‘Oh! You’re into dragonflies, are you?’

Some People . . .

. . . are nice; some are interesting; some are stimulating; some are a combination of all these and much more . . . and some are a right pain in the arse!

J and I had all of the above yesterday evening; pleasant, stimulating, interesting company and conversation that was constantly being interrupted by a couple of tedious, thick-skinned bores.

We had gone to a restaurant with two young Dutch guys who are amongst the foremost specialists in Europe on dragonflies, their nymphs and exuviae (the shed skins of the nymphs). I had been asked to help them with their research by using my local knowledge of the area around Okçular to seek out some very specific habitats. Okçular is a pretty special place with an outstanding variety of flora and fauna, and 3 years ago I had recorded a very rare species of dragonfly Anax ephippiger the Vagrant Emperor in my garden. Our two specialists were after samples of this gem; they were stunned by our local environment and were able to recover exuviae and live nymphs; the nymphs were taken and put into mini-habitats that they have created in their hotel room where they can be photographed as they emerge (this has never been recorded before). I can’t help wondering what their room cleaner makes of all this!

Anyway, back to our evening meal; the interruptions began as soon as we were handed the menus – ‘If you can’t find what you want the chef will cook anything up for you, he’s an expert you know, he trained in London and Germany.’

No, he didn’t! He happens to be a damn good cook who J and I have known for 14+ years; he worked illegally in London and in a fast food joint in Germany before returning to Turkey.

None too subtly we turned our backs and went into a sort of huddle to take our pick from the menu. Orders taken our conversation with our two guests naturally turned to their field work, where they’d been, what they’d found, etc etc. Dragonflies are beautiful creatures that fascinate me and there’s so much I wanted to ask and learn. As we relaxed we settled into more comfortable postures – Big Mistake!

‘Oh! You’re into dragonflies are you(?) I was getting in the washing and there was this buzzing sound and I couldn’t work out where it was coming from then I found that it was from the window we have these special tilt or open double glazed windows and I’d got it on the tilt and it had somehow fallen down and got trapped at the bottom I could only see a bit of its wing so I had to shut the window so I could open it again and rescue it ‘course I didn’t know if it would get squashed but it was only a bit stunned and kept buzzin’ round in circles on the floor when I threw it out . . .’ (my grammar-checker has just capitulated!) and on, and on, and on, and on . . . None of us knew how to shut them up. Their social receptors, along with their hides are thicker and tougher than a rhino’s – and then they started going on about the new mayor; how he wasn’t corrupt like the last one, and . . .

We got out of there fast, returned to the ‘lab’ and the more convivial company to be found there! ‘Nymphs and stir-fries come away; come, oh! come away . .’

anyone fancy a stir-fry?



Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü





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