Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Nearly there

So, today I am not writing about aviation fashions in 1965, although I could (pop a postcard through if you'd like to suggest). But we are doing a bit of waving this evening, and who better to have to demonstrate it than Get Mummy's Purse's old friend Beryl Reid.

Now this isn't my Christmas day broadcast, and yes, for those of you worrying, there will be one. This is more of a 'as we draw the curtain on 2007........' sort of thing. All off the top of my hairdo and not pre written by non striking writers back in July or anything like that.

Let's start with Christmas cards. I hear a lot of scoffing about these. I think a lot of people just can't be bothered. But I do think it is important to bother. One of the most important things about Christmas cards for me is that it sends a quick note to a whole raft of people I unfortunately don't get to see for one reason or another, but who still hold a place in my heart, to let them know that I am thinking about them and theirs. I love to receive them as well, little beacons of love shining in from the vast outside. Wonderful! How fantastic to know we are in the thoughts of others.

So what else does this time of year offer? Well for many it means spending time with their family and loved one's (please see previous blog on definition of family). And that is good too. The J and I are having what will be a first for both of us and that is a Christmas in East Dulwich, and I am simply looking forward to having an extended period of time with him, where work will not carve our being together into supper and me dropping him off at the station. No work, lots of lie ins, presents and Bubble and Squeak, mmmm!

Also as we approach the New Year we have a chance to review what didn't quite work, or where we didn't quite make the grade, or where we slipped out of step. We have the chance to try again, try to be better for ourselves and others. It is right that we do a lot of thinking about others at this time of year, but don't forget to think about yourself for a bit, think what would make you happier next year and what things you might like to do differently for you.

In prep for a non Leamington Christmas I did the honourable thing and scurried up there last weekend to deposit presents and put a mirror under my grandmother's nose to make sure she was still breathing, which luckily she was which at 98 is a small miracle. Also went to see sister no.3's new flat - very scary, for me not her, she is well excited, I am keeping fingers and legs crossed that this is a happy transition to independent living. OMG!

Parents seem to be getting very old. As far as I was concerned they had always been about 45 and gratefully remained that way until a couple of years ago when they were suddenly in their 70s and in rubbish health. Not good. My advice - don't get old.

Anyway I must stop this ranting as I am so tired my eyes are just about to heal over.

So think on and look sharp, and a very happy Christmas if you don't hear from me again before the momentous day.



Thursday, 13 December 2007

cheeky cheeky

Just let her dance

Mind your language

11 December 2007 was National Plain English Day, and to mark the occasion, the Local Government Association (LGA) published a list of 100 words that public bodies should not use if they want to communicate effectively with local people.

Apparently unless councils talk to residents in a language that they can understand, then the work they do becomes inaccessible and reduces the chances of people getting involved in their local issues. That's telling us, oh yes indeed.

Below is the full list, in alphabetical order, of the LGA's top 100 banned words.

1. ambassador
2. agencies
3. beacon
4. best practice
5. bottom-up
6. CAAs
7. can do culture
8. capacity
9. capacity building
10. cascading
11. cautiously welcome
12. champion
13. citizen empowerment
14. community engagement
15. conditionality
16. consensual
17. contestability
18. core message
19. core value
20. coterminosity
21. coterminous
22. cross-cutting
23. customer
24. democratic mandate/legitimacy
25. distorts spending priorities
26. early win
27. empowerment
28. engagement
29. engaging users
30. enhance
31. evidence base
32. external challenge
33. facilitate
34. fast-track
35. flexibilities and freedoms
36. framework
37. fulcrum
38. good practice
39. governance
40. guidelines
41. holistic
42. holistic governance
43. improvement levers
44. incentivising
45. income/funding streams
46. initiative
47. joined up
48. joint working
49. LAAs
50. level playing field
51. localities
52. meaningful consultation/dialogue
53. MAAs
54. menu of options
55. multi-agency
56. multidisciplinary
57. outcomes
58. output
59. participatory
60. partnerships
61. pathfinder
62. peer challenge
63. performance network
64. place shaping
65. predictors of beaconicity
66. preventative services
67. priority
68. process driven
69. quick hit
70. quick win
71. resource allocation
72. revenue streams
73. risk based
74. scaled-back
75. scoping
76. seedbed
77. service users
78. shared priority
79. signpost
80. single point of contact
81. slippage
82. social contracts
83. stakeholder
84. step change
85. strategic/overarching
86. streamlined
87. subsidiary
88. sustainable
89. sustainable communities
90. symposium
91. synergies
92. tested for soundness
93. third sector
94. top-down
95. transformational
96. transparency
97. value-added
98. vision
99. visionary
100. welcome

Now I am all for inclusive language so I will be trying very hard to avoid any of the above words, so as to help the public, god love 'em.

However there are other words, worse words, which should be banned. I would like to introduce you to the words I have banned my team from using. You'll see a pattern I'm sure, and agree the world would be a better place if everyone followed our example.

Baps, Climax, Discharge, Deposit, Engorged, Evacuate, Excretion, Express, Flap, Finger, Fluid, Glistening, Juices, Lubricate/lubricant/lubrication, Matter, Member, Mess, Moist, Motion, Movement, Ooze, Organ, Opening, Pass, Passage, Pastry, Penetrate, Procedure, Pucker, Relief/Relieve, Secrete, Seepage, Slippage, Soil, Spread, Stool, Straddle, Stroke, Swollen, Tug, Wipe, Withdrawal.



Monday, 3 December 2007

As we enter Advent

Now, as you all know there are several important things that must be prepared for well in advance of the big day itself. In fact this one should be prepared as a matter of urgency, as it is, you'll agree, the keystone to happy and successful yuletide festivities.

That's right, you've got it in one, today we are going to make the Blue Peter Advent Crown.

Now, we are going to be making the original one not the PC police gone made version. The only draw back with this version, is that buildings and personal liability insurance should be trickier to obtain unless you go sub prime and you know how tricky that is these days. You see, today's youth, apart from wearing hoodies, doing that funny limping walk, playing music on their mobile phones on the bus and smoking crack cocaine, are subject to a health and safety conscious advent crown, where baubles are added to welcome in each new week of advent rather than the celestial light of burning wax. I think you can take this nanny state thing too far and anyway ours has candles AND baubles.

Do remember to ask an adult for help if necessary. You will need 4 wire coat hangers, ask mummy or your housekeeper to get these for you from the dry cleaners, plenty of tinsel (re insurance reference above maybe make sure it is fire proof), 4 jar lids, now these don't necessarily have to come from an organic preserve, but it is preferable especially if the neighbours have a tendency to pop round for sherry unannounced. Now do you have 5 glass baubles handy? no? well pop along to your local DIY shop, Fortnums, Peter Jones or Harrods should be near enough. To further adorn you'll require holly, now don't just snip away at the first bush you come across, topiary doesn't grow on trees you know. Finally you'll need 4 candles, and don't make the same mistake I did and come back from the iron mongers with fork handles!

How we laughed. Anyway.

1. First cut the hook off two of the wire hangers just above the twist then using thin wire join one hanger with a hook to one without at right angles - make two pairs.

2. Turn one pair upside down and wire them all together into a large 3 dimensional diamond, fasten the jar lids at the four corners.

3. Place the candles in the jar lids, decorate the hangers with tinsel and greenery, and hang baubles from underneath the jar lids and in the centre at the bottom. But remember kids never leave lit candles unattended, even for a moment.

So there you have it, 4 weeks in advent and you light one candle per week. What joy!

Have a look at the one I prepared earlier (below) for some more clues, or ring up Biddy Baxter if you need the fact sheet - she won’t mind.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

This is Saturday Morning - who's on line 1?

Let's be 'avin you........

I got a letter from the fuzz today, I thought, hey ho they had to catch up with me eventually, although I stand by the fact that as far as I knew those turnips were legit!

Anyroad, they were writing to update me on an investigation in which I had assisted with investigations. I had received a letter at work, well one of my senior managers had received it and I had opened it as part of my official handbag carrying duties, which was very racially offensive and purporting to be from the Police if you please.

Anyway they kindly wrote to tell me that a suspect had been identified and subsequently arrested. However the CPS had advised that there was insufficient evidence to proceed and 'therefore our investigation into the matter is now concluded.' So that's a shame that no one was banged up, less satisfying that way especially when you had been on their database as a witness.

