Wednesday, 30 May 2007

The Apprentice

Watched The Apprentice last night where Alan Sugar sent the hapless fools into Ideal World TV to sell their own chosen items live on TV. The session started with much patronising comment on the saddos ( like me) who buy stuff on TV. Apparently we are all called Mavis and have huge tits (the second bit was right,anyway).

Simon and his team chose a small mini trampoline, some little sticky pads for decoupage, and a folding lightweight wheelchair. |The other team were almost as hopeless.

The first highlight of the show was a girl trying to demonstrate a carpet cleaner by not being able to get the cloth wiper on to the end, fumbling around and saying 'OK' constantly and finally wiping muck all over the floor before realising the machine was not actually turned on, before being 'terminated'.

The funniest bit was Simon, the prat, jumping up and down on the trampoline in a suit like Mr Bean and saying breathlessly how it was great exercise - 'look I'm doing it with my legs apart now!' he crowed triumphantly - 'such good fun'. He then demonstrated how to fit the legs on the base of the trampoline by holding this in front of him at trouser fly level with the leg sticking out toward the viewers,screwing it on, and meanwhile describing what huge fun this was for all the family and how easy it was for the kids to do, etc. etc. He then proceeded to put five more legs on in this manner with a running commentary which from the watcher's point of view, became funnier and funnier. At this point Alan Sugar is watching his TV screen incredulously, saying 'look where you've got the leg!', covering his face and 'get him off!' and in the studio, everyone is falling about with laughter, apart from the staff of Ideal World, who are aghast, and losing money very rapidly. I haven't laughed so much for years.

Emails of complaint from watchers followed. Strangely though, despite the complete ineptitude displayed throughout, two wheelchairs, Simon's choice, actually sold and saved him from the sack, which was reserved for the girl on his team who incompetently chose and terribly demonstrated the sticky pads.

The other team, selling magic knickers - 'for those who can't be arsed to lose weight' with a man and girl team, the guy getting more and more embarrassed, actually won the competition and were sent away for a pampering session in a Turkish Bath.

Another Ikea Rant

Home from work last night I discovered a delivery note. The delivery company who work for IKEA in Croydon had tried to deliver a door without letting me know, and had been given two wrong numbers as a contact for me, so I was required to ring their number to arrange redelivery. Tried today and there was no answer.

Rang Tracey at IKEA, whose main concern was to discipline the person who had given them the wrong numbers, and said I would have to try the delivery company again.

I finally got through to the delivery company, who told me they would deliver on Friday 'if IKEA gave them the correct paperwork'. They also said they had been instructed to pick the faulty door up from my house.

I said I was not a kitchen fitter, and the door was fitted to a cupboard. They then said I would have to contact IKEA, and ask for correct instructions to be given to them including cancelling the pick up of the door.

I then rang IKEA. The phone of the kitchen people had been diverted to another number who knew nothing about kitchens. They said I would just have to try again when Tracy (the kitchen person) got back to the kitchen department.

I have now completely given up on this since I know that Tracey finishes work at 2pm and I actually have a job of work to do and just dont have the time to liaise between IKEA and their delivery company, who should really be talking to each other instead of me.

I rang the kitchen fitter and explained the situation and he kindly agreed to try and get IKEA to do their job of delivering the kitchen cupboard door. All this so that he can find a time to fit the door!

The thing is, if only the store staff were not so absolutely hopeless, the kitchen fitting by IKEA is very good. There are very good guarantees, the cupboards and equipment are good and the price is very reasonable.

I have heard that Croydon is the worst IKEA store in the country. I think this could possibly be true.

It is extraordinary to think that this whole kitchen episode began nearly a year ago and is still going on.

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Colonel Ghaddafi, Rosario and IKEA

My brain has definitely gone. I did not fancy Saddam Hussein. It was that guy in Jordan - Colonel Ghaddafi. I knew it was someone in a silly uniform.

My friend Bob's mum, Rosario, rang tonight. Haven't heard from her in many years. She is teaching piano a bit and trying to get someone to quote to do her kitchen. Reluctantly suggested IKEA as, if she can only get them to sort her out, they are extremely reasonable. Having suggested them, it seems they were trying to deliver the last piece, a door,here today. They left a note to say IKEA had given them two wrong phone numbers for me and would I phone them re redelivery! I shall ring them tomorrow and when the bits are delivered, I will ring the fitter, who is more reliable than the stores, fortunately. Then the kitchen will be complete. I must tell Rosario if she is getting formica tops only to get the postformed ones.

Monday, 28 May 2007

More Canteen, Taiwan and Evil Malvolio

Canteen is in the middle of Spitalfields market. Very modern, with lots of glass and long benches. We had a very good rioja crianza, starters of soup and potted shrimps, then on to an Arbroath smokie with salad for Dorothy, and I had smoked haddock with spinach and mash. Julian also enjoyed the meal and we finished up with passable coffee. I had eaten too much all day to have a pudding, much to Dorothy's disappointment. Dorothy is on the GI diet and had stuck manfully to this, but was hoping for a taste of some forbidden sugary carbs which were not forthcoming.

I had another email from Taiwan. It seems that Bob is married and teaching English there. He is also a brilliant photographer, and maybe when I learn to cut and paste I can put in a link to his site here. I told him about my pathetic snaps on Flickr. His mother is living in Ealing and I now have her contact number so will get in touch.

Malvolio has forcing me up in the mornings down to a fine art: at about 5.45 or earlier if I am unlucky, I hear him coming back from an outside visit. He leaps on the bed and walks all over me pounding at me with his paws (and claws). If I stupidly have a hand out of the bed he forces his head under and walks under the hand, and continually repeats this. I pretend to be asleep, but after about fifteen minutes of this I am forced to get up. If I manage to stay asleep during this whole thing he gives up for an hour or two, but this is a rare event.

Canteen, Greed and Emails

Dorothy and Julian have kindly invited me to dinner tonight at Canteen in Spitalfields. I am looking forward to this. It really has been cold and wet all weekend. I intended doing masses of cleaning today, but instead, vegetated in front of the TV watching old films and eating too much. I shall not be desperately hungry as a result of this.

Had an email from Dorothy's childhood friend Bob through Facebook wanting to know if I was still living in Barcelona. Also had another from Roberto's wife through Genes Reunited as my emails sent to their normal email address don't seem to be getting through, though they are not bouncing back to me.

Malvolio has eaten his dinner in record time and is trying to persuade me to give him some extra dry catfood. Since he is probably as bored as I am I may do this.

Men, Shopping and Malvolio the Destroyer

According to a TV survey, most women fancy Brad Pitt. Which shows how out of touch I am. To me, he looks like someone's kid brother. However, I realise that I have odd tastes in men - ?Saddam Hussein???? My eyesight has never been very good. I hasten to add that these tastes have not been based on personality - just looks.

Conspicuous consumption again. Today I ordered a folding jewellery case which is supposed to stop the jewels from tarnishing. It has lots of little compartments for everything and can hang from a door. It also has an integral mirror AND a small travel case. Missed the leopardskin one! but consoled myself with a turquoise one. At the same time I ordered some things which you fasten to the fastener of a bracelet and necklace and this in turn fastens magnetically, so you don't have to spend hours putting necklaces on. Quite handy, hopefully.

My cat Malvolio has been looking crossly out of the catflap. It has been pouring with rain solidly for the second day and he is reluctant to get wet, but keen to observe/hunt the fledglings outside. He is definitely becoming stir-crazy - pacing around the place and stropping his claws on the sofa arm, which cost £450 to cover just over a year ago, and now has bits of stuffing coming out of it. Having ruined the front of the arm, he is now moving to virgin territory on the side of the sofa.

Sunday, 27 May 2007

Mykel, Nibby and Famous Men I Have Fancied

Had a couple of emails from Mykel who wanted to know where I lived. He knows south London and Surrey a bit. No more news from Roberto and his wife who are no doubt very busy packing for France. I am going to ring Nibby in Australia later - she was out when I rang last week, so I do hope she is there today.

Have now spoken to Nibby who has done most of the work on her new house and run out of money in the process, so I shall not expect to see her here later in the year. However she is trying to sell her shop in the Scottish borders. If this goes through she will have a bit more money to improve the house, build a garage and decking etc. and maybe come over to UK for a short holiday.

Was just watching Walid Jumblat being interviewed on the telly. I used to fancy him for some strange reason, which led me to think about famous people I have rather fancied over the years. I had a bit of a 'thing' about pop singers Adam Faith and Paul Jones when they and I were young. Even deeper in the mists of time I seem to recall writing my one and only fan letter to someone called Rory McEwen who sang Scottish and calypso songs on a Cliff Michelmore telly programme which came out in the early evening - might have been called 'Tonight'.

Other unlikely candidates for my affections include Bryan Ferry, the younger Tiny Rowlands (who looked a bit like Bryan Ferry does today), and even more oddly, Saddam Hussein in his younger days. Fortunately I am beyond the age of fancying anyone very much, though I suspect the actor Julian Rhind-Tutt, would have been in real danger when I was young. Which shows how random these things are.

I told Nibby about the T shirts in Peacocks, and she said they should be marketed to oldie women. Or oldie gay men.

Saturday, 26 May 2007

T Shirt Slogans for Big Girls

While in Peacocks yesterday with my friend Lee, we saw a T shirt with the slogan 'Your Boyfriend Wants ME'. I suggested that at 65 years old and weighing about 17 stone, perhaps I should purchase this. We both laughed a bit, but I felt there was a good marketing opportunity here - making giant T shirts with such ironic slogans for Evans or similar. Subtle slogans such as 'I shagged your boyfriend' - the possibilities are endless.Reminded me of my last visit to Evans where they were playing the Pussycat Dolls hit. Of course these T shirts could be seen as empowering for the larger lady. Not to mention a bit scary for men.

Friday, 25 May 2007

Oldie Replicas and Baby Bird

Just emailed The Oldie mag about the replicas from My stepfather in Canada was delighted to receive his replicas and wanted to know the address of the website. I think these really do make great little pressies for oldies.

Had coffee with my friend Lee this morning. She has had a welcome week off work. I told her about our trip to France and she has offered to help us with wheelchairs etc. if she is available when we have more outings. Since she is qualified in senior care, I think this will be a useful offer to add to any possible help we may get from Julian, and may leave Romy 'hands-free' to direct operations on these trips. Or to push another wheelchair!

My evil cat, Malvolio is torturing me for food. I have tried telling him he is at least half an hour early with his demands, but he is circling me like a black shark, ready to throw himself against me and trip me up should I stray from his food area, i.e. kitchen. Earlier, when I had a cup of tea in the garden, he was eyeing a poor fledgling bird who was attempting to learn to fly - the parent birds watching him while he watched the baby bird intently. Perhaps that is why he is rather impatient today. His appetite has been whetted.

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Leopardskin and Hospital Harrassment

For the day in France, I 'outed' my new bag. It was very handy and capacious if a bit 'bling' so there was no chance of losing it. It attracted comments from some of our oldies - one who said these were available on a market stall, and also a similar shopper bag, locally. I shall have to investigate. I think they might be copies as mine is from Butler and Wilson. Having the purse and bag, all I now need is the shopper bag and perhaps a small suitcase on wheels. I suppose one could see it coming around the carousel at the airport.

I just may be about to have an obsession with leopardskin. I have just missed buying several animal print garments - so feel this is a real danger. I blame Woburn. And Romy, who is keen on animal prints.

Typically, having had a couple of good days, the forecast is dismal for the bank holiday. I suppose I shall just hibernate, though it seems all right today so far.

In the news they are saying that the telephone company who provide pay phones and TV to hospital patients are going around harassing patients in their beds to buy phone cards and various services, though they deny this.

Apparently they are in financial difficulties because they have bitten off more than they can chew, as my grandmother would say, in supplying and installing expensive equipment in all these hospitals and business turning out to be considerably less brisk than they had anticipated. I would have thought that this was wholly foreseeable. Most people have mobiles and will use them, despite the rules (about to be relaxed in hospitals anyway). Others are so ill they just want to sleep and not make or receive calls, or receive visitors, particularly salesman, while possibly in extremis, or at least just feeling dreadful.

The Patients Association is rightly appalled about the whole thing. Having worked in hospitals as both a nurse and an administrator in the past, so am I.

Rant over.

Successful Day in France

Well, waking up at 4.45am really does not suit me. It was a brilliant day, sunshine all day and very warm. Anyway, we took the wheelchairs, everyone had a current passport and we drove down to the shuttle without mishap. I had never been on the shuttle, which is not much bigger than the coach. I have to say it looked rather like a set of giant metal coffins on rails from the outside, and the coach fitted horribly snugly inside, apparently with 2" either side to spare when driving in, so glad I was not driving. Fortunately there were loo facilities.

We came out and drove to Cap Blanc Nez straight away to find the restaurant which was at the top of a hill. Although a little warm because of the sun, and the panoramic nature of the restaurant with glass around and above, the restaurant was a great success. The views were breathtaking - both lovely sea views and views down to a couple of little hamlets with green fields surrounding. The staff were very helpful and people appreciated the pleasant ambiance with nicely laid tables and linen napkins.

There was a choice of seafood, soup or mussels for starters, salmon, skate or steak for the main course, and ice cream, chocolate mousse, apple pie or creme brulee for pudding, with wine or beer or soft drinks, and water on the tables.I started with a plate of whelks, winkles, small brown shrimps and large pink prawns and a very nice home-made mayonnaise with french bread, followed by salmon and vegetables. All very nice and well presented and washed down with white wine and water.Some of the more adventurous started with mussels. Romy declared that the creme brulee was the best she had ever tasted.

We then went off to Cite Europe for the statutory supermarket sweep and then back to the ferry, stopping at the duty free on the way.

Everyone enjoyed the day which was our first experiment taking a group abroad. A lot of people said that having lunch in such a nice restaurant had made the trip memorable, which I think vindicates our choice of having a slow and relaxing lunch first, rather than rushing around spending all day shopping. One or two said they would have been happy just to go to France for lunch. I would have more confidence taking people on a holiday abroad now as everyone coped so well with the day.

I was completely exhausted at the end of the day and had a very early night.

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Day Trip to France and Selling House

D-day tomorrow. The weather forecast is good.

Our first job is to transport two wheelchairs from my house at 7am to the meeting place.

Our next job is to check everyone in and see all passports. We have a seating plan for those less abled.

When the coach comes we reserve certain seats for those, then load up the boot with the scooters and wheelchairs. Then we set off.

We are going on the shuttle on the coach which I sincerely hope has loo facilities. We are aiming to make the restaurant by 1pm for a leisurely lunch after which we shall proceed, hopefully seeing a little of the coastline to Euro Cite for some shopping before the return journey.

We should arrive back around 8pm. It is a bit of a marathon day, but because people will be sitting in the coach or the restaurant for most of the time, should not be too tiring.

Just had an email from Roberto's wife. Their buyer has let them down so they are selling at auction. Hope it goes well.

It's the day. Romy is on her way. Weather looks good - so here goes!

Monday, 21 May 2007

How We Are, Flickr and Worries About France

I thought Dorothy and Julian were avoiding me - but they are just cooking. I needed advice about how to get some snaps on to Flickr so they were part of the group which is exhibiting at Tate Britain. However I managed to do this without help.

I received the invitation to the private view at Tate Britain today, which is the actual day of the private view and was not inclined to drop everything for this on a dull and rainy day. Not brilliant organisation. There is another private view later in June which I shall go to. They are at least temporarily showing all the snaps ( my few seconds of fame) before selecting 40 for a special exhibition later this year.

I also sent a snap of my bangles and a mirror I made as requested by my step brother Roberto and his wife.

I turned the rest of the Stilton ice cream into Stilton and celery soup which I had for dinner tonight.

There is a nice girl from Peru working at the pub. She was threading tiny glass beads on wire to make a very small chandelier. It seems that she is studying theatre design at St. Martins and has to make small maquettes for the different sets. She was amazed that we were going to France just for the day. I do hope it won't tire everyone out too much as it is a very long day. I hope it won't rain.

Sunday, 20 May 2007

Johnny Will Be Shirley Bassey - and More!

It's a tragedy - Julian will be in Barcelona when my friend Johnny's cabaret show is on so I shan't be able to go and do his makeup and see the show.

Johnny tells me the white slinky dress looks marvellous - he had it made especially, and apparently the dressmaker has also made him a leotard for another act. He assures me that he is able to walk in his 'bling' high heeled sandals, size 9 from the Littlewood catalogue - so much so that he forgot he was wearing them when he answered the door to the postman yesterday.

He will send me a video of the show. All 120 seats sold in less than an hour, which is a good start. I really feel I will be missing something here - the sight of a 68 year old 6ft 5" man in bling sandals, a sexy white slinky dress with flowers stuck all over, a black wig and suntan makeup would be a sight for sore eyes even if he couldn't sing, act or mime - and I'm sure he will do all three to the limit.

He has met some nice new straight friends, an elderly married couple who adore him and are always inviting him to tea and dinner. I am very pleased to hear this, as he has always been popular with the ladies!

A Matter of Female Directors and Male Critics

There's been a reviewers row over the play I saw: A Matter of Life and Death. It seems that most of the heavy (male) critics have been heavily slagging it off, and Nicholas Hytner has come to its defence. Of course the director is a woman. So often plays which have critical acclaim - Rafta, Rafta, for example - I find to be amusing but not exceptionally good, but those such as a Matter of Life and Death, which are slammed, I find to be some of the best I have ever seen. This row is described in todays' Observer.

However, also in the same paper there seems to be general agreement that the new architects have restored the Festival Hall sensitively to something approaching the original 1951 concept. I shall look forward to seeing this when it opens in a month. I shall definitely try eating at the Skylon restaurant.

Interestingly, some years ago a friend of mine came across two of the original seats from the Festival Hall. Having bought them for around £300, he sold them at auction for nearly £2000. They were sold singly, one featuring on the catalogue, which must have helped. Also the timing was quite good as it was the 50th anniversary of the Festival of Britain when they were sold.

Bag Lady is a Snapper.

I have achieved! Have got on to and have put some of my snaps on flickr and then labelled them and put them in for the competition to be shown at the Tate. They are only showing 40 throughout the country so they are probably putting professional snappers on, but - nothing ventured.

You have to join the howweare group on Flickr to enter. I am encouraging Dorothy and Julian who are much better snappers than me to submit a few snaps for this. Good fun, and quite a challenge for me even getting my snaps onto Flickr. Had forgotten I had taken a group to Greenwich and these snaps are already on Flickr together with a few holiday snaps from Devon.

Cheap Footless Leopard Tights, Wigs and Sauerkraut

Had a glass of wine with my cartoonist friend, Thom. I purchased my newspapers, then strayed into one of those cheapo shops, Peacocks, where I bought a pair of footless tights in leopardskin, (got one bit over left ankle and gave up - too small) for £4 so anyone yearning for a pair of these, please contact, and missing my hair after the new haircut, a hairpiece for £6. This was considerably more successful and attaches with a comb. It is highlighted blond and virtually matches my current colour. So I can still occasionally have a long hair look.

I have started making a sauerkraut dish. I put some chopped onions in goose fat, then put in some lumps of fatty Polish bacon, and also a bit of chorizo for colour. Seasoned with caraway seeds and quite a bit of gin, then chucked in a jar of sauerkraut and some sliced 'country' Polish sausages. There is far too much of this for one. I may be eating it for days.

I may have some of the Badger beer with it which was sent by Ocado a few weeks ago as a free gift with my shopping.

Saturday, 19 May 2007

Chic Cheese and Forgotten by Family

The guys at the pub were really sweet, they reckoned my recipe was too avant garde for those chefs, whose restaurants might suffer if they put forward too many trendy recipes. Quite a funny idea, but actually I think they were looking for quite homespun stuff. At least the audition made me get a haircut, sorely needed. I may still buy the ice cream machine as a consolation prize.Though there's not much space in my kitchen.

