Tuesday 14th February was a good day, despite me waking up at 3.40am. It was cold and I obviously went back to sleep. At 8am I got the best message ever from Captain Caveman. We don’t often spend Valentine’s Day together so it was nice to know he loved me. For breakfast I had chocolate and tahini with bread and some cherry juice. I was trying to be good seeing as I had Fat Club tomorrow and I’d gone way over on my syn allowance this week. For lunch I had a simit with cheese spread and in the afternoon I went for a walk, then to the shops and bank. Here’s what I bought and the prices in lira;
I’d planned a non-valentine’s Valentine’s Day at mine that evening and everyone was bringing some food and drink. On the guest list was Ann, Nanny Kay and Jamie. Ann brought a massive salad and some other healthy nibbles, including potatoes, Jamie brought his version of a chicken şakşuka (aubergine and tomato based), I had the rice in the rice cooker and had made vegan Bolognese (using lentils instead of beef mince) which I’d stuffed the green peppers with then roasted. I poured the drinks and we had a good natter. We sat at the table to eat and all the food was delicious, and healthy. However, le pièce de la résistance was Nanny Kay’s dessert; she’d not let us down with her promised Christmas pudding and cream. It was amazing and quite naughty, but a great way to end our Valentine’s evening. As a treat, Nanny Kay had also bought me a bar of chocolate which looked a bit too tempting. It was 1am by the time I got to bed having had a really nice night with close friends.
It was very cold when I got up at 7.30am on Sunday 5th February. Norman and Edna were still snoozy and Little Ted had slept longer than yesterday. Teddy was a bit overexcited to see me and accidentally caught my lip with his mouth when he was trying to give me kisses. It hurt but it didn’t draw blood so I thought I’d be ok. While I had my cup of tea, all 3 dogs wanted cuddles and they had to share me, begrudgingly. Norman, Little Ted and I were all squeezed in to the arm chair where the dogs had a nice little nap. I didn’t have chance for any breakfast! Every time Norman snored, Little Ted raised his head in a disapproving manner which was funny.
I decided to try walking all 3 of the dogs together but when I went to get my shoes I’d made a massive error. I’d left them out and at some point, Teddy had chewed them. Luckily I had brought another pair of shoes with me as I had an important lunch date that I didn’t want to miss. The walk with 3 dogs was hilarious and I looked like I was going to get tangled up at one point. I’m sure I heard Edna say to Norman ‘Come back, Charlie’. Little Ted was just happy to be out with his new pals and wanted to jump up a lot. I got back, hoping for a shower but the water was off and I looked a state – I didn’t even have any wet wipes. I used the filter water to clean my teeth and wash my face but that would have to do. The rain was torrential just at the time that I needed to leave, and the water came back on as I was going.
Lukka bar had reopened this weekend and was doing Sunday lunch today. I’d already asked some friends if they fancied it and I’d remembered that Vanessa’s son, Brad, loved a Sunday dinner as she had mentioned they often go out together for one in the UK. We had all pre ordered our meals and agreed to meet at 2pm at Lukka bar. The Beef Sunday dinner was 255 lira (£11.10), the chicken dinner is only 185 lira (£8.05). The portion size is massive so I took Tupperware for any leftovers (I hate wasting food and money). On arrival, Linda and I decided to splash out on a bottle of red wine between us, Nanny Kay was driving so had a soft drink. Brad arrived extremely apologetic having not been able to find where Vanessa had hidden the house keys, making him a tad late. He ordered a beer and I introduced him to Linda and Nanny Kay. Linda and I had lots of cat talk as she was looking after Kate’s 6 cats for the first time in ages and had taken over from Vinnie. When the food came it looked fantastic, there was no cheese sauce on the cauliflower, as advertised, and I had my gravy on the side so I could do damage limitations on my Slimming World diet. Nanny Kay was short on carrots and the Brussel sprouts could do with a few minutes more cooking as they were too hard, so I let the waiter know for future diners. The Yorkshire puddings are phenomenal and the biggest I’ve ever had, this is a good recommendation to a Turkish chef from a Yorkshire lass, who hasn’t been to England for 13 months. I thoroughly enjoyed the dinner and the company, we had a break before dessert where I filled my Tupperware with half of my dinner, plus the others’ spare sprouts and Nanny Kay’s left over Yorkshire pud. I had a smaller Tupperware which I intended the apple crumble to go in, however, when it came I couldn’t resist it. We’d all had a jolly good time but the rain was threatening again so we said our farewells. Nanny Kay drove home, Linda cycled to Mark and Kate’s and, as you may have guessed, Brad and I decided we could probably have another drink!
Brad kindly agreed to a dog walk, to walk off a bit of our Sunday dinner and get some exercise for his recovering knee. I had to call in to Captain Caveman’s apartment briefly on the way. As I pointed out to duck under the rose thorns, Brad snapped the stems with his bare hands and tucked them in to the plant – that was that problem solved! We went to Jamie’s and collected all 3 dogs who were obviously pleased to be getting out after being left for 3 hours, Little Ted in his crate. When I told them we would have a walk to the Waterfall, Edna was beside herself with excitement at the chance to see Skippy. Little Ted didn’t remember what Waterfall meant but was enthusiastic regardless. After a walk around the block and round by Poo corner we arrived at the Waterfall. All the dogs were made welcome and a fuss made of them but Skippy wasn’t there to see that I’d not shrunk Norman. Brad and I got chatting, the dogs were quite happy and we ended up having a couple more drinks in the Waterfall where it was toasty warm. We were reassuring ourselves that we were quite fortunate not to be on the all inclusive-big-bender weekend for Alp’s birthday. We knew that without our partners there we’d probably have had alcohol poisoning by now, as well as putting on loads of weight from the all you can eat food! We had a good laugh and when it got to the dog’s dinner time we decided to grab more drinks and go back to Jamie’s.
I never thought to offer Brad the WiFi password at Jamie’s villa and we were just so busy chatting that we didn’t check our phones. After more red wine for me and beer for Brad I decided to do us a curry for dinner. I was a bit drunk and had to do the rice in a pan for the first time in years, the curry was a vegetarian Dahl type so I chucked in some leftover cooked chicken from Jamie’s fridge. It was pretty good and we ate it all, as if we’d not already had a big lunch! We didn’t realise the time until Vanessa messaged to check Brad was ok! As no one had heard from him, and he’d only gone out for Sunday lunch with the ‘oldies’ at 2pm, there were concerns from his girlfriend and parents. It was after midnight when Brad left and I told him to message me once he got home. I got in bed and fell asleep before seeing that message.
