Perking the Pansies recovered from a difficult birth at the murderous hands of the Turkish censors, thrived through the terrible twos and survived the transitional threes, ending the year with 60,000 hits for the last twelve months. Thank you to everyone and anyone who’s passed by and glanced at my random witterings. Most blogs burn out after two years so I must be living on borrowed time.
As the sun sets on 2013, in the best Hogmanay tradition, I give you the year’s top ten – a pick ‘n’mix treat of bum cleavage, Turks at the barricades, a shot in the arm, a tender coming out story, a sexy rugger bugger, a book to send you to sleep, an old-time boozer, an olive tree planted in a foreign field and a scratched itch.
It was the picture wot won it.
A revolution in the making?
Saying it before someone said it for him.
Who said ice-prancing rugger buggers can’t read?
With thanks to the nice people at WordPress who featured me on one of their big hitting sites.
Keeping me out the workhouse.
A Chelsea classic and old watering hole of mine.
A small corner of Turkey that is forever John.
A soppy tale from Liam.
And we all know who did in the end, don’t we?
For some inexplicable reason, this was the most popular image of 2013, featured in Let’s Hear it for the Brides.
And I shouldn’t forget the perennial favourites from previous years that keep coming back again and again like a bad case of thrush.
Proving that ‘sex’ really is the most searched for word on Google.
A humble little post about a spectacular discovery in eastern Turkey that just keeps on giving while the archaeologists keep on digging – 8,000 hits and climbing. Who would have thought?
Oft quoted and oft plagiarised (and not always with a credit, tut tut)
The few spoiling it for the many. A real shame.
And what of 2014? All I know is that Turkey Street, Jack and Liam move to Bodrum will be out early in the year. Will it be as successful as the first one? Who knows? Not me. Whatever happens, come rain or shine, a happy and prosperous year to all my pansy fans. Thank you for staying the course and for your remarkable support. I’m touched but then, I have been for years.
The beauty of renting is that we’re not responsible for all those annoying little things that inevitably go wrong around the home. We had a dodgy boiler that refused to heat water (though it was more than happy to heat the radiators, even when not asked). Our friendly landlady despatched a boiler-suited chatty man with cute dimples. He installed a brand new heat exchanger (No idea? Me neither). I provided tea for his labours and listened intently to my boiler man recall his boiler tales. A dull date on a Saturday night, I thought. Despite the cute dimples.
Then we became undone by a temperamental washing machine that only spun when it could be arsed. The reluctant spin went on for weeks. We were seriously in danger of being buried under sopping piles of dripping undies. Our landlady dispatched a smiley man in baggy bottoms and a corporate polo top. I provided tea for his labours as he tried to wring a final spin out of the moody machine. “It’s knackered,” he concluded. His home-spun words were music to my ears. I almost invited him out for dinner.
A week later, our landlady despatched a replacement appliance escorted by a thick-set older man with an even thicker-set accent. He was accompanied by a spotty young apprentice. “Where’s it plugged in?” asked the old man. “Absolutely no idea,” I replied. After a lot of huffing and puffing, hauling and heaving, he found the socket behind the fridge. Then I watched him slice the live wire with a Stanley knife. The loud bang almost gave me a seizure. Unlike me, he wasn’t the least bit perturbed by the black flume and strong whiff of electrical burn or the fact that he’d blown all the sockets in the kitchen. The young spotty thing was shocked into silence. For one brief moment, I thought I’d been beamed back to Bodrum where all workers are fully qualified electricians/plumbers/carpenters/roofers/rocket scientists (delete as appropriate).
Laurel and Hardy didn’t get tea for their trouble, I can tell you. Well, the kettle wasn’t working.
As far as British summers go, 2013 wasn’t that bad – a nice opening, a moist middle and a glorious finish (sounds like someone I know). A few rainy days but little to write home about, apart from one late evening a few weeks ago. Mother Nature threw a hissy fit and chucked a squally storm across the flatlands – snap, crackle and pop, with water coming at us from all angles like an out of control car wash. I was busy tippy-tapping when I noticed a small dribble of water gently trickle down the wall from the corner of the ceiling, rolling behind my laptop screen. Liam and I ascended to our boudoir tucked into the eaves to investigate and, yes, you guessed it, the roof had sprung a leak. An urgent call to our landlady led to a quick inspection by a middle-aged builder sporting a beer-belly and fetching multi-coloured socks, chosen by his daughter, he told me.
Erection day came. I was minding my own business when my attention was drawn to a fella in the semi-buff with more muscles than Brussels playing with his poles right within my line of sight. Yes, him and his tools were only feet away. It was all a bit like a car crash – you know you shouldn’t look but you just can’t help it. Not a lot got done that afternoon, I can tell you, not with the steamed-up spectacles and dripping windows. It all brought back cheerful memories of my x-rated peak-time thirties and that Diet Coke Ad (the original, not the recent sequel). Who said life in Norwich was boring?
In their utilitarian wisdom, the local water company decided to replace our meter. Apparently, the old device was knackered and belonged in the Science Museum (along with what’s left of British manufacturing). A couple of big lads turned up in fetching hi viz vests and butch safety helmets (it takes a real man to carry off yellow with style). After a bit of bump and grind, the meter was replaced in a thrice. Off they trotted, job done. I decided to make a cuppa and went to the tap to fill the kettle. Up went the lever, down came the trickle. I’ve commented on our lacklustre sprinkle before but this was beyond ridiculous – more no-flow than low-flow. A quick bell to Anglian Water and, following a brief conversation about the whereabouts of my stop-cock (no idea), an emergency plumber was dispatched to my rescue. Oh God, I thought. It’ll be days of whore’s wipes, takeaways and pre-programmed poos before my stop-cock gets a good seeing to. But, no. A hour later, a handsome chappy in cargo pants turned up with wrench it hand. “Where’s your stop-cock?” he asked. “No idea,” I replied. He searched high and low and discovered the mechanism lurking behind the washing machine. As he knelt down to inspect my crevice, he flashed his own little crack. It was crowned with a tiny tuft of wispy hair. I stifled a wolf-whistle. A firm twist of the wrist and whoosh, the source of life gushed forth. Most satisfying. So, we now have sufficient water pressure to run a small hydro-electric dam. It never rains but it pours.
Talking of flashing cracks, there’s a website dedicated to the glory of builder’s bums. I have no words.
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