Tuesday 5 January 2021


LOCKDOWN 3.0 – Day 1 – 5.1.21.


Tyson Fury on Radio 4 (that’s got to be an oxymoron) advocates exercise, good diet and plenty of sleep to combat impending doom leading to potential depression.  Has this information just reached him?


I managed the 3rd suggestion by waking at 06.03 then at 07.14 and finally at 10.47 having snuggled back down way too many times struggling for a reason why I shouldn’t? Answers on a pinhead please. 


It’s freezing and drizzling for a change, but I must march round the neighbourhood for some air and exercise and try to tier myself out.  I mean 'tire' myself out.  I’ve got tiers on the brain. And they’re not ra-ra skirts or wedding cakes. I walked for 47 minutes with ice shards lacerating in my face.  The mask was a comfort and a help! Hurrah for the mask...


I also feel guilty about not being able to help out with my three youngest grandchildren, aged 10, 11 and 12.  Their mothers – my daughters – are stretched thin as it is, not to mention Home Schooling.  I said not to mention Home Schooling! These two words together barely existed pre-Covid, but now they strike a fear as intense as a dagger blade into every parent’s heart.


At the start of Lockdown 1.0 (what’s the dot and 0 about?) I vowed to read to them over the phone or on Zoom for a designated period every single day, thus helping with their education and giving my harassed girls a well-earned break. But did I do that? Did I buffalo.

But tomorrow is another day.  Maybe there'll be snow and they wouldn't have been able to go to school anyway.  Or maybe the gov will decide to write off this school year and they just start learning again from where they left off.  Will it matter in the long run?  Did Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Elon Musk excel at everything?  Or should we not pitch our children's fate against that of the world's richest men and just aspire for them to be healthy and happy?

Yes let's just do that.  Life, a t m, is hard enough!



Thursday 17 March 2016


Got a call this morning from a Casting Agent asking if I'd like to appear on this summer's Big Brother.

I mean, who do they think I am?  I know who I am, and so may you, but the agent had no idea.  Is she scraping the bottom of a very deep barrel, I asked her? Not at all, she flattered.  I saw you on a youtube clip and I thought you looked and sounded interesting.  Yes.  Well. Whatever.

Interesting I may be, but I simply could not share a bedroom and bathroom with a bunch of nobo-wannabees all vying for the cameras' attention.  For a start, I am never seen without full make-up and I reckon it would be tricky to try and do my face every morning in the dark beneath a duvet (that other people may have sat on, farted into or worse!)

So . . . I asked if I could have my own ensuite bedroom and bathroom sans cameras.  Guess what?  They declined!  How very dare they? 

I think they've missed a trick.  I could have set myself up as Big Sister, the visible, caring face of  BB who would organise the food, the cooking, the cleaning and counselling instead of the other contestants having to go crying to a faceless, disembodied voice while they wriggled awkwardly in a swanky chair in the Diary Tomb.

And it's not as if they were offering any money!  'Basic living essentials' whatever that means, like rent.  I should have told them I lived in a suite at The Dorchester - how basic is that?

The prize money is £100,000 but there are no guarantees no matter how one tries to sparkle, entertain, be worldly, womanly and wise.   And Gawd knows who I'd be sharing with. I don't watch Made in Essex or TOWIC and aren't they the celebrities, these days?

Anyhoo, like I've always said: you don't have to go to the party, but it is nice to be invited.

And it was.  I was secretly quite chuffed.  And maybe a bit shtoopid as it would be marvellous publicity for the upcoming 'THE TOYBOY DIARIES' musical currently in pre-production.

But . . . my children would have killed me and like I said earlier, I couldn't bear to share . . . so I'm sorry, dear reader, but you won't be seeing me on a screen near you this summer but you haven't heard the last of me, of that you can be sure ;)


Friday 11 October 2013


I'm having a new ensuite bathroom put in.  The builders have been here 5 weeks. Count them. 1-2-3-4-5. That’s weeks not builders.   

Sometimes they appear dressed as The Invisible Man and strangely no work gets done. They are bringing the marble grain by grain from the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in North Dakota and reconstituting it into slabs on site.  At least that’s what they told me but they haven’t started yet as they are drilling for copper beneath the North Sea to forge into pipes for the water supply. 

Luckily I have become quite attached to living on my living-room floor.  And I have another bathroom which we all share though I’ve drawn the line at communal showers.  I now speak fluent Kosovan but they still can’t speak English.  When I asked if the toilet would be wall hung, they thought I wanted to know if Tolek (the plumber) was well hung. 

As I’m now sleeping nearer the front door, when I pass away from old age it won’t be so far for them to carry me out.  And my children will, maybe, one day, have a nice new bathroom which the new owner of my flat - because they’ll sell it before I’ve gone cold - will want to rip out.  
Still, mustn't crumble.  Worse things happen at sea.  And the inconvenience is self-inflicted so I shouldn't complain.  I just wish they'd pack up and p*ss off so I can start to clean the thickening layer of dust and access my winter clothes now the weather's turned...

Sunday 19 May 2013


Back in the day, 1969 to be precise, there was a 'wacky' road race of a movie of this name starring Tony Curtis, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore.

I've been to Monte Carlo many times - a fake little fantasy of a place where all is pure and pristine - but I've never been to St. Tropez and that's where I'm headed next Wednesday.

'Lucky beach!' I hear you cry but I am, in fact, dreading it.

Sadly, it's a mercy mission to visit my dear old friend, sometime boss and writing mentor, Dominique Lapierre, prolific author of such tomes as Is Paris Burning? The City of Joy and notably...or I'll Dress you in Mourning from which sprang the inspiration for my first novel Blood on the Sand

(For those who may not know, the redoubtable matador Manuel Benitez, El Cordobes, was the subject matter - and I, in turn, the object of one of his well-aimed sword thrusts... for fuller details, download Blood on the Sand on any e-reader!)

