Every couple of days, summer and winter, J and I get up early enough to beat the sun and stretch our ageing muscles and creaky joints by pounding the track from our house to a little valley, known locally as Azmandere, just outside our neighbouring village.


There the villagers have created a very pleasant picnic area with tables, benches, platforms and places for a ‘barby’. Many different trees have been planted and water, fit for drinking,  flows year-round. The village holds a very jolly communal picnic each year with live music and much singing and dancing – everyone is made welcome.


The water flowing in the dere/stream is home to the beautiful Epallage fatima – the Odalisque damselfly. In the past I’ve collected DNA samples that have found their way to researchers around the world. Azman really is a little oasis in many ways.

Epallage fatime - Odalisque damselfly in tandem

Epallage fatime – the odalisque Damselfly in tandem (both photos from Azman)

Epallage fatime

The track has many flowery distractions as the seasons flow into each other. Now, as the heat of summer melts away into the gentle welcome of our ‘spring’ the bulbous plants are beginning their version of the Chelsea Flower Show alongside their tougher, heat-tolerant neighbours.

Urginea maritima (Sea Squill) 03_1

Urginea maritima (Sea Squill) 04_1Sea Squill –Urginea maritima

Colchicum variagatum 01_1the stunning Colchicum variegatum



the Chaste Tree – Vitex agnus-castus used for centuries to keep lustful monks in order

Scilla autumnalisAutumn Squill – Scilla autumnalis

Erica sicula

a variety of heather – Erica sicula

europea heliotrope2

amazingly tough European Heliotrope – Heliotropium europaeum


much maligned Stink Aster – Inula viscosa

A few days ago, midst all this beauty, there was an ugly incident; on one of our non-walking days the body of a man was discovered dumped or left beside the rubbish bin on site. It appears that he was stabbed and shot! The investigation is ongoing. Azman is never going to feel quite the same again!


Asman body

Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü


A Bit Of A Shower

J and I got back from Iran to a couple of things (apart from a mound of emails) that are not every day matters, especially at this time of year. First, there was a lot of unseasonal but very welcome rain – cloudbursts even. Second, there was a group of walkers from Manchester that we’d committed to take on a hike through our mountain paradise.

It very soon became apparent that the two were linked – the ‘Shower’ from Manchester had brought their notorious weather with them! They also turned out to be a bunch of  (mostly) experienced ‘yompers’ who were delightfully interesting company to boot! I’ve never been one to believe that ‘interesting hikers’ was, like ‘military intelligence’, an oxymoron – although there are some X-Box players who do!

some intermittent drizzle

IMG_2143_1 IMG_2144_1_1 IMG_2145_1_1 IMG_2146_1_1 IMG_2147_1_1

followed by a right old shower


Anyway, we had a great time together as they showed me up by being totally unaffected by the heat and inclines whilst this old ‘Boffer’ had leg cramps for the first time in his life. Such was the pity that they felt that at the end of the walk they made a very generous donation to the Okçular Book Project as well as buying a good number of books. What can I say? Our children and village thank you – a deluge of generosity from the Manchester Shower. May your walks be life-long, filled with gentle sunshine and may Lancashire win the County Championship (Not much chance of the last two, eh! You could always try Premium Bonds!)

Alan Fenn, recovering in Okçular Köyü

ps I will get around to Iran Life stories

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


Free Heart and Lung Therapy

J and I spent Christmas Day exploring an area in the mountains not too far from where we live. A year earlier, on the 25th, we were burying our dear old dog Sinsi who had died that morning. She loved exploring the backways and trackways with us and was an excellent sniffer-out of obscure paths and goat tracks. It was appropriate, therefore, that we found that a new track had been cut by the forestry authorities and we were able to spend and enjoyable time exploring it and plotting it by gps.

Several days were then spent drawing out an accurate map of the new route, digitalising it and then cleaning it up to make it fit for use and purpose. Then the directions and information for those who want to walk or cycle the route was composed. The new route is named after that old reprobate of a dog – which just goes to show that I’m silly and sentimental as well as an old fool! That done it could be turned into a downloadable pdf for you to print out for your own use or to share with your friends.

So, if you enjoy a ramble or a ride and don’t live too far from the Dalyan – Ortaca area, get your free copy here and get going – work off some of that Christmas pud and lethargy! Happy trekking!

Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü

ps If you haven’t got your copies of ‘Backways & Trackways’ or ‘Okçular Village a Guide’ you should go to the Okçular Village website where there is a special offer on if you buy copies of both books. You could also win copies of the original book plus ‘Archers’ tee-shirts if you join us on Facebook or NetworkedBlogs; see the side panel for details.

 Karadonlar to Gokbel Walk
The 'Sinsi Köpek Memorial Walk or Cycle Ride'