Bars & Restaurants, Beach, Bodrum, Bodrum Belles, Emigreys, Expats, Family & Friends, Flying, Food & Drink, Holidays, Hotels, Norwich, Parties, Turkey & Turkish, Turkey Street, Vetpats, VOMITs

Perking the Pansies

Our hobbling tour of Bodrum was something of a boozy whirlwind and confirmed I can’t do multiple piss-ups anymore. It was season’s end with flight prices to match, but the interminable limp through Stansted was a brutalising experience when compared to our little local airport. Working to a slum-it budget, we bagged ourselves a hotel in Bodrum for eleven quid a night, breakfast included. Nothing much worked in our barrel-scraped digs but the family-run gaff was clean and convenient. This was the first time we had set foot on Turkish soil since we called time on our Anatolian adventure in 2012 and we were determined to make hay. Naturally, the wedding of the year was the main event but we also wanted to share a jar or two with some of our old muckers, so we pitched our standard on a Bodrum Beach and waited for battle to commence. The onslaught came in waves and after nine hours of friendly fire, talking ten to the dozen about everything under the moonlit sky, we staggered to the nearest taxi rank. A huge hand to all the Bodrum belles and beaus who really made our day. You know who you are.

These images are as blurred as our vision was by the end of the evening.

Of course, no trip back to Bodrum would have been complete without a reunion of the Sisterhood…

… the antidote to the VOMITing sickness that afflicts the many Shirley Valentines who wash up like driftwood on the beaches of Turkey. Many of the Sisters are reformed VOMITs who’ve been through the ringer, some more than once, but have emerged to tell the tale stronger and wiser. The Sisters stick together (like birds of a feather), because men are rubbish.

Expat Glossary

So after a day trip down memory lane along Turkey Street (more of this later), we joined the Sisterhood in Musto.

Musto was top of our list and sat in a prime location on Marina Boulevard opposite the smart shopping parade. Its handsome young owner, Mustafa the Magnificent, was second cousin to our landlady and a generous and convivial host. The eponymous Mustafa learned his trade at Sünger, his uncle’s legendary pizza parlour, a place that had been dishing up margheritas to the sailing squad since the early seventies. Unlike some of his rivals, Mustafa never resorted to pressganging people in from the street. He courted the emigrey crowd with Italian seasoning, palatable wine, affordable prices and generous yolluks. It was a formula that attracted swarms of discerning diners, even out of season.

Turkey Street

mustoMusto has expanded considerably since our last visit, though I’m pleased to say the menu and ambience remain special. Back in the day, regular meetings of the Sisterhood always kept the pansies perked, particularly during the chilly winter months when Bodrum life was as a slow as pond water. Thank you Doc, Jess and Victoria.

There was a distinct autumnal nip when we got back to Norwich and the heating went on for the first time since the spring. A day or two later, Liam departed for London on family duties so I sank into the sofa to watch an ancient episode of Midsomer Murders on ITV3 with my carcinomic ankle resting on a Swedish pouffe. I was unsettled. We thought our trip back to Bodrum would be our swansong. Now I’m not so sure. Despite challenging political times, Turkey has worked her magic all over again. Blimey.

bodrum-beach

Bars & Restaurants, Family & Friends, Food & Drink, London, Parties

Brighton Rocks

To mark our joint birthdays, Liam and I are off to Brighton (London-by-the-Sea) for a couple of days in the company of a pair of drunken old playmates to take in the sea air and drink the town dry. Thankfully, the lashing remnants of Hurricane Gonzalo have already cylconed over otherwise the air might have been a little more bracing than we had bargained for. After the Brighton booze cruise, we’ll be in London to mark the coming of age of my nephew and namesake, Jack. He’s having a bit of a do with the class of 2014. And yes, we’ll be the old farts hiding in the corner sipping on a sweet sherry and trying hard not to leer at the young men in big hair and skinny jeans. No doubt we’ll be bringing our livers back in a Sainsbury’s bag.

