I took Jackson for a walk in the Hollies. We drove over the cattle grid, parked the car and gingerly walked past half a dozen very big bulls chewing the cud. The weather was balmy.

When we got to the top of the hill, 16 sheep stood up, clocked us, figured we were friendly natives and carried on munching the moss.

The sun was beating down, the track dusty from no rain. It felt like we were walking in the Grand Canyon when right before me very eyes, as large as you like, was a snake. I could almost hear Serge Leone in the bushes, as the music struck up. It was the good (the dog), the bad (the snake), and the ugly. (Okay, enough self deprecation…) It looked dead. Black with grey markings. I involuntarily clenched my fists up to my ears and yelped. Jackson didn’t take a blind bit of notice. I looked at it very carefully. It was motionless, but it was just doing what snakes like to do. The back end of its body was coiled round whilst its head stood erect on the end of its neck. It fixed me with its beady eyes but didn’t move one sinew.

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The last apprentice

Look, there’s no beating about the bush today. The final of ‘The Apprentice’ with Alan Sugar is on at 9.00 and I have to make myself a salad and stop crying. No, I have not turned into a sniveling feeble wet but today I had some news that so upset me, I can hardly dare tell you. I made phones calls about it. Talked to my husband. Cried to my osteopath, shouted at Rob, who I think is probably the best agent in the world, and choked when I talked to my friend Annie. When the chips are down, none of it really matters. After all, I am healthy, well and I am not living in a war zone, although sometimes I do think telly is just that. It’s like the Gaza Strip with designer labels.

Today has all been a bit topsy turvy. I scrubbed the kitchen floor with all sorts of floor scrubbing utensils, silver scourers, green sponges, creams and liquids. My lovely Gae helps me out once a week but there has been a build up on the flag stones since April. So, I entered the kitchen wearing my bathing suit, the turquoise one with the baggy gussett, wrapped a blue towel around me and, looking like an Hawaiian Madam, I commenced my cleaning. Ninety minutes later, with the perspiration dripping off me, I had a clean, really sparkling kitchen floor.

Jackson observed the activity patiently waiting for his carrot and vitamins.

I organised the cleaning route so I had a little window of floor to stand up in at the end. The dog and I exited to the garden. I wrote my affirmations etc. whilst Jackson lay patiently under the pungent Philadelphius, the first shrub that I ever planted 24 years ago. By noon we were ready for our perambulation in the forest.

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Press night shambles

Tonight I was going to the Globe to see the ‘Merchant of Venice.’ My husband got two complimentary tickets for the seated area. No groundling scamble for me, darlings. It was the Press night. Performances are always better when there are lots of journos around. After the show there’s normally nibbles and lots of praise for the actors, but now it’s happening on the 28th.

The result is that the husband and child are in the flat in London and I am in the Sussex countryside with the dog, cat and a fearsome array of flies and bugs and it’s not even monsoon season so where the blighters are coming from? Beats me.

Today has been very interesting. Since coming back from OHI, which for those of you who don’t know, is the Optimum Health Institute, in San Diego CaliforNi-A. I have attempted to keep some sort of regime. The raw food is not as difficult as it sounds and I brought back an exercise CD with me. When the postman heard the Californian asking me to bend over as far as I could, he dumped the letters on the mat, gave Jackson a pat and did a runner. But trying to maintain my resolve requires some sort of discipline. Not major but it does mean getting to bed before 2.00 (which I don’t) and getting up at 7.00 (which I do).

I haven’t read for days trying to fit everything in – my itinerary is packed: meditations, affirmations, exercises, walking, writing, and making sure that my food is fresh, prepared and soaking in some form or another. Seeds get soaked to make them more digestible. Legumes and beans get soaked to soften them and the dog gets soaked when he stands under the tap whilst I attempt to fill yet another bowl full of filtered water.

There’s a lot of squeezing and watering, snipping and anticipating. Seed cheese, one of the staple foods, is dead simple. So for Steph, who wants the recipe because she’s turning vegan, here it is.

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Midnight and beyond

It’s just gone Jools Holland. I fell asleep in the chair, having driven more miles today than a rally driver in Monaco. Jim is in the flat, BB is in the attic, and I am on my last legs.

Don’t worry about me, you who are concerned that I will never touch real food again. I still love my nosh it’s just that I don’t want to be putting pounds of it in my mouth all in one go. Once the detox has settled down I dare say I will be eating half a pig again for breakfast.

