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 – the odalisque Damselfly in tandem (both photos from Azman)
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.
the Chaste Tree – Vitex agnus-castus used for centuries to keep lustful monks in order
a variety of heather – Erica sicula
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!
Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü