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'EVERYTHING IS MATERIAL.' THE LATE NORA EPHRON'
catfordc@twitter.com

9th JANUARY 2013 TELLING OUR STORIES AS THEY REALLY ARE. HOW HARD CAN THAT BE?



image: grtawards.org.uk

Very, says author and psychoanalyst, Stephen Crosz. His book 'An Examined Life' is just out, and is serialised this week on BBC Radio 4  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01pnmwy

It's moving and compelling, using ordinary, not therapy, language.

His work shows how many of us hide our stories, believing that the stories others tell about us are real. The true self then dies a small death as a result. We may resort to fantasy to avoid trauma, stay silent to avoid telling our real story at all and/or abuse others and/or ourselves when the lies we have told ourselves about who we are, just to survive, are challenged.

Last year, my 'old story' unravelled. Perhaps you'll identify with my experience?  CLICK TOP LEFT 'YOUR STORY', FOR MORE....

7th JANUARY 2013: A HORSE FOR EVERY WEEK OF THE YEAR....

A HORSE WITH NO NAME X 52
image: 123rf.com

....why would you have 52 horses? I guess you could saddle up a new model each week of the year. On the downside, that's alot of shovelling sxxt.  A Channel 4 doc looked at one man who'd taken up this challenge; and it was a sad tale, but still, a heck of alot of hooves.

AND AT THE TOP OF THE NEWS: 'CLARE CATFORD FERRETS ABOUT FOR A HARD HITTING STORY.....'

One of the headline grabbing highlights of my 'hard news investigative TV journalist career,' was finding 100 ferrets in a small bedroom in Swindon. The owner couldn't and wouldn't get rid of them. They little tykes were breeding like the clappers. We went back to get some more shots. By then there were 120 and the numbers were still rising. The smell was a cocktail of rubbish going off, and dead fish rotting in the heat. (Sorry if you're eating.)

PERFUME NOT PONG

The RSPCA sorted it; but even when the animals had moved on (to ferret heaven at a guess) the smell still lingered, when I went back 3 months later. Their former owner didn't mind. 'It's like Chanel No 5 to me.' Truthfully, it's the same with cats and dogs, providing you don't have 120 of them. I'm a cat and dog person, though not at the same time due to a small flat, and a big city. I swear you don't notice the smell. Or is that because I'm at midlife and have started wearing a knitted cardy and very sensible shoes....?

 

 

4th JANUARY 2013 CONVERSATIONS IN TESCO #2 LEN'S CHISEL.....

image: theargus.co.uk

Set: The checkout machines. Characters: 2 'midlife aged women'; both in brightly coloured macs and 'useful' shopping bags.

'So Christmas?' .......'All was going like the clappers until Len got his chisel out.' 'I heard; A and E in the evening wasn't it?' - 'It bloody was...'(INTERRUPTION FROM MACHINE: PLEASE CALL FOR ASSISTANCE.'....bloody thing; how do you DO bananas?' (Shop assistant arrives) 'Thanks Love; you must get fed up, must have been bad last week...anyway, YES A and E. It was the cake!'

'The cake?'..... 'He got the bloody chisel to get through the icing. The kids only want marzipan anyway; I'd said don't bother with it, but he's like that. Does it every year. The icing.' '(INTERRUPTION FROM MACHINE: PLEASE CALL FOR ASSISTANCE.'....oh for god's sake; wish I'd queued now: (to assistant: 'Thanks love, sorry love.') ....always goes like cement.

Chisel slips; cuts into his hand; blood all over. Cake looked like it was having an operation. ...'Must have been awful?' ....'It was, but we'd seen the queen, and it was only something with blue cartoons in digital after. I was glad to get out.' ....'Is he alright?' .....'Alright in the head you mean? Never (laughs uproriously) - but nice doctor sorted him out; from the Eastern countries, Poland?  Long wait, 3 hours. Glad his leg wasn't falling off.

'That's good then.'.... 'Given the cake to the Red Cross. Reckon they'd be the best people to have it, wouldn't mind the blood.'

END

 

'THIS AIN'T RUBBISH, HUN; MY LIFE'S IN THAT BIN.'
image: CLIPARTOF.COM

3rd JANUARY 2013 HOW MUCH BAGGAGE HAVE YOU GOT? DO YOU MEAN THAT......

'.....I USED TO BE REGULAR SIZED BUT NOW NO-ONE CAN GET ME OUT THE AIRPORT.'
image: ottogetoranized.com

...literally or emotionally? The answer to either or one can be whatever you want.

'Ooooh a Lorryload, love.' 'Emotional baggage? I don't do feelings.' 'I've thrown out all those tins of prunes from 1963; makes you feel SO much better!' ' I chucked out 10 bin bags of 'stuff' beFORE the new year. Tights were the worst. I seem to have accumulated hundreds of pairs, some of them with one leg. Sure, they double up as dusters; but that's SO Good Housekeeping, so out they went.

HUSH HUSH I'VE KEPT THIS BLUSH FOR 15 YEARS......

