Cinderford man throws hammer in road rage incident

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: A 16-year-old boy is being questioned over a fatal accident at a caravan site

1:09pm Thursday 3rd October 2013

A BMW driver threw a hammer at the back of another car in a road rage incident in Cinderford earlier this week.

'Everything’s got a moral, if only you can find it.' Lewis Carroll

3:12pm Wednesday 27th June 2012

I am not prepared to take lectures on morality from a politician. Show me the job description of a Prime Minister and point to the section where it says it is his brief to name an individual who, on professional advice, has taken a financial decision which is legal but which means there is less money in the public coffers.

'The only athletic sport I have ever mastered is backgammon' Douglas Jerrold

10:00am Friday 8th June 2012

HAVE you heard of Beth Tweddle? Shame on you if you haven't. She has just carried the Olympic torch on its journey through Flintshire. There have been less worthy torch-bearers and none more suitable.

'When I use a word,'Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone,' it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.' Lewis Carroll 'Through the looking glass, and what Alice found there.'

2:48pm Wednesday 30th May 2012

Anyone have to buy a birthday present for a pedantic man? I have the perfect gift. 'The Etymologican' by Mark Forsyth, also called The Inky Fool. It is described as a circular stroll through the hidden connections of the English language. Each page flourishes with delicious wallowing in words. It is not for the person who relishes text speak or whose vocabulary is happily served by 100 words. Today I am playing with antanaciasis. (I want to adopt a baby and call him that.) It is using the same word in different senses and people have been doing it since language began. Take the Roman sentence, malo malo malo malo. Which translates as 'I would rather be in an apple tree than be a bad boy in trouble'. Limited usefulness perhaps. Which might explain why I suggest the gift is best suited to a man. For – and here I shall be accused of sweeping generalisation – men are much more fascinated by words than women. Perhaps it is because men have more time to play with them and analyse them and they do so love to treat them as toys. Women would argue, I guess, that they are much too busy for such niceties and are concerned with the directness of speech, busy as they are with children, families, husbands, jobs, being thin. Except for television presenter and popular historian Lucy Worsley who has enraged the media world by declaring herself to have been 'educated out of motherhood'. I bet she can compose antanaciasis that would have us holding our sides with laughter. But isn't she right? Everywhere we turn we read and hear that being a mother is extremely hard. Everyone nods sagely and tells us that all that juggling and trying to achieve perfection drives women to anti-depressants and for what purpose? I am told motherhood is harder than it was. I always seem to miss the boat where optimum difficulty is concerned. It didn't seem hard to work, play and produce babies or, if it was, no-one would have been interested in the grumbling about something self-inflicted. Lucy expressed it badly but I expect she has been under pressure to explain why she doesn't have children. Perhaps she is clever enough to anticipate what happened to me last week. I looked at my son, never much bother and certainly not the cause of a noticeable decrease in my intelligence, and thought,'Heck, I gave birth to a middle-aged man.'

'Being thick isn't an affliction if you are a footballer, because your brains need to be in your feet.' Brian Clough

1:50pm Wednesday 16th May 2012

There is much in the Cotswolds to make us complacent. We are relatively privileged and can we be blamed for feeling just a tad smug? But I am back from a visit to Liverpool chastened for falling for old stereotypes and prejudices.

'The British are not good at having fun. I get overexcited if there's a pattern on my kitchen roll.' Victoria Wood

