Friday, 6 November 2009


Mes tres chers amis de mon coeur, or words to that effect.

What a glorious subject this is for my pen, to be sure, for the summer is long past, the harvest is gathered, and today I saw a vile child ripping open the windows of an Advent calendar to get at the low-quality chocolate. In Germany, the windows are called Turchen* (little doors) and the chocolate is top-notch. As usual we lag behind.

Yesterday, I was let down by an unreliable man; but did I mope about like an adolescent? I did not. On a whim, I grabbed a lime and a knife, a glass and four cans of readymixed Gordons and tonic and shot down to Maidenhead Thicket to absorb the breathtaking colours bestowed upon us by the seasons of mist.

How strange is the change of the seasons! For once those immemorial elms did not play silent witness to countless dogging couples and homosexualist thrillseekers. No, the dank chill of a November afternoon had sent them scurrying to the room-by-the-hour hotel (Sole Prop. Freddie Starr) at Knowl Hill, and so I was free to meander about the woods until I reached my favourite place. Here, by an old birch tree trunk, now covered with sulphur-tuft, is where I had the terrifying fall from my maddened old mare in May 1999. Kind friends will recall how I suffered two compound fractures and, as I gazed on the bones protruding from my very flesh, two gracious old alfresco copulators bound me up with their flag of Austria and summoned help. By the sheer Grace of God, and the skillful ministrations of the Man Who Put Frankie Dettori Back Together Again, I am blemish free; but the fear and flashbacks were with me for months.

I sometimes come to this spot to exorcise the ghost, for I feel sure that my terror hangs in the ether, waiting to cause some other fearful incident. How many other horses have shied at an unseen wraith, or caught the scent of spilt blood and pain? Who cares. I sit on the trunk when I visit and make a silent toast. To me. Yesterday, I drank my four Gordons and felt better for it.

The leaves have all changed, and many are dropping. The sycamores are infected with tarspot fungus, but it was heartening to watch the starlings in the bramble bushes, still hanging around in their flocks. Starlings don't pair up until March or April, and in the Autumn they moon around in adolescent gangs. I also saw a bullfinch in a maple.

The Thicket runs up to the edge of the A4. In the layby is a kebab van. The operator is a Turk and he rang for a taxi for me. I did not buy a kebab, but he gave me a gherkin.

I hope you have enjoyed these informative observations from an English countrywoman in her prime, and that it may bring some joy to your humdrum lives.

*no umlauts, as per

Wednesday, 21 October 2009


My dear friends

I don't seem to be able to stray far from the bookies these days. We have a bijou branch of UBetCha in the village, and last week I was there to place a small wager on the outcome of the Strictly Come Dancing Race-Row. Needless to say, it came to nought, and I lost a fiver, largely due to the intervention of mine host, Bruce Forsyth. This morning I returned: bets are being placed on tomorrow night's Question Time, and specifically at which point one of the panelists will laughingly observe "Well, David, hahahahahaha, I find myself in the.......errrm......surprising.........embarrasing..........hahahaha...........position of agreeing with Nick Griffin". I say it will come as a response to an anodyne question, posed by a matron from Acton, about Transport for London. Others are backing a brouhaha about the Olympics, particularly to do with facilities for canoeists. The most popular - and short odds are offered for this one - is the lighthearted question right at the end: a student from the London School of Home Economics will ask if anyone else has noticed that corned-beef tins have become harder to get into , and there will be backslapping jollity all round. Griffin will observe that corned-beef keys used to stronger and whiter in the old days, and there will be muted applause. Jack Straw will make a crack about not being able to get the lid off a pickle jar and everyone will love him. D. Dimbleby will say "let us defer to the ladies! What are your kitchen bett-nyoirs, Bonnie Greer?" and she will vouchsafe that Mr Obama wants to see a can of CheezeMate in every scullery in the States. Lady Warsi will be trump everyone with an encomium to Doopiaja Loaf and from the back row, an aged scapegrace will shout "Give us a bash of the bangers and mash me mother used to make!" It will end with an excruciating tirade of puns from their Chairman ("I hope this has given you all food for thought, and that you are nourished if not satiated by the strong meat on offer tonight. If you are hungry for more, join me next week when we will be in Melton Mowbray").

Of course, I shall be glued to the box - who won't? - but I fear that the frolicsome picture I paint above may be close to the truth. The only person missing is Mr Blair. It would have been nice to have seen him gazing ardently into the camera to tell us that Mr Griffin is, of course, the people's Nazi.

Of course, Mr Griffin is the Bagoas de nos jours. Scholars amongst you will know that he was of the court of Artaxerxes Ochus, and put in charge of profaning the temples of the Jews. He killed Ochus, fed his flesh to tigers and made cutlery from his bones; but then he dropped a bollock, as the young people say. He made Ochus's youngest son king, and his name was Arses. Yes, as the history books have it, "Bagoas placed Arses on the throne", and that is what we remember of him, if we remember him at all. Goodness, how Mhari and I laughed when we first read that at school! In our view, it was top quality comedy, give-or-take Dick Emery, and the fact that Bagoas was a eunuch made it even funnier. If only we could find a way of making Mr Griffin a figure of fun! It would be too easy to point to his peculiar eyes (well, not that easy: one is off to the shops; the other coming back with the change) and, anyway, it's already been done with Mr Brown. Maybe we should focus on his winsome ways with Nuremberg instead? Surely there is something?

Bagoas was beastly, it's true, but let us not forget the mean-spirited approach of Ochus, Prince of Persia. He refused to visit his native country for fear of having to give each of his women a piece of gold. This cheeseparing behaviour is far more widespread than any of Bagoas's brutalities. Here in the Thames Valley, mealy-mouthed men are tightening their belts and refusing to pay for Pedro Garcia ankle boots or trips to Jumby Bay. Simone Micallef necklaces lay unbought in Bond Street bijoutiers and a 1959 bottle of Grands Echezeaux was forbidden to me on Saturday night. The whole thing is beyond reason.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009


Mes tres chers amis de mon coeur, or words to that effect. Have you missed me? Silly question; of course you have! Every last one of you, even Inky, that sumptuous old scapegrace. And you ache to know where I've been. Well, let me just say this: sophisticated, soignee, sumptuously attired; rigorously cosmopolitan, regularly un peu distrait, relentlessly loaded, I am above all things a mother, and when a child calls for my ministrations I rush to its side, regardless of the cause. A broken heart, a bouncing cheque or a bellyful of Butyrophenone can all be eased by a mother's warm embrace and a working knowledge of oral antipsychotics. I know all parents will smile with wry recognition at these words, as they recall the finer points of The Misuse of Drugs (Notification of Addicts) Act 1973, a text more well-thumbed than anything by Dr Miriam Stoppard in this house. In short, I had an indisposed child in a foreign country, and I rushed to her side. Which mother wouldn't? Kind friends will be heartened to hear that I found the time to stop off in Singapore for some shopping and I arrived home in a silk Roksanda Ilincic and a pair of Pedro Garcia ankle boots. The words "Portsmouth on paynight" trembled on the lips of a baggage-handler, but someone has to rock the raddled old tart look, and it may as well be me.