Then there's make up. I LOVE the stuff. 'I'll just keep that congealed lipstick from MAC that I got 10 years' ago; it's a certain kind of black, very hard to get now.' Who ARE these people who say you've got to turn around cosmetics in three months or you'll get a nasty incurable skin disease? Don't they have bills to pay? See, we are NOT all in this together.

EMOTIONAL RESCUE

Don't mention 'eeeeeemotions', we're British. Fortunately that's an almost ancient attitude, but not quite. I got my fair share of eeeemotions when they were handing them out and have been unloading the 'weigh you down' ones ever since. You can also fall into the tear filled trip of taking on OTHER PEOPLE'S (oh God no) emotions too; and get pulled into their dramas. Do NOT do this if you value your sanity, integrity and you want to sleep at night. It is NOT kind, it is stupid. You simply become the scapegoat for their bullying and anger when things go txxs up.

NO. I SAID NO!  I SAID NO!!

'No', is becoming my favourite word. Two letters, not likely to be misunderstood (though challenged) and stops a bad situation getting to Titanic levels. Obviously if you can say 'no' before it goes bad, that's ideal; but whenever you say it, say it with conviction. New Year's Tip? Practice a long nooooooooooo and a short no in a variety of tones, in front of the mirror. Pick the one you're comfortable with and use it as much as possible. Do this and 2013 will be your best year, evaaaaaa, I guarantee it.  

 

 

 

 

DECEMBER 31st CONGRATULATIONS; IT'S FISCAL CLIFF......

..I'M JUST SO RELIEVED I'M FISCALLY FINE...CHEERS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!
image: universalposter.com

...well someone had to do it.

Now you've overdosed on Mistletoe and Wine, This New Year (1991) try and look at life with a Sweet and Gentle perspective. And When the Rock Doesn't Roll your way, remember You Can't Go to Heaven By Living Like Hell (?). As Tomorrow is Rising, You've Got a Friend. (Unless you're a complete and utter nightmare, in which case ignore the above.)

 

'TANGLED UP IN LIGHTS; IT HAPPENS SOMETIMES. THINGS WILL STRAIGHTEN OUT BEFORE NEW YEAR I'M SURE...'

image: gentlepetprotectors.com

29th DECEMBER 2012: CHRISTMAS: HOW WAS IT FOR YOU?

'I THINK SHE MAY HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF CHRISTMAS.......'

image: pensionpulse.blogspot

.....Good, I hope. Everyone got on I am sure, without throwing themselves off the (fiscal) cliff? Mine was a good time complete with sister, her old man, their kids, snow and lots of sleep in Boston. My 'fairy' lights broke at one point, due to a really painful bout of Christmas conflict; but as I was in another country; there was nothing I could do, except ask the man with the white beard for some valium in my stocking. I got Alka Seltzer; and was happy enough with that.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS?

As you probably know, that's what they say in the States to avoid offending anyone's religious sensibilities. It is a 'sensitive' time, this season; and easy to take things more personally, feel feelings more strongly, and find yourself in situations that seem to get out of hand. Chopping brussel sprouts for my sister helped level things out; and, as I don't have a diswasher (I am just SO 19th century) she wouldn't let me load it until I'd passed an exam.

NFL (National Football League) a MIRACLE worker...

This is great for frayed nerves. All of us, kids included, got completely addicted to the New England Patriots game: their manager is about as communicative as some of our own soccer bosses. Shouting at the telly is a great work out. Everyone's obsessed by the fiscal cliff over there; the arguments on Fox News are more like fights in the boxing ring; and that's what makes them so good to watch. 'Obama better get his arse out of Hawaii NOW.' Clearly he was happy to oblige.

...and new year? Not sure what to do. Have a couple of invites (hark at me) - but actually think I might just stay in. Last year I wore myself out carrying plates of sausages and trying to help the host. There was a trip to A and E the next day: I'll spare you the details.  I slipped on sick on the Jubilee line on another occasion and nearly got trampled to death. But let's be positive - new year, new you, new me, new diswasher (?), new pants....it's going to be a blast.

 

 

17 DECEMBER 2012 MY PAUSE FOR THOUGHTS - ON IN THE SMALL HOURS ALL THIS WEEK: HAVE A LISTEN ...

...OVERNIGHTS, PLAY HAVOC WITH YOUR HORMONES....

On Radio 2 every night this week at 1am and 3am. Teeth whitening kits, giblets, 'we only had a sugar cube and a walnut in our stocking when we were young,': all bases covered.

If you're working shifts, in a different time zone, or can't sleep; this is for you.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006wr0n

Tim Smith Presenting - Pause for Thoughts from me at 1am and 3am.

...WE FEAR THE WOLF AS WE FEAR THE BEAST WITHIN OURSELVES

image: i-reminsces.blogspot.com

17th DECEMBER 2012 THE ANGRY WOLF - a short Christmas story...

..THE LAMENT OF THE LONELY WOLF...

image: fogpack.webs.com

He had a wild and uncontrollable energy. It was'the opposite of reason,' but no matter how hard he tried, he was always on the edge of madness, with an irresistible urge for a freedom that was always over the next ice flow, just out of reach. He had everything and nothing. Offspring all over the ninemile territory and the first taste of the kill.  

His territory grew each year, stretching for miles and miles. It was never enough. His body, mind and spirit became weary, yet he snapped and raged at any potential rival. His howl was now a desperate lament, as his isolation and power grew. Yet, no-one; nothing could save this beautiful beast from himself.

It must have been the beginning of a special season, the air was fresh, he curled his lips to 'taste' it. The trap leapt at him and he felt excrutiating pain. He slumped and white turned to red. He wanted to fight; but had no energy. He had been stopped, suspended in an arctic desert. There was release and relief. His bloodied paw print was the same size as the face of a three month old human child. He was the beast, but how he longed for the child's innocence. It came soon enough. Perhaps he would live, perhaps he would not. But this season brought him sleep and peace. His self hatred became surrender. Now he had nothing, but everything. He could reveal his frailty and rest.

The wind strenghtened, whipping the fine snow into small drifts. The wolf tasted the air again. He could smell the man before he saw him. In rust and reddish bear skin the the ground crunched as he approached. It had been the hunter's trap; the wolf knew what would happen next. There was silence. He felt the pressure release as the steel was eased open, and bear skin wrapped around his wound. The two Arctic travellers made eye contact; each could see centuries of wild wisdom in the other. Then they were gone. Their tracks were covered and their scent melted away into the Arctic night.

With thanks to William Blake, Gerald Hausman, and the Nature Company: 'Wolf Spirit of the Wild.'

KNITTED NATIVITY - THE ONE ON THE LEFT'S A STITCH SHORT OF A SWEATER, POOR FELLA....
image: yarnpony.wordpress.com

14th DECEMBER 2012 NATIVITY NIGHTMARE - THE KNITTED JESUS IS NICKED...

...OK I'M PINK: LET'S NOT GET WEIRD ABOUT IT...
image:thetestyknitter.com

 Is nothing sacred? No, it's not. Someone's nicked the knitted Jesus from the school nativity scene. There was a happy ending. One of the kids' grannies rustled up a replacement from leftover bits of wool. This Jesus was maroon and blue; more a Villa supporter, than the Virgin's baby, but hey; it's Christmas 

 

CHUCKY JESUS

 

Then there was 'Chucky' Jesus. 'Star', if you can call it that, of the 1980's horror film, Child's Play. The vicar had found an old doll and tried to spruce it up with a bit of white make up. The under fives had panic attacks. It was quickly replaced with a more traditional wooden version from a pound shop.

 

IT'S CHRISTMAS - SO, LET THE TONGUES LOOSEN......

 

'It's Christmas', covers everything. Let's take the festive blazing row which emerges at about 8am after a sleepless and late night. It's all because of unresolved marital/partner issues. 'God you're so predictable when we talk about: (insert expletive and tick the following box) money, my mother, your mother, sex, saying 'no' to the kids, my/your drinking, my/your attitudes, David Cameron, going out, football, what film/DVD to watch, UKIP, your ex wife/husband, your sisters' kids, that dog, trying to have FUN, Strictly, smoking, pornography, the X-box, texting, Graham Norton, how to fill the dishwasher.

 

BUT (LOUDLY SHOUTING) THIS IS MEANT TO BE A HAPPY DAY!!!!!

 

December 11th 2012 GETTING OFF THE TREADMILL...

...LOOKS GREAT WITH STILETTOS


image: masterfile.com

...I've got to find another way to work out. Let's be honest. Work out is rather overstating it. I joined the gym for three months to boost my mood and went swimming once. At 75 quid a month that's 210 quid for a quick dip in a chlorinated pool. Just don't go there.

...And this is my eldest; 'Osteoporosis.'

Osteoporosis is not a celebrity child's name, but a nasty that can get you from midlife onwards. I've got Argos weights (a tenner for 4) and boxing gloves with a balloon thing (7.99 Sports Direct) that goes in the middle of the front room; for my osteo fightback. The boxing's been great. There's so much pent up aggression in there it's got to get out or it'll fester. I'm thinking of taking this boxing ring thing more seriously.  A mate of mine's signed up for fencing and there's a zumba class up the road. A regular weekly knees up is a nightmare because I don't work predictable hours. 5 sit ups once a year don't really cut it.

Frankly I'm exhausted just writing this so I'm going to turn in - it's been a roller coaster of a week.

NB: Does this 'falling snow' feature look like dandruff? It was either that or stars like bombs.

 

60 A DAY AND STILL HERE - AND I'VE GOT AN IPAD..
image: sheebee.co.za

December 9th 2012 'SO I'M OLD, I'VE GOT A NEW APP FOR MY IPHONE; IS THAT A PROBLEM?

...BLOODY THING KEEPS GOING BACK TO THE HOMESCREEN ....

image: cuteroo.com

.....'and those kittens are doing cartwheels - one's always tweeting, gets his blood up that damn bird.'

MOBILE OAP'S

Excerpt from a conversation at Tesco's today. Brilliant OAP: orange hair, green velvet skirt hiked high on her waist, and socks up to her mid calf. We were queuing for the pharmacy and she was on her phone talking apps. emails and texts. And WHY SHOULDN'T SHE? The grey generation are well in there with technology. They're as clever and as quick with it (well almost) as kids under ten.

