Dalyan – 20th & 21st March

Dalyan – 20th & 21st March

As I didn’t go to bed until the early hours of the morning on Sunday 20th March, I was extremely tired and decided a day of doing as little as possible was on the cards. I felt a few tremors of an earthquake but couldn’t work out if I was just feeling hungover and tired. Mark had left to join in the sweeping of the new road, which Alp had organised, from Sofra bar. The intentions were to sweep sand in to the cracks to help the workmen, Sarah had been busy making sandwiches for the volunteers.
I ate strawberries for breakfast and went back to bed for a bit then I watched Netflix, did some Turkish practice and relaxed. For lunch I only just managed some red pesto mushroom pasta then had a nannan nap. When dinner time came round I couldn’t be bothered to cook so I just had cheese on Jacob’s crackers and thoroughly enjoyed it.

When I woke up on Monday 21st March I was really missing Captain Caveman. I saw a photo of his (our) home in Phong Nha on Facebook and wished it was easier to get over there. There were more complications about the visa situation, where people trying to apply via the embassy were in a backlog of processing. In Phong Nha temperatures had reached 33°C and I missed that too.

In Dalyan it was 4°C and news of more earthquakes off Crete which I’d felt yesterday. I had grapefruit and strawberries for breakfast, before opening up the laptop at the kitchen table. For lunch I had some Quinoa crackers with brie and olives but I should have eaten more. Inevitably, it would be one of those Mondays and I should have known. John had messaged me that the Rum bar was having an opening party today, to which we were all invited, so I cracked on with some work in order to finish early and attend. I also sent a message to Sarah, Debbie (Darling) and Ann to ask if they were going and to say I’d see them there from 4.30pm. In the afternoon I had a wander to Migros supermarket and bought the following essentials:

Spinach 9.95
Fabric Softener 18.25
Washing powder 22.75
Beef mince 41.16
Diced beef 44.00

Total spent 136.11 lira (£7)

After dropping my shopping home I went to join Andy, Kaye, Mark, Kate, Chris and Jackie at Okyanus for Kaye’s farewell drinks. The sun was shining and the Efes was cold, after 2 beers the sun was going in so we wandered up to Tez bar to catch the last of the sunshine. It was past 4.30pm when we arrived and Debbie (Darling) had already made her way to Rum bar to meet me. There was no word from Ann but Sarah was running late, as she was still working. Sue was at Tez bar and had recently had her cataract operation so she looked like a pirate. We just had the one beer but had a few laughs while we waited for Sarah to come. I temporarily forgot about Kate’s peanut allergy as I shelled and ate the complimentary ones, then tried to get her to eat some.
Debbie (Darling) returned to Tez, having not found me at Rum bar and she pretended to be cross, Ann had decided not to join us.

Sarah arrived, after a busy working day, and we all went to Rum bar which had some gorgeous cocktails. I started with a Pina Colada then discovered they had a Ron Zacapa rum which is one of my favourites.
I finally got to meet Cameron and Betty who were in Dalyan on holiday after not being able to visit due to the pandemic. Unfortunately they were only here for a short holiday but it was good to get to meet them in person at last. The atmosphere at Rum bar was good and a fire kept the chills off as the temperature dropped.

We all said our farewells to Kaye then Sarah and I walked back along the river towards home. On the way we decided we were hungry so would go for a Chinese at China Town. It was my first visit to ‘eat-in’ since the renovations and reopening – it looked good. I ordered chicken in black bean sauce, egg fried rice and prawn toast while Sarah opted for a half portion of sweet and sour chicken. It was unfortunate for Sarah that she had to have a work related telephone conversation on loud speaker throughout the duration of our meal. Luckily, there were only a couple of other customers in at this late hour on a Monday evening. I took a small amount of left over chicken home and felt exhausted when I got in.

Photo credit – Alp Aslan, street sweeping. Phong Nha Farmstay, Elements Collection.

Dalyan – 11th to 13th March

Dalyan – 11th to 13th March

Friday 11th March started with the obligatory weigh-in and measurement taking. My weight had stayed the same this week, my thighs were now both the same size and were the biggest they had been in almost 2 years but my calves were still 1cm different in size.
I was having buttered toast for breakfast when the workmen turned up, earlier than expected, to continue with the ceilings. I read in the news that China was having a lot of Corona cases again, more here:
https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/international/20220311/china-daily-local-covid-infections-exceed-1000-as-symptomless-cases-spike/66124.html
I decided to go out on a bicycle ride to keep out of the way of the workmen who were making a right old mess. Bluey2 was super whizzy today, I enjoyed a little jaunt around all the back streets and a couple of the more main roads before getting peckish. For a late lunch I had chicken and spinach curry from out of the freezer, with steamed rice before getting ready to go out.
I’d been invited to John’s surprise birthday party, by his wife Andrea. I arrived at Bambi’s around 7.30pm and the place was pretty busy already. I sat with Penny and Phil who were just finishing off their jacket potatoes and I ordered a glass of red wine. There was a lovely buffet on and I wished I’d not already eaten curry but I had a couple of mezes with bread. It was a lovely night with lots of familiar faces in the warmth of the soba. Outside the temperature was very cold and I didn’t relish the walk home so when Penny and Phil were leaving, I felt like getting a lift home would be a good idea. I paid for my 2 wines, which this time were only 40 lira each, instead of 50, and left with Penny. Back home it was very cold as I watched a bit of TV and I had to put the heater on.



On Saturday 12th March I woke up to news that Quang Binh, the province where Captain Caveman lives, had 3271 new positive Corona cases yesterday. This could mean that the proposed resumption of international travel in 3 days time could be in danger of not happening. Obviously, I knew when I left Vietnam in September that it could be a year until I saw Captain Caveman but I hoped it wouldn’t be that long. If Vietnam reopens it could mean I would get a trip to see him, possibly in a couple of months or so. I ate my breakfast of buttered toast before getting ready for something new.
I had organised to attend a Yoga dance event to commemorate international Women’s Day at a place called Spectrum. The location is a stunning retreat almost on the beach road with lovely views. I’d not been before but it’s not far from our friend, Janet’s, house so Vanessa and I arranged to call for her on our way. I called for Vanessa and we cycled about 15 minutes to Janet’s and then on another 5 minutes on to Spectrum. This was the furthest Bluey2 had gone so far and she managed it easily. We were welcomed by Jo, and we waited awhile for everyone else to turn up while admiring the views. Once we got going the yoga dance class was nice, fairly easy to follow, and in Turkish, but the wind was blowing so we all felt cold. We did have some photos taken afterwards as a group and we even asked about some future classes as we were all interested in going along.
On the way back Vanessa and I called in to see Penny and Phil but only Phil was home as we were later than we thought we would be. We dropped our bikes off after that and arranged to meet back up for an afternoon shandy. At home I had some Turkish sausage with cheese rolls for lunch to line my stomach. Captain Caveman was out of the cave and on his way to the Chay Lap gala dinner as I walked round to meet Debbie (Darling), Sarah, Ann, Vanessa, and Rach at Jiks. We had a couple of drinks there, some people had food. I wasn’t going to go to Rehab bar with Vanessa but decided I would, Ann decided to join us and we met Matt, Mark and Kate up there. We had a couple of drinks and I wasn’t really in the mood for stopping out. I’d been chatting to Captain Caveman and his colleague’s wife (Emma) about applying for a visa to go to Vietnam. The idea was to go in the summer but to enter Vietnam you must have had a vaccine within the last 6 months. Emma couldn’t get another booster in England and so asked if I wanted to go earlier. Captain Caveman didn’t have any time off until 20th May so that would be my earliest, which I mentioned to the girls at Rehab.
I decided to leave, Ann came with me as she had only been coming for 1 drink and had her bicycle. She pushed her bike over the rubble and holes of bar street and I suggested we go to the safer path of the river route. I was talking about how a few of us had fallen over recently because of the road works when all of a sudden I tripped over some raised cobbles and hit the floor, really hard. Luckily, I put my hands down but I cut my chin and I was quite shook up. I wasn’t drunk as I’d only had a couple of wine and sodas, we weren’t far from Sofra bar so we went in there to wash my face and get tissues for the blood. While I was in the bathroom Ann ordered more wine. My chin wouldn’t stop bleeding so we got a couple of plasters from a friend of a friend and Ann slapped them on my chin.
Needless to say, we ended up staying out out and consumed too many wines before getting a taxi back to Ann’s.



