Tuesday, 30 November 2010


Brrrr... the big chill continues in the UK this week with roads shut, schools being shut, airports nearly shut and trains not departing ie. shut. This morning at stupid o'clock ie. 7.20am, I walked out of my front door with toast and jam stuck nonchalantly in my mouth only to be met by a frozen windscreen and iced-up locks that refused all help to open via my frantic waving and pointing of my central locking fobbed keyring. Rather surprisingly, despite my high-pitched pleading of 'open up NOW you bastard', the door still refused to open. Once over that hurdle, I get into my car and after thawing out my fingers and losing three layers of skins from peeling them back from the steering wheel, I noticed the temperature dial was showing -7c. The journey to work was 30 minutes of hell mastering black-iced roads and spinning my wheel furiously to avoid skidding off into mothers with prams, old ladies in wheelchairs and other cars that probably don't smell of wet dogs. Hyperventilating and sweating at the prospect of coming close to losing my no claims bonus, I left my car and made the treacherous walk across the car park. What is it about age that robs you of total fearlessness? Years ago I would have walked across that car park without a care in the world. I would have done some exhibition glides and skids to the general amusement of my friends. If I fell I would have done a couple of showboating somersaults, dusted myself down and laughed it off. Nowadays, I walk with arms extended for balance, legs totally stiff and kind of shuffle with a grimace akin to a condemned man about to meet his maker on the gallows. I grip cars, fences, walls ANYTHING so long as I stay on my feet. And all the time I'm talking to myself in that mad old woman way 'I'm gonna fall, I'm GOING TO FALL'. It's not pretty. 
And the hazards of being a community nurse is that I have to leave the sanctity of my office and go and visit people which means I have to start the whole stressful process again, brown paper bag at the ready. It's been hell, total hell. 
Of course if you live in somewhere like Norway or Canada, this is all very commonplace and normal. In Britain, we are totally useless at any weather which is different from grey skies and moderate rain. Heatwaves close schools and kills lots of old people through dehydration. And that's when the temperature goes above 20 degrees C. Floods are a nightmare - not on the scale of the tsunami you understand. We're talking floods that gives an opportunity for Brian and Lucinda Crappingly-Forbes (retired teachers) to free their canoes from their garages or from the roof rack of their Citroen Picasso and go kayaking down the high street in search of a Warburtons loaf and to post a couple of letters. 
And then there's snow and ice. We have the finest meteorology technology powered by satellite and very clever people at the Met Office. They predict the weather with alarming accuracy and yet we're still massively unprepared for it. There's never enough gritters, pavements remain untreated and forget the notion of snow ploughs as it doesn't happen. A bit of snow (and we're talking a couple of inches here) and London is practically on its knees. Commuters can't get into the city and no-one gets home. Chaos, total chaos. This is November and they're predicting worse for the next 3 months. 
I'm tying two squash rackets to my boots as I type and taking out insurance for a broken hip. In the words of the Scout movement...Be prepared


It was sad to see yesterday's announcement of the death of Leslie Nielsen, star of Airplane and the Naked Gun series of films. I saw Airplane when I was a young lass with a group of school pals and I don't think I have ever laughed so much at a film either then or since. The zany comedy writing and deadpan acting from Leslie Nielsen made the film an absolute classic. My mates and I recited the lines of the film over and over again and some of the scenes are still fixed in my memory as absolute classics. Leslie Nielsen made his name well into middle age during the making of Airplane despite numerous previous film and tv roles. He then went on to star in the hugely successful Naked Gun series as Lieutenant Frank Drebin opposite Priscilla Presley and OJ Simpson. The beauty of Leslie Nielsen was his ability to deliver such absurd lines with complete seriousness remaining totally straight-faced. As a tribute to an actor who made me laugh until I cried, here's some of his best lines from Airplane and Naked Gun....

Neilsen: ‘Tell the captain we’ve got to land as soon as possible. This woman has to be gotten to a hospital.’ 
Stewardess:  ‘A hospital?’. ‘What is it?’ 
Nielsen:  ‘It’s a big building with patients — but that’s not important right now.’

Neilsen voiceover: ‘Like a midget at a urinal, I was going to have to stay on my toes.’ 
Neilsen as Drebin: ‘I’m single! I love being single! I haven’t had this much sex since I was a Boy Scout leader!’ When everyone around him stops and stares, he adds: ‘I mean at the time I was dating a lot.’

