Saturday, December 09, 2006

Random thoughts....

1. Don't wear a silky scarf/shawl with a leather coat whilst carrying a couple of carrier bags, a handbag and an umbrella. It will slide about, trail on the floor fall off altogether and you will:

a) fall over

b) strangle yourself

c) assault fellow shoppers with said bags, umbrella, etc whilst trying to retrieve it

d) look stupid

You will NOT look serene, elegant or even sane.

2. Does anyone else find it puzzling that you find a newspaper/magazine article about the national problem with obesity in children but a few pages on there is another piece about the bad example being set by too thin models, actresses, etc. to said children. You will also frequently find pictures of various models, actresses, etc., who to me look fairly normal, showing their (whisper this please) cellulite and comments about them getting 'fat'.

3. Why do security lights on houses that you are NOT visiting come on when you pass by on the other side of the road but those on houses that you ARE visiting don't work unless you jump up and down waving your arms about, all in order to see the step/doorbell.

4. Why can't all parking ticket machines give change? Some do but others don't and seem to be proud to tell you so. Of course, I know the reason for it; just another little ploy for councils to get your money but then tell you they're so poor they can't keep the streets properly clean.

5. I've noticed recently an ever-increasing concern about my whereabouts. I'll be browsing the shelves/rails of a shop and suddenly a voice will say in my ear 'You alright there?' Even the girl shampooing my hair asks me, although I can't think where else I could be in that situation. Perhaps next time I'll answer 'Well, no, actually, - I'd much rather be on a sun-kissed beach in Bermuda'.

6. We seem to be inundated with endless '100 Best whatever' TV programmes recently. I', waiting for the '100 Best Weather Forecasts'. Riveting stuff!!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Blogging off!!!

If at first you don't succeed, failure may be your style.

I haven't posted for over a month now. This is because I've been living, breathing Ottershaw Players and Wind in the Willows. Oh, and I did go on holiday to Florida for a couple of weeks.

The 200 posters and 3000 flyers have all been distributed and the phone has been ringing with ticket orders although not enough. The Saturday matinee is sold out but all of the evening performances need a few more people in the audience.

Today we did a costume and makeup check followed by a runthrough of the play. The costumes looked great, only a few minor adjustments to make and only one person without anything to wear. (A naked weasel? Well why not?? I think the Festival play that I did costumes for recently is having a strange influence on my judgement!). So it seems that the endless hours spent searching charity shops, buying materials, hunched over a sewing machine (my chiropractor is doing well!), trying on, discarding, trying again, phoning to beg or borrow have all been worthwhile.

My house badly needs cleaning but I'm working on my own interpretation of the Quentin Crisp principle that after the first four years the dust doesn't get any worse; I'm making it the first inch. The fridge is always empty and meals are basic, to say the least. And I'm still trying to catch up on the laundry from my holiday.

How does she find the time to write this?, I sense you are thinking. BECAUSE I CAN'T SLEEP. Which is very annoying because I am tired.

I do want all of my friends to know, however, that I have been regularly reading their posts so that I can keep up to date.

Four o'clock now and I have to be out and about tomorrow finding a suit for a naked weasel so perhaps I'd better try again for those zzzzzzzzzz's

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Just want to let any interested party know that I AM still around. I have been keeping up to date by reading all of your posts and making the odd comment or two, but I've been so busy with naked men, policemen, toads, rats, moles, badgers, weasels, Albert the Horse, bargewomen, washerwomen, hedgehogs, rabbits, gypsies, etc. and the end isn't imminent!

AND I'm going on holiday next Monday for two weeks!

So more regular blogging soon.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


You may have noticed that I have updated my image. This is because:

  1. My hair colour is changing
  2. It shows my propensity for raiding the fridge
  3. My dress sense is much more apparent

Well, doesn't time fly.....

September 14th 1963

We had our anniversary dinner last night (David's busy tonight). Went to the Rose and Crown on Thorpe Green. Very nice.

The meal ended with coffee and a mint chocolate called 'Twilight'. This made me think of The Twilight Zone and the only episode I ever saw which was the one with William Shatner (I think) in a plane, in turbulence, looking out of the window and seeing a figure dancing on the wing. This scene has stuck in my mind ever since and now I can't fly at night without constantly glancing out of the window to see what I can see.

After doing a bit of research I've discovered that, apart from Mary Ann Fischer giving birth to 4 girls and a boy in South Dakota, nothing else of any importance whatsoever happened on that day. We had it all to ourselves.

Following a very disappointing summer the weather was fantastic catching unawares all of the ladies who had bought winter-weight outfits and sweltered throughout the day. The service went according to plan except the bit where the vicar says 'Who giveth this woman?' and my Dad (who was a bit of a rough diamond), who was more nervous than I, stepped forward, grabbed my arm and said 'Here y'are, mate'. Which wasn't too awful. (I think later on that evening at the reception, after we had left for our honeymoon, he fell down the stairs but was so drunk that he didn't hurt himself at all).

We set off for our honeymoon in the late afternoon, heading for Coombe Martin in Devon. Please bear in mind that this was pre-motorway times and the time it took to get to the West Country then was similar to the time it takes to get to America today! We therefore had an overnight stop at The Red Lion in Salisbury, a place where you'd just nip out to for a Sunday lunch these days. A blissful week in Devon followed and it's been uphill ever since - perhaps with a few stiles and gates to slow us down on the way.


The Birds (1963), D: Alfred Hitchcock
Charade (1963), D: Stanley Donen
Cleopatra (1963), D: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
From Russia With Love (1963), D: Terence Young
The Great Escape (1963), D: John Sturges
The Haunting (1963), D: Robert Wise
How the West Was Won (1963), D: John Ford, Henry Hathaway, George Marshall
Hud (1963), D: Martin Ritt
It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), D: Stanley Kramer
Lilies of the Field (1963), D: Ralph Nelson
Tom Jones (1963), D: Tony Richardson

Born: Johnny Depp, Whitney Houston, Mike Myers, Lisa Kudrow
Died: Aldous Huxley, CS Lewis, JF Kennedy (all on 22nd November!!), Pope John XXIII

Some other things:
  • Nyasaland (now Malawi) becomes self-governing under Dr Hastings Banda
  • First flight of Boeing 747
  • Beatlemania
  • Alcatraz closed
  • John Profumo denies having sex with Christine Keeler
  • NYC's newspapers end a 114 days strike
  • Jack Nicklaus wins 27th Golf Masters
  • 35th Academy Awards: Lawrence of Arabia, Ann Bancroft, Gregory Peck
  • Decca signs Rolling Stones on advice from Beatles
  • Princess Alexandra marries Angus Ogilvie
  • US carries out several nuclear tests
  • 17th Annual Tony Awards: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
  • Martin Luther King delivers his 'I have a dream' speech
  • Bob Dylan does a few rebelious things (eg. walking out of a TV show)
  • Record of the Year: "I Left My Heart in San Francisco," Tony Bennett
  • Album of the Year: The First Family, Vaughn Meader (Cadence)
  • Song of the Year: "What Kind of Fool Am I," Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, songwriters
  • John Profumo resigns over affair with Christine Keeler

I dedicate this post to my lovely husband (who is a complete luddite and technophobe so he'll never see it!)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Don't bank on it!!!

I’m astounded…shocked…flabbergasted…gobsmacked….

Today we received a rather large cheque in the post (somewhere between questions 9 & 10 on Who Wants to be a Millionaire), the proceeds of a savings bond. Along I go the our bank, fill in the paying-in slip hand it to the cashier who looks at it, looks at me and says:

‘You do want to pay this into this account?’
‘You do have plans or a specific purpose for it, then?’
‘So you don’t want to put it into a savings account?’
‘No. If I did I would have done so. Please would you just put it into the account.’

Pause as she turns it over a few times.

‘Can I ask you what it’s for?’
‘What do you mean?’
‘Well, where did it come from?’
‘I’m not going to answer that. Why do you want to know?’
‘It’s something we have to ask.’
‘Well, I’m not going to tell you.’

End of conversation, counterfoil gets stamped, something (??) is written on the back of the cheque and home I come.

Now let me make this clear. This was a business cheque from a top financial organisation made payable to me and my husband being paid into our joint account. It wasn’t used fivers in a scruffy envelope that I wanted swapped for tenners.

The trouble is I was so surprised that it wasn’t ‘til I got home that the full audacity of this conversation hit me. If it is bank policy to cross examine their customers in this manner then it’s outrageous. If it was just the cashier being officious then she should be disciplined.

Don’t know what to do now – feels like it’s too late to make a protest; so I’ll probably do nothing.

However I’m expecting to have to do another similar transaction soon. I’ll go to the same branch, hopefully get the same cashier and see what happens!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Why doesn't blogger like some of my photos????? After all, although I'm not anywhere near to being a Patrick Lichfield or a David Bailey, they're not too bad. Their usually not pornographic (well, not intentionally) or offensive to anyone who's likely to be offended (well, not intentionally) so why is blogger so bloody picky about what it lets me publish.

I really, really wanted to show you all a picture of something that I saw recently. You'll just have to wait.

Warning, warning!!!!!!!

As I sit here pretending to be doing something really important but in reality putting off the moment when I'll have to start on the everyday mundane things that I don't want to do, I hear in the distance, among the birdsong and the melodious hum from the M25 traffic, the sound of a siren.

This siren, which is similar in tone to those that were used to warn of enemy bombing during the second world war (and I know 'cos I was there!), has been sounding at infrequent intermittent intervals over the past 30/40 years.

At first I seem to remember someone had a theory that it was kept in the grounds of Botley's Mansion, a local institution, and was used to alert people if and when someone escaped. That can't be right because that institution is long gone and been replaced by another called Electronic Arts and I'm sure their inmates don't want to escape (or do you know better, Jo?)

I wonder if it's kept there (wherever 'there' is) just in case and it has to be tested now and again so that it would be sure of working in time of need. Should we be building one of these?? **

Or perhaps, deep in the Surrey woods, there's a unit of forgotten soldiers who think the war's still on. No, with Heathrow very nearby we'd be hearing it every 5 minutes if that was the case.

Or, and this is my favourite theory, it's a special government department fighting alien invasion in this part of Surrey and the siren sounds on the approach of their spaceships, thereby frightening them off. However some have got through. I've seen them. **
I do believe that miniature versions are also living in South Wales.

I must say that no-one in the vicinity seems to take a blind bit of notice when it goes off. The roads aren't gridlocked with people trying to evacuate the area, shops aren't boarded up or anything so I go with the flow and ignore it like everybody else.

One day I'll find out what it's all about. In the meantime, don't forget -
CARELESS TALK COSTS LIVES!! keep it to yourselves

** No photos available - they've been censored by Big Blogger

PS What does the phrase a blind bit of notice mean, by the way? Makes no sense at all.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Rebel without much of a cause

I caught my husband misbehaving this morning. In an act of unprecedented defiance and as a stand against the 'nanny' state, he was cutting a dotted line on an envelope which was quite clearly marked "do not open here, you may be able to use this envelope again", the polar opposite of "tear across the dotted line". We had received a pre-ransom demand from our gas/electricity supplier, you know the kind of thing - the customer does their job for them by reading their own meters (thereby freeing up staff who can knock on doors or stand in your way in supermarkets conning old men and ladies), sends off or emails the form so that they can work out how much you owe, double it, add a bit depending on what the date is and then mug your bank account by increasing your monthly direct debit! He said that he opened the envelope in an illegal manner because we always email our readings and, anyway, there's always another return envelope inside.

Hoping to stamp out this rebellious attitude (perhaps he was hoping it would make him look a bit like James Dean?) I threatened to report him to the 'envelope police'. Quick as a flash he responded by reminding me that I often put envelopes in the blue paper-recycling bags when it is printed quite clearly in a large, bold font that this is unacceptable. Well that stopped me in my tracks, I'd been caught out!!

We came to an agreement - he's going to continue opening envelopes however he damn well pleases and I'm going to put envelopes in the recycling bag whenever the mood takes me. So there! We live on the edge in this house, we do.

Friday, September 08, 2006


Something I read yesterday:

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.

He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as knowing when to come in out of the rain, why the early bird gets the worm, life isn't always fair, and maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you earn) and reliable parenting strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a six-year- old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job they themselves failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer Panadol, sun lotion or a Band Aid to a student - but could not inform the parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband, churches became businesses, and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar can sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason.

He is survived by three stepbrothers; I Know My Rights, Someone Else is to Blame, and I'm A Victim. Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.

If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do.........nothing.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Bottoms up!!!

When I was trekking through the car park at Tesco's this morning I thought of a witty and amusing post I could do about low slung jeans, fat bums and tums, mediaeval torture and healthy eating. I've just sat for 20 minutes trying to remember all the witticisms and cryptic thoughts that were going through my head this morning only to find that everything I write sounds banal and stupid (nothing new there then). It'll be a miracle if this paragraph makes it to the published page!

I have never understood how men with beer bellies keep their trousers up; I suppose they're just hooked up on their bums.

Snippet of conversation overheard in said car park: He, "Well I was only following you." She, "Yeah, that's what I mean. How could you be following me? I'm behind you."

I hate Tesco's. I only went there because I wanted a cheap radio and the car valeted. As it happened they only had four radios in stock and only one of those was priced so I ended up going into Curry's, which I hate even more. Curry's staff are great at talking among themselves but not so good at serving customers so I came out of there, once more vowing never to darken their shopfloor again! The happy ending is that I got a great dab radio in Argos which cost me almost nothing because I used my Nectar points. Hooray!!!

Friday, August 25, 2006


It has recently been announced that, after 18 and-a-half years, Kirsty Young is to take over from Sue Lawley as presenter of Desert Island Discs, a long-running (64 years) BBC Radio 4 programme.

It's got me thinking about what I would choose to take to my desert island which must consist of 8 discs, 1 book (excluding the Bible & the works of Shakespeare which are already present on the island, together, I imagine, with the means to play your choice of music) and one luxury item which must be inanimate and have no practical use.

OK - here goes, in no particular order:

  1. Toccata & Fugue in D monor (Bach) by Jacques Loussier - Bach and jazz together - great!!
  2. Beale St. Blues by Ottilie Patterson and the Chris Barber Band - oh, those heady days of my teens, smoky trad. jazz clubs, Bohemians, rebellion!!!
  3. Don't Stop Me Now by Queen - much better than Bohemian Rhapsody.
  4. Winter from the Four Seasons (Vivaldi) by Nigel Kennedy - imagine relaxing on a sun-drenched beach listening to Vivaldi. (I would like the other 3 as well but I have too many alternatives to fit in).
  5. Hot Stuff by Donna Summer - this one always reminds me of when I was super-fit (a few years ago now, think Jane Fonda). Aerobics classes several times a week and an excercise routine to this number. Even now I hear it and can remember the moves!! (think The Full Monty).
  6. I Believe by Frankie Laine - one of the first records I ever bought. My parent had bought a radiogram which played about 6 single records at a time, great big heavy 12" plastic things, so off I went and stocked up with Frankie, Johnnie Ray, Guy Mitchell, Rosemay Clooney, Jo Stafford, Kay Starr, etc. I seem to remember that when you were bored with the songs you could gently heat the records in the oven an turn them into ornamental bowls or dishes!!!!!
  7. Gilbert & Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance. If I HAVE to choose one song then it would have to be When a Felon's Not Engaged in his Employment by d'Oyley Carte, of course - have loved Gilbert & Sullivan ever since Peter, when a lad, visited an astronomy society in the City of London so I'd take him there in the afternoon and afterwards we'd go along to the Savoy Theatre, home to d'Oyley Carte.
  8. Could It Be Magic by Barry Manilow - I make no apologies for this - it's my choice, I'm on a desert island so there's nobody to criticise!! So there!!

