I had an exciting day on Monday 10th January; I woke up early, which made a nice change, but I only had a probiotic drink for breakfast because I had a lunch appointment. I had a first visit to Porta Dalya restaurant, which used to be Köşem, with Jamie and Nanny Kay. It was still raining hard and it was a lovely welcome inside the cafe where all 3 of us ordered the Chicken Alfredo for 45 lira (£2.50) and a coke. It was really lovely and tasty, served with grated parmesan too and I’d definitely go there again as the service was also great. After lunch Jamie and I went to buy butter at Alp’s Balıkcim shop and I managed to get some frozen french type for only 20 lira (£1.10). The stray dog we call Socks, had followed us and was trying to see if there were any sausages available and then we drove around the corner to Şarküteri where Jamie got some bits and I bought Lurpak at an extortionate 80 lira (£4.40) but I really prefer it and it would last me ages. I was definitely noticing the price increases more and taking note of what I was buying. I needed to make sure that any jobs I applied for were going to be able to pay in to my UK account as a Turkish monthly wage was now 4,250 lira (£234) despite a recent increase. I had the leftover Sunday dinner at home followed by chocolate and herbal tea, then had an early night seeing as I had a very busy day tomorrow.

My birthday was Tuesday 11th January and I woke up to very heavy rain, it was quite stormy out too. Captain Caveman had already been to have his 3rd vaccine this morning and said it was a bit chaotic with the paperwork resulting in the nurses not being that busy because of the bottleneck. We arranged to speak on a video call after I had been out for breakfast and I sent him a video of it hailing here in Dalyan – the pool was almost full of rain water!
I opened birthday cards from my parents, Gayle, Neil, Morgan and April, which was nice. I was tempted to stay in bed because of the horrendous weather and expected my friends might cancel going out for breakfast but instead I got a message from Jamie to ask if I wanted picking up after he went to get Ann. I said yes and I even ventured as far as putting the bin out in torrential rain, prior to getting in the car to head a very short drive to Jiks. When we got there it was closed even though we had arranged to meet 30 minutes after it opens and Nanny Kay was texting from inside her car in front of us to check where our Plan B should be. Out of season on a Tuesday there are not too many places to go for an English breakfast so we went to somewhere we knew was open and easy to park outside of, Lukka Bar! We were the only ones brave enough to have ventured out in the rain and there were concerns that the nearby river was going to flood over. I got some lovely gifts which I really appreciated and it turns out my Dalyan friends know me well, already! For breakfast Nanny Kay had a bacon, sausage and egg sandwich which came with chips, Jamie and Ann had a full English breakfast while I went for full English without the fried eggs or tomato. Back home I arranged to spend some of my birthday money from my parents on purchasing the Firestick from Andy, which meant I would have access to UK TV because I mainly wanted to be able to watch The Apprentice and the news channels. That afternoon I had a video call with Ma & Pa and they even sang Happy Birthday to me which was lovely and I got to say thanks for my birthday card and present. I wasn’t going out until 6.30pm tonight for birthday celebrations so decided a relaxing afternoon was in order but, when I went upstairs to get out a facemask (which my sister got me for Christmas), I had a bit of an unwelcome surprise!

As I opened the drawer to get out my toiletries and facemask, I could hear a dripping sound so I checked in the ensuite bathroom to find the floor was full of water! The roof was leaking and the window kept blowing open so the rain was coming in at both sides of the bathroom and it took a couple of towels to mop it up with. I decided to check the rest of the upstairs and then spent the next hour mopping up, putting towels down, finding containers and taking photos to send to Leanne at King Emlak. The spare bedroom was the worst as there was a crack in the ceiling where water was running in from and it was fortunate that I was at home as it had started to dribble on to the bed. Luckily, I had an empty 50 litre container to hand and was able to move the bed across without too much trouble. The skylight in the main bathroom was also leaking but it was above the shower and not causing too much of a problem. I saw from friends on Facebook that the river had indeed flooded over and was inside the bar at River Terrace, this was quite unusual and had not happened for some years. There was also talk on Facebook that the mudbaths at Köyceğiz were about to flood too and locals were starting to worry about their homes. Leanne replied straight away to say a workman would be out on Thursday to have a look and make any repairs so that was a good thing and I could relax and get my facemask on. I picked the hydrating one out of the pack and went for that, while laying on the sofa, trying to relax a bit. It felt really nice and I think I may have left it on a bit too long because, when I took it off to get ready, my face was quite pink.

As arranged, I met up with the gang at Lukka Bar at 6.30pm to start my birthday celebrations. There were more cards and gifts which I was a bit overwhelmed about and Appo put his foot in it by asking if I wanted pasta, which is Turkish for cake.  We had one drink and then decided to walk to our venue as we thought the rain had eased off a bit. At Spice Garden there was a table booked for a group of us and there was more cards and gifts which I really wasn’t expecting. Ann and I had the set meal for 2 at 250 lira (£13.71) which despite recent price increases was a good deal. We had chosen chicken pakora and poppadoms for our starter and they were lovely, we shared mains of butter chicken, chicken tikka masala, rice and garlic naan bread. Everything was so delicious and plenty of it, so much so that I took leftovers home. There was another amazing birthday surprise; a massive cake from Katrina, Mehmet and Jamie which was absolutely fantastic, and appropriately in the shape of a wine bottle! I was so surprised and everyone sang Happy Birthday to me. We dished up the cake which was beautiful and made by Louise, one of Katrina’s friends. Louise called us to wish me happy birthday and ask if I liked the cake, which I did. It had proper sponge birthday cake inside, with shaved white chocolate and icing and I loved it. Debbie (Darling) did a little speech and I felt really special and I felt a bit overwhelmed, once again. We decided to leave the half of cake at Spice Garden and go back to Lukka for more drinks for everyone who wasn’t driving so I said my farewells to Nanny Kay, Sioned, Julie and Andy then set off walking with Sarah, who was still cheesed off about her starter being cleared away while she had left the table to take a phonecall.
Back at Lukka I had a birthday whisky, or Bailey’s, or both I can’t remember and we all played Killer Pool. It was a great birthday celebration though and one I would definitely remember as being the most moist one I’d had in a while! As we were giving the ball a right old kick I was totally unaware that there were people in Dalyan who’s homes were getting flooded. I put the remaining curry in the fridge and went to bed before 1am feeling incredibly lucky.

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