OLDIE RIVALRY

Her mate and sometime gas cooker fixer, Harry, 'has just bought a new one from the Post Office, the bugger. He won't show it me; but I know it's there. Miserable sod; said if I didn't sort the cooker it would blow up; like I do.'

...AND THEN THERE'S THE CATS....

.....  'I've been round twice and their growin' like the clappers. HUGE they are. Kittens doing bloody cartwheels. Stepped on one; but I can't always see 'em; jumpin' around like that telly thing. One of them quiz shows; or was it the news? Well kittens jumpin' could 'ave ruined my Christmas. I've got potato powder in, and a reindeer from the charity shop.

'It'll be lovely. Sylivia's bringin' crackers. Well she is anyway. Crackers. (loud laugh.) I've got Advocar in. Like custard but makes you a bit wobbly. Got to go, pills ready.'

END.

November 28th 2012: Tightrope Talking from Leveson...not long now...

IF I COULD FLY, I WOULD, THEY KEEP WANTING TO PUT ME IN A ROOM....


image: guy-sports.com

...and we'll know the outcome of THAT inquiry. Lord Justice Leveson has often referred to the internet as the 'elephant in the room.'  If you've got more than 500 followers on twitter you have real clout; you're a 'high profile tweeter'. Say the wrong thing about someone, and you could end up paying a hefty fine.

Jungle Matters - and I DON'T want to get out of here.

So not only is the elephant in the room she's on a tightrope too. Whichever way it goes, someone somewhere is going to be very upset. Whether it's Hugh Grant who wants some kind of a law, or Boris Johnson, who doesn't. But ultimately, the question is, whether the inquiry is relevant to now. If the elephant has got out of the boot/trunk - no amount of jumping up and down, screaming or shouting, will get her back again. She'll be off 'up the jungle' and really won't to 'get out of there.'  As you know, even Lord Leveson can't switch off the internet.

Me, Ms Brooks and Mickey Mouse.

I've got totally obsessed with this story. It's got the lot: trouble, celebs, clandestine illegal conversations, politicians, Murdoch, Ms Wade/Brooks (went to Disney world with her to cover Mickey Mouse's 60th birthday - there was an unfortunate clash between her people and the Yorkshire's Post's people in Mickey's house and fists flew.) Still I got what I needed for the GMTV sofa. This time tomorrow we'll be digesting the results, and perhaps the elephant will have left the room to have a little lie down.

November 23 2012 It's a Winter Wonderland 'down there.' Waxing at the Weekend; 'luxuries shouldn't be allowed if you're getting state cash;' alleges minister....


...TAKING GOVERNMENT CASH? THEY PAID ME TO HAVE THIS DONE....


hazelhearts.wordpress.com

..DIY hair removal is a good way to save cash. That's if you bother at all. Obviously you don't want a Winter Wonderland down there; 'you could put fairy lights on that love, and we still wouldn't see 'em.' Hair reducing at home is cheaper, we can do it whilst watching Eastenders, and if it hurts, we've only got ourselves to blame.

Erase the Strays

Normally, the cold season (roughly the next 6 months, and some) means we can erase the strays with a lighter touch. It may be though, that the pressure's on from a partner to keep up appearances, and keep the tinsel nice and tidy.

Pine Needle Problems

At midlife there's the added excitement of, how shall I put it, small facial pine needles. I'm sticking with the Christmas theme. You can either rip your face off with wax, bleach (but don't use the loo version) or tweeeeeeze. Add a little antiseptic for afters, and you're sorted. Result? A nasty red rash that lasts a couple of days; a real man magnet for all those  'seasons greetings.'

Facial Hair Fantasy

All of this, though, should be facial hair fantasy according to the government's welfare reform minister. Lord Freud is reported to have said that 'benefits offer a lifestyle on the state.' Woe betide you if you use your weekly 'handout' to wax, shave or bleach. All that milarky's a luxury.

Salon Stripping

I am not saying that benefit fraud's not real. I would though, like to point out, that according to 2010 figures, tax evasion costs the Treasury 15 times more than benefit fraud. So if you are stashing away the 'I earned it, why should I give it to the state,' cash; be thankful that you can afford to go down the salon for professional hair stripping.

21st November 2012. Cold Rage: Winter fashion, Yetti Styley IS the new black...

'SO, I MIGHT FRIGHTEN THE UNDER FIVES; BUT I'M WARM AND I GET A SEAT ON THE TUBE.....
image: woolandchocolate.com

I put a plastic bag on my head tonight. I was waiting for a train. It was freezing and I was fed up. I've done my fair share of shivvering in a thin denim (so 70's) jacket to look funky in five degree under winter weather, and I ain't doing it no more.

Cold Rage

This has to be a sign of midlife maturity; or a sad nod to middle aged practicality. The plastic bag on head thing was because I was desperate. No hat, so Tesco's plastic was the last resort. Walking from the station home, each icy step was marked with an expletive; call it cold rage.

Balaclava in Bed

Am I the only one to wear a hoodie in bed, leave the heating on all night: even though it means I have to go without food, and spend a ridiculous amount of time online looking for bedsocks that double up as gloves if needed? Am I?