It was Big Alp’s 50th birthday weekend in Antalya on Friday 3rd February and it looked like most of Dalyan was going. Matt and Vanessa had organised a bus to take people from Dalyan as well as a lot of Alp’s Turkish friends taking their own transport. I do know Alp, and I was at his birthday party at Sofra bar last year, however I wouldn’t class myself as someone who would join him for a weekend birthday bash 250km away. As it happened, there were people going who knew Alp less than I did. Everyone was staying at the 5 star hotel, Delphin Imperial Lara, which was all inclusive. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good booze up but it wasn’t something I fancied for 3 whole days. It might have been different if I’d been going with Captain Caveman so that we could take advantage of the all inclusive minibar and the facilities together. Before I even knew about this little get away, I’d already booked Jamie in for house and dog sitting, without realising he was going to Alp’s birthday weekend. Katrina had also managed to piggyback on to the action by sending Little Teddy to stay with me, Norman and Edna – things were about to get lively! Jamie picked me up at 8am to take me to his villa. He was all set to leave with Katrina, Mehmet and the kids once they arrived. When Katrina got there, she had brought Little Ted, his crate, lead, puppy pads and his food but had forgotten a couple of bits. They were late and in a rush to leave so she gave me her house keys so that I could fetch Teddy’s things and also asked me to hang out the washing from the machine. If Norman and Edna weren’t keen on Charlie coming to stay, then Little Ted was definitely less welcome. As soon as everyone had left for Antalya, Norman and Edna resorted to safety corner on the sofa and wouldn’t shift.
Katrina had assured me that the puppy was toilet trained but I stopped counting at 23 pees and 2 poos all in Jamie’s house. I got through so much toilet roll in that first day as Jamie doesn’t have kitchen roll. We went outside every 30 minutes but Little Ted peed as soon as he came back in. I took him with me when I went over to Katrina’s, Norman and Edna hoped he wasn’t coming back. He was very cute but you couldn’t take your eyes off him for long. I was getting the washing out of the machine when he found a balloon and popped it! With hindsight I’d have been better off if we’d all moved in to Katrina’s, where Little Ted had been trained and was in a bit more of a routine. I carried the dog bed and bowl back over while walking a tiny puppy who just wanted to be picked up all the time. I made sure I didn’t pick him up so that he had to walk, it was only a short distance but it took a while.
Jamie had left me some bacon in the fridge so I had a couple of rashers on toast (no butter) for breakfast then took Norman and Edna out while Teddy was in his crate, whining to get out. For most of the day Norman and Edna made it clear that the puppy was not welcome as he peed everywhere but on the puppy pad. I had vegetable soup with noodles for lunch then I took all 3 dogs on the back garden to see if they would get along better – they didn’t! After another little walk for Teddy, and a longer walk for Norman and Edna, I started making dinner. I’d already got the beef bourguignon in the slow cooker but I had a go at Gluten Free Yorkshire puddings in Jamie’s Pampered Chef stoneware. I wasn’t going to drink this weekend but after feeling like I’d had a very long day, I had 2 glasses of wine while Little Ted slept. On the plus side, I’d not spent any money as I’d not been anywhere.
Wednesday 1st February marked the day where I aimed to make a few changes. I wanted to be more frugal, find a more suitable part-time job, get paid what I was already owed and lose some weight. I never make new year resolutions for January as I know I will fail, especially as it’s my birthday month. February was a shorter month and would be easier to put some goals in place. The first thing I did when I got up was to get weighed on the home scales and take my measurements. The home scales read heavier than Carol’s at Fat Club but, if they were correct, I had lost a little bit more – I would find out this afternoon at Fat Club. All of my measurements had either decreased of remained the same so it was looking like a promising start. I had cornflakes with skimmed milk and a cup of Yorkshire tea for breakfast then went to the bank and supermarkets, here’s what I bought:
Migros Supermarket Bag of garlic 9.34 835g onions 10.77 M&Ms 10.90 140g plain Quark 14.95 1.7kg potatoes 15.26 Bin bags 18.50 2 pot noodles 19.80 400g Mushrooms 29.90 450g Spinach 34.90 Cream cheese 49.90 Total spent 189.32 lira (£8.30)
Şok Supermarket Wine gums 6.95 2 packet of plain crisps 23.50 Rice 27.50 Total spent 57.95 lira (£2.54)
Mark and Kate were having a curry night at their’s later and Kate had invited me. I said I’d bring a Saag Aloo dish with me too. I hurried along to Fat Club, eager to find out my results. Remarkably, I had lost 0.9kg (almost 2lb) and had now exceeded a total loss of 3.6kg (7.9lb, over half a stone) which was a great start to the month. Spurred on by a good result, I decided not to have a cup of tea which is served with a biscuit and decided to order a large bottle of water. Back at home I set about making my dish for tonight and wolfed down a late lunch of chicken, sweetcorn and egg fried rice using the left over chicken shish from Kordon’s on my birthday, which I’d got out of the freezer earlier. Once I’d made my potato and spinach dish I got a taxi over to Mark and Kate’s as I was running late and the pan was too big to carry. Fikri’s prices had increased by 20% to 60 lira (£2.63) for the 3.3km drive. When I arrived, there was just Kate at home so I wasn’t actually late. Mark and the other guests were all still at Rehab bar after pool had finished. Kate had made a delightful meal of onion bhajis, chicken curry, rice, nan breads, and various salad, chutneys and dips. It was lovely and I really enjoyed it with my bottle of Tılsım red wine I’d allowed myself, using my syns. It was good to see that Mark and Kate now had a cat room where they all had an individual bed and a litter tray, this would make it so much easier to look after them in the winter. I ended up staying over in the upstairs bedroom instead of getting a taxi back as I’d drank a whole bottle of wine to myself.
