Thursday, 25 February 2016

I don't wannabe a Spice Girl!

I did one of those daft quizzes on Buzzfeed while supping my mocha one dull Monday morning.

'What musical girl group do you belong in?' screamed the headline, so I thought I'd give it a go.  It was either that or get back to doing some actual work and I was feeling easily distracted.

Based on my answers - and I'm sure with no scientific basis whatsoever - I belong in The Spice Girls.

To be honest, I was hoping for Bananarama or The Bangles as The Spice Girls phenomenon completely passed me by; 1996 was the year I graduated from University, and my musical tastes were more of the Indie variety.

Not that I'm knocking The Spice Girls - I can't dispute their success and the longevity of some of their careers, it's just that I wouldn't want to be one.

It comes down to the 'character' associations: I could probably be Scary, in fact given the correct circumstances I could definitely be scary, at a push Posh, not Royal-family posh, but as posh as Victoria but in a more smiley, friendly way.

Baby is out of the question (I'm mid-forties, that would be weird) and Sporty isn't going to work for me either - I'm not really a 'leisurewear as outdoor wear' type of person.  Neither can I do those backflips - not that I've tried, I don't think the NHS could cope with the injuries I'd cause myself and bystanders should such a manoeuvre be undertaken!

No, the main problem is that I'd end up being Ginger Spice.

With hideous flashbacks to all the names I've been called by growing up red-headed, I don't think I could cope with this moniker. 

Also, that very tight, short Union Jack dress really wouldn't suit me - unless it can work as a tunic, with jeans and Doc Martens?

So no, I don't think I'll be shouting 'Girl Power' and joining The Spice Girls for their rumoured 2016 reunion tour. 
Please also note any suggestions of 'Old Spice' will not be welcomed!

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Bella's back!

Bella's home!  Possibly the best news we've heard so far this year.

The little Spaniel who was taken from outside a shop in Rothwell is now back where she belongs.

Her poor family have worked tirelessly campaigning to find her, with regular postings on social media.  The scenes of them being reunited made me cry tears of happiness, as I'm sure they did for you too.

The bond between a dog and its human family is a strong one, and the time they were apart must have been agonizing for both parties.

Thank goodness this story has a happy ending.  It also underlines the importance of microchipping your dog, which Bella's family had done, and which  becomes a legal requirement in England from April this year.

Talking of dogs, I've been watching 'Cats v Dogs, Which is Best?' with interest.

Although I don't think it's fair to make a comparison, as both have their merits.  I've never owned a cat as I'm allergic, but I can see the appeal of their independent natures.

However, I also appreciate the unconditional love of a dog, and the fact that they're always happy to see you.  Mine wags his tail so hard his whole body snakes from side to side.

Working from home my Lab is my constant companion.  He likes to lay on my feet while I'm at my desk - which is great on a cold day, but does mean I feel guilty getting up to make a cup of tea and try to shuffle out without disturbing him, which I haven't managed to achieve yet despite years of practice!

Much has been said about humans and their relationship with animals, but I shall leave you with the following interesting comment, one that I've heard many times before and have only just discovered was originally stated by Winston Churchill:

"A cat looks down upon a man, and a dog looks up to a man, but a pig will look a man in the eye and see his equal."

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Tribute to Terry Wogan

I grew up with Terry Wogan.  Not literally of course, as he was from Limerick and we never actually met.

But looking back he was a constant feature of my childhood.  Mum always had her radio tuned to Radio Two, and his dulcet tones could be heard while my brother and I got ready for school.

Then we watched Blankety Blank, probably most noteworthy for the strangely outsize microphone that Mr Wogan brandished towards guests, and which Kenny Everett took great delight in bending out of shape.

I remember wanting to win a Blankety Blank cheque book and pen, much in the same way that I also wanted a Bendy Bully from Bullseye - unfortunately neither of these items have made it into my treasured collection of things which I'm keeping so daughter can present them one day to an expert on The Antiques Roadshow.

The thrice-weekly Wogan chat show was also essential viewing, and my addiction to the Eurovision Song Contest began because of Terry's mocking commentary which was infinitely more fun than the actual singing.  My favourite quote is:  "Who knows what hellish future lies ahead?  Actually, I do.  I've seen the rehearsals."

I briefly flirted with listening to Radio One in my teens and twenties, before returning to the Radio Two family in my thirties, where I've remained resolutely ever since - getting very annoyed with husband when he borrows my car and retunes my radio to another station.

Yes, I woke up with Wogan regularly, his Janet and John stories in particular causing much mirth and brightening my mornings.

His gentle, jovial, clever and amusing delivery and the camaraderie between his team made you also feel part of the gang.

People often ask me 'Are you Terry Wogan's Hellen Bach?', and I have to tell them that sadly I'm not.

Although, in a way, I suppose I am.  Thank you Terry for all the joy you brought us over the years and for being our friend. 

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Passport photo

In hindsight, there are some tasks that just shouldn't be undertaken early on a Saturday morning in January.

One of my New Year's resolutions was to renew mine and my husband's passports, and to get daughter her first passport.  I haven't left the UK since before she was born, and until now hadn't the need for one, so mine had long since expired.

Having discovered what we needed to do, we set off for our nearest Main Post Office to collect the forms.

We also happened upon a photo booth.  Now these were a source of amusement long ago, when my friends and I would pile in and take a series of pictures of ourselves.  Not anymore.

Really, I should have refused husband's suggestion to get the photos taken there and then as there wasn't a queue.

I should have dug my heels in, point blank refused and returned with full face of make-up and immaculate hair, instead of my minimalistic natural day face complemented by windswept barnet.

Instead I simply shrugged and said 'Yeah, why not'.  This, my friends, was a huge mistake.

In a scene reminiscent from the Hamlet cigar ad - you know the one, with Gregor Fisher (Google it if you're too young to remember) - there I was perched on a small plastic stool, trying to keep a 'neutral expression'.

'Neutral expression' - who on earth ever has such a thing?  Certainly queuing at passport control my expression has never been what can be described as 'neutral'.  More like 'simmering rage', 'slightly shifty even though I've done nothing wrong', or 'in need of a cup of tea or something stronger', but never, ever 'neutral'!

The result resembles a mug-shot for a 120-year suspected serial killer.  It's so bad I had to have a friend countersign it because I'm unrecognisable from my previous passport photo, which I hadn't particularly liked either but now realise was OK.

I would have tried again, but it costs £5 and in husband's words 'There's no point throwing good money after bad'!