“Do You Want To Phone A Friend …?”

Remember Chris Tarrant? I do … and let me explain why.

Genial and quick-witted, there was a time when it seemed Chris was everywhere. Radio shows, games, books and of course perhaps his most famous role as host of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. And that’s why he sometimes pops into my mind when I try to speak Turkish.

Why? Well, in the show, if you didn’t know the answer to any of the questions Chris fired at you, you had three “lifelines”. You could ask the audience, you could go 50/50 and eliminate some of the wrong ones or you could phone a friend. And, if I’m honest, I’ve done the equivalent of all three while trying to make myself understood in Turkish.

As an example, let’s use our attempt to buy some tempered glass for the wood-burner after the last sheet detonated rather dramatically in the middle of a family evening in front of the telly the other night.

We looked up “glass” “fire” and “wood-burner” and set off for the shop in Fethiye and, on arrival at  the workshop, found three guys in conversation, the middle one stopping to raise an inquiring eyebrow. We’ve done more than a year of Turkish lessons now and I had been reasonably confident we’d be able to say something like: “Hi, we need two sheets of tempered glass for a wood-burner.” Sadly, despite the preparation, nothing came out.

Try as I might, I just couldn’t marshal the words into a sentence quickly enough and, as I became increasingly aware of the long pause, I panicked. I pointed at some glass, I said the Turkish word for “fire” and hoped that was enough.

But no. The shopkeeper replied with some quick-fire Turkish and all I could do was look at him helplessly – and that’s usually where Chris Tarrant steps in.

“Do you want to use one of your lifelines?” he asked in my head, when actually, what I wanted to do was just make myself coherent. “Do you want to ask the audience?”

I looked hopefully at Bec. Nope. No help coming from there. The other two guys in the shop had wandered off and there was no chance of catching their eye either.

“Do you want to use your 50/50?” Chris was asking. I fumbled with my phone hoping the translation app was still open so I could show the shopkeeper the words we looked up earlier in the hope he could make sense of what we’re after from that. It wasn’t.

“Do you want to phone a friend?” inquired my imaginary Chris, although in the real world, it was actually Bec with her own mobile in her hand.

“Hmm?” I asked dazedly.

“Do you want me to call Bayram? He’ll be able to explain what we want …”

“Oh. Right. Yes. I suppose so.”

And minutes later there was a telephone conversation going on between the shopkeeper and our bilingual friend while I stood ashamed that, yet again, I couldn’t string a sentence together in Turkish – or at least not one that I was confident would make any sense.

After over a year of trying to learn a new language, I’m okay in the markets, bars and restaurants and I can even manage rudimentary car maintenance phrases after a series of issues with our Land Rover. But it’s when you enter a new scenario or when you’re dealing with officialdom that linguistic shortcomings become far more evident – and it can underline just how far you still have to go.

We’re fortunate to have a teacher with endless patience and a sense of humour too. Indeed, Bülent seems to find the stories I tell about how I’ve struggled this week quite amusing. But, then we’ll settle down to run through where I went wrong.

Besides, as Bülent points out, if we added up all the time we’ve spent in lessons together, it only comes to just over 100 hours, which is about three weeks if we worked on a nine-to-five basis. Is it really realistic to expect to be able to speak a new language fluently in such a short time? Probably not.

It’s true the effort you make to speak even rudimentary Turkish is appreciated by locals, and reciprocated in their smiles and even in the price you pay in the lokantas and at some of the market stalls. It is definitely worth the effort.

Nevertheless, I suspect it’s going to be a while before I’m free of Chris Tarrant.

images

Ode to the Defender

IMG_3417“Why have you bought this?”

“Because I like them and I’ve always wanted one of my own.”

“But you will die in this in the summer. It will be so hot inside.”

“I could just open a window.”

“But no Turkish person would buy this from you!”

“Good. I have no intention of selling it…”

“You’re mad. This will cost you money after money; you are going to be so embarrassed. Why not just buy a nice little Fiat..?”

And, if we’re honest, looking back, our neighbour Tommy wasn’t completely wrong. Our big, unashamedly blue Land Rover Defender 110 hasn’t proved to be completely reliable. So far, we’ve replaced the rocker gasket, the head gasket, the clutch (twice), glow plugs and air filter. We’ve never enjoyed the luxuries of power steering, turbo power, windscreen washers (front or rear) or any form of heating, save that which radiates from the engine compartment. If it rains – and it does frequently in the winter – you get wet, rivulets finding their way inside and dripping from the roof onto knees and down the back of collars.

