The benign spring weather allowed us to take tea and tittle tattle on our balcony with a few Bodrum Belles. It’s a sunny spot, though we often have to yell above the din of the harried street. This is more than compensated by the chance to observe busy Bodrum life passing by below. I was being mother and, as I poured the coffee, I gazed momentary across at the flat roof of our single storey kitchen at the other end of the courtyard. It glistened in the bright sunlight. Tiny waves rippled in the gentle breeze. Had we installed a roof-top plunge pool? No such luck. A few weeks earlier, a beefy covered lady with Popeye biceps and sprouting underarms had collected the olive crop from the over-hanging tree. She had beat the bush with Amazonian gusto and left a shag-pile of twiggy debris in her wake. Come the next deluge, the leaf litter plugged the drainage hole and created the shallow lake.
After the Belles departed, I climbed onto the roof, waded through the water and unblocked the hole with the handle of a wooden spatula. The undammed waters spewed like a mini Niagara onto the turned dirt of our neighbour’s bald vegetable patch. Their chained up dog, so used to barking at the slightest flutter of the tiniest sparrow, was taken totally by surprise. Rover didn’t know how to react so decided not to react at all. Now there’s a first.
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Our precious olive crop is bursting to be harvested. A huge, ancient double-trunked tree is the central exhibit in our shared garden and is dripping with heavy fruit like black baubles on a Christmas Fir. Olives have been dropping haphazardly for weeks, exploding over the patio and staining the paths. Our neighbours, Beril and Vadim have been collecting the debris, presumably for preparation and processing. I looked up the method online. It seems like a right faff to me. Our olives come in handy little jars from the supermarket. I intend to keep it that way.
A second olive tree from a neighbouring house overhangs our single storey kitchen. We were rudely awoken this morning by a heavy, thick-set covered lady in clashing florals and crocheted twinset (no pearls) who had climbed on top of the kitchen roof to beat the bounty out of the heavily laden tree. Olives rained down and danced around the tiles for a couple of hours. She went at it with great gusto, grunting like an East German shot putter until the entire crop had surrendered to her considerable force. I won’t be messing with her.
I see Abdullah Gül, the President of Turkey, has been on a three day state visit to Blighty. I’m glad to see that cordial diplomatic relations are being maintained between our two great nations. As is the custom, Her Maj greeted the President and the First Lady on the steps of Buck House. Bodrum Belle, Jessica, sent me a link to a Daily Mail piece about it. I don’t read the rag and would normally have missed out on seeing this fantastic photograph; it’s pure pleasure. I wonder what the usually inscrutable old Queen was thinking? Take a look:
The Queen’s Astonishment
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Perking the Pansies – Jack and Liam move to Turkey
We enjoyed mezes and drinks in Sofiye’s lush garden and we were in joyful, mellow mood. Towards the end of the evening Sofiye’s maid emerged from the kitchen having washed up and wiped down. She joined us at the table to eat a modest meal of pasta and salad. She asked Sofiye about Liam and me and Safiye asked us how she should reply. ‘Honestly,’ we said. We studied the maid’s mystified expression as she grappled for several minutes to make sense of the information. We thought it cruel to persevere so we settled on cousins, and she seemed calmed by the clarification since village people like to keep it in the family.
The teetotal maid became quite intoxicated by the laid back charm of the evening and, with reckless abandon and without warning, whipped off her head scarf to reveal dark, silky hair fashioned into a single squaw-like platted ponytail which she draped across her left shoulder. Excited but anxious, she looked to the assembly for approval. We gave her an ovation. Sadly, it was but a brief moment of sovereignty. She replaced the head scarf as we left to totter home down the lane.