Friday, 29 March 2013

We’ve been on a quest.

Mr Bach has decided, a bit like the chap on the Nat West ISA advert, that the time has come to purchase a classic Mustang.

It may or may not be a mid-life crisis, but as I like cars too I’m happy to indulge him.

Previous readers will know I like cars.  I particularly like cars with V8 engines, as I like the ‘burbling’ sound they make.

I’m also planning ahead for daughter’s prom and/or wedding as I think this might make an appropriate vehicle for a grand entrance. 

So, sat nav enabled – my favourite joke about sat navs has to be the Bonnie Tyler version, it keeps telling you to turn around and every now and then it falls apart – off we headed.

Two hours later we arrived at our destination, and there she stood. 

Head-turner is an understatement, even though she’s nearly 50 years old.

We opened the driver’s door and I was hit by that classic car smell – a mixture of petrol and old car.  I was immediately transported (pardon the pun) back to my first car, a 1974 Mini.

The current owner started her up, probably waking up the neighbours in this smart suburb of a major city.

Mustang Sally sat there, burbling happily in the sunshine, with passers-by rubber-necking to see what was going on.

She’s not perfect, there’s a few signs of age (a bit like my good self!), but she’s certainly a looker.  Now we have to think is she the car for us?

Monday, 25 March 2013

I was number nine on the Chris Evans Breakfast Show's top tenuous about Ant and Dec this morning!

Here's a blog I wrote in January when they'd won an award.  Thanks for reading, Hx

I was pleased to see that Ant and Dec had won the best entertainment presenter award at the National Television Awards for the 12th year running.

The cheeky Geordie chappies – who surely must have paintings in their attics which age instead of them in a Dorian Gray-style – are fully deserving of this accolade.

As well as being complete professionals, they are actually very nice people too.  I know this because my brother met them and interviewed them many years ago, before they performed at Kettering Leisure Village (anyone remember that?  I was there!)

He was a ‘cub’ reporter at the time and straight out of Journalism College – he’d got this job through his old schoolmate and friend who’d booked them for the gig.

He found them to be completely decent, genuine blokes, who were friendly and open.  They even bought him a cup of tea at the expensive hotel in London at which he interviewed them, which was greatly appreciated by him as he had huge student debts at the time!

I’m pretty sure they haven’t changed either which is why they continue to be very popular in what is sometimes a fickle industry.

I haven’t really met many famous people, but I did once bump into Richard Harris in Covent Garden.  He was wearing a sky-blue baby-gro type outfit, what’s called a ‘onesy’ these days, but as this was 1993 he was way ahead of his time fashion-wise.

I plucked up courage and approached him and asked for his autograph.  He was lovely, seeming genuinely pleased that somebody had recognized him, and that’s when I blurted out:

“I thought you were really good in ‘The Field’.”

He looked at me, raised an eyebrow and smiled, as I then blushed realizing that unless you knew he’d starred in an Irish film about a field that revelation could sound a little ‘unfortunate’ to anyone else listening!  He continued to smile as he signed the only piece of paper I had to hand – the back of a friend’s florist business card.

Just recently, my daughter asked me if I’d ever met anyone famous, and I recounted this tale (editing the bit about ‘The Field’).

“Who’s Richard Harris?” she asked.  To which I replied that he was a very famous Irish actor, who’d been in various war films, oh, and he was the original Dumbledore in the Harry Potter films.

“Wow, you met Dumbledore?!  That’s soooo cool!  Wait until I tell everyone at school!”  she replied happily. 

Saturday, 23 March 2013

A Poem About (the never-ending) Winter

Winter, my dear friend,
It’s time for you to end.
Time for you to go,
Take with you all that snow.

I want to see the Spring,
To let the sunshine in.
To see the flowers in bloom
To lose that winter gloom.

It’s March now, go away,
Come back another day.
Next December’s fine,
Snow’s good at Christmas-time!

