Thursday, 19 April 2007

Gone Shopping!

On Monday Lois, Zoe and I went to Glastonbury to visit my Mum and to say farewell to the Parlours. My nephew James and his family Yvette, Griffin and Daithi were due to fly back to New Zealand after working in Ireland for a couple of years. It was sad to think we wouldn't see them for a while but we are thrilled for my sister Kate who is so excited that they are coming back to Kaitaia. She hasn't met her newest grandson, Daithi yet. He shares Irish citizenship with her in that they were both born in the republic.

Griffin had prepared a treasure hunt for us all. After finding the chocolate treasure we headed up the Tor where Lois took some great photos. At the end of the day they didn't say goodbye, just 'see you later', a great kiwi phrase that even complete strangers say to each other. Yvette said, 'we're just off to the shops' - in New Zealand!

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

CORD 40th Anniversary

On Saturday Lois and I went to Coventry Cathedral for the CORD 4oth Anniversary celebrations. CORD (Christian Outreach Relief and Development) is an interdenominational Christian relief agency which specializes in working with victims of conflict around the world. As Project Vietnam Orphans it was founded in 1967 by Lois' parents, Pat and Marion Ashe.

The very first time I saw Lois in 1980 she was speaking at London Bible College about the dreadful conditions along the Thai border where she and her family were working to help Khmer refugees. Lois worked in Vietnam briefly before flying out on the Daily Mail Airlift when Saigon was falling to the Vietcong. She then worked for 4 years in refugee camps in Thailand.

In 1985 I went to Sudan for three months with Christian Outreach, as it was then called, during my first year as a curate in Hereford. We were setting up camps for Tigrayan and Eritrean refugees. For several years we were involved, with thousands of others, in shipping blankets by the container load to Sudan. I became a member of the executive committee of Christian Outreach and later a Trustee and chairman of the committee. I finally resigned in 2000 when I got more involved with our own diocesan link with Zambia.

Saturday was a wonderful and very moving occasion. It was great to catch up with friends from so many different stages of CORD's history and our involvement. For Lois this included childhood friends going back 40 years. In the morning there were seminars and we went to one about CORD's involvement with Angolan refugees in Zambia. Then we went to a presentation on links CORD has with other projects in Asia. This was very moving for me as I had visited all three projects - Christian Care for Children with Disabilities in Thailand, Gospel Outreach (amongst Santhali tribals) in India and Shepherd of the Hills Orphanage in the Philippines. I was thrilled to see Wasan, Jonanthan and Nathaniel all ministering together.

Not only was it great to catch up with so many friends from Thailand and Sudan years but we also managed to link up with many new projects and opportunities such as an AIDS awareness project for Central Africa.

The Thanksgiving Service was very moving, starting in the ruins of the old cathedral with an emphasis on pentitence for the horrors of war. Then we moved into the Cathedral for a presentation of CORD's history which started with a drama about the very beginning when Marion was ironing whilst watching a Julian Pettifer report on orphans in Vietnam. When she brought tea into Pat's men's prayer group she suggested they should do something to help the children. One person said "what can we do to help so many millions like that", to which Pat replied "what if we were to pray that God would show us how to help just one child?" Lois and just about every one else was in tears at the sight of young girls playing her and her sister Jane alongside Marion in this little sketch.

The third part of the service in the chancel looked to the future and Colin Bennetts the Bishop of Coventry, as patron of CORD, spoke very powerfully of the need to look to Jesus, echoing Pat's own quiet yet determined witness down the years. He also expressed pride and gratitude for the link CORD has had with his diocese and cathedral over the years.

We went home challenged again wondering what we should do next!

You can find out more about the work of CORD and how you can get involved at

Sunday, 15 April 2007

Turkey Day 8

Our final day in Turkey started in the wonderful remote hideaway known only to those who sail the seas as Kapi Creek. The dawn broke to a chorus of goat bells and kettles whistling. After breakfast on deck we paddled ashore to explore one last time.

Just behind our yacht we discovered this delightful little byzantine chapel - might have been a favourite retreat for St Nicholas, the original Father Christmas who ministered in this area.
We reluctantly set sail again for Gocek where we tidied up the boat and handed it back Erkan from Portway Charters who has been such a wonderful host.

