Friday, 31 May 2013

Have you ever watched ‘Embarrassing Bodies’?

I’m not what I’d call an avid viewer, but I have been known to tune in from time-to-time.

It never ceases to amaze me that people claim to be too embarrassed to see their GP, but are quite happy to go on national TV to show off their wide range of problems.

In fact, some areas are displayed so graphically that I had to change channels the other night – yes, it was that bad I turned over to ‘Britain’s Got Talent’!

But getting back to ‘Embarrassing Bodies’, I guess if it helps people then it’s a good idea.  There’s doubtless somebody watching at home thinking “it’s not just me then.”

The major incentive must be that the people who do go on the show get specialist treatment quickly, which they’d have had to perhaps wait for on the NHS.

However, no amount of jumping the queue, or even the offer of money, would ever convince me to appear on it.  Sorry Dr Christian!

Monday, 27 May 2013

We went to Fineshade woods for a walk this morning.

As is our usual custom, after a nice stroll enjoying the wildlife and sunshine, we paid a visit to the cafĂ©.

We sat outside on the benches in the courtyard having our drinks and cakes, and we overheard a conversation from some neighbouring tables.

On Table One was a family with a small black dog.  On Table Two was another family with a slightly larger black dog.

Table Two family called over to Table One family ‘What sort of dog is yours?’

‘It’s a Cockerpoo’ said Table One mother, proudly.

My husband looked at me quizzically.  ‘What’s a Cockerpoo?’ he said.  I explained that it was half Cocker Spaniel, half Poodle. 

‘Usen’t we call them mongrels?’ he replied, before returning to his cake.

Then Table One mother announced to the whole courtyard, without realizing the humour in her forthcoming pronouncement, ‘Of course, he’s got a lot more Poo in him than anything else.’

Friday, 24 May 2013

Northants Telegraph columns

Hello to all my lovely readers!

Thank you so much for reading my blog.

I also write a weekly column for my local paper's website - the link follows if you'd like to read that too.

Thanks again for reading, I really appreciate it. 

Kind regards, Hx

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Now That's What I Call Music

It’s 30 years since the first ‘Now’ compilation album was released.

I’m a huge fan of the compilation album and have several in my music collection.

They range from a vinyl copy of the first Hits album – which I seem to recall featured Kenny Loggins ‘Footloose’ and Laura Branigan ‘Self Control’ – to various tape versions of Hits and Nows from the 1980s, through to recent CD versions which now my daughter proudly owns.

Pre-CDs, I seem to remember that there was always one side of the record or tape which wasn’t as good as the others, where I think they’d included the songs the record companies encouraged them to in order to get the bigger artists.

I know this will seem pre-historic to people who merrily download tunes when they please, but back then it was a great way of getting all the big tunes of the day in one place.

I’d have thought that downloading music would have been the death-knell of the compilation album, but no, thank goodness they’re still going strong.

As the Nows are only available for three years, they become collectors’ items apparently, with early copies being sold on that well-known internet auction site for hundreds of pounds.

There’s a special 30 year edition of Now out on 27 May, featuring supposedly the 'biggest and best' songs from the Eighties, Nineties and Noughties. 

I’ve just checked the track listing, and I like most of them.  There’s always at least one track, though, that makes you wonder why it’s made it on there – is PJ and Duncan’s ‘Let’s Get Ready to Rhumble’ really a classic from the past 30 years?!

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

I read an article in the paper the other day saying that a woman’s hair is at its best when she’s 29.

Before that, she’s made grave errors in following fashion and copying celebs.

The article stated that at this point in time, she knows what suits her best and has picked the correct style for her face shape, lifestyle etc.

As we get older, hair tends to thin and loses its colour, so 29 is the optimum age apparently.  Great news for those of us for whom that milestone is becoming a distant memory!

This got me thinking about how my hairstyle has changed over the years and the various disasters my mane’s had to encounter.

I had long hair before I started primary school.  Then there was a bout of head-lice – which I fortunately never got, although I know anyone can get them, it’s not about cleanliness etc – so, as a preventative measure, my Mum had my hair cut boyishly-short.

This resulted in the gentleman who collected the trollies in Sainsbury’s saying ‘Mind your back, son’, which did not cheer me up.

Then in the 1980s – the decade of BIG hair, where sales of Elnett must have sky-rocketed – I had a series of perms.  As I naturally have extremely straight hair, the results were, alas, never going to be that successful.