Anyhoo, as a result, I am half-maddened with fatigue, and cannot find an original thought to call my own, so I have decided to re-visit some of my finer pieces. For many months, my inbox has been becrammed with requests, and so I will start by gratifying the whim of Mr Claud Thirst of Cookham Dean who writes: "What price the jolly old season of mists, eh, Mrs Pouncer? My wife, Muriel, and I would oft-times settle down with a steaming pot of Darjeeling and 120 Milibands of Pyridostigmine Bromide, the better to enjoy the reports of your rural rambles. Any chance of re-running your greatest work "Still Autumn", with a dedication to our dear friends Lillian and Gillian Raine? It will remind us of happier times, before Mrs Ulrika Jonson moved in and bang went the neighbourhood".

Mr Thirst, I am happy to oblige.

STILL AUTUMN by Mrs Clarissa Pouncer First published 23 September 2008

An old faker, whose name happily escapes me, once said it was important to "breathe native air", and I must say I agree. I return ever and anon to the dewy pastures along the A4 where my very character was built, and my very soul delights. I know how important it is to those of you who live in the squalor of our cities to share this with me.

I crossed over the county boundary past Maidenhead, past Cookham and into Buckinghamshire. Almost immediately, the beech takes over, and I can only hope that my humble pen can capture the true majesty of the trees in their splendour. These woods are regarded as the best of the ancient British woodlands, and some of the pollarded trees are over 500 years old. I can't tell you about magnificent Autumn colours, because beech trees are the last to turn, sometimes hanging on until late November, but the beechnuts were thick on the ground. Beech nuts were once known as "buck" which is how the county got its name, although the proper term is "beech masts". Needless to say, the whole place was aswarm with greedy squirrels, and almost as many mycologists peering at the fungi, and taking scrapings, which is technically illegal. I didn't say anything; I've benefited from enough mycology in the past, God knows.

I was surprised to see so much elder around the edges of the wood. Elders stink, quite literally; a strong antiseptic smell, which flies and other pests hate. A piece of split elder makes an extremely effective fly-whisk and cases of elder used to be shipped out to the colonies in the glorious old days. When I was a child, it wasn't unusual to see horses with elder leaves on their browbands to keep the horseflies off.

I became quite overwhelmed with nostalgia as I came back through Bourne End, hard by Hedsor, and saw the dear old river ahead. As a girl, and well into my twenties, I would swim off the gentle bank, losing myself in the gritty water, with my feet sometimes hopelessly entangled in the waving weeds. I once swam with a boy I loved all the way to the backwater at Bray, but noone shouted Health and Safety. We could all swim like mermaids, and those weaker ones could at least scream for rescue. These days everything is verboten, and I blame the lawyers. They have advised the agencies that permanent lifeguards are required to avoid litigation, and as a result river swimming is dying.

Immersion soothes muscles, relieves depressions and releases a natural endorphin high that elates the senses and creates an addictive urge. There is absolutely nothing to be lost by taking the plunge.

Saturday, 12 September 2009


Sunday 6 September got home from Eze.

Monday to Friday schlepped around.

Saturday - tonight - met Gyppo Byard! How lucky am I? How lucky is he?

Friday, 21 August 2009


Mes chers amis

How grateful I am to you all for your continued interest in my godson, Wulfric. I know that there is just one question on your lips tonight: what did he get? Well, you may all crack open a bouteille of Uerziger Wurzgarten 1961 and drink a deep draught, for the boy got straight As and is off to his reward. Let the toast be Rugby School, and let the response be Ed Balls God Bless Him. I like to think that I have played a vital role in the lad's success, although this may be met with scorn in some grittier quarters (Mr Beast of Bournemouth). The fact is, although relentlessly loaded and repeatedly wrecked, I know my maths, which comes as a vile shock to some ingrates (Mr Inky Inkermann: I once trounced him with my take on Kronecker's work) who can't believe that it sits comfortably with my glamorous life. To them I say this: it is all in the genes, and there is nothing to be done about it; like maternal-pattern baldness, for example.

My dear old father died in February, and I am still clearing a mountain of paperwork. I have mentioned his journals before, I know, particularly his Restaurant Reviews ("The Americans Paid!" ..... "...the worst escalope di vitello farcita I have ever eaten ...", ..."pantouffle Perigourdine in Abergavenny ...", ......"A 1945 ch. Croizet Bages didn't disappoint ..." etc. etc ....) and also his archive of arithmetic. He was a man of parts, my father. He loved football and rugby, Mahler, Joseph Conrad and Kim Novak, but mainly he loved maths. It was his hobby. He was a General Practitioner of the old school, with a surgery in a Thameside village and a private practice in London (now don't get snotty - they ALL did in those days) but he couldn't do a crossword puzzle to save his life. I will never forget how he tore his hair out over one clue: Sloppy Onward Address (4). The harridan and I got it immediately*. He gave up without a fight. He found his relaxation in numbers and, like his friend Lancelot Hogben, filled his journals with his thoughts. I found this today, dated November 1959:

"De Moivre discovered a new field of calculating devices by using the mathematical gerund i as Diophantus had used the mathematical gerund "-a". What is called de Moivre's theorem started a new chapter in modern algebra just as the law of signs started a new chapter in the algebra of antiquity. de Moivre's theorem, like the binomial theorem of Omar Khayyam is a rule for raising a quantity to some power represented by the operator n written in the top left hand corner".

He then gives an example with which I won't bore you. The point is that he was attempting to say something powerful. Namely, don't bother about the meaning of this, because a rule in mathematics is either a statement about its consistency with with other rules, or a statement about how it can be used. First of all, you should satisfy yourself that it is consistent with what you know already about sines, cosines, negative quantities, square roots and powers. I hope I haven't lost you. He then goes onto some theorising about vector analysis and finally uses a word I have never seen before: mantissa (the positive fractional part of the logarithm). The irony isn't lost on me. I'm sure this word will come up in a crossword. Probably this week.

Forgive me, I am a bit maudlin and a bit pissed. What a combination! However, I quite like it. It is the end of a working week and, ever since I came out to you as a member of the real economy with a real job, my inbox has been becrammed with bleatings. Mrs Pouncer! (they say) Are you really a woman of commerce? And to this I say, yes, I am, and I Kick Ass on the High Street. For those who still languish in the mire of disbelief, I give my Glossary of Commercial Terms.