The pic on the right is a kind of 'grown up blankey.' And if you've got a nasty cold sore, no-one will see it. Sorted.

 

20th November 2012 That MONSTROUS Regiment of Women....

....self explanatory


image: doroteos2.wordpress.com

...What is SO frightening about Women Bishops? Theological convictions are often as much about psychology as they are about theology. Although I have 2 post grad theology degrees - the more I have studied, the more I realise how much I don't know.

Women are still the 'other.'

What is it about 'the other?' In too many ways, women ARE still 'the other.' Why that is so unnerving? Often when 'the other' offends us, it is because there are longings or resentments inside our own hearts that we cannot admit to.

Laity Lacks Behind

What is it about some of the Church Laity (the people in the pews); the group that meant the vote was a 'no', and not a 'yes'? They don't represent me, or most of the people in England.

And the Legacy?

What will be the legacy? 'Yes; I remember the Church. Wasn't it that place that didn't like women very much?' Oh, WATEVVVVA....

 

HMMMMMMMM - EQUAL PAY. How controversial can that be? Birmingham City Council......OOPS.
image: colemans-ctt.co.uk

15th November 2012. I'm a feminist. I've always been one. But only if you're ok with it, I mean I wouldn't want to offend anyone obviously......

image: philosopyfactory.wordpress.com

...apologies continue for another ten minutes. It seems to be a word that is SO unfashionable amongst some women in this country. I can never really get this. ALL it means (according to the Oxford dictionary) is '(being an advocate) of women's rights. How controversial can that be?

Savita's Story

Today's thinking was prompted by the appalling death of Savita Halappanavar in Ireland. She was refused an abortion. Her husband said she was miscarrying within hours of going into the Galway hospital. Staff said there was still a foetal heartbeat, so an abortion was not possible. Savita and her husband Paveen were both told the baby would not have survived. Savita died of blood poisoning. This, in 2012.

An Anecdote:

On a recent trip to Ethiopia for a development agency and charity; I saw women doing all the work; again, for less pay than men. They also ran the home and raised the chldren in their 'spare' time. Western feminism has it's own fight, but the battle for women's rights in developing countries is just as if not more important.

From Pearson to the BBC?

Here, in the business world, Pearson's former Chief Executive, Marjorie Scardino's departure leaves only three women at the top of the UK's leading 100 companies. Perhaps she will run the BBC? There's speculation already.

Reclaim the Night

I remember 'reclaim the night marches' in Manchester, where I was a student; following the rape of a woman on campus. Does this make me a mad sad midlife woman who's mourning her youth? Or just someone who wants to see women reach their full potential; in the most holistic way. And, don't hold your breath; men too.

 

 

14th November 2012 - 'Life is a Roller Coaster.' Bank of England Governor. (Loose interpretation)

THE RIDE OF YOUR LIFE - THE TRIPLE DIP RECESSION...

torchleader.com

...Try the 'TRIPLE DIP' NOW! A Roller coaster that never ends and when it does you will be completely disorientated.' If you want economic excitement, you got it. Sir Mervyn, (nice man, grandfatherly looking, the sort of person who'd let you'd nip in front of him on the M1) wasn't that upbeat today. 'Sluggish', the 'road to recovery will zig zag towards....:well I'm not sure what exactly, but 'zig zag', at least, is an active kind of a phrase.

No sign of road rage from the Guv'nor

It does all sound like a traffic jam and Mervyn manages to hide any hint of road rage. A good thing a government minister was on hand to clarify the analogy. So how long and winding will this road be? Treasury minister, David Gauke was quick to reassure us:

'The independent Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts growth in the economy in the Autumn statement in three weeks' time. I'm not going to pre-judge that.'(Courtesy BBC World At One)

That's alright then.

 

13th November 2012 What does 'quality of life' mean?

'JUST ANOTHER BRICK IN THE PRISON WALL?' THERE'S A PERSON IN HERE!

ehow.com

...If you or I were stuck in the wall in the picture but we could 'smile' inside our heads, 'cry' inside our heads and say 'yes' or 'no' inside our heads, is that quality of life?

Stuck in the Wall

The 'wall' is a metaphor for those who don't seem to respond at all after an accident or stroke. Tonight's Panorama, 'The Mind Reader', explored groundbreaking medical developments which revealed that there WAS brain activity in many of those who appeared to be in a 'vegetative state.' That prhase is SO demeaning, I can hardly bear to write it.

How much am I worth?

Are we valued by the income we generate or the 'contribution we make to society?' What does THAT mean; picking up litter?  Or are we esteemed because of the age we are, how mobile we are, how pretty we are and/or how famous and well known? If so, we are reduced to commodities.

'I can't be a burden on society can I?'

'I don't want to become a 'burden' on society.' Something many of us have said or may say in the future. My mother has Parkinsons and is now in care. We always had a similar sense of humour and I still seem to be able to make her laugh. The phrase 'you cheeky Arab,' non PC I know, just does it every time. She is well looked after, and I know not everyone has that experience. And yes, she does have quality of life; even if it's a smaller life than it used to be.

...JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT THINGS WERE LOOKING UP.....SHOCKING NEWS.........THE BUNION IS BACK BIG TIME... hercampus.com

12th November 2012 Sensible Shoes. I've got to have them. Or it's midlife misery...

'LOOK AT US, NO 6 INCH HEELS. COMFY FEET EQUALS HAPPY HUMANS.'


filmoria.co.uk

....I've become aware of an irritation on my right foot. (No, not Nick Clegg - sorry, had to do it); but a small very inoffensive bunion. You would not believe how much help you can get for this condition in Boots. Plastic things to put in between your toes, special padding so there's no nasty rubbing against your shoe and there's even a bunion song on iTunes somewhere.  

High Heels Hurt - but they're lovely....

I wore some, from a well known sensible shoes store (they felt comfortable at the start of the evening), but half way through, I had to put on my flats. In  order to switch shoes, I had to pull out an industrial size bit of cotton wool from the first pair. This would have been fine until the spotlight that was moving round the audience 'came to rest' at my table just as I was changing shoes.

Feet - love 'em, Hate 'em

Feet are either a fetish, or they make people feel queasy. There's no middle ground. I had some rather strange people approach me towards the end of the evening; so I made my excuses and hobbled out to try and get a cab. Truly I aspire to 6 inch Manolo's, but UGG, the pain isn't worth the brief moment of pleasure.

11th November 2012. Parents' Memories: Hull Air Raids, and Red Shoes for a 6 year old evacuee.

WARTIME SHOES - MY 6 YEAR OLD MOTHER'S PRIDE AND JOY
cachetkids.co.uk

Evacuated from the Channel Islands as the German occupation loomed, my grandmother and mother arrived in London. They wore labels until they were 'picked' by their new family. My ten year old father spent his time in the cellar when Hull was bombed and destroyed. Perhaps it is wartime's small details that can touch us the most.

CLICK WAR CRY TOP LEFT FOR THEIR STORIES. 

 

BIT OF TROUBLE 'UP WESTLIFE' SHEPHERDS BUSH TODAY. KIM KARDASHIAN: business woman, socialite, TV 'personality', modellllllll, and actress was checking out her new store.....And I was STUCK behind a police line .. more below...

10th November 2012 - Kim Kardashian's in the Capital - and the Met turn out in force....

...'look I am SORRY about you all hangin' about but I don't DO crowd pleasin'....

tumbir.com

....to stop us all going IN to Westfield shopping centre. All I wanted was a haircut. Along with roughly 300 other people, we couldn't pass the 'police line. Yes, I said 'POLICE LINE.' Perhaps it was her 'five fragrances' that prompted all this Kardashian chaos. Well, I couldn't see any sign of her smelly success in Debenhams. The police presence was, of course, paid for by the tax payer.

Ms K Ain't Fond of Felines....

She's worth over $6 million and is the highest paid TV reality star.... evarrr. Another significant credit: she got it in the neck because of the way she held a kitten for a photo(?) I don't enjoy dissing my own sex, so here's a lofty take on it all. Maybe celebs fulfil the need for myth; in a modern way. The Greek/Roman gods were always feuding and falling out with each other. Kim's just falling out of her top, falling out with her family and foolling around with the wrong men. HEY, the men bit; now that IS something some of us mid lifers can make sense of.

 The Kardashian's (she has sisters) are Multi Skilled...

Kim does have a social conscience. She backed a new lipgloss, 'Kiss away poverty.' She cares about women's health and wellbeing. 'Fit in your jeans by Friday,' a workout DVD, is a top notch idea. As for 'Shoe Dazzle Shopping:' well I've no idea how that improves our lot, maybe it's just a cover for other, more serious projects. Yes, I'm sure that'll be it.

Sex n' Salad

There were some dodgy sex tapes along the way. But hey, no-one's perfect eh? Tonight she's off to a posh eaterie in central London. No doubt the police will stick with her as she toys with a small salad. I just hope that she's coughing up the cash to pay for all those coppers.

8th November 2012 'I'm Nadine Dorries MP. I''ve got jungle tummy. Call my partner/husband and 'Get Me Out Of Here'.....

'NO-ONE'S EATING ME OR SITTING ON ME. IT'S A BLOODY TRIAL ALL THIS TV HASSLE..

warmphotos.com

..She says she's 'relieved' to be in the jungle. Can you blame her? All that dull debating back home; though's she's supposed to be a good constituency MP. But, if she catches a nasty (not deliberately in a trial, of course), they'll call her 'other half.' Straightforward. But, what if, there IS no partner/husband? Then, they'll call a friend. So far so good.

Casualty, Motorway Service Station Style

I collapsed in a motorway service station a while ago; more of an urban jungle than the wilder version. Lying on the floor, next to the elephant sized bars of chocolate in the 'SHOP', it WAS a lonely moment. It got lonelier. The ambulance arrived and the paramedics hoisted me inside. Alot of people eating chips gawked.  The first question? 'Can we call your partner/husband?'I cried for Britain and inbetween sobs said: 'I hhh aaaa vvvv eeee  nnn't got one.'

I'm All Alooooooone....

