Saturday, June 30, 2007


That is what one of my friends said I was the other day- which was nice. Fortuitously, my sister, who has lived in the States for the last fifty years, keeps my feet on the ground and sent me the cuttings below

"Oh, to be seventy agaim!

I would describe Naomi - the Old Old lady of the Hills and Old Horsetail Snake as ageless.
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Thursday, June 28, 2007


This was a comfort stop and the map should give you and idea of where we were. We had alresdy had a coffee break at Wheddon Cross and as usual there was a lot of vital chatter and only Margaret was really aware of where we were. so please don't ask difficult questions.

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As you can see it's a pretty bleak sort of day, but Margaret (who planned the outing) wanted me to see this wall. Her friend Henry Prout has just been given the Exmoor Society's top accolade in recognition of his work. He is a drystone-waller. 'The walls on Exmoor are different from others because the rocks are flat and slatey. When building up the two sides, the middle has to be filled with little stones, with big ones put in to keep the two sides together.' On a good day Henry can complete a length of three metres.

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The view from our table. In the dip there are lots of lovely animals - llamas etc - but the weather deteriorated and we didn't venture.

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These are pictures on the wall of the converted railway station where we had lunch. It used to be part of the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway

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Oooh look1 The heather's starting.
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We came back via Lynton and then drove over Exmoor. this is the Devon / Somerset border and although the loos are still here the tourist shop is now closed..It seems they couldn't get the staff
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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

'Aint it the truth?
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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Busy busy!

That’s the driving lessons over then. Great value for £150. Last week it was all about manoeuvring and I discovered that parallel parking was not my thang. I did tell Pete that I always walk into town and will walk half a mile rather than do difficult parking, but he thought - quite rightly - that there could be occasions when one had to, and I should give it a go, I must see if there are any little cars in the nursery and try to get the wheel turn in my head.

Today, our last day, we went up Porlock Hill. There are two hairpin bends and the gradient is notorious. You must keep the revs up and I tried the worst one in second, realised it wasn’t going to make it and scrunched down into first wildly trying to control the wheel at the same time. We made it - albeit messily. Would that have failed me in the Pass plus I wondered. Pete said it was adequate rather than excellent. He said he didn’t tell me to go up in first, in order to see what I would do, and I have to admit that having done it – less than excellently - I shall remember in future that it has to be first.

We had an interesting encounter in a country lane with two white vans but I managed to brake and squeeze into the hedge and didn’t hit the car on my tail. Not a good idea to be describing Dawn’s fantastic confrontation with Rob – she socked him on the jaw –(in Eastenders) , whilst driving on a narrow country lane. In another country lane I had to reverse about half a mile to let two cars pass, although Pete said they had a space a few yards behind them. They did not get a sweet smile.

Tomorrow its girl’s day out and on Thursday it’s yet another of our anniversaries and we are spending a night at The Castle of Comfort - and I’m driving.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Nylons anyone?
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Story contd.

After the Morecambe fiasco I was sitting outside Paula’s office; waiting to do my accounts. Often the studios would pay me direct and I would settle up with Paula later, but with the bigger jobs, payment would be sent to Paula and then she would have to find time, in her non-stop schedule, to pay me.

I was also going to give her a run down of what had happened with the Pickles, and discuss my future. I thought it was time she knew that I didn’t consider this to be a job for life, and I should start to wind down preparatory to starting a family. It was becoming clear to me that one had to develop a carapace to protect one from the slings and arrows and I didn’t think I could do it. Jamie’s rejection had been enough for one lifetime; the cake wasn’t worth the candle.

Rehearsing what I was going to say I noticed a youngish man waiting. He didn’t look like either a model or an actor and when Paula herself ushered him in, I was even more curious. At last the secretary popped her head round the door and asked me to go in. To my surprise the mystery man was still there, sitting alongside Paula.

‘Pat dear, I want you to meet Mr X of X nylons.’

This was Paula at her most charming. Mr X stood up and we shook hands. It appeared that Mr X was starting an advertising campaign, had observed me in the waiting room and decided he wanted to use me for his ads. I nearly laughed out loud. I had always had a thing about my skinny legs which tended to be a bit knock kneed. The fashion then, was for more muscular, curvy legs and mine didn’t cut the mustard.

