Category Archives: Random thoughts

Guess who’s coming to dinner…

photo of a toast 
I was wondering the other day that if I were to host a dinner party for five other guests, who would they be? I’m talking celebrity guests, who are still on this earth, whom I would love to have a conversation with…
peter-kayMy first guest would be Peter Kay. I think it would be like having a naughty schoolboy sat at the table, fidgeting and making everyone laugh with his sense of humour.   His observations on life are unerringly accurate: 

“Why do mums buy crap pop? 8 litres of rola cola or panda cola for 18p – never Coca Cola or Pepsi. It won’t fit in the fridge, so not only is it crap, it’s warm!”

“Did you ever make rose perfume? Just get a rola cola bottle, fill it with water and put rose petals in it. I bet the Avon lady was s**tting herself.”

Second would have to be Stephen Fry.   He would be able to tell the most amazing facts and dispel a lot of urban myths, things that he has learnt from presenting QI.


One of my favourite facts was the one about the Giant Tortoise:

“Despite being discovered in 1535, Giant Tortoises weren’t properly catalogued by scientists until the early 1970s because they were so delicious that no samples ever made it back home. “

mary-berryThird on my guest list is Mary Berry. I would love to sit down with her and discuss my total inability to make macaroons. Three times I have tried and three times I have ended up with what I can only describe as a mess on my baking tray. I’m sure she would tell me the errors of my ways and she could also bring the pudding!!

agnethaFourth would be Agnetha Faltskog, (the blond one from Abba for those who don’t know).   What was her relationship with Anni-Frid Lyngstad really like? There is a compelling piece of evidence on YouTube that perhaps their relationship wasn’t as harmonious as they tried to portray. During a televised show singing I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do (phew), Frida gives Agnetha a hard nudge in the side because she thinks Agnetha is getting too friendly with her husband, straight after they are smiles again and this is captured on camera.

And finally the fifth person. I’ve got one person for the laughs, one person for the intellectual conversation, one person for cooking expertise and one person who was from the world of pop, the only thing missing is a bit of eye candy.

70th Annual Golden Globe Awards - Arrivals

Well you can imagine that I had to do a lot of research to get this final bum on the seat and I finally decided on…. drum roll please ….. George Clooney. Yes I know it’s a bit predictable but what’s not to like?


So there you go, my celebrity guest list:


If you’ve got your own guest list, please feel free to comment below, I would love to hear about the celebrity guests you would invite.

Quote: “At a dinner party one should eat wisely but not too well and talk well, but not too wisely.”

W. Somerset Maugham


Some unfinished business…


Have you ever started something with enthusiasm? Have you ever thought to yourself, “This is going to be great fun,” as you tackle the glue gun, knitting needles or the tool box and then one month, two months or three months down the line it’s at the back of a cupboard, half finished and looking very sorry for itself.

When I go to craft fairs I look at the craft stalls and think, “I can do that, that doesn’t look too hard.” That happened to me was when I decided to take up cross stitch, I bought the kit but instead of choosing a simple flower or a teddy bear I had to go for the full blown cottage, with trees and different leaves as a border. I looked at the instructions, boy, were they complicated but I was determined to do it. I managed to do about a quarter of it and then I lost interest.   You might be thinking this was a couple of years ago, but no, I got the cross stitch about 15 years ago.   It was placed in a drawer in the study not to see the light of day until we were packing to move to a new house.

We came across it when we were sorting out some drawers and I was asked if it should be thrown away. I looked at it and didn’t have the heart to chuck it out so it came on the move with us, to be placed in another drawer and once again forgotten about.

Not long ago I was looking for something else and came across this cross stitch, “You know I think I will have another go at this” I thought.

So last night I started on it again. I hope that this renewed enthusiasm will make me finish it this time… 17 years to complete a cross stitch I wonder if that’s a record?

The most common unfinished projects include learning to play a musical instrument (yep, tried that), writing a book (done that, but actually finished it – that’s another story!), gym membership (have to admit to never doing that) restoring a car and numerous DIY projects.

Now there is one unfinished project that needs my attention straight away – the half bottle of wine that’s in the fridge!