Twenty minutes minibus ride and we were back at Dalaman Airport where we cought up with James, Yvette, Griffin and Daihi who had been in Maramaris for the week.

We have all had such a wonderful memorable holiday.
We flew Thomas Cook ( from Bristol and we chartered the Yacht from Portway Turkey (

Saturday, 14 April 2007

Turkey Day 7

Mary was picked up at 2am this morning to fly home to Belfast. It was sad to see her go but we have been so blessed to have all three girls with us for such a special and memorable holiday.

In the morning we all went bargain and gift hunting in the bazaar. Zoe seached for the inevitable beads, Lois was after pottery, Esther took a lot of creative photos and I got some traditional Turkish music and a Turkish courtesy flag for my collection.

Later in the morning we set sail again, this time for Yassica Adalari, a string of islets which looked in the photos to have a nice sandy beach. When we got there the beach proved to be mainly stoney, but it was a beautiful place even so. we had lunch 'al fresco', swam, read, and walked ashore taking photographs.

Then we set off again for Kapi Creek for the night. As we sailed south in the gulf, through what are called the 'twelve islands' there were thunder clouds north of us and the wind got up so eventually we took in the sails and motored the last bit to the creek.

Kapi Creek is a wonderful little natural harbour where another makeshift restaurant is run by some locals, relatives of Osman and Can! As we arrvied we noticed a forest of masts, the Med - Red Rally had arrived for the night. This is an annual rally of yachts sailing from the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea. Many of the yachts were Israeli but there were a host of other nationalities as well, so there was a carnival atmosphere.

Mohammed, Osman's cousin helped us to moor, stern to a rough quay, and our Isreali friends from Karacoen arrived alongside us. We went ashore in the dinghy to explore and ate some lovely Turkish food at the restaurant. It was a 'magical' place, very remote and only accessible by sea.

Friday, 13 April 2007

Turkey Day 6

Waking up in this wonderful anchorage at Karacoen was delightful. It turned out to be a really hot sunny day. Can (John) came on board to have a cup of tea with us then he invited us to visit his father's garden and orchard at the top of the nearby hill.

As we climbed the hill we had wonderful views of the bay below us. Then we arrived in this idyllic world of olive trees, wild flowers and all sorts of vegetables. Can proceeded to fire up a wood stove and made us all a cup of turkish tea.
After a fascinating visit to this secret garden we headed down to see Can's private aquarium.

Later in the day after swimming and lunch we sailed back across the Gulf of Fethiye to Gocek.
We had our evening meal on board but went ashore to try Turkish Baclava at a restaurant by the marina.
Mary had to fly hom in the middle of the night as she was due back at work on Monday.

Thursday, 12 April 2007

Turkey Day 5

We sailed from Fethiye early, breakfasting under way.

Our destination was Olu Deniz, a famous beauty spot where a lagoon and beach are nestling beneath massive mountains. The setting was wonderful except for the clouds and mist which made it a bit dull and cool.

Normally the anchorage is packed with Gulets, Yachts and Day Tripper boats. Apart from us there was just one 'gin palace' power boat flying a Russian flag, more a vodka palace!

We used the inflatable tender to reach the beach and then the girls swam back via some rocks where something bit them.

After lunch we motored around the coast to Cold Water Bay where a natural spring comes into the sea, a good place in the height and heat of summer. Then we passed inside Gemiler island where we saw the medieval ruins including a tunnel built for the island queen who didn't like the sun.

We eventually arrived at Karacoen wher Osman's cousin Can (pronounced John) met us in his boat to give us a mooring line. There was just one other yacht there, an Israeli couple, Yoram and Raya who we met several times over the next few days.

Finally the sun came out for a glorious warm evening. The girls took the dinghy shore to explore the rocks whilst Lois and I caught up with our reading. I have been reading BIRDS WITHOUT WINGS by Louis be Berenieres, which is all about this area at the beginning of the 20th century when Greeks and Turks, Christians and Muslims lived peacefully together here.

The village where the story is set is believed to be based on Kaya, a deserted village half way between Cold Water Bay and Karacoen.