One of my modelling friends had recently been on the town with a party which included the ‘leg’endary star Marlene Dietrich – her legs were insured for thousands of pounds and according to my friend, the precious pins were encased in the palest, sheerest nylons which blended seamlessly with the colour of her high heeled shoes. The result was her legs seemed to go on for ever. This seemed like a good idea to me and I was trying it out this very day.

The result was a contract – Mr X was happy, Paula was happy and I decide to carry on for a while longer. Fortunately Paula had already worked out my cheque so I didn’t need to hang around and my future plans were put on hold for now. When I spoke to Paula that evening there were lots of bookings and Paula said it was time to get a photo in Spotlight. Spotlight was founded in 1927 and has since become world-famous for its casting directories. It was expensive but as William said it was another ‘speculate to accumulate’ instance.

At the age of 78 Marlene was still performing on stage, although a shadow of her former self. Sadly she fell, broke a leg and was bedridden in Paris, for the last twelve years of her life. Her legs were no longer insured.
Marlene - still on stage aged 78
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Sunday, June 24, 2007


Dame Shirley Bassey that is. Shirley and I started out in London about the same time and having just watched her wow the crowds at Glastonbury - and I mean wowed them - I feel proud to be of her generation. You had to be there - or at least watch it on TV!

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

More black and white photos

These two make me smile because they are so Greek.
Unusual seating arrangement in Ithaca, Greece

Any port is a storm
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In the eighties I was sending articles to magazines and took black and white photos to illustrate them. There weren’t many colour photographs then and I thought there would be more chance of them being published with black and white photos. I knew nothing of photography, behind the camera, so was pretty lucky to get some of them published. Since my first visit, in the seventies I have had a love affair with the Isles of Greece. When I visited Delphi it seemed like the centre of the universe and my spiritual home.

To anyone who knows Greece it probably seems sacrilegious not to use colour. The light and colour in Greece is heart stoppingly beautiful but I think these do still portray the Greece that I know and love.

The isles of Greece, the isles of Greece!
Where burning Sappho loved and sung.

Lord Byron (1788-1824)
We walked from one end of the island to the other through the ancient olive groves

This is the beach of the main town on Paxos - Gaios
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Favourite taverna at Frikes

Kione Bay and 'Dites' taverna
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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The end of 'New Dawn' for another year
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“Why is it that no one ever sent me yet,
One perfect limousine, do you suppose?
Ah no, it’s always just my luck to get
One perfect rose,

Dorothy Parker (1893-1967)

Not the last rose of summer but the end of my favourite rose ‘New Dawn’ for another year. I like to think we are kin – created in the same year. It is a delicate pale pink with a delightful fragrance - but then:-

A rose is a rose is a rose”

Gertrude Stein (1874-1946)
Nothing is Easy


All I wanted to do was renew and upgrade my anti virus thingy. It has taken over two weeks and involved long complicated emails and phone calls - the cost of which I don't like to think about. It used to be fairly straghtforward- I have been doing it since 2004, but apparently the system is 'very sensitive to small discrepancies' which resulted in them having difficulty with the expiry date of my credit card. There was nothing wrong with any of my details. I followed complicated instructions to clear cookies and still it didn't work.

Finally I had to give in and do it by phone, with all the difficulties that involves. At least no credit card problems this time and I received an apology for the hassle. Actually down loading it was a nightmare and took up to midnight last night. If I use them again I shall go to the store (30 miles away) and buy the disc.

Next time maybe I'll listen to Keith, John G and # 1 son.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Wilfred and Mabel Pickles
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Story contd

It was good to meet Marta’s parents; they were such opposites – her father sitting quietly – like a somnolent Picasso, and her mother- bright as a button, full of Irish charm, as she made the tea. She and I had a scatty conversation about the joys of living in London, with its ready access to that wonderful place - Brighton. After both of us had exhausted the charms of the old Prince Regent’s love nest, we discovered that neither of us had ever set foot in Brighton and dissolved into giggles.

