Sunday, April 29, 2012

Because of My Deep Affection for Tom Cruise

I know I mention Tom Cruise too often. I'm sorry, I can't help it. He's just so small he's gotten under my skin. Anyway, it's wet and rainy, cricket is rained off, tennis is rained off and I feel a little unwell. Therefore, there is nothing else to do but cheer myself up as best possible.

So I have designed a special suit for Tom to wear in the next Mission Impossible film which I believe will be call Mission Impossible: Rabbit Warren.  I love this suit and I think Tom will too - and since I only had to buy size 13-14 years which was a snip at £98.00 I may even order a second suit just in case his ears get caught in a trap.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

My Garden and Elizabethan England.

I am building a boat. It has been raining far too much lately. My back garden which has already been decimated by Master Ben's chickens now looks like a cesspit. It's wallowing in mud. It probably looks like London in Tudor times. The only difference is - instead of me throwing excrement out the window I have chickens on hand to save me the trouble.

It must have been great fun to live in Tudor times. Apart from the cholera, dysentery and the plague. And all those men dressing up as women on stage. No wonder the men wore tights all the time. I think there was a lot of gender confusion going on. To be honest, I'm not even sure if Queen Elizabeth was a woman. For a start she never had any children and she wore those big dresses - and you can hide a lot under one of those dresses. Even a small circus. In fact,  I wouldn't be surprised if Queen Liz employed a dwarf who hid under her skirts and picked the lice out of her petticoats. He might even have played the lute when she was watering the flowers... Hmm. Now that I think about it - I always knew Tom Cruise had a previous existence.

Anyhow, in Tudor times - and I don't want to appear to be rude here but there aren't many ways you can say this - but basically you got to throw your crap out of the upstairs window and no one complained. Imagine what fun that would have been...

Whoa Mistress Bottomley!  I see young Master Pratt making his way up the street in his white breeches. What a pompous fellow he is! Bring me the bucket of shit so that I might pour it over his head. Quickly, quickly Mistress Bottomley here he comes....

Whoa Mistress Bottomley! I see old Mister Scrooge approaching with his hand upon his wallet and his wife tied to his belt. What a miserable, miserly fellow he is! Pass me the bucket of piss so that I might pour it over his head. Quickly, quickly Mistress Bottomley here he comes....

Whoa, Mistress Bottomley! I see that rogue, Knave Rodger, coming up the street. His tights are on fire and his wig is a smouldering. Pass me the bucket of piss, the bucket of shit and the sick bowl so I might put out his fire. Quickly, quickly Mistress Bottomley....

Oh what fun it would have been living in the Tudor times. I would like to have lived back then just so I could have married King Henry and see if I kept my head.

Hmm. Probably not. I'm not sure he would have been used to a women who answered back. Still, you can't have everything. I think I could have kept my mouth shut for a feast of chicken drumsticks and a selection of fine wines on a regular basis.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I am all of a dither - should I buy this gift?

Oh Readers, I've just been on Amazon and browsed through their deals of the week and saw an article of clothing I am sorely tempted to buy for the good Mr T. In fact, as soon as I saw it I immediately thought:

 Why that is just so stylish and elegant for the debonair man the about town. I am sure Mr T would love to wear it!

And Readers, this lovely article of clothing is only a paltry £98.00. I think it will make a great gift for any man for Father's day. Start saving now.

So what do you think? Shall I get it or not? Honest opinions please.

Oh Gosh - I'm not sure about the colour though. Maybe I should go for the pink? Although I'm not sure if my budget can stretch to £140 for this one which is obviously very fashionable indeed at the moment.

 Hmm...or maybe the red?

Oh God, the dilemmas, the dilemmas! Maybe I should just throw caution to the wind and buy all three. I might even get one for his brother. I'm sure he'd really appreciate one of these lovely suits for Christmas.

Oh alright. You've sussed me out - the truth is I would rather marry a lesbian than be seen dead with a man wearing one of these. I like men who look like men not like they've forgotten their potty. And clearly any decent man thinks so too as there is only one review on Amazon which reads:

My dear grandma asked if i wanted this for xmas or to be smothered in meat paste and attacked by wild dogs....I chose the wild dogs.

Enough said.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Me and My Courtesy Car

Yes, I am driving a courtesy car. This is because last week I managed to successfully wreck the clutch on my Ford Cmax. Apparently, according to everyone I know, it is because of my (lack of) driving skills - apart from my good friend Mrs A who is blaming it on normal wear and tear.

