I have over one hundred cookery books in the flat, and even more at home in the cottage, so when the Hairy Bikers Cookbook arrived on my desk, I was less than overjoyed at yet another tome I had to absorb. After the shows I have so much to do. I do think I am some sort of workaholic, which is why the programme coming off is a little scary. All that time to think about myself. Oooooee terrifying.
But whatever I do, I have my bedtime ritual which is always the same. Sometimes I brush my teeth, depending on whether Jim is around for a good night smacker, remove all my makeup, remove my pyjamas, put on my reading glasses, plump up the pillows slide into bed and read my notes and whatever book we are doing. So, apart from my teeth, it’s pretty much routine. But let me just tell you the routine of keeping myself televisual which is a pain in the proverbial.
I have a wonderful beautician, Amanda Day, who has her Chilstern Clinic in Tunbridge Wells. Every month I lie down on her chair/bed, she covers me in a blanket and then proceeds to hurt me. With enzymes, and potions, she sets about dealing with my ancient skin. Considering I have 83,000 tons of crap ladled on my face daily, Amanda does a very good job in keeping my derm and paciderm elastic. The ceiling fan whizzes round like a Moroccan bazaar – the cold air is theoretically meant to reduce the stinging. Yeah, and pigs might fly. New age music – a loose term – is played through the tasteful speaker, and then I lie very still until the stuff on my face dries – hard, and pinchy. If I move an eyebrow, it can make my face itch, so I remain comotose. The slightest twitch can destroy the calm. Sometimes Amanda administers reflexology on my feet, which does wonders for my soul and heels. By the time the concrete has been washed off, I am so relaxed that the car drives itself home.
When I’ve done a day in the studio, however tired I am, I have to justify those facials so I take my big brush and scrub my face with the washing solution, then spray herbs and minerals over the top, pat on five drops of serum, press a little cream on top and waddle into bed.
I know it sounds like a pain but it takes less than 5 minutes. All the products are completely organic and developed by some Californian nutter (where else?) who uses pure ingredients and is trusted by Amanda, and since I love and trust my inner being with her, I do as she says.
Now, the reason I tell you this is because once my face is as shiny as a Nun from Nice, I am in that bed ready to sleep. So, when the Hairy Bikers cookbook stared at me I wasn’t sure I could be bothered.
I opened the first page which started in India. I then travelled with them to Argentina, Belgium and Morocco. By the time it was 1.30 a.m., those boys could have thrown me in their saddle bags and biked me over the Yurals and I wouldn’t have made a peep. They are wonderful.
The book reflects their generosity and their vitality. And yes, they are big and very hairy but they are like the Big Friendly Giant in duplicate. They made a Belgian dish called Blind Finches in Gravy on the show today, which has got nothing to do with talking the eyes out of tweety birds but harks back to some daft game played by the Belgians. So impressed was I, that Jim and are going to Bruge for a break on the back of those bikers.
Alex Mackay is also big. He cooked salmon and langoustines in so much butter that none of us could talk for a moment, which let me tell you was almost a first on the show! The delectably French Isabel Legeron looked me straight in the eye and told me in no uncertain terms just how cool and trendy Reisling was so we both put up two fingers to my husband who derides me for drinking what he considers a girlie slurp. And in the middle of all that was the tiny, but perfectly formed, Sophie Wright who made us a Thai salad with griddled chicken. So, by the time we completed the show, I was full from all the food and fun.
And then the very articulate Alan Coxon, or Alex Colon as we like to call him, entertained us with his ice cream making. And then it was all over.
It is now 23.15. I am a bit wobbly. Well, it would be abnormal if I weren’t. I am overwhelmed by the lovely women who want my clothes, and touched by all the flowers and cards that are coming in. I don’t know what I feel, but my gut instinct is that something wonderful will turn up and you will be the first to know.
But right now I need to go to bed to read up about tomorrow’s show, and deal with my ritualistic ablutions. Now you know what they are, you can see why I have to leave you. Cu2morrer.