness that afflicts the many Shirley Valentines who wash up like driftwood on the beaches of Turkey. Many of the Sisters are reformed VOMITs who’ve been through the ringer, some more than once, but have emerged to tell the tale stronger and wiser. The Sisters stick together (like birds of a feather), because men are rubbish.

Expat Glossary

So after a day trip down memory lane along Turkey Street (more of this later), we joined the Sisterhood in Musto.

Musto was top of our list and sat in a prime location on Marina Boulevard opposite the smart shopping parade. Its handsome young owner, Mustafa the Magnificent, was second cousin to our landlady and a generous and convivial host. The eponymous Mustafa learned his trade at Sünger, his uncle’s legendary pizza parlour, a place that had been dishing up margheritas to the sailing squad since the early seventies. Unlike some of his rivals, Mustafa never resorted to pressganging people in from the street. He courted the emigrey crowd with Italian seasoning, palatable wine, affordable prices and generous yolluks. It was a formula that attracted swarms of discerning diners, even out of season.

Turkey Street

mustoMusto has expanded considerably since our last visit, though I’m pleased to say the menu and ambience remain special. Back in the day, regular meetings of the Sisterhood always kept the pansies perked, particularly during the chilly winter months when Bodrum life was as a slow as pond water. Thank you Doc, Jess and Victoria.

There was a distinct autumnal nip when we got back to Norwich and the heating went on for the first time since the spring. A day or two later, Liam departed for London on family duties so I sank into the sofa to watch an ancient episode of Midsomer Murders on ITV3 with my carcinomic ankle resting on a Swedish pouffe. I was unsettled. We thought our trip back to Bodrum would be our swansong. Now I’m not so sure. Despite challenging political times, Turkey has worked her magic all over again. Blimey.

bodrum-beach

Turkey Street Uncovered

300,000 characters, 65,000 words, 350 pages, near-divorce bust-ups, seconds out sulks down the pub, slammed doors, never-ending re-writes and entire scenes littering the cutting room floor like yesterday’s news. Finally it’s done, dusted and shipped, and only 18 months later than I hoped. Life just got in the way. So it gives me great pleasure to declare that Turkey Street, Jack and Liam move to Bodrum will be published on 18th May in paperback from the usual retailers and digitally from Nook, Kobo and Apple iBooks. And, it’s available to buy on Amazon Kindle right now. No pressure.

Early reviews are in and I’m rather chuffed.

A great rattlingly paced read which also provides a snapshot of a Turkey that is changing in ways none of us, as yet, fully understand.

Barbara Nadel, author

Cutting wit, giggles and sadness – Jack and Liam’s dalliances with the expat world make for compelling reading.

Julia Power, Turkey’s for Life

A book that removes Turkey’s headscarf and tousles the hair a little – with comical and touching consequences. I loved it.

Jay Artale, author, the Bodrum Peninsula Travel Guide and Gümüşlük Travel Guide

A beautifully presented tale that segues cleverly from hilarious and irreverent to heartbreakingly poignant, told with insight and innovative language.

Kay McMahon, British Expat

Once again, Jack Scott expertly blends wit and humour in an accurate portrayal of daily Turkish life, warts and all!

Natalie Sayin, the Turkish Travel Blog

Turkey Street

Order the paperback on Amazon and Waterstones | Buy the Kindle on Amazon | Other buying options

Six months into their Turkish affair, Jack and Liam, a gay couple from London, took lodgings in the oldest ward of Bodrum Town. If they wanted to shy away from the curtain-twitchers, they couldn’t have chosen a worse position. Their terrace overlooked Turkey Street like the balcony of Buckingham Palace and the middle-aged infidels stuck out like a couple of drunks at a temperance meeting. Against all the odds, the boys from the Smoke were welcomed into the fold by a feisty mix of eccentric locals and a select group of trailblazing expats, irresistible ladies with racy pasts and plucky presents.

Hop aboard Jack’s rainbow gulet as he navigates the choppy waters of a town on the march and a national resurgence not seen since Suleiman the Magnificent was at the gates of Vienna. Grab your deckchair for a whirlwind tour of love and duty, passion and betrayal, broken hearts and broken bones, dirty politics and the dawn of a new Ottoman era.

Whinging Brits

According to the Legal Ombudsman, the average Brit moans about something going awry 71 times per week but less than 1 in 5 of us are prepared to do anything about it. It’s well known that us Brits have raised whinging to an art form. Unlike many of my compatriots, I have a relatively positive demeanour. Apparently, I even whistle when I walk (irritating, I know), a practice I inherited from my mother. But even I want to throw rotten eggs at the screen every time I see that fake man of the people (and former investment banker) Nigel Farage (leader of the far right UK Independence Party) and his nauseating blokey face grinning back at me on TV.

I know from bitter experience that the classic moaning minnie has a colonial cousin, stoking up the home fires overseas. Yes, the Bigot Abroad, someone who hates the country they’ve moved to and hates the country they’ve moved from. There’s no pleasing some twats. I crashed into one or two of ’em propping up the bars of Turkey, I can tell you. Nigel’s swivel-eyed fans are alive and thriving in expatland. If only we could deport Nig to join them.

nigel farageFeel free to throw a rotten egg at this image.

