Discover my sagas and cosy crimes

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Men I Love

Phill Jupitus. My DJ of listening choice and a joy to watch on TV. Here he is with the late, great Kirsty MacColl who somehow didn't manage to make it onto the Women I Love list but should have done 'cos she was fab.

Tom Selleck as Magnum PI. The man, the tash, the hairy chest, the big car, the tropical island. What's not to like? Yum.

Paul O'Grady. Here he is with Sir Ian of McKellen. Paul's a joy to come home to each evening. Just the right side of smut for tea-time. Wish he'd do more stuff either in the theatre or on late night TV.

Terry Wogan. He's a terrible DJ who still can't get the pips to line up on the hour and has a corny way with everything he does. But still I love listening to him on the radio every weekday morning. Can't abide him on the telly though.

The Rocky Horror Show is one of my favourite films and I've seen it on stage countless times. Tim Curry is fab, a sheer joy to watch in whatever he does, but particularly in this.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Piccadilly Line

Two things worth blogging about the Piccadilly Line. The first thing is that it's the Piccadilly Line's 100th birthday on Friday 15 December. The second thing is that actress Miranda Richardson stood next to me in the lift at Russell Square this morning when I was going to work. I wanted to shout at her "I'm Queen!" to remind her how good she was as Queenie in Blackadder but I thought it best not to. On reflection, I think I was right to keep quiet. She probably gets it all the time.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Women I Love

Julie Birchill. Gob almighty but always worth reading. Always. Likewise Julie Bindel.

Nancy Banks-Smith. Top telly reviewer with a wicked sense of humour and great style. Get your Nancy tribute t-shirt here. I've blogged about Nancy Banks-Smith before, read it here if you like.

Kathy Burke. Actress, writer, director, star.

Debbie Harry. The woman I grew up wanting to be. Still wouldn't mind being, actually. Being into Blondie as a teenager meant I spent a lot of time reading Lester Bangs and wanting to write just like him.

Victoria Wood. Ticks all my funny boxes, no matter what she does. I nearly died laughing at Acorn Antiques: The Musical. And wasn't she wonderful playing it straight in Housewife, 49?

Friday, December 08, 2006

Amanda Barrie

Regular readers will know I'm a Coronation Street fan. But although I was given a copy of Amanda Barrie's autobiography when it was released a couple of years ago, I'd never bothered to read it. Anyway, prompted by a comment on Corrieblog, I got the book down from the shelves and read it, almost in one sitting. It was wonderful. A really lovely, cuddle-up and get cosy kind of book to read. I was in tears at the end. I recommend it highly.


There's nothing about Christmas I don't like, unlike my mate Sky over at Avenues and Alleyways who's having a grumble about the festive season. What's not to like? There's pressie giving and receiving, drinking and eating, meeting up with friends and family, great stuff on telly and almost two weeks off work. Need I say more? I love Christmas, me.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Day The Electric Went Off

Almost as exciting as The Day We Won The Lottery, but not quite. The electricity supply went off for over an hour to our whole street last night. Out came the torches and I entertained myself by making shadow puppets on the living room walls. I was just getting quite good at it when the lights came on again.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

December in the garden

On the day that the Christmas tree went up indoors, I was outside in the garden in a t-shirt taking pictures (left) of things that shouldn't rightly still be flowering and of some things (right)that should.

Fairy Nuff

Today we put our Christmas tree up and blinged up the house with tinsel, glitter and lights. Here's the fairy that sits at the top of the tree. She's a bit rock and roll and that's just how we like her.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

It’s Nice to Be Nice

A crisp autumn day walking around old and interesting bits of central London as I delivered some important paperwork for work. Kicking through the fallen leaves in my favourite London park* on the way back to the office after walking through historic, twisted streets. And then back in the office, I’m given a Terry’s chocolate orange from a colleague as a thankyou.
* I took this picture walking to work one morning last week.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Doing a Nigel

As a person who Can Not Cook very well, I'm indebted to Nigel Slater's cookbooks and recipes for making it look as if I can. The man is a star and if he was here, I would hug him.

