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Imagine the absurdity of two openly gay, married, middle aged, middle class men escaping the liberal sanctuary of anonymous London to relocate to a Muslim country. I chronicled our exploits with the mad, the sad, the bad and the glad in a blog for the whole world to ignore. Then came the book which became a critically acclaimed best seller. Its success opened out a whole new career for me as an author. Who'd have thought it? Certainly not me. In June 2012, we ended our Anatolian affair and paddled back to Britain on the evening tide, washing up in Norwich, a surprising city in eastern England. I’m sometimes nostalgic for our encounters with the hopeless, the hapless and, yes, the happy go lucky. They gave me an unexpected tale to tell and for this I thank them. Act Two, Turkey Street, is out now in print and digital editions.
2024-06-15 09:00
Sometimes something just turns up without warning, punches you in the gut and has you reaching for the Kleenex. Such a thing is Lost Boys and Fairies, the three-part prime time BBC drama abo… Read More
2024-06-08 09:00
Back in the seventies, catalogue shopping was all the rage and buy now, pay later was my old Mum’s mantra. The entire family was kitted out on the never–never, all for a few shil… Read More
2024-06-01 09:00
These constant rainy days are really starting to get on my tits. I’m not unfamiliar with big weather. As an army brat in faraway Malaysia, there was the annual inundation during monsoo… Read More
2024-05-25 09:00
With the sun finally poking through the grey clouds, we grabbed the chance to take a walk down by the River Chet for the first time in an age. As we strolled between the reeded bank and bogg… Read More
2024-05-18 09:00
The rural flatlands of Norfolk are habitat heaven for the birds – fields and forests, rivers and wetlands provide the perfect breeding ground for an eclectic collection of feathered fl… Read More
2024-05-11 09:00
Earlier this week, I sprinted through the half a million barrier for pansy hits. When I say sprinted, it’s been more of a gentle stroll, and it’s taken nearly fourteen years to g… Read More
2024-05-04 09:00
Even by the usual erratic standards of these rainswept islands, the weather so far this spring has been damp and dismal – rain, rain and more bleedin’ rain, with angry storms blo… Read More
2024-04-27 09:00
We fancied another pilgrimage and we settled on Peterborough in neighbouring Cambridgeshire, with its epic house of God. While I may be a dedicated heathen, I totally get that back in the da… Read More
2024-04-20 09:00
It was our ‘wax’ wedding anniversary last week – sixteen years and counting. We’ve already got enough candles to light a small chapel, so they were off the gift list… Read More
2024-04-06 09:00
After a few months of hard graft and long days for the publishing malarky, we indulged in a little retail therapy in Norwich followed by a few sherries in the Cathedral Quarter. Unlike other… Read More
2024-03-30 10:00
We love a wacky musical and they don’t come much wackier than Opening Night, a brand new West End show from the pen of singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright. Based on a 1977 film of the s… Read More
2024-03-16 10:00
In late 2008 we jumped the good ship Blighty and washed up on a Turkish beach. For our first year, we dropped anchor in Yalikavak, now a flashy resort with a fancy marina for the filthy rich… Read More
2024-03-09 10:00
London is a gloriously haphazard, jumbled up kind of place where the rich and the ragged sometimes co-exist cheek by jowl. The Boltons in West London is an address for the seriously loaded… Read More
2024-03-02 10:00
Sometimes real heroes are just ordinary people who do extra-ordinary things. One such ordinary hero was Nicholas Winton who, following the 1938 German annexation of the Sudetenland in what w… Read More
2024-02-24 10:00
Drama and performance can really help young minds build important life skills like confidence, comradeship, communication, cooperation and commitment – and loads of other vital ‘… Read More
2024-02-17 10:00
As we strolled into the village for a few Sunday sherries, we happened upon this poster on the high street. It took us by surprise – but in a really good way. Last week was HIV Testing… Read More
2024-02-03 10:00
For a rural shire on the eastern edge of this green and pleasant land, East Anglia is rather blessed when it comes to live theatre. It seems everyone’s at it, from the have-a-go luvvie… Read More
2024-01-27 10:10
We’ve all heard the tedious line about how the good old days were so much better. It’s said by those who yearn for a bygone era of stiff upper lips, Sunday church and honour on t… Read More
2024-01-20 10:00
We missed Big Dick and His Pussy, last year’s mucky offering from the Adult Panto team, so we were determined to see Sinderella, their very naughty-but-nice interpretation of the class… Read More
