Other Fun Things

Oh, No! Not More Observations On Life Between Husband And Wife.

Photographs by Mike Vickers

Feature photo above: Olives marinaded in beetroot to give this fantastic purple colouring. Jan loves them. I hate them. We do both agree on curries, though. Mmmm, curry…

If you’ve read my previous two Observations then you should know the score by now. Here’s the next in what is sizing up to be a surprisingly fertile series of articles. It’s not that Jan and I go out of our way to produce these one-liners or vignettes, they just happen to come along all by themselves and make us laugh. I wonder if re-locating back to the UK will have an effect on the source material. I expect it will – life in Turkey was, on occasions, so overwhelmingly alien that it generated the lush conditions necessary to generate these comments. On the other hand, Gloucestershire’s no slouch when it comes to out-and-out weirdness. Think Cheese Rolling…

So, I’ll continue to bank these comments and snippets to enable me to continue producing more articles, and with that in mind, I’m very happy to present the next collection for your enjoyment accompanied, as always, by some favourite orphan photos unable to find a home elsewhere.


‘Warm patches in bed are very welcome, warm patches in the sea are not!’


While walking through central London some years ago. ‘Who’s Olive?’ asked Jan suddenly.
‘What?’
‘Over there, that big statue on the plinth. Olive of India.’
‘Twit. That’s Clive of India!’
‘Oh.’
‘Should’ve gone to Specsavers, love.’


‘These speed bumps make the car wobble.’
‘Like my tummy when the cat runs across me.’


‘What are you sewing?’
‘Frayed bottoms,’ said Jan, busy with needle and thread.
‘Mmm, love their pies,’ I replied.
‘Come again?’
‘Oh, sorry, I thought you said Fray Bentos.’


During our Yakamoz years back in the early noughties, just before stepping out for evening dinner duty and long before we were married, Jan was lamenting her lack of a male companion. ‘All my friends and the women in my family married well, but I just can’t seem to get a boyfriend.’
‘Do you think the fact that you’re trying to see how far you can spit cherry stones across the car park while simultaneously scratching your arse might have something to do with that?’ I observed. The signs were already there – this was the one for me!


‘We spend at least a quarter of our lives in oblivious, comfortable, heavenly slumber and most of our waking hours suffering from stress and disappointment, but mainly persistent intestinal gas! No wonder I look forward to going to bed so much,’ I enthused.
‘Oddly enough, after that last admission, I don’t share your enthusiasm,’ said Jan.


‘As you get older, your bank balance gets smaller and your prostate gets bigger!’


‘Rain causes a particular dilemma for scooter riders in Fethiye.’
‘How so?’ asked Jan.
‘Well, with one hand holding an umbrella and the other holding a mobile phone, there’s no hands left to control the scooter.’
‘Cynic!’


‘That’s the difference between Turkey and the UK. In Fethiye, if someone rushes out of a shop calling after you, they want you to join them in a sociable cup of tea. In Gloucester, if someone rushes out of a shop calling after you then it’s probably the security guard!’


While watching TV quiz show, Tipping Point, host Ben asked, ‘Commander of HMS Victory at Trafalgar, what was Nelson’s first name?’
‘Admiral,’ came the contestant’s prompt reply.
‘What?’ exclaimed Jan in disbelief. 
‘Oh, for duck’s sake,’ I added, not entirely sure the UK’s declaration to remain one of the world’s most highly educated countries is actually realistic. As far as daft answers go, this was definitely one of those ‘Name a bird with a long neck’ moments.


‘Never trust anyone whose thighs don’t rub together when they walk. Everyone knows that.’


‘I’ve got a plan. It’s gonna happen. I’m going to make it so,’ declared Jan with conviction.
‘Who do you think you are – Jan-Luc Picard?’


‘88.6% of all statistics are made up on the spot!’


‘I’m feeling very sophisticated sitting here overlooking the bay drinking Turkish coffee and eating cheese and fruit,’ said Jan, definitely feeling relaxed.
‘With your cool husband,’ I added, keen to contribute to the moment.
‘Oh, you’re not cold are you?’ misinterpreted Jan.
‘Well, now you come to mention it, my nipples are a bit stiff,’ I replied, recovering magnificently.


