Friday, 30 March 2018

An Easter Good Friday that isn't

A full moon over the harbour in Hydra on a Good Friday evening.  But Orthodox Easter is next week-end so the town is still quiet. It will be a different scene next Friday here. 

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Charmed Lives in Greece

There is an exhibition on at The British Museum now which I am keen to see.  It follows the lives of three friends; artists Niko Ghika and John Craxton, and writer Patrick Leigh Fermour.  They all loved and were inspired by Greece and met often on Hydra in Ghika's house on the hill overlooking Kamini Harbour.  I was sitting in Kamini an hour ago, listening to the sound of the sea bounce off the low quay wall, and watching the sunlight reflect off the waves onto the fishing boats and wished myself a small percentage of these great names' talent to get down on paper the essence of this wonderful island that draws artists and wordsmiths.  As I was musing over this, just to prove a point, a rock-legend I hero-worshipped in my teens walked by.  

 Ghika's house burned down in 1961.  Some say his housekeeper, upset that Ghika had left his first wife, set fire to it. Another rumour is that a watchman employed to look after the house, dropped a cigarette when in his cups.   Either way, Ghika didn't return and the house was not rebuilt. Its ruin is still visible behind the Care Home for the Elderly. 

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Festival Time

I tried to get a smile out of this little Efe but he wasn't having it. 

The Municipality was on hand to give out 'pac-a macs' to those who forgot their umbrellas

Ortakent Acı Ot Festival didn't get off to a great start as the heavens opened as we were setting up the stands and as each downpour passed by, an ominous black cloud loomed ready to soak us again. We were all seriously questioning the organisers' decision not to move the event under cover, when the sun appeared and the event continued in glorious Spring weather (for a few hours at least until it chucked it down again)

The festival is one of a series of three this month celebrating the great food of the region, especially the wild greens that are prolific at this time of year. If you missed last week's one in Çamlık and this week-end's in Ortakent, there is another in Bodrum, Kumbahçe next week-end with an emphasis on the area's Greek connections. It's no surprise that the Greek word horta is so similar to the Turkish otboth cuisines prize the collection of early wild greens from the fields and mountains and serve them with plenty of olive oil and lemon juice.  Both the collection and the eating of ot/horta is a very healthy occupation.

Annie and Camille set up stall with quiche, herb scones and marmalade to add a touch of Europe to the event.

I didn't collect my wild asparagus/tilkişen to make my quiches, I bought it from the local market but I know exactly where it grows in my village garden - unfortunately so do half the villagers and I'm rarely up early enough to harvest it myself. 

By two o'clock on Saturday, my pastries had been sold and I was flighting a losing battle with the wind to keep my cards on the table so I called it a day but cars and people were still pouring in and I'm sure the attendees will be counted in thousands.  
Standing behind a table I missed the cookery demonstrations and guided tour of the tower houses but heard good things from those that joined in. 

Jake make a short appearance but a hairy dog behind a food stall is not the best advert so after a bit of barking at the camels,  he went home with Esi.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Lucky day.

I am writing this post to a background sound track of rattling water tanks, thrashing branches and a rumbling shed roof that sounds like it is about to head North.  But before the Southerly Lodos storm hit top gear today, Jake and I had our usual Bodrum walk-a-bout and we timed it just right to hit the Municipality Square as free trees were being handed out.  This is a regular highlight of World Forest Day, 21st March, but today is the 22nd.  It would be churlish to quibble over dates as I was given three baby Bay trees which will hopefully keep my curries and stews full of flavour for many years to come.  On our way home, I popped into Altın Butchers to see if they had any marrow bones and was given a juicy selection, chopped for convenience and again at no charge. Jake's marrow bone jelly has been simmering away for 3 hours now and he's looking with longing at the stove.  The house has a not unpleasant meaty fug about it and I think I'll steal a bit of his brew to make some soup while the electricity is still on, and reflect on my lucky day.

Sunday, 11 March 2018


I have found a very simple method to damp-dust my house. Take a large shagging dog and completely soak him in warm water in the shower. Cover him in some coconut scented dog shampoo and then thoroughly soak him again.  By this time said dog will be so mad that he will dive out of the shower and throw himself all over the house, giving your floors and stairs and all low lying shelves and walls a jolly good wash and wipe. Next time I'll build a ramp and he can do the windows too. 

He usually doesn't mind having a bath but I think he took offence at the girly shampoo. 

Friday, 9 March 2018

More brush - Less keyboard

Another week passes with no keyboard activity. Painting is taking over.  While Bodrum Municipality was handing out free flowers and pot-plants to celebrate Women's Day yesterday (which I only found out about after the event though did notice several scooters passing looking as if they were entering the Best in the Village Garden contest), and hundreds of children were competing in BIOR, Bodrum International Optimist Regatta (it's a sailing competition, not a race to find Bodrum's most sanguine child) I was in Şüle's Workshop - paintbrush in hand.

Who could have guessed that a 4 Lira plastic pot could be transformed with a lick of Beton Effect paste.  It is now outside testing its claim to be weatherproof.

And my uninspiring chunky wooden stool looks much more attractive after its makeover.  Teo would have made a face over the flamingo and without his good taste to hold me back, I am flighting the urge to cover every free surface with pink waders.  The garden wall needs painting and I quite fancy a flock of flamingos to keep the geraniums company.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Cards for street animals

I have been neglecting my blog because I've been busy up in my little studio painting bougainvillea, olives and sweet peas (I got fed up with carrots) and turning them into greetings cards.  We sold some in the Defne Restaurant in Bitez on Sunday with all proceeds going towards feeding, neutering and treating street animals.  If you would like an original water colour card in exchange for a donation to The Bitez Street Animals or if you would like some cards to sell for a worthy charity - let me know. I love painting them but don't have room to keep them all.