Priscilla: ‘I’ve heard police work is dangerous,’ 
Drebin: ‘It is,’  ‘That’s why I carry a big gun.’
Aren’t you afraid it might go off accidentally?’ 
Drebin: 'I used to have that problem.’
Priscilla: ‘What did you do about it?’
Drebin: ‘I just think about baseball.’

In 1991’s Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear, he walks into a store. The female shop assistant is magnificently endowed. Seeing the police she gasps, ‘Is this some kind of bust?’
Well...it’s very impressive, yes,’ says Nielsen, ‘but we need to ask you a few questions.’

And my personal favourite line of all time...
Drebin: 'Nice beaver' 
Priscilla: 'thanks, I had it stuffed this morning'


For a great escape from the current winter chill and reality tv, check out Miranda on Monday nights on bbc1. It's my absolute favourite comedy at the moment as there's some genuinely laugh-out-loud moments - which is pretty rare in recent comedy outings. It's written by and stars Miranda Hart and is quintessentially British comedy. It's self-deprecating, farcical and how that old-fashioned comedy feel about it. Miranda's character is a clumsy singleton (Miranda Hart herself is 6ft 1") whose classy and bossy mother is relentless in her pursuit of trying to find her a suitable man to marry. Miranda herself has eyes for only one man - the gorgeous hunky chef at her local pub and in her pursuit of wooing him, she puts herself through the most cringeworthy and tortuous gushing. She falls over things, she unexpectedly trumps, she says the most embarrassing things and she just gets everything wrong. The character is joined by a brilliant supporting cast who are all distinguished actors that manage to also send themselves up and genuinely look like they're having a great time. Probably not since Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders has a female comedienne who puts themselves out there for ridicule (oh yes, there's plenty of skirts being tucked into knickers moments), and yet the viewer can't help warming to her and willing her to get the man of the dreams. 
Very, very funny and it's worth checking out. 

Sunday, 28 November 2010


The UK may be gripped by snow, ice and -10 temperatures, but it was sizzling hot at Old Trafford yesterday when the mighty reds trounced Blackburn 7-1. The headline grabber in today's papers belongs to Dimitar Berbatov who grabbed five of the goals. Yes FIVE. 
Berbatov is one of those players that can either be a stranger on the pitch and can sometimes be so out of sorts, he barely contributes. Then there's the brilliant side of him which we saw yesterday. He's capable of sublime goals and he's a master of his craft. Perhaps one of the most gratifying sights was the excellent partnership with Rooney who set up most of the goals despite not scoting himself, and the contribution made by Nani. And then Valencia needs to return from injury and United's firepower will be difficult to contain. Manchester United go top of the Premiership and remain unbeaten in 29 games. Title winners? Yeah, I think so. 
And over at Bolton Wanderers, the mighty Blackpool managed a 2-2 draw which again is a tremendous result against a team currently in great form and playing at home. The Seasiders continue to confound their critics and are managing some consistently good football whilst bagging their fair share of goals. 

Christmas just came early for this footy fan...

Saturday, 27 November 2010


Tonight, on my way home from the pictures, I saw a christmas tree and a million decorations bedecking someone's house. Of course the curtains were all open which invited your eyes to stare at the horror within. And then, the gaze headed upwards to the roof where there was a landing strip of lights and get this.. an inflatable 15 foot high santa claus tethered to the chimney stack. My hometown has plenty of houses like this and each year it gets worse. And then I remembered that today's date is November 27th. Yes.. NOVEMBER. 
Probably the worst thing about the lead up to christmas is the almost constant playing of christmas records in the shops, on the radio and at your work's parties. Music fan, yes., Christmas music fan? Nooooo. Not me. Never in a month of Sundays.

Here's my list of truly awful christmas 'hits' which get me gipping and have me heading for the paracetamol and earplugs... 

Last Christmas (Wham) - Saccharin mush from George M before he was gay
Do They Know It's Christmas (Band Aid) - Sentiment was good (25 years ago)
Merry Christmas Everyone (Shakin' Stevens) - Welsh poor man's Elvis cack
Mary's Boy Child (Boney M) - Eurovision pap at it's worst 
White Christmas (Bing Crosby) His penultmate big hit before the golf ball
Merry Xmas Everybody (Slade) - overplayed to death 
Wombling Merry Christmas (Wombles) - Performed by men in hairy suits. Awful
The Millennium Prayer (Cliff Richard) - Enough to drive you to self harm
Santa Baby (Eartha Kitt) It's no coincidence that her name is cockney rhyming slang for a description of this song.
Lonely This Christmas (Mud) - worrying awful song and the video's worse
Frosty The Snowman (Jackson 5) - Michael, what were you thinking? 
I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday (Wizzard) - actually, I don't

Have I missed any? Please God I win the lottery soon so that I can fly off to the Maldives for a month and NEVER have to hear these songs again (until next November at least).   