Now that's what I call a true friend.

So last week Master Ben and I set off for Cambridge for a tennis tournament and it became apparent en route all was not well with my car.  As we returned home later in the day, we had to negotiate a small but steepish hill just outside of Cambridge where the revs moved into the red danger zone and there was simply no power at all in the engine - despite my gentle verbal encouragement - which normally my car responds to very well indeed. We only just about made it to the top of the hill - whereupon I knew a difficult journey lay ahead.

Thus followed a humiliating journey - I actually had to stay in the inside lane and at one point even sit behind a caravan. Frankly, this is one of my worse case road nightmares - stuck behind a caravan going at 50mph and not being able to do anything about it apart from drum my fingers on the steering wheel and sing "Why are we waiting?" It's almost worse than being stuck behind a Sunday Driver - unless, of course, you're stuck behind a Sunday Driver towing a caravan. Frankly, these people should only be allowed to travel between the hours of midnight and 6am in the months of July and August because otherwise they cause major tailbacks, road traffic incidents and widespread blood pressure amongst general road users. (Including me, obviously.)

I have to commend Master Ben on his bravery though - as I spent the whole journey narrating every clutch change, rev, manoeuvre and maligning every passing vehicle with copious colourful descriptions while he had his head in a copy of the Famous Five only looking up once. What a cool dude! If I recall correctly, the moment he looked up was my first and only attempt to overtake the caravan when my descriptions might have been even more colourful than usual - not only because there was simply no power in the engine but having gently encouraged (again) the car passed the said offending vehicle - I found myself stuck behind Caravan No 2.

Anyway, on the route back I planned to take a few minor detours to avoid a few hills. There was, however, one unavoidable stretch of road with a series of gentle minor hills/inclines which has a long flat stretch preceding it. I decided the best course of action was the to build up as much speed as possible on the flat segment in order that we might somehow propel ourselves forwards  up the inclines. This tactic worked admirably as we managed to get home safely - although I have to say I was a little sweaty and slightly red-faced on arrival. Master Ben took it all in his stride though - I think his first words when we got home something like "What's for tea?" whereas mine was "You have no idea what I've been through! The clutch has gone! I had to sit behind a caravan!".... and so on and on and on. For about an hour. At which point Mr T was looking rather too fondly at the kitchen knives.

So I have a courtesy car at the moment. It is some Japanese thing. I'm sure it's very economical but it's like a shaky baked bean tin made out of fibre glass. On Sunday I drove on the M25 on it - which if you're unfamiliar with the British road network - is a 117 mile orbital road around London which, as you can imagine, is very, very busy indeed. I swear to God trying to get up speed in that tin can was worse than driving my Cmax with a naff clutch. Accelerating to 60 mph took about  - 5 minutes? Okay, okay it was probably was about 30 seconds. But it was the longest thirty seconds of my life! I can't wait to get my Cmax back - I miss the old girl!

( I'd still rather drive a Bugatti Veyron though.)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Stop talking about shoes!

Warning: this article may offend some women: read at your peril.

Please, please, please, please, please stop talking about shoes.

Look, I like shoes. Some I like better than others.  I walk in them, play tennis in them, occasionally dance in them and sometimes I even muck out the chickens in them.

But I do not want to read about them, either in magazines, books or newspapers unless it's a humorous article which points out how ridiculously stupid and expensive some of them are or it's something poignant like my friend Marie's article here.

I also do not want to see them on the cover of any book. A book with high heels on it is like a red rag to a bull to me - it screams to me;

Hello, I'm another tedious piece of anal chick lit! I will probably have numerous references to designer shoes and handbags and after you've read me you'll wish you spent your time scrubbing the loo or cleaning out the compost bin.

Okay, so I supposed you want to know what brought this rant on. (By the way it's 4.30 am I have indigestion so I'm a little grumpy.) I was perusing the internet and I came across an author who was promoting her first novel. The cover of the book did not feature a pair of shoes. Excellent. So I read the author's bio which said amongst other things:

She has great collections of African sculpture and Italian heels.

I don't think I need to explain myself any further. 

All I need now is to read that Samantha Brick is publishing a book about shoes and I will probably take a gun to my head.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I have had too much white wine

I've been up since 5am - who can blame me? So I am currently working my way through a bottle of dessert wine which is 16% proof. The fact I can type is actually a miracle. Thank goodness for spell checker. God may have made man in 7 days but I reckon on the 8th day he made spell checker. Don't you just love him?

