Monday, 18 September 2017

Roving Jay picking grapes

That title is slightly misleading - it should read 'Roving Jay eating and photographing grapes' but after my post despairing at all the fruit rotting on the vines because I couldn't reach them, the Roving Jay grape picking team were very welcome.  It's good to know the grapes were appreciated. I left a bottle of grape juice fermenting in my studio. I hope it will be well on its way to turning into wine when I get back.

Saved by Annie’s Grapes

After a delicious Turkish Breakfast at Etrim, where we were served a feast worthy of a Sultan, it was back to Annie’s house (she of Back to Bodrum blog fame) – a short 10 minute ride away – to help with the grape harvest.
We all had a role to play. Annie was chief ladder holder and grape director, Red was the scissor touting harvester, Tracey and Jake were on the moral support and quality control committee, and I was the capture-the-moment archivist.
Tracey and Jake on the moral support committee
Read the rest of Jay's post with lots more pictures here

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Island Dog

I've been here over 10 days now and I thought you'd like to see some of my holiday snaps. This is me at the harbour, with the flying dolphin coming in to port behind me. 

This is me in the Isolos bar/restaurant.  We come here a lot as there is always a bowl of water for me and the large glasses of wine are 5€ with a refill so I'm sure it's not just the comfy cushions that are drawing the boss back.  

The island is full of cats. I don't mind cats; Bodrum has a lot too but here there is a cat around every corner, in every plant pot and under every table.  I'm allergic to flee bites and have already had to meet the island vet and get treated for inflamed skin, despite my drops and collar from Turkey.  He says it happens to every newcomer but it was an itchy (and expensive) first few days.  The trip here wasn't much fun either. I wasn't allowed inside the catamaran, and had to spend the 90 minute journey in a metal cage on the aft deck. I wasn't as traumatised as my owner but I landed in Hydra with oily paws and undercarriage which is not the arrival I planned for such a chic resort. 

I suppose I should mention the donkeys, mules and horses too but to be honest I find them very up themselves. Being on every post card, guidebook and bag has given them very inflated egos - the donkeys are the worst - they stand right in front of me and make unflattering remarks as I go past. I can usually ignore them but sometimes the boss has to hold me back.  It's lucky we're on short leash in Hydra, not the extending one. 
In general though Hydra is a very dog friendly island - we haven't been turned way from any restaurant or cafe and most people and fellow canines want to say hello.  I feel quite at home. 
Wish you all were here 

Monday, 11 September 2017

Vine Harvest Festival Pictures

It sounds as if this year everything came together to produce a great festival. Chris Drum Berkaya and David Beavis kindly sent me some photos to show me what I missed and have allowed me to post them here.  I'm sure Joy will write a blog post as soon as she gets back. After years of trying to meet up with Joy, she was demonstrating her tart making just 6 kms from my house and I wasn't there - one day Joy.

Bodrum - Friday Evening ( Photo -Chris Drum Berkaya)

Bodrum Friday Evening (Photo CDB)

Joy and Asli, owner of Cooking Classes in Bodrum
Mumcular Saturday (photo David Beavis)

Mumcular Saturday (photo DB)

Mumcular Saturday (photo DB) 

Friday, 8 September 2017

Vine Harvest Festival

I am gutted that I am going to miss Karaova's third Grape Harvest Festival. The first one was wonderful, read about it here. The second one not so good as the organisers bowed to the demands of shop keepers in Mumcular and held it in the streets - not a good idea.  But this year it has moved back to the park and should be a fantastic week-end of food and crafty delights. All my Turkish food blogger friends will be there and even Joy from My Travelling Joys is flying in from London for it.   The festival starts with a procession in Bodrum this evening and then opens at 10 am in The Mustafa Kalem Park in Mumcular on Saturday.   If you go and take some good photographs send them to me at and I'll put them up on the blog. 

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Bodrum dog to Piraeus

After a very long and leisurely lunch we set off to explore Kos town.  As an inhabitant of modern  Halicarnassus, I am blasé about ancient ruins but I did lift my leg on the corners of a few medieval buildings and was more interested in the help street animals were getting, than Hippocrates' plane tree (wasn't allowed to pee on that). 

At 7pm the Blue Star Ferry to Piraeus docked and the boss tried to make me wear a muzzle,(that's the rule) but it didn't stay on for long, I managed to leave it on the quay a couple of times but bloody do-gooders kept picking it up and giving it back. 
We had to use the back stairs to board rather than the escalator, which avoided the queues, and were shown to our pet cabin; top deck, roomy and with an ensuite and bigger than we expected. I can't say it was comfortable journey as the incessant engine noise and various clangs and clunks made it impossible to sleep for long but it was much better than a cage next to the trucks, which was the only other large canine accommodation on offer. 