Busy and fun-filled day ahead. My godson is arriving later and the two of us are off to the pictures to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Now let me categorically say right here and now.. I bloody hate Harry Potter. I've taken him to the other HP films and I can't understand any of them. Try as I might, I can't seem to get past there seems to be no discernible plot, plenty of bad people, hairy people, flying schoolkids on broomsticks, weird names and waving wands. It's just beyond me. Still, I love my godson very much and so I put my boredom aside and enjoy instead spending an afternoon with a popcorn guzzling, chatterbox of a godson. And I love every minute of it. Afterwards, I tend to treat him to a meal out somewhere and it's nice quality time. 
There's also a good evening of tv to look forward to with the weekend favourites of Strictly, X Factor, I'm a Celeb and Match of the Day. Big North West Derby's for my teams today.. Blackpool take on Bolton and Man Utd play Blackburn Rovers. And then there's the overnight Ashes series which has caused me a few late nights this week. England have got off to a slow start against Australia and time will time if we manage to kick their arses in their own backyard. 
So in the meantime, I will gird my loins in the heady prospect of going to see a bunch of pre-pubescent millionaires casting spells. Now where did I leave my iPod? 

Monday, 22 November 2010


This year's I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here just gets better and better. Our jungle Z listers have been there a week and already Gillian McKeith has emerged as the one everyone loves to hate. Gillian you may remember, used to be Dr Gillian McKeith who hosted 'You Are What You Eat'. She has been off the wavelengths for a couple of years now since her 'doctor of nutritionalism' qualifications were questioned and found to be a little on the fabricated side. Tut tut Gillian. She was perhaps a little naive if she thought she'd get away with going over to America, claiming to go to a bogus university and pay for some quack qualifications. Gillian was defrocked (or whatever you do to bogus nutritionists) but not before she had inflicted her odious presenting techniques on the British nation. Gillian's modus operandi was to target very fat people, humiliate them on tv, then.. wait for it.. ask them to provide a stool sample whereby she's scrutinise it for the delectation of the channel 4 audience before exclaiming 'you see, you see. Eat hamburgers and chips and you get sloppy discoloured poo you fat bastard'. Or something on those lines...
Gillian obviously needs some publicity and a few shekels in her bank because she's joined IACGMOOH and yet from day 1, has been causing mayhem. She screams at everything. She's scared of EVERYTHING including bugs, flies, camp smoke, water, leaves....She has moaned, cried, been carried off the set in floods of tears and tonight we were subjected to Gillian's 'faint' whilst being asked to do yet another bushtucker trial. The more Gillian cries and becomes hysterical, the more the viewing audience vote for her to complete the next trial. Gillian becomes hysterical, she has oxygen provided, the bushtucker trial has to be abandoned, so the other jungle campers receive no food. There's been 6 trials now where Gillian has failed miserably and the campers have become increasingly irritable with her antics compounded by their increasing hunger. 
And this year's Oscar for the best faint sequence to get out of doing a trial...
Doctor Gillian McKeith, sorry make that Gillian McKeith. 

Makes me embarrassed to be the same sex as this attention-seeking, money grabbing complete waste of space. Great TV though....


Saturday, 20 November 2010


After what seems like a long and winding road, Apple iTunes now has downloadable copies of all tracks and albums from the Beatles. It's been years of struggles between Apple and the surviving band members due to issues of branding between the Beatles record label and the computer giant. It's finally been resolved and at last The Fab Four are on iTunes. 
Are the Beatles the greatest band ever? To many they perhaps are. Certainly to me they are (closely followed by the Rolling Stones). Their music transcends the decades and has inspired many bands who followed them. Not only were Lennon and McCartney superb and prolific songwriters, they as well as George Harrison and Ringo Starr were pretty good musicians to boot. 
Technically, my first ever concert I attended was for the Beatles. My mum (who was heavily pregnant with me) and dad went to see them at Opera House in Blackpool in the 60's. According to my mum, I was kicking away for England during the concert although she also said that the Beatles couldn't be heard too well above the screams of the thousands of girls in the audience. As I was growing up, there always seemed to be Beatles records on our family record player and I remember singing along to all the words. John was always my favourite Beatle. He had that rebellious and 'naughtiness' about him which was always appealing. He kind of lost the plot though when he hooked up with Yoko and began sitting in hotel bedrooms looking gormless. I remember the day he died really well as I was in my last year at high school and our teachers being old hippies themselves suspended all lessons and instead in all classes we were treated to listening to non-stop Beatles / Lennon records as a tribute. 
And like the true groupie I am, each year I trundle off to nearby Liverpool for some shopping and a trip to the Beatles museum and Cavern Club. Well worth a visit. 

