Sheffield – Christmas Eve

Sheffield – Christmas Eve

I woke up on Friday 24th December, Christmas Eve, with a bit of a sore throat and paranoia that the dreaded Corona might have got me, even though I didn’t feel unwell or have any other symptoms! Given last night’s shenanigans in the Williams’ household, it was surprising I didn’t feel a tad worse but it was almost midday! It was also the weekly weigh-in day so I stepped on the scales and found that I had put on 2kg in the last week!
I decided to do another lateral flow test, just to check before we got ready for our festivities, even though we would still be with the same people as last night but I wanted to be sure I wasn’t about to give anyone Corona for Christmas. The test was negative so that was a relief and I took a paracetamol and manned the F up! I had tea and toast for breakfast and witnessed a rare site of my Dad doing the hoovering. Ma & Pa were excited for Christmas and had started to gather everything together as we were all invited to my sister’s house. I think Dad would have set off at midday if it meant we could start the party earlier and I’m sure Mom was slightly concerned that either me or my sister would ruin Christmas with a family fall out. It seemed different this year, the pandemic had certainly impacted everyone in different ways and I’m sure we all just wanted it to be a fantastic time for us to all be together and celebrate. I was definitely looking forward to it and I had even bought a terribly ill-fitting Christmas jumper for the occasion! I spoke to Captain Caveman who had spent Christmas Eve day (he was 7 hours ahead) with Leonard and a bottle of wine at Funny Monkeys and it was nice to chat before the mayhem commenced.
For lunch we had to eat the remnants of last night’s buffet between the three of us and I do love an overload of carbs before a family celebration. I remembered my brother-in-law is very generous with his drink pours, my sister had more bottles of booze than the drink cupboard could handle and I’d heard there might be more games being played. I was up for whatever the Leesing family had planned for us and was grateful to be invited to spend the next few days with everyone. At the back of our minds there was the fear that, come boxing day, the Prime Minster, BoJo (no relation), would announce a lockdown and we’d all be fed up.
My sister, her husband and kids had gone bowling in the afternoon but we had decided not to join them for a few reasons but mainly because I’m not keen on bowling, we all had injuries, it would be full of families and we were trying to minimise Mom’s risk of catching Corona before her hip operation. We arrived at Gayle & Neil’s house around 6pm, it was cold and raining. Dad and I unloaded the very full car while Mom put stuff where it needed to be indoors. The house looked wonderfully Christmassy, I lost count of how many Christmas trees there were inside, and everyone was excited for the family festivities. Under the main tree in the living room there were already a few presents and I was conscious that the gifts I had bought would look superfluous. It had been 10 years since I had spent Christmas with my family in the UK (& 7 years since I’d even been in England during the festive period) so you can probably imagine how much I thought things had changed – there was certainly already evidence of an overabundance of consumerism in this home and I was a bit overwhelmed at how lucky we all were to be in this situation. Sumo, the dog, was keen to get the party started and had spotted a joint of ham that he was sure he could reach if he really tried, so I put the chair between him and the rather tempting ham! Neil was ready with the champagne and I felt like royalty as I was given one of the big flutes (again) to drink mine from as we all did a cheers to being together, during a pandemic, at Christmas. The buffet spread was magnificent and I almost felt guilty eating it as it was just so indulgent, even my Dad said it put my Mom’s buffet to shame and she agreed. There was a big cheeseboard, smoked salmon, prawns, pastries (including mini beef Wellingtons which were gorgeous), cured meats, as well as the ham, olives, chutneys, sauces, nuts and crisps. A new culinary invention had reached the buffet table this year and I couldn’t wait to see if it would be as popular as when garlic met bread to form the now run-of-the-mill garlic bread; chicken doughnuts – well, I never!
We drank more and I had no room for sweet stuff, except for a couple of nuts dipped in caramel chocolate which are a real winner, although I kept eyeing up the fancy ‘smash’ cake on the end of the table.
After a couple of bottles of fizz (between us!) I went on to red wine to compliment my return trips to the cheese board and then the games started. The one where you have to model a word out of plasticine was quite tricky but Mom and I were on each other’s wave length with that one, there was a true and false game which was amusing but my face hurt so much from laughing at the next two games. The most hilarious one was Dik Dik, where we had to ask our opponents (fellow family members) if they had a specific creature on their card but the names of the imaginary creatures were so inappropriately worded that we were in hysterics most of the time – surely it’s not right for a granddad to be asking his granddaughter if she has a Giant Beaver!? My Mom had a favourite game which definitely defied the sensibilities of the Corona virus transmission by playing ‘name that tune’ on a kazoo – unbelievably addictive, competitive and just priceless! By the time we had passed in to Christmas Day I was on the whiskey, Dad had broken a glass and was shit-faced, Neil was hoovering up glass and Sumo was banished to the garden so he didn’t get glass in his paws – it was mayhem! Mom pumped up the blow up bed for me, I helped Morgan get the almost dry bedding back on for Ma & Pa to have her bed, then coerced April to tidy her room enough to fit Morgan in with her. After helping my sister bring down even more presents from Santa to put under the tree it was finally bed time, after just one last nightcap for everyone!