I was thinking about the audition which was the first one I have been to. I was chatting with some of the punters, and one had written a cookery book and failed to get it published after writing to every publisher in the country. She was told they only wanted cookery books from famous TV chefs, so she had paid to join some website which publicised all open auditions for any telly programme, i.e. extras, audience, etc. It seems she trawled about the place going to all these auditions in the hope of getting publicity to get the book published, and 'get on TV'. I had no idea people were so desperate to be on television.

No further word from my new-found (and lost again?) relatives. Wrote to Mykel and Roberto, but nothing further. I see Mykel's folk band has plenty of gigs coming up so he may be quite busy.

Boo Hoo - Didn't Get the Part!

Back from the audition. Actually it was quite fun. All those hopefuls standing and sitting around with their signature dishes, some giving out their recipes and publicity shots. One group with matching T shirts.

I sat around a lot and gave two brief interviews to camera before being ushered in to stand on a red cross and pitch (very briefly) to three celebrity chefs. John Burton Race was one, there was a dark bullet headed one who looked familiar, and Gilly Goolden in the middle. I briefly described the dish and showed my snaps. Gilly Goolden was good cop and liked it but the others said there were only two places, one in Spain (El Bulli?) where such things were done and they basically did not agree with mucking around with perfectly good Stilton. I think they could have been having a pop at Heston Blumenthal of the Fat Duck. So that was it.

As I walked out the camera crew were ready, in true reality TV style to ask how I felt, to which I replied that I was delighted as I would be able to stop fiddling around with Stilton and my only regret at not getting through was that I had no excuse to purchase an expensive ice cream machine to actually make the stuff. Mind you, if Ferran Adria and Heston Blumenthal had been selecting - who knows? I had no idea their food was so unpopular with some other chefs, since it obviously goes down well with punters. Maybe it is a cult thing.

The crew asked me if I would be willing to take part in any future TV cookery programmes and I agreed. I am not sure why, but I suppose it was quite amusing and an interesting experience. Oh dear, when the programme is aired, I will be portrayed as one of those mad loonies with hopeless dishes! Rather like the X-factor failures.

Friday, 18 May 2007

Expensive Haircut and Thin Dress

I went to the hairdressers to have my hair coloured and cut. With my long hair I looked like the wicked witch of the west, and now look uncannily like Clarissa Dickson-Wright. This may or may not bode well for the audition tomorrow. A cookery show audition is a silly way to spend a Saturday really. Still, it is a new experience and I might escape early, always supposing that I get there in time in the first place. Still don't know what to wear.

The M & S dress arrived. The zip will definitely not do up by ordinary means as the dress is so tight. I think it is meant to be a tight, fitted dress. Shall try hooking a coat hanger into the top of the zip and hauling it up that way. If it still doesn't work they are lying about the size. The navy loose cotton jacket top is fine and looks quite nice over a black dress. It took me a while to like black and navy together but I really do like the combination now.

Tried the dress on again with magic knickers. It does zip up with difficulty if worn back to front. Obviously you need to be married to wear it as you definitely need someone to pull the zip up. I still think they are lying about the size. I shall hope to shrink into it, though this is rather a forlorn hope.

The Eggs are Shrinking Again

Although described as mixed weight, the latest box of Mabel Pearman's Burford Browns are much smaller than the last lot. Obviously the egg mixer is on holiday, and all the older hen's eggs (ie the large ones) are going in together, and then the younger hen's eggs (the small ones). Perhaps in a week or two they will be more mixed. This is not a worry to me as I just eat two small eggs or one large egg. Makes for a surprise every time I open a new box.

My life is obviously tragic since I get such excitement out of these things.

Malvolio and Gigantic Butler and Wilson Cat Bag

A restless night. My diabetic cat, Malvolio, started stalking around the room at about 2am, finally knocking over a large picture which had been leaning against the wall. I got up and he wandered about the kitchen. Thinking he might have been disorientated, I gave him a small amount of dry food, then let him outside for a few minutes. After which he wandered around my room for a bit longer before going to sleep in the wardrobe. This morning, Malvolio is fine.

Oh dear, I am buying again. I think my judgement is definitely impaired in the mornings. I was watching a shopping programme on TV and became transfixed by the most vulgar bag I have ever seen. A giant handbag made by Butler and Wilson, it featured animal print and a huge tiger face on either side, banded with what looks like gold leather with huge studs, and gold ends. I became completely hypnotised while I picked up the telephone and - Reader, I bought it. I blame our recent visit to Woburn Safari Park. I do not know how I could bear to walk outside the house with this. I have been comforting myself with the fact that big, bold bag fashion is de rigueur now, and that my plain black dress might enable me to carry it off, so to speak, but I am in fear and trembling of its arrival in the post. The positive side is that it is quite enormous and I can stuff lots of shopping in it.

I shall have to stop watching TV in the morning.

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Was Oldest of Three - Now Oldest of Six

I got it wrong, Mykel, ten years younger than me, is the eldest. Then Cherie, 13 years younger, then Roberto, who is 15 years younger than me. Roberto was a DJ and quizmaster for years in Torquay, which he gave up to move to Wales and do a cottage up there which he is now selling to move to France and join his stepdaughter and family in Brittany. Cherie is in the antiques business, and a technophobe regarding computers, and Mykel is a musician in a folk band, following in the family music tradition.

From what Roberto writes, they all sound a jolly,easy going lot, which is good. I have still to contact Mykel and Cherie.

The snaps I took of Stilton ice cream came back. They are not great. They definitely look more out of focus (which might be a good thing) in a large size print. Must purchase a folder for them and my pathetically small presentation paper.

Had a good day at work. Nice little working lunch in Borough Market, after which Romy went to visit some clients at home and I went to buy some stationery. We are working out the figures for the coach trip to France. We really must check each passport before leaving London - best to discover out-of-date ones before we leave - but with any luck they will all be OK. Must get a few euros myself.

Not looking forward to the audition. Romy is not sure whether she will be able to attend. I just have to sort out what to wear and remember to take the snaps and a few words on a cribsheet with me. Might take a bit of Colston Bassett also.

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Dorothy, You Have Two New Uncles and Another Aunt

Finally, a letter from my little brother Roberto. It's real - I really am the oldest of six! His wife Lauren had been writing to me before. It seems they live in Wales and are in the process of selling up and buying a pub in France.

The oldest of those three, my sister Cherie, lives in Torquay and my other brother Mykel, lives and always has lived where I was born, in Paignton. They are all happy to be in touch with me. This is the brother whose name and address Romy uncovered in her researches.

Roberto tells me that my papa gave up his career to look after the children.(There must be another story here). He also did a bit of work as an ornamental plasterer for a film set, makings some concrete steps look like marble, and also had a bit part playing the trumpet in the film 'Isadora'. He was, as my mother had told me, a very talented musician.

Having been absolutely terrified of identity fraud, and not having these new relatives, I have gone through a huge rollercoaster of emotions, but now realise that in fact I can be happy again that they do actually exist - have always wanted to belong to a 'tribe'.

I shall reply to Roberto, and get in touch with the other two. I would really love to meet them all. If we didn't get on it would not matter as we all have our own lives but if we did, so much the better. After the worries of the past couple of days, I now feel happy and excited again.

No News, Latino Lunch and Wheelchair

Still no word from my supposed relative. This would point towards Dorothy being right. However my colleague Romy has looked at the correspondence and it does all look genuine. In addition, being a bit of a sleuth, she found someone with the same unusual surname and initial in the town where they supposedly came from, complete with address and telephone number. They may just be busy people. Just to be on the safe side I have been in contact with my bank to change all my security numbers etc.

We had lunch in a latino restaurant and discussed its suitability for a group luncheon for the seniors. It is a good large venue, with very attentive and polite staff and reasonable prices. It might be worth an experimental try. Romy felt that we should aim to try and have a once monthly lunch at the same place on the same day every month if we found somewhere successful. Rather like an upmarket lunch club. We then went to purchase a folding wheelchair. This will be very helpful when going on trips and can be stored ready for such trips. However for the time being we cabbed it back to my address to save heaving it up lots of stairs to our office. It will stay in my flat until our next outing to France in a couple of weeks, after which it can be kept in the church.

Monday, 14 May 2007

Am I a Fraud Victim?

Oh dear, Dorothy thinks the people who have contacted me via Genes Reunited are conmen doing some identity fraud which of course is quite possible. He says I am the ideal person to fall for this as I have been looking for a relative. Rather unfortunate that I have given them a lot of information. Interestingly, and more worryingly, have not heard anything from them since. It is a pity I did not see his comment re this before I gave them all my information. Have now taken my family tree off the site - probably shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted as my grandmother would have said. I do hope he is wrong, but am now very worried indeed.

Stilton Lace, Little Black Dress and Parisian Chic d'Antan

Have now taken the snaps and sent them off. I hope they will be ready for the audition. The Stilton lace looks rather fine in small pieces dotted about a white square plate.

Yielded to temptation and bought another little black dress from Marks & Spencer. I think I shall start collecting black dresses. With any luck I can stick to these for life, rather than trying to find tops and skirts or pants which match. I can just change the accessories.

Reminds me of France many years ago when I lived there. I used to wonder why the French girls always looked so chic. After observing them for a while, wandering from cafe to cafe, I started to notice that they had very few clothes, often all in the same or similar colours, but regularly changed their accessories: bags, belts, shoes, sunglasses etc.

One girl wore a dress for a week (presumably washing it at night) but it looked different every day because of the accessory change. One day she wore it with a narrow white belt on the hips, white flat sandals and white sunglasses with a black and white bag with a chain. The next day it was with large red beads around her neck, no belt, a red sunhat and high heeled shoes, and so on, with not only different colours but different accessories from tiny neck scarves, stoles, hats, bold earrings, very wide belts, low slung narrow ones, bags of all styles and sizes, and on her feet, anything from stilettos to flat toepost sandals. Some of the colours were plain, some patterned. This was many years ago when clothes were very expensive, but accessories could be cheap and cheerful. Perhaps I shall take up this idea. Mind you these days there is such a label obsession, and people are more interested in how much an accessory costs and who makes it than what it actually looks like. Especially bags it would seem this year. I shall definitely buck the trend here!

Sunday, 13 May 2007

More Long Losts, Falling, Fromage and Entertainer

Just received another email. I have two new brothers and a sister! More later.

I now have one half sister, two half brothers, and nephews and nieces and their offspring, some actual and some expected arrivals. I thought I was one of three and now it turns out I am the oldest of six - quite the matriarch - as my sister started calling me when our mother died!

Julian has sent me some wonderful snaps from Woburn Safari Park. She really is a brilliant photographer, as is Dorothy.

Had a long chat with my ex sister in law, Madeleine. She is very excited by my new family. She is still having computer problems but is hoping to sort these out soon. Unfortunately my ex mother in law is still having falls at night, despite four visits from helpers during the day. Madeleine is very worried about it all but trying to keep her out of a nursing home. I am afraid this may not be possible for much longer.

Madeleine wants to go and see The Entertainer at the Old Vic and will attempt to source some tickets, as I would also enjoy this, though it may be too late to get these.

Today I shall hope for a ray or two of sunshine or at least decent light so I can finally snap the damned Stilton ice cream. I shall take several shots - one of the smetana mix and one of the double cream mix, all with various garnishes and from different angles and sent these off to be printed - maybe A4. I shall find a display folder from somewhere and write some stuff about how I first came to make it etc. so there is a bit of a story about it. I shall just have to force myself to take the thing seriously - ha ha. Madeleine has suggested I wear magenta, though this is not a colour featuring in my current wardrobe. A magenta shawl maybe?

Sibling Curiosity and Stilton Lace

I have not yet heard again from my half brother. Maybe never will. Things that make me curious are a) my current siblings are all from different fathers. My sister looks like her father, my brother looks like his father. I do not recall my father, but apparently he was short and fat, which would explain my appearance, as no one else in my maternal family is at all overweight, though some are short,b) Whether I have any other siblings, which is also possible. Do I thus have nephews and nieces, how many, what sex, what age? I don't think I have any uncles or aunts, at least still living, but who knows? What kind of man was my father? Did he tell people of his previous marriage? Did he and his next wife stay together? Are the other two siblings from the same mother? I have suddenly become deeply curious about all this.

When I mentioned the brother to Dorian his first question was: 'Is he rich?'this had not occurred to me at all, probably since I am, though not at all wealthy, reasonably financially secure. In fact the reverse might be true, they may be quite impoverished!

The cheese 'lace' I made having been successful, I tried a similar method to make blue cheese 'lace'. However this was not wonderful as blue cheese, being softer, melts too much and the lacey pieces are a rather nasty dark grey colour after this melting. Might try it with Caerphilly or Cheshire cheese however. It really is all good fun. Made a second batch of Stilton ice cream using Smetana, sour cream from Lithuania. Not exactly true British, but probably any sour cream would do. Certainly before freezing it tasted better than that made with ordinary double cream. We shall see.

Questions About Long Lost Relatives and Nibby's New House

I am still wondering about my father. My 'new' brother and his family seem rather amazed at my existence. I am now wondering if perhaps my father did not tell his family he had previously been married and had a daughter. Quite possible I suppose. I even wonder if his next wife knew. I think she must have known. Anyway.

