Thursday, 27 December 2012

Christmas wrap

Their man in evening dress
Well, that's Christmas done. Everyone has their own expectations of what Christmas should feel like, and we failed to find any resonance in Marmaris of what we know as Christmas. In Scorpio bar on Christmas eve, where an Irish balladeer called Davey gamely strummed his way through the carol book as a warm-up to what an Irish balladeer does best (and Van Morrison's Brown-Eyed Girl was not the pick of the set, if that's possible), our Australian mate Kevin snapped this shot which sums up our Christmas in Turkey. Have your baubles and your tree, by all means, but we'll keep our man, Ataturk, in the frame too. Your cult, our cult.

Our man in new Christmas fleece

The marina, though owned by Turks and run by Turks, put on a Christmas lunch on December 24. The menu, posted several days earlier in prominent spots i.e. the toilet and shower blocks and marina office, boasted two pork dishes. We haven't eaten pork for months though there's bacon for sale (as well as other western delicacies like bran flakes, HP sauce, Danish blue and baked beans) at the "import shop" which has opened recently at our end of town. In my childhood, the best part of the Christmas table was the ham, which my mum studded with cloves and baked with an orange juice and breadcrumb crust. I try to make it the same way in our home and we slice it thick, with the topping crumbling off a thin layer of fat. The marina's answer to my Christmas wish was a sad-looking platter of thinly-sliced, processed ham, and a dish of shrivelled thumb-sized sausages. The thought was there, but the turkey was the way to go. Delicious too!

We shared a table with Joan and Bill, who at 87 and 86 respectively, are the oldies at the marina (don't say what you are thinking). They came to Turkey 19 years ago, and live aboard their small gulet. They  still take her out cruising in the summer months. Joan was a dancer in the West End, then she became a professional performing skater.  Bill was once a photographer but at heart he's an entertainment man too. He grew up in a circus family. Bill and Joan once owned a circus in South Africa. They have a good lion procurement story. They've run arcades and cinemas in Britain too.  Joan complains about being hard of hearing, and Bill is in and out of hospital with gammy knees, but have they lived! Joan is a bit off colour, but she said the vodka she won in the "lottery" (everyone a winner) would keep till summer. Alex won the hamper but they'd enjoy it more, we thought - we're off to Budapest in a couple of days to celebrate the New Year. (I won one of the prizes everyone else secretly wanted - a free hull-polish. Alex was thrilled.)

Kevin and Mei

Joanne and Dale's grandson Keifer and dad Geoff

Sue and Ed

Ready to eat
I cooked on Christmas morning, which was the best way for me to keep thoughts of not being with our family at bay. Any way you do it, if you're not with your children on Christmas Day, it always catches up with you somehow. We passed a few pleasant hours aboard Angel Louise, with Ed and Sue and Randal and Ruth. I told them I was learning more about American cuisine from being in this Turkish marina than I had ever known. Ed and Sue served something they called ambrosia salad, which is a mixture of fruit and marshmallows mixed with whipped cream, alongside the roast of beef and mashed potatoes and gravy. I'll have to think about that for a while. Randal made a pecan pie which is close to heavenly food, I think.

Randal and Ruth 

The Christmas table on Angel Louise

Marmaris town has looked so pretty these past few days. Alex could play for hours with the light and clouds. I could play for hours with the cats which seem to own the town. I draw the line at having one aboard though it seems that at the marina, the cats choose which boat they want to live aboard, and then wait for the people fall into line. We met Ed and Sue on their bikes yesterday coming back from the supermarket. They had bought cat food. "He's not coming inside," Sue said.

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