Stuff

And This Little Piggy

After a long and enjoyable day out with new friends yesterday, J and I crashed early and were well and truly blotto by about 10.30pm.

Cue: ominous sound of car outside, gate being opened and door bell jangling followed by very dozy bloke staggering downstairs, opening door and gazing blankly at neighbour. ‘Domuz! Domuz!’ (Pig! Pig!) he said, ‘Do you want it?’ ‘Tamaam!’ I mumbled as I contemplated a ‘night of the long knives’.

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the piggy in question

To set the record straight, our neighbours do not go out hunting much these days but they will shoot those rogue pigs that come and raid their gardens and crops, often causing utter devastation. Whilst I will never encourage hunting and would much prefer just to catch the odd glimpse of these wily creatures as they go about their business, I’m not going to turn down the chance of some delicious wild pig meat.

Anyway, last night I was in such a dopey state that I decided to put off the butchery until this morning. Six o’clock seemed to come around very quickly!

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yes, I would be crass enough to have a glass of Chardonnay with wild boar casserole

Cue: in the early morning light a ‘Boffer’ stands and contemplates the task ahead – the beast looks bigger than it did last night. Oh,well, best be getting on with it, then! Now, J and I have long ago stopped eating offal and so I no longer paunch (gut) these animals.

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I never claimed I was a proper butcher!

I simply skin, joint and fillet and then return the remains to the mountains where the local wildlife will benefit and make short shrift of the process of disposal.

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in the hearse ready for ‘Table Mountain’ – the foxes, jackals, martens, birds and others will be very happy

So, as I write this and whilst the freezer does its thing, J has been preparing a traditional Italian/Milanese dish called Osso Buco, click the link for the recipe.

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Osso Buco

If you don’t have any wild boar meat then bear is a good substitute (so it says) – do not go hunting bears, or pigs for that matter – promise! If you really are intent on becoming a survivalist then I recommend John Wiseman’s ‘SAS Survival Handbook’.

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Oh, and it’s not a good idea to eat bear if they’ve been eating salmon – it doesn’t taste so good.

Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü

Stuff

Sweat Shop

Exclusive!

Last week, undercover reporters from the Daily Male gained access to a sweat shop in south western Turkey. What they discovered and recorded with their secret cameras was shocking!

In one room they found an Old Age Pensioner is being held in conditions of absolute segregation and subjugation – forced to slave over a 1956 Husqvarna sewing machine in temperatures that could fry eggs!

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Our reporter crept into the sweat shop unnoticed by the security personnel and managed to speak to the terrified worker on condition of anonymity. What she learned was heart-rending!

Q. Ali (not real name), how did you end up here?

A. Well, it was like this; one day I was at work in the UK when my back gave out. When I came to I was in this sweat shop in Okçular where I was forced to take things easy and get involved in projects and things I’ve always wanted to do. I was forced to take up photography and go swimming and walking and building radio-controlled planes and traveling around – it’s been terrible! I even had to drink the odd rakı when they knew that all I craved was good, English bitter beer. It’s been torture, the bastards! Then there’s the wonderful climate and waking up to those bloody birds chirruping in the trees – it’s so hard sometimes, I can’t tell you!

Q. So, what are they making you do now?

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A. Well, as you can see, the jeans of the overseer had got a bit tatty and in need of repair so rather than go out and get a new pair like any normal person she forces me to use my long-forgotten skills as a ‘Jack-of-all-trades’ to repair them. I tell you, it’s hell!

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Q. Do you want to get out of here? I could help.

A. Funny you should ask that because I’ve wondered and thought about that a lot just lately what with the UK election being in the news and the Tories getting a majority and all that. Truth to tell. I’ve been trapped here for so long now that I don’t feel that I belong back there (in UK) any more. So, thanks for the offer, but, no thanks. I’ll stay here and suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune – or words to that effect. Anyway, my residence permit is valid until 2099 – or will be when the post office delivers it!

Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü

Stuff

Cereal Killer

quintus_horatius_flaccus‘Ille salubris aestates peraget, qui nigris prandia moris finiet.’ so says Quintus Horatius Flaccus, better known to us non-grammar school oiks, as Horace in his 35 BCE piece called Satires. It roughly translates (so I’m told) as ‘A man will pass his summers in health, who will finish his luncheon with black mulberries.’ Those Romans knew a thing or two about mulberries, I can tell you!

J and I scatter dried mulberries over our morning muesli, we love the chewy texture. This time of year we are able to gather the ripe berries of Morus nigra, the Black Mulberry, from the young tree right by our gate and add them to the dish. Not only are they finger-stainingly good they are delicious!

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Move on to around 1649 and a chap by the name of Nicholas Culpeper produced his The Complete Herbal. Based on a combination of local lore, science and astrology and published in plain English the book has remained in use ever since.

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Here, according to my copy of Culpeper’s, are the medicinal virtues of mulberry: The ripe berries open the body. Unripe and dried they stay the fluxes, laxes and women’s courses. The bark of the root kills broad (tape) worms in the belly. The juice from the berries made into a syrup helps inflammations and sores of the mouth and throat. A decoction of the bark and leaves is good to wash the teeth when they ache. The leaves, bound in place, stay bleeding of the mouth or nose or the bleeding piles. Quite how one would bind stuff in place in the case of piles is not explained!

