Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A BIT OF COLOUR  Posted by Picasa



At last a bit of colour in the garden.  Most of the year I curse this Japonica as I constantly have to hack it back to stop it obscuring the family room window, but now it’s blooming all is forgiven.  I particularly like this one as it is a beautiful scarlet instead of the usual orangey pink.  At the end of the season it sheds a few fruits – quince I think – but I have yet to do anything with them.  They look like a small yellowy green apple.

Tomorrow I am off to Bristol.  Back on Friday.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007




400 years ago today on January 30th 1607 there was a storm surge which caused severe flooding in S Wales and SW England.  The giant wall of water surged up the Bristol Channel at 30 mph and caused the death of 2000 people.  200square miles were covered by water which flowed four miles inland in Devon.  There is now speculation that it was a tsunami and a possibility that after 400 years it could happen again at a cost of 13 billion pounds.  We do live on a hill, but still…



After yesterday’s post ‘Out to Lunch’ Kim Ayres  paid us a great compliment with one of his cartoons on Blunt Cogs.


If you read Dr Maroon’s comment on ‘Out to Lunch’ it makes sense.

Thanks Kim!  Sorry Doc!

Sunday, January 28, 2007



Story contd.

In the end I was thankful that we were going over to the Jones’s for lunch.  It would take my mind off William’s departure.  It would be the first time in my life that I would be alone overnight and somehow being in an apartment over a shop which was empty between the hours of 5.30pm and 9am, made it worse.  Gran was in the States and everybody else had their own lives.  I would just have to get used to it.

John and Bridie greeted us warmly, gave us drinks and whilst John and William discussed William’s appointment, Bridie showed me her collection of china figurines.  But where was the niece?

‘Oh poor girl – she’s had such a time of it lately she’s worn out so I made her have a lie in.  She’ll be down before lunch.  Did I tell you she’s a model and has just been put under contract to J Arthur Rank no less.  My sister’s beside herself!   Marta’s only eighteen - would you credit it?’

Bridie’s sister, who was Irish of course, had married an Italian and the result was Signorina Marta Rossi.  I couldn’t wait to meet her.

‘Hi everybody!

There in the doorway was Marta herself.  Pausing long enough for us to take in her remarkable presence and retrieve our jaws from the floor, she advanced towards us.  Eighteen she may have been but she had the sophistication of a forty year old.

‘Pat –this is my niece Marta Rossi and Marta this is William, Pat’s husband,’ Marta gave us each a dazzling smile and an elegant handshake.  She had a pleasant musky smell.  I don’t know about William but I was captivated.  I had never seen anyone like her before in the flesh.  Thank God I’d washed my hair but I wished I had put on a little more make-up.  She was taller than me, as slim and with similar colouring but her hair was short – like Ingrid Bergman’s in ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls.’  And she had highlights before anyone knew about them.

She looked very chic but told me later her clothes had ‘cost nothing’ that it was how you put them together that mattered.  She wore a dark grey pencil skirt with a white open-necked shirt.  Her waist was clinched with a scarlet belt and a jaunty scarf round her neck tied the whole outfit together.

Over lunch she told us she had started out doing photographic modelling and was sent as a ‘special’ (a step up from an extra) to work on a film.  Here she was spotted by Dirk Bogarde who told Rank they would be mad if they didn’t put her under contract. (Maybe it occurred to him – with her slim build she would make a suitable leading lady for him; he was quite slight.)  So they did.  All was set for her to have a brilliant career.

‘Marta, did I tell you that Pat and William are going down to London for William’s new job and Pat has to find a job herself?’

Marta turned her blue/green eyes on me and studied me from head to toe.

‘You would be photogenic.  You can’t always tell but with those cheekbones you are very lucky.  I still have puppy fat and have to suck my cheeks in like this.’  She demonstrated and for a moment had Dietrich like cheekbones.
‘Look when you come down give me a ring.  Auntie Bridie will give you my number.  I’ll arrange for you to meet my agent and see what she thinks.’

I nearly burst out laughing – it was so ridiculous.  I - a model; who couldn’t walk in a straight line, who had a blushing problem, had been schooled never to raise my head above the parapet, lacked confidence and was inclined to knock knees.

