Monday, 23 May 2011


I've just got back from a week's holiday with my daughter staying in a very nice hotel near the seaside resort of Kalkan in Southern Turkey. I was last in Turkey twenty-one years ago when our daughter was nine and our son, five. Then, it was our son who got all the attention. The Turkish men made a great fuss of him and he lapped it up like a Cheshire cat. Our daughter had felt quite left out. This time it was her turn for attention but it was mainly unwanted and at times persistent and sleazy.
     One of her 'suitors' was the pool supervisor, whose Turkish name sounded like Ferret and that's what he asked us to call him. He was friendly with both of us, but when she was resistent to his charms, he became hurt, angry and sulked.
      Ferret is from eastern Turkey near the Syrian border. There was no work in his village and so this was his eighth summer working for the hotel doing the same job.  Despite his job title he can't swim and hates the sea. When we asked him what would happen if someone got into trouble in the pool, he said he'd call the captain of the little water taxi that takes folk around the bay. And if he was out at sea? Nothing had ever happened and he didn't think it ever would.  
      It didn't matter where ever we might be: sitting by the grand or round salt water pools, sunbathing down on one of the bouganvillea-covered terraces, swimming in crystal waters, or at the precise moment when one of us was trying to unobtrusively extricate ourselves from a wet costume, he would pop up like a meerkat, comparing the market for holiday insurance.
     Most of his days are spent practising proverbs with British holiday-makers, avoiding animals he may be allergic to, or snoozing in the wooden box that stores orange beach towels, dreaming of Welsh girls he would like to go out with.  Where there's a will, there's not always a way.

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