They changed tack. 'Well your dad, mum, relative?' Clutching my lower abdomen (we'll leave it at that) I stuttered back; 'dad's 82 and doesn't live in the UK, mum's in a home and sister's in the States.' You should, by this stage, be in tears. 'Well, a friend then?' I was so stressed with the husband question (they heard the whole backstory - I got divorced and.....) it took me a while to think of one. (I know, this sounds SO billy no mates) I now have that sorted, but it was really rough at the time.

My new passport arrived today; and they do have a section for 'friends to contact, in case of an emergency.' You see, that's progress. First crisis: could they touch up the passport pic; looks a bit minger like. (that doesn't have a second meaning does it?)  **NB: The jungle's a hell of alot safer than the 'This Morning Studio'; as Cameron found out with Mr Schofield and 'that' list.

For more on the challenges of being sick and solo, check out TOP LEFT of this page.

 

 

7th November 2012 'LORDY we don't wanna go the same way as SOCIALIST Europe'....

....WHO'S REALLY IN THE MONEY?...

lol.co.za

.....so said a Republican Spokesperson just now.

CUE: HUGE ROUND OF APPLAUSE from a large crowd eating Snickers

REPUBLICAN SPOKESPERSON: 'Europeans are SO in debt....and there's all that free health care to stop poor people dying...'

(ED: hmmmmmm so the financial crash didn't have anything to do with American banks selling on dodgy loans, wrapped up in good loans. A bit like buying a CD (an 1890 ref I know) that has one good track, and the others are crap. Other banks all round the world bought the 'bundles'. People couldn't pay their mortages at the bottom of the heap, loans were called in and then it all went down the toilet....)

USA: ''YOU started it'

EUROPE: 'No YOU started it.'

GREECE: 'We don't care WHO bloody started it! Our leaders told Angela M we were fiscally fine, and we weren't,  so now we're all eating out of rubbish bins...'

END

6th November 2012 - 'We're GOING to WIN!' And if we LOSE then let's hate ALL Republicans/ALL Democrats.....

'LET'S HATE OBAMA; LET'S HATE MITT, LET'S HATE EVERYONE WHO DOESN'T AGREE WITH US!

image: stlouis.cbslocal.com

.....A wise woman once said 'We define ourselves by defining our enemies.' Then, of course, we don't have to look at ourselves. Scapegoating the 'other' is probably THE most popular human hobby. The Daily Mail does it so so well. I've done it too. 'I don't like them/him/her because they are....'; and that means that I am superior because......' Any small chance that I might look at my own flaws is gone in an instant. How very convenient.

Let's hate everyone who's not like us - makes life SO straightforward

Tomorrow (7th of November) I'll blog, I hope without prejudice. Well not much anyway.  Do we need an enemy to function? Do we need to hate: 'all asylum seekers, all Muslims, all Christians, all atheists, bankers, politicans (they're all the same), the BBC, other drivers, rich people, poor people, mentally ill people, Israel, Palestine, America, Greece, the UN, charities who encourage us to support the developing world, the NHS, and all journalists. Let's face it; each person in each group thinks in exactly the same way. That's obvious.  

A frozen heart and a shrinking intellect; let's bring it ON

 All that resentment makes me SO weary.How our worlds shrivel, how frozen our hearts become and how our intellect shrinks.  My idea of hell: only to be able to mix with those who will collude with my prejudice. I still don't want Mitt Romney to win though.

Claire Danes - Homeland's Heroine
image: blog.zap2it.com

4th November 2012 Knuckles Clenched for Homeland, a Mild Cup of Earl Grey for the Countess..

Downton's Dowager: Countess of Grantham: no messing with her.

image: primetime.unreality.tv

....Heartbeat races, Brodie's been nabbed. About time. Carrie's been electro- convulsively waiting for this moment and NOW it's here.

Put Downs v Terrorist Hunter

Have you ever had those conversations about who you'd prefer to get stuck in a lift with?  Wouldn't you rather hang out with courageous Carrie, who'd get you out of a tight corner; even if the Duchess would teach you some great put downs. ' Are you dressed for dinner dear; or the servants' dance hall?'

...And Armani Perfect Sharp Suits V Petticoats

The perfect sharp suit is probably more practical than a full on layered Petticoat; when it comes to protecting the US from a terrorist conspiracy. Carrie seems to wear nothing else; except when she whips out her hijab to hide from the 'enemy.' I don't buy her heels though. You've got to work those ankles if you're racing to bring in Brodie wearing them. Her Bi-Polar is a really in your face and a brilliant twist. About time a character struggling with her mental health challenged old stereotypes.  

Carrie's the gal I admire; but I am scared of the Duchess.

3rd November 2012 - The Sparkler Spoilers......look right.....


......Just When You Thought there was enough to worry about....


image: jaybot7.com

.....look; i believe in the caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrbbbbbbbonnnnn footprint; it's just that the phrase doesn't MEAN anything anymore. I banned it (how tyrannical) from my radio show because I could almost HEAR you switching off. I just wish they'd find another way of saying it.

Them FILTHY Fireworks

So now, let me introduce you to: FIREWORKS!!!!! They will fuzz up your brain, line your lungs with nasties, give you double vision, turn your hair green, cause constipation, and be the MAIN reason for your divorce.  

