Blogging / Books / Britain / East Anglia / Norwich / Repatriation / Semigreys / Turkey & Turkish

No Going Back on Going Back

‘In the beginning there was work and work was God. After 35 years in the business, the endless predictability made me question the Faith.’

I wrote those words on the 8th October 2010, the opening sentence of my debut post on a brand new blog about a couple of silly, cynical old queens who decided to jump the good ship Blighty and wade ashore to Asia Minor as gay semigreys (or is it semigays? No, that would be those who dip in and out). For a minority report, the blog’s done rather well. Now there’s a book. That’s done rather well too. Remarkable. Both crept up behind us without hint or herald. Maybe we should have listened to the early advice of our playground peers and kept our backs to the wall. Too late now.

We planned to stay in Turkey for a good few years, slowly descend into memory loss and erectile dysfunction disguised by a haze of alcohol, then paddle back to Blighty for the liver transplant and wait for the Grim Reaper’s call. Sadly, it’s not to be. I’d like to do author things and keep the pennies (and believe me I do mean pennies) rolling in. I can do neither in Turkey. There’s another reason. An important reason. There are pressing family issues that cannot be ducked or delayed. If you have read the book you will understand:

“One day, our Turkish adventure might be curtailed. We were prepared.” (Chapter 12)

That time has come.

Where will we be laying our hatboxes next? Well, there’s a clue in the picture below. Hint – it’s not in Soho.

Where is this?

Thank you Turkey for breaking the umbilical cord between wages and lifestyle. Thank you Turkey for giving me the time and space to write. Thank you Turkey for handing me a story on a plate. We hope one day to return. But, for now there’s no going back on going back.

Perking the Pansies2 (464 x 700)The photo above is a picture of one of the great cathedrals of England but where is it? Answer correctly for the chance to win* a signed copy of Perking the Pansies, Jack and Liam move to Turkey. Submit your answer by commenting on this post.

*The winner will be chosen at random by Liam from correct entries submitted before 4th March 2012. Comments containing entries to the competition will not be published until after this date so no cheating. The book will be shipped free to the winner to any address in the UK or Turkey. Delivery elsewhere (Mongolia, the dark side of the Moon, etc) may incur charges depending on the cost. Those who already know the answer are banned (we know who you are).

You might also like:

In the Beginning

And the Winners Are…


68 thoughts on “No Going Back on Going Back

  1. Well I won’t enter the competition because I’ve got the book anyway, and yes I do understand your reasons for returning. I don’t think you necessarily have to thank Turkey for giving you the story for your book Jack. You were an author just waiting to happen…it didn’t really matter where you were. And I think…and certainly hope…you will go on to write many more books. I hope you will keep the blog going too.

    (PS…I happened to write a longish comment re Digiturk…pressed “post comment”…and whoosh it disappeared…along with your post…but I read it and experienced the same thing with them two years ago!)

  2. Sorry to hear your hand is being forced – but hope everything is going to work out for both of you.

    As far as the cathedral goes – don’t want to give the game away – but you know I know….. :). Fab city.

  3. Well you been there seen it done it and lived it like we did,,,,,,Hubby spent his free time practising his guitar and really improved and now has a few gigs to keep him happily here in Poole. Looks like a place in Oxford you are going to. I have enjoyed reading your blog from the beginning and am sure you will continue to blog and write on your return home. Theres no place like home warts an all so Welcome Back!!! x

  4. As a ‘returnee’ I can imagine all the mixed emotions you are going through ,but if it helps I would just like to say I hope you carry on this blog from Blighty if you get the time ,it really is another adventure and experience as strange as that sounds and I think only those that have experienced it may understand at times .I would also like to say a premature two words which I loved hearing from those close to me .Welcome Home .

  5. I’m not entering the contest, as I have no idea where that beautiful cathedral is, but sometimes it takes a severing of a certain type of relationship, a long-distance travel or some deep, deep thinking to sort through faith. I’ve had a revelation of sorts, myself, and I found God. Hopefully this will all sort out for you as well. Best of luck to you!

  6. I have a feeling I know that cathedral! We spent sometime there when I was still living life as an army brat! Best of luck with the future and I absolutely loved your book. With your permission, I’d love to rave about it on my blog?

  7. Hi Jack and Liam we never met you in Yalikavak but maybe we will when you move to NORWICH as we live in Ipswich. Good luck with your move. Best Wishes James

  8. I am so sad that you are leaving Turkey we were hoping to catch up with you next time we were in Yalikavak. Maybe we will be able to catch up when you are living in Norwich as it is only an hour away from us. I collect signed books so would love to receive a signed copy of yours.
    Best wishes for the future.
    Niki Fowler x

  9. Husband and I are sitting here when I read this, and he wanted to know what was wrong. We just got back from a short trip to Istanbul (with Daughter), and while there we said we definitely want to come back and hit Bodrum to meet up with Jack and Liam, Izmir, etc. While that may have to wait (or shift to a more likely trip to England), I completely understand what is pulling you back and why. The beauty of your time in Turkey is exactly what you mention: it freed you from the daily grind, helped you imagine and live a very different life, and has changed you both including in some ways you have yet to discover. Ayak is correct: you were an author/writer waiting to happen. Don’t stop writing, don’t stop blogging. And for the record, most of your fans around the world probably have never thought of PtP as a ‘minority report’ in any sense of the phrase. Keep us posted as you prepare for the next adventure in life.

