Discover my sagas and cosy crimes

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Borough Market

Borough market is a tourist trap after 9.30 on a Saturday morning. But it's still worth a vist for food and drink that's a bit different. This morning I braved the hoardes of tourists to pick up some Belgian beers, a wild mushroom pie (for me); chorizo pie (for blokey); sausages made from animal's parts I didn't even know existed and some farmer's market cheese mixed with ginger. Most wonderfully of all, I bought some Portuguese pastel de nata. It's the first time I've seen them outside of Portugal, where you can scoff them for a half a euro each. Needless to say, Borough Market charges more.

Bag ladies

Coming home from work on Friday this week, I saw two bag ladies. One of them was on the tube, taking up three seats with her worldly belongings stuffed into carriers, smelling faintly of wee and harrumphing at everyone around her. The second one I walked past on the way home from the tube station. Two in one day made me realise I hadn't seen any bag ladies for ages, years maybe. Why is that? Weren't they ten a penny when we were kids? Are they all in nursing homes now getting the care they deserve? I do hope so.

Spider in the bathroom

Regular readers will know we have a large spider living in our downstairs bathroom. Spotted months ago, it’s still there, living the life of Riley on our toilet roll basket. I lift it up and move it out when I’m cleaning the bathroom and put it back when I’m done. It’s been in the bathroom so long that I thought it was dead but when I touched it the other day, it moved, so it’s still very much alive in its web, not doing much. I suspect it runs amok while we’re out at work.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Anti-dote to Slebs post

And now, the anti-dote to the Slebs rant I had earlier. I greatly admire Eileen Derbyshire who plays Emily Bishop in Coronation Street. She deliberately chooses to keep out of the spotlight. It's a shame other 'soap stars' aren't so very brave.


Hugh 'n' Jemima are back together. Pete 'n' Kate are still in lurve. Why do I know this? What's it doing in my head? I deliberately avoid sleb mags and their comments on society's vermin who sluice along underneath everyday life. But slebs are in my head because I looked at an official news website today and saw a billboard for Theeny Stannart on the way home tonight. I don't want to know. I don't care. These people are nothing to me. Why should it be national news? Why inflict them on me? And on other people like me who simply don't care and who want to be left out of the pointlessness of it all?

Easter feast

Easter is one of my favourite times of year. Not only do I get the usual worker’s playtime of a long weekend off work, I’m barely there over the next two weeks, which means plenty of time to spend here and, of course,eating chocolate eggs. I’ll also be visiting family here and there and then returning to London to spend a few days off work being a tourist in the city. Choc on.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Coronation Street podcast

The second of my Coronation Street podcasts has now gone live at The Soap Show. The Corrie podcast is called Word on the Street and you can sign up to receive the podcast automatically as it’s updated each month.

Marianne Faithfull at The Pigalle Club

To the rather swanky Pigalle Club in Piccadilly Circus this week for a slap up meal in a 1940s-inspired supper club and to see Marianne Faithfull on stage. A wonderful night, an incredible woman. But enough about me. If – or rather, when – I’m ready to leave London, it’s nights like this (and this) that I will miss the very most. Lord Melyvn of Bragg was in the audience too and stood within spitting distance of our table. Not that I spat. When Marianne came back on stage to do her encore, she sang this and it almost broke my heart.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

March in the garden

Spring in the garden is when it all kicks off. It's also when the first cut flowers like daffodils and tulips can be brought into the house to sit in a vase on the mantel. This weekend I'm getting some chitting potatotes (that's a technical term, not a swear word).

Cushy Butterfield

According to the north-east folk song, Cushy Butterfield was thus:

She's a big lass, she's a bonny lass
And she likes her beer
And they call her Cushy Butterfield
And I wish she was here

Now then, I like the odd beer (the odder the better) and I'm also quite big, as in tall. Regular readers will already know that. I got into a lift the other weekend when another tall woman came in and stood next to me. Nothing unusual in that, but it prompted an older woman at the back of the lift to call out: "Ooh, aren't you two lovely tall girls? I bet you two can see over other people's heads in a crowd, eh?" I didn't quite know what to say but I've got a ticklish sense of humour so I think I sort of smirked. But would the comment have beem made if two short-arsed people had got into the lift together instead of two tall ones? I think not, don't you?

Red Nose Day

Am I the only one who finds Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day anything but funny? Ever year it’s the same. Tired comedians, forced routines, embarrassing televised events. Just the thing to get me donating my hard earned cash to then, then? Nope.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

An ode to Pam Ayres

In today's Guardian - that'll be Wednesday March 14 - it said it was Pam Ayres' 60th birthday, so I thought I'd write another of me poems like this one and this one.

