Saturday, February 28, 2009

Mystery night out

For me that is.

Today at 4.00pm I have to be at my friend's house on the outskirts of London, along with my kids and the other friends who went to South Africa and Egypt with me. That same incredibly generous woman who took us all on those trips of a life time says we then have to get into our best clothes and then we are going somewhere.

What ever we are doing it is to celebrate my birthday which is very imminent. I remain to be totally convinced that turning 50 is something to celebrate - but hey - I will do my very best. One has to make the effort doesn't one? ;-)

Very excited, and very mystified as have absolutely no idea what it is she has arranged, but I do know it will be great. Being with these friends always is even if it is just a night in front of the tele.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

OK (or not OK)

I have thought about this and I still can’t decide what I hate most about the tragedy for our times that is Jade Goody.

So in no particular order:

I hate the producers of Big Brother and Celebrity Big Brother who both built JG up, knocked her down, and then led her to take part in India’s version where she ended up being televised live hearing she had cancer.

I hate the ‘celebrity’ obsessed media who will fill page after page with trash about people such as JG. I also hate that I knew all about the fairy tale wedding (Costing £1.5 million – money well spent I am sure), but did not know until someone with family in Cairo told me, that there was a bomb in the main market in Cairo on Sunday which not only caused death and destruction but will have an on going seriously negative effect on Egyptian peoples livelihoods. I expect the BBC had no time left to report on this once they had covered the wedding of JG so comprehensively..

I hate the fact that we the public still buy these rags and allow the media to profit from the trash they print. And I hate people like Max (slime ball) Clifford (3,383) profiting from someone who is dying by selling the various ‘exclusives’.

I hate the fact that somewhere along the line I became so cynical about the media that when I first heard the JG has cancer story I assumed it was fabricated or at the very most - grossly exaggerated.

I hate seeing the effect the blanket coverage has on my close friend at work who has had cancer twice and tells me she finds the JG story really hard to cope with.

I hate the fact that even our government has to get dragged into the saga with Gordon Brown expressing his regrets and Jack Straw lifting the curfew on her jailbird bloke so that he can spend one evening cavorting in women’s underwear, and the next one boozing till 4.30 in the morning, whilst we are told his beloved bride had long since retired to bed. Yes - can sure see what she must see in him.

I hate the hypocrisy with which people who had not a good word to say about JG after the racist bullying incident are now falling over themselves to express their sorrow for her imminent demise. And when people who are total strangers to JG write things in comments on web pages like “Goodbye brave Jade. I shall never forget your beautiful smile. You are an inspiration to us all.” …Well, I am afraid it just makes me feel nauseous.

I think I can understand and appreciate that living out this final act in the drama that has been Jade Goody’s life in the public eye is her way of dealing with it. What I can neither understand or appreciate though is how on earth our society became so obsessed with the trivial that such a person - famous only for showing herself up on reality TV shows - is actually in a position where she CAN live out her final days in the public eye, and in so doing add to the huge amount of money she has already made

As a final observation when Jade’s popularity plummeted following the Celebrity Big Brother racism row Living TV cancelled her programme. Now Living TV is making money by filming Jade whilst she is dying. Irony or what? Maybe Living TV should reconsider what they call themselves?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Oh dear

I read that Gail Trimble,Captain Incredible of the winners of this year's University Challenge has turned down the opportunity to do a 'tasteful' photo shoot for Nuts magazine. Does she have no idea what is required in order to succeed in our country today?

Clearly she is in urgent need of assistance from Mr Max (slime ball) Clifford. (3,382)

I can't contain myself much longer

but meanwhile here is one I wrote earlier.

Oh - and another.

Seems like I am as obsessed as the rest of the population.

At the end of the first link I see I wrote "Sociologists will have a field day with this latest twist from the Big Brother team. What on earth does it say about the society we live in? " Those same sociologists will have even more to say about us all right now wouldn't they?

Incidentally, if one googles the words 'Max Clifford slime ball' one gets 3,380 hits. Make that 3,381 now.

Monday, February 23, 2009

In a supreme effort

NOT to mention Jade Goody and the quite hideous media circus that is currently surrounding her, it is with reluctance that I am forced to mention the shambles that is Northampton Town Football Club.

Our last six results comprise one victory and five defeats. We are relegation bound.