It was obvious that Marta wanted to talk and I was whisked off to her room clutching my tea. She studied me carefully and then fired a barrage of questions about my hair, make-up, clothes – every possible detail about my personal appearance. Then the penny dropped: she couldn’t understand why I had got the audition instead of her, or indeed, any of the other lovelies. What was so ironic – just over a year ago - she had instructed me on all these details, and I hadn’t changed.

It took some time to convince her that I had been chosen for my very ordinariness and I told her the man behind the desk had said he wanted ‘the girl next door’. Marta had changed since I first met her. She was working in films and burning the candle at both ends. She had the sophistication and aplomb of a thirty year old but was still barely twenty. She was mixing with a very fast set and it wasn’t really benefiting her or her career. I realised that racing home to Epsom every night, as I usually did, saved me from a lot of inappropriate behaviour.

It was late when I got home and William was in bed asleep. In the morning when I told him about the Morecambe job, he was pleased for me and laughed when I told him who the famous person was, and a Yorkshire man to boot! We decided I shouldn’t mention the 'Wars of the Roses',* me being Lancastrian and all!

On the way up to Morecambe, Phil and Ben told me about the job: Wilfred was going to make the dream of an ordinary girl (me), come true - and be photographed doing it – rather in the style of an early ‘Jim’ll fix it’,* This would be a feature in the magazine. It sounded fun – it was always preferable to use one’s imagination or even a few brain cells rather than just exercising one’s facial muscles.

I liked the boys, as I called them - both older than me; Ben bespectacled and studious and Phil an attractive, family man. I loved the hotel - right beside the sea and it had been built in 1933 in the style of my favourite art-deco. The boys told me to settle in and they would go and arrange a schedule with Wilfred. I unpacked, wandered round the hotel and was just wondering if I had time to walk along the beach, when the boys returned,

As soon as I saw their faces I knew something was wrong. Phil suggested we went for tea but I said no, please tell me what’s wrong. He insisted we sat down and gradually I discovered what had happened. Mabel had been present, and straight away told them that they’d have to think again - no way was this ‘London glamour girl’ horning in on the act. Wilfred was, they said, drinking beer with whisky chasers.

It was a nasty shock for them but when they got their breath back they assured Mabel that I wasn’t a glamour girl and indeed, came from the north – Lancashire in fact. Mabel was immovable and so finally they left and returned to the hotel. After they had told me, I could feel myself getting really upset, so I excused myself and fled to my room.

I had a jolly good cry and then rinsed my face in cold water and tried to repair the damage. The phone went – it was Phil; he had phoned head office and they said that Phil and Ben should insist that Wilfred at least met me, and that is what they would arrange, if I were agreeable. I said yes because at least it wasn’t personal – how could it be when the Pickles hadn’t met me

Inside I was pretty angry but, for everybody’s sake, I wanted to do the job. When we got there it was just Wilfred – for which I was grateful. He had aged a bit and was puffy round the eyes but at least was civil, and when I told him where I had been born and bred, he said he remembered the Morris Dancing there. I wondered if he was confusing it with somewhere else as I didn't remember any Morris Dancing. He tried to be kind and pleasant, but there was no way he was going to go against what Mabel wanted.

After this, head office said we should lie low, and I should leave the next day - they were desperately sorry about my treatment but they would try to salvage the project, after I had left. Talk about feeling like a pariah. I went to my room and tried to phone William. He said all the right things and told me not to worry – just put it down to experience. When I went down to rejoin the boys, they were looking wretched and asked if there was anything they could do to make it up to me. It would be some time before I got over this knock- back but I felt cheered after speaking to William and with the resilience of youth, looked on the bright side.

Here I was in a delightful place with a spare evening, and two charming men, so I suggested we had a drink then, went out to dinner and then went dancing. They laughed and drew the line at dancing but we had a really good evening and I felt lucky that I wasn’t the one who would have to pick up the pieces the next day. I certainly planned to do a lot of thinking about my future.

‘The Wars of the Roses’ was a civil war in medieval England from 1455 to 1487 between the House of York and the House of Lancaster. The white rose was the emblem of York and the red rose that of Lancaster. (We won!)

• ‘Jim’ll fix it’ was a TV programme in the seventies where viewers wrote to Jimmy Savile to get him to make their dreams come true.
Phil asked if he could take this candid shot as a memento. Note the cigarette - we were the cigarette and cinema generation (fags and flicks). I haven't smoked since 1977.
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Sunday, June 17, 2007



Anything To Do With Superheroes.

