It’s been a stonker of a year. In partnership with Summertime Publishing, I launched Springtime Books to provide a publishing platform for expat writers and in May, I wrapped up the saga of our emigrey days with the release of Turkey Street. The book birthing was particularly painful. Eighteen months later than planned, I fretted my comeback would be as welcome as another Spice Girls reunion, but the pain eased as the reviews dropped onto the mat. Against the blogging odds, Perking the Pansies continues to trip along nicely with a bevy of fans old and new. Somehow or other, I’ve just exceeded my 1,000th post and 10,000th comment. Not bad, I suppose, for some silly old nonsense. For all these things, I’m nothing if not grateful.
Here are the top of the pansy pops for 2015 – a fine diet of gay pride; righting an old wrong; butts of steel; relationship highs and Turkish lows; murderous intent and loose ends finally tied; the dreaded curse of middle England; bad tempered café society; and a little cottage industry to keep us out of the workhouse.
London Pride | Pardon Me | Catching Crabs | Istanbul Pride, Turkey Shame | Death Duties | Turkey Street Uncovered | Happy Anniversary, Liam | Whinging Brits | Give Us a Quiche | Springtime Has Sprung
London Pride 2015
Istanbul Pride, Turkey Shame
Turkey Street Uncovered
Happy Anniversary, Liam
Give Us a Quiche
As for the most popular image of 2015? Typical!
Here’s looking ahead to more pansy adventures in 2016. Happy New Year to one and all.
Every so often, Liam whips out his abacus for a fiscal review. Nothing gets Liam’s juices flowing quite like a multi-coloured spreadsheet and a rub of his crystal ball. As we edge ever closer to our incontinence years, Liam has decided that this year’s theme should be death and the hereafter, to make sure all our ducks are lined up in a neat row should the unspeakable happen. I’ve parked a reasonable pension courtesy of my long career as a municipal bean counter and I plan to draw it at 60. The beer-bottle budget isn’t quite enough to support our Champagne tastes but it should prevent the need to turn a few tricks for the living dead down the day centre. But what would happen if I dropped off my perch in the meantime? Well, here’s the thing. Through a bureaucratic fluke, Liam would come into a small fortune. When I caught him fingering the chicken wire at B&Q, I knew he wasn’t contemplating Eggs Benedict. I could hear him thinking ‘I wonder how I could string this across the top of the stairs?’
Just like the Queen, I no longer carry money. Liam has assumed the role of central banker and keeper of the petty cash. Consequently, I know the value of everything but the cost of nothing. Three months into our Anatolian adventure Liam felt a fiscal review was due. He prepared the figures with his usual due diligence supported by a complex multi-coloured, multi-linked spreadsheet. After all, he had been the Excel Queen in his previous life. It was all there, spend, income, projections – our financial world laid bare. Liam plugged the laptop into the TV and I knew it was going to be a long night. I uncorked a bottle.
Interest rates continue to slide which is potentially calamitous for us as we rely on investments to keep us afloat. Fortuitously, Liam has moved some of our stash into mutual funds and this gone some way to ameliorate our plight, but we are still eating into our capital. As Liam eloquently demonstrated, our budget deficit is “equivalent to 10% of GDP with only moderate prospects for growth during the next fiscal period.” A career in world economics surely beckons.
Liam did his best to reassure me that the money we don’t have is enough to pay for the lifestyle we can’t afford – just like Greece. And we can’t guilt-trip the Germans. Ah well, we’ll just spend the cash and wait for the pensions to kick in, assuming we still have pensions to kick in given the parlous state of the British structural deficit. We are considering taking in washing as we’re far too old to sell our bodies.
In the end, though, it is the quality of our lives that really counts and the quality is good, very good. It is a minor miracle that after spending three months together all day every day we are still speaking let alone loving, laughing and living. That’s something money can’t buy.
The final clutch of exiles I’ve observed are the semigreys, people too young to retire in the conventional sense, who are living the vida loca on the proceeds of property sales. Plunging interest rates present quite a fiscal test to those trying to maintain a hedonistic lifestyle on dwindling assets while waiting for the pensions to kick in, assuming there will be a pension to kick in given the parlous position of the British public purse. That’ll be us then.