I've been writing Coronation Street weekly updates since
1995 and this week's Coronation Street update has just gone live here This
week in Corrie Marcus wore a Christmas jumper he'd never have given a second look at if he'd still been gay.
I hate Christmas telly adverts with a vengeance. It's 2012 and we still have to endure the most sexist telly adverts just because it's Christmas.
Christmas telly adverts always get up my nose because more than any other time of the year, with their hyper-feminity - perfumes, make-up, hair curlers/straighteners/wavers and hyper-masculinity - power tools, heavy booze, heavy gadgets - stereotypes that should have gone out with the ark. But no, they're still here and unfortunately being beamed into our homes once more
Morrisons' blurb says their campaign "...shows Christmas as it really is. Mum wrestling with
the turkey, mountains of sprouts to peel and an interfering
mother-in-law! Have a gawk at it here.
And Tesco's just as bad. As Adam Ant's Prince Charming plays, the fella of the family saves the day when the poor woman just can't cope with the mountain of food she's expected to prepare. Have a gawk at it here.
And I've 'ad enough of Asda with their supermum does it all Christmas TV ad with the nauseating tagline:Behind every great Christmas there's mum. Have a gawk at it here.
Mind you, Aldi's got a good Christmas ad this year. No women, no men, no sexism. It's nice.
I'm better at writing than I am at crafts but nevertheless I'm still well chuffed to bits with this 'To The Beach' sign I made. Well, when I say I made it, I mean my husband drilled the holes and I did the arty bit. The sign's been made from two smooth as silk bits of driftwood we found on the beach where we live. The blue rope was also found on the sands, as were all the glass pebbles and the blue and white stone at the end of the arrow. We've now got our hand-made home-made sign hanging by the front door in case we forget where we're going.
And strolling on the beach yesterday after this week's heavy storms, I found a dragon.
There are hundreds and thousands of more talented, hard working women and men out there. But they (whoever they are, salivating telly execs I'd guess) think more expsoure of Nigella's breast and leg recipes is what the viewing public wants.
Not me. Nigella Lawson is a recipe to turn the telly over and watch something less sickly and gooey instead.
And yes, I have used a picture of a tree instead of that awful woman.
Got through a load of books on my holidays in Portugal. And when I say books, I mean books, with pages and covers - not those Kindle things.
Stan Barstow - A Kind of Loving
While I'd been aware of, and had seen the cult film, I had no idea this was a novel and first in a trilogy too. Shame on me. It's been reissued as it's been over 50 years since the novel was first released and while some of the language seems dated, of course, the story of working-class boy meets girl in the 1950s remains as strong as ever. Highly recommended. 10/10.
Jonathan Harvey - All She Wants
The debut novel of one of my favourite Coronation Street writers. It was good, funny, and had me laughing out loud, which is always good in a comedy book. A good one. 8/10.
Pauline Black - Black by Design (autobiography)
Singer with The Selecter and one of the strong females in bands I grew up watching on telly and admiring. Not only is the book Pauline's autiobiography so there's plenty of muso-gossip in it, it's also about her search to find out who she was after being adopted by a white family. This book is fantastic. Read it. 10/10.
Joanne Harris - blueeyedboy
I'd never read any Joanne Harris books before and on the strength of this one, I won't be reading any more. Over long, padded, it could have done with a lot of editing. The blurb on the front of the book said it was "terrifying" (it wasn't) and had a "major twist in the tale" (it didn't). Disappointing - and the only novel I left in our hotel room when we checked out. 6.5/10
Penny Hancock - Tideline
Now this, this, was brilliant. A debut novel from a writer whose work I'll look forward to reading again. A sinister tale about an older woman and a younger man, told very well indeed. 10/10.
Jonas Jonasson - The One Hundred Year Old Man who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared
An odd book this one and to be fair, it wasn't one of the books I picked myself to read on holiday but I'd read all of mine, listed above, and had to start reading my husband's books. The book started off very well, it was a bit of a romp and it was easy to picture the film of the novel being played out in front of your eyes as you read it. It made me giggle a lot. But then the flashbacks to the character's old life started and that's when I started to lose interest in the book. So I skipped over the flashback chapters but then lost interest about three-quarters of the way through the book. So I'd give it 10/10 for the way it started, 7/10 for the book with the flashback chapters included.
Shaun Ryder - Twisting my Melon (autobiography)
All the sex and drugs and rock and roll you could possibly want - and more - from the lead singer of the Happy Mondays. A brilliant read, written for Shaun by a ghost writer who captured Shaun's voice and tone brilliantly. Fab. 10/10
Richard Milward - Kimberley's Capital Punishment
From the Bard of Boro (that's Middlesbrough), his third novel and one I wholeheartedly recommend. Naughty, awful, wonderful Kimberley. 9/10.
One of the many lovely birthday presents I received this week was the new CD by Jimmy Cliff, Rebirth. It's an absolute cracker, not a duff song on it. It's like a love letter to reggae. Rush out and buy it now.
To Stockton weekender festival the other weekend in er, Stockton, to see James. I've seen them a few times before and it's always a good show. Their gig at Stockton was wonderful, really enjoyable. I've been singing this ever since. The Stockton weekender gig was the only time this year I've been outdoors drinking and dancing and it's something I did more often in London. I miss it. Not London, the outdoors gigging, drinking and dancing bit.
There was no gigging, drinking or dancing on the Weardale Railway but that's not to say I didn't have an enjoyable day, I did, it was ace. I was chuffed to bits to be on a steam train chugging its way up and down the Wear Valley.
And finally, to see Batman - The Dark Knight Rises at the flicks. I'm a big Batman fan - have a look here. Recognised some of the interior filming location, again, as Senate House, part of the University of London where I used to work.
Regular readers will know I enjoy holidays in Scarborough. I also enjoy a spot of crazy golf so what better than to combine a crazy golf tournament with a day in Scarborough? Well, we had FUN, that's all I can say! All pictures below are my own.
We played four crazy golf courses starting with the Merlin Pirate Adventure Mini Golf next to the Sealife Centre. Its website is here.
This was by far the most "corporate" of the crazy golf courses we played, it's a franchise after all, but it did offer a lot, especially the rather annoying but fun "Yo-Ho, Yo-Ho" pirate song. There wasn't a lot of space on this course and it did feel a little packed with families queuing to play by the time we left. However, the big plus is that there are two pirate boats that you have to use to cross the river to get around the course and these are great fun, whatever your age. The site was well-maintained with nice landscaping and would probably be the most fun for kids to play, with its pirate theme, pirate song and boats.
Cost to play was £4 each (with a 2nd game half-price if you played straight away.) Scores: Flaming Nora 50; Sunny Jim 44. Number of holes: 12 Our vote for fun: 4 out of 5
The second crazy golf course we played was also called Pirate Golf. It's on the promenade along the sea-front from the Mini-Golf mentioned above. This was by far our favourite course to play because it's quiet, peaceful, it has wonderful views of the North Bay and castle, it's been there forever and you can wave at the people going by on the North Bay railway train.
It's a proper, old fashioned crazy golf course, no gimmicks, just fun. This crazy golf course has been featured on CBeebies who voted it their favourite too. It's easy to see why. It's also the course used for the Yorkshire Championships.
Cost to play was £2.50 each Scores: Flaming Nora 43; Sunny Jim 31 - beating the current Yorkshire Champion by 1 point - and he scored a hole in one! Number of holes: 9 Our vote for fun: 5* out of 5
The third course we played was The Crazy Crab. It's one that we'd ignored every time we'd seen it in Scarborough because it has a temporary look to it and to be honest, seemed a bit naff. But in the interests of, ahem, research we paid our money, took our sticks and balls and played the course.