4:28pm Wednesday 2nd May 2012

My life is full of nonsense. I suggest yours is too. Nonsense isn't what it used to be. I look at what made us smile then and it makes me smile now. Tommy Cooper, Monty Python, Edward Heath, shambling Michael Foot, Charles and Fiona from Round the Horne, young girls in mini-skirts, men in frilly shirts, P.G. Wodehouse, James Bond's girls, mock cream horns. The list is endless. Now nonsense comes without a smile, designed to take up space in the brain and steal precious time. Take this week. Why is our Prime Minister vilified for not knowing the price of a pint of milk? I don't know how much milk costs but if I needed to I should hope to find a man who does. And it seems that is where the problem lies. No-one in British politics knows what milk costs or what is a pint. Or what is the cost of accepting more than milk from a newspaper baron. Sleaze, never far from the surface of media consciousness, is topical again, as the Levinson enquiry clunks on. I watched it for a mind-numbing half hour this week and wanted to leap into the television and cry, 'no more, I have paid enough for this nonsense.' My suggestion is to revisit the concept of 'networking' and 'hospitality' and to look at how these apparently well-meaning methods of promoting business have, unquestioned, crept into our culture. We must have hospitality and generosity of spirit in business and politics but open one of those glossy regional magazines which curiously proliferate and you see pages of glazed-eyed burghers raising glasses to the photographer, smug in the knowledge that they are part of the in-crowd promoting someone’s hair salon or estate agency. Can you really say that the temptation of being in their orbit will make anyone rush off to make a booking? Turning the pages of such a magazine I see that bums are back in fashion. More nonsense. My derrière has never been out of fashion. And Alan Titchmarsh has been signed up for a further television series. What does that say about British culture? And who is A.A. Gill to say that Mary Beard is too plain for television? His rudeness is not clever. Nor is it amusing to watch a nine year old boy break down on Britain's Got Talent as he struggles with an inappropriate Beyonce song to entertain millions and live someone else's 'dream'. Nonsense too that any child who can open a computer can have immediate access to pornography, but, despite the rainfall, not a full bath of water. My horoscope is promising 'drama and excitement'. Hopefully without nonsense.

'The trouble with the French is they have no word for entrepreneur.' George W Bush

3:32pm Wednesday 25th April 2012

IT HAS always seemed a mistake to me for a woman to show that she can cook. A man can do it (often at great expense and mess) and he will be lauded, praised and not asked to do it again. A woman, on the other hand, will be expected to do it three times a day for the rest of her life. Not a principle to be established in this or any other female skills, methinks.

'There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.' Winston Churchill

2:10pm Wednesday 18th April 2012

It's not often I have a sleepless night but last Saturday I tossed and turned and not in a good way. There are two sorts of events that mark the passing of time. The personal ones' like birthdays and anniversaries and the public ones that are shared with the world. The public events might also carry with them personal memories, sounds of childhood and growing up, the memory of familial allegiance. The Oxford and Cambridge boatrace is one of those. In my childhood world, a million miles from Oxbridge privilege, everyone sported their favourite blue on that day and my mother and father, never afraid of marital skirmishes, took opposite sides. It was exciting. Though whatever the outcome of the race my mother was a certain winner. Same too with the Grand National. You might never have been to a race or know a filly from a stallion but that was the day to be an expert and place your shilling where your heart lay. I love horse racing. I used to go a lot when I lived in Cambridge. Newmarket had a magic quality for it, or my life did then, and I had a connection with the Red Cross who covered the events there. There isn't much I don't love about horse racing. Even those girls we see photographed at Aintree with their terrible dress sense, English legs, and huge capacity for fun. Cheltenham races are great and the joy when the Irish are in town! And, of course, I love Clare Balding. I am not a jealous person but I come close to wishing I were Clare or one of her connections. I love animals and don't wish to be sentimental but over the years I have struggled with the Grand National. It can't be necessary for a race to be so dangerous to be so exciting. What would it say about us, about me, if that danger was the motivation in watching? This year was just too much. 'My' horse, 'According to Pete', was especially beautiful. At least to me. We saw him on the television, waiting quietly and calmly in the yard before the parade. OK he wasn't the most flashy and certainly unlikely to win but he was a little chap who looked happy and the sort who would give it his best shot. The team around him was nervous and could hardly speak to the camera. He died in the race. He was brought down by a faller and crashed to the ground. You could see the inevitable outcome when he fell. I suppose it takes one pivotal moment to put everything in a clearer light. I can't touch it again. Even my modest bet seems somehow indecent. I am sorry.

'How on earth did Gandhi manage to walk so far in flip-flops? I can't last ten minutes in mine.' Mrs Merton

12:16pm Wednesday 28th March 2012

WHAT does "age appropriate" mean, please? I was at Waterloo Station this week when a very striking woman probably in her 40s (though I am a poor judge of age, amongst other things) strode through the concourse on the way to her train. She was head-turning in a way that few people are in these dull and grey times.

