Ramshackle Restaurant

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Yesterday was spent with my cousin Mike, his wife Bettine and daughter Emma on their boat Kardes. They have been coming to Goçek for years, before its recent development and when there were still dirt tracks – they must be very old! However this does mean they know the area inside out, they lead us to new places, new adventures and sometimes dramas. We had a late lunch stop and enjoyed catching up with lots of cooling swims but didn’t really notice that the anchor was dragging and we were getting closer to the shore, we were tied up alongside them. Eventually the penny dropped and just in time we separated, motored away and took a nearby buoy for a short while before being led off into the unknown again.

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Mike led us to Twenty Two Fathom Cove and tucked in the head of a little bay there was the most ramshackle set up I’ve come across. It was delightful. No buildings but crumbling walls of long unused olive tree terracing. Standing on these walls staring down superciliously, gathered goats of different hue and appearance and scratching around in the dirt were a variety of poultry and of course there were the usual dogs and cats. I remember children’s books, three sections to each page, which present the head of one animal, the body of another and the legs of yet another. Well that is what these dogs brought to mind, you couldn’t tell what breed they were but could hazard a guess as to some of the strains present. Most had round tubular bodies little heads and short legs I imagined they had been assembled by someone with a loose knowledge of what a dog should look like, put all sorts of unlikely bits together and bingo we have these really weird looking mutts. They frolic along with the other livestock who live blissfully unaware of the menu which boasts along with Wild Boar casserole, Chicken and Goat casserole. In amongst all this and under the trees were scattered simple tents used by the family during the summer whilst working here. I could see a mirror in one and clothes hanging beside it, in another some supplies and one on its own and just visible was a shining white porcelain loo.

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All the cooking was done in the open air or assembled in a boat tied up to the rickety pier, goodness knows where the electricity came from. I could see tall bottles of deep green olive oil and fat bottles of olives, nothing was grown here but fruit and vegetables brought in daily. In the morning there was fresh bread and the lady, who never seemed to stop working, rolled the dough paper thin ready for the pancakes, fag hanging out of the corner of her mouth and cats curling around her ankles. I liked this lady ‘Lady Captain very good, lady captain best’! greeted our arrival and she repeated it when we left. Her husband ‘Amigo’ (proper name Reçep) regaled all who would listen in pigeon English about the profitability or not of the current season, the different characteristics of the visitors and the amount of alcohol consumed.

In the morning I took a walk to look over the other side and suddenly was aware that I was being followed. In turning around a near biblical scene greeted me as following on behind with great faith and increasing energy were a motley collection of goats, dogs, hens cockerels and the turkey. I might have been leading them to freedom or the promised land but actually most of them seemed very happy with their lot. I imagined I was leading them to the ark but nobody had paid any attention to gather matching pairs and we certainly didn’t have the pick of the species!

We had woken to find that Kardes had gone, silently in the early morning and according to a text from Bettine had repulsed a rat that had come aboard to eat their avocados – the cheek!
I had heard the dogs barking in the night and just thought to myself oh good they will be keeping the rats away!

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