There are definite advantages to doing a foodie programme.
The organic box company sent me a box of organic fruit and a bag of organic potatoes. I unpacked them, gave two punnets of pink strawberries, 6 peaches and a kettle of kiwis to the daughter. I then placed the excess 4 tons of fruit in a gigantic bowl, topping off the still-life with three big hands of yellow bananas.
The organic box company sent me a box of organic fruit and a bag of organic potatoes – AGAIN! I unpacked them, threw away the pink strawberries which were covered in a white furry mould, hunted for some more bowls to accomodate so much produce then ate a handful of bananas to make space in the living room. The flat still looks like a plantation in Baranquilla with more bananas than the monkey house in London Zoo whilst my assortment of plums will shortly become my raisin d’etre.
The middle apple tree in my garden, has a broken branch as the apples are so huge and heavy. So I brought 9 apples back to the flat. They are so big I can only hold one pomme in my hand at a time. Since I have no more receptacles to display me fruit in, I have stuck the grapes in the fridge put the nectarines on top of the plums and the pears on top of the apples.
I am the only one in the flat who eats fruit; the offspring, in Camberwell, is only interested in her new sound system whilst the husband, who is coming to the end of his Global run, has very little time for a fruity pear. All in all me perks are going a pinky brown. But I’m not complaining. These are the kind of perks I like. I mean what could I bring home if I worked for Dyna Rod?
But its been an extrordinary 5 days.
Jim had Thursday off, so, after LBC we went for lunch at Dave Massey’s gaff; only Massey wasn’t there so we went next door to Ransom’s Dock. The food is expensive but the location is interesting. A massive barge is docked in the dock next to the ‘Dock’, the place was empty apart from four posey models and their dogs, Gareth Gates, us and Ross Kemp the actor from ‘East Enders’ . He looks like he’s thuggy and squat on the small screen but he’s actually taller than that. I knew his producer from 25 years ago so we had a little chat. Mr. kemp, who is surprisingly well spoken,had just returned from filming in Afghanistan with the British Army. He smoked like he was still in the mess. He was a tad self-important if you ask me, but then I haven’t ever spent any time in a Theatre of War, although I once did a season at the Palace Theatre in Watford.
Jim and I downed a very good white wine, which made me woosy. So, after staggering home I stood under the shower for longer than was good for me. That night Jim and I walked over Battersea Bridge, down Cheyne Walk past the very expensive houses with pineapple finials to The Chelsea Physic garden. Jim has played in a band there and I have filmed there. It is the most beautiful secret garden in the centre of town. Herbs and seats to sit on, flowers and treats to dwell on.
The thing about pineapples on your garden wall is that back in the 18th Century when travel was for the well-heeled and pineapples were brought back on big ships, the syrupy fruit was at a premium. So having one stuck on your gate post meant one of two things – you were either well travelled or loaded – or probably both. Not a lot of people know that!
The reason that we were at the Chelsea Physic Garden was to celebrate Waitrose magazine’s 100th edition. I got a little teary. Ed Baines, Mitch Tonks, Ollie Rowe, Elizabeth Luard, William Sitwell and more, were all there in the candlelight drinking, eating and reminiscing. We all hugged each other and said how much we missed each other, and then off Jim and I went.
When Chefs are good they’re very very good company, but when they’re bad their horrid. On thursday night they were very very good indeed.
The walk back to the flat was beautiful. The night was balmy and so was my husband.
Friday was the last day of my sitting in for Jim Davis’s lunch-time show. I had really enjoyed it so by the time I got back to the flat I felt a little flat. But then the phone went and I had to get into town for a voice over. I leapt on a bus to Victoria and grabbed a taxi into the centre of town. Ten minutes after I had finished my stint the phone went again our guest pulled out for Saturday. So Luce, the juicy LBC producer, and I had to phone bash. I leant up against a post box in Dean Street until we had secured a line up, by which time I had been approached by several gentleman in need of company. I gave them my agent’s number.
It was Friday night, the old man was working, I didn’t want to be alone in the flat when the rest of the world was out curousing so I took the bus to the Millenium Bridge to watch some jazz improv.
Only the bus conductor from the 188 told me to get on the bus on the other side of the road. I got impatient and jumped on the 59 instead of going to the Millenium Bridge I ended up in Waterloo. Not a bad thing when the sun is going down and the Gherkin is sparkling, St. Paul’s is imposing and Big Ben is chiming. I really do believe that London is the best city on earth, I can hardly say that, as I’ve never been to Adis Abbaba, although I can say what I jollywell like. If I can’t be hyperbolic on my own blog where can I be..?
So I walked over Waterloo Bridge, past the tourists, down the steps, past the beggars, into the National Film Theatre past the fashionistas and into the new foyer. I didn’t like the look of the films and wandered out again when I glanced up at a poster for ‘OPERA JAWA’ an Indonesian opera, based on a folk tale – all singing, all dancing, all Gamalan – which was showing at 6.10.
So having nibbled on chillified nuts and a glass of water I plonked myself down in G7 on the very trendy, bendy, red cushioned seat and settled down for a couple of hours of Indonesian Opera with Gamalan accompaniment.,
Some of the music made me fill sick, not because it was bad but because the vibration got to me. The experience was edifying especially since there were only eleven of us in the cinema and the sound was magnificent.
I toddled out into the cool night air to get a taxi but bumped into the No.77 bus stop. Joy of joys, the 77 goes back my way. I whacked me Oyster Card out, beeped me fare, listened three times to a message on me mobile phone from Jim that he’d clearly left whilst sitting in a bath of frogs in Cheapside whilst electric shavering his leathers (he kept cracking up) and made meself comfortable for me ride home.
Whilst watching the London skyline from the top of the 77, I merrily chatted to Maria Elia, who called me and wants to cook for Jim and me (another perk), before she leaves ‘Delfina’. Suddenly the bus alarm went off. Nobody could hear it apart from me either because they were talking too loudly, wearing headphones or off their nuts. I tripped down the stairs; three young women were kicking off at the driver who had hit the alarm. We were all locked in. I got somebody to press the red button which automatically opens the door and stepped out into the cold dark night somewhere in Sarf London. As luck would have it a taxi came along and I had an expensive drive home which was off-set by a cheeky-chappie chat from the cheeky-chappie driver.
Saturday saw me blitzing the flat, before setting off for LBC. Madeline Marsh talked about kitchen collectables in the attack, Gerhard Jenne shouted at us from Southwark bridge about his gingerbread house he was building for The Thames River festival. He described the public licking off the gingerbread bricks that had been secured with icing sugar… lovely. Sylvena Rowe came on and tittilated our tastebuds with her Eastern European recipes and tales of chicken soup for breakfast. Then I drove home to the country.
Sunday was mooching with the papers, walking with the dog and feeding with the spouse.
I drove back this morning to sit in for the Drive Time show usually hosted by Paul Ross.
Now I started with perks so I shall finish the the same. On Saturday night a police officer from the Marine Support Unit emailed me.
I had been waxing lyrical about the Thames. His wife had heard me. What they didn’t know was that on Thursday night when Jim and I were walking back from Chelsea he turned to me and said what he would most love would be to have a ride in a police boat.
PC White 112s didn’t know that, but on his email he wrote that should I ever fancy a trip along the river in one of his police boats he would be happy to organise it…..
Is that not one of the best stories you’ve ever heard. The synchronicity, the generosity, the perkiest perk of them all.
The best thing about it is that now I don’t have to buy the ‘oosbind a birthday present and if all goes well maybe I could re-train as a WPC with duties in Wapping.
Move over Helen Mirren, WPC Barnett is not only on the air waves she’s on them other waves wot go up and down, up and down…..
Anyway I’ll leave you with the image of me in my police uniform and sick bag.
aye aye that’s your lot.
p.s. He’s nearly 50.