Book: This one's difficult, there are so many.................... well it has to be
Outdoor Survival Handbook: The Classic Indispensable Guide to Surviving the Outdoors by Ray Mears

Luxury item: Full set of makeup please - well, when Johnny Depp comes to rescue me I don't want him to mistake me for Davy Jones.

PS I was going to illustrate this post but BLOGGER WON'T LET ME #*!$£*

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Planet Sweet

MaryB has had a bad hair day, Liz has been feeling depressed, Jo is fed up, I'm still a bit in the Doldrums. What's it all about??

At the weekend an acquaintance told me that there is a general air of discontent around at the moment because Mars is nearer to Earth than it's been for some time. As I said, well, look on the bright side, everyone. Soon the Sun'll be in Saturn, Mars'll be in Uranus and, astrologically speaking, everyone will be laughing.

PS Apologies to Mrs Swabb (Habeas Corpus by Alan Bennett)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Happiness is..............

According to Thomas at lunchtime (whilst eating chocolate cake & drinking hot chocolate):

A huge bagful of Lego (bought in the charity shop with his own money)
A Family who loves him. Aaahhhhhh.... (it's not often that my grandson comes over all cute and sentimental!)

Time Travel

I've just noticed..........

On the 'Blogger Dashboard' page their Latest News is dated 7th August 2003. Is that really when they last had some news? Have they got their calendar set wrongly? Have I travelled back in time? Have all of the horrible things that have happended in the last 3 years not happened yet? Have all of the good things that happened not happened? Am I three years younger than I thought I was? Is this a chance to start again?


Bunny Dog

One Dog in a Boat

Sheep Dog (back view)

I'm afraid these photos aren't all that good - it was the end of the event, everyone was packing up and the damn dogs wouldn't keep still!! Nonetheless, they confirm the fact that some dog-owners (present company excepted) are BONKERS.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Boo hoo

Today I'm really fed-up and depressed. Trivial things first:

1. Thomas doesn't much like the summer playscheme he's at this week (or bits of it) so has been
coming home unhappy most days. Still only today and tomorrow to go and then he can be
home with me complaining that he's 'bored'. Will have to think of some interesting things to
2. I was persuaded by the optician on Monday to try contact lenses. I have now had two lessons
on how to put them in and take them out. First lesson I could take them out but not put
them in, second lesson I could put them in but not take them out. Supposed to be going back
tomorrow but still have very red, sore eyes so I think I'll wait awhile.

Now the non-trivial things:

1. Yesterday I called into our little post office around the corner and was treated to a display
of violent, foul-mouthed yobishness by two youths being served before me. Whilst they
were not threatening anyone directly, only discussing the way they lived their lives in
general, I felt scared and vulnerable and I'm sure that the poor man serving them did too.
The sad part is that for them this was a perfectly normal conversation and if anyone had
objected it would have been perfectly normal to have reacted in what they would have
considered an appropriate manner, i.e. violently.
2. Today Jo is supposed to be going to Geneva for a long weekend break. However, due to the
terrorist alert it's possible that she may not be able to go. She has been looking forward to
this trip very much. On the one hand I am disappointed for her if she can't go but a part of
me doesn't really WANT her to go given the current situation.

I could go on and on about wars people don't want, etc.
I'm angry that people have to have these feelings of fear, frustration and anxiety.
I want to live the rest of my life without feeling threatened and intimidated.
I don't know how that's going to be achieved.


I started this post yesterday but didn't publish it, thinking I'd wait, see how I feel today then either delete it, change it or go ahead. Yesterday, because of the mood I was in, I seemed to notice and take to heart all the impatience, discourtesy, disrespect and unfriendliness that seems to be around these days. It's always there but usually I try to remain friendly and polite myself, accept others for what they are and get on with it.

Today I feel a bit better.
Thomas isn't going to the playscheme (my decision, but with his full approval!).
We're going to spend some time today planning some days out for next week.
Jo is booked on an early flight to Geneva on Sunday (she would still have 2 full days away) but is going to spend the next 2 days trying to bring that forward if possible.
I've cancelled my appointment with the contact lens professors.
We'll probably go out for lunch.
If I start to feel low then I'll just imagine myself a bit younger and think of Johnny Depp. (I was going to put a picture here but Blogger won't do it!)

PS Is it a requirement for all rail ticket clerks to be surly and miserable? because the always seem to be. One of the lighter moments of my day, yesterday: I went to buy a railcard in preparation for next week's outings. After that transaction was completed, me being polite and speaking in full sentences, he answering in grunts, if at all, I noticed that the name on his badge was Roy Rogers. I was sorely tempted to ask after Trigger but thought I'd better not push my luck!!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

yum, yum.....pigs' cheeks

Apparently, some once-common British dishes are disappearing from our menus. Here are some of them; see if you can figure out why this should be:

Bath Chaps (nothing to do with pool lifeguards or cowboys' trousers) - this West Country dish consists of pickled pigs' cheeks soaked in water, boiled and rolled in breadcrumbs to be eaten cold, like ham.

Bedfordshire Clanger - originally for farmworkers, made from a roll of suet pastry filled with cheap cuts of meat at one end and fruit at the other. Sounds similar to a Cornish Pasty which these days just consists of meat & potato but for the now almost extinct Cornish tin-miners would also have a sweet filling at one end.

Jugged Hare - made from a sauce featuring port and hare's blood.

Squirrel Casserole - speaks for itself, really.

Brawn - no not this sort! - but a jellied pigs' head.

Calf's foot jelly - chop the feet off of baby cows, boil them up to extract the natural gelatin and there you have it - a once polular food for invalids.

Up in Scotland there was Crappit heids - boiled haddock heads stuffed with oatmeal, suet & onions.

And for the Welsh Griwel blawd ceirch - oatmeal mixed with gruel.

After all of these delicious and nutritious savoury dishes you could delight your palate with:

Junket a dish of sweetened milk with rennet, served with sugar & cream.

Sussex Pond Pudding - (looks very scrummy), a whole lemon in golden buttery sugar syrup encased in a suet crust. Mmmmmm.........

Kentish Pudding Pie - sweet rice pudding with a pastry top

Dorset dumplings - apples served with suet.

I'm off now to make my jam sandwich.

Monday, August 07, 2006

You ARE the weakest link.....

Having an eye test isn't the same as having a maths test or something similar, is it? Giving a wrong answer to the multiple (well 2) choice questions 'can you see the letter Y more clearly with lens a or lens b?' won't mean that everyone will think you're a dummy, will it? Every couple of years I sit in that Mastermind- style chair with these scary multi-lens spectacles welded to my face (that's not me in the picture, by the way; I'm much better looking) and worry that I'm giving the wrong answers to the questions about the eye charts. How can the answers be wrong, for goodness' sake?!! Either one image is more blurred than the other or it isn't, I don't even have to guess. Never again will I shout at someone on Who Wants to be a Millionaire; after all, they have to choose from FOUR options.

Hopefully, as long as I've given the right answers, I'll soon be able to see clearly.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Everything stops for tea.......and biscuits

I was going to have a lovely picture of ginger biccies her but Blogger won't let me!

Anyway, so about ginger biscuits, or even biscuits in general..... you know on the packets there's a row of little arrows and it says 'tear here'??? Well has ANYONE ever opened their biscuits successfully using this method or do you, like me, resort to attacking the package with a carving knife so that the poor little imprisoned biscuits can gain their freedom momentarily before they're gobbled up.

For various reasons totally beyond my control it took me rather a long time to produce my previous post today so, half way through this afternoon, I succumbed to the temptation of a cup of tea and some stem ginger biscuits. By the time the packaging was dealt with, the crumbs swept from the floor and a plaster put on my finger, the tea was cold and not entirely tempting! Serves me right for eating biscuits, I suppose.