'Ma always said that without tea the British would have lost both world wars.' Michael Bentine

12:13pm Wednesday 8th February 2012

I seem to have spent half my life sitting in bars, hotels, and restaurants gazing into the distance, a look on my face of cheerful expectancy, a smile of hope over experience, a mature woman who has not quite learnt the realities of a disappointing world.

'Visitors young and old will be amazed when they arrive at your home and see a larger than life fully lit outdoor reindeer complete with bells and sleigh.' A Christmas catalogue

12:39pm Wednesday 9th November 2011

Is it too soon to put up my Christmas tree? I have held off until after Bonfire Night but feel the lure of the baubles and seeing the lights going up in Cirencester and festive shop windows I am spurred on. Last year I was robbed of Christmas. The only moment that captured anything like the true spirit was when my car was bogged down in snow on the way to Gloucester hospital on Christmas Eve. Unhelpfully I sat with tears spouting forth from my eyes wishing, not for the first time in my life, that I had been born a male sterile orphan who would be spared such horrors (I can be dramatic). Happily, lovely men appeared and dug me out and led the way to the hospital, not stopping for thanks but just waving me in. Banning illness and attention-seeking brushes with death this year I intend to compensate. One perennial Christmas tradition is to complain about Christmas – the expense, the tackiness, the waste, the insensitivity to the poor, the disregard for its religious significance or lack of it, the sheer exhaustion of it all and the dire television. How much better, people say, to ignore the whole greedy fiasco.

'You can tell the ideals of a nation by its advertisements.' Norman Douglas

10:58am Wednesday 26th October 2011

Television advertising is dire. Once advertisements were the best thing on television. Remember the sophisticated couple who fell in lust over an instant coffee and the little lad with the big bicycle trudging home to the sound of Dvorak, and the humour of the man with the hapless comb-over in the photo booth who takes comfort in a mild cigar, and the sheer artistic genius of the Guinness advertisements? Happy days.

'A little nonsense now and then is cherished by the wisest men.' Roald Dahl

9:44am Wednesday 21st September 2011

I am not fond of 'lavatory' humour.

'What is two and two?' 'Are you buying or selling?' - Small child and Lew Grade

11:53am Wednesday 31st August 2011

At a time when young people up and down the country are opening envelopes to find their exam results, prompted by Lord Jones, who was Trade Minister under Gordon Brown, I have been considering the state of education. Lord Jones has been advocating that unruly pupils should leave school at 14 to go straight to work or undertake apprenticeships. His thought is that it would be better for all, including the economy, if they could be in the workplace rather than staying in academic life for which they are not suited. On the face of it a great idea.

'Something unpleasant is coming when men are anxious to tell the truth.' Benjamin Disraeli

3:02pm Wednesday 23rd March 2011

I confess I do not understand why, as I write this, our RAF fighter jets are bombing Libya and our UK submarine is launching missiles. Mr Cameron is convinced that it is the right thing to do and he keeps telling us that. The aim is to destroy the tanks and weapons of war that we sold to Colonel Gadaffi just a few years ago. A pity really that we didn't just take all those armaments and put them in a field near Salisbury and blow them up saving us the bother of exporting them and the risk to civilian life. But, of course, we wanted the money for them, didn't we, Mr Tony Blair? So, forgive me, Mr Cameron if I see these doomed wars that politicians find so irresistible, as exercises in economics. But what is economics? If it were just about the bottom line then it would be accountancy. We sell you tanks, we destroy tanks, you have to buy new tanks. Works for me.

'When I met President Bush he asked me what state Wales was in.' Charlotte Church

