Discover my sagas and cosy crimes

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.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Yoga - It's Dead Good

I've been practising yoga for over four years now. I do it at least once a week, sometimes two, and carry the principles of breathing and posture into my every day life. It comes in dead handy when I'm squashed up against some smelly bloke's armpit on the tube. I can use what I've learned in yoga to kind of 'zone out' of anything so unpleasant and take myself to a happy place in my head. Yoga, I recommend it, it's brill.

How to Cure Hiccups, Guaranteed

Is it hiccups or hiccoughs? Whatever they are, here's a guaranteed way to get rid of them. I promise you your money back if it doesn't work.

Step 1. Find someone you trust.
Step 2. Fill a glass with water.
Step 3. Get person from step 1(above) to either (a) put their fingers in your ears while you sip slowly and gently from the glass of water, or (b) tip the water slowly and gently into your mouth while you put your fingers in your ears.
Step 4. Step back in amazement that something you read on th'internet really does work.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A Perfect Face for Radio

I was interviewed last week for the Blogs and Pods programme on BBC Radio 5 Live about Corrieblog - the Coronation Street blog I write for Shiny Media. I quite enjoyed the experience and am wondering where it'll lead. Am I in danger of becoming a media junkie? Oh crikey, I must be because I feel a letter to Terry Wogan coming on any minute now.
If you want to hear me on the wireless the podcast is here: Click on "listen to the show" - but it'll only be online for a week before disappearing into th'intenet ether. I'm going to store it and link it from my profile page on the Coronation Street Weekly Updates website so you can listen to it from there too.

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Day We Won The Lottery

Sunday morning. The breakfast's grilling (bacon), bubbling (beans) and baking (veggie sausages for me). "Shall I check the lottery in the paper?" I shout through to the kitchen. "Aye, go on then" the kitchen shouts back. I open one of the three Sunday papers we get. We've got the first number. And the second. And another. "We've won a tenner!" I'm thinking, then I notice we've got another number. We've got four numbers. I've never had four numbers before. My boyfriend checks the ticket incase I'm seeing double, seeing numbers where numbers should not be. I'm not, we've got four. We turn on teletext and check it again to make sure The Mirror's right. It is. We've still got four numbers. How much? How much? How much have we won? More than a tenner? More than £500? More than £1,000? It's £61. We're going to blow it on the train fare for a weekend in Brighton. It beckons next month.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Doc Marten Shoes

I love Doc Marten Shoes. They are big and clunky and so am I.


My least favourite time of year brings forth my favourite fruit. Wish that eating them didn't make my fingers go yellow though. I've got three small pomegranate plants from seeds I planted last year. I'll bring them indoors this weekend and overwinter them on the window sill in the spare room. See, I'm serious about this gardening lark really.

Spoon Shaped

I don't mind nails being scraped down a blackboard. I can just about stand touching wet cotton wool. But something that sets my teeth on edge is eating with a crinkly spoon. Mind you, it's a lovely word is spoon.

On the Bus

Living in London means a heavy reliance on travelling by tube. Here are the advantages: it's quick. Apart from the dirt, the noise, the fear, getting stuck in tunnels and being stared at by lunatics sitting opposite, the number one thing I don't like about travelling underground is that I miss staring out of the window and day-dreaming. For that experience you need the bus and I miss travelling like that very much.
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