Looking back it occurs to me that Bridie might have planned this whole thing.  She was a wily old bird and had always been very kind and caring towards me. All too soon it was time to go.  I could have listened to Marta’s husky accented voice all day.
I was pretty sure when we got home William would pour cold water on the whole idea.  Quite right too, but it was fun to daydream.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


Story contd

William actively started looking for a job which would give him his desired change of direction. Dodie put the house in Norfolk on the market and asked Wallace and Fleur to look out for an apartment for her in their area.  We planned to live in a commuting area to London and considered places within a 20 mile radius.  Not knowing the area at all, I favoured north to make visiting my family easier but William preferred south to be accessible to his family.

He applied to British, Iron and Steel Research Association in Battersea (B.I, S.R.A.) and was invited for an interview.  I had been nursing, at different levels since I was sixteen and working, as I now did, part-time, was unsatisfactory. I needed to do something different but decided to keep my job until our plans were firm and we moved South.

I was afraid William’s stammer would affect his interview but it never seemed to hold him back; he came through with flying colours and they offered him the job.  Mum and Dad weren’t fazed when I told them we would be living at the other end of the country.  They were having the time of their lives.  Gran spent most of the time in the States, they now had a small car and the world was their oyster.  They both still worked full time and relished their week-ends and holidays. Evan was happily married and Maddie had met a radio officer and they were contemplating marriage when their divorces were absolute.

I’m ashamed to say I was full of stupid prejudices and wondered how I would cope living amongst ‘b----y southerners’.  It took a long time for me to realise that I could
laugh with, communicate and get really fond of people who had been born and bred in the south.  In later years I found it ironic that sometimes – in the north I would be looked at askance and once met a woman in Cornwall  who, when I told her I came from Rossendale said.

‘Oh not our Rossendale!’  (God forbid!)

We decided William would accept the job, go down alone and live in digs until he found somewhere for us to rent, when I would join him.  The plan then would be for us to buy a house so that we weren’t spending all our earnings on rent.  He said we would see how long we could last living apart, to save money.  I thought this was not a good idea.  William was quite happy to spend the week-ends with his brother but I didn’t relish being alone for an indefinite period, just to save money.

Meanwhile the Jones had invited us to lunch the week-end before William left.  Remembering the humiliation I had felt at the party I tried to cry off but William said we owed it to them to go as John had obviously given him a great reference.  They were a sweet couple and this was lunch – not a party – so I relented.  When I spoke to Bridie on the phone she said her niece would be there.  She wanted us to meet her as she lived in London so could be helpful when we moved down.  Little did I know that this lunch party would have such an effect on my life.  And I nearly missed it.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007




Yesterday, the 23rd of January is reputed to be the worst day of the year.  So it’s over – let it go.  Here the weather was foul with gales which I expected would stop ‘the girls’ from coming round especially as one of them was bringing Melissa who is in her nineties and physically quite frail.  I was delighted when they all turned up - and made getting the house toasty, worth while.

Melissa and I were the only ones who would eat the luxury biscuits – she is as light as a feather and I’m back to my pre- Christmas weight.  I showed her a miniature painting of Dunster church she had once done, which I have treasured for years. It seemed all of us had a painting or a piece of pottery of hers and this moved her to tears.

We discussed an article I had read on the advantages of chastity. We talked about grand-children and how different it was for them compared to our girlhood. I said it probably would have been better if I had slept with someone before marriage and Melissa said vehemently,
‘’I should have slept with lots of men,’ which made us all laugh.

As we grouped round Melissa’s chair so that MTL could take a photograph she asked if she could remove her glasses and stand up. She was prettily dressed in a soft pink. Once a woman – always a woman.

MTL no longer celebrates Burns night with a haggis but round about the 25th of January – probably the poet and balladeer’s birthday – we remember him and his unique poetry. for those of you who would like to know more about him. Here’s a sample:-

John Anderson, My Jo

John Anderson, my jo, John,
When we were first acquent:
Your locks were like the raven,
Your bonny brow was brent;
But now your brow is bald John,
Your locks are like the snow;
But blessings on your frosty pow,
Jon Anderson, my jo.

John Anderson, my jo, John,
We clamb the hill thegither;
And mony a cantie day John,
We’ve had wi’ane anither;
Now we maun totter down John’
And hand in hand we’ll go,
And sleep thegither at the foot,
John Anderson, my jo.

Brent (smooth) pow (head) cantie (lively)


Monday, January 22, 2007



Story contd.

We decided to give a party.  We had made a lot of friends during our time in Altrincham and were also within reach of some old ones.  I stipulated that we had to have plenty of food and drink and that the room should be warm and welcoming.  We had been to one party recently where the fire got lower and lower and the guests got colder and colder (it was before central heating was the norm.)  William was to be responsible for the drink which would be beer, wine, cider and some soft drinks and I would do the food.