An AGENT is a person who transacts business for another. His CHARGE or FEE is usually so much percent of the value of the business carried out. This is called COMMISSION. An agent who buys and sells shares is called a BROKER and his charge is called BROKERAGE. The term DISCOUNT is used to mean a percentage taken off amount payable. DEPRECIATION is noted as a stocktaking percentage written off each year to meet decrease in value - generally quoted at 1% on buildings, 5% on stock and 10% on machinery. All debts a man owes are his LIABILITIES. All his possessions are his ASSETS. If his liabilities are greater than his assets, he is INSOLVENT. To whom he owes money are called his CREDITORS. The term DISCOUNT is also used in buying and selling to mean a percentage off an amount payable. This is known as TRADE DISCOUNT. Yes, I am JEWISH. Try these handy problems to see if you've kept up:

1. A bankrupt owes £73,5000 and his assets realise £11,630. What can he pay per £1?
2. A bill of £400 drawn 1 August at 6 months was discounted 4 August at 8 per cent. What amount of discount was deducted?
3. How much is written off for depreciation in three years at 5% on plant originally worth £3500?
4. A,B & C each contribute £680 to a business capital. A's lies all year, ~B's for 10 months and C's for 8 months. If the profit is £412 how much should each receive?
5. If 12 oxen and 35 sheep eat 12 tons 12 cwts of hay in 8 days, how much will it cost to feed 9 oxen and 12 sheep for 14 days, the price of hay being £4 per ton and 3 oxen eating as much as 7 sheep?

My godson, bound as he is for Peterhouse to read Maths, looked blank. I was appalled and gratified. You see, we ARE cleverer, no matter what Mr A. Salmond, finder of lost children and truly my brother's keeper, may think, and thank heavens for that.

*The answer is MUSH.

Friday, 7 August 2009


Mes tres chers amis

I will be incommunicado for some days.  Tomorrow, I have to deliver Mutti, the glamorous old harridan, to her cousin's cottage in Corfe Castle, a gloomsome model village, built to scale, in an inaccessible part of Dorset, or Darzet as the locals have it.  There is no room for me in the begrimed hovel, I am relieved to report, so I shall stay for two nights at Mortons House Hotel (no apostrophe), a ludicrously self-satisfied almost-adequate on a busy road.  I see that it has been awarded the Bronze Award for Accessible Entry by the South Wales Tourist Board.  This accolade moves me to an incandescent rage.  Why should Accessible Entry be so important to the Southern Welsh?  Some people are hoity-toity, I must say.  What about the North Walians?  Do they prefer something more challenging?  And who won the Gold?  Rest assured, I shall be making careful note of how accessible I find entry on arrival.  If I find it wanting, I shall say.  Or I shall move to the Bankes Arms across the road.  The entry there is very accessible, although the exit is oft-times more difficult, particularly when one is incapable through drink, or attempting to squeeze through the huge oaken doorway whilst a stout party from the Midlands is adjusting his dress.

I hope you will wish me Godspeed and good weather.  This time last year, you will recall, I was in Antibes for a month,  the toast of Cap d'Agde and dining with the Michael Howards.  How times change!  Saturday night will find me sitting on my chaste couch, gazing at a distant vista of the Purbeck hills, a large vodka and slimline in one hand and 40mg of Flupenthixol Decanoate in the other.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009


Mes chers amis

My friend, Mapstew, asks why I wouldn't want to be Beth Ditto, and I can answer this impertinent question with two words: fat lesbian.  I would be completely hopeless as a fat person, and particularly useless as a lesbian finding hot girl-on-girl action a huge yawnarama.  I am sorry to say that some disappointed suitors can attest to this.  Also, I do not have the discipline and commitment required to become truly fat, as I am easily distracted from the task in hand (eg eating a pie) and I am too nervous to enter a fast food establishment.  Occasionally, when my prodigal son turns up on the doorstep, with his burning eyes, his hacking cough and raccoon skin hat, I take him for a Drive Thru at MacDonalds.  I don't mind doing this.  My boy shouts his order into an intercom and the wageslave asks if he wants to go large.  Occasionally, I will agree to a Diet Cherry Coke, but I have never had a cheeseburger, nor a Whoppa in my mouth.  The MacDonalds we prefer is opposite Reading Gaol.  Sometimes, if we park up, my son will observe that it looks fucking awful.  

I see other people going into fast fooderies and I envy them.  They seem to know what to do.  I would be completely lost, because you have to place your order immediately, or risk annoying the queue, and you have to know which sauce you prefer.  Under no circumstances can you change your mind,  and the napkins are kept in a patented plexiglass trap.  This is all I know of MacDonalds.  I cannot even begin to imagine what goes on in KFC or Domino's.  However, I have to tell you that in Marlow we still have a Wimpy Bar.  Yes, really, we do.  The Henley Branch has only just closed down (to make way for an Oxfam Bookshop of all the gloomsome things!) so connoisseurs of frankfurters twirled around fried eggs and the fabled Brown Derby dessert have to head down-river.  You will be relieved to hear that it is still strictly waitress service and that the menu is illustrated, as it ever was, with highly coloured photographs of the fare.  All you have to do is point.  No flimflam about sauces, either, as there is a red plastic tomato and a ridged brown dispenser on every table.  The dimmer of my twins worked the Gaggia there during one unforgettable summer.  His spirited cry of "Una cappuccino, no froth!" was strictly pre-Starbucks.

But I digress.  My thrust here is weight.  My mailbox is oft-times becrammed with the plaintive plea:  Mrs Pouncer, how do you retain your schoolgirl figure (ie that of Marigold Russell in the first reel of Blue Murder at St Trinian's, gymslip and all)?  My answer is simple: history.  It is a generational thing, I'm afraid, and there is nothing that portly youth can do about it.  In the 1970s we walked everywhere; there was no rural bus service to speak of, and parents did not operate as Licensed Cab Drivers in those days.  Food in England was not easily available: you had to sit down to eat, for one thing.  The thought of Boots the Chemist providing sandwiches and Fruits of the Forest Yogosnaps was unthinkable then.  There were chipshops, yes, but none operated before 6.00 pm, and the only Kebab house I knew of was in Lambs Conduit Street.  I know some of you will yield up the appalling cry: what about sausage rolls and Oeufs Ecossais then, Mrs Pouncer?  Non-kosher, you aunts.

