Kathy Miller

Comment: Funerals are a celebration of people's lives

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

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.

Are the kids of today still getting the same lift out of listening to 'The Devil's Music'?

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.

Stacy Hart

Runnin On Empty- StayIng Abreast Of Charites

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

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

Kathy Miller

Comment: I have long wondered what makes men tick and now I think I have the answer

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

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

Kathy Miller

Comment: I did my utmost not to be outdone by the kings of cuisine

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

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

Kathy Miller

Comment: Accent on impressing French guests

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

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

Oliver Phillips

An epiphany listening to Elvis Presley during a record-playing evening at boarding school

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

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"

Stacy Hart

Runnin On Empty-FaceBookEnders

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

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? ......

Kathy Miller

Comment: The real wizards work behind the scenes at Harry Potter studios

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

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

Oliver Phillips

Discussing the Nutella impasse with our Anglo-Polish friends over a glass of Malinowka

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

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.

Stacy Hart

Runnin On Empty- Crooks, Cold & Cupid

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

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.......

Kathy Miller

Taken for a ride over our teens' phone bill

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 8:34am Tuesday 10th February 2015

One of my favourite sayings is the Spanish one about your children being so sweet when they’re little, you feel you could eat them – and when they’re teenagers, you wish you had.

Oliver Phillips

I wanna call my daughter Nutella! Non Monsieur: il n'est pas possible.

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

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.

Adam Parsons

Providing some signposts for the web generation

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 8:15am Tuesday 10th February 2015

How often have you checked your phone today? How many times have you looked at your emails, or looked at the news, or maybe checked your Facebook page?

Stacy Hart

Runnin On Empty- Fifty Shades Of Red

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

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......

Oliver Phillips

At 73, I have reached the stage where I can be penalised for being old

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

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.

Stacy Hart

Runnin On Empty- Virgin On Overload

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

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.....

Kathy Miller

Columns: Guilty pleasures of mail order buying

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

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?

Oliver Phillips

Back in the days when the White Men really did speak with forked tongues. Is it any different today?

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

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?

Stacy Hart

Runnin On Empty-Three Fingers, No Thumb?

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

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......

Oliver Phillips

Worth visiting: Jerome, once the wickedest town in the West

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

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.

Stacy Hart

Runnin On Empty-Exorcising M.E Myths

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

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.....

Oliver Phillips

"There's a situation here, mam. Keep your doors locked and your eyes peeled," said the officer in Apache Pass

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

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.

Stacy Hart

Runnin On Empty-Are You B.A.P.P.Y

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

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…..

Oliver Phillips

Not very many seem to care either way and that includes the Apaches, we discovered visiting their Cultural Centre.

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

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.

Stacy Hart

Runnin On Empty-Goodbye/Hallo

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

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......

Oliver Phillips

They inserted a red-hot poker, cut off his head, boiled it and mutilated the body.

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

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.

Stacy Hart

Runnin On Empty-You Got What?

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

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.....

Oliver Phillips

After almost ten years in rural France, Watford's traffic comes as a shock

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

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.

Stacy Hart

Runnin On Empty-What a Load Of Baubles

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

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).........

Adam Parsons

Comment: Fascinating survey reveals prohibitively high cost of housing

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

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.

Oliver Phillips

Book writing - I'm more inspired by the journey than arriving at the destination

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

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.

Stacy Hart

Runnin On Empty-A Big Fat C

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

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.....

Oliver Phillips

Still to be thanked - the man with red underpants over his jeans

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

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.

Stacy Hart

Runnin On Empty-Churning Up Memories

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

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,.......

Oliver Phillips

Cassiobury book launched and a reminder of traffic-free days in Watford

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

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,.

Stacy Hart

Runnin On Empty-Home Alone

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

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”.......

Oliver Phillips

Has Britain legislated the death of unbridled fun? Johnny Foreigner hasn't.

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 1:30pm Friday 21st November 2014

Fireworks in Spain and France do not seem to be subject to the same Elf and Safety restrictions as they are in the red-tape conscious UK.

Adam Parsons

Comment: Why I never fancy donning fancy dress

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 12:41pm Friday 21st November 2014

For ages, we've been talking about taking some time off to actually sort out the house - clear out cupboards, empty boxes that have sat there for years and get rid of stuff that hasn’t been used for years. And now it’s happening.

Stacy Hart

Runnin On Empty-Hallo Stupid

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 7:48am Friday 21st November 2014

For those of you following my rambles for some time now, you’ll know that when it comes to intelligence I’m honest about the fact that I’m a few chocolate chips short of a cookie. But do you ever wonder where such levels of stupidity come from? Then wonder no more, because I’ve found a University course on the psychology of stupid. Unfortunately it’s based in Los Angeles which is a bit far to travel in pursuit of the answer, but at least now I don’t feel so isolated because it must mean there’s a lot of other stupid people like me curious to understand why…….Or….alot of people on the receiving end of stupid that want to know how to deal with us?………..

Oliver Phillips

Taking yet another axe to Axa: French cover not as good as it says on the tin

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 1:20pm Friday 14th November 2014

The best laid plans are disrupted by a much-dreaded front wheel blow-out and yet another reminder than I am growing old.

Stacy Hart

Runnin On Empty- What's For Lunch?

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 8:08am Friday 14th November 2014

What it’s Friday? Already? Okay, so earlier in the week, being the healthiest ill person I know, I’d just made a fresh salad for lunch and sat down to tuck in when I felt I was being watched…you know that feeling? And sure enough as I turned my head to face out onto the woodland at the back, gathered on all different levels of the lattice fencing were six yellow tits, three squirrels, two magpies, two robins, one black crow, one thrush, one Pidgeon and a partridge in a pear treeeeee…..

Oliver Phillips

In Prague the exchange shops change the rate every day, but the sign outside means nothing

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 1:20pm Friday 7th November 2014

There are a few tourist pitfalls to watch out for in Prague, not least when it comes to changing your currency. On the other hand, when we returned to Paris and stayed for three nights, we found they have mastered the art of reducing the size of you your wallet at an alarming rate.

Adam Parsons

Comment: Reading between the lines in library shake-up

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 12:15pm Friday 7th November 2014

Let me make a declaration right at the start. I love libraries and always have. They’re one of the most fundamental and important places in our cities, towns and villages, not least because they represent a simple truth. We should all try to learn.

Stacy Hart

Runnin On Empty-Born Skippy

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 8:08am Friday 7th November 2014

Can I really wear Monster ranty- pants two weeks running?? I’m a woman of course I can. Have you parked your bottom comfortably? Good, then I’ll begin. Being in the middle of an M.E relapse at the moment means that trying to function even at a basic level is like swimming through a sea of Marshmallow. I can’t move easily and I can’t think clearly. My mothers kitchen knife, the one that had sentiment, the one shes had longer than shes had me is now bouncing around in the back of a dustcart somewhere while the apple peel ended up in the cutlery draw. .....

Oliver Phillips

We sampled the local dishes but found superb Indian restaurants in Vienna and Prague

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 1:40pm Friday 31st October 2014

After visiting Vienna, we understood why Prague attracts more visitors. It is redolent with Old Europe and of course was once in the centre of European commerce.

Kathy Miller

Comment: Life lessons from naughty Mr Norton

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 12:00pm Friday 31st October 2014

Seeing Graham Norton live at the Watford Colosseum on Monday reminded me of what the veteran actor Michael Caine once said about the secret of his long and happy marriage to his wife Shakira being, quite simply, separate bathrooms.

Stacy Hart

Runnin On Empty- Customer Carry On

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 8:08am Friday 31st October 2014

BOO!....Happy Halloween & all that, This week I've got my monster ranty-pants on. I've come to the conclusion that the criteria to get a job dealing with the public must be no brain cells and a diploma in Idiot. British Gas was my first port of call, they've become such a nightmare to deal with that my mother, a pensioner…and yes, the one I keep under the floorboards finds it far too stressful, so I've taken over....

Oliver Phillips

We found Vienna like the waiters - lacking in a genuine smile

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 1:00pm Friday 24th October 2014

Vienna was this week voted among the top cities in the world to visit but we found it disappointing. Elegant, majestic but somehow lacking a soul.

Why we need to learn other languages

Posted on 10:18am Friday 24th October 2014

SO at a time when Europe is much on our political agenda, here’s a joke from the Continent.

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