Progress on hills is, let’s say, sedate and, until we tinkered with the fuel pump, often accompanied by clouds of black smoke. The transfer box likes to dribble a little oil on the drive occasionally just to keep you on your toes and, after a cold snap, the engine can steadfastly refuse to start and then, five minutes later, fire up on the first turn of the key. Physically demanding to drive, it is without doubt the most challenging car I’ve ever owned.

But, despite the garage bills, the deafening engine noise at anything above 40mph, and the distinct lack of mod cons, not once have I regretted buying it. Indeed, “Lenny”, as he has become known both to us and our friends, has developed a character and become one of the family in his own right.

Our house is at the end of an unsurfaced lane which is often submerged under water after heavy or prolonged rain. To say your “nice little Fiat” would struggle with the pot holes is something of an understatement. And neither would I be that keen on chucking wet dogs in the back of a tidy family saloon after walks in the hills. Indeed, many of those walks have only been discovered because we’re not confined to roads and can explore along the old goat tracks which criss-cross the mountains around our home.

We’ve foraged for firewood, rescued broken down cars, transported up to 10 passengers – all seated and belted – to family events, all without problems. In town, a Land Rover is big enough to intimidate most drivers considering cutting you up at the next junction or set of lights and it’s somehow reassuring to know, if anything did hit you, nine times out of ten, they’re the ones who are probably going to come off worst. He may be slow, but like any Land Rover, he was built to last and, despite claims to the contrary, I have actually had three offers to buy him in the past 12 months

It’s sad therefore to know that today is the day the last Land Rover Defender will roll off the production line. The ultimate off-road vehicle, which has become a British icon as distinctive as the Mini or the Rolls Royce, has had its time.

Personally, I find it somehow demoralising to read there just isn’t the will or desire within Jaguar Land Rover to overcome the issues with emissions or whatever which appear to have led to the marque’s demise but, from today, there will be no more new Defenders to become farm work horses or heading for off-road adventures all around the world. We have ours though and, even though I’ve no doubt at all there will be more flappy clutch pedals, steaming radiators, leaky gaskets and infuriating intermittent electrical faults, I still have no intention whatsoever of letting it go …

SP

As One Door Closes…..It Stays That Way!

“I can’t get into my room!” shouted my daughter from upstairs. Her dad and I looked at each other and rolled our eyes.

“Yeah, right,” I muttered, going upstairs to sort it out. A minute later, it was my turn.

“Steve….we can’t get into Emma’s room…”

The cause of much wailing and gnashing of teeth by our in-house teenager.

The cause of much wailing and gnashing of teeth by our in-house teenager.

We’d just returned from supper with friends. It was a chilly evening and the plan, once home, was simple – light the fire, slip into snuggly pyjamas, make a cuppa and watch Silent Witness. Now, though, that was on hold. The door to our daughter’s bedroom just wouldn’t budge.

“It’s like it’s locked,” I said, prompting Emma to look worried and ask if we thought anyone was in there. I found the key and tried it; it turned easily but the door still wouldn’t open. The handle waggled up and down, but whatever mechanism it is that makes the latch retract wasn’t working. (I have no idea if it’s called a latch, by the way – my locksmith terminology isn’t up to much. I mean the bit that goes in and out of the door frame when you turn the handle.)

“I can probably get in through the balcony door,” mused Steve. “But it’s too dark to try it now, it will have to wait until morning.”

So I made up a bed in the spare room, and Emma tried to hide her mortification at having to wear her mum’s pyjamas. I pointed out it was only like an impromptu sleepover, and at least she had access to a bathroom and could brush her teeth. Like that’s news to cheer up a teenager missing her iPad and cuddly blanket.

The following morning, Steve climbed a ladder onto the balcony and tried to get in that way with a spare key, discovering too late that Emma had left her key in the lock on the other side. There was nothing for it – call in the cavalry.

Our friend Eser arrived and tried that perennial favourite, picking the lock with a credit card. No joy. Finally, we capitulated and called a locksmith.

He turned up an hour later, a youth of about 12 years old (or at least that’s what he looked like) riding a moped. With a flourish, he withdrew a very bendy bit of plastic from his bag of tricks….and slid the door open in about 30 seconds flat. He replaced the broken lock, too, the whole operation done and dusted in no more than 25 minutes.