We all smoked, and when not smoking we chewed gum.  And then there were diet drinks.  How we loved them! My friends would neck quarts of Fresca and Diet Coke (Just For The Taste Of It!) but I loved Tab beyond all human comprehension.  I wouldn't have touched Tango with a bargepole; if it wasn't crammed full of cyclamates and sodium benzoate, I wasn't drinking - and none of this Tommyrot about how it inhibited mitachondrial DNA, either!  We couldn't care less.  We were on a roll then (an Energen Starch Reduced one) as the diet industry kicked in and lycra became leisure wear.  We had Limmits Crackers, Outline Low Fat Spread, ToniBell yoghurt and Savoury Beef Bisks - and whatever happened to Ayds?  Actually, I never ate any of this stuff, as by then I was supporting a moderate barb. habit and tipped the scales at just under 8 stone.  Of course, it wasn't healthy, I am not pretending it was, but the pavements were not logjammed with hefting teenagers who are too fat to care.  That can't be healthy either, can it? 

The trouble is that a healthy diet is a dreary diet, but I would always put my hand up for more spinach, raspberries, kneidlach, marzipan and vodka.  That's balance.

Friday, 17 July 2009


My dear friends

I have just come in from a terrible evening at a drearsome bar in Windsor.  Over-priced and under-staffed, the clientele was of the basest kind:  vile old junk-bond traders, lady watercolourists, friends of Princess Eugenie and raddled old inebriates, self included.  A bad-shave Turk sang Baglasam Durmam in a threatening way.  I retaliated with L'hatchil l'hamshich, and things might have turned ugly, but luckily I accepted a Pink Squirrel* from an admiring Armenian,  and we were all smiles before the bell tolled.

Why should a licensed premises be so becrammed with people you would hope didn't exist?  The whole thing is beyond reason.  I don't include myself in that doomed roll call, of course, but it did make me think of who I really wouldn't want to be.  I scribbled this list down in the taxi home:

As Clarissa Pouncer awoke one morning from uneasy dreams, she found she had been turned into:

1. Herostratus
2. Virginia Wade
3. Ron Weasley
4. Moira Anderson
5. Kappauf of Citizen K
6. Beth Ditto
7. Nicolas Copernicus
8. Lilian Bellamy
9. Rod Blagojevich
10. Mr Jacqui Smith

I do hope you agree with my selection.

*Pink Squirrel
1 oz creme de noyaux
1 oz white creme de cacao
1 oz cream
Shake with ice

Thursday, 9 July 2009


Hi Honey, I'm ho-ome.  I can imagine how thrilled you all must be!  Rest assured, I will be giving you the skinny on Rimmy just as soon as I am choc-full of Sinequan and soda, but for now I provide these opulent pensees to tide you over.  I fully intend to publish a small travel tome which I will have privately printed, bound in deerhide with an overall Chinoiserie motif and tooled in the Grolieresque tradition with gilt and guilt.  It is to be entitled Rimini Ways and Rimini Days and will remind some of the works of Ex-Crown Princess Hedwig of Saxe-Rothenburg.

 Just to give you some clue as to the state I'm in,  I must tell you that I took a taxi from Heathrow to home.  I could not face the Railair bus; I am sorry, I just couldn't.  A surfeit of alcohol and not much sleep has left me jittery and unstable.  At the airport I ate a sausage roll. That is how bad I am.  Non-kosher carbs in full view of the El Al frequent flyer lounge. Desperate.

Since revealing myself to be a member of the real economy, with a real job in which I meet real people and make real decisions, my inbox has been becrammed with demands from dreary women wanting to know the secrets of my success.  What shall we wear?  What shall we buy? With whom should we be seen?  This is the burden of their song.  Obviously, I am uniquely placed to answer these pleas, but I do not want to alienate my menfolk, or Kev and Gadj. Therefore, for a limited period only, I intend to split my posts into two distinct halves: one for each gender.  I will strive to make it abundantly clear which is which.

Can I say that these unimaginative enquirers are not my regular readers.  They do not feature in my comment box, nor are they fans or followers.  Many are from the United States and host knitting blogs.  Some are Australian.  There is a Canadian, a South African, three Kiwis and a farmer's wife from the Falklands.   A harridan from the Netherlands wants to know about Coccinelle bucket bags, and two Austrians - twins - ask if I know Vincent Lacrocq.  I am even solicited from Sweden!  Who would have thought that race would need style counsel?  (unbridled mirth here from Mrs Pouncer who believes the Swedes to be out there in the frump-stakes, Abba notwithstanding.  And I don't care what anyone says, the blonde one had clinical lordosis which is why she wore johdpurs and  zouaves.  I am  a doctor's daughter.  I see these things).  A native Emirati issues a poignant plea: I wear a floor-length black niqab every day. How should I accessorize?  And a Latvian hussy boasts about her huge rack before asking about Agent Prov's new fishnet knickers.   See what I am up against!  The job is almost too big, but I am up to the challenge, I know I am.   Now, just follow me:

(Everything you read here is true.  I don't fuck about with "in my opinion" or "it's a matter of personal choice".  You must follow my advice to the very letter.   Otherwise, it is all a waste of my precious time).

Q.  Which black eyeliner should I buy?  I want to look like you.
A.  Guerlain's Indian Black Kohl.  If you are poor, or live in an area that still supports a Budgen (most of Wiltshire; Telford, etc) Dolce & Gabbana's Stromboli Eye Pencil comes in at £5 cheaper.

Q. I am going to the seaside.  Usually, I go to Antibes, but this year I am poor and have to go to Camber Sands.  How can I avoid suicide?
A. Silly!  An oversize Irwin & Jordan shirt (the androgynous shift is the only thing to wear a la plage this  year; do NOT lie down and die in a Matthew Williamson kaftan), a pair of Casadei gold sandals, a huge Epice bag and  a bright yellow Agua Bendita.  You can then ignore your irredeemably prolly surroundings.  Don't forget to sneer.  Do not buy a Mivvy from the icecream man.  Do not strike up a conversation with a pleb.

Q.  Quick, Mrs Pouncer!  I stink of drink and Kensitas!
A.  Dr Maroon!  You are in the wrong section!  However, I am nothing if not giving and Marc Jacobs Splash Sorbet in Grapefruit can be used by either gender without their sexuality being called into question.  It is also available in Pear & Basil, which you might like to spritz over your oatmeal, hemhem.

Q.  Mrs Pouncer, why can't I be you?
A.  Good heavens!  I would have thought that was obvious.  However, never say die.  Start with Sisleya Radiance Anti-Ageing Concentrate (£200 House of Fraser, Selfridges, Harrods, Harvey Nicks.  Not Boots; not Superdrug) and work down.  Agent Prov's new fishnet knickers cannot fail.  And hips don't lie, as Shakira reminds us.  Get your hair cut by Sam McKnight - say I sent you.  Wear Plexiglass jewellery and Nicholas Ghesquiere glasses.  Own at least one vintage Halston piece and a silk dress by Missoni. Drink gin.  Sleep alone.

