Friday, 13 June 2003

Old News - Newsletter June 2003

I have just come back after a week in Turkey, sailing along the South West coast. Just me and 6 other single strangers, lolling in the sun, swimming in the sea and generally chilling out. It was lovely, and I strongly recommend it for a break in the sun. I did get a little restless after a couple of days though, and I probably would have preferred just a couple of days on the boat, and some more time spent sightseeing inland… but that’s just me! There are very few beaches, as the coast is extremely mountainous and plunges straight down into the sea, so I was limited to the boat most of the time.

I was very lucky with my boatload. The average age was 50, and there was no one I really clicked with, but they were very nice people. 3 other women and 3 men - all very independent, but not too pushy. No romances on board, although the other women seemed to be setting a pulling record with the locals and tourists. Not my scene, but fun to watch! The Brits deserve their reputation!

My day generally consisted of breakfast (fresh bread and honey, olives, cheese and salad), then an hour or two of sunbathing, a swim in the sea, then reading my book in the shade of an awning and a snooze before lunch (yummy traditional fare with lots of rice, bread, couscous and salad). More swimming and snorkelling and snoozing in the shade before having a shower before dinner (freshly caught fish, or barbequed kebabs, and more rice and salad). Several beers and a few games of backgammon, then stretching out in a sleeping bag on deck for some philosophical chat and falling asleep under the most amazing sky. Very sweet.

We were also in harbour for three nights, and then we’d go bar-hopping after dinner. I wasn’t wearing a watch and was startled to realise one night that I’d been dancing until 4am! I sure haven’t done that in a while! The next day I was not very well, but seeing that things were not demanding it was ok ;-). I found the Turkish to be very friendly and polite, and I felt perfectly safe wandering around town alone at the crack of dawn. I would not choose to stay in a resort town, but it’s very lively if you’re in the mood!

On two days I had the opportunity to head inland for a bit of sightseeing. I went to see a stunning deep gorge with meltwater gushing below a precarious walkway suspended from the cliff wall. On another day I went to see some famous mudbaths, where you immerse yourself in glutinous mud, let it dry, shower and then soak in a revolting sulphur bath. I’m pretty sure it is a conspiracy to see what tourists will do if you tell them it’s traditional!

That is the first holiday I have ever taken on my own. I quite enjoyed it, although it was a little lonely at times. It would have been nice to have someone to gossip about the others with! On the other hand I was completely free to do what I wanted to do, in my own time. Pretty cool. Now I’m itching to see Istanbul!

At home things are a little unsettled. My Mom has quit her job in the Dales and moved in with me, bringing her boyfriend B. It’s a longish story, but effectively he’d sold his house and was going to move in with her in the housekeepers flat, when the owners suddenly decided the staff have to be single! Seeing as the butler has had his girlfriend and their children living with him for the last six months this was a bit rich! Mom and B are now looking for work as a couple, and hopefully will be back on their feet soon. There is a rumour of a post in the Lake District, which would be nice! Luckily B and I get on OK, but it is still a little trying to have others in my little home. Although the cooking, washing, ironing, mowing etc is all getting done!

My routine has been suspended for the time being. I’m in Buffy withdrawal! Mom and B are going to be away for a week soon, and I plan to watch as many episodes as possible while they’re gone! And maybe do some more sketching – I actually sat down and did a bit a couple of weeks ago. One was stunning, and the next not great, but I am gaining confidence.

I went along to a club walk a few weeks ago, bit it was a bit of a disaster! I’d given blood the day before, and it was just like trying to hike at high altitude. Except that at high altitude everyone else is also struggling! After the first hill I was seeing spots with my lungs were on fire, so I gave up and turned back. I actually had a fair walk, as we had taken a lift to the start, and the cars were about 4 miles away. At least it was flat. I also met a lost chap who’d been at an open-air all-night rave nearby and had missed his lift home. He was walking to the nearest train station 10 miles away, so I gave him a lift once we reached my car. It was nice to have someone to walk with anyway!