Friday, 31 August 2007

Slowly Recovering - Malvolio Back Home

It is now Friday, and I am very slowly recovering from the HK ordeal. Madeleine has contacted the HK people to get me my money without my agreeing to any broadcasting rights and they will apparently send a revised release form which I shall not sign without further advice.

I was in the kitchen this morning and felt as though the cameras were still trained on me, strangely. Dorothy and Julian brought Malvolio back last night. He was well behaved but apparently their flat was a bit small, but it shows he can survive quite well there for short periods.

When I slowly remember the dodgy conversations we had in the HH about telephone sex and so on with Jon, our resident porn star, I am quite glad to think that the whole thing is not being broadcast.

Thursday, 30 August 2007

Hell's Kitchen -An Experience

Back in the safety of my own home at last. I have spent the last four days slaving for about fifteen hours a day in a horribly hot kitchen.

Finally, the HK people rang at about 8.30 on Saturday evening. They said they would give me an alarm call at 6.30 the following day and pick me up at 7.45. In the event the alarm call did not come until 7, and the pick up arrived at 7.15. Fortunately I was slightly ahead of their trickery and woke up at 6.30 and rushed to get ready in time. I was taken to the Marriott Hotel in docklands and relieved of my mobile, my hairdryer and my purse and jewellery and driven on to the studio at Three Mills. I thought we would be taken to our rooms and change into chef whites but no, our suitcases were removed and we were dumped straight into the kitchen to meet MPW and start working, all in completely unsuitable clothes and one in high heels.

Eventually we were released into the Hell House and provided with pizzas before going to bed. The Hell House had obviously been hastily constructed: the beds were IKEA's cheapest with those horrible bits of wood around the outside and mattresses as hard as boards - two of the beds collapsed under people because they had been so hastily assembled. On the first day or two there was no tea or coffee, no rubbish bin in the kitchen, the only electric things which worked there were the microwave, kettle and toaster. Lots of other machines: hobs, cookers, coffee machines etc were not functional, but looked smart.

My fellow competitors were all young and good looking, equal numbers of boys and girls in their early twenties, except for one older guy of forty, a great lad from North London. There was a really nice boy, Jon from Swansea who turned out to be a porn star, a chef who taught cooking from the North, and two others: Charlie, a nice guy training to be a stockbroker, and another guy from London. The girls were Maz, a charity worker and event organiser, Liz, a new graduate working in PR, Abena, a young black girl working in retail, and Fiona, a fiesty young Irish girl, who kept us laughing.

On the second day we changed into our chef whites, had a miserable breakfast with no coffee or tea, some dreadful supermarket pastries and some milk and one carton of juice between the ten of us. Marco told us that the competition would be two teams: red and blue, girls against the boys. We were then allocated our tasks: starters and fish mains, meat mains, and pastries ( i.e. puddings and any pastries required for other courses such as the toppings for soup etc). The fairly hopeless cooks, i.e. myself and Jon,who we christened fast food man as he only ate burgers from MacDonalds at home, were given the pastry task. For the starters and mains there was a head chef in each kitchen, but for the pastries there was only one head chef, a lovely guy named Roger, who had to dash from kitchen to kitchen helping the hopeless.

It had become fairly apparent to me on the first day that I was physically completely incapable of all the standing and rushing around required, so Marco found me a stool - my dubious claim to fame is that I am the only chef he has ever allowed to sit on a stool - but not in the service period as it would be a physical hazard for everyone else. Because of my age and general complete unfitness I was able to skive off for the odd ten minutes and sit outside, but nevertheless the work was very full on, and I discovered afterwards that the kitchen was much hotter than a normal commercial kitchen - Roger told me this, and the fridge breaking down on the fourth day was apparently a symptom of the heat.

We managed to feed sixty people on the second night, but apparently the restaurant closed early, and though we were equipped to carry on, this was not permitted for some reason, so Marco flounced out angrily. That evening none of us were hungry, I went to bed while the youngies stayed up drinking and bonding, some until 3am, winding down from all the hard work.

