Road to Nowhere

We binned the car in 2014 so, unsurprisingly, good public transport is important to us. That’s why we chose a village close to Norwich with a decent bus service – regular and reliable. And Norwich has fast and frequent train services to London for our big city fixes and family stuff. All in all, it works well most of the time. But when the wheels come off, they come off in spectacular style.

Our most recent jolly was a trip to The Old Smoke for a family affair – lunch and a stopover in London’s Spitalfields district.

But then…

… a water main burst, blocking the main road to Norwich. Buses were on divert. That’s ok, we thought, we’ll just give ourselves extra time. After a grand tour of the pretty hamlets of the county, we made our train – just.

And then…

… some poor soul was killed on the tracks just outside London. All trains on the line ground to a halt while emergency services attended the scene. That’s ok, we thought, we’ll just be a bit late. No big deal when compared to the loss of a life.

We were late, but not too late and the lunch went ahead without further ado. Afterwards, we checked into our trendy digs for the night and happened upon a traditional East End boozer to finish off our jolly with a flourish. We were safely tucked up in our comfy bed by drinking up time.

And then…

… we awoke fuzzy-headed to find the water was off the menu – for us, for everyone. You can imagine the commotion in reception. That’s ok, we thought. We had just enough of a trickle for a whore’s wipe, and we’ll get a refund too.

At least our train back to Norwich left on time.  

And then…

… a vehicle damaged a level crossing. All trains on the line ground to a halt while emergency services attended the scene. That’s ok, we thought, we’re not in any rush.

We were late, but not too late. Back in Norfolk, the burst water main was still bursting water and buses were still on divert to a hit-and-miss schedule. We waited patiently at Norwich Bus Station. We even had time for a coffee and a custard cream. The bus eventually arrived and we started another grand tour of the pretty hamlets of the county.

And then…

… as we approached a roundabout, the bus ground to a halt. We saw a plume of nasty black smoke in the distance and spotted a vehicle on fire at the roundabout. We were held in a queue while emergency services attended the scene. This is not so ok, we thought.

Our driver finally received orders from Mission Control. “Turn back and we’ll find you a different route.” U-turning a double-decker bus on a minor country road with nose-to-nipple traffic is no mean feat but our valiant driver managed it, ably assisted by a couple of gung-ho passengers. Back on the road, we went on another grand tour of the pretty hamlets of the county. Brooke is particularly pretty. I should know; we drove through it twice. Mission Control then sent us down a pretty country lane and pretty country lanes aren’t really designed for double-deckers.

And then…

… a double-decker approached us from the opposite direction. “That’s ok,” our driver said. “I’ll just reverse into a side road – simples!” And that’s what he did. The oncoming bus passed without further ado. Off we went to the next pretty village along the pretty lane.

And then…

… the lane narrowed and a second double-decker approached us from the opposite direction. With cars backing up, we had nowhere to go except forwards. Our driver attempted inching past the other bus. And it almost worked. But, with a loud metallic bang, bus scraped bus and the window next to us shattered, spraying us with shards of safety glass. We leapt from our seats. The game was up. We were on the road to nowhere.

After mooching around for a while waiting for something to happen, I said, “Sod this for a game of soldiers, let’s walk.”

Home was about three miles along the pretty lane.

And then…

… it started to rain. “That’s not ok,” I said.

After about a mile, a passing car stopped ahead. Hallelujah, it was someone we know. A knight in shining armour. We were saved. Also saved were a couple of other strays from the bus crunch. Thank you, Sir Galahad. You know who you are.

So then…

… we went straight to the pub.

With thanks to members of the Loddon Eye Faceache group for the burning car and bus crunch images.

Give Us a Twirl

My poor Liam fell badly and broke a couple of ribs. Naturally, most people assume he was a little worse for wear after a few sherries. In that case, he would have bounced. No, he slipped on some icy decking in broad daylight and cracked his back on a wooden planter – big ouch! Attractive it may be but decking can be treacherous at this time of year. Despite the cocktail of painkillers prescribed by the quack, Liam’s still in considerable discomfort, though it’s slowly easing.

I feel his pain. Many years ago, I broke a rib falling off a ladder. I wasn’t pissed either but, I confess, my wobbly ascent, rooted as it was in shingle, was an accident waiting to happen. It didn’t have to wait for long.