Dalyan to Mosborough – 11th December

Dalyan to Mosborough – 11th December

Saturday 11th December was a day of travelling and a little bit of a shock to my system. I’d been in Dalyan for 79 days when my alarm went off at 7am, I had my last probiotic drink to try to prevent any stomach issues on my journey and the taxi arrived early, while it was still slightly dark, but I was ready! I’d decided only to take hand luggage because I didn’t want the added risk of taking luggage and changing in Istanbul so my rucksack was jammed full and exactly 8kg, probably from the weight of the Turkish delight. When I arrived at Dalaman airport I was early but the Turkish Airlines check-in was open, helpful and they managed to book me through from Dalaman to London, so I could have brought luggage, after all. I requested aisle seats on both flights and got given both boarding cards, my flight from Dalaman to Istanbul would be on time despite the storms and heavy rain, which was good to know. Near the gate I bought water and a simit at an empty cafe, which gave free WiFi (no WiFi is available in the main departure area, only at the cafe’s near the gate).

On the first flight, which was quite busy but not full, we were given a picnic lunch and we were all told not to open them all at the same time due to Corona (everyone did though) and masks being mandatory. I put mine in my bag as I didn’t want to remove my mask on the plane and was trying not to catch Corona for Christmas. I had 3 hours until the next flight in Istanbul airport and it appeared to be quite empty when I landed. Where the gates are, there were hardly any seats so I managed to get my G-Shock watch amended at the place where I bought it, as it hadn’t been accurate since I’d had the battery replaced in Fethiye. There was also a machine to get free WiFi but it only lasted for 1 hour. I found a quiet spot, away from any scheduled flights, to sit and eat my picnic. I noticed that at some gates they were doing random PCR tests and extra security checks which included double checking the vaccine proof documents. At the gate for my Istanbul to London Heathrow flight, the staff asked to check my vaccine certificate and the people behind and in front of me had to have their bags searched. On the half empty plane I sat next to a man from Torquay who had been to Istanbul for hair transplants but after take off we were allowed to move in to the spare seats. This meant I could drink the red wine and beef köfte and rice which they brought for our lunch without someone nearby. I watched a film called The Prestige which seemed ok but we were landing before the end of it and so I may never know what happens.

The flight from Istanbul to London Heathrow was due to land at 4.05pm. I had to get myself on the tube to London St Pancras train station to my pre-booked PCR test near to the Champagne bar. Luckily the flight landed a little bit early and I was on the very busy tube by 4.15pm, still masked up and trying my best not to touch anything. The queues at Collinson test centre were long despite everyone in the queue having an appointment and it being a bit chaotic. The staff were nice, most of the customers queued patiently with masks on but there were a few cantankerous old so-and-sos who weren’t behaving themselves and putting pressure on the staff to try to jump the queue. I had to wait longer than expected but, as the staff explained, the sudden changes in rules had lead to lots of demand and they were doing their best to cope. They were doing a fantastic job and I managed to get done before I had to get my train to Sheffield at 6.30pm, which I got sat on by 6.25pm so I was very lucky to have made it. The train was busy, hadn’t been cleaned and only a handful of people were wearing masks despite the constant announcement that it was mandatory. I’d unfortunately picked a busy time to be travelling, the Champagne bar at St Pancras had been heaving as I passed, the Leeds V Chelsea football match was on and there were numerous piss heads on a pre-Christmas celebration or work do. A nice Spanish family sat opposite me on the train and got a bit of a shock when Santa (aka shit-faced Alan) boarded the train at Derby with his inebriated elf mates. The profanities let me know he wasn’t the real Santa straight away and at first it was amusing that the children near me hadn’t sussed it. When Santa and his helpers burped, farted, sang and swore their way to a joke about Jimmy Saville I signalled to the mom that she might want to move her kids away – they got off at Chesterfield!
There was WiFi on the train so I managed to let my parents and sister know I had made it and would be in Sheffield by 9.45pm and would get a taxi to Mosborough, where I would have to continue to isolate until my PCR test result came back negative.

When I alighted the train at Sheffield I wasn’t quite ready for it, I felt like I had gone back a few years and landed in to the middle of a debauched Christmas do, not unlike the ones I used to frequent. I didn’t see many sober people, nor anyone with masks (but I found out later you don’t have to wear them in a taxi queue) and a great deal of people were absolutely hammered!
I decided to use the cash machine to draw out some extra Christmas cash but my card wouldn’t work, I was desperate for a wee, drink and a snack but decided Sheffield station would not be the best place for any of those and it would be better just to get to my parents house.
The taxi cost just £12.50, I kept my mask on but the driver didn’t wear one and was on the phone the whole journey. When I arrived at my parents I was so desperate for the loo that I bypassed both of them and went to the bathroom, where I also took all of my hat, scarf, gloves, coat and mask off beforehand. After a good wash and putting my outer garments in a plastic bag for washing I gave Ma & Pa a big hug. I’d been feeling so tired on the train but now at 10.30pm (1.30am Turkish time) I had a glass of water and some crisps, while Dad opened a bottle of fizz! It wouldn’t be a proper family celebration if we didn’t give the ball a right old kick and so we managed to stay up until 2.30am (5.30am Turkish time) meaning I had done 22.5 hours from leaving my Dalyan bed to getting in my Mosborough one! We were so glad to see each other again and none of us cared that we were up drinking so late, it’s not like we had anything much to do tomorrow, with me isolating!