2024-01-13 10:00
Only kidding. I doubt anyone would hand over their hard-earned cash to watch me waving my wrinkly old willy about. Though, way back in my pretty-boy days, I was occasionally offered a few fa… Read More
2024-01-06 10:00
During Twixmas, one of our many nephews asked his long-term partner to marry him. His proposal was made at a surprise engagement do in London. Was he wise or foolhardy to drop to one knee in… Read More
2023-12-31 10:00
Looking around at our troubled and troubling world, 2023 hasn’t exactly been the best of years – precious little hope and definitely no glory. Despite the doom and gloom, for the… Read More
2023-12-24 10:00
I was surfing through Nextdoor, the local neighbourhood app, and happened upon this message from a resident of the nearby town of Beccles… Hi everyone, during the pandemic my son put… Read More
2023-12-23 10:00
It’s Christmas so it must be pantomime time, and panto doesn’t get any more lavish and camp than the annual festive frolic at the London Palladium. Each year the show just gets b… Read More
2023-12-16 10:00
Our nephew Tom entered an amateur boxing competition for charity in honour of his grandmother – my mother – who died of cancer last year. And, of course, we had to be there for m… Read More
2023-12-09 10:00
Our immediate neighbours at the Duke of York’s Theatre in old London Town were a trio of antique thesps with silver hair, floaty chiffon and silk scarves – very Sunset Boulevard… Read More
2023-11-25 10:00
Before we got hitched, Liam and I had both enjoyed the many meaty treats of old Amsterdam. Needless to say, it didn’t include a cultural cruise around the august galleries of the world… Read More
2023-11-18 10:17
In the autumn of 1978, a pretty-faced eighteen-year-old pulled into old Amsterdam’s grim and gloomy Centraal Station. It was cold and wet, with scary types milling about the windswept… Read More
2023-11-11 10:00
We see a lot of am-dram these days – across town and county, in huts and halls, theatres big and small, all delivered by companies of dedicated luvvies giving it their all. We love the… Read More
2023-11-04 10:00
I’ve been watching Suffolk and Norfolk: Country and Coast on the box. It’s a gentle pilgrimage through the timeless counties that make up ancient East Anglia. By episode five, we… Read More
2023-10-28 09:00
After an unseasonably warm few weeks fired by a hot Saharan blast, autumn is finally upon us and thoughts meander back to summer frolics and the bucket-and-spade family entertainment that to… Read More
2023-10-21 09:00
It’s been a year since my old girl died. She was 93, but even though she was frail and a bit mutton – well, a lot mutton – in many ways she was blessed. She lived a long, e… Read More
2023-10-14 09:00
Continuing with the gym junkie theme from last week. Given my aversion to unnecessary movement and a low boredom threshold, I keep myself amused at the gym by reading a newspaper. My daily r… Read More
2023-10-07 09:00
Many gym bunnies get a kick out of it. Apparently, pumping iron can pump the endorphins too, the brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters. After a decade on the treadmill, I can’t say… Read More
2023-09-30 09:30
QuickBooks is a handy accountancy package used by many small businesses and sole traders like me so it’s not that surprising that scammers target their users. Scamming is a highly prof… Read More
2023-09-23 09:00
Sleepy Frikes on the idyllic island of Ithaca was simply sublime – serene and restorative. The peace was broken only by the ringing of goat bells in the surrounding hills and wind chim… Read More
2023-09-16 09:00
It’s often been said that old Norwich town once had a pub for every day of the week and a church for every Sunday. But as we discovered on our recent Hidden Street Tour with The Shoebo… Read More
2023-09-09 09:00
We first heard about one of Norwich’s secrets in the local rag and decided to give it a whirl courtesy of The Shoebox Experiences. It just so happens that under their community hub on… Read More
2023-09-01 23:00
I gloriously misspent my youth trawling the sleazy dives of many of the world’s great metropolitan sin bins – London, Amsterdam, Paris, New York and Los Angeles among them &ndash&hell…Read More
2023-08-25 23:00
I’m off-air while Liam and I are perking our pansies on Ithaca. Thankfully, Odysseus’ fabled isle has escaped the terrible wildfires that have torched Southern Europe – and… Read More
2023-08-19 09:00
According to Homer – the ancient bard that is, not Simpson – it took Odysseus ten years to make it back to his gaff on Ithaca following the Trojan War. Clearly the legendary and… Read More
2023-08-07 08:23
It’s well known that these little islands have some of the toughest gun laws this side of the Milky Way. It’s possible to legally own a gun but for very specific reasons only &nd&hell…Read More