I felt absolutely shattered on Friday 27th January, after only a few hours sleep. Charlie was in Abi’s bed with me and he’d been scared of the wind during the night. At 8.30am I went to survey the outside balconies and found the furniture had blown everywhere. A screen fence had fell off the roof and I could see that on the ground there was some damage to the front of the complex fence. There was a slight gap in the rain storms so I got my casual clothes and a big coat on to go for a jog with Charlie. We had to be quick as the rain was threatening the whole time we were out and the wind was still blustery. We’d just got in when the torrential rain came and Charlie was scared. I snuggled him up in his favourite blanket and made sure he had Slothy, his best toy, with him while I went out for just over an hour to Turkish class. When I got back, I’d got a bit wet in the rain so went to have a shower. Charlie was still worried about the storm so he came in the bathroom too. I spoke to Helen about Gill, her friend who was taking Charlie, arriving later today. She sent me Gill’s number so that I could discuss directly about me dropping Charlie off this weekend. It wouldn’t be tonight as Gill was still on her way to Turkey, but tonight would probably be my last one with Charlie. Meanwhile, Captain Caveman had arrived back in Phong Nha and was at his Oxalis briefing ready for his tour tomorrow. That evening, I had something planned which even the manager at the venue had been sceptical about because of the weather.
I’d originally planned to go to Fethiye for the day with Jamie, Ann and Nanny Kay where, instead of drinking too much, we would go bowling to celebrate my birthday. In the end we’d decided not to go as I would have had to miss Turkish class and it could be too busy with families at a weekend. We would go for a meal and drinks in Dalyan instead and we decided Hotel Dalyance was a good choice for everyone. I’d not been in ages and I love the food there. We also had the added surprise that Jamie’s partner, Drew, had decided to come to Dalyan and had just arrived. The 5 of us had a lovely table and by 6.20pm I had a beer and a red wine on the go while tucking in to the complimentary bread and olives. Nanny Kay bought me a bottle of red wine with some Smarties and a chocolate bar attached which was very generous of her, especially as I thought that she already gave me a bottle of wine for my birthday. That one was just for having her over for dinner, as it turns out, so I wasn’t complaining and it was much appreciated. Sarah came to take our order and she recommended the pepper chicken for me, which sounded good. When it came, I was very impressed and it tasted delicious. I enjoyed my night, the food and wine at Hotel Dalyance with my friends but we were getting the bill before 9pm! It looked like the night was coming to an end quite early on a Friday night, luckily I’d not dressed up for it but everyone I was with looked like they had made a bit more effort. Jamie, Drew, Nanny Kay and I decided we would go for 1 or 2 more at Sofra bar. Ann said her goodbyes and went back home as she didn’t fancy going on for another drink as she was closer to home at Hotel Dalyance.
When we got there, it was pretty quiet but I had a couple of red wines while the boys managed 2 bottles of wine between them. Nanny Kay and I were having a nice chat when Mark walked in and joined our table. Sofra is one of the main go-to weekend bars for most of the expats during the winter and, as Kate was due back from England tomorrow, it was not surprising to see Mark on his last night of playing out. I limited myself to just the 2 red wines as I’d definitely had my fill with the 2 bottles of wine we’d shared at Dalyance. Nanny Kay was sensible and had just the one red wine in Sofra and a taxi home. I was home before midnight, Mark dropped me off in his taxi, and unfortunately Gill’s flight had been redirected to Heraklion in Greece due to the bad weather. I played catch Slothy with Charlie and told him he’d be going to stay with Gill at some point this weekend. I’m not sure why but he started licking my feet and we were still up at 1.30am.
Saturday 21st January was Tet Eve in Vietnam and Captain Caveman was enjoying some time off. I had extra Charlie cuddles until 10.30am and then decided I didn’t actually need anything from the market. I still had quite a bit left in the fridge so was going to leave it until next week. The weather was nice so we got a couple of walks in and I arranged to have a meal with Jamie and Katrina later at home. I didn’t even go to Rehab to see the pool group, Kate had gone to England for a week this afternoon so I thought a chilled out day would be good. Around 6.30pm I went over to Jamie’s to pick up the rest of my things and he showed me the new beds which had been delivered. ‘My room’ now had a lovely, comfy, anti static with washable topper, divan bed. I couldn’t wait to dog sit again to try out the new bed and I was booked in again in early February. At 7pm Jamie, Katrina and Joseph came upstairs and we were going to order food from China Town. I got handed a lovely gift from Jamie’s Mauritius holiday of a set of spices and a beer – a perfect gift for me! Jamie and I had brought a bottle each of Tılsım, he’d brought diet coke, and I’d got some Sprite. Unfortunately, because there was no TV in the living room, we decided to move to Katrina’s so that Joseph had something to watch. This helped because Katrina has bigger wine glasses and a dish washer so we took the drinks down and Katrina put the order through for delivery. Katrina has a puppy called Teddy, and he’s really cute. In the relocation I left my purse and phone upstairs so I didn’t take any photos and Jamie had to lend me the cash for my meal of sweet and sour chicken with fried rice. I shared the prawn crackers and had a few chips too and it was so good, but obviously not Slimming World friendly. I’d had a good evening but was glad to get to bed, even Charlie was still sofa snoozing when I got home.
While Vietnam was celebrating the first day of Tet on Sunday 22nd January, Jamie and I had planned to take the dogs to the beach. He picked me up at 11am from Charlie’s and we called downstairs to pick up Teddy, Katrina’s King Charles Cavelier puppy. We had a nice walk on the beach but not too far because Teddy’s little legs wouldn’t take him as far as we would normally go. It was his first time on the beach and he was so cute, the other dogs didn’t seem keen on him though. I didn’t get as many photos as I’d have liked due to having to keep an eye on the dogs a bit more with 4 of them. In the car on the way back, Norman and Edna in the back, Charlie, Teddy and I on the back seat and (obviously) Jamie driving, Charlie got car sick. Jamie had to stop the car because I was holding Teddy on my lap. As soon as Charlie got out, he was fine but then some street dogs tried to frighten Charlie and Jamie. All the time Teddy was like a little Scrappy Doo from Scooby Doo and wanted to get loose. Back home I had a quick lunch of hotdogs on fresh bread with ketchup because I fancied it. I had a homemade chicken and aubergine curry for dinner, with Kate’s lemon drizzle cake for afters. Fat Club next week was certainly going to be interesting as, not only was I having less exercise without the 2 additional dogs, I kept eating things that were probably not quite within the Slimming World plan. That evening Charlie was so sweet and wanted lots of cuddles, if I stopped stroking him he kept tapping my arm for more! It was going to be hard saying bye to him, once Helen and Abi were back.
