Before starting my monthly meanderings may I apologise for missing last month. As some of you may know I had something of a family crisis and had to return to UK…..
I’m not pregnant; anyway, I don’t think I am. No, at 66 years of age and being male I think I can say I’m definitely not pregnant (but think of the money I could make selling my story!!!). It’s just that last Christmas I got what I can only describe as a craving. Now every Christmas I have chicken. It’s cheap and, with the aid of a bit of stuffing, you can almost make it festive. But, last Christmas, I decided I wanted roast duck so down I went to the village butcher.
In my best Turkish I said, “Good morning. I’d like a duck please”. Our butcher is a past master at looking blank and as blank looks go I got the blankest look I think I’ve ever seen. I decided that perhaps I’d got it wrong and ördek wasn’t the word for duck so I began waddling round his shop making loud quacking noises whilst frantically wiggling my rump. Still no joy and he gently said to me that people round here eat duck eggs but don’t eat duck.
Crestfallen but not beaten I decided to try in Pinahisar, my local town. More blank looks, more duck impressions (at which I felt I was getting rather good) and then more rejections. I finally realised that duck could be off my Christmas menu. As I trudged my way back to get the bus to the village I bumped into a mate of mine who is a local taxi driver. We chatted for a while and then he asked why I’d come into town. I explained I wanted a duck for Christmas….”No problem” he said, brightly “My friend sells ducks. We’ll go and see him”. So, ignoring the small warning bell that was chiming at the back of my mind, I arranged to meet him on Wednesday and together we would buy my duck.
Wednesday came and I met Resmi as arranged and that little bell in the back of my mind was now subdued by thoughts of a roast duck with all the trimmings for my Christmas dinner. “It won’t take us long to get to the farm. My friend knows we’re coming” and that bell began clanging…an awful lot louder. Finally we arrived at the farm and, to my horror I saw a beautiful little stream running alongside the farm and the stream was full of…..ducks!!!
No. No nono. the nice farmer will greet us with tea then go into the freezer in his outhouse and present me with a perfectly prepared, frozen, wrapped in cling film duck. It would not resemble those happy creatures splashing and playing in the water. I almost believed they waved their wings in greeting as we arrived. The warning bell had now been joined by a large empty feeling in the pit of my stomach and thoughts of vegetarianism whirling round my head.
The farmer greeted me warmly and said, “Right, let’s find you a nice duck” but he didn’t go into his outhouse, he didn’t go near a freezer, instead he picked up a big bucket of dried corn and shook it noisily. Upon hearing the bucket the ducks promptly left the stream and made a long waddling line advancing towards the farmer. You could almost hear them say “How delightful. Not only visitors but an early lunch too.”
I wanted to run down to them frantically flapping my wings….sorry, arms! I wanted to tell them to go back to their quiet stream. I wanted to explain that the dried corn was horrible and that they wouldn’t like it. But I didn’t. Instead I stood in stupefied silence while the farmer deftly worked his way through the birds rejecting one as too small, another as too thin until he finally said “Now that’s a fine duck” and quickly picked it up and put it under his arm. Within minutes we were back in my mate’s taxi and heading back to town. I’d paid the farmer (why did it feel like 30 pieces of silver?), thanked him profusely and, as they used to say in the News of the World ‘made my excuses and left’. In the back dinner was making very annoyed quacks and Resmi asked if I wanted to take it home and sort it myself or would I prefer him to do it. I muttered something about it being better if he did it and he explained that he was brought up on a farm and it wouldn’t be a problem. I almost told him to quieten down and not to speak of such things in front of the duck but instead I just sat and nodded.
Two days later Resmi arrived at my home and presented me with a beautifully clean, unfeathered and prepared bird ready for my Christmas dinner. I must tell you, dear reader, that despite all the feelings I had, that duck was the finest I had ever tasted. And so Christmas has arrived again. And what is the only yabancı in the village having for Christmas you ask…………………CHICKEN!!!!!
May I take this opportunity of wishing all our readers a very Merry, Joyful and Peaceful Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year.