Welcome Back, Norwich Pride

Last Saturday Norwich Pride was back painting the town pink after a three-year absence because of you know what. And it was back with a bang – bigger, brasher and better than ever. Our bus into the city was transformed into a pride express, stuffed with jolly rainbow people from town and county. After arriving in the city, we joined the crowd of many colours heading to the centre and pitched our tent along Gentlemen’s Walk to watch the parade. It ran late. Turns out that a cast of thousands wanted to get in on the act, so it took a while to gather them all up.

When it did set off, the exuberant mega-march just went on and on and on. It was truly heartening to see a long chorus line of so many young people putting it out there, happy and unafraid.

Norwich Pride is fully inclusive, everyone welcome, no one turned away. Why? Because it’s free. Some other pride events are now ticket-only. I get it, really I do. Many are run on a wing and a prayer and a bad weather day can result in a wash-out, leaving a trail of unpaid bills. But not everyone can afford the price to be proud, especially right now. Just like the NHS, let’s hope Norwich Pride remains free at point of access for many, many years to come.

Ant Wars

We returned from our glorious Greek idyll to a heatwave and an invasion of tiny black ants. The little buggers were climbing up and down our narrow cottage stairs, marching across our dining room floor and, horror of horrors, crawling all over the Pinot Grigio.

I know ants have their uses – helping to maintain a healthy topsoil and all that, and generally we live in harmonious co-existence. But that’s outside in the garden where they belong, not under our floorboards. They had to go.

Not in the house. Not on my watch!

Liam said.

He fought back with chemicals – sprays, powder and traps – a toxic assault of shock and awe. If he’d had napalm or mustard gas in his arsenal, he’d have used them too.

Then emerged the fatter, horny variety with wings, lusting after their mid-air shag-fest, triggered, no doubt, by the steamy weather. But instead of taking flight for their annual orgy, they staggered out of various cracks and crevices like drunks at closing time. We’d won the battle but have we won the war? Only time will tell. Odds are the colony has been living beneath our feet for ages. I’ve read that the queen can survive for 25 years. She might see me out.

Tomorrow belongs to the creatures that creep and crawl.

Postcard from Paxos

Postcard from Paxos

After flying into Corfu, we had some time to kill before our ferry to Paxos so we dropped off our suitcases at left luggage and went for a casual stroll around Corfu Town. Suddenly the skies darkened, the heavens opened and Mad Mother Nature threw a hissy fit with an instant snap, crackle and pop storm. And who can blame her? Caught completely off-guard, we and everyone around us rushed for cover to the nearest café. Our jovial host couldn’t believe his luck.

The storm passed as quickly as it had arrived and sun-kissed calm was quickly restored.

Three hours later we were in the village of Lakka, our home for our lazy week in nirvana. Our digs were typically Greek – squeaky clean but basic – with friendly staff, cheap local plonk and dodgy electrics. The pool, however, was a shimmering jewel surrounded by lush pine-clad hills, just the ticket for dossing and dipping.

Paxos is a sceptre’d isle of endless olive groves and randy crickets, partially protected from the stresses and strains of modern mass tourism. Laid-back Lakka is on the north side of the island, wrapped around one half of an iridescent yacht-sprinkled bay. Picture-perfect and taverna-stuffed, the pretty village of alleys and squares is an unhurried cash-only kinda of place. Leave the plastic at home.

We absolutely loved it. Yamas!

A Greek Treat

After the big letdown that was our Canarian getaway – cancelled flight, greyish skies, cool-ish nights, sad face, sad face – a Greek treat is next on the holiday agenda. We fly to Corfu followed by a short ferry hop to nearby Paxos. It looks bleedin’ marvelous.

Yes, that’s our pool bottom right. But will it go the way of Tenerife? I’ll keep you posted.

Must be Kismet

Perking the Pansies runs on WordPress, the blogosphere top dog. And being best in breed, it comes with a catch-all spam filter called Akismet which keeps the smelly trolls at bay. It’s just as well. Like most regular bloggers, I’m plagued by spam comments – mostly smut or machine-generated silly-babble. But over the last few months, I’ve received a tsunami – and I mean thousands – of spam comments from an auto-bot named ‘Tuyetfruib’, each one using a unique web address. It was spamming on an industrial scale. And what was the main target of this onslaught? Only an old post called Desperately Seeking Doreen featuring none other than my elderly mother.

Then, quite suddenly, the assault stopped. Tuyetfruib must’ve blown a fuse.

But I do wonder what my flirty, flighty old girl did to warrant such production line attention?

Doreen Dowdall