It’s a Fair Cop

One of our favourite Bodrum Belles took us to the airport for our airlift back to Blighty with Sleazyjet. We shall be forever in her debt. It was our first experience of Bodrum’s brand spanking new international terminal building. Very impressive it was too but, as with much of Turkey, not quite finished. I’ve always thought of airport buildings as the new cathedrals, built high and mighty to invoke awe in the great unwashed (or in Bodrum’s case, the great sunburned). Bodrum’s new edifice is a lofty triumph in steel, marble and fresh paint. It puts Stansted’s tired old concrete shed with its stalactites of filth dripping from the ceiling and duck-taped carpets in the shade (why do Britain’s airports have carpets anyway?). Catering arrangements at the new terminal were an expensive shambles. Much of the food hall had yet to open. Bewildered staff at the only available eatery hadn’t a clue what they were doing; thrown to the lions with no training, no doubt. This led to much tut-tutting and foot tapping from the hungry hordes.

The flight home was an uneventful affair. That was until we landed. The bottle-blond cabin crow swung open the aircraft door to the sight of a small platoon of armed police waiting outside. The corporate perma-grins dropped out of position and we were politely asked to re-take our seats. A name was announced across the tannoy. A handsome and well-constructed young man (who I’d greatly admired back at Bodrum Airport) swaggered down the aisle and joined the waiting bobbies. They handcuffed him and off they trotted. It was all done with the minimum of fuss. There was neither argument nor struggle. His pretty missus and their two young children followed him off the aircraft. She didn’t seem at all surprised by the ambush and the kids remained calm. She casually flip-flopped down the tunnel with the jolly sprogs in tow. People will do anything to get to the front of the queue at passport control.

Stop and Search

Fellow jobbing blogger Deborah writes Bitten by Spain, an amusing narrative of living on the Iberian rural edge. Deborah commented on my recent post about the Turkish Government’s attempt to curb suicidal driving. Deborah wrote:

‘We have an absurd situation here at the moment whereby the Spanish police are stopping to fine all extranjeros for driving in sandals without heel straps, or not having the dog belted into the back seat. During this operation a moped can be passing unsanctioned bearing two adults with a child sandwiched between them and a goat in the front basket. And none of them will be wearing helmets.’

It made me think of our own experiences of the local Jandarma. Road blocks are common, particularly at night. Drivers are routinely stopped and their particulars checked. The authorities are looking for drunk drivers and uninsured or un-roadworthy vehicles, all too common offences hereabouts. It’s the Law in Turkey to carry ID at all times. We often forget. Being Brits we’re just not used to it. We’ve been stopped a number of times by a youth in an ill-fitting uniform. On each occasion we smiled sweetly, spoke politely in English and were waved on. We assumed the spotty conscript just didn’t think it was worth the hassle. Or maybe we were just lucky.

Evenin’ All

Once more we are staying at Karen’s gaff in Southfields. She, on the other hand, has decided to decamp to the States for the duration leaving us in the safe hands of her lodging nephew Jack, my namesake. Jack junior is a special constable and looks devastatingly cute in his uniform. He let  me feel his truncheon though I resisted the urge to handle his helmet. Thumbing his warrant card reminded me of the time, many years ago, when I met an arresting sergeant from the Los Angeles Police Department. He showed me his LAPD badge which was so heavy I asked him if he hit people across the head with it. Before entering the Police Service, Jack had been a part time model for Abercrombie and Fitch. Expect to see him as the new pretty face of  Crimewatch sometime soon. He can feel my collar anytime

Come Dine with Me

Come Dine with MeFor better or for worse we have become part-time curios on the crème de la crème dinner party circuit adding exotic seasoning to various pretentious repasts. It’s all very Come Dine with Me and the competition is frightfully fierce. We attended a meal at Chrissy and Bernard’s imposing pile in Torba.

Around the fussily arranged table, we met vetpat Viv from Dereköy. Impeccably turned out, fifty something Viv is elegantly statuesque but struggles to raise her slender forearms due to the weight of clanging bangles. In bygone days she owned a Battersea bistro with her ex-husband until the day she found him in flagrante with the pastry delivery boy. She never suspected that her ex batted on both sides of the net though his treasured collection of classic Judy Garland vinyls was a bit of a clue.

Viv has since carved out a prolific career as a serial VOMIT hopping on top of one Anatolian after another. The boys get younger as she gets older. Despite the predictable pattern of broken heart and emptied purse, she remains irrepressibly upbeat about her lot. We make attentive listeners to assorted emigrey tales. The complement is rarely reciprocated. Do I have agony aunt tattooed across my forehead?

At the close of play Viv gave us a lift home taking the back road to evade the Jandarma. Naturally, we small-talked about the evening along the way. I commented how appetising the food had been. ‘The rice was cold’ came Viv’s withering verdict. We are not confident cooks and have no intention of being subjected to microscopic scrutiny from the affected. The most anyone can expect from us is a bottomless cellar and a few savoury nibbles.

Much Ado About Nothing

My nightly tribulations anticipating a cross knock at the door by a scandalised conscript in latex gloves conducting an internal investigation has mercifully abated. All the fuss started when a distressed Digiturk obtained a court order to shut down a couple of insignificant blogs illegally broadcasting highlights from the Turkish Süper Lig. In response, the inscrutable authorities banned hundreds of thousands of websites that share the same Google ‘address’ as the obsessive soccer bores with their wobbly handicams. Imagine the sheer farce of Calvin Klein forcing every market across the land to close because a few stalls flog phony CK knickers.

Yesterday I was off blog in a vain attempt to forget the whole sorry story and return to a near normal life of degenerate leisure. We had a late liquid lunch followed by a reinstatement of Liam’s conjugal rights hurriedly withdrawn when I was branded a petty felon. We topped off our perfect day with an evening of ‘Strictly’ courtesy of the BBC iPlayer. It was delectable to behold that unreconstructed old bigot and professional virgin with two left feet, Miss Widdecombe, finally expelled from the show. National institution? She should be in one.

I retired to my pit pissed and paranoid thinking our phone might be tapped.

Fancy a Fag?

Turkey is an unlikely place to introduce a smoking ban. Nicotine consumption is an obligatory male pastime, along with rakı drinking and parlour games. Since most Turks appear to have a distinctly cavalier attitude towards petty authority, I assumed the new rules, as with parking regulations, would be roundly flouted. To my surprise, it has caught on; rigorous enforcement by the jandarma and instant fines for miscreants have both provided added incentives. It hardly matters. Life is very al fresco and popping out for a fag is a breeze compared to huddling outside a London pub in the drizzle heckled by tut-tutting passing strangers.