We were grateful while hoping our external doors wouldn’t prove quite that easy to master, should we ever have a similar situation with them. Emma, meanwhile, was just happy to have her own pyjamas back.

The Tale of My Pants and “The Hounds From Hell” …

Fidget and Fifi - The

Fidget and Fifi – The “hounds from hell”

Dogs were never part of the master plan. For a start, when we arrived in Turkey just over a year ago, two cats travelled with us and they had made their utter disdain for all things canine abundantly clear.

However, that was before our landlord unexpectedly ambushed our daughter with a puppy while Bec and I were out shopping one day, (https://theparsleysabroad.wordpress.com/2014/07/23/puppy-love) and before another bundle of blonde fur decided to camp on our doorstep until we lost the will to stop her moving in last Christmas Eve.

We’ve done our best with them since then. They’ve had all their shots, they’ve made their dining requirements clear (only chicken with dog biscuits and gravy will do), they get walked every day and they have bossed the cats out of their favourite sleeping spots which they now inhabit in typical untidy heaps. To be honest, we thought we were doing okay …

Then in April I met the owner of the summer season accommodation and restaurant on the northern boundary of our garden while I was walking them one day.

“Are these your dogs?” he asked with the kind of smile which usually precedes some complimentary comment about how cute they are.

“Yes,” I replied as they gambolled about his legs trying to chew his shoelaces. “Sorry; they’re still just puppies really.”

“Yes, we love your dogs – but you will have to stop them barking,” he said, suddenly fixing me with a deadpan stare.

“I’m sorry – they do get a bit excited when they meet someone new….”

“No. I mean you must stop them barking all the time. I have a business next door to your house and they disturb my guests all the time. I pay my taxes. We are going to have to agree what you do about them.”

To be frank, the sudden accusation that I was the owner of two hounds from hell came so much out of the blue I wasn’t sure what to say next.

“Um … They are dogs and they are going to bark sometimes, like all the other dogs in the village,” I heard myself saying.

“No. Your dogs make all the other dogs in the village bark. Your dogs bark all the time so you have to make them stop. Maybe you come to my house for coffee and we can talk about it more…”

I’ll admit that at that point there had been two or three nights over the past six months when I’d had to get out of bed in the early hours to tap noses and wag a stern finger in front of furry faces after half an hour of yapping at shadows, but suggesting our two were solely responsible for the nightly cacophony across the whole village seemed a bit rich, especially coming from someone only resident in the area for the summer months. Nevertheless, sensing I wasn’t going to win this particular argument, I said something non-committal, made my excuses and decided to consult our neighbour – and one of the village bigwigs – Tommy later. I didn’t need to wait though. Within an hour of me returning home and discussing our dilemma with Bec, the phone rang.

“Stiv … It’s Tommy.”

“Hi Tommy. I was going to call you actually….

“Was it about your dogs?”

“Erm …. Yes. How did you know that?”

“The man near you. He called me. He says your dogs bark all the time. You will have to make them stop or he will call the Jandarma (the local police). If you still don’t stop them, he will throw poison over the fence. You don’t need this so you must stop dogs barking …”

“And how do you suggest I do that? It takes time to train dogs to stop barking. You can’t just switch them off… I’ll do what I can now I know it’s a problem but ours are no worse than half a dozen other dogs up the lane. They all bark as well. And what about the cockerels, the peacocks, the sheep, the cows? This is a village. There’s always a noise somewhere.

“While you have dogs, you will always have trouble,” added Tommy ominously.  “It’s up to you but you have to stop them barking or people in the village can make trouble for you.”

He was proved right – at least to an extent. The same complainant has since left a terse note on our gate after we had tea with friends reasoning, as it wasn’t late, the dogs would be fine on our balcony for an hour or so.  We have also had a visit from the village head man – sent by the same neighbour – who instructed us to stop our dogs barking “all the time”, even though we’ve since had considerable success with reward-based training which has limited outbreaks of barking to no more than a handful, usually provoked by lost tourists riding up to our gates on noisy quad bikes. On another occasion, I found the dogs being deliberately provoked into a frenzy before I could reach them by an old man from another neighbouring property poking a stick though the gate and waggling it about in front of them.

With this in the background and our status as “guests” in Turkey apparently at stake, we have been forced to resort to English habits and have kept the dogs inside at night almost since the summer season began.