The next day, Marco was in a vile mood in the morning, but gave a demonstration of plaice Nicoise, which we then had to make ourselves. Then on to preparation for dinner, again about fifty or sixty covers. Lunch provided for the half hour lunch break was absolutely revolting in the Hell House: cocktail sausages, supermarket cheap ham and chicken roll, mini Scotch eggs and a few tomatoes - most of us did not eat much. That evening the kitchen seemed even hotter. We all drank prodigious amounts of water and rushed around. Not many desserts were ordered in my kitchen. A few of us stayed up until 2am, drinking the wine and beer which Marco obtained for us, since there was nothing in the Hell House. However, by this time a rubbish bin had been provided, also some cheap tea bags and instant coffee. I fell into bed, even more exhausted.

On the fourth and final day, I slept about five hours before getting up and showering and washing my hair at about 7am.Breakfast was tea, and bread and butter and marmalade (bread had made a sudden appearance in the Hell House). On this, our last day, Marco was a bit more cheerful (the prospect of getting rid of the amateurs, no doubt), and demonstrated how to cook breakfast with saddle of venison and some wild mushrooms. There were trompettes de mort, morels, and a couple of other wild mushrooms. I told him about the shaggy caps or lawyer's wigs which grow in the grass verges by roads, and how they were used to make ink years ago. He said he had not known that, but loved those mushrooms. The demonstration was quite good for me, in that I was the only one on the 'girls' team who produced the dish in time. The boys did very well.

Marco is rather old fashioned and called us 'birds' and 'girls' . I, of course was 'the old bird'! He kept on telling me how much respect he had for me coming on the programme at my age. I think possibly that they had deliberately chosen me to try and provoke Marco into bad behaviour but it didn't work.

We were told that there was going to be an eviction - Marco had 'saved' the weaker girls team from eviction. The girls team was weakened by my presence, and further by a kitchen injury where Liz had badly cut her thumb on the first day, necessitating several visits to Casualty where she was told that the wound would take eight weeks to heal. Meantime she had to rest earlier on, but carried on later for the rest of the time. Also, there were a couple of chefs in the boys team, so this was definitely the stronger one. The evictee was going to be decided by the diners in the restaurant that night, and in the event they chose Charlie, but since we were leaving that night, the thing was a bit pointless, but may have fitted in with the programming.

That evening, we worked very hard and managed to serve 74 people in, I think, under three hours. I got the chance to do a bit more, since more desserts were ordered. Everyone worked well together. At the end of the evening, Marco presented us with his new HK recipe book and a book about his life, and signed these for us.

Throughout we were summoned at least twice a day to the so-called confessional, where we were asked if we thought we were letting the side down, who we thought were the weakest links, and if we thought Marco was very difficult etc. etc. I was summoned at midnight after the second night when I had gone to bed, so the others said I wouldn't go. My friends, I subsequently found out had all sent messages which were never given to me.

After being there for four days and making indiscreet (and probably actionable) comments, swearing like a trooper, looking appalling (make up was a waste of time) - you also forget about the camera, when I finally left I was asked to sign a release form. On reading this I was apparently agreeing for the footage to be shown in part or in full, worldwide, for the princely sum of £200. Since my reason for doing the stand-in role was on the absolute understanding that it would never be shown, I refused the money and to sign the release form and was very happy to get home again.

Although physically virtually impossibly demanding for me, it was super to meet such a nice group of people, to get an insight into a TV reality programme, to learn how to cook some dishes from Marco - who was really nice to me (surprisingly), and to meet Marco himself. Strangely, I felt a bit sorry for Marco for some reason - at least he must be earning masses of money for his performances, and boy, does he like to perform! Maybe because he had to put up with so many people who could not cook - and from next Sunday it will be the real celebrities who will be shown on telly for a couple of weeks from Monday.

Saturday, 25 August 2007

HK being Very Boring

It is now ten past five and have not heard anything about tomorrow from the HK people. I shall just unpack my case and look forward to a relaxing bank holiday instead. Unless of course they are trying to heighten the tension by not notifying people until very late. Or it could be that they are completely disorganised???????????

Friday, 24 August 2007

Unhappy Campers, Kato and Malvolio on Holiday

Devil's Punch Bowl, Hindhead.

Back from the Nissen huts. Just a couple of GP visits for the punters and discovered we had someone who continually wandered off and got lost, but who we always managed to find eventually. All reasonably OK until we came back and a punter fell over. We hope she has recovered. The 'Night in Vegas' outing on the last night of the holiday was enjoyed by all.

I have never slept on such an uncomfortable bed , and for a whole week. There were tea bags, milk cartons and instant coffee and sugar sachets in the room, but no biscuits or drinking chocolate. The rooms were not well cleaned. In the dining room at breakfast there was only one butter piece, one marmalade container, two bits of cold toast each, cold coffee, but the cooked breakfast was okayish. The evening entertainment was fairly awful with the exception of a couple of nights during the week, the lunches were not good and the dinners generally unappetising. Romy and I managed to escape for a couple of meals, including a very nice dinner at the marina in Hayling Island with our former treasurer and his wife. The weather was fairly dull and chilly throughout. Poor Romy was under frequent attack from a handyman at the camp, who, rather like a ninja, stalked her before jumping up from behind and grabbing her, at one point even grabbing an ankle from behind. We called him Kato. He will never know how close he was to some serious retaliation from Romy.

We found a much better holiday option and several interesting places to take people for the future. On the way back, at the Devil's Punch Bowl, Romy bought me a Green Man for the garden.

I arrived back somewhat drained, to be summoned for an interview by a telly person in Bow. Fortunately they arranged a car there and back. My cat Malvolio has been on holiday with Dorothy and Julian who will decide whether to keep him for a few more days or return him for my neighbour to feed while I abscond to Telly Towers. Meanwhile I am attacking huge piles of washing.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

p.s. Tom says that Ryanair don't give you your money back if you change your mind.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Giant Wave, Unsuitable Clothes and Mad Pilot

Spent yesterday trying to tie up odds and ends about the week away. Was bought lunch by Romy's very kind brother and sister in law. Romy looking fit after her short holiday, but had lost her specs which were washed away by a giant wave.

Telly people rang again about my shoe size. I have entirely the wrong clothes for the oldies holiday - all sleeveless tops and dresses and it looks as though it will be chilly and rainy, so will have to seriously rethink my packing at this late stage.

Poor Dorothy - in the middle of a very tense time at work a call came from our nice little flat in Spain to say that the new guy renting had been kept over an hour waiting to get in. However when he did finally get into the flat he said he didn't like it and flatly refused to leave until he had been returned his (non returnable) deposit! Of course this had been paid direct by Paypal to us in UK. Finally the poor guy who had let him in had to pay him out of his own pocket - it was either that or call the police to get him out! Dorothy is very cross, both with our meeting people for being late - and more particularly with the guy (not renting!) who it turns out was a pilot with Ryanair . I think I will give Ryanair a miss in the future. Air rage does not sound an attractive prospect. The meeting guys were really shocked at what happened. Perhaps they will turn up on time in future.

Monday, 13 August 2007

New Specs, Fab Dinner and More Purchases

Collected my new 'Deirdre Barlow's' today. Here they are in situ. If you click on the snap you can see the hairs growing from the mole on my chin. That is, if you really want to. The camera can be so cruel at one's age.

Lovely dinner chez moi - more a table picnic with Dorothy and Julian last night. Fab Coolea and some great goat cheese, fantastic pata negro jamon from Spain, salad served in my new green glass bowl etc etc. and some great wine brought along by Dorothy and Julian, along with most of the food.

Feeling extremely idle today but back at work tomorrow. Must pack two cases: one for the holiday next week, and one for Hell's Kitchen, since I won't have time to sort things out in between.

Ordered yet another copy of A Confederacy of Dunces to lend out, plus Diary of a Nobody and Mrs Pooter's Diary ditto. Also bought Ken and Thelma - all about Ken Toole and his mother. I spend far too much time on Amazon, probably better than the telly though.

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Dorian and Nibby

Dorian. Here are several lurid snaps of him.

Had my pants altered in half an hour while I had a coffee. Very good service at the Latino place at the shopping centre.

Long chat with Nibby. The sale of her shop has fallen through. Not that I have heard anything about the sale of my flat in Barcelona. Her new siamese kitten is apparently gorgeous, with a brown nose, bat ears and stripey tail and limbs. Seems it is climbing up everything: people, curtains, furniture, trees (when it escapes from the house) and leaving puncture marks everywhere it has climbed, including poor Nibby's legs and arms. I told her about the neighbour's new husky, named Deacon Blue, apparently after some old pop group, because it has blue eyes, I suppose. She felt it was very cruel to keep a husky in town. I told her that lots of people in Barcelona had huskies.

Friday, 10 August 2007

Shopping and Alterations

Eastbourne in the early evening.

The floors are clean! My contribution was limited to encouragement, lifting table legs to remove carpets from under them and supplying cold drinks.

Have purchased a few more clothes for next week's holiday. Bumped into one of the clients who complained about the food and was surprised to hear we would be revisiting the hotel again next year. As Romy and I both found the food to be excellent, and the holiday was free, it was a bit hard to listen to this nonsense.

Had delivery of enough cat food to last for a couple of months. Will pick up my new specs on Monday. Must get some new pants taken up to mid calf length. They are very nice, in the sales, and a kind of linen material in turquoise. Just altered the straps on a couple of tops to shorten them, and moved a button on some white and turquoise pants to make them a bit tighter.

Just done a huge pile of washing. Will do more tomorrow. I shall have to buy some more books. I think I have now dramatically altered nearly every snap on my computer.

Manipulation, Food Hygiene and More Shopping

Last night I became obsessed with manipulating snaps so attacked most of the snaps in my iphoto album - rather like Mr Pooter painting everything, including the bath red. Above is one of my efforts. He was the manager of the Michael Collins bar in Barcelona. What fun. I shall never again be able to leave a photograph alone.

Dorothy rang last night to see if there was any news . I proudly announced that I had achieved, I think 97% in my food hygiene course and was immediately asked if I had cheated.

I am popping out to see if I can purchase any more clothes before I come back and help get the place a bit cleaner - I suspect my efforts will be limited to tidying a bit and making cups of tea.

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Someone Else Cleaning and Reading

Yet another Carnaval snap.

Going to pay someone to have a good go (hoover and mop) at the floor tomorrow. Perhaps Dorothy won't have a sore throat after catsitting. Must empty the hoover first. Have been tidying up in a desultory manner, cannot get enthusiastic. Long chat with friend Cat on the phone today and told her about Hell's Kitchen. She has heard that MPW is a complete nightmare. She thinks it would be good to learn to cook something though and that it should be good fun. Gave my cleaning friend the Ukrainian tractor book and The Good Earth, which is an oldie, but goodie. Have just finished Salmon Fishing in the Yemen which was quite engaging. And a bit of a larf.

This picture reminded me of Jennifer Paterson, of the two Fat Ladies, who, when the police turned up at a party, used to say: 'here's the fuzz - have some fizz!'

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Clean Food, Pay Rise and Frock Compliments

Carnaval again.

Back to work and numerous queries awaiting. Was struggling with an online food hygiene course. Considering the state of my own kitchen, and basic though the course is, was surprised to get over 95% . The chairman popped in and I described our week's holiday with our various problems but a successful outcome , then we had a working lunch. Was instructed to give myself and Romy a pay rise, which is excellent.

The holiday tickets have arrived but can't find the labels which Romy has secreted away so will purchase some more tomorrow as I just can't bear the thought of writing all the names and addresses on the envelopes. Will have to send them all off tomorrow as we will be leaving for our next holiday on Friday week. After that it will be Hell's Kitchen for a day or four. Things still a bit chaotic in the office so will have to buckle down and perhaps obtain a bit of clerical help for a day or two, since the filing is getting out of hand again.

Malvolio has become quite whingey recently. All centred around food.

Wearing my black and white M & S dress today with white three quarter trousers. I have worn this twice recently and had compliments on it on both occasions. Must wear it more.

Monday, 6 August 2007

Boo Hoo - No Ice Cream - and Telly Towers

Another Carnaval snap.

Wearing a turquoise flowery dress I cabbed over to Telly Towers where I met two charming executive producers and chatted about the show. It seems that I may not have to do all four days as people are coming and going but need to be available for the days. All was agreed and did my police check thingy today. Just need to do the food hygiene certificate for which they will send me details.

Oh, and they were getting the chef's outfits today and wanted to know my chest size. I told them that 58" should do it!

My Ocado order arrived at about ten thirty this morning, but unfortunately, as I discovered this evening, sans the two pots of coffee ice cream. They will refund the money on this and send me a free bottle of wine with my next order. I said this was a tragedy and that they should immediately cab me over some ice cream. I suppose the wine will do, though it's not the same.

Back to work tomorrow, and plenty to do as Romy is in Spain on a well deserved break after our marathon week.

Sunday, 5 August 2007

Carnaval and Reading.

Back from the Carnaval procession Even bigger this year it seems. Didn't have the energy to go down to Burgess Park, but took lots of snaps of the procession. There was even a float from Spain this year.

Finished the Tractors book which is OK, now in the middle of Nature Cure by Richard Mabey. Rather hard going but good in bits. I think I like it.

Saturday, 4 August 2007

Hell, Books and Bananas

Read that Kelly Holmes and Joe Pasquale are to be on Hell's Kitchen. Also read it was being filmed at the end of August. Hmmmmmm. Not absolutely convinced I haven't been told porkies. We shall see.

Bought a few books today. Will start with the Ukrainian tractor driving one since a friend wants to read it. Feeling a bit knackered today. Might be related to the beef curry I had for lunch, followed by several miniature bananas.

Friday, 3 August 2007

Problems in the Sitting Room

Men putting in the new ceiling. At least the room was empty then.

Thinking about what to do with the room, I could instead have a large, beige velvet cord sofa or a shabby tan chesterfield, stick to old-fashioned table and chairs, but maybe go for a mismatch in chairs (I already have a nice old chair which needs re-covering, and could find two other mismatches in dark wood, obtain a barley twist legged largeish gateleg table with two bits that fold down, again in dark wood. I could have white cupboards made to fit the lower parts of the alcoves with a couple of shelves above. Then I could get a panel to fill the centre of the fire surround ?tiled, have a shelf placed on top of this and then put the overmantel mirror on top of this.

The main problem would be cutting away the bottoms of the fire surround to fit the skirting board, which would be even more complicated if I had a new floor put in, necessitating the removal of the skirting board. This is why I never get things done.

It all seems so complicated I never know where to start. I have to say I am heartily sick with having stuff all over the house in untidy heaps, the overmantel mirror propped up in the bathroom, pictures hanging drunkenly at random in the sitting room and the room unpainted. It is like living in a squat.

The gateleg table and chairs was my original idea for the room, until I became seduced by my current repro walnut table and chairs almost identical to ones I had in Twickenham. These had cost a lot of money new, so when I saw ones like them on Ebay for £60, I just had to buy them. They have been very useful over the years, but central pedestal tables always seem to get a bit wobbly and the chairlegs rather scratched since they are varnished. I really do prefer older things. The table does fold up and down very well though. I must have the occasional whinge about all this. I have decided that at my advanced age, I should have orderly and tranquil surroundings.

I shall give this more thought, while also thinking about what to wear to meet the telly people on Monday.

Bloody Hell's Sodding Kitchen and Dream Room

Yet another call from ITV supposedly, inviting me up to meet the ?producers? on Monday at South Bank. They are supposed to be emailing the address. We shall see. Have emailed Madeleine to ask her what she thinks. Maybe they are having second thoughts about having someone of my advanced age and size on the thing, even if it is a dry run.

We shall see. I hope they are not going to keep contacting me all the time. Perhaps if they decide against having me on Monday I will be left in peace.

Spent a long time in the sun with Malvolio today, idling reading house decoration mags. Have redecorated the living room in several different ways in my mind. Am warming towards a very modern sofa and glass table to make the place look bigger, but with my red and blue Chechen rug, and traditional paintings and old Victorian overmantel mirror propped on one of those blocky looking modern white shelves. Might even fit some cupboards in the two alcoves either side for storage. Either the new pale oak floor Dorothy chose, or, if feeling lazy and hopeless, painted gloss black to match the hall and stairs and kitchen floor. Walls white I think.

Sighs of Relief

A further call from ITV. Apparently the whole thing is a dry run for the celeb programme which will be filmed and screened later. The format is exactly the same, eg four days and nights filming. Hells kitchen house is purpose built at the South Bank and the bedrooms and bathrooms are private, but the sitting room and kitchen is filmed. So my public will have to wait (thank goodness!).

I feel considerably more relaxed about the prospect now, though they could of course be lying. They were saying they do a dry run every time for different camera angles etc. I think this is only a very small part of the story.

I think they have chosen rather gobby 'ordinary' people to see how they interact with each other and MPW, as it is the first time he has done the programme. Of course the celebs will no doubt be much more difficult and demanding.

Perhaps my two years in the Army will stand me in good stead. Just in case I am tempted to burst into tears or smack MPW in the mouth on the programme I have done a trial run myself and bought a pot of Kalms and taken the recommended dose of two tabs, which I have to say works like a charm and seems preferable to valium. It contains Valerian, hops and Gentian, which do seem to hit the spot.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Curiouser and Curiouser

Googled about and found out that two of the celebrities are supposedly going to be Jim Davidson, apparently a comedian, and Barry McGuigan, an ex boxer.

Madeleine is very concerned that my invitation might be a hoax from a mass axe killer aimed at luring me off and murdering me - alternatively that it is genuine but suspicious as all the other invitees are presumably y-list celebrities. She is suspicious that they haven't given me a telephone number and tells me that I am not being very middle-class, i.e. finding out much more about it! Then Madeleine can be a bit paranoid, but should know a thing or two as she is in the business.

I have ordered MPW's autobiography which should arrive in a day or two and which should be an interesting read in any event. I shall probably email the TV people and let them know the dates I am away, which lead right up to the day before screening. Presumably they are expecting people to turn up the evening before filming as they are all staying in the same place. Perhaps there will be a day or two at a catering school before the restaurant days. I think they have done this before.

Suspicious Mind

Stilton Ice Cream - looks better than it tastes.

I have been googling a bit and I am smelling a very large rat. Apparently the suckers doing the cooking on the TV are supposed to be 'celebrities' from various fields. If I'm a celebrity the cat's a dog. Perhaps I am being put in as a geriatric Chantelle to try and fool the other suckers that I am a celeb. Ha ha ha.

I must purchase MPW's White Slave autobiog immediately and read this before confirming any rash decisions. Imagine having to go into the programme and tell a pack of lies about yourself. My face would reveal all - if not I should be given an equity card immediately. I am highly suspicious of the Hell's Kitchen house concept. I shall read more about this, and think more (a first for me). My friends think they might put me in with loads of young guys who have been told there will be a glamorous tart coming in. My cartoonist friend suggested that if MPW shouted at me I could pretend not to hear as he was so far away, being v. tall. My cartoonist friend said he could feed me a few good lines, such as 'put this in the fridge or it'll go off faster than Marco Pierre's wives'. Well, I thought it was quite funny.

Stopping Snoring and Starting Cooking?

Steps to the old pottery at Rye.

I await with bated breath the snore-stopper for Dorothy. If it works it will be wonderful for Julian. I can't wait for January in Jaywick, truly the centre of the universe. The audience will be tremendous. Miss Bettawear (my spelling) aka Johnny, is a kind girl with a heart of gold, and what is more, a true showgirl.

Just unclogged the pond filter, watered the garden, washed and hung out some clothes, emptied and refilled the dishwasher, so had better tidy up and get out to do some shopping.

Just ordered copies of some of my snaps of the holidays to show the trustees. I expect the seniors will like them, and we will mount them on a large card at the Christmas party for people to take the ones they like.

Telly people have rung again. They are keen to have me on the programme, but apparently I have to have a police check which they will sort out and a food hygiene certificate presumably ditto - sounds like a food hygiene course - not sure how much time this will take up.

Also apparently I will have to stay in the Hell's Kitchen house with the other contestants. Not sure about this one. If there are lots of stairs??or not enough loos??it may not be do-able. Will ask them when they ring again.

Actually the whole thing sounds a bit of a nightmare, but could be a laugh. My cartoonist pal tells me Marco Pierre White is very tall, and says I should get a very tall chefs hat to accentuate my shortness and roundness, and appear wearing that to appear taller in the line-up! Like the short guy in 'It Ain't Half Hot Mum'.

Getting less certain about this being a good idea for me as I am not sure that my health would stand up to the strain of slaving physically in the boiling heat and being constantly screamed at for four days and nights. All for nothing, except the dubious joy of looking a total prat on TV. Hmmm.......more later.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Still Sick - But Shall Go To The Carnaval

With Mummy.

Feeling even worse - the sore throat has become a chest infection. Fortunately I have a day's leave tomorrow, so maybe I will have recovered by next week.

I hope to be better by Sunday for the Carnaval del Pueblo which goes past Borough and the Elephant and Castle down to Burgess Park with masses of traffic stopping floats from 12 midday. I hope to get down there and take a few snaps of wonderful latino costumes etc. It was very good last year.

We have been trying to sort out more holidays for people needing extra care. Romy is going up to Sandringham to have a first-hand examination of a place which seems eminently suitable. Romy knows all the rules and will be looking very closely at accessibility etc. Just sent off the tickets, maps etc for the forthcoming theatre outing.

Doing last machineload of washing from the holiday. All ready for the next one in a week or two. Hope I'll be better by then. If things look bad I have an emergency supply of antibiotics from abroad just in case.

Phone rang twice today from a withheld number. Think it is the telly people whingeing for my photograph. Must email it today.