11:59am Wednesday 9th March 2011

Does anyone want two televisions? From the moment the huge piece of wooden furniture incorporating our television was wheeled into our sitting room in the 1950's I have been an addict. There has seldom been a moment since when the set has had time to cool down and I've seen it all. Even during our time in Croatia in 1995 during the height of the Balkan war when we lived for six months on a lonely island we persevered with Croatian television although Mr Brain had to stand and hold the aerial nine feet off the ground on the balcony. In England if people won the Wheel of Fortune the prize was two Range Rovers and a bungalow in Rutland. In Croatia it was your weight in washing powder. Imagine what a dreadful plight you must find yourself in to agree to go on national television to be weighed in public at the end to get 10 stone of washing powder. And I say that as someone who break-danced on Big Brother. But no more. I can't take another programme. The sight of David Starkey, who I have met and can confirm is as snobbish and out of touch as on television, ridiculing an overweight child on 'Jamie's Dream School' was nasty. The fact it was allowed shows how insidious 'sneer television' has become. But I think it is the news coverage that has finally done for me. The events in Libya have a similar coverage to reality television or a football match but worse. 'Celebrity' presenters are flown in to act as journalists and any pretence at BBC impartiality has been thrown out in favour of a sort of frenzied excitement. The word 'democracy' is bandied about meaninglessly and there is no attempt to present facts, context or an over view. I sense that the so-called reporters don't really know where Libya is or where they are half the time. It all makes me so angry. But nothing makes me so furious as the photos of Gadaffi and Tony Blair canoodling just a few years ago. When will we learn to keep our noses out of other countries?

"A Portsmouth man believes he has found the way to talk to hedgehogs, although he does not know the meaning of what he says to them."

1:04pm Wednesday 9th February 2011

I MAKE no secret of the fact that my home life teeters precariously on the verge of madness. It is at its most vulnerable when lulled by false serenity.

'Buckingham Palace isn't ours. It's just a tied cottage.' Prince Philip

10:57am Wednesday 24th November 2010

The raggle taggle collection of non-entities called The Government is asking the Office of National Statistics to produce a measure to gauge Britain's national mood. The timing will be critical. The run up to Christmas may be a dangerous time to ask. There are those unhampered by good taste and with excess cash to waste on tawdry baubles and Chinese tat who will embrace the season, as will those whose only chance of being kissed is at the annual facilities departmental party. The rest may be burdened by a sense of religiosity, which can be a nuisance at any time but particularly inconvenient when there are over-priced computer games of a murderous nature to be bought and played, or simply feeling sad or lonely and not much impressed by the fantasy of Christmas as played out on television screens. All that bonhomie and ex-X Factor 'stars' will be too much to bear, plus the ever present fear of the sudden appearance of Cliff Richard.

'I go in and out of fashion like a double breasted suit' Alan Ayckbourn

9:33am Thursday 18th November 2010

It may surprise you to know that I receive what might be loosely called 'fan mail'. Unlike the uncritical adulation normally associated with such communications mine are of a more robust nature. One came recently signed 'your greatest admirer' and started, 'actually sometimes you can be quite interesting.' It is the 'quite' that most marks out my correspondents. While I should not be surprised by this I confess to some disappointment. I had secretly hoped to be employed as an agony aunt and had prepared myself with some pertinent advice and contemporary phrases. Like 'kick him to the kerb.' Rather, however, the advice flows in the other direction, me being the recipient.

'I've found a way to make my wife drive more carefully. I told her that if she has an accident, the newspapers would print her age.' Jan Murray

3:57pm Wednesday 27th October 2010

Years ago I owned a Porsche 911. It was black with red leather interior and as soon as I turned on the engine you could hear it yearning for Malcolm Campbell and land speed records. Modern cars are so self-driven that if you point them in the right direction they get you there. The Porsche needed driving. Male heads would turn to look at it and female eyes would narrow in satisfying jealousy. After years of sensible, utilitarian cars it should have been a joy to own. It was a nightmare. Vandals were drawn to it like WAGs to footballers, one even scraping his name on the pristine bodywork, the police took a regular interest in it – 'you were driving unnaturally slowly for a Porsche driver, madam' – and every other motorist saw it as a challenge. Servicing consumed my income.