Dalyan – 10th December

Dalyan – 10th December

My hangover on Friday 10th December wasn’t as bad as it probably should have been but there was no time for breakfast as I had stuff to do. I was flying to England tomorrow so my To Do list was a bit hefty and it was weigh-in day. I had put on 0.5kg so I was now back to the same weight I was when I left Turkey in January 2020, my starting weight for my 20 months in Vietnam. My measurements weren’t so thrilling either, I still didn’t seem to be able to shift that 1cm difference in my leg measurements and my bad leg still needed to increase – maybe the Sheffield hills would do the trick!
I went to the bank to transfer some Turkish lira in to my current account for my 18 day holiday and the bank also gave me a new card, which they said was my credit card. It was a bit annoying that when I had put the money into the Turkish bank it was worth 3 times as much as it was today, but I had no money in my English bank and no access to use it anyway. Still, I was cheered up by the cat allowed to sleep on the table in the bank without having to show their HES code and social distance!
I got a message from Sarah, who was working from home in Sofra bar, to see if I was coming to join her. I went there, I narrowly avoided falling in to the drainage holes by slipping on some gravel in the road works, then ordered orange juice and a bacon sandwich, they do the best ones in town! I had a bad stomach, no surprise there, and so I went back home to pack. In the afternoon I went to meet Maddie (it was her birthday), Vanessa and Matt at Tez bar and also get my PCR results, in order for me to fly tomorrow.
My test was negative, I had a coke, Maddie had a couple of rosé wines with sprite then Vanessa and Matt arrived for their PCR tests as they were flying from Antalya on Sunday. I still hadn’t been able to complete my PLF required to check-in at Dalaman and entry to UK because I was waiting for my day 2 PCR reference number from Collinson, so that was stressful. When it eventually came through, after numerous emails and my mom trying to call them, it was dark but I was packed. I completed it, went round to Vanessa’s and Matt printed it me off, along with my Turkish vaccine proof. On my way back I called at Heybe’s to say bye to Maddie and the gang, who were all there to celebrate with a chateaubriand which looked beautiful. Even Sarah’s dog, Yaps, was hopefully sniffing at the door and walked home with me – I thought Sarah may have been in Lukka but she wasn’t there and I didn’t get to say bye to the Lukka lot.
I booked my train from London St Pancras to Sheffield when I got home and gave myself 1 hour from the PCR test at the station, then I decided to go to bed. Unfortunately there was a huge storm which kept me awake, then a powercut followed by a few leaks and drips! I set my alarm for 7am and hoped 5 hours sleep would be enough before the journey home I had tomorrow!

Dalyan – 8th & 9th December

Dalyan – 8th & 9th December

On Wednesday 8th December the Turkish lira was at 18.5 to £1 and it looked to get even worse. Reports in the Turkish news showed that things are pretty desperate, see below:
https://www.duvarenglish.com/in-the-face-of-economic-crisis-people-resort-to-selling-their-clothes-in-turkey-news-59783
It was quite a busy day and as I walked to my 4th Turkish class I noticed there was more building work happening on the swimming pool in the villa next door. The Turkish class was good, if not a bit more difficult, as we had to learn more vowel harmonies which is quite tricky to understand at first. It was also our last class until January as Sioned was off back to the UK and would be coming back to Dalyan on the 29th December with me, Jamie and Nanny Kay. After Turkish class I went next door to Maizie Moo to buy some face scrub to take back to England with me while Vanessa waited for our friends, Julie and Janet, to join us. We had decided to have a pre-Christmas farewell lunch and drinks at Lukka and, while the other ladies had paninis, I went for a cheese and bacon burger. We shared 2 bottles of white wine between us and all had a laugh during our lovely lunchtime treat.
I had confirmation of my PCR test in London being booked but couldn’t open the link with the reference I needed for my PLF but I still had 2 days for that to come. It had already gone dark when I decided to go to Şok supermarket for some bread and I also got more biscuits and a measuring jug, for a cost of 18.20 lira which was just less than a pound!
I had a cheese sandwich for dinner with olives, pickled onions, gherkins and crisps, then later on some roasted chestnuts.