But it was kind of them, keeping me informed and all that, and the villain, it was established, did not have any affiliation with knacker of the yard after all.

Oh yes, when did I contact them? November 1998!



Friday, 23 November 2007

He was like a black Danny La Rue

Picture the scene if you will, Brixton, 1981, there’s a riot. I remember the pictures on the telly; lots of youths throwing things at the police, lots of police hitting youths with sticks, lots of things burning. I vividly remember pictures outside of the ritzy cinema and the town hall opposite. Six years later when I left secondary school and moved to London, Brixton still seemed a strange and far a way place, as did most of London outside of the circle line. 20 years later, I have lived in Brixton and now class it as a familiar part of centralish London, rather than some far away suburb of myth and legend.

I wasn’t therefore in the riots, I have been in a riot mind, but the woman I met yesterday told me all sorts of tales of the kids she taught in Stockwell in the late 70’s and early 80’s. She told me about one instance when all the boys in her class were ignoring one of their cohort the day after one of the riots. When she asked them why she was told ‘because he’s greedy miss!’ apparently when the boys had gone a looting, a quaint local custom of VAT avoidance, they had only taken school uniforms, as that is what they knew their mums couldn’t afford. They were very clear that they only took one shirt each, but this one lad had taken 5. The moral affront of the boy beggars belief. I can just picture the scene, it must have been in Morleys, which is a sorry excuse for a department store on Brixton High Street, cars ablaze, police beating up the unemployed, bins hurled through windows etc etc etc, ‘just one shirt and one tie each lads then straight back to prep’. I think not, I bet they stopped off for some proper loot, sock garters, berets, tap shoes, that sort of thing.

The riot I was in was the poll tax riot of 1987 I believe or was it 1988. It was most surreal. I was meeting friends at a restaurant on Charing Cross Road called Le Renoir, no longer there, now a gay pub, (yes we wash everything by hand too). I got off the train at Charing Cross and to get on my way I had to squeeze through row after row of riot police. Walking up St Martin’s Lane, every shop window was smashed, cars were over turned and on fire, straight out of a tales of the unexpected, wiggly lady and all. So we arrived at the restaurant, and unfortunately re the riot we were about 10 – 15 minutes late. The stuffy nosed bitch, I mean the maitre de, said that due to our tardiness, she had given our table away! I faced her and said ‘my dear, there is a riot outside!’ and with that we all span on our heels and marched out. We finally found hospitality in the pizza hut on the other side of Cambridge circus. The dinner was most enjoyable and with the exception of the burning bins being thrown through the window, a pleasant and most memorable evening was had by all.

Further takes from yesterday include another story of one of her pupils. I shall leave it to her to tell this tale.

‘He was a very effeminate lad, big, loved singing - really scared people. He told me how he had been on the tube and it got stuck between Stockwell and Brixton.’

I asked ‘he didn’t decide to give them a tune did he?’

‘Yes, he loved doing Shirley Bassey you see. He said ‘miss I did them Goldfinger, all the actions’, they must have been petrified. He was just like a black Danny La Rue’

You couldn’t make this shit up, that’s the beauty of it all.



Wednesday, 14 November 2007

The Voices Made me do it!

Why do people talk to themselves?

I don't know why do people talk to themselves?

Well I do this blog and I haven't come to any harm yet - although I do mostly do it indoors where you are less likely to have an accident.

Well that's not strictly true, actually, as research has shown that most accidents happen in the home.

Really? Gosh!

Moving on, quickly, I don't have anything against people talking to themselves, I have been known to do it myself, although I do it a lot less now. Most of my solo conversations would take place with Dolly. Dolly was my maid and sidekick. A friend once admitted to having a similar assistant named Roger. In fact Dolly and Roger are living happily together in Deale, it's a bit of a drive but they do have a super shopping centre and the air is so much better.

I think having lived on my own for many years, and not always in the pleasant position I am now of having regular evening company, you do need to have a chat. Although my 'conversations' with Dolly were never really a conversation. They were more along the lines of me saying 'What do you think of that' or 'Did you see that' when something came on the telly which I felt required a Mary Whitehouse stylee response.

The very title of this little creative 'déviation' is both a reference to being charged with getting mum's bag, usually on her bed, so that she could open her purse to provide me with a green back, and my solo references a la Dolly to myself when talking to myself about myself. A sort of running commentary. 'Now mummy's just going to make a cup of tea' that sort of thing.

Am I sharing too much here? Can I park - are you bothered?

Now as I said I don't do it so much now as I have more regular social contact with other people and I can do my Miss Babs life observations on them rather than having to make them to Dolly. Also it is important to note that I only did this when on my own, in my own home, no prescription medicine was involved and I didn't have to see a lady at the Maudsley about it.

But some people do this in the real world. And I do find it quite annoying, (me annoyed whatever next!) The thing that people do which I find brain numbingly annoying is doing an out loud commentary of what they are doing.

Two examples, one from this morning and from from the past.

I am in the kitchen at work making myself and one of my team a tea. His was herbal but I digress. So there's this lady from another team, I don't know her name, as we have no need to interact on a professional basis and I'm too busy not talking to the people I know to have any room for chatting to unknowns. So she's got a tray it has about six cups on it. And it goes, Ladies an Gentlemen something like this.......

'So yes, that's right, Steve wanted milk, not too much, yes he prefers skimmed. Now I've got Jim's mug, he's having a coffee, 2 sweeteners. No Janine is just having a water today not tea, fine, right. June, OK, that's fine for her' and so it continued.

I once sat opposite someone who did this type of running commentary all day long for everything she was doing. I would often self harm in order to keep my mind on my work not the pointless chronicling of her every tedious move. In the end I just pretended that my computer was bust and moved to a desk on the other side of the office. To this day she thinks we got on very well, and that I enjoyed having her as a team mate. You'd think people would clock - but interestingly, they usually don't.

So there you go, but before I leave you there are a couple of very important things I need you to know. The important thing is, and this is the central saving grace in all of this.....


So there you go. In other news my new favourite website is

Look out for Christmas stylee fun coming your way soon, including the blue peter advent crown fact sheet and tip top nut loaf recipes.

All the best and toodles.


Sunday, 14 October 2007

Well it's for the best

So Gordon didn't call an election after all, which is a shame as the election is always quite a good little earner for me, and I need that tumble dryer fixing.

Therefore I have taken it upon myself to fill the policy void this build up with no happy ending may have caused you.

I have been thinking about what changes I would make if I were to come to power. How would all of our lives be improved through the application of my wisdom, generosity, liberal steer, love and patience? Well there would be a few simple changes which would be to everybody's advantage.

My key platforms would be family planning, law and order and food and fashion.

One of my main manifesto pledges would be to outlaw the common practice of moving in one direction whilst looking in another. I was reminded of the need for severe reforms in this area just the other morning. On my approach to Catford of a morning I have to drive down a two way road which has cars parked on both sides resulting in there only being enough room for one line of traffic. The exit of this one line tunnel hits a junction with another road, which for some reason even though there is a big fuck off STOP sign at the junction, cars just drive out everyday without looking, then they see you approaching, then they realise that there is no where for them to go, then they break suddenly, then I swerve and everybody's happy and alive. This is the usual practice. It s a well honed dance. This morning though the woman who was driving at me into a space big enough for only one of us, was actually looking over her shoulder having an argument with the driver in the car behind her. This makes it tricky for everyone involved as you can well imagine, and clearly evidences the need for reform in this area.

Of the three RTAs I have been involved in over the years, all were as a result of the driver behind me chatting to a passenger or some acquaintance on the pavement whilst still moving forward. Unfortunately for me I was stationary at a traffic light on each occasion.

Pedestrians can also be guilty of this heinous crime and will not be spared in law. There will be no exceptions.

Family Planning

Other social improvements would include the introduction of a breeding agency. All requests to procreate would need to be signed off by me. Compulsory serialisation and contraception in the water would be introduced in many areas.

Law and Order

Law and order would be my main platform. For the more serious crimes (for e.g. looking in one direction whilst moving in another, as mentioned above) I would re introduce hanging.

I would introduce a new court called the shopping court. These courts would be overseen by my new minister of shopping and associated trades. People who work for Tesco and happily finish their chat with their friend before they start to serve me or even acknowledge I am stood in front of them will receive some of the strongest sentences in this court.

