Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Our House – before The Book Launch

Sunday morning dawned and my mind was full of buffet. Had I bought too much or too little? I’d had 60+ yes replies to the invitations, and as a writer of the impoverished sort (there are many out there!) only Yours Truly catering was affordable. All was in hand. Only sandwiches and cheese/pineapple on sticks left to do. Two wholemeal loaves and a white awaited me in the kitchen. Meanwhile son and daughter slept on in the lounge, one in sofa bed and one on floor. All was calm, when I heard stirrings I took in tea and coffee and we sat for a while enjoying a family chat.
First disaster was the white bread didn’t seem fresh enough. Quick call to ManFriend with request for another loaf as well as more red wine. We tasted that the night before, and decided Chilean would be an improvement.
Soon the kitchen reeks of mashed eggs and tinned salmon, Daughter and I do the wholemeal loaves after much agitation as she is now gluten and wheat-free. Mummy’s home mixed bran fruit and fibre is no good. No cornflakes? What can she have to eat?
Son exits. He’ll only be an hour, round a friend’s. “Don’t forget, we need your help loading up.” I remind from the chopping board.
Man Friend arrives with shopping. “What’s there for me to eat? And I need tea. “We shove each other about as he gets in my way reaching for the kettle. Not safe when you’re trying to pierce fresh pineapple pieces onto cocktail sticks. I stab one of my fingers. “Just hang on, will you. Another five minutes and I’ll do us some scrambled egg. I detect some muttering, like not a man’s meal.
Lunch over, relaxing with a cuppa, and down comes the snow. Huge flakes. “Oh, no,” I wail, “That’ll put the elderly guests off venturing outdoors. What if we’re left with all this food?” But it’s not the settling type of snow, and the ground is damp.
I decide a little relaxation on the bed is a good idea. I lay there thinking, “This is good, I’m not too nervous, have another hour to get ready.” when Daughter shouts “Mum, what are you doing? It’s 2.30. You said we must leave at 2.40 prompt.” Must have gone brain dead.
Aagh. I’ve never flung on an outfit or put make up on so quick. Son has returned. How many hours later? Where’s the iron? He wants to iron a shirt. But not before I discover he's eating the buffet cheddar. The cars need loading! I feel I’ve spent the day so far hearing “Where d’you keep this, that? Have you got this, that?” Haven’t people got eyes to look themselves. They should be familiar with my home after all these years.
Miraculously, three of us load the cars and off we go, waving to son seen through lounge window meticulously ironing his designer shirt.
Eastleigh is only a few miles down the road. We’re soon parking outside Age Concern. May not sound inviting, but its club room in Romsey Road is a lovely venue. I take a deep breath, my first book launch, my first published book. “Voices of Eastleigh” – we’re here to celebrate.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Watch The Midwife

It’s not often I rave about a TV programme. But the last six Sunday evenings have seen me glued to “Call The Midwife”. As a member of the SWWJ (Society of Women Writers and Journalists) I’d read about Jennifer Worth, who wrote the book. I remember her excitement when she’d been told her work would become a TV series. So sad she didn’t live to see the finished product and even more, to hear how viewers loved it. So many women I know are raving about this series and say they could quite happily watch it again - right now.

What did I like? Well, it was a change to see non-graphic childbirth. Very realistic screams, grunts and pants but when baby popped out, you just saw its little head emerging from beneath the sheet. No full frontal expanded and bloodied vagina as you enjoy a biscuit or two. Also, refreshingly, no sex. Kissing and banter, yes, but the sauciest bit was when Chummy (the wonderful Miranda Hart) reconciles with her policeman beau.

“Underneath this gaberdine I’m practically starkers.”

I physically let out a cheer when she was on the phone to Posh Mum about her wedding outfit

“Ok, mama, I’ll let you buy my wedding outfit, but it cannot white. Quite inappropriate now.”

Great stuff.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Loo Roll Etiquette

How do you hang your toilet roll? Apparently there’s a right and a wrong way. So I heard on the radio recently. I thought “How daft. Who cares?” Then realised I did care because I became quite indignant at being told over the airwaves that I am placing my roll on the holder the wrong way and people can become quite annoyed at seeing this. The correct way is with the paper hanging outwards. Myself, I prefer sheets draping on the inside, doesn’t stick out and is flush to the wall. There you go – what trivia. Was there an etiquette in the days of newspaper pierced on a nail in the outside loo? So many inches above? Anyway, I’ve noticed that many people just balance theirs around the handle of the toilet brush. That way, doesn’t hang either side!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Sunday at the Cirque Soleil

If there's one venue I'd be happy to sit in without being entertained it is the Royal Albert Hall. I think it's wonderful - so large yet also so cosy. All that circular red feels like a womb. It would be a very crowded womb, but top class with all the gold trimmings.

On Sunday we had tickets for the evening performance of "Totem" by the Cirque Soleil. Anything by them is a big treat, but this theme of evolution was particularly interesting. The show, this time, got off to an unfortunate start as one of the acrobats in the opening sequence hurt themselves. I'd spotted a bad landing and thought "Whoops, that wasn't supposed to happen." A few minutes later paramedics rushed very gracefully to the curled up person who was eventually carried out in a stretcher chair, to applause from the sympathetic audience. I hope the acrobat is OK. The show continued and I really enjoyed the Native American sequence, just love that beat and enjoy listening to CD's of those deep rhythmic chants.

Musicwise, I have Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers to look forward to at the R.A.H. That will be another treat. You've got to have them, haven't you, the occasional big treats.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Live Rocking

Last Friday I was out enjoying myself and thought, in my enthusiasm, I must blog about this. If anyone is reading me, they can see by past dates that I’m not so hot at keeping blogging promises to myself! New Year’s Resolution was to blog more regularly – like must exercise more and ignore those chocolates left over from Christmas.

Back to January 6th 2012, the place: Concorde Club, Eastleigh, the time: just gone 11pm. The event: Elkie Brooks singing to an enthralled audience. She sang a few songs I’d not heard before, which is good, as well her standard hits and some album tracks which I’ve always loved, e.g. Gasoline Alley, the opening song of the show. The band was excellent, particularly the sax player. There were numbers when they and Elkie really rocked, with a capital R. Amazing when you remember that the lady has her 67th Birthday next month. I couldn’t help thinking about a friend the same age as me who has one of those tea towels pinned on a door – “You Know You’re Getting Old When ….”. You know the sort of thing, a list of ten negative (supposed to be rib-tickling, ho ho ho!) aspects of ageing. There’s a picture of a rocking chair. I’d rather look and listen to toe-tapping rocking and rolling, sing along with the young at heart.

So tonight I’ll raise a glass to that, and give a listen to the signed “Powerless” Elkie CD I acquired last Friday. I wonder what track 4 “Dancing On The Tables” sounds like?

Monday, 21 November 2011

Many months later ...

It just doesn't occur to me. I don't write diaries, tweet or facebook. I've been 'told off' for not having a web presence and know that, yes, I should be blogging. And help, after attending the book launch of "Wordfall", the 2010 anthology from Southampton Writing Buddies, I see on the page showing my photo and brief writing CV it says 'you can catch up with Glen on her blog ....'
How embarrassing! If anyone had decided to catch up they will see there's nothing to catch up with, completely out of date. So here I am, looking very shame-faced, and sitting at my new lap top. All this modern techno stuff, the touchy over-sensitive touch pad, though easier than my hyper-sensitive new touchy strokey smart phone. Mustn't complain, would not go back to the days of Imperial typewriters that needed muscles to lift off a desk or those huge house phones with the circular number dial that could trap your finger. Who would have believed you'd one day have a phone the size of an eye shadow palette?

Wednesday, 29 September 2010


Today I am not going to mention any achievement. Am blogging to say what a lovely lunch I’ve had. To be honest, I think enjoying how you’ve spent your time is one of life’s most worthwhile achievements.
What have I done? I’ve met a wonderful group of people. Just the journey was an adventure. Finding your way in the New Forest with instructions like “ignore the little white house on your left; a bit further on go through the opened gate with a big ‘Private’ sign. Follow this cart track a long way down, and you’ll find us in the last house on the right.”
This house had no name sign on gate or door, but it was the right one. The occasion? The six-monthly regional meeting of the SWWJ (Society of Women Writers and Journalists) I’d joined this organisation back in the spring and today was the first time I’d attended any of their functions. Everyone was friendly and welcoming and the good turn-out was a mix of ages. I first sat next to a young woman called Alli who wrote romantic comedy and had two novels published. The organiser was a lady in her eighties who apparently lived in a studio flat in Mudeford, very convenient when she was globe trotting and writing her travel books. The hostess and her husband were a couple of my own age. I loved seeing their framed snapshots on one of the many bookcases. A very proud dad with his seventies hairstyle cuddling his young children. Ah, those were the days …………..

A fantastic buffet lunch was provided. Oh, yum, yum. I ate far too much. Then it was impolite not to partake of some of the many puddings.

A talk followed. In fact, two talks. The Women’s Editor from the Bournemouth Echo (Nicki Findlay, I believe) brought along a colleague. She talked about her career path. In 1996 she thought she’d stay in Bournemouth for a short time then hit the big time in London. It never happened, a husband - then children came along, and she’s very pleased to be where she is. Ruth Oliver told us she came to be the Religious Affairs editor at the Bournemouth Echo and how she now does some freelance radio features for Woman’s Hour on Radio 4. We were impressed at her anecdote at how she went to a press conference at a WI Convention were Bob Geldof was the Important Guest, speaking on Fathers’ Rights. He was about to leave when she plucked up courage and walked up to the front, put her itsy-bitsy microphone towards him and asked “How is it emotionally, when you gain access to your children?” She played us the beginning of her recording: Geldof in his lilting Irish rhythm describing walking up the drive of the house which used to be his home, knocking on the door, and waiting, waiting, for his own children to open it.” He spoke to her for half an hour.

As I said, a thoroughly enjoyable and stimulating afternoon out. Sue, the hostess, insisted we take cake home with us. And now, I’m off out again. Really embarrassing, as a friend insisted on cooking for me tonight. Wednesday is the only night we can do, and we haven’t had a good old gas for ages. Trouble is, I’m still full up ….