Posted on 7:00am Sunday 29th March 2015
I had a call last week from a Mrs Jo Beale, mum to Grace, four, and Emma, ten, who has special needs
A weekend reminder that away from the frantic, everyday life, you can escape and relax in the Cotswolds
Posted on 1:50pm Friday 27th March 2015
We flew back to England for a friend's birthday celebration. She chose to enjoy a weekend in the Cotswolds, hired a seen-bedroom house and we chewed the cud, drank a lot of wine. We also walked across country for lunch and a few pints of real ale and sampled the leisurely life UK-style.
Posted on 8:28am Friday 27th March 2015
It’s Friday already, grab the chocolate digestives, and pull up a chair. There seems to be an enormous amount of doom and gloom around at the moment so with that in mind, I thought I would concentrate this weeks main feature on something light hearted that will hopefully raise a few smiles and lift spirits if only for a short while.....
Posted on 9:37am Wednesday 25th March 2015
This was a horrible attack, but there are those who are seeking to turn this into something else - into a sign football has sunk back into its violent old ways.
Please monsieur will you insure our car? Peut-etre was about as good as we got: just a casual almost reluctant maybe.
Posted on 1:00pm Friday 20th March 2015
French bureaucracy is unwieldy at best and if your put business their way, they love it if it straightforward. Any complication and really, they would rather not bother. It took 12 or more phone calls to insure a car and most of them involved chasing them up because they had not bothered to phone back.
Posted on 8:08am Friday 20th March 2015
Good Morning, grab your hard hat and I’ll begin. As some of you will know, when it comes to the council and their choice of contractors, competence is something that’s often missing. From past experience lack of training, lack of understanding English, lack of a brain or all three have resulted in floods, walls knocked down, damaged property to name but a few, so it will come as no surprise that the news they want to come & fit a new boiler is filling me with trepidation.........
Posted on 12:00pm Friday 13th March 2015
The vista looking across The Pond towards Monmouth House was one of the few things to savour from yesteryear. However, Town Hall planners, having spoilt it back in the early 70s, have gone a step further and at what cost. Soon they will achieve what is presumably the ultimate ideal: make Watford look anonymous.
Posted on 7:56am Friday 13th March 2015
So after last weeks flippant comment that I just had a simple cold…..karma waved it’s magic wand and turned it into flu , anyone would think I had shares in kitchen towel, it shouldn’t be possible for a nose to run THAT much. Unfortunately being the caring sharing daughter I am, my mother has also joined me in the world of flu-dom..... .
Posted on 9:00am Saturday 7th March 2015
If you drive a car, the chances are pretty much certain you've broken the law at some point
I love old photographs, particularly of south west Herts in days gone by but last week we unearthed a couple of personal gems
Posted on 11:30am Friday 6th March 2015
Our house was derelict for 40 years but a builder from Banbury bought it, stating he did not watch TV, read books or use a computer. Instead he just worked on another room, day and evening, converting the old shell into a modern house. Then we found photographs of the house in days gone by.
Posted on 7:52am Friday 6th March 2015
This week both me and my mother have been laid low with a cold…and while its absolutely awful because we’re coughing as though we’re auditioning for an anti-smoking advert and have legs as wobbly as jelly, it’s still just a cold. But have you noticed how due to the dramas of social media nobody seems to suffer colds anymore? It’s flu, pneumonia or bubonic plague........
Posted on 7:00pm Tuesday 3rd March 2015
I say privilege, because when the dead person was old and had a good life, such occasions are actually a time to celebrate their achievements and qualities.
Posted on 1:00pm Friday 27th February 2015
A local journalist left the West Herts Post and launched a concept that would catch on and become the bible of rock and pop. His name was Maurice Kinn; he purchased the new Musical Express and introduced this list called The Top Twenty.
Posted on 8:05am Friday 27th February 2015
Are we all gathered? Malted milk biscuits ready for dunking? And so I’ll begin…….. Way back when I was a child….yeah ok, way way waaaaaay back, charities appeared very different from what they do today, better or worse? I’ll leave that up to you. But from personal experience I find the hard sell “Gis ya money” a turn off. We can’t seem to switch on the telly without someone trying to daily guilt trip us with an advert. There seems to be an endless menagerie, child, donkey, puppy, all looking sadly up at the camera while quivering their bottom lip, Just £3 a month just £6 a month just….just….just
Posted on 7:00am Sunday 22nd February 2015
My 86-year old father has just spent several days in hospital, initially in Watford General, before being transferred to the Lister Hospital in Stevenage
Posted on 8:00am Saturday 21st February 2015
I was hosting friends from Lyons, reputed to be the culinary capital of France, and I found all my latent passive-aggression, not to say sheer bloody minded competitiveness, came to the fore, as I did my utmost not to be outdone by the kings of cuisine
Posted on 7:10am Friday 20th February 2015
During half-term week we entertained a family of five from Chorleywood’s twin town of Dardilly just outside Lyons, and it has been a wonderful way to get to visit places we didn’t know ourselves
Posted on 1:00pm Friday 20th February 2015
Do the kids of today get the same thrill when it is served on a plate, compared to back in those far-off days when you had to work hard to hear "The Devil's Music"
Posted on 8:14am Friday 20th February 2015
I don’t know about you but I have a love /loathe relationship with social media? It’s like a soap opera with all its riddles, twists, and attention seeking turns, and boy did it kick off yesterday with what a let-down the Eastenders conclusion was, did anyone else notice the similarities between Bobby and Damien from the Omen?. Social media is like the Jeremy Kyle show, and there’s us sat at our screens either the guests or addicted spectators……just one more look eh? ......
Posted on 6:30am Saturday 14th February 2015
It is half term holiday, which must mean a trip to the Harry Potter studios at Leavesden, pictured, which now include a recreation of Platform 9 ¾ and the original Hogwarts Express steam engine
Posted on 1:00pm Friday 13th February 2015
I was unaware that the restriction in the choice of names is pretty well worldwide although when you look at some of the American choices, perhaps that is just as well.
Posted on 8:20am Friday 13th February 2015
Turning into my road on the way back from the Osteopaths last week I froze at the police presence. As someone who suffers with Policeophobia (fear of clowns) I broke out in a sweat, there was even one on my doorstep. Thinking that maybe one of you sneaky readers had phoned them in a bid to help my mother break out from her under floorboard dwelling I approached cautiously.......
Posted on 1:00pm Friday 6th February 2015
The Nanny State is nothing new. The French have been limited in the number of first names they can choose, for many, many years and there are still limitations as some couples found out.
Posted on 8:08am Friday 6th February 2015
“Growing old is Compulsory, growing up is Optional” so said comedian Bob Monkhouse and I’m so glad to have grown up in the generation that I did. There was no benefit system, no washing machines or dish washers and owning a car was a luxury, and from the media to the street there was discipline and boundaries that gave daily life some order & some goodness. There were no weapons when it came to fighting, you just fought with your fists and the worst anyone walked away with was dented pride at a bleeding lip or the impending black eye, If someone went down the fight stopped til they were back on their feet, anyone that continued was seen as a coward and all respect was lost......
Posted on 1:00pm Friday 30th January 2015
Hiring a car is becoming more complicated. Many hire-car firms add extra fees when you pass 70 and, while I have found one that accepts me because I am under 75, they forgot to charge the extra when I presented myself to the desk at the airport.
Posted on 7:46am Friday 30th January 2015
ME? Talk about doing what it says on the can, I am literally runnin on empty at the moment, it feels like all the stuffing has been knocked out of me & I can’t think straight. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to produce the column this week or even if I wanted to. I thrive on humour & positivity not some sad jumbled ramble that it could turn out to be, but then life isn't always chocolate cheesecake, I've always been honest with readers in the past so it felt like a cop out not go ahead this week just because life has served me up another huge dollop of spotted dick.....
Posted on 9:00am Saturday 24th January 2015
There was no mistaking it; the words "sex" and "tape" were written in large red capitals all over it and naturally my immediate concern was how I was going to explain this to my teenage children and what would the postie think?
Back in the days when the White Men really did speak with forked tongues. Is it any different today?
Posted on 1:00pm Friday 23rd January 2015
After a month in the USA you become familiar with the differences but really those moments of pure Americana help to spice up the day. They are invariably trivial, but are worthwhile. And just to add to the ambience I asked my wife what was the connection between Lennox Lewis and Wyatt Earp, and perhaps even ultimately, Anthony Joshua?
Posted on 7:57am Friday 23rd January 2015
It’s nothing short of a miracle that I've arrived this Friday with all my bits intact. It’s all down to Cognitive problems causing memory loss, confusion, inability to concentrate & something that’s often referred to in M.E circles as brain fog or as I prefer to call it Marshmallow head, either way it means we need Ninja skills to get through the week unscathed......
Posted on 1:00pm Friday 16th January 2015
They say you should never go back but we have been thinking in terms of going back and visiting some old as well as new vistas in the USA. However, since having ruled out including Arizona as being a journey too far, we have been haunted by our happy memories of our previous visits there.
Posted on 7:53am Friday 16th January 2015
Imagine a Disney style grizzly bear standing on its hind legs, snout to the sky, jaw opening wide bellowing a thunderous roar, huge furry stumps raised in the air poised to slam down upon the villainous teller of untruths.....
"There's a situation here, mam. Keep your doors locked and your eyes peeled," said the officer in Apache Pass
Posted on 1:50pm Friday 9th January 2015
Travelling to the famed Ap[ache Pass where so many travellers were ambushed, we found ourselves in a "situation". with a number of official police a border patrol vehicles taking a keen interest in us as we just sat there picnicking.
Posted on 7:56am Friday 9th January 2015
Given the choice of expensive perfume or a bag of Pick N Mix, the confectionary gets my vote every time, It doesn’t take much to have me beaming like a ten year old & whoever shouted “Geeeez that’s a long way back to remember?” No Custard cream for you this morning…..
Not very many seem to care either way and that includes the Apaches, we discovered visiting their Cultural Centre.
Posted on 12:50pm Friday 2nd January 2015
This was a real 'old-timer' with guitar and amplifier, folding up such as Poor Little Fool and ~teenager In Love. We congratulated him when we left the bar/restaurant and I discovered this old-timer was two years younger than I am. "Time to go, Old Timer," my wife reminded me.
Posted on 8:26am Friday 2nd January 2015
So it’s goodbye 2014 and hallo 2015, for those who got to partaaaaaay I hope you’re well on the way to recovering from your hang-overs? & if not, tough. As someone with M.E it’s like living with the mother of all hang-overs every single day without any liquid nectar or even leaving the house, so at least you got a dose of pleasure before being hit with the pain & other consequences......
Posted on 9:00am Friday 26th December 2014
While on the road, visiting relatives over Christmas, I will not have time to write columns so I have put together a three-article reflection of being on the road in Arizona, USA.
Posted on 8:57am Friday 26th December 2014
Happy Boxing day to all of you, So are you well and truly stuffed from the over indulgence of Christmas day festivities? Fallen out with family members? Semi-conscious from Granddads Brussel sprouts induced flatulence? Ah, nothing like a traditional Christmas.....
Posted on 1:30pm Friday 19th December 2014
It is not just the amount of traffic, as often as not it is the speed of it that caught me by surprise back in England. Perhaps we have become conditioned by the relative calm of live in rural France, or perhaps I am just getting old.
Posted on 7:43am Friday 19th December 2014
Last Friday before Christmas?.....where has the year gone? I’m all done an dusted, wrapped, delivered, written, Christmas decs up…… when I say decs I actually mean a white fibre optic tree with a Tinkerbell sat at the top and not a bauble in sight, the hardest part is probably getting it out of the box. There’s also a collection of novelties gathered on the table including a bright red bird (similar to me during a hot flush) that all wiggle, laugh, sing, and do various other Christmassy things (similar to me after a few shots of Disarrono).........
Posted on 12:10pm Monday 15th December 2014
The authors had hunted around to find the most unaffordable places outside London, and discovered, not surprisingly, that Oxford, Bath and Brighton had all seen rent rises so steep locals were having trouble renting a home.
Posted on 1:30pm Friday 12th December 2014
The publication of the new local book, Cassiobury – the ancient seat of the Earls of Essex, prompted me to ponder over the three-book series of Watford in the 20th Century, which I wrote and revised over a number of years, covering the locality from 1900 to 1979.
Posted on 8:08am Friday 12th December 2014
It’s nearly here, that’s Christmas with a big fat?........ C , that’s right, and whoever shouted X go and stand in the corner. While I’m flexible about most things there are some things that should never be touched, and those who try messing with our traditions face me pulling up my big girl pants and snorting like a bull whose spotted a red rag.....
Posted on 1:30pm Friday 5th December 2014
Cars just sped by, failing to or choosing not to notice an overturned, smoking car in a field next to the road. My son-in-law, Marc, spotted the car, pulled up and effected a rescue.
Posted on 8:13am Friday 5th December 2014
Grab a coffee, pull up a chair; it’s that time of the week again. My health is quite poor at the moment, meaning bodily exhausted so that I have to rest up, but with a mind that’s still very much awake, so this week has been about memories. Like when a song comes on the radio that instantly exports you back to a specific time & place leaving you with that mixture of pleasure and pain,.......
Posted on 1:30pm Friday 28th November 2014
Do people at the Herts County Council actually think through their road changes and visit the site or do they just colour in the changes on maps without regard for the realities. The launch of the book on Cassiobury reminds us of traffic-free days in Watford,.
Posted on 7:49am Friday 28th November 2014
It’s Friday, I’m here, you’re here, it must be ramble time? Someone said something this week that really struck a chord, it was a character off the TV hit Little House On the Prairie…hey, & my guilty pleasure is out. The man was old and in bad health, his children had moved away to start new lives & new jobs, the bottom line was he’d been left on his own. He looked at the young boy who’d come to deliver a note and said “It’s funny how one parent can support ten children but ten children can’t support one parent”.......