My unfinished business…


Quote: “I never want projects to be finished; I have always believed in unfinished work. I got that from Schubert, you know, the ‘Unfinished Symphony” –

Yoko Ono

(Un) Social media?

apple applications apps cell phone

Most mornings I take my dog, Tia, for a walk.  Not too far you know, just about 2 miles a day through the woods and along the beach.  This particular morning I was walking through the woods and a sudden feeling of something wasn’t quite right came over me.  I checked my back left pocket of my jeans, nothing there, checked my right one, not there, just my front door key, I checked my left pocket of my jacket, poo bags in that one, my right pocket – no, not there either.   I tried to rack my brains, where was the last time I saw it?

I suddenly remembered that I had left it on the window sill of the bathroom…. oh no, MY MOBILE IS AT HOME!!

Up until discovering the loss of my mobile, I had been quite happy walking with Tia, but now I know I can’t use my phone, it’s a different story.  I think to myself, “I need to check my emails, oh I can’t.”  I think to myself, “I need to check my messages for work, I can’t.” “Oh, look at that lovely view, I could take a picture and upload it to Facebook, I can’t and I can’t.”  I was going to phone my hubby about something that was happening later on in the day, no, can’t do it.

I give myself a talking to – “Look what’s the problem?  Why don’t you just enjoy the walk, enjoy the peace and quiet, enjoy the views, you can speak to your husband in about half an hour.”  So, I do that.  I look at the trees, smell the freshness of an early morning and accept what nature is offering me.  I look at Tia running through the woods, tail wagging, excitedly following a recent scent and I think to myself that she has got the right idea, just live for the moment and don’t worry about what you might be missing in Facebook or Twitter land.

There is a word in the Cambridge English Dictionary: phubbing, this is defined as:

“The act of ignoring someone you are with and giving attention to your mobile instead.”

cell-phones-ruin-lives-15We’ve all done it – whether it’s glancing at your phone when someone is talking to you or texting while you’re having a meal with friends or family. A recent study found that people who used their phones while eating with friends or family said they enjoyed their meal less and felt more distracted and less engaged than those who didn’t use tech at the table. Perhaps the idea of everyone putting their mobiles in a bowl at the start of the meal and the first person to pick up their phone pays for the meal, isn’t such a bad idea?

I finish my walk and head up to the bathroom to retrieve my phone, steeling myself for the barrage of missed phone calls, unread mail and messages left on my phone.  I look at it and it’s blank, nothing, so actually nobody missed me whilst I was on my walk and the world kept turning!!

Quote: “I miss those days when you could push somebody into a swimming pool and not worry about their mobile.”

Boxing clever?

Have you ever done it? Have you ever sat down to watch TV, get up the onscreen television guide and then begin the process of clicking down and down and down, going and going until you get to the rarely heard of channels towards the bottom of the list? You have probably uttered those words, “We have over 100 channels and there’s nothing to watch!!”

Now you are entering dangerous territory…. in desperation you go to Netflix, Now TV, All Four, Sky and start browsing through the box sets.   You see something that grabs your attention either because someone has told you about it: “So and so said this was really good and that I should give it a try,” or that you’ve seen advertised: “Watch the whole series now on catchup.”

You click on Series One, Episode One and here we go!!   “Actually that was quite good,” and then you see the words on screen, “Episode two is starting in 18 seconds, 17 seconds, 16 seconds,” “I’ve got time, I’ll just watch episode two.”

Several hours later…

“Oh my God, it’s 1am, I’m on episode five and I’ve got to get up early in the morning.” And there you have it, you are now doing what is defined in the English Oxford Living Dictionary as, “binge-watch” meaning: ‘to watch multiple episodes of (a television programme) in rapid succession, typical my means of DVDs or digital streaming.’

My first encounter with binge-watching was Game of Thrones. I watched episode one, loved it, got Phil, my hubby to watch episode one and then we were off. Two, three, four episodes a night, no problem.

Second was The Walking Dead. I watched the entire series by myself as it was about ‘zombies’ and I thought it wouldn’t be Phil’s cup of tea. So every time he was working late or had an evening meeting, I would watch a couple of episodes. One day Phil said that he wanted to watch a series and I suggested The Walking Dead, never thinking that he would be interested, but again, he watched the first episode and was hooked. I had to watch the entire series again, but that didn’t bother me.

These two were swiftly followed by House of Cards, Timeless and Prison Break.

Our latest venture into the boxed sets was The Punisher. Granted it is only two series long, but there are 13 episodes in each.

Jon Bernthal

This stars Jon Bernthal in the main role, he was also in The Walking Dead as Shane, but I have heard that Netflix has now decided to cancel the series.