Best band ever? Yeah I think so....


The BBC, celebs, professional dancers and a few thousand fans take over the world famous Tower Ballroom tonight for the yearly airing of Strictly Come Dancing. Oh yes, SCD is in my home town tonight and the broadcast comes from such an iconic and beautiful building.
The ballroom is pretty magnificent and if you go there, it has this strange ability to take your breath away when you enter. There must be a million stories of past romances blossoming from there.. the weekly dances were nationally renowned for bringing young people together to dance the night away. My own parents used to dance there and often speak in revered tones of how atmospheric and wonderful the place used to be during their younger days. Here's a few facts on Blackpool's Tower Ballroom...

The Tower Ballroom was finished in 1899 and was designed by Frank Matcham.
It is located underneath the famous Blackpool Tower. 
The springy floor is made up of over 30,000 blocks of mahogany, oak and walnut. 
Each original crystal chandelier can be lowered to the floor and can each one up to a week to clean. 
The Wurlitzer organ rises and falls from the stage by hydraulic lifts and was played between 1930 and 1970 by 'Mr Blackpool' - Reginald Dixon. 
During the ballroom's heyday, the management imposed very strict rules on behaviour on the dancefloor...
- any petting was stopped by management patrolling the floor and providing a a tap on the shoulder and requesting the snogging couple to leave the dancefloor. 
- 'gentlemen may not dance unless with a lady' 
- 'disorderly conduct means immediate expulsion' 
Plenty of dance bands have played within the ballroom and in 2004, the rock band the White Stripes performed there. 
The ballroom even has a resident ghost. Many sightings have been reported of an elderly gentleman and a small girl dressed in Victorian period costume, sitting on the balcony seats overlooking the stage. 

And so to tonight. Sadly, there's no wild Saturday night out and painting the town red for me tonight. Comfy clothes, fire and candles lit, bowls of peanuts and Wotsits to hand and Strictly Come Dancing from Blackpool on tv. Guilty pleasure no. 9....

Thursday, 18 November 2010


So you think you're clever and could cope pretty well in a quiz? So did these people but sadly nerves and a bout of la-la land kicked in. Priceless....

Jeremy Paxman: What is another name for "cherrypickers" and "cheesemongers"?
Contestant: Homosexuals.
Paxman: No. They're regiments in the British Army who will be very upset with you.

Jamie Theakston: Where do you think Cambridge University is?
Contestant: Geography isn't my strong point.
Theakston: There's a clue in the title.
Contestant: Leicester.

Wood: What 'K' could be described as the Islamic Bible?
Contestant: Er. . .
Wood: It's got two syllables . . . Kor . . .
Contestant: Blimey?
Wood: Ha ha ha ha, no. The past participle of run . . .
Contestant: (Silence.)
Wood: OK, try it another way. Today I run, yesterday I . . .
Contestant: Walked?

Stewart White: Who had a worldwide hit with What A Wonderful World?
Contestant: I don't know.
White: I'll give you some clues. What do you call the part between your hand and your elbow?
Contestant: Arm.
White: Correct. And if you're not weak, you're . .?
Contestant: Strong.
White: Correct - and what was Lord Mountbatten's first name?
Contestant: Louis.
White: Well, there we are then. So, who had a worldwide hit with the song What A Wonderful World?
Contestant: Frank Sinatra?

Alex Trelinski: What's the capital of Italy?
Contestant: France.
Trelinski: France is another country. Try again.
Contestant: Oh, um, Benidorm.
Trelinski: Wrong, sorry, let's try another question. In which country is the Parthenon?
Contestant: Sorry, I don't know.
Trelinski: Just guess a country then.
Contestant: Paris.