'In the 1960s people took acid to make the world weird. Now the world's weird and people take Prozac to make it normal.' Damon Albarn

2:45pm Wednesday 6th October 2010

I never liked the Beatles. I thought their tunes thin and whiny and their lyrics mawkish and sentimental. 'Hey, Jude', 'Love, love me do' and 'Mull of Kintyre' are down there in my Ten Worst Records of All Time along with Frank Sinatra's 'My Way' and any school choir. I suspected that they pretended to be squeaky clean with their choir boy haircuts and silly suits but were really messing about with drugs. Whereas the Rolling Stones, who looked drugged up to their eye-balls and very dirty (both of which recommended them to me at the time), were living the rock and roll lifestyle while laying down fine wine in their cellars. Above all, the Stones looked like they were having a great time while The Beatles seemed the personification of misery. The Stones never explained themselves while the Beatles were full of pomposity and lecturing. Or so it seemed then. Because, beneath it all, the rivalry of their respective fans was based on a north/south divide and a snobbishness on the part of us southerners. For a start we more sophisticated and richer Kentish girls (I was a neighbour of young Jagger) would never like to be called 'fans'. We thought ourselves independent and politicized. Our very proximity to London made us, in our minds anyway, close to the centre of the universe and therefore part of it.

'The physician can bury his mistakes, but the architect can only advise his client to plant vines.' Frank Lloyd Wright

11:04am Wednesday 29th September 2010

A GREEK friend of mine has just returned to London after a long weekend in Painswick where he had hoped to shift his writer's block. He says that it was a failure as if Honore de Balzac had lived in Gloucestershire he would not have written 'Eugenie Grandet' but 'Heidi'.

'My father woke me at three o' clock in the morning and said, 'Son, I've never shot a tiger.' 'Why did you have to tell me?' He said, 'I've got to tell somebody.'' Spike Milligan

10:36am Wednesday 22nd September 2010

Fathers have been much in the news this week. I gave a reading in public which my sister declared to be 'up to Hudson standards'.

"The English like eccentrics. They just don't like them living next door."

3:08pm Wednesday 15th September 2010

MOST of us have speculated upon what we would do if we were rich. Suddenly wealthy, able to do as we wish, live where we like and how we like. Except it isn't like that.

'He chose to live in Manchester, a wholly incomprehensible choice for any free man to make.' Mr Justice Melford Stevenson

1:51pm Wednesday 8th September 2010

Cheltenham and Gloucester are like an elderly, long-divorced couple. She – for Cheltenham must be a woman – has seen better days, days of parties and poke bonnets, of Dukes and dandies. As the late, great Humphrey Littleton said, it was here that the Duke of Wellington popularised his footwear, Lord Sandwich invented the leading convenience food and Viscount Picnic introduced the two. Cheltenham, like any proud and stately matriarch, can put on the slap, squeeze herself into a still-good frock and put on a good show. Across the county her ex-husband, with whom she has always had an uncomfortable relationship, each believing themselves to be the superior whereas in fact they are simply different, is experiencing a fresh surge of energy and rejuvenation. It was one of my new year resolutions that I should put right my ignorance about our county capital. Some cities can be difficult in various ways for people who cannot easily move about. But Gloucester, with its shopmobility scheme and medieval street plan, is easy. Which is just as well as it has so much to offer.

'I left home to marry a man whom no one liked, and after I married him I didn't like him either.' Margery Allingham

11:15am Wednesday 1st September 2010

'I want a new husband. Can you find me one in the Cotswolds?' I was sitting perched on the edge of a ginormous sofa somewhere in Chelsea fighting with cushions when my friend asked this of me. I shouldn't have been surprised. After all I must be a world expert, having One myself, and I think she has only the vaguest idea of where the Cotswolds are or what they are like, because she refers to Richmond as being in the country. I am losing my battle with the cushions on the sofa. There are five lined up behind me, one in front of the other, ranging in size from vast to tiny, as is the fashion. I think I have already inadvertently eaten one. Her home is a nightmare. (I do not have to worry about her reading this as all she reads are Farrow and Ball paint samples.) However I am able to help. Not because the Cotwolds are littered with eligible, wealthy men who don't make a mess around the home, but because I listened to a programme on Woman's Hour that addressed the issue of deal-breakers in a relationship. These, it seems, are those little details that warn you that Mr Right is an unsuitable potential partner. Like, adults who have cuddly toys or speak in a baby voice to a partner or, in my case, men who wear short-sleeved shirts. I mention the shirt thing with some bitterness because I once had a lunch date with a promising chap but an eagle-eyed assistant spotted his short sleeved shirt under his suit jacket and refused to allow me to go. I could now be the wife, or better still ex-wife, of one of the richest men in the country, but hey ho, bitterness can be a deal-breaker too.

