Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Vin Bodrum

When we built a house in the countryside 26 years ago, we had plenty of grand plans, most of which are still on the drawing board, so when I meet a couple who have had the courage to carry out and make a success of a 'grand plan' I get quite excited.
Erhan and Füsun Yürüt started making wine at home in Ankara in the 1980s.  They experimented, researched and attended courses until their home brew showed promise. In 2010, they decided to turn their hobby into a retirement business and moved to Kızılağac, a village just outside Bodrum town. Here they built a winery in the basement of their house and despite not having the acreage to grow their own grapes, they had the courage to invest in the equipment to make up to 12,000 bottles a year.

Their Vin Bodrum was launched in 2014 and local artists were picked to design distinctive labels.

One sunny afternoon last week, after an informative tour given by their daughter Duygu, I was lucky enough to find myself sitting on their terrace sampling the fruits of their labours.  Being a boutique winery, they can be choosy when picking their grapes and try to source locally from Mumcular and Gümüşlük, but going further afield to Şirince and Urla when necessary.

Always experimenting, Erhan Bey had just taken delivery of five oak barrels to add to their stainless steel storage capacity. 
Not yet available in supermarkets, there are several restaurants on the peninsula that serve Vin Bodrum. I made sure of my supply by buying a box of rose; not a wine I usually choose but I was particularly taken by this one.  Read more about the business, wines, the Yürüt family and how to access their wines on their website  http://bodrumwinery.com/wines.php

Saturday, 25 February 2017

February Brunch

When Spring has Sprung, as it does in mid February, it is best to head out to the countryside to enjoy the almond blossom, anemones and the acid green of newly sprouting nature. The photography group drove out to Etrim Village on Wednesday to take photos - at least the intention was to take photos but mostly we just ate.  Two hours spent over a village breakfast lulled me into a satisfied stupor that would have best been served by a nap under an olive tree. Consequently I have very few snaps to show for my trip. 

I do however remember what we ate:
Village flat bread
Fried eggs
Strawberry, raspberry, orange, pear, quince and walnut jam
Clotted cream
Herb pastries
Sigara börek/deep fried cheese pastries
3 types of olives
2 types of cheese
Tomato, cucumber and rocket (arugula)
Sweet buns
Deep fried dough with syrup
Fresh tomato sauce

Now I know why a true artist should be a least a little bit hungry. A full stomach does nothing for creativity.

Monday, 20 February 2017


I promised pictures of my newly finished wall-hanging, but promises are made to be broken. Said wall hanging is still in a hundred pieces and I'm trying to work out why.  What do I do with my time that stops me from finishing projects? A quick review of the last week shows three mornings filled with lycra-clad limb waving that over the years has gone by many names and now, that it is accompanied by plastic balls and elastic bands, is called Pilates.  The actual exercise only takes 60 minutes a pop but getting there and back and recovery time, write off the rest of the a.m. hours. Three afternoons were taken up with lectures - I learnt about the history of the Fertile Crescent, concentrating on Syria. Reminded myself of all I knew and had forgotten about Herodotus, erstwhile resident of Bodrum whose 2,500 or so birthday we should all be celebrating, and spent two hours in the entertaining company of Prof. Dr. Fahri Işık; hearing more about Hekotomnus and his mausoleum which, inconveniently, was built before The (Seven Wonders of the Ancient World) Mausoleum of his son which coined the word 'mausoleum' - more on that later when I've plucked up the courage. That's more history than I sat though in a week as an undergraduate. Add several kms a day dog walking plus a long walk with Jake's girlfriends Peri and Sevgi, plus an afternoon each spent at writing group and book club,  and the week whizzed past.  No wonder the wall is still bare. 

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Love from Bodrum

  No, I didn't buy him a red rose 

We just went for our usual walk through the centre of Bodrum and only twigged that it was St. Valentine's Day when we saw the balloons. 

We stopped to listen to the band and were handed a red rose and a chocolate.  I ate the chocolate so it was only fair that Jake got the rose.

We carried on the walk accompanied by a good cover version of an Eric Clapton classic, surrounded by young and old (but no dogs) carrying single red roses. 

Lots of Love 

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Pussies galore

Jake will be irked by this post, not only did I leave him for 5 days to visit Greece, but I'm writing about cats. He responded to his abandonment by not eating for 2 days and then by refusing dog food and only eating chicken, eggs and rice. He has had the sole attention of my daughter, treats and plenty of walks but he was keen to get his vexation acknowledged. He will have also noted that when he was responsible for the blog, the posts were more frequent.
I was on Hydra for 4 days and the difference between Bodrum and the island was pronounced; Hydra was very quiet, most of the cafes, hotels and restaurants closed and the streets empty, today in Bodrum there was a buzz in the air - cafes full and a craft street market in full swing. Maybe it is an island thing - I shall have to go to Kos to compare.

While on a lonely walk between Avlaki and Hydra harbour, I came across Valerie - busy feeding the island's street cats. I stopped to chat and found that like Bodrum, a few individuals take on the responsibility  of keeping the street animals alive during the winter. It's a stressful job as once started, it is impossible to stop and when charitable donations are added to the equation there are the constant accusations of misappropriation of funds to deal with, even though good hearted animal lovers are funding the work from their own pockets when contributions run dry.

Valerie and her followers

The street cats all looked sleek and well fed and The Hydra Ark tries to keep the feline population under control with regular neutering session. Luckily, unlike Bodrum, there are very few abandoned dogs.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Plans and Projects

Time to reclaim my blog before Jake gets ideas above his station.  He has already started telling me when he wants to eat, when he wants to walk and in the past few days, expressing his opinion on where he wants to walk by digging his heals in if I head in the wrong direction.  I have to thank him for raising my usual monthly hit rate of sixteen thousand to well over twenty thousand so I can only assume that folk care what this dog thinks. 

While on a flight of canine literary fancy I have also been busy making my house in Bodrum more comfortable. This winter seems to have been particularly cold for a long stretch (hence the shortage of mediterranean lettuces in UK supermarkets) and the house is built to the 20th Century Bodrum design of small windows and thin walls - even if the sun is out it has little chance to warm the ground floor living area. So having always wanted a window seat and the proceeds  of the land sale rapidly dropping in value as the Turkish Lira crashes, I ordered windows for my hardly used balcony and created a reading nook for myself.  It took 15 days to finish from ordering to windows to hanging the fairy lights and I'm having fun filling it with fripperies.  When a crisp North wind is blowing the clouds away and it's 5 degrees C outside, my snug with its East, South and West facing windows, is a toasty 24 degrees. 

Encouraged by the stress-free balcony project, I decided to make the evenings warmer too and bought a wood-burning stove.  That was the easy bit - it got messier as I got in a builder to knock down the existing fireplace, fit the pipes and re-plaster the wall.  This took 5 days and a bit of vacuuming and I have now joined a new class of folk who discuss logs, kindling, the price of a ton and the best type of chestnut to roast.  Keeping the stove fed and pumping out heat is a satisfying challenge and I hope my electricity bills drop as a result. 

My next project can be achieved without help but was suggested by Mary of The Adventures of Cılgın Kız Blog. My window seat has an empty white wall crying out for decoration so my crochet hook has been busy and although I haven't any idea how yet - my wall hanging should be catching the rays by the end of next week.  

Jake is annoyed at my constant concentration on a crochet hook and has been stealing leaves and balls of wool whenever he gets the chance. He probably has a project of his own in mind.