Job Well Done

At last......books all sorted, recorded in notebook, those not wanted taken to car boot sale and a lot of them sold (hooray) so now left with two shelves of books that I haven't read yet and the remaining shelves still overflowing. Then I went shopping a couple of days ago, into a bookshop (of course) and came out with 4 books, one of which my husband says we've read. Still, I acquired it with a 'three for the price of two' offer so that can be the free one. The notebook is very large and doesn't fit into my bag so I'm still relying on my very unreliable memory.

As well as a good quantity of mundane easily forgettable books, here are a few that went:

Mary Wesley - most of her books. Read and enjoyed but no urge to keep any longer

Jasper Fforde - The Eyre Affair and Well of Lost Plots. I bought these because they had good reviews but was unable to readeither of them beyond the first couple of chapters

Hilary Mantel - Beyond Black. She recently won a prize for this. I found it readable but once only.

Louis de Bernieres - Captain Corelli's Mandolin and others. Again, enjoyed very much some years ago but have decided now is the time for them to go

Lauren Bacall - By Myself and Then Some Entertaining but won't read again

REPRIEVED: ( **Not yet read)

2 Far Side books by Gary Larson
3 David Niven books
3 Simon Brett books
Plague Dogs by Richard Adams
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt **
All of Mark Billingham's
Several by Lee Child
Lots by Harlan Coben
Similar amount by Robert Crais
Lots and lots by Michael Connelly
Garden of Beasts by Jeffrey Deaver **
Several by Lindsey Davis
To Serve Them All My Days by RF Delderfield
A Horsemand Riding By (Trilogy) by RF Delderfield
Human Traces by Sebastian Faulks **
Lots by Robert Goddard
All of Sue Grafton's Alphabet series so far (A-R)
Some by Tami Hoag
Chocolat by Joanne Harris
Gentlemen and Players by Joanne Harris **
Pompeii by Robert Harris
Lots by James Herbert
Loads by Dean Koontz & Dean R Koontz
Velocity by Dean Koontz **
Several by Dennis Lehane
All of Alexander McCall Smith
The Distant Echo by Val McDermid
Enduring Love by Ian McEwan
Atonement by Ian McEwan
Attila by William Napier **
I Didn't Get Where I am Today by David Nobbs **
Man and Boy by Tony Parsons
Man and Wife by Tony Parsons
The Family Way by Tony Parsons **
Lots by John Sandford
Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey
Hotel Honolulu by Paul Theroux
Old London Bridge by Patricia Pierce **
Krakatoa by Simon Winchester **
The Meaning of Everything by Simon Winchester
The Surgeon of Crowthorne by Simon Winchester
Queen Elizabeth I by JE Neale **
Agatha Christie
Lots of others, etc., etc.

Books I bought the other day:

Panic by Jeff Abbott
Catch Me When I Fall by Nicci French
In a True Light by John Harvey
The Pure in Heart by Susan Hill

Monday, July 24, 2006

Bathroom Blues

OK - so I didn't catalogue my library yesterday; I was FORCED to go and play Top Golf instead! But I'm going to do it today, as soon as I'm over my bad mood.

"But why are you in a bad mood? it's not like you", I hear you say. Well.....................................

I've been cleaning the bathroom, not just a quick wipe round with a spray and a J Cloth but a 'proper' clean; you know, arm down the lavatory bowl up to the elbow as if you're training to be a vet to scrub the little crevices with a toothbrush, down on hands and knees to scrub all of the little crevices in the shower door with a toothbrush as if you're new recruit doing jankers. (I would like to point out here that the toothbrush I use is NOT the one with which I clean my teeth).

Hey ho, so nothing changes and now it's out of the way I can get down to doing good things, like sorting my books, posting to my blog, having strawberries from the farm for my lunch and generally doing just whatever I feel like doing. Suddenly the cloud has lifted and I feel much better so I won't think about the ironing (too hot), gardening (too hot), shopping for food (too hot, so I'll dive into the freezer instead).

Thank you for listening. Perhaps I should get one of these:

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Book Ends

Today, I'm going to catalogue my library. Wow, I hear you say (except for family members or those who know me), she must be rich and live in a big house. SO,........ in other words, I'm going to sort out the bookshelves in the dining room. This is for a number of reasons:

1. They are overflowing

2. Books I haven't yet read are getting muddled up with books that I
have read

3. We (Peter, Jo and I) are planning to 'do' a car boot sale very soon so I can dispose of stuff that I know I'll never read again

4. I want to make a written record that I can carry around with me so that when I'm in a bookshop and my mind goes blank when it's trying to grapple with the serious problem of deciding which writers I like, my aide memoir will be handy

5. Likewise, when I'm in a bookshop, etc. and I can't remember whether or not I've already purchased a book I like the look of, out will come my list to tell me all I need to know

Later on, or perhaps tomorrow, I'll report back on what I've kept (because I'll read them again), what I've kept (because I can't bear to get rid of them for some reason), those that I haven't read yet (in case anyone has any comments) and possibly some that are to find a new home.

I now have a large pad and a couple of pencils at the ready so off I go. Tootle pip!!

Saturday, July 22, 2006


It's now been 2 months since I've written anything!!! (although I have been keeping up to date by reading everybody's stuff and even commenting at times). Not because I don't want to stay in touch and I still love you all dearly. It's just that I've been so, so BUSY.

1. Very involved with Peter's fantastic production of Habeas Corpus
2. Went on holiday for 2 weeks
3. Still involved with sorting out my late mother-in-law's affairs
4. Trying to catch up on a multitude of things like....(cover your ears!)....housework, etc.
5. Spending hours lazing by the pool, sipping iced drinks, waited on hand & foot by hunky
firemen (see MaryB's post )
6. Starting to get involved in TWO more plays with Ottershaw Players (but one of them
includes a naked man and I'm really looking forward to measuring him in my role of
7. Have had to go to the pub a lot
8. It's been very, very hot
9. Have been playing games on and think I now have a serious addiction
10. My brain's been frazzled by the heat & I can't think of anything to write about

One of the above is untrue; can you guess which one, children? Here's a clue:

Friday, May 19, 2006

Twinkle, twinkle little star

Last night I took Thomas to see Starlight Express at the New Victoria Theatre in Woking. When it was first advertised I was a bit dubious about seeing it again, having already seen it a few times in London when it became one of my favourite shows. The tickets were quite expensive (about £30 for concessions) and the theatre in Woking does not lend itself to having bridges and ramps built for the skating races. I convinced myself that it couldn't possibly be as good as the original.

I had a last minute change of heart and am very happy to report that I'm absolutely delighted to have been proved wrong. It was a fantastic show. They overcame the problem of being unable to build ramps, etc around the theatre by having a 3D film of the races shown on a very large screen on the stage. Very, very well done and effective. Thomas was entranced and thought it 'cool' (high praise indeed from someone whose only interests sometimes seem to be war games and fantasy fighting!!); as good as, if not better than when he saw it in London a few years ago.

Highly recommended if it should come your way and you fancy a show about love, rivalry and the power of good over bad in the world of trains!

Tall and tanned and young and lovely

I can't take a well-tanned person seriously - Cleveland Amory

Well, I'm not tall, no longer young, not sure about the lovely any more but, as I'm going on holiday in about a month's time and will have to expose bits of my body that haven't been seen since last summer, I succumbed to buying a quantity of razors, exfoliating and self-tanning creams. After all, who wants a couple of white plastic bags filled with yogurt appearing from the bottom of their skirts or shorts.

