'EVERYTHING IS MATERIAL.' The late Nora Ephron. catfordc@twitter.com www.clarecatford.co.uk

Welcome to my blog.....

25th November 2013 - The Foil Fairy, aol and RBS...Royal Bxxxxy.......

DR. WHO'S NEW COMPANION. THE FOIL FAIRY.....

Sell you down the river people. Allegedly. 

Foils - hair a bit orangy - not copper. Going back for a re-do. No-one's fault, locks so colour confused you're never sure whether to high light it, lo light it or lob it all off. 

AOL/TalkTALK isn't. Talking. Broadband's down and out at home. Can only blog on me device like a slow tortoise person. 

RBS - who ARE these people? The bank that sells itself as biz friendly, is more of a biz beast..........allegedly. One woman was trying to bury her husband, whilst they were busy burying her family business. Allegedly. British Gas sent bills to dead people, perhaps the two household names should move in together and share their tawdry trade secrets. 

AND FINALLY...leaning over for 7 up under car seat, left lower back muscle seized. Nothing the doc (WHO?) can't sort with some time travel. Destination: 9am this morning, before all this milarky made the day messy. 

21st November 2013.....'I'm having botox', he said, 'when I'm 30.......'

'.....DOES IT HURT? NAH, NEVER. JUST LIKE GETTING YOUR NAILS DONE...'

image: www.infoniac.com

.....we talked fillers and crows feet as he was trimming my rather now, overcoloured, hair. We're going to sort that soon. The overcoloured bit. As I stared at myself in the over bright salon mirror, I notice that ageing has brought me a rather bloodhound looking tendency, stretching from my nose to my mouth. It's at midlife, they say, that if you're going to get 'intimate', it's best to lie looking up at the ceiling. Excess skin falls away. Instant face lift, all free. I guess both partners would have fight for position to keep up the youthful pretence.

INJECTION INTERVENTION

I won't lie and say the thought of a little injection intervention hasn't crossed my mind, I inhabit no cosmetic moral high ground. But my...your...mind. There's the thing. Watching Channel 4's Bedlam (moving and dignifying TV about mental illness) and reading about the extent of depression in the West (today's Guardian), reminds me of how fragile we all are.

'The difference between mental health, and mental illness is like a hair', says one of Bedlam's patients, now a volunteer. Do you s'pose 'over tinted hair' would fit into that phrase? Hope so. Makes complete silicone sense to me.

 

18th November 2013 .....taking coke (allegedly), a 'chaotic year' and a bank crisis....one man's....

'...OH, THROW ANOTHER DART..WHY DON'T YOU!'
image: voiceofthepersecuted.wordpress.com

....current 'difficulties'. Former Co-op Bank boss, Paul Flowers has apologised after newspaper claims he bought and used dodgy drugs after appearing before one of those 'we're getting to the bottom of it', MPs' committees. It's a shame cocktail in the making.  

SCAPEGOATS - HOW WE LOVE 'EM

Of course those harmed must have justice, and those betrayed be told the truth, but I cannot stand the scapegoating. Someone (who may well have done wrong; who was clearly out of his depth bank wise), ground into the dust by our/my own high ground moral jack boots. Let the 'right' narrative emerge, which it probably will eventually, but please let us not hide our own weaknesses and failings behind vicious projections towards another, so we can feel a temporary (very) sense of superiority.

IT'S THE EEVILS....

'Who knows where evil lies'; said one MP on Channel 4 news tonight, following a report on Flowers' fortunes. And yes, he was also a Methodist minister. An alleged 'hypocrite' too. Aren't we all, sometimes? Off with his bemused and baffled banking boss head!

Darkness lies in all of us. The challenge is to bring it out into the light and integrate it into the rest of our personality. Some institutions, people, belief systems don't want or even allow us to do this; but the gunk seeps out eventually. Whatever the ins and outs of this mess, Mr. Flowers has a chance to show his shadow, and take the consequences, and maybe even heal from it.  I hope he manages to do so; and I hope those he hurt may heal too. But I don't rejoice at his humiliation.

14th November 2013 - Sorting through mum's 'stuff' and streaks of colour to lift the mood....

A COLOUR ME HAPPY MOMENT.
image: styleshair.blogspot.com

....Been absent blogwise for a week. Have been sorting through my mother's 'life'; the little bits in drawers and cupboards that we all accumulate over so, so many years. I numb out when I do it, and then cry later.

I have tiny strands of grief relief systems. 'Fiddling with my hair colour', is one.  I was far too shouty blonde. Now I am a little bit copper, a little bit light blonde, and a little bit springer spaniel brown. Truthfully, it's a creative distraction from losing her, just for a few moments. I've noticed an even-ing out of emotions; and am managing a fragile acceptance of what is. That will no doubt change again.

I've also observed that everyone does or 'is' in loss differently. I prefer the being rather than the doing; but both are of equal value. I don't want to block or avoid, though. Life's rhythm is slow this week; I am slow. Think 'Strictly' for sloths. That's more than enough for today.

7th November 2013 - 'Hope'.... bit of a hefty name for a child but.....

'....HAVE YOU SEEN HER? HOPE'S GOT LOST SOMEWHERE ........I'VE FAITH SHE'LL TURN UP THOUGH, SOON ENOUGH...LAST BUS GOES AT 11.30PM'.

image: buzzle.com

...when you lose it, even for a moment (not the child, the feeling of), you know that it's missing. When it makes a reappearance and breaks out of it's burqa disguise; (contemporary ref to escaped man wearing one - cut through his tag - still on the run): relief, like treacle, oozes into and soothes the sore sad bits.

A handful of good - really good - people have held my hand through hopeless times. They have not been the people I thought would necessarily do so. I am surprised and humbled by their love and care. They - you - know who you are.

I don't do 'every cloud has a...', or 'look on the bright side..', and neither do/did they. These are people who, because they KNOW about the human experience: its uncertainty, its knocks, its blocks and its blows; because they KNOW about the shadow, do not run from or fear it. They have had the courage to  face this shadow in themselves. They are rare and beautiful creatures.

If you meet one, celebrate and embrace her/him. I would like to think that I am on the way to being someone who could trigger a little hope in another; by being with them in their dark night. It's not something to put in large letters on a CV, but it's worth more than a multitude of letters after our names.  

3rd NOVEMBER 2013 - Loss, Lucy Winkett (Rev and wise person), and the House of Lords......

image:pensanddoodles.blogspot.com

...I got sad news this week. A former colleague had died. I didn't know her well, so don't want to claim any false intimacy, but I worked with her closely enough to have been touched by her 'can do' approach to life and her good humour. Once the news was out, a collective shiver rippled through all the communities she had touched. She was a kind and good soul.

Katy Hopkins (new Sun columnist) is not. She spews forth bile about everyone and everything. You're a single woman? How she hates us. Such projected venom must come from her own inner self loathing. What punishing internal script prompts such spite? I would not choose to live inside her head...........

IN OTHER NEWS:

Lucy Winkett (Rev. and BBC Radio 4 thoughtful Thought for the Day person) talked of Halloween as our attempt to make light of that we fear most. Death; dressed as a witch or leering via a pumpkin, is more palatable than its ghoulish reality. She offered us hope. Not via a trite conversion by numbers, but by exercising the possibility there is A.ANOTHER, different from, yet in relationship with, us.    

AND THE HOUSE OF LORDS?......

I went there for dinner (like you do), and met an old, much valued connection who reminded me of some losses of my own. How quick, fleeting and transient our intimacies can be. All the more reason to treasure them, rather than tear them apart, in true Hopkins style. The chocolates on the side plate?  Loved them. And I'm keeping the box.

30th October 2013....Soooo exciting...the open plan office...for our open plan lives.....

