I truly do not know where the time goes. What a week it's been. No … no good news on anything yet I'm afraid, but I have taken some really big steps in my small little world this week, and if – or when – they come to anything, you'll all be the first to know! I'm due to speak on the teatime show The Big Weekender on Swindon 105.5 FM sometime between 4-6 this Friday, which I'm really looking forward to, as it's my new favourite show – especially the (useless) Handy Hints guy with 'verbal droop.'* SO funny!
Someone's also pointed out to me this week that I don't do enough to plug my novel "Just Good Friends?" on this blog. It's true – I don't. I guess I hope that if you like reading this, then you'll be able to decide for yourself whether you'd like to read it without me having to force it down your neck every five minutes? Having said that though … now it's on Amazon/Kindle it's even easier to buy, and I only need to sell about another 10,000 copies and I'll be able to give up the cleaning work forever! Ooh, I do like a grin …
Speaking of grinning, Week 4 of Sarah Archer's comedy course on Thursday found me feeling like a naughty schoolchild who hadn't done their homework … probably because I hadn't done my homework. I'd worried from day one that I hadn't got time to do it properly, but I feel as if I well-and-truly came unstuck this week, as the holes in my 'act' were as big as the ones in Rab C. Nesbitt's string vest.
1.45 on Friday morning found me sitting up in bed writing new material (which I now have to incorporate and actually LEARN for next week, or Sarah will have me standing in the corner)! Apart from that, I'm having a great time. All the acts are coming on a treat. We're all going to an Open Mike night at the Victoria Pub in Swindon on Monday, and it's our turn just two weeks later, on Monday 18th.
"This week I will mostly be watching" Candy Cabs; a new three-part comedy drama starting on BBC1, Tuesday night at 9.00 with the delicious Jo Joyner (and which I'll be talking about next week). As for this week: let's talk about So You Think You Can Dance.
The difference between this and most of its competitors is that this one mostly does what it says on the tin! It's a real 'family' show (unlike X Factor which – to me – has crossed the line into rating-grabbing car crash TV), and the judges are conscious that it's not all about THEM, but about the actual dancers, who (unlike X Factor), don't get through the auditions unless they've actually got some talent.
It's fascinating to me as to how we can look at some people moving about to music and recognise it as dancing, yet with others (me included), we struggle to know what the hell's going on! I'm not a fan of dancing as a rule, but this show just appeals to me. Not quite sure what Chico's come as, but I do have a little girl-y crush on Nigel! Doesn't Louise have a look of Charity Dingle? If ever she wanted to start a Soap career, she'd be a shoe-in at Emmerdale as yet-another long-lost cousin!
I don't know how the dancers manage to perform though, as the whooping and screaming drowns out the music (they'll probably be having that on the next Series of MasterChef), but it's still great. Bit too early to start talking about individual dancers yet, so I'll leave it there for today, but if you haven't seen it yet, give it a go; it gives you a real 'warm' feeling inside just watching! http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00tqp9y
Ok, India Fisher's nearly tipping me over the edge now (come on Jane, don't let it beat you). I could have woofed that meal they did in Oxford down, but Greg's OTT amateur dramatics are really grating on me now. Calm down dear, it's only a TV show (and you KNOW they'll always somehow manage to plate-up in time), so drop it, ok? I did have to laugh when James was describing the tart he was making and Greg looked as if he was about to explode with excitement. He does like his puddings, doesn't he!
One highspot of the the week was this young man here: "I thought it was marvellous!" I rewound that bit three times! Poor Annie (my favourite, SO cute!), had a bad day at the office, but I felt Tom should have gone over her (biased? maybe!), but I didn't mind the tears at the end this week, as I was tearful myself. The other highspot was Michel Roux Jnr making an appearance. Don't we just LOVE him?! (Reviews of his recent Series Service are featured on previous blogs, if you're interested.)
