Friday, 14 October 2011

The way to the harbour in KalkanIt
The PH crew were ready for action. Pausing only to down their cocktails or gulp down just one more swift Efes the intrepid team began to boldly go wherever their MI5 leader took them. And who was their leader? Why good reader - you should know this if you've been reading these attentively, but let me remind you that it was Louise who had suddenly dropped her cover and presented herself as a long-standing MI5 agent. "Miss London", they used to call her - back in the days when life was simple and Biba was there to be shopped in. Certainly, she seemed to have The London Look in spades. What a role model she was for those in the PH crew who thought that Brighton was the only place to shop.
But it was not Miss London in the lead rushing down the hill, snorkel in hand. She still hadn't finished her cocktail.  It wasn't Emma either - she was clearing up the glasses and putting them in bags. 
Nor was it Alison - she was travelling in style, by tahtirevan - a sedan chair, supported by some
fine young SAS officers.
Mrs C had gone back to get her glasses, so it couldn't be her and Kate was talking to hoards of mikes and tv cameras that had suddenly appeared.
Was it Gayle.  Oh no - she was keeping a careful, moderate pace, guarding her precious stash of gold tokens, mingling with the multitudes.
Maybe Natalie?  Hmm, no she was playing safe and putting on her leg warmers.
Could it be Lyn?  Ah yes.  It was Lyn indeed.  And what a fantastic job she was doing.  The narrow streets of Kalkan were packed full of locals and tourists wondering what was going on.  There was no clear passage for the PH crew and there was clearly the potential for their curiosity to hamper the search for the missing Equilibrium. But Lyn had come up with such a cunning plan!  LIke confetti she threw the pages of Jane Eyre up into the air.  Who can resist Jane Eyre?  Thirsty for literature the good folk of Kalkan gathered up the pages and settled down in a quiet nook, cranny or bar to have a little sob as Jane told the story of her hard, hard life....

And so they reached the harbour and the good ship Dilaro and headed out  on a calm blue sea.

Soon, the PH crew had left Kalkan behind and were drawing close to Mouse Island.  The sun was low in the sky and time was short.  Silence reigned on board.  All that could be heard was the drone of the engine.


When Mrs C spoke it was in short sharp sentences - to add to the feeling of tension.  Every so often she would throw in a long convoluted phrase - to keep everyone on their toes. 
"Today we are serving the world." she started.  "If we can find the missing flash pen, with the incredibly important document stored on it, we can save the world."  There was a pause and everyone turned to look at the beautiful sunset.

"It's time PH.  Go now and return when you hear the strains of Titanic, the only music ever played on these boats..."
One by one the PH crew leapt overboard into the darkening sea.  Each carefully adapted snorkel mask with radar pinged every few seconds as it guided each crew member to a possible spot where the missing equilibrium flash pen may have been located.
  It seemed a huge task.  Mrs C felt a sense of hopelessness swim over her - then realised it was actually a rubber dinghy full of ice buckets that Emma had brought along for the ride. 
She gazed at the sea floor that looked so close - but was really fathoms away.  So clear, so beautiful - but hey! What was that.  Someone had chucked their rubbish in the sea?  A bit of black plastic was wedged into a rock crevice.... or was it?   Yes it was a rock crevice.  But, dear reader - you're already there aren't you.  Ah ha!  It was no ordinary bit of plastic - it was the flash drive belonging to the man from the ministry.  The secret equilibrium documents were found and everyone would now live happily ever after!
Oh, joy of joys.  PH could go back to Brighton.  But, strangely there was an air of sadness amongst the good people from the school.  Life had been different in Kalkan, and change can be difficult, we know, but perhaps it was a rather nice way of life there.   Perhaps Mrs C might even have to return there again.... pretty soon...

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Spot the difference




Below is a collection of pics of beaches.  Some are UK beaches and others are Turkish beaches.  Can you guess which are which?  And - for a bonus GOLD token guess which month they were taken in?

number 1
number 2


number 3




number 4

number 5

number 6
number 7





 
number 8







number 9

number 10
  1. UK, Brighton,  - October
  2. UK, Brighton, - March
  3. Turkey, Patara - August
  4. Turkey Kapatas -July
  5. UK, Brighton,  - May
  6. UK, Exmouth - August
  7. UK, Exmouth - August
  8. UK, Brighton - January
  9. UK, Walmer - December
  10. Turkey, Patara - August
Did you get them all right?  yeah!!! Brilliant.  Sorry, I lied about the gold token.... 
(Most of the time Turkish beaches were bathed in sunshine with calm blue seas lapping at them, but that would be too easy in a quiz...)
 

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Kalkan and the electric bike


I'd love to be back in Kalkan, but as my credit card bill is as long as Gatwick airport runway I need a plan to help me get there.  I have given it plenty of thought and believe that I could have an answer to end my money woes and take me and my idea to my favourite Turkish place.

So, for the moment, please consider yourself a critical friend - a gentler version of Alan Sugar if you like - as I present my plans for - The Kalkan Electric Bike.
cycling downhill is fun.  Going up is err more challenging.  So get an electric bike!


Kalkan nestles between the Taurus mountains and the Mediterranean sea in Southern Turkey - a beautiful location, but clearly one that involves very steep hills.  I've researched this and discovered that in general the downhill sections are brilliant.  People smile and chat as they walk through the little streets of the Bazaar, stopping to buy an ice cream or an Efes - generally ambling happily around. 

But what goes down must come up again (hmm something like that anyway...) and this, according to my research, is where the problem lies.  A steep hill in the heat, after the aforementioned Efes is an exhausting process. This is where my brilliant idea comes in; electric bikes stationed all around Kalkan.

Shamelessly borrowing Boris's ideas I would have half a dozen bike parks, where the bikes could be charged up.  Imagine it.  You wouldn't need the motor on the way down hills - just freewheel your way down to the harbour, park your bike, wander around a little choosing a boat trip for the following day - maybe eat and drink your fill - and then when you're ready you can leap back on your bike without that feeling of impending cardiac overload, start the motor and be gently carried back to your starting point. 
Kalkan harbour - at the bottom of a hill, strangely


And electric bikes, unlike motor bikes, do give you the option of keeping fit.  You don't have to use the motor all the time.  A good pedal could help shift the pounds that the Doy Doy dinner threatened to add to your stomach.  Or not - your choice. 

So this is my plan A.  I have a plan B forming and indeed a plan C in the wings.  Just as a more secure backup though, I'm off to buy a lottery ticket now...





 

Saturday, 1 October 2011

PH and the Mystery of the Missing Equilibrium - The mystery deepens, a bit

Karen was training hard for her next weather forecast.  Although it was a sunny day in Kalkan, again, she had heard rumours that some of the PH crew were so worried about the chance of snow they were off their food a little.  Natalie's leg warmers were spotted  with her zumba workout gear (strangely still unused) and Mrs C had noticed Gayle threading her mittens on a string through her warm winter coat, although she laughed it off saying she was only doing it to pass the time between snorkelling sessions.  Karen had to save the day.  She had to win everyone over and exude confidence, no matter how many niggling little doubts she might have about the continuing sunny spell in southern Turkey.  
No expense had been spared in furnishing Karen with the necessary equipment.  
An outstandingly large fridge had been wheeled into their headquarters and a huge map of Turkey attached to it with magnetized gold tokens!  Karen had insisted, rightly of course, that only bottles containing the finest wine were accurate when pointing out areas of high pressure on the map, so she had been busily emptying them into large glasses (health and safety - no lifting heavy weights) and sharing these with her comrades. 
dangerous way to lift a bottle.  Don't try it at home.

One glass for Carolyn, one glass for Mrs C, one glass for Gayle, one glass for mrs C... you probably get the picture.
At last the time came for Karen's ultimate performance.  It was 6 O'clock, Kalkan time.  The sun was starting to descend over the bay and all the PH crew gathered round the fridge expectantly.  Lyn nervously chewed her snorkel mouthpiece whilst Louise removed her flip flops - they were slightly different colours, one being pink and the other not.  The men in black were guarding all the exits.  All was quiet.  Karen was about to begin.
"Stop!!" roared a voice.  The crowd erupted unable to stand the tension a moment longer.  Emma shrieked, Kate fainted and Rachel adopted the 'Swan in Flight' yoga pose that she used in stressful situations. Then in ran Jill and Sally. They were holding a single flip flop between them.  
"We've found a clue!" they cried in unison.  "It's the MP's flip flop.  Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah - now we may be able to find the missing equilibrium". - (In case you'd forgotten or have lost the will to try and remember, it was the missing equilibrium data, lost on a flash pen somewhere in the bay of Kalkan that had brought the PH crew here).
Well, you could almost hear the cheers from Brighton.  Certainly, the good folk of Kalkan smiled to each other knowing someone was happy in their pretty little town.  The bar owners stuck champagne on ice and the cocktail bars hastily created an inspired Belles of Brighton cocktail.  But was this all a little premature.  After all, it was just a flip flop.  The mood darkened a little as realisation grew that this wasn't yet the end of the affair.
But then Louise suddenly stood up and the crowd hushed.
"Oh Friends,  my dear, dear friends I think the time has come for me to let you in on a few secrets."  Omg thought half the people there, what is she going to tell them.  Please don't let it be about that party...
Louise held up her flip flops.  The one that wasn't pink matched the one that Jill and Sally still clutched.
"You really are the bravest, cleverest most wonderful people you know.  I have spent over 15 years with you so I understand this.  Yes.  15 years undercover - on her Majesty's Secret Service.  I always knew that one day you lot would be there to help me save the world - and so you are."  The PH crew looked surprised - but hey, they were used to surprises and this plot seemed nothing like as complicated as the Dr Who or Spooks ones.
"So hang on, you know my cousin then" said Kate.  Louise nodded wisely. Shaken and stirred in equal measure Kate was silent.
"These flip flops are coded".  Louise pointed to the markings on the bottom.  "Now we have the pair I can quickly calculate the exact position of the Missing Equilibrium."  Everyone stared ( a bit rude really) as Louise mumbled something about x = Y(g-4t)/absolute zero.  What a maths genius!"
She looked around with a natural air of authority.  "There is no time to lose.  Grab your snorkels and get down to the harbour.  If I'm right we have just 2 hours and 23 minutes to find this flash pen and still be back in time for dinner."
Like bats out of  hell  they ran- indeed John linked that up to the town's loudspeakers to aid the crew as they ran down through the town to the harbour.  A laughing, cheering crowd (well, laughing anyway) helped them on their way and very soon they had boarded the good ship Dilara and were on their way to X marks the spot.
Louise, who had quickly changed into her black lycra regulation SS diving gear, had taken command of the boat and given orders to the crew -  in Turkish of course - it turned out she spoke 17 languages fluently. 
Ahead lay the still blue darkening waters of the Mediterranean sea.  Somewhere down there was the treasure they sought.  