Anyway, Mr T believes I am working at my writing. Which, of course, I am - as blogging is writing. Of sorts. Still, it's a good learning curve. That's what Quasimodo said when he reached the top of the bell tower. He was also pretty knackered. But then again, that's what happens when you stuff your shirt with a bale of hay and 2 chickens.

I should say that when I have had too much wine I am liable to say anything. Which is why I restrain from such decadent behaviour on a regular basis. It's also because I have a prenuptial agreement.

You know, one of the funny things I've noticed over the years when I'm a bit tipsy is that I have amazing powers of recall. I mean most folks can't remember where they live or who they are married to (which could be pretty embarrassing) but I have a weird habit of recalling the most bizarre things. One time, I even remembered where the bathroom was. Another time, I remembered my that knickers go underneath my trousers and not on top.

Alcohol does strange things to the mind. You only have to look at Ozzy Osborne to see that. If ever there was a good reason for me to stay sober it's the fear of ending up looking Ozzy. Although I have to say that after I've worn my mascara for more than about 30 minutes there's more than a passing resemblance. You know, I have tried almost every mascara possibly (for less than ten pounds) and they all have the same effect - I look like Ozzy when he wakes up in the morning, turns over and sees he's sleeping next to Sharon. Say no more.

Anyway, if there's any retailers out there who'd like to send me a wagon load of mascara please feel free to do so - I need to blacken the wood stove. You know, isn't it annoying how all the celebs get all these free gifts? I mean they can afford to pay full whack for them whereas us poor fools have to cough up the full price. That's PR for you. Apparently, Karl Lagerfield has just sent singer Adele a whole load of his bags as way of apologising for calling her "fat" - which okay is not very nice but well it's not if it doesn't have a smidgen of truth in it. I guess it was a nice gesture to make up for being rude though - although I'm thinking he did rather play it safe by sending accessories and not clothes....

Oh no - my wine bottle is empty! I have no choice now but to go to bed and rest my weary head. No doubt I will be up early tomorrow to let the chickens out. (More on that at a later date.) In the meantime, I leave you with a recent picture of myself and the two younger masters - and believe it or not I was actually sober in this picture - which if you think about it doesn't bode well.

Master Ben:    Look, Mummy - a chocolate fountain!

Mrs T:             Ohhhhhhhh - I see it, Master Ben!  Let's go and get a closer look!

Master Jacob:  I can't believe I am related to these two idiots...

Born to be a clown

I have a habit of being a clown. It comes naturally. I look around me and see sophisticated women everywhere and wonder where I went wrong.

So today I got so excited watching Master Jacob play tennis that when I went to sit down I sat on the edge of my chair, tipped it right over and landed on my arse and splayed all over the floor in front of about twenty or more people. Much to everyone's amusement.

And I thought the petticoat incident was bad enough. Oh wait a minute, there was the knickers round the ankles incident too....

I am 47 years old. These things are not supposed to happen. What's more I still get spots.

It is soooooooooo unfair - I am lodging a complaint with Him Upstairs!

On another matter, here's my favourite record of the moment; I Won't Give Up by Jason Mraz. I went to see him in concert a couple of years ago and what a heap of talent he is. This is the sort of music I like to listen to in my car when I need to chill out after I've just made a complete prat of myself. Which is probably why I now have an extensive Jason Mraz collection....

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Midget Gem Outrage (No 2)

Following up on yesterday's article on the unscrupulous overpricing of Midget Gems at Tesco, today I am bringing you my report on the price and quality of Midget Gems at Tesco, Morrisons and Aldi. I did a lot of hard work on this (which sadly may now involve my acquiring a new set of dentures) so I hope you all appreciate my sterling efforts.

So, I will do the pricing element first. The Midget Gems I have selected for this process are what I call "Home Brand" Midget Gems.

Morrison's MG on the left, Tesco in the pink and Aldi on the right.

200g bag at Aldi = 34p

Excellent value. Finally, the Germans did something right. I quite like the packaging too - sophisticated although a little too black perhaps. Reminds me of...jackboots. I'll say no more as I know I have a terrible habit of mentioning the war which, frankly, is just childish of me. Anyhow, these days the Germans concentrate on making Midget Gems in the Ruhr Valley which is good news for everyone. In fact, I gather Aldi have also had so much success with these in the UK they are thinking about distributing them around the world and dominating the Midget Gem market...

200g bag at Tesco = 89p

What a rip off. Get real Tesco. There's a recession on. And the pink packaging is awful. I am not six year old girl mad about ballet dancing. I'm an adult. In size anyway.