Mother's Ruin

Mother's travelling south on National Express, due to arrive late next week. Right, what's to do when a mother visits their offspring in the nation's capital? All suggestions welcome.
The story so far - Book a show, done. Book a day's annual leave to mooch around Covent Garden, done. Things to do - learn to become immune to the sound of:
"What on EARTH is she WEARing?"
"Have you SEEN the colour of HIS HAIR?"
"Well, you can't get THESE up north, not for love nor money"
Actually, I'm really looking forward to her coming to stay. When she was a young woman, she used to look like Claudette Colbert. Everybody said so, apparantly.

November in the Garden

Things are growing in the garden that should be dying at this time of year. There are rosebuds coming out and fuchsia still flowering. Daffodils are pushing up through the soil, it's all very odd. This pic is from May when the garden went mad with colour as everything flowered at once. Our next door neighbour told us it was the prettiest garden he'd ever seen. So I gave him some tomatoes.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Nice Man on the BBC

One of the signs of getting old is cultivating a fondness for nice men on the telly who read the news or do the weather. My mother was the same with Mike Neville. And so, as well as listening to Radio Fogey and Terry Wogan each morning, I now want to make Hugh Pym a nice cup of tea every time he's on the news.

A Big Bag of Revels

There are lots of nice things in this world and here’s another of them - sharing a bag of Revels in a darkened cinema with your special lovely person while watching a fab film. That’s what I did this week when we went to see Casino Royale, the new James Bond film. It was a great film, I enjoyed it immensely, almost as much as the Revels. But it does make me wonder why, when I go to see so much in London – theatre, arts, walks, gigs, meals in fancy-pants restuarants – that the only things I blog from my social life are the films I’ve seen like this one and this one.

Computer Says No (Sometimes)

Whatever you do, if you haven’t already, don’t upgrade to Blogger Beta. Since moving over, I can only log in when the Beta fairy isn’t looking, which means not only can I not post to my own blog but I can’t leave comments on anyone else’s. It’s also taken away the html code for a cute little stat counter I had in the old template and when I’ve tried to put it back on the beta template, it keeps telling me I’ve made an error and refuses to save it. Some nice Blogger Beta blokes in Denmark are “helping me with my query” as to why the login is proving problematic but in the meantime, I’m sulking.

Monday, November 20, 2006

The Joy of Blogging

Having a personal blog is, of course, all about Me! Me! Me! So trying to begin a post without using I… My…. We… or Our… can be quite tough. I think I’m managing ok, don’t you?

Countdown to Christmas

Here’s my Christmas preparations so far. I’ve bought about seven presents in the shops and am waiting for two to arrive from th’internet. I’ve got a day’s annual leave to book when my boyfriend and I do our annual Chrimbo blitz on the shops in central London. We’ve decided to bling up the Christmas tree good and proper this year and splash out on some new sparkle. I might pass on having Christmas tree hair though.

Blogging from the Bathroom

Regular readers will know there’s a large spider living in our downstairs bathroom. It’s got a web attached to a basket on the floor by the loo and when I clean in there, I lift out the basket and spider, clean around it and put it back. I tell you this incase you think I’m a tart with the housework. I’m not. Anyway, the spider’s been there for about a month now, he hides behind the basket when we go into the bathroom and then comes out when he realises we mean him no harm. I know I shouldn’t get attached to it or claim it to be a pet but I’m starting to wonder what to buy him for Christmas.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Bleedin' Blogger!

Having changed over from Blogger to the new Beta-Blogger using my Google account, I haven't been able to get in and post, respond to comments or anything. It's been like watching people have a party in my house while I'm stood outside with my face pressed against the window shouting to be let in and no one can hear me. Having got in this time, I'm now afraid to leave in case I can't get in again.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Favourite Authors

Margaret Atwood, Edna O'Brien, Patrick Hamilton, TC Boyle. These are my four favourite authors and I know they're my favourite because I've read all their books. Douglas Coupland isn't half bad either. My favourite book of all time is The Handmaid's Tale (I've read it four times).