We explored the aft deck but never worked out where the dogs' convenience was.  Luckily I can cross my legs for 12 hours over night and at 7 am we were striding happily towards Quay 8 to catch the Hellenic Seaways Flying Catamaran to Hydra. 

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Gusto Restaurant on Kos

After a half hour wait on the docked ferry, we were allowed to disembark and join the queue for passport control. I hung back in the shade as furry coats and bright sunshine don't go together. It was noon when we got through and the Customs Officer only wanted to see the rabies vaccination stamp in my passport, not the blood test results and 'permission to travel to Europe' papers that had cost the boss over 1000 TL to complete and only last 4 months - I suspect we may be travelling further afield this year, if only to justify the outlay.  We now had 7 hours to fill until the ferry to Piraeus. An island bus trip would have been a great option but the buses don't take dogs so on the recommendation of close friends, we went to Gusto where for the first time in my life I was ordered my own meal, and  a very good chicken filet it was too.  The restaurant is popular for it seafood platters, the trays of giant prawns and octopus looked fantastic and the mostly Turkish  diners surrounding us were all enjoying the food.  I made friends with the owner Sinan and his mother Sonya who were happy to look after me while the boss visited the bathroom - a very important service for single people travelling with dogs - and generally kept us entertained and well fed for several hours.  They will also look after bags leaving travellers free to wander unencumbered.  Gusto's is the first restaurant on the beach next to the temporary ferry port but when the earthquake damage is repaired and the ferries move back to the opposite quay, I'm sure loyal customers  will walk the extra 10 minutes to dine.  I noticed all the ferry captains were lunching  there - always a sign you've picked the right place to eat. 

Friday, 1 September 2017

Out of Bodrum

I knew something was in the air. Last week I was given a sharp short back and sides (and unders) and a stranger in an office took my photograph and yesterday I was thoroughly soaped with Johnsons Baby Shampoo, towelled dry rather than being allowed run around and roll in dust as I usually do to dry off, and brushed until half my coat was in a plastic bin bag.  This usually means that I am going on a 'holiday' ie left behind while the boss goes away, but this morning our rather early morning walk was accompanied by a large bag on wheels and ended up in front of the castle.  Half an hour later, the floor under me started to rumble and shake and Bodrum was left behind. 
It wasn't a pleasant sensation but I got used to it and a nice family from Cyprus made lots of fuss of me.  The only other dog onboard was a very cool Weinmaranar who doggedly looked the other way so I made sure he heard me.  He didn't reciprocate -I still  don't know what a German accented bark sounds like.  So now I am in Greece, well not quite - there is a very long queue to get to show my passport and reams of paperwork that the boss had to pay extra for as the Bayram bank holiday was extended forward by 3 days. 

No one has been allowed off our ferry yet.  I hope we are not here too long, after all this excitement, I need to find a lamppost 

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Bloggers meet up.

One of the best bits of writing a blog is meeting up with other bloggers. Jay, who pens Roving Jay and The Bodrum Peninsula Guide, messaged me last week to say she was heading out my way for brunch at Etrim and asked if I'd like to join her, Neale and Tracey for a late breakfast. The nicest invites are the ones that involve a quick drive from home, good food and fun company so Jake and I left home at 10:45 and arrived at 10:53 on the dot.

Daffy the Dog was there to meet us as usual but unfortunately Jake wasn't in a friendly mood so poor Daffy got growled and barked at until we finished eating and left the table.  I assume Jake thought that two bloggers at the table needed a lot of protecting.  I fear Jake is turning into a grumpy old man at 5 years old.

As well as eating too much, there was an opportunity to snap some photos through an open window - this young lady enjoying her water melon is my favourite.

There are a lot of links in this post but its fun to hark back to previous posts and if you click on Tracey's link you will see how we met up for the first time.