It wasn’t going to be dainty tit-bits on sticks, apart from some cheddar and pineapple bites, but bridge rolls with tasty fillings, sausage rolls and masses of trifle, fruit salad and cream.  Our cuisine was not very sophisticated in the fifties and my aim was to allay people’s hunger and mop up the alcohol.  I realised that to have a successful party, I, the hostess should sacrifice my evening and just look after everybody.  But when everybody had eaten and was sitting sipping on the floor in a happy haze, I relaxed and enjoyed the rest of the evening.  I got a kick out of bringing people from different areas of our lives together.

‘Bill meet Diana. Or did you meet at our wedding?  Oh no, of course we didn’t know you then.  Well you must be sure to come to the divorce!’

I remember saying this and I don’t know why I said it.  There was a nanosecond and then everyone laughed.

We were pleased that our joint effort had been successful.  Some time earlier we had been invited to a party the Jones were giving for their daughter Libby and it was a disaster as far as I was concerned.  He was one of William’s bosses and was tall with a craggy face and the debonair manner of a forties film star.  His wife, Bridie was small, plump with wild hair, full of fun and a captivating Irish brogue.  The two of them together were fantastic company but I felt a little sorry for Libby who was in her early twenties and over shadowed by her scintillating parents.

The other guests were mainly girl friends of Libby.  One of them stood out – Ruth - a gutsy, attractive, sturdy girl with dark curly hair and fresh colouring.  She was very animated and hit it off immediately with William who was probably the most attractive man there.  As the evening wore on they seemed to get more and more excited and I was feeling uncomfortable.  It as the sort of situation where Mum would have said,

‘There’ll be tears before bed-time!’

She was right.  When, finally, William drank some wine out of Ruth’s shoe I fled to the bath room and had a weep.  I was angry with myself for being such a wimp – maybe I had PMT, it wasn’t universally recognised then, but I felt hurt and lonely.  I understood why he did it and knew there was nothing serious behind it but I wished he could relax and not feel he had to prove something all the time.

We got over it and now we had had this successful party and in the summer we would go sailing again which always brought out the best in William Not in a flotilla this time and somewhere more adventurous than the Broads. I asked William when to ask for the time off and he said leave it for a while.  He was going to start applying for a new job.  He wanted to diversify and change the direction of his career towards research and that would probably mean a move down south so I would be leaving anyway.  It all sounded very exciting and I wondered where I would end up working. A thought struck me.

‘What about your mother?’

William said she would probably sell her house in Norfolk and buy an apartment somewhere near Wallace and Fleur, now they were settled in Hampshire.  I felt both relieved and guilty.  In any case it would be a fresh start and I’d still got babies to look forward to.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Definition of love

Definition of love.


Love winged my Hopes and taught me how to fly
Far from base earth, but not to mount too high:
For true pleasure
Lives in measure,
.Which if men forsake,
Blinded they into folly run and grief for pleasure take.

Early songs about 1600

Here’s one:  love is meeting for lunch and talking till the last train home.

And another: love is when he enters this year’s date on every page of your cheque book in case you forget what year it is.

Have you got a definition of love?
;LOVE IS...  Posted by Picasa

Thursday, January 18, 2007



I was dubious on Monday about doing a post on Celebrity Big Brother, but I did it anyway.  Little did I think that by Wednesday there would be questions in Parliament, headlines in all the media and Chancellor Brown would have his visit to India overshadowed by the debacle?  Effigies of Channel 4 producers were burnt in India and there have been over 17,000 protests.  According to a reporter on the Jeremy Vine programme speaking from Mumbai, the Indian people who can’t see the programme, are surprised and shocked by the reports they have read.  They felt pride when Shilpa was selected for the programme now there is a movement to ‘Save Shilpa’ and they say Shilpa will fight back with non-violence.

Under pressure OFCOM have now got involved and are monitoring events carefully.  Some people feel that the possibility of hidden racism means that it is a good thing to have prompted a debate on what is the real situation in this country.
So far Channel 4 have dismissed the whole affair as ‘cultural differences’ and seem content to see their previously falling ratings go sky high.  Shame on them!

