Kontrolation 2.0

‘Oh, dear! Here he goes again, prattling on about rabbit holes and secret cabins – boring!’ All I can say is that this Old Boffer and his squeeze are excited and who’s writing this drivel anyway!


So, where were we? As I recall, the framework of the cabin was up, the roof was nearly complete, the external cladding was well under way and the crew kept getting interrupted by splendid feasts instead of getting on with the job. J and I had to come back home for a couple of days to get the car serviced and MOT’d. Then it was back to the place where our dreams were fast becoming reality. Here’s what we found . .


insulation, floor and internal cladding under way


starting to get some idea of how it will be when finished


looking east through the ‘square window’ – Play School fans will get it


canalisation work begins


. . and the plumbing


the amount of stuff is going down rapidly

Meanwhile, our demirci/blacksmith is about to give a culinary master class . .





works canteen – Turkish style

Next day we sloped off over the mountains to stock up from our favourite winery. When we got back . .


internal walls were up


. . and J is looking decidedly happy

Another day and . .


ceilings are up


fascias are fitted, and . .


Hasan the plumber is under there somewhere


and the cheerful chippies are . .


. . really cracking on

Over there, up the hill a bit and as far again, a digger has, throughout the day and late into the night, dug a trench, laid the pipe and back-filled to our own, personal supply of mountain spring water.



Hasan putting the finishing touches, including . .


. . his patent sand filtration system!


everywhere, finishing touches to the woodwork



The temporary steps that will be replaced by really old ones from a derelict building made from Juniper/Ardiç which, having survived longer than J and me, will almost certainly outlast us!

As we left for home again, there were still bits and bobs to finish off. Now we have a few days respite whilst the carpenters adapt the old doors/frames and build the kitchen cupboards, our bed and the windows and shutters. There is still the soba/oven/range to buy and fit but our new mattress and energy efficient fridge are just awaiting word for delivery. J is already packing boxes with stuff to take up there, including wine, whisky and rakı glasses – well, with a balcony looking out over that view, we deserve to be spoilt for choice as we toast yet another beautiful day in Turkey!

Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü and the other end of the Rabbit Hole!



Punched, Bored Or Countersunk!

A couple of posts back I put you in the frame about the secret hideaway at the other end of the Rabbit Hole that J and I had just acquired. In it you learned how quickly things can evolve here in Turkey if you have a good attitude backed by a fair wind. This post takes this little voyage of adventure a bit further forward as we pick up the Trade Winds and ride the rollers of good fortune. Enjoy the trip, we are – sort of – most of the time!

sailing the trades

I’m not being a grumpy old fart by voicing that, just saying that sometimes the pace of things can leave one gasping and spinning around rather like the effects of that first, illicit fag behind the bike shed.

Anyway, having sorted out and paid for the steel that will form the framework for our wooden cabin, we agreed with our usta/craftsman that we would come back for an inspection visit about halfway through this phase of the job. We arrived, parked up on our neighbour’s plot and, with great anticipation, stepped through the hedgerow for our first view . .

cabin trip 1

we both thought ‘Blimey, it looks like an apartment block!’

cabin trip2

side elevation

cabin trip4

checking the measurements – again!

cabin trip3

rooms with a view

Shortly after we arrived the head of forestry for the province turned up and introduced himself. He congratulated us on our project and then got into conversation with J who told him of our hopes and plans for the plot with fruit and nut trees and a ‘dragonfly’ pond. Such was her enthusiasm that the forestry department have offered to supply us with all the trees we need – free!

Next came lunch, a BBQ of a whole, roast lamb at the beach for everyone thanks to the father of our young usta. Also present, along with the forestry guys, were the village muhtar/headman and a provincial governor. A new project (nothing to do with us) to plant a forest of acacia trees to help the village with honey production was agreed. Turks really know how to network!


Acacia Honey – reputedly the best

Next day was pretty frenetic as we were taken to the forestry depot to pick out the wood we wanted for inside and outside the cabin. Then it was off to the showroom to choose shower, toilet and washbasin. That was followed up by various visits to select roofing material and insulation, rock-wool for walls and ceiling and a special type of foam for underfloor.  Oh, and before I forget, we managed to fit in a trip to Eğirdir Lake for a scrumptious meal with our main man and his wife – two people we love dearly.


that’s us, right by the little harbour

In the midst of all this mad activity, and my occasional outbursts of exasperation at my inability to keep so many balls in the air at once, was Sue. Sue is J’s long-time friend who has been on a two week visit that I’m sure she thought would be a calming and relaxing experience.

