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I keep writing for the sequel rather than face the reality of a publisher saying yes or no to my novel
Posted on 8:10am Saturday 19th April 2014
After years of writing thousands of words for newspapers, I have have written a book. Only one person has read it and she thoroughly enjoyed it. So it is a success . . . one hundred per cent so. I may have to settle for that.
Posted on 1:30pm Friday 11th April 2014
There are a few tedious rituals journalists brace themselves for whenever local election season comes around. First off are the habitual accusations of bias from various parties allegedly towards their rivals as the electoral battle ratchets up.
Posted on 1:20pm Friday 11th April 2014
The French are mired in bureaucracy. We try to avoid it whenever possible. However, when we tried to change our account from branch of Credit Agricole to another just 200 miles south, we found ouselves flooded with paperwork.
Posted on 12:20pm Friday 4th April 2014
For the last decade, part of Watford has been in the grip of a political insurgency. Since the early noughties, the Green Party has defied political gravity and turned the Callowland area into a solid electoral enclave. It is an eye-catching phenomenon for any town in a country dominated by an electoral system weighted in favour of the larger parties.
Posted on 1:00pm Friday 28th March 2014
The danger for any broadly-accepted political concept is that it can, over time, lapse into dogma. One such trend has been emerging in the way motorists are getting a raw deal under a planning system skewed in favour of developers under the guise of green initiatives.
Posted on 1:30pm Friday 21st March 2014
I go to great lengths to avoid the TV soap EastEnders. When it comes on, I feel like asking if they have a spare rope and an exposed beam
Posted on 12:25pm Friday 21st March 2014
Rarely to do you see a political initiative so in tune with the public mood. But Watford Borough Council’s recent crackdown on town centre “chuggers” seems to have uncorked a boiling geyser of public frustration.
Posted on 12:50pm Friday 14th March 2014
Pretty much all journalists appear to have an iPhone. It’s one of the unwritten rules of journalism that you should be beholden to Apple products and go on about them at any given opportunity, maintaining the illusion that Apple products, with their shiny cases and vast costs, are somehow more popular than anything else.
Posted on 12:20pm Friday 14th March 2014
The political race in Watford is heating up - although not in the case of the fast-approaching May mayoral elections, as would seem logical, but the General Election contest next year.
Posted on 1:30pm Thursday 13th March 2014
Half-term flying visit to the UK confirms real ale is what I miss most in France. An outing sees us stumble across an impressive Redwings Horse Sanctuary near Banbury but we are unable to find the precise site of a civil war battle.
Posted on 2:30pm Friday 7th March 2014
Rail operators cannot lose as commuters continue to suffer
Posted on 1:30pm Thursday 6th March 2014
Arriving in Calais at noon on a Sunday morning, I knew I could stop overnight but I just drove and nine hours and 650 hours later I was home, contemplating the fact, at 72, there is indeed no fool like an old fool
Posted on 10:06am Wednesday 5th March 2014
Political publications and station design
Posted on 1:30pm Thursday 27th February 2014
Six-five special - a classic case of distance lending enchantment. Even I thought it limited at the time but it was the only TV us rock addicts could watch.
Posted on 1:10pm Sunday 23rd February 2014
I imagine several local taxi drivers could tell you they’ve had that MP David Gauke in the back of their cab, but I wonder how many of them can say, as I can, they once sat next to him at a party?
Posted on 12:50pm Friday 21st February 2014
Hertfordshire County Council is currently in the throes of attempting to kick a bad habit: Tobacco. Well, investing in tobacco shares to be precise.
OK I admit old TV programmes would not stand the test of time but I would have liked the option to check
Posted on 1:30pm Thursday 20th February 2014
The BBC it its wisdom did not appreciate the wisdom of archiving early television shows. We might cringe if we were able to see them now, but we would have liked the option.
Posted on 4:00pm Friday 14th February 2014
Getting the train back from Manchester to Watford the other day, it felt like the end of days. The rain was pouring down, the wind was howling, and the landscape was desolate. And that was just Hemel Hempstead.
Posted on 2:00pm Friday 14th February 2014
It is difficult to describe the numbingly disorientating experience of being told you have symptoms that could be cancer.