I didn’t get up until 11.20am on Sunday 13th March and my double plastered chin really hurt. Ann was already up, had brought me some water and seemed surprisingly spritely, considering. It had been a late and messy night – I felt like crap. I walked down to Heybe’s before Ann and waited for her to arrive. We both ordered a fry up (mine without eggs or tomatoes). It seemed to take forever but Roy was already in having a beer so we chatted to him. When the food came I found it hard to eat because my chin and jaw were a bit swollen.
I went home after breakfast and took the plasters off for a look, my chin wasn’t too bad compared to how bloody it had seemed at the time. I did have bruises on my legs and a cut on my hand but I was lucky it wasn’t any worse.
After a nice hot shower, I got back in bed and alternated between watching Netflix and snoozing. China was in the Vietnamese news again, as Corona cases over there were increasing rapidly, more here:
https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/international/20220313/china-daily-local-symptomatic-covid-cases-more-than-triple/66147.html
Later, I got back up for beef stew with potato wedges for my Sunday dinner at home. The light swung and my water cooler sloshed about as I definitely felt a ripple or two from a small earthquake.
I messaged family and found out that there was a weekend away for my mom’s 70th birthday coming up, which I decided to invite myself to and started looking for a flight. As long as the decorations at my parents’ place in Dalyan were finished before I went, I would be able to fit it in. Flights to the UK via Istanbul or Antalya were cheap at the moment. My sister sent me the location and it looked good but it only slept 6 so maybe I’d have to take the couch!

Photo credit – Joanne Sparrow at Spectrum

Dalyan – 18th to 20th February

Dalyan – 18th to 20th February

I had more grapefruit for breakfast on Friday 18th February and I had invited Ann over tonight for curry. I got on with making that and had more Baba Ghanoush with bread for lunch. It was my weekly weigh-in day and I had put on 1kg which was disappointing, but not surprising.
When Ann arrived at about 6pm I already had a beer on the go but she brought round 2 bottles of white wine and I’d already bought 1. She also bought me an ornament for the apartment which was very thoughtful. We decided to go to Lukka bar for just 1 drink and we did just that and came back so that we could eat chicken curry. The food turned out well and we had a good night, listening to music and even dancing. At one point we both managed to do a plank for at least 30 seconds! Ann couldn’t stay over because of the dogs and left about midnight, having had a great night. It made me appreciate not having any neighbours so we could have the music loud and sing.

I finally got round to opening the plum jam I bought in Fethiye before Christmas on Saturday 19th February. I had it on toast for my breakfast and it was really good with massive pieces of plums in. The spinach I had taken out of the freezer, in an attempt to make Saag Aloo yesterday, had finally defrosted so I made it today instead. I had managed to find most of the ingredients that I needed here but because I can’t eat chillies, I left them out. The curry that night was good but I didn’t eat too much of it – there was still some leftover too. I had a couple of glasses of white wine and a relatively early night, despite the noise of the Jazz bar keeping me awake.

I was pleased to speak to Captain Caveman on Sunday 20th February at 9.30am. We used the background changing function on the phones which looks as if you are somewhere else. I showed Captain Caveman that you could do this with a photo or video from your own phone. We were definitely missing each other now and this week would mark 5 months of us living in different countries. It wasn’t the longest we had spent apart in the 10 years together, but it was still hard and there was another 6 months to go, if we stuck to the plan. Captain Caveman had a week off coming up so he had planned to go to Hanoi – the trains had recently recommenced since they stopped due to the pandemic. I had toast with plum jam for breakfast and went shopping to Migros and A101 in the afternoon. Here’s what I bought and the prices in lira:

A101 Supermarket

3 onions 1.64
2 soda waters 3.80
3 red peppers 8.35
Toothpaste 22.90
White cheese 25.20

Total spent 61.89 lira (£3.32)

Migros Supermarket

Cornflakes 9.30
Quark 9.30
Tomato paste 10.24
Turkish salami 13.04
1 litre milk 14.91
500g chicken 20.22
500g minced beef 35.25
Red cheddar 46.71

Total spent 158.97 lira (£8.52)

Although the prices in English seemed cheap because of the current exchange rate, I was still using Turkish money that had been deposited at almost a third of the rate so my shopping today had cost me more like £36!

I wasn’t hungry so I didn’t have lunch but I had yet more chicken curry and Saag Aloo left for my dinner. I even warmed up some lavaş bread to have with it.
I was about to start my 3rd week of being busy so I got on with a couple of tasks to make it easier for time off in the week if I needed it. It was a great weekend, mainly spent at home instead of in the pub, for a change! The rest of the curry went in the freezer as I think I might have eaten enough of it for now.

Dalyan – 11th to 13th February

Dalyan – 11th to 13th February

On Friday 11th February, it was about 9.30am when I opened my eyes and remembered I had gone back to Ann’s house with her and stayed there. Bendy, her dog, was in the bed under the covers and came to give me a Good Morning kiss. As I walked home, the sun was out and I was really hot in all my winter evening layers. King Emlak sent a man round to have another look at the ceiling where the leaks had been and then I had to go to meet someone at my parents’ place for another quote for the decorating. I was quite hungover and hot, I saw Debbie (Darling) and had a chat then I went home for a shower and some cornflakes for lunch.
I was needing a night in but I’d already agreed to meet at Hotel Dalyance for Louise’s birthday drinks and cake. Louise, who makes amazing birthday cakes, had made her own in the design of a turtle and it was amazing. I had just 2 cokes as I couldn’t stomach any booze today. I got chatting to quite a few people but by 10pm I needed to go home to bed. Sonuç was working there and was encouraging me to ‘borrow’ Sarah’s bicycle to get home quicker but I couldn’t even get my leg over to get on it properly. I had a booze-free, early night because tomorrow I had big plans which I didn’t want to cancel.

I didn’t have breakfast on Saturday 12th February as I got up late and needed to get to the weekly market. I met Ann there and I bought mushrooms, carrots, chestnuts, cauliflower and red cabbage for a total of 75 lira (£4). In the afternoon I was meeting a friend for lunch and had already set off to go but she messaged to cancel. I didn’t get it until I’d already walked to the other end of town. I saw Mark’s bicycle outside Rehab and went in to say hello to him and the owner. I had a cup of tea as I was trying to cut down a bit on the booze. Mark was meeting the rest of the pool lads and some of the wives were stopping by later so I had a chat with a few of them. I caved and had 1 beer but then I headed home only to realise there was a planned power outage until 5pm. I sat for a while and chatted to Abi outside Maizie Moo, in the sun, then went home for some much needed food – a cheese and salami toastie.
I was meant to be going out to Sofra bar but I decided I needed a bit of a rest. The toastie had not agreed with my stomach so I cancelled going out, got some lounge wear on, then later I had a spaghetti bolognese for dinner. I stayed up until 1am because of the Jazz bar noise and I even had a midnight snack of chestnuts, which were so good.

The local Dalyan football team were playing at home on Sunday 13th February and I’d been invited by friends to join them. If Captain Caveman was here, he would be going as he loves to support Dalyanspor – I’m not a fan of football. I had arranged to spend my Sunday in a leisurely way, seeing friends and relaxing. After buttered toast for breakfast I had a wander around Dalyan as it was sunny and I needed some exercise. I bumped in to friends along the way and called in to see a couple of other friends as I passed their houses. I was meant to have been going to Sunday dinner at Lukka bar with Sarah but had cancelled when I didn’t feel too well yesterday. I walked to Ann’s and we had a glass of wine outside in her conservatory and fussed the dogs. Ann had cooked a lovely roast chicken Sunday dinner with Yorkshire puddings and my favourite cauliflower cheese.
We were sensible today, limited only to one glass of wine to be healthier, then I walked home before dark. In the evening I watched something on TV, put the washing on and made popcorn, using a small bowl as a replacement for the missing lid.
It was a nice relaxed weekend with a sensible amount of alcohol, less calories consumed and some exercise.

Dalyan – 30th & 31st January

Dalyan – 30th & 31st January

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!

Dalyan – 21st to 23rd January

Dalyan – 21st to 23rd January

Friday 21st January was weigh-in day and I wasn’t optimistic. It was also 3 months since I had left Vietnam and I had hoped by now to be slimmer and the torn ligaments in my knee and ankle to be back to normal. On the scales I found I had lost another 0.25kg and so I was now only slightly heavier than I had been when I arrived here but, ideally, I needed to lose another 4 or 5kg to be my ideal weight.
I was having trouble buying a couple of items in the supermarket lately and I posted on a Dalyan Residents Facebook group to ask if anyone had seen any chopped tomatoes recently. I also fancied making a sweet and sour chicken dish so I also asked about tinned pineapple. Within minutes I had lots of answers but by the time I read them it was raining heavily again and I couldn’t be bothered to go out in it. I made the beds adding extra throws as I was still finding it a bit cold when I woke up. I had cornflakes for breakfast and watched the TV. I’d not been able to watch English news for some time but now the content was hard to watch so I tended to choose programmes like ‘Homes under the Hammer’ as background watching while on my laptop. In the afternoon I had a glass of red wine and made another batch of Yorkshire puddings with my Mom’s direction (via text) as I wondered if I wasn’t putting enough mixture in for the depth of my new muffin tin. These came out better but I still think it was the milk that isn’t helping. I’d almost forgotten it was Friday Music Bingo at Lukka Bar but this week I’d decided not to go as I fancied a rare Friday night in. The stew and Yorkshires were better today and I really enjoyed them with one more glass of wine and some birthday cake. I lit some candles and got cosy on the sofa while watching TV and thinking I really had better get on with writing my comedy night.

I saw on Facebook that friends were getting in to a game called Wordle on Saturday 22nd January and I wanted to play but couldn’t work out how. Captain Caveman was already posting his answer patterns but I didn’t get it. After having only cornflakes for breakfast I’d started to plan my comedy night for tomorrow when Jamie messaged to see if I fancied meeting at Jiks. It was still fairly bad weather but I needed to buy the tomatoes, pineapple and some baked beans so I nipped to Star Gurme where I bought the following;

4 tins of chopped tomatoes 50 lira
1 big tin of pineapple 70 lira
2 tins of baked beans 30 lira

Total spent 150 lira (£8.30)

This was expensive but the baked beans in Migros now are 27 lira (£1.47) and they didn’t have the other stuff. In Jiks Jamie and I both had Shandies and cheesy chips, we were chatting about our plans for the rest of his stay. When I got home I was going to see if I could have a video call with Captain Caveman but unfortunately for me he was otherwise engaged. He had gone for a mini break to the Vinpearl in Dong Hoi, one of my favourite places. I was jealous that I wouldn’t be there to have a bath and wear the robe that always reminds us of our mate, Josh! I had some more of my birthday cake and started gathering my notes together for tomorrow’s comedy night then remembered I still had an open bottle of wine I needed to drink a glass of. For dinner I had more beef stew and Yorkshire puddings. Captain Caveman had already gone to bed in Vietnam and I was disappointed that he hadn’t wished me well for the Comedy night tomorrow.

When I woke up on Sunday 23rd January I saw the Corona heatmap in Dalyan was showing a red area and I was slightly concerned that it might be a bit quiet at Lukka bar tonight for my comedy night, there was also a chance it could get cancelled if anyone involved got the virus. I decided I needed to write the rest of my act regardless. I also needed to find an outfit to wear but first I made pancakes for breakfast with honey and had Earl Grey tea. It was very cold and my TV had a bit of a blip so I messaged Andy and he fixed it remotely within a couple of minutes which lead me to pop in a joke about the guy in my act.
I spent the rest of the afternoon writing and learning my comedy material, which I probably should have written and learned earlier but I knew I would be fine even if I had to improvise as I had enough material.
I realised about 7pm that I hadn’t had any dinner but thought it would be too late to risk getting a dodgy stomach. Instead, I had a cup of tea and a couple of biscuits!