Monday, 28 August 2017

Treading grapes

I'm not really treading grapes, I'm treading on them. All at once, every single bunch of grapes seems to have over-ripened and started dropping its slippery bounty all over the courtyard. I should, of course, have started picking them much earlier and a few bunches have already been harvested but there is nothing like having a glut of something to make me want to eat anything but.  I'm also wary of step ladders. Last year a couple of friends found themselves in hospital after coming a cropper trying to reach high shelves and toppling over instead.  I am not a lover of heights and just standing on the bottom rung of a ladder seems a risk, so I've been concentrating very hard this morning on the top rung of the steps, holding my breath and trying to convince myself that my balance is fine. Unfortunately the fruit are so ripe that each time I cut a bunch a shower of grapes hit me in the face. I didn't fall off but the experience reminded me that there is a very tall, practical hollow in my life. One that always picked the grapes.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Sea dog

October 2012

When I was a pup I was taken to sea.  I behaved very well and hoped it would be a regular treat but that was the first and last time.

I'm not itching to set sail on the 'pirate' boats that ply their trade from Bodrum harbour - if you're young, agile and two legged, I'm sure it's great fun and good value but I'm not keen on loud music.

But just once or twice I'd like to accompany the boss to a quiet bay and eat fish. She always brings me back a doggy bag but it's not the same. She's asked the captains if they take four-pawed companions, but the answer is always negative.

I can just picture myself standing at the bow, one paw on the bowsprit, fur ruffling in the light breeze...hold on a minute - what's that in the background?

I have enough trouble with these blighters on my own patch - If they are part and parcel of boat trips I think I'll stay at home.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017


There are a few places Jake can't go so I will reclaim my blog to take you to the last night of Bodrum's International Ballet Festival.  Before the performance started, I mentally ticked off the 3 places in central Bodrum I have recently watched shows and concerts.
1. The castle theatre, where I was now sitting with a couple of thousand permanent and temporary Bodrum residents - Always atmospheric with the castle walls tastefully illuminated as busy Bodrum harbour life carries on outside.
2. The ancient theatre - Forget the fantastic panoramic view of the castle and town - the notion that bottoms have plonked on the seat under me for over 2000 years to watch theatre and song is enough. I wish the massive speakers would be relegated to history though.
3 The Mausoleum - ideal for a string quartet - if rather removed from its original purpose

The show was Los Vivancos - Born to dance. The talented Spanish brothers, whose Flamenco morphs into tap, martial arts and things I'm too old to know the names of, to a sound track from Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Leonard Cohen, Deep Purple and others who were born after I stopped noticing new music - and gives the audience the rare opportunity to watch and listen to flute and strings being played by musicians suspended upside down.  That these fit young chaps' frequent costume changes involve a lot of bare chests and tight leather trousers may add to their ability to sell out venues world wide, but their brilliant dance routines will fill Bodrum's theatres every time.

There are usually 7 - We were well entertained by 6 
Watch their official trailer here: 

Saturday, 12 August 2017


I think I've made it plain over the past few weeks that I don't like being left behind. This poses a problem for the boss as big hairy mutts are not always welcome at eating establishments.  One place she knows I will always be welcome (About the chicken chase - It was a momentary lapse, I don't know what came over me - it will never happen again and thank goodness I came to my senses before any feathers flew) is Etrim Carpet Village. A short drive from our house, this is one of the best brunch venues near Bodrum.  Turkish breakfasts seem be getting bigger year on year -  a simple meal of bread, boiled eggs, white cheese, cucumber, tomatoes and honey has morphed into a table heaving spread of salads, pastries, 6 different cheeses, dips, fruit and fritters. Nobody is complaining of course - this must be the best spent 25TL in the area. 

Even the jams are getting exciting -  walnut, fig, olive (yes olive!),  quince, mulberry and lemon.

Belgin serves it all up without once implying that I am in the way or should be elsewhere.  

Halfway through the meal I noticed that we were being watched so I politely introduced myself. This involved a bit of barking which my other half always interprets wrongly but I'm not being unfriendly - just testing the ground.  

Daffy knows all about fame; he spends most of his day posing for walkers who pass by on the newly opened Lelegian trail and are tempted in for a drink, breakfast or a lecture on carpet making. We both decided to stay in the dappled shade and make it really difficult for the paparazzi to catch us having a chin wag.

February Brunch
Etrim Facebook Page

Monday, 7 August 2017

And down it came

All this blogging may have gone to my head, but I am becoming a mighty powerful canine. On a trip to our local reservoir, I took a few minutes out from sniffing and snuffling to contemplate the disaster about to hit our green and fertile Karaova plain if the Autumn rains miss another year. We are really down to our last reserves and it needs a prolonged period of steady rain to fill up this water supply. Another dry winter could mean the end of the market gardens that have sprung up in the 25 years since the dam was built.  I offered up a doggy prayer to the skies that those clouds would get big enough to dump a load of water on Mumcular.
I had to wait a few days but it sure worked. 