On Friday 20th January Charlie and I had a lay in until 10.30am. I had invited Leanne over for a cup of tea and a dog walk around noon but Charlie got impatient and wanted to walk before she arrived. We were on our way back when Leanne arrived but only had time for a quick cup of tea before she got a call from work and had to go. Charlie also had seen me put some hot dog sausages in the fridge and had started trying to do paw so that he could have some. He was so funny and would only give his right paw!
At 2pm it was time for Turkish class at Ela’s Kitchen and I walked there in the cold and rain. The class went well and I enjoyed it but I was so hungry as I had not had chance to eat yet today. I stayed after class to catch up with a friend, 007, and I ordered a cheese sandwich and a cup of tea. The food was top notch and it was nice to chat to 007 who I’d not seen for a while. Back ‘home’ I walked Charlie again as was going out at 6.30pm for a birthday party, which had already started at 3pm! Jamie and I agreed to walk in to town together to meet the girls. Because I’d had a lively night last night, I didn’t feel like going but it was Annie’s birthday (from Bistro Blue) so it was bound to be a lively one, especially as it was also Sue and Selina’s birthdays too. We said we would just go for a couple and wouldn’t stay out long – famous last words!
Annie and the girls had already started their afternoon at Dalyance and then moved on to Ela’s Kitchen. As Jamie and I arrived, they were finishing their drinks and planning to head to Mustang bar. We went on ahead and, because the wine there isn’t to our liking, Jamie ordered gin and tonic and I had a beer. I was still a bit hungover from last night and, after 2 drinks at Mustang, we moved on to the next bar.
At Sofra, I decided to go on to wine and we plonked ourselves down next to Katrina and Mehmet. At 9.15pm there was talk of tequila shots and by 11pm Annie was behind the bar with Şükrü insisting on friends having shots! I was ‘forced’ on to the dancefloor and I might have accidentally dropped Sue when spinning her around but I managed to resist the tequila shots until 11.40pm but then it was pretty much ‘go for it’. There was dancing and lots of noise but by 12.30am I was flagging a little. It had been a great birthday celebration but I was definitely feeling my age these days! Luckily, Katrina and Mehmet were leaving so they kindly gave us a lift home, which was a good idea given the amount I’d had to drink.
Charlie was not impressed that I’d been out galavanting yet again, this time without any dinner. I cooked some pasta and warmed up the Gorgonzola cheese from Kordon, which I’d got out of the freezer earlier. I gave Charlie some plain pasta and he loved it, but then he insisted it was bedtime or I’d never make it to the weekly market tomorrow!
I got up early on Thursday 19th January intending to go back to bed but Charlie had cheekily taken my spot in the bed. I let all 3 dogs know that we had to get up anyway as Jamie was on his way home from Mauritius and would be arriving in to Dalaman airport at 9.30am. Norman and Edna were excited but Charlie not so much as I started packing and stripping the bed. By 9.30am Norman was pacing about the lounge and kitchen wondering where Daddy was but Edna was waiting on the sofa knowing there would be luggage to collect. By 10am Norman had drafted Charlie in to keep a look out for Jamie and they were on high alert for the sound of the taxi and gate.
Jamie arrived at 10.30am and after a doggy reunion we decided to go to Ela’s Kitchen for a breakfast. We both had the big one, me without tomatoes and eggs, Jamie without mushrooms, and it was delightful. Jamie surprised me by buying my breakfast as a belated birthday treat which was very good of him. Our next mission was for me to move back to Helen and Abi’s as I had quite a lot of stuff, including all the freezer stuff, to shift. Jamie drove me round and helped me carry everything too – it would have took me about 10 journeys on foot, easily.
As Charlie and I moved back in to the top floor apartment, Helen messaged me with sad news and I decided to give her home a bit of a spruce up. I took the Christmas tree and decorations down, hoovered up and checked with Katrina if it was ok to use the shower, now that the plumber had fixed everything. Jamie had already said I could use his shower if I needed to, which was very kind, but I could go to Captain Caveman’s place quite easily. Katrina confirmed it was ok to use as the leak had been fixed and she wanted me to try it to check all was well anyway. After putting all my stuff away I went to see what Charlie was up to and I found him on Abi’s bed. We went out on to the front roof terrace and I noticed that the hot water tank was spewing out boiling hot water so I let Katrina and Mehmet know. Charlie seemed to be pleased to be home but was a bit out of sync. I think he was either expecting Helen and Abi to be back or for me to be leaving him, because of all the bags. He even laid on what was Captain Caveman’s pillows as if he was hoping to find him back in the apartment. We had quite a long dog walk around the area that Charlie knows well and then went back ‘home’ for a quiet night in.
As we were almost out of dog food I went back to the pet shop and bought just 2kg of dog food for 50 lira (£2.21). Jamie had said if it was different to what Charlie was having, to mix it in with the old so that it didn’t upset his stomach, so I would do that. I went to Migros Supermarket too and bought skimmed milk and 2 lots of quark which came to 47.50 lira (£2.10). As I was coming out of the shop deciding what I would make for dinner, I got called over to Jiks!
Armed with the dog food and Migros shopping at 5pm, I went over to Jiks where Matt, Vanessa, Janet, Kev, Mark and Kate were having a beverage and they invited me to join them. I had a couple of white wine & sodas and, for some reason, all the ladies were trying on each others hats. We had a good laugh with Vanessa who had told us that Madge had been accusing her of talking too much. Nanny Kay and Becky arrived just as everyone was getting ready to leave and we briefly discussed my belated birthday get together next week. Matt & Vanessa had booked a table at Balıkçım for Thursday night fish and chips. I wasn’t going to go on account of me (supposedly) being back on my diet! I was (so easily) persuaded and, while Matt, Vanessa, Janet & Kev set off across town to the restaurant, Mark and Kate waited to give me a lift on their mobility scooter. This was handy as I could put my shopping on the back and we were there in just a couple of minutes.