''6th FLOOR I'VE TRIED. NEVER A BLOODY AFFORDABLE HOME WHEN YOU WANT ONE...'

image: almostalwaysthinking.com

...but everyone hates them. 'Spose the home desk I'm at now is my 'workstation', but a battered grey bag (lots of pockets for bananas, water, chemist essentials, note pads, tights, lipsticks, George Clooney), is my REAL work space.

I haven't had an office, since, well, never. I had a desk (outside of the home), briefly last year; job shared though, so not sure if that counts. My co-colleague had great biscuits and stacks of sellotape - modern art essentials if moments got dull. Not sure she appreciated oats on 'er 'ash key.

Social scientists (bet they have proper desks with gonks n' plants AND their own 'I loves yer mum' mug), are telling us that personal space keeps us personally sane. Obvious. But creatives need constant human stimuli don't they/we? Not sure that 'anyone got a post it?' counts as an inspirational convo,  though.

Bet James Blake (just announced Mercury prize winner), doesn't have to shimmy along to his neighbours' ring tones or scrape the (Overgrown - sorry) mould off their left behind coffee cups. Nah, he can spend his 20k award cheque on a nice bit of office space in a former Co-Op bank building. Trouble is, £19, 995 would go on heating, leaving only a fiver left for a B.O.G.O.F  ready meal to heat up from Tescos. 'Overdone'. Title of his next album.

OCTOBER 27TH 2013 - STORM CLOUDS IN MY CAPPUCCINO....SOOOOO SOFFFFFFFISTICAITED INNIT....(HAVEN'T OWNED A TEACUP SINCE 1976 - HOT SUMMER OF) ..A NOD TO THE GALES N' BANGS ON THE WAY TONIGHT. ROUND HERE THEY'VE BEEN LETTING OFF FIREWORKS SINCE SEPTEMBER SO AM IMMUNE TO NOISES IN THE NIGHT. PLUS SCOTTISH BLOKE 3 DOORS DOWN HAS AN ACCORDIAN - (ADD WHISKY) PLAYS MOST SUNDAYS AFTER 11PM. BUT........IF YOU'RE FIGHTING THE FORCE EIGHTS, TAKE CARE OUT THERE.
image: liammarsden.wordpress.com

October 24th 2013....I fear Obama's been lurking on the line......

'......SHE DOES WHAT WITH A KARTOFFELPUFFER?'...
image: insightonfreedom.blogspo.com

...I can't be sure, but I can hear an unexplained smoker's wheeze in the ether when I pause for breath. We've never texted; I have boundaries, but Ms Merkel's right to go ballistic if she's been bugged.

Frankly, I'm just glad there aren't any hidden sam cams in the bathroom. Wax stripping whilst 'doing other things', does not a pretty picture make. Multi tasking makes me feel important, though, when frankly life is limping rather than leaping, along.

The Christening's passed me by. A small piece of goss. A doctor, near me, says that ALL the yummy mummies in xxxx London want Kate's gynae's birth canal brilliance. When I belonged to Bupa (it's SUCH a community with badges n'  everything), I saw a consultant. Her room layout (large plant in corner, looked like an ovary)  was guaranteed to put you at ease. Her chair.......about ten foot high, mine, about 3. She had me doing the macarena  (or do I mean trying the Mirena?) before I'd done the patient details date of birth column.

I really DO hope Merkel's got all her medical info holed up somewhere secret. You do NOT want the US President foraging around in those privates.

October 23rd 2013.....I couldn't inflict a rotting nectarine on you......

'....LET ME ROT AND I'LL SEE YOU IN COURT. MAKE ME INTO A FOOL WOULD YOU?....'
Image: www.examiner.com

... Hence the healthy shiny pic. Too many nasties in life already, without adding another fright to the fruit bowel. Since I watched truckloads of sad salads being tipped away on the telly (we waste food; there's onions getting ancy in my fridge), I've been forcing myself to eat the fruit I bought last Friday. They taste of nothing. Wish I hadn't bothered. Who needs anti-oxidants anyway? Just another food fear dreamed up by the Daily Mail; 'ignore your oxidents and watch your skin melt and shrivel'.