Would they find it in time to get back for dinner at Doy Doy? 
Find out in the next episode,




Thursday, 29 September 2011

The end of the beginning or the beginning of the end

As the sun set over the darkening blue sea the sky turned pink through to deep purple. It was still very warm, although the extreme heat of the day had faded, and the bars were crowded with people enjoying the moment.


I drank my vodka - the bar having run out of gin!!!! (What a hardship - but I put up with it) It's a problem in these far flung places. Replenishing the stock can't happen instantly when you're 100 miles from the nearest supplier - over the mountains and far away...
Except I wasn't in Kalkan or any other far flung place. I was in Brighton, UK, on the beach on 28th September 2011. Yes, summer had come to Sussex! It was nearing the end of a beautiful day, with the promise of more warmth and sun to come.


I don't like seeing summer end. I know autumn has it's own good points and it's a new beginning in itself. But sun out means higher spirits to me and I know I will miss it.

Another thing that may be ending is this blog.

What! I here you cry (well, maybe it was the cat). I think I have nearly reached the end of the road with blogger as google have removed my adverts for their own good reasons. So I am setting up a new blog elsewhere! So this is the end of the beginning (so sorry about the contrived title).
But I will finish my PH and the mystery of the missing equilibrium either on here or on my new blog (not set up yet). The links will be on Facebook still. So there is definitely something to look forward to this autumn....isn't there?

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Breakfast in Turkey

We had said we would eat in a lot of the time when we went to Kalkan. We also said we'd take a leisurely stroll into town in the evenings when we wanted to go out. But... that never happened!
Every day Suleyman would arrive in his taxi to pick us up from our holiday home at Meltem apartments in Kalamar bay and take us to the top of the old town in Kalkan - usually just as the light was fading and the air starting to cool a little. He's a great guy. Friendly and helpful in just the right measure and Dave's 'best friend' for the holiday.


"Had we been up into the mountains?" he asked one day. Well, no we hadn't. The heat, the lure of the sea, the pool and Kalkan had kept us content. Suleyman wasn't having this though.
"Tomorrow, I pick you up in the morning and you come to my house - up the mountain - and have Turkish breafast with my family. Ok?" How could we refuse - and why would we want to?


So it was that one beautiful, clear Sunday morning we set off with Suleyman up through the higher reaches of Kalkan, past the hotels and villas, past the banks and the bus station until we had left it all behind and were winding up the narrowing roads to Suleyman's mountainside home.
When he was a boy, he told us, he had travelled this route with donkey and cart. Kalkan had been a village with farming and fishing being the main lifestyle. Now, many of the Kalkanerrs live up above the town where it is cooler and quieter. They work flat out all summer and then have time in the winter to continue building and improving their homes, whilst maybe engaged in a little olive pressing or the like.

Suleyman's family were all smiles, waiting to greet us as we pulled in at his large home, just perched on the edge of the mountain. His little girl, though clearly delighted to have her daddy back, was trying to drag him back to his taxi.
"I've promised we'll go to the beach today", Suleyman explained. Time off work, to spend with family is very limited and precious in the summer.
Suleyman showed us to the veranda that ran the whole width of the house, where we were to eat our Turkish breakfast.
There are views and views, but these ones were stunning. A panorama of turquoise blue Kalkan bay, framed by Olive trees, grape vines and bougainvillea. How amazing to wake up to this each morning...
But back to breakfast! Suleyman's wife and older daughter had spread the table with a real feast. There were plates of cheese, eggs, olives and tomatoes, watermelon and honey, jam and bread: not straight from the supermarket, like my traditional English though - all the jams and honey were home made and the olives had been picked from the family's own olive groves.
To drink we had cay, Turkish tea. Two stacked kettles are used to make this. One contains the strong brewed tea and the other has boiling water to dilute it to taste. That's the important bit - drinking it at the strength you enjoy.
The breakfast was utterly delicious and the hospitality shown by Suleyman's family was fantastic.


With Suleyman's young daughter proudly counting up to ten in English we headed back to Kalkan in our friend's taxi. Already our holiday seems like a much too distant dream, but with memories like this one, I know we'll be back. We can't stay away from our friends too long!

Thursday, 22 September 2011

PH and the Mystery of the Missing Equilibrium - Survivors...


It was time for a reconnaisance mission - under the guise of a  jeep sightseeing day trip around Kalkan, Turkey. On the journey Glenys and Lyn had been trying very, very hard to teach everyone a few essential Turkish phrases - just so that no-one would suspect they were foreigners. Skilled in the art of recognising where their students's interests lay they used the modern, conversational approach to their tuition.

"En yakın bar nerede?" said Glenys in a slow, calm tone. The driver of their minibus screeched to a halt in the middle of the road and then reversed down the middle of the road until with a swift 270 turn he pointed the vehicle at a roadside shack and then hurled it across the road before the advancing giant articulated petrol tank had a chance to collide with them. It was an effective learning tool, one that may, or may not be suitable for the PH tool kit. There may be those for whom the phrase meaning 'Where is the nearest bar?' will be resonating every night time as they try and drop off to sleep... but there again, maybe not.

Strangely, even though no one had seemed thirsty before -it was only mid morning - all the PH crew seemed ready to down the cocktail that was quickly whipped up for them when they slithered out of their jeep. Renamed in honour of the occasion, I proudly present - 'The Survivor'.



The Survivor Cocktail

Survivor ingredients:
to be served in a tall glass with plenty of ice.

I dollop of Light Rum (1.5 oz. / 4.5 cl)

Small dollop of Creme de Cacao (White) (0.25 oz. / 8 ml)

Good swig of Pineapple Juice (1 oz. / 3.0 cl)

A small swig of Lime Juice (0.25 oz. / 8 ml)

The barman asked Emma for help in finding the glasses and then proceeded to mix The Survivor.  

Here are the instructions.
Fill a shaker half full with ice cubes. Pour all ingredients into shaker and shake well. Fill a tumbler almost full of ice cubes, and strain drink into tumbler.


But this wasn't enough for Kate and Emily. They wanted more, more, more!  The adventure was only just beginning.

So the barman, skilled in the art of chatting up tourists told them about an amazing trip he'd made to South America - surviving untold hardships after capsizing and being held to ransom half way down the Amazon. He managed to escape and made his way, alone, to Peru.

This, apparenly was his ticket to freedom: the drink that sent his captors to sleep.  The Sol Survivor.

The Sol Survivor  is made from gin, watermelon, cucumber, lime, agave, and  a touch of mint and is as perfect in Kalkan as it is in Peru! 

We must leave the PH crew now to finish their reconoitering as well as the drinks they have lined up for themselves on the table.  Speak softly for they will awaken with a headache...

Monday, 19 September 2011

Cool in Kalkan


T
Wanted

Look out Person in Kalkan

Must have experience of 
star-gazing
beach-lazing
sea-loving
food-guzzling 
efes-drinking
cocktail sinking
people-liking
uphill-hiking
Kalkan

Follow me  at the bottom of the page if you're interested in this vacancy.
( I said follow - don't even thinki of trying to push in in front of me....)







Saturday, 17 September 2011

Guarding the Satellite Reciever Mast in Kalamar bay, Kalkan, Turkey

Mrs C's commitment was awesome.

PH and the Mystery of the Missing Equilibrium - The C Factor

Things were hotting up in Kalkan bay.  It wasn't just that the sun had come out -   it seemed to do that every day Louise had noticed, no, it was the tension caused by the impending doom.  The 'Secret Equilibrium' files had to be found quickly or the world would descend into anarchy, chaos and worse, probably.  Avid (ha ha) readers of this story will know that it is only the PH crew who can do this:  the PH crew who have boldly upped and shifted themselves from Brighton to Kalkan, Turkey just to save the world.
Who would think this would be the place to save the world?


Louise had extra worries on her mind.  In front of her were 6 flip flops.  The challenge was to find 2 that matched - and she only had 3 minutes!   It was all too much.  She gave her brain a rest and allowed it to wander back to the carefree days of Brighton life.  Back when the most exciting thing to happen was sitting in a room playing Kim's Game - trying to remember what was on a tray under a cloth:  a camera, a pen.....  it had all been such fun - sometimes a little noisy it's true, but such fun...  OK, concentrate.  Louise only had 1 minute 23 seconds left.

But she was not going to be left to complete her task.  She heard footsteps, and turning round she saw Lyn with a couple of people she knew.  But how did she know them.... don't you just hate it when you can't remember! Were they friends?  People she'd met at a spa?  Or on holiday?