The first half on Saturday was interesting enough to make me think that maybe train spotting does have some merit as an alternative to football. I said as much in a text to Reidski. The second half was worse. We went one down to a very poor Walsall with only about ten minutes to go. Why I did not leave at that moment is solely due to a sadly misplaced sense of loyalty to a bunch of players who obviously couldn't give a damn about the long suffering fans. The fourth official was the cause of wide spread groans when he signalled that there would be four minutes of injury time. "Haven't I suffered enough?" I asked in another text to Reidksi. "Obviously not" I continued in a further text timed two minutes later as they scored again.

Doomed, doomed I tell ya.

As is Jade Goody apparently.

My mother always told me that if one can't say anything good about a person one should not say anything at all. So I am sorry that a young mother is dying. As for the rest - still trying to keep quiet but it ain't easy.


So anyway we did finally arrive in Cornwall which was nice.

We stayed in a holiday park just outside Camelford – another bargain found via the excellent Travel First class accommodation and tickets to the Eden Project thrown in at an exceedingly good price.

We were very close to Tintagel, Boscastle and Crackington Haven.

I knew why I knew of Camelford – from the poisoned water disaster but I couldn’t think why Boscastle was familiar, until we got there and saw the reminders of the devastating flood they experienced in August 2004 (very interesting link here). In 24 hours they had 200.4 mm of rain (most of that falling in a five hour period). The rain was very localised: four of the nearest 10 rain gauges, all within a few miles of Boscastle, showed less than 3 mm of rain that day. This I learn from Wikipedia is down to the Brown Willy effect. (Yes, yes – I sniggered too). Crackington Haven suffered very badly that day as well.

As well as visiting the coastal villages we made use of our free tickets to the Eden Project which was interesting, especially learning about how it had been transformed from a disused clay pit to the extraordinary collection of plants that it is today. It has to be said though that if one visits it in the middle of February one probably does not see it in all its glory. It was predominantly green and brown when we were there.

Oh – and a mere 18 months later than planned we finally managed to get fish and chips at Rick Stein’s chippie, and a very superior fish and chips with mushy peas it was too. Well worth the wait!

We thought we must have been mad planning a trip to Cornwall in February, but in the event as luck would have it, it turned out that we had been very sensible. The weather was good (In fact spring had already sprung there - we saw our first daffodils of the year and our first new born lambs.) The views were spectacular, the pubs were as good as ever, and the place wasn't heaving with other tourists. Of course had we planned to go the week before we would never have got there due to the snow. It's always a gamble going anywhere in the UK though. After all, I expect those visitors to Boscastle in August 2004 thought they might get a bit of sun.......................

Thanks Reidski for a brilliant time. xxxx

Friday, February 20, 2009

We saw this on Saturday

Nice innit?

It is Slough Town Centre, and that road is the A4. There were road works on it when we were there too.

Now I know accidents will happen and I can be as sympathetic as the next person to anyone caught up in an accident, just so long (obviously) as it does not inconvenience me.

So there we are, me and Reidski, heading West. 'Cornwall young man, and don't spare the horses'. We were just out of London, on the M4 and only about another 200 miles to go - hooray! Lovely clear, dry day. Not many lorries on the road. Splendid safe driving conditions......

I hear something on the radio about a multi vehicle pile up on the West bound M4 at Junction 7 for Slough.

Uh oh.

We see Sign Number One that tells us there is a hold up ahead and we can expect a delay of around 20 minutes. "That's OK" says I. "I can cope when I know roughly how long we will be stuck for." We see Sign Number Two that tells us the M4 is closed at Junction 6. We surmise that Sign Number One had lied to us in the manner of the sadistic dentist who says 'This won't hurt a bit' when he means it will hurt a lot. I consulted the map and we decided that it would be better to come off the motorway at Junction 5 and travel on the A4 until we had passed the scene of the accident. We thought that even more as we saw the completely stationary traffic queuing from Junction 5 as we left the M4. We had definitely made The Right Decision. Smug Gits Were Us.

But not for long.

Where do you suppose all that queuing traffic was being diverted to when they eventually got to Junction 6?

Would you be surprised to learn they were being diverted on to the A4 up ahead of us?

Which goes through Slough town centre.
And which is currently being dug up for road repairs.
And which is very very busy on a Saturday morning anyway without the benefit of all west bound motorway traffic being diverted right through the middle of Slough Town Centre.

Think of the worst traffic jam you have ever been in and multiply it by 12 and you may come close to understanding just how bad that traffic was. If I had not finally come up with an escape route via Windsor we would probably still be in Slough Town Centre now. In fact I am sure I caught something on the news about emergency food parcels being delivered to motorists stranded since last Saturday morning on the A4 in Slough.