With only a couple of days left until my trip to the UK it was, of course, inevitable that my last proper night out in Dalyan would turn out to be rather eventful!
On Thursday 9th December I just had bread and olives for breakfast as I was off to get pampered in the afternoon. I had booked in with Emrah Killis at 2.30pm for hair, eyebrows and a pedicure and I was really looking forward to it. It was so indulgent and relaxing that I almost fell asleep and spent an amazing 2 hours there being titivated. While I was in the hairdresser’s I noticed that the UK had published a Plan B which made for interesting reading and I was still not 100% convinced that going back to England was the right thing to do, but I’d paid for most of it now and I was looking forward to seeing family and friends.
My next appointment was at Tez bar for my PCR test at 4.30pm, it was so easy, not painful at all and so quick – the best PCR test I’ve experienced so far (and I’ve had a few). It cost just 300 lira (£16 approx at the time) and the results would come through within 24 hours (or less). Tez had organised the whole thing and had a glass of red wine on the bar for after I had finished, Ann was also on her way to join me for a drink. We sat at the bar as it was a little bit chilly, we prefer to sit away from the smokers and the place was fairly busy. I’d not seen Ann since her dog had been poorly as she had been nursing her back to health, so we had several wines of catching up on before we realised we should probably go for food. Sarah arrived and had decided for December she will be dressing as an elf for every day of the month and, after much she posed for a few elf photos she joined us for wine too. I saw Nick on his way out with Onur and Özcan so I went to see them outside and invite them to join us but they were having a lads night out down town.
Ann and I had already decided on Heybe’s for dinner as it is always consistently good and we fancied a nice quiet meal, Sarah also fancied a bite to eat and she came along too. Her dog, Yaps, joined us, and was super confident showing off her new look hair cut. For some strange reason I decided to have a chicken dish which had dates and figs in, Ann had a chicken casserole and Sarah the chicken schnitzel. All were lovely however Ann decided she wanted a chocolate pancake and I had one with lemon and sugar – Donny made these from scratch and they were delicious. Onur and Özcan came to join us, I later found out from Nick that they only popped in because Onur needed a pee on the way home and so they also ended up having a rather bizarre end to their night too. After Sarah and Yaps went home, the rest of us, including a friend of Ann’s who had joined us, got right on it with more booze at Heybe’s and then Ann invited us back to her place for a party. Donny, the owner of Heybe’s, gave me, Ann, Onur and Özcan a lift to Ann’s, who had bought more wine and some beer from the shop next door to Heybe’s. At Ann’s, joined by her friend and dog-walker, Cheryl, we sang, danced, drank and laughed until the early hours of the morning.
Cheryl stayed at Ann’s but I walked home with Onur and Özcan through a completely empty town – what a last proper night out in Dalyan!

Donny, making pancakes at Heybe’s

Dalyan – 6th & 7th December

Dalyan – 6th & 7th December

After spending the night mulling over whether to continue my plan to go back to the UK or not, I woke up early on Monday 6th December. I had leftover pizza for breakfast and decided that I would still continue with my travel arrangements. I booked the flight from Dalaman to Istanbul for only £25 with luggage, started looking at train fares from London and then booked a PCR test at London St Pancras for £69 with Collinson.
I was a bit too busy getting everything sorted to bother with lunch but I did manage to eat the left over curry that I’d made last week, and added loads of spinach to it, for dinner. I spoke to my parents and confirmed I was coming for Christmas, they were very happy about that and my Mom confirmed she only had to isolate from the 27th December – so the plans for my 18 day holiday could continue! Later I got peckish and ate some chocolate and some roasted chestnuts, which I love.

After a breakfast of cheese on toast on Tuesday 7th December I saw that the UK had reported their highest number of Corona cases since mid-July and I hoped I’d not made a poor decision to visit. In Vietnam the news was about schools having students return to the classroom this week.
The weather in Dalyan was very windy and the rain was heavy so I stayed at home and did some writing. In the evening I had lasagne with red cabbage and dates for afters, later on I had more roasted chestnuts. A nice quiet day was had where it was too wet to venture anywhere and I stayed cosy at home.

Dalyan – 5th December

Dalyan – 5th December

I ate a buttered crumpet (from the Mulberry Tree restaurant in Fethiye) for breakfast on Sunday 5th December and, whilst it was delicious, I did get some stomach pains and was a bit bloated.
In the news, questions were raised about if Corona vaccines will be made mandatory in some countries, here’s the link:
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-59506339
I had some messenger chat with Captain Caveman who was doing well but we discussed that going to England for Christmas might be a bad idea. The number of cases was rising, I had no insurance, my return flight could get cancelled and most of all I might contract Corona between having my Turkish PCR test and getting to my parents. My mom was due to have an operation at the end of December so I was reluctant to put her further at risk than was necessary and, apart from going back to visit people, I needed to sort out my banking situation. Having said that, I wondered if moving my trip to January might be better.
I arranged a video call with my parents to discuss and I aired my concerns about coming back and potentially not being able to go out, if restrictions increased or things got worse with the virus. I’d already changed plans of staying in London or travelling down south to catch up with people as soon as I arrived. My parents said it was up to me but they were happy to take the risk of me still coming to visit and my mom said she would check the rules of when she had to isolate and test negative before her operation. We left the call with me deciding to sleep on it because I had another important meeting to get to. Vanessa was at mine ready for our trip to Tez bar, just round the corner – we were going to confirm the times of our PCR tests, do our Turkish homework and have a glass of wine. I ended up having 3 glasses of red wine and Tez helped us practice our Turkish by introducing us to his daughter who works in Ortaca. Tez also managed to flog us some prawns at 70 lira (£3.79) a portion, they were lovely but we had to order some extra chips to go with them and the sauces were a bit random. That night I was going to stay in but as I went to the shop and then needed the toilet, I had to call in to Jiks, where I had pizza and another glass of wine. Here’s my shopping, from Migros supermarket, prices in lira;
1 pack of biscuits 2.75
1 pack of turkey ham 3.15
1 caramac type chocolate 6.50
2 packs of crisps 8.00
1 pack of wraps 11.25
1 pack of spinach 11.90
1 pack of chicken breast 20.03
Chestnuts 24.95
6 mini magnums 27.50

Total spent 124.03 lira (£6.70)

