Wednesday, 31 January 2007

Advice for criminals

Don't stay at home between 4:00 and 7:00 am. This is when police do dawn raids.

Fancy a drink?

I decided I'd join the folk that abstain in January.

So, in theory, for the whole of this month I wasn't going to touch a drop of liquor.

Well I was doing quite well until I found myself in a pub a couple of weeks ago. I was asked, "What would you like?" and there was an instinctive response, almost a reflex response, that went something like "G&T please".

But, that evening aside, I have been very good. Well, I've been perfect if we're excluding that one aberation.

But this evening, I really, really, really wanted a drink. But I didn't succumb to temptation.
I will tomorrow.

Tuesday, 30 January 2007

Food for thought

I think the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 is a great piece of legislation.

I think it's fantastic now that women have equality in the workplace.

I'm really proud of my employer and the strides it's made towards encouraging women to join, and remain with, the company.

How ironic that in an internal meeting today, out of 17 attendees, only two were female. Food for thought?

Monday, 29 January 2007

And another thing....

There are a few other things I omitted from the church outing yesterday.

Firstly, I felt needed to rebel and, sort of in the same way that business women who wear masculine tailored suits to work wear very sexy lingerie underneath, I chose to wear something that might be considered unChristian under my churchy clothes. You don't need the details but it made me feel rebellious.

Secondly, I had the utmost respect for the man who wore a T-shirt that had an image of a large skull on it with the words 'sharp knives, guns and loud music' above the skull and a pair of crossed guns beneath the skull.

Thirdly, I had to stifle an explosion of laughter when, during a prayer, Hannah proffered a digit and whispered, in a stage whisper, "Pull my finger."

Sunday, 28 January 2007


Well I decided to take Hannah to church today.

And they blew it. They had an opportunity to get her hooked and she didn't enjoy it at all, and doesn't want to go back.

It is a long time since I've been to church for anything other than a christening, wedding or funeral. Even as a teenager I went to church to ring the church bells (yes, amazingly - I used to be a campanologist) but used to leave, with my mum, before the service started.

So I didn't really know what to expect, especially as the cosy village parish church I grew up with had a grumpy vicar who hated children and a declining congregation. Often there were more bellringers than there were congregation.

Well the first thing that annoyed me was the message for the children.

This was 'Education Sunday' and the service was based around children and education. The first message was "All the children know that when they're in church they shouldn't talk, unless they're talking to God. There is an area in the church hall with toys for children who find that too difficult." That is tantamount to saying "Naughty children in the hall please."

This immediately puts parents under stress. I've been in places where there's an expectation that children are quiet and it's really difficult. Throughout the service I could see parents trying desperately to hush their children. I could see tempers being restrained, but the tight lips of the parents belied the frustration and irritation.

The second thing that wound me up was some kind of requesting forgiveness for sins. This was a Church of England service, not a Catholic service, and I didn't expect the assumption that I am inherently evil and in need of forgiveness.

The third thing that irritated me was the service layout. I know they try and make it easy for newcomers, but it wasn't explained in the service. The responses differed throughout the service and it wasn't clear what you were supposed to be saying or singing or praying at any particular time. The old hands at the church knew what they were doing when but the newbies just looked like newbies.

Then there was communion. I debated whether to sit this one out, but reasoned that Hannah will be taken to the church for services by the school, and if she is going to be blessed, then it's best she knows the routine.

There was a different process for those who've been confirmed and those that haven't. The first time I became aware of this difference was at the age of 10 in a Catholic church in France (more of this another time). Those wanting a blessing rather than full communion had to carry a green booklet with them so the vicar would know what to do. So all of the people 'outside' the church had to carry a very visible label. Nice and discriminatory I thought. Much simpler was the method I was used to, head bowed for blessing, hands cupped for communion. This is something that vicar sees, and not whole congregation.

And the service took an hour and a half. Hannah told me at one point she was hungry and at another she was thirsty. "Sorry but you can't eat and drink in church" I said. "Why not?" she asked. "Just because that's the way that church is."

Hannah's principle complaint was the amount of standing up and sitting down.

Anyway we've been there and done that. If Hannah wants to go again, I'll take her. But she doesn't at the moment.

I did get chatting to a very nice woman next to me who, among other things, said "I always expect a church service like this to turn into a Monty Python sketch."

I wish it had.

Happy holidays

I'm fed up. This is probably my third or fourth evening recently-ish pounding the PC keyboard trying to find a holiday.

I've looked at France, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Holland, UK.

I've explored villas (with and without pool), gites, cottages, campsites, Center Parcs and probably other stuff too.