Here’s Jack with the old girl earlier in the year.

Jack and Mum

 

LGBT, Norwich, Olympic Games, Parties, TV & Radio

Norwich Pride 2013

The marching season continues (no, I don’t mean the archaic and nose-rubbing Orange Day parades). Following a whole week of rather special events (including my very own display at the Pride Without Prejudice Art Exhibition), tomorrow is Norwich Pride day, a gift from the LGBT community to all and sundry. We missed it last year. Something else got in the way. Now, what was it? Oh, yes, watching the opening ceremony of the London Olympics from a balcony overlooking the stadium. We were torn, but the once-in-a-lifetime event won the day, I’m afraid. This year we are fully committed to the pink party. In fact, I’m going to be co-hosting the outside broadcast of Pride Live on Future Radio with the fabulous Di Cunningham from the epicentre of the knees-up on Millennium Plain, itself the epicentre of community life in the city. I’m not quite sure what to expect other than that it’ll be a scream and I’ll be the one doing the screaming. I think Di intends to wind me up and let me loose into the rainbow crowd to hunt down colourful victims to interview. Tune in on 107.8 FM (or online) and listen to me make a total prat of myself because I won’t know what’s coming up and I won’t have rehearsed my lines. Oh, sod it, who cares? It’s all in a worthy cause. Whoever you are, why not pop along and parade with pride?

Guest Posts, London, Olympic Games, Parties, Shopping, Sport, Transport

The Spirit of the Games

As the sun sets on the Friendly Games (bring on the Paralympics), I bring you an accidental guest post from an ancient friend and co-host of the Olympic Opening Ceremony knees-up we attended. It’s accidental because it’s actually an email he sent to the good, the gobby and the inebriated who graced the penthouse pad party and emptied his wine cellar.

Hit it Ian…

Following on from the AMAZING opening, this last week just seems to have transformed London from the mildly aggressive and pushy city we all know and usually love, into something rather special. Just wanted to share some of my ‘all warm inside’ moments of this historic week.

One was my fairly usual 9am-ish District Line ride to work. Alongside the 2012 tracksuit wearing larger men and womenfolk who look like they could only win Gold in a pasty eating competition, 2 Austrian Olympians joined the carriage at Mile End in their matching white tracksuits complete with Austrian team logo and dangling Olympic passes. A young lad in his twenties and an older (well mid-thirties) tall guy with cropped hair (very Teutonic). As I glanced up from my Metro (could that paper be any duller?) the young lad had his arm around cropped hair and when they looked into each others eyes, they had that look that only people in the honeymoon period of a relationship have –  a mix of lust, anticipation & hope. Of course no-one batted an eyelid in the carriage, and it was as normal as delays on the Central line..I bet they didn’t do that in Beijing.

Another transport trip earlier in the week saw us sharing a Docklands train with a mass of nationalities returning from the Greenwich Park Eventing. a middle aged Irish guy was using the blarney on some loud and tipsy New Zealand wenches and telling them that Ireland’s 5th place result was the best ever and to celebrate he’d been asked to a drinks reception at the Irish Embassy. Now that’s how to impress tipsy Antipodeans.

Then the most heart warming happening of all followed on the next day. A morning trip to Boots in Piccadilly Circus on the way to work to get some essentials (no, not those…). As I was perusing the men’s toiletries aisle a smart young lad with suit and badge asked me if I would like some help and then not only took me to the item on the shelf, he picked it for me and offered it in said basket all with some witty banter and winning smiles. He signed off by wishing me a nice day. I was momentarily stunned.  Normally you could have collapsed in the feminine hygiene aisle in this Boots and been walked over for ten minutes before Security’s arrival to remove you. I almost skipped to work.