200g bag at Tesco Express =93p

What the F***??? Need I say more? Except that I am going to boycott Tesco Express. (Unless I need any milk, bread or some of those tasty little croissants.)

227g at Morrisons = 89p

Well better value than Tesco anyway. And more appealing packaging to the discerning Midget Gem purchaser such as my good self. I like the Union Jack on the front which inspires not only confidence in the product but the general wearing of silly hats, street parties and senseless violence at football matches. 10/10

Right so now to the all important taste aspect of my review. (I'm getting bored now so this may be short and sweet - no pun in intended.)

Aldi - the MG are softer than Morrisons and Tesco's. I prefer my Gems harder. I think most women do. That said soft Gems have their attraction but only for a short space of time. Hard ones just last longer which is obviously very, very appealing. The flavours are not so strong as Morrison and Tesco but, nevertheless, that won't stop me scoffing them at regular intervals.

Morrisons - As I said, harder than Aldi and the flavours are more distinctive than Aldi's although there's one flavour that tastes a bit off - a bit like aniseed. Maybe these are the ones that have nettles and spinach in them.  Seriously. I wish I hadn't read the back of the packet now.

Tesco - About as hard as Morrisons and the taste equally pleasant. I'd have to sample another packet though to check for the rogue spinach/nettle flavour as I've eaten so many now I haven't got a clue who I am and where I live  - the one thing I am sure about though is that my face has broken out in Midget Gem sized spots which, no doubt, is due to excessive sugar consumption.

So there you are: I declare Aldi Midget Gems the best overall in the value for money stakes despite being a little more bland than Tesco and Morrisons. I'd probably pick Morrisons over Tesco's by a small degree in the quality and taste stakes. However, I am prepared to delete this post should a truck load of Midget Gems arrive on my doorstep from Tesco's.

In the meantime, I duly await the arrival of a large quantity of Frankfurters, Stollen and a nice pair of boots.

Note: I didn't read the back of the packets of either the Aldi or Tesco versions. I can't remember why - it could be because a) I was too busy eating b) I couldn't find my glasses or c) I couldn't be arsed. I suspect it may have been c).

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Midget Gem Outrage (No 1)

Yes, I've finally got round to talking about those lovely little sweeties called Midget Gems. So in order for you to understand the importance of this article I shall  first give you a bit of background to this high powered, utterly crucial and extremely well researched consumer article.

Hang on. I've just remembered I have half a packet of Midget Gems left in my drawer. I'd better eat them before they go stale.

Mmm... Mmm...

So, back to business. Wait a minute. I've got one stuck on my teeth. Where's my toothpick? Right, off you get now...come on you little bugger...move. I said MOVE. Okay, that's better...

Now where was I? Ah yes -so my boys and I and indeed the good Mr T are very fond of Midget Gems (hence forth known as MG) and for a long time, after the boys finished tennis in the evenings, I would often stop and pick up some MG from the Tesco Express we pass on the way home. The MG were in the Tesco "value" range and priced at 33p. The boys would get a packet each and occasionally I would share mine with Mr T if I didn't forget to leave them in the car. (Cough, cough.) So for 99p we would all get a little tasty treat. Excellent.

Then, one evening, after a long hard day working like a slave around the house, driving long distances into town and writing mentally taxing academic articles here on my blog and with two very tired and sweaty young masters in the car I went into the Tesco Express to get my MG. But I could not find my MG! Where were my MG? I was extremely anxious, my heart beating furiously at the thought my MG were gone forever.  I raked my eyes over the shelves, sick, sick, sick at the thought of having to eat Wine Gums, Chocolate Ã‰clairs or even, God forbid, a Galaxy Caramel Chocolate bar. And then suddenly...

Right at this juncture, Readers, I need you to go over to your cooker, hob, oven or whatever you call the thingy you cook on in your country and stick your finger on/in the element/flame so that you can get some idea of the acute pain I was about to suffer...

Yes, suddenly I noticed that my dearly beloved MG had been repackaged, placed on the shelf above and priced at;


Yes, that's right. 93p for ONE packet.

Now, Readers, please go back and place your finger on the hob again. Because now I have to tell you  when I next went to the large Tesco where I do my main shop my MG were priced at;


(By the way there is no discernible difference between the old and new MG as I have more than adequately sampled them) 

Now we all know you have to pay a little bit more in a corner shop because corner shops are often independent or much smaller companies - but Tesco? Tesco is a huge multinational company!  I am, quite frankly, appalled, sickened, gutted, mortified, outraged and indeed ready to take out their HQ with an Exocet missile and a small troop of irate housewives that the price of my beloved MG has been so ludicrously inflated.