On a happier note we drove into the Quantocks yesterday for lunch. I was pleased we weren’t asked at the bar, did I want a large or a small glass of wine.  When did this irritating habit start?  The barman asks one’s husband, who calls over to ask, by which time everyone is interested to know the answer.  If you say a large one you could be a lush and if you say a small one you feel cheated.  I don’t want to be asked; I want a normal sized glass of wine and it’s quite possible that I may have a second.  OK?
We had a pretty dining room with views of the Brendons.
Geography: - if you drive from Taunton to Minehead, before you get to Williton the hills on the left are the Brendons and the hills on the right are the Quantocks.  Yesterday the former were a delicate green and the latter a golden russet.  No photos as my camera is misbehaving.

Awful storms again today and my heart goes out to ‘those in peril in the sea’

Eternal Father, strong to save,Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,Who biddest the mighty ocean deepIts own appointed limits keep;Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,For those in peril on the sea.

Words by William Whitchurch.  Music by John Dykes

I googled it and actually got the hymn played - a rarity on this computer.  The hymn was a favourite of Franklyn D Roosevelt and it was played at his funeral.  I give thanks to Google almost daily.

Turns out the thunderous rolling sound I heard just above my head a while ago was a tile blown off the roof, which has crashed through the back porch roof and decimated my streptocarpus. Fortunately neither of us was there at the time.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007




As far as house cleaning went I was satisfactory.  In hospital we had learnt the science of cleaning and practised it daily, so my paint work was washed regularly and cleaning started from the ceiling and progressed downwards, with all the guff vacuumed up at the end.  But there had been a few disasters.

We had acquired a small washer which you filled and emptied manually but it washed – preferably whites and coloureds separately. No-one told me that Dodie had dyed William’s white naval shirts a burnt sienna colour so now I had matching underwear Then I wanted to emulate Dodie, who made delicious red currant jelly which we had with roast lamb. I got as far as slinging a muslin bag full of boiled red currants between the kitchen taps only to realise with dismay, that the red liquid vanishing down the plug hole was the jelly, not the mess in the muslin.  This was a valuable lesson to learn:  read the whole recipe before you start cooking.

We had been given an early pressure cooker as a wedding present and for years it was our only cooking pan.  Sadly one day I had the heat too high, bringing the pressure up too quickly and the whole kitchen, from the ceiling downwards, was sprayed with boiled, stewed apple.  A nice fresh smell but sticky underfoot.

William’s brother Wallace and his wife Fleur had invited us and William’s mother Dodie for Christmas.  Fleur informed me that the Christmas pudding would be my responsibility.  I found an old wartime recipe which used grated carrot, to cut down on the sugar.  I really concentrated and followed every step with the greatest of care and I can honestly say it was the best Christmas pud’ I have ever tasted.  William decided to take some extra time off and said he would write and tell Fleur we would be arriving a few days early.  I thought this was a rotten idea as I had seen how Mum and Gran used to get in a state with Christmas preparations, but William would not be swayed.

There was a mile long narrow lane to reach the pretty white house deep in the Hampshire countryside.  The grounds were littered with ornamental stone mushrooms and one of the outhouses alone would have made a splendid house.
When we arrived I took one look at Fleur’s face and wanted to run for the hills.  Thanks to the Christmas post our letter hadn’t arrived and poor Wallace had to cope with the fall out.  It was our first visit to Fernhill and the house was filled with Fleur’s mother’s beautiful furniture.  The dining room chairs were all carvers with women’s torsos carved on the uprights of the arms.  It amused me to watch the men’s hands slip casually on to the carved bosoms.  This seemed to have a soothing effect on them.
Fleur ran the house as her mother had done, with different napkins for breakfast, lunch and dinner and such things as the basins in the bedrooms cleaned daily.  The difference being that her mother had had staff and Fleur didn’t even have a daily (cleaner).  So when one offered to help – with a little light dusting in mind, one would be likely to be presented with a bucket of potatoes to peel or a similar arduous task.  She worked very hard herself – her eyes narrowed to avoid the smoke from the cigarette wedged in the corner of her mouth and we were always rewarded  with a suitably, stiff, naval libation – G and T with ice and a slice at lunch time and a horses neck (Brandy  and ginger) or three at dinner.

Apparently there was a lot of work to be done outdoors so William and Wallace would disappear after breakfast and return for meals, having enormous fun.  I admired Fleur greatly but we didn’t have much in common so the highlights were meal times which were excellent, although one knew all the beautiful fine china and crystal would be washed very carefully after dinner by yours truly.