 

Turkey Street

The sequel to Perking the Pansies is the story of our lives weaved in between those around us. For a good few months, act two of our emigrey tales had the working title of The Sisterhood. Why? Well, the overwhelming majority of our big hitting cast, emigrey and Turkish alike, were women trying to steer their own course in a man’s world – some sailed off into the sunset while others floundered on the rocks. From the start, the title seemed a fitting choice. The sisters were the main event while we were the spectators. But, as the book went from story board to page, it became increasingly clear that we weren’t mere voyeurs and the story wasn’t just about the Bodrum Belles we lived among. The bigger picture was about change and moving on – for them , for us, for Turkey. So now there is a new working title:

Turkey Street,

Jack and Liam move to Bodrum

Lady in Bodrum

Six months into their Turkish affair, Jack and Liam, a gay couple from London, took lodgings in the oldest ward of Bodrum Town. If they wanted to shy away from the curtain-twitchers, they couldn’t have chosen a worse position. Their terrace overlooked Turkey Street like the balcony of Buckingham Palace and the middle-aged infidels stuck out like a couple of drunks at a temperance meeting. Against all the odds, the boys from the Smoke were welcomed into the fold by a feisty mix of eccentric locals and a select group of trailblazing expats, irresistible ladies with racy pasts and plucky presents. Hop aboard Jack’s rainbow gulet as he navigates the choppy waters of a town on the march and a national resurgence not seen since Suleiman the Magnificent was at the gates of Vienna. Grab your deckchair for a whirlwind tour of love and duty, passion and betrayal, broken hearts and broken bones, dirty politics and the dawn of a new Ottoman era.

The Cockney Sparrow

Liam and I were deeply saddened to hear of the death of Patricia ‘Babs’ Miller, after finally losing a long battle with cancer. We first met Babs one cold winter’s evening in Yalıkavak in 2009. We were passing Dede’s Restaurant and, drawn by the sound of clinking glasses and raucous laughter, we popped in for a final snifter. There was larger-than-life Babs standing out from the crowd as she always did. Babs employed a ladies excuse me and led me on a slow smooch across the dance floor. That was the start of a glorious but all too brief friendship. With more than a passing resemblance in looks and personality to Barbara Windsor (hence the ‘Babs’ nickname), our gorgeous little Cockney sparrow was a one-off, a true original, one of life’s great characters and huge fun to be around. She will be missed.

Patricia Miller

The Sisterhood

Expat GlossaryI first compiled my expat glossary in 2011 as a tongue-in-cheek classification of the various expat types Liam and I encountered during our time in Turkey. The idea started with ‘emigrey’ to describe silver-haired retirees living out their dotage in the sun. It was a play on the English loan word from the French ‘émigré,’ the past participle of ‘émigrer’ – to emigrate. The glossary caused quite a stir at the time, striking a chord with most but hitting a nerve with the humourless. It’s remained a perennial favourite, often quoted and plagiarised, and not always with a credit – naughty, naughty. Over time, the lexicon has grown, with additions by me and suggestions from others. And now, I’ve added a new category. So, ladies and gents, I give you…

Turkey StreetThe Sisterhood

The antidote to the VOMITing sickness that afflicts the Shirley Valentines who wash up like driftwood on the beaches of Turkey. Many of the Sisters are reformed VOMITs who’ve been through the ringer, some more than once, but have emerged to tell the tale stronger and wiser. The Sisters stick together (like birds of a feather), because men are rubbish.

The Bodrum Chapter of the Sisterhood play a central role in Turkey Street, the sequel to Perking the Pansies, Jack and Liam move to Turkey, due out in the Summer of 2014.

The Emotionally Resilient Expat

The Emotionally Resilient Expat

For many more months that she cares to remember, Linda A  Janssen (Adventures in Expatland) burned the midnight oil and poured her heart and soul into her book, The Emotionally Resilient Expat. It was time well spent because she’s really pulled it off.

Emotionally Resilient ExpatThis is what the pro had to say:

“A practical guide in the art of managing the risks of overseas life in ways that will promote endurance and effectiveness. Full of honest and hope-filled stories from the lived experience and life-long learning of Janssen and her dozens of expatriate contributors. An invaluable companion for expats who want to know that they are not alone.” 

Duncan P. Westwood, PhD, (C)OACCPP Clinical Director of Expatriate Care & Development, International Health Management.

This is what the amateur had to say:

“What’s it like down your neck of the expat woods? Exhilarating? Challenging? Tough? Isolating? Life-enhancing? Alienating? All these things wrapped up in a bow? You are not alone. We live in a global village where it has never been easier to pitch your tent in a foreign field. But, it’s a sprawling village of brain-aching complexity and diversity, which can stump even the most adventurous and resilient. Janssen has managed to capture the very essence of what it means to try a different culture on for size, assembling an exhaustive toolkit to help the expat explorer adapt and prosper. It’s quite a coup.” 

Jack Scott, Author

And guess what? Liam and I have cameo roles. Fabulous!

Check it out on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk