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

Make Your Home Gaytop Gay

Gay, resilient, easy to clean, good to look at, made to take plenty of knocks and with a life of give and take. Just the ticket for a hunky handyman in a checked shirt, and a steal at five shillings a foot. Could be my Grindr profile. Swipe right, anyone?

Ten Lucky Years

A decade has now passed since we closed the door on the stone house in Bodrum for the last time and brought our four-year Turkish adventure to a sudden end. And ever since, while the world has continued its grim descent into oblivion, we’ve just carried on regardless. Our Anatolian days taught us to think differently and live differently – making do with less and being all the happier for it.

After Turkey, we pitched our tent in Norfolk, a flat and bountiful corner of old England – first in Norwich, then Chedgrave, a village few people have heard of. To begin with, we rented, trying the city on for size. Our first lodgings were a 400-year-old former weaver’s gaff in flint and brick near Norwich’s University of the Arts. We loved it, giving us a taste for city life and its student vibe. But our antique digs were cold and draughty and, even back in 2012, cost a king’s ransom to heat. Gawd knows what the bills are like now.

After a couple of years, we decided to put down roots and buy our own slice of historic Norwich – a micro-loft in a handsome converted Victorian warehouse, a writer’s garret to polish off Turkey Street, my second memoir.

At the time, our savings were still in Turkish lira earning pretty good interest. Little did we know that the lira was about to take a dive – and lucky for us, we converted to sterling just in the nick of time. Only days later Turkey’s currency dropped off a cliff, and it’s been more or less in freefall ever since. Had we hesitated it might have been the workhouse for us, not some trendy city-centre apartment.

Five years later, we fancied a quieter life, with room to breathe and a log burner to keep our tootsies toasty. We put the micro-loft on the market and it was bought by the first person to view. Quite by chance, Liam noticed a tiny 1850s worker’s cottage for sale. We came, we saw, we bought. Five months into our village life, the world was in lockdown, and our cottage was the perfect place to ride out the storm. Our luck was still in.

Truth is, we only chose Norfolk because we needed somewhere we could actually afford and that was a relatively easy commute to London: there was family stuff to deal with. But as time moved on there was no longer a need for us to stick around the sticks. For a while, we toyed with God’s Own County – Yorkshire – with its big-limbed, hunky Heathcliffs. It certainly does have its moody blue attractions among the moors and mills.

But we’re rather taken with our East Anglian hamlet, with its broad Naarfuk brogue, big skies and chirpy birds with their squawky dawn call – loud enough to wake the dead in the churchyard next door. And we may be newbie Norfolk broads but we’re definitely not the only gays in the village.

The cottage is my nineteenth address. Will I make it to twenty? And will our luck hold? Who knows? But we do have a coffin hatch just in case the Grim Reaper comes a-knocking.