Oh, I wish I'd looked after me blog
It got lost in the mist and the fog
I've emailed me host
That I can't get in to post
Oh, I wish I'd looked after me blog

Spring Jollies

Having previously visited some of Belgium’s bigger cities in Flanders – Antwerp, Ghent, Brussels and Bruges, we decided to head to Mechelen for a few days on our spring jollies. It was a beautiful place, as you can see on the left here and they did wonderful coffees, as you can see in the picture below.

The Belgians even get Coronation Street on telly, in English with Flemish subtitles. This turned out to be great fun as their word for shop is winkel and for whipped cream it’s slagroom. I waited patiently for Sally Webster to say she was popping out to the winkels for slagroom, but sadly, she never did.

Pies and Prejudice

Stuart Maconie’s new book Pies and Prejudice, In Search of the North is a cracking good read. I’m almost finished it and have just discovered the village where I was born and bred even gets a name-check. It’s mostly the North-West that he covers in the book but I can just about forgive him for that as it’s a cracking read. Mind you, the reason I like the book so much is that I’m probably his intended audience being a Northerner having an ongoing love/hate relationship with living in London. Travelling either on GNER or by road, my North begins at York. For Maconie-man, the North begins in Stoke on Trent, which sounds more like the Midlands to me.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Oooh, bloggher!

It's International Women's Day on Thursday 8 March and the people I write and edit the Coronation Street blog for (Shiny Media) are launching another new blog written exclusively for and by women. It's going to be a real little gem and I'm proud and happy to be included on the writing team. Ladies (and gentlemen, for you are allowed to read it too), I give you Dollymix.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Peace, Love

Last weekend I met peace activist Helen John. Now a grandmother of 68, Helen was the co-founder of the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp. I was in my late teens when the peace camp was founded and remember, vividly, watching the news every evening to see pictures of the women at the camp. In my heart I was there with them, I wanted to be with them, but I didn’t go for many reasons. I was too young, my mother wouldn’t have let me, I was too much of a coward, I didn't know how to get there on the National Express bus. Instead, I joined CND. When I met Helen she gave me a CND leaflet about a lobby on March 14, the day the Government make their decision on replacing Trident. Helen won’t be at the lobby on March 14 as she’s up in court that day for this.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Boeing Boeing

To the theatre this week to see a French farce, Boeing Boeing, at the Comedy Theatre, London. You know it can only be a farce when the curtain goes up there’s seven doors on the stage. It was very funny with the highlight being Frances de la Tour starring as the put-upon maid. Wonderful stuff.

Nuts to Healthy

Becoming vegetarian in the mid 1980s meant a heavy reliance on Sosmix and Knit Your Own Risottos from Holland & Barrett. I’ve liked the shop ever since and often pop in there for vitamins and bags of dried fruit every now and then. I was in there this week and along with the vitamins, bought my first ever copy of their Healthy magazine (the UK’s Best-Selling Health Magazine, only £1.50!) Well, it was on the counter and an impulse purchase, but what a right load of twaddle it was. It didn’t bode well when I saw a two page article by the (now legally) fake Dr Gillian McKeith and a one page ad for the Dr Gillian McKeith’s Love Bar (an organic, healthy snack!) but it got worse, much worse.

Now, I know nothing about science but I know psycho-science-babble when I spot it. On the supposed benefits of eating walnuts (p.70) This humble nut is great for helping us stay true to ourselves and how about this If you’re getting peer pressure, two drops of walnut on your tongue can help you appreciate your individuality. How can walnut essence help you cope with peer pressure? How? “Coming down the pub tonight?” “No, I’m going to stay in and dab my tongue with essence of nut”.
And the magazine got nuttier still. Writing about a yoga retreat she and her husband went on (p.144), the writer of an incredibly soft article said she’d gone partly to cope with the death of her cat (yes, really) and partly, oh, let’s have a guess, because she was offered the retreat as a freebie. I love yoga and have been doing it for years and subscribe to a healthy eating routine, but this magazine shocked me with its base level of complete and utter crap.

And just when I was about to throw it into the recycling bin with disgust,
thinking it couldn’t get any worse, it did, with an ad for the The Diet Plate let the plate control the calories!”. Argh! The only sane comment in the whole of the mag was from the lovely Lorraine Kelly who let the readers in on her big fat secret about staying slim: “There’s only one good way to lose weight… eat less rubbish and get off your bum!”. Eh? But I’ve already sent off for The Diet Plate.
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