....and TOFFEE apples...

...doesn't bear thinking about. WHY haven't healf and safety banned them? WHY hasn't there been a health directive from the EU? It'll all end in Casualty.

Have a good time, but be CAREFUL out there......

2nd November 2012 They Fired me and Hired Danny Baker - it was a Compliment...

Talented guy: ended his show with style ..

....though it was traumatic. I bear him no resentment at all; I was actually pleased that someone so talented was going to do the show; and probably be alot better at it. The thing is, if you 'present' things on TV or Radio, you will get fired...one day. So here's how you deal with it......

Go to 'You're Fired page' top left for more....NB: the Baker boy is now BACK on Five Live - now THERE'S a happy ending....

 

31st October 2012 - My Pic Pause for Thought on Radio 2 website....Producer said 'you have the best teeth'.....

...I look so 'interested' in this photo....I think the chair was just uncomfortable.....

......and they're really not hollywood bright white at all. It was the start of World Faith week, and I'm on  Janice Long's overnight show. Not normally one to blag on,  but I thought just in this instance. Here's the link

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0105msl

Thy wanted to use the pic on the right - rather than the photo of me in a skeleton outfit . Probably for the best.

31st October 2012 Pumpkin Crisis.....

'Pumpkin' : by Damian Hurst.


image: deceptology.com

....Creativity can cure all ills: so can smashing things. The roadkill pumpkin on the right - looks like mine before I threw it away, half an hour ago. Truthfully, I had NO-ONE in mind when the pumpkin (vegetable or fruit?) fell apart as I tried to hollow it out. There are no midlife messages that can be drawn from this at all. Orange was never my colour anyway.

30th October 2012 Why Being Attached Matters........

....a healthy flame flickers deep within all of us...
freeimages.com

...I don't know what it's like being a mum. I would love a child now; but the midlife body clock has stopped ticking. A good friend and her 3 month old baby came to visit today; complete with push chair, wipes, 'blankies', warm socks, woolly jumpers and toys. So, just a few bits and pieces.

Feeding Love

As she fed her little boy, the connection between them was soothing for all of us. Mum can clearly love, because she was loved. This is not a universal experience; often through NO fault of the mother and/or father. There is enough pressure on mums as it is without me adding to it.

This is merely an observation from my own growing awareness. If the baby's brain is malleable in the first two years, and there a significant break in that attachment;  '(Why Love Matters' by Sue Gerhart, explores this); research suggests that the brain can literally be re-wired; with a propensity for anxiety and depression in later life.

Who can give what they haven't been given?

I am no scientist; but as I grapple with the 'lack of' from my own childhood; my own mother's babyhood was deeply traumatic, her twin and mother died in her early childhood,then she was adopted and was a wartime evacuee. Long term attachment for her would have been a foreign experience. So her life was amazing, considering the start. She did all she could to raise us well. But no-one can give what they have not been given.

Searching for Mum/Dad as a grown up.

Then the child, and later the grown up can embark on a painful search for attachment healing; perhaps looking in the wrong faces and places. This is not always the outcome; and it CAN be healed without the acting out that can cause such pain. Instead of anaesthetizing the emptiness, or trying to cover that small sense of self with compulsive coping behaviour: addictions, non-nurturing relationships, workaholism; and wearing a mask and feeling like an imposter; perhaps there is another way? Sitting with the emptiness, with others who can support us, and perhaps a spiritual input too, can make a difference.

Long Haul Travel

This is a long haul. An old self has to die, so that the new can emerge. This is simply a theory, and in no way definitive. I don't know if I am 'right' ( I really don't care about that): I know that experiencing the yearning, even when you want to grab a quick fix, and stumbling into what can feel like a brutal darkness, has to be done to become more whole.

Lego rather than a dodgy Lover

And if you want to sleep with a kid's toy (rather than head into an uhealthy relationship to avoid the lonliness); then I think that's fine. Lego's not great though; the blocks leave marks on your face.

 

 

Monday 29th October: Am I REALLY a Head Case?

'ok so I'm not well, it could be worse, someone could have knocked the stuffing out of me...'


image:dreamstime.com

.....when the shxt hits the fan - what do you do next? Click top left - HEAD CASE for more...

....Had shower, fell over in bathroom, knocked myself out on wire mesh shelf, passed out briefly, got into bed, and had to cancel a job I was really looking forward to. Yes it bled, yes, I cried, and yes I went into the 'ohmygod - I could die now, no-one would know and the cat would eat me because she couldn't reach her own IAMS (posh food to prevent obesity) - works for me. (See sick and solo in an earlier post below...)  

.....when the shxt hits the fan - what do you do next? Click top left - HEAD CASE for more...

25th October 2012 I should be so Lucky, Lucky, Lucky, Lucky...

.....KYLIE'S COOL AND THERE'S NO CATCH? Is there?
image:dreamtime.com

....Soooo it's the 80's! Big shoulder pads, big bucks and big plans. I was driven, I was climbing that career ladder and I didn't need 'any help from no-one.'

But was there a catch?     Click '80's Chick' top left for more