I've investigated car, ferry, plane and channel tunnel.

Everytime I have an idea or think I'm getting somewhere Dave says something disparaging about either the location, the accommodation or the transport to get there.

Now let me think. Who sorted last years holiday? Er, me.

What about the year before? Er, me.

Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

Ever get the feeling you want to strangle someone?

Friday, 26 January 2007

Fairy tale

I would like to be Sleeping Beauty for the following reasons:

1. She was beautiful
2. She was a Princess and therefore loaded and didn't have to do housework
3. She lived in a castle, how cool is that?
4. As a baby she was blessed by 12 good fairies
5. She got to sleep for 100 years – bet she didn't have bags under her eyes
6. She was woken up by, and married, a handsome prince
7. She lived happily ever after

Thursday, 25 January 2007


We have a dilemma. I think you know by now that we, Dave and I, are heathens and our daughter, Hannah, goes to a Church of England school. It's our nearest school at the end of the road.

A couple of weeks ago we were advised by letter in Hannah's school bag that St Thomas's will be having a very special education service this Sunday. Apparently it will be a really super service and all parents are encouraged to attend.

We didn't plan to attend until….

Hannah came home on Monday and said that there is going to be a special service at the church and we should all go. Apparently two children from the class will be walking down the aisle with the beautiful Miss Cleminson, the class teacher who appears to be an angel with many wonderful features and no character or physical flaws. Hannah then clarified that this wasn't a wedding.

I tentatively asked who the children were going to be, mentally 'praying' (OK metaphorically speaking, I wasn't really praying) one of them wasn't Hannah. She didn't know who they were going to be, although it seemed that Miss Cleminson would be choosing. Now at this point several things ran through my mind. Would she choose children of reliable church going parents, or would she select children who need to see the light?

Well there's still no news on the choice of children but Hannah still wants to go. I tested her resolve today. I suggested it might snow heavily on Saturday night and would she rather play in the snow, or go to church. Unfortunately she opted for the latter, her rationale being that she'd never been.

Do we go, or not?

Wednesday, 24 January 2007

I like riding on my bike...

I feel a rant coming on.

What has happened to cycling and cyclists?

An extract from the Highway code and I've extracted just the mandatory items:

46: At night your cycle MUST have front and rear lights lit. It MUST also be fitted with a red rear reflector (and amber pedal reflectors, if manufactured after 1/10/85). White front reflectors and spoke reflectors will also help you to be seen.
Law RVLR regs 18 & 24

So why do some idiots cycle at night without lights and reflectors? Don't they know they could get killed? Idiots!

48: Cycle Tracks. These are normally located away from the road, but may occasionally be found alongside footpaths or pavements. Cyclists and pedestrians may be segregated or they may share the same space (unsegregated). When using segregated tracks you MUST keep to the side intended for cyclists. Take care when passing pedestrians, especially children, elderly or disabled people, and allow them plenty of room. Always be prepared to slow down and stop if necessary.
Law HA 1835 sect 72

So why did the idiots I saw the other day decide to cycle on the wrong side of the road? Don't they know they could get killed? Idiots!

50: You MUST obey all traffic signs and traffic light signals.
Laws RTA 1988 sect 36, TSRGD reg 10(1)

So why do some cyclists think traffic lights are just for cars? Don't they know they could get killed? Idiots!

53: You MUST NOT carry a passenger unless your cycle has been built or adapted to carry one hold on to a moving vehicle or trailer ride in a dangerous, careless or inconsiderate manner ride when under the influence of drink or drugs.
Law RTA 1988 sects 24, 26, 28, 29 & 30 as amended by RTA 1991

So why do people cycle to the pub to avoid drink driving? Don't they know they could get killed? Idiots!

54: You MUST NOT cycle on a pavement. Do not leave your cycle where it would endanger or obstruct road users or pedestrians, for example, lying on the pavement. Use cycle parking facilities where provided.
Laws HA 1835 sect 72 & R(S)A sect 129

So why, tell me why, cyclists think it's OK to cycle on the pavement? Walking along in the dark yesterday I heard a ping behind me. The sound came from a bike bell but it wasn't a ring, it was a ping and I didn't know what it was. When the rider came closer she apologised and said "I'm sorry. I hate doing that to people." And I nearly said "What, creeping up behind people and pinging, or riding illegally on the pavement?"

Tuesday, 23 January 2007


To the advertising agency responsible for the campaign for Nuts magazine:
"Can I congratulate you on an exceptionally successful campaign. As a result of your hard work, I know the name of the publication you are promoting, I know it is available on Tuesdays and I know it's read by bigoted pigs."