Q.  What about minge?
A.  Ye Gods!  How vile!  Who are you?  No, never mind.  Go to St James's Beauty Rooms (Strutton Ground, SW1) where they do the most painfree Brazilians.  Between times, Gillette's Venus Embrace is the only thing to use, particularly if you have a shaky hand.

Q.  Mrs Pouncer, I have done everything a bad man asked me to.  How much should this be worth in pounds sterling, or as some tchotchke or other?
A.  You sound like my younger self!  The Wages of Sin this season are easily identified:  A Mulberry Bayswater clutch, a Mulberry Piccadilly high-heel pump and a night at the Langham (Portland Place; 020 7965 0191) should suffice.

I do hope you have all benefited from this advice.  Tomorrow, I will address the men.  But now ... I drink!

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Per Favore Smetti di Parlare ad Alta Voce in Questa Lingua Irritante

Just brief tidings this evening, I am afraid, for I am Rimini-bound tomorrow and must be rested and prepared for my Itie public.  During my absence, the household will be catered for by Mrs Rumteigh, the sumptuous old drudge, and her lackadaisical husband, who will, no doubt, allow my sweet peas to run to seed, and the dogs to create a huge pile of ordure which will await my return.  Why do I always land in the shit, and sometimes quite literally?  It is beyond reason.

Mrs R pronounces Rimini as Rih-meany.  This is a good example of her lack of rigour, and also her turncoat ways, for she writhes into conniptions should anyone dare to produce her surname as "Rum-tay", for example.  She also stutters over Vuitton, L. Annaeus Seneca and Cyclophosphamide, but I extend the hand of forgiveness, for she is a woman of mean intelligence and even meaner disposition.  Noblesse oblige.  For myself, I will admit to a weakness here, for I have never been able to learn Italian.  I know many of you will swoon at this news, having admired and loathed my facility with languages over the years.  I don't know how to explain it.  There is not much I can't get my tongue around, as  some will be happy to attest, but there is something about the singsong quality of that parlance that escapes me.  I suppose it might also explain my avoidance of Max Bygraves.  Who knows?  Rest assured, I have packed a little phrase book, so that I might dredge up such useful rejoinders as Veramente, signor poliziotto, la sua faccia era gia cosi quando l'ho incontrato, or the ever-popular Cazzo!  But I will rely mainly on the proven tack of speaking slowly and loudly and refusing to use public lavatories.  This has stood me in good stead in many places, including Algiers and County Monaghan.

I will take the Alitalia flight tomorrow, late afternoon, from Heathrow, which will be as beastly as ever, and arrive at Le Meridien Rimini in time for an oily evening repast.  This is not a holiday; I cannot emphasise this strongly enough.  This is a promotional freebie, which means work; yes, hard work, and plenty of it.  I am there at the behest of a gnarled old magazine editor who wants the skinny on the newly refurb'd Ekstasis Spa, and I suppose I will be obliged to submit to all manner of strange and unnatural treatments, including high colonics and flagellations.  What an appalling prospect for an Englishwoman in her prime.  Anyhoo, keep an eye on your least favourite fashion rags in the coming months to see me in my bright yellow
Agua Bendita, being worked over by a twig-yielder in the old fashioned way.  I hope.

My mailbox is oft-times crammed with yelps of despair from hopeless women: what should I pack for my hols?  they cry, in an irritating way.  And, Mrs Pouncer, what is a capsule wardrobe?  I can do naught but sneer at such faiblesse.  You should know instinctively what to pack, and I shouldn't have to spell it out.  And to the second query, I say capsule, schmapsule!  There is no such thing!  Who are these harpies (Hadley Freeman and Laura Craik) who think two skirts, a dress and a seersucker sunbonnet should be enough for three weeks on Cerf Island?  It would hardly be enough for a weekend at Port Seton, and I should know.  My counsel to you is as follows: toiletries - none. Buy what you need when you get there.  Ditto sunscreens and parfums.  A good book - I would go for something like the British National Formulary, but anything published by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society is good.  A biro, a jar of Marmite and a plug adaptor.  Some ludicrous underwear.  Some painful shoes.  A Leg Avenue sequined bikini. A Prada organza tunic.  A Butler and Wilson tiara.  A tub of Agent Provocateur's Creme d'Amour.  A Zac Posen minidress (yellow), some Betsey Johnson bangles, a bottle of Estee Lauder's Pure Colour Nail Lacquer in Fuschia, a Russell and Bromley Hobo bag.  I do hope this helps.  Possibly some (K. Musgrove) would also pop in a Pacamac, but that's Cleveleys for you.

Arrivederci.  Che cosa facevano i tuoi nonni durante guerra!

Monday, 29 June 2009


You see, anyone Googling "who is the most beautiful woman in the world?"will be led to this opulent new post, and good thing too.  Because it is true.

Anyhoo, I was getting ready to go out on Saturday night, and I had the television on and it was Who Wants To Be a Millionaire (C. Tarrant in the chair) and it was a real eye-opener.  Other people have described it as a real eye-closer, but they are the ones ready for swinish sleep at 1900 hours and have no place in this discourse.  There was a man answering the questions, 30-ish, not too ugly, quite common.  He was struck dumb by the following:  which of these artists shares a name with a town in Lincolnshire?  The choices were Lowry, Reynolds, Gainsborough and Hockney.  He gazed at the selection as if seeing the Rosetta Stone on autocue.  Then he gazed at his interlocutor.  Then he made a vague mumbling noise and looked up to the heavens.  He stood to win £20,000 for the correct answer; if he fucked up he would be back to a grand.  "Is anything ringing a bell?" asked keen campanologist, Tarrant.  "Noh reeely", said the dolt, "but I got a ninkling".  His ninkling was that it was most likely Hockney.  Hockney, the well-known Wolds town, famous for bespoke linoleum,  and Hockney Hardcore, the local delicacy, a sort of pemmican made from mashed yeast and boiled bronze.

So, he was royally stuck and he'd used up his Ask The Audience on a car question and his 50:50 on a tricky one about tropical fish, so he phoned a friend, and his "friend" was his mother-in-law, which most of us would surely regard as mutually exclusive, but hey.  Needless to say, his MIL knew nothing and said she hadn't heard of any of the artists, and if only the county had been Worcestershire she would've been ok, and then she hung up.  So, that was that.  But he still went away with 20 grand, which is a result in anyone's language.  But it had made me cross and distracted, and I must have sprayed myself with Ange ou Demon for about two minutes and I stank like Portsmouth on pay-night, but I didn't care.  How dare people be so dim?  And how dare they go on game shows and make a virtue of being dim?  Who would want to advertise dimness on prime-time television?  The whole thing is beyond reason.