I was therefore horrified the other night when, after Bec and I had gone to bed, our daughter returned home from a meal out with the two teenage holidaymakers she has befriended and accidentally released the dogs into the garden at midnight.

Such had been our recent success with training them, any late-night barking has been reduced to a flurry of yaps before the dogs have remembered themselves and resorted to merely wagging tails and excited sniffing of hands and shoes. However, this time, something clearly alarmed them as I heard them run full pelt into the darkness of the orchard, barking hysterically as though our lives were in dire peril.

Without thinking, I was out of bed, down the stairs and in the garden. At that point, my only concern was warnings of poison, the visit from the head man, and possible “trouble” from villagers who, for all I knew, could soon be at our gates with pitchforks and burning torches demanding our immediate expulsion from Kayaköy.

It was only when I hurtled onto the porch and down the short flight of steps into the garden that I wished I’d also considered some additional clothing. Dressed in nothing more than what I can only describe as saggy, unflattering but comfortable pyjama shorts, I was confronted by two teenage girls and their parents, hopping from one foot to another as two excited dogs barked around their ankles.

Presented with four complete strangers turning up at their house in the middle of the night, the dogs were giving it the works, backing off to circle them and then darting in with upturned faces to bark shrilly and excitedly at any sudden movement.

With my distinct lack of decency in mind, I tried to persuade the family to walk briskly towards the house, bringing the dogs into range where I hoped our daughter would be able to intervene and bring them in – but to no avail. It quickly became evident the only way to quell the noise quickly would be to stride masterfully up the drive and assert some authority.

It worked on the dogs. One recognised the tone of my voice and was back inside like a shot. The other retreated into the vegetable garden and rolled over on her back, showing her tummy as an apology and awaiting collection. It only took a few seconds to make the detour from the drive, pick her up in my arms with some stern admonishments and then carry her back to the house.

However, those few seconds were probably more than enough for the bemused family. I left Bec to call an apology and a farewell from the house as I strode back in, contrite dog under one arm, and unflattering bottom cleavage peeping out of the top of my shorts.

To date, I have no idea if our intolerant neighbour was in to hear the barking or if he intends to make another complaint. All I can do is hope karma or fate takes into account the excruciating embarrassment and decides that’s punishment enough…

SP

The Learning Curve

It’s hard to believe we’ve lived in Turkey for more than a year now – the time really has flown. We’ve survived the relentless heat, the pounding rain and everything in between; there is so much we love and, naturally, some things we find less than endearing.

That will be a separate post; for now, let’s focus on a few of the important lessons we have learned…..

1. You can’t beat the dust. I’ll be honest, if you have OCD tendencies when it comes to cleaning, you’ll find it hard to live here. You can go through the house like a dose of salts with a soft cloth and a can of Pronto (our version of Pledge) but, come the end of the day, there’ll be a fine layer of dust on your previously-gleaming surfaces and they’ll look like they haven’t been touched for a month. In winter, when it’s wet, you can exchange the dust for muddy footprints across the balcony if you like. Fortunately I’ve never been that house-proud; it just means I get to clean less and not feel guilty.

2. Plastic tubs are our saviour. I find ants fascinating. Watching them dismantle a decent-sized lizard that had the misfortune to expire on our balcony and remove it bit by bit over the course of a couple of days was really interesting. However, I’m not so keen on opening a box of sugar cubes and finding the little blighters merrily munching away inside, preventing me from ingesting my morning caffeine fix. Whether it’s cereal, cat food, flour, spices…..everything needs to be packed away in plastic tubs to keep the critters out. My family finds my obsession with airtight containers hilarious. They’ll thank me when they realise it’s the only thing standing between the army of ants and their tubes of Pringles.

3. The only plan you can make is to be spontaneous. I don’t care how organised you’ve been in the past. If you want to live here, learning to go with the flow is the name of the game. Decided on a quiet family night in with a DVD? Forget it. Chances are, someone will drop round unexpectedly for drinks and meze. Enjoying a civilised barbecue and a couple of drinks around the pool with friends? Don’t be surprised if you find yourself hustled into the shower and some borrowed clothes so you can meet another group of people elsewhere. Embrace the unpredictability. It’s the only way.