Cadbury Twirl

In the meantime, Liam is confined to the sofa, propped up with some pillows, popping pills and bored silly by a daytime diet of quiz shows and ‘classic’ episodes of Coronation Street. For my sins, I’m acting as good nurse, dispensing TLC and peeling grapes as required. As I dance in attendance I’m trying not to make him laugh because it hurts. Liam’s developed a taste for Cadbury’s Twirl and sends me out into the cold to feed his new addiction.

Top of the Pansy Pops 2017

Top of the Pansy Pops 2017

Perking the Pansies has recently passed its seventh birthday. It’s quite a milestone, I think. Most personal blogs are lucky to make it beyond the terrible twos. I still write it because I still enjoy it and I’m chuffed that enough punters still pop by to catch up on my news and views, rants and rambles. You make a fading fairy very happy. As it’s the turn of the year, it’s top ten time once again. So, ladies and gents, and those who are both, neither or someone in between…

The glitter ball goes to (drum roll please):

Sticky Fingers and Sticky Knickers

And the runner up is:

Tits with Chicks

The top two promised smut but delivered something altogether more innocent. I do hope visitors weren’t too let down, but this does demonstrate the value of a good headline, the ruder the better or so it seems. The also rans are an eclectic pick ‘n’ mix of danger and disability, dotage and death, beards and biography, civic history and doing the right thing.

The Story of Norwich | John Hurt, RIP | Life After My Saucepans | Praying for Time | A Message from My Husband | That Sinking Feeling | Seven Signs of Ageing | I Beg Your Pardon

In these social media-obsessed times, the most shared post was Home Sweet Home, an image-rich homily to little ol’ Norwich, published while Liam and I were away livin’ the vida loca, Greek-style.

Morris Dancing

And the most popular single image in 2017 (ever, in fact)?

Do we ever learn?

And the most popular old post in 2017?

Gran Canaria, Sex Emporium

Apparently not! 😀

Happy New Year to one and all.

What a Bang!

What a Bang!

When we first moved into the micro-loft we tarted up the bathroom and fitted a fancy new shower screen. But East Anglian water is so hard it almost hurts – calcifying kettles quicker than Medusa’s stare –  and I soon tired of the elbow grease needed to keep the fancy shower screen fancy. So we replaced it with an easy-wash shower curtain in electric blue. Sorted.

But what to do with the fancy shower screen? There’s not a lot of storage in the micro-loft (the clue’s in the micro) so we decided to ask the Council to take it away. In the meantime, we just slid it under our bed and forgot all about it.

Twelve months on and we returned to the micro-loft one afternoon to find the entire bedroom floor covered in glass fragments. It didn’t compute at first. You know, those times when you just can’t believe your eyes? Then the penny dropped – the fancy shower screen. It had exploded – everywhere. The biggest bang our bed had experienced in years. And the effect was almost artistic – the kind of thing that wins the Turner Prize.

It took hours to sweep up and I put my back out in the process.

The moral of this explosive story? Simple. Don’t store a fancy shower screen under your bed.

Survival of the Fittest

Survival of the Fittest

Norwich Bus StationYou need a second mortgage to park in Norwich city centre.  When we moved into the micro-loft, we flogged the sexy-arsed Mégane (to my sister) and Liam now rides the bus to work. He no longer risks life and limb on the narrow country lanes with their tail-gating yokels, blind bends, loose livestock and black ice.

Bus travel in Norfolk belongs to a bygone era.  People still (mostly) queue at bus stops and drivers apologise for being late. Just imagine that! It’s the kind of civilised behaviour long since abandoned in London, a place where the law of the urban jungle prevails and it’s survival of the fittest. The last time I visited the Smoke, a bright red double decker actually yelled at me. Over and over it screamed…

This bus is under attack. Call 999!

London Bus

I’m delighted to confirm it was a slip of the driver’s wrist. Still, it was enough to wake the dead and give nervy tourists on-the-spot seizures. The hapless driver was frantically trying to switch off the announcement as the bus cruised slowly by. After events in Paris, Beirut, Turkey and elsewhere, I felt his pain.