In the evening we went ashore to Can's restaurant where he treated us to meze, grilled fish, meat balls, and a special dish of Kalamari (Squid) which Can went out to catch as soon as he had helped us moor. See photo of him fishing.

The evening ended with a log fire in an olive oil tin, a backgammon lesson with Can for the girls, and Raki and sailing stories for Yuram, Raya, Lois and myself.

We have decided this place is already our favourite!

Turkey Day 4

We spent today in Fethiye.

The highlights were:

Exploring the market where Lois got into herbs and spices and Zoe checked out the beads for her jewellery making. Esther was in 'documentary' mode with her photography.

We climbed up the hill behind the town to see the Crusader fort and the amazing Lycian Rock tombs.

Later in the day we experienced the traditional 400 year old Hamam (Turkish Bath) where the girls got into a serious water fight with the attendants!

Turkey Day 3

We woke up to a wonderful sunrise and the sound of those goat bells on the dramatic hills around us.

We set sail early having our breakfast at sea as we thought we would try to sail to Kalkan, some fifty miles away. We had a lovely sail all morning, reefing later on as the wind built up at lunchtime. However we had head winds all day and the wind wasn't veering as predicted so we decided to head back to Fethiye.

We arrived at Fethiye late afternoon and we headed for Ece Marina where we were directed to our berth by Osman. He later came on board to advise us on places to sail to where his various cousins run restaurants in out of the way anchorages.

Fethiye is a large town with a fascinating history and strong local culture. Poeple were gearing up for the summer tourist season and lots of Gulets were being prepared in the harbour.

In the evening we visited the local amphitheatre and market before eating ashore.

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Turkey Day 2

After a leisurely breakfast we set sail from Gocek to explore the Gulf of Fethiye.

We had a wonderful sail in calm sheltered waters where we saw dolphins swimming alongside us!

First stop was Tomb Bay which we had to ouselves. We anchored and the girls paddled ashore in the dinghy with a rope to tie to a rock. That's what you do in the Med. The water is so deep you haver to hold the boat in to the shore othwise the anchor may not hold. Also, when the place gets crowded the boats don't swing onto each other.

Being April we had the whole bay to ouselves, surrounded by amazing scenery with Lycian tombs carved out of the rocks.

After lunch we sailed off to explore the islands and we found a way through to the open sea and then an even narrower passage back in between two islands.

We headed to Ruin Bay which looked an interesting place to anchor for the night. Just as we dropped the anchor a local boat came and we were invited to move to Wall Bay where there is a new pontoon. So we motored there and moored next to a South African boat with an Israeli crew.

This was a beautiful spot with great cliffs and the sound of goats bells on the mountains around.

Turkey Diary Day 1

Now we're back from Turkey I have time to write up my diary.

On Monday 2nd April we, that is Lois, Esther Zoe and I, met up with Mary at Bristol airport and flew off to Dalaman, Turkey where we arrived at 4.30pm.

We were met by a minibus from Portway Yacht Charters and it took just 20 minutes through some wonderfull scenery abd a brand new tunnel through a mountain to reach Gocek. We went straight to our boat, a Bavaria 39 named 'Velga'.
In the evening we went into the town for a wonderful Turkish meal.

Monday, 2 April 2007

April Fool

The 1st of April was my last day working in the Parish before starting my four month sabbatical. I was convinced my colleague, Jon, would set an April Fool's trap for me as we were together for the two morning services at Holy Trinity. If he did I didn't spot it! I did try to get him to look up Hezekiah 30:10 in front of the congregation but I think he twigged just in time.

On Saturday our Churches together held an 'Easter Trail' in the town centre. In was odd moving briefly from 'lent' mode to 'easter' mode without having all the usually Easter services to plan. Meanwhile all the couples getting married here in 2007 had a marriage prep weekend at the Church.

Now we are getting packed ready to fly off to Turkey for a week. Mary is flying over to join us from Belfast, Zoe and Esther are already back from Uni. This is the first time in a long time that we shall have a holiday away together. We are chartering a yacht (bavaria 39) from Gocek in Lycia. One of my colleagues has set me a challenge to sail to a lighthouse that was just 2 years old when St Paul was sailing this coast!