It is some years since I attempted this self-tanning excercise, which then resulted in orange streaky things that resembled reproduction mahogany table legs with a very erratic grain. However, with the reassurances of a friend ringing in my ears that things have progressed now and, as long as you do it properly, it will be OK I spent the morning in the bathroom a couple of days ago with the recommended products such as Inecto Moisture Miracle Leg & Body Scrub, razors, Dove body lotion and Ambre Solaire non-streak self-tanning spray. I followed ALL instructions to the letter . End result - orange streaky things, etc. I have spent the last couple of days using the Miracle Leg Scrub trying to get it off!! Also the palms of my hands are still the colour of the button below that says 'Publish Post', despite washing them several times after each application.

However, I must recommend the Dove Summer Glow Body Lotion as I used only that on the rest of my exposed bits and there's not a streak in sight!!!

I suppose I should be thankful that the stuff doesn't come off easily on to clothes and furnishings, etc. How well I remember the embarassment of having a driving lesson some years ago after having used a supposedly non-come-offable leg makeup only to have it come off all over the driving seat.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Chin chin cheroo

Why is it that the hairs that have started to appear occasionally on my chin are a nice , dark hue whereas those that grow on my head are a whiter shade of pale??

Friday, May 12, 2006

I scream, you scream (everybody loves ice-cream)

A letter in The Times the other day recalled a radio programme where lsiteners were asked to call in with the cruellest lies they had heard. One told how his parents had said that the ice-cream van played music to announce that they had sold out.

We have, recently, had an ice-cream van try his luck in our road but unfortunately no-one bought anything from him so he's given up stopping at this end of the road. Possibly he didn't get any sales because his stopping time didn't give anyone, except the very, very agile, time to find their purse, vacate their house and sprint up the road to where he was waiting. Now he just zooms past, up the hill to the bigger houses at the top who are obviously much more organised.

I'm not fond of modern (post 1959 when Mr Softee & Mr Whippy were born) ice cream. I can still remember Eldorado ice-cream, a small cylindrical block with a paper band around it that fitted into a cone OR came in a tub if you were in the 1/9's at the pictures (the best seats only!). It was absolutely delicious and not a patch on today's synthetic tasting stuff.

Another early childhood delight was Cremola 'lemonade' crystals mixed with water to make a really disgusting drink. On occasion, when she hadn't got any of those in the cupboard, my mother used to make an almost equally disgusting drink by using orange juice or squash mixed with Andrews Liver Salts to make it fizzy. Mmmmmmmm....... Almost as good as having Alka Seltzer to refresh you!!

Liquorice sticks and Spanish wood, humbugs and Edinburgh rock. You could buy 2 ounces or a quarter (of a pound) twisted up in a little paper bag and still have change out of sixpence.

Well, have to go now, my Ovaltine is ready and it's past my 9.00 bedtime.

Night, night - sleep tight.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Bye, bye birdie

Did St. Francis preach to the birds? Whatever for? If he really liked birds he would have done better to preach to the cats - Rebecca West

Now I know that generally birds aren't the Einsteins of the animal kingdom but those that visit our garden have, over the years, got to know that we have got a cat. This I know because, over the years, I have spent exorbitant amounts of money buying nuts, fat-balls, seeds and suchlike for their delectation only to find that they prefer the toast put out by next-door, despite the fact that next-door has two large dogs who race up and down their garden. BUT dogs don't eat birds. Why, then, do they insist on building their nests in the most inappropriate places around my house.
This year's choice site is in a pot near the top of a wall where my cat and next-door-but-one's cat sit and play lucky dip with their paws with Mum and Dad blue-tit having a blue-fit on the washing line. I seem to spend half of my day rushing out chasing off the cats, who then stroll away to do a bit of goldfish spotting in the pond.
Last year's ideal home was yet another almost inaccessible pot on the wall outside of the back door. This was more successful inasmuch that Mum and Dad birdie only had to shout at people going in and out of the back door as the cat couldn't reach the pot. However, the cat's big moment arrived when it was time to fly the nest!! He just sat on the doorstep, watching the flying lessons, and then took advanage of those who didn't take off first time. The RSPB weren't very helpful - just said that blue-tits have so many ?litter, flocks, broods? one less wouldn't make much difference. I must admit that I then took to using the front door and let nature take its course.

tweet, tweet

Sock it to me!!!

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair - Kahlil Gibran

I was going to comment on Liz's thoughts about socks but it turned into such a long item that I thought It'd be better to rant on my own time.

To me socks are another of life's little wind-ups. Like Liz says, black ones are always made in different shades of black so that, even if you buy completely plain ones, when one of them emigrates without telling you or runs away from home, you can't matchmake the ones left behind because they are all different shades. Whilst this isn't a problem in human terms it is just not acceptable with socks.
Shops seem to sell socks only in packs of 3 or 4 so that you can't see if they suit you and then buy some more. Oh no, you have to buy multiple pairs and then discard 2 or 3 unworn, new pairs when you find you don't like them. This has happened to me twice recently which is why liz touched such a raw nerve. Firstly I bought a pack of black semi-sheer, nylony, nice-looking ankle length socks. Horrible to wear - itchy, tight and I thought my blood supply would be cut off round my ankles! Discarded! Next, shopping in Sainsbury's, I spotted some of those little 'trainer' socks. Should have known better - one or other of them always ends up in the toe of my trainer! But these had a little cuff round the top that looked as if it would do the trick. Did it hell!! I spent most of May Day bank holiday removing my shoes to adjust my socks until, in the end, I let them just get on with it until they had formed a lump under the ball of my foot and I walked in the manner of John Cleese. No-one commented so perhaps that's how I always walk.
I also hate matching up David's white sports-type socks after washing them; so I've given that up after about 40 years and leave them for him to do.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Verify this

Liz alerted me to the fact that word verification now has a little wheelchair symbol next to it. Upon investigation I discovered that you can now choose to click on this symbol and listen to randon numbers to type in, recorded by people with strange accents in a pub, instead of using the very sensible words given in the box.

The last half hour has been spent trying to work out who will benefit by this?? If you can't see the word then you wouldn't see the wheelchair. If you can't that doesn't work. If you're in a wheelchair then you have your own special button to click. I'm sure there's a simple explanation (there usually is) but I can't think of one because I'm, well, ..............simple

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Welcome to the weekend (part 2)

Heard last night that the chap who crashed his car didn't die but was diagnosed as being very drunk and arrested at the earliest opportunity. I'm glad he didn't die but the sympathy stops there I'm afraid. If that phone box hadn't been there, or there had been someone in it, I dread to think what would have happened.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Toilet humour

Mark my words, when a society has to resort to the lavatory for its humour, the writing is on the wall - Alan Bennet

We've all met people who are supposedly incredibly intelligent but don't know which way to sit on a lavatory - Stephen Fry

[First - please note that the first word of the title to my previous post should read Welcome NOT Welocme. (You knew that didn't you). ]

This item in the paper made me laugh out loud and spill my yogurt:

There's no escape from the Health & Safety Gestapo. On Tayside, the NHS has just issued guidelines on how to use the bathroom.
A four-page leaflet, entitled **Good Defecation Dynamics, has just been published in Dundee.
You couldn't make it up. It gives advice on the safest way to sit on the toilet. 'Do not slump down but keep a normal curve in your back. Make sure your feet are well supported.'
You get the gist.
So this is what Gordon means when he talks about 'Investment' in public services. Coming soon from the NHS - Sucking Eggs: A Guide for Grandmothers.

**This is the bit where the yogurt got spilled.

Welocme to the weekend

'-"I've been thinking, Hobbes---"
-"On a weekend?" - Calvin & Hobbes
-"Well it wasn't on purpose..."

Have had a great weekend, doing enjoyable things.