  10. It’s Norwich cathedral. A new chapter,new beginning= new blog and the next book! fingers crossed all is well for both you and Liam xxxxx

  11. Cor blimy guv’nor. He’s off… Congrats on this decision, Jack. I’m sure it’ll be a good one for all involved. Now for a rebranding of the blog to ‘Perking the Pansies Returns’ perhaps? Kind of like the Star Wars franchise, I can see this one running and running.

    As for the cathedral, I had my answer and then realised my choice doesn’t have a bloody spire so I’ve failed miserably there. But fail you shall not, Luke, and the force be with you on the next leg of this life adventure of yours. And I’ll be following from afar…

    Safe travels/move/relocation/happy return home :)

  12. What to say….

    Life is a voyage, Take and enjoy the moment, the rest is either memories or hopes.

    Whatever you do, do it well and to the full. I think you know this anyway.


  13. Hope everything goes well back in England. Thank you for the book I loved it, I will miss all your Turkish tales. Good luck x

  14. It’s not over. Expat life doesn’t end when you go home, it just changes location. Your experiences in Turkey have changed you forever so it will take time, a long time, but you’ll find a new equilibrium in the end. Good luck and I’m looking forward to reading about how you get on.

  15. I’m so sorry. But life is like that. But hold on a minute, it looks so like Chichester Cathedral (where my parents lived for years, almost a second home to me – I don’t mean the cathedral, I mean Chichester). Could it be?

  16. Life is a journey and I am excited for you and Liam on your next stage. I know the cathedral and the city well (so I won’t give the game away as I have already read the book) It is the county we lived in before we came away and I also lived there for a while as a child. It is actually the only place that I would consider moving back to in the UK so you have chosen well :) The city is fabulous and the coastline there is beautiful with so many lovely villages to explore that I am sure you and Liam will love it. Can’t wait to hear all about the next part of you journey – I trust it will all be blogged about??? Good Luck, when is the move? xx

  17. Jack and Liam….am assuming i leave my comment here and that you are heading back near to our own Blighty neck of the woods……and that would be Norwich cathedral.
    Sorry to hear you are having to give up on the Turkish delight but wish you both all the best for the future… persuation here…but remember your early inspiration for the title of the book of Sex and the Sitesi which i still feel would have caused film rights to be followed up!!!!!!! hahahaha……all the luck in the world and heres hoping its a good decision for you both!!! Hugs Paul and Nigel…….sorry we didnt ever get to meet up!!!!! xxxxx

  18. New beginnings, I’m looking forward to continuing my reading with you back in Blighty. There’s a quote that springs to mind about you never knowing your home town until you left it, so I’m looking forward to your renewed views. Happy travels. The cathederal? I’m useless, they all start to merge and look similar, so I’ll plump for one I’ve never visited and say Durham 

  19. Just as I’ve started reading your blog too!! You are a brilliant writer, Jack, so if you have ideas for more writing, then go for it. All the very best, good luck.

  20. Oh no, I’ve only just found and become a fan of your blog and book! But I wish you well for your return to England and hope that you will keep us posted about how life is treating you back home!
    All the best!

  21. We are going to miss you guys very much, having yoy around has made our stay here a little easier…so thanks for that. As for the picture…would it be Norwich by any chance heheheh xxx

  22. We’re yet to read your book but rest assured, we will be doing over the summer months. We’ll definitely be writing about on the blog, too. Sorry to hear you’re leaving Turkey but if the time has come, we wish you lots of luck and happiness in the next chapter of your life. Hope you’re going to continue with this blog then we can keep up with you both on your journey. Take care.
    Julia and Barry x

  23. Hi Jack,

    I neither no where you are going “nor which” that cathedral is. I am sorry we have not met, but perhaps our paths will cross someday! Wishing you and Liam all the best. Turkey will certainly miss you!

  24. Thank you to everyone who’s commented. I hadn’t intended in publishing this post for a few weeks but my hand slipped and I pressed the wrong button which let the cat out of the bag prematurely. Perhaps it was meant to be – just like moving to Turkey and just like moving back to Blighty. Liam and I are truly, truly touched by all the good wishes and kind words. We really appreciate it. We’re not actually moving until June so it’s business as usual for the time being. I do intend to keep on blogging after we leave but really need to think about what this would look like. Inşallah!

    The competition is hotting up and there are plenty of correct entries – tell your friends!

  25. . . those old ‘ghost-posts out of the closet’ again! Have a good one, guys – whatever comes down the road. Don’t need to win a book so I’ll just whistle the tune! (that’ll get them going)

  26. Quite a surprise, shock almost. I do hope that all works out well for you and yours and wish you all the best where ever the tides of life may take you. I hope that, one day, you may be able to return to Turkey. Please do try to find the time to keep us entertained and thank you for all so far. I think it’s Salisbury cathedral but can’t be sure as it’s forty years since I was last there.

