Sunday, December 19, 2010

My Little Superstars

It's the school holidays again so it's back to work entertaining my boys and preparing for Christmas. I can't really complain as they're lovely children and even though they drive me bonkers a good proportion of the time they also serve me up moments like this one a few weeks ago;

Jacob and Ben pick up awards from former British No 1 tennis player and television presenter Andrew Castle. Jacob: U12 County Champion, U12 South County Champion, U14 South County finalist. Master Ben: South County U10 Champion, County U9 finalist and together ( not fighting for once) South County U13 doubles finalists.

You know, it kinda made me feel proud. Shame about the tie. And the collar. And those ears. Other than that - pretty good!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Somewhere Over The Rainbow

There's been so many recordings of Somewhere Over The Rainbow, the song first made famous by the great Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz. Up until recently my favourite recording of this timeless song was probably the one by the late Eva Cassidy. However, in the last few weeks I've been hearing the version by Hawaiian Israel Kamakawiwo'ole recorded in 1993 and I have to admit it has a certain addictive quality. It's really quite bizarre how all three of these talented performers should have died so comparatively young; Judy was 47, Israel only 38 and Eva just 33. All three singers are so very different but I think all do equal justice to a truly wonderful song. We're lucky they left behind such wonderful legacies.


Judy Garland

Eva Cassidy

Israel Kamakawiw'ole

Monday, December 13, 2010

Music Monday; In the Bleak Mid-Winter

We are in the middle of a harsh winter here in the UK.  Snow, ice and fog have been plaguing us since mid November and as much as I find the scenery stunningly beautiful it certainly makes driving more hazardous and impacts on daily routines. But as Christmas approaches the weather does seem quite appropriate and it reminds me of my favourite Christmas carol, In the Bleak Mid-Winter.

I was attempting to sing In the Bleak Mid-Winter in the car this afternoon. I say "attempting" because a little voice popped up from the back seat of the car;

"Mummy, will you please stop singing."

However, as I was in full vocal swing and pretending I was on the X Factor, I ignored Master Benedict's pleading.

A few seconds later Master Benedict quipped;

"I wish I could take a gun to my head."

Needless to say, I stopped singing.

Hmm. Master Benedict seems to have inherited my sense of humour and my phraseology. I'm not so sure that's a good thing for a 9 year old -I'm sure he's going to be trouble when he hits his teens!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Absurdity of Life

Life is absurd. It's even more absurd when you think how much time we spend trying to make sense of it. Sometimes things happen that are so bizarre or distressing that the situation becomes almost comical. I reckon if someone recorded the conversations in my house (particularly in my kitchen) people would probably ask which Samuel Beckett play they were listening to.

Mr T: Have you had enough?
Mrs: Yes! Of what?
Mr T: Of
Mrs T: I always had. (Pause) Not you then?
Mr T:(gloomily) Then there's no reason for it to change.
Mrs T: It may end. (Pause.) All life long the same cooking, the same recipes.
Master Sam: Why this farce, day after day?
Master Jacob: I've lost my tooth in the bolognese.
Mrs T: When?
Master Jacob: I had it yesterday.
Mrs T: Ah yesterday! That was when it was fresh.
Master Jacob: I've lost my tooth. And my appetite.
Mrs T: Well I never!
Master Ben: Is my tea ready?
Mrs T: What tea?
Master Ben: The bolognese.
Master Jacob: Look for my tooth. In case she scraped the leftovers back in the pot.
Master Sam; Oh my God. Why this farce day after day?
Mr T: I've had enough. I'm going into the lounge.

Samuel Beckett. What a genius. Master of the Absurd. Have you ever seen his work? Here's a clip from Endgame.

When I was about 17, I directed a production of Endgame. ( I was nuts back then too.) On the last night the lead actor fell ill and I decided, being the true luvvie I was, to step in so we didn't have to cancel. Yes, that's right I played a blind, middle aged man in a wheelchair. Now that is absurd. Seriously absurd. Beckett would probably have loved it! Might even have made a radio show about it called Jane's Last Act.

Unfortunately, I've no pictures to show you of that momentous occasion. In fact, I looked back in my box of photos and there's nothing but the programme. Phew! No one will be able to dredge up a piccy of me looking a complete twat.

So all that remains is to mention Cornish pasties...

Mr T: Is it Cornish pasties tonight? With beans?
Mrs T: With beans? We had that Thursday.
Mr T: On Thursday? Surely not?
Master Sam: Yes. Beans and chips.
Master Jacob: Yes. Chips and beans.
Master Benedict: Yes, Cornish pasties, chips and beans.
Mr T: On no. Not again.
Mrs T: What's the matter?
Mr T: It's pasties again.
Mrs T: Never mind.
Mr T: What did you say?
Mrs T. I said Never Mind. The end is near.
Mr T: Thank God.
Mrs T: What if he doesn't exist?
Mr T: Who? God?
Mrs T: No. The baker who's supposed to make these pasties: Mr Tasty.
Mr T: I don't know.
Master Jacob: I've found my tooth.
Mrs T: Where?
Master Jacob: In the beans.
Mrs T: Thank God. Now we can have the bolognese.
Mr T, Master Ben, Master Sam and Master Jacob (in unison): Oh no!

Oh PS - if you wondering if the actor paying Hamm (in the chair) in the video clip is the William Peterson from CSI - yes, actually it is!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Cleopatra Eyes and Silly Talk

I'm back. I've been gone for a few days as I've been doing a lot of reading and writing a serious article which I've now finished. So, I've got time to write here on my blog. Hurrah, I hear you say!

Okay, maybe not. Maybe a polite round of applause then? Oh come on, don't be so mean spirited, it's nearly Christmas!

The trouble is when I've been away for a while I tend to be a bit maniacal with my writing and I tend to wander off on weird and obscure tangents. Like Samuel Beckett. The Theatre of Absurd. Cornish pasties.

Okay, don't panic I'll leave that stuff to later.... hey I didn't even know I was going to write about Cornish pasties so if you think you're worried try being me! Hmm...I just said I was going to write about Cornish pasties and I have absolutely no idea why.

Anyway, why don't we start off with some music. Here's a great song by the very talented Shania Twain. I find her music and videos quite witty. If you watch the video you'll see what I mean. Also, watch out for her eye makeup because I'll be talking about eye makeup later. (Along with Cornish pasties.)

Wow, that song is fun and it takes the mick out of men too. Great stuff! I'd never do that myself of course because I love men. I even love George Bush - he's done so much over the years to drag me out of my depression.

Anyway, see that eye makeup Shania's got on? I call it "Cleopatra" eyes. All the big starts wear it like that with mascara and eyeliner all over the place. Well, the other day, I thought it was time I looked a bit more glamorous especially as this coming Saturday Mr T and I and the Young Masters are going to a presentation evening where the Young Masters will be picking up a nice bag of trophies. Hey, I couldn't help producing two sporting geniuses could I? It's in the genes! Okay, the fact that my eldest hasn't moved his legs for 10 years because he glued them to his Xbox does sort of ruin my success rate. Still 2/3 sporting geniuses ain't so bad is it?

Oh, and just in case you folks are wondering about how Young Sam is doing at college, he's doing fine. I know this because I rarely hear from him. In fact the other week I realised I hadn't heard from him for two whole weeks and the thought crossed my mind he might, as teenagers as wont to do, be lying in a pool of his own vomit. I therefore plagued him with relentless texts and emails one morning until eventually I elicited this in-depth response by text.

" Yes I'm fine."

There's nothing like a jolly two way conversation is there? Still, it's his birthday later in the month and I'm going over to his university to take him to lunch. Hopefully the conversation will be more than;

"How are you Son?"


"And your Xbox?"


"Meet any girls yet?"

" I bought a new game last week."

" Girls, Sam, Girls. I said; Have you met any girls? They're a bit like Xbox games but they have legs and arms. You can have sex with them."

" What's sex? Is that when you trade in your game?"

" No son. (sigh)  Sex is when you lose your sense for a while, discover you've got 3 sons and end up wanting to take a shotgun to your head."

Well back to Cleopatra eyes. So I got up one morning, all was quiet and I decided to play with my makeup. ( Apologies to my male readers for the girl talk. However do not protest too much as I know what you guys play with when you wake up in the morning - and it's not as innocent as makeup.) So I duly painted/ plastered/ sculptured the stuff on till I looked like Sophia Loren on crack. Strange - but familiar.

So there I am happily washing the dishes and doing the morning chores when Mr T finally gets up.( I say " finally gets up" as he just sleeps forever. I swear to God he is related to Rip Van Winkle.) So he's coming down the stairs as I come out the kitchen and he says;

"Oh my God it's Ozzy Ozbourne!"

" I do not look like Ozzy Ozbourne!"

"You do. If I'd woken up in the night whilst you looked like that, I'd probably have stabbed you!"


 (Note Readers there is as much chance of Mr T waking in the night as there is of Katie Price not selling her story to Hello every time she breaks wind.)

Well I was duly disconcerted that my attempts to look glamorous had been so casually dismissed so I decided to wait for a second and third opinion from the Young Masters. Hmm... Let's just say that their eyeballs falling out their sockets and their general look of horror was enough to convince me that Cleopatra eyes are not the way to go for Mrs T. In the end, after me parading various eye designs for the males in the household they concluded that my makeup look best....

exactly the way I've been wearing it for the last 30 years.

Brilliant. Sometimes I wish I had a daughter. And that I'd married a woman. Hey, why not? It's a free world!

Right, I'll have to come back to Becket and Cornish pasties as this post has gone on too long and it's already Dec 3rd and I don't have any Chrissie prezzies so I'd better get a move on.

Blimey, I love Amazon. I wonder if they sell spice racks? Mr T said he wanted something "hot" for Christmas.....

My Nominees for the US and UK Elections and Other Waffle

It's the early hours of the morning, and I have had a large gin... Late-night alcohol is always a good recipe for writing gibberish. And...