‘For God’s sake don’t break anything Pat!  All this stuff comes from Greylands (her old home) and is irreplaceable,’

Meal times were quite noisy.  Wallace had an acerbic wit, especially after sundown and Fleur would give her rather raucous laugh which would bring on her smokers cough.  Dodie addressing her sons, would be constantly getting her Willys and Wallys mixed up which had me in stitches, which started my hiccups.

Fleur cooked on an enormous Aga which ran on fuel and sometimes went out.  That was the time to take the children for a long walk until things quietened down.  It was an interesting Christmas, and I learnt a lot. William had thoroughly enjoyed himself – the brothers got on well and William was happy to do as his elder brother wished.  I had felt a bit homesick for my family and was happy to be back in our more humble home again.  I wondered if William ever wished he had married into money.

Monday, January 15, 2007



I had not known Jermaine Jackson (Michael’s brother) and Dirk Benedict before but in the Celebrity Big Brother house they stand out as two beacons.  They are both way out of their comfort zone but, so far, have managed to keep their cool and their dignity and put some of the British residents to shame.  And of course, as tends to be the norm nowadays, some of the latter have none.

By the way it’s OK to watch CBB, now that Sarah Crompton has pronounced in the Art’s column of the Daily Telegraph, that it is ‘a masterpiece of modern television’.

‘What distinguishes it from virtually every other reality show, the quality that enables it to sustain the acres of programmes, blogs, vods, pods, texts and water cooler comment that springs up around it, is the way it hold an unflinching mirror up to the culture that spawned it.  If a Martian wanted to understand British society in 2007, this would be a very good place to start.’

And Heaven help us all say I.

Three men have voluntarily left already.  Film director Ken Russell who, nearing eighty, found the influx of Jade Goody, her mother Jackiey and boyfriend Jack all a bit much and who could blame him?  Rocker Donnie climbed over the wall when he heard they were coming.  His hard man façade didn’t fool me for a moment; in an earlier interview his mobile went off in the midst of his effing and blinding and spitting, and he said sheepishly ‘It’s my Mum.’

And the third escapee was Leo Sayer who lost it when CBB refused to give him clean underpants but had given him soap powder.   Both Jermaine and Dirk offered to give him theirs and even wash his, but he was incandescent with rage and upset Jermaine to the point of tears by not even saying goodbye to him.  He later apologised to the presenter Davina, after some prompting, but it was a sorry episode.

Jackiey has been voted out, deservedly IMO; she is a troubled woman but also can be mean-spirited and started the movement ‘let’s be beastly to Shilpa’ the Bollywood film actress who has the effrontery to be beautiful and graceful and dares to cook for them all.  She has more charm in her little finger than the three ladettes together could ever aspire to.  I feel quite strongly about this as I have seen too much mass bullying of someone who dares to be different.  Even idle Jack has climbed on the band-wagon and joined in.
By the three ladettes I mean Jade, Danielle, a WAG (wife or girl friend of footballers) and Jo – ex singer in a girl/ boy band.

Carole Malone the columnist has been voted out by the public so Cleo Rocos the friend of the late Kenny Everett, is the only mature, sensible woman left, trying to keep things on an even keel.  Actually in tonight’s programme she told a tale of when she wasn’t so mature and sensible.  She and Kenny had a night out and thought it would be fun for Cleo to prostrate herself on top of the car, in her tiara and evening dress and make siren noises as Kenny drove along.  They were stopped by the police who asked Kenny if he was aware of what was on the car roof whereupon Kenny said ‘Oh that’s where you are Cleo!’

The picture changes all the time and of course anything can happen so please Jermaine and Dirk, I’m begging you, don’t let me down.
Maybe I’ve been too harsh.  Maybe I’m the only one who has been watching it.
Shilpa - grace and beauty  Posted by Picasa

Sunday, January 14, 2007

14th January 2007

14th January 2007

A year ago today I started PAST IMPERFECT with a great deal of trepidation.  Thank you for your interest, help and encouragement which has made the journey so far, a pleasure, and I hope to carry on until I’m done.

Say what you will, and scratch my heart to find
The roots of last year’s roses in my breast;
I am as surely riper in my mind
As if the fruit stood in the stalls confessed.
Laugh at the unshed leaf, say what you will.
Call me in all things what I was before,
A flutterer in the wind, a woman still;
I tell you I am what I was and more.
My branches weigh me down, frost cleans the air,
My sky is black with small birds bearing south;
Say what you will, confuse me with fine care,
Put by my word as but an April truth-
Autumn is no less on me that a rose
Hugs the brown bough and sighs before it goes.

Edna St Vincent Millay

Thursday, January 11, 2007


Story contd.

