Wednesday, September 30

Strange Visitor

I didn’t intend to stop for more than one night in Aydin, but I hadn’t reckoned on the fulsomeness of Turkish hospitality. One of the professors from this town's university visited my house in Bristol last year, so I dropped by to say hello on my way north - I’m not allowed to leave until I’ve been properly shown around.

Aydin is largely made up of newish pastel-coloured concrete tower blocks and mosques, visitors do not come here. Before I go out on the street I put on clothes that I think are properly sober, I look in the mirror and think 'would a Turkish person wear that?’ and I think they might, but people are falling off their bicycles trying to get a better look at me, so I guess that I must appear as an odd cartoonish figure in this landscape. If I look back at the women I pass, they have often stopped in the street and turned to watch me, when they see me they smile and wave, which is nice but slightly unnerving.

I am leaving tomorrow but not before I have made a supper party, my mouth made the suggestion before my brain could stop it and now I’m a bit daunted by the prospect of cooking for a roomful of Turkish academics, possibly they are all daunted by the thought that I might make them eat toad in the hole and spotted dick.

Aydin is known for it’s figs so I’m going to make this tagliatelle dish with figs, lemon and chilli (it’s good, try it) followed by chicken and spinach salad with roast peppers.

This morning I went to the market with its streets of vegetable stalls piled high with produce. The other shoppers are all pushing big overflowing trolleys, I try and buy just one handful of chilli peppers and I get laughed at, it’s not worth charging me for such a small amount, nor the single lime - then some ladies stop me and ask me something - I can’t understand, so one of the women makes a call on her mobile and passes the handset to me so that I can speak to a young girl trying to translate her mother’s question

My mother wants to know ... whasserangum afffersezzem ...

... actually I can’t remember the exact sounds made after that first bit, but it was incomprehensible, we flounder around trying out sounds on each other until the phone runs out of battery, we part company with none of us any the wiser.

Mudbathing Postscript
There seemed to be demand for an image of the mud baths, I'm the one wallowing.

If you stand up in this warm salty compound it's thigh deep but lie down in it and you bob on the surface - weird, and cool, when you want to de-mud you can just dive into the lake on the other side of the wall.

Saturday, September 26

Hot Turkey

The first part of this trip has been in Dalyan, a small Turkish holiday town. We stayed in one of the messy jumble of small pensions hugging the curve of a fat river, the tourism here is low-rise - not chic but there are no chain outlets here either. The bulk of the foreign tourists have gone and the holiday-makers are mostly Turkish now.

The popular thing to do is hop on one of the boats going to the coast, whole families come along on these trips, the men take my husband aside and try and teach him something about fishing while the women get out their purses and, through sheer force of will, make me understand their family history illustrated with the bundles of photographs they always have with them. A ten-year-old from Istanbul with frighteningly good English helped with some translation and, hearing that I had not eaten well the night before, has drawn me up a list of what I must eat and the places I must visit when I get to her city. The image here is one side of several pages of instructions, you might need to click on it if you want to read it.

The Director has now gone to America to attend another film festival and I’m going to go and look at some other bits of Turkey on my own. Lone travelling always gets a bit more extreme and I’ve had some awful times doing it as well as some really good ones, if I can get a connection I’ll tell you about it...

Thursday, September 17

Staff Dispersal

Whiplash left me in Spain, flying off to Portugal to shake her tambourine with her band. Our youngest Camera Boy went to Germany to attend a film festival where one of our films was in the competition. It’s one of a series of short insect films made for children called Smalltalk Diaries, the insects are all voiced in different British accents, he sent an email to let us know that we’d got a prize and I’m wondering if we’ll ever see him again:

hey all! just a quick email to say smalltalk has won the childrens audience award here at greenscreen - congratulations!! pictures to follow......

i've made friends with lots of german film makers, volunteers and the film watching public- yesterday I had some authentic kartoffel suppe at deutsche couple's house. the screening of smalltalk was pretty interesting because there was a live narration by a husky german man, who did put lots of effort into doing different voices for the characters. i have met some guys who are sailing to kiel this evening from eckernforde so I am joining them and have taken the necessary precautions to waterproof and protect the trophy (made from eckernforde sand).


here's a bit of the winning programme

The African filming trip returned while I was away, I've heard it was a roaring success but the participants are too exhausted to talk about it (sorry about lack of updates on the Field Notes site, I think when enough sleep has been had there will be news). Cake Boy is now trudging through heaps of digital footage that needs lots of processing, he will be alone in the office for a while because I’m taking The Director to Turkey today.