For those of you who are unfamiliar with this exquisite piece of creative, the ad campaign says "Women, don't expect any help on a Tuesday".

I just wanted to pass on this little message to the 'creatives':
"I don't expect any help on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday and certainly not from the bottom feeders that read Nuts."

"No really, well done. Target market – Spot on."

Monday, 22 January 2007

Did I or didn't I?

I needed to take a few things to the dry cleaners today. I realised I had a ticket in my purse for a pair of trousers that needed collection. I couldn't remember which trousers they were so I was looking forward to finding out which they were.

I like our dry cleaner. It's a short walk from home and it's run by a really friendly team. They always ask me how I am, they give the kids sweets and they're always really chatty.

After a good chat about how busy we all are (and how I want to win the lottery and stay busy but perhaps be a bit more in control of my life) I handed over the clothes and the ticket. After a little while I was asked if I was sure I hadn't picked up the trousers already.

Well I still had the ticket, which would indicate I hadn't collected the trousers. But then I've got a really bad memory and couldn't figure out which trousers they were anyway.

So I said "Er, I might have done. Are you sure? Do you think? Maybe I did. Yes I probably did. Yes, I think I must have done."

And I walked out with nothing, except a ticket for the clothes I'd taken in. The really sad thing about this is I honestly don't know whether I picked up the trousers or not.

Sunday, 21 January 2007

Product endorsement

I don't recommend a product unless I really think it deserves it. That's why companies are desperate for us to recommend their products to their friends and family. We trust one another far more than we trust the corporate entity when it comes to what does, and doesn't, deliver.

Well ladies (and gents who wax or shave their bodies) I have a product I cannot recommend highly enough. It's saved me a fortune and works so well I struggle to find fault.

The Braun Silk-epil (or newer X'elle) is brilliant. I've owned one for a year and I am still really impressed.

The only fault I can find is the pain. Personally I find the pain very manageable, more of an irritant than real pain. But anyone who's done waxing will be able to cope with this.

There are ice packs and slower speeds and wussy attachments for people with lower pain thresholds but I prefer the quicker 'get it over and done with' approach rather than faffing with ice packs.

Anyway - brilliant and a bargain. Honestly I can't recommend it enough and I'm not even on the Braun payroll.

Saturday, 20 January 2007


Over the New Year there were two rapes within a couple of hundred yards of our front door. (I've checked and Dave was at home at the time. )

I read in the paper that two men have been arrested, one per rape. I think the police must be looking for help with the prosecution as there are signs posted to lampposts requesting that witnesses to get in touch.

I hate the fact that the rapes happened and it is unnerving that there were two different men committing the same crime so close to home. It was reassuring though that the police have arrested people and they're working to try and convict the people they've arrested (assuming they're guilty – if they're innocent then there's a lot more to worry about).

It will make me think twice about the five minute walk, ten minute stagger home from the High Street after a night out with the girls. I never used to think twice about the walk, and only got a taxi when others insisted. I'm still minded to think like that, partially because I have a feeling of immunity. I feel that nobody in their right mind would take me on.

There was another disturbing thing about this whole affair. On one of the police signs requesting assistance someone had scrawled 'f*** off'. I didn't understand that.

Friday, 19 January 2007


I scared someone the other night.

When someone views my MySpace page I know they're there because of the meebo widget. I don't know who they are unless they change the display name, but I know someone is there. The way that I see them, or you, is as "meeboguest546372 is online".

Now the meebo widget allows online instant messaging without requiring the MySpace visitor to log into MSN or Yahoo, or Jabber, or ICQ, or whatever.

Now I usually leave the poor visitor (you) alone. I know you're there and equally you know I'm there. It'll tell you whether I'm logged into instant messaging via meebo or not. It's an unequal situation because the visitor knows exactly who I am, and I have no idea who the visitor is.

But the other night, I decided to say "boo!", initiating chat. I have absolutely no idea to whom I was saying "boo!" but I've never seen someone leave my page so quickly.

So sorry if I scared you. I don't know who you are but I was only being silly. Next time I say "boo!", say "boo!" back.

And if you really want to wind me up, don't change the display name. I hate the game of guess who the anonymous visitor is.

Thursday, 18 January 2007


Everyone is aware of the nine o'clock watershed. I think it's probably a good idea, but I think there may be room for adaptation.

I'm OK with the time and restrictions of the current watershed but I'd like to introduce another 'shed' and I've invented the 'goreteashed'.

On Tuesday night I sat down to eat my tea at about eight o'clock.

