Sunday, 30 December 2012

Sorry, I’ve not written much over the Christmas period – not because I’ve been eating, drinking and enjoying myself too much, although I wish that was the case.  Oh no, I fell victim to the ‘Christmas Cold’.

You know the one – it sneaks up on you just before the season of goodwill and makes you feel grotty for the entire festive period.

I managed Christmas Eve at a friend’s house thanks to a couple of paracetamol, perhaps unwisely paired with a glass or two of red wine, and Christmas Day’s festivities were seen through a haze of Vick.

It’s not good having a cold anytime of year, but it’s particularly miserable at Christmas.  You want to look and feel your best – instead of which I gave Rudolph a run for his money in the red nose stakes.

We took the obligatory family photos for posterity; I wish I hadn’t bothered though as I looked older than my Mother who’s a sprightly 78!

Now New Year’s Eve is on the horizon, and I’m starting to recover – just in time to nurse the husband who’s contracted my cold!  Still, at least it’s not norovirus.  Happy New Year!!

Thursday, 20 December 2012

The Ritz in Desborough...

A recent article in the Northants Evening Telegraph (13th December) brought a smile to my world-weary face.

The Ritz Hotel in London has instructed lawyers to write to The Ritz in Desborough to ask them to stop using their trademark.

Now, I’m not knocking The Ritz in Desborough but there is no way on this sweet earth that anyone is likely to get the two venues muddled up.

I have to say at this juncture that I’ve not been to The Ritz in Desborough for a while, but I enjoyed many a night out there with my workmates in the early 90s.

The hypnotist night was always a favourite; the DJ reliable in that he always played the same songs.  As well as performing Madonna’s ‘Vogue’ on the dance floor, I have been known to join in with all the moves to ‘I Am the Music Man’ which was another Ritz tune at the time.

Whilst I know it’s had a £1m facelift – and probably left the Music Man far behind them – I can’t really believe it’s any threat to the Ritz Hotel in London, even in its new, sophisticated form.

For example, there aren’t going to be many newlyweds who arrive in Desborough expecting to see Piccadilly, or vice versa.

So come on the Ritz Hotel in London – have a sense of humour and lay-off your smaller, provincial ‘country cousin’.  The UK is big enough to accommodate the both of you!

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

‘Twas Christmas Eve, babe...

I went out for a meal the other night with friends.  The conversation turned to Christmas songs, and I said that there was only one that mattered as far as I was concerned.

They looked at me, waiting for my choice – ‘Fairytale of New York’ by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl.

Several nodded sagely, agreeing with me that it was a true classic.

My husband, however, disagreed.  “But it’s not jolly.” he said.  “You can’t have a Christmas song that’s not jolly!”

“But that’s the point.” I countered.  I believe that a Christmas song doesn’t need to be happy and, in fact, is all the better for not being.

Before you put me in the Grinch category, let me explain.  I think that this song serves as a reminder that not everybody will be having a happy yuletide.  Personally, it’s at this time of year when I particularly think of homeless people, struggling to stay warm in sub-zero temperatures.  Or elderly people with no family to visit, lonely and alone.  Or the bereaved, where Christmas highlights their loss.  Or the depressed, who think that everybody else is having a great time but them.

Not everyone will be having a ‘Perry Como’ Christmas, and that’s what this song is saying.

So whilst I wish everyone a Merry Christmas, I ask you to spare a thought for those less fortunate while you listen to the dulcet tones of Shane McGowan and co singing the best Christmas song ever.  Altogether now:

“And the boys of the NYPD choir were singing Galway Bay,
And the bells were ringing out for Christmas Day.”

Monday, 17 December 2012

Sports Personality of the Year

Sports Personality of the Year – I used to think that this was an oxymoron.  After all, if you spend every waking hour training you don’t really need to develop a personality.

So, no word of a lie, I actually clapped when Bradley Wiggins won this year’s award.  Here is a man with Paul Weller’s haircut, wearing a velvet suit, who has the good humour to thank his Nan for hitting the re-dial button several times to vote for him – and promising to refund her the cost – while also being a high achieving athlete.

I’m not a huge fan of sport – I grew up in a household with a sports-mad Dad and brother who watched everything from wrestling through to darts, via football and snooker, with a huge dollop of horse-racing for good measure – but 2012 really changed it for me.

I genuinely cared if Mo Farah won; I cheered when Jessica Ennis got her gold; I even cried when the horses did their dressage to a medley of stirring British tunes!

Watching the review of the year brought all those feelings flooding back and made me think about the Olympic legacy.

The Olympics offer an opportunity for those who perhaps don’t normally enjoy sport to join in.  Because of the wider range of disciplines, there really is something for everyone.  Let’s also not forget the inspirational paralympians who truly put ‘couch potatoes’ to shame.

We as a nation should enjoy some exercise, take part in some sport – whatever it may be – with the best going on to compete with the best in the world.  Let’s celebrate the achievements of others.  Remember that success breeds success.  Make Britain great again!