See the Tree, How Big it’s Grown

See the Tree, How Big it’s Grown

When Liam and I first pitched our yurt in Anatolia, we bought an olive sapling in John’s memory and put it in a patio pot. It did remarkably well and bore fruit in the first year – a lean harvest but a harvest nonetheless. After we decided to wade back to Blighty, I asked Annie of Back to Bodrum fame if she would take care of John’s little twig in her Bodrum garden.  Annie went one better and offered a sunny spot in the olive grove of her fabulous country pile.

From Little Acorns…

Four years on and the wedding of the year presented the perfect opportunity to check on John’s tree. Little more than a twig when it was transplanted to Annie’s field, it now stands tall as a strapping sapling, framed in chicken wire to protect it from nibbling cattle.

The first snap is courtesy of Elaine Akalin.

Thank you, Teo, for planting it. You did all the sweaty work while all I did was pat it down like the Queen at an opening. And thank you, Annie, for taking such good care of it.  I’m not religious at all but a part of me hopes Teo and John popped a cork and shared a bottle on the big day.

Sea, Sailing and Safaris

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.


The Wedding

We watched the royal nuptials with friends surrounded by homespun bunting, Union flags lovingly coloured in felt tip pens and attached to straws, and photocopied mini-flags on cocktail sticks. We feasted on a celebratory spread of British fare with a Turkish twist – spicy Cornish pasties for the fellas, scones for the ladies, fairy cakes for the pansies. Intellectually I’m a republican but emotionally I’m a true blue royalist. It’s a contradiction I manage to fudge with typically British pragmatism.

We had a joyous time stuffing our faces, sipping Pimms, waving our patriotic pennants and whooping at the hotchpotch of heavenly and hideous frocks. Princess Bea’s head dress could pick up intelligent life on other planets and Anne wrapped herself in her granny’s tablecloth that she’d run up on a Singer. Her Maj, of course, is above fashion. Harry looked dapper in his uniform. He’s the best of the bunch even though he’s a ginger. I’ve forgiven his faux pas with Nazi party attire some years ago. I put it down to youthful exuberance and stupidity. The Windsor-Mountbattens aren’t blessed with much up top. The Abbey looked magnificent and the majestic pageant was delivered to perfection in a way only the British know how. It gladdened my heart to see Elton John and his Civil Partner, David Furnish, in attendance. The final nail in the coffin of bigotry? Well, perhaps.

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I’ve heard it said that the whole jamboree was a waste of time and money in these days of austerity and the terrible events occurring around the globe. What’s wrong with forgetting the woes of the world just for one day and enjoying the fairytale moment? I hope the dysfunctional Firm have learned the Diana lesson and gorgeous Kate will be allowed to flourish in a thoroughly modern way.