Moon Gazing

Three and a half weeks of madness.
From Radio Sussex to house guests from filming promos to voice overs.
I have been staying in the moment so much I can’t remember what has happened before or after.
The ‘oosbind is setting off in a week to go and give of his best in Leeds. In a West Yorkshire Playhouse production of ‘The Crucible’. I’m doing that counting down the days daftness.
I’m dreading him leaving but it only takes a few days and then I’m into the silence of the ‘hams’.
As I write Solly is sniffing round the attic. Trying to get into a closed cupboard. The bed has been made up by the dawter in preparation for the Jew Do next Saturday.

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Birthday Ends

There were different phases to my birthday. The build up with people phoning and arranging. The arrival of guests and gifts. The cock-up with people who’s heads were up their alimentary canals. There was the dinner. The breakfasts The teas. Coffee with scones and nibbling on left over crumbs. There was the trip to the … Read more


The mackerel sky was low, almost touching the tops of the trees. Two leaves narrowly missed my hand, catch one and make a wish.
The Beech leaves are turning a crispy brown, the Oak’s a mustardy yellow. The Rowan trees are stacked with berries and the avenue is ankle high in wet leaves.
The woodland near my cottage is typically English. The wind was up today, shiny brown conkers blown to the ground, the Horse Chestnuts flapping their big, crispy hands together.
Two families of ducks cackled and squawked their way back to the pond.
I’m off on November 4th to San Francisco, although Oregon is still lingering in my mind.
We visited a little town call McMINNVILLE, all the foodies know about Mcminnville, the largest city of Yamhill County, Oregon.
Third street has more restaurants, on five blocks, than the whole of my Twillage. I met with ERIC and CARMEN who run ‘NICKS’. It’s been there since 1977. For years Carmen’s dad, Nick, ran the joint; a simple place with a big back kitchen and a head waiter with more hair than Harry Styles and more style than Hairy Redknapp.
He made me the first good cawfee of the trip and supplied me with a big white linen napkin should I need it.
Eric makes hand chopped Pork salami – to rhyme with whammy – in their salami making factory three blocks away.
Eric and Carmen, between them, keep Nick’s name, restaurant and reputation alive.
Carmen has a Japanese mother and an Italian father so what’s not to know about a noodle of two. Using a cheap little chopper she cuts the sheets of fine pasta, that she’s rolled through her big pasta rolling machine. She’s a neat machine herself, looks like she’s been doing it all her life. Which she nearly has.
She’s young and beautiful, with two kids under five, a complexion to die for and the demeanour of woman who has been modelling since 16.
After cooly cutting A4 size pieces of pasta dough, she lays them on top of each other leaving a little gap at the top of each new sheet. Carmen then calmly rolls them up, chops the ends off and rolls them into perfect, well rolls… Grabbing the end of each little roll she whisks them up into the air, and flaps around the tagliatellie like fronds of yellow seaweed. Brilliant. She works wearing a sweater and a pair of jeans, carrying them off with the panache of the model she was. Knowing that modelling had a limited life span she learnt what she learnt, and along with Eric, her handsome husband took to the boars and boards instead. Thats chopping boards and piggy boars I hasten to add.
The restaruant was full of a party of carousers who glugged down crates of wine and laughed loudly .
Eric made the sauce for Carmen’s pasta.
Gently cooking down the home cured salami, in a battered pan on a six burner stove, he added onions, garlic, oregeno
(Say it the American way O-Regggggin-Oh! Not orry-garknow.)
Tomatoes, plopped in the pasta and some pasta water.
We ate outside the restaurant at a little table opposite an old Art Deco cinema.
It was good to sit down as I had been out with Chris and Kate taking GV’s ( general views ). To make it more interesting I sent Kate off to an ice-cream emporium which sold rivetting flavours. She turned up with a crunchy cornet filled with lavender ice-cream. Unfortunately we had taken all the shots we needed so I licked for myself not for the camera.
The food movement in America is interesting, all the small producers help each other, and the public enjoy helping them. Long may it last and grow.
San Fran – as the producer calls it -will use more green, fresh veg, which is terrific as I practically live the life o a Gorilla.

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Rolling in The Deep.

Before I begin I must say thank you for your kind end-of-the-run-comments.
All duly noted.
All duly wept over.
Oh come on, you should know by now that anything nice that is ever said to me turns me into the The Fontana del Nettuno. Were I to stand at the north end of the Piazza Navona I could easily compete with those chubby cherubs and their outpourings.
So here I sit, cuppa Rooibosh half drunk, in my room, with only a sweater between me and the elements.
I have been to the gym and done 30 minutes on those wretched machines.
Elaine induced me on Monday.
It’s the time-honoured, dreaded circuit of treadmill, cross trainer, bike and rowing machine.
I didn’t have time to do me weights or stretching as I had an appointment with 25 over sized ladies in the pool.

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Little blue shorts and purple vest thingy, my trainers and a hair clip.
Yesterday I went to my brilliant beautician, who I have been seeing for 23 years, and spent an hour and a half having all my skin tags removed.
First she slathered anesthetic cream all over my face and neck, then I held a metal rod which kept the current going round. Then she pricked me with a sharp little needle and cauterised all me blemishes.
Today I look like a Garibaldi biscuit. I may have mentioned that yesterday.
This morning , wearing my purple ensemble I ironed, and cleaned up before my wonderful cleaner arrived. I wanted her to do things in the kitchen which four baskets of ironing would have prevented.
Anyway ironing is one of those right brain activities which allows thinking. I kept the radio off and mulled over all sorts.
My writing partner.
BBC London.
Voice Overs.
What to cook for supper.
Then I called my nephew – DAN THE MAN – who is so sensible and wise and clear and delicious. By the time I had finished the last duvet cover he had sorted me out.

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july 14th 2013

Tomorrow show is on my mind. I need to know your worst restaurant experiences and the ONE film that makes you emotional. A look from The Titanic? A scene from the wizard of Oz. Dirty dancing. Come on talk to me. 0207 224 2000 on BBC LONDON 94.9 tomorrow Sunday 9-12.

Big up the Beech

So I had the call yesterday to ask whether I was free to sit in for somebody at Radio Kent. True nobody texted, emailed or messaged me so I should have known better. Still I went to bed, without even writing up my journal, and fell asleep by about eleven. Kept waking up but I … Read more

Carcass on….

The bloomin trains have been useless on the last two Sundays. I’ve had to drive in. Consequently by the time I’ve done a three hour show and driven back 50 odd miles – and I do mean odd – I’m cream crackered.
I’ve taken to lying on my back, my legs in the armchair, my arms splayed out mid way through a Jim sentence I’m usually away with the fairies.
This week I had four fab female guests.
DAVINA MACKAIL. She did my papers, we talked all sorts as well as Feng Shui, she’s an ex nurse but now spends time clearing peoples houses, traumas and going up into the mountains of Peru to talk with peruvian Shamans. I love her. Check out her website.
KATHY LETTE cycled in to talk about her book THE BOY WHO FELL TO EARTH and to discuss the mother/teenage daughter relationship. She makes me laugh, but she is so much more than her sassy wisecracks. I love her. Check out her new book.
KEREN SMEDLEY, agony aunt and author of a self help coaching book for life after 50+, was on the end of the line for my listeners, as well as imparting sage like wisdom about living, not giving up, and changing things if they don’t suit. I loved her. Check out her website.
Then I had the impeccable CHARLIE DORE and JULIAN LITTMAN, singing songs from her latest album CHEAPSKATE LULLABYS. Julia’s guitar and her voice were haunting. It is a delicious album, really good to cook to. Check out her new CD.

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Wild Garlic

Taking and uploading pictures has become all consuming. I have so much work to do but I chose to climb into my little red car and drive 25 minutes to Plawhatch Park amongst the wild garlic, take pics, snip a few leaves and flowers with my Swiss Army Knife, which happens to be my car … Read more

Band of Bloggers.

Thank you so much, to all of you that sent me messages.
Not a crisis, not a teaser, but I just needed an acknowledgment that life does still exist outside my little cottage.
This morning there was no donkey, the yellow primroses are giving way to tiny purple wild violets, bluebells, cuckoo flowers and little white mouse ears. Pink, white and blue everywhere.
I think the cold, wet winter has done all the plants good.
I timed myself – 24 bars of track five – running past a little copse of wood anemones, The trees are surrounded by little faces of white petals all pushing their way to the sun. Which was out until I got to Frog Spawn Bend.
Marched up the hill past centurion rows of Dan-De-Lion. ‘Wet the beds’ as we called them when I was growing up.
Talking of which, I always have to stop off in the outdoor pursuit centre to use their public loo. I’m drinking three litres of greens everyday. Finally I’m back on my old regime. Which is a massive relief.
Part of my absence has been dealing with GLICLAZIDE. The diabetic drug I resorted to. My doctor’s known me for twenty odd years – and I do mean odd – but he is a Western Medical practitioner, so drugs are always the first port of call. I had got so stressed and out of whack that I had to do something to regulate my body. I trust him, but I hated taking the drug.
Apart from the weight gain my two big toes ( slap, bang on the Liver meridian) had developed fungus, my skin had turned a sallow shade of mustard and my hair was as lank as damp vermicelli.
And then I interviewed a brilliant professor on my BBC show who noticed my bloated belly and said….

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