Surprisingly, it was a lot more fun that we expected although it's on a busy main road - where the open-top bus turns around in the North Bay - and so was noisy and didn't feel very relaxed. It's got lovely sea views, but was too quick to play.
Cost to play was £2 each Scores: Flaming Nora 38; Sunny Jim 42. Number of holes: 12 Our vote for fun: 3 out of 5
The final course we played was the Seaside Crazy Golf beside Peasholm Park and located opposite the wonderful North Riding Brew pub, which is one of our favourite pubs in Scarborough.
This was an odd course in that it was concrete so the ball never stopped rolling like it did on the other courses we played. This accounts for the huge scores we both got because each hole was pretty tricky to play. However, it is in a lovely spot, with seating around it for family members who aren't playing to sit and rest and watch. On the day we were there, there was an abundance of nana on the benches!
It's a traditional course with good landscaping. And so, after playing four games of crazy golf there was only one thing to do after we hung up our sticks and balls - and that was to head to the North Riding Brew pub for a pint and a half of their specially brewed beer, "Ay Up".
Cost to play was £2 each Scores: Flaming Nora 74; Sunny Jim 66. Number of holes: 15 Our vote for fun: 3.5 out of 5
Finally, I know it's not crazy golf but I'm going to give a well-deserved if quick mention to the Holbeck putting green - because of its stunning views. Who needs to go golfing in Pebble Beach when there are putting greens with views like this in Scarborough?
Cost to play was £1.90 each Scores: Flaming Nora 55; Sunny Jim 48 Number of holes: 18 Our vote for views: 10 out of 5
There's another putting green in Peasholm Park which we didn't play, but
if you know any more crazy golf courses in Scarborough, please do let
"When yur gerroff train, can yur mek sure yur tek all yur belonnins" says the train guard.
I'm having a holiday in Yorkshire.
First off were four days in Scarborough then a base in Harrogate to explore the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in Wakefield (ace).
Then we went to the Hepworth Wakefield (good), Saltaire (brilliant) and Bradford. Yes, Bradford.
For years I've wanted to go to the National Media Museum in Bradford and this week I did and it's not half bad - and that applies to both Bradford and the museum too.
You know when you've got somewhere in your head, an image of a place that you've never been to and you get there and you're a bit taken aback that the place you're in doesn't match at all, not one little bit, the place in your head? Well, that was me with Bradford this week.
It's a lot grander, a lot bigger than I could have possibly imagined. The National Media Museum was great, although not quite as interesting as I'd hoped it was going to be. But I did get to see the original Play School toys on display.
We watched Bradley Wiggins in the Olympics cycling time trial on the big screen in Centenary Square...
...and watched again the opening ceremony of the Olympics in a super high definition screening - one of only three such screens in the country. The clarity of the image on screen meant we could even seen the numbers on the empty seats.
So anyway, Bradford. It's not bad. It's fun and it's funky...
... and it's got a sense of humour, with that fella Brendan Sheerin from TV's Coach Trip starring in the pantomime this Chrisrmas at the Bradford Alhambra.
I hate Murdoch and so it was with a heavy heart that we succumbed to having Sky TV installed a few years ago. In our defence, yer 'onour, the reason we got Sky was because we're both football fans and our local pub in London where we could watch matches on Sky got too scary - and smelly - to venture into.
Anyway, with that out of the way. I still hate Murdoch and all he represents...
... but Sky have been pushing out some brilliantly innovative, fresh and clever television programmes lately.
Kathy Burke's Walking and Talking has been a particular joy, one of the best TV programmes I've ever seen. I'm the same age as Kathy Burke so everything about this programme resonated with me - music, fashion, friendships, although not growing up in London, drama clubs or nuns. Those are hers alone and this is her story. She's said it's the closest she'll ever get to doing an autobiography. Let's hope not. But until / if she ever changes her mind, Walking and Talking was wonderful, even if it was too short at only four episodes. Wonderful, wonderful, programme.