Perfect Day

Perfect Day

Christmas comes but once a year, thank the Lord. You can almost taste the stress in the high street from the world-weary shoppers to the fixed-grin workers with tired old tinsel in their hair. I shop early to avoid the hurly-burly. We do, though, always look forward to the John Lewis festive TV ad, and this year’s offering featuring Elton John is a cracker. But then, I’ve always had a soft spot for Captain Fantastic. Predictably, a few scrooges got all bah humbug about the extravagance in these austere times; the moral high ground can be a joyless place. Besides, it’s our job to fix the ills of society, not a shop.

This year, Liam and I are having a quiet one in the microloft. The calorific grub will come courtesy of Mr Marks and Mr Spencer and the quality of the vino will go up a notch or two. Then we’ll drop onto the sofa to foot-tap our way through Mama Mia – Here We Go Again! Out on DVD just in time for Christmas. A perfect day.

Seasons Greetings

Seasons greetings to one and all. Whatever Christmas means to you, may your day be peaceful.

Twas the Night Before Christmas

Twas the Night Before Christmas

It’s Christmas Eve and, after a year of sensible eating, tomorrow we’re looking forward to calorific grub (thank you M&S), artery-hardening afters, saturated snacking, a barrel of vino, and a little peace and tranquillity. The latter two seem to be rare commodities these days. Whatever Christmas means to you, may your day be merry and bright. I’ll leave you with Norwich’s festive Tunnel of Light. Unassuming by day, by night it’s a dazzling riot of twinkle and glow – a bit like me.

Tunnel of Light

An M&S Winter

An M&S Winter

Watching Mother Nature drench our windows brings memories of mad Turkish weather flooding back. People who haven’t experienced it first-hand simply don’t believe me when I say our Aegean winters were a real challenge. It’s the Med, right? How bad can it be? How about a split personality of hurricane rain, typhoon winds and cyclone floods followed in quick succession by crisp bright mornings and balmy afternoons of warm dazzling sun? Whatever the drama going on outside, inside was constantly cold and draughty. Despite our valiant efforts, we never quite managed to get the heating right and, in the depths of winter, most evenings were spent under a duvet. We dressed in fleecy layers and praised the Lord for the cosy Marks and Sparks slippers insulating our tootsies from Jack Frost snapping at our heels. Actually, I had never owned a pair of slippers before our move to Turkey and it came as some relief to find two small M&S outlets in Bodrum.

For the uninitiated, Marks and Spencer is:

A clothes and food retailer, the cornerstone of the high street and as British as the Queen, except Her Maj is German and most M&S products are imported.

As described in Turkey Street’s Turkipendix Two: A Word or Two in British.

Naturally, there’s an M&S here in Norwich, a large one too. It’s quite a draw for the county’s well-heeled grey herd in their waxed jackets and Jaeger. The store features a fancy vertical garden which, as you can see, takes some effort to prune.  As for the old M&S slippers? I finally threw them out last year. Replacements not required.

M&S Norwich Vertical Garden

Shop ‘Til You Drop

Shop ‘Til You Drop

With the weather finally on the up and blossom dripping from the trees, the citizens of Norwich were out in their droves doing what the Brits do best – shop and sup. Purses and plastic were loosened in a brave attempt to drag the economy out of the abyss. Technically, the economy is as flat as a witch’s tit, rather than triple dipping and the patient needs all the TLC it can get. Market stalls toppled out onto the pavement, till queues weaved round Primark, the M&S food hall heaved with Norfolk broads and we couldn’t find a table in Pret a Manger when we bagged a baguette.

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We escaped the madding crowd by browsing the floor show in the Forum. Modern art isn’t everyone’s cup of char but Liam loved it.  I left him to peruse the exhibits and ordered a couple of drinks at the bar. Cheers!

Pipe and Slippers

We’re hoping to start our East Anglian adventure in a brand spanking new city-centre designer pad with a high spec and low bills: a six month probation while we try the city on for size.

Ancient Norwic is a young person’s university city with a vibrant crowd and a thriving arts scene; these old nags aren’t quite ready for the knacker’s yard just yet. I’ve chucked my old floppy slippers in the bin. Now they were knackered. Ironically, I bought my first ever pair of slippers in the Bodrum branch of Marks and Sparks, a soft shoe shuffle designed to keep my little tootsies warm during the challenging Bodrum winters.

We’ve been struggling to become a fag-free family, frequently falling off the wagon, usually after a session on the sauce. This time, things will be different. We’re determined to kick the filthy habit (famous last words, I hear you mutter at the back). The £8 a packet price tag would drive us into the greasy hands of Blighty loan sharks. Yes, my friends, times have changed. They’ll be no pipe and slippers for us in our new gaff.

Sizzling Bodrum

Old Bodrum Town has hit the season running. In the heat of the day people slowly amble along the promenade, gorge on gossip in the cafés, browse and graze in the posh shops or relax under cooling shade of a tall palm tree. By night the prom sizzles to the heavy beat of Turkopop and a madding crowd of the weird, the wonderful and the well-to-do. This is my rapid round up of what’s hot and what’s not along Bodrum’s celebrated promenade.

Musto’s – Great food, great prices, great host and popular with the biker’s fraternity
Zazu – Nice food, pricey wine, good ambience
Hong Kong – Cross the street to avoid the relentless hassle from the waiters
Good old M&S – Older Turkish men just love their Blue Harbour range
Sünger Pizza. An old Bodrum stalwart. Unpretentious. Try and get a table on the roof terrace
Kahve Dünyası – Great coffee, pretty waiters and a chocolate spoon with every cup
Marina Vista – Lovely hotel in a great location. Pity about the surly service
Tango – So, so steaks, astronomic wine prices, arrogant waiters.
The Yacht Club – Cool place with live music
Fink – You’d need a second mortgage to drink in here
Helva – I spy a lady of the night
Is there anywhere in the world without a Starbucks?