I am now wondering whether the other person with a relative with the same birth year and name as my father is in fact another half brother. However, he did not reply to my email.I may have at least two brothers I did not know about. Of course, at my age, one doesn't know who is still alive.

I rang Nibby who seems even more impressed even with this new brother and possible other siblings than I am. We chatted a bit about it and decided that even if they did not want to meet or take things further, at least I know they exist, which is interesting to me.

Nibby has now officially purchased her house in Kangaroo Valley and the workmen are in, converting bits, putting kitchen and bathroom in, etc. This is marvellous news. She has wonderful views from the house and it is exciting to have a project.

Saturday, 12 May 2007

Ice Cream and Long Lost Relatives

I have made some ice cream and it's in the freezer. Bought a square white plate to snap it on when it is finished and there is a bit of sun, and some bits of garnish. Have managed to make that kind of cheese lace stuff by melting grated cheese.

In between had a message from someone on Genes Reunited who thinks he is related to me via my father. Nothing further, but I have told him the little I know and hopefully, he will come back and I can find out precisely how we are related. He is a bit cagey and won't show me his family tree because his wife's family are on this and he doesn't know that I am not a nutter, though that might be open to question according to some of my friends and relations.

I have just had a reply from Genes Reunited. From the wife of the guy who is related to me. She says he is working tonight so has asked her to reply. She says he is the youngest of three and is my father's son, i.e. my half brother and is about 48, i.e. much younger than me. So I could possibly have three more half brothers and sisters from my father's side. Amazing to discover this at my age. I shall keep in touch and endeavour to find out more about my father. Apparently he died when this son was only 15, presumably in 1972 or thereabouts, which would make him about 61 at the time.

Bad Cooking, Shopping and More Cooking

I have become slightly obsessed by this hen idea. Went to a site called Eglu. It seems you definitely need two hens as they like company. Unfortunately in addition to the hen house they need quite a long run which is also provided as are the hens and feed if you want. If I moved some of my plants from the side of the house I might just have room. It would be nice having my own eggs and the hens would keep my cat amused. It is quite expensive, but worked out that I spend about £3 a week on eggs so it would pay for itself in a year or so. Apparently the eggs are small and plentiful to begin with, and become larger and less plentiful as the hens get older. Maybe the eggs from Mabel Pearman's Burford Browns come from older hens. Aha....... shall google for more hen information. I think my sister told me I should get bantams as they are smaller and scratch around less.

Have googled a bit more. There is quite a nice Cotswold company who provide a larger wooden hutch and a couple of hens for a bit less. There is also another company who do a small hutch with integral run which looks a better size for me.

Just made quite a nice lamb and bean curry. I think this is a displacement activity. Really I should be out buying cream and Stilton and looking up savoury biscuit recipes.

Just made a batch of biscuits. They have come out more like flattened scones. I really dont think the baking powder in the recipe was a good idea. Shall have to try again.

Have now mixed plain flour with an equal quantity of grated blue cheese, seasoned with black pepper caraway seeds and made quite wet with milk and poured into a baking tin in a hot oven. Mmmm - I wonder. Just realised I have forgotten to add some porridge oats. Will try again later. After I go shopping. Cooking is really not my thing. Oh dear. The so-called biscuit has come out as something very soggy. try again I think. Have now purchased the cheese and cream to make more ice cream.

Friday, 11 May 2007

Cat Fight and Egg Mystery

Looked outside this morning and the pond pump had stopped working, the solar light was lying on its side as was a huge plant pot. I suspect a midnight cat confrontation.

I shall have to take the bulbs out of the plant pot and repot them. It has obviously been raining for half the night. I have still not tried turning the solar light on as I don't think there has been enough sun so will leave it to absorb more sunlight hopefully for another day.

I cannot decide what to have for breakfast: porridge or fried pancetta with a couple of eggs. I think the pancetta is winning. Unfortunately, Tesco seem to have run out of Black Forest Ham, which I prefer. Strangely, the Mabel Pearman's Burford Brown eggs seem to have grown to an enormous size. I have been eating these for ages, usually described as of mixed weight, and usually rather small, hence two for breakfast. However the last couple of boxes have contained absolutely enormous eggs. I wonder if the hens are mutating?

On TV the other day they showed a news item about a boy who had put a box of Cotswold Legbars in an incubator and one had hatched, so he had a pet chicken - quite healthy looking. Perhaps I should try this, as you can now buy a foxproof hen container which looks a bit like a large version of a cat carrier. I always fancied keeping chickens. They could stagger around the garden and the kitchen and when I was at work and at night I could pack them (or rather, it)up safely in the hennery.

Cheese Dreams, Auditions and Stilton Ice Cream Again

Have been dreaming about Stilton ice cream and how to present it: with Stilton biscuits if I can make these - thin, using a small amount of oats added and Stilton as fat.Sort of stabbed on top of ice cream balls like wafers. Maybe surrounded by a very small amount of tomato coulis with added red wine or port or blueberries for colour contrast to the creamy greenish Stilton.

I could take some photographs to the audition next Saturday. I may have to invite Dorothy and Julian to dinner to sit around a table ostensibly having dinner and eating some for the camera ??? Anyway I need to take some snaps of the ice cream this weekend for them to be back in time.

The auditions are all day so it's no good making the actual ice cream. I don't think things will go any further than this as I am sure that my colleague and I are the joke candidates. Pity, because if I had had to actually make the stuff I would have had an excuse to buy a fancy ice cream maker.

Mothy has been reading this blog from New Zealand. I wish he had some bright ideas for my presentation. My sister Nibby did suggest I might try making it with sour cream as an experiment. Not that I have been able to find sour cream locally. May pop up to Borough Market today.

Sans Camera, Sans Meetings, Avec Lunch but Sans Local

Oh dear. I forgot to mention that when I started taking photos at Woburn, my digital camera immediately ran out of power. I was going to recharge the battery today, but in all the household chaos I have managed to lose the cables and battery charging case. I know they were in a carrier bag and hope it has not inadvertently been thrown away. Have looked everywhere.

Trying to organise a meeting for the vixens. About 30 emails have passed back and forth. Three can do 25th May (just), three can do 26th May, three can do 5,7 and 13 June, and two can do 4,6 and 12 June. Will just have to wait until there is a date four people can actually make. It looks fairly hopeless so I shall give up for the time being and let the other three organise something.

Pouring with rain outside. I had a lunch del dia at La Bodeguita at the top of Elephant and Castle. This consisted of very good sopa de frijoles, which turned out to be soup with red kidney beans, followed by a pork kind of steak with plantain and rice plus a coke for £5, to which I added a cappucino afterwards. The staff are very well mannered and attentive. Excellent value.

