Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Drugs Run

The miracle drug, Penicillin was discovered here in London by Sir Alexander Fleming in 1928: since then the number of people treated with it and the lives it has saved are innumerable. So, why is it so difficult to get hold of? My earache is so bad that I can't feed my kids, walk the dogs or write my blog but the soonest I can see my GP is next Tuesday. In desperation I drove in a ibuprofen haze to the 'drop-in' surgery. There were already eighteen people waiting to see the doctor... so at what, a minimum of ten minutes each that makes 180 minutes, 3 hours, then an hour or so of driving round North London to find a late-night chemist. Instead of hanging around in a crowded, germ infested Portakabin all night we could have bombed down to Folkestone, slung the car on the train and picked up a life-time's supply of Penicillin in Calais along with a boot full of booze and a large, ripe Brie. 
How come you can buy antibiotics over the counter in Europe but not here??

Saturday, 25 February 2012

The Commercial Tavern

ED. You’re late.
ME. Yeah, it was really nice. There were about ten of us. Ryan’s mum, Mimi’s mum, Charlotte’s mum, Georgia’s mum, Ella’s mum, Jade’s mum, a new girl… what’s her name, Catty, Catty’s mum…
ED. Is that what you wore?
ME. Ed the pub we went to was AMAZING. I can’t believe a boy from your school’s parents own it. Honestly it’s just incredible. If you think our house is wacky you should see this place. It’s vast. Right on Commercial road. We had a table by a massive window looking right down towards Spitalfields. It was full of the most incredibly hip people. The decoration is just out of this world: like, imagine funny old nursery wallpaper with cartoon giraffes on; enormous, spooky old mirrors – on the ceiling; fantastic, huge, kind of draped, dusty chandeliers; one of the bars was padded, another had all these funky tiles on; in one room there’s a big, old, dark table with this gorgeous three-tiered light hanging above it; fab, gold vases from the 70s; those lamps in the shape of dogs, like a bull dog or a whippet with frilly shades perched on top…
ED. I’m watching this.
ME. And Trojan’s mum is just wild! Apparently they have another bar in Soho. She’s really nice and fun. Can’t wait for parents’ evening. They brought us a bottle of Champagne and these pretty little glasses, then we had some wine in a lovely old-fashioned ice-bucket…
ED. You know my friends are staying over tomorrow night don’t you. What are you making for dinner?
ME. Oh. I dunno Ed. Ratatouille.
ED. Ratatouille. We don’t want mushy French vegetables. Make Spaghetti Bolognaise please. Like a normal person.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Sick Night Out

I meant to mention a couple of other things yesterday: Ed and I heard a woodpecker in the morning which was nice, later in the day my new sunglasses got inexplicably crushed - so crushed in fact that the optician has had to take them home to work on them over the weekend and then last night we helped 2 large frogs cross the road on their way to the park.
I still feel ill and am having trouble stringing thoughts together but hopefully the Italia Conti mums won't notice. We're out for a knees up tonight in Spitalfields so the vegetable still-life will have to wait another night before being transformed into ratatouille.  

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Funny Day

I didn't sleep last night and am ill today. I have ear ache from going dog walking yesterday in the ghastly wind and rain. The smallest task seems gigantic and my body feels like how I imagine it would after running a marathon. Today's weather was the most glorious ever. I laid on the bed exhausted while the blue sky, sunshine and birdsong taunted me. I tried to sleep but Thames Water decided today was the day to dig up the road right outside. Me and the dog lay there - drifting in and out of troubled slumber in the few seconds between bursts of pneumatic drilling. It was useless. I got up and dragged myself off to the fruit and veg shop: something nice and healthy for supper might make me feel better. I hauled my load back home and admired it...
but couldn't be bothered to do anything with it so sent the kids down the Golden Dragon with a quid each for a bag of chips. They were happy.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012


I am so happy!!! I could jump for joy!! Crack open the Champagne! 
John has passed his driving test at the 4th attempt. Hurrah!

It's just such a relief: no more lessons to book and pay for, no more tests to book and pay for, no more dark clouds of failure hanging over us.

Not that he'll have a car to drive - but I'm not letting that little detail dampen my delight. It would cost £3700 a year to insure him to drive the Volvo -  it's £315 for me, which is a bit depressing - not so much because they consider the youth to be such an astronomically high risk but more because I'm considered to be so sensible (computer tried to write senile) that I'm barely a risk at all. 

Hmm... just thinking, maybe it's time to get one of those little Fiats that I love. Surely the insurance would be much more reasonable on one of those.
Hey John! What do you think about driving one of these?

Monday, 20 February 2012

Easter in France

Imagine the pale, wide beaches of the Cote d'Opale...

Filled with kites...
I've been doing some kite research since my encounter with the giant squid on Saturday and guess what? My favourite beach in France will be hosting it's annual kite festival from 7 -15 April. 

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Boring Sunday

She's gone and left me again: off to her sister's birthday lunch in Reigate.
God knows what the day has in store for me and the dogs - she's arranged it all.
I don't mind but I bet it's some really dead flooring job or something.
Let's look in the diary. Client - Russian Princess. Props - Nun's habit and whippet.
Special requests - breakfast, teas and coffee, in-house dog trainer.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Flying Squid

Saturday the 18th of February 2012 was a wet, cold and thoroughly miserable day. The park was bleak: a couple of filthy blocks of snow, the remains of giant snowmen, lay like strewn boulders on the dark, muddy grass. The sky was overcast and the trees black. The dogs were about as keen as me - come on lets get this over with.
Hey hey!!! What's this?

A giant fluorescent squid fluttering like a bolt of silk against the leaden sky. Well I wasn't expecting that!
It's rare dog walk that doesn't reward one with something to lift the spirits. 

Friday, 17 February 2012

Stella McCartney for Dogs

I haven't REALLY got the Stella McCartney tropical T-shirt: It's 500 quid. So, I'm going to fashion one from these vintage scarves I picked up on Church Street, except my sewing machine's broken and a new one is 500 quid.
 I'll have to find some other use for them...

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Half-term, day three

Ed has been asked to learn a 'trick' over the half term. Mid-air somersaults are tricky on concrete floors so we splashed out on a crash pad. So glad we did: Joe and Ed haven't played so nicely together for years...

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Valentine's Day

Also known as February half-term, day two

Me: Okay, are you listening? The Woman in Black
Ed: Too scarey.
Me: The Muppets
Ed: We’re not babies.
Me: Star Wars Episode 1 3D
Ed: Boring.
Me: The Artist
Me: Shame
Ed: That’s an 18.
Me: The Mysterious Island… 3D!
Ed: No.
Me: The Iron Lady
Ed: You’re joking.
Me: War Horse
Ed: Too sad.
Me: The Descendants
Ed: That’s for mums.
Me: Big Miracle
Ed: Maybe.
Me: Oh, hang on, we’ve missed that.
Ed: Groan.
Me: What about going to the aquarium? They’ve got some new shark encounter.
Ed: It’ll be full of kids.
Me: Aww. You and Joe used to love the aquarium when you were little…
Joe: Mummy. MUMMY. Can you make sure you and daddy are out tonight please because I’m making Phoebe a romantic dinner.
Ed: YOU’RE MAKING DINNER? Does Phoebe know?
Joe: Shut up Ed.
Ed: I’m staying in watching telly tonight by the way Joe.
Joe: You best not be.
Me: Come to the cinema with us Ed – we’re going to see A Dangerous Method - a historical drama that takes a look at the origins of psychoanalysis. Fancy it? It's got Kiera Knightly in.
ED: I'd rather shoot myself.
Joe: Mum. While you’re out can you go M & S and get some proper nice looking ready meals. Thanks.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Summer's Around the Corner

Right, I'm all set for summer. Eyes tested and new sunglasses on their way. Floral print silk T-shirt in bag wrapped in tissue. Summer trainers - on feet. Crocus order placed. Hydrangea supports delivered and in position....

... huh hum .... I'm waiting....

Yes, I KNOW it's February

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Elgin Marbles

My friends in Greece have emailed me to ask if I’ll sign up to their campaign to return the Elgin Marbles to Athens, now that they have a beautiful new museum in which to house them. They’ve sent a clever little video inviting us Brits to imagine our indignation if the Greeks had made off with Big Ben and refused to give it back. Personally I couldn’t give a **** if they nicked Big Ben but I would be upset if they asked me to give back Rex, the Greek dog that I bought into the UK last summer after he’d been run-over and left to die in the gutter.
Rex arriving in Lordship Park after his flight from Athens

Friday, 10 February 2012

Sub Focus

THIS is who was here yesterday. Sub Focus.

And this is who is here today in Sub Zero.

Gorgeous Boux Avenue Lingerie photographed by James Stroud at Lordship Park

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Victoria Palace Theatre

For a powerful, evocative journey back to the 1980s go and see Billy Elliot the Musical at the Victoria Palace Theatre. Not only does the show brilliantly conjure up the courage, conflicts and comradeship of the County Durham miners and their families during the 1984 strike, with Billy beautifully danced and movingly acted by one of 4 alternating kids but you'll be treated to a trip down memory lane, back to 1980s London as well. A London before Starbucks, before Costa, before Conran. Long before Nandos, Wagamamma, Carluccios or Pret appeared on every high street.  A London where sushi, tapas, olives, pistachios, nachos and noodles were nasty foreign foods only consumed by pretentious media types. Back to a time when tea was eaten at home, before going to the pub - and if you felt a bit peckish later you could grab a bag of dry roasted. Back to the days when you could stave off hunger during the long wait for the last train home provided you had correct change for the chocolate machine. London had the worst restaurant food in the world and our cuisine was the subject of ridicule throughout Europe.
Things have changed in thirty years. I can now get a cappuccino at the petrol station, enjoy a chilled prosecco and a smoked salmon sandwich before getting on a train, pick up a box of rainbow coloured macaroons on the way home, buy sushi in Tesco at midnight or order any exotic food or drink that takes my fancy online and have it delivered into my kitchen a few hours later. London is proud to have the best restaurants and food outlets of any capital city in the world.
We now assume that if we didn't have time to make an early supper, or we're held up at the office prior to, say, a visit to the theatre, then we'll be able to purchase something passable when we get there. If at any time you ever forget how spoilt we are now for choice when it comes to stylish, wholesome snacks  just pop in to the foyer of the Victoria Palace Theatre. After you've made it across the carpet to the bar you can chose from Chardonnay or... Chardonnay - it's the only white wine they sell by the glass - and for nibbles... a giant bag of Maynard's Wine Gums or a tub of Pringles. Bang. Straight back to 1984.
carefully chosen carpet camouflages trodden-in wine gums and Pringles.

Pre- theatre supper: Pringles and Wine Gums, washed down with Chardonnay

Wednesday, 8 February 2012


I have had one or two readers asking "who are, or is this Nero?"
There was a teenager hanging around this morning waiting to be fed so I made some enquiries.
"Joe, who's Nero?"
"It's Dubstep"
Hmm... Having used up my quota of questions for the day I didn't want to push my luck by bothering him for a further explanation so I shut the office door and did a bit of research myself.
I came up with this which you may or may not find helpful.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012


We just got a call from Universal Records asking if the house is free this Thursday for a shoot with a hot new band called… I can’t remember what they’re called, but when I mentioned them to the boys this morning I got a flicker of interest from John and Joe - which surprised me actually as I was under the impression that they no longer processed anything I said.

Here are some shots of Nero from the last time Universal were here. I'll let you know who this new lot are on Thursday.