That is not to say that I would denigrate game shows; far from it.  Or, at least, not game shows of old.  Some people have commented cruelly on my love for Guy Lux, and other people (K. Musgrove) rag me mercilessly about Michael Miles, but I turn the other cheek.  Key references here include Criss Cross Quiz, The Sky's The Limit, The Golden Shot and, crucially, Double Your Money.  Everyone remembers Monica Rose, but hardly anyone recalls Julie de Marco, which is barely understandable.  She was almost ludicrously sexy, and when I didn't want to be Kathy Kirby, I wanted to be Julie de Marco, because even at that age I could see a bottom like that could take you very far.  It is a glorious maxim I have carried with me all these years.  

I would gladly volunteer for Ask The Family, if some of you kind people would agree to be my kin.  Kevin could be my husband, and Scarlet and Emerson Marks could be our toddlers.  We would win the lovely Dartington Crystal Rose Bowl in a trice.  Most of all, though, I see myself on Family Fortunes.  Daphne could be my aunt, Gadjo my troublesome cousin.  Inky could be my foster-child and Pat could be my twin.  And Scarlet could make up an opposing team with some of the appalling deviants who frequent her grimy site.  My team would win, of course, and we could all pile into the cerise Punto, which is always the star prize, and wave gamely from the smeared windows.  It is my dream.

I was lucky enough to witness the FF episode where the two grandmothers went head-to-head over the buzzer.  The question was: name something, or someone, who people believe in, even though its existence has never been proved.  Mine host was B. Monkhouse.  He was expecting the nans to say something like Father Christmas or the Loch Ness Monster; he expected too much.  Grannie One said "Ay-dolf  Itler" and was gonged out.  Gran Two (who  was on industrial doses of  Haloperidol) said "Driving Licence".  It was magnificent.

Anyhoo, I watched Millionaire to the end, and I truly feel I could win.  My only weaknesses are motor racing, mountains and the films of Matt Damon.  Apart from that, I know everything.  My evening was ok.  I went to the newly refurb'd Boulters Inn at Maidenhead with my grisly old beau, Tullough Kiltpin, the moronic miser of Balbeggie.  At the end of the meal he promised me the Three Words I Longed to Hear and rasped "Separate checks, please".  He is a git.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009


For this new, glamorous post, and for this new post alone I am having to come clean hemhem.  Or cleaner.  A bit clean.  A tiny shard of truth.  In the real world I am not the lotus-eater I may appear in my sumptuous pensees, for I have a job.  A proper job; but a difficult one in these recessionary times.  I work in an industry which relies on cynical money-extraction, and it's not easy at the moment.  As a result, I have to visit what we call "branches" and go through "management directives" with "staff" who are not hitting "targets" and whose figures appear "moribund".  I have a small briefcase and a calculator.  I say things like "you should be 25% better on that, so I suggest you remove it, skew that one round, and get another against the wall".  It is thrilling and everyone hates me.  Anyhoo, yesterday I had to visit Brixton, because they have given me parts of London, and not nice parts, either.  Gits.   Mutti, the opulent old harridan, came with me, because she has a cousin in Electric Avenue who she hasn't seen since Abi and Esther Ofarim won the Zoppot Festival and she wanted to spend the day with her, and reawaken old hostilities.  So far, so good.

My mother's cousin, who is called Gefen, was a great friend of Vasa Prihoda, which always makes Mutti see red, believing as she does that Prihoda was a dreary old Fascist.  Some people think he should be forgiven, as he was greater than Heifetz.  Some people (Mutti) think he should have been made to pay for abandoning Alma Rose to her fate, and that he is partly to blame for her memory being traduced in the way it is.  By 11.00 am, they were at loggerheads; by 12 noon, not on speakers, but then I appeared like Grace Darling in Gestuz, to steer them safely through the churning seas of mutual loathing and the dangerous tides of  contested bequests (my grandfather's last will and testament 1979).  I took them straightway to the SW9 Bar at the end of Dorrell Place, and I absolutely insist that you go there the next time you are in that begrimed purlieu.  It is enchanting, no, really, it is.  I know that the mealymouthed will send up their whining ways: But it's a gay bar, Mrs Pouncer!  Yes, it is, and for that I thank the good Lord on high, for there is nowhere more suitable for battling old Yekkes than a backstreet dive run by unrepentant homosexualists.  Mine host took in the vibe at a glance,  rammed us onto a faux-moquette banquette and had his bill o'fare out on the table in one flourish.   It was to sigh.  Mutti and Gefen had Eggs Benedict and a bottle of  Hock.  I had a White Russian, two glasses of Soave and a confit of Landais duck liver.

The two old harpies were delighted with the lavatories - unisex, admittedly, but stinking of gardenia - and by the high standards of cleanliness throughout.  Gefen boldly suggested to the barman that his presentation could be improved by using doilies.  I wish you could've seen our waiter's tan!  Later, I got him by the Gaggia and asked his secret.  Expecting him to say "Gozo: the wages of sin", he let me into a breathtaking confidence.  You hardly need reminding that I am bedeviled with sallowness; I appear permanently liverish, and have to anoint myself daily with fake tan so as people don't think I've given my pall-bearers the slip.  I always use Institut Esthederm Sun Sheen Intense but Victor (my new friend) recommends Famous Dave's Tanning Mousse (Deeply Darkly shade).  Boy, does it deliver!  Google it now and order as much as you can.  Within minutes you will have the look of an advanced Addison's Disease patient.  Who could ask for more?  

We left at about three-thirty, all smiles, no more pijaw about Prihoda, all agreeing that Dr Mengele was a malevolent old murderer.  The point is that Alma Rose was not the bullying martinet of popular depiction.  She believed, with some justification, that if her orchestra was not up to standard, Mengele would have them gassed.  That is why she kept them practising even when they were tumbling off their chairs with tiredness.  It would have been impossible to live through such a ghastly situation and not go mad, although Mengele had the advantage of being mad already. 

What a cheeful lunchtime discourse, to be sure!  Let me end on a lighter note: do look out for Peter Jensen's Chanel-alike cardi-jackets for next season, and Karen Millen's giraffe-print dresses.  If you can afford it, an Alexander Wang contrast shift will help you through the summer/autumn transition.  Everyone should have at least one of these key pieces by September, or be irredeemably frumpy. 

Friday, 19 June 2009


My dear friends

Some of you may recoil in horror and alarm at the title of this sumptuous new post.  Some of you. However, my Sitemeter (which I installed all on my own, no help from anyone, Scarlet least of all) shows me that the overwhelming majority of readers arrived chez moi via these vile words.  Cock rings outweigh Dipsomania by an imperial ton, but it was ever thus, I suppose.  Anyhoo, in the interests of driving traffic, I shall use salacious titles from now on.  My next post, for example, is to be entitled Ass Raised Up Entered From Behind.  It will be about Wimbledon Fortnight.

