• People

    my favourite photo

    This might well be my favourite photo of the year. While there’s still time left to take more, I can’t help but enjoy this one which shows your more pensive, considered side, Sofia. There’s so much going on behind those big brown eyes of yours, and I like the fact that you aren’t afraid to take the time to consider things so deeply. Except, perhaps, the other day at the hotel swimming pool when you shouted out: “Daddy! Look at that man’s boobies!”

  • Food & Drink,  Places

    the farm store: 83

    Farmer’s markets are something special, something not to be missed if you love food. But somewhere between Hirshtals and Hjørring in a place called Tornby in Jutland, there’s a long gravel lane crowded by soaring pines which leads to a store which looks fit to supply Valhalla. Fresh doesn’t do this farmer’s market justice — food is plucked from the ground or the vine about 100 metres from where it’s sold. It’s also displayed in an eye-catching, uncluttered way, on broad tables in colourful clusters, dirt still spilling off the root vegetables, while in among the produce are imported and local delicacies, such as French lemonades, gourmet English potato chips and local craft-brewed bottles of beer. Meanwhile, lightly humming coolers are stocked with everyday staples such as milk, butter and cheese. Here they grow potatoes worthy of a potato sandwich — and a sandwich is serious business to a Dane.…

  • Mind / Body,  Places

    a different landscape

    Sorry to have been so long absent. If you’ve been wondering where I’ve been, look north to vast skies and a windswept place of houses sunken into sand dunes and long, lingering evenings where the light is loathe to dwindle.  Sometimes in order to un-clutter your mind  you have change your mental address, at least temporarily. Sometimes you even have to abandon social media — believe it — for a while.  Still, it’s been too long since I last saw you. I sure hope you feel the same.

  • People

    time out

    It’s hot. There’s no small amount of turmoil in the land and everybody I know is a little unsure of where they stand right at the moment. You probably won’t remember any of this by the time you can read it, but if it wasn’t for one three-year old person, called Sofia, I don’t know what I’d do. Your view of the world is the only thing keeping me sane, little girl. Thanks for being my reality check and giving me the time out I need from some very real darkness.

  • Food & Drink

    dissident lemonade

    For some reason we’ve been a little overstocked on lemons. Perhaps we misjudged our shopping?  Perhaps they’re really good first aid when you’ve been tear-gassed in Turkey, Greece or Brazil? Couldn’t say. Anyway, there’s nothing wrong with having a few extra lemons around. However, since here in Istanbul we’ve now moved to a less street-side juncture in these times of dissent, those lemons need to find new purpose or they’ll moulder away in silence like a good journalist in jail. So when life gives you too many lemons, I say make sage lemonade. Why sage? Simply because we need our wits about us these days. In addition to adding a pleasing tartness, sage or adaçayı (here in Turkey) has well documented benefits as a stimulant for heightened brain function, and its latin name, Salvia officinalis, suggests its panacea-inducing properties. While the powers that be act with more and more aggressive stupidity than ever,…

  • People

    an international conspiracy

    I have withheld my documentary evidence of certain events that took place a couple of weeks ago in the midst of Turkey’s turmoil for fear that it was not the time for transparency. I apologize for my cowardice. However, I must now add my voice to those others claiming that there are international interests trying to steal Turkey’s beauty away from it. Two Saturdays ago I witnessed an Italian man marry a Turkish woman. To my shame, I stood by and enjoyed the spectacle of two people formalizing the decision to share their love, lives and differing cultures in order to join in a union that will echo through the years, influencing generations to come. I’m sorry if I let you down, Turkey. In addition to taking one of your great beauties as my wife, years later I stood silent witness as another foreigner did the same. Yet I was…

  • People

    last stand

    This week Turkey and the world were inspired by one man’s silent, six-hour protest performed in Taksim Square. Standing Man was a truly beautiful statement made by choreographer Erdem Gunduz which went viral within hours of his performance. Better yet it has since inspired thousands of others around Turkey and the world like the woman above. I’ve been thinking a lot about why this protest resonated so powerfully, and I got my answer when I visited Taksim square the other day. Politics, especially in Turkey, is dominated by middle-aged, finger-pointing bullies. It’s less and less about the content of the argument, and more about how successfully you can shout down your opponent. This afternoon the Mayor of Ankara denounced a Turkish journalist working for the BBC as a spy and is attempting to conduct a Twitter campaign against her. One TV station composed a fake interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.…

  • Places

    a strange climate

    When I started this blog it was with the intention of pointing out things to appreciate, especially with regard to this city which has been my home for eight years. This city has brought me so many good things, and as a result I’ve wanted to pay it back. However, I’ve had something of a philosophical conundrum in the last week. It’s been difficult to go back to that same reality. In the space an hour these days I can find hope in some simple act of kindness from the people of this city, and lose it in the next second. I’m not usually into finger-pointing, but it’s usually in the moments when one of the city’s or country’s democratically elected leaders speaks. In the last hour there’s a man on the TV saying some very frightening things, about minorities, foreign interests, about the abuse of his head scarf-wearing sisters,…

  • People

    authority vs. creativity

    One of the many things that has been remarkable about this uprising is its ability to unite people from different backgrounds, interests and needs. The aspect that seems to run across the board and unite them too is the humour and creativity that they use in order to rise up and fight back. It’s probably not what’s said about the Prime Minister that really gets to him, but the fact that despite being tear-gassed and water-cannoned, many still won’t take him seriously. His victims find new ways to celebrate and laugh, to take the sting out of his vindictive anger and then share it across the internet. True creativity depends upon finding new ways to express a universal truth. While the story presented may or may not be factually accurate, a successful joke or story gives us a new way to connect with people by allowing us to feel the…

  • People

    a friendly revolution?

    Could this be the most civil of civil uprisings? Not that I have a great deal of experience with such happenings, but indulge me if I’m inclined to think so. With the exception of insults hurled at Turkey’s Prime Minister, everyone behind the Occupy Gezi Park movement is being remarkably kind and relaxed. Before entering the AKM Building (Atatürk Cultural Centre) through a break in the hoarding, a dangling cardboard sign warns that the structure is not strong and you might think twice about entering. Incidentally, this building was once used as a vantage point for snipers in the 1970s to target left-wing protestors and is now being used for this generation’s resistance to hang banners and host jazz performances aimed at uplifting today’s protestors — a nice bit of irony. Not that there’s much need. Nothing seems able to stop this jubilant crowd. All around Taksim their are people of…