Anyone who's ever cooked a 'special' meal (whether it be the first for a prospective new partner, to cooking for a place in the MasterChef final), will understand what they're going through. It's like any sort of 'performance'. You give your all, and you're judged on that performance. The complete relief/euphoria when you're told you're through to the next round cannot be underestimated. There's SO much at stake for them now.
There's been far too much weeping and wailing this Series, and I was thinking as I watched this week's show that this has been the most emotional group yet, but then I realised that it's probably just all part of the X Factor-style format this Series, and that they've probably ALL been the same but have just edited it out in previous years.
As for the music: even my Dad – who's almost deaf – commented on the intrusive music. If HE says that, how do you think the rest of us feel? For God's sake, fix this for the next Series … PLEASE. We don't want it, ok? Ooh, don't get me started …
PS Seen John and Greg's 'Brilliant" short new column in the Daily Mail TV Guide? (Meant to mention this last week but forgot.) It's just a blatant plug for 4 foodie items … in a column. Yep, that's definitely what I'd call Brilliant, that …
Quote of the Week
A bumper week this week. Saw so many I liked I had to include them all! Thanks to the lovely Twitter for giving people the opportunity to be able to offer these gems to us.
"The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." tracksuitdave
"Self-help books really can change your life! The ones I wrote paid for a villa in the Bahamas and a yacht." GreySkyThinking
"People always mention that everything happens for a reason, but why don't they ever mention what exactly that reason is?" ReaIWizKhaIlfa
"A Bank is a friend who will lend you an umbrella when it's sunny and immediately demand it back when it rains." EdenFear
Lentils AND rice? That's just silly. Nobody would eat that for a meal, not even the pigs. I know they were trying to be funny, but that was too far-fetched as to render it not funny. Eddie and Joe plotting to cook a Sunday dinner without Clarrie knowing too. What about the smell? Don't you think she might have noticed when she came in? The writing really is a bit thin in places at the moment, isn't it? Missed not hearing Henry (the World's Cleverest Baby), too this week. He's probably talking by now, and will have definitely mastered tractor maintenance (You're never too young to learn tractor maintenance).
It was dead mean of Jaaaaaamie to 'diss' Kenton like that, wasn't it? He made him out to be a right lothario, and he WAS actually separated from Cathy when he had that liason, after all! Who was that mate of his though? Made the Pargetter twins sound like National Theatre Players. Sight-reading from a script or what? It's a wonder he didn't say "Full stop" at the end of every sentence! Anyway; nice to hear Ruth ranting at David. She's always at her best when she's got something to moan about, is "Oor Ruth." http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/the-archers
I've been overwhelmed at the response to my request for contributions last week. Not even Mrs Trellis bothered writing in (fans of I'm Sorry, I Haven't a Clue will enjoy that one), so it's lucky I've had my eyes on the screen seeking out a few bits!
Here's an April Fools special for you too:
Moira wrote me a lovely tweet this week thanking me for the advice I'd given her to help solve her cutlery issues. "What cutlery issues?" you might ask. Well, let's settle down with a Red Stripe and find out, in this week's edition of Moira's Corna …
Raaas. Moira ad busy week. Mi avin ba-aad time wiv mi tax return for Inland Revenue an ting. Moira can' find some of mi receipts for mi clothin' allowance for mi job on da Radio 2 readin news for dat Chris Evan. Mi can' even claim for mutton cardigan, as mi ran sheep ova wen 'im on pavement, so was free wool mi suppose?
Moira ad bad week too, as mi lost a bet wi-dat Sally Traffic an ad to nom mi food wi naaw cutlery for an OLE week an ting. Mi 'ad to eat mash wiv a £2 coin, til Jane tweet me "Moira. You eat chicken wi Nelson Mandela sauce an put it 'tween some breads an ting." Moira manage nom nom betta den. Hey, dat girl Jane ave faain 'Andy Ints', ya naw? Sum food only need fingas anyways. Moira got milk chocolat Bounty bar (mi loves da coconut an ting), an can of Lilt, but might get rum'd up laita when mi watch Antique Roadshow ….. Ok. Moira dun for naw. Byee.