And finally, the worst part of all, when you finish an entire series… “What am I doing to do now?   Wait for the new season? Watch ‘normal’ television and wait a week for the next episode?”  Nope, search for that next boxed set!!

Quote: “Netflix gives you 15 seconds between episodes to decide whether or not you’re doing anything with your life today.”

Ghost (mis)Adventures


Last year, my husband, Phil and I went on a National Trust road trip. We visited Erddig Hall first, then to Speke Hall and finally to Charlecote Park. But this blog is concentrating on our visit to Speke Hall.

We arrived at Speke Hall at about 7.15pm, a bit late in the evening one would think, but not for us, it was time for a ghost hunt!

Other people began to turn up with varying degrees of nervousness, we all smiled nervously at each other and then the previous ghost hunting party came round the corner. We tried to read their faces, see how nervous they were, but they weren’t giving anything away.

We were greeted by a National Trust guide who issued us with torches which apparently were only for helping us around the house from room to room, once in the room, they were turned off!

After a few do’s and don’ts from the guide, we headed towards the Hall. It was pitch black and the hall was lit only by a couple of lights, making it look very creepy indeed. (I may use the word ‘creepy’ a lot in this!)

We entered the Hall via a small door and stood in the entrance hall to await The Lady in Black (or Sheila as she is known in everyday life). I have to say that none of us saw her arrive and she gave us quite a start, dressed in a period black costume. She explained that she was a paranormal investigator with over ten years experience and that she had investigated all sorts of places. She showed us her paranormal equipment which consisted of a rem pod and EMF detectors, both which are used to signify the presence of something.

Then began the hunt… In each of the rooms we were told of the things that had happened to people: being touched, being pushed, voices heard, dark shadows, spirits manifesting in front of people’s eyes.   There was one particular room where the presence of children is felt and someone in our group did feel cold air in front of them. “Children, do you want to come and play?” asked The Lady in Black, “Come on, hold somebody’s hand, let them know you are here,” at which point I placed my hands firmly in my pocket!

The room which I felt most comfortable with was The Great Hall, there seemed to be a relaxed feel about it which was surprising as this was the room that the paranormal guide had seen spirits manifest in. The room that I felt most uncomfortable in was the blue bedroom – it was a small room and once the torches were out was extremely dark. I was going to grab Phil’s hand at this point, but thought that that was probably the worst thing I could do…

I think that both Phil and I wanted something to happen, for the EMF detectors or rem pod to go off, to hear a bump in the night but unfortunately the spirits were obviously taking a break that night.   All in all though, it was a great first ghost hunt, it wasn’t scary, just very, very creepy!!

We stopped off at Charlecote Place on the way home and whilst I was in the kitchen I heard a voice in my ear say, “Come on!!” in a very impatient manner, I looked at Phil and asked him, “Did you just say something to me?” His reply was, “No, I didn’t say a word…..”

A very creepy Speke Hall, Liverpool

Friends versus The Big Bang Theory



These two programmes must be the most popular comedies in recent years, both are about a group of people, their friendships and relationships, who meet up in key locations and go through various life scenarios.  There is a synergy amongst these two groups of people and when you delve into these two television programmes a bit deeper, similarities are uncovered:

smelly-catSmelly Cat versus Soft Kitty

These are songs which are sung in the series, both about cats.  Both feature on and off throughout the entire series.

Ross and Rachel versus Penny and Leonard

We_were_on_a_breakTwo beautiful women and two nerdy boyfriends.  Ross secretly had a crush on Rachel since she became friends with Monica at school, he chased after her in the initial series but she was oblivious to this, likewise, Leonard liked Penny from the moment he saw her and she wasn’t aware either. Both Ross and Leonard were doctors with PhDs and both Penny and Rachel worked as waitresses, Penny in the Cheesecake Factory and Rachel in Central Perk. Both couples went to Las Vegas and were married, even though Rachel and Ross were divorced not long after.

Gunther versus Stuart

Both are background characters and both work in places where the characters frequent, (although the girls from the Big Bang Theory don’t visit the comic shop as often as the girls from Friends visit Central Perk!). Whilst Gunther had a huge crush on Rachel, Stuart has shown interest in all of the girls from the Big Bang. They are both slightly depressing characters, Gunther being a failed actor and Stuart forever struggling with his comic shop.

Both shows have the perfect seat

When Rachel moves in with Joey, she asks him to move his recliner to which Joey says, “It is the exact equal distance from the bathroom to the kitchen and it’s at the perfect angle so you don’t get any glare coming off of Stevie!” 

And Sheldon has his reasons for his spot: “In the winter, that seat is close enough to the radiator to remain warm, and yet not so close as to cause perspiration. In the summer, it’s directly in the path of a cross breeze created by opening windows there and there. It faces the television at an angle that is neither direct, thus discouraging conversation, nor so far wide as to create a parallax distortion. I could go on.

The Jealous Girlfriend

In Friends, Ross met and fell for Emily who took a dislike to Rachel, forbidding him to have contact with her, unfortunately Ross says Rachel’s name at the alter making matters a whole lot worse.  Then we have Priya in the Big Bang Theory who goes out with Leonard and changes the way he looks and also forbids him from seeing Penny.

And a few quick one liner similarities:

  • Both Monica and Penny have no idea about their partner’s jobs.
  • Howard/Rojesh and Chandler/Joey bromances.
  • Both Penny and Rachel aren’t very good cooks.
  • Bernadette once tried to seduce Howard when she was sick, as did Monica to Chandler when she had a streaming cold.
  • Fat Monica versus Fat Leonard, Raj and Stuart.



Members of both programmes met up recently.

Quote: What computer do you have? And please don’t say, “A white one.”

Sheldon Cooper


Does working from home, work?

Most mornings I walk my dog along the local high street, I go past the local supermarket, which is already busy with deliveries and customers purchasing their morning newspaper or their lunch for work.  Cyclists race past me, no doubt grateful if the sun has decided to shine that morning, cars roar past, hastily making their way to join the nearest traffic jam.  It’s at this time that I am grateful I am not joining them in the process called ‘commuting to work’.

I work from home.  Some may look at that sentence and think, “No, I could never do that,” some may look at it and say, “Wow, I’d love to do that.”  I have spent my whole working life in offices: some big, open plan and some not big enough to swing a cat in (though why anyone would bring a cat to work is beyond me!).

Most of the offices I have worked in have been good fun.  There’s been laughs, jokes and cream cakes, lots of cakes I might say,  but on the flip side there’s also been tears, arguments and lots of office politics.  What do I mean by office politics?  Well, let me give you a few examples: “I want the light on,” “I want the light off,” “I want the window open,” “I want the window shut,” “I want the air con at this temperature,” “I want it cooler/hotter,” “I want to tell you to shut the hell up.”  Okay, that last one was normally said in my head, but I am sure those of you who work in an office have experienced some of these office politics.

I have always wanted to work from home, but my idea was to sit in front of a computer and produce best selling novels one after the other.  (This has nearly come true, but that’s another story).

I think this sums up working from home pretty well

My actual day job is typing television scripts and interviews for TV shows and it’s very interesting, my general knowledge is coming on leaps and bounds.  I love the fact that I can plan my day around my work and a big bonus is that I’m always in when a parcel is delivered.

In-between jobs I can put out the washing, unload the dishwasher, sneak an episode of Ghost Adventures (have you seen Zak?) and get out something for tea.

So taking everything into consideration I think that working from home does work as long as you have self discipline and enjoy your own company!

Mind you, it is a bit annoying when it comes to clearing the table after dinner and everyone says they don’t have to do it because they’ve been at work and I’m volunteered as I’ve been home all day ….

Quote: “Everybody brings joy to this office, some when they enter and some when they leave.”


My Inspiration

Today is International Women’s Day and I have no hesitation in writing about my mum, she was and still is my inspiration and here’s why:

Hendrika Adriana Hoegee

My mum was 12 years old when on 10th May, 1940, German troops invaded the Netherlands. She was living in Rotterdam, in Clemensstraat to be exact, at the time. She was told to pack up a bag and her mother, father and two brothers went to the Maastunnel, (a tunnel which connects the banks of the Nieuwe Maas) along with neighbours and friends, to hide from the Germans.

They hid in the Maastunnel for a few days, eating and sleeping as a community and because the Germans hadn’t invaded the tunnel, families began to move out and went back to their homes, back to a new way of life.

Their daily routines had now changed, there were curfews, set times when they had to be back in their own homes. Some children would play a game of chicken during these curfews, running under the cover of darkness from one house to another. This was a deadly game because if the Germans had seen them they would have undoubtedly been shot.

