Are We Mad?

Just imagine the absurdity of two openly gay, recently married middle aged, middle class men escaping the liberal sanctuary of anonymous London to relocate to a Muslim country even one that is secular and practises a moderate and state-controlled form of Islam. Turkey is a country familiar to many Brits: the beer swigging tattooed tourist seeking cheap fun in the sun with chips on the side and those of a more scholarly hue who wonder at the unparalleled scale and depth of Anatolian culture and history. Türkiye means ‘land of the strong’ an old Turkic/Arabic compound.

Anatolia translates as ‘sunrise’ from ancient Greek. Both poetic epitaphs are fitting depictions of a place blessed with striking physical beauty, shaped by the brutal force of nature and fought over, won and lost by conquistadors across all of recorded time. Turkey is a true crossroad of civilisations, the evidence of which lies casually underfoot. I decided to chronicle our exploits with the mad, the sad, the bad and the glad in a blog for the whole world to ignore. Since most Turkish travelogues we have read tend to be worthy, insipid or both, I decided I would try and stir things up with something a little less reverential and lot more controversial.

In June 2012, we returned to England. Asia Minor gave us four years of extraordinary exploits with some extraordinary people. From the outset I called our cast ‘the mad, the sad, the bad and the glad’. We now lodge in the surprising city of Norwich set among the flatlands and big skies of East Anglia. I’m sometimes nostalgic for our entertaining encounters with the hopeless, the hapless and, yes, the happy go lucky. They gave me an unexpected tale to tell and for this I thank them. The next instalment is on the story drawing board.

Were we mad? Probably.

PtP 3D

See how all this comes alive in the best-selling and award-winning book, Perking the Pansies – Jack and Liam move to Turkey.

“The book’s originality lies in it’s honesty.” Time Out, Istanbul

“Empathetic, respectful and pretty acute.” Turkish Daily News

Turkey StreetThe sequel, Turkey Street, Jack and Liam move to Bodrum was published in 2015.

25 thoughts on “Are We Mad?

  1. Hello, I’ve been reading your blog for several weeks now and I wanted to write and compliment you on your guest post at Being Köy. It is well written and extremely accurate and indeed explains the situation much better than I have ever attempted to do myself.

    Best wishes to you and Liam and thanks for the entertainment.

    Yours sincerely, Rue Morrison


  2. Hello,
    I am a writer & moderator for BlogExpat and truly enjoy your blog. We are actually starting a new project where we will feature expat interviews and I was hoping you would be interested. It would entail a brief questionnaire with a personal introduction, questions about being an expat, and a picture.

    If you are interested, please let me know and I will send the questionnaire. We are excited about the launch of this series and hope you can be a part of it! In any case, keep up the great work.

    Erin Porter


    1. I hope you enjoy it. I really liked your interview on Blogexpat. I’m struck by the similarity between out two foster homes! Turks have exactly the same attitude towards draughts. Turkish houses are hermetically sealed to ensure that not a single molecule of air circulates. Air bricks are unheard of creating ongoing problems with damp and mould. Babies are wrapped in multi-layered swaddling clothes even in the height of summer! It must be a Mediterranean thing.



    2. Garrett McKenna just summed it up. I´ll be reading the heck out of you too! Your blog´s not only beautiful but beautifully written and as an aspiring wordsmith myself, both aspects draw me like a moth to a flame. It might be trite but Istambul (Istanbul?) is on My List. I´m so glad to find you there in Turkey – haven´t got my head round Pamuk yet – and congratulate you on your big adventure. (All right, I´m trying not to gush but ……….geeeeeeeeee)!


  3. Hello there. Thanks for the comment. I’ve been to the States many times and really enjoyed my time there. We came to Turkey just under 4 years ago. We were lucky enough to make enough money out of the sale of our house in London to live here without working. We call it resting rather than retiring. I started this blog. It’s done well. Then I wrote my book. That’s doing well too. So now I find myself to be a published author, all unexpected and unplanned. For various reasons we’ve now decided to return to Britain. You can found out more on this post


  4. Definitely mad.

    I’d love to give your book a go. Is there any way I can buy it in Turkey? Or do I order it on Amazon?


  5. I love your Blogs:) I follow as I have seen first hand the reaction of Turkishmen to two teenage boys who stayed in a hotel, where i once visited fequently. They also were “brave” but then they could go home after 2 weeks:))


  6. Hi Jack
    You know I love your blog and I’ve nominated you for a Very inspiring blog award. I’m sure you’ve been nominated many times before and know what to do, but please see my page details.


    1. Thank you. I’m really flattered. I’ve been nominated for a couple of awards in the past and it’s always fantastic to have all the hard work recognised by your peers.


  7. I have just read that you came back home, now what do I read everyday , you’re blog was the highlite , I hope it’s not for good as where would I get my laughs from on a morning.


    1. Yes, we’ve decided to hitch up our skirts and wade back to Blighty. The blog will continue and I hope our further adventures will still bring a smile to your face.


  8. Jack,
    I just found your blog through the Blogger Profile article that Ben Huberman published on WordPress News. (I bet you’re getting quite a few hits from that today.)
    Congratulations on your continued success. You’ve created an entertaining, well-written blog and I look forward to going on long relaxing walks through its pages.


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