Friday, 19 January 2018

Carrot and coriander with a kick

One week after my unfortunate slip I'm appreciating the benefits of imposed relaxation:  I can lie on the sofa reading a trashy novel without feeling guilty; I have had several visitors who don't usually pop in, so there has been plenty of chatting while I paint and I have been on the lucky end of a homemade Kashmiri Chicken delivery.  On the downside I usually dream up my blogs on morning walks around Bodrum with Jake. Today's inspiration had to come from opening the fridge.  There were a lot of carrots - I've been painting them and now I've cooked them.
I like carrot and cilantro/coriander soup but I decided to make it more interesting. This one has a hot and sour kick which has booted it into first position on my favourite soup list.

This recipe is for 2 servings and is medium hot, add more chillies to fire it up.

5 medium carrots
1 red onion
2 inches of ginger
1 fresh red chilli pepper
1 lemon grass stick if you have it - not essential

Chop the above and soften in a tablespoon of oil or butter

Add half a litre of chicken or vegetable stock and simmer with the lid on until the carrots are soft.
Take off the heat and liquidise until smooth

I handful fresh coriander
1 lime

Chop the coriander and add to the soup
Grate the lime zest into the soup and add the juice of half a lime
(I'm sure this would work with lemon too)
Taste and add salt if needed

Warm up and serve. So simple but very tasty.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Many a slip ....

...twixt cup and lip..

and many a trip between the pavement and street.  It was Sod's Law that I was thinking about using the rest of January to get a bit fitter and start exercising a bit more and was actually wondering whether to go and look at the nearest reformer class, when I missed the edge of the curb and twisted my ankle. I hobbled home and, good first-aider that I am, put Rice, Ice, Compression, Elevation into action.  After an hour I was hoping that the stabbing pain in that big bone that sticks out would have gone away but it hadn't. Instead that sticky out bit had tripled in size and this hospitalphobe had to admit that I needed an x-rayed. Good news - I live hobbling distance from a hospital. Bad news - it is a private one with no price reduction for state health care. I had a very short inner argument weighing up the merits of waiting an hour or so for free treatment or immediate x-ray 100 yards down the road ..... and in less 30 minutes (the longest wait was to pay the bill)  I was back home with a my foot in a cast, instructions to put no weight on my ankle for 6 weeks and a pair of crutches.  Has anyone got any idea how you use these things? I wish I had been to the gym because I think you need upper arm and shoulder strength to operate them and I'm embarrassingly lacking.  However after six weeks practice maybe I will have bulging biceps and my plan to get fitter will have come to fruition. 
Jake is not too pleased. His walks are going to be seriously curtailed. 

Thursday, 11 January 2018

"Mindless Pap"

My internet has been off which means I've had no access to TV, newspapers, The Archers or Facebook.  My house is cleaner than it's been for ages, I have painted more and read a real book and I slept better with no wi-fi in the house.  I feel a bit disappointed that Türk Telecom have connected me up again.  I mustn't slip back into my usual W.W.W. grazing that steals so much productive thought.
My favourite Stoic, Epictetus, was writing nearly 2,000 years ago but this scarily prescient quotation could have been written for the social media age

“Most of what passes for legitimate entertainment is inferior or foolish and only caters to or exploits people's weaknesses. Avoid being one of the mob who indulges in such pastimes. Your life is too short and you have important things to do. Be discriminating about what images and ideas you permit into your mind. If you yourself don't choose what thoughts and images you expose yourself to, someone else will, and their motives may not be the highest. It is the easiest thing in the world to slide imperceptibly into vulgarity. But there's no need for that to happen if you determine not to waste your time and attention on mindless pap.” 
― EpictetusThe Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness and Effectiveness

Monday, 8 January 2018

Two plus Four equals Six

I wrote the below  post 4 years ago and I hope I still wear my rosy spectacles despite the unwelcome change in my life and unsettling events in the country.  If we learn to accept that change is inevitable we will all be happier for it. Two days ago we packed away the fake Noel decorations and now nature has provided a much fresher alternative which carries the welcome scent of Spring.  We can't hang on to the past, life goes on and there is plenty to enjoy.

 No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man.                                                            There is nothing permanent except change.
                  Heraclitus of Ephesus 
              (c. 500 BCE) 

Two Years

I picked a bunch of anemones from the garden to celebrate BacktoBodrum's second birthday

When we left Bodrum in 2000, we moved to East Sussex and my daughter started at Mayfield primary school.  On her first day we parked at the bottom of the hill, walked through the picturesque main street  and followed the crowd through the car park to the playground gate. As we turned the corner, an amazing vista of "England's green and pleasant land" was spread out before us.  As someone who felt a bit starved of "Englishness" after 19 years in Turkey, I was overwhelmed with the beauty of it all.  I couldn't help but turn to the mother beside me (who on reflection did look a bit like Cruella Deville) and say "Wow, isn't that fantastic."  She turned and with a withering glance said "No, it's ******* boring." Thus my bubble was pricked.  My new eyes on an old scene were not appreciated.
Returning in 2012 to Bodrum I was determined to keep my "new eyes" open and enjoy every aspect that Bodrum has to offer. It's very easy to get depressed about political inconsistencies and obsessed with the march of construction over Turkey, but I'm determined to try and see each new day with new eyes and bring the good things about living in Turkey to your attention. So I will continue wearing my rosy spectacles with just the occasional moan as a balance.
 Wishing you all a slightly belated but optimistic New Year. 