'At worst, a house unkempt cannot be so distressing as a life unlived.' Rose Macaulay

11:22am Wednesday 18th August 2010

It's the clash of the Titans this week. In one corner we have Big Brother, the daddy of all television reality shows, and in the other Daylesford Organic Farm Shop, the jewel in the crown of the Cotswolds. Both have invited me to join them, in a sense, and a personal struggle ensues. You see, I want to like Big Brother. This, the tenth series, is the last. On the August 24 the last of the housemates are released, one is crowned winner of this series, and, as the ultimate punishment, goes back in for two weeks to fight it out with 12 ex-housemates – the biggest names in that strange world of Big Brother followers – for the title 'Ultimate Big Brother Allstars'. Or some such. I might have been tempted to join them. After all, I have a sentimental attachment to something that gave me a glimpse of another world a couple of years ago. But, when push comes to hygiene, I confess matters of cleanliness meant negotiations broke down. After twelve weeks of shut-down in That House we should be grateful there is not yet such a thing as Smellavision.

'Her voice is quintessentially Radio 4, like someone talking down a would-be suicide from a high window-ledge.' The Listener Magazine

12:06pm Thursday 8th July 2010

I AM occasionally asked to be a guest co-presenter on BBC Radio Gloucestershire's breakfast show. I always jump at the chance. My dream job would be to have my own radio show, a sort of idiosyncratic aural magazine reflecting my interests and personal prejudices.

'How foolish to think that one can ever slam the door in the face of age. Much wiser to be gracious and ask him to lunch in advance.' Noel Coward

11:58am Wednesday 30th June 2010

AS WE get older it is wise to measure our activities in the light of limited time. I have just wasted precious hours on reading Martin Amis' The Pregnant Widow. At Hay recently Amis bemoaned the fact that he had become a grandfather, something about the call of the graveyard or similar pessimistic nonsense. When I see my grandchildren, four this week, I scan their eager little faces and wild, confident eyes searching for signs of myself in them. Rather than the tolling of bells I seek immortality through them.

'If at first you don't succeed then failure might be your style.' Quentin Crisp

10:41am Wednesday 23rd June 2010

WE LIVE in depressing times. Peeling a potato with its dull grey skin and pin-prick eyes yesterday my thoughts inevitably turned to Wayne Rooney and his lack lustre colleagues. Poor old Fabio.

'The natural state of the football fan is bitter disappointment, no matter what the score.'

11:00am Wednesday 16th June 2010

I am sitting here wearing a Dutch style hat with yellow knitted plaits dangling from each side while Mr Brain, stifling in a red and white striped scarf and bobble hat, contemplates his incomprehensible wall chart and stickers which is suitable for a 5 year old and therefore too complex for us.

'I was too scared to tell my parents I was going on Big Brother so I told them I was going on Countdown.'

10:10am Friday 11th June 2010

I feel sorry for David Laws. I am sure he never meant to steal or lie. For all his cleverness, his double first, his banking directorship, his glittering future, his cocky walk he lacked one vital ingredient for survival in the public arena. Gall. Remember all those politicians who so recently got caught stealing from our purses? Imagine, if you will, that someone breaks into your house and steals your television. Caught at home watching it, they say, 'Never mind, I'll give it back.' Perhaps they do but you never see it again. That is how it is with most politicians. Except Mr Laws, who after all just got into a muddle as to when a landlord becomes a lover and when that embryonic relationship needs to become public knowledge, had some tiny seed of guilt in him that others lack, and had to hold up his hands and take the responsibility. As well as stealing from the public he was guilty of wishing to keep private something that is none of anyone else's business, except the security service and his family. Is it any wonder that he became confused? The rest of the world jostles and barges in front of the media to sell its dirty linen and intimate stories. You can't open a newspaper these days without seeing some pregnant woman's stomach bared for our viewing. It is cutely called a 'bump' and we are expected to be interested. This week sees the launch of the final series of Big Brother, the programme that people love to hate. In fact those who have never seen it hate it so much I wonder where they will turn next. Big Brother had a sort of hideous honesty about it. There were no secrets being hidden there as contestants and producers alike gave the media, and therefore the public, what they craved. The only thing banned was secrets. The 'successful' Big Brother contestants are not the ones with the most to hide but those most prepared to turn over the little stone that is their life and show the ugly creatures beneath. A lazy journalist scraped around in my past and all she could come up with was the lie that I was born in Canterbury. Ouch. Now that would be something to keep quiet about.