What can I say, Sue? I don’t know if I’m punched, bored or countersunk – join the club – ‘Burası Türkiye’ – ‘This is Turkey!’ Above all, never let anyone tell you that Turks are lazy or that you can’t get things done here – ever!

Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü – this side of the Rabbit Hole!

Incredible Okçular!


We love to go a-wandering, along the mountain track – although we tend not to sing, J and I do enjoy a good wander. Especially when, as yesterday, we find a new forestry track that opens up new vistas and new areas to scrabble about in.

I’m not planning to write much, just show you a little of what delighted us – apart from anything else, when we wandered off along a goat path, we found a super little place that only a bee-keeper seems to visit and we’re not telling any of you where it is!

the view to Çal Dağ

Iztuzu Beach and the Dalyan Delta

. . with a bit of zoom thrown in

local workplaces are a hive of activity

mountain meadow – a little oasis

. . a splash of colour on the track to somewhere – Anemone coronaria Crown Anemone

Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü


Elmalı – Appley

There was a time, way back, when I believed in maps – I’d been weaned on a diet of Ordnance Survey military and Wayfarer maps as well as Shell Route Planners. Maps were maps, maps were accurate, maps were reliable, things of beauty, treasure troves of information – and then J and I came to Turkey!

Here, we rapidly learned, maps were the physical manifestation of someone’s fevered imagination! Designed to confuse Greek third-columnists and Soviet ‘Spetsnaz’ special forces; maps here showed roads where none existed and nothing where they did. Whole towns upped sticks and moved miles to where you might eventually find them – if you were lucky, had unlimited time or happened to pick up a local who was hitching a lift there! Navigating off of the main roads, and even on them, was a trifle hit and miss to say the least.

So it was that way back when J and I were searching out places to settle down we set out very early from our overnight stop at Kalkan. In our search for places that would give us the right sort of vibes, we were heading up and over the mountains behind the town following the so-called main road to the town of Elmalı – ‘Appley’ (or ‘With Apples’ if you want to be precise) in English.

Pretty soon the asphalt ran out and we were on the dirt which got progressively rougher until we considered ourselves lucky to get into second gear from time to time. The hours dragged on as we ground our exhaust system across the uneven terrain and dodged the heavy construction vehicles that were working on a new baraj. Eventually we crept into the small town of Gömbe, a pretty enough place nestled to one side of the river valley, where we stopped for a very late lunch.

These days, anyone making the journey would wonder what the fuss was about as they whizz along the new road that bypasses the baraj and Gömbe. Back then it was a nightmare and because of the construction work the road from Gömbe to Elmalı was also a mess. The plain between Gömbe and Elmalı lies 1100mts above sea level and my enduring memories are of the glorious smells of apples and woodsmoke (it was winter). By the time we got to Elmalı it was dark and J and I had had enough – it was going to take a lot more hours to get back to our base in Dalyan so instead of stopping in the town we drove on and until a couple of months ago we had never been back.

When we did, we were delighted! The town has great charm with many lovely old houses, a beautiful main mosque, a quaint little mosque and water from the mountains cascading down gullies in the steep streets. The air is cool and sweet in summer and although it gets bloody cold in winter it makes a great base to explore the surrounding countryside which is magnificent. Missing this little gem the first time around was a mistake.

Elmalı and little Gömbe both have charm and interest but for me they are mainly useful as a base to explore the stunning mountains that surround them. I’m not going to spend any time describing in detail, suffice to say that J and I spent three days walking, touring and exploring before taking the magnificent drive back that takes you up over the mountains and down to Seki before rejoining the main mountain road from Antalya to Fethiye. It wasn’t enough, so we’ll be back for more.

If you haven’t been to Elmalı or explored the surrounds I recommend it to you, especially when you want to escape the heat of summer for a while. Meanwhile, here are a few photos to whet your interest.

Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü

Elmalı Camii and Medrese
Little Camii on the hill
fascinating back streets


'oldish' house
interesting insects


across the rooftops of Elmalı


more back streets


view from the top with karamanlar (fat-tailed sheep)