"Heloooo" she said chirpily, "How nice to see you...ur,... lovely....yes!".  Louise paused and looked at Lyn, who was standing there with a huge grin but clearly unable to speak.  It was Kate who solved the puzzle.

She seemed a little indignant to be truthful.  She marched straight up to the taller visitor and said "You've got a nerve coming here.  It's not like your James Bond now you know."  Instantly the pieces fell into place.  Of course it was Pierce Brosnan and with him - not sure he'd want to be called a side kick - was D'arcy alias Colin 'love of Bridget's life' Firth.
Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth wait for their snorkel lesson

Well, this was a surprise.  I expect you want to know why they're here.
It was because of Mrs C of course!  As a location manager in her spare time, she had promised Pierce and Colin that she would find them the ideal location for their sequel to Mama Mia.  A pretty little bay somewhere in the med.   They'd been waiting for her in her office - the potting shed - on the day that they'd been sent out to Turkey.  Snoozing under some sacking on the compost bags, they simply hadn't noticed when the shed had been airlifted out to Kalkan - with them in it!  The first they knew something was up was when the men in black had installed a safe in the shed.  What was going on?

Luckily they remained undetected until Lyn and Chris had appeared.  What a surprise.  Colin and Pierce had heard so much about these two.  How Lyn had been a fan of theirs for years and how Chris hadn't really...  But the strangest thing - and I'm sure you'll agree with me here - was that as well as containing Colin and Pierce, the shed was full of bowls - and yet Emma had not been near it.  No, it was the men in black.  They had been rounding up all the bowls in Kalkan.
Why?  Well I don't know yet.  Find out soon!!!

Thursday, 15 September 2011

PH and the Mystery of the Missing Equilibrium - pots and snorkels

It was a beautiful morning. The air was clear, the sea glistened in the sun; blue and inviting.
 In a quiet rocky cove by the sea  the PH 'Save the World' team were waiting patiently for their snorkelling lesson.
Across the bay could be heard the faint shrieks of their students enjoying themselves at the Kalamar Bay Beach club: jumping off the sea trampoline and whizzing round on pedaloes. The new time-out strategies that the SAS were using seemed to be working well - a simple raft floating well away from everyone else: cooling off had taken on a whole new meaning...
Back at base camp - a large white villa with extensive gardens, infinity pool and jacuzzi,- Lyn was busy organising Mrs C's notes for her lecture on 'Snorkelling and the world of Espionage' that she planned to give later that day. A smile hovered over her face.  Organising Mrs C's paperwork was such a delightful job: stress free and easy peasy, with everything clearly labelled, named and colour coded so that Lyn just had to put them into the appropriate files.  If only everyone could be so organised she thought...  However, she did need some more plastic wallets - and she knew where to get them from.
 In a quiet corner nearby was a small office.  Well, it has to be said that it looked more like a potting shed than an office, with it's wooden panelling and small, rather grubby windows.  Indeed, you could just make out gardening tools and bags of compost if you peered into the murky interior. But Lyn knew that was just a cover.  She'd spotted the men in black furtively entering the building - and she knew that the key was hidden under the third flower pot on the left.  Right now the men in black were all down at the harbour, surreptitiously hiring a small flotilla of boats to take the PH 'Save the World' team out to search for the missing equilibrium. Alison had gone with them to select the crews...
Lyn approached the office cautiously and slowly.  It was imperative that she wasn't seen.  Thinking fast - replaying in her head the many detective films she had watched in the last 5 years - Lyn decided to adopt the clever, yet slightly startling methods of the master sleuth - Sherlock Holmes.  She sneezed and reached into her pocket, removing a linen handkerchief with the initials PA in the corner.  But then - and this was the clever bit - she dropped the handkerchief near the flowerpot.  Yes, near the third flowerpot on the left under which the key lay!  The plan was working like clockwork. She was so pleased that all those years of dedication to the king of detectives had paid off.  But as she went to lift up the flower pot (the aforementioned 3rd from the left) she heard a voice.  And the voice said
"I wouldn't do that if I was you..."


OMG it was Chris M!  What was he doing here?  How was he involved? Lyn  was dumbstruck ( a pretty rare occurence) and it fell to Chris to get the key and open the door to the office.  
"It could be bugged", Chris whispered as the door opened.  But neither of them could supress a gasp when they saw what was inside...

Meanwhile, the snorkelling lesson had begun.  The expert in the field, Mrs C, had completed her demonstration - although sadly no one could hear her under the water.  But no matter.  Everyone loved their digital radio snorkels.  Barbara was hooked on the science channel and had already swum off to the sounds of dolphins diving.  Emma had tuned into 'Bowls 'r' Us', although she was a little disappointed to discover it offered round the clock commentary of bowls tournaments in Bognor Regis and Worthing.  Kate just loved the classic fm orchestral blasts that were coming through and Sally was groovin' and movin' to the cool toons of radio 1.  
Yep, the snorkels went down well in the end - although that made everyone splutter.  Just as long as the snorkels could recieve a GPS signal then the world would be saved, the missing equilibrium would be discovered and life could return to normality for the brave folks of PH.
But....... , there has to be a but of course........it is well known that whatever Kalkan may be famed for, it does not rank highly on receiving satelite navigation signals.  Oh yes, there are problems ahead and the missing equilibrium may not be at the fingertips of the PH 'save the world' crew as they seem to believe. And what is it with Emma and the bowls? 
Tune in on your snorkel tomorrow to hear what happens...

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Love Kalkan 2011

Is this the video of the most beautiful place in Turkey?  I really don't  know as I have yet to sample most of this delicious and exotic country.  I only know that Kalkan is a unique and wonderful spot that captures hearts and minds.  So if you're afflicted by that passion this is the video for you - and if you're not  I promise (almost) that it is a final edit of Kalkan 2011.
If you love the place then you'll know why I've made it!


Monday, 12 September 2011

10 ways not to survive a full moon



After I'd crawled home this afternoon I remembered that it was a full moon tonight.

That could go some way to explaining the ringing in my ears and the use of my classroom as a racetrack today...
There are a number of stories about the 'lunar effect'  including the following:,
  • Senior police officers in Brighton announced in June 2007 that they were planning to deploy more officers over the summer to counter trouble they believe is linked to the lunar cycle.
  • In America, police in Toledo, Ohio and Kentucky claimed that crime rises by five percent during nights with a] full moon.   
  • In January 2008, New Zealand's Justice Minister Annette King suggested that a spate of stabbings in the country could have been caused by the lunar cycle.
  • David Tredinnick, a British mp reckoned that  surgeons will not operate because blood clotting is not effective and the police have to put more people on the street.

So maybe people are generally more bonkers than usual on a full moon.  Whatever!  Here are my top tips to how not to survive a full moon.
  1.  Go to bed late, after a few drinks maybe and with a caffeine rich drink, so you'll stay awake for most of the night - and have a headache in the morning.
  2. Make sure it's a Monday morning, raining hard and blowing a gale.
  3. Ensure your cat - or even better your neighbour's cat, who has sneaked in for a quick fight with yours - is sick in the night: double points if you step in it in the morning.
  4. Get to work on time but then realise you've forgotton your glasses, your lunch, your purse, your work and your front door key.
  5. Ensure computers are not working properly - though with no obvious cause.
  6. Make sure you have a flickering fluorescent light in your room.  The more random and intermittent the flickers, the better.
  7. The only pencils you should have must be blunt or broken.  Likewise pens should be out of ink or oozing the stuff, all over you.  No pencil sharpeners or rubbers allowed of course.
  8. Suggest a fun game of Gatwick Airport to start the day off.  Don't let people choose whether or not they join in.  
  9. Take a phone call during your few precious minutes of break and spend it trying to get rid of a printer cartridge salesman.  Buy 12 boxes with your own money before putting down the phone.
  10. Spill your fifth cup of coffee (after the others have all gone cold) over your students newly finished work.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

How to win at Greyhound racing: The Turkish method

So you want to be a winner too?  You fancy the fast cars, built in jacuzzi and luxury live-in holidays that I am now on the way to possessing?  Well, dear reader, you are in luck.  You have come to the right place without a doubt.  I am going to tell You how to win your fortune at the dog racing track.    But first you have to read all the way through this drivel awesome account of my epiphany at Hove Greyhound track in order to get to that one incy-wincy bit of information that will transform your life... the golden nugget of everlasting fortune.

Awesome and amazing are words I hear a lot of these days.  True there are other words I have recently encountered that have a less positive ring to them.  But they general start with letters later on in the alphabet like b or c or even f.  So let's stick to A. 



On the morning of my dog racing epiphany I was  dejected.  There was rain, gloominess and a complete absence of money to start with.  Then, piled on top of that little heap of miseries, were the loomings: bills, work, more bills, more work, even bigger bills... you get the picture I'm sure my friend.