With all Sophie and Sian's attention in the Press this week, it wasn't long before I received a call from Sophie's older sister. If you're a regular reader you'll know I'm a HUGE fan of Rosie Webster. To deliver those lines with that perfect balance between outrage and stupidity takes an ability that a lot of people really don't appreciate.
Keen to get her own little bit of publicity (after all, this IS the blog everyone's reading!?), Rosie gave me this great telephone interview. Just sorry I didn't get to meet her in person, but she was on her way out shopping and didn't have a lot of time to spare.
"Oh, My Actual GOD. Can you believe it? MY sister and her girlfriend on the front cover of a magazine and that? That is SO unfair! I'M the model in this family, and it's even worse that she's in something called DIVA magazine, because I'm, like, a Diva … so if anyone should be in DIVA magazine then, like, surely it should be ME, right, yeah? … Dur, hel-lo?
I pointed out that Diva was a Lesbian magazine, and it was because they were doing a feature on Sophie and Sian's relationship; to which she replied: "Oh, God, that is SO unfair. Why does that suddenly make HER so important then? Just because she's a lesbian? Right. That's it. Me and Jase are going to be lesbians too. He won't mind sleeping with another woman if I tell him to, but … urh … no, does that, like, mean that I'll have to as well? Oh, no, I don't think I can go that far. I've told my Agent: no nude-y stuff, and I'd have to like, get naked and everything with another girl for that, wouldn't I? Er, you can forget it then; I'm SO not doing that. I mean, I've got nothing against them and that: me sister's one after all – and I've been dead supportive of her – but I'm sorry, I like a man, and when you see my Jase, can you seriously imagine any girl wanting a woman over him? No, I think not; subject closed.
Right: you wanted a Handy Hint from me, didn't you Jane? Well, that's easy. You know how my Dad's just come into some money? Well, if you want to SAVE money, all you have to do is wait until your Dad wins Two Hundred Thousand pounds on a scratchcard and then, like, make sure you're REALLY extra-nice to him and then he'll buy you that handbag you really need and you can use your OWN money to buy shoes. That way, you end up SAVING Three Thousand pounds (because quality doesn't come cheap you know?), and then you can get that fabulous new lipstick I've seen in town as well. Easy really, innit? I've always been good with money and ideas and that; it's because I went to Private school, and me Mam and Dad are both really pleased with how I turned out, and at least I'm not an embarrassment to them – in the clothes department – like Sophie is. Did you SEE that top she had on the other day? Hell-o-o? Oh my G, it was tragic. I should take her out shopping with me. In fact … with her share of me Dad's money she might wanna treat me for taking her and that, so that's a REALLY good idea."
There was a moment's silence – and then the line went dead, so I knew she'd gone off to hunt poor old Sophie down. I'm not sure these 'Celebrities' are quite grasping the point. Their idea of saving money isn't quite the same as mine, but that's because they live in a different world to the rest of us, I suppose? This lot on my blogs certainly do …
I love my soaps, and I think the acting (mostly), is some of the finest you'll see on the box, but the one area where most actors fall down is in scenes with children. They pick them up like they're a sack of spuds and say things like "Come on, we're going 'ome now," without hugging, kissing them or even looking at them sometimes.
Kelly picked little Elliot up this week with about as much love as you'd give a bag of manure. Ok, it'll probably turn out that he's NOT hers and that she's just 'borrowed' him to blackmail Jimmy, but she could perhaps try and look a little bit more maternal! (Maybe she was; hard to tell under all that slap.) Mind you, I did think he looked like her though. Have I mentioned how I love the way soaps manage to get actors who look SO much like their other family members (except for Jimmy Tate …) before? Oh, ok!