Please go burn your finger again.

This is because you must now suffer the agony of waiting until tomorrow for part two of this consumer article where I will compare the price and taste of Tesco, Morrison and Aldi Midget Gems. I would have done that now - but unfortunately I've forgotten and I need to do some more sampling.

Notice that I have got out my Critic mug in preparation for this odious and most difficult of tasks. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Quills: Madness, Mayhem and the Marquis de Sade

I watched a terrific film last night called Quills which I don't know how I've missed up until now bearing in mind it was released in 2000. To put it simply, it's about madness, mayhem and the Marquis de Sade. Apparently, there have been some rumblings about historical inaccuracies but I think that is of little consequence; the film is an absolute delight and deals with such a wide range of themes; mental illness, sex, religion, literature, politics, violence, censorship in a marvellously entertaining way. Obviously, if you're not one who enjoys those sort of topics, which are dealt in a very upfront and colourful manner, then it's not for you but otherwise I would heartily recommend it. And with a terrific performance by Geoffrey Rush as Sade, supported by Michael Caine, Kate Winslet and Joaquin Phoenix and a superb script Quills is an all round winner.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Beautiful Storm: A Writer's Dilemma

Two days ago, on my early morning perusal of the online newspapers I came across an article on the Daily Mail written by journalist Samantha Brick with the title "There are downsides to looking this pretty": Why women hate me for being beautiful." Obviously, with an eye-catching title like that I was instantly intrigued and read on. My immediate reaction was laughter and delight -I chuckled all the way through it. I could not believe that a woman could write such an article about herself and one which, without doubt, would paint her in a very bad light in the eyes of many people and open her up to universal condemnation. Of the many thoughts that crossed my mind about Samantha Brick (and I leave it to you all to make your own opinions as to the validity of her arguments) the one thing I thought was that Samantha must have a very thick skin indeed because no way could someone write an article like that and not expect some sort of backlash and vitriol.

It now transpires that Samantha does not have a very thick skin. Over the last two days the article has become an internet storm generating an enormous amount of interest. Whilst a few people have supported Samantha Brick's premise the majority verdict has been overwhelming condemnation. Unfortunately, she fuelled the debate with another article yesterday  in which she claims the backlash to her article merely supports her argument that women hate her for being so pretty. In this second article, she claimed the last 24 hours of her life had been "horrendous" and that she didn't expect such a reaction and how she has been sobbing and crying.

Samantha's emotional turmoil may or may not be true of course -as in these media dominated times sometimes writers, actors and celebrities, especially those on the fringes of genuine stardom, have other agendas which may be simply selling themselves either through their films, TV shows and books in order to make their daily crust. If we suppose that Samantha is indeed traumatised by her experience and she is not rubbing her hands together in glee at the prospect of a forthcoming book launch then I am worried for her. I hope she is mentally strong enough to make it through this crisis because whether or not you agree with her article or even think she deserves all the criticism there aren't many people in this world who would wish on someone intense emotional trauma or even mental breakdown.

The Daily Mail has a predisposition to engaging female writes who rake up their private lives time and time again on their pages. I want to be balanced here -I don't think any subject should be taboo and there are many legitimate reasons to discuss marriage, sex, relationships and so on in a thought-provoking and intelligent way and I think it would be incredibly boring if journalists didn't, at times, offer personal opinions and events in their own lives as a point of reference. But I believe it has to be done well.  I don't think Samantha's article is actually any good at all and discusses, very badly, issues which tackled in a less personal manner might have had more validity. That said, we all make mistakes. Samantha made a huge one. What surprises me more is that somewhere along the line before this article went to press someone did not withdraw the article. The fact that it wasn't speaks more of the lack of journalistic integrity at The Daily Mail who, if anything, are now also effectively mocking Samantha by publishing even more stories on the backlash to her article containing pictures which (to Samantha) might seem offensive unless she has a very good sense of humour. Whoever the person is who let Samantha's original article go to press I sincerely hope they are not patting themselves on the back for boosting their circulation figures but ashamed that they did not pull the plug on what is, if we are to take it at face value, a very idiotic piece of  journalism. Samantha will reap the repercussions for some some considerable time.