You know how they say that smell is the sense closest linked to memory?

Well, I think listening to music is a close second when it comes to triggering my memories.

I was listening to Steve Wright’s Golden Oldies the other day, and Curiosity Killed The Cat’s song ‘Down to Earth’ came on.

I was immediately transported back to my secondary school days when my friends and I used to sit on the school bus discussing Ben Volpeliere-Pierrot (surely not his real name?) and who was featured in Smash Hits that fortnight.

Smash Hits was my music ‘bible’ in those days, replaced by NME only when I grew older and got into Indie music.

I loved Smash Hits.  The double-sided posters featuring your favourite singers; the quandary about which side to put up on your wall when it had bands that you liked on both sides.

A-ha, Duran Duran, U2, Pet Shop Boys, Erasure – just a snap-shot of what I was listening to in the 1980s, on my Sony personal stereo whilst out and about or on my ‘ghetto blaster’ at home.  Not sure you can really have a ‘ghetto blaster’ if you live in rural Northants, but I’m pretty sure that’s what we called them back then!

I can still recall most of the words to the songs too, and I think I can thank Smash Hits for that as I used to avidly read all the song lyrics they printed and tried to work out what their meanings.

I also vividly remember standing in a record shop in Leicester (I think it was Our Price) listening to U2’s ‘The Fly’ on one of their listening posts and thinking it was the coolest thing I’d ever heard. 

Now there’s no Smash Hits and very few High Street record shops.  How times have changed.  Luckily I still have my memories...

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Mid-Devon District Council has proposed getting rid of apostrophes on its street signs.

It says that they cause confusion.  How exactly?  How confusing can an apostrophe be?!

I, for one, like apostrophes used in the correct manner. 

One of my pet hates, however, is their misuse.

I don’t want to get all ‘Lynne Truss’ here, but I feel the need to share some of these with you.

First of all, a car bumper sticker.  As my daughter reads my blog I shall change the language slightly, not the sentiment.

The sticker reads “My cars the mutts nuts”.

Every time I see it I have this huge urge to correct the punctuation – I know, it’s really sad of me.

What it should say is “My car’s the mutt’s nuts”, or if there’s more than one dog whose nuts are being discussed, “My car’s the mutts’ nuts”.

Secondly, a local estate agent’s car which proudly says “Lets Rent”.

It should read “Let’s Rent”.

Just don’t get me started on the weekly e-mail from school which says “here’s this weeks newsletter”...

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Did you know there’s a new survey out which says that we all waste about an hour of each day putting off things that need doing?

So that old saying – procrastination is the thief of time – is in fact true.

I was thinking about this today, whilst drinking a cup of tea, checking my e-mails, visiting Facebook and looking at the Northants Telegraph website instead of vacuuming!

Do you know what I did next?  I put it off again by deciding to write about it!

Yes, I could merrily put off doing the housework all day, but as I can’t afford to pay anyone else to do it and don’t want to end up like those people on TV documentaries living in chaos and clutter, I’d better stop writing and get on with it.

Thanks for reading!  Hx

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Not such a dedicated follower of fashion...

I always read the fashion section of the Sunday paper’s magazine with a mixture of amusement and horror.

I’m sure I can’t be the only person who looks at the clothes featured and says ‘how much?’ and ‘I couldn’t possibly wear that on the school run!’

Now, I know that the magazines aren’t targeting women such as myself when they do these fashion shoots – otherwise they’d use models that ate healthy meals or were old enough to vote – but even so, really?

Seriously, to whom are these adverts actually aimed?

The magazine I read this week told me that top-to-toe white clothing was the big news for Summer 2013.

Yeah, right.  Maybe if I lived in Miami and had a tan, but glorious Northamptonshire in the rain – I don’t think so!

How long would something like that stay the colour it was intended?  Not in my household anyway – I have a black Labrador who likes to brush against my clothing at every opportunity!