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Camel Parade

I wasn't the only one taking my animal for a walk in Bodrum today. The streets were full of camels.

Some car drivers weren't sure whether to overtake or undertake and a few just decided to ignore the giant beasts in their way which caused some haranguing.

I was happy to watch from the sidewalk and take photos.

       ....not too close though as there was a lot of foamy saliva being flicked about. 

The camels were happy to pose.  Tomorrow they will wrestle to prove which of them are the most virile so a disdainful stare and a macho stance is required.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Ancient Wisdom

New Year's day dawned bright and sunny and the pavements and cafes in Bodrum were packed and, although Jake and I had a job to negotiate the crowded quay, it was great to see Bodrum being enjoyed by so many people.  Apart from walks, I spent the day at home catching up with a weeks' newspapers and magazines. As usual at this time of year, current affairs had been abandoned in favour of lists and dietary advice; most of it preachy and contradictory in nature.  I mentioned in my Christmas post from Gümüşlük Beach that I had been trying to incorporate some ancient philosophy in my daily life and the more I learn the more relevant it becomes.  In answer to all the bloggers, vloggers  and diet gurus telling me to give up dairy, meat, carbs, fruit, wine and the kitchen sink,  I give you Epictetus,  who was born in 55 CE in Hierapolis (modern-day Pamukkale  - a few hours drive from Bodrum). 

"Preach not to others what they should eat but eat as becomes you and be silent"

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Happy New Year

A New Year's resolution for all of all living in Turkey. 

Expect the Unexpected

Here's to what 2018 brings us. 

Friday, 29 December 2017

Where does Santa spend the New Year?

After a busy 24 hours whizzing around the world on the back of a sleigh coping with grumpy reindeer, overcrowded flight paths and blocked up chimneys, Santa needs a break.  Rather than head back to the North Pole, this year he was spotted on Wednesday sipping a complimentary mulled wine at The Mayor's Christmas Drink's Party for Bodrum's international residents.  Despite keeping a low profile, the local press caught sight of him and he graciously gave a short interview. General confusion reigned and the TV footage hasn't to my knowledge been aired, so I think Mr Claus has managed to keep his winter holiday destination a secret known only to a select few (to which you are now admitted - don't tell any one else).

Bodrum Mayor, Mehmet Kocadon, welcoming guests to his Christmas cocktail party.

Santa enjoying a well earned glass of wine with Ayşe and Mine.

I was very chuffed to hear that SC sometimes reads this blog so he might add a few comments himself, although he may write under the alias of 'John' to preserve a degree of anonymity. 

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

The Gift of Stillness

The best gift we can give to ourselves is inner peace. It's not always easy to find especially when others seem to conspire to make our lives difficult.  I have spent the past six months trying to follow the rule that I can not affect what happens to me or what others do but I can control how I react to it. It is a very effective method for keeping all those big and little niggles of life under control. It takes a bit of practice but I can thoroughly recommend it.

My daughter and I spent 25th December in Gümüşlük.  It was one of those lovely December days when the sun warms the air enough to feel comfortable but the chill is still licking your ankles to remind you it's winter.  The sun rays were picking up ripples in the bay turning the sea silver, and bouncing off glasses and cutlery in the restaurants making everything into a shimmering Christmas decoration.  We both sat and watched the sea feeling peacefulness envelope. To quote Lou Reed it was 'Just a Perfect Day.' 

Dog at peace

The locals were friendly and  up for a selfie. 

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Bodrum turns orange

While those of you in the Christian world are wondering if you have enough Brussels sprouts or if Auntie Jean will notice that you have bought her a scarf for the 6th Christmas in a row, in Bodrum we are celebrating the mandarin orange.  And today was very orange. The municipality distributed orange beanie hats and scarves and swathed a lot of orange chiffon around. 

What has a camel got to do with small citrus fruit? Who cares - two very photogenic camels led the mandarin procession - followed by a brass band and dancing children - from the marina to the town square where stalls representing various charities and businesses were set up selling mandarin inspired goods (although some weren't anything to do with citrus but again, who cares)

These high school students were raising money to build a park specifically for disabled children. 

I caught up briefly with two famous bloggers and TV cooks, Oya Emerk and Sibel Yalçin who were off to take part in a citrus breakfast and then various cookery demonstrations. 

The weekly handicrafts stalls got their share of chiffon and orange hats and a few extra customers for their stalls ....

...and the children danced beautifully.

No this giant mandarin wasn't erected specially for the week-end festival. It's a permanent fixture.