Daniel Craig, 007, Licensed to Make You Cry

He might be the new James Bond but I reckon that Daniel Craig’s best performance was playing Geordie Peacock in Our Friends in the North. That bit at the end, where Geordie was walking over the bridge across the Tyne, and you just weren’t sure if he was going to jump off and do himself in, well, it can still bring a tear to my eye. Our Friends in the North was one of those telly programmes that makes it worthwhile paying your TV licence. Speaking of programmes that make paying your telly licence worthwhile, of all the Catherine Tate characters, my favourite is Bernie the incompetent Irish nurse. She reminds me of a lot of people I know but none of them are nurses and none are called Bernie.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Spider in the Bathroom

We've got a really big spider living in our bathroom. It's got a web in the corner above the window where it sits during the day and on an evening it takes up residence by a basket on the floor. It's been there for days now and when I did the bathroom out the other day, I lifted the basket and spider out of the bathroom, cleaned, and then put it back. I think I might have seen it smile.

Big Lady, Small Shoes

Being almost ast tall as Jerry Hall means I wear flat shoes. I remember vividly the last time I ventured out in heels - too painful (literally and psychologically) to blog. So while I may clump around in Doc Martens these days, just for the record, these are the shoes I wish I could wear.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

All Saints - A Right Load of Tripe

I once heard Alice from Chumbawumba interviewed on radio and she said she met girl group All Saints at the studios when they were all on TGIFriday at the same time. She had to walk past them and they asked her who she was. When she told them she was with her band, they said: "Oh, we thought you were one of the nobodies". And if that isn't a reason never to give All Saints the time of day then surely their kiss of death to Red Hot Chilli Peppers' Under the Bridge is. I can't abide All Saints, me.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I'm ready for my close up now, Mr De Mille

What a tart I am. Last month I was on the wireless and today I get a letter in The Guardian's Notes and Queries page. What next? I'd better get my hair done in case Terry Wogan comes calling.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Reasons To Be Cheerful

When first starting this blog, my intention was to blog things that made me happy, cheered my day or in some way made me smile. I realise I've been using it recently to moan. I've been griping about GNER, been full of fear and loathing about living in London (when I love it) - and so to balance things out and get back to a happy place, here are my top three reasons to be cheerful. In order of importance, they are:

Fella, family, friends

Nature, fields, trees, flowers, earth, our garden (pictured May 2006)

The very reason for living

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Sound of a Crowd

Walking through crowded London, when there are people everywhere and no one seems to know each other, I often hear a cry. It’s a sound I imagine to be the one a dolphin makes when it's stuck in a net. It’s only after a few seconds of hearing it that I realise the noise is coming from me.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Have always bought and worn a poppy for November 11, in honour of those who died fighting for our country. But I'm wondering if its symbolism isn't now tied up with the war dead in Iraq? My head isn't clear on this and I don't want to wear a poppy if it means I look like I'm favour of Blair's war. Maybe I'll just put a pound in the box and go without the poppy this year.

And now for something completely off-topic while managing to be related - my favourite poppy is the ladybird poppy (or Papaver Commutatum in gardening-speak). These ladybird poppies were in our garden, June 2006.

Flaming Nora in The Guardian

In today's Guardian (notes and queries section) someone's asking the question: Who Was Flaming Nora?

I can hardly wait a full week to find out but when I do, you'll be the first to know.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Pippa Dolls

Watching Strictly Come Dancing on telly, I'm struck by the hair-dos of the women, in particular Carol Smilie and Jan Ravens. Their stiff, lacquered up-do hair-dos remind me very much of my pocket-sized Pippa doll I had in the '70s. So I look for a picture via Google of an old Pippa doll only to stumble across some very odd websites. There are women out there, women old enough to know better, women of a certain age, still dressing and obsessing about Pippa dolls. There are even Pippa doll conventions. It's scary (but I quite liked this picture from the Manchester Pippa doll convention!)

Friday, October 27, 2006

Is This You?

Are you a woman? In your thirties?
Are you plump, with spots?

I think I've found your website.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Alan Bennett – Untold Stories

After seeing The History Boys at the flicks the other week, I’m now reading Alan Bennett’s book Untold Stories. It’s the sort of book I want to cuddle as I read. I’m half tempted to ring in to work and throw a sickie just so I can lie on the sofa and do nothing but digest his words.