I arrived at Lukka Bar and there were quite a few people in, to say it was winter, so I was surprised and pleased to see some friendly faces. I had taken a couple of props in with me to use and decided I would wear my dressing gown and a surgical face mask to come on. Carrying what looked like a mug of tea, in which I had already stuck the end of the teabag with sellotape to make it look like a hot beverage. It was really filled with wine. I gave Yasemin, the waitress, my special glass to put my wine in which I intended to drink while I did my act. What I didn’t realise was that I was going to have to stand up and move about for everyone to be able to see and hear me. I made a point of going to say hello to every table beforehand just to get an idea of my type of audience. We were all set to have a laugh, I thought. I took the microphone and started the show!
My comedy night, as Jacqueline de Plonk at Lukka Bar, started with me dressed in my pastel green fluffy dressing gown, a white surgical face mask and holding what looked like a hot mug of tea. The act started with the New Year song by Flo & Joan which I particularly like as I think it sums up what a lot of people have experienced during the pandemic.
You can have a listen from 0.50 to 4.01 here:
https://youtu.be/H9JQ23xwfS8
As everyone listened, got a drink, finished their food or generally got settled in I stood at the front of the bar blowing on my hot tea (wine) and sipping it with my mask hanging from one ear.
I did a bit of an introduction, then some warm up jokes, followed by some observations about COVID and my experience of being back home for Christmas. I found it tricky to move about the audience with my mug, my mic and use my notes and other props. I had to move about because, if I stayed at the front, I got feedback from the speakers. In the first half people did laugh, people joined in when asked. There wasn’t any heckling which I had actually prepared for with lots of comebacks, so I was a bit disappointed. In the break I had to take off my dressing gown as I was really warm but audience members were cold, including one who put my dressing gown on, while I was getting more wine.
The second half was more about me and I upped the anti a little on the rudeness scale by including a section on Sex Tips – things not to do. I started this bit of the show with another song by Flo & Joan that reflected what my life could be like if I drank too much:
https://youtu.be/tTViy5WK-EY (play 0.08 to 5.26 if you want to check it out).
The rest of the show was going well until I was given the nod that some people couldn’t hear because another table were talking amongst themselves. This meant I could go over and pick on them a bit, which I did. After I finished my next joke/story I told everyone I’d finished and if those who think they can be funnier and want to take over they can! I joined my mates’ table and started drinking the wine. The people causing the disruption left and then our table (or most of it) carried on drinking until late. All my friends were supportive and I wasn’t upset or annoyed as I didn’t really care. I was glad I could get on with having a drink with everyone. I don’t remember who else left or when, I vaguely remember drawing rude things on the sequin cushions with Nuri which then led to Mark being told off by Appo the waiter, for starting a pillow fight! My solution, at way past midnight, was to get some takeaway drinks and invite everyone back for a party.

Dalyan – 28th – 30th November

Dalyan – 28th – 30th November

Crikey, I was poorly on Sunday 28th November!!! I’d been up a few times in the night with a bad stomach and I woke up so dehydrated and hungover that I had to go back to bed. I had to cancel meeting up with Vanessa and Janet to go to the Christmas fayre and I really did think I had just got a bad hangover but it seemed to get worse as the day went on, no matter what I did I could not recover. Vanessa hadn’t been able to come to Maddie and Onur’s housewarming on account of her being ill so I did wonder if I may have got something similar as there was a bug going around. By the afternoon my shoulders and chest muscles were aching and I felt like death. While the people of Dalyan went out and about, the sun came out and I spent all my day between sofa, toilet and bed – I’d only had a litre of wine over 7.5 hours last night so surely it wasn’t just a hangover!
In the Vietnamese news there was a few reports that the international tourism trial was not working and there were a few problems with that. I did have some good news that day though, friends who I had met in Phong Nha had sent me a wedding invitation for 2022. Bryan and Kendra, who will be visiting Dalyan for New year are getting married in Georgia and so I got a save the date, which is great news – I’ve never been to Georgia so it would be a good excuse!

By Monday 29th November I was still not much better but I forced down some cornflakes, I still had a bad stomach, muscle aches, a headache and was a bit clammy so I didn’t do much.
In the news there was an official update of the requirements to enter England, effective from 4am on 30th November and to be reviewed in 3 weeks, these would be the rules that would apply to me on my forthcoming visit:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-to-england-from-another-country-during-coronavirus-covid-19
By 3.30pm I decided a bit of fresh air and a trip to the shop might be in order. I could hardly concentrate and felt terrible as I bought the following:

Migros Supermarket

1 plastic bag 0.25
1 pack of polos 2.50
1 Bounty 4.95
Crisps 7.00
1 gold chocolate 7.00
1 litre of cherry juice 7.50
4 Probiotic drinks 12.26
1 pack of chicken breasts 20.85

Total spent 62.04 lira (£3.60)

On the way back from the shop Sara (from River Terrace) brought my order from the Christmas fayre that I missed. When I got in the apartment, I ate the Bounty and some crisps washed down with cherry juice and went back to bed. When I woke up I felt a lot better and decided to make a proper meal for my late dinner. I had beef köfte and homemade chips with BBQ sauce and all seemed fine. Later I had a mince pie and a chocolate orange truffle (from Sara) and my stomach was kind of ok. Unfortunately I had cancelled having a curry at Ann’s tonight as I didn’t know if I still had a hangover or if I had a bug. I hoped I was better for tomorrow as Vanessa and I had a very important trip planned.

I had hardly any sleep and felt like I couldn’t do a bus journey on Tuesday 30th November so I had to cancel Vanessa again – it’s a good job she’s understanding. Instead, I forced buttered toast down and went back to bed, I had cups of tea and lots of water but didn’t really start to recover until almost dinner time. It was a cold day and I had lots of layers on so I decided to have meat and potato pie with carrots, mushrooms and gravy to make me feel better. It was not only delicious but I was almost back to normal by bed time and the pastry didn’t give me a bad stomach.

Dalyan – 20th & 21st November

Dalyan – 20th & 21st November

When I woke up on Saturday 20th November I had messages from Captain Caveman who had spotted that my mom had been spoofed on Facebook, he (and others) had received a friend request from a profile of the same name and birthday but it wasn’t my mom. He’d let her know and then I messaged friends to let them know to delete the 2nd Anne Williams. I had buttered toast for breakfast and then tackled trying to find the Turkish app where I can view my vaccine status. I was going to need this to go to England so it was important I figured it out and was pleased to get it working. It was a sunny day, there were more leaves on the bougainvillea and I met the lady outside Maizie Moo to bring her to look at my rug (not a euphemism) which she paid me for and took it with her. In the afternoon I popped over to my mom’s, then Vanessa’s to help her with some paper work but ended up having some wine which we had to force our way into when the cork broke! In the evening I had a lovely meal with Ann, Angela, Nick and Maddie – Ann had cooked us two delicious pies with roast potatoes and broccoli and it was so good. I met her dogs, we drank wine, listened to music and ate so well! Amazingly my stomach was absolutely fine and I even managed a nice sized portion of Ann’s homemade cheesecake too – it was such a marvellous Saturday!