2023-07-29 09:00
I’ve always had a fu*k ’em attitude to authority, particularly the do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do hypocrites. You know the kind of thing: politicians preaching ‘family values&rsqu&hell…Read More
2023-07-22 09:00
We’ve become part-time groupies for our local village bowls team. To the uninitiated, bowls is a traditional sport beloved of the grey herd in which the objective is to roll… Read More
2023-07-15 09:00
We returned from our nostalgic dalliance in Dalyan to water trickling down our dining room wall. Okay, it’s a bit of a stretch to call it an actual dining room. It’s more of a di… Read More
2023-07-08 08:21
I looked around the tidy cemetery. It was serenely silent except for the sound of birdsong and the trickle of water from the mouths of the dolphins in their petrified embrace. It calmed me… Read More
2023-07-01 09:00
It’s been a quarter of a century since I last visited Dalyan on Turkey’s pine-clad south-west coast. Back in the day, it was a sleepy village on a dreamy, reed-lined river stuffe… Read More
2023-06-24 09:00
The definition of boredom is cleaning out the bathroom extractor fan with an old toothbrush. Let’s face it, there’s only so much knick-knack dusting a boy can do when home alone… Read More
2023-06-17 09:00
Liam is away visiting an old friend from his wayward early years as a young gay about town. They worked and played together when Liam did a proper job with a pension attached. It’s the… Read More
2023-06-03 09:30
We binned the car in 2014 so, unsurprisingly, good public transport is important to us. That’s why we chose a village close to Norwich with a decent bus service – regular and rel… Read More
2023-05-27 09:00
Essex, the home county to the east of London, has the reputation of being, well, a bit chavvy. But there’s more to Essex than big hair, gaudy bling, fake tans, assisted tits and imposs… Read More
2023-05-20 09:00
Shortly after we moved to the village, the good lady wife of our local pub landlord popped round to the cottage with a housewarming gift. She said, “I saw this and thought of you&rdquo&hell…Read More
2023-05-13 09:00
Yes, it’s that time of year again when the technicolor travelling circus that is Eurovision rolls into town. After Ukraine’s win last year, the tele-moguls wisely decided against… Read More
2023-05-06 09:00
My dad took the King’s shilling in the late forties and made a career out of soldiering for the next twenty-something years. Despite swearing allegiance to the monarch, Dad was a soft… Read More
2023-04-29 09:00
Spam is just like tax and death – unavoidable. Crafty spammers, scammers and crooks, enhanced by even craftier AI, are at it night and day finding even more ingenious ways to get us to… Read More
2023-04-22 09:00
For our fifteenth wedding anniversary we were itching for a big city scratch with a difference. Despite my heathen leanings, I do like an impressive church, and few are more impressive than… Read More
2023-04-08 09:00
When, in the late seventies, I took my first tentative steps onto London’s knock-and-enter gay scene, facial hair was all the rage. Walk into any smoky dive bar and you’d be conf… Read More
2023-04-01 09:00
As a superannuated member of the grumpy grey herd, I still read newspapers, those quaintly old-fashioned printed sheets of paper that leave ink smudges on your fingers. I recently read in on… Read More
2023-03-29 13:03
We awoke this morning to the sad news that Paul O’Grady, AKA Lily Savage drag queen extraordinaire, has died. Even though I didn’t know Paul personally, somehow it still feels li… Read More
2023-03-25 10:28
A big birthday deserves a big show and they don’t get much bigger than ABBA Voyage at the specially constructed ABBA Arena in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Discretion pr… Read More
2023-03-18 10:00
Times are hard and, like so many others, the Maddermarket Theatre, former chapel and the spiritual home of am-dram in Norwich, is feeling the pinch. They desperately need an injection of cas… Read More
2023-03-11 10:00
Every month without fail, Chet Contact drops on the mat. Produced by the Chet Valley Churches, the community magazine is packed with handy information about local community groups and servic… Read More
2023-03-04 10:00
We were struck down with the dreaded lurgy over the festive period and it just went on and on. What’s a boy to do when he’s at his lowest ebb, snot-wise, and he needs to perk up… Read More
2023-02-25 10:00
The last time I was at a school play, I was in a school play. That was 1976 and it was Midsummer Night’s Dream. No, I wasn’t typecast as one of the fairies. Shame on you for thin… Read More
2023-02-18 10:00
  A glitter bomb of drag queens in outrageous slap and the highest heels sashayed onto the stage at Norwich’s Theatre Royal to add a little glamour to the naughty but nice musical… Read More