Saturday, June 16, 2007


Just had the great news that Tom’s band has been chosen to be one of five bands performing at the 2007 Field Fest at Welyn Hatfield’s Youth Music Festival on the 14th July. The Festival was started last year to give young local talent a chance to perform before large audiences.

Tom’s band is called ’Anything to do with Super heroes’ and you can hear him here

Tom's site

Did I say Tom is my grand-son?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Language Missus!

At 3.15pm I got a phone call from my driving instructor’s wife to say Pete was sorry but he would be about 10 minutes late. I really appreciated them letting me know as waiting increases my nerviness. The weather was glowering when we set off on the twisty- turny road to Bridgwater and by the time we hit the motorway the visibility had worsened, the rush hour had started and it was raining hard.

I’m beginning to get the hang of roundabouts; using mirrors signalling and getting in the right lane. Pete asked if I was sure I wanted to do the motorway and I said yes, crossing everything in sight – metaphorically. Added confidence has changed my attitude: whereas before it would have been’
“Excuse me everybody – do you mind if I join you? Thank you ever so much.”

Pete told me to get my speed up and wham bam it was-

“Hi boys! I’m coming in! Make way!

The Focus is very nippy and much more responsive than old Bluebell. We were doing about 65mph in the slow lane with a white van some way in front.

Pat “I’m quite happy here, doing this speed.”

Pete “You could over-take him.”

Pat –looking in mirror “But there’s loads of cars in the middle lane.

Pete “Just signal your intention and they’ll make way.”

I started signalling but couldn’t gauge whether the cars coming up were going to hover or not, so bottled out. Still signalling, when it was clear, I started to come out and right behind me a sports cat was practically on top of me.

Pat “SHIT!”

In a nanosecond I was back in the slow lane – heart pumping and shame-faced.

Pat “I’m terribly sorry! He came out of nowhere. I’m so sorry for swearing.”

Pete “He was going too fast. I would have said the same thing.”

Twice after that I managed successful over -takings and noticed at one time I was doing 75 mph. (Heaven knows what everybody else were doing) I’ll have to watch that.

I asked Pete if he had been frightened and he said not really. Did he think the other driver had been and he thought yes but he was going too fast. Off the motorway at last, we drove through Taunton and homeward bound on the A 39, I looked forward to a glass of wine when I got home. Then we got grid-locked; a car had come off the road – into the trees and there were police, a crane and ambulances. By the time we got home we were half an hour late but Pete thought it was worth it to have done all we had done and I agreed. He said I was much more relaxed and I think I have to watch I don’t get too relaxed.

Next week manoeuvring. Lovely!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007



I’ve never been much good at making things. My knitting, to help the war effort, always developed holes that had to be darned afterwards and sewing was limited to necessary repairs when the children were little. I had creative periods in pregnancy when I embroidered the midriff of my sons’ nighties and sewed lace round the sleeve edges and satin ribbon round the blankets, and that was it.

About 27 years ago I changed my life and found I had long lonely hours to deal with. I knew attempting anything fine and delicate would be a disaster bur remembered how the whole family used to join in making rugs, to keep out the howling gales from under the doors and decided to make a rug.

I am proud of it – it measures 72” x 45” and sits comfortably in the hall. I was inspired to show it off by John G (see side-bar) showing a beautiful painting of birds, which he did when he was younger. I’d love to stay and chat but I have a date with the M 5. ( a motorway)

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Story contd

“Pat I know you have two bookings tomorrow but there is an important audition at Illustrated at 3pm sharp. Make sure you get there looking gorgeous.”

Illustrated was a magazine that specialised in photo-journalism similar to Picture Post

Sometimes I wondered if Paula, my agent, had any conception of how long it took to get from A to B in London. Half the time I had to take taxis and even then would be sitting, agonising in the back as we got stuck in yet another traffic jam No wonder I had started getting migraines.

All that morning was booked for an ongoing women’s magazine serial where I was meant to be a poor little girl in Paris spotted by this mature couturier and groomed to be his muse. These serials were fun as one had to act, and it appealed to my’ living in a dream’ persona. I also got to wear beautiful gowns, but by the end of a session - with all the changing of clothes, hair styles and make up I was usually exhausted.