Sunday 21st November was also a lovely day in Dalyan and I had both cornflakes and toast for breakfast seeing as my stomach was as normal as it could ever be. The building site villa next door was definitely taking shape and I decided to order some things from Sara and Emma for the Christmas Fayre. Sara was doing chocolate truffles and mincepies, Emma sausage rolls and meat & potato pies. For lunch I had a home made chicken wrap and had arranged to try something new later on. Since I’d been in Dalyan I hadn’t tried a Sunday dinner at Heybe’s yet, mainly because I prefer to eat the Işkender kebab there but when Vanessa suggested it, I was definitely up for it, for a change. I had a beer to start off and we sat at a nice table inside, Vanessa had wine and soda. The soup was a very tasty tomato, we both had beef for our mains and the food was very good and plenty of it. The best bit was the 2 Yorkshire puddings which were definitely as good as I make and you could tell that Donny had mastered them well. I took home leftovers of beef, potato and broccoli so that I had room to try the dessert. The apple crumble came in a margarita glass and was served with chocolate and vanilla ice cream, I don’t like chocolate ice-cream so I took that off but I don’t think it goes with apple anyway. I also had a glass of red wine and we had a good old natter, as usual, including discussing our Christmas plans. We finished the night off with a lovely Turkish tea and then went home for an early night.

Dalyan – 14th to 16th November

Dalyan – 14th to 16th November

Sunday 14th November was a really good day for me, I’d stopped being ill and managed a probiotic drink and toast for breakfast. I decided I would make a beef stew in the slow cooker and I finished off my parents’ laundry ready to take it over to their’s the next time I was passing. My eczema was really quite bad again, even though I had been remembering to put cream on from Maizie Moo’s and I could only put it down to eating normally for the last few weeks. Captain Caveman had returned from Tu Lan but was too tired for a chat today and I read that Austria had introduced a type of lockdown for all unvaccinated people, more here:
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-59283128
On the building site the concrete floor got poured and the workers clocked off. I had some of the beef stew for lunch and it was so delicious that I hardly wanted to save any. That afternoon I noticed that the number of Corona cases in the province of Balikesir, further north in Turkey, was having a surge, despite 81% of their population being fully vaccinated and I wondered if planning a trip up there might be a bit hasty, so near to us needing to travel back to the UK.
For dinner I reheated the Mac & Cheese I had in the freezer and finished off the last of the plums. My finger was hurting and so I left the plaster off of the cut to try to get some air to it, watched Start Up on Netflix, then had an early night.

I woke up on Monday 15th November to some interesting news; Cambodia had opened the country to vaccinated people, read about it here:
https://www.khmertimeskh.com/50971077/cambodia-throws-the-gauntlet-at-asean-as-it-obliterates-entry-restrictions/?fbclid=IwAR01Gplpv86AOPTcKE99WqT9xlIXutKql4fSzS7Jim8sk0Nrh2d6Ntt_dlM
Meanwhile, in Saigon this monkey was causing concern:
https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/society/20211115/onefooted-monkey-attacks-residents-in-ho-chi-minh-city/64149.html
In Vietnam they had allowed certain tourists in and had reached only 34% of the population being vaccinated, Dong Hoi had cases which had resulted in new lockdowns, but there was talk of vaccinating children so that more schools could reopen.
In Turkey the lira had hit 14 to the pound and I was also concerned that I still needed to book and pay for my flight from Dalaman to Istanbul but was waiting for nearer the time in case there was any lockdown here or in the UK. I ate all my meals at home today as I was trying to save a bit of money, ready for my trip back at Christmas as England was probably going to be expensive compared to what I’m used to. I was also trying to keep track of what I was eating more. I went to the supermarket for some provisions and stopped off at the chemist for plasters that I no longer needed but were good to have.
The shopping from Migros with prices in lira:

1 pack of pasta 3.36
1 pack of salami 4.15
1 Bounty 4.95
1 pack of cheese triangles 6.25
1 bag of crisps 8.00
1 litre of milk 8.75
4 probiotic drinks 17.00
1 chicken 19.36
1 bottle of HP BBQ sauce 21.95
3 chicken breasts 26.11

Total spend 115.63 lira (£8.26)

It was a bit expensive for a Bounty but I was really craving a chocolate bar, especially an English one. My absolute favourite is a Double Decker which they don’t have here.

The builders next door were receiving the latest concrete pours for the columns on the next floor of the structure. I had a call from Captain Caveman, he was well but he said he was feeling the cold a bit now as Phong Nha had definitely cooled down. When I checked that the housekeeping staff had put his duvet back on he replied that he only had a sheet so he was cold in bed without me. As soon as we finished talking I had a group chat with the Elements Collection staff, in my terrible Vietnamese, to ask that the duvet be put on. For dinner I had some Lancashire hotpot which I’d made a while ago and put in the freezer – it’s also gluten free because instead of thickening it with flour I used red lentils.

I had another easy going day on Tuesday 16th November and made a big batch of chicken noodle soup in the slow cooker, while catching up on a few things. The Dalyan main bar street and the walk way by the river were about to get a make over which many people on Facebook were taking umbrage over. I saved a couple of the photos and didn’t bother going to see for myself as it looked a bit uneven for someone with a dodgy leg anyway. I had planned to take my parents’ washing back and return Vanessa’s suitcase so I thought I could do them all at the same time, but then I forgot and it got too chilly to venture out. I had a couple of red wines, my first alcohol since Friday, with my gorgeous chicken noodle soup, then finished watching the rest of Start Up on Netflix. Tomorrow I had nothing planned but sometimes Dalyan has a way of changing that!

Dalyan – 31st October

Dalyan – 31st October

There was some excitement on Sunday 31st October as I was about to meet up with a good friend from Sheffield, who I’d not seen for almost 2 years. I woke up and was looking a bit better for having slept in and I had my cornflakes for breakfast without any issues. I spoke to Captain Caveman who was doing well in Phong Nha and didn’t really seem to be missing me too much. I was missing him but I played it cool and pretended I’d been too busy to notice even though I was missing his cooking and foot tickles a lot! It was a bit cooler today but it wasn’t raining yet, as predicted, although I did get my warm slippers and the old raincoat out. Vanessa and I had arranged to meet for a Lukka bar Sunday dinner at 2.30pm and when I got there she was already there with a white wine and soda – we were so pleased to see each other and we did have a hug! Mehmet could see that I might need more than a glass of wine and so I got a bottle of red wine while we caught up on quite a few things; family, health issues, Dalyan plans and lots of digressing in-between. We both had the roast beef Sunday dinner and it was really good, this time I managed to eat almost all of it and still have room (after a good rest) for the apple crumble and ice-cream. We both have similar stomach issues and both think we have food allergies/intolerances so when I told Vanessa my plans to get tested after being here 6 weeks, she was also up for joining me. The gravy, cauliflower cheese and Yorkshire pudding are usually a no-go for me but I was pretty good after eating it all.
My parents joined us for a drink, by which time we were merry, Sarah and Katrina had also sat down next to us and I couldn’t finish my wine. We decided to leave Lukka with my wine being saved behind the bar with my name on, Vanessa went home and I said I’d join ma & pa for dinner, even though I was still quite full from lunch.

They had chosen to go to Kebapçı Yusuf again and it’s always excellent service with great food at very reasonable prices. I had a mixed pide but had to take more than half of it home, my mom had a chicken shish and dad had meatballs, we shared some chips and they gave us a complimentary salad which I took half of home too. My parents, who hadn’t been drinking in the afternoon decided to continue their night but I just couldn’t carry on so I took my leftovers and went home. Instead of being out doing anything Halloween related (which I don’t celebrate anyway) I was in bed by 8.30pm reading a post on Facebook that reminded me that, although I wouldn’t have to automatically self isolate in England when I land, if anyone tests positive who have been on any of the same planes, I would have to – that was a bit rubbish as I could see in various Facebook groups that it seemed to be quite a common occurrence!