My friend Dorian told me the pub up the road will be turned into a hotel or hostel, open to residents only. Most of the elderly people around here are regulars, which will make life very difficult for them as there is no other comparable place. They are also getting rid of the local chemist shop, again the only local one, which will be a nuisance. Not sure if the pub will be a proper hotel or a homeless hostel.

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Daisies, Rain and Woburn

Failed to print the Gilbert & George poster because it was in a zip format which you have to pay for. There's always a catch.

Bought a daisy plant in Borough Market. Took it home in a taxi and it smelled quite awful. Like ancient pee. Good thing it is going outside in the garden. I think it is called a marguerite.

It rained for a lot of the day. I worked at home later on various things for the office and got some cash out to pay for lunch in France when we take the coach later in the month. I am terrified of finding the office debit card does not work when we try to pay for lunch there and cannot afford to subsidise this myself, so have taken the precaution of getting cash out to avoid future problems. Otherwise I should not have slept until the ordeal (sorry, outing) was over.

Today, we took a coach up to Woburn Safari Park. Julian came to help with pushing a wheelchair. We had a good start, but the weather started dulling down as we did our first safari tour. The animals were wonderful, especially the Siberian tigers. We then had lunch which was quite substantial, but as the weather by this time had deteriorated further, we hung around in the gift shop and had an extra drink. A few braved the weather and went to look at the smaller animals. Before returning home we did another safari tour. This time the lions were more animated, one playing football and others running around. A monkey was dismantling a windscreen wiper. I think people enjoyed the day despite the inclement weather.

Poor Dorothy was ill in bed, partly it seems caused by having put together my garden furniture and caught another cold.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

More Plumbing, Strange Fruit, Vixens and Gilbert and George

The valve came. Cab was £12. I do hope it fits.

Someone from E-search rang to contact Dorothy. A bit suspicious, I took their number and passed it on. They seem to be some kind of market research outfit.

I looked at the solar light I had put in the garden and at last there seems to be enought sunlight to feed it. I shall let it absorb a couple of days sunshine before I try it at night. At least it was very cheap in the sale if it is not very good.

I am feeling very tired today but must do a little local shopping as it is rather late to think of going in to work, so will take today as annual leave as I never seem to take the full amount of leave due. Because I do a fair amount of overtime it is hard to fit leave in between events at work. I shall endeavour to take some time off in August or September when my sister Nibby comes over from Australia, and maybe a week or so in Barcelona in October.

My plumber arrived and said the valve looked completely different. It was. It was plastic and the other had been brass. He removed the old brass one. The O ring had failed, causing the brass to rub away causing the leak. He thought the brass had been badly cast. He fitted the new one which took a long time because it was rather different and it mended the leak and was much better to use, though I don't know how long it will last as it is only plastic. Maybe I can find another spare one. He refused to let me pay as he felt that I had been let down badly by the manufacturers which of course were in China. His own tap suppliers are in fact his manufacturers and will always agree to put things right without cost.

Bought a Dragon Fruit. It is pinky red with bits sticking out all over. Cut off the top and the fruit is white with tiny black seeds and can be eaten like a boiled egg. Not a huge flavour but pleasant and very attractive.

We are attempting to arrange a meeting of the vixens. One is going to let me have all her available dates. Another has given me a few dates in June, so I am hoping the other two can fit in with some of these. Piss-ups and breweries come to mind. I am looking forward to making a trifle. Shall use Marsala instead of sherry.

Just watched the Gilbert and George Imagine programme and downloaded their picture. Dont know how to print it I only have a little laptop and no printer. We shall see. I am interested in their fascination with plane trees. I too have always been intrigued by plane trees and have taken a few photographs of these in the past.

Monday, 7 May 2007

Desultory Day and Plumbing Problems

Had to ring the plumber as my bathroom tap - a complicated modern arrangement, had a leaking outflow valve which was dripping into my bath via the tiles, staining the tile cement. The plumber said I needed to contact the supplier for another, as he tried to tighten the thing and it was still dripping. It had been very stiff to turn from the outset, and I had to contact him as an emergency call on two occasions when I could not turn the thing off at all. My son sent me the link for where he had bought the stuff so I have to ring them tomorrow. No quote for the sitting room floor yet.

My ex sister in law rang to complain that her computer would not work at all - that it had an 'infection' presumably a virus, her camera was broken and her car needed changing. I had no answer to all this.

It is a bank holiday Monday and is a bit cold and has been raining all morning. Benefits the garden at least. I have been pottering around tidying a bit here and there and dreading the mammoth task of decluttering my clothes.

Just made the discovery that the plumber has tightened the bathtap so that I cannot use the bath or shower, but it is still dripping. I will have to just wash and wait.

I rang the supplier in Wapping who said the tap was supplied as a complete set and they could not break it up but would get back to me. They then said that they would cab me the part so I rang my plumber.

They then rang again to say they had sold the set they were taking the part from and I would have to wait four to six weeks for the manufacturers to send the part from China as they were offering no guarantee, just the manufacturers. Rang my plumber who said it was outrageous - that they should keep parts for two years and supply and replace faulty parts at their expense and I should ring Trading Standards etc.

The tap people then rang to say they thought it was a faulty valve, and offered to send a new one. I am paying for this to be cabbed over and will ring my plumber. Hopefully he will be able to fit this tomorrow. Hopefully it will work.

Out in the Maghreb

Someone in a pub was recounting his story of North Africa.

He and his wife who was unwell had opted for a short holiday. On arrival they decided they wanted to smoke some cannabis (for purely medical reasons, of course!) and rather unwisely approached all the hotel staff, who were unsurprisingly appalled at this request. However he struck gold with a small old toothless man who visited the hotel and sold small items of jewellery and so on. The man promised to meet him and supply the drugs the following day.

The next morning the guy was sitting on the pavement outside the hotel. My acquaintance grabbed his money and went out and sat next to him. They both looked straight ahead at the road. He went to hand over the money and the man said 'not now, in fifteen minutes'then walked off, returned in a few minutes and said 'follow me'. My acquaintance walked through the bushes, rather concerned about being mugged, but went on into a clearing . The old man turned, and started undoing his flies, presumably to remove the secreted cannabis. However, instead the man displayed an absolutely enormous proof of membership of the male sex, while at the same time grinning and showing a full set of teeth. Shocked at this turn of events, the prodigious size of the male organ and the sudden appearance of teeth in a previously toothless man my acquaintance ran away as fast as he could, realising as he went that he had approached the wrong 'seller'- a complete stranger at the roadside. It seems the old man was equally scared by his reaction and also ran as fast as he could in the opposite direction.

The original toothless one came back with the necessary cannabis later that day.