Posted on 1:30pm Thursday 13th February 2014
TOWIE CBB Bake off, Strictly, Splash and all their so-called stars just leave me cold
Posted on 12:18pm Sunday 9th February 2014
I just love snowdrops. With their deceptively fragile beauty they are a sure sign that a new year of growth in our gardens is beginning. Who can help but smile with pleasure when they begin to show their nodding heads of exquisite little white flowers, tinged with the freshest of green. The legend associated with these brave forerunners of spring tells us that after the expulsion from Eden a kindly angel took pity on Eve who was crying desperately in the now barren wilderness. The angel blew on a snowflake turning it into a snowdrop and hope was born. The bulbs can be planted in the autumn or if you really want to see just what type you are planting a better way is to wait until spring and choose hybrids ‘in the green’. By doing this when the plants are in full leaf and you can really see what you are getting. They prefer a fertile and moisture retentive soil that has been enriched with plenty of organic matter. For a spectacular display plant in drifts under trees and shrubs. In time divide large clumps while they are in flower, or just after. Lift carefully and separate each bulb so that the leaves and roots are intact. Replant straight away at the same depth. I keep an eye on my neighbours’ gardens to see who has the best display of snowdrops and, of course, who had them in flower first. Last year I underplanted the apple tree that I am growing in a pot and whilst not yet in flower there are plenty of green shoots showing.
Posted on 4:50pm Friday 7th February 2014
The UK Independence Party’s announcement that it will be standing in the mayoral elections in May signified its growing presence in Watford.
Posted on 12:30pm Friday 7th February 2014
Forget Tupperware or Ann Summers parties. Event organisers in the American state of Colorado have ditched their peep-hole bras and air-tight biscuit boxes in favour of handing round elegant silver cases containing carefully rolled marijuana joints.
Posted on 1:30pm Thursday 6th February 2014
While Ed Moribund (sorry Miliband) is speaking you can see Ed Balls and Harriet Harman nodding in ritualistic agreement with every word that is spoken, while Nick Clegg looks as if he pondering whether or not to move his knight to Queen-four. Are we meant to take our politicians seriously?
Posted on 4:50pm Friday 31st January 2014
The health trust in charge of Watford General Hospital moved last week to reassure people about its commitment to rebuild the hospital.
Posted on 1:00pm Friday 31st January 2014
As a rule, reality TV programmes leave me cold. My own reality is too tiring without having to worry about the ups and downs of people I don’t even know, and I tend to think people who are daft and desperate enough to enter the Big Brother house deserve everything that comes their way.
Posted on 8:52pm Thursday 30th January 2014
The probklems with getting EDF to behave in an efficient manner along with repeated breaks in the supply makes me wonder why they do not concentrate on their French commitments.
Posted on 1:30pm Friday 24th January 2014
The question of whether Mayor Dorothy Thornhill will run for MP next year still hovers over the mayoral race unanswered. One person who will be awaiting the resolution to that mystery more keenly than most is current MP Richard Harrington.
Posted on 11:57am Thursday 23rd January 2014
Wolves, Moscow Spartak, Honved, Chataway and Kuts made front-page headlines and were feted for years because, in post-war days, the nation was desperate for good news.
Posted on 5:10pm Friday 17th January 2014
This is the time of year when rational, normal people start behaving like would-be monks. Out goes the booze, the coffee, the sweets and the place on the sofa. In comes a few trips to the gym, mineral water and the latest diet craze.
Posted on 12:10pm Friday 17th January 2014
What is a health campus? That question is more perplexing than it may initially seem.
Posted on 1:30pm Thursday 16th January 2014
We were writing and recording songs and Ellie was going to make it but we never got round to making the final push for fame apart from submitting a tape to Hughie Green. Since then they have been gathering dust since 1976 but now I hope to transfer them to cd.
Posted on 11:40am Saturday 11th January 2014
We are already a third of the way through January and I haven’t yet (or rather my husband hasn’t) taken down the outside fairy lights, though he has up-ended the poor old Christmas tree in the brown bin, where it reminds me of a pantomime dame bending over to flash her knickers.
Posted on 4:50pm Friday 10th January 2014
South west Hertfordshire has long been a hotbed of innovation. The revolutionary Chorleywood method of making cheaper bread was invented, unsurprisingly, by enterprising bakers in Chorleywood. The bouncing bombs used by the dambusters to cripple the Nazi war effort in the Second World War were tested and honed on a miniature reconstruction of the dam at BRE in Garston.
Posted on 1:04pm Thursday 9th January 2014
The Everly Brothers, Eusabio hit the headlines over the weekend and on the Monday there was a very large spread in The Independent on the significance of Buddy Holly. It all came together lin one, poignant, nostalgic binge