Fethiye – 4th December

Fethiye – 4th December

Vanessa and I finally got our day trip on Saturday 4th December when we decided to get the bus to Fethiye. We got the bus around 9.30am from Dalyan bus station and it took about 20 minutes for us to arrive at the bus station in Ortaca. There, we waited under shelter as it was very rainy, for our next bus to Fethiye. We had masks on and were wrapped up well so when the driver whacked up the heating we were both feeling a tad too warm and it seemed to take longer than we expected to get there. The bus was fairly busy and we stopped quite a bit to pick up and drop off but we were in Fethiye before 11.30am where it was still raining. We were just glad to get off the hot steamy bus and we decided we would walk in to town, about 2.5km away. It was a good walk and we really enjoyed the fresh air and looking in a couple of shops along the way. Vanessa had been to a place before where they sold pickled onions and chutneys so we decided to have a look for it and we were both also keen to buy some Turkish delight to take back to the UK. Fethiye was busier than our last visit but still not too bustling and we managed to get a few bits and bobs, including a Christmas jumper, before we got slightly lost. When we finally found the Mulberry Tree restaurant, I recalled having been before with Captain Caveman a few years ago. The owner was lovely and welcoming and he and the rest of the staff were working hard in readiness for the Winter Fayre in Çalış tomorrow. We decided to have lunch there and took a seat inside, near the window. Vanessa ordered meatballs, I chose a chicken shish and we got a complimentary lavaş bread starter. The food was excellent and we both bought extra provisions there; pickled onions, mince pies, crumpets and plum jam. We had bought so much stuff that a walk back would have been a bit of a struggle so we got a taxi over to the Erasta shopping centre. We tried to get a wine, I bought a couple of bits and had a new battery put in my watch. Unfortunately we did not find any wine in Fethiye but we did get to practice our Turkish questions of asking establishments if they had wine. We gave up and got the bus back, it had stopped raining but the bus got very busy and went the quick way back to Ortaca. When we arrived it was dark but we decided to go for a drink at a cafe near the bus station. They also didn’t serve alcohol and so we had a lovely hot chocolate and admired the pastries and cakes on offer. In the end we got a taxi back to Dalyan and practised our Turkish directions as the driver didn’t speak English.
I was tired when I got home so I reheated a lasagne for dinner and had it with beetroot and some Turkish delight for afters. Tomorrow I needed to get on with sorting out my trip to England but I was starting to wonder if I would go or not. Even in the Vietnamese news there were reports of potential travel bans and I wondered if the UK would be affected:
https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/international/20211201/who-warns-against-blanket-travel-bans-over-omicron-coronavirus-variant/64471.html

Dalyan – 1st to 3rd December

Dalyan – 1st to 3rd December

Wednesday 1st December turned out to be a rather wonderful day; first of all I had the cleaning lady booked in to give the apartment a spruce up while I had planned to pop over to Vanessa’s before Turkish class. When I got there the door was locked so I turned around to go back home, only to be shouted by Debbie (Darling) to nip in to her’s. I had a PG tips tea with rather too much milk but it was nice and hot and we had a chat about them just having said goodbye to a family member so had been up very early. Next I went to Vanessa’s where we had a bit of a chat before walking to Lukka bar for our Turkish class, with Sioned. The lesson got a bit more involved this week including learning about nationalities, yes-no questions, vowel harmony, negatives and plurals – it was good and I really enjoyed it. After the class I had arranged to go for lunch with Lily Fish and Vanessa so we decided we would go to Wonky’s. The ladies had burgers while I went for their all day English breakfast (without egg or tomatoes) and we had a glass of wine. The food was really good, there were a few of the other Dalyan dwellers about, some of who joined our table and some of who were playing pool and it was a rather nice afternoon. I remained sensible as I didn’t want to drink too much after being poorly so I decided I would go home, leaving some of the others staying out out! Back home the building site seemed to have acquired a very strangely positioned swimming pool and the cleaner had done an amazing job of the apartment.
That evening Vanessa had arranged for us to go to see Maddie, seeing as though she had missed the party on Saturday. She arrived at mine, desperate for a wee and hadn’t been home yet so we set off to Maddie’s place but once on our way I had to pop in to Jiks because I had a dodgy stomach (again and probably from the sausages as they always seem to affect me). We eventually got to Maddie’s where I hardly drank anything and we had a good old chat and a takeaway from Pizza 48. On the way home Vanessa and I ended up lost, then having a nightcap in Jiks where it was very cosy with the fire on as it was quite chilly out now, and Vanessa didn’t even have her coat because she’d been out since Turkish class. When I got in I decided to marinate some chicken in a tandoori paste in readiness for tomorrow’s shenanigans.

Another fab day was had on Thursday 2nd December; I was up early so that I could have my breakfast and put the curry in the slow cooker. I’d arranged to cook for us and take it over to Ann’s, where I would stay over. For lunch I had wedges with baked beans and then I packed a bag to take, including the bottle of prosecco from Bistro Blue that I’d been saving. I got there about 4.15pm and we had some hummus and carrots, which I took to nibble on, while we had the prosecco, which tasted fine but wasn’t too fizzy. Ann already had her PJs on and so I put mine on and we had Christmas songs on. The curry was really nice and I’m glad I had saved 3 quarters of the naan bread from Spice Garden as I’d defrosted it and taken it with me too. Ann had another bottle of fizz from the shop and I think I preferred that one, it certainly went down well.
It was a lovely night just spent chatting, cuddling the dogs and having food and drink. As I climbed in to the the extremely comfy spare bed I wondered if it might be a bit late to slim down for my UK visit!

