An Earthquake Season

The first big rains since April herald the end of a particularly long and dry summer. My garden all but gave an audible sigh as the water flowed like a small stream over what was left of the dusty grass and shrivelled plants. A good 10 degrees cooler it felt like the abrupt end of summer, which usually entails a week or so of unsettled weather before the temperatures head south until spring returns. It wasn’t the first storm but the first with a decent quantity of rain. A quite dramatic storm about two weeks ago which was more high winds, dry thunder and choppy seas, was so choppy that out in the bay two netted pens came undone at one of the countless fish farms that sit offshore. They say about 10 tons of almost mature cupra pronounced chup-ra (sea bream) escaped. It certainly locked like that judging by the number of fishermen and women taking up their positions on the shore around my house. It seemed like half the village was out their pulling in the fish. The hungry cupra seemed to be taking anything as bait, which isn’t surprising if you consider that they were being fed 3 times a day to fatten them up until suddenly they needed to switch from being a stodgy farmed, fat and lazy fish into wild hunters of the deep. I suppose a bit like a fast food junkie suddenly being dropped into a jungle and told to survive off the land. Although the number of catches seems to be dwindling I am pleased to report I managed to catch 3 decent sized fish myself. The last of which you can see below, which Kitten seemed to think was actually caught for her.

Cat with Fish
This season we also saw more than our usual share of earthquakes, which started with a 6.6 event between the Greek Island of Kos and Bodrum that caused fatalities back in July. The locals say there is usually a swarm of earthquakes every 15 to 20 years in this area. They also told us that the first big quake often triggers a few smaller ones that gradually move east along the fault line. This did happen and as much as anyone can predict these things no one was surprised when we had a rash of quakes from 4.3 up to 5.0 epicentred between 5 and 8 miles away from here in September. So a few cracks in tiles or brickwork and on two occasions I had a water pipe burst in my garden – which is perhaps more down to the appalling standard of plumbing professionalism in Turkey than any earthquake. However, after they headed east almost as far as Marmaris we thought we were safe for another 15 to 20 years; until we had another 4.6 quake quite close to Bodrum just this week so maybe this cycle isn’t quite over yet.

Aftermath of earthquake in Kos
Photo care of
There is something a little unsettling during these changes of the seasons. Those of us who have worn nothing but flip flops or other beach shoes since May are suddenly faced with squeezing our feet into socks and proper shoes again – the same applies to underwear for those of us who have spent the summer going around commando. But it doesn’t take long for these cooler, longer nights to turn our attention to preparing our homes for winter. They can be surprisingly cold at times when you consider most of our houses where originally built for summer use; marble and stone walls may be great for keeping the heat down in July and August but do little to keep the heat in for those who brave the whole winter in Turkey. So it’s a time for servicing and reinstalling our wood burners or purchasing a few electric heaters for the house. Of course if you have a wood burner you also need to chop yourself a decent quantity of wood or at the very least buy a pick-up load of it for yourself together with a few bags of quality coal to lay on top.

Eventually you notice one day that all the Turkish tourists and English snow birds have gone for the winter leaving just a few of us left with the villagers. Sometimes that can feel like a relief after a heavy couple of months of being drawn into the social calendar. Parties, BBQ’s or just meeting up in the usual bars all adds to the waistline and the sense of guilt that you have drank a little more alcohol than planned… again. So late October into November becomes something of an early season of resolutions and plans to get fit again. It is also a period where we can let our hair down a little with few worries about what we look like. Some even take it as an excuse to let their hair down a little too far and it won’t be long before some of us are looking below our best with a few even becoming a little feral in appearance, all in the knowledge that there is no one around to notice let alone care what you look like. Which means it is always a bit of a surprise when you bump into someone in the market, who you thought had left weeks earlier, then quickly deduce from their look of surprise at your five days of beard growth and their noticing you’re still wearing your morning walking clothes that you have also slid down hill pretty quickly!

Feeling Feral
Photo care of
But of course I am too much of a wuss to actually brave the cold and often wet winters here anymore. Soon enough I’ll be tempted to book flights to distant sunny places where I can spend a month or so avoiding the worst of it here. But then – just as imperceptibly as winter arrived we wake up one day in April and realise it’s time to take off our shoes, socks and our underwear again because yet another long hot summer has finally arrived.


5 thoughts on “An Earthquake Season

  1. Where have you been hiding?

    As often is you tempt me with your views and places. Especially today at the beginning of the winter. But earthquakes will scare me I am sure. Next year pehaps will be my time

    Marie {:)B< xx

  2. It was a nice story. How much can be true I am wondering. Turkey seems a very broken place these years with refugees and a crazy man at the top of the tree. How is can a country of 80 million people let him get away with it so much?

    That sea bream is a tasty fish. I am in envy of your cat.


    • Hi Adrianne

      Yes Turkey has a lot of problems not least with the polarised politics. But as I have already commented about this in many previous posts I thought it was time for a small snapshot of life here instead.

  3. Even a serial blog surfing junkie like me needs a bit of something different. Your current affair type posts are always interesting and often a surprise but as someone on the hamster wheel of working in a small mid western town I always enjoy those glimpses of Mediterranean life you treat us to, even the earthquakes.


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