No prizes for guessing what poem I have had in my head ever since Saturday.

So whoever once said that part of the pleasure of going somewhere is the getting there lied as blatantly as Motorway Sign Number One. But somehow - when one arrives at a place as beautiful as this

it does all seem worthwhile.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Slightly depressing

that Waterstones put a sticker reading:

"The inspiration for the musical behind the BBC's 'I'd Do Anything'. "

on the front cover of that little known novel 'Oliver Twist'.

Alcohol is in my blood.

Just to clarify what I mean by that statement, my family history is littered with examples of great granddads and great great granddads who were pub landlords. When I was little my dad was a sales rep firstly for Babycham (we had a garage full of boxes of cocktail umbrellas as a result which the four year old Jane loved playing with) and then with Crawfords whisky, and as a result and my school holidays were often spent sitting in a pub garden somewhere in the country with a glass of orange squash drunk through a straw, and a packet of crisps – Walkers or Golden Wonder, but always ready salted, whilst dad was in the bar pretending to be working. (Reidski will tell you nothing has changed regarding the crisps – I STILL have ready salted every time – but it has been a while since I have been content with orange squash on a visit to the pub) When I was ten my mum and dad went into their first pub, and they stayed in the licensed trade till they retired.

My dad has an encyclopaedic knowledge of pubs. Where ever I happen to be in the UK he can tell me which pubs I should definitely check out – and his recommendations are always first class...and this coming from a fussy bitch. I can not tolerate a bad pub, and my mind is usually made up about a place within moments of entering the front door. Decor, atmosphere, welcome, cleanliness – all these things are taken in and I always remember that I have a choice about where I spend my money and I won’t stay in a pub that doesn’t feel right. There are so many good pubs that I could be spending time in that I don’t want to waste time and money in ones that do not measure up. Part of the pleasure for me of travelling is to discover new pubs – and Reidksi and I have been in some good ones the past few days my favourite of which was probably this one in Polkerris near St Austell. (Up the road from the Inn is a row of old cottages built by the unpopular Preventative Service to house the riding officers whose job was to patrol the cliffs on horse back to discourage smuggling. As in other seaside places they had to be housed together for their own safety. I love stories like this.)

This is a very long winded way of getting round to saying that I have seen quite a few of the programmes with Oz Clarke and James May travelling around Britain visiting pubs, breweries and distilleries in an effort to identify the quintessential British drink.

My offering would be gin and tonic, but I guess it all depends on where in Britain you happen to be. Obviously many people would go for a good malt whisky, others for a true knock your head off scrumpy, and CAMRA members could argue till eternity over the best British beer. Then there are those for whom this present

(TNR’s ace photo taken in a Glasgow off licence) comprising 20 fags, some roll up papers and a bottle of Buckfast would be the perfect Valentine’s gift.

What’s your favourite British drink?

Friday, February 13, 2009


Can anyone tell me what a Google Reader is?

Bit of an up date

Strange that a week last Monday I was bemoaning the quantity of the snow in Northamptonshire - as in I didn't think we had had enough of it. Be careful what you wish for eh? It is now quite hard to remember what the land round here looks like without snow.

I was snowed in for the first time since my early teens (positively ancient history we are talking there). My son's friend was stuck with us for four days in the end - and that did necessitate by the Saturday an outing to the supermarket with someone brave enough to do the driving.




We went to Morrison's first but after some 20 minutes in which it became clear we were never going to get a parking space because the place was under siege we decided Tescos would be easier. It wasn't. The traffic on the approach to Tescos was at a stand still. By the time we got there and parked an hour must have passed. Within the store there was the kind of atmosphere that might lead one to assume rationing was being declared the following day. Everyone in the county must have seized upon the slight let up in the weather to try and get the food in. Queues at every till went back to the middle of the store. I was best friends for life with the couple in front of me in the checkout queues by the time I finally got to pay for my shopping - we had by then known each other for ever. My trip to the supermarket took something like three and a half hours - how annoying was it therefore to get home and immediately realise I had forgotten the cat food? Answer: extremely.

The other thing about the snow is that it has has kept Reidski and I apart for over two weeks. This will however be rectified tonight as I am going down to his place - and tomorrow we are off for a break in Cornwall until Wednesday. We are staying in a log cabin in some kind of a holiday camp - obviously somewhat out of season. The info they sent us told us that regretfully the out door swimming pool will not be available for our use. Life is full of such disappointments.