I had another busy day on Friday 3rd December; When I got up Ann was already up and about seeing to the dogs as Smokey Jo was poorly and needed the vet calling out. I left Ann’s, after the vet had finished, and walked back home because I was meeting a friend for lunch. When I got home I unpacked my stuff and, because it was weigh-in day, I did the scales and tape measure thing. I had put on 0.5kg and my measurements were as follows;
Bust & Waist no change,
Hips -1cm,
Thighs no change,
Right calf -1cm,
Left calf -0.5cm.
It started to rain heavily as I set off to meet Leanne at Jiks for lunch but I had my wellies and raincoat on. I ordered a Happy pizza and Leanne had a chicken curry but no alcohol as she was working and I needed to cut it down a bit. It was a nice lunch and our first since I’d been back so we had a good chinwag. My next stop was to Sofra bar where Sarah was working from so I joined in by sorting out some emails and doing a bit of writing on my laptop. When I wandered home I noticed more work had been done on the swimming pool next door and I decided a night in would be good. For dinner I had a lovely bowl of pasta with pesto, my stomach was fine and I was looking forward to my day out tomorrow with Vanessa.

25 Things I Googled in November

25 Things I Googled in November

My Google searches in November were definitely a clear sign I was going to be travelling to England next month. Here’s the list in alphabetical order:

1. Advice for travel to UK
2. Bounty calories
3. Cinnamon benefits
4. cm to inches
5. Coral Nike trainers
6. Dermatitis herpetiformis
7. Donkey milk soap benefits
8. English to Turkish
9. English to Vietnamese
10. Flight Radar
11. Frank Zappa
12. Gran Torino
13. Hallelujah lyrics
14. IBS
15. I’m your man – Leonard Cohen
16. League of Gentleman
17. Melen 2019 Merlot
18. Operation London Bridge
19. Orfoz, Akyaka
20. Patak’s Tandoori paste
21. Ron Perlman
22. Start Up TV series
23. UK bra size calculator
24. Weather
25. worldlifeexpectancycoronavirus

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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 – 27th November

Dalyan – 27th November

By Saturday 27th November there were more worrying news articles about Corona and there was an uneasy feeling of whether the new variant would be the next one to cause an increase in restrictions, I was concerned that it may prevent or limit my forthcoming trip to the UK.
In Vietnam 4 children suffered anaphylaxis from their vaccines in Bac Mai, here’s the article (it’s not near the cave where Captain Caveman works is):
https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/society/20211127/four-children-suffer-anaphylaxis-after-covid19-vaccination-in-northern-vietnam/64407.html
In other news there were some positive cases, on 2 planes, from South Africa which landed at Amsterdam airport, meaning the new variant was already in Europe, more here:
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-59442149
I just had bread and butter for breakfast as I was having a big lunch of saag aloo, chicken tikka and rice. I was invited to a party later so I needed some sustenance in readiness for a bit of a booze up.
Because of the bad weather, the Christmas fayre, which should have been today, had been moved to tomorrow but Maddie and Onur were still having their housewarming party from 5pm. It was also Maddie’s 3 year anniversary of moving to Turkey so she was up for giving the ball a right old kick. I took a nice bottle of red wine and a gift of rosé wine for Maddie, when I arrived I was so impressed with their new place as it was big for a 2 bedroom apartment and had lovely views from every window, despite it being so near to the town centre. We had a right laugh and the night involved me becoming a human kerplunk game as each person had to slip forks in to my hair without them falling out. It was more fun than you’d think and the amount of innuendos was shameful. Maddie had made sausage rolls and I had 3, they were bloody gorgeous and the rest of the food was good too. I had a really great time, Ann even made Nick a ponytail so he could fit in with Onur, Özcan and Mark! Kate took loads of photos of different people by the Christmas tree and I met some really lovely people. Ann and I shared a taxi home and of course I had a dodgy stomach when I got in!

Dalyan – 26th November

Dalyan – 26th November

When I woke up on Friday 26th November the news was packed full of articles about Corona; a new variant had been discovered in South Africa, more here:
https://www.bbc.com/news/health-59418127
I saw a Facebook post to say that the UK were banning flights from South Africa. France had announced that a 3rd vaccine booster would be required for vaccine passes to be valid.
In the Vietnamese news there was reports that a total of 3 people had died after their vaccination in Vietnam, the investigation was ongoing, check it out here:
https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/society/20211126/following-two-deaths-one-more-dies-after-covid19-vaccination-in-vietnam/64368.html
Then later it was reported that there was a 4th death from the same batch of vaccines in Vietnam, see below:
https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/society/20211126/vietnam-seals-vero-cell-covid19-vaccine-batch-following-4th-postvaccination-death/64382.html
My arm was aching today, 2 days after my vaccine and I felt incredibly tired so I decided that I was going to have a day of chilling out and I was going to have a night in tonight.
My delivery of meat pies and sausage rolls from Emma was delivered by her husband, Yusuf, and I put some in the freezer before I was tempted to eat them all – I did have 2 sausage rolls for my breakfast though!
For lunch I made a bit of a strange concoction of köfte, rice and mushrooms which tasted really good.
I went to meet a friend at the tea gardens in the afternoon and when I got there it was a mess because of the improvements the council were attempting to make. The cafe was now next to the toilets, on the grass, so no longer overlooking the river and the rock tombs. After several Turkish teas and a chat I walked back home, just as the sun was setting and I called in to the stationers to buy a notebook, I spotted they had some good 2022 diaries there too so I purchased a nice one.
That night I ordered a takeaway from Spice Garden and got enough for tonight and tomorrow’s lunch. I had poppadoms, chicken tikka masala with chips and nan, I even had a couple of glasses of red wine to wash it down and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I went to bed really tired but I couldn’t get to sleep.

Dalyan – 25th November

Dalyan – 25th November

I didn’t wake up until the alarm went off at 8am on Thursday 25th November. I’d gone to bed feeling quite cold, my heartbeat was quite a bit faster than normal too but when I woke up I was dripping in sweat, my quicker heart rate, and all other effects from yesterday’s vaccine, were gone. I had to be over at my parents’ apartment by 9am to let in the workmen who were going to be replacing some bathroom shower screens. I put on 3 layers and my rain jacket plus bagged up some boxes I was taking round to Debbie’s. When I arrived at my parents’ I let the guys in and they said to come back in 2 hours, I tried to see if Debbie (Darling) was up yet so I could help wrap the Christmas boxes for the Christmas fayre. There was no answer so I popped back home and had bread butter and cherry jam for breakfast. When I went back the workmen were about 30 minutes off finishing so I took some photos and sent them to Dad so he could check them before I paid up. They did a good job, it looked much better and they even did a thorough hoovering. As I left I saw they had discarded the old screens and all the new packaging on the floor outside, yet there is a bin less than 50 metres away and there was now a random man smashing out the glass of the old screens, on the road outside my parents’ place so he could take the frames. I shouted at him and told him he was leaving a mess on the road but he didn’t care. I went to Debbie’s but there was no answer and she hadn’t seen my messages so I left the boxes on her doorstep and set off back home. The shower screen smasher had gone so I moved most of the glass off the road and went back to turn off the electric, to this day the rubbish didn’t get cleaned up! I notice a lot that in Turkey people aren’t always so bothered about how they dispose of rubbish too much, or the environment. It may have been the after effects of the jab yesterday, or that the sun had come back out, but I was so hot all of a sudden and fancied a shower and a nap.
When I woke up again it was dark, I had been asleep for almost 5 hours and still felt a bit tired! For dinner I had more lasagne and red cabbage which was delicious but because I had slept through lunch I was still peckish. I decided I would have some chestnuts while watching more Selling Sunset on Netflix.

Dalyan – 24th November

Dalyan – 24th November

When I woke up on Wednesday 24th November I was sad to see in the Vietnamese news that there were still not enough Corona vaccines in Vietnam so deaths were higher than they should be, here’s more:
https://vietnamnews.vn/society/1084598/75-per-cent-of-people-dying-from-covid-over-three-days-in-hcm-city-were-unvaccinated.html
Worryingly, there was a report of deaths from a 2nd Verocell vaccine too, see below:
https://vietnamnews.vn/society/1085284/two-people-in-thanh-hoa-die-after-getting-covid-19-vaccine.html
I just had a probiotic drink for breakfast and then got wrapped up for the walk to the doctor’s in quite heavy rain, it had been raining persistently throughout the night and all of the morning so far. When I arrived at the Dalyan Doctor’s I didn’t even have to show ID or give any details as they recognised me, there was an English couple there too and the lady was there for her booster. The nurse giving the vaccines didn’t speak English and the man of the couple had said he wasn’t there for a vaccine but before he could say much he had his jumper off and the nurse gave him it anyway. I had mine sat down, it took seconds and I did feel it this time so was expecting my arm to ache. I’d also tried looking up any experiences of someone who had received 2 Astra Zeneca and 2 Pfizer vaccines to try to anticipate any after effects but I couldn’t find anything useful on the internet. I felt happier knowing that my vaccines from Turkey would definitely be recognised to travel to England and back so I walked home, still in the rain, but feeling good. I had to change my clothes when I got in because I was soaked and then get ready for my Turkish class. This was the 2nd class since starting them last week at Lukka Bar, with Sioned, on a Wednesday lunch time. My last class had consisted of just 7 of us and it was an introductory class to see what we know and practice greetings and such like. This week it was a smaller group as 2 from last week couldn’t make it, unfortunately, and we went on to learn quite a bit and even had practice doing some role plays. Sioned is an excellent teacher and I found it a lot better than trying to just do I on Duolingo, plus I had forgotten a lot from when I had lessons 13 years ago. When I got home I had to change my socks and leggings again then I decided to watch series 3 of Selling Sunset which, for some reason, I love! I had a crisp sandwich and some chicken pieces with BBQ sauce for a not so healthy lunch. I told Vanessa about the Turkish lesson and helped arrange to get her invited to join the next one. That evening I got all cosy and even had to put the heating on in the living area, as the temperature really dropped. I had a wonderful dinner of homemade lasagne with red cabbage while watching the end of series 3 of Cuckoo. As I went to bed my arm was starting to ache a little bit and I had a funny twinge in my good leg just behind the knee, I also had a strange sensation (kind of itchy) where my shoulder cyst was. I took a paracetamol, set the alarm for 8am tomorrow and was asleep before 11pm.