2023-02-11 10:00
A feel-good flick is the surest way to chase away those midwinter blues and they don’t come more feel-good than A Man Called Otto, with an unusually brittle Tom Hanks in the title role… Read More
2023-02-04 10:00
Back in 2008, the eccentric old fella next door bought my London Victorian terrace in Walthamstow. One fateful evening he popped round with his chequebook and asked, “How much?”… Read More
2023-01-28 10:00
Our first film of 2023 was ‘Empire of Light’ written and directed by Sam Mendes and set around a grand old art deco cinema in a forlorn English seaside resort during the early ni… Read More
2023-01-21 10:00
According to those in the know, as most of us took precautions during the darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic – social distancing, mask-wearing, hand-washing and all that jazz &ndash&hell…Read More
2023-01-14 10:00
The weather outside is dull and drizzly so it must be pantomime season, just the thing to chase away those winter blues. Panto is a centuries-old theatrical tradition which has evolved into… Read More
2023-01-07 10:00
Last year New Year’s Eve pyrotechnics were all big bangs but no punters. The pandemic saw to that. This year, punters were back in force, lining the banks of the Thames. To mark their… Read More
2022-12-31 10:00
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 &nda&hell…Read More
2022-12-24 10:00
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 witho… Read More
2022-12-21 10:00
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 thin… Read More
2022-12-17 10:00
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&rs&hell…Read More
2022-12-11 17:00
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&rsq&hell…Read More
2022-12-10 10:00
Money’s tight right now and when school budgets get squeezed something has to give. And what gives tends to be non-core activities like music, dance and drama. It’s understandabl… Read More
2022-12-03 10:00
Last year I acquired my very own online troll from across the pond who accused me loudly and often of conspiring with her ex in a sustained campaign of hate against her. She ranted at me, se… Read More
2022-11-26 10:00
After an unseasonably warm October with elderly chaps flashing their knobbly knees to all and sundry on the streets, November has cooled down nicely, with ever-shorter days, damp nights and… Read More
2022-11-19 10:00
Despite coming from a football-obsessed family and a football-obsessed country in a football-obsessed world, I’ve little interest in the beautiful game. But starting tomorrow it’… Read More
2022-11-12 10:00
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… Read More
2022-11-05 10:00
Norwich’s Maddermarket Theatre has an eclectic offering coming up in the next few months judging by the ‘what’s on’ brochure that dropped on our mat. Patrons can sele… Read More
2022-10-30 10:00
As dedicated friends of Dorothy, it’s been a long old slog along the yellow brick road back to Oz. Two years later than planned because of COVID, we finally arrived at the Emerald City… Read More
2022-10-24 09:00
Another year passes, another joint birthday to mark. These days we prefer doing rather than giving so this year we decided to do a bit more of London by taking in a big wheel, a few sharks a… Read More
2022-10-22 09:00
Our green and usually pleasant land contains an intricate patchwork of regional accents and dialects with a constantly shifting lexicon of words and idioms, syntax and sounds. Despite the en… Read More
2022-10-15 09:00
In Bury St Edmunds, obviously – or is he? The cute Suffolk market town might be the final resting place of St Edmund, ninth-century Christian king of East Anglia. Allegedly, he was cut… Read More
2022-10-08 09:00
Nearly three years down the line, we really thought we’d dodged the COVID bullet. But then our luck ran out. While in Bulgaria, we both started to develop a cough – nothing too o… Read More
2022-10-01 09:00
We got the hot gossip washed down with Bulgarian plonk we were hoping for. But that didn’t mean our entire trip was a non-stop booze-fest. In between top-ups, we did manage to drink in… Read More
2022-09-24 09:00
We’re parachuting into Bulgaria for a few days to catch up with a couple of former Bodrum Belles from our Turkey days. They upped sticks and left Turkey soon after we did. Whereas we w… Read More
2022-09-03 09:00
We have old friends in Torquay, a palm tree-lined seaside resort in Devon. We hadn’t seen them in ages because of the pandemic, so a catch-up was well overdue. All roads lead to London… Read More
2022-08-27 16:02
Take Steel Magnolias, add a dash of Thelma and Louise, a big dollop of Burl Ives in a white linen suit, sprinkle with slapstick, mix with some catchy toons, then serve. This is Waitress, an… Read More

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