At Balıkçım I ordered a glass of white wine to go with my fish and chips and it’s definitely the nicest white wine I’ve drank while out in town. Kate was very good and ordered meze dishes as a main meal while the rest of us ordered the infamous fish and chips. When it came I was very impressed as it was huge, the batter was crispy, the chips were excellent and the fish tasted amazing. Everyone else had either mushy peas or curry sauce (or both) on their’s but I just had the Turkish vinegar. A few splashes of non-brewed condiment would have made it perfect but we were in Dalyan so I couldn’t expect them to have that. Unsurprisingly, I ate every bit of mine and I even ate the generous serving of fresh rocket on the side. I was glad I’d gone along and was very pleased to have had such a big meal for less than an English £10. While we were there Matt and Vanessa spoke to Alp, the owner, about his forthcoming birthday weekend. He was going to be celebrating his 50th birthday at a 5 star all inclusive hotel in Antalya and Matt was organising a bus for anyone in Dalyan who wanted to go. After our fish supper someone, I’m not sure who, had an idea to go for one more drink! Janet and Kev headed off home, Matt and Vanessa said we’d meet at Bistro Blue, Kate and I walked there while Mark followed on the mobility scooter, with the shopping.
Inside Bistro Blue was nice and cosy at the bar area and it was only 8pm as we ordered drinks. I switched to red wine as I do like a red in Bistro Blue, Mark went from beer to red, Kate opted for vodka and diet coke while Matt had beer and Vanessa had a white wine and soda. The service was good but the music wasn’t as good without Selahı doing his DJing. We had a good laugh and when Matt and Vanessa paid their bill and left, I thought we would also be leaving. Mark and Kate had already said they would give me a lift back to Helen & Abi’s on the Puff Truck, it was on their way home almost and I was conscious that Charlie was on his own for the first time in just over 2 weeks. By 8.45pm Kate was doing some sort of drunken gymnastics on the stairs with the bannister and I was concerned an accident was waiting to happen. By 10pm Mark was also doing banister balancing which in turn lead to Kate having another go. Fortuitously no injuries were sustained and by 10.30pm I’d ordered the bill. I’d had 3 wines, Mark had 5 (we should have bought a bottle) but Kate had excelled herself with 6 vodka and diet cokes plus an extra diet coke. When the bill came it was a reasonable 80 lira (£3.54) per wine and 100 lira (£4.43) for a generous vodka and small bottle of diet coke. Mark and Kate saw that there was an extra 25 lira (£1.11) on the bill under ‘soda’ and argued they had not had a soda. This was actually for the extra bottle of diet coke Kate had asked for when she thought the vodka was a bit strong. I think Omer, the bar man, was happy to take it off the bill just to get rid of us, as Kate tried to pay on card. I paid mine in cash but Kate was too tipsy to be able to get the card and machine to do it’s thing. Luckily, I had cash on me so I paid the bill and took a photo to remind Kate in the morning. I got a lift home, almost forgot the shopping on the back, and said goodnight – it had been a really good impromptu night! When I got in, Charlie wanted to know what time I called this, getting in at 10.45pm on a school night smelling of booze!?
On Monday 16th January Captain Caveman was due out of the cave and was taking himself off on a pre Tet holiday. Here in Dalyan, the weather was sunny and around 22°C but rain was due again tomorrow. I did quite a lot of editing in the morning after walking the dogs and then found Charlie had tried to go back to bed for a siesta. Kate and I had decided to make the most of the nice weather and had arranged to meet for lunch at 12.30pm at Egehan again. Gino at Egehan gave us a lovely warm welcome and he even gave Kate’s bike a thorough wash as it was very muddy. Kate had beer, I had a glass of red wine which was rather smooth and we both ordered pasta dishes this time. The food was lovely, as we sat in the suntrap outside by the pool. Kate had made a lemon drizzle cake for me for my birthday and she’d brought it along. We worked out how to cut it up in to pieces which would be around 10 syns each and I would pop some in the freezer too.
I seemed to be attracting abandoned dogs as, at Tez bar, one which looked a bit like a ginger Charlie came over. When the weather got cold, and Mark had come to join us, I popped back to Captain Caveman’s apartment to put most of my lemon drizzle cake in the freezer, put a coat on and grab a pair of leggings for Kate to borrow. I left just after 6pm so I could feed the dogs and walk them again. On my way back to Jamie’s I called in to Migros Supermarket where I bought filo pastry sheets, frozen sweetcorn and toilet rolls for a total of 136.60 lira (£6). For dinner I put a pie in the oven and started looking at flights to Vietnam. While the pooches all slept on the sofa I found Emirates to be the cheapest on the search I did. When my pie was ready Charlie showed that he desperately wanted some by sitting underneath the oven, then climbed on the sofa to try to get a piece. I didn’t give him any as I didn’t think it would be good for him and the other dogs would want some too if I did.
I went back to bed with a cup of tea and 3 dogs on Tuesday 17th January. Norman and Charlie were getting friendlier and it was a good job, as rain looked imminent. Captain Caveman was on holiday in Hue for a few days but would be going to Hoi An soon to meet friends. I had pie for lunch but in the afternoon I couldn’t make it in time for Singing group as I had to walk the dogs and get to Tez for a birthday celebration. It was Jackie’s birthday and I’d mistakenly thought her birthday was tomorrow. I hurried to walk the dogs and call at the bank but got there for 4pm, just before it started to rain. Quite a few of us were at Tez bar, including Vanessa, Matt, Mark, Kate, Cath & Keith and a few of the other regular ‘Tez-pats’. We had to move inside when it started lashing it down so it was quite cosy, but Vanessa’s coat got soaked.
Jackie, Chris, Amanda, Jeff, Gay Gaz and I all went on to Kordon for a meal while the rest stayed in Tez and then went home. I had lentil soup to start which I really enjoyed and the Gorgonzola chicken for main. Jackie had recommended the dish, it was fantastic and enough to take half home. I had a glass of wine too and my bill came to 450 lira (£20) which was good value but more than I’d normally spend on a Tuesday evening dinner and drinks. We were still eating our meals when Cath joined us and had a bit of Chris’s mixed casserole. After a rather lovely birthday meal I said goodnight to the others and we left Cath with Gay Gaz heading to Jiks for shots, as I went back to Jamie’s to check on the 3 dogs.
Wednesday 18th January was rainy so, after letting the dogs out in to the garden, feeding them and making a cup of tea, we all went back to bed for an hour. I had just strawberries for breakfast and stayed in my PJs while the rain was so heavy. All 3 dogs were waiting for it to stop raining so that we could go for a nice walk and they looked a bit fed up. In the morning I finished all my editing for this particular stretch and I was looking forward to getting more done during Tet. I had more pie for lunch and there was no Fat Club due to the bad weather. I was keen to know my weight this week, though, so I got on Jamie’s scales. Obviously the scales are different to Carol’s at Fat Club but it showed 0.1kg less than last week. Pleased with this I walked the dogs then had some lemon drizzle cake for a snack. The dogs were getting along much better now and were definitely friends, which was nice. I did a Slimming World friendly pizza for dinner but then later had some cheese and membrillo. I watched some TV and it was nice to see Norman and Charlie had become closer now too.