A storm front rushed through with a mighty wind that whipped all the dead needles off the pines into the pool (the boss wasn't pleased) and for a few minutes the thunder crashed and the lightening zinged through the trees.  It probably made no difference to the level of the reservoir but I hope it is a good omen for the winter.  

I had my two girlfriends Peri and Sevgi staying, so I did a lot of manly barking outside while the ladies sheltered inside. I hope they were impressed because I don't like getting wet and if they hadn't been there I would have stayed on the sofa.

Thursday, 3 August 2017


Jake in pastels by Teoman Onursan 
It is hot today, I am not looking my best. I prefer to see myself in print in pastels. All a hot dog wants to do is lie quietly on the tiles under the fan and wait until the thermometer drops below blood temperature.  But I am not having a quiet day; the earth has been reverberating under me again and setting all the pictures and mirrors askew and the boss has called in the cavalry - the air is full of the teeth-grinding whizz of a saw, the hiss of a welding machine and the clang of metal meeting metal. She thinks she has put an end to my career as an escapologist.

I have an idea: I hear I am getting some canine company soon - with 8 legs, some nifty acrobatic shoulder stands might be the answer.  It's so hot though, I might just agree to stay at home - the last trip to Bodrum, stuck in traffic jams and walking on boiling hot pavements wasn't much fun. I won't let on though - I saw her hand over a big wad of cash for this iron work, I should at least let her think it's money well spent.

Monday, 31 July 2017

In the Dog House

These Paparazzi style photos catch me having a good time with one of my blog readers. I was so happy to meet Audrey in The Temple Bar, Bitez on Saturday night, that I got quite carried away as you can see despite the terrible quality of the snaps.

Richard (who took me walks when my master was ill) Audrey and me. 

I've been having a hard time at home because I am apparently "A very naughty dog"  so a bit of unbridled love and attention was very welcome.

I thought I was showing initiative when I squeezed through the iron gates which appeared around our courtyard in October. I surprised myself by getting through, I couldn't do it before.  - I am now getting a pasta ration with my dog food to fatten me up.  The day after my escape, ugly chicken wire was stuck all over the gates - I'm not having this I thought to myself - this house was designed with the highest aesthetic principles in mind - this wire is an insult to the eyes - so while the mistress was at the market I ripped it off and made my paws bleed doing it.  Did I get any thanks - NO.
The next time the humans went out I was shut in the house with no exit to the courtyard. What I did next was probably, in hindsight, a bit silly and I apologise to Jane; I shouldn't have knocked all your things off the bedside table and I'm sorry I wrecked your blinds, obliterated your mosquito net and walked my bloody paws on your sheets - I hope you will still come back and thank you for the gravy bones.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Losing Touch

I have spent the best part of the past 40 hours looking for my sunglasses.  I have tidied the kitchen, re-ordered my wardrobe and shelves, sorted through my bathroom cupboard,  folded and put away my clean washing and swept under beds and sofas in my search for them.  I have even emptied the kitchen bin, bit by bit, to no avail.  I was beginning to suspect the dog had eaten them. About 30 minutes ago, I gave up searching as there was nowhere else to look and decided it was time to write my blog.  As I plugged my camera in to charge, I popped the memory card on the nearest flat surface and guess what.. I have walked past this speaker countless times in the past two days. My house guests who were probably fed up with hearing me moan about my lost lenses, have sat less that 2 metres away - how come we all missed seeing what was in front of us?
I think a study is called for - ' The impact of continuous seismic activity on the human brain.'

(There have been two rumbles while I've been sitting at the computer)

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

It's a Dog's Life

My personal chef and walker is questioning my sensitivity. She is telling all who will listen (which isn't many as we are still stuck in the middle of rural nowhere) that she had to wake me up when the 6.6 earthquake hit on Friday morning. She wants to know why I wasn't waking her up with minutes to spare and leading her out of the house, rather than her dragging me out by my collar.  She has shown me cctv footage of street dogs in Bodrum running anxiously around the harbour, quoted 4th century BCE accounts of Greek dogs howling before seismic activity and claims that a whole Japanese town of 90,000 inhabitants was evacuated before a 7.9 quake on the say-so of its animal residents. "Dogs' hearing is so sensitive that they can pick up the sound of the earth moving prior to the destructive convulsion" she says. All I can say is that she better start trimming the hair bunging up my lugholes then.  In my defence, I spend my whole day protecting her from danger.  I bark loudly and frequently at every squirrel, dove, sparrow, bee and hornet that invades my courtyard and all get for my trouble is "Shut up Jake" often accompanied by words too rude to print.  No wonder I was fast asleep in the early hours.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Shaken not stirred