Today I visited Gino De Campo’s deli in Borehamwood. He wasn’t there but his henchman Heath was. He very nearly didn’t let me talk to the diminutive Italian thinking I was a rabid stalker. In the event Mrs De Campo materialised and all was friendly over a cup of cappuccino and a Danish. Gino is well and when he gets back from whatever mad shoot he is on, we will meet for dinner and swap stories.

Yesterday I had a lovely meeting in Soho with a producer called Ri. We liked each other. She remembered me fooling around on LWT when she came home from school.
The number of women who used to breastfeed their children to my slot on breakfast TV is astounding. However, Friday was a good day.

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Monday, June already

There has been so much to do, and so little time to do it, I can hardly remember the peace of the wheatgrass farm.

I made notes so that I wouldn’t forget anything but I always doodle backwards, mirror writing they call it, so I can’t understand a word I’ve written. I’m sure a psychologist would have something to say about that.

Well, I have been a bit blue, if I’m honest. It’s all to do with the inner workings of television and its moguls.

Jay Hunt, the head of BBC 1 daytime – I think that was her title – had a meeting with me last July and told me I could be a possible choice to bring an audience back to the channel, having had it poached by Mr. Noel Edmonds and his ‘Deal no Deal’. I got very excited and went off to enjoy a hot summer with the old man in Italy.

We went to Pietrasanta, where all the Carrera marble comes from. It’s very lovely but we stayed in a flat which had no air conditioning, next to a family that had no volume control, by private beaches that left no change out of 45,000 euros.

When I got back my old agent hadn’t hustled and negotiated enough, which is what I’m learning Rob does, so I lost the job. Then Prospect Pictures, who put out GFL and own the very studio we used to broadcast from, upset Ms Hunt by taking an existing BBC format and flogging it to the opposition.

Fast forward to January this year when we all discovered that we were being thrown onto the scrap heap along with some leftover meals cooked by The Queen-to-Be’s son. I hope you are following this.

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Bank Holiday Sunlessday

Bank Holiday Sunlessday.

I have had to wear a thick fleecy blue sweater, Jim’s black anorak, thick sweat pants and my new trainers to keep out the wind and the cold. Everybody is sneezing. The roads are waterlogged and the dog smells of wet fur. The cat comes in and rubs her soaking wet body against my legs. The heating is on and it feels like winter.

That did not stop me from shopping for raw food and taking BB into TWells for new clothes. The mockery of all those pretty summer dresses hanging on their Top Shop hangers as Kate Moss looked into the middle distance on the back wall. I noticed that her left nipple was up. I’m not surprised – it was friggin freezing in the shop.

I don’t know about Global warming. I met a great bloke at OHI who talked about sun spots being part of the cause of our climate change. It seems we have a sun spot that is 36 degrees on that big hot star that is waiting to destroy us in 2012. Which is why, he said, the Mayan Calender stopped at that point and Nostradamus said it was all coming to an end in 5 years time. I listened open-mouthed as he told me stories of aliens, space ships, and of The Better Burgers, a group of Illuminati who want to take over the world and the secret life-forms on the dark side of the moon-all of this whilst we juiced out wheat grass for our enemas.

Now that the sky is as dark as November there may be something in it, although I’m not too worried because he said there are a lot of ‘Indigo Children’ who are working to turn it all around. I just wish they would sort it by Friday because I want to mow the lawn.

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Wet and damp in Sussex

The weather men were right. California is meant to be sunny – and it was mostly. England is meant to be grey and wet with an overcast of depressing gloom – and it is mostly. We haven’t even taken Jackson out today.

The Clematis has gone mad, the lawn is as high as an elephants thigh, the Comfrey has driven through the Californian Poppies and there’s more washing in the cellar than Dot’s launderette.

I arrived back in the cottage lunchtime yesterday after a big week in London.
BB, the youngest daughter, guested with Jocelyn Brown at The Camden Jazz Cafe on Wednesday night. I cried. Jim beamed. The drummer thought she was good and the bass player told us to tell her not to stop practicing as she was fabulous. She, like her mother, believed that everyone thought she was useless. The genetic curse of the performer.

On Thursday she had an end of term gig at her university. She sung a self-penned song, accompanied by a guitarist, bassist and pianist. Jim cried. I beamed. And all her mates clapped enthusiatically.

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Bliss city

Hello, you lot. Darling Rod, my swarthy flight attendant, I am flying back on Sunday 20th, the evening flight. Cancel all your plans. I need you to see the new me. Now, thank heavens I can fit into one seat. What a relief.

As for you women who think I am being brave, it doesn’t take bravery to do what I am doing. Just iron resolve. But let me tell you walking through San Diego with the smell of a thousand island restaurants assaulting your senses is just about as testing as it gets. I am hanging in though to get rid of five years of hearty, happy, totally unhealthy eating – and it’s working.

As we speak, Josh, my host, is cooking up a steak with mushrooms, onions, cilantro (coriander) and a large helping of olive oil. Zoe is lying on the settee, as she is unable to move her legs from being made to work out so strenuously by her live-in-lover that she can only walk a few paces before applying for a legal separation. She’s not ill and is happily injesting the smells. I’m salivating as he chops up my lettuce, onion, tomatoes and sprouts… little live sunflower seed sprouts that take a year to chew and make your enzymes scream with delight. But, you see, it’s all in the mind. My three lettuce leaves, and the organic fly that Zoe so lovingly laid on my plate, will taste just as wonderful as his big, fat, juicy, sweet smelling, unctious slab of best fresh beef from Henry’s the organic supermarket, and yes, vegetarian pigs might fly.

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San Diego days and nights

Well, as I slurp yet another green juice, you are all safely tucked up in your beds.
It’s 5.40 Pacific time which makes it nearly 3.00a.m. so if you are an insomniac, Good Morning.

The drive down to San Diego was utterly uninteresting. Maggie, my host, drove. Sybil sat in the back and I nodded off in the front. I’m not sure that Maggie realised I was asleep. So sorry, Mags, but I was understandably anxious about giving my body over to a bunch of Americans. But we arrived intact.

The weather was hot, the receptionist cool, though friendly, whilst I was shaking in my sandals. Sybil and Maggie drove off and I waved goodbye feeling like the new girl at nursery school.

My room was being cleaned by the ‘maid’ (don’t you hate that and just one of the many differences between us and them) so I wandered around the campus. Yes, it is called a campus because people come there to learn. There are palm trees, and birds of paradise, lots of lawns, lashings of sprinklers – it’s near the desert remember – and loads of loungers and soft cushioned chairs for the inmates to sit on.

A few guests were scattered around the place, casually dressed and sipping what looked like cloudy water.

It was indeed cloudy water- Rejuvelac- to be precise, which is actually fermented rye juice. It puts back the probiotics in the gut and tastes like off lemonade. But it’s worth getting used to.

I was eventually shown to my room. Twin beds, private bathroom, chest of drawers and Venetian blinds to block out the movement of the cars on the 70 lane freeway outside (and the movement on the inside of my bathroom).

Most people turned up by nine and my first overview of the other inmates was one of horror. They were all American, durr!, apart from Neil The Liverpudlian Comic and Michael the Mancunian lingerie salesman. I spent my first night tossing in my single bed, kicking off the nylon throw and wishing that I was back in Blighty.

When we checked in we were given a huge filofax diary with all our classes which after a cursory perusal only served to terrify me even more. What did ‘Circle’ mean? And ‘Elimination’ for an hour and a half? ‘Implants’? What the Hell were they going to do to us?

I had come to detox, not to end up looking like Dolly Parton. Not that I have got anything against Dolly but implants I don’t need!

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Venice beach

Alex Baldwin is on the telly talking about parental alienation. Sybil the soothsayer is having a lie down. Maggie, my hostess, is in the kitchen and the last remnants of the gecko have been retrieved from behind the armchair. Sam the cat has just entered the room but mercifully his mouth is empty.

Sybil took me to Venice Beach. I have never, in all my life, seen a more seedy, ugly, unfortunate area. The palm trees line the walkway. The sand dunes lead down to the Pacific Ocean. All sounds good so far, but back on dry land we have:

  1. very bad musicians playing very bad music for a donation
  2. not very good artists doing not very good paintings for donations
  3. wasted men sitting cross-legged holding hand-painted cardboard signs with the legend ‘We will **** for marijuana’
  4. a jolly good juggler, so I did leave a donation
  5. okay jewellers making okay jewellery, for a donation
  6. tarot readers reading tarot for, you’ve guessed it…

There is a 26 mile bicycle track that runs parallel to the ocean, which I’m sure is a great ride, but the walkway is so depressing, whilst the food is reflected in several large human beings who have partaken of too much sea(side) food.

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