Although it was still raining when I got up on Thursday 12th January, it had eased a little. I tried to catch up with as many birthday messages as possible and I’d got a lovely message from my sister, Gayle, who had also sent me some money for my birthday. I thought I’d maybe put it together with the money from my parents and buy, either something nice to wear, or maybe a ring, when I next went shopping. I took the dogs out before Louisa got up and we’d all towelled off and were on the sofa when she came downstairs. Annie at Bistro Blue confirmed we could go ahead with yesterday’s birthday plans tonight instead. This was brilliant news, I let everyone know and asked if anyone wanted to change their preordered meals. Louisa and I did because she’d eaten her choice yesterday in Kordon and I decided to push the boat out and have something I really wanted. Louisa and I left the dogs at home to meet Mark and Kate at Ela’s Kitchen for breakfast at 11am. Our Fethiye friends had left early that morning so I sadly didn’t get to see them but they had given Kate a bottle of wine to give to me for my birthday – how lovely. For breakfast I had the big breakfast but agreed to do swaps of my eggs and tomatoes for Mark’s mushrooms on his small breakfast. Kate ordered a Chicken club sandwich and Louisa a bacon sandwich. I absolutely love the breakfasts in Ela’s and they have proper English tea too.
After breakfast, I confirmed menu choices and numbers for Bistro Blue but I’d had 20 cancellations already. Mark and Kate decided they wouldn’t come as we’d gone out yesterday for dinner and breakfast today instead. Vanessa and Matt also cancelled because they too had eaten out with me yesterday. In the afternoon, Louisa and Kate came with me to Charlie’s apartment where they helped me clean the remains of any flood water up. It wasn’t as bad as I’d thought and it was just in the main bedroom. We also emptied the freezer and fridge to take the stuff to Jamie’s so that if the electric had to be turned off, nothing would spoil. We saw Milo and he now had a crate with a blanket in from Katrina so that he was warm until his new owner could collect him. That evening, as we were getting ready to head off for my party, I got messages from Vanessa, Matt and Mark to tell me they were in Tez bar and that I should come to join them (and a few people coming to my celebrations) there. Of course, I couldn’t do that as it would mean being late for Bistro Blue and being rude to the people who were actually on their way to my belated celebrations.
Louisa and I arrived at the restaurant just before 7pm and the table was set up lovely, we had 12 people eating plus another half a dozen coming just for drinks. Joining in the meal was Wolfie & Irena, Jackie & Chris, Linda, Ghislaine, Pete, Bill & Jaxx and Gay Gaz. Joining for drinks only were Janet & Kev, Roy, Sheila, Andy & Kaye, and Cath & Keith. Janet brought me a bottle of wine for my birthday, Linda got me a lovely necklace and Ghislaine gave me a reed diffuser from LC Waikiki and some Ferrero Rocher chocolates. I’d said I didn’t want birthday gifts, just shots and snogs so I’d done very well and I also got quite a few cards which was very lovely. Louisa and I had a porn star martini cocktail each, I also shared a bottle of wine with Linda during the dinner. Both Louisa and I had ordered the same thing which was the surf and turf. At 500 lira (£22.18) it wasn’t cheap so when it arrived Louisa saw that it had a sauce on and wasn’t happy with it. I asked Omer to send it back as she thought it might have cheese in, it didn’t but she still didn’t want the meat and prawns covered in sauce. Mine came and I tried it and liked it, I’d asked for mine medium which was fine. Louisa got her food back and the prawns were separated but still in the sauce so I suggested she rescue them on to a bit of dry bread and I had her sauce. Her medium steak wasn’t cooked enough so I asked Annie if we could send it back again and, of course, they obliged. I really enjoyed my food and even finished off some of Louisa’s which was still too raw for her but she didn’t want to send it back a third time! I definitely would eat the surf and turf again but I think Louisa would choose differently next time.
Instead of a dessert, we had more drinks, Bill bought me a Moscow Mule, loads more red wine was had, then I decided that I would buy a round of tequilas for the few of us who were left. Things got messy as others joined in the buying of shots when Cath introduced everyone to a Baby Guinness (or 4). We turned the floor in front of the meze fridge in to our dancefloor and Selahı made an excellent DJ. I’m not sure I remember getting back to Jamie’s but I do recall having more drink when we got there. Louisa was leaving tomorrow so she had vodka and coke to drink up!
I had reached the ripe old age of 50 and was no longer in my 40s on Wednesday 11th January. When I was younger I always assumed that I’d be doing something wild and exciting on my birthday to celebrate my 50th, or at least with family or my partner, however, that wasn’t quite to be. I’d been awake with all 3 scared dogs until almost 4am as it was blowing a hooley outside Jamie’s villa and the rain was relentless. Even before I’d got up, I knew my birthday night out at Bistro Blue would be cancelled. Captain Caveman called me but forgot to wish me a happy birthday until I mentioned it and we chatted while I was still in bed. Annie from Bistro Blue messaged to say the venue was flooded and could not open today but she would see how things were tomorrow. I agreed to postpone my birthday until then and messaged everyone to let them know. Quite a few people replied to say that even if my birthday went ahead tomorrow they already had other plans, so it looked like a much smaller do, if at all. It was disappointing but these are the issues that happen with a winter birthday so I wasn’t too upset by it. I opened a card from my parents which had some money in, I still had their Christmas money too and thought I’d probably buy something to wear when I got the chance. In 2022 I’d not bought one item of clothing and it showed as I didn’t have many clothes these days. I went downstairs, had a cup of tea and laughed that I’d put Louisa’s leftover vodka and coke from last night in the fridge. I’d got so used to having minimal waste these days that I may have taken it a bit far by saving Louisa’s drink for her to have the next day. I took the dogs out in the heavy rain for a very short walk and dried each one on a towel when we got back in. I’d managed to get the toaster down off the high shelf ready for Louisa coming and I had some sliced bread in ready for toast. When Louisa got up she also forgot to say Happy Birthday at first which was funny. I mentioned Vanessa would be over around lunch time for some birthday action and that we needed a Plan B with my birthday party tonight being cancelled. I think the weather made it feel less like a birthday and I wondered what we were going to do today apart from stay at home.