After that, I had a straight forward photo shoot at 2pm which usually lasted an hour. How the hell could I get over to Illustrated by 3pm? Of course I couldn’t and when I arrived the auditions were virtually over. The room was full of the most gorgeous creatures including – to my amazement - Marta.

‘You’re late!’ she snapped. I explained I couldn’t help it as my last booking finished at 3pm and I had to cross London.

‘Well you’d better tell someone you’re here – they’ve taken all the names!’

Just then a woman with a clip board came in and I explained what had happened. I said Paula Day had sent me; she told me to wait and disappeared into the interview room. When she returned she said Mr B had finished seeing people but I could pop in briefly. I grimaced at Marta and followed the secretary into the room.

The man behind the desk cut short my apologies.

‘Hang on a minute – you could be just what we’re looking for. He made a phone call and shortly two younger men appeared.

‘Sit down and tell us something about yourself.’ I sat down and starting babbling on and apologising at the same time and could feel my cheeks getting pink.

‘Right! What we’re looking for is ‘the girl next door’. He indicated the two men.

‘This is Ben the journalist and Phil the photographer, who you would be working with. The job involves going up to Morecambe next week-end and being photographed with a famous person. If we decide to use you would you be available?’

My week-ends were usually spent pottering round the garden in scruffy clothes but this sounded interesting so I said yes. He asked me to wait outside and I joined Marta.

‘How did you get on?’

‘Well they seemed quite interested.’

‘Listen Pat – we haven’t had a chance to talk for ages. When this is over come round to my house – my mother would like to meet you and we can have a good gossip’

Of course I agreed - I couldn’t say no to Marta after all she had done for me; taking me under her wing and introducing me to Paula, although I was longing to get the train home to Epsom and relax.
The girl with the clip board came in and thanked everyone for coming and asked me to stay behind.

‘I’ll see you in the foyer!’ Marta hissed.

Back in the interview room the man behind the desk was smiling.

‘Congratulations Pat. We‘ve decided you are the right girl for us. You’ll be travelling up with Ben and Phil. Sally will give you all the details. Is there anything you want to ask?’

Er – I should think so!

‘May I ask who the famous person is?’ My imagination was running riot.

‘It’s Wilfred – Wilfred Pickles.’

During the war Wilfred was the first BBC announcer to have a regional accent; he was a Yorkshire man and used to end his broadcasts with
‘and to all the people in the north – good neet!’
Some people, accustomed to the mellifluous tones of such as Alvar Lidell, complained. He was sacked and became a radio celebrity and host of a BBC Programme ‘Have a go!’ which ran from 1946 –1967. His wife Mabel was his partner on the show and one of the many catch phrases was ‘Give ‘im the money Mabel!’

I adjusted my expectations and went to join Marta.
Make -believe couturer with muse.
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Friday, June 08, 2007



I was dreading this week’s driving lesson because we were driving into the county town with traffic, roundabouts and pedestrian crossings – all bad enough but I would be driving the Focus which is larger than I’m used to and has a very sloping wind screen which makes one feel the car is in charge of you rather than the other way round.

For days before, I was adjusting seats and mirrors and practising turning the car round. I had a rather close encounter with the gate which was already on its last legs (not a word to Bessie!) but happily the car was unblemished. The lesson was at 1pm, lunch time so I just had a mug of milky coffee and three chocolate fingers. A hot fragrant bath soothed my jagged nerves and I took two Quiet Life, which is OK as long as you aren’t pregnant. I’m not.

I was going to drink camomile tea but feared that, plus Quiet Life might be too sedating. The gloomy grey start had given way to a lovely sunny day so it was sun-glasses rather than wipers. I was afraid my sandals might catch on the pedals so wore my French Aigle boots. A crisp cotton shirt, indigo jeans and I was ready to go.

During the two hours of non stop driving I found, after a while that I could talk at the same time but never took my eyes off the road. I collected one toot at a roundabout but my driving instructor said I was justified in moving then as I had time. I still find the mirror, mirror, signal etc takes getting used to and apparently I don’t have to go from fourth to second via third gear I can go from fourth to second.

