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