Fat Club was also cancelled so I wasn’t even going to that but Kate and Irena had still managed to go to Art class, and Vanessa went to Line Dancing. Vanessa arrived at Jamie’s around 12.30pm with a card and a present for me which was so kind. The silver bracelet was really lovely and she popped it me on to my wrist between my bracelets from Captain Caveman and Ingrid. I reheated yesterday’s curry and I opened a bottle of fizz (the one I bought for New Year but didn’t drink) for the 3 of us. We did a birthday cheers and Louisa gave me her glass of prosecco as she’s not a fan of it – a decent one is hard to get here so I wasn’t wasting any! Vanessa and I both had second helpings of the chicken and pumpkin curry and Vanessa got quite tiddly. I took the dogs out for a walk in the rain while Vanessa and Louisa carried on chatting and drinking, there was no point all 3 of us going out in the rain getting soaked on my birthday, after all! When I got back Louisa was having a vodka and coke, Vanessa a gin and Sprite while I just had a glass of water and a towel for mine and the dogs’ feet.
Kate messaged to say she was still rained in at Kordon with Irena and that we should get a taxi down there. At the same time, Matt was on the phone to Vanessa arranging to go to Tez bar with Mark. We decided to get the taxi to Kordon just after 3pm and when we got there, a rather drunk Vanessa took Louisa off in the rain. I said hello to Kate, Wolfie and Irena who all wished me happy birthday and had perhaps been on the beers a while. I ordered a beer and joined them next to the indoor fire which was nice and warm. When Vanessa and Louisa came back, wet from the rain, Vanessa announced that they had been to Tez bar to serve Matt and Mark with orders to come to join us immediately. Of course that fell on deaf ears and they remained there until it got too cold for them. In the meantime, Vanessa had also surprised me with a lovely chocolate cake which we all had a piece of, then the waiter gave the rest to a friendly bunch of English people on the next table.
When Mark and Matt arrived they were also quite merry and had forgotten it was my birthday too, so they never did wish me a happy birthday between them. I didn’t feel like getting on it really because I hoped we’d all celebrate my birthday together tomorrow but, as Louisa was ordering her second Malibu and coke, I thought I may as well have another beer. Kate decided we should eat at Kordon, so we looked at the menu, Wolfie and Irena went home in the rain. Kate ordered the orange chicken, Mark chose the lamb, Louisa went for Adana kebab, Vanessa ordered liver, Matt the chicken schnitzel and I a chicken shish. During the dining experience, I got calls and texts because the leak at Charlie’s had become worse due to the heavy rain. The rooftop balcony was flooding and I was asked if I could go over there. I explained I was trying to make the most of a cancelled birthday and was in the middle of eating so I said to phone the landlord – there was nothing I could really do and luckily Charlie was at Jamie’s villa and safe. The food at Kordon was really nice but I couldn’t eat it all on account of the 2 lunchtime curry portions so I took half of it home. The rain never eased off, rain water was starting to come in above our table and we were encouraged to go to Waterfall bar on our way home. Matt was making sure a very merry Vanessa got home but Mark and Kate were up for more drinks so Louisa and I shared a taxi with them.
Unfortunately, it was past 9pm and Waterfall had already closed so Mark and Kate dropped us off at Jamie’s. When we got out of the taxi the water was ankle deep on the road and the pool had overflowed. Once inside the villa I tried to let the dogs out on the back garden but they took one look at the weather and decided they weren’t going out there. Meanwhile, some friends were on their way from Fethiye in torrential ‘stay at home’ weather as they wanted to see me on my birthday. They arrived at Mark and Kate’s 2 hours late at 10.30pm by which time everyone was ready for bed. They ended up staying at Mark and Kate’s and I declined to venture over there because it was so late and awful weather. Louisa and I had more drinks as we’d only had 2 in the 6 hours at Kordon and stayed up chatting for ages. By the time I got in to bed that night I was begging for mercy as I set my alarm for 8am. It wasn’t the birthday I’d planned but it was still one I’d remember.
I was up and about early on Tuesday 10th January as Louisa was on her way from Manchester to Dalaman airport. I was really pleased that she was coming out to help me celebrate my 50th birthday. The dogs weren’t happy that I wasn’t back in bed with a cuppa so they had to do their snoozing on the sofa. I popped all the ingredients for a chicken and pumpkin curry in to the slow cooker and let Louisa know that’s what we were eating later. I crammed in as much editing as I could before lunch as I would be taking the next couple of days off for my birthday. Jamie had been gone a week now and he and his partner were enjoying Mauritius. Everyday they showed off their hotel towel art but it wasn’t that good, I decided to make some out of their tea towel and sent them photos of it. I spent my lunch break walking Charlie, Norman and Edna and even got a photo of them walking together. Back home, I cleaned and tidied in readiness for Louisa arriving. The sky was growing dark and storms were predicted, my birthday tomorrow was booked for quite a lot of us so I hoped it wouldn’t get cancelled.
Louisa arrived and she had brought me a block of Red Leicester cheese, which I’d asked her to and I was so happy. She’d been a bit worried about being able to get dairy through as it’s on the list of produce not to be able to bring in, even though everyone does. It’s my favourite cheese and you can’t get it often here, what they do have is super expensive too. I’d not seen Louisa for 9 months, the last time was when she’d been over with her nephew and mom in April last year. It was great to see her and she had a funky new haircut which looked great. Louisa didn’t fancy the curry I’d made for dinner so I turned it off and we could perhaps have it tomorrow for lunch. The rain was still holding off so we decided to go out to the bank. As we were walking it was obvious that it was definitely going to rain tonight and the forecast said it would be heavy for a few days. We ended up in Jiks where a glass of red wine was now only 60 lira (£2.64) but a shandy was 80 lira (£3.51). Of course we had to bump in to Madge, who came over to ask about my ‘pregnancy’ again. I really should have been eating that Slimming World friendly curry at home instead of joining Louisa for a pizza. I ordered the Slim pizza (which was incorrectly named but I took off ham and added mushrooms) while Louisa ordered the Happy pizza. They were only 90 lira (£3.95) each and it tasted so good that I ate the whole thing. My diet was, once again, postponed – until after my birthday. The rain started and we walked back to Jamie’s where I opened a bottle of red wine and Louisa had a vodka and coke. She’d not even managed to drink much of it before falling asleep on the sofa around 9.30pm – it had been a long day of travelling for her. As the rain got heavier and heavier I had a feeling my birthday tomorrow would not go as planned.