In modern times the bark is still used as a laxative and intestinal de-wormer and a syrup of fruit helps overcome fever. They are rich in ‘grape sugar’ which is easily assimilated and provides energy. The leaves contain compounds that help suppress high blood sugar and have long been used in the treatment of diabetes. Compounds in the leaves of Morus alba White Mulberry have proved to be effective in suppressing the progression of atherosclerosis, the buildup of cholesterol-rich plaque in our arteries. It does this by inhibiting the oxidation of LDL-cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein, the so-called bad cholesterol), which is a major factor in the development of atherosclerotic plaque.

round the mulberryChances are, like me, the only thing you knew about mulberries before today was the nursery rhyme from Mother Goose. But why go around a mulberry bush? Wouldn’t a myrtle be as good, or a honeysuckle? Not according to the ancient Celts, who believed that dancing around a mulberry bush at the time of the summer solstice would help protect them from fairies. (Not all fairies are nice, most are malicious, and they reach the height of their magic powers at the solstice.) History does not record how successful this strategy was for the Celts and the fact that there aren’t too many of them around begs the question!

Who would have thought it? No wonder Silkworms are so healthy and full of life! Old Horace, the Celts and Nick Culpeper knew a good thing when they found it. The crazy thing is that, around here at this time of year, mulberries are to be had in bucket loads for free and nearly all the townies we see enjoying ‘the nature’ turn their noses up at the thought of eating them and getting ‘dirty’ fingers.

As for the ‘Cereal Killer’ on the title – well, I put mulberries on my cereal and they kill off any intestinal worms that may be lurking – I know it’s a bit ‘loose’ but then they cure that as well!

Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü

Stuff

Silly Season

Silly Season – (noun)

  1. (British) a period, usually during the hot summer months, when journalists fill space reporting on frivolous events and activities

Alright, so it’s not really summer yet, but I’m busy (really) re-roofing the back balcony and covered area, and I’m worried that you’ll be thinking again that I’ve popped my clogs if I don’t stick something up. There’s been rainwater problems for some time and I kept promising to get around to the job one day. ‘One day’ arrived about a week ago and so it’s been days of steady toil with the odd one off to go market shopping – no scope for dossing about doing this sort of stuff!

Anyway, I’ve quite reasonably assumed that more posts about the exploits of Bob the Builder would be yawn inducing and so I’ve settled for a Picture Post edition (the link is to a brilliant Picture Post exhibition). The subject is J and her Yorkshire passion for cricket – on second thoughts, you may want to go and view the PP exhibition instead!

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J was quietly noshing her apple, when . .

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this fellow turned up demanding a little nibble

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he, for it is indeed a ‘he’, was quite demanding

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. . with impressive mandibles

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. . and fastidious manners

‘He’ is Saga pedo, a Predatory Bush Cricket and for those of you with little going on in your lives just now here’s a link where you can become better acquainted.

Alan Fenn, Fiddling On The Roof

ps I did think this was better than nothing, but on re-reading I’m not so sure – oh, well!

Stuff

Knackered!

beer o'clockThere are few things more satisfying than completing a project! Unless, that is, it is the relief that it is well and truly done with and it is beer o’clock!

YGT aka ‘You Gorgeous Thing‘ has its new set of boots for its roots and pretty smart they look, too. Regular readers will know of whom and what I speak – casual browsers can click on the link for enlightenment. The work has been hard on these creaky knees and back with much cracking and groaning, especially in the morning when faced with the prospect of more of the same.

Like all great projects, the sun rarely shines on just one hero – full credit has to be given to young Samet who has manfully done all the heavy lifting and carrying for me, and to good mate Alan who gave up a day to mix mortar so that I could stay on my poor, old, long-suffering knees for longer pointing up all the new-laid stone! I couldn’t have managed without you guys – well, I s’pose I could but it might have taken one of those wonderful, Soviet era Five-Year Plans!

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the man with the ‘muck’

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Alan – behind bars where he belongs!

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look at his face – he’s enjoying the pain!

Anyway, for those who were upset that I hadn’t included a photo of YGT in the previous post, here’s a couple of it wearing ‘Wisteria‘ from the Spring Collection.

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precocious young thing

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job jobbed!

Finally, about the title, for the benefit of our readers in foreign parts – a ‘knacker’ was not originally (and here I quote the Oxford English Dictionary) ‘n. vulgar slang for testicles’. No, it originally referred to a person who disposes of dead or fallen and unwanted animals that are not for human consumption. So, when an animal was worn out it was said to be ‘knackered’ and ready for the ‘knacker’s yard’, terms that readily lent themselves to the working classes after long hours or years at the grindstone. It has nothing at all to do with the ‘knack’ which is an aptitude for performing a skill or task or a ‘knackwurst’, which I am assured is a short, fat sausage!

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this is knackered!

Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü