Monday, May 28, 2007

Found it! (Sally interviews Katie Fforde)

Following a comment from Miss Lionheart, I remembered that a few months back I interviewed Katie Fforde on my radio show.

I promised that I would link try to find it and link to it.

Well......I found it. You can listen here.

And if anyone is interested, I have an interview with Neighbours actor Alan Fletcher (aka Karl Kennedy), which I know I can find, and one with Ron Moody of Fagin fame from the 1968 film of Oliver..but I'm not too sure where I've put that one......

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Guilt Minister

I sometimes wonder if there is a guilt minister hidden somewhere in the Government?

The latest report for women to avoid all alcohol during pregnancy will undoubtedly ruffle a few feathers.

When pregnant with ED, being new to the whole thing and feeling very puritanical about how it should all be done, I didn't drink at all. In fact my GP had advised me that it was perfectly safe to have the odd glass, and would much rather that than a "binge". Did I look like the sort that might I wondered?

She also advised me to take a multi vitamin and mineral supplement each day, and to eat liver once a week - for the iron!

ED was I am glad to say, born unscathed, and then by the time I was pregnant with ESOS I was a bit more relaxed about things. The Government were less relaxed by then though, and although it was still acceptable to have the odd glass of wine, on the banned list, as well as not being allowed uncooked eggs, I also wasn't allowed any pate, soft cheese ............ vitamin supplements or liver.

In those days life was a bit easier, financially, and as we lived near London, we were quite often invited to nice things to do whilst wearing tent like maternity contraptions. (Fashion for pregnant women hadn't been invented then).

One day, at a nice summery outdoor event, I, many months pregnant, was offered a glass of champagne. Taking the advice of my GP, that moderation was fine, I drank it. Unfortunately though (well actually, when the day of reckoning comes it may turn out to be fortunate) I have low blood pressure, so, coupled with pregnancy, a glass of champagne and a hot summer day...I fainted..... and ended up in the St. John's Ambulance tent.

"Have you drunk anything?" they asked.

Oh no. Instant guilt. "Yes", I admitted. "I had a glass of champagne."

"It's all right", she said. "That's fine. It's just that the champagne will have lowered your blood pressure a little, that's all..."

Phew. I was off the hook. I remember having one more glass of wine during that pregnancy at a friend's house, feeling the effects of lowered blood pressure almost immediately, and then not drinking again until after ESOS was born.

For the other pregnancies, the list of "don'ts and do's" was by then so long, that I ignored all advice and went back to remembering what my first GP had said to me: Everything in moderation. I never wanted much alcohol whilst pregnant, and if there were a function or party to attend, I tended to take a glass of wine and just sip it very slowly throughout the evening.

However, as for staying off alcohol whilst planning to have a baby, I can't say that I was quite so good, and from personal and other people's experiences, as far as I understand many a fine baby is conceived whilst under the influence.

For.... dear Government, health minsters, guilt ministers and all others at Westminster, please do understand that not everything is planned to the nth degree all of the time.

Some of us, just sometimes, act on impulse.

But.......moderated impulse you understand.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Sally thinks!

I'm currently procrastinating.

Being a woman, I'm supposed to multi task, but sometimes, due to having far too many different things to focus on and multi task about my brain goes into overdrive and freezes. I think it effectively crashes, and then intead of doing the twenty things on my list, I do none.................

So, when all else fails, I write my blog. It's the one thing in my life that I can do with certainty. It may be nonsense that I produce, but I can guarantee that there is always a constant stream of words waiting to be written, however banal.

Now, what I'm hoping is that by writing my blog, I can start the day rolling properly and uncrash the system........

Well, it's worth a try, and it keeps the blog posts rolling!

In the meantime, Alice Band tells me that there are some more awards lurking around and waiting to be given out?

Awards are an interesting phenomenon aren't they? The first time that I saw a set of these awards I got really excited. REALLY EXCITED. Convinced that I would be spotted, swept up and flown out to some exotic location to pick up an Oscar eqivalent of a writing award, I eagerly awaited for my name to appear on the list............

Well.... we can all dream.

In truth though, it seems that most of these awards are dreamt up by people in their back rooms, and come with a prize of a packet of biscuits. And what's more, there appears to be an "in club" of bloggie people who feature on those lists and are then voted for by other people in the elite club.

I remember "in gangs" from School, then University and even work places.

I'm probably quite proud to say that actually I've never been one of the "in gang". Well at least not part of someone else's "in gang".

And you know, to be absolutely honest, until someone comes up with a set of blog awards that are akin to the the Whitbread Award, with proper prize money, that are judged and awarded by complete outsiders, then frankly it isn't really worth an awful lot....

Now, I am going to potentially risk making myself very unpopular here - possibly..........

But.......Petite Anglaise received a publishing deal before a blog award. Now, would you rather have a packet of Bourbons and the approval of 50 people who all know each other, but who have the ability to vote several times from their computers, or would you rather have "Penguin" publishing your book? Personally, I do often find her entertaining..........but I don't need the approval of a blog award to tell me that, any more than I need Oscar nominations to tell me that a film is worth viewing.

Johnny B, who categorically appears to dislike, and constantly writes about how boring he finds babies, and yet is a stay at home Dad - to his baby (!) - seems to win countless nominations for awards. Now call me odd, but my old English teacher used to say that a joke is only funny once. And so, I'm sorry Johnny B, but I think that your joke has been overplayed and for me enough is enough. You are no longer on my blogroll, and in my humble opinion your writing is less worthy than others on the net................

And as for One Track............. Well, we all know why THAT is popular, don't we? And ironically, now she knows that her Mum and possibly her old English teacher is reading, she has felt the need to tone down the content. Anonymity only goes so far in the blogging world. In fact, I recently saw her real name and photo published in the national press, and I think that I was acquainted with her brother at university. Not wishing to blow her cover further I emailed her, privately.

But not being part of the in club, she didn't reply..........

Maybe she isn't my friend's sister. Who knows? But, as my good old Dad has always said.......... "Make friends on the way up Sal, you may need them on the way down." So if you happen to come across this "One Track".......... why not drop me a reply? You never know, I may just be one of those people that you meet on your way back down....

With me, what you see is what you get.

I'm not going to write about my sex life, because my children, my mother and my mother's friends read this and anyway it's not my style. I don't do that.

I will though write about my children, my life and my hassles with financial institutions. And fortunately I have plenty of that stuff to write about!

And on that note..... will the call centres who keep calling me at 8 a.m. on my Stage School line please bear in mind that actually I do have a life other than dealing with calls from, and writing blogs about, call centres, and that if they want to call me during office hours I will tell them then that I do NOT WANT whatever it is they trying to sell me.

p.s. Have just had a sales call from Ben, from The Money Group:

"Is Mrs. Lomax available please?"
"Who's calling please?" (Say I)
"It's Ben from the Money Group."
"Yes, she is Ben, but she's not available to talk to you."
"BYE." I sing, as I put the phone down, uttering a very impolite word under my breath...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


"Make sure that you cook a vegetarian meal tonight Mum, because friend number one is vegetarian."

Great I think. Not only have I got a midweek sleepover. Not only are we travelling to Gloucester and back and Gloucester and back twice in one evening to take Sensible and two friends to the school disco, but I am also providing dinner for 9 people, to be ready by 6 p.m. and with a restricted menu.

Now don't get me wrong. I love having my children's friends back to "play" and I think it's great that they are so social.

But when I ask did sleepovers become "de rigeur"? Now, being a girl of the 70's growing up type, I very rarely remember sleeping over at anyone's house, until I was about 15 or 16 when I started going to parties. Perhaps it was around then that it all started? Heightened with the enthusiasm of Grease, pyjama parties suddenly became the "thing" and a whole generation of little girls growing up in the 80's wanted to look like Sandy D and friends.

Do you remember though way back when in the 70's, friends just popping over to "play"? And if it were a special occasion, they stayed for something to eat.....

Mushroom Tinkerbell, to be fair, has got it just about sussed. Being the youngest of five, her social life isn't exactly a high priority in our family. And yet, ironically, she is the one who probably has the best social life of all, because her best friends mothers happen to think like me. As such we are happy for them to play, but as far as food and bed is concerned, that bit is done at home.

The older three do of course go to schools 12 miles from home, as they opted to go to grammar schools in Gloucester, which does somewhat complicate the social spectrum. Also I know that once the house is empty (in 11 years time!), I will hate it, and feel lonely, and sad, and grumpy, and old, and will want to wear a purple hat....

But, that said, call me dull, but sometimes, just sometimes, I do quite look forward to the day when the number of teenage friends that we entertain for breakfast reduces just a little!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Writing Chapter One

The morning starts with a teenage fight.

That is a fight between two of the teenagers in the house. A sibling battle of wills. Both are right in their own way. Both are wrong in their own way. Both have a strong viewpoint. Both are indignant. Neither gives in.

The parents are trapped in the middle and accused of not listening, and I suspect not caring. Eventually it is school bus time and peace reigns once more. Fortunately, due to exam fever each is going on a different bus which avoids further confrontation.

Exhausted by the battles I go to find my blog, and put on my new CD on the computer, to listen, calm down and make a few comments on other people's blogs.

Hubby makes me some breakfast, and then it happens. Saddled by cold, and therefore not feeling completely myself I have a major crisis of confidence. The sort that aged 45 you have about once a week. The sort where all of a sudden having brought up five children, worked some of the time, but usually part time, at strange hours, you realise that you have probably thrown up all chances of normal types of jobs. You suddenly see that in the commercial world you are now uninteresting, unemployable and old.

No time to talk about it as it is time to get Gymnast Tinkerbell Mushroom ready for school.

Once they are gone, hubby is still there. Start to mention my crisis of confidence.

But he is late for work.

He must go.

Bad timing on my part.

Eldest Daughter currently doing her AS levels and therefore still at home, offers me a cup of coffee. What I really need though is some cold remedy. So, I indulge in the grandeurs of Lemsip. As my sense of taste is gone I only sense that it is sweet and hot, but I assume that it will make me feel vaguely human in a few minutes.

It does indeed, and whilst eldest daughter is on the phone, in my semi feverish cold like state, I suddenly have a flash of inspiration. Having been egged on by a friend last week to write it finally, on the back of a notebook, I plan it. The novel that has been going round my head in different forms for months. I need to write it.


ED comes off the phone. I tell her what I am going to do. "Can you wait quarter of an hour Mum? My bus goes then." Guilt. Mother guilt. Bad mother feelings that arrive on the birth of first child and stay ingrained in you until kingdom come.

"Sorry ED........."

I stay to have a chat with ED. I like our girly chats. Then I kiss her goodbye and wish her luck for the exam. 10.45 a.m.

I start.

I write 1000 words.

11.45 a.m. I have to stop as am late for my weekly physio appointment.

I rush in to the appointment ten minutes late. "I'm really sorry." I say limply. She smiles, looks at me slightly witheringly, looks at my leg briefly and decides to discharge me until Piers has seen it again on 6th June.

I apologise again for having been late. I know that it looks so pathetic. Middle aged woman unable to be on time. But unless you are planning on them giving you a different type of therapy, in a more secure unit, you can't exactly say:

"Sorry I was late. I was just a bit delayed, writing the first chapter of my novel."

Can you?

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Giant Janky is for older women

I grab a quiet moment, to read a magazine.

Tinkerbell Mushroom sees me.

"That magazine's for older women isn't it Mummy?"

I look at the cover, to see what might give her that impression.

Trinny and Susannah stare back at me.

They would be delighted I chuckle to myself, to know that TM thinks that they are older women.

Meanwhile, she overhears a conversation about a comment made to me by someone a few year's back. Not thinking it the right thing to say, clearly, she pipes up: "That was a bit "ibnoxious" wasn't it Mummy?"

Right now though I have to leave you all, as have been asked by TM and Gymnast to play a game of Giant Janky before bedtime.

Actually, perhaps they should re market it as "Giant Janky"? It's got a certain ring about it compared to Jenga, don't you think?

P.S. Yesterday evening I got home from work, having had a "show" for the parents at my theatre school, so was feeling very tired...............

Was greeted however by a parcel containing an Enya CD (Amarantine) and a book! (The Lollipop Shoes by Joanne Harris). Both sent by a kind friend who reads my blog, as a birthday present. Kind blogging friend wishes to remain anonymous in name. However....

Thank you kind blogging friend. You made my day!

Thursday, May 17, 2007


It was a bit like just before the last wedding in Four Weddings and a Funeral.

I left the house at one minute to nine and made my way very speedily to the hairdresser for my 9 0'clock appointment.

I just made it.

The hairdresser's was still dark. I was aware of someone inside on the phone. She acknowledged me and came to open up the door.

"Hi Sally. You're very early. We don't open until 9.30 a.m." "Oh" said I, but my appointment card says 9 a.m."

I was fairly certain that knowing that I am always late, that it had been planned this way to enable me to make the photo appointment in time. All assured me that this is not the case, and indeed when eventually my lovely hairdresser arrived she got two of them drying my hair to ensure that I was out in time and heading for Gloucester for my 11.20 appointment.

Later as I got to the photographer's I asked if I could use the bathroom first. "Oh yes" she said, there is plenty of time, the next appointment after yours is 12 O'clock.............Is this planned for "Mrs. Late for everything"? I mused again. ED assured me otherwise, but I couldn't help having a smile to myself.

In the ladies I checked my make up. ED handed me a concealer. Placed near eyeliner by my hands the effect was to give me a black eye. Hastily wiped off offending smudge and headed back downstairs again.

I've no idea what the photos look like of course, because I haven't seen them yet. They did allow me to be a fairytale princess for the day though and even if the photos don't quite make me look like one once they arrive, at least I was able to pretend while in that studio.

In fact for now it's possibly better that I don't see them at all really. All the time I know that they were taken when I had just had my hair done and I was wearing my glad rags and looking as good as it gets - for me - I'm happy...... which is great for me.

Meanwhile back at the ranch... (After coffee in Costa with ED. She commented that I am a fogey, preferring Costa in a bookshop to Starbucks. I retorted that if that is what being a fogey means then that is fine by me.) Sensible needed her birthday cake finished as a fuchsia pink handbag. With a bow on the front. An easy challenge then....

And for once I was happy to be photographed for the birthday photos too. Once we had replaced the camera batteries that is.


The camera only seems to like Duracell batteries nowadays, being the sensitive old soul that it clearly is.

.............Thank you ED, ESOS and Sensible! I enjoyed my fairytale princess day!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Happy Birthday to the Sensible One, 13 today! ................And why Men are from Mars and Women are from from Venus

We are late to bed, having had a very busy evening getting ready for Sensible's birthday and sorting costumes for my Stage School show on Saturday. As is often the case when you go to bed late our minds are working overtime and hubby and I are both lying awake.

My clock alarm says the wrong time due to numerous power cuts over the winter and my having guessed the correct time at numerous times over the winter. What's the proper time I ask Hubby? 1.36 a.m. he says.

"In seven minutes time it will be exactly thirteen years since I gave birth to Sensible."

"Mmmmm" says Hubby. "In six miles the clock on my car will read 00000 for the third time in its life!"


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Secure Packaging

Seven year's ago, whilst heavily pregnant with Tinkerbell Mushroom, we visited the Millennium Dome. It was one of those mad things that you do when you are heavily pregnant, because you know that after the baby is born you may not feel like traipsing round the Capital with four children and a baby in tow, and might just not make the exhibition before it finishes at the end of the year.

Four children aged 9 and under, waddling mother and hubby approached the dream zone. A zone designed for ultimate peace. People were lying down on the slope thinking of nothing but complete "calm".

Until we walked in that is.

As was often the case in those days, everything was stored on the buggy, packed lunches, nappies, handbag, changes of clothes.... So when the gymnast, then aged 18 months climbed out of her seat, and the pushchair toppled, clattered and rolled down the slope, it was no surprise. Feeling hot and bothered I went to pick up the offending article and mouthed apologies to all that had been enjoying the calm before our entourage arrived.

"Uh oh" said the gymnast. "Pushchair fall over".

We exited from that - fast, and went to have a look at the Millennium Diamond which was very nice. So nice in fact that it disappeared from the dome shortly after that, because it was subject to a foiled robbery attempt. They whisked it away from prying eyes for safer storage.

Seven year's and two months later (Sunday morning last) I lie in bed in that sort of "aware that there are people up but ignoring them" sort of phase of sleep.

Can you open it Mum?

The plastic packaging was on my pillow. To be greeted first thing by a Barbie style doll is not quite the same as a cup of tea. I opened my eyes and looked at said doll. "Can you not do it?" I ask. "I've tried. I can't do it."

I sit up in bed and have a go at unwrapping.

Sealed plastic. Realise that we need scissors for this one. Reluctantly get up, go downstairs and find the scissors. Trim off the edge of the packaging and have a another go. Hubby who is already downstairs looks at it. "You need to take the cardboard backing off, so that you can undo the tags." "But there are no tags in the cardboard. Look." In hubby style he points out that there are two skins of cardboard and that if I remove the first skin, all will become clear. More scissors. More surgical removal.

Am then greeted by approximately 25 tied fastenings and many sealed plastic tags.

Hubby and I look at each other. (I notice, slightly smugly, that his somewhat slightly smug look has disappeared from his face.)

More scissors, Lots of untying of tags. Eventually....... after a full 10 minutes I finally reach the doll. After another five minutes, including a trip back to the bin due to having thrown away an essential part of the piece that had been hidden well inside another bit of packaging, I hand over the doll to Tinkerbell Mushroom.

Perhaps Mattel should patent that design, so that the next time De Beers have a bit of a special diamond on hand and under threat from a burglary attempt, they will buy themselves a bit more time to get the police there in time.

Monday, May 14, 2007


I'm skiving.

I rang of course to say that I wasn't coming. That's the great thing about being a grown up. You can do that.

But I am skiving. I'm skiving my Physio....

Why you might ask?

Well, it's all to do with quite how much pain you can put yourself through, before you say ENOUGH. NO MORE!

It started two weeks ago, when I went for my regular weekly appointment. "You're doing well" says my physio, "let's put you on the exercise bike." "Have you got one of these at home?" she says. "No" say I , thinking that if we had spare funds it might well go on a boiler or a new heating system first....

It's the way I speak. People seem to think that you have money, exotic holidays, and a fully fitted gym at home, when you speak like this.

Half way through the exercise regime, I need to ask a question, so I stop peddling...........

BIG MISTAKE. Pedal pushes at knee. Knee goes completely out of place causing immense pain. Am put on bed and given ice. Great, this is supposed to be healing therapy and am now more incapacitated than on arrival!

"Well" she says, "That shouldn't happen, but I'm glad that it happened here. At least I now know what I'm dealing with."

Well, I'm glad you're glad I think.

"You could do with an MRI scan" she says.

"I've had one" say I.

Realisation that no-one has bothered to give the physio the copy of the MRI scan.....

Much shuffling of paper. Call to the other hospital to find scan. Have to sign a "release" form to allow her the rights to the scan, and finally after a long time of sitting on the bed with ice on my knee we have a report.

"I think that you need an arthroscopy" she says. Which coincidentally, is what the GP said seven weeks ago, but which Mr. Brosnan said wasn't necessary......... But it definitely is. There's a foreign body floating around somewhere. No-one can agree on what it is. I'm sort of hoping that it might be something rare that I could sell on Ebay to pay off the mortgage, but chances are that it's a bit of bone. Thing is that from three different people I've been told three different things. Now call me a cynic if you must, but I strongly suspect that there is a chance that they don't know........

So they need to have a look really.

Last week, she put me on the bike and after ten minutes came back and said "You've slowed down!". Excuse me!! Now I know that I need to lose weight and obviously would benefit from more exercise, but I thought this was supposed to be therapy for a damaged knee, not a fitness regime. After that, I struggled through to the weekend with my stiff (er) knee. Then, on Saturday, my birthday, as I was leaving for my theatre school, late of course, due to birthday things, I realised that I didn't have my mobile phone. So, ran back into the house with my half a three legged, but really two legged run, skidded, due to wet shoes from the rain, and landed awkwardly, twisting my bad knee - again...

The slight light on the horizon is that I do have a new appointment to see Piers, who will hopefully agree to proper treatment this time. Or, some treatment might be nice. The only problem is that I have to wait until 6th June, for a consultation..........but at least it's sort of moving in the right direction.

And so...... maybe I'm a bit of a wimp after all, but I couldn't face ten minutes on the exercise bike again this morning, so I'm writing my blog instead.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Half way to ninety!

Shhhhhhh.............don't tell Blogger, but although it says 12.15 a.m. on my computer clock, therefore officially making me one year older, Blogger is on American time, and so, according to my profile, I am still the same age as I was when I got up this morning.

Hubby and I went out this evening too, and when I got back I found that ED and Sensible had made me a cake. Now given that my age hasn't gone up yet, maybe I could pretend that it was from last year? Oh, o.k. maybe not........ I was VERY chuffed to get a birthday cake though!! Thank you ED and Sensible!

I actually have always loved the six days between 6th and 12th May. Hubby for those 6 days only is a year older than me rather than the same age. My brothers are 13 and 9 years older than me. And my friend Debbie is a year older than me. Well actually my eldest brother is thirteen years older than me for two months really. And my friend Debbie is a year older than me for five months. But in those six days, all four are respectively that bit older. And in time honoured tradition, Debbie will undoubtedly send me a birthday card tomorrow saying how glad she is that I have caught her up at last.....

The other thing is, that I never look forward to odd birthdays. That's odd in number you understand.

It's a bit of OCD really.

I like even numbers.

Funny really, because ED has a similar affliction, but unlike me, she only likes multiples of five. She always ensures that the volume button on the television is at 25 or 30. The best place for sound is is actually 27 .....but if she knows, she changes it. Given that I like even numbers, we compromise at 30.

But now it's here. The 12th May 2007. That makes me (shhhhhh..........) 45...........

Not only is that an ODD number, but it's half way to 90.

If I get as far as 90 that is.

It's in my mid forties.

I can't even pretend that I am in my early forties now..........

Oh well...........

At least I have a nice chocolate orange cake to eat.

And it's not Terry's.

It's mine.

Happy Birthday ME!

Friday, May 11, 2007

To err is human.

Recently my brother, 8 years older than me, and as it happens, celebrating a birthday today, revealed to me that when I was a child, and he was officially babysitting me, used to put me to bed and then nip off to the pub. He would then have a drink with his friends, and pop back from time to time to check that I hadn't suffocated, drowned or burned to death.

Until the time that he told me this a few months back I had been completely oblivious to this. I was, I think, quite a "good" child. It would never have occurred to me to come downstairs for instance, once put to bed, and so, even if I were reading in bed, I wouldn't have noticed that the house beneath me was quiet. Very quiet!

When he told me this story, we both fell about laughing. We didn't dwell on the safety issues that might have been at stake, and to be honest I was not a tiny child. I just thought how funny it was that he had pulled the wool over my eyes for all these years.

I also thought back when he said this, and remembered that on one occasion, a summer's evening, I was reading my book in bed. My brother stuck his head round the door and told me off for reading in the half light, and put the light on! I was so shocked because I thought that I was going to be told off for reading at all. It's all relative though isn't it? He knew that he was bending the rules, and I knew that I was bending the rules. But, concerned for my eyesight, he made sure that the light was on while I read - and he (presumably) nipped back to the pub across the field to spend his babysitting money.

My parents too, when we were on holiday in Spain, me aged six, used to put me to bed and go down to the bar in the apartment block for a drink. Every so often one or other parent, or one or other older brother would pop back to check on my safety.


I was fine.

I was asleep, and blissfully unaware.

I was lucky too, in that there were no funny people lurking about, either in the rural village I lived, or on holiday in Spain, who wanted to steal a child.

As parents ourselves we have always eaten with our children in the evenings on holiday. We customarily eat together as a family anyway, and so when on holiday we just extend that. If it is late we don't worry, in that they are on holiday and the odd late night won't hurt. Similarly, Continental Europeans are far more laid back about children in restaurants, and as such it is never been an issue to have them with us.

But, I also think that it is very sad that parents are not able to trust society to be able to leave children asleep in what is effectively a hotel room, and go into the restaurant for something to eat. Realistically it should be as safe as having food at home once the children are in bed.

It should be, but sadly it isn't.

Equally I think that none of us as parents can cast stones at the McCanns. It may not have been the wisest choice to leave them unattended as it turned out, but which of us parents can honestly say that they have never made a mistake when it comes to child rearing? I have five children, and have made plenty of mistakes over the years - and there but for the grace of God have been fortunate in the main. There isn't a day that goes by though that I don't worry about my children, or pray that they will return safely to me from their school buses or school trips or whatever else they venture forth in.

When they go out in the morning I say to each of them: "See you later". If I don't say it, or if they don't respond, it niggles at me all day until they return. If they are going on a school trip I always say "don't let the coach driver crash, don't drown in the swimming pool, don't get run over."

"Yes Mum! Goodbye!"

I drive them all mad with it. Hubby thinks I'm a nutcase. Which I probably am. It's my safety net though. We all have them. I, in my funny sort of way, believe that I am keeping them all safe by willing their safe return........

There is not a family in Britain whose hearts have not been touched by the story of little Madeleine McCann. I am so sad for those parents, and for the little girl. How frightened she must be.

Don't though, let us ever forget that it could have been any one of us parents who made a mistake.

To err is human.

Please can she be returned safely and unharmed?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Catch me if you can!

My initial response to being tagged again - this time by my longstanding blogging friend Ignorminious, was "Not AGAIN"! I was never very good a playing tag in the playground. I wasn't a fast runner, and I always seemed to turn round at the wrong moment and get tagged again very quickly. The fear lives with me!

Ignorminious however, is a longstanding blogging friend in that he has followed my blog from the very long beginning of almost seven months ago. He does me the great service of making sure that however bad he might think my ramblings are, he comments positively anyway. Which is good, because we bloggers need constant reassurance. Just when, for instance, you think you have written a stonkingly funny blog, you get maybe three responses, and then you have one of those "OH NO, I AM NOT FUNNY" moments. Or something....


Ig asked me to reveal seven things about me which you don't know..........

I think that as I reveal many of these, you will probably say: "Yes we know that Sally, just from the way you write and from what you write."

But, one of you might not, especially if you are new today. So here they are:

1. I did a drama course at University and while there was a member of many dramatic societies. I was also a fairly insignificant member of quite a prestigious comedy group. One of the people in the same group - who was also on my course - told me one day that I wasn't funny........ That has stuck with me for 20 years, and even though people laugh at me now, I still have serious doubts.

2. An editor of a newspaper locally to here also said that I wasn't funny, and that I should write, but not to try to be funny. She then moved off that paper, to another one in the same group and the subsequent editor employed me to write some columns. Like my blog I used to put in what I thought were funny snippets about the family, and people used to laugh - they told me. BUT I STILL HAD DOUBTS MYSELF!

3. I shared a 21st party with someone I hardly knew, just because he had a birthday six days before mine. I married him three years and three months later.

4. When at university I went through a phase of falling for "sensitive souls"......... Each time I set myself up for a disappointment, because they all turned out to be gay.......

Fortunately, the person who I had shared a 21st party with eventually asked me out...

5. I was born three weeks prematurely and have spent the rest of my life making up for it. By the time I get to fifty I should hopefully start being early for things more often.

6. Despite the bravado. I'm very insecure! I have "mug" written all over my forehead. If you want someone to organise a Tupperware party on top of Mount Snowdon for five thousand people, in the middle of the night, ask me.

7. I hate toys with five thousand tiny pieces in them. I think that they have been designed by someone who hated their mother, hasn't got children and wants revenge on all the mothers of the world.

I would like to tag someone who doesn't currently comment on my blog, but who reads me! Now I know that there are people out there who are doing just that, from the numbers of people who visit me, but I can't tell who you are .......because you don't leave any clues. So go on! Be brave. Take the plunge. Admit your presence, comment and respond!!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


"What time is it?" Hubby calls down to the gymnast from the bathroom. She looks at the clock in the kitchen. "I don't know" she says. "I can't tell analogue time."

Well that is certainly a sign of the times I say. She might not be able to tell it yet, but I didn't even know there was such a thing as analogue time when I was 8!

Time of course was on my mind. Yesterday, I went into Ross on Wye to do my banking for my Stage School. It's not my money any more, as the schools have belonged to the franchisor since December. I work for them though, and so do all the banking of the termly cheques. It's a long job, and by the time I had nearly finished in the bank, I realised that my parking was about to run out. It was a sensible break point in the procedure, so I split the job into two and gave the "working progress" so to speak to the cashier and asked if I could just leave them with him to process, while I ran and moved my car. "Oh it will only take a couple of minutes. Hang on there. There could always be a problem with one of the cheques". And of course there was, naturally, which took at least another two minutes to sort.

I ran back to my car. Now bear in mind that with my somewhat wonky knee this is not an easy job, or a pretty sight. It's a sort of slightly straight legged run. It probably looks like one half of a three legged race, but I only have two legs if you get the gist......

The traffic warden, the likes of which should probably join all call centre operatives, insurance companies and banks in their order of esteem, must have been waiting on the job......... 12.10 I parked the car. Half hour bay. 12.47, he placed the ticket onto the car. £30! Yes, I know I was in the wrong, and I know I'm always late, but............... I do have a slightly not quite right leg at the moment, and I was just trying to do my job, and .........................

it was a very expensive seven minutes!

I wondered though. Do you think that I could possibly claim that I can only read analogue time and that as such I couldn't read the digital clocks in the bank?

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Friday Lunch Live....... The one where Sally says Goodbye..........

For Meredic and anyone else who missed it, but who may have wanted to hear..........

There's no music. I edited it out, for copyright reasons. I can put myself on though, as that bit is up to me!

Here it is!

Please do tell me what you think. And, if you really like it, please tell someone else too. Terry or Jonathan or Chris, or one of their bosses...........

Well!!! One of you readers out there might know them!!



..................Happy Birthday Hubby!!! (21 again!)

Friday, May 04, 2007

Farewell Forest of Dean Radio!

Today is a bit of an historical moment for me.

It's probably not historical compared to world wars, space travel or a new Harry Potter film coming out. But for little me, in little - well quite big as counties go actually - old Gloucestershire, it's a big moment.

It will be my last ever Friday Lunch Live on Forest of Dean Radio.

After three and a half years of broadcasting my show every
Friday I have decided to take a break. The station have therefore decided to chop the show, because they feel that it has my mark stamped on it and wouldn't work with someone else. Better to have a new show with a new format and new presenter.

It's a bit sad, but it is entirely my decision.

Forest of Dean Radio is a voluntary organisation, and we all give our time for free. We don't expect to be paid, because if we were, the money that we get from various funding sources would not be sufficient to pay what are unndoubtedly exorbitant broadcasting costs. Also they are a great organisation in that they train broadcasters from scratch. Anyone can have a go and every idea is listened to. You can't get that on any commercial station....

During my time with FODR it has been quite a monumental period for community broadcasting and we were in fact the first community station in the country to receive a full time licence.

It's all very exciting........but I need a break, as ideally I would like to widen my CV and get some paid writing or broadcasting work. As you all know, I have ED, ESOS, Sensible, Gymnast and Tinkerbell Mushroom to consider and as such for every bit of work I do, paid or voluntary I need to work around the family commitments first.

Despite my working to help pay for huge house for huge family, we do try to make sure that one or other parent is always in charge, and as hubby does a 9-5ish Mon to Fri job, I have to be more creative with my time! And I can't do it all! At this point in my life I just don't have time to do the unpaid stuff.

So.......if anyone out there is looking for someone like me, I'm on the market. But please note that this time I'm for sale, not for free. Oh yes and some more voiceovers would be nice too! They pay nicely thanks! I do have full Equity membership, can be heard on Voicefinder, and, if you are listening today*, can be heard broadcasting on Forest of Dean Radio today at 12 0'clock......... Do tune in!

*I'm repeated too at 5 p.m. and 10 a.m. tomorrow!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

In the mind of Sally...............

Over the last two months, I have been challenged by Enidd , Chris and Keith. Shamefully I have put it off and put it off, and put it off.........

So now, as promised I shall answer all three together!

First is Enidd's challenge...........

Enidd, who is one of the funniest bloggers ever, challenged me to be interviewed, and here it is!

What do you most enjoy about acting?

To be absolutely honest I am not sure what I enjoy most about acting. I just know that it is part of me that I couldn’t live without. I think I enjoy being someone else – although those someone elses are not always who you would want to be…………… but you can immerse yourself in a different person’s psyche for a short while, and that is brilliant!

Perhaps though I am just a bit egotistical..........and it suits my egotistical qualities, which don't get a chance to be aired elsewhere in my life, to act!

2) A mystery envelope has arrived in the post. what would you like it to contain?

A cheque to pay off the mortgage!

3) Which 4 celebrities, alive or dead, would you invite to dinner?

I would only invite living ones, because dead ones wouldn't be too much company, and I think I would have the following to dinner.........

Richard Gere
Hugh Grant
Emma Thompson
Colin Firth

4) And what would you cook for them?

I would cook things that I know would work!


A homemade soup

Salmon en croute
Roasted vegetables
New Potatoes

Chocolate Torte

Plenty of wine in case the food isn't perfect and lots of chocolates - only Green and Black's Thorntons or Lindt - to end the meal with nice coffee and a dessert wine.

5) Dog or Cat? And why?

A dog, because our cat currently has a senile dementia problem which has led to much urinary incontinence, and ..........he’s a pacifist and doesn't kill mice.

Now, Chris B awarded me with this nomination……


I responded that I don’t think too much and I write much trivia.

However, I was very happy to be nominated, especially by Chris who was one of my very first bloggie friends!

You are supposed to think of five people whose blogs make you think, but as I am very late to do this, the rest of you have already named most of the people that I would have named………

So, I am going to point you in the direction of just two people that you possibly don’t know.

The first is Enid. This is not Enidd. But Enid. Enid and I have been friends since 1995, when we went to live in Northern Ireland for four years. She lives with her partner and writer Ian McDonald and has been writing a blog for 18 months. Recently she has been in the wars having had to undergo surgery, but she has a wry sense of humour in telling us all about it! Ironically, although I have known Enid for 12 years, I only realised very recently that she too was a bloggie!

And the second is Alice Band. I only came across Alice recently but she writes a great blog and is also a columnist for the Western Daily Press. I was very honoured when I realised that she liked my blog, because I really think that she has a real talent for entertaining.


And finally in response to Keith's challenge of many moons ago............ Keith is celebrating his 70th birthday today, so do pop over and wish him a happy birthday! I call this the three things challenge:

1. 3 Things That Scare Me:

The thought of my children being involved in an accident or being seriously ill.
The thought of going bankrupt.

2. 3 People Who Make Me Laugh:
Jo Brand
Dawn French
Victoria Wood

3. 3 Things I Love:
Hot Summer Days

4. 3 Things I Hate:
Being cold
Reality TV

5. 3 Things I Don’t Understand:
Why months are always longer than money
Why, when people are living longer and longer we still regard people in the workforce as over the hill once they reach forty.
The point of reality TV.

6. 3 Things On My Desk:
Computer monitor

7. 3 Things I’m Doing Right Now:
Drinking Tea
Thinking of all the things I SHOULD be doing

8. 3 Things I Want To Do Before I Die:
Take the children on proper holidays
Pay off the mortgage
Become a well paid famous writer, broadcaster and voice over artist

9. 3 Things I Can Do:
Deal with large institutions with good results – although I actually hate it really. I’d like the world to be more straightforward!
Do voice overs
Read great bedtime stories to the kids!

(That’s six ………… But hardly anyone realises that I can do most of these things, so I am taking this opportunity so that I don’t die not having achieved number 8!!)

10. 3 Things I Can’t Do:
Play any sort of sport involving a ball. I fall over it and miss it!
Play a musical instrument. I learnt the piano for years and regret giving it up at 16, but never really made good progress with it.
Find my way in new places. I have a dreadful sense of direction and have to rely heavily on maps and road signs and help! Once I know the layout of where I am going, I’m fine, but I need to drum the place into my long term memory before it makes any sense!

11. 3 People I Think You Should Listen To:
Your children; your partner; yourself and your own instincts

12. 3 Things You Should Never Listen To:
Negative people; music without tunes; Country and Western

13. 3 Things I’d Like To Learn:
How to sing properly
French beyond the schoolgirl level
How to play the piano properly

14. 3 Favorite Foods:
Salmon, exotic salad and new potatoes
Roasted vegetables
Chocolate, preferably very intense version of Green and Blacks, Thorntons or Lindt!

15. 3 Beverages I Drink Regularly:

16. 3 Books I Read as a child.
The Secret Garden
The Little Princess
To Kill a Mockingbird

If you too would like to take up one of these mad challenges, please feel free. If you would like to be interviewed, drop me a line and I'll send you some questions!

p.s. After writing this I realised that there two more people that I read regularly, but many of the rest of you don't: Ignorminious and Meredic. I have been reading both of these from months and so they come highly recommended!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Happy Birthday Tinkerbell Mushroom!!

It was Sunday 29th April.

It was the usual birthday morning chaos.

Tinkerbell Mushroom climbed into bed first, shortly followed by The Gymnast.

It was early.

"Can I wake the others yet?" said Tinkerbell Mushroom?

"No" we said "hang on a bit".

We have a tradition in our house where everyone waits for everyone else before they open any birthday presents. It's slightly incovenient at times: when one of them is in Germany or France or the moon or somewhere, as has happened of late, so we do compromise a bit........... All those in the house have to be present for the presents, if you get the gist.

Eventually we agreed that they could go and trample on the beds of the older three and start the day..................

Whether it was the fact that ESOS had managed to tangle up the new extra long (who's clever marketing idea was that??!!)slinky, or the fact that ED wanted to untangle it more than anything else, especially more than move anything from the stairs, or the fact that the walkie talkies that we had bought didn't seem to work, or that the fact that the stuff that had been on the stairs for days STILL hadn't been moved three minutes before the party, I'm not sure, but it did result in the usual birthday strife. That is usual for us - but perhaps you all have very calm birthdays..........

Ironically Tinkerbell Mushroom seemed oblivious to the undertones and overtones around the house, and didn't think anything of her mother grabbing a glass of wine with the first guest that arrived at 12 0'clock.

After that things did seem to settle down. We had only invited three guests (which proved to be a VERY good idea) and we kept it all very simple.

I got all the children working to make a lunch of homemade pizzas, and then later we went to the cinema to see "Meet the Robinsons", which brought a tear to my eye at the end......................

So, apart from the fact that the walkie talkies are a disaster, the slinky has a serious bend in the middle and Eldest Daughter and ESOS are still not really talking to one another, it was a great party, a great film and a very happy seven year old!

Happy Birthday Tinkerbell Mushroom!!