Unfortunately Louisa, Linda and Alex were going home on the evening of Wednesday 13th April. We’d made a plan that we would meet for lunch after my Turkish class and then eat again before they got picked up for the airport at 7.15pm. While they spent the morning doing their packing, or trying to finish the last chapters of their books, I was also packing. We had a friend staying so I was packing my stuff up too, ready to move out for a week. Mark had kindly offered to change a light bulb at Sarah’s which she hadn’t been able to reach. He couldn’t remember where she lived so he called for me and we went over to her house. She was on a work conference call so we went straight to the bathroom where the bulb needed changing. When Mark got up the stepladder and started to take the bulb out from the second step, the light came on. I was washing the light fitting and drying it on kitchen roll laughing to myself. Mark changed the working bulb anyway, using a new one from a cupboard full of boxes of lightbulbs and we left. Neither of us could believe Sarah had been without a bathroom light for such a long time when it was so easily sorted! I went to Turkish class which went well as we were practicing conversation. When we finished at 1.30pm, the plans to meet for lunch had changed as my friends had already had lahmacun from Kebapçı Yusuf for lunch. I was really hungry and had not had any breakfast so I took up Vanessa’s offer of lunch at Jiks. I had a chicken pizza and it was really nice but rather filling. After, I met Louisa, Linda and Alex who wanted to go to Lukka bar so that Alex could play pool. I played pool first while the ladies read their books then Linda had a game while I drank cherry juice. At 4.30pm my friends were hungry and fancied getting an early dinner. We opted for a last Turkish meal at Çağrı where I was too full for anything other than chicken soup. Louisa had a lamb wrap, Alex a chicken shish and Linda a tuna salad. The food was nice and I really enjoyed my soup. The car to the airport came at 7.15pm and we all said our goodbyes, hoping they would be able to come visit again. That night, I went over to Mark and Kate’s and I had a relatively early night. JC, the cat, was pleased to see me and was the only cat in when I went to bed.
It was the last full day and night of Louisa, Linda and Alex being in Dalyan, on Tuesday 12th April. The pool was still dirty, a bit smelly and not fit to sit around, or go in, so I’d arranged for us to go to Hotel Dalyance. Sonuç had said we could use the pool and loungers for free so I had let Louisa know. Meanwhile, at Mark and Kate’s house we were all up and getting ready for a busy day. The first job was to go over to my parents’ place to put the curtains back up in the living area. Mark gave me a lift in his buggy and helped my parents out with a couple of jobs I couldn’t do. Once the curtains were up and the electric turned on, we carried the unwanted armchair down the stairs and put it with the unwanted curtains at the side of the bin. It was hot and I was inappropriately dressed in thick trousers. As soon as we put the armchair on the ground we both went to sit on it for a rest! I didn’t have my phone with me but I insisted on Mark taking photos of us in an armchair beside the communal bin for a laugh – another first for me! We felt the need to have a cheeky shandy at Jiks where we bumped in to Roy and his mate Kev. We just had the one as Mark had to go shopping and I had to get to Hotel Dalyance. When I arrived, Louisa was on a chair beside the pool, reading her book, Linda and Alex were over the other side of the pool on the sun loungers. I was hungry and was looking forward to our lunch today. I decided to try a Turkish dish which I’d not had before called Içli köfte. They are bulgar wheat dumplings filled with mince and herbs and were very nice. After a few hours of very hot sun, Linda and Alex went back to the apartment but Louisa was keen to stay and relax longer. We had a special cocktail made by Sonuç which was milk based. He’s better at fruit ones but Louisa had reacted to orange juice earlier so we went for this one. On the way back I suggested a drink in the sun at Okyanus or Tez bar, before we went to get ready, and Louisa said she would meet me in 5 minutes. Kate was at Tez bar as we walked past and was cold so she asked me to lend her leggings and a jumper. I dropped my bag off, got a warm top and the clothes for Kate then went to Tez’s. Unfortunately Louisa didn’t return straight away and decided to have a shower and come out as a group. This meant I hadn’t