The Mail's uplifting moral standards;  the paper puts you in jail if you don't have a flat stomach within 24 hours of giving birth. Cellulite? Off with her leg......!

IN OTHER NEWS: Read Woman and Home up the surgery. Fashion tip: leopard accessories are fine if you're of a certain age, but don't do top to toe or you'll be used as a dog cosy. (Katy Perry can just about do animal print, see 'ROAR' new pop vid - she's also youf age - not sure the banana works though).

 Waiting patient has a go at the receptionist. Does 3 months mean 'a while', or 'a short time'. This was in ref to the new doctor who's started. 'Obviously you don't understand English', says irritating patient to NHS hard working person. Clearly our complainer's eaten a sour beyond-sell-by date nectarine. Hope she gets IBS. That'll Michael GOVE her.

October 20th 2013........ Rollers n' Bacon....

'....STRONG AND SILENT. USE WITH OR WITHOUT HAIRDRYER/HAIRNET.. IF WE WERE GOOD ENOUGH FOR ENA SHARPLES......'(MID LIFE REF - OLD CORRIE STAR).
image: handletheheat.com

....a duo that reeks of weekend slobbery. I missed  Andrew Marr's BBC Pyjama politics (I'm still in them if I watch it), and focused instead on planning to hoover. Planned it yes. Did it, no.

Cat was glad. She hates the thing. The sky spews forth afternoon lightening and thunder, and thunder and lightening; she doesn't flinch. I should get a silent Dyson (already on sale) and then a silent hairdryer. STOP PRESS - the inventor's planning; 'a blower with an insulating chamber'. It's been done, love. House.Of.Commons.

Truthfully, all this active non activity is an ineffective diversion from yet more loss mother memories. Still they keep coming. Relentless. Cried at the War Horse puppet going into a London museum on Friday, and had to go into the other room when a tiger cub drowned in a zoo pond earlier in the week.

The rollers (hair does look 'livelier') and bacon are a comforting combo. That and the imaginary spider in 'Paradise'. (TV show. Departments stores thewaytheywere before cardless transactions and 1 assistant per floor). It's Downton goes shopping, but common. Suits me, sir.

19th October 2013 ......the L word that's not allowed......

'AFFORDABLE HEATING.....? SET THE SOFA ALIGHT, LOVE. THAT'S THE ONLY WAY YOU'LL GET WARM THIS WINTER'......
image: kasperskyasia.com

........and then there's A.H.

Taboos we are ALMOST allowed to talk about.

'BUTIT'SMAINLYOTHERPEOPLEWHOSUFFEROFCOURSE'.....

L is for ....(wait for it.......brace yourself)....LONELINESS. Ministers are mentioning it, surveys this week are recording it, news bulletins are leading with it,  and a million oldies are facing it. Perhaps....(again, brace yourself...) you and I are experiencing it too? The mid-lifers, the' I've got a wifers', the 'starting out in a jobbers', the mothers, the fathers, the iphone checkers, the tweenies, the teenies.......News just in: we can all get LONELY. But don't tell anyone.....because.......

I like being alone now. I like my own company. But let's not protest too much. I.Get.Lonely.Sometimes. And.So. Perhaps, do you?  The rushing, the eating, the drinking, the running, the clubbing, the working, the achieving, the fighting for justice, the money making, the religion doing.........it stops (if you let it and are brave enough or lucky enough not to get addicted to it), And then what? Whoops; I've got to live with myself. When it's imposed for too long, because of illness, death/loss of a spouse/partner, limited or no family contact, then it's sickening. Literally.

You can do a degree now in 'End of Life Studies'; next up 'Loneliness; what it is, what it does and how to face it'.

Ah yes, nearly forgot.   A.H.