My acquaintance insists the second man was an absolute double of the first, but with teeth. His wife was not amused.

Sunday, 6 May 2007

Nibby and Mothy - My Far Flung Family

Not a word from Erma Crump since I described her here. Being mysterious I expect.

I had a long conversation with my sister, telling her about all the help I have had from Dorothy and Julian. She reminded me that her childhood name was Nibby. Apparently she used to spend many a happy hour leaning over a fence chatting with a large black bull named Nibnob - hence we renamed her Nibby.

Well, Nibby is having a great time in Kangaroo Valley, and won first prize for her mask at a masked party last night. She has also sold another painting and is getting the workmen in to her new and delightful tiny traditional Australian bungalow. She is having a new bathroom and kitchen put in and is looking forward to being able to move in. She will come to England in August or early to mid September, so I shall book some annual leave when I know the dates. I shall probably go to Spain for a bit before Christmas.

Nibby is five years younger than me, a very talented artist and designer. She is immediately able to convey a tasteful English look to any room, so I am really looking forward to seeing some snaps of her house when completed, as I suspect it will have the very best of a combination of traditional old Australian and English design.

Just had a surprise call from our very much younger brother Mothy in New Zealand. He has changed jobs and is now working in personnel with a friend. He loves his new job and thinks he should have been doing this years ago. Mothy is very happy in New Zealand. His son (above, when much younger) is coming to England as part of his last school year and doing a history project visiting war fields and sites in Europe. He will be around mid July and I shall meet up for a meal in London.

Saturday, 5 May 2007

Dorothy and Julian Come to Dine

I asked my son and daughter-in-law to provide me with pseudonyms. My son chose Dorothy and his wife Julian.

Today Dorothy and Julian came around to help. Julian carried a large daisy plant I had bought at Borough market and I cunningly placed the pot amid deep foliage, so it looks as though it has always been growing there.

Dorothy spent hours dismantling my new garden furniture and reassembling the lot as I had somehow put it together completely wrongly. Meanwhile Julian cleared up my front basement plants and swept all the mess up, replacing a moribund plant with a nicer one from my back garden.

Dorothy, not to be outdone, and with some help from Julian, put the venetian blind up in my kitchen. Privacy at last. Julian then cooked a wonderful roast chicken which we had with basmati rice and roast asparagus, followed by country cheddar and Colston Bassett Stilton with rioja and oat biscuits.

All this took from about 4.30 to 11pm. I am now rather happily tired, and even my cat seems more content as he has unusually had some chicken leftovers.

I showed Dorothy my new biker's jacket, not totally authentic, but not far off. He said it looked better than he thought it would. Not sure if this is a compliment, but probably is, coming from him.

The Vixens and Erma Crump

A friend emailed to compliment me on my blog. I had forgotten I had mentioned it to her. She obviously finds it rather boring - she suggested I gave everyone fictional names, such as Erma Crump, and glamorous,exciting lives. She wishes. However, I shall now refer to her as Erma. Anyone else desiring to be included under a pseudonym of their choice be warned: I shall feel free to play with their actions and characters.

Back to Erma - she is a tall, annoyingly elegant woman of a certain age, who looks wonderful in pearls and can make a fake fur look real. She works at a glamorous opera venue (part-time of course - full-time would not be ladylike) but is otherwise a housewife, mother, grandmother and pillar of the community and WI member. All is not as it seems however.

Many years ago, a group of us, known as the vixens, once worked at a run-down hospital, which is where we all met. Working hard, she declared, was not 'ladylike'. In our ladylike way we would occasionally drink a very small glass of madeira, secreted in a box file, before luncheon in the appalling canteen.

Erna was an expert in displacement activities - always finding discarded furniture in dusty corners of the hospital, and dragging them up to 'furnish' our tatty old offices which looked like a rather unsuccessful charity shop.

I think Erma must have read in a fifties magazine that women should be 'mysterious'. She took this very seriously, to the extent of becoming totally unreliable regarding dates and times of meeting, and her home life is a mystery to all of us, though absolutely straightforward on the face of it.

Although highly intelligent she hides this very well behind a very flippant and frivolous front. Her sense of humour is quite evil: when we shared a lowly job taking cloaks on a VIP visit to the hospital, someone handed in a copy of the Times. Rather bored, she finished the crossword rapidly before folding up the paper and giving it back to the punter when he left. I have often smiled, imagining his face when he settled down to tackle the crossword on his way home.

Friday, 4 May 2007

Cat Problems, Lost Shoes and Future Holidays

I had the back door open, overcooking some sausages, when a strange cat appeared, crying for food. It was a very attractive silver tabby, with large ears, green eyes and some white markings, looking young and a little underfed. I shooed it away and I think it was an entire male, which could be a problem as it is obviously the cat which has been terrifying my poor old diabetic neutered male for a while. I shall have to ask around and try and find out who owns it.

I have now lost a pair of Dr. Scholl-like gold summer sandals I bought last year. I have looked all over the place and am sure I have not thrown them away. They are particularly useful as they are designed to cradle the foot while looking fashionable in the summer. They will be very useful if I ever find them.

My son has a nasty cold after his holiday. I am sure that air travel causes all these infections. Since we are hoping to sell our flat abroad, I shall have to try and find somewhere in England or UK for my holidays. Without a car, Devon is hopeless, but otherwise would have been my first choice. I shall probably have to just settle for the south coast - Eastbourne is quite pleasant, if not very countrified. If the weather is bad there is plenty to do.

I am cooking some rhubarb with sugar, a tiny bit of water, and a teaspoon of dried ginger. I think it might be better with fresh ginger, but there's none in the house.

Office Nightmare, More Theatre and Messy House

I had a fractious day at work, making some nasty discoveries about files, and was trying to contact the lawyer or accountant, both of whom were unavailable and my chairman off for a week.

My colleague rang at lunch time. She had received some messages to call back clients while on the way to the airport. The car had broken down and would cost £1000 to repair. However, fortunately she managed to catch the plane.

Rather tired, I set off to see A Matter of Life and Death at the Olivier. This was a remake of an old Powell and Pressburger film. I had managed to get a £10 Travelex seat which was amazing value. The play was brilliantly staged, with good singing and music, though it was not a musical. It was absolutely hilarious and very well acted, and I came away feeling satisfied with a good evening.

The flat is still in a frightful mess, sitting room overmantel mirror propped up in the bathroom still, all the packaging from the garden chairs, bench and table have finally been stuffed into three huge rubbish bags, and I have managed to change the sheets and do some washing finally. Going out every night and working during the day does not leave much time for chores.

The vet cabbed me some cat food this morning, but forgot his injection needles, so I will have to continue using the not very good human ones from the local chemist for his insulin jabs.