Incredible Okçular!

For Gawd’s Sake

. . not another walking and flowers post!

This is one of the really good things about blogging; we can get to bore the pants off everyone and, unless we happen to be a ‘stats freak’, never be aware of the yawns and glazed eyes! Bliss!


So, yes, this is about a couple of back-to-back days of gentle wandering with a few impressions of what being a ‘Boffer’ in Okçular is all about. Well, not exactly ‘all’ because this time of year there are plenty of chores to be done like pruning trees and pressure-washing the fossils ferns embedded in the Muğla stone slabs in the yard.

Anyway, enough of all that. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin . .

Once upon a time, by the edge of the forest, there lived this old geezer and his missus. They felt a great affinity with the trees and flowers and creatures of the woods and loved to go a-wandering, communing with Mother Nature and her off-spring. They whispered to the trees and the trees whispered back . .

J whispering endearments

. . even the elemental spirits, hidden from the eyes of the sceptical, would appear to them from time to time.


the Water Spirit – can you see it?

Spring has sprung – after a cold snap and a late start the buds are budding and the flowers are flowing and flowers are – well – flowering! Come and wander, it’ll do your spirit good!

Asphdelus aestivus – Asphodels are everywhere

Romulea tempskyana Sand Crocus and Gagea arvensis

Giant Orchid (pale coloured from lower slopes)

. . and this dark beauty from higher up the mountain

the inevitable Algerian Iris – they are everywhere

some with the richest of colour

early stages of Coq au Vin

We thought he was a bold fellow until we noticed that he was securely tied in place. Now, a Southerner like me can make a joke here about Yorkshireites and their funny accents and title this as ‘Chicken in t’ wine’. However J, who is well known as a regional accent buff at Pedant’s Corner, Private Eye, has spotted this over my shoulder and insisted that I insert the following correction which is a direct copy from that illustrious organ:

Dear Ed,

Pedantry Corner:
To Farmer Geddon (Eye 1289), Peter Sharples (Eye 1290) and Charles Warwick (Eye 1291) I am obliged to say “Nay lad!”
Being South Yorkshire born and bred, (although now away many decades), in our area the ‘the’ was never a ‘t’ at all. The ‘the’ was and is an almost imperceptible hiatus between  two words. The nearest I can come to writing it is “trouble at ‘ mill” – the ‘ in place of the three missing letters of ‘the’. Or, a longer example, “Down ‘ Wicker weer ‘ watter runs ovver ‘ weir.” (three missing thes)
The important thing to remember is that to really represent the accent accurately you must definitely sound these examples out loud wherever you are.
I especially fondly recall ” ‘t i’n’t in ‘ tin” (only one the here).
Your for ‘ society o’ ‘ preservation o’ regional accents,
Janet Surman.

Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü and forest

Incredible Okçular!

Iris Stew

Archers is not exactly renowned for culinary postings – in fact I’d go further, much further, and say that apart from the odd recommendation of an exceptional eating place, food, in any of its many manifestations has never graced these pages. There is a sound survival instinct in play here because I really do not like anything to do with the preparation of food and the fewer links between me and food the better!

Those of you who are into these things are strongly encouraged to go and visit my e-friends Özlem, Joy and Claudia who have wonderful cooking blogs – why, even the guys at Turkey’s For Life find the time to have a ‘culinary corner’!

Left to my own devices for a few days I generally wander off to the lokanta with a load of plastic pots and fill up on a week’s supply of rice and beans!

Anyway, I’ve decided to break the habit of a blogtime and do a recipe for Iris Stew – eyes down for today’s effort (marks out of ten would be appreciated;


a reasonable day

sunshine (optional)

sturdy footwear

a bit of countryside

Iris unguicularis (only available in season)

various fresh seasonal herbs

a picnic (optional)

glorious views

Elliman’s Universal Embrocation (not to be taken internally)


mix well in any order or direction and indulge regularly – Elliman’s is best used as a dessert course accompanied by a single malt.

Here are a few shots of today’s culinary delight à la ‘Celebrity Chef.


a few red peppers

some sticks of celery

plenty of Iris unguicularis (in season, which is now)

and I do mean plenty

a handful of mustard

splintered pine

a dash of pine nuts

. . and there you have it – a fine Iris Stew that serves any number. Oh, I nearly forgot, the Elliman’s Universal Embrocation to go with the single malt. Enjoy, or Afiyet olsen as we say here in Turkey!


Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü


forest walks SW Turkey

the road to the Islay malt

Incredible Okçular!


This post was going to be the one that brought the ‘Mystical Tour’ to a fitting climax, but then a beautiful Spring day, the gorgeous Kösten Dağ, the mountain behind our house, and my dear J with two sets of walking boots in her hands conspired to bring about what, back in the 50’s, the ‘Beeb’ tv used to call ‘time for a short interlude’. You remember, they showed fish wandering about aimlessly in a tank or a pair of potter’s hands turning a pot accompanied by soothing music? Incredible to think that we sat there mesmerised!

Anyway, back to this interlude. J and I went up Kösten Dağ and around to the eastern facing side and we went for a very good reason apart from the walk and fresh air. Kösten is made of limestone and this corner of Turkey gets some torrential rains so the whole mountain is carved out by valleys. Some are narrow and deep and others are more broad and gentle which means that all sorts of habitats are available to be colonised and exploited by a wide variety of flora and fauna. Some are common or garden and some,  as regular readers know, are anything but! Today’s photo interlude is about the common or garden on our walk today – are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin . .

first among equals – Barlia robertiana – Giant Orchid

Romulea tempskyana – Sand Crocus

Asphodelus aestivus  – Asphodel

goats forecasting the weather

Anemone coronaria Crown Anemone

the inevitable Anemone coronaria – Crown Anemone

nest and caterpillars of Thaumetopoea pityocampa – Pine Processionary

Gagea villosa - Gagea

Gagea villosa – Gagea

view east to Çal Dağ and the western Tauros Mountains

Old Man’s Beard – clematis seed-heads

Anagyris foetida – Bean Trefoil

new life – a few minutes old

J and I have been trying to identify this for years – any ideas?

. . and here is the main reason for visiting this area at this time. There are scattered pockets of this plant all around Kösten Dağ, but on the eastern flank on the north-facing side of one valley can be seen countless numbers carpeting the hillside. Come back a week from now and you will have missed them – Iris unguicularis v. carica – Algerian Iris


Iris unguicularis v. carica – Algerian Iris

. . . and finally . . . Ahhhh!

Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü

Incredible Okçular!

Birth Of The Blues!

IDF Caterpillar Armoured Bulldozer
Caterpillar D9 Armoured Bulldozer

The monster started its destruction early today; 7 o’clock to be precise! Its engine roared and its tracks clanked as it heaved itself away from our gateway and off up the hillside a couple of hundred metres away. This beast is definitely on contract as opposed to the rest of the critters which are assuredly government trained and fed and don’t get going much before eight twenty!

The creature is a D9 Caterpillar Bulldozer – here’s a picture of one that’s used by the Orwellian named Israeli Defence Forces to demolish the West Bank. ‘Ours’ is painted bright yellow and lacks the bullet-proof glass – otherwise it’s identical.

Anyway, having had our day got off to a great start, J and I decided to go for a good, long walk to see if we couldn’t rediscover some of the very good reasons why we live where we do. It was a great walk as we hauled ourselves up narrow valleys and through fine pine forests – stopping regularly to admire some of the beautiful flora and fantastic views.

By the time we got home my knees were having a right grumble and it will be a couple of days before they regain their normal creaky state! As I went through the photos I’d taken I was struck by the number of blue(ish) flowers in the pack – maybe it was a reflection of how the day began – it was certainly a reflection of how these beautiful gems had lifted my morning blues! Here’s a few to admire and enjoy.

Anemone coronaria
Anemone coronaria


Sand Crocus Romulea tempskyana
Sand Crocus Romulea tempskyana













Iris unguicularis ssp carica (Algerian Iris)
Iris unguicularis ssp carica (Algerian Iris)
Sand Crocus - Romulea tempskyana
Sand Crocus - Romulea tempskyana










Algerian Iris - Iris-unguicularis-ssp-carica
Algerian Iris - Iris-unguicularis-ssp-carica





Cyclamen alpinum
Cyclamen alpinum






















OK! The Cyclamen is pink, but I was wearing tinted specs at the time and it is rather beautiful!

Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü