Friday, 28 October 2011
Welcome to this old post which is a poor show on my part what with you making the effort to get here and everything.
Please don't give up. I now have a blog which has a theme and everything and it's called Where Things Are Mostly Cheerful because generally they are.
So, if you like the thought of nice sit down with a 1939 copy of Woman's Own, do come and visit. Because Reader, that's what it's all about.
It's a little blog about old British magazines and we all have quite the loveliest time.
Friday, 14 October 2011
Anyway, this is just to post up that I'm working on a new blog at the moment - one that will actually have stuff on it more than once a year. It's going to have lots Specific Things and A Theme and everything.
I know. Get me!
Hopefully it will be ready in a week or so and I'll put the link up here in case you'd like to take a look at it.
There will, of course, be cake.
Sunday, 19 June 2011
I've decided to jetison this century and go vintage.
Apropo of nothing I'm embracing the '30's. Not Hitler's bit of it obviously, or rationing for that matter (Good Lord: two entire sentences before you mentioned food: well done, Ed) but things like fashion and books and wearing what posh people used to call 'hets'.
It's all rather glamorous and dignified so I think it's My Thing.
I had a bit of a false start when I nearly spent part of my buying a new house money on a 1935 Humber that had been parked up in an episode of Poirot. 'Where would you get it serviced?' asked A Man Who Knows About Cars. 'And they don't take unleaded you know.'
Boring, but a good point. So I decided to set my sights a bit lower and look for a frock.
I emailed my friend Mrs H8 (so called for her fascination with The Most Exciting Of Kings) and told her I was hitting the interweb for outfits to turn me into Wallace Simpson. I knew she'd be keen as Living In The Wrong Decade is one of our best joint peculiarities.
'What do you think?' I wrote, pretending I was using a clickety typewriter rather than a laptop where the spacekeysticksduetosomejam. 'It'll be like being the Queen Mum (the Bonham Carter version, not the real one with the frightening teeth).We can wear hets and everything.'
'Hmm,' she replied. 'I think we're more likely to look like Victoria Wood in one of those dramas where she has a wraparound apron and makes her own lard.'
Mrs H8 can be realistic, if hurtful, at times.
But demmit, she was right. It turns out that due to malnutrition or the absence of Tesco, back in the day no one was fat.
I know. How depressing is that? You can't get any kind of a vintage frock if you have more than a 32 inch chest. And seeing as the last time I had that I had just joined The Brownies, things are looking quite grim.
Instead then, I've had to turn to that old Fatties' Staple - jewellery. It turns out that you can get no end of stuff (Would the correct word be 'tat'? Ed) for very little money. So I'm starting small but going to build up.
I think it's gone rather well.
Until just now, when I happened to see this:
It's only £6,000.
I'll get my coat. And obviously, my het.
Monday, 4 April 2011
You know Jasper Fforde’s Tuesday Next spends loads of time living in books? She’s always having to sort out Heathcliff and stop Japanese tourists from changing the plots? Well, In An Ideal World, I would live in a book by Atlanta Bartlett.
Pale & Interesting is her latest – with Dave Coote. I’m sure Dave is lovely but Atlanta’s the star for me. A few years ago I bought The Relaxed Home by her and ever since then I’ve been painting things white and trying to look whimsical. Honestly, some of my happiest moments have been spent trying to distress a perfectly calm candelabra.
Anyway, the new book was mentioned in Country Homes and Interiors which I was reading as I have delusions of becoming middle class and changing my name to Jocasta. And my friends, it’s a gem! What that woman can’t do with a bit of old sheeting and a jam jar she found in the garden you could write on the back of a stamp.
The whole book is like walking into the world all of us would live in if dogs, children, horses, ribena, old people and marmite didn’t exist.
It's all so lovely. Pages and pages of whiteness and peonies and candles and vintage and silk things and mirrors which have gone all mottled and spooky. Haaaaah, (I just did a big sigh). And just when you think it can’t get any better, she hangs an antique tea dress on the outside of a cupboard and suddenly you’re having tea with the Mitfords and being effortlessly droll.
Can you hear me Atlanta? I WANT THAT TO BE ME!!!
I want to live on page 42 where I will become opulent yet low-key and I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS!
I am going to change…
I won’t ever be irritable or get shouty or sweary. I will sit on your elegant day bed which is old but contemporary and I’ll pretend I’m in Paris with a wig so big it has its own mouse.
I will salvage and collect and learn to use the word texture. I will sell the dog and ban red wine at all times.
Of course, there is one down side: I may never read fiction again. I’m just going to look at the pictures in Pale & Interesting and escape to my own world and be winsome and chic.
And I’ll never drop ketchup on anything ever again.
5 lovely big stars ....probably sitting on a mantelpiece by a twig.
Pale & Interesting by Atlanta Bartlett and Dave Coote, Ryland Peters and Small. You can buy it from Amazon here.
Sunday, 3 April 2011
Well, it's been an emotional week here at Bird Towers and that's a fact. First it was the last ever episode of The Tudors and as if this wasn't enough, Alfred The Wonder Dog had a special day out at the vets to have his wahoohahs removed.
I don't know which will be missed more. (Speak for yourself mate. Mr A Dog).
Did someone say something? Anyway, happily, I can reassure Alfred's legions of fans (now peaking at 2) that he is doing very well and you wouldn't really know what has happened. (Excuse me, I'd like to lodge a complaint. Mr A V.Cross Dog)
The only difference to the outside world is his new habit of looking doubly tragic when I stop to chat with people I know in the village. Men in particular have taken to ruffling his head like you did to poor children in the olden days, and then going all gruff and emotional at him. Plus, I'm relatively sure I'm now known as Cruella de Ville which wasn't the plan at all.
Anyway, Alfred has been a smashing brave tiger and is going to be fine...even if I have lost all my friends.
And still on the subject of stiff upper lip, back in the real world of Telly, I have to say Henry VIII's last episode was a total damp squib. Apart from Jonathan Rhys's Peanut Butter Cups' hilarious decision to combine the speaking voices of Winston Churchill and Phil out of Eastenders via Dublin, there was nearly nothing much to roar at, at all. I only perked up when the great master Holbein revealed his famous full length portrait of the king. They'd bravely tried to make it look like Our Jonathan but the result was one of those pictures everyone has to go boss eyed at until somebody pretends they can make out a dolphin.
Mind you, this maverickly bonkers series hasn't entirely let us down. Apparently there's a The Tudors iPhone Game.
I know! What?! Is this what one of our most celebrated monarchs and the founder of the Church of England has become?
Exactly: Angry Birds in Tights.
Alfred my friend, on balance I think your week hasn't been that bad at all.
Friday, 18 March 2011
I know, I promised lists of Cheerful Things and haven't done one yet. Boo and chiz all round.
However, in lieu (and some) of that, I'm posting about the wonderful Authors For Japan. It's a lovely idea and full of brilliant stuff for writers and readers and, well, people who just love books.
I have used their logo without permission but hopefully (and if you haven't been on there already) you'll click on the link above and have a look.
It's rather exciting. Currently I'm in the lead for my name being used for a character in one of the fabulous Kate Harrison's future books. I know....that's probably as close as I'll get to being published! Wahey!
Of course you can get a bit carried away. A dear friend of mine was considering bidding on a critique for a book she isn't actually writing. See - inspiring!
Absolute fair play to all the authors and experts who have donated their time, books and artwork. Out of truly unimaginable horror, how lovely when people do what they can.
PS: If you want to just donate directly or if you get outbid on something, you can go directly to The Red Cross Japan Tsunami Appeal here.
Friday, 4 March 2011
Friday, 18 February 2011
I know: ahhhhhh.
Now, I hope a bit of dog blogging (which we'd better not shorten to 'dogging') isn't going to bore you (do post a comment if it does), but the the first thing I should say is that the one on the left GREW.
Rather A LOT.
Who'd have known? One minute he's the size of a box of Kleenex (and conveniently, just as absorbant), the next, people are grabbing their children and asking me why Fatima Whitbread is wearing a puppy suit?
It's fair to say Alfred Is Large.
Which means that as the admittedly clueless owner of such enormousness, I've started some training.
To be fair, I have been doing my my best. These days it's rare you'll see me leave the house without a large bag of sausage and a variety of whistles. Sometimes I even have the dog with me as well.
But now I've called in the professionals. (Ed: This is an excuse to talk about Bodie again isn't it? ). (Me: Bum, I've been rumbled). Anyway, a very nice lady is helping. Or more truthfully, a very nice lady is getting the dog to be obedient while I stand there eating the sausage. (I might as well, they'll only go off).
Then I have a go and it's not always as impressive.
So far it's been a rollercoaster. Just like with children, apparently you're supposed to Pro-Actively Ignore bad behaviour. Which usually results in the following:
Trainer (calmly): 'Just ignore him.'
Me (hysterically): 'But he's eating a really big tree.'
Trainer (even more calmly): 'Don't worry it's probably OK.'
Me (about to faint): 'What do you mean probably?'
Dog (slightly worried): 'I think I need to go to the toilet.'
On the other hand, if I manage to get him to do something right we do Positive Something Or Another.
Trainer (looking amazed): 'Blimey. Quick - praise him.'
Me (being British): 'Good effort old sport.'
Trainer (shrieking): 'PRAISE HIM, PRAISE HIM.'
Me (not realising trainer is religious): 'Oh. Right. Er...thank you God?'
Dog (depressed): 'Why did I get the one that's an idiot?'
I'll let you know if it gets better. Meanwhile, if you need any heavy digging done...Alfred has very cheap rates.
PS: Our trainer is actually fab. And Very. Very. Patient!
Tuesday, 15 February 2011
There I was at Paddington, train delayed and all a bit boring and suddenly I was walking out of WHSmith with A Regency Romance.
As I say. Cripes!
Stap, me....talk about legs akimbo. Yowzah! I don't remember Norah Lofts' heroines (or heroes either) being quite so, er...bendy?
Admittedly, I'm out of touch and base all knowledge of anything post Robin Hood and pre-Downton Abbey (thank goodness - a mention) on the mighty Poldark. Let's be honest, the most heated it ever got then was a quick 'I say Demelze,' followed by a breathless 'Oooh Ross,' and that was that. Jolly fast edit over to someone talking about hunting.
Not any more, I can tell you. He is tall, dark, chisled and Every Woman's Fantasy (despite smelling of lurcher). She is tall, dark and clearly does a lot of Pilates. Either that or she's what we used to call double jointed. Fair play m'lady.
And while we're at it (a poor choice of words. Ed.) what about BBC2's The Tudors which is now at Episode #612 and somewhere around 1972? I'm beginning to think they've gone all 24 and done it in real time.
Our Henry is now fifty but apart from the occasional limp (choice of leg variable), still looks about thirty one. Clearly, the BBC have spend loads of money on the costumes as they're fab. Sadly, it means nothing left for prosthetics apart from some Tipex someone has smeared on his head. Brilliant! Oh and they've made him a bit beardy. BAFTA Best Make Up in the bag then.
I can't wait for this week's episode for further subtle aging. As Henry became horribly obese in later life do look out for a BBC cushion up his jerkin. Wife number six? Brace yourself!
Friday, 11 February 2011
I'd love to know what you think of the blog and do let me know if there are any topics you'd like In An Ideal World to cover. Honestly, it'll be like having your very own Andrew Marr. OK...maybe not quite.
Thanks for visiting and hope to see you again soon.
Sunday, 8 August 2010
Thursday, 14 January 2010
Sunday, 8 November 2009
Saturday, 1 August 2009
Who is the hottest movie star?
Apparently in real life he is actually someone who's not called Guy of Gisborne at all which I think is a detail worth ignoring. And as for them killing him off in Series 3. Well. Consider my licence fee under review.
Apart from your house and your car what is the most expensive item you've ever bought?
What's your most treasured memory?
My Grandad. The kindest man ever.
What is the best gift you ever received as a child?
What's the biggest mistake you've ever made?
Four words to describe yourself.
Hearty. Comforting. Working stock. Oh good - I'm a soup.
What was your highlight or lowlight of 2008?
Endearing but half the staff had a seizure.
BF is now ex-BF (I know - no more bags - swizz!) but the bag remains mine - safely in its bag, inside a bag, inside another bag. Another thing that left the boy most bewildered and, being a manly type of chap, not unkindly trying to figure out why on earth you would buy a bag that comes in its own bag?
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I want that car. And I want to marry someone with the surname Scrumptious.
Tell me one thing I don't know about you.
If you were a comic book/strip or cartoon character who would you be?
Friday, 31 July 2009
I'm alright now though it's taken me fully two weeks to recover and a certain amount of governmental 'talking down' from what felt like an international kidnapping attempt. My fault for not wanting to mortgage the house in order to park the car at Heathrow.
Things did not get any better and if the kindly nurses will let me play on the PC again I will tell of the journey itself. Until then my friends, if you are en route to the airport, my sympathies are with you.
Saturday, 11 July 2009
1. Be faster off the mark to bagsy doing the crumble on your night to cook.
2. Try not to steal a lovely best selling novelist's laptop at the end of the course.
3. Be careful what you read out loud in an isolated cottage on a moor to people who don't really know you.
Tuesday, 23 June 2009
Anyway, as I was saying, absolutely LOADS has been happening so here is a list to bring you up to date. For Ease Of Use I have listed them in order of importance. Hang onto your hats as it's been very busy so there are over two things on the list:
1. I've got a peg bag.
I know - how brilliant is that? Very brilliant, that's what. It's pink and in the shape of a dress like it's for a dolly. It's got strawberries printed on it and it's on a coat hanger and if that isn't enough excitement for you, it holds over 5 pegs as well.
2. I've got a whirly washing line B&Q called An Airer.
Well, after the adrenalin rush brought on by the aforementioned Bag, I thought I'd go bonkers and get the washing line too in order to show the neighbours my pants on a more regular basis. It turns out it's called A Rotary Airer and you can even buy it an anorak for when it's down and it's raining. To be fair I thought that was going over the top a bit because we all get a bit down when it's raining and not everyone always feels better just because they have an anorak so I thought it probably wasn't worth it.
3. I had some proper grown up photos taken.
In a studio with lights and a man who wore socks and no shoes and I don't know what else.
'Hi I'm Pete,' said the nice man with a camera.
'Hello. Should I just call you Bailey?' I said politely, having Read About Photographers.
'Er no, not really,' he offered. 'That's not my name.'
Surly wasn't he?
I took 2 suit jackets and some jumpers with me and weirdly almost all of them made me look fat which just goes to show cameras DO add four stone to you just as Kerry Katona has said in Reveal. As I am also a keen follower of Miss Katona's Iceland Diet which consists of multiple sausage rolls and frozen puddings made from mattresses I think this could also have been a factor.
No irrefutable evidence though on that point so I stocked up on cheese balls at the weekend as usual. They're virtually fruit.
So that's more than enough really. As you can tell I've been rushed off my feet.
I'm off now to pop in some washing. Next time I may tell you about The Day I Got The Linen Basket. Good eh?
What was that noise? Gosh - you mean ALL of you are going to be busy?
Monday, 1 June 2009
Monday, 18 May 2009
Sunday, 17 May 2009
And he wouldn't sit in the green room to be filmed with all the other losers which was highly commendable, opting I am sure, for a light dinner of panda cakes covered in diamonds in a room at the Kremlin instead. Good work Lord Webber. You did all that you could for us. (Apart from win, obviously).
Meanwhile, the rest of Europe had done their usual doolally best by fielding a line up of women dressed as hookers and mime artists in gimp masks. Always worth a go, although I quite liked Germany who turned up with Gok off of Fashion Fix singing Minnie The Moocher. I always thought you had to actually write a new song for the Eurovision but apparently not. They were well on for my vote until that Dita Von Trapp woman interrupted doing her usual talent packed routine of Having A Very Small Waist.
Well done dear - we can all have our vital organs removed. Now tell us what it is you actually do?Of course Iceland tried to spoil everything by sporting a pretty girl who actually did her own singing and even more of a cheat, sang something resembling a proper song. The wiser countries of Europe realised the incredible insurgency of this and voted her into second place, but sadly no one was brave enough to do the right thing
So here we all were then, left with Harry Potter without his glasses pretending to play a fiddle that wasn't plugged in (not that any of the instruments were for the entire evening) and singing a song that was, by anyone not deaf's standards, dreadful.
Frankly me and the Lovely Best Friend were bewildered. Surely we'd missed something? What on earth made it favourite and even more concerning, what an earth made people actually vote? I could only put it down to something subliminal we'd been shouting at the telly too loudly to hear.
Thankfully a note of normality returned as LBF's boyfriend walked in, announcing he was 8 out of 10 drunk and for all that, speaking the only sense of the evening by saying we were bonkers to have watched it in the first place.
'We didn't come last,' I said in our defence. 'We got votes this year and everything, but the Danish spoilt it by singing the hokey cokey and making it all total rubbish'.
'It's Eurovision, you muppet' he replied, not unkindly. 'It's supposed to be rubbish.'
After three everybody...."She's a fairytale yeh, even though it hurts....."