4. Baby, it’s cold inside. While it’s true that outside air temperatures tend to remain considerably higher than the UK in winter, it’s a different story inside. Houses are built to fight the heat of summer and it really is warmer out than in much of the time. With no central heating, getting up in the morning is something to delay as long as possible – certainly until you’ve wiggled an arm out to grab the air-con controls and switched it on for 20 minutes to heat the room up. Layers of clothing become your best friends. On the plus side, I bet none of you were walking around on Christmas Day wearing a t-shirt and paddling in the sea…..

5. What’s mine is yours. As Brits, we’re used to the idea of personal possessions and privacy. If we want to borrow something, we ask. We accept it if the answer is no and, if it’s a yes, we give whatever it is back afterwards. And vice versa. Here, it’s more about giving than lending, and the thinking is thus: “If I need something and you have it, you should give it to me. If my cousin needs it, I’ll pass it on to him. If his neighbour wants it, she can have it. You can have it back if you ever need it again, assuming we can track it down.” The reasoning is pretty much the same whether we’re talking about garden tools, bottles of alcohol or even cold, hard cash!

Erm … What ‘Terrorism Threat’ Is That Then?

Somewhere in a newsroom in the UK:

“Right … We can’t tap celebrities’ phones anymore, we can’t pay coppers for leads on crime stories, they’ve sacked Clarkson and readers have cottoned on to us making up rubbish about the weather. So how else can we sell papers?”

“Dunno boss … I suppose it depends what else people care about.”

“Has Prince Harry dressed up in anything recently?”

“Nope … He seems to have learned.”

“Jeez, there must be something …”

“Holidays?”

“What?”

“Holidays boss. It’s what most people are thinking about right now …”

“Yeah… Don’t we bloody know it. They all bugger off out of the country and stop buying the papers. So…?”

“Well, couldn’t we find something about holidays? Are there any firms struggling who might leave them stranded at airports? Are there any exotic diseases people can catch which we could do a health scare tale on? What about ISIS?”

“What about them?”

“Well they’ve already killed a few westerners. We could flam up Foreign Office advice about travel to the Med? Turkey’s nearest to Syria; a lot of Brits go there…

“What’s the current terrorism threat level?”

“High.”

“Yeah … But the threat level here is severe.”

“I know that boss – but most people don’t. They feel safe enough at home but tell ‘em there’s a high threat of terrorism in the resort they’re heading to for their two weeks in the sun and they might buy the papers to find out more…”

“D’you know, I reckon you might be onto something. Get a quote off some PR at the FO press office and cobble something together. Let’s hint ISIS is thinking of bombing a few beaches or lobbing some grenades into hotel lobbies. They’re not exactly going to sue us are they?

“What about the hotels and resorts? They’re not going to be happy….

“Who cares? What can Johnny Foreigner do about it? Besides, it might mean a few more people stay at home, which will mean more newspaper sales, which could just keep us from making a few more of our lot redundant.”

“I suppose … We’ll get onto it then.”

Of course, there’s no way of knowing if a conversation like that ever really took place but, when you compare the real facts with what was printed in the British media a few weeks ago, it’s not all that difficult to imagine.

But then Tunisia happened of course and, suddenly all the stories that seemed to be founded on nothing more than speculation and a few half-truths suddenly became prophetic – enough to be presented many times as gospel in the wake of the attack.

But the fact remains that the Foreign Office hadn’t changed its advice on travel to Turkey before the atrocity – and still hasn’t. So just where did the Daily Express and, later, the Daily Mail get their information on the county’s heightened security risk from? Would the UK security services really reveal their hand to just a few journalists in the run-up to a terrorist attack without making some form of statement themselves? Probably not. It’s also very unlikely that ISIS has a direct line to any newsroom in the UK or would warn them of an impending attack either.

It’s hard to fathom a motive for either paper running a series of stories apparently designed to undermine the Mediterranean tourism industry and the jobs and livelihoods of thousands of people who rely on it for their income. Even if it’s true, why should we care?

Well, living in Turkey and watching early season optimism gradually shrivel up and die hasn’t been easy. The negative press has combined with unseasonal weather in the first half of the summer to create a perfect storm which has decimated the tourism industry in south-west Anatolia with some businesses recording a 60% decline in just 12 months.

That’s not going to be easy to recoup and there are now thousands of families wondering just how they’re going to pay their bills – and these people are not just “Muslims”; they’re my friends. Last year, we were privileged to be invited to attend a village celebration to mark the close of the tourist season where we enjoyed a meal and were asked for nothing more than our company in return. If things continue as they are, I very much doubt there will be much to celebrate this October.