Quick sidebar explanation:
As I was growing up tea was a family event at exactly quarter past five every evening. The timing was dictated by Dad's work hours which and the time he could get home. Tea comprised of tea in a teacup from a teapot and a home made cake. Mum had an extensive range of home made cakes, usually Victoria sponge and associated variations.
Dinner was the main meal of the day and was eaten by the family sat at the dining room table. It was always a hot meal and there were always two courses: main and pudding. We always had pudding and everything was homemade.

So to get back to tea at 8 o'clock. It's only after mixing with these Essex folk that my evening meal started to be known as 'tea' hence sidebar discussion. I wasn't having tea and cake at eight o'clock.

Not only am I calling dinner, tea, but I'm also eating whilst sat on the sofa and not sat at the dining room table and on top of all this, the TV is on.

And this is why we need the goreteashed. On BBC2 there was a programme showing the dissection of bodies and organs. On Channel 4 there was the despicable Gillian McKeith with her show about obese people and graphic images of their flabby bodies and their excrement.

This is gore. And I don't want to see it when I'm eating my tea, hence goreteashed.

I think there should be several time bands for the goreteashed, perhaps around breakfast, lunch and tea/dinner times. Maybe that throws out the name goreteashed. Gorebreakfastshed doesn't have the same ring.

Wednesday, 17 January 2007

Am I dysfunctional?

Do you ever stand on a tube or train platform and think 'I could jump onto the rails. It would be really easy. I wouldn't even have to jump, I could just fall.'?

Or similar thoughts about jumping off tall buildings or jumping in front of buses?

Is it just me who thinks these things?

I imagine what would happen if I did.

Clearly there would be a mess to clean up and someone might try to save me. There would be the process of determining identity, finding my phone and probably someone using that to phone home. Then there are the harder things to think about.

How people would react, whether there would be a post mortem, what kind of funeral I'd have, how long before I was forgotten.

Because I know Dave and the children would cope perfectly well without me. There would be a period of adjustment and some tough conversations but it wouldn't take long for there to be a new routine that didn't involve me. Would Dave find someone else?

Don't get the wrong idea. I'm not suicidal. Or I don't think I am. But it has made me wonder about the people that do jump in front of trains. Do they just have the same idle thoughts as me but follow through without really thinking.

Tuesday, 16 January 2007

No pain no gain

I went to the gym the other night. Versus my usual workout I upped the level on all of the machines, added weights to most of the machines and then came home and had a big bowl of both choc and vanilla Green and Blacks ice cream and choc sauce.

I think this is what they mean with the whole no pain, no gain thing.

Monday, 15 January 2007


I had a fitness assessment at the gym last week. It took over an hour and a man called Steve measured the following:

- Resting heart rate
- Recovery after exercise – stepping (high step) to metronome for - - 3 mins and then measure heart rate a minute after stopping.
- Waist and hip measurements
- Body fat as measured using the pinch test (or about five pinches ouch) and also by machine, pinching is apparently more accurate
- Flexibility – touching toes type thing
- Sit ups – how many in a minute
- Push ups – how many in a minute
- Lung capacity and peak flow – blowing into what looked like a breathalyzer

I didn't really like Steve.

We were talking about sit ups and I said that Dave reckons he does 250 sit ups when he goes to the gym. Steve said "he's not doing them properly." He asked how many we did (I went with Mel). I said 45 but I have done 100. Steve said "you're not doing them properly."

We were talking about squats. Again he asked how many we do and we said 45-50. Steve said "you're not doing them properly."

Steve doesn't even know us. He hasn't seen us exercise. How the hell does he know that we're not 'doing it properly?'

Anyway, there was another very good reason not to like Steve. He delivered the results of the assessment.

I'm average.

Anybody could tell me I was average and I'd probably take a dislike to them (except maybe Dr Who in David Tennant form – yummy).

Sunday, 14 January 2007

Not an ex-friend

For the last few months I've been thinking that a friend hasn't been in touch because of something I said or did.

I've stayed in touch but it has been one way. I had come to the conclusion that whatever I'd done was so vile that I'd never hear from this friend again. I thought I'd once again become an ex-friend.

Well yesterday I sent an e-mail that resulted in a response. And I'm not mad and bad and unworthy of friendship (except in the view of Nemone and a few others).

This is good on a couple of fronts, bad on another couple.

Firstly, I'm not still unwittingly being the evil, nasty person that I thought I must have become (or had always been maybe).

Secondly, it was worth staying in touch and persisting because we're now back in touch, although I am basing this on one e-mail response.