Saturday: Had to get some posters for Habeas Corpus photocopied so, after an abortive trip to Chertsey ( an uninspiring and boring place, so much so that if you follow the link you'll find someone trying to sell you CD rom!) I ended up in nearby Shepperton, home of Shepperton Film Studios where all of the best early British films were made (and I believe some still are). This is a place that is frequently driven through by me to get to other places but I haven't visited it to shop for a long time, maybe 30+ years. Now I wish I had! It is still a small, local town centre reminiscent of the days when such places consisted of individual independently- owned shops with not a giant supermarket in sight. Shopkeepers actually stood in the doorway when not busy serving and wished passers-by a 'good morning'. Everywhere was very busy and happy and good-natured and I spent a considerable time there just browsing and enjoying the atmosphere. Did I just happen to catch it on a very good day?? I do hope not as these places are fast disappearing and should be cherished.
After this adventure it was home for lunch and then sorting out costumes acquired for
Habeas Corpus as PT was due to come round to discuss them. Jo and Thomas arrived to do a car swap with me and then Pete and his lovely wife, Kathleen, put in their appearance. Everyone stayed for supper (takeaway kebabs - delicious!), Kath, Jo, Thomas and I played 'Doggie Top Trumps' in the kitchen (Thomas won, of course, because he's an expert) and Pete and his Dad talked about family history in the living room. Then everyone went home.

Sunday: Early morning and David set off for the archery field and I set off for 'The Hut', official address of The Ottershaw Players, to do a bit of set building and painting and take the tea and coffee things. Managed to get more black paint on me than the thing I was painting but 'am I bovvered?' - no, as long as they let me into the pub for lunch, which they did. Pete had been given a free lunch by John, the landlord, so he and Kath came too and David joined us after a hard morning shooting arrows. Food was great, as ever.
Back home, David to read his book (that means one paragraph and then zzzzzzzzzzzz.......) and me to wash cups from morning's coffee at the Hut and get together costumes to take to evening rehearsal at Brook Hall so that Pete can take publicity photos.
Then it was time to go to Brook Hall for an evening of fun, laughter and maybe a few bad tempers. It started well and we had a bit of fun and laughter but this was unfortunately interrupted for about an hour by a chap crashing his car into a phone box opposite the hall. One of our actors was out by the door having a quick smoke at the time and was one of the first on the scene. Emergency services were quick to arrive but they had to wait for the firemen to cut the roof off the car to gain access to the driver. This shook everyone up somewhat but after cups of tea/coffee it was time to soldier on. The evening ended a bit earlier than usual and a couple of tempers got frayed (one of them being mine) but most of the cast and crew ended up in the pub again so a fairly pleasant end to the evening. I do hope the chap in the car was OK.

Monday: To the Hut at 10am to collect stuff for our stall at The Ottershaw May Fair. David was dragged along to help (he's got a bigger car than most others) then off to the field to set it all up. The weather forecast had promised heavy rain all day but, I'm glad to say, they were wrong and it wasn't bad at all - a bit chilly but we didn't get wet. However there were a few heavy gusts of wind and the stand next to ours, which was borrowed from a market trader and consisted of a heavy metal frame and plastic sheet, took off and landed on top of a couple of cars parked nearby damaging the roof of one of them. This was duly sorted, without anyone coming to blows I'm glad to say, and we went on to have an enjoyable day promoting our show to the good people of Ottershaw and beyond.
After packing up and putting everything away it was back home to think about dinner and what to have. As if on cue, Jo and Thomas arrived to return tto do a return car swap and suggested we go to an 'eat as much as you like' Chinese restaurant. After much persuation (well none actually) we made our way there and ate our fill - yum, yum.

Lovely, lovely weekend - some of it planned, some of it not. Not all of it fun I'm afraid but that makes me appreciate the good bits more.

How was yours??

Friday, April 28, 2006

Is 50 the new 40?

What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist - Salman Rushdie

Here's a snippet from today's paper: "In Wales a poster campaign targeting 'Happy, Healthy, Horny' over-50s has been called offensive by some people. This was reported in one newspaper under the headline: 'Stimulating ads upset eldery.' " I find it very offensive. Less of the elderly if you please. What do you think Liz ?

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Somebody help me, please1

Please tell me: what normal woman in her right mind would choose to sleep with this man? David Mellor was bad enough but at least he can string two words together.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Blogged Down

An insincere and evil friend is more to be feared than a wild beast; a wild beast may wound your body, but an evil friend will wound your mind - Buddha

Perhaps is overworked and feeling vindictive. It pretends to be my friend and is playing with my mind. MaryB has been having problems and so have I. The last posting showing on my web page when I log in is dated 1st April, although I know other people can see the new ones 'cause I've had comments. Also when I look at other people's postings very often the number of comments shown on the main page is not updated. For example on Liz's posting about the Whales in the Swans which is in the Sea, the number of comments is shown as 5 but their are actually 7. It's very confusing for someone like me who checks all of these blogs contantly (because I'm such a sad person). It could lead to me not checking the comments, because I think I've seen them all, and missing something really important.

Talking about being a sad person, it seems that I have a new addiction. It's the word verification. I can't help it. I'm very disappointed when it's dull and unintersting but really excited when it looks like a proper word, albeit foreign. I find myself scrolling down the 'comment' column just to see what the word verification is and, if it's something good, feel it's a dreadful waste if I don't use it. I've even found myself making a note of ones I can't use. Oh well, a bit more intersting than train spotting, I feel.

Moan, moan, moan, moan, moan

And another thing..... I've just had to put a new cartridge in my printer and the packaging is THREE times as big as the actual cartridge. Same thing with bottles of pills and suchlike - always too much packaging. Is it because they think you're stupid enough to imagine you're getting more for the exorbitant prices they charge??? And my toothpaste this morning; I had to start a new tube so I undid the cap and there was the foil covering the hole where the paste comes out. Fair enough. But there used to be a little plastic thingy built into the cap so that you could pierce it and not have to waste time looking for some sharp implement to do the job. Or break your nail trying to peel it off, which didn't work anyway. Aaaaargh!!!!****

Eh? What?? Stamp my feet! Lay on the floor and cry!!!

I'll get back in my pram now and trundle off to Sainsburys where, no doubt, I'll be getting out of it again.


DNA is an abbreviation of deoxyribonucleicantidisestablishmentarianism, a complex string of syllables - Dave Barry (American Columnist)

I've just come across something else that really irritates me (is there anything left, I hear you say!) and that's when first letters are used instead of the whole word. By the time I've sat and tried to work out what these letters could possibly stand for, I've lost interest. I've worked out BTW and some other easy ones but PLEEEEEASE... what is lol? I can only think of 'lots of love' but that doesn't work in some of the things I've read. Or perhaps it's 'son of Satan'.


It'll be alright (or even bloody fantastic!) on the night

Habeas Corpus or You May Have the Body

The publicity machine is now getting seriously underway for the ottershawplayers' forthcoming production of Habeas Corpus in June so here are the details:

We have a fantastic director , a fabulous cast and a very funny play. So........all of you hundreds of people that read this come to see it . I appreciate that distance may be seen as a disadvantage to some of you but what's wrong with a coach trip from Wales and such outposts to the bright lights of Woking? I'll buy you a drink in the interval. Excused are the international patrons of the arts as the cost of flights, etc. added to the ticket price (even though the tickets are VERY reasonable), would make it a rather expensive night out but there is no excuse for those of you who live within spittin' distance (or perhaps driving distance as we don't want to be spat upon) of the Rhoda McGaw Theatre. I'll buy you a drink too .

See you there then.

PS Don't forget to bring all of your friends.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Customer Service

This has been triggered by Liz's post today. It's about people who are supposed to be polite and helpful when you talk to them on the telephone, namely customer 'service'.

Liz's problem was with a doctor's receptionist who unfortunately have a reputation for being rude and abasive. Before I offend any innocent doctor's receptionists who may come across this literary work of art by accident, let me say that there are probably many out there who are cheerful, kind and helpful. I've just never met them. My theory is that people who work on the fringe of the medical profession are know-alls who think that they are a cut above the rest of us.

My problem this week has been having to telephone various organisations (e.g. insurance and utility companies and banks) to advise them of the death of my mother-in-law and arrange whatever has to be done next. In the circumstances, on the whole nearly everyone I've spoken to has been insenitive and bordering on the insolent. One pimply youth (at least that's what he sounded like) insisted that he could speak only to the account holder of his poxy telephone service because of the freedom of information act and all I'd asked him for was an address to write to.