Pre-Minstrel Tension

Never go shopping when you’ve got PMT unless you’re popping to the shops for chocs in which case it’s allowed. What’s not allowed is trying on clothes. Everything you try on will make you look like your mother. Everything. And nothing will fit or look nice. Nothing. Stay indoors with your choc. It’s kinder to everyone.

Monday, October 23, 2006

On the Train

I’d love to play the glam woman with a dark past, running down the train platform in heels with a little dog under one arm and a round tiny suitcase in the other, just like in an old black and white film. As I step up to enter the train, I’d fling the dog in, hold the tiny round suitcase to my heaving chest and glance up under my black hat, the one with the feathers on, searching the platform with my mascara-heavy eyes to ensure I’ve not been followed. I’d take my seat in the carriage, sit the dog – let’s call him Rocco - at my feet as the train chuffed out of the station, smoke billowing, guards yelling. As the train slowly pulls away from the station, a Wolseley police car screams to a halt at the station entrance and five cops run down the platform peering into the windows of each train, each carriage, searching for the woman who’s already hidden behind her newspaper, on her way to another town, on another secret mission.
If only GNER could oblige me in my fantasy then I really wouldn’t mind paying the price of a month’s mortgage on a train ticket north. The reality of the three hours there and three hours back GNER trip I make every couple of months is expensive, noisy and they sell awful sarnies. I book my ticket weeks in advance to get a seat in the quiet coach to read, to think, only to end up with headphones on and music cranked up to blank out the noise when the shoosh-bang-shoosh starts from Ipods-a-go-go in the seat ahead and “I’m on the train” on the mobile phone from the one behind. If I feel another secret mission coming on sometime soon, me and Rocco might just have to take the bus.

Women who Wear the Veil

What sort of world is it where women have to cover their faces leaving them blinkered and blind? They could trip up, and sometimes do. And the only way a woman can be relieved of the veil is when her legally wedded husband removes it to kiss her as the vicar urges him on. I wouldn’t want a woman like this wearing the veil and teaching in our nation’s classrooms, would you? What sort of fairy-tale experience would that be setting to the schoolkids? I fear for the mental health of female kids up and down the country who will grow up believing that if they wear the veil too they’ll live happily ever after. And life’s just not like that. If only she took the veil off, she would see.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The History Boys

Went to see The History Boys at the flicks this week and enjoyed it immensely(*) I'd previously seen it at the National and enjoyed the film almost as much as the play. The film was actually a little better because it reminded me just how fab an actress Frances de la Tour is. We don't see her nearly enough on telly these days.

(*)After we moved seats because the fella in front was wearing a hat we couldn't see over and the old woman behind me stopped kicking the back of my seat. The bag of Revels were ace.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Air-Kissing for Beginners

Before moving to London, over five years ago, I never knew that meeting and greeting could be so fraught. Up north, when I met a friend for a drink, say, I’d just be grateful they’d took the trouble to get out of the house, struggle with the weather and vagaries of the bus system and turn up in time to meet at the chosen spot. At the end of the night you'd probably exchange a kiss on one cheek while giving a (real) promise to meet up and do it again soon, and usually a hug - strength of which dependent on volume of wine drunk. It was no-nonsense, real friends, real kissing, real hugging. But in London, it’s all different and somehow, so wrong. Everyone kisses everyone and it’s two kisses, both cheeks, with no substance behind either. There’s usually a “hasn’t this been fun, let’s do it again” but you know there never will be and sometimes I leave hoping that there won’t be.

I like Belgium

Maybe it’s the beer and the chocolate, the frites and the mayo. Perhaps it’s the wide open spaces, the landscapes, the quirky architecture. It could be the people – they’re friendly with an eccentric sense of humour. Maybe it’s all of these things that make me enjoy being in Belgium so much. So far I’ve visited the following cities: Brussels -home of the best beer in the world. Ghent – melancholic and romantic with quirky museums where I took this great photo. Bruges – picture postcard pretty. Antwerp – home of the mad CafĂ© Beveren and ladybird graffiti.
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