However, flipping the coin – the reason they've not been in touch is because life's not been great and they're really down.

And also, because they're feeling low, they're not likely to be in touch much because it's difficult to do anything when life's just uphill all the way.

So there's a dilemma. I want to be supportive, but I want to give them time and space. I want to keep in touch, but then I don't want to overdo it and become another problem.

Friendships are tricky sometimes.

Saturday, 13 January 2007


"triple action plumping formula"

"peptides that prompt skin's natural collagen production"

"with collagen biospheres"

"enriched with Omega 3+6, Magnesium and caffeine"

"enriched with mango & shea butter"

"Look up to 5 years younger in a flash"

"retin A"


Is it just me or is the world of cosmetics advertising just full of useless, meaningless, fabricated verbiage and lies!

Does all of this stuff go through the Advertising Standards Agency and get a rubber stamp because it's full of mumbo jumbo that's designed to sound scientific and nobody has the gumption to challenge it?

I have wrinkles. I'd love a miracle treatment that would rewind time but IT DOESN'T EXIST!

Why do women (and occasionally men) spend fortunes on this stuff?

I use moisturiser religiously morning and night and I have wrinkles the depth of a ploughed furrow. Mel, who admittedly is a tad younger than me, has beautifully soft skin without a crease and she doesn't touch the damn products. IT'S NOT FAIR!!!

I hate genetics.

Friday, 12 January 2007


I cooked pancakes for the kiddiwinks today. I don't know quite where the idea from or why I'd promised to do it but they absolutely loved them.

Why do we, generally, only eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday? I mean I know why they're eaten on Pancake Day but why aren't they eaten for the rest of the year?

Why are turkey, cranberry sauce, bread sauce and sprouts only really eaten at Christmas? (Apart from minimal brie and cranberry maybe, and a bit of turkey).

Why are Crème Eggs only really eaten at Easter, they're on sale all year round?

Pumpkin is only really eaten at Halloween.

I know this is partially because of the seasonality of produce, but given that mango can be bought year round in the local supermarket, I'm sure this would be possible for sprouts and pumpkin.

Anyway, my point is that today's dip into the Shrove Tuesday experience was yummy and I won't be keeping pancakes off the menu for the rest of the year.

Thursday, 11 January 2007


I thought the traffic wardens were being a little too enthusiastic today.

The area near Hannah's school gets very congested because there are three schools on that part of a residential no through road. The schools take children from quite a broad area, especially the two church primary schools as they admit children whose parents are church/cathedral attendees regardless of where they live, in preference to heathens who live on the doorstep. We are heathens who slipped through the net.

Anyway, many parents who live within a reasonable walk, do walk on most days.
Today we had foul weather, gales, downpours and generally unpleasant walking conditions. As the school is only at the end of our road we still walked but many others thought a car journey was preferable. I don't blame them. And if they walk most of the time, why shouldn't they use the car occassionally?

Well police and traffic wardens were out in force trying to catch anyone parking where they shouldn't. There were about six fluorescent jackets attempting to ticket the people who just didn't want to get cold and wet. I thought it was a bit mean. Fine, catch the fair weather offenders, but it seemed unfair to ensnare the casual victim.

Wednesday, 10 January 2007

Er Im

I'm not the most organised or disciplined of individuals. On Monday, however, I surprised myself. I knew I was going to be going up to London on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday so when I was buying Monday's car park ticket and train fare, I also bought for Tuesday and Wednesday, thus saving myself queuing on subsequent days.

I stored the various advance tickets in my purse whilst making a mental note that they were there. I am very good at forgetting where I've put things.

Yesterday everything worked out fine. I took out the Tuesday and Wednesday parking tickets and put both in the car window thinking it would save me searching for the Wednesday one at a later date. The train ticket worked and I saved myself some time by avoiding the ticket desk.

Today everything was going well until I arrived at Liverpool Street and looked for my ticket so that I could get through the ticket barrier. I knew I had found the ticket because I had gone through the ticket barrier at Shenfield. So I checked my coat pockets – nothing. I checked my jeans pockets – nothing. I checked my handbag – nothing. I considered checking the laptop case and thought 'I never put tickets in there – don't be daft.'

The barrier was approaching rapidly. Well actually I was approaching the barrier because barriers don't usually move. I checked everywhere again and the prime suspect, coat pockets, received a further frisk – nothing. The look of guilty fare dodger spread across my face. I approached the man checking the tickets for people who can't be bothered to use the machines.

"Er, I've lost my ticket. What do I do?" I said.

"Talk to 'im over there" came the reply.

I went over to Im.