I could say 'this morning I am picking up the pieces after last night's 6.3  (or 6.8 depending which report you read) earthquake'. It wouldn't be a lie - a large iron candle stick fell over and broke this plate, so I do have some pieces to collect (and re-stick -because my mother gave it to me and I use it a lot) but I would be egging the pudding. Any earthquake measuring over 6 is of course bad news; It is very scary, especially types that try to pull the walls of your house apart and approach with a roar.  It took a while for my heartbeat to return to normal and I stayed outside counting the aftershocks.  After a few minutes, thanks to Facebook, I could relax in the knowledge that friends and family were unharmed but two people did lose their lives on the island of Kos. The change in sea level damaged plenty of boats, cars and property and a few mosques have fallen or have damaged minarets. I'm sure many people have more bits and pieces to pick up and mend than I do.  I hear from a friend that one can almost get drunk from the fumes wafting from the swanky alcohol shop on Bodrum's harbour front (order wider shelves now). The roads are jammed with folk heading back to the cities. Now this does confuse me - you flee a town which has just survived a major earthquake mainly due to its policy of building two storey structures, for a city with skyscrapers - also built on a fault line. Each to his own.  BUT the gist of this ramble is - everything is pretty much ok, which is why waking up to this headline makes me angry:

Screen shot from Daily Mail 22/7

Like my broken plate, it is not untrue but I find it totally disproportionate.  I was on Marmara Island in 1999 when an earthquake killed tens of thousands - That was a 'Killer Earthquake".  And just to be correct - it hit the Aegean not the Mediterranean. But I understand that they are both difficult words to spell, so in the middle of the night 'Med' was probably the easiest option.

We are still rumbling by the way.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Cows on the Coast

This post is for Deborah Semel Demirtaş whose 'Artist on a Marginal Coast' blog I enjoy reading. She's recently wrote about cows by the sea and I promised to send her some pictures of cattle that graze the Swedish coast.  I'm always wary of cows and these ones stare intently at me every evening as I pass by, but so far I have only briefly interrupted their nibbling. Occasionally they rush wildly up the seashore so I know that one day I will have to avoid a charging cow and I had better start researching defence techniques.  All suggestions welcome.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

There is no cow on the ice

I've had a few messages asking me if all is well as BacktoBodrum has been uncharacteristically off-air for two weeks. I can happily reply that 'Ingen ko på isen' - 'there is no cow on the ice' which will immediately reassure all my Swedish friends that there is nothing to worry about. I've been visiting Skåne, Sweden, enjoying how different life is there to my existence in Bodrum - not better or worse - just poles apart. 

Things that are different

I've eaten more licorice in the past week than in the last two years (ie since my last visit). Sweet, or chocolate flavoured but even better - salty - I wonder whether a licorice shop would work in Bodrum?

Giant blueberries, gooseberries, endless raspberries and who could resist a fruit called 'cloudberry'. I discovered that a handful of fresh red currents mixed into lightly picked cucumber is the best accompaniment to baked herrings. 

Cinnamon buns
OK, I can make these at home but buying them warm from the Bakery for breakfast is almost as good as taking home a fresh crispy simit.  

Road Safety
Swedes step out on to pedestrian crossings without even looking, so confident are they that cars will stop. Please don't try this in Bodrum.  I'd prefer you didn't do it in front of me in my first few days - I'm already struggling with speed limits that go from 40 to 70 to 30 to 20 in a less than a kilometre and a car that brakes for me if I'm too near to the car in front or shouts at me if I stray too far to the right or left. .  

Bicycles everywhere
As above - car drivers acknowledge their presence; again - don't try this in Bodrum in Summer.
(One question - if Swedes are so health and safety conscious - explain the candles on the head on 13th December) 

Big wheels of it offered with every meal, but very difficult to store - I would have to build a special Ryvita cupboard if I could buy it here. 

Place Names
I childishly delight in visiting Paarp on my way to Boarp and then on to Bastad.  (I know there are little circles on top of some vowels that change the sound, but can't be arsed to find them) 

Whipped cream with every dessert
Not so sure about the green cakes. 

Rosa Rogusa grows everywhere and has a heavenly scent.  Locals consider it a weed and prefer less rampant varieties to grow up their houses, but I love this Beach Rose and stop at every opportunity to literally smell the roses and hope to be figuratively doing the same, and writing about it, now that I am home.