Other serious crimes will be going to slowly when I am in a rush. Generally dawdling and titting about will be outlawed. Old people will be given some exemptions as long as they get out of the way and don't stop to count their change in shop doorways.

Those found guilty of eating pasties in bus shelters will be stoned, until they are sorry. Unless that is they aren't morbidly obese in which case they will be told to 'get a plate!'

People who smoke whilst swearing at their children will be burnt at the stake a la Joan, and their children given a better start with good middle class childless couples. The morbidly obese will be banned from wearing leggings - this will be enshrined in law, and enforced using a big stick with a spike on it.

All young people will be required to get a belt, and pull up their fucking trousers. They'll all need proper haircuts, and to get on with something more useful than simply hanging about and getting in the way.

Public transport will become bookable, and the 185 from Catford to East Dulwich will be for season ticket holders only, no youths, no one in a hoody, no people with dogs, no push chairs, no shouting, and no old people getting on and making me feel guilty leading to me having to give them my seat.

Food and Fashion
Boots will be required to stock the entire vegetarian range of lunch goods including the falafel wrap and the vegetarian sushi - no exceptions.

All food shops will be required to stock organic skimmed milk whether they like it or not, and the best before date will always have to be at least a week away.
All high streets will have a Neal's yard dairy.

Compulsory beauty and fashion seminars for most of the population. These will be run from the new ministry of fashion and beauty which will be headed up by Justin and Adrian, Justin for the fashion and trend savvy and Adrian for the Joan collins/eartha kitt lifestyle enhancements.

There will be fewer nail bars and chicken shops - there's no need.

Other Issues

In the work place people will be required to be quiet and get on with their work. The majority of needless chat will be banned.

I'll probably put a penny on the price of a flip top bin and use the extra income to nationalise the lavatory industry resulting in a standard flush. Every high street would need to have as decent wool shop as well as a Marks and Spencers.

Further Manifesto Pledges

  • People won't just be allowed to mill about aimlessly like it doesn't matter, they'll be expected to get on their way and get on with something.
  • All dinners will be roast dinners apart from risotto or Greek salad and falafel which will be allowed. Those with health problems will be expected to convert to Judaism and get two sinks.
  • All gays will be given the respect they deserve apart from the ones who still have those silly sticky up hair dos, wear stupid things too tight or too bright, have stupid small dogs or bad highlights - they will be stoned.
  • Anyone using the term batty boy will be deported along with all their relatives - there won’t be any appeal rights or nonsense like that.
  • Anyone stealing mobile phones will have their hands cut off - well it works for the Arabs.
  • Kenneth Williams will still be on just a minute.
  • There will no excuse for stupidity unless you have a certificate which states that you have a learning disability.
  • All Scottish people will be expected to say 'that's great' at least once in a sentence.
  • All Icelands will be turned into M&S simply foods
  • The national drink will be Sancerre
Focus Groups

In preparing this manifesto I have also run a series of focus group. This highlighted for me a wealth of information about the social priorities of the British public today and of course my government will work as many of them as possible into our policy framework.
  • Make women dress like women - gloves and hats sort of thing
  • Introduce tax reforms to make shopping easier
  • Etiquette lessons for youth with a stronger focus on diction across the whole of the National Curriculum.

Well there you go. You know it makes sense. Do let me know if you think I've left anything out.

Al the best from the best and Toodles.


Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Are you my type, am I yours?

I got done today, and no I'm not talking about being spade or charged 17 shillings for a turnip. No I was Myers Brigged! We all were at work. I thought it was about time we had some interesting training and CPD so I've had us all MBed. We're then going to spend a day looking at our types as an aid to improved team working and then learn some NLP. How modern are we? Well taxes have to be spent you see. You do know that the government takes more than they need just in case I need some extra stationery or a day off for being gay or white or something?

So I'm a ENFP. You may well ask. It stands for Extrovert, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceptive. Sort of sums me up don't you think. Now there are 16 types you can be, and there are no right types and wrong types, just different types. Well that's what they say, but now I know my type I obviously know the best type. Of my five staff 2 were the same, one is still to be done and my boss and my boss's boss are also ENFP. Policy officers in local government are so obviously a type. But then J is an ENFP and he is a Fashion designer - so maybe I need to go back to the drawing board on that one. I imagine Princess Margaret and Alma Cogan were the same too.

We are all a mix of all of them and this isn't about being one or the other, but it is about where your natural preference lies. So when you answer the test questions you go on instinct, and then during your interview you iron out any kinks.

So what does all this jargon mean. Well you are scored on 4 sets of alternatives:

Extraversion or Introversion
Sensing or iNtuition
Thinking or Feeling
Judging or Perceiving

Extraversion is about being attuned to the external environment, learning through doing and discussing, having breadth of interests and tending to speak and act first, reflecting later.

Introversion is about being drawn to contemplation in the inner world, prefering to 'think through' problems, learning best by reflection and mental practice, having a depth of interests and tending to reflect before acting or speaking.

Sensing is about having a focus on what is real and actual, valuing practical applications, being factual and concrete - noticing details, observing and remembering specifics, enjoying the present, wanting information to be accurate and precise and trustsing experience.

Intuition is about focusing on the 'big picture' possibilities, valuing imaginative insights, being abstract and theoretical, seeing patterns and meanings in facts, enjoying anticipating the future and stimulated by ambiguity.

Remember it is not about being on or the other it is about where your natural preference lies, we will all have bits of all.

Thinking is about being guided by objective logic, focusing on case and effect, looking for flaws in logic, applying consistent principles in dealing with people, at work emphasising involvement with tasks.

Feeling is about being guided by personal values and convictions (apparently most veggies are an F) focusing on harmony with own and other's values, looking for common ground and shared values, treating each person as a unique individual, at work emphasising on support and process.

Judging is about liking to get things decided, being scheduled and organised, enjoying decision making and planning, and disliking working under time pressure.

Perceiving is about liking to keep options open, being spontaneous and adaptable, enjoying the process, not making a decison before its time and being energised by last minute time pressures.

So are you a guardian or an inspirer - you decide - but do leave a comment if you know or work it out.

ISTJ - The Duty Fulfillers
ESTJ - The Guardians
ISFJ - The Nurturers
ESFJ - The Caregivers
ISTP - The Mechanics
ESTP - The Doers
ESFP - The Performers
ISFP - The Artists
ENTJ - The Executives
INTJ - The Scientists
ENTP - The Visionaries
INTP - The Thinkers
ENFJ - The Givers
INFJ - The Protectors
ENFP - The Inspirers
INFP - The Idealists

Don't worry if you are not the same as me, it doesn't mean that you aren't good, just that you aren't as good as me. Maybe I'll do Kinsey next.

In other news - Ronnie Hazelhurst has left us today - I never knew he'd written so many of the greats!

Al the best from the west and toodles.
WHG III xxxx

Monday, 1 October 2007

No one should get an automatic VIP pass to your life

I over heard a man on the train the other night describe his son as a mummy’s boy and go on to give this to his female travelling companion, no relation, as a reason why he wouldn’t be telephoning him. ‘But he’s your son!’ she cried. He probably thought the boy, or man‘s mother had made him one. I wonder if I were to give her the wool if she’d make me one.

Relatives are a mixed bag and come in all shapes and sizes. Be warned though many don’t wear their health warnings in public and can try and blend themselves into a crowd and palm themselves off as normal. Mothers in particular are very good at trying to 'blend in' with the normal folk. 30 years of x,y,z ‘oh no I didn’t notice a thing’ mad family member on rampage for 30 years causing all sorts of grief ‘oh he’s a lovely boy, never put a foot wrong’ sort of style. Watch them like a hawk that's my advice!

I don’t think it should be compulsory to have positive regard for one’s blood relatives or even require them to be in your life. But I do think that if you have gone to the bother of getting yourself up the duff, or getting your breeding partner up the duff, as in the above railway example, you should probably give the resulting sporn some due regard.

In these days of non nuclear families it is important that we re-evaluate what ‘family’ means and who can be categorised as being a member.

I certainly do not think that just because someone is your blood relative they automatically hold the exalted position of being a family member. I think we choose our family from those around us, some may be blood relatives, but not all family members will be blood relatives and certainly not all blood relatives will be family members.

Our family are those people whose lives we have taken to equal or exceed the value of ours. The people who if they said ' the bomb's going off in 4 minutes you can choose x people to save' we'd list them, and the people who we would detail in our living will regarding power of attorney.

Civil partnership has helped those of the gay persuasion (I'm not one) to get around the next of Kin discrimination to some extent - should we choose to marry or have already undertaken the ceremony. Otherwise we still have the difficulty of nominating who are the key people in our lives.

I know who my next of kin are, but not all of them would be recognised in law. At work I can nominate who my in service death benefit goes to. I hope with the new rules developing on power of attorney and other related legislation I will soon be able to legally tell the world who my relatives, family, kin and heirs are.

Blood relatives should certainly be expected to uphold levels of behaviour we would expect of ourselves and those close to us before the are allowed to be called family. Just because they are related by blood doesn't give them the right to show you up in public or fuck bridesmaids in broom cupboards. All stories are available for the usual fee.

But it is good to ask 'who are my family?'

Think about it! I know who mine are and I would happily lay myself down for them.

I think I might write about the Lambrini generation's breeding habits next time - but we'll see.

In other news, J and I continue to get excited about Christmas, so watch this space for more pre advent excitement - we may even make the Blue Peter advent coat hanger together.

Not sure about this rape in the Archies, the intrigue is killing me. It happened before I became a Sunday worshipper you see so I don't remember all the ins and outs.

A couple of people have said they can hear me in my writings so I am taking that as compliment.

Had lots of lovely British cheese on Saturday night, thanks to Robbyn, in celebration of the British cheese Festival. Just try it -go to Neal's Yard dairy and say 'tempt me the British way' and you will so be surprised.

If you haven't yet seen the film Venus please do.

All the best from the west and toodles.

WGH III xxxx

Friday, 21 September 2007

Seventy-two Virgins

by Steve Martin

New Yorker January 29, 2007

Virgin No. 1: Yuck.

Virgin No. 2: Ick.

Virgin No. 3: Ew.

Virgin No. 4: Ow.

Virgin No. 5: Do you like cats? I have fourteen!

Virgin No. 6: I’m Becky. I’ll be legal in two years.

Virgin No. 7: Here, I’ll just pull down your zipper. Oh, sorry!

Virgin No. 8: Can we cuddle first?

Virgin No. 9: It was a garlic-and-onion pizza. Why?

Virgin No. 10: … so I see Heath, and he goes, “Like, what are you doing here?,” and I go, “I’m hangin’ out,” so he goes, “Like, what?” …

Virgin No. 11: First you’re going to have to show me an up-to-date health certificate.

Virgin No. 12: Hurry! My parents are due home!

Virgin No. 13: Do you want the regular or the special?

Virgin No. 14: I’m eighty-four. So what?

Virgin No. 15: Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!

Virgin No. 16: Even I know that’s tiny.

Virgin No. 17: “Do it”? Meaning what?

Virgin No. 18: I’m saving myself for Jesus.

Virgin No. 19: Somewhere on my body I have hidden a buffalo nickel.

Virgin No. 20: Don’t touch my hair!

Virgin No. 21: I hope you’re not going to sleep with me and then go sleep with seventy-one others.

Virgin No. 22: Do you mind if we listen to Mannheim Steamroller?

Virgin No. 23: Are you O.K. with the dog on the bed?

Virgin No. 24: Would you mind saying, “Could I see you in my office, Miss Witherspoon?”?

Virgin No. 25: Ride me! Ride me, Lucky Buck!

Virgin No. 26: You like your vanilla hot?

Virgin No. 27: Does Ookums like Snookums?

Virgin No. 28: It’s so romantic here, dead.

Virgin No. 29: Well, I’m a virgin, but my hand isn’t.

Virgin No. 30: You are in?

Virgin No. 31: Hi, cowboy. I just rode down from Brokeback Mountain.

Virgin No. 32: I’m a virgin because I’m so ugly.

Virgin No. 33: You like-ee?

Virgin No. 34: I’ll betcha you can’t get an erection. Go on, impress me. C’mon, show me. Show me, big shot.

Virgin No. 35: By the way, here in Heaven “virgin” has a slightly different meaning. It means “chatty.”

Virgin No. 36: Sure, I like you, but as a friend.

Virgin No. 37: No kissing. I save that for my boyfriend.

Virgin No. 38: I’m Zania, from the planet Xeron. My vagina is on my foot.

Virgin No. 39: It’s a lesion, and, no, I don’t know what kind.

Virgin No. 40: I’m Jewish. Why do you ask?

Virgin No. 41: Hi, I’m Becky. Oh, whoops—you again.

Virgin No. 42: I just love camping! Camping is so great! Can we go camping sometime?

Virgin No. 43: In the spirit of full disclosure, I’m a single mom.

Virgin No. 44: You like my breasts? They were my graduation gift.

Virgin No. 45: When you’re done, you should really check out how cool this ceiling is.

Virgin No. 46: I’m almost there. Just another couple of hours.

Virgin No. 47: Get your own beer, you nitwit.

Virgin No. 48: No, you’ve got it wrong. We’re in the Paradise Casino.

Virgin No. 49: I really enjoyed that. Thank you very much. Gee, it’s late.

Virgin No. 50: You make me feel like a real woman. And after this is over I’m going to find one.

Virgin No. 51: What do you mean, “move a little”?

Virgin No. 52: Not now, I’m on my BlackBerry.

Virgin No. 53: I love it when you put on your pants and leave.

Virgin No. 54: We’ve been together twenty-four hours now, and, you know, sometimes it’s O.K. to say something mildly humorous.

Virgin No. 55: That was terrible. I should have listened to the other virgins.

Virgin No. 56: I think I found it. Is that it? Oh. Is this it? Oh, this must be it. No?

Virgin No. 57: It must be hot in here, because I know it’s not me.

Virgin No. 58: Those are my testicles.

Virgin No. 59: Did you know that “virgin” is an anagram of Irving?

Virgin No. 60: First “Spamalot,” then sex.

Virgin No. 61: Great! I was hoping for circumcised.

Virgin No. 62: Was that it?

Virgin No. 63: Dang. George Clooney was being reckless on a motorcycle, but instead I got you.

Virgin No. 64: Tonight, I become a woman. But until then you can call me Bob.

Virgin No. 65: They’re called “adult diapers.” Why?

Virgin No. 66: We could do it here for free, or on a stage in Düsseldorf for money.

Virgin No. 67: I’m just Virgin No. 67 to you, right?

Virgin No. 68: Pee-yoo. Are you wearing Aramis?

Virgin No. 69: Condom, please.

Virgin No. 70: My name is Mother Teresa.

Virgin No. 71: I’m not very good at this, but let’s start with the Reverse Lotus Blossom.

Virgin No. 72: It was paradise, until you showed up.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Once again in Bacton

What do Holt, Bath and Brighton all have in common? Yes that’s right they all have a Hampstead Bazaar - well they don’t but they should have. When we were in Brighton last week, terre a terre, blue cheese soufflé and cherries in vodka with chocolate sauce etc etc, we saw in the window of Hampstead bazaar a wonderful quote and autograph from Dame Judi.

‘When I’m in a panic and a hurry to go out, I can’t go wrong if I wear a dress from Bazaar.’

Some ladies require lots of linen slacks, pashminas and throws, just the sort of thing you see.

‘Timeless - ageless, unpretentious and very comfortable’ Rula Lenska

Brighton wasn’t all free Sancerre and Jacuzzis though. I was also introduced to the all-in-one shrug; the lady gave a full stewardess stylee demonstration of its fashionable versatility, and introduced us to Mustachio "Fur" Yarn. I’m hoping there’ll be bringing it out in a bat wing next season.

What else did I do on my holidays? Well yes then there was Leamington of course which was all good. Expensive wine drank with the doctor and Big E asking me over and over again 'what was the name of that girl we thought Joe was going to marry? In fact I think the first thing she said to me on arrival was 'You're not married yet are you'. Not sure whether it was a question or a statement. She will usually say 'You're not really keen on girls are you', to which I will say no, and then ask her about skirt lengths just after the war to get her off the subject. My mother tells me that she has been fully informed as to the way god made me on a number of occasions. But let me tell you when I'm 98 I'll be a lot more ga ga than simply asking what colour an aubergine is repeatedly. 'Did you know the London's been turned into flats?'.