"Er Im, I've lost my ticket. What do I do?"

"Do you want to have another look?" said Im.

"Well I've already looked everywhere, and I normally keep it in my coat pocket but it isn't there and I think it may have fallen out when I sat down. I have got the receipt. … OK"

And under Im's careful supervision I once again checked my coat and jeans pockets and my handbag, very thoroughly.

Im and I exchanged a look. Me looking guilty, Im looking pityingly.

I had a blinding flash of the obvious and reached as though adjusting my bra strap and pulled out a ticket.

"Er Im, thank you, sorry. I sometimes store my tickets in my bra."

How we laughed, except I didn't. I went very, very pink and hurried off.

Tuesday, 9 January 2007

Thank you sooo much

My heartfelt appreciation goes out to all of you who have taken the time and trouble to send me "forwards" over the past 12 months.

Thank you for making me feel safe, secure, blessed and healthy.

Extra thanks to whoever sent me the email about rat crap in the glue on envelopes - because I now have to go get a wet towel every time I need to seal an envelope.

Also, I scrub the top of every can I open for the same reason.

Because of your genuine concern, I no longer drink Coca Cola because I know it can remove toilet stains, which is not very appealing attribute for a beverage.

I no longer check the coin return on pay phones or car park machines because I could be pricked with a needle infected with HIV.

I no longer use cancer causing deodorants even though I smell like a horse's arse on a hot day.

I no longer go to the shopping centre because someone might drug me with a perfume sample and rob me.

I no longer eat KFC because their "chickens" are actually horrible mutant freaks with no eyes or feathers.

I no longer worry about my soul because at last count, I have 363,214 angels looking out for me.

Thanks to you, I have learned that God only answers my prayers if I forward an email to seven of my friends and make a wish within five minutes.

I no longer have any savings because I gave it to a sick girl on the Internet who is about to die in the hospital (for the 1,387,258th time).

I no longer have any money at all in fact - but that will change once I receive the £15,000 that Microsoft and AOL are both sending me for participating in their special on-line email programme.

So thank you to all of you for caring. xx

Monday, 8 January 2007

The best laid plans...

What's the expression? The best laid plans…

I've got meetings tomorrow that will finish late enough to mean I can't get home to pick the children up and I've got meetings on Wednesday that start early enough to mean that I can't drop the children off.

Normally I'd work this out with Dave so that he handles the bits of the day that I can't. Unfortunately without realising we'd double booked ourselves. Dave had booked himself on a trip to Germany over tomorrow and Wednesday which made it a little difficult for us to cover for one another.

We chatted about what compromises were possible and agreed that I could perhaps be a little late on Wednesday and Dave could restrict his travelling and make his trip a one, rather than two, day affair.

This still left us with Tuesday evening uncovered. Time to call the emergency cover team, Dave's Mum and Dad. They were able to help, thank goodness, so at least we had a plan.

So Dave's parents would collect the children, feed them with food that would have cooked in the timer set oven, bath them, and put them to bed. Dave and I would arrive home shortly after the children had gone to bed and all of the grown ups would then need feeding.

To make this easy, I cooked a casserole at the weekend that be thrown in the oven with some jacket spuds. So this whole tomorrow evening thing took some planning and preparation.

Something had to go wrong, and of course it did. Last night Dave spent most of the night coughing and this morning he decided he was too ill to go to work. He also decided he'd probably be too ill to work tomorrow so he cancelled his trip.

So now, I have a stay at home husband to cope with dropping the kids off and picking them up tomorrow and I'm hoping he stays sick to cover Wednesday too. Is that wrong?

Sunday, 7 January 2007

Yes....I do watch it

I want to be the type of person that doesn't watch Big Brother. I'm not.
I can't help myself, and the celebrity variation is even more of a draw for me.

Now granted, I know that the Celebrity Big Brother contestants don't qualify as current celebs, and they all have a reason for submitting themselves for the humiliation they know it involves. But it's that humiliation that I want to watch. There's an evil part of me that enjoys seeing these people doing things that make them look daft just because they need the money, or their PR Manager has advised it's something that will give their career a kick start.

I'm always amazed these people are willing to go on the show. I wouldn't.

You could offer me a million pounds and I still wouldn't. And I'm not sure whether I would have a price, whether there's any sum that could persuade me to appear on national TV 24 hours a day.

It's a tricky one. Would you do Big Brother? And, if not, could you be persuaded if someone opened their cheque book?

Saturday, 6 January 2007


I was playing a game at the gym last night. I was on the treadmill that isn't far from the stairs and the position afforded me a unique view.