The end of October had definitely come round very quickly and it was hard to believe that I had been in Turkey for almost 6 weeks. I had been living an almost normal life with less walking than I’d have liked and more alcohol than probably wise. Having said that, I was 0.5kg lighter on the last day of October than I was at the beginning. I’d been lucky enough to meet up with friends and was organising more of that right through to the end of the year. I’d visited more new places and revisited old favourites with the highlight of the month being getting to see my parents again for the first time since 25th October 2019! Of course I wished Captain Caveman was able to be here in Dalyan with me, enjoying all the trips and good times but I also understood that it would not be that easy for him to return to Vietnam and we could not put his job at risk, I just hoped we were lucky enough not to have to wait a whole year to see each other again. There were still things I missed about being in Phong Nha that I had to keep putting to the back of my mind, knowing that coming to Turkey was the right thing to do and had ultimately meant I could become a resident here, in Dalyan. This blog was doing well and had 353% more views this month than the previous one, I was now looking in to ways I could monetise it without compromising it too much, ready for next year. In October the top countries for viewers were UK, Turkey, Vietnam, Netherlands, Australia and USA and it was good to see a couple of new countries popping up on the stats, including a couple of views from Azerbaijan.


People I knew seemed not to be following the Corona numbers any longer, due to various reasons, but I couldn’t shake that habit off and checked daily. Here’s a Corona data October summary for the 3 countries that have an impact on me and the people close to me:

Vietnam:
October Cases 130,367
October Deaths 2,782
October Recoveries 211,503
October mortality rate 2.13%
Total Cases 921,122
Total Deaths 22,083
Total Recoveries 820,334
Total mortality rate 2.4%
Population 98 million

Turkey:
October Cases 850,000
October Deaths 6,557
October Recoveries 880,000
October mortality rate 0.8%
Total Cases 8 million
Total Deaths 70,611
Total Recoveries 7.5m
Total mortality rate 0.9%
Population 85 million

UK:
October Cases 1,200,000
October Deaths 3,970
October Recoveries 1,040,000
October mortality rate 0.33%
Total Cases 9 million
Total Deaths 140,632
Total Recoveries 7.36 million
Total mortality rate 1.56%
Population 68 million

In Vietnam the number of Corona cases in October were a third of the number in September which was good news that the strict lockdowns were definitely reducing the number of cases, it was reassuring to see that the number of deaths in October were only a quarter of the number of deaths in September. The number of recoveries were less in October to the previous month and the mortality rate had reduced too. A good news story but would it be short lived as the number of people with 2 doses of vaccine were still very low and now most of the lockdowns had ended people were free to move from infected areas to go back home, would this mean an increase and another wave for Vietnam?
In Turkey, although the number of cases and deaths were still high, there was some good news; the number of cases and recoveries for October were 1,000 more than in September but the number of deaths were 1,000 less. The mortality rate had decreased too and hopefully as the winter months followed things would continue to improve. I still didn’t like not knowing how many cases there were where I lived but I guess it was still better than being told there were cases nearby when there wasn’t, like we were in Phong Nha.
In the UK the number of cases in October were a 20% increase on September cases, the recoveries had increased too and the number of deaths were slightly less in October than September with the mortality rate showing a decrease. I just hoped it didn’t get any worse or result in lockdowns or travel limitations before I could visit.
The world data was showing improvement with the number of cases and deaths dropping but the total number of deaths in the world attributed to Corona had now passed the 5 million mark.

My November was looking promising; I had another 12 days with ma & pa, I was finally going to find out what foods I was allergic or intolerant to, there would be more day trips, nights out, nights in and even my 2nd Pfizer vaccine so I had a lot to look forward to while Captain Caveman looked forward to getting on with his job at Oxalis!

Dalyan, Kalkan & Kaş – 24th October

Dalyan, Kalkan & Kaş – 24th October

After 34 days of eating all the things I thought I could be allergic to, without much reaction, I thought I was safe to go on a full day trip on Sunday 24th October – I would be very wrong!
When I woke up I saw some news from Vietnam and was glad to hear from Captain Caveman that everyone in Phong Nha was safe, unfortunately people in Tam Ky hadn’t been so lucky – here’s the article:
https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/society/20211024/vietnamese-province-evacuates-2500-residents-due-to-floods-landslides/63742.html.
In Dalyan we were very lucky as the weather was dry and it was meant to be hot later in the day but at 8am it was pretty chilly, as I got ready for my pick up for the Mediterranean Highlights trip with Volkan Adventures. Our friend, Murat, picked me up and there was already a couple in the minibus. The next stop was to pick up ma & pa who were also very excited for this trip as it included a visit to Patara, where none of us had been before, and was also the last one of this particular trip for the year. We continued to pick up the rest of the customers which included a family of 7, a single lady and our friend, John. Then we were off for our short drive to the first stop which was for a hearty Turkish breakfast in a nice little spot. When we arrived Murat explained that we were early and the staff were getting our breakfast ready so we had a bit of time to take some photos. The sun wasn’t out yet and so we were all a bit cold, this was the coldest I’d been for a while and I had to put dad’s jumper on over my hoody, while John got out his travel towel and a buff. We sat at the breakfast table and we all got a hot drink just to warm our hands up and then the food started to come, there was a lot of it. I had a precautionary Gastropulgite sachet in case anything gave me a bad reaction then I tried a spinach filo pastry, a small amount of cheese, honey, jams, bread, chips and a savoury doughnut type of thing and it was all very lovely. Unfortunately my stomach decided this was the time to not accept such a feast of a breakfast and I was feeling a bit out of sorts after 2 toilet visits before we left for our next stop.

Unfortunately, the main highlight of the Mediterranean Highlights trip was closed. Murat explained that we were no longer able to visit Patara ancient town or beach and so our next stop was going to be Kalkan. I’d not been before and it had been some years since ma & pa had visited the town so we were a little disappointed but still fine as we know Murat and Volkan’s tours are usually really good. We hadn’t been travelling long when Murat stopped the minibus and went to a small shop to get waters and a sweet treat for everyone. I followed him for an impromptu toilet visit in the staff squat toilet which I was very grateful for, my bad leg wasn’t such a fan though. I felt a bit better and took one of mom’s imodium instant tablets, even though I’d already had one of my normal ones. A bit further along the journey we had a quick stop at the roadside to admire a view, by which time my mom said I looked grey and I felt terrible. I got off as I thought I might be sick and wasn’t sure whether I should ask to stay there and get a taxi to come to take me home while the others continued on. Murat reassured me that it wouldn’t be a problem to continue on and they would stop at any (or every) services they could for if I needed the toilet. The next couple of stops had very good western style facilities which I took full advantage of, all had toilet paper and soap, one even had toilet seat liners, but I wasn’t feeling any better. As everyone had a complimentary choc-ice I had to head back in to the toilets and this time I was vomitting. On the bus I put my mask on, had my hoody on and tried to sleep for a bit, but I felt cold even though the temperature was warm.