I apologise for my sluggishness this week, but my consort, Scandinavian restaurateur Lars Torrders, is beginning to bore.  And not in a good way.  He can only express his affection through aggressive display and still believes Rodnina and Zaitsev to be the last word in pairs-skating.  I cannot abide a man who lives so stolidly in the past.  Another prime example of this type is Bob Crow, head honcho of the RMT, whose discourses have been spread across several news programmes like an appalling poultice.  Mr Crow is articulate, but I have found myself lost in the scented mists of time, when the names of Sid Weighell, Mick McGahey and Tom Jackson were known to all.  Who remembers them now?  (Apart from me and Kevin Musgrove).  In those days we would have yawned at the spats we now witness between Mr and Mrs Peter Andre; we were fed on tougher meat.  What we wanted, and what we got, was Joe Gormley v Sir Derek Ezra.  To see Gormley (the miners) square up to Sir Derek (the management) was a weekly treat for any enquiring mind.  Sir Derek would routinely regret the threat of redundancies.  Joe would regret the possibility of a strike.  The audience would regret that the two of them couldn't exchange jobs, since it was always obvious that Joe's grasp of the problem was equal to Dezza's, and was accompanied by a far better memory.  

Also enjoyable was any imbroglio featuring Sir Peter Parker and Ray Buckton (sometimes with Sid Weighell, who always sat to one side, often in profile; his catch-phrase "let me make this absolutely clear" was guaranteed to turn previously transparent water into a dreadful oily silt).  Key references were ACAS, The Terms of Reference, Ratified by Executive,  Violated and Abrogated.  Bob Crow simply isn't in this league.  There has been absolutely no progress made.  It is to cry.  

Everything seems terribly toned down these days; there is no great distinction.  Homogenous is putting it politely.  It is an environmental disaster of the first order.  Everyone looks the same - and I don't just mean Ken Dodd and Margaret Beckett - but assuredly, all our young people strive to be clones.  It is most depressing.   I wonder if there is something in the water?  In the early 1950s the male Jews born in Israel were nicknamed "sabra" after the watery fruit of the cactus.  In physical appearance they were invariably taller than their parents, broader, mostly blond or brown haired, frequently with a short nose and blue eyes.  (The girls, on the other hand, remained physically closer to the European Jewish type).  The young male's most striking feature was that he looked entirely un-Jewish.  The phenomenon was a striking confirmation of the theory that the environment has a greater formative influence than heredity, and that what we commonly regard as racial characteristics are no such thing, but a product of sustained social pressure and a specific way of life.  Professor Toynbee called it "the stimulus of penalisations".  I can certainly see how the dread soup of our modern life has resulted in the ill-favoured and poorly dressed young people we see in places such as Telford and most of Wiltshire.  

Anyhoo, back to the burden of my song.  Lars is on thin ice with me, particularly now that I have met his mother.  Her diet is firmly herring-based, and he overheard me refer to her as Lady MacBreath.  I fear that the stimulus of penalisations may be coming my way.

Saturday, 13 June 2009


I cannot imagine why they gave the Laureateship to that dreary old lesbian when they could've had me, Barry Teeth, Maroon or Iris Noble, the poetess of Moggs Cross who used to work for Hallmark Cards.  The Laureatte's  first official poem is an absolute disgrace, commenting as it does not on the Queen's recent visit to the Carphone Warehouse, Windsor, nor on Princess Eugenie being spotted on a Brompton Road ale-bench, nor yet on the Duke of E'burgh's expressed preference for frozen hake and potato essence, and not even on the knighthood of Delia Smith.  No, she chooses the turgid theme of our moribund economy, and plunges the nation further into the gloom, from which we were so recently delivered by Susan Boyle.  

It is to cry.  See what some faker called Judith Palmer, Director of the Poetry Society, says about it:  "I think that what she has managed to do is capture in poetry the sense of disbelief, the numb despair, which leaves most of us just shaking our heads, open-mouthed and inarticulate".  To this, I can only reply: speak for yourself, Judith.  Only those half-strangled with beastliness would recognise themselves in that description.  I can speak boldly for myself, and for my readership, when I say that none of us stand gaping like codfish at the sight of Mr Jacqui Smith billing us for Anal Boutique.  No, indeed.  Our mouths our drawn shut in a thin line of disapproval, and as for being "inarticulate"!  Kind friends have contacted me over the past month with endorsements and testimonials in support of the amplified stance I took over the Raw Meat III debacle.  "A beautiful purling stream of  opprobrium"  AHKM, Jeddah.  "Your moral compass is truly magnetic!" KM, Manchesterford.  "Speak for England, Clarissa" GD, Cluj. "Hello, Baybee" EM, Burridge.  "I liked Hugh Janus in Anal Boutique but I spilt my popcorn" Miss SB, Bromley-by-Bow.

As some of you know, I have been workshopping my new play, Suet Blunders, over at Gadjo's, and there are roles for you all.  The part of Nobby Jellifer is still in dispute, but the piece is now fully cast, with the entr'acte in the steam laundry looking particularly gripping.  I shall probably take it to Edinburgh this August where it will be met with great acclaim.  Naturally, this has left me scant time for my poetry, but I have still managed one about Susan Boyle's downfall and another about Dr Maroon's admission and I am working on four new pieces: David Carradine's auto-erotic demise, on seeing Prince Harry at Chez Gerard, Marlow, the Queen's visit to Carphone Warehouse (someone has to) and Cheryl Cole's pregnancy concerns.  

I will leave you with this exclusive preview:


'Twas in the early summer of two thousand and nine
When Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II showed no sign
Of irritation or discomfort as the crowd of queue bargers
Obscured her view of a fine display of top of the range phone chargers.
(another 60 lines follow)


'Twas on the first of June two thousand and nine
When I spotted Prince Harry, the third in line
To the throne, but only if his father and brother have by then died
Possibly of swine fever or some vile act of Regicide
(another 75 lines, yet to be composed)

I do hope you feel elevated, and probably rather envious, on reading these pensees.  Last night I got completely hammered in Warwick, and so I will have a gentle evening, probably involving mange touts, Milk of Magnesia and some Madame de Stael.


Newshounds have contacted me this morning begging me to turn my thoughts to the biggest stories of the weekend, namely Lady Thatcher's broken arm, Madonna's new orphan and the Krankies' house-break horror.  I shall, of course be beavering away after luncheon.