'Do I like Cauliflower cheese? Yes
'Am I having it?' No

So to Bacton with the assistant, and one of the most relaxing times I have ever had. So there we were, having a lovely walk on the beach, communing with the big mother M herself, introducing Justin to the glories of the Norfolk Coast when all of a sudden our ear drums start bleeding. Feral children screaming their Cyclops style warnings to sailors running onto the beach afore us. You’d have though that her little brother was drowning, but it was only a bucket and spade a drift in a puddle (blood curdling scream no. 1). And we think she was indicating to her mother that she was in need of another pasty – a la seagull chick (blood curdling scream no. 2) . I think at age 9 and the size of a small family car a rocket salad would have been more appropriate. I’m just concerned that when she grows up I don’t think anything is Hampstead Bazaar is going to fit her at this rate.

I suppose fashion will have moved on by then anyway, as you know I’ve got everything crossed for the imminent return of the bat wing in Mustacio. I can’t promise anything though so don’t get too excited or throw out your duffle just yet. Talking of duffles do you like my new coat?

If you get the chance please go and enjoy Blickling Hall as we did, on a fine sunny September day, it is a place of joy.

All this being on holiday has led me to screaming lip them! lip them! and falling onto the floor doing bicycle stylee leg kicking in euphoric mania. Seriously how I ever found time to go to work I'll never know. About halfway through last week I reached the leave nirvana or optimal holiday relaxation plateau. It is a state you can only reach when you have three weeks off, as it can only happen in week two if there is a week three. I just suddenly realised I felt moderately sedated and in a state of extreme contentment. Fan bloody tastic.

So what else have I got for you? Well most importantly in the scheme of things I have been growing a beard. You need a good stint away from work to undertake such a project as there are long periods of trampness, but all in all I think it is coming together finally. Z approved, and contstantly stroked it, and the J is a big fan, so I think it is here to stay.

Well I think that's enough, I don't want you all getting over excited or putting your backs out or any such thing. Apart from we have been practicing for Christmas by having bread sauce with our supper and watching movies with snow in them. Do try it, and wear a nice scarf whilst you're at it. You know you want to.

All the best from the west and Toodles.


Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Where are the men?

It has been brought to my attention that this blog has too many picture of GIRLS in it. I have reviewed the accusation and find the charge proven.

In order to correct this oversight, and start to implement my new photographical gender equality policy I hereby present you with a man, please feel free to enjoy him in all his glory.

Don't you know nobody's 21 anymore!

Monday, 3 September 2007

My life as a Vegetarian

Well yes I am you see, there's no hiding from it. I am a vegetarian, and I'm proud of it. My mother didn't make me a vegetarian, although she did repeatedly make me a lovely tomato and onion dish (fried onions and tomatoes) in lieu of all the Henry the VIIIth stylee banquets the meaties got. And I wasn't driven to hide my non vegan lactose lifestyle from society as a side effect of my Catholic upbringing. I have generally been tolerated and supported and treated as an equal amongst men (and ladies).

As some of you know, my brother Joe, for that is his Monika is also a vegetarian. Not unusual to have two in the family these days, so the statistics show. Joe is currently cross country with the mater and sister 3. They have been enjoying the delights of a Norfolk mini break, ensuring that all is in place for the JW visit in a couple of weeks. They have also been eating. The ladies in question are obsessed with food and have even been known to argue away the health risks of a cooked breakfast with an over focus of the superfood nature of a grilled tomato. Some would say it runs in the family! In order to maintain the theme and keep calorie levels up, the Audi was pulled off at a little chef, probably, but this is unconfirmed, on the A47 at Acle (yes you're right, they're not keeping the class 47s at Crewe anymore).

Before I go on, dear meat eating majority, I must just say a few words about food equality. What vegetarians want is the same as you are having. If you are having a full Sunday roast, we don't want to have pumpkin risotto; we want a roast dinner too. If you are having sausage and mash, we don’t want guiche, new potatoes and a runner bean. We want what you want. If you are having pie and chips we want pie and chips. Please don't forget this when cooking for your vegetarian friends. We just want a meat free version. Give us a Sunday roast, but with a bit of nut loaf in lieu of the game, vege banger and mash is just as tasty, and a low fat alternative to filling your gut with red meat, etc etc etc. The other wonderful thing about vegetarian food is that it can be eaten by all types of people, even foreigners and old people.

So back to the plot. Bro is pulling himself off into a little chef. Once in he orders vege bangers and mash. Well hoorah, they have been listening to my prayer, Jesus is a vegetarian after all, as well as a married homosexual and lover of taxmen, and bald people. A big warm hand for little chef and their equalities drive.

Oy Vey Maria!

But no the joy is short lived. The CSE shunning, Alan Partridge imitating retards have got it all wrong. Brother is informed............

"Just so you know sir, the vegetarian sausage and mash comes with non vegetarian gravy."

In other news, Brighton has been added as an additional holiday destination. I think I'm up to a 4 centre break now, and looking forward to the delights of my fave restaurant Terre a Terre on East Street. The metropolitan police have been informed about our two recent homophobic abuse situations, and LGBT liaison officer is working with the neighbourhood team as I type. So hopefully the appropriate immigration and sterilisation controls will soon be put in place.

Do remind me to tell you about the time I was chased round a club at the tender age of 18 by Leigh Bowery in full light bulb drag! It was a close thing I can tell you.

Al the best from the west and Toodles.


Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Crossing the Line

'If you wear Jean Muir properly, people don't look at the clothes, they look at the person and say, "What a marvellous woman"
Joanna Lumley

As most of you know I have enjoyed the gentrified beauty of East Dulwich for 8 ½ years now. Each day I am here I love it more and more. I still find myself turning a corner and coming across a new street, a tasty new restaurant, a wonderful shop or gallery, or simply a new angle or view of something I thought I already knew well. There is so much happening, it’s a wonderful, ‘alive’ place and even though the 3 wheelers can be a safety hazard, and the parking isn’t always straight forward as everyone now has not one but two nannies, I love it, and it makes me very happy. East Dulwich and I were one of those wonderful surprises. Our union was random and unplanned. It was a pin in a map courtship but even though we had not even glanced at one another before the wedding, we fell in love from the start.

But my gated dream butts the real world, and sometimes it is necessary to leave. Yesterday, on a most glorious, sunny and happy bank holiday, as Justin, for that is his wonderful Monika, and I were strolling in a bona dolly old eek stylee (must check Polari dictionary) down to Peckham Rye station, to jolly ourselves onwards in a Victoria direction, and then to South Kensington, (for cultcha of course) I reached out and gave his shoulder a short but firm affectionate squeeze. It wasn’t an overt display of an unbiblical lifestyle, and I don’t even think Mary Whitehouse would have noticed it let alone written to the head of Religious Broadcasting about it, but it was noticed.

We were walking down past beautiful Peckham Rye Park, when a car full of young men pulled up and parked. Peckham Rye Park was, as it always is at the weekend, awash with young men in shorts running up and down trying to put an inflated, some might say engorged sphere of leather between two uprights (try saying that after your second large cooking sherry). We had both acknowledged the grunt they made as they first drove past us, (I didn’t really think anything of it) but we carried on walking.

All of a sudden screams of ‘Batty Boy!’, (a lower caste dialect still used by some breeds of south London scum) came hurtling down the road. We ignored it, as is best, but it continued, coming again and again. A torrent of abuse. We were being baited to turn around and make a scene. We just walked on though, both completely wound up and bubbling with rage, but aware of what danger turning around would provide. Why should we have to experience this? why are they allowed to shout those things? What I wanted to do was take the fuckers out, and then see to it that all their offspring and relatives were sterilised so that this form of infected vermin could not proliferate further in society. But what we did was walk on and we got over it.

It is dear reader such matters which will surge the circulation of the Daily Mail amongst the liberal middle classes. In a straw poll conducted today, a range of otherwise mild mannered liberals were agreed on hanging for our abusers. Perhaps they will simply shoot each other out of existence, that would be the best for all and so much quicker.

