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”.......
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.
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.
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?………..
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.
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…..
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.
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.
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. .....
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.
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.
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....
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.
Posted on 8:09am Friday 24th October 2014
I’m seeing an Osteopath……Not with a view to marriage or anything, although having someone able to crack and crunch you on demand would be a bit of a plus, No, I’m hoping he can do what the NHS has failed to do so far and help with my muscle discomfort and lack of breath carried over from the Op two years ago. So at the moment I’m feeling well and truly bruised and pounded because it impacts on M.E........
Posted on 10:43am Monday 20th October 2014
Last week brought the welcome news that Kate Reddy, the hollow-eyed, sleep-deprived heroine of Allison Pearson’s novel I Don’t Know How She Does It, is making a come-back as Sandwich Woman in Ms Pearson’s weekly column in the Daily Telegraph.
Posted on 1:30pm Friday 17th October 2014
How many famous Hungarians spring to mind. We tested each other and came up short as we headed for our first-ever visit to Hungary and Budapest,
Posted on 8:15am Friday 17th October 2014
Are you ready for this weeks jabber? …. Ok, So Just because life shrinks to the size of a postage stamp it doesn’t mean you have to get licked…and no making up your own jokes …unless you’re willing to share them of course? Life can become small for many reasons, for me it’s a collection of illnesses to the point I could hold an exhibition, having the whole world gradually decline to such a compact space is frustrating and claustrophobic but you either suck it up and deal with it…or you don’t, they’re the options.
Posted on 1:20pm Friday 10th October 2014
There is a building in Budapest that is called the House of Horror in which a museum documents the excesses of Nazi and Communist regimes. We both felt compelled to go and from the sombre, bass-noted music upon our arrival to our return to the sunlight, we wondered at the stupidity of political ideology.
Posted on 12:10pm Friday 10th October 2014
At 9am on Sunday, I’ll be setting off on a 13.1-mile course around the middle of London, pounding through Hyde, Green and St James’ parks, all in an effort to raise a bit of money for charity and prove to myself I really can achieve this curious challenge.
Posted on 8:37am Friday 10th October 2014
Good Friday morning my friends, it seems to come around so quick, So let me kick this week off by asking, do you love your town or not and why? The reason I ask is Saturday 4th October saw the closure of our local Market here in Watford, not that anyone would’ve noticed considering the orchestration of its demise started a number of years ago courtesy of those rubbing their shoulders & greasy palms with developers. So you could count how many stalls were left on one hand....
Are girls today, heavier and stockier than they were back in the 1960s? The evidence suggests they are...
Posted on 1:30pm Friday 3rd October 2014
We were preparing for an autumn tour, taking in four capitals: Budapest, Vienna, Prague and back to Paris, but waiting to catch the train to Paris and the airport, we had cause to muse that todays young females are noticeably heavier than those in the 1960s.
Comment: I had the honour of being invited to two secondary schools to tell sixth formers about journalism
Posted on 2:50pm Friday 3rd October 2014
I love giving talks such as these; the frustrated actress in me enjoys the performance, even if the scribe in me wonders if having the time to take to the stage in this way suggests I have failed as a writer.
Posted on 8:20am Friday 3rd October 2014
Its funny how a word like pants can have different meanings, but still all apply to you….and whoever just shouted “& your singing? “ go stand in the corner. Apart from wearing them, I’ve always used the terminology of “pants” to describe how I’m feeling regarding M.E & Fibromyalgia because its less depressing than saying “ill”.
Posted on 12:20pm Friday 26th September 2014
A family gathering gave us a chance to show the house and garden off to the best advantage. However, things were not going well for the Koi carp and the pond. Added to which we had a noisy, unwelcome visitor..
Posted on 8:37am Friday 26th September 2014
I wasn’t sure about this weeks title “The NHS is sick” because as a rap/hiphop artist I thought it might cause some confusion with the urban slang thing, So I’d just like to point out that I mean sick as in sick and NOT sick as in “really cool innit?” wi me blud? Good then I’ll begin….
Posted on 4:31pm Wednesday 24th September 2014
By the time you read this we will know the results and whether or not those of us who spend their summer holiday north of the border will be needing a passport next August.
Posted on 4:20pm Wednesday 24th September 2014
He seems incredibly normal for someone who has grown up in his utterly abnormal surroundings.