Not much of the news coming out of Turkey these days is positive – refugees, bombs, riots, censorship and the usual rhetoric from the imperious Erdoğan. The western media do so love to stoke up a drama. You could be forgiven for thinking the place is falling apart. Well, it isn’t. But the headlines are putting visitors off. According to some estimates, bookings by Brits are down by over a third. A glance at the travel agent’s window reveals the bargains to be had, reflecting a tourist trade going through lean times. It would be foolish to suggest there aren’t any problems but Turkey remains one of the safest holiday destinations anywhere.
It’s been four years since we returned from Turkey and we’re content with our lot in old Norwich Town. The slowish pace of life suits us well. But, we’re often nostalgic for our easy come, easy go days of Bodrum. During one particularly wistful afternoon in the boozer, Liam and I took a drunken stagger down memory lane. Over the last few years I’ve scribbled a word or two about my best bits of Turkey and I’ve even won writing competitions with my musings. So to cure me of my melancholy, Liam suggested I put them all together. So that’s what I’ve done. And very cathartic it was too. I’ve called it Postcards from the Ege, Jack Scott’s Turkey Trail.
Here’s the blurb:
With such an immense political and cultural heritage, it’s no surprise kaleidoscopic Turkey is such a feast – a prime cut of authenticity, seasoned by the West and spiced by the East. Jack Scott knows a thing or two about the country. He lived there for years and travelled widely – to Istanbul and along its south-western shores from Izmir to Alanya. In Postcards from the Ege, Scott shares some of his must-sees and personal highlights. Follow Scott’s trail. Come to Turkey.
The e-book has just been published on Kindle by Springtime Books. It’s a steal at a couple of quid and if it encourages people to sample the extraordinary land we used to call home then that’s all to the good.
I’ve knocked up a couple of websites recently as part of my little author2author sideline, neither of which were actually for authors. I guess this demonstrates that I’m anyone’s if the price is right. No change there then. At my prices, I’m practically giving it away but that’s fine with me – I got a chance to work with some fabulous people.
Serene Bride offer sumptuous, bespoke weddings for those looking to tie the knot in South Africa. British expat, Lesley Munday, really knows a thing or two about about the wedding lark. She’s been at it for years. Lesley’s speciality is a game reserve do so if you fancy an authentic African wildlife experience for your nuptials, Lesley’s the one for you. And no, I’m not being paid to say that.
Bodrum Yacht Services is owned by Dave Stanley and Dina Street, old playmates from our Turkey days. In fact, Dina wrote a couple of guest blogs for me when I was indisposed, the second of which, Swearing in Turkish, is a perennial favourite of Pansyfans. Dave and Dina offer the full monty when it comes to yacht and gulet management so if you’ve the cash and inclination to go mucking about in expensive boats, you could do an awful lot worse.
Charlotte and Alan invited us to cruise with Captain Irfan on the pleasure craft he co-owns with chief concubine number two, a neurotic Netherlander, who religiously covets his nether regions. Irfan’s financial dependency is not lost on Nancy, chief concubine number one. She decided to queer the Dutch pitch by forsaking trade and lodgings in Blighty and driving across a continent to drive home her determination to be the only mistress in town. Scuppered Irfan was peeved that the harmony of his harem had been so rudely disturbed.
Nancy joined us on the nautical jolly. I feared the perfect storm as the two randy combatants exchanged frosty glances and icy words. It all turned out to be a storm in Nancy’s D cup. By open water, Nancy and Irfan flirted like spotty adolescents at a school disco. By anchor drop, Nancy’s moisture meter had hit critical. They canoodled in the lower cabin. After their frisky frolic, Nancy emerged slightly nauseas. ‘Nancy dear,’ I chided, ‘I told you to spit, not swallow.’
Friends invited us along on our first boat trip since our emigration, sailing from the pretty but hassle-bound Gümüslük Bay. We were accompanied by the definitive nuclear family with grandparents in tow. The mini-cruise was enjoyably predictable, dropping anchor at various identical brushy islets for a dip in the gorgeous translucent waters. I showed off my still impressive diving skills learned in my distant youth. Our cheery skipper provided a simple but serviceable meal of sea bass, pasta and salad. Over lunch, Mrs. Nuclear bored us with vapid tales of her multi-gifted progeny, a spoilt and rude little runt who showed little respect to his elderly grandparents. So underwhelmed was I by the tedious litany of his talents, I asked Mr Nuclear if Master Nuclear could do something about Syria.
Without warning, the Meltemia picked up as we headed back to port. Struggling against the mighty head wind, the boat smashed repeatedly against the heaving swell, drenching us with the over-salty waters of the Aegean. We bounced around the deck like jetsam on a trampoline. Fearing a Kate Winslett Titanic moment we clung precariously to anything we could find. Our gentle cruise intended to calm the soul and relax the mind had turned into a white knuckle ride on the high seas – most amusing and, of course, potentially calamitous.