So we finally arrived at the V&A. What a wonderful place, and why haven't I been there before? I can tell you I am certainly going back again. We had gone to see a very interesting exhibition on New York fashion designers which shone an interesting light for me on the evolution and renewal of fashion. Obviously I now have a personal insight into the Devil wears Prada world but I'm not able to say much as it is all very hush hush and only to be shared on a need to know basis, let's just say I'm going all out this season for the return of the bat wing sleeve, pearl thong and Jean Muir navy blue waistcoats, let's just leave it at that!

In other news, I start my leave next week, still not sure what I'm going to do exactly, but I think it will involve at least a 3 centre break. Confirmed destinations include Dulwich, Leamington Spa (Royal) and Norfolk - 'international crazed jet setter, get down!' I hear you say, and yes you are not wrong, I am he. Anyway if I do end up anywhere else exciting and remember to take a note pad, you'll be the first to hear.

All the best from the west and Toodles.


Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Yes, well it's only 4 pay days away, so I hope you've got most of your cards written, and finished all those last minute bits we don't like to get too soon, but really need to be done by now. I haven't seen the fresh turkey's in Marks yet, but a) I'm sure they are only days away, and b) I'm vegetarian so won't be having turkey anyway.

Apparently I'm having a real tree this year, which is nice actually. I thought as long as I don't have to hoover up the pine needles day and night and I'm still allowed to drink as much mulled wine as I can take, then there shouldn't be a problem.

Don't blame me, it's not my fault. Firstly I kind of like Christmas, and I do have a bit of a Labrador jumping out of my dark blue (top spec) Land Rover Defender, Halifax card cash advert fantasy about the potential for Christmas.

Secondly it was very cold today in a borderline, 'well I know it is only August, but surely we could just pop the heating on for a while' stylee.

Thirdly I like wearing my scarf.

Fourthly I went to the Peckham Rye Hotel on Sunday and it was all dark wood, real fires, squishy leather sofas, and I thought that's where I need to be sitting, with roasted vegetables, Yorkshire puddings, mash, great red wine, fantastic company (Labrador and Defender parked outside), winter darkness framed by twinkling fairy lights and the promise of snow.

I think I'm ready for winter, I want to be warmed, and come inside from being out in the cold. I want to hear carols, wear big coats, eat mince pies, make Evie wear silly elf stylee hats (not that she doesn't already) and receive another 10 books to add to the reading pile for 2008.

But most of all I think I'm ready to start making my own Christmas traditions, and I think I want to start practicing now. So if you fancy a roast dinner in the Peckham Rye hotel any evening between now and December 25th just give a me a call, (or pop a note through if easier).

In other news, the delicious man with whom I was practising my snogging with a while back has been put into full time employment as new chief assistant.




Thursday, 16 August 2007

They say they're wiley - they like a deal......

Yes, and they are bloody good at it!

You see I do love the Jews, for I was once a Jew myself.

Now I don't intend to draw any diagrams or provide any medical evidence, or affidavits, but I would like you to know that the beardy one with the fez is my great great grandfather Jacob Rosianski, or as his mates called him, Rabbi Jacob Rosianski. The Rabbi line apparently went back six whole generations. I've been dining out on pickled cabbage and matzo balls from this story for years, and have now found out a little more about the story.

BTW did I ever tell you about the time I played Jacob in my brother's night shirt and a cotton wool beard? No, well it's not much of a story anyway, but was my first leading role as a boy actor.

Oy vey!

The snippet that follows is derived from familial discussions and is not based on any proper ancestral research and so may contain nuts.

My great grandfather Mark Rosianski ‘ran away’ to England as an 18 year old. Not sure whether he jumped or was pushed. He originated from Posen which at the time I believe was Polish. Posen was a border town and had veered between Poland, German and Russia through time.

Mark was Rabbi Jacob Rosianski's only son, but he was not an only child having 3 sisters. It is possible that Mark was thought of as a disappointment, whether this was because he didn't want to follow the Rabbinical line or for other reasons linked to or resulting in his running away remains unclear. However Mark kept in touch with his family and all three sisters eventually came over to England at different times to study at Nottingham University.

Another interesting fact is that Mark's aunts had, unusually for women at the time, been translators at the early UN.

When Mark came to England he changed his surname to Highfield and became a naturalised (like semi skimmed i think) Englishman. His wife, my great grandmother, Daisy was not Jewish, hence the breaking of the line.

So there you go, just a small glimpse at the past I thought I'd share.

All the best from the west.


Monday, 13 August 2007

Stardom Road

Marc Almond

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If you have been affected by anything in this Blog...........

What a difference a week makes, 168 little hours.............

Saw Shaw's St Joan this week. I was first introduced to the play through reading about Kenneth Williams' life as he had played the Dauphin in London at the Arts Theatre in 1954. I have to say the version I saw at the National on Saturday was one of the best pieces of theatre I have ever seen. I wasn't expecting quite so many laughs, and I don't think there was anyone from the Archers in it, but the staging was magnificent in its inventiveness and critical to the motion and atmosphere of the story and most of the acting was within spitting distance of a BAFTA. We mused on why every actor’s TV credits included 'The Bill'. Cast wise that show must be very roomy and extremely well stocked.

Once over, (at 3 hours 15 it was long, but I was in no way conscious of the time passing as the play kept you magically swept from moment to moment and scene to scene) we made initial futile attempts to find the Terrace Cafe. Here on Fridays and Saturdays throughout the summer the National hold 'late lounge'. Basically it is a bar come DJ set - hangin' with the home boys, gettin' down with the choice tunes. There is a bring and share nature with regard to the play list, and I am assured that they'll be happy to mix my 'Remember You're a Womble' with my 'Sorry I'm a Lady' 78's next time I'm there. Let’s really MASH it! But it took us a while to end up on the right staircase on the correct side of the complex at the right level. Several times we could see the whites of the damn things eyes, but it was just out of reach - like an oasis to a stranded Legionnaire or a bottle of cooking sherry through the window of a closed off licence to the thirsty. I thought about scaling the wall at one point when my patience gene ran out of DNA, but as one of my party was a lady, we pooled our orienteering resources and were suitably rewarded 3 minutes later with fine wines and a table outside overlooking some 'performance' art (loved the mime) and the beautiful river.

Earlier that day whilst doubling as a removal man for the 3 ladies of Brockley (good name for a pub actually), and in relation to my blind blog, and not so blind dates, I wondered on the best way to find out as much as possible about people new to your life. There can be such a strong desire to know everything and to want to know it now. I am drawn to this speed quest - I want to know the history, the inside leg measurement, I want a Vulcan mind meld info gathering process stlylee. Z will have required me to acquire a range of basic details anyway. With any prospective chief assistant she asks a range of questions delving here and there, assuming philanthropy and interest, but I know what she actually wants to know.

Q 1. ‘What is his relationship history?’ This could mean has he been out long and or experienced enough in life to be solid partner potential, but it actually means (legal note: I believe it to mean) does he have a history of being prone to casual sex and therefore more likely to be carrying a range of life threatening STIs?

Q2 ‘Are his parents alive/does he have a mother?’ This question aims to ascertain whether or not his mother is laid back about him being gay and or potentially more liberal than her?

But to rush the info gathering process in order to reach a safe place quickly would defeat the purpose and the pleasure of getting to know someone, of opening yourself up whilst looking inside another. To be successful in friendship and in love you have to allow yourself to be vulnerable, not safe. So bring on the scary fun and whilst you’re up pour me another glass of cooking sherry please.

In other news. It was with great sorrow this week that I learnt that some people out there, some of you dear readers are potentially included within this cohort, aren't aware that Ethel Merman ever released a disco album. I would ask you to join with me in taking a moment to think about these people, our thoughts and support will help them. Please pass the following link to anyone you know who falls into this deprived community of afflicted souls.

There's no business like show business.................

Remind me next time to tell you about the night I went to Barbara Streisand's after show party. I don't think she was actually there, but I did see Barbara Knox and Lulu. 'Champagne for Lulu!'- yes I did say it whilst standing behind her.

All the best from the West,


Friday, 10 August 2007

I'll show you mine - if you show me yours!

Internationally speaking I'm probably a range of star signs, but here on God's green England I am definitely, oh yes, and without fail, definitely an Aries.

I went on my first blind Blog today. I didn't know him obviously; I'm still to find out much about his parents let alone whether he comes with a dowry.