I try not to read too many 'spoilers', but have seen that Tommy Duckworth's going to be after Sian. It really would be a shame if they go down that road. Not only is it great for a soap to have a lesbian relationship that's being taken seriously, but it's done a huge amount to further the cause of the 'Lipstick Lesbian' (a gay woman who would be taken for straight if you saw her walking down the road).
You know how they say "If you have been affected by the issues raised" etc at the end of programmes? Well, at this point, I HAVE to just give a little plug for my novel "Just Good Friends?", because it features a romance which develops between two close married, female friends. One of them stuggles to accept her feelings for the other, and follows Ruth and Helen's journeys as their relationship suffers but – ultimately … no, I can't give the end away! Just go to the Home Page and click on the Amazon link to purchase a copy if you fancy a bit of a read. Ok, adverts over; back to the show!
Liz and Jim's snog was competing with Kat and Alfie's for 'Biggest close-up of someone's fillings' of the week. Liz and Jim always had chemistry, (although I liked him better with the moustache). Remember the days when you never knew what was going to happen next? No, I guess most of you reading this won't, but we all know that Liz is leaving, so my guess is that …. er, she doesn't buy the pub in the end. Am I right?
You might be gathering by now that I have a fascination for the way soaps manage to get family members that look like each other, but I'm foxed by Amy Barlow. Is that another child I saw playing her this week? Half the characters are two-faced, but I've never known anyone with as many as her. I wonder if she even recognises herself in a mirror?
Best lines of the week … Becky to Max: "Shall we go to the Safari Park?" Max: "Is Nana Liz coming?" Becky: "Well, no, they might want to keep her."
Carla (on hearing that Janice has left with her ex boyfriend). "What are they going to do for money – join a Krankies tribute act?" http://www.itv.com/coronationstreet
I'm confused. In one breath, Jack's weeping for Ronnie and telling Carol how much he loves her, and the very next second (when they say they've found her after she'd legged it – SO boring when characters 'go missing'), he says it's over between them. Did I fall asleep and miss a bit? Doesn't baby James look like Kat though?
What about Kat and Alfie's kiss outside the Vic on Monday night? Tongues and everything! SO glad they're back together. SO believable, and both great comic actors too. Won't be long now till they get the baby back. I saw something on Twitter that said "If the world is coming to an end, can we at least find out what happens in the Eastender baby swap plotline first?"
Aren't Tanya and Syeed a great new double-act? They looked like a couple of cheeky kids when that mobile was ringing and they didn't dare answer it! Nice for Syeed to have a 'girl' friend too. Christian's got Roxy, and now he's got the lovely Tanya. It'll cause ructions though – I can feel it in me waters.
Best lines this week … Mo: "Do I look like I know the in's and outs of a loonie bin?" Kat: "They wouldn't let you out if you went visiting."
Phil: "Shirley wants some veg." Billy: "What sort?" Phil: "The sort you eat, I suppose."
Aunt Sal to Ronnie: "You can go sallow after a baby," (turns to Roxy), "You did." http://www.bbc.co.uk/eastenders
I've finally found that quote about Kelly I'd been looking for. "She may have a face that a dog wouldn't lick, but she plays a good "baddie"." Not my words, but the words of journalist Sarah Bull http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1326692/Kellys-Soap-pin-Adele-Silva-make-sensational-return-Emmerdale.html#ixzz14PkVofub
It's a stoke of genius to get Chas behind the bar; she's fantastic. Again; soap actors have some of the best comic timing around, and Charity and Chastity make a fantastic double act – especially when they're directing their cutting comments at their men!
Alicia: "Can I go to the shops? It's me little boy's Birthday." Chas: "Well, it's hardly caught you by surprise then, has it? No, you can't."
Down at Leyla's, it's paper delivery rounds now. As there's only about half a dozen houses in the village, Belle's not going to be run off her feet with that job, and seeing as they all seem to live in the pub, why not just have her drop the lot off there? Seeing as the Post Office/Shop burned down, you think she'd have stuffed the place to the rafters by now, but those shelves are still almost bare. I reckon Tesco's are safe for another week.