When we got to Kalkan it was a picture postcard type of town with very steep winding streets and a harbour, the beach was pebbled and it was nice and sunny as we headed to a restaurant called Gusto for our (included) lunch. Obviously, I could barely look at the menu so I had just a soda water and no lunch while my parents ordered a beer each and chicken wraps for their’s. Next to me were the grandparents of the family, who both had a mussel casserole (that didn’t help my sickly feeling one bit) and the mother of the family sat opposite me, had calamari. Others ate halloumi salad, pasta, noodles and generally everything I thought best to avoid. Although lunch was included the drinks were not and so when my mom went to pay for the beers and soda I was astonished that the beer was 45 lira (£3.44) and the soda 20 lira!!!  This was almost twice the price of Dalyan and so rather than go somewhere else for drinks we decided to walk to the beach. Because both me and mom have bad legs we found it hard to walk on the pebbles so we decided not to go in the sea, Dad was going to but then he changed his mind and left the beach. I’d popped my shorts on and so had to hurry to catch up, then we walked back to where we started and bumped in to John. We had a little saunter along the harbour front, John got an ice-cream, I felt ill still but now there wasn’t really any going back and I didn’t want to ruin the day for my parents so we decided to carry on. I had more toilet visits and imodium, thinking I’d not be able to go for a week after this but they just weren’t working. One of the ladies on the trip said it could be the Norovirus which had been going round and I thought she might be right at first, or food poisoning but everyone ate the same and they were all fine.

I managed to get to Kaş where Murat lead us on some steep streets and we had a little tour of the lovely town. He also pointed out a meeting spot for later and gave us free time to do what we liked. I thought I’d try to check out some ideas for a girls weekend away as everyone was up for a visit to Kaş but I didn’t get very far as I found it harder on my leg than I thought I would. I found it difficult to concentrate on finding a place to go for a drink because I was trying to will myself to feel better too. My Dad’s eyesight was ok but he wasn’t forthcoming with suggestions and my Mom just said it’s up to us – all I wanted was to lay down and sleep! A lot of the places on the front were very pricey so we decided to go down the back streets but lots of places weren’t serving alcohol. Eventually I spotted a gorgeous little place called Frida’s and we plonked ourselves down.
My parents had a couple of beers at a more reasonable price of 32 lira each and I avoided alcohol again. From there we had a short walk to the meeting point and then we walked to the bus as a group, we drove about 10 minutes to where everyone (but me) would eat our evening meal.

When we arrived it was clear that there would have been time better spent if we had got there an hour or so earlier as the sun was just setting and it was a lovely alcove beach with a nice spot for swimming. Some of the family on the trip still went in the sea but it was too dark to see where we were going for me and Dad. I had started to feel like I could probably eat but I had a word with Murat to ask if it would be possible to get my dinner (also included in the trip) to takeaway, which of course was fine. It was like torture for me when I had to dish out food to the others on the table and I really wanted to eat the garlic prawns but of course it wasn’t worth the risk – I had a 3 hour drive back to survive yet. As the evening was drawing to a close Volkan and his dance partner did us a few dances and  they were pretty impressive. I drank only soda water (a bargain 5 lira) and willed myself to be able to make the minibus ride home without incident. At this last place, which was 10 minutes outside of Kaş, the drinks were normal prices and the food looked delicious, by this time I was looking forward to eating some of my doggy bag when I got home. The drive home was uneventful and we arrived back in Dalyan just before midnight – I was so ready for bed but I ate 2 small cubes of chicken shish, a slice of bread and some salad before bed. The cost of the day trip was £75 but it was a shame I had been too poorly to really enjoy it and I was disappointed that we didn’t get to see Patara. We even joked that instead of a Mediterranean Highlights blog, I would be writing a bog blog about this day!
I looked forward to next season when we could enjoy some more of Volkan Adventures trips and be in better health.

Murat made a video of the day trip which he posted on Facebook, here:
https://www.facebook.com/100023646856780/posts/1052759472188938/

Photo credit – Murat at Volkan’s Adventures

Dalyan – 10th October

Dalyan – 10th October

I woke up early on Sunday 10th October and was trying to do some blogging but the power was off. I had quark with pomegranate sauce and honey for breakfast. The cyst was very sore now and, as the doctor wasn’t open on a weekend, I walked to the only open pharmacy in Dalyan to see if I could get some antibiotics/cream or something. When I spoke to the lady behind the counter and then showed her the offending shoulder cyst, she was quite alarmed and said I needed to go to the hospital straight away. I explained I would go tomorrow but I needed to get some antibiotic cream at least as it was now getting more difficult to find clothes that didn’t irritate it and I’d stopped wearing a bra. She reluctantly sold me some cream for 23 lira (£1.95) and off I went back home to have a rather painful exchange of messages with Captain Caveman about Tupperware! I had asked him to take a photo of the locking style Tupperware that we use in Phong Nha, instead he sent me a screenshot of a photo of a generic Tupperware box from the internet, I’d already managed that myself but I needed to explain to a Turkish person exactly what I wanted to buy. For lunch I made some of the bolognese into a pasta bake, this time with non-vegan cheese which was much better. I went to the bank to get the cash I needed to give Sonuç for my health insurance renewal and I went to meet Annie. She was flying back home to England tonight and so we decided to have a drink at Dalyano’s, they do lovely cocktails but we stuck to beer. We’d not been there long when John cycled past but then stopped and did a U-turn; John is the bloke who 2 years ago I had pushed in a wheelchair so that he could still take part in the 5k Caretta ‘run’ to raise money for charity. The 3 of us had a good old laugh and I didn’t want to leave, we really should have arranged it sooner, but I was booked in for another Sunday dinner at Lukka bar where I had agreed to meet Katrina and Sarah.

Annie and I said bye to John and walked to Lukka, we sat out the front and ordered a beer, she was sad to be leaving but also looking forward to going home after 16 days holiday. My Sunday dinner was very filling and, again, I had to take half of my dinner home but of course, I managed to eat all of the delicious apple crumble with ice-cream. We said goodbye to Annie and hoped she might be able to get a reasonably priced flight out for later this year but we would see. Sarah and Katrina decided to not eat Sunday dinner and wanted to order from the main menu, Sarah had the steak and cheese baguette, Katrina the chicken schnitzel and both looked very good.
Back home I wanted to watch Netflix but, after the power cut this morning, it had stopped working. I had an early night as I knew that tomorrow I was going to see a doctor.

Photo credit – Annie and John

Dalyan – 3rd October

Dalyan – 3rd October

I was awake before 7am on Sunday 3rd October but I went back to sleep for an hour before getting up to do a few chores. I did most of the unpacking of my stuff that I left here in boxes, laundry, washing stuff in the cupboards and getting ready to welcome Melissa and her family to Dalyan later. I had fresh bread and butter for breakfast and then I decided to rearrange the furniture so that the kitchen table is up against the wall near the stairs and not so cramped in the kitchen – it would give me a better space to write from too. For lunch I had hummus with bread and olives and I decided to try something new by doing baked potatoes in the slow cooker, to see how they turned out and they were pretty good.