My dear and gorgeous friend Sophia set us up. In fact I didn't even know she had set us up until it happened. It wasn't planned. I hadn't had time to think what I would wear or whether I should re boot, add another pic of Dan to the page or even park my newest fascination for just one tiny second and tidy my desk. Nothing. I went from casually unpacking my GU puddings and assorted organic vegetables from the Sainsbury's to - BAM! You're on a blind Blog.

Like a bolt out of the blue her note arrived. She had posted it simultaneously to both of us. Her style had overtones of Courtesan fan flickery, sharing our URLs, talking of how she enjoyed both of our 'work', ruefully suggesting we may wish to 'read' each other or share a link. Her language was not flowery, but still so sweet, with such certainty of aim, that neither of us were likely to steer our thoughts but to each others blog.

I didn't know what to say at first. Although you all think I'm full of bravado - half Bergerac half Lovejoy, I am in fact quite shy, and I am only recently out as a blogger. On top of this he seemed so much more experienced; his blog was 'established'. I think he may even have readers.

He was such a gentleman though; he spoke first, mentioned my The Killing of Sister George clip and added me to his links. It was all made so easy for me; all I had to do was read. I knew there wouldn't be any untoward pressure to post.

So thank you Sophia, you wonderful matchmaker, and welcome Stephen, for that is his Monika, and your 1904 blog to the madness which is 'Get Mummy's Purse'. Let all of us take this as our starting point to reach out and shorten the divide between our worlds - wherever they may be. As my dear friend Jean Muir always said 'Darling you can never have too many shades of Navy Blue'. I think there is something for us all there.

God Bless you all.


Monday, 6 August 2007

Goodbye Mrs Slocombe 3/3

Goodbye Mrs Slocombe 2/3

Goodbye Mrs Slocombe 1/3

"Grace I told you not to disturb me whilst I'm sketching these designs!"

That was the week that was, as they used to say on that was the week that was.

So what have I been up to? Well the weekend was a cocktail (is it five o'clock yet?) of history, the east end, culture and snogging with the emphasis definitely on the snogging. Now I don't know how many of you remember the heady days of your youth. If you do you'll recall how the important things in life were red band cigarettes, cider and black, and snogging. It was always very important to ensure you got a snog at a party. It was a form of social acknowledgment halfway between a warriors scar and a girl guides victoria sponge making badge. However not only was it important in an 'I have the future potential to be an alpha male' sort of way it could also be very enjoyable. I remember my first snog with a man, it was a very powerful thing. When you come out you have to start again in a way but you have the hindsight of a few extra years on your shoulders which can make it so much better. So I won't be forgetting that first snog, I think that whole flower bed needed re planting if I remember correctly. He ended up being a bastard though, but he was sexy - shit happens. But possibly not as sexy as the protagonist of my most recent adventure. There's plenty of snap left in my celery I can tell you! So yes lots of lovely snogging with a very delicious man was enjoyed over the weekend. Please enclose a cheque for £45 with every request for further details.

On Saturday (pre snogging) whilst partaking in a historical walk around Poplar and environs, (Hawksmoor this, Hawksmoor that) we came across a fantastic complex of flats and studios made out of containers. They were right on the river just opposite the dome, and next door was Michael Faraday's lighthouse which was built for him to test his lenses etc.. The nice man opened the lighthouse and let us go in. I think he was sweet for one of my party - but no bodily fluids changed hands - it was all strictly above board and everyone left with their virtues intact. But an utterly fascinating experience and completely random. They also had a gallery on site and a visitors centre so I do recommend you pop along at your soonest convenience. (Trinty Buoy Wharf)

So as well as going up Faraday's lighthouse, I was also lucky enough to go and see the Anthony Gormley Blind Light exhibition at the Hayward. Absolutely amazing. The Blind Light exhibit itself was very interesting. It was just like being in a cloud, strangely peaceful, whilst also slightly disconcerting. Once I had lost my helper, I initiated emergency procedure gamma gamma delta, which took me to the nearest wall, and then i gingerly fingered my way back to the entrance. But with someone else with you, (visibility is only a foot,) it felt safe and so you are able to enjoy the heavenly nature of the experience. I have to say that for me the resounding acvhievement of the whole exibition is Event Horizon. If you do nothing else this summer please stand on Warterloo bridge and search the horizon for the roof top bodies!

Do you think Anthony Gormley would have been called Gormless at school? I presume so.

In other news I see that the Chinese government have decreed that all future reincarnations of the Dali Lama will need to be authorised by the Communist Party - sounds like they've got Blair working for them already. Can someone help me out here. I mean it's not like Liz ironing out with Churchill as to who would succeed her. Should it be Charles or Margaret, or maybe another German lady. Oy Vey!

Well that's about it for now, look after yourselves and remember if in doubt have another one, and make sure your pants are clean when you open the door to the postman. Remind me next time to tell you about the time Eartha Kitt touched my face and looked deep into my eyes.

All the best from the west.


Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Of Course You Must Wait!

Thank Heavens I Know my Cows

I went on some training last week - proper training - up town, costs money, lunch included sort of thing. You know when it's a quality do, as there'll be people from the west midlands with those little cases on wheels worrying whether their spouse will be alright getting his own tea. Never a thought for those of us without spouses who regularly solo cater. But I digress. The training rooms were all named after cows and we were doing Process Mapping in Friesian. Now there was a tricky moment when Janine from Dundee nearly ended up in Holstein after a short mid afternoon comfort break. Luckily I managed to steer her clear and thanked Dolly that now I'm an Archers regular bovine breeding is second nature.

Well we didn’t get to Blenheim; apparently it was the wrong sort of flooding on the line. I mean we could have got there, but it was decided that the extra layers of titting about which would be required, when Blenheim would probably be there for another few hundred years, and this was perhaps the last dry sunny day we were ever going to see in London, were not worth the bother. So we agreed to head to Woodstock another time, and promptly went in search of disabled pigeons. Ok so we didn’t exactly go in search of disabled pigeons, but it was very hard to avoid them, flap flap, hobble hobble, it wasn’t a pretty sight. Apparently it wasn’t the first sighting of a disabled pigeon that day, so they are obviously endemic. I wonder who you write to about pigeons.

I’m not sure whether as a disabled pigeon you get any enhanced benefits or access to VAT free cars you can sell on. Probably be worth looking into though. I have recently noticed that I have one leg slightly longer than the other, so am considering registering disabled myself. In the olden days I’d have been able to go to the post office to get the appropriate form, but I probably have to go to the benefits agency now and be seen by an assessor. It’s political correctness gone mad if you ask me. I could look in Wicks though – they seem to have a good selection of self help leaflets just as you enter the main entrance – on the right. How to tile a bathroom, how to rewire a ring main, how to hose down a talkative neighbour, how to claim disability living allowance.

So in lieu of Churchill’s ancestral we had a great day wandering around London, punctuated with a splattering of coffee and Culture. Though we did have difficulty locating compeed blister plasters in WC1, but I think that is perhaps for another time.

First stop the British museum, where you’re not allowed to sit on the stairs, but Spanish men are allowed to wear canary yellow leisure slacks without security even batting an eyelid. We learnt all about transcribing hieroglyphics via the Rosetta stone and I gave a brief talk on the use of the scarab beetle during the process of mummification and its afterlife ramifications. (I think that must have been Ramifications the 3rd)

We then headed to Drummond St for an excellent, but reportedly not up to the usual standard, buffet lunch at Diwana. For dessert I stuck my fingers in my ears and hoped for the ground to open whilst my fellow diners gave the manager some useful tips about how to improve the service on offer during a busy lunchtime buffet serving period stylee sort of thing. It wasn’t quite as bad as dad clicking his fingers in the Ashoka, but it wasn’t good.

After a few deep breaths and group counselling we perambulated onwards to Euston Road on the pretext of finding both a Boots and a bus to Holborn only to be drawn into the Welcome Institute and their ‘Time Out Recommended’ Heart exhibition.

Now did you know that the hummingbird’s heart beats at 1220 bpm whereas the elephant is far more sedentary coming in at 25 bpm. I think Hazel Dean 12 inches used to be about 140! There was loads of great imagery and history, information on the development of our knowledge over the centuries and the break throughs this had allowed. All washed down with a lovely film all about open heart surgery. We were particularly taken with the ribs being sawn through and the cauterising, Lets just leave it at that shall we. In the welcome institute's defence they do have a lovely coffee and book shop and general 10 out of 10 customer facilities ambiance.