But then in a moment of serendipity I came across a quote by a real 'A' list lady - Audrey Hepburn. 
"Nothing is impossible, the word itself says 'I'm possible'!"
Well, there was I sitting looking at computer, gazing at a photo of 'that view' in Kalkan and feeling despondent about the chances of seeing it for real for a long time, when up popped this little quote.  And what a good little quote it is.  Instant sunshine followed and we celebrated by adopting Debussey Bonjour and Amadeus Redfinger from the local garden centre. 
(Debussey is still a little shy, but Amadeus, who is a bit more outogoing was pleased to have his picture taken.  There will be more from Amadeus later).  
The day progressed pleasantly and Turkey time seemed a little more possible with glimmers of ideas starting to bear a little fruit.
And so to the evening and off to Hove Greyhound Track where lovely Louise was celebrating her and Tricky's birthdays.  He was 40, she 32. (Sorry,  sometimes it's best to be factual, however inaccurate you may be.)  Out on the track the dogs proudly presented themselves to the crowd, often presenting them with a final pile of poop before rushing off after the hare.  Expectations were high and the betting was brisk.  Inside, all was mirth and merriment.  Sausages and sandwiches laughed with joy before being consumed whilst Emma eyed up the ice buckets -the bowls having been carefully locked away before she arrived.
I bet on the favourites - with lamentable results.  Nil, zilch, absolutely nothing at all in return.  But was I downhearted?  No!  I was too busy watching Elvis gyrating his way through 'Suspicious Minds'.  
However, I am now approaching the moment of my epiphany.  In just a few lines you will know how I beat the odds and what you too can do to win at the dogs.
Well, I wanted to win.  Dave was winning and it didn't seem fair.  So I threw caution to the wind and invented The Turkish method.  Go for the beautiful, the lovely and enjoy.  So I went for Droopys Audrey and Doydoys dream. (Actually it was Doidys dream but I didn't have my glasses on!)  Audrey Hepburn and Doy Doy.  An inspirational actress and my favourite restaurant in Turkey.    And they won.  Yeah!  
 
 
 
So there you have it reader.  Go for it it you like the look of it.  That is my method!  Hope it works for you...
 

Thursday, 8 September 2011

The search for the missing dish - Emma goes 'bowling' in Turkey

Emma eyed up the cheesecake but bit into a banana instead.  Her willpower was strong and she was determined to stick to the PH super-fit, super-fab and super-funky  plan suggested by the men in black to prepare them for their mission - recovering the missing equilibrium from somewhere in the depths of Kalkan bay, Turkey, and thereby saving the world - obviously.  
The team were settling in well to their new routine.  Whilst students, accompanied by a crack SAS team led by Alison, were climbing mountains, abseiling down gorges, white water rafting and learning to sail, the staff were engaged in an equally exhausting programme learning to water ski, snorkel and appear to be lounging around doing nothing -  whilst  really being totally aware of what was going on around them.

It had been drummed into them that good nutrition was essential and the good folk of Kalkan had beem thrilled to welcome them to many of their 200 restaurants each evening to ensure they partook of a good, varied diet.  Indeed, the local restaurant owners were almost delirious with happiness when they discovered that the PH crew were carrying the rare and exotic gold and silver tokens, which they were prepared to hand over in exchange for 3 courses and a bottle of wine (each).  
But back to Emma.  This kindly soul recognised that maybe one day they would need to let their hair down and celebrate.And she was worried.  Whilst PH staff had been trained to 'share', she had noticed that this did not always apply to the food they ate.  There was a definite tendency to 'one man, one plate - (or bowl)'.  And frankly, she felt that whilst Kalkan had stores catering for jewellery, handbags, lighting and turkish delight there was a definited defecit of beautiful bowls in the town. 

She'd noticed the 'sold out' and 'back soon' signs in the local shops that sold ceramics and was aware that restaurants were increasingly providing plates to share, with waiters hovering nearby ready to snatch them back when the last morsel of ris de veau a la financiere had been finished.
What could be happening to all this crockery?  Emma was determined to find out - even though it was dangerous...
But wait!  Reader, I can not carry on at the moment.  Could it be that the situation is too dangerous?  Or maybe Mrs C has discovered a hidden hoard of plates in the dishwasher.  Whatever.  We need to put this article on hold..........

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

PH and the Mystery of the Missing Equilibrium

There were signs of stress when the PH crew discovered they had a 25kg weight limit for their Kalkan suitcase.  Having just a few hours to collect together essential items is just not the way to do it!  Naturally, the men in black tried to compensate for this problem with an expenses payment equivalent to a bankers bonus, but sometimes it takes more more than a few wads of dosh to ease the troubled mind; sometimes only a cocktail will do...
So what better cure for stress than a lesson in being creative with cocktails. Intended as a treat for the weight-watching drinker, I'm told that doesn't mean you can have twice as many of them...


The Kalkan Kick - or Bloody Mary plus...
It's packing time and you should be really excited, but you're feeling a little stressed as you also have a million and one other things to do:  Feed the papers, cancel the cat, water the fridge and chuck out the mouldy plants - you know the sort of thing.
So you need to focus on what's important - and that is getting in the right frame of mind.  


 You need:

  • 2/3 cup  tomato juice
  • Slug of  vodka*, depending on strength of drink
  • 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish 
  • 6 shakes Tabasco Sauce
  • teaspoon of Worcestershire Sauce
  • Juice of 1/2 large lime (or medium lemon)
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  • Celery stalk

A few sips of this and you'll be raring to go.  Not only that but you'll find yourself trying on those fake leopard skin shorts or  bikini bottoms that you'd shuddered at only an hour before - and chucking them in your suitcase along with a voucher for cut-price paragliding off the Taurus mountains.  Well, maybe not...