This week's Prize for "The most annoying child who can't act" goes to Jake. He should take a few lessons off Belle – or go and get a part on The Archers. Come to think of it, he'd fit right in there actually, as Freddie and Lily's long-lost brother from one of Nigel's previous relationships …
Great threat from Cain this week when he caught Arron snickering at him: "Do you like 'avin teeth?" http://www.itv.com/Soaps/emmerdale/?intcmp=NAV_2004aa
Anyway, do you like Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding? Who doesn't (except veggies of course), but thought you might like to try an old Yorkshire favourite to go with it. As usual with me, it's simple, but VERY yummy. Sliced onions in vinegar. Ready?
Ok. Estimate about half a large onion per person. Peel, cut in half downwards, then slice about the thickness of a £1 coin and place into a bowl. Cover with malt vinegar – or for a milder/cheaper version, use any Supermarket 'value' vinegar (that's what I use), then just push down with a fork to cover the onion and leave it to stand for a couple of hours.
Once you've got a plate of food and poured the gravy on, fork some onion on and relish the delicious crunchy contrast with the rest of the roast! For a 'luxury' version, pop a few thin slices of cucumber over the top before adding the vinegar.
Even though I love Tesco, the quality of some of their fresh stuff's not as good as it should be. Bananas … don't get me started on that one again, and even their daffodils only last 2 days (says they're guaranteed 5), as opposed to Asda's ones which last about 4. I reckon they're storing stuff at too slightly too low a temperature, but I do just want to say a big 'yum' for these, which I had last night.
I've bought these from Waitrose, Sainsbury's, Asda, M&S and Tesco in the past for a treat, but I have to say that these were by far the best. They've introduced a clever new pack – where you add water into the base and it 'steams' them in the microwave (which might contribute to their success), but they also didn't have bits of gristle in (as I've often found in the past). They're not cheap – at £4.25 for 8 – but were really very good,
My friend Tracy brought this back from the Ideal Home Exhibition. I tried it on my Dad's cooker when I was cleaning the house this week, and have to say that in all my years as a professional Housekeeper, I've never used anything so effective. I just scooped a bit onto my fingers (I did have my trusty marigolds on!), rubbed it on, then left it for a couple of minutes. It simply washed straight off and brought the hob up like new (which is SOME doing!). If only it worked on limescale too, (bane of my life as a cleaner!)
Had to laugh yesterday. A neighbour had given my dad a pizza she wasn't going to use, so he cooked it for his tea. I was upstairs working (power was off in my Office that day), and wondered what the funny smell was. I went down to find he hadn't removed the polystyrene disc underneath it, and it had welded itself to the baking tray. Here's the evidence.
Luckily, after prizing the worst of it off (he'd just left it on the worktop), a squirt of Fairy Power Spray soon sorted it out, and the tray lives to cook another day! (Just realised, this is a Handy Hint!) If you haven't used it before, it's very good for shifting really stuck-on food (or pizza bases)!
If you're on Twitter and not following Support or MobileSupport yet, I really recommend you do. I often see tweets on my timeline saying that there's some sort of problem, but I already know, because as soon as anything goes wrong, @support put a tweet out to let you know. Don't you wish EVERY company would do that? Would save me hours of frustration!
"Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies of it." Thanks to Favstar http://favstar.fm
Any Other Business
*Verbal droop: the infuriating new craze TV/Radio reporters all seem to have adopted recently, where every sentence is delivered in an identical way – dropping the end of each sentence down in a horrible 'bored' tone (made 'famous' by India Fisher and that Gok 'One' off the telly)!
Thinking of getting a tattoo? Read this first! Article by Nick Duerden
Sarah Archer's Comedy Course: www.lemon-squeeze.co.uk
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