Friday, September 11

Spanish Antics

We accomplished our mission to find out what the Argentine ants are up to in Spain by virtue of running a camera continuously while Whiplash and I bombarded the Spanish ant scientist with questions. It was a bit like when they send children out to interview celebrities. Among other things we established that;

a) The Argentine ants in Spain are indeed part of a global supercolony*

b) Human activity makes exactly the right conditions for invasive species

c) The ant scientist's favourite colour is yellow and he often has a croissant for breakfast

Our work done, Whiplash and I retired to Cadaqués, a ridiculously picturesque seaside town close to the French border. Salvador Dali made his home there, and it is impossible to turn a corner without seeing his famously mustachioed face. We visited Dali’s very theatrical house which is stuffed with all sorts of things; bottoms, bosoms, mirrors, taxidermied swans, the odd bear and a boss-eyed owl.

I had completely misunderstood the importance of the holy toast (see last post). Too late I realised that, rather than eat it, I should have hung it medallion-like around my neck to ward off the series of temptations placed in my path by Whiplash. I shall not go into detail (I have many episodes on film and plan to start up a sideline business). Hauling the bottles up the hill to the apartment was great for our lungs and biceps but the positive effects might be outweighed by the fact that I’ve started smoking again. I’ve also come home with ‘prickly heat’ – at least I think that’s what the rash is, either that or I’ve picked up something from the daily foam party.

Pop-tastic video courtesy of Whiplash on her mobile phone

*most species of ants make a nest that works like a self-contained state, when they meet ants from another nest, whether of their own species or different one they behave aggressively and often kill each other. Ants of the same species that have formed multiple nests and act in a friendly way towards each other become a supercolony - a sort of federation, they will all be related to each other. Usually a supercolony extends over a few metres or even kilometres of land area, the Argentine Ants have formed a supercolony that extends across continents

Saturday, September 5

My Little Pony

I’m lucky enough to have a big derelict building at the end of my street. The broad steps in front of it are occupied from mid-afternoon onwards by the local winos, but in the mornings anyone can use the space. Last week some ladies in green quilted waistcoats stood among the empty bottles and dried up body fluids and set up a sandwich board advertising Free Prayers.

I wasn’t busy and felt that I could do with a boost, so I told one of the ladies what I needed, then I stood next to her while she shut her eyes, clasped her hands in front of her bosom and said a sort of poem from my words, then I continued on home.

I was a bit sceptical, then excited. Then I got anxious because if Jesus really did send me a pony, I wasn’t sure where I’d put it. This morning though I witnessed a true miracle. On burning my toast the clear image of a pony appeared - I’m not so sceptical now am I?

All that Jesus has to arrange now is for Whiplash and I to get off to Spain - she’s successfully bribed the courts to put off her next hearing, but she is singing with her band tonight and the gig/after party needs to end before the 6am flight.

If it works we’re away for a week – so see you later!

Tuesday, September 1

Girls On Film

Crumbs! – I thought I had sorted out a lazy escape for Miss Whiplash and myself - but it looks like we’re going to have to work for it after all.

We have some euros left over from a previous production that need using up - but they must be used for filming business. With my customary brilliance I suggested that we do a recce for the next leg of ant filming which will be in Spain.

What I meant was, that we could try out some hotels and restaurants to see which would be the best for the film crew to use, but the producer has just emailed me several detailed pages of instructions about the things he wants finding out, here are a few of the issues to be explored:

… film the ant colonies to give us an idea of size and density, have Whiplash stand in for scale in some shots … need to know the activity of the ants – when do they first get going in the morning … perhaps this depends on light hitting their nests … When do they stop … what will the weather be like when we plan to film … how will the weather then affect ant behaviour … video some ants fighting to give us an idea of what happens … would be good to get an idea of the day-to-day activity of the ants … What other species of ants are nearby … interview ant scientist to give us an idea of what he is like on camera

Despite this setback I'm still looking forward to it, if I can get Whiplash's tag off we're going next week.
Related Posts with Thumbnails