In other news – I have let my beard grow a little longer than normal and it has prompted a host of people (over 2) to tell me how slim I look. So instead of snacking on a block of cheese as you wander around Catford, can I suggest the new trend in slimming aids – Beard Growth – no calories, no wrapper to dispose of, and no added risk of colon cancer or coronary heart disease. You see the simple old fashioned approaches to good health and body disfiguremorphism can never be beaten.

All the best from the West,


Thursday, 26 July 2007

Hens in the Skirting Board

We think we've got hen's in the skirting board.

I don't think I've told you about my neighbours. Dwarf jugglers, lovely people, very clean living. But their clean living can involve putting on the washing machine late at night, and they're not very good at the dwarf juggling, so they often thud to the floor - repeatedly - I admire their determination to practice though. I think there might also be a smidgen of clog dancing and regular wrestling trials.

Now it's not all their fault as there is obviously no underlay and thin exhibition carpet etc, and it doesn't really grate on my otherwise robust nerves, as much as it did before I went on my new pills, no I'm fine - no this twitch is just a sports injury. 'Get Stuffed! - Pork Roll' Look now I've come over all Jack Douglas.

Had a little run on to Kennington where I parked the Tipo and popped myself on the tube direct to London's swinging west end. Realised the place I always park in Kennington on saturday afternoons is in fact a controlled zone, and it is complete fluke that Ive never had a ticket. A pick you up and take you away lorry was patrolling as well, so thank Dolly I randomly decided to stroll down the street and look at the sign.

Going to my barbers is a little like entering a poorly dubbed shit porn film. 'Well he's not my husband but he once rubbed up next to me in a sports jacket - so he's as good as!' Everything is double entendre although it's far more obvious than that and not at all funny. Everyone who enters is introduced, told that I am single and some smutty fact is made up and then shared. I told them to shush today - I bet they're still reeling! Well you've got to put your foot down sometimes.

The good thing about my barbers is that it does enable me to get a good run down on the lives of a range of Friends, ex boyfriends and acquaintances without having to actually diarise time to spend with them. If I have any major news in my life - like a new man for example, Andy (for that is his Monika) will often tell me before I get the chance to tell him. He told me today that Paul had made him sign something saying he would never talk about him to other customers. You know for a minute I believed him!

Ken's in China, he tells me that he can't access get mummy's purse from their, so it's good to know that the Chinese authorities have put a block on my subversion. I mean what if I was to tell the Chinaman going to the dentist joke? It could put international relations back years! TOOTH HURTY! just in case you weren't sure what time it was that the Chinaman went to the dentist.

Had a look at the East Dulwich Forum today - it is a continual source of middle class joy and amazement 'Yes we wash everything by hand too', but also a good way of finding out which new shops are opening up. Apparently in trendy ED all the rents are going up so we're very worried that the independent traders on Lordship Lane (LL) will be forced out to faceless chains. 'We're all against it'. I mean look at Notting Hill and Hoxton! Well I mean.

Delving into the board today I see that there has been a long standing cocaine factory on LL which the fuzz have just closed down. Comment..........

'Allegedly they used Bugaboo buggies to ship them out of L.L'

'Police are asking for new stop and rummage powers specifically to deal with ED mummy's bags and bugaboos rammed with bugle. But seriously, which buggies are best for the this task, three or four wheelers?'

'What I can't stand is people taking shit loads of drugs and not giving me any of the bastard stuff!!! Grrr!'

'But the prisons are already so full - we need to look at the social causes for their crimes, maybe forcing Bugaboo to reduce their prices or offering subsidies for wannabe yummies, would be the answer.'

I'm glad to be so middle class, it really does make me happy.

Off to Blenheim Palace tomorrow with Rawbin - so hopefully there'll be plenty of comedy moments for me to share.

Remind me next time to tell you about the time I went to tea with Vivienne Weswood.

All the best from the West


Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Just Call Out My Name and I'll Be There

If only it had been Dolly, but it wasn’t Dolly it was Nigel. But thank Dolly for Nigel.

I sprinted this weekend from the 'after lunch cup of tea' years of my life to the 'afternoon biscuit - quick get a cloth he's dribbling' years of my life.

I left my switch card in Sainsbury's on Friday night, the first time ever and just not the sort of thing I do. If I hear that a mere mortal has done something as ridiculous I will openly tut (well you've got to show these people). I don't do things like that.

Anyway I don't realise until I'm trying to pay for petrol in Greenwich. Barbara is half way through filling out the 'the twat's got no recourse to funds' form when I finally see the £20 note I had looked at each of the five times I had opened my wallet in my now catatonic state of panic filled disbelief. Barbara smiles, but I know she thinks I'm some sort of retard.

Anyway, so I finally set off for Norfolk - get wet, buy shirts, go to church you know the rest - blah blah blahety blah!

So who’s Nigel and why are we thanking Dolly for him?

Good question - I'm getting there.

Hooray for Dollywood
That screwy, ballyhooey Dollywood
Where any office boy
or young mechanic
Can be a panic
with just a goodlooking pan
Where any barmaid
can be a star maid
If she dances with or without a fan

But I digress (regress)

Picture the scene, if you will. It's 4.00 pm, I'm packing up the car after a nice couple of days, got to get back to London, rat race to rejoin, 27 more years until retirement to wade through, and anyway I'm due to measure up a church hall in Sydenham at 9.30 am for electoral services. So what do I do? I put my last bag in the boot, chuck in the keys and slam the boot shut! Yes you read right. I put the keys in the boot then slam it shut!

Ah but you can get into the boot via the car - it's a hatch back silly!

But no, the car was locked solid.

My keys were inside the car, my car keys and my house keys.

Why did you do that? I hear you cry

Cos I'm a frigging retard!

The blood runs from my head and I enter disaster mismanagement mode. How could I have done such a shit for brains thing? I want to go home, I still have to get home, but now I've just made it 100 times trickier.

The 4th thing to enter my mind, after hair brain schemes about getting to Norwich train station, then when back in London getting my spare keys from Jo and Anne's, coming back at the weekend with Joe with my spare keys, then driving back to London, etc., etc., etc., etc.. is to call the AA.

The recorded message suggests that if I’m in a part of the country that is flooding I'd better have a bloody good reason to stay on the line unless life and limb were at stake, but that if I was in a part of the country unaffected by the recent monsoon I should hold for an operator.

I don’t know her name but let's just call her Stern Hilda. Stern Hilda painted pictures of how much damage they were going to have to do to break into my car. She explained how I would have to sign a waiver before the work was done, give my first born to the devil, that sort of thing.

'It's 4.05 pm Mr Godwin, we aim to have someone with you by 4.55 pm.'

That was the last I ever heard of Stern Hilda.

In the next 25 minutes my life force slowly ebbs away from me. What was to become of me, how would I ever get back to London? My car was obviously going to be so damaged by the break in that it would be unsecurable, undriveable. I was right, everything was a big black hole, no point in being optimistic, as there was no point to anything anymore.

That Ladies and gentlemen was before Nigel came into my life. Not the hunkiest of AA patrol men, but he had the colour back in my cheeks within seconds with his 'don't worry there sir, I'll have your car open in no time', stylee of approach. I'd prefer his bedside manner to Hilda's (Stern) any day. Although if I have a choice of AA bedside companion I'll go for the one who came to rescue me and the advantage in Sutton. He was so sexy and as he fixed his lustful gaze on me (well I was 28, slim, gorgeous and in my prime) he explained 'I only do this for the uniform' PASS MUMMY HER SMELLING SALTS!

One folded up Tesco lemon zest washing liquid bottle, one coat hanger and 7 seconds later Nigel was in my car, he'd lowered one of the back seats, located my keys and was well into a story about the lady from Holkeham whose house he'd had to break into yesterday to get her spare set of keys as the leather on her new Jag was not for ripping with an old coat hanger.

How much damage? NONE!

I think I clawed my way back to the 'after lunch cup of tea' years today, no further mishaps but no audit commission either unfortunately.

In other news, Evie tried to crawl today!, it's the lovely Bryan's brithday tomorrow - happy birthday my antipodean beauty, Adrian's got a new Volvo (he's got a very roomy Vauxhall), and Sian's off to her Tuscan Villa (without me)!

All the best from the west.