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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Peace on Earth

I’ve never been religious. Despite singing hymns and reciting the Lord’s Prayer in school assemblies back in my kiddie years, the whole God thing pretty much washed over me without leaving a mark. Sure, I liked the Jesus fables – still do. I even once played one of the three wise men in the school nativity. And who wouldn’t agree with the whole ‘peace and goodwill’ Christmas message?

I think my lack of faith has much to do with my upbringing. My parents were little troubled by the vicar. The only trips to church were for weddings, funerals and christenings, which was more to do with social convention than piety. I have four siblings. The first two were baptised in swaddling clothes but my eldest sister had to wait four whole years before she got her dip in the font, accompanying me in a kinda two-for-one offer. And my youngest sister is still a heathen. I guess as time went by, my folks just got a bit bored with the charade.

It seems quite a few of my fellow citizens agree with my strictly secular world-view. According to latest census data for England and Wales published by the Office for National Statistics, the proportion of people describing themselves as Christian has dropped below 50 per cent for the first time since the Dark Ages.

So as a confirmed atheist, imagine my surprise when this popped up in my in-basket.

I opened the email when these two sinners were boozing in a Soho gay bar. Oh, the irony. I really don’t care what people believe in – gods, prophets, angels or the tooth fairy – it’s ok with me. If someone wants to think the world is flat and the moon is made of cheese, that’s fine too. But whoever bought my personal data should get a refund.

Season’s greetings and wishing you all goodwill. God knows we could do with some peace on earth right now.

Glad Tidings We Bring

Yes, folks, it’s that time of year when big money is lavished on those big-budget Yuletide TV ads with a social conscience – ads to make you smile, make you cry and make you think. I know it’s all about the relentless commercialisation of Christmas and a crude attempt by big business to convince us all that they’re the good guys really. But, if they’re well done and have a laser-sharp message then they can strike the perfect note and, hopefully, make a difference. Every little helps, as they say at Tesco. Here are my personal favourites from the UK, Germany and Spain.

The Chet Valley Community Larder

With energy costs and inflation as they are, for many, going under is the new getting by. This year, Christmas will be particularly tough. Village people hereabouts know how it is and don’t just stand idly by. From free Christmas hampers to the recently opened Chet Valley Community Larder, help is on hand for those struggling to put food on the table. It really gladdens the soul. It’s all amazing but the larder is particularly innovative. Run by volunteers and supported by Loddon and Chedgrave Parish Councils, Chet Valley Churches and Loddon Co-Op, the larder is based at Loddon Library. People can pop along to give what they can and take what they need; no forms, no fuss and no questions asked.

Liam and I know how lucky we are.

Deep and Crisp and Even

After a ridiculously warm November, we’ve been hit by an early winter arctic snap. Newly abandoned spiders’ webs are frozen in time, autumn leaves are cracked and brittle. It’s Sunday, we’re staying put, curled up cat-like, warmed by the log burner and a sherry or two. But who’s gonna venture out to the log store for extra wood?