I told William I planned to join the S.A.P.S. dramatic society and wondered if he was interested.  I knew his stammer would preclude him from acting but thought he may be interested in a back stage job.  He wasn’t and I didn’t blame him.  His job was physically tiring and he was happy to sink in to a book after dinner.  I sometimes felt the book he hadn’t read hadn’t been written.  He haunted second hand book shops – never paying more than a few pence for them and actually got interested in DIY in order to make bookshelves to house them.  If any of the family or friends showed a flicker of interest in any subject William would have a book on it or wouldn’t rest until he had found one.  Fortunately the moves we made were always to larger properties so we never ran out of space.

The play’Before the Party’ was based on a short story by Somerset Maugham the play was actually written by Rodney Ackland only a year or so earlier.  All I can remember about the plot was that it concerned a ‘murder lurking beneath the surface of a socially respectable household.’  There were parts for two men and four women and a school girl Susan. Both Lily and I had our eyes on the part of the young widow.  Lily was very excited as she was shortly going to Oxford to visit her fiancée and deciding on her wardrobe, and I was delighted to be asked to help her choose.  We agreed that whoever won the part the other would accept graciously and may the best man win.

The committee were seated round a table in a separate room and we had to take turns to go in and read for them.  Eventually it was our turn and Lily went first.  She seemed quite happy when she came out so I took a deep breath and went in.  I told them I would like to read the part of the young widow and there was an uncomfortable silence.
‘Actually Pat, we’ve decided that Lily is perfect for that part.  Would you mind reading the part of the school girl?’
I gasped.  What a bleedin’ cheek!.  Here was I – in my early twenties – older than Lily and a married woman to boot – me read the part of a school girl?
Meekly I sat down and looked at the script.  I was choking with outrage and nerves and started to read not knowing how to handle it.  I had to say something about a shilling and I stumbled and lisped a bit.  Hang on I thought that sounded real.  That’s the clue.

When I had finished they were beaming at me and asked me if I would play Susan and I said yes;  already planning a gingham cotton dress, hair in bunches and perhaps binding my bosom.  We went for a milk shake to celebrate.
The only acting I had done previously was a school girl in ‘Oliver’s Island’ a non PC play at school which talked about ‘dusky maidens’.  Not much progress then in my acting career.  William seemed pleased I had a part and the weeks of rehearsal passed quickly as they always do when you’re having fun.
The play was a success with mixed crits.  I treasured mine however even if it did seem as if I was a case of arrested development.

One performance which I exclude from any adverse criticism was that of Patricia ---- who is a young married woman but who lightly shed quite a few years to give a delightful portrayal of the inquisitive lisping school girl,  Besides mannerisms and carriage she caught perfectly every facet of this charming little girl.’
Eric Barclay

The committee said they would like me to take a leading role next time so I decided it was time to start growing up a bit.  At least I felt more mature than Lily.  She told me she was going to break off her engagement – she was still very fond of him but didn’t feel ready for such commitment.
‘Oh Lily,’ I commiserated, ‘and you were so looking forward to going down to Oxford.’ (We always said ‘down to Oxford’ because geographically it was.)
‘Oh I’m still going!’ she said.  I stared at her.
‘Well I’ve got all my clothes ready.’
'Before the Party' P on bed  Posted by Picasa



If, like me you have heard about the disgraceful e-mail sent by the journalist Nicholas Heller to Abby Lee and wondered if you could do anything about it I adjure you to read Zinnia Cyclamen’s post today.  Just click on her name on my side- bar.



In the early hours of this gale swept morning I had my 10,000 hit from Big Bear Lake California.  I hope it is from my friend Kath who is presently on honeymoon with her husband Royal, but of course it could be any one from her blog site.  In any case it is a land mark for which I am grateful and to all friends and acquaintances who keep the faith.  Thank you!  Kath incidentally is on my side bar.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007



That is if you are concerned about the National Health Service.  Tonight and tomorrow on BBC2 at 9pm are the second and third programmes of ‘Can Gerry Robinson fix the NHS?’  Robinson is a trouble shooting business guru said to be ‘smooth, disarming, calculating and ruthless’.  He certainly needed all those character traits to deal with the three separate factions in the Rotherham General Hospital. These were the nurses, the managers and the consultants; they weren’t so much warring with each other as incompatible, seemingly unable to communicate.