However, this didn’t stop me from clutching my photo of Nicole Kidman and asking the hairdresser for ringlets, like she sported in ‘Dead Calm’ or ‘Days of Thunder’. 

She and I had a similar hair colour at the time – but instead of tumbling pre-Raphaelite locks, I ended up looking like orphan Annie!

Following this, I then embraced the very straight hair, which luckily became fashionable, and I’ve never had to use hair straighteners. 

Similar to Jerry Hall, I’ve now had the same style for over 10 years – she and I must follow that well known saying, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’!

Thursday, 9 May 2013

What's your favourite Abba song?

I ask because there’s been a lot on the news and in the papers recently about Abba, with the museum opening in Sweden and Agnetha releasing another solo album.

It got me to thinking about their music, and how my favourite Abba song has changed over the years.

When I was little, I liked ‘Take A Chance On Me’ and used to sing along making up my own lyrics, as you do when you’re seven.

I also like ‘Mamma Mia’ – in fact, this is what I sang on the one and only occasion I ‘performed’ at Karaoke (the KGH Social Club was the venue in case you’re interested, perhaps fortunate that medical help was available nearby for members of the audience whose ears were probably bleeding by the end of the evening!).

My current favourite, which has held that coveted title for a number of years now, is ‘The Day Before You Came’.

Perhaps a surprising choice, as I know it’s not one of their most popular numbers, but that might be why I like it.

It’s not particularly happy and I don’t think you can dance to it, although to be honest I’ve never tried.

It tells a story, and it’s quite poignant really.  The lady recalls her life before she met her partner, and how monotonous, routinized and ordered it was.  There’s a repeated refrain which runs throughout the song which emphasizes this monotony. 

If you’re not familiar with it, have a listen.  If you hate it, there’s plenty of other songs you can choose instead.  Now where’s my Abba ‘Gold’ CD?!

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

The Great British Weather

Yes, after the fabulous Bank Holiday weekend we’ve just had, I’m going to talk about the weather.

Weather is a great leveller – we all have to enjoy it, or suffer it, and have absolutely no control over it.

In fact, like a true Brit, I never tire of talking about it.

Not only do I watch the forecasts on TV, but I check the ten-day forecasts on various websites, comparing them to see which is likely to give me the best result – how daft is that?!

Contrary to popular belief, I’m also pleased to say that I’ve discovered some very interesting facts whilst discussing the weather with people I meet.

An older lady I was chatting to one day about how cold it was (in March) told me that her husband used to say that whatever direction the wind was blowing in on the March equinox, it would stay that way until June.  That’s why we had a late Spring this year, I believe, as the wind was fixed firmly in the East on the day in question.

Another weather-based conversation I had recently led to me discussing the Battle of Britain Memorial flight with the chap who actually flew in the Lancaster – how cool is that?  This gentleman has now achieved hero status in our household.  However, this conversation would probably never have happened if we hadn’t been happily discussing the changeable British climate.

Finally, in weather-related old words of wisdom, my Dad still says ‘Cast not a clout til May is out’ – but this is not something I adhere to strictly, otherwise I’d be wearing a winter coat when the sun is splitting the stones, as it was this weekend!

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

I’ve been to a funeral today.

It was for a close family member, made all the more nerve-wracking by the fact that I’d helped organize it so I was worried something could go wrong.

I needn’t have worried – the funeral directors were brilliant, the sun shone, the chapel at the Crematorium was packed, and I think my Uncle would have approved.

I’m not sure that us leaving to the strains of the ‘Horse of the Year Show’ theme tune was the best call (not one of my decisions, thankfully), but it did make me smile as my Uncle loved horses.

The only slight hitches that happened were that we got held up in traffic on the way (we didn’t have funeral cars) and then I forgot which chapel we were going to – despite the fact I’d written the obituary for the local paper!

Luckily there’s only a choice of two and the first one we went to was empty, so we quickly found the right one just before the hearse arrived.

As a chief mourner it’s not a good look to be late, so I was glad I made it just in time.

Nearly being late today reminded me of what happened at a funeral I went to of a family friend not that long ago.

The service was due to start at 10.30, and the village Chapel was packed with mourners.

It got to 10.45, and still no sign of the coffin.  Finally at nearly 11 o’clock the funeral party arrived.

It transpired that there was a delivery van blocking the only narrow roadway in, and it was unloading, so the hearse couldn’t arrive until they moved on.

So our dear family friend was actually late for her own funeral, which, thankfully, she would have found very funny.