It was the start of my birthday week on Monday 9th January and the plans were coming along nicely. After breakfast I took the dogs out as usual but this time Charlie wanted to check on Milo, the dumped dog, who we had now found out was called Cookie. Apparently the owner of the off-licence, Yaman Bufet, had said he would take it if we could take it to the shop. I was struggling enough to handle the 3 dogs I did have on the lead so I sent the location to people who could help.
While Captain Caveman was on his way back from Son Doong, I was on my way for my first treat of the week. Kate was meeting me at Egehan restaurant, where her birthday gift to me was lunch and drinks. We had a lovely table outside by the pool in glorious sunshine and we were the only lunchtime guests. We had beers and a couple of beef dishes which were absolutely stunning. My meatballs were so tasty and Kate enjoyed her meal too. I was wearing winter clothes and was too hot, even the pool wasn’t that cold.
Next we went to Tez bar where we were later joined by Mark and we were discussing plans for my birthday. On my way back to Jamie’s villa, around 5.30pm, I called at the shop for some essentials, a little bit tipsy. Louisa was arriving tomorrow so I’d asked her what she might want so I could get it in, and I also took some vodka from home as she doesn’t like wine or beer. Here’s what I bought;
Migros Supermarket 1 Twix 13.95 Skimmed milk 15.50 Carrots 16.25 Toastie loaf 17.50 Crisps 18.45 Apple juice 22.00 1 tin of tomatoes 24.90
Total spent 128.55 lira (£5.66)
After shopping and walking Norman and Edna, it was time to take Charlie for his walk. This time we went a different route and ended up in Waterfall where I met up again with Mark and Kate. After a couple of drinks I went back home and sent the Bistro Blue menus out to the potential birthday party attendees so they could preorder. On the whole, prices had an average increase of 20%, which was normal but I expected some cancellations because of it. As my diet was on hold until after the celebrations I treated myself to a couple of pieces of the white Terry’s Chocolate Orange which Josh had brought me over from England.
All 3 dogs came back to bed with me on the morning of Friday 6th January. Even while I waited for the kettle to boil, Norman and Edna were halfway up the stairs and it was still too early for breakfast. They got on the bed together and there was some repositioning as Edna and Charlie both wanted to be nearest to me. In bed, while some of the dogs snored, I made some arrangements for my 50th birthday celebrations next week. It was likely to be bad weather and so I envisaged I might need to have a Plan B, just in case. I’d decided I fancied going for a nice meal and some drinks at Bistro Blue and was having conversations with the owners to arrange. I had to wait for them to reprice the menu as the prices were increasing for 2023, the new menus would be with me on Monday. I was really looking forward to having Louisa come over to celebrate my birthday with me but I did hope she wouldn’t be too bored – Dalyan can be very quiet in the winter time. I’d brought my tape measure with me to Jamie’s so I did my weekly figures; Bust & Hips remained the same, Waist +1cm, Both thighs and Right calf +0.5cm, Left calf still the same. I popped to the shop to get some provisions for a soirée I was hosting that evening. Here’s what I bought at Migros Supermarket: 880g chicken 67.00 400g tin of chopped tomatoes 24.90 1 carton of cream 18.90 Total spent 110.80 lira (£4.89)
I suspected that wasn’t far off the cost of the same things back in England, although I hadn’t been back for over a year. I put the ingredients for a Slimming World friendly curry in the slow cooker and brought my rice cooker over from one house to another. I had a bit of a tidy up then Vanessa popped over to join me on a dog walk.
Cheeky Charlie, obviously had us call in to Waterfall bar, which ended up being 2 drinks and Charlie getting lots of attention from his friends. When Vanessa and I got back to Jamie’s villa to pick up her bicycle, Ann and Nanny Kay were already on the patio waiting for me.
Once indoors and the dog fussing had been completed, we got the wine out. Ann had brought me a lovely birthday gift; a gift bag with Buzbağ red wine, Dairy Milk chocolate, M&Ms and a lovely purple bobble hat. Nanny Kay gave me a bottle of Tigre wine, which I also thought was a pre birthday gift as she also wasn’t coming to my birthday party on Wednesday. As Jamie would be away for my birthday, and Nanny Kay and Ann weren’t able to make it, we said we would do a night out at the end of January instead. I thought the curry turned out well and the ladies were impressed with my rice cooker rice. Charlie took a real liking to Nanny Kay and was loving being a bit cheeky with both our visitors. We had a lovely evening and I was quite merry by the time they left.
On Saturday 31st December, Charlie woke up in a cheeky mood! He was rolling on, and in, Abi’s bed with his toy, Slothy. It was New Year’s Eve but I had no plans to do anything to celebrate it. Josh was booked to leave for the airport at 1.30pm so Jamie and I had said we would meet him for a send off meal at Bistro Blue. I took Charlie out for a decent walk first and was walking him back, off the lead, through the garden. It looked like some neighbours had moved in downstairs but I’d not met them yet and I was looking over to see. Charlie found some green sloppy poo on the grass and decided to roll in it, then rub his face and ears in it! I was disgusted and shouted for him to stop straight away, he ignored me so I had to pull him off the grass, using the bit of his collar not covered in shit. I had less than 1 hour before lunch so he and I were straight in the shower where I wished they had a hose, and not just the overhead one. I panicked and used Abi’s Body Shop banana shampoo which worked a treat but Charlie was not too thrilled with it. I made him sit outside on his box to dry off, convinced he still smelled of poo!!! At Bistro Blue, I ordered a breakfast, without eggs or tomatoes, and it was very tasty. We had a good laugh and a nice last meal before Josh and I walked over to the bank to meet Fikri. We said farewell, I had really enjoyed having Josh come to visit and would miss him, and his humour, for sure. Back ‘home’ I didn’t really do much aside from polish off one of Annie’s homemade mince pies with kaymak and honey. No alcohol was consumed, despite me having bought a bottle of cheap fizz, and was in bed by 9.30pm. Before 10pm, Charlie had come to tell me he wasn’t happy with the fireworks he could hear and, as they got louder and more frequent, he got very scared. I kept him close and reassured him and eventually got to sleep.