So ... how could one dread a trip to St. Tropez? Simply because my dear Dominique, now 82, suffered a serious crack to the head in a fall last year and is no longer the man he used to be. I have been asked to bring along any photos and recall any stories of what we shared to help trigger his memory's return to full health. No problem there. 

I am eager to help his recovery in any way I can and give his lovely wife a break.  I am happy to shop, cook, chatter and cajole, but I understand he sleeps much of the day but is awake much of the night... This could be harder to deal with...if I don't get my seven + hours, Gawd help us all!

There will be many firsts on this trip:  my first time from Stansted (an airport from where I swore I'd never travel!)  My first journey by Ryanair (an airline on which I swore I'd never fly!) and my first time in St. Tropez. 

I'm trusting it all goes smoothly.  Having written this, I feel a little more positive.  How bad could it be?  The sun might be shining... I'm only staying four nights... and there are other friends nearby who may have a yacht...

Thursday 18 April 2013


Not my own story but too funny not to share! WS

"I was due an appointment with the gyneacologist later in the week.  Early one morning, I received a call from the doctor’s office to tell me that I had been rescheduled for that morning at 9:30 am. I had only just packed everyone off to work and school, and it was already around 8:45am. The trip to his office took about 35 minutes, so I didn’t have any time to spare. As most women do, I like to take a little extra effort over hygiene when making such visits, but this time I wasn’t going to be able to make the full effort.

So, I rushed upstairs, threw off my pajamas, wet the washcloth that was sitting next to the sink, and gave myself a quick wash in that area to make sure I was at least presentable. I threw the washcloth in the clothes basket, donned some clothes, hopped in the car and raced to my appointment.

 I was in the waiting room for only a few minutes when I was called in. Knowing the procedure, as I’m sure you do, I hopped up on the table, looked over at the other side of the room and pretended that I was in Paris or some other place a million miles away.

 I was a little surprised when the doctor said, “My, we have made an extra effort this morning, haven’t we?” I didn’t respond.

After the appointment, I heaved a sigh of relief and went home. The rest of the day was normal -shopping, cleaning, cooking. After school when my 6-year old daughter was playing, she called out from the bathroom, “Mommy, where’s my washcloth?”

I told her to get another one from the cupboard.

She replied, “No, I need the one that was here by the sink, it had all my glitter and sparkles saved inside it.”

Never going back to that doctor again……….. ever."

Tuesday 4 December 2012


So having refused him lunch on Sunday, he emailed me to have lunch on Monday.  At Scott's! This is one of the poshest restaurants in Mayfair, a place to where I aspire to be invited.  I replied in the affirmative, although it wasn't, if I'm honest, massively convenient.  It meant I would have to wash my hair again and possibly get a re-varnish... Still, small price to pay.

When I woke up Monday morning, it occurred to me I didn't know his surname.  No way was I going to get all putzed up and go into town to enter a restaurant to meet a man called Carlos without knowing in whose name the table had been booked. 

"Good afternoon, Madam."
"Good afternoon.  I'm meeting... er ... Carlos?"

They'd think I was a hooker.

So I emailed and asked what name the table was in and actually, could he kindly call me to confirm the lunch date.  Nada.  I waited until noon, getting ever more agitated, then emailed again to say:

"I'm sorry but I have a radio broadcast to do (true) so might be a little late.  Also, I'm not comfortable meeting a complete stranger without a telephone conversation first. Please call me."


I binned the whole idea and went about my business.  Luckily, I had not washed my hair!

Later in the day, I get an email: "Sorry.  I got held up in a meeting.  I leave for NY tomorrow but will be back in May.  I'll contact you."

I fell about laughing.  I should live so long, but I won't be holding my breath!

Sunday 2 December 2012


I take my 14 year old granddaughter, Tatiana, to the opera: L’elisir d’amore at Covent Garden – a rare treat. 

Just before the lights go down, I notice a good-looking older man hovering very close to where we’re sitting staring at us both.  He suddenly speaks, in a foreign accent: ‘Mother & daughter?’  Tatiana pipes up: ‘She’s my grandma’.   

The man puts his fingers to his lips and blows them in my direction. 
‘You don’t have a husband if you look so good!’ he says.  I laugh and say: ‘No I don’t!’
He winks at me, having established my marital status.  Tatiana gives me a nudge and says: ‘You just can’t help it, can you?’ like I’ve done something wrong!  He takes his seat, the lights go down, and the performance begins. 

During the interval, Tats & I go walkabouts.  Her maths teacher is somewhere in the audience but we don’t find her – she said she wasn't bothered, but I'm sure she would have like to show herself off in other than her school uniform.  Crossing the bar on the way back to our seats, The Foreigner is standing alone drinking a glass of pink champagne.   Stylish!

He greets me warmly, asks Tats her name then asks mine. 

‘I will call you Wendy, not Grandma...’ he whispers in my eye.  ‘I am Carlos.’ 

We chat a little.  He’s from Mexico, travels 6 months of the year, is probably lonely with a wife in Acapulco or wherever.  Tatiana’s looking bored so we walk off but bump into him again just before the 2nd act.  He quickly asks for my phone number.   

I say: ‘I’ll give it to you later’.  

At the end of the opera, he has to pass where we’re sitting to leave. I give a business card to Tats to hand to him (I never gave him my number, m’lud).  He takes both my hands in his and says: ‘Have lunch with me tomorrow at 2.’  I say: ‘I can’t tomorrow’.  He looks disappointed, but takes the card and leaves without saying goodbye to Tatiana which I find rude.  Men, honestly!! 
If he calls, should I see him? What would you do?