Another hurdle over.

DI Well that went well!

P Thank you.

DI Were you nervous?

P I was at first but then I enjoyed it.

DI I enjoyed it too Pat. What shall we do next week?

P I don’t know. You decide.

DI Shall we go on the motor way?

P I’m game.

DI Where shall we go?

P Scotland?

DI I’ll bring sandwiches.


Past Imperfect story continued on Monday DV.

Thursday, June 07, 2007



Having run my own business for twenty years, ( I’ll get round to it in time in Past Imperfect) I find ‘The Apprentice ‘ riveting television and can always rely on Sir Alan Sugar to give me a least one belly laugh per programme. Last night’s programme whittled the contestants down to two finalists.

Recently there was a programme profiling some of them and three made a big impression on me; Tre for his lion heart at coping with the crippling injuries he received in a car crash, Kristina for defying the mores of her strict Irish upbringing and insisting on keeping her child when she became pregnant at eighteen and Katie for her unblinking ruthlessness and total belief in her devastating charm

To my great disappointment Sir Alan said Katie would be one of the finalists but with his peerless acuity - and this was worth every penny of the TV licence - managed to get her to own up that perhaps she wasn’t the right person and as the others were so desperate she would cede.

She then went on to face a grilling by Adrian Charles and a panel with an audience and an interview on breakfast TV, with highly critical emails. And my question is: - how do you develop a hide like Katie’s?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007



It’s a temptation when blogging to be constantly thinking of the next post and forgetting what has gone before. However this morning whilst eating breakfast in bed, watching the news on TV and catching up with last week’s papers before the next deluge of massacred trees I remembered. I had Quoted 17 sayings and 17 names to see if anyone could match then correctly. Here they are again, below some successful contestants.

Sablonneuse guessed that 16 wrote Q

Z guessed that 12 wrote O

Amy guessed that 6 wrote E

Sim guessed that 15 wrote K

Sim also guessed that 14 wrote J

Girlpants guessed that 10 wrote I

Nea guessed that 8 wrote G.

nd the rest of the answers are:-

A was written by 17

B was written by 4

C was written by 5

D was written by 1

F was written by 7

H was written by 9

L was written by3

M was written by 2

N was written by 11

P was written by 13

Here are the quotes and authors again:-

A Imagination is the highest kite you can fly.

B You must do things you think you cannot do.

C You will do foolish things but do them with enthusiasm

D Life begets life. Energy creates energy. It is by spending oneself that one becomes rich

E One is not born a woman, one becomes one.

F Look twice before you leap.

G Why not seize the pleasure at once? How often is happiness destroyed by preparation, foolish preparation?

H Courage is the price that Life exacts for granting peace.

I Reality is something you rise above.

J I don’t need a man to rectify my existence. The most profound relationship we’ll ever have is the one with ourselves.

K Love from one being to another can only be that two solitudes come nearer, recognise and protect and comfort each other.

L One of the oldest human needs is having someone to wonder where you are when you don’t come home at night.

M Children require guidance and sympathy far more than instruction.

N Age is something that doesn’t matter, unless you are a cheese

O When choosing between two evils, I always like to try the one I haven’t tried before.

P In passing, also, I would like to say that the first time Adam had a chance he laid the blame on woman.

Q A little of what you fancy does you good.

Now here are the authors but who wrote what?

1. Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923) French actress

2. Anne Sullivan (1866-1936) American educator

3. Margaret Mead(1901-1978) American anthropologist

4. Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) American stateswoman

5. Colette (1873-1954) French writer

6. Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986) French writer and philosopher

7. Charlotte Bronte (1816-1855)

8. Jane Austen (1755-1817)

9. Amelia Earhart (1898-1937) American aviator

10. Lisa Minnelli b.1946 American actress

11. Billie Burke (1886-1970) American actress

12. Mae West (1892-1980) American actress

13. Nancy Astor (1879-1964) British politician

14. Shirley Maclaine b.1934 American actress and writer

15. Han Suyin b.1917 Chinese writer and physicisn

16. Marie Lloyd (1870-1922) English entertainer

17. Lauren Bacall b.1924 American actress.

Thanks for playing along.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Kay and Rex