Affordable Heating. Now there's a (cold) blast from the past. Thanks, British Gas.

October 15th 2013 : Baggage may have shifted during space transit........

image:wallpapervortex.com

.......I wish it was that simple.

 BUT .. sometimes that older long forgotten luggage deserves a dusting down and a refix/mix.  Thanks to the talented Mark Randall; radio producer and some....this mid life bag got a second chance .....

I interviewed this astronaut once. Mark was there at the time. In that radio space. He mixedn'masshhhhhhed it and just sent me the link. Here she is.....

Love it. http://soundcloud.com/mark-randall/floating-above?utm_source=soundcloud&utm_campaign=mshare&utm_medium=email&utm_content=http://soundcloud.com/mark-randall/floating-above

October 9th 2013 ......so I said to Douglas Cameron .........

image: staffenspersonalityblog.wordpress.com

 ..pretending to be a 'friend of the stars', for a minute (indulge me) And YES he IS a star - a top notch radio man.....

Reunions. Went to LBC's 40th birthday do last night. Douglas Cameron  kindly tolerated me for a couple of years on drivetime. I was HIS co host you understand. This is a man who can make a shopping list sound gripping. Loved him. Gentleman.

Lots of good people there. Alcohol down throats, and water under the bridge conversations. Kindness from strange places plus excessive squinting at name tags.

A couple of tense; 'not sure how this will pan out', moments.  Speeches, applause, and a few broken glasses. Great to be there. Best comment. Steve - 'who did your hair, Clare, the council?' Allen.

Was a fickle time overall though; the station's owners could change twice before the late night phone-in. If you went on holiday .....there could well be a younger lovely in your seat when you got back.

Wore heels so I could see over a couple of hundred nodding heads. Feet hurt, but worth it......

And now here's the travel......'Hangar Lane (it's always Hangar Lane)'.  And if it was late night, and there wasn't much ad revenue about - a 'get your hernia sorted here', commercial.....

October 6th 2013 - AA...twice in one week....

BEAR SEA RESCUE. THERE'S A CAR JUST OUT OF SHOT.
image: abroath.blogspot.com

....perfectly normal if you're recovering. Not so, if it's the '4th emergency service'. Locked out, of car, in car park. Six days ago, flat battery. They fixed it. Brilliant people - deserve their top notch tag line.

Had only driven to keep the battery in good nick. Was meeting a friend, and could have got the tube. But no. Drove as a 'preventative measure'. Didn't want to bother the yellow life savers again in a hurry,  because of power - lack of. Agreed to car wash once in car park. Key in ignition, locked passenger side (not realising would central lock the whole milarky)  - skipped away for me coffee, returned and car had sealed itself.

My excuse for the mishap? See post below. Brain a little over loaded. Nice NCP man helped pass the time telling me about must see gory movies, and Bosnian car washer shared life story excerpts. Put a great deal in perspective.

AA bloke - cheery, up beat with an encouraging 'oh noooooo, don't you worry, this happens all the time', as a parting shot.

5th OCTOBER 2013 I was 'in' the 'DOLLS HOUSE' today.....

'LET'S ROCK DA HOUSE .....'
image: toy-choice.co.uk

....(play not toy) well not in, more absorbed by. Nora, chief character, the 'little skylark/swallow/pet', leaves. She walks out (by way of a finance deal exposed) on the one who suffocates her with such minimising endearments.  Pet names indicate how both are trapped in this stifling marriage. As long as she is infantilised, he feels safe. He's stuck too, but seems to be happy to play mums and dads until....Well rock da house, and......

Now this prompted more than a Mexican doll wave of sadness/grief. My mother loved the play. She was a strong woman; determined, bright, but there was always self doubt. Tough, tough war time upbringing. She never knew how talented she was, she couldn't see it.

So, I wept. These feelings (well documented on other blog pages), are the tip of. Meds, therapy, all can be containers for this kind of pain; but there's no getting away from the gut kick of it. You can (I have tried), run into the playroom - but the thing flips back like a damaged haviana.