There seemed to be no one person or body who could manage or control them and of course ‘no-one can tell consultants what to do.’  They seemed entrenched in bureaucracy and hierarchy (I remember the latter from my hospital days) and could sit round a table and talk endlessly about what could be done, to no avail.  Robinson with his pink and white skin and blue, blue eyes, like a distant relative of the Churchill family, agonised over their procrastinations and sheer bloody mindedness but he refused to give up. Once he saw a glimmer of hope; a manager, Karen with a plan and a surgeon who whittled his waiting list by ploughing on with his lists all day long, he persevered until he got at least one result – the children’s waiting list reduced from eight weeks to two.

The next big problem is the empty theatres in the hospital – no-one wants to operate on Fridays - and the time wasted between operations. I can’t wait to see what else he can achieve.  Don’t miss it.
GERRY ROBINSON  Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 08, 2007




We had never been to Cardiff, so when we heard the Arts Society was going to see ‘Snow White’ by the Kiev Classical Ballet we decided to give it a whirl.  Usually we go to Bath, Bristol and sometimes Plymouth.  After the recent coach tragedy I wondered if we would be told to belt up (now a legal requirement).  We weren’t.  I did anyway, as I believe in safety first.  MTL didn’t, and when I said if we had a crash he would land on me and crush me I thought I saw a gleam in his eye.
It was a foul day, weather wise, the only blessing; there was no wind so brollies could be used. As we had been warned the weather would be bad I phoned the theatre the night before to book lunch in their restaurant.  No answer and they didn’t return my call, but thanks to La Fosse Restaurant next door all was very well.  As we entered down the stairs I was reminded of the old days in Paris and those vast emporia with waiters everywhere, except these were polite and sweet – possibly Polish.  (Sorry Paul Emile – I love you really.)
There were rivets and girders everywhere – reminiscent of an enormous submarine but I was unable to find out the history of the building.  After a satisfying lunch and just the one glass of wine (I didn’t want to nod off during the performance) we went next door to the theatre.  St David’s Hall is an odd looking building (see below) on three or four floors and the auditorium is fan-shaped with three tiers of seats.  We were at the back of the first tier and had a full frontal view of the stage with nothing marring the view.
We were early and the 38 piece orchestra, also from Kiev, were already seated and tuning up giving me a delicious thrill of anticipation.  As soon as the music started and the curtains opened we were transported to a world of magical forests filled with adorable animals (I couldn’t take my eyes of a bunny that looked Chinese and, in contrast to the sylph like dancers was short and curvy and cuter than any of Hefner’s bunnies.)  Snow White was a creature of exquisite grace and beauty and when she danced with the prince one had to remember to breathe.  The prince – by the way had gluteals/buns to die for.
The dark scenes with the Wicked Queen and the Magic Mirror illustrated the fantastic lighting and the wonders of science as the images of the Queen and Snow White alternated on what I thought was a hologram?  The dwarves – all seven of them are now elves and each one illustrated their characters through the dance.  The music had been specially written for the ballet and the wit of the choreography matched the wit of the music.
Before the performance, sitting in one of the foyers we had been deafened by swarms of little girls dressed as Snow White a la Disney, and fairies with magic wands that lit.  The parents were constantly adjured, over the tannoy, to make sure the wands were not brandished in the auditorium as this would distract the dancers and the audience.  Fat chance, I thought!  At the end of the performance – our palms throbbing from minutes of applause, we realised that those little girls had been as rapt as we were. And apart from laughing at the antics of the elves – as we all did- they had been quiet as mice.
I wish you all could have been there and transported away from January blues.  Such a lovely uplifting experience.  We hadn’t seen much of Cardiff which, at present is under going some city centre development. But we’ll be back.

CARDIFF CASTLE  Posted by Picasa

Sunday, January 07, 2007



I’m worried!  Are blondes becoming an endangered species?  Just this week I’ve noted Chantelle, Jade Goody and Hannah Waterman have gone a deep, dark brunette.  Who’s next?
And if these names mean nothing to you, you can feel proud of yourself for not watching ‘rubbish TV’!

Friday, January 05, 2007

January 5th

January 5th
Part of story – out of context.

This is a special day for MTL and me; twenty eight years ago today, we were reunited after a separation of thirty years. I agonised about what to wear – one can change the impression one gives so easily but in the end it was cold so I wore my mink coat – this was the seventies remember and I had earned it by hard work in my business. We met at Charing Cross Station and he was reading a newspaper – apparently absorbed as he had appeared to be when Maddie and I had met him at his college, decades earlier. We repaired to Eleanor’s bar in the Charing Cross Hotel where he was staying.  He had a gin and I had a scotch or two and we talked.

