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