As people were coming down the stairs, for a while, I could only see their legs. I decided to play the game of 'look at the legs and make a decision about whether it's worth waiting until the rest of the body descended'.

If it had been a game where scores were assigned I would have a high score. I discovered it's surprisingly easy to judge someone just from the knees down.

I decided a bit of colour on the legs was a good thing (well you know from my letter to Santa that my legs have a bit of colour – purple ). I was also judging people on the quality (and probably newness) of their clothing. It made me think that I probably ought to revamp my old, faded and comfy gym clothing. If there was a leg exposed, then a well toned, but not skinny leg, was desirable. It reminded me to cover up my legs when I visit the gym. But having said that, if there was just a bit of a leg exposed, I decided that a pair of legs was preferable.

Friday, 5 January 2007


I was having a conversation with a friend earlier in the week about the nature of friendships, and how they can be destroyed so easily over something so trivial, or not.

She told me about losing her best friend because the best friend lied to her then boyfriend. Her best friend later went out with the same boyfriend. Now she was probably young when this happened and the relationship wouldn't have lasted. Was it really worth losing a friendship over a boy? I wonder. It most definitely would have seemed like the right thing to do at the time but with the advantage of hindsight, I wonder.

It reminded me of a friendship I once lost. I had a childhood friend from the age of 5-17 and then it all went wrong. Her name was Nemone. I always liked the fact that she had an unusual name. In fact I sometimes imagined I might call a daughter of mine Nemone, but then you think things like that when you're young.

Remembering now, we used to call her Nem One and she was forever explaining how to spell and pronounce it.

We were best friends. We did everything together and sat next to one another in every classroom.

We both used to go Samantha Smith's house because she had more Sindy dolls and accessories than us. (And she had Mousetrap, Kerplunk and Downfall which I will own one day! )

We used to walk into Newton Abbot on a Saturday morning dressed like tramps (we thought we looked cool – we looked like trash).

And then I fancied her eldest brother Matthew. Nothing happening there.

And then I kissed her other brother Dominic, and after a little while we started to be boyfriend and girlfriend. After another little while we just sort of lost interest but neither told the other it was over. Eventually, on the verge of being in the arms of another guy, I called him from a phone box in a Torquay nightclub to tell him it was over. He seemed nonplussed and my conscience was clear (and he was married within a year).

Anyway, it was not long after this that something happened and Nemone was no longer my friend. I wanted to know what had happened, and a mutual friend told me "she says you've changed."

And that was it. No further explanation. I lost my friend of 12 years because I changed.

I probably had changed. People do change in their teens. But is that a good reason for a friendship to end?

Well if you know someone called Nemone, tell her I said "Hi" and I do often wonder what she's like now. I wonder what her children are like. I think she has a girl called Hannah, but I may have imagined that…

Thursday, 4 January 2007

New pic

I've added a new pic. I used to be so sweet.

Wednesday, 3 January 2007

What do you do?

Someone told me today that they'd seen a fight. Well they'd nearly seen a fight. Well there was nearly a fight, which if there had been, they would have seen. Have I lost you?

Well the nearly fight, as I shall call it, happened, or didn't happen, on a train.

Someone had won some money 'on the horses' and was talking loudly to a friend about their good fortune. Someone else, who had not been as lucky 'on the horses' objected the volume of the call and made clear his views to the gentleman in question.

The lucky gentleman continued to talk to his friend and mentioned the idiot who had asked him to reduce the volume.

The idiot advised the lucky man that he didn't consider himself to be an idiot, interrupting the telephone conversation.

There was then a typical macho standoff. Eyes at dawn, or similar. They were either cowards, or saw sense, because there were no fisticuffs.

Anyway, my point was going to be (I know I'm being very rambly this evening) that I would have love to have seen the nearly fight.

I like my train journeys, even when there isn't a seat. (Such a shame that gentlemen are no longer chivalrous on trains). There is so much people watching to do, and it's fun to observe.

As I got on the train to day, a large, young, nasty blonde young woman was stood opposite me. (Her hair was a nasty blonde. I have no idea as to her character.)

Anyway, she sat on the floor as the train pulled out of the station. I would like to say that she was sat cross-legged but her overall size meant that that was probably a physical impossibility. It was an unladylike seating position either way.

Plonked on her derriere she extracted her phone and MP3 player and sat them on her capacious knee. And then she removed her make-up and spent the rest of the journey applying an excessive coating of green and blue eye shadow.

I like watching people and seeing what they choose to do with their time on the train. Some apply a mask. Some read. There was a strange looking man reading a "A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian". Some listen to music. Some text. Some work on laptops. Some sleep. Some watch other people...

