Top of the Pansy Pops 2022

All in all it’s been a strange year and this is clearly reflected in my most-read random ramblings. Top of the pansy pops included the death of the Queen and the death of my Queen – my mother at the grand old age of 93. The last time I saw me old girl, the first thing she said was…

“How come you haven’t got any wrinkles?”

“Because of you, Mum.”

Thank you for the many kind words I received at the time. It meant a lot.

Also popular this year were board-treading in the form of gags, song and dance, memorable trips down memory lane, an ivory anniversary and a sunless getaway not worth fastening a seat belt for. Here are the top dogs for 2022 together with two best in breeds from 2013 and 2014 to bring up the rear.

The Older the Fiddle, the Sweeter the Tune

Once upon a time a long time ago, a pretty girl was swept off her feet by a dashing young corporal in a smart uniform and a devilish twinkle in his eye. Plucked from a small town in Ireland, she began army life on the move. Babies landed here and there – Northern Ireland, Germany,…

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The Nimmo Twins – Normal for Norfolk

After a six-year hiatus, local comedy heroes The Nimmo Twins (Owen Evans and Karl Minns) were back treading the boards at the Norwich Playhouse for the second of their twenty-fifth-anniversary shows. Despite their glittering quarter-century career, to our shame, we’d never heard of them, but then a couple of fellow villagers put us firmly in…

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The Little Mermaid Makes a Big Splash

The Maddermarket Theatre, former chapel and the spiritual home of am-dram in Norwich, is firing on all cylinders again after a tough couple of years because of you know what. The latest production to rock the stage was Disney’s The Little Mermaid courtesy of the Echo Youth Theatre. Despite the best of intentions, amateur gigs…

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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…

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Tenerife: Was it Worth it?

Not really. Our digs were great – comfy and well-dressed – and the staff were fantastic but, let’s face it, the point of any holiday in the sun is, well, the sun. There’s a bit of a clue in the title. And there was precious little sun in Tenerife. “The sun’ll come out tomorrow,” Liam…

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Give My Regards to Tooting Broadway

I spent much of my teenage years in Tooting, a rough-round-the-edges strangely-named suburb in South London. My late, lamented old pal, Clive, was raised there in a modest terraced house, and we enjoyed many a fun-filled Saturday afternoon hot-gossiping and talking silly schoolboy sex to a seventies soundtrack of Elton, 10cc, Alice Cooper, Led Zeppelin…

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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…

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Tickling the Ivories

It’s our wedding anniversary today – 14 years (and counting) since we tied the proverbial and Liam slipped his ring on my finger. What adventures we’ve had. I have a feeling in my water there’s many more to come but then that could just be a UTI. According to tradition, ivory is the anniversary theme…

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Oi Speak Narrfuk Oi Do

Anyone living on these damp little islands and anyone who visits them knows that Britain is a nation of a thousand and one accents and dialects. Homespun and imported lingo twists and turns through town and county. We may live in a global village and in a mass media world where ‘Globalish’ (the cut-down version…

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Stripping for the Cause

Many moons ago, I nailed my colours to the mast about the scourge of homophobia, particularly hate crime and bullying in schools. I even banged on about it on the wireless when I did a My Pride Life gig on Future Radio. It still goes on, of course. Hardly a day passes when I don’t…

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Letter From America

Last year I acquired my very own online troll from across the pond who accused me loudly and often of conspiring with her ex in a sustained campaign of hate against her. She ranted at me, sent me porn, reported me to the CIA and said the sheriff will be calling round to lock me up. The poor woman’s really not the full shilling. In fact, we do have a sheriff round these parts, the High Sheriff of Norfolk. Historically, a sheriff was an official of the crown responsible for a shire, the term being a contraction of ‘shire reeve’ (Old English scīrgerefa). These days the role is largely ceremonial in feathered hat, fancy dress and chunky gold bling for civic shindigs, grand openings and village fêtes. I can’t see the present incumbent knocking on my door any time soon. He’s far too busy cutting ribbons.

Eventually the avalanche of abuse I endured for weeks became a trickle, then a drought. My report-block-delete strategy worked, or so I’d hoped.

But yes, you guessed it. Just in time for Christmas, my trollette is back on the line with a new incoherent rant of around 900 words – same old, same old but minus the porn and threats this time. Oh, Marsha, how I’ve missed you – not.

There, Their, They’re

Our green and usually pleasant land contains an intricate patchwork of regional accents and dialects with a constantly shifting lexicon of words and idioms, syntax and sounds. Despite the endless yapping of mass media and the flood of Estuary English, you need only cross the street to hear a different voice. Vive la difference as they say in Belgium. I’m all for it.

But what I’m not all for is the laziness of so many users on social media. I don’t mean the use of text-speak and emojis – that’s the modern way. Nor do I mean the odd typo. That happens to us all. No, I mean people whose first language is English but who don’t know – or can’t be arsed to find out – the difference between two, to and too and there, their and they’re. It gets my goat and just makes the offenders come across as, well, a bit thick – or duzzy as they say round these parts.

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

A Pansy Anniversary

My irreverent, irrelevant ramblings reached the grand old age of 10 in October last year. It passed by without notice. Blog years are like dog years so all things being equal, Perking the Pansies should have been sent to the knacker’s yard yonks ago. The fact that the pansies continue to thrive is a testament to those who still take the time to pass by after all these years. It makes this old nag very happy. How long will it continue? Dunno.

The very first post on Blogger!

But what is certain is that the book that emerged from the early days of the blog changed everything and took Liam and me in an entirely different and totally unexpected direction. And that book – Perking the Pansies, Jack and Liam Move to Turkey – reaches its own 10th anniversary next month, and that hasn’t passed me by. The fact that after a decade it still sells at all is a minor miracle and rather humbling. I thank you.

“A bitter-sweet tragi-comedy that recalls the first year of a British gay couple living in a Muslim land. 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. Jack and Liam, fed up with kiss-my-arse bosses and nose-to-nipple commutes, chuck in the towel and move to a small town in Turkey. Join the culture-curious gay couple on their bumpy rite of passage.”