Anne Robinson: Oscar Wilde, Adolf Hitler and Jeffrey Archer have all written books about their experiences in what: Prison or the Conservative Party?
Contestant: The Conservative Party.

BEACON RADIO, Wolverhampton
DJ Mark: For £10, what is the nationality of the Pope?
Ruth from Rowley Regis: I think I know that one. Is it Jewish?

Bamber Gascoigne: What was Gandhi's first name?
Contestant: Goosey?

GWR FM, Bristol
Presenter: What happened in Dallas on November 22, 1963?
Contestant: I don't know, I wasn't watching it then.

RTE RADIO 2FM, Ireland
Presenter: What is the name of the long-running TV comedy show about pensioners: Last Of The. .?
Caller: Mohicans.

Q: Which American actor is married to Nicole Kidman?
A: Forrest Gump.

Presenter: Which is the largest Spanish-speaking country in the world?
Contestant: Barcelona.
Presenter: I was really after the name of a country.
Contestant: I'm sorry; I don't know the names of any countries in Spain.

Q: What is the world's largest continent?
A: The Pacific

Presenter: On which street did Sherlock Holmes live?
Contestant: Er. . .
Presenter: He makes bread. . .
Contestant: Err...
Presenter: He makes cakes . .
Contestant: Kipling Street?

Steve Le Fevre: What was signed to bring World War I to an end in 1918?
Contestant: Magna Carta?

Chris Moyles: Which 's' is a kind of whale that can grow up to 80 tonnes?
Contestant: Ummm. . .
Moyles: It begins with 's' and rhymes with 'perm'.
Contestant: Shark.

O'Brien: How many kings of England have been called Henry?
Contestant: Well, I know there was a Henry the Eighth. . . er . . . Three?

Searle: In which European country is Mount Etna?
Caller: Japan.
Searle: I did say which European country, so in case you didn't hear that, I can let you try again.
Caller: Er . . . Mexico?

Wappat: How long did the Six-Day War between Egypt and Israel last?
Contestant (after long pause): Fourteen days.

Denham: In which country would you spend shekels?
Contestant: Holland?
Denham: Try the next letter of the alphabet.
Contestant: Iceland? Ireland?
Denham (helpfully): It's a bad line. Did you say Israel?
Contestant: No.

Melanie Sykes: What is the name given to the condition where the sufferer can fall asleep at any time?
Contestant: Nostalgia.

Wright: Johnny Weissmuller died on this day. Which jungle-swinging character clad only in a loincloth did he play?
Contestant: Jesus

Eamonn Holmes: Dizzy Gillespie is famous for playing what?
Contestant: Basketball.

Ulrika Jonsson: Who wrote Lord Of The Rings?
Contestant: Enid Blyton.

Eamonn Holmes: There are three states of matter: solid, liquid and . . ?
Contestant: Jelly.

Jodie Marsh: Arrange these two groups of letters to form a word - CHED and PIT.
Team: Chedpit.

Phil Tufnell: How many Olympic Games have been held?
Contestant: Six.
Tufnell: Higher!
Contestant: Five.

Jeff Owen: In which country is Mount Everest?
Contestant (long pause): Er, it's not in Scotland, is it?

Anne Robinson: In traffic, what 'j' is where two roads meet?
Contestant: Jool carriageway?

Greg Scott: We're looking for an occupation beginning with T.
Contestant: Doctor.
Scott: No, it's 'T'. 'T' for Tommy. 'T' for Tango.
Contestant: Oh, (pause) Doctor.

Gary King: Name the funny men who once entertained kings and queens at court.
Contestant: Lepers.

Kelly: Which French Mediterranean town hosts a famous film festival every year?
Contestant: I need a clue.
Kelly: OK. What do beans come in?
Contestant: Cartons?

Andy Townsend: How many wheels does a tricycle have?
Caller: Two.
Townsend: The Beatles were known as the Fab...?
Caller: Five.

Presenter: In what year was President Kennedy assassinated?
Contestant: Erm...
Presenter: Well, let's put it this way - he didn't see 1964.
Contestant: 1965?

Chris Tarrant (asking the audience): 'Jambon' is the French for which food?
11 per cent of the audience: Jam.

DLT: In which European country are there people called Walloons?
Contestant: Wales.

Forsyth: What is India's currency?
Contestant: Ramadan.

Money: In 30 seconds, name as many well-known politicians as you can.
Caller: Er. . . Tony Brown. . . and Nigel Benn. (Silence.)