been to have a shower and was still on my first drink but sat with Mark and Kate, when they arrived. I’d already arranged to meet people at the Rum Bar at 7.30pm to celebrate Louisa’s last night but my friends wanted to go for a meal first. They didn’t fancy joining me at Tez bar as they were already hungry so I said I would meet them at Kordon restaurant, next door to the Rum bar, when I had finished my drink. The lady selling flowers came round and persuaded Mark to buy a rose for Kate and then she gave me a free one, which was sweet of her. Kate went on ahead to meet her friend at the Rum bar, Mark and I finished our drinks and paid. As we were walking down the river, Mark pushing his bike, and me carrying my rose, it was getting a bit chilly. Mark went on to Rum bar and I said to let everyone know we were running late and had gone to eat. We received a warm welcome from Muharrem at Kordon, not least because there was a fire on inside and it was very toasty. I enquired about the giant prawns and found out that they were 650 lira (£34) for 3 so I didn’t bother. Linda and Alex decided to have a whole fish each, Louisa had lamb and I had hummus, mushrooms and beetroot as a main course. The food was lovely and we went to the Rum bar after where Mark, Kate, Sue, Ann, Debbie (Darling), Roy, Kev, Ali, Cheryl and Sarah were already waiting for us. Linda and Alex didn’t stay long and most of my friends were a bit worse for wear. We had some nice cocktails but, after Louisa got insulted by one of my merry mates, I needed to get involved in making sure Fikri’s taxis were ordered. At the end of the night, Louisa and I joined Mark, Kate and Cheryl at Sofra bar and we ended up having a sing song while Davut, the bar man, laughed at us. It was about 2am when Louisa and I got in, we’d left the others singing Meatloaf songs in Sofra.
When I woke up on Monday 11th April it looked like rain and I hoped it wouldn’t hinder today’s planned outing. I’d booked Louisa, Linda, Alex and I on Thomas’s boat to Köyceğiz as it was market day. The return journey is 150 lira which isn’t cheap for locals but for the English visitors it is quite a bargain. Luckily we wore warm clothing for the journey as it was very cold and windy. We even had to turn the boat around to pick up cushions which blew in to the sea, twice! When we arrived in Köyceğiz my friends were hungry and asked if we could find somewhere for lunch that was in the sun. Initially we sat at a table outside, overlooking the lake, but we had to move in to the sheltered seating. Louisa had a chicken dish, Linda egg on toast and chips, Alex had a chicken sandwich and I had a chicken quesadilla which was massive so I had leftovers. We had a walk around the market and a few shops but I didn’t buy anything. On the way back it was cold again and I fell asleep due to being up until 4am on the previous evening. We met back up at Lukka bar where I paid our Friday night bill as well as the bill for soft drinks after my comedy night in January. That evening, a request to try Kebapçı Yusuf again was taken up and this time they had lamb shish available. I had chicken shish and a glass of red wine but was too full to manage a dessert. The others were going to have the same dessert again but there was none left. Linda took Alex to the bakery to get some cookies and baklava which didn’t all make it back to the apartment. After eating, everyone was ready for an early night and so we all went back home. As is often the case for me, it wouldn’t be that simple on a Monday! Mark and Kate had been out at River Terrace and Sofra and had invited us to join them but I’d declined due to having a 14 year old boy and nannan with us. When I got in, Mark and Kate had gone home but Kate had messaged to say she had left her bag at Sofra with all her baking ingredients in. She was making me a Christmas cake and asked me to pick up the bag, and that Şükrü knew about the bag. I got Fikri’s taxi, it was only about 8.30pm, and we went to Sofra bar. I asked Şükrü for Kate’s bag and he said he had already told Kate that Mark had the bag, I got back in the taxi and went to Mark and Kate’s. When I got there the ‘missing’ bag was outside, by the front door! The night continued with wine for Mark and I, Kate was having some strange blackcurrant liqueur and then started on the Bailey’s. She had a new Tequila board which she had acquired from their recent trip to England, so we all had a shot or two, just to try it out. I stayed over as we were up late, I wasn’t drunk but I knew I had to be up early tomorrow as I had a lot of jobs to do.