  Later we had lunch and he said I would find he didn’t talk very much and from then on I could hardly get a word in edgeways.
We walked down to the river, still talking, had tea and then went to his room to freshen up and continued chatting through the bathroom door whilst he had a shave and I powdered my nose.  All we did was talk; we had thirty years to catch up on.  Neither of us was hungry so we walked and walked and talked and talked until it was time for my last train.

At our meeting we had given each other an ‘old friend type kiss on the cheek’ and at the end of the evening we again exchanged an O.F.T.K.O.T.C but he hugged me and held me close and sighed and as I rested my head against his chest I felt a momentary panic.  We parted knowing that this was not an ending but a beginning.

We consider five to be our lucky number.  My home was number five and so was MTL’s as was his cottage in Yorkshire.  We had five children between us and on our fifth meeting, after our reunion. we plighted our troth.  Our wedding date the 23rd of November was chosen to incorporate our lucky number, worked out by Maddie. I remember thinking – if we could just have ten years - but one grows greedy with the years and twenty eight years have gone by in a flash. We have been very lucky.

I’ll fill in the details later when the story has progressed so try to stick with it.  We have had a lot of carousing lately so we’ll spend the day quietly, pottering at home having a smile and a moan – comme d’habitude.
P with model friend - not MTL  Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 02, 2007



Story contd.

It wasn’t all a bowl of cherries, I missed my girl friends and the fun we had. Dodie came over each week on her day off and she and William decided to teach me bridge.  This was a pity - card games were very much part of leisure in the fifties and I enjoyed playing (MTL refuses to play Rummy with me anymore as I always win)  but William and Dodie managed to put me off bridge for life.

I used to escape into books and still remember some of the horror of ’Oil’ by Upton Sinclair, during an American novel phase, when babies were thrown into boiling water.  Mary Webb made for  lighter reading with her ‘he threw her into the bracken’ and both ‘Three Men in a Boat’ and ‘Cold Comfort Farm’ with sexy Seth and the old woman who had seen ‘something nasty in the wood shed’ were a delight.

Tennis was an absorbing interest – much more enthralling than watching on television was to hang on the words of Max Robertson’s radio commentaries.  Wimbledon was more exciting with characters like Louise Brough, (’Oh she’s thrown the ball up wrong again!’ Max would groan.) Gorgeous Gussie with her gold lame panties and lovely Jaroslav Drobny – a late bloomer who saved five match points in a 58 game match, finally defeating Ken Rosewall at the age of 32.

I must have been a bit of a pain with my flights of fancy, creative urges and general silliness and William seemed to regard his role in life was to bring me down to earth and put a damper on my enthusiasms.  When we were on a boat – we became a couple but on land it was different.  He could be quite cutting and although I could give as good as I got, it was a downer and I felt my confidence being eroded.  I couldn’t believe it when a friend said how proud William was of me.  Sadly I was unaware of it.

With hindsight I think I should have been more economical with the truth when I told him how I felt about Jamie.  Jamie was never mentioned and I didn’t consciously think of him but I had a recurring dream where I was walking along the bank of a wide river.  In the distance on the opposite bank I saw Jamie walking towards me.  As he got closer I stopped to see what he would do but he just walked on past ignoring me

I made two new girl friends who both worked in shops.  Lily who worked in her father’s newsagent’s shop was pretty, bubbly and a bit ditsy.  Her fiancée was an undergrad at Oxford which stirred a few memories.  I really enjoyed being silly and light hearted with her.  Carol was more serious and managed an antique shop.  She had worked on the bow-fronted chest of drawers that Dodie had given us.  She was boyish, very practical and a gifted furniture restorer and had made a great job of the drawers – repairing some damage, polishing the mahogany and fitting elegant brass handles.  She also guided me through the tricky business of making pelmets with velvet, buckram and gold bobbles.

They both helped me get over my occasional down times.  I saw Lily most days when I picked up a newspaper.  At the end of the summer she said she was thinking of joining the S.A.P.S – The Sale Amateur Players and was I interested?  They were about to produce a play by Somerset Maugham ‘Before the Party’ and would I like to go with her to the audition next week.  Would I?  Just try stopping me!
THE GREAT DROBNY  Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 01, 2007

Blogger previews are RUBBISH!  Posted by Picasa
I don't do resolutions but keep this as a much needed aide memoire all the year round 
 Posted by Picasa