On Sunday 30th January it was raining in the morning, I still had washing out but it started to fine up by the time I had to go out. I thought I had set my alarm so that I could get up at 7am to go over to say bye to Jamie but I never heard it, or I had forgotten. I hate goodbyes anyway but I really was going to miss Jamie and was already looking forward to when he would next be coming back.
In the afternoon I had arranged to have Sunday lunch with Sarah and Katrina at Lukka bar. Sarah messaged me an hour early to say she was waiting for me at Tez bar and when I got there she was sat with Brian, who had suffered a recent pet bereavement. Brian is a lovely bloke who usually has some fascinating travel stories so it was sad to see he was quite upset about his poor old Bruno. Mark then rocked up and came to join us and when he heard Sarah and Brian talking about Brian’s 22 year old cat he made an animal joke which was so inappropriately timed that even I was shocked. I’d already drunk my cup of tea while listening to Brian so I ordered a red wine. I invited Brian to join us at Lukka bar but he had to get back to the rest of his menagerie. The rest of us joined Katrina and we were really looking forward to trying the new chef’s Sunday dinner. The food was good, the Yorkshire pudding was plentiful and the meat as soft as butter. There was a choice of meat, I had beef with Katrina, Sarah and Mark had lamb and Sarah was keen to share a bottle of red wine. I had quite a bit of Sunday dinner left and took some home, as did Mark, Katrina left her’s as she hadn’t been well but Sarah was on a mission to eat it all. At 6pm Katrina and Mark left and I didn’t get home until 9pm, having missed speaking to Captain Caveman. I’d had messages from him to say he’d been to the airport in Dong Hoi with customers and picked up our friend, Andrea, who was going to be in Phong Nha for a few days. They had already had lunch at Karst Villas, where she was staying, and then had a bike ride in the afternoon.

Monday 31st January, was the New Year’s Eve in Vietnam, Captain Caveman had a busy day and when he messaged me he was at Oxalis with members of the BBC and my favourite photographer, Ryan De Boodt.
I’d been keen to know what the electric bills for the apartment in Dalyan would be like, because lots of people were talking about the massive increases. When Captain Caveman sent me ours, it was very low. Granted, I had been away in England for 18 days of the previous month but it was looking ok even if it was triple the price, as others had found it. The next bill was due on the 5th February so we would find out then and, as January is generally the coldest month in Turkey, I was not unduly worried.
I had one of Sara’s Chelsea buns for breakfast and then decided I would make a slow cooker chicken chasseur which I could have with rice later for dinner. After getting most of the washing dry I went to change the bedding only to discover that the duvets on the beds were the summer ones! No wonder I had felt cold, but it looked like the cleaner had got mixed up when she had last changed the bedding and put the lower togged quilts on. The builders were back working on the new villa next door as they had started to put on the roof.
I ate my delicious dinner with a couple of glasses of chilled rosé wine (a gift from my friend, Janet) and was watching old episodes of Below Deck on Netflix when there was an earthquake in the nearby town of Ortaca but it wasn’t a bad one. As Tet approached, Captain Caveman and I had a video call and we both drank wine, he got peckish and snaffled down some reheated bangers and mash. I told him how much I would miss celebrating Tet with him and our friends this year. I’d not been in Turkey this late in to January before and, while I was enjoying it, I would have preferred to be in Phong Nha for Tet holiday – maybe next year! It was also the first call we had in the 4 months apart where he said he loved me and missed me. We still had 7 months to go until our planned reunion so it was going to be a tough year!

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