Queuing with her mother in a butchers one day for their rations, she was suddenly pushed to the ground, she heard the sound of gunshots and when she stood up, saw the dead bodies of Jews who had minutes before been queuing with her.

The occupation lasted for five years and the Germans officially surrendered on May 5, 1945, my mum was 17 years old.


When the British Army arrived in Rotterdam, my mum met my dad and they decided to move back to England and get married. She lived in a village called Netley with her mother and father-in-law, while my dad was posted abroad with the army. It must have been hard, living with people you hardly knew, husband away and not being able to speak a word of English.

Mum lived in Netley all her life, worked in local businesses, raised four children and ten grandchildren. She was a well known figure, I remember that just a trip to the local post office would take a long time as she would stop to chat with different people.

She died 15 years ago and will always be an inspiration to me.





definition: the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences.

giphyKarma is a fickle thing. It can strike straight away or it can wait until it is least expected, one, two, three years later, there’s no time limit on karma.

I am it’s biggest fan, I can apply anything to it. Today I was in the living room swatting a fly with a tea towel and for once actually managed to stun it. I put it outside the front door, turned around and banged my knee on the door frame – that’s karma, I thought as I rubbed my knee. That’s it, in it’s simplest form, I hurt the fly, the universe hurts me.

Sometimes it’s more complicated than this and karma takes it time to happen, sometimes in spectacular fashion, sometimes in a more subtle way.

One of my favourite karma stories is the one where a man is travelling on the London Underground when a guy blocks his way. The man responds to this by hurling abuse at the guy, swearing at him and shoving his way past. It may have been that this man was stressed as he was heading for an interview at Forward Partners…. the guy he pushed past and swore at? Yes you’ve guessed it was Head of Talent and Recruiting at Forward Partners. The man didn’t get the job, but they did clear the air during the interview though.



If you do happen to do something that you are maybe not so proud of and think you’ve got away with it …. just remember, Karma has no deadline!

Quote: “A little girl seeks revenge.  A real woman moves on while karma does her dirty work.”

The Spider Hunt

Now I’m not usually scared of spiders – if I see one in the house I normally let it carry on with it’s daily business and we all live in domestic harmony.   But this spider was different…

The first time I saw it was one evening just as I was entering the bedroom – there it was big, black with hairy legs scurrying across the headboard of the bed. I let out a shriek, mainly because it was so unexpected. Phil, my husband, rushed into the bedroom asking what was the matter? “A huge, black spider just ran across the headboard” I explained and estimated the size with my hands. He looked at me disbelievingly, a spider THAT big, never. I nervously got into bed and had a restless night, dreaming of spiders running across me while I slept.

Every time I passed the bedroom the following day I would put my head in and see if I spied the spider – no, nothing until the evening when again going into the bedroom there it was, this time on the footboard of the bed, again scurrying (I like that word!) to safety underneath the bed.   Again I shrieked but Phil didn’t see it. “Perhaps you should keep quiet the next time you see it and it won’t run off” he suggested.  Another restless night with the combination of the spider situation and the hot weather (I couldn’t sleep on top of the duvet for fear of the spider running over me!)

Then Phil saw the spider and he had to agree it was pretty big. It ran under the bed and Phil pulled up the mattress to find it, but it had disappeared.   I went to my side of the bed and there it was, but again, it ran under the bed. I’d had enough by now and told Phil that I wouldn’t be coming to bed until it was found. So we waited and waited: nothing!   We were tired so the lamp was switched off and we tried to go to sleep.

About five minutes later Phil said “Shall I put the light back on and see if it is around?” As I was sweating under the duvet I agreed. He switched the lamp on and we both looked on our sides of the bed to see if it was around. “This is like one of those comedy horror films when they’re looking around for the spider and it’s above them on the headboard all the time” I joked. With that Phil looked at our headboard and there it was! Large as life and probably smiling menacingly at us.

Now I go back to the original paragraph where I state that I normally let the spiders carry on with their business, but I’m sorry not this one, it had caused me two restless nights and now it was just taunting us. Phil grabbed his weapon of choice, my flip flop and flattened it.   It fell onto the bed defeated.

After Phil had disposed of the body, we lay in bed happy in the knowledge that we were spider free.

“Perhaps that was the mummy spider and now the bigger, hairier, blacker daddy spider will come and look for her” said Phil just before we went to sleep.

Bugger, another restless night!

“That moment when you walk into a spider’s web and suddenly turn into a karate master.”