I’m sure most parents will tell you that wearing white is a no-no.  Small children with chocolatey faces and fingers are like a magnet for light coloured clothing.  No amount of Vanish is ever going to get that out.

So, if it’s all the same, I shall stick to what suits my age, shape and lifestyle and the fashionistas will have to keep their immaculate white suits to themselves – plus I have no desire to look like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, thank you very much!

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

So, the mythical white hart of Brookfield Plantation is real.

A photo of Chalky, the white stag, appeared on the Northants Telegraph website on Monday (4th March).

I’d long heard the stories that this ghostly figure roamed the local woodland, but I’d never had the pleasure of seeing him face-to-face.

Yet, here he was, staring out of my computer screen, in a picture taken by a young boy and his Dad who love walking in these woods.

It was this story which further confirmed to me that the Brookfield Plantation must be preserved.

We need to protect woodland and wildlife for future generations.  We are but caretakers, temporary custodians of the land.  It is our duty to look after it, not destroy it for perceived short-term ‘gain’.

We keep hearing about the possible number of jobs that this scheme could bring to the area.  What we don’t see are actual companies, proposing real jobs for local people.

The figures in the planning application are based on the square meterage of the site, not on any tangible, realistic employment prospects.

We’ve seen it all and heard it all before.  How many empty warehouses are there in Corby?  How many warehouses are let, and then employ just a handful of people?

Ask yourself what happened to the trees in the land off Geddington Road – they were destroyed, and for what?  That site still stands empty and employs nobody.

Meanwhile, we have Chalky the deer and his herd, living in an area of woodland also home to red kite, and possibly great crested newt and watervoles – what will happen to them should this development go ahead?

Let’s not repeat the mistakes of the past.  We need to preserve the woodland for our children and future generations.  It is our moral obligation to save Chalky and his friends!

Monday, 4 March 2013

We’ve all heard the expression ‘lies, damned lies and statistics’. 

Can I take the liberty of adding another to the list?

How about ‘planning puff’?

Yes, I’m talking about the proposed development at Brookfield Plantation again, and will keep talking about it until this matter is finally settled and the herd of deer, red kites, possible great crested newts and watervoles can carry on their happy existence undisturbed.

Please can local people wake up and be realistic about the number of possible jobs?

The application contains proverbial ‘planning puff’ when it comes to employment, based on multiplying a set figure by the square meterage of the site, rather than actual companies estimating actual, real-life, paying jobs.

We’ve heard it all before in Corby – huge warehouses are built, never let, or if they are, they employ a handful of people, not many of whom live locally.

How many acres of trees were destroyed off the Geddington Road, and for what?  The site stands empty, employing nobody.

Scandalous for the environment - we must not allow this to happen at the Brookfield Plantation. 

Remember Chalky the white deer and his friends* – SAY NO TO THE RESOURCE RECOVERY PLANT!  DO NOT BE FOOLED BY FALSE PROMISES OF 3000 JOBS!! 

* For those who don't live locally, Chalky is a white stag who lives in the Brookfield Plantation.  There's a story on the Northants Telegraph website about him - here's the link:

Sunday, 3 March 2013

If I could turn back time...  I probably wouldn’t have watched last night’s ‘Let’s Dance For Comic Relief’.

Saturday night TV hasn’t been that scary since Dr Who met the Daleks.

For those of you lucky enough to have missed it, Vanessa Feltz dressed up as Cher, wearing just a body stocking, a frizzy wig and an embarrassed smile.

She was airlifted into position astride a cannon – a truly disturbing sight, and this was pre-watershed.

I can assure you I haven’t watched the telly through my fingers cringing like I did yesterday for a long time.

Still on the up side, Jodie Prenger was fantastic as the guy from Cameo doing ‘Word Up’, complete with a flashing red nose cod-piece.

It’s all in a good cause, so I’m not really grumbling.  I just feel the need for counselling to get over it...