It appears to me that all of these people shouldn't be doing the job if they don't like talking to others and trying to help them. You are usually told on the recorded message that precedes your conversation that 'all calls are recorded, etc' so why is it that no action is taken to train staff to be POLITE. I know that it is not easy dealing with the general public sometimes and therefore working life can be frustrating and difficult at times but I'm always polite to them so I wish they'd return the favour.

Rant over.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

You can't fool me...................

It has been said that there is no fool like an old fool, except a young fool. But the young fool first has to grow up to be an old fool to realise what a damn fool he was when he was a young fool - Harold McMillan

I just had to pass these on - both from Daily Mail (sorry Pete):

An article describing how, after 270 years, Tony Blair has had the front door of 10 Downing Street painted red (complete with pictures). This really had me going for a very short while because it is the sort of unbelievingly arrogant thing that he would do but then common sense dawned and I realised what the date is. Confirmation came at the end of the article when a design consultant said:'it;s a significant declaration of personal ownership by Tony Blair.' Her name? April Fewell!

The other, even cleverer one, was a full page advertisement by BMW which shouts 'To avoid the penalties for slow driving BMW ensures the camera always lies'. It claims that the Government is set to announce that by next spring Slow Cameras will have been installed in every major city to catch drivers who drive below a certain limit (20mph). BMW have come up with a solution to this by devising ZIP (Zoom Impression Pixels) which is a pixel-based coating to cover the exterior of a car. This makes the camera picture blurred, gives the impression of higher velocity and Slow Camera is fooled into thinking the car is travelling at the correct speed.
Engineers are also working on solutions to other rumoures legislation like The Reversing Charge, Quadruple Yellow Lines and Tarmac Erosion Tax.
The name of BMW's Head of Mandate Avoidance? Wait for it...........................................Hans Uphoo-Gotit!

But please don't laugh too much; it could happen.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Listing to starboard

I might repeat to myself slowly and soothingly, a list of quotations beautiful from minds profound - if I can remember any of the damn things - Dorothy Parker

MaryB's post 'Meme de la meme' of 29th March has got me excited - I do like listing things. However, I reserve the right to not answer all 39 questions. (Do you think the list was originally 40 but someone chickened out on one of them along the way)?

  1. Who was the last person you high-fived? - last person I high-fived was grandson Thomas (but he had to show me how)
  2. If you were drafted to war, would you survive? - luckily I'm far too old
  3. Do you sleeping with TV on? - something I do frequently - at about 8pm on the sofa and not intentionally
  4. Have you ever drunk milk out of a carton? - no, we have bottles
  5. Have you ever won a spelling bee? - yes many, many, many years ago
  6. Have you ever been stung by a bee? - yes
  7. How fast can you type? - pretty fast but with a very small amount of fingers
  8. Are you afraid of the dark? - not any more
  9. Eye colour? - blue
  10. Have you ever made out at a drive-in? - don't have drive-ins here and the back row was always too cramped and public
  11. When was the last time you chose a bath over a shower? - months ago. However I've just stayed in an hotel that had a shower over a bath
  12. Do you knock on wood? - yes and if no hard surface is available I use my head
  13. I'm not answering this one out of pure embarassment
  14. Can you hula-hoop? - many, many, many years ago
  15. Are you good at keeping secrets? - yes - but isn't it annoying when you find out that everyone knows anyway
  16. Too soon to think about this one
  17. Do you know the Muffin Man? - not personally but I also know that he lives in Drury Lane
  18. Do you talk in your sleep? - so I'm told
  19. Who wrote the book of love? - which version?
  20. Have you ever flown a kite? - many, many, many years ago. Now I leave it to Thomas
  21. We don't have that saying here
  22. Do you consider yourself successful? - yes
  23. How many people are on your contact list of your cell? - don't know and can't be bothered to count them, but not many
  24. Have you ever asked for a pony? - no
  25. Plans for tomorrow? - no firm plans yet, will just see what comes along
  26. Can you juggle? - no more than three things at once these days
  27. Missing someone now? - no
  28. When was the last time you told someone 'I love you'? - too long ago. It's one of the things I don't say too often BUT everyone that I love dearly knows that I do (that is grammatically awful!)
  29. And truly meant it? - if I had said it, of course I would have meant it
  30. How often do you drink? - all the time. Must get the recommended 2 litres in there
  31. How are you feeling today? - great
  32. What do you say too much? - nothing in particular - but I know that I do complain a lot, a habit that I'm trying hard to break
  33. Have you ever been suspended or expelled from school? - no but I must confess to having played truant once or twice
  34. What are you looking forward to? - a holiday in Madeira in a couple of weeks time
  35. Have you ever crawled through a window? - probably get stuck if I tried
  36. Have you ever eaten dogfood? - not knowingly
  37. Can you handle the truth? - yes I think so
  38. Do you like green eggs and ham? - I like ham but don't quite know what green eggs are
  39. Any cool scars? - one under my chin from when I fell off my bike (many, many, many years ago). But not very cool is it?

Well I did it, and didn't miss too many. Thanks for that, MaryB and Tamar

Promises, promises

We must not promise what we ought not, lest we be called upon to perform what we cannot - Abraham Lincoln

As promised in a comment on one of MaryB's posts, here are my thoughts on a couple of really good books that I read whilst I was away:

The Food Taster by Peter Elbling. This is a book that I picked up on my expedition to the bookshops of Kingston upon Thames a few weeks ago. I'm not sure what attracted me to it but I'm certainly glad that something did. Set in the 16th century it is hugely atmospheric Renaissance story of love, death and intrigue. Lovely......

Pompeii by Robert Harris. This book I've picked up a few times but didn't fancy much. However, my lovely daughter Jo recommended it to me and, even better, lent it to me. This was another book I found hard to put down, again very atmospheric and well-crafted. Spookily it even mentioned the 3 tiered Roman aqueduct in the South of France which we saw on our trip to Avignon! Highly recommended.

Bridge on the River Rhone

This should have been posted a couple of days ago BUT I've been having a few problems with t'internet. I seem to have fixed them now but I have no idea how!!

A good holiday is one spent among people whose notions of time are vaguer than yours - J B Priestley

Hello - I've just returned from a lovely long weekend in Avignon which, in case you don't know, is in Provence on the way to Marseille. It is a charming and beautiful city, the centre of the catholic church and home to the popes for the best part of the 14th century. The Palais de Papes is a major attraction, even without a resident pope, and is massive ornate and pretentious. I have to admit that we didn't spend the whole day required to explore it; we just inspected and admired the outside and relaxed in the large square in front of it drinking coffee and people-watching.

Pont St. Benezet is the other famous Avignon landmark. Yes, the very same Pont d'Avignon that children almost everywhere must sing about (or they used to. I checked with a couple and they'd never heard of it!). This bridge was built, according to legend, by a shepherd boy, Benezet, after a vision of Jesus in 1177 told him to do so. Originally it crossed the Rhone with 22 arches, 2 chapels and stretched over the Ile de Barthelasse (one of the largest river islands in Europe) for approximately one kilometre to Villeneuve sur Avignon (where the cardinals built their palace) on the far side. After a serious flood in the 1660's, when the water rose a metre higher than the river, most of it was swept away and now all that remains are 4 arches 1 chapel and it doesn't reach very far at all.

So many other things to marvel at in and around this lovely place: Roman aqueducts, arenas, temples and so much more. The weather was more than kind to us and now Avignon is on my ever-growing list of places to revisit.

The only negative things I have to say are:

  • I did not like having to pick my way through dog shit to get where I had to go.
  • for a beautiful and very cultural city the authorities don't seem to take the problem of modern graffiti very seriously

However, they won't stop me going back.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Yesterday's news

..or even the day before yesterday's as I've only just got round to reading the papers.