There was some excitement that afternoon as I had booked in to Lukka bar to have one of their Sunday dinners. I joined a table with Katrina and her friend, Tunc, and enjoyed a glass of red wine before the meal came. This was my first Sunday dinner in Dalyan, having not been in the UK for 3 years and not in Dalyan for 1 year 8 months I had missed eating proper Yorkshire puddings so I was looking forward to a nice roast dinner. I’d previously rather enjoyed the Phong Nha Farmstay Sunday dinners but due to money and then lockdown, I’d not had one of them for ages, either. When the plate was placed in front of me I was amazed at how good it looked, especially as the photos on the Lukka Facebook page didn’t show how big the portion was and a photo can never describe how good the gravy is, which there was lashings of! The cauliflower cheese was great, the beef just melted in my mouth and I had to save some of it to take home so that I could fit in my pudding, which is included in the price. The apple crumble was made to perfection with just the right ratio of apple to crumble for my liking, topped off with a blob of ice-cream. To enable me to fit in the dessert I had to have a good hour or so gap, with a couple of extra wines before I tackled it. Because I’m no longer having gluten free meals I got to enjoy the whole thing without any special dietary amendments and it was so good. The cost of it was 110 lira (£9.32) which isn’t the cheapest Sunday dinner in Dalyan but you certainly get what you pay for, the meat quality was top notch and I had enough left for a 2nd meal. I went home very full and, as I sat down to watch some more Line of Duty, I got some good news; my friends who I met in Phong Nha (Mik, Kendra & Bryan, Hamish & Ania) were coming to Dalyan later in the year for a bit of a reunion holiday – how exciting.

Dalyan – 26th September

Dalyan – 26th September

I had an amazing day on Sunday 26th September; on the first night I had arrived I’d been invited to join friends on a day out. The boat trip was with Captain Boris Boats and they are really good, my last trip with them was a boxing day one which I thoroughly enjoyed and their food is always outstanding. The owners are such a good laugh as well as being extremely accommodating. Sarah came to call for me on her new tricycle with 2 giddy dogs and I checked if she realised we were going on a boat. She was going to leave her bike by the river and the dogs would make their way home, apparently. There was quite a party of us, the organiser wasn’t feeling too well but was determined to soldier on, another lady doesn’t like boats and was a bit unsure about going but was there, most of the rest were people I’d already met up with in the few days I’d been in Dalyan. Jamie was hungover as he’d been up drinking until 6.30am but he was still the first to get an alcoholic drink. There was an issue with the white wine so I had a rosé with Jax and Captain Boris made arrangements for a prompt restock of the white for our lunch. Once we stopped at Köyceğiz lake Nick and Annie bravely had a dip in the cold water, but I didn’t go for a swim – it felt a bit too chilly compared to the Vietnamese temperatures, even though it was a hot, sunny day. After the lake Captain Boris was having a quick wine pick up in Dalyan and then on to the area at the back of the beach for our lunch and an optional dip. More white wine was delivered but we lost one of the party as the lady who didn’t have her sea legs on got off, the rest of us stayed on and went to the beach. I enjoyed a white with soda water while I caught a bit of sun on the comfy seats at the front of the boat and admired the gorgeous scenery along the river. The buffet lunch was fantastic, there was lots of different dishes including chicken, köfte, prawns, salads and mezzes that were so delicious that I had to have more than one helping! More booze flowed for most of us, I’d moved on to the red wine, followed by some music from Onur, who had brought his guitar and is a great singer. In memory of Graeme, Jamie’s husband, we all were treated to a cocktail called Mr G and it went down well on the front of the boat with the sun shining. The day had gone so fast and had been such a relaxing trip, my first on a Dalyan boat in 1 year and 9 months. When we got back a few of us decided to have a nice cocktail in the Rum Bar, where I bumped into my next door neighbours, who’d just arrived in Dalyan.
That night I didn’t need any dinner that evening, I started watching Series 3 of The Fall on Netflix but I was having trouble staying awake.

If you want to read more about Captain Boris Boat trips, they have a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Captain-Boris-Boat-Trips-222487618557269/

Photo credit – Captain Boris staff and guests

Phong Nha – 19th September

Phong Nha – 19th September

Sunday 19th September was one of those remarkably good days, it was my 25th day of #STFAH during the lockdowns and Captain Caveman made me the best breakfast ever! Beans on (Lake House sourdough) toast with Stu’s smoked bacon, it was so delicious and I had missed baked beans more than I ever thought I would. The number of Corona cases in our district were none and there were none in Dong Hoi. This was good news because tomorrow I was attempting to leave Quang Binh again; I had booked to have my PCR test at Medlatec in Dong Hoi, which I had booked on their Facebook page, I’d booked a taxi there and back with the Phong Nha Farmstay receptionist and I had also decided to combine it with an ‘essential’ shopping trip. Captain Caveman got on with writing a shopping list while I got the suitcases back out and had a repack. We knew, in order to leave Vietnam for Turkey, that I needed to have a flight out of Turkey before my free 3 months visa was expired there. Even though I fully intended to renew my expired residency in Turkey, the rules don’t allow for me to not have an onward flight out of Turkey booked, so Captain Caveman had a look for a cheap flight for me while I had a dip in the pool. Before we knew it we had found a flight, booked and even managed to get it within the dates of me having my 3rd and 4th vaccines in Turkey, assuming I will need them to get back in to Turkey and possibly to get in to the UK without quarantine, by then. So, I now had a flight booked from Istanbul to Heathrow which would land on Saturday 11th December at 4pm, how exciting that I would probably get to use it too. It was only £35 so a bit of a bargain and I could now go back to my home town for Christmas, even if I had to self isolate for 10 days down south first!

In the afternoon I still didn’t know if I was leaving or not, we would find out tomorrow, but we did decide to do something a bit naughty. Veronika had invited us over to say bye and drink some sparkling Lindeman’s white wine at her Jungalo Collection private pool villa, next to the Phong Nha Farmstay. Captain Caveman had already gone to Stu’s to pick up some ‘essential’ pork products while I took Veronika’s remaining box of kitchen stuff, in the jeep with Duyet. There was no longer a blockade between Elements and the Farmstay so it worked out ok, Captain Caveman was there to meet me and carry the box when I arrived. Veronika had hummus, roasted peppers, olives and rice crackers too for us to have with the chilled bubbly. We thought, if my plan comes off, it would be the last time I would see her for a while, so we ended up having 3 bottles of the fizz, Bich and Ben came over and they gave us pizza and calamari. It was the end of an era as I said my goodbyes and I was sad that we didn’t know when I would see them all again. I was also pretty tiddly and it probably wasn’t the best thing to do when I would perhaps be having the longest day in quite a while, tomorrow! In my head I was expecting that I would be still in Phong Nha for Christmas so it was all a bit unknown right now.