The Kalkan Kiss
Maybe you're wondering what on earth you're doing going on holiday when the roof needs fixing and the cat keeps being sick down the stairs.  Perhaps you should cancel it and put the money towards a new drainpipe.
Oh no, no, no!  Take immediate action and create a Kalkan Kiss for yourself.  This may be hard to justify on the slimming count - but hey, it could save your holiday!
You need:

  • A measure of tequila
  • small measure of white creme de cacao
  • small measure of reduced fat double cream
  • a little chambord
  • a few white chocolate flakes
  • a few raspberries for decoration

Mix all the liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker for about 15 seconds, then pour into a cocktail glass, chilled and rimmed with the chocolate flakes.  Decorate with raspberries.  (these could be part of your 5 a day and are very good for you).
Once you've enjoyed your first Kalkan Kiss you'll be ready for romance.  And Kalkan has to be one of the most romantic places in all the world.  Who needs new drainpipes anyway!







Sunday, 4 September 2011

PH and the Mystery of the Missing Equilibrium - The Secrets of the Picnic Hamper

It was a balmy 25 degrees at sundown  and the staff were assembled around the pool in their temporary headquarters in Kalkan, Turkey.  The sea was still that blissful blue and was dotted with gulets and yachts cruising back to harbour or still idling in the bay.

It was quiet apart from the chink of ice in restorative Mojitos  and Tequilla Sunrises - the men in black had insisted that on this mission the 5 a day needed to include fruit (or mint) soaked in some sort of alcohol.  However, there were those who had downed their medicinal cocktail quickly and had now moved on to some ice cold Efes, the local beer.
Mrs C was beaming around, as she polished off her second Pina Colada (lots of pineapple chunks): her picnic hamper was now centre stage and she was thrilled to think that Rebecca, Angela and Suzanne were about to start waxing lyrical about her damson and apple chutney which was one of the delights contained within it.

So it was Mrs C who led the enthusiastic round of applause when the afforementioned people stood up.   It was also Mrs C who let out a howl of anguish when Rebecca opened the hamper - and the chutney was nowhere to be seen.  Neither were the apple and damson pies, the ginger beer or the cheese scones.  All gone, gone, gone...
In their place were  a collection of luxury grocery items from a well known store.  This was not just any hamper, this was an extra-special, top of the range Marks and Spencers hamper. There were bottles of champagne, boxes of chocolates, tins of biscuits and jars of all manner of things: olives, jam, apricots and brandy... Everyone was mmming - except Mrs C, who had reached for a restorative Horse's Neck (brandy and ginger) to get over the shock. Carolyn was already edging over to the luxury dark chocolate box. But then Rebecca shushed the crowd and started to speak.
"Friends and comrades, I shall say this only once",  she spoke in an awfully commanding tone. "As you know we are not here on holiday, but on a mission". (Slight buzz of disappointment in the crowd at that point).
"Saving the world will be tough, but  someone has to do it - and we are the chosen ones.... DON'T open that" Rebecca shouted as Carolyn eased the chocs out of the hamper.  Crestfallen she put them back, murmuring something about needing to eat to keep blood sugar levels high.

"This in not just an M and S food hamper.  This is an M and S extra special secret agent hamper, containing all you need for a good week's spying and espionage activities. 
Angela took out the chocolate box that Carolyn had had her eye on.  "This for example contains not chocolates but explosive devices that can be used to open doors -although, it is not intended for when you've lost your keys at 4 am". She appeared to be glaring at Kate, Emily, Nigel, James and assorted Chris's at this point, who had celebrated their first night in Kalkan quite loudly the night before...

Suzanne took over, showing the staff one of the champagne bottles.  "These extraordinary devices serve 3 functions,  Firstly, you will notice that the cork is quite long.  This is because it isn't just a cork, it's 3 extra-special cork bullets that can be used in times of emergency.  You can also unscrew the cork and your bottle can then be turned into a telescope with 3 simple moves".  More Russian gymnast than English runner at this point Suzanne performed her routine at lightning speed and 30 seconds later the champagne bottle looked like this.


"The third function of these champagne bottles is to provide essential hydration here in Turkey.  It can get pretty hot here." The staff nodded, they had noticed this tendency.  "These bottles contain the finest champagne, but it has been genetically modified so that it will hydrate you, keeping you healthy and happy for hours - all good, no bad side effects!"  Suzanne took a swig and demonstrated how great if made her feel with a quick handspring and one and a half twist sumersault into the infinity pool. 

When she came up (scoring 8.7 - shame about the bent leg) she signalled to Angela to carry on.  There was a gasp as Angela opened a tin of chocolate biscuits and produced the most unexpected item so far from the picnic hamper.  It was an M and S extra special snorkel set, in dark green with matching fins. "Tomorrow, you will be taught how to use this device.  Until then rest, relax - go out for dinner.  Enjoy yourself in Kalkan.  For who knows what tomorrow will bring."