I'm not going to relay my thoughts on politics; I really don't like swearing in print very much. Suffice it to say that you can trust their word, the only problem being you have to be very careful which particular word that is. No, on second thoughts, you can't trust any of their words.

First item to catch my eye was the lifetime achievement award award givcn to Tony Curtis by
Empire magazine
. I really like Tony Curtis, not so much for his great acting (although I think he is an under-rated actor), but because he was a true Hollywood 'star', very good looking, outstanding in Some Like it Hot and The Sweet Smell of Success and seems not to take himself too seriously. His other memorable role, for me, (and not necessarily for his acting skills) was in Spartacus. You warm to him when you hear that he recalls scoring minus zero in a school spelling test because he didn't spell his name right; he forgot to put the 't' in Schwartz.

A very small item that made me smile was a report from Oslo that because of a plumber's error the beer taps in a bar in Kristiansund only served water, while an apartment on the second floor of the same building had only beer coming out of its kitchen taps. Unfortunately the beer in the kitchen was flat.

There is an article about the 'ghosts on the supermarket shelves' - products that apparently still sell in their thousands, that have been around for ever and refuse to be killed off. First is Marmite but the bad news is that they're giving it a makeover and are putting it into one of those really user-unfriendly plastic squirty bottles! Now, if that turns out to be like the upside down squirty bottle that tomato ketchup is now in you'll squirt away for minutes with no result then, suddenly you'll get a bloody great dollop of the stuff on your toast, which ain't very nice!!
Then we have Angel Delight. This should bring back memories for Peter & Jo as I seem to remember that it was something they had for dessert quite frequently. Camp Coffee - now why this horrible stuff should sell is a great mystery to me. It's called coffe but it consists of 26% chicory, 4% coffee and the rest mostly sugar. According to a spokesman for the manufacturer it is mostly people of 84+ who still buy it. Now who buys Izal toilet paper? It surely must be the most unsuitable product in history for its purpose. It is reminiscent of school toilets in the '60s, with its shiny, onion skin texture and its whiff of disinfectant. There's also Pearce Duff's Blancmange Powder (solid custard with lumps), Farrow's Giant Marrowfat Processed Peas (I would eat nothing else as a child, but now I would eat anything else. Spam - well we all know what Monty Python did for that. Bird's Dream Topping, another '60s-'70s favourite with ingredients reading like a chemistry textbook.

In the 'Health' section a report outlined treatment by psychotherapist Bernie Wooder who prescribes films to help alleviate his clients' emotional troubles. A few examples: Rocky, Lawrence of Arabia help with lack of drive, Truly Madly Deeply, Ghost, Great Expectations are for bereavement, loss or a broken heart, The Money Pit for debt, Shirley Valentine, Muriel's Wedding for insecurity, Educating Rita for boredom, The Bridges of Madison County for dealing with having an affair.
I'm going off in a minute to compile my own list!

Finally - the 'Letters' page contained this little gem:

Sir: Breasts are not hemispherical (letter, 13 March). A simple method for determining the weight (mass) of a breast is as follows. The woman stands on bathroom scales, leaning forward, and records her weight. An assistant raises a bowl of water and fully immerses the breast. The decrease in weight registered on the scales is equal to the weight of the breast. This method works on any fleshy appendage which has the same density as water.

All of the above courtesy of The Independent> .

Thursday, March 09, 2006

A trip down Memory Lane

It's too early in the morning for it to be too early in the morning - Terry Pratchett

Here we are again, 2am and I'm wide awake. For the second night running I've gone to bed at a reasonable time, read until my eyelids doop turned off the light and ZAP!! - eyes wide open, brain in overdrive, husband snoring in blissful sleep. This is an inheritance from the last 2-3 years of my working life when this used to happen on a very regular basis. In those days my nocturnal ramblings were mostly work-related and unpleasant and many's the time I was in my office at 4.30am because that was the only way I could solve my problem, on its home ground. That's all over now, thank the Lord, and well & truly behind me but gone are the days when I would sleep through anything, even hurricanes.

Anyway I've decided to write this masterpiece now instead of later. I'm sitting with hot chocoate and good old pencil and paper as I think that sitting in front of a computer screen tapping away at a keyboard is conducive to lulling me to sleep. I'll post it after breakfast.

When I got up this morning (no yesterday morning) the sky was grey with rain-filled clouds, there was loads of housework waiting to be done and the breakfast newspaper was full of depressing news - the government caught in more lies, Tessa Jowell and the Italian job, the resignation of NHS boss over over a record £620 million pound black hole in finances (but please don't worry about him, Tony's giving him a peerage), the rape of an 11-year-old in a supermarket toilet and all sorts of other nasty stuff. So I thought: 'Sod it, I'm off to Kingston to research bookshops with coffee drinking facilities'. on went the lipstick, eyeliner and hair gel and off went I.

The scenic route was my journey of choice. It's a bit longer but more interesting. It also takes me through places connected with my life up until we moved here to Chertsey, some 36 years ago and for some reason today I felt particularly nostalgic about them.

First jog of the memory was Lower Sunbury. Sunbury on Thames was where I was raised from the age of 6 months and Lower Sunbury is the prettier bit of it, bordered by the River Thames. Although 2-3 miles from where I lived in Upper Sunbury, this is where I came a lot in my childhood and teens when the world seemed a lot safer and a 9/10-year-old could be out and about with a group of friends and no-one would worry. First there is the building belonging to Thames Water Authority where my Dad, who died when I was 11, worked for a short time one summer as a night-watchman. My mother and I used to walk there sometimes in the evening to keep him company.Then past the road where my first real love lived. Unfortunately the feelings were not reciprocated and he buggered off to County Durham early in the relationship. The next landmark is Monksbridge, a lovely house backing on to the river, where Edward VIII visited often when he was Prince of Wales but in later years was more famous as the home of Diana Dors and her infamous parties.

Now we go past the hairdresser/newsagent on the left (now boarded up) where I had a Saturday job and the open air swimming pool on the right where I never learnt to swim.

Hampton is next, still following the river, but no particular memories here - apart from the one of friends who were married in the church there in the '50s by a bogus vicar, so were not married at all. Quite a scandal in those days!! There are some lovely houses nearby including a villa used by David Garrick who built a temple dedicated to Shakespeare at the bottom of his garden. It's still there.

Past Bushy park, where there is a fairground every bank holiday, on to Hampton Court a wonderful place to visit.

Here I make a detour because I dislike driving through Kingston town centre and want to approach it from the other side so it's turn right over Hampton Court Bridge and straight on to Weston Green, Thames Ditton. This is a lovely memory; it's where we lived for about two years when we got married in 1963.

Now we come to a really exciting bit. There used to be, in Thames Ditton, a motorcycle dealership and workshop called Comerfords. I worked there up until I had Pete and one day, in front of me, sitting on a wall, there was.. Steve McQueen. Oh, he was gorgeous! Apparently he came over here sometimes to race his bikes and on this particular occasion he was using the workshop facilities.

And so into Kingston - loads of memories too numerous to bore you with now - because it was a huge part of my early working and married lives.

By the way, it seems that all of the big bookshops in Kingston (Borders, Waterstones and even WH Smith) have a Starbucks or similar in them now. Hoorah!!!!!


Brief Encounters

Apart from my dalliance (I wish) with Steve I have also been fortunate enough to encounter one or two other celebrities along the way:

Adam Faith gave me a lift to work once in his Rolls Royce. He was a really nice bloke.

I sat next to Jack Palance in a cinema in Leicester Square.

The Queen Mother's car had to stop behind a bus from which I was alighting on my way home from school. I got a nice smile and a wave.

I once spoke to Rod Steiger on the phone in my capacity as a telephonist at the GPO's Continental Exchange - my first job c.1956.



If, like me, you've reached the end of this post without falling asleep - thanks for your patience. Much appreciated.