Our ninth week at Sundance has brought something new… Heat. Lots and lots of heat. We’ve just had seemingly the hottest May day in 75 years. As I write in the shade of the bar area, drinking ‘Cay’ (odd that a hot drink can cool you down), it is 38 degrees in the shade. It’s too hot to sit inside the motorhome and to top it off, although site is by the sea and we have a river flowing through it, we are not allowed into the water. We can go to shopping malls, drive around and get a haircut. But you can’t go into the sea and the police are on hand to enforce this regulation.

The police turning away the beach goers.

One poor enforcement officer having to sit on his own, all day on the beach to fine anyone who dares to break the rule. We went over to see him and offered some water, as in the sun it was over 40! But he was observing the Ramadan fast and thus was unable to take up the offer. He sat there from 9.30 am to 6.00 pm in the scorching sun and each person who went to the beach was turned away. On our side there’s a private beach we tried jumping in… but the whistle blew, and we ordered to leave the water or face a 500 Lira fine. OMG!

Hubert finds a solution for the heat for Anna

With the Turkish lockdown now easing, some of our campsite family are leaving, before the camp fills up with local holidaymakers, so we had a farewell party. The need for social distancing has been moot for us all, while we were here, sharing the facilities. So, a barbecue was organised, our multi-cultural mix that includes British, Irish, Germans, Austrians, Belgians and of course Turks got together to celebrate our very own lockdown in Turkey. A fun night was had by all, and slowly but surely people are now moving on to tour more of Turkey as it opens.

The farewell to Sundance family BBQ

Our contribution was a loaf of Irish Soda Bread and rosemary roast potatoes - the advantage of ‘Buster’, our Elddis Encore motorhome, having a fully equipped kitchen with a good oven. Our special gift to you this week is my recipe for Irish Soda Bread!

The roasties coming out of the oven.

 

Irish Soda Bread Recipe:

200 Grams plain wholemeal flour

40 grams wheatgerm

40 grams pinhead oatmeal

220 grams plain white flour

2 teaspoons of unrefined caster sugar

1 heaped teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

1 teaspoon of salt

420 – 450 ml of buttermilk

Extra flour for dusting.

 

Preheat your oven to 200C fan 220C ordinary

In a bowl mix all the dry ingredients together. Note: you can leave out the wheatgerm and oatmeal if you wish and just mix the flours 50/50. I prefer the flavour added by the oatmeal and wheatgerm. If you want a white loaf just use white flour. This works just as well, as I found out, because I ended up buying just white flour and the loaf was fine!

Add the buttermilk, (if you can’t get buttermilk sour some full fat milk with a lemon. Not perfect but it will work). Then mix until you have a sticky dough.

Flour a worksurface and tip dough on to it.

Gently, with your hands, roll and fold the dough a couple of times to full mix all the ingredients together. Do NOT knead it.

Shape the dough into a ball then flatten it a little with your hand. Then with a sharp wet knife score the dough with a deep cross dividing into quarters. This allows it to rise easily and cook better in the middle. Dust with flour. If I have them, I like to put some caraway seeds on top.

Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for 30 – 40 minutes. The loaf should be golden brown and, if you tap the base, sound slightly hollow when cooked.

Leave to cool on a wire rack. When still warm, take a slice, cover in butter and enjoy! Best to eat within 24 hours.

 Irish Soda Bread made to the recipe

We have decided that we will wait for the border to Greece to open and then leave Turkey as soon as we can. But now, as our family disperses, and the lockdown of 2020 hopefully become a positive memory of this crazy virus, lifelong friendships have been made.

This week also allowed us to take ‘Buster’ out on the road to go shopping - his first trip in 8 weeks and not a problem. We also took the opportunity to refill his gas and diesel tanks, as at these prices it was too good to miss. We have, over the weeks, shopped in the market in Kemer and the selection of fruit and veg is fantastic.

Buster goes into town for the first time in 9 weeks.

It is a sort of family day, as we usually go together and ferry back a weeks’ worth of shopping for all. We finally got the bikes out and gave them their first real outing. The next town down really showed just what sort of affect the lockdown is having on the local tourist industry. All the hotels and shops are closed and no-one around deserted streets. The desperate hairdressers tried to entice in custom from us, though I still have little hair since the dog clipper incident with Katherine.

Local fuel prices 8.35 Lira to the Pound today

The local wildlife again brings joy and interest, with sightings of Kingfishers and Woodpeckers quite common. The fruit trees nave moved from blossom to fruit and the first available crops have been the Mulberries - both white and black - something we had never seen, let alone tasted before, and definitely worth the wait.  Hopefully, we will have been able to move on before the Orange, Lemon and Pomegranates are ready in late September!

Florian and Anna found a lost baby hedgehog and are looking after it. So cute, but its survival is still touch and go as its mother was taken by another creature, we think a snake.

Karen collecting Mulberries

Our little hedgehog with Anna

On Sunday we took the opportunity to have a drive out and see a bit more of the local area. We went a little further afield in Katherine’s old van. But before we could get 100 yards diesel started spewing out from the engine compartment. Motorhomers have to be a resourceful bunch, and the Sundance team swung into action. The problem was caused by a badly installed fuel isolation switch done back in the UK last year. Why any company would use insulation tape to attach a fuel pipe is beyond me?! Anyway, Danny happened to have some of the correct fuel pipe and we were able to remove the bodged installation and redo it all again in half an hour. 

Soon we were all ship shape and Bristol-fashion and we were able to set off for our first new journey in Turkey for 9 weeks! We visited the picturesque village of Carali with its famous turtle beach. Yet again, we were not allowed onto the beach as the police had closed it off. We had a little wander around, and Katherine was able to buy a dress and I a mug. Not much, it enabled us to help put something back into the local economy.

Carali Beach from the van.

First meal out in 9 weeks!

I do fear for the situation here. There is slight desperation in the air. Tourism represents over half the economy. After all the excitement we were by then very hungry, and after a little struggle, we found a restaurant that did take away! So, some Kofte meatballs, Pide (Turkish Pizza), Chips and a salad as we sat in their van and enjoyed our first meal out in months. Such a treat for us!

It is the little things in life that are now so special: friends, family by ‘Zoom’ and ‘WhatsApp’, eating together and sharing. Though we hope our and your lockdowns end soon, in the ‘New Normal’ we hope that we might just have become a little more generous, kind and thoughtful to others as well as ourselves.

 

Motorhome Tips for the week:

If you decide to bake bread and roast potatoes in the van, remember that if it is 35 degrees outside it will be 50 degrees inside when you finish!

Drinking hot tea on a hot day cools you down! I don’t understand either!..