Tuesday, 2 January 2007

An evening in Peterborough

Perhaps thinking it was a near Crimewatch moment was overcalling it. You be the judge.

When I was 15 or so my Mum and Dad had their silver wedding anniversary and booked a nice family holiday in Corsica.

We were staying in a villa and next to us were a couple of families, one with a girl about my age called Jo and one with a gorgeous young man called Mark, was probably 17 years old.

I fell madly in love with Mark. I couldn't call it a holiday romance because he had a girlfriend back home but I was hooked.

When we got back home we exchanged letters frequently. Now e-mail and texts can be good for communication, but there's something extra added when someone puts pen to paper. Plus Mark was studying graphic design so his letters were littered with drawings and doodles and his handwriting was beautiful. So the romance continued but I'm pretty sure it was one-sided.

There was no chance that we would see one another because I was in deepest darkest Devon and Mark lived with his parents in Peterborough. That was until I had an invitation to stay for New Year's Eve.

Well clearly I was very excited by the prospect although 'didn't have a thing to wear'. I think I'd turned 16 in November and when I asked Mum they said yes because they'd met Mark's Mum and Dad, who were, and probably still are, lovely people (we still exchange Christmas cards).

So the route was planned: train to London then change up to Peterborough and get met at the station.

I didn't really know what the plan was for New Year's Eve but it turned out that we were going to go to a party. It also turned out that Mark still had a girlfriend!

So we went to the party and I spent most of my time with Jo, and not with Mark, who was playing happy couples with someone else.

At midnight I was sitting on the loo and Jo was on the other side of the loo door. We decided that this party wasn't really doing it for us so we'd go somewhere else. Now I had been drinking so the next bit is a bit hazy.

Somehow we ended up walking through the streets of Peterborough with a couple or three guys that we had met at the party.

I didn't know where I was going and I didn't know Peterborough and we ended up in a house.

The house seemed to belong to one of the men we were with but it was walking through the front door when I thought 'this isn't right'. I should probably have thought it a lot sooner but I had Jo with me and she was a local (well local ish she was from Bedford).

Downstairs in this house was a kitchen. The only thing in this kitchen was beer. There was also a lounge and the only furniture in the lounge was a mattress. Jo and I sat on the only lounge furniture available and all of a sudden I was uncomfortable, and not just because I was sitting on a mattress. It was soon clear that the men weren't just interested in a friendly drink. The banter between them made Jo and I petrified. I was desperately trying to figure out how to escape this house given there were three blokes in my way and I had no clue where I was and I didn't have a mobile phone in my pocket.

It was a strange situation because it really felt like us against them. They were talking about us, not to us. Jo and I were too scared to talk.

Just as things were really uncomfortable and these blokes started turning their attention towards us, choosing who wanted which, there was a knock at the door.

And who should be at the door but my knight in shining armour. Mark had realised we'd gone missing and had gone in search. I don't know how he found us and I don't know whether he'd known who we'd left with, but Jo and I were exceptionally pleased to see him.

But he still had a girlfriend...

Monday, 1 January 2007

What happened?

What happened?

What was the single factor that caused the change?

Was there a change in the law?

Why do we now need to buy a ticket, in advance, if we want to go out to a pub on New Year's Eve?

What was wrong with drifting from one pub to another gradually accumulating friends until at midnight you'd amassed a large crowd?

I'm sure someone will argue that the tickets are supposed to reduce alcohol consumption. Rubbish! Moving from pub to pub gave the body a short break from drinking and allowed for a temporary sobering. Plus as you arrived in a new pub you'd have to make your way to the bar and attract the attention of bar staff. You would already have achieved that in the pub you'd just left. This means that in your new establishment alcohol delivery is delayed, thereby reducing consumption.

I think pubs believe it increases revenue. I disagree. I think people don't know which place they should buy a ticket for so they leave it and leave it and then don't bother. This means less people in pubs, less drinking, less revenue.

Newton Abbot isn't the greatest place for a night out, but New Year's Eve used to be good: hopping from pub to pub and ending up outside the clock tower at midnight. Some fools indulged their fetish for fancy dress and others just indulged.

So with this ridiculous ticket fiasco is it any wonder that at midnight last night I was in the bath?

Have I been in more inappropriate places at midnight on New Year's Eve? Yes, using the toilet in a stranger's house in Peterborough.

Now the Peterborough evening was something that could so easily have ended up on Crimewatch – all because Mark was with his girlfriend instead of me. More tomorrow?