Bulgaria Beckons

We’re parachuting into Bulgaria for a few days to catch up with a couple of former Bodrum Belles from our Turkey days. They upped sticks and left Turkey soon after we did. Whereas we washed up in Norfolk, they continued their foreign escapades by pitching their tent in old Bulgaria. It’s pastures new for us – though I did make it as far as Transylvania on a school trip back in the day – so we can’t wait. We’re expecting hot gossip washed down with copious amounts of cheap, full-bodied Bulgarian plonk. We were asked ‘red, white or any alcohol?’ We replied, ‘yes.’

So, until normal service resumes, here are some random summer images from the village.

Наздраве (naz-drah-veh). That’s ‘cheers’ in Bulgarian.

Go West, Young Man

We have old friends in Torquay, a palm tree-lined seaside resort in Devon. We hadn’t seen them in ages because of the pandemic, so a catch-up was well overdue. All roads lead to London, and we didn’t fancy the hassle of crossing the sprawling metropolis only to come out the other side, so we flew from Norwich International airstrip to Exeter International airstrip on a little jet – like Z-listers without the paps.

Old Exeter – Roman Isca Dumnoniorum, Saxon Execeaster – has been around a while, though at first glance you’d never know it. The Luftwaffe did a great job flattening the city in the Second World War, so you have to look closely to find ancient treasures.

Mercifully, the magnificent cathedral, founded in 1050, was spared the hellfire that destroyed pretty much everything else – a little odd considering it sticks out like a bullseye at the heart of the city. Although I’m not religious in the slightest, I do so love a gander round a holy pile.

Most of what the visitor sees is thirteenth century, and what impresses first is the awe-inspiring ceiling that soars towards the heavens. At 96 metres, it’s the longest continuous medieval stone vault in the world. It surely convinced the hovel-dwelling, unwashed illiterati of old that it was made with divine intervention – and so helped keep them on their knees.

And then there are all the elaborate tombs – mostly containing the old bones of long-dead bishops.

And the stained glass windows aren’t bad either.

While Norwich hosted T-Rexes and steppe mammoths for the summer, Exeter went for giant cutesy street dogs.

After Exeter, we spent the next couple of days hitting the sherry and chewing the cud with our old muckers at their palatial digs in Torquay. And fantastic it was too. Our hosts are a little camera shy so, instead, here’s an elegant bust of Agatha Christie, the queen of the whodunnit and the best-selling fiction writer of all time, who was born in the town.

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

Coast to Coast Ireland Walk

I first posted this way back in February 2020 but then COVID-19 took centre stage and the rest, as they say…

Two years down the line and my brother-in-law will soon be on the road, walking coast to coast across Ireland. He’s bought a stout pair of walking boots, the rucksack’s fit to bursting and he’s ready to roll. I hope he’s packed a bottle of whiskey and a brolly too. He’ll need both. I know times are hard and bills are rising but if you can spare a few pennies, that would be really something. Click the image to find out how.

Cheers!

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 can sometimes sink without trace. A stiff gin has got us through many a stinker. Did The Little Mermaid flounder on the rocks?

Definitely not. The young cast put on a cracking show full of joy, energy and enthusiasm, and the clever use of Heelys – trainers with wheels which enabled the seafood to glide effortlessly across the stage – was inspired. Wardrobe and makeup merit a special mention. The fishy weaves were just fabulous.

There was some real talent and great vocals on that stage – not least from our very own rising starlet, Alice Peck, the daughter of our local tavern keeper. We loved her performance. Keep it up, Alice. You have a bright future treading the boards.

Ariel with Flotsam and Jetsam
Ariel saves Prince Eric
Sebastian the crab with Alice the soft-curled beauty in yellow.

Images courtesy of Charley Nicol and Norwich Evening News.

The show got a well-deserved standing ovation. And the stiff gins were nice too – before, during and after.