Dalyan – 22nd & 23rd November

Dalyan – 22nd & 23rd November

I had a busy day at the start of the week on Monday 22nd November. The lira was at 15 to the English pound so my money was now at half the value of when I put it in the bank, which was disconcerting. I was too busy checking all the up to date rules for my forthcoming trip to England that I completely forgot to have any breakfast. I found that I was going to need all of the addresses of where I would be going in the first 10 days of my stay so that I could put them on the PLF, I also needed to decide on at least 1 address to stay at, for the first 2 days – this was going to be tricky as I didn’t really have a plan as yet, but I needed one before I left Turkey. I decided to have a bit of a clear out so that I could donate any bric-a-brac to the white elephant stall at the Christmas fayre this year and I came across a lamp without a working bulb. I had a walk to the Millennium shop to buy a replacement to see if it worked and the weather outside looked like it might rain at any time. The forecast had said to expect a lot of rain this week and so I decided to go to the new A101 supermarket on the high street and Migros to stock up on essentials.
Here’s what I purchased, I will let you decide what was actually essential:

A101 Supermarket
1 packet of chicken noodles 2.20
2 bottles of soda water 2.70
1 pack of sigara böreği 6.90
2 packs of crisps 10.40

Total spent 22.20 lira (£1.48)

Migros Supermarket
1 plastic bag 0.25
1 pack of biscuits 2.50
2 simit 4.50
1 Bounty 4.95
1 packet of bechamel sauce mix 6.45
1 toastie loaf 9.95
1 jar of tomato paste 9.95
1 pack mushrooms 11.49
3 probiotic drinks 12.75
1 pack lasagne sheets 13.95
1 can baked beans 17.95
1 jar of pesto 22.95
1 pack of beetroot 24.90
1 bag of chestnuts 24.95

Total spent 167.49 lira (£11.17)

While I was packing my shopping I saw Maria from Askins estate agents and we had a little chat, then I paid and left to go home.

The lamp bulb was replaced, it worked so I decided to keep it and, after dropping off the shopping and eating a simit for a quick lunch, I decided to go for a walk to the doctor’s. I got a message from Maria to say I had left my Migros card at the supermarket but she had it at work and I could stop by to collect it, which I did – it was really kind of her to do that. My app said I could go for my 2nd Pfizer jab now so I thought I’d make sure that I was still booked in, especially as I needed to have 14 days clear before I landed in England. It was a nice walk along the river but the streets where the road was being taken up was a mess. The doctor confirmed I should come at 9.45am on Wednesday for my next Corona vaccine so that was good as it gave me 2 days spare. On my walk around town I bumped in to Viv who had just been to Alp’s Balıkcim for sausages, which made me want some. Alp has a section of English stuff so I made a few purchases as a treat:

Alp’s shop
1 bottle of HP brown sauce
1 can of baked beans
1 jar of tandoori paste
6 pork sausages
1 Cumberland sausage wheel

This came to a total of 150 lira (£10) but the beans were on offer at 12.50 lira so I couldn’t resist buying another for 5 lira cheaper than in the supermarket.

While I was out, Ann had messaged to ask if I fancied meeting at Heybe’s for an early dinner so I did. She had wine, I had tea and when she ordered her usual chicken schnitzel I decided to go with the potato skin starter. When it came it had a jacket potato with it and was gorgeous but I couldn’t eat it all so I took the jacket potato part home to have with my leftover Sunday dinner tomorrow.
By the time I got home it was dark, had gone quite a bit colder and I saw that the Vietnamese Corona cases were on the rise again.

It was probably the coldest day so far on Tuesday 23rd November and I was wearing a fleece indoors as I ate my simit, cheese and olives for breakfast. I decided I still needed provisions for the massive week of rain that was forecast so I togged up and ventured out to the shops again;

Şok Supermarket
3 red onions 3.22
1 packet of roast chicken bags 4.15
4 carrots 7.16
4 probiotic drinks 19.80

Total spent 34.33 lira (£2.29)

Migros Supermarket
Bread 2.00
Flour 6.35
Quark 6.90
2 cans of grapefruit drink 7.90
Milk 8.75
Eggs 9.95
Chicken pieces 12.95
Cornflakes 12.95
Cheese slices 16.70
2 Glass containers 19.74
Red cheddar 37.95

Total spent 142.14 lira (£9.48)

Selçuk Market
Washing powder 21.50
4 Efes beers 56.00

Total spent 77.50 lira (£5.17)

I also picked up a bottle of wine from Tolga’s wine shop for 45 lira (£3), never mind the rain I was ready for a blizzard!

I had a late lunch which consisted of my leftover Sunday dinner and yesterday’s leftover jacket potato (both from Heybe’s) which was absolutely gorgeous. My next mission was to make a lasagne from the bolognese that I had bubbling away in the slow cooker and could use my new glass containers for batch freezing some of it. I got peckish while it was cooking and ate a Bounty and then some chicken pieces with BBQ sauce. When the lasagne was ready I had to taste some so I cut off the ends and ate those, it was really good and I would look forward to more of it in the next couple of days. I’d been watching a series on Netflix called Cuckoo, with comedian Greg Davies in, and was finding it quite entertaining so I watched more before bed and set the alarm so that I didn’t overlay for my important appointment tomorrow.