All of this leads leads me to a question -  How much of one's private life should one reveal in the public arena? As a writer, I think it is almost impossible not to reveal something about your nature in what you write - even if that is only in the subject matter you choose and not in actual personal revelations. With regard to novels; the settings maybe fictional but often the emotions are ones explored elsewhere, transposed from one situation to another in order to explore the feelings that a writer needs to create empathy with his characters. The dullest writers are those that portray characters without crossing this minefield. I suppose what I'm saying is -that whatever you write says something, even in a small way, about who you are. It's almost inevitable.

In respect of very personal writing, such as this blog, I think one should be careful about what one writes as the consequences of not doing so could be disastrous. That is why I have a personal boundary I do not cross. As a direct result of Samantha's article though I have also been reflecting on the way people might perceive me and whether or not I am happy with my online persona. I guess on the whole I am. And when I look back over my blog I think it is actually a fairly accurate portrayal of who I am in real life. I would hope people would say I'm silly but sensible in an entertaining sort of way. Pretty harmless. Of course, I realise my humour and opinions might not appeal to all and could leave me open to a lot of criticism if someone really wanted to make a personal attack or take issue with me as they have on a couple of my reviews for The View From Here. As it is, I have few worries about receiving criticism for my reviews on The View as they are written in a professional capacity but in those few cases where I received negative feedback I have gone back and reread them to make sure I was happy with what I'd written. I think that was an important and necessary thing to do. If I were to receive personal criticism here on my blog that would be a different matter altogether and I would definitely be reviewing what I had written as objectively as possible. I think reflection is a very important part of life and learning and, ultimately, being happy with the person we are.

Without wanting to sound too preachy I think Samantha now needs to stop talking and writing and start reflecting. It can be a very long life.

Samantha Brick on national television this morning 5/4/2012

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Are we having we a fuel crisis or not?

Look, if the sodding fuel truckers are going strike - will they just do it or forget it! The whole issue of whether we are or are not going to have a fuel strike is driving me bananas.

So last week I had to fill up - as I usually do when the tank is nearly on empty. I was lucky there was still some fuel available but I suppose that were some people who needed it who didn't get any. Why do people with G reg Ford Cortinas, usually about ninety years old, an excess of shopping bags and who haven't come out of their house for twenty years make a special trip to the petrol station to drain every last drop of fuel so people who actually need it can't get it? This also happens when there is any other kind of shortage too. Okay, okay I know the answer really - it's because they are panic buyers. And they drive me stark raving mad! So can I say just for my own pleasure and for no other reason than that I want to let off steam;

It's a fuel shortage you nutters - not the end of the world!

Hmm..I feel better now.

So a story - On Saturday I travelled down to sunny Luton for tennis where I met another (older) tennis parent who was going on about the fuel crisis. To which he informed me with delight;

"I've just remembered I've got a large container of fuel somewhere in my outside shed from the last fuel crisis, ten years ago. Do you remember that one?"

Well there is your answer to the fuel crisis. Stupid people stocking up on stuff they really don't need. And I do remember the last crisis as I was pregnant at the time and one day when I was filling up I expressed concern to the petrol attendant about not being able to get the hospital in an emergency (which bearing in mind I'd already two premature babies was a real possibility.) Anyway, the lady very kindly replied that if I was in dire need of petrol I could pop in and they would always top up a few pounds worth as they kept some fuel back in reserve for emergencies. Now that's what I call sensible.

Anyway, this fella didn't have just one of those little petrol cans in his shed but some great big huge container - I don't know maybe he had a fleet of tractors at the time - but  how the hell he'd forgotten that for ten years I don't know but I wanted to knock him on the head with it. That's the polite version anyway.

Hmm...this post was supposed to be about my Midget Gem research but then as I sat down to write I remembered I am off travelling with the boys today to a tennis tournament and it would really really help with the current fuel crisis if I don't end up going the wrong way round on the M25 like yesterday. I swear to God there's a gremlin in that Sat Nav. Two weeks ago I wanted to go Croyden when the bloody thing took me through central London - yep that's right - Marble Arch, Park Lane, the lot. Master Jacob was fascinated though and at one point he even cried out; "Mummy there's a white person!" That's true Readers, absolutely true. Kids are just great though aren't they? Poor Master Jacob is still trying to figure out why Michael Jackson wanted to be white as according to him " Black people are way more cool and dance so well. And he had amazing hair!"

You know folks, it's times like that I know I've done well with my boys.

Fingers crossed for me on the M25 again today please.

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...