During a visit to the delightful coastal town of Kas, we were given yellow loquat fruit, straight from the tree. ‘Mmm, it’s a little tart but not at all unpleasant,’ observed Jan.
‘Ah, now there’s a reminder of your time living in Chesterfield.’


‘You’re getting a really podgy nose,’ observed Jan, completely out of the blue.
‘What!’
‘Your nose, I don’t know how this is possible but it’s getting very round. Like your tummy.’


‘She’s just WhatsApp’d that she’s out on the patio drinking wine, like that’s really important,’ muttered Jan, glaring at her iPad.
I stopped what I was doing and gave her my considered reply. ‘I’ll tell you what’s going on. She’s sitting there on her own and wants everybody to share in her idle moment. The entire social media industry is entirely predicated on filling idle moments. You’ve got to hand it to the Americans, they’ve actually found a way to monetize idle moments. Only the Yanks could con advertisers out of truly obscene amounts of money by getting them to target people doing sweet Fanny Adams!’


Up in the mountains, we passed a lush village cemetery dotted with huge oak trees, each individually surrounded by a cluster of graves. ‘Look at that, love, even when everyone’s dead, they still like being in the shade.’


‘What’s a hoagie?’
‘Um, let’s see what Google says. Ah, it’s American. Yes, it’s a long roll. You know, one of the consequences of tripping over a squirrel at the top of a very steep hill.’


‘Frankly, I’m surprised you’re still surprised at all the surprising things that happen in this surprising country.’
‘What?’
‘Now I’m even more surprised I have to explain that last surprisingly surprise-rich sentence to you. You’re a grammar school girl – didn’t they teach you the nuanced inferences and complex subtleties of our native tongue?’
‘Arse!’
‘There you go.’


Platoon of very chatty lady gardeners tending to a colourful marigold-covered roundabout in Elmali.
Kids’ shoes abandoned in the doorway of the Hizir Bey mosque in Eğirdir. It was lovely to hear loads of giggling as both teacher and pupils laughed all the way through their lesson.
This is a lemorrhoid. Ouch! Stingy, but exceedingly fresh-scented. Talk about a mutant!
Getting the barbecue going. Inventive use of flippers. Sorry, fins – stop screaming at me!
Just taking a rest from breaking in my new boots. Think I might stretch out for a snooze while I’m here.
Mum taking the kids for a tour of the neighbourhood in Çaliş. She must have been sat atop of an impressive number of eggs!
Cat-loving Kadir enjoying a good chin lick, as you do.
Our neighbour ploughing his field behind our house – which was located right in the middle of bustling downtown Fethiye! There’s less of a delineation between urban and rural in Turkey.
Bunny Prison. Market day in Elmali, and here’s an inventive use of a roadside electrical supply box. Rabbits don’t like heights, apparently, so these are going nowhere. Sorry to tell you, but I don’t think they’re for sale as pets.
Archie taking refuge from the heat of summer.
There’s a disappointed child somewhere in Fethiye. I spotted this helium filled balloon bobbing against the glass roof of a local shopping mall.
Having browsed the internet, I was unable to find an existing collective noun for mooring buoys. Suggestions on a postcard please. I have to say the captain doesn’t look too bothered.
Iztuzu Beach and the Dalyan delta on a hazy summer’s afternoon. It’s a bit like Chesil Bank on steroids!
Another outstanding selfie failure from yours truly, capturing the magic of a boat trip along the glorious coastline near Datça.
Just to prove I’m not entirely useless when it comes to selfies. Hang on, I think Jan took this one…
…but this is probably the most complete selfie I’ve ever taken, courtesy of a blind bend up in the mountain village of Arpacik.
We bought some new phones and retired to a coffee shop in central Fethiye to have a play.
‘Wanna swing?’ Bugs Bunny welcomes toddlers with open arms in one of Fethiye’s family parks. I do like the carrot – that’s an inspired touch.
For sale, high security nest with outstanding views and free electricity. Doubt if you’ll ever see an advert like that on Zoopla.