I decided I needed to redeem myself somewhat with Linda and Alex on Sunday 10th April. Having ruined yesterday’s plans to enjoy a bit of history, by being hungover, I was on the case today. I’d already found a book to swap with Linda and I took that down to her. She’d already kept herself busy by doing a bit of tidying of the garden borders which were full of weeds and rubbish. We had decided that the 4 of us would get the little rowing boat to the other side of the river and take a walk to Kaunos. Linda had heard a little already about Kaunos so was keen to visit, I have been several times over the years but this would be my first time in over 2 years. It would also be the furthest I had walked since my leg injury which was 4 days less than 2 years ago. The rowing boat was 15 lira for a return trip and we were helped in to the boat. We walked along the path and called in to the cemetery where a family of donkeys were saying hello to the residents. We walked up the hill to Kaunos, by which time it was getting hot and I was glad to have my factor 50 suncream on. It cost 17.50 lira (less than £1) each to go in to the site, which is a bargain. Linda and Alex were very enthusiastic and went off to check out the ruins while Louisa and I took it a bit more steadily. I noticed there were more fences across parts of the ruins which had been accessible before. We bumped in to Maria and Co and I had a nice chat with them before going to the amphitheatre. More info about Kaunos is on this link: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaunos I sometimes forget that Dalyan is a small town so I was surprised when we got a hello and a comment from other sightseers who had seen us in Lukka on Friday night. After a couple of hours we were ready to go back and grab a bite to eat at one of the pancake cafes. We didn’t bother walking to the tombs on account of the terrain being too rough for my leg and it now being extremely hot. At the cafe it was cooler in the shade, I had a tea and chips but the others had pancakes with sugar. We took the rowing boat back and I went to collect my parents’ keys from Lukka bar. Appo was there to tell me that we hadn’t paid our bill on Friday night and produced a receipt with Mark, Kate and Jo written on it. I was in a rush as the blind man had turned up a day early at my parents’ place and I needed to let him in.
I did my best to explain, without any WiFi access, that they weren’t straight but he was having none of it and they didn’t get put up correctly. He said it was because the windows themselves were wonky, which they were. After the blind man had left I went to join Louisa, Linda and Alex who had found themselves a table outside 2 Charlie’s bar and were having a shandy. I had just poured mine when I got a call from Mehmet to ask me for the keys back because the painter was coming. I left my shandy and went back to my parents’ as Danny had come to let me know some info about the bathroom ceiling. He spoke good English and was explaining about the leak and why the ceiling still looked patchy. It was very hot and I was persuaded to have a lift back to the bar on the back of Danny’s motorbike. Obviously I happened to see lots of people and when asked who the young man who had dropped me off was I replied that I didn’t know his name – I was old enough to be his mom so that would give people something to gossip about! After a couple of shandies we decided to head back home and we would go out for dinner later. Linda had suggested we go somewhere for fish and went back with Alex to get ready while Louisa and I joined some of the gang at Sofra bar for a drink.
Kate and Mark both recommended Balıkcim, also a favourite of my mom’s, so when Linda returned she was without Alex as he was worn out and resting. The 3 of us left everyone and went to Balıkcim where the food was so good that I forgot to take any decent photos. I had şakşuka and beetroot as my meze starters, we got bread and both Louisa and I ordered the prawns in garlic butter. Linda ordered a fish and the food was very good, washed down with a glass of wine for Linda and I. Louisa had a rather strong vodka and coke which lead us two to stay out out after the meal. Linda went back to the apartment to keep an eye on Alex while Louisa and I joined Mark back at Sofra.