On reflection I realise I have chosen an inappropriate title for this post as 'Update' suggests I have things to write about - but I really haven't. Due to the weather and the truly lethal roads I haven't been anywhere or done anything apart from a few trips to and from work.

So profuse apologies to anyone who has just entirely wasted valuable minutes of their life reading this!

Back on Wednesday with an up date on the wild sex I will have been enjoying.

(Anything to get a few more visitors :-) )

Monday, February 09, 2009

I know

it probably counts as lazy blogging to mention google hits, but I do feel I need to apologise to the person who came here following a search for 'My favourite programme is Top Gear.' I guess however that when he clicked on the link and found himself reading about 'Strictly Come Dancing' he might have worked it out for himself that he had been somewhat misdirected.

Yes - I am kind of assuming the searcher was male.

For the record, Top Gear is right up there with my Least Favourite programmes - and I actually manage to dislike Clarkson even more since his remarks in Australia last week that I can't even bring myself to repeat.

I just googled myself by the words 'Jeremy Clarkson tosser' and very satisfying it was to find

Todd Carty Spectacular Stumble Off Set - Live On Dancing On Ice - ITV1 - HD Stereo

You have to see this - simply hilarious.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Stuck at home by the way

Loads more snow last night and it is still coming down as I type. I also have an extra teenage boy to feed as well because one came to stay the night on Wednesday and is consequently still stuck with us - poor lad. I am not saying I am being eaten out of house and home but this morning I was greeted with a no milk and a no bread situation. This morning I am extremely appreciative of my village shop even if I did blink quite hard at the cost of said essential items.

I'd ask you all to send food parcels but there is - for fairly understandable reasons - no post.

It is impossible to please all parents

I am the chair of governors at our village school. We had a meeting earlier this week and we had to discuss the subject of swimming because of complaints raised by two parents. We currently take children from ages 7 to 11 swimming once a week for a ten week period over an academic year.

Parent A recently moved her children to our school from the private sector. She questioned why it was necessary to take children swimming because it took one tenth of the school week to do so. She is right to say it takes this long as we have to get the children to a pool in the local town by coach, allow time for them to get changed, get them in the pool, allow time for them to get dry and dressed afterwards, and finally back to school - by which time one school afternoon has been and gone. "Why" she wanted to know could we not tell other parents to take their children swimming out of school hours?

Parent B was complaining because it was outrageous that she had to waste money buying swimming trunks for her lad in order for him to go for the contentious swimming lessons.

As we had received these two complaints we had as governors to discuss whether it was indeed correct and a productive use of teaching time to continue taking the children swimming.

The children of Parent A are all competent swimmers. The child of Parent B was terrified to get into the water for his first lesson as he had never been swimming before.

The same child of Parent B has a statement of special educational needs, and is unable to remember when he gets changed which locker he has put his clothes in. Staff who take him put a sticker on his locker now so he knows which is his. But in the past few weeks this child has learnt to swim and is doing better than other children in his class. This is the first time since he started school that he has ever found something he could master more quickly than his contemporaries.

After due consideration we have decided to carry on taking the pupils swimming. And we paid for the swimming trunks too.

Parent A will never understand the reasons behind our decision and will continue to complain about it with other parents of a similar social background to hers. Parent B is unlikely to tell her child 'Well done' because he has learnt to swim. Parent A and Parent B will in all likelihood NEVER say a single word to each other. The lives they lead are so totally alien to the other.


I hear today that there has been a 36% rise in cases of measles during the past year.

This of course is as a result of the 'research' produced by Professor Wakefield and published in The Lancet ten years ago. It was of course impossible to miss the enormous impact his claims that the MMR jab caused autism made and parents across the country were panicked into refusing to allow their child to have the vaccination which would have protected them against measles, not to mention mumps and rubella. You will still hear parents today who are frightened to allow their child to have the MMR injection 'because it causes autism'.

If you try to find the article he wrote that led to the backlash against the MMR jab you will struggle - The Lancet has ensured it can not be seen on the web, but that in itself is a classic case of shutting the stable door well after the horse has legged it. Wakefield's lasting legacy can be seen in today's figures.

But how on earth did what he say make such a huge impact, and why did the media chose to highlight it so prominently when his 'research' was based on studying just 12 children?

Yes - I did mean to say that his 'research' was based on studying just 12 children. Totally mad, totally true, and totally damaging to the health of our children. Wakefield must be so proud.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

The North Wind Did Blow

and we did have snow.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


For Holly.