    Very Best Wishes go with you

  27. I’m sorry to hear that you have to leave Turkey, but I love the way you’ve framed the next stage in your journey. There’s a brightness and a sweetness in the way you have placed your next steps. Your poise as a writer astounds me. Thank you for this.

  28. No one was more shocked than me when I was told that just because my expat life was ending, my blog would not… Good luck on your next stage: we’ll all be watching. :)

  29. Not surprised as read your book Jack – so the next book title is Jack and Liam move to ____________???? Really don’t know as have not got a clue where that magnificent church/cathedral is located. Not wishing you good luck mate, because I know you do not need it. Life is good no matter where you are

  30. You will be missed by your Belles and your gals and me.

    Glad I got to have a few cheeky ones with you both. Hopefully again before June.

  31. We too returned to UK, in fact been back a year today…………….and loving it, spent 5 years over there but we are happy to be back on home turf!

    I think the spent a few days in Salisbury area last weekend, any chance that’s where you’re going???

  32. Have faithfully followed your blogs since it started and have thoroughly enjoyed reading every post. As everyone says, you are indeed a talented writer and it looks like you have found your true calling. Have not yet had a chance to read the book, but am looking forward to getting hold of a copy at some point. If I could win it, that would make it even sweeter! I wish both you and Liam every happiness in the future. Oh, by the way, that’s Norwich Cathedral.

  33. Bbbbbwwwwwaaaaaaaahhhhhh!!!!! As long as you keep writing Jack we will find and adore you! I wish the best of everything for you and Liam and thank you for all you´ve given us readers! Turkey´s unfortunate to lose you. (Jack, I´m waiting for the second book and I´m sure you won´t let me down).

  34. Wow, tough one, but I immediately thought it was Salisbury Cathedral when looking at it, and – as I say to myself every time I watch Weakest Link – “you should always go with gut feeling and first thought” – so my competition submission is SALISBURY CATHEDRAL

    but please don’t forget to tell us the answer next week :)

  35. I was recommended to your blog by Karyn, by dear Koy friend who I met through re-homing a beautiful black lab from Bodrum to Kusadasi … and then I too was moved (for business reasons) from Bodrum to Kusadasi … I have always dreamed/yearned/wishfully thought I could be a good blogger, but here I am 6 years after my move to Turkey still thinking “maybe i should start…” so I obviously don’t have the talent (or time maybe?!) … but I would imagine that your view of England, with the benefit of your temporary (-ish) Turkish eyes, will be interesting, inspiring and as addictive a read as your English eyes viewing Turkish life (if that sentence makes any sense at all!!) … please continue to delight us in Turkey, even the ex-Bodrum, Kusadasi-living ones of us who have only just met your blog :)

  36. I’m fairly certain the beautiful edifice belongs to Norwich Cathedral. I visited it many moons ago with a university friend who took my fancy; of course, I didn’t take his. but we remained on good terms. Hope that your return to the UK will be fruitful to you both. My partner adores Turkey but regards you as being incredibly brave to live there as a gay couple. We discovered your blog only some 10 months ago and will regret its possible demise. Cheers!

  37. Sorry to here that you are leaving us so soon.

    The photograph is Norwich Cathedral so I assume that is your destination.

    I hope you wont be abandoning blogging to concentrate on a Pulitzer.



  38. Hello Jack, I hope you continue to post your thoughts throughout the rest of your time in Bodrum and well on into the big return. Its been heartening to to know that not all of us who end up over here are retired and ready for the slow lane just yet! As for the picture I know where it is because thats where my good friend (who was living in Bodrum until last month) has just returned to. Its Norwich. Fingers crossed for the competition…

  39. OK, so I read this when you posted it – but I have not wanted to accept that while I hope to still see perking the pansies action in “ol’ Blighty,” I will deeply miss the Bodrum-infused missives. I didn’t want it to be true! You are a gem and I will follow the perked and percolating pansies wherever they go.

  40. Well unlike Linda, I did get to Izmir (in January) but with the demands of work at the time, a Bodrum layby was just not a possibility. So maybe with your return to the UK, life may lead us to crossing paths at some point…although I have no idea where the cathedral is so you could very well be bloody miles away!

    Please keep writing…such a talent you have discovered during your Pansy Perking in Turkey…

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  42. Thank you to everyone who tossed their name into the hat. Congratulations to Paul and Niki who came up trumps. Thank you also for the incredibly nice comments , good wishes and fond farewells. Perking the Pansies will continue as a chronicle of our transition, repatriation and resettlement. Please stay tuned!

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  45. I have been busy with Warwick and I couldn’t read so much lately Jack. But I am so sorry that you guys are leaving. Honestly, I would love to get pissed on some Turkish Raki all together. But I hope to see you in Norwich then in late summer. As I said, I must keep reading and find out what made u wanna go back to UK. Chapter 12 is soon. Take care, my friend. Xxx

  46. Hi Jack,
    Don’t really know you but already going to miss you in Turkey. We are moving back this summer but instead of Fethiye to Zekeriya outside of Istanbul. Your humor and wit kept me laughing…….Be well take care and
    all the best!

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