It’s frustrating that there’s little we can do to help. We can’t even offer any cast iron guarantees that the resorts around us are safe from ISIS attack. However, what we can say is, if you are planning a holiday in Turkey at any time this year, you will be welcomed just as warmly – if not more so than usual – and, as long as you remain clear of the border with Syria, there’s every chance you will enjoy a memorable, peaceful and utterly relaxing time in the company of truly hospitable people who want nothing more than for you to feel part of the family – so much so, you will have to come back time and time again.

IMG_3881 (2)

The beach at Oludeniz … No riskier this year than in 2014, according to Foreign Office advice.

It’s Harder Than You Think To Do Favours For Sailors …

On more than one occasion since we moved to Turkey there have been occasions when we would have been totally lost without the intervention of our neighbours, Tommy and Mehmet, so when I heard there was a lot of work to do on their family boat over the winter, I was quick to offer my assistance and collection of power tools in return.

Used for tourist trips in the summer months, the Deniz Bey sails daily from the beach at Ölüdeniz, taking up to 30 people on trips along the spectacular Anatolian coast. However, every winter, the effects of wind, sun and sea need to be redressed – which means several weeks in dry dock for sanding, varnishing and painting.

Volunteering, I imagined a few afternoons plugged into iTunes, brandishing familiar equipment acquired from my dad or – often on impulse – from DIY superstores in the UK.  But despite admitted recent failings as a “proper man” in the eyes of the average Turk (Time To Man Up …) I’ll admit I was still a bit disappointed by the questioning looks that my offer inspired.

“Can you paint?” asked Mehmet.

“I think so,” I replied. “I have my own sanders and I did decorate quite a bit of our house in England myself.”

Perhaps it was the small smile from Bec – who has never quite forgotten the “Incident Of The Flooded Bathroom” back in 1995 – or maybe it was the absence of experience on boats, but Mehmet still looked doubtful.

Nevertheless, a few days ago, the call came: “Stiv? Is Mehmet. I work on boat while the weather is nice today. Can you help?”

“Of course,” I said. “I’ll get my tools out of the shed….”

“No need. I have tools. I come to get you.”

Half an hour later another new experience began. Unexpectedly, I found myself on the back of a scooter (without a helmet) being bounced savagely along a narrow mountain road en route to the boatyard in nearby Fethiye.

I’m a balding man of 53 but, nevertheless, on arrival what hair I have resembled a clown on a bad day. I also had to surreptitiously shake the cramp out of a leg before I could even begin to make my way to the dry docks.

Once there, I realised that, far from spending the day on nice, safe decks, I’d have to get used to the idea of working 20ft up on rickety planks, suspended between makeshift scaffolding mostly made up of elderly stepladders.

In short, it was hell. It takes a certain skill to wield a heavy-duty sander above your head when you have no handholds, a yawning drop beneath sucks at your heels and dust cakes the inside of your mouth and nose. I missed bits, which Mehmet had to point out before he could add a layer of varnish, and I must have been slow because there were plenty of times when he seemed to be watching and waiting.

Other boatyard workers passed beneath. There were shouted conversations with Mehmet, which seemed to end with looks in my direction and a little laughter. But, after what seemed like hours of torture which left my fingers tingling and shoulder muscles aching, it was time for a lunch-break.

It turned out even that was a challenge. If you’ve tried kokoreç then you’ll know what’s in it. If not, let’s just say I discovered sheep intestines are probably an acquired taste. Then it was back to several more hours of back-breaking work in the midst of a forest of masts and rigging, the shrill sounds of drills and sanders – and more Turkish banter.

The thing is, I loved it. I have spent most of my professional life in an office or at least in front of a keyboard, typing – but this was something completely different.

It was hard, yes. I was also aware of being a stranger in a tight-knit community which gathers in the boatyard every winter. But it was an experience – and one I have repeated more than once since.

A couple of weeks later, and now I get nods and handshakes. Indeed, the boatyard boss has shown me around and given me his card. It’s not like I’m ever going to be a professional – Turkish laws prevent that anyway – but it’s been fun helping out and should the Deniz Bey ever need me, I’d be happy to step up to the mark again.

Just don’t ask me to eat kokoreç though…

Mehmet on the boat

Mehmet ready to start work on board the Deniz Bey