Lovely stuff.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Daily Mail watch

Apparently Liz Hurley (aged 43) is looking 15 years older than she looked 15 years ago.

So says a male 'journo' who sadly does not show us photos of himself 15 years ago. This is a shame as no doubt we women could learn a thing or two from him about how to hold back time.

Is it anyone* we women have hang ups about getting older?

She looks bloody lovely FF'sS.

* As Yorkshire Pudding has pointed out - this should of course read 'is it any wonder...' The perils of blogging when in a rush and annoyed with the vile and despicable Daily Mail.

Nearly forgot something very exciting!

My dad got mentioned in the Sunday Times!!!!

He is Ken the landlord as mentioned in this article by Matt Dawson.

However - my dad would like to point out that in the interests of accuracy he did not in point of fact have lock ins. No. He would just never actually shut until such time as Tim Rodber - a big lad standing 6ft 6ins and weighing 17 stone and with whom one would not wish to argue - announced he was just about ready to go home.

Article that only mentions snow about 50 times.

Friday night, when it did not snow but was very cold, I was in the village quiz. I only mention that as an excuse to put in print the fact that my team won – hooray! which was more than I can say for Saturday when my team lost. Close observers of this blog will know I refer here to Northampton Town Football Club.

We played Leicester – run away leaders of League 1 – but we played well against them and even took the lead. Now anyone who ever reads Reidski’s blog will have spotted that he hates people who criticise referees so I am not going to do that here. Oh no. Clearly Mr Mike Dean – a premiership referee slumming it at our place on Saturday afternoon knows far more about refereeing than any of us in the ground do – and so he should do – he gets paid a great deal of money to know the rules and apply them fairly. So anyway, what I learnt from him on Saturday is that when a foul is committed outside the penalty area a penalty is awarded. Funny – as I had always thought a foul had to be committed inside the penalty area for a penalty to be awarded – but Mr Dean is the expert. It was actually quite surreal. The foul in question was committed in front of 1300 noisy Leicester fans, but absolutely no one – no fan and no player – appealed for a penalty. But Mr Dean knew what he was doing and applied the rules as only he knew them to the letter. Penalty duly converted. (Just re –reading what I just wrote to ensure there is no hint of a criticism of the referee relationship depends upon that!) I have no arguments with their second and winning goal which was a beauty. Leicester are dead certs for promotion. And if we don’t start picking up some more points very soon we are a good bet for the drop.

The other thing about Saturday afternoon was the – in my opinion – pathetic reaction of some of my fellow Cobbler fans to the discovery that – shock horror – there were Leicester fans sitting amongst us. I say – bloody big deal and who cares. And this from the idiot who called out ‘Come on Luton!’ when sitting in the middle of the Millwall fans – but we prefer to pretend that particular incident never really happened.

The Leicester fans weren’t there to cause trouble and it is all money for the club if the tickets got sold. I appeared to be in a minority with that opinion. Some of our oh so tough (irony employed there if anyone wasn’t sure) chased one such supporter out on to the pitch where he promptly got nicked by the local plod. As it later turned out he was in fact Tom Meighan, the lead singer with Kasabian described in
this article as a ‘gob on legs’ I suppose that is quite funny in retrospect.

Obviously there was no snow on Saturday or the match would have been postponed.

On Sunday I met up with Holly of this blog, and she is every bit as lovely as I knew she would be. Funny meeting up with another blogger for the first time but already knowing so very much about each other. It was just starting snowing when we met. She was heading for Norfolk – I am a bit worried she may be stuck in Norfolk longer than she had planned as I hear how East Anglia is knee deep in the cold white stuff.

Sunday night I went up to Nottingham to see Keane. Reidski hates Keane and would rather have slit his own throat than go and see this particular band, but I would walk back to Nottingham in the snow to see them again. (Better than driving in the stuff as I had to do last night which wasn't fun at all.) Great and uplifting gig and Holly who is going to see them soon (if the snow ever melts so she can escape from Norfolk) is in for a treat.

And so to today when snow has stopped play – or at least prevented me from getting down to London to see Reidski tonight. Our snow is disappointing – here and cold – but not enough of it to close schools (I love being the children’s champion and agreeing that the village school should be closed due to snow which as Chair of Governor’s I get to do, although sadly only when it actually – like- snows hard enough to justify that closure.) Reidski has a foot of snow in his garden and will be spending his day doing sod all being well and truly snowed in. On his own :-(