As I talked with my dear theatre mate - well, sobbed/sniffed/and laughed - all are linked - i realised how I wanted to be conscious to this and all the other wretched un-faced 'lifedeaths' that queue up once the dam breaks. I don't want a prescription for it.  I am SO frustrated by the way the BREADTH of this kind of human experience is squeezed into one or two emotions - 'with, or without fries'.  

'You think too much'. No. YOU don't like the idea that something can be thought about in that way. 'Lighten up'. Yes, I can. Be. Light. But GRIEF LITE ain't for me. Not right now. Not today.   'Shakespeare love,  you know that poking out the eye bit in King Lear? Could it just be that he got a contact lens trapped? Not sure we'll get specsavers buying ad airtime if we don't adapt a little'.

Brief change in tack. In theatre loos, woman says; 'spose it IS relevant to now. Thank god though,  that in this century, I can have an opinion without needing anyone's approval. ......Can't I?'

 

OCTOBER 3RD 2013 - IT'S BEEN AN EXCITING FEW HOURS...GOT FREE SKIN CARE AND FREE FIRMING CREAM. MAGAZINES STRAPPING THE STUFF TO THEIR FRONT COVERS. I REALLY WANTED THIS JEWEL LOVELY FROM GIRL TALK MAG...BUT AN ALREADY HOVVERING 8 YEAR OLD GOT THE LAST COPY, WHILE I WAS PRETENDING TO LINGER OVER THE ECONOMIST. ABOUT TIME THE 'E' STUCK SOME EYE LINER TO ITS EDITORIAL.

2nd October 2013 'So you're in the piss box (lift/elevator)....

image: parents-are-people-too.com

..going home after a night out. On your way to your car in the multi-storey.  It's midnight. You're a woman, on your own. Then these hairy hands grab the doors as they shut, and a vomit covered bloke stumbles in. You get ready for a fight.You  take a closer look. 'Oh, I thought I'd left you up the kebab shop', My husband, never fails to disappoint'. Jo Brand, just now at the Mencap Comedy night at the Apollo.

A string/group/herd/gaggle of comics did their turns to raise money for Mencap tonight. I loved the Turkish mini cab drivers/rockers. Plus the bloke who said 'you never hear...I just LOVE other people's children'. You had to be there.

Earler this month, Asda dropped its "mental patient fancy dress costume", and Tesco  withdrew its "psycho ward" outfit; on the shelves for Halloween. As I was going into the venue I saw a driver screaming expletives at pedstrians at a red light. Wanted to jump the junction, I guess. 'Course, the driver was 'normal'. And the people who get Mencap's support? Well THEY'RE the ones who should be digging into the supermarket dressing up box.

29TH September 2013 Electric Blanket V David (so not cozy) Cameron....

'IS THAT REALLY THE HEAT CONTROL DEAR.....(you know the rest....)

.....if he had his way - the only people in the world being allowed to EAT would be married ones.

Getting married? Here's a couple of K and a digital coffee maker.

Tying the knot? Please...let us tories pay the wedding bill.... and throw in some true blue confetti into the mix.

Marriage didn't work? Right. Go to jail, sell off all your hotels, and handover Mayfair. And I'll have that 25 quid beauty competition win n' all. You'll only  stay in my Monopoly game if you're MARRIEEEEEED.

And you'd take me blankey from me too if you could wouldn't you Mr. C eh? Even though you've got lorry loads of 'em and enough onesie's for hundreds of thousands of brides and grooms to be.

Dilly dally with my temperature control panel, mate and watch me rally all the residents of  Electric out of wedlock Avenue.  You have been warMed.....

FOR: 'SEX LIES - MAKE YOUR ESCAPE' AND 'WILL SOMEONE PLEASE GIVE THE TOWERING RICHARD ROGERS' A WAVE'....CLICK TOP LEFT CATFORD BLOG 2