Add on to the above the smiling and funny volunteers who guided me through security at the North Greenwich Arena (02 to us) within ten minutes from tube to seat, the mix on the streets and shops of Olympics bods, fans and tourists, the genuine (and noisy) fans filling all the fantastic stadia even at 10am in the morning..and the fact I seem to be permanently glued to Claire Balding or Gabby Logan on the magnificent BBC (abuse it at your peril Jeremy *unt) and it all completes my warm glow for this beautiful city I call home.

Even the weather has been on our side.

Arise London for you are putting on a winning performance as I always believed you would, from the energy of the Olympic stadium, the noise of the Velodrome, the beauty of Hyde Park and the majesty of Greenwich. And you and your welcome are the true star of this 30th Olympiad so far.

Not like me to be effusive. Must be the warm glow (or the onset of senility). Back to Gary Lineker and Sue Barker’s helmet hair…

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Britain, London, Olympic Games, Parties, Sport

Let the Games Begin

Roll up, roll up. Love it or loathe it, the Olympic circus has come to town. Uniquely, London is the only city to have hosted the over-bloated jamboree three times – 1908, 1948 and now 2012. Ironically, given the current double dip recession, it was the 1948 beano that was called the ‘Austerity Games’ as it was held barely three years after the end of the Second World War;  a grim time when Blighty was bankrupt, on rations and in the red to our generous Yankee cousins. Remarkably, the debt was only finally settled in 2006.

At the 11th hour, it hardly matters whether the 2012 Olympiad will be a monumental waste of taxpayer’s cash that will put London in hock for decades or a monumental celebration of civic renaissance that will leave an enduring legacy. I know the site of the Olympic park well. Before the transformation it was a polluted post-industrial shit hole. I think it was worth winning the Games just to see the smug smile being wiped off former President Chirac’s arrogant face when London pipped Paris into second place. Did you manage to get tickets? Me neither. We have a plan B. We’ll be watching the opening ceremony from a balcony overlooking the stadium. It pays to have a dear old friend with a posh penthouse in the right part of town. Last time, the Middle Kingdom presented an epic spectacle of precision and uniform behaviour from a cast of thousands. This time, I’m hoping for something a little less regimented with a little more panache, diversity and individuality. A few gongs in the bag would be nice too.

To commemorate the start of the Games I give you the British diving team being sexy:

Family & Friends, Music & Dance, Parties

The Demon Drink

We’ve finally managed to collate all the incriminating photographic evidence of our wicked trip to Bordeaux back in September to celebrate the half century of Blighty life friend, Ian. Liam has produced a timely public heath broadcast about the evils of alcohol. A sorry collection of over-the-hill so-called fine and upstanding members of society (well, except for the birthday boy who runs a sex shop in Soho), strutting their drunken stuff in an isolated French farm house is a pathetic spectacle. It’s enough to put you off your pink gin. Listen up kids, in Nancy Reagan’s immortal words, ‘Just say no.’

We had a ball.

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Family & Friends, Food & Drink, Gumbet, Parties

Birthday Beaus

It’s been a double celebration of our birthdays. We were feted in style by a succession of festivities sponsored by a select sample of the Bodrum Belles and Gumbet Gals, and topped off by a birthday bombshell. Blighty-life friend and part-time thesp, Clive, flew in for the occasion on a surprise visit. Liam was suitably startled and unusually speechless. Our days were awash with lavish fizz and food, calorific cakes with candles, and generous bountiful gifts.

Dear Clive is a flimsy sleeper and needs total sensory deprivation. He couldn’t quite fit the isolation tank into his hand luggage so had to make do with a Virgin Atlantic mask and earplugs the size of suppositories. Thankfully, Clive managed to get his beauty sleep (despite the dogs, traffic, call to prayer and a plague of flies) and awoke each day rested and raring to go. Liam and I drank the house dry while a sober Clive looked on with amiable amusement. When the white was spent, I resorted to sucking out brandy from the fruit cake Clive had lovingly baked and slipped into his luggage.

After a solid week of liquor decadence and wringing our livers out in the sink, the show is now over. These two ageing queens are resting their drunken bones. Until next year.

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