'The best time to take cuttings is when no one is looking.'

1:55pm Wednesday 2nd June 2010

It is a truism worth repeating that nothing is quite the same watched on television. Last week I went to Chelsea Flower Show and later when I watched that day on television I couldn't believe it was the same event.

'She looked a million dollars, even if in well-used notes.'

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: 'She looked a million dollars, even if in well-used notes.'

11:41am Friday 28th May 2010

I must apologise if you have just knocked at the front door and I seem to have ignored you.

'The concept of two people living together for 25 years without a serious dispute suggests a lack of spirit only to be admired in sheep.'

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: 'The concept of two people living together for 25 years without a serious dispute suggests a lack of spirit only to be admired in sheep.'

11:36am Friday 28th May 2010

I am a great believer in the notion of marriage. Apart from anything else it gets rid of that ambiguous term 'partner' with which I am never entirely comfortable.

'It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances.' Oscar Wilde

11:39am Wednesday 28th April 2010

We are having a family gathering in London next week. These are so rare that I have notified Sothebys. Excitement is mixed with alarm since I come from a long line of people who suffer from obsessive compulsive disorders mixed with finely honed critical skills. We are not unique in that. Charles Dickens, David Beckham and my mother share those traits. Dickens, infuriated by his children's messiness, practically invented the post-it note which he would leave on toys and books admonishing the children to be tidy. Beckham was driven to madness by a long-haired rug which he insisted upon hoovering himself several times a day so that the pile would lie in one direction. My mother refused to have a doctor visit the house until the drawer liners had been renewed. All three also shared a pride in their hair. Dickens had long, brown shiny locks of which he was inordinately proud. His house was full of mirrors so that he might admire his ever-changing styles. Beckham, I suspect, spends more time contemplating what is on his head than what is in it. In photos my mother has complicated curls and combs and pinnings. I, on the other hand, am terrified of hairdressers and beauticians. Young, wise and beautiful they seem to me to know all the womanly wiles that have eluded me all my life. Fortunately Jo Ponting knows better than to ask what I want - knowing the answer to be a truthful, but unhelpful, 'like Rachel Weisz with long dark cinnamon waves'. She, and Darby at Cherish, sort me out and send me off into the world in a state that should not frighten the horses. Something that Nick Clegg might bear in mind as he is a man who could benefit from a moisturising treatment on his follicles. Speaking of beauty and grooming I have just returned from the iconic and fabby Grace Kelly exhibition at the V&A. Appearances do matter, as any museum or retailer will attest. So my award for most consistently stunning window display goes to The Ark in Long Street. There are two places I would like to live - the V&A, and in the window of The Ark in Tetbury.

Election may as well be fought through reality TV

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Search for key to being happy

2:39pm Wednesday 14th April 2010

'Not all of you are going to be successful – but failure can be much more intriguing.'

Think before you try to help a young animal

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Feeding time for one of the muntjac deer being cared for at the Oak and Furrow rescue centre at Somerford Keynes

3:59pm Wednesday 7th April 2010

MANY small creatures come to us as orphans but we will never be as good as a wild mum and every year we ask people not to pick up young wildlife without thinking.

Search for key to being happy

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Search for key to being happy

11:11am Friday 5th March 2010

'Don't forget about what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted. He lived happily ever after.'

Some Things Need To Be Seen To Be Believed

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Lesley Brain's Column

11:17am Wednesday 10th February 2010

This is the new column for Lesley Brain's articles

Keep your wits about you to deal with the NHS

11:35am Wednesday 10th February 2010

IF ANY of you are thinking of being ill in the future I offer some advice: ensure that you are fit and well in advance.

Dickensian tales don't need the big-screen 3D treatment

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Dickensian tales don't need the big-screen 3D treatment

11:41am Wednesday 10th February 2010

The film 'Avatar' is receiving rave reviews from the critics.

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