I have just returned from the BP garage on the A4, and was struck by just how ugly and ill-dressed most people are.  It is to sigh.  I am also much exercised by Andrex's new lavatory paper (toilet tissue to the masses) which is "impregnated with vitamin D".  How extraordinary.  I am of the Izal generation; of the hardy daughters raised on roller-towels and surly washroom attendants; of disinfectant blocks.  How have we become so etiolated that we needs must vitaminise our bottoms?  At the official launch, Sir Dave Andrex made the grandiose claim that his new paper "was arrived at (sic) after rigorous consumer research and testing.  We are confident that we have provided our customer with the right solution (sic)".

I am bound to ask: solution to what, exactly?  "No more vitamin-deficient bottom wiping" is a cry never heard in the Thames Valley, although some might say they have heard it in Wiltshire, or parts of the Peak District.  Who knows?  And the research itself is bizarre.  A control group, with their pants around their ankles, each closeted in a lockable cubicle, was given a ticksheet. They had to choose from Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, beta carotene, Riboflavin, Pantothenic acid, Special K or Tocopherol.  They went for Vitamin D, as they felt they could get the rest from Cornflakes.  They were then asked which condition they felt could benefit from regular Andrex use: megaloblastic anaemia, keratomalacia, clinical lordosis, hayfever, Wenicke-Korsahoff Syndrome or hives.  None of them knew, but many asked about haemorrhoids. 

The thing is, one of the primary indicators of vitamin overdose is diarrhea.  We live in recessionary times.  Have the lavatory paper manufacturers found a new, cynical money-removing exercise?  I only pray that I am mistaken.

Monday, 8 June 2009


My dear friends,  I will be using this discourse to showcase my italics, bolds and linkings.  Some of my attempts will fail, but I shall not be downhearted.  I shall press on regardless, a bit like David Milliband or Limahl of Kajagoogoo.

Public transport bedevils us all.  My close, personal friend Inky Inkermann tells a gloomsome tale in his latest post about fear and loathing on the chemin de fer.  And rippling sportsboy Kev Musgrove oft-times finds himself becalmed in a sea of bustickets and nacho napkins on the 34D to Ancoats.  For myself, public transport remains a distant memory, some of it sweet and nostalgic, some of it vile-smelling and with bright green flies stuck to it.  There was, for example, a wonderful bus of the Thames Valley Traction Company that used to ply its trade from Broad Street, Reading, to Sonning Halt.  The 44A.  No longer.  The evil that is Arriva has taken over that floribund route and now steams along the Old Bath Road, the passengers gaping dolefully through the begrimed windows, screaming inwardly as the feckless driver takes the Thicket Roundabout whilst lighting a fag.   But I digress.  I shall not be taking a bus in the foreseeable future, for which I am heartily glad.  Taking a train is punishment enough, particularly with this loathsome new Virgin rule that allows any type of prole and pleb to sit in First Class if there are no seats left in steerage.  It really is beyond reason.  They quote Health and Safety!  How dare they?  They say that the companionways must be kept clear at all times in case of fire, fundamentalist bombing attacks or a sudden rush to the buffet car for an Intercity Sizzler.  Two weeks ago, en route to the glorious Thames Valley from Paddington, I was obliged to sit next to a man in polyester who read a low-life tabloid very slowly, his finger tracing the line of text.  "Did he stink of drink?" asked an aunt later.  No, he did not, and for that I was sorry.  I find the stink of drink reassuring and humbling.  I also find it galvanising and motivating.  There is nothing like the stink of drink to get me moving.  No, he stank of Hall's Mentholyptus, which was depressing and deflating on several levels.

I am suddenly laid low, and feel bored and distracted at the thought of more linking and bolding.  Forgive me if I revert to type (a pun, and quite a good one) for the rest of this discourse.

Two bus journeys of my youth stick in my mind.  Once, I was travelling from Hendon to Kilburn (West Hendon, Staples Corner, Cricklewood Broadway, Kilburn High Road - the 32, I think) and the Conductress was most drole.  She assumed the role of an air stewardess, and told us we were welcome aboard the 32 Edgware to Kilburn High Road.  "It's a Routemaster 1254, and we will be travelling at a speed of 12 miles an hour, contraflow at Brondesbury allowing.  I have asked the pilot for his height and position, and he tells me he is 5 foot 10 and sitting down.  The weather in Cricklewood is reported as being mild, with balmy breezes blowing in from Pinner".  We gave her a round of applause and she curtsied and told us it was her last day on the buses as she had taken a clerical position at Brent Town Hall.

Some years earlier, in Liverpool, I was queuing with six others for the 99 (Penny Lane to Gillmoss), when four young men gave us a small cardboard box each.  Inside was a bread roll, made with green food colouring, filled with beetroot, a blue cake and a pink cocktail Sobranie.  They said "that's your lunch".  It was extraordinary, but it was Bill Harpe.  I wonder what happened to Bill, and his wife, Wendy?  Goodness, they were clever.  Richard De Dominici is doing something similar with his latest installation, but the Harpes were better.  They made the food themselves.

Bon voyage.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009


Mes chers amis, more glorious weather in the Thames Valley!  How I revel in the God-given microclimate that is our lot in the Royal County!  You will be excited to hear that I am still in bed, trying to shake off a heavy one with the assistance of Anadin Extra and a tiny bottle of Angel Springs.  Also, I have a hangover to tackle.  My bedside table, I don't mind admitting, is a veritable mare's nest, and my task today is to fine down the detritus.  I know you will cheer me to the echo when you hear that Numb's nixed, and I am now on the arm of the well-known Scandinavian restaurateur, Lars Torrders.  I imagine he will be banging on the door of my boudoir before he's much older,  and it is essential that my bedside assemblage gives the right impression.  Here is what I have collected:

Bedside table, tulipwood, slightly bloodstained, no key to secret drawer:

2 books (The Eunuch of Stamboul and A Sock on the Jaw by Brass Williams)
Small brandy glass (empty)
Unopened letter (Inland Revenue)
Burt's Bees Hand Salve
A porcelain piglet
Perpetual calendar (stuck on 6 March 2007)
An emerald bracelet, a tiger's eye ring, a black diamond cuff
Minor pharmacopeia: Codeine, Luminol, Xanax, Klonopin
Photo of Guy Lux in silver frame

A hideous and frightening confection indeed.  The drawer, however, hides grimmer secrets and speaks of postcards from Climping,  perished rubber and the state of my sinuses.  

God bless you all.


I have decided to start writing poetry in a singular style.  Rush over to Dr Maroon to see my first attempt which appears in the comment box of his most recent post.  This is to be my new hobby.

Friday, 29 May 2009

Now THIS is the kinda guy I have in mind

Yes, you may congratulate me.  I have learned linking.  Thank you, Scarla.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009


Yes, I am home.  And thank you very much; thank you very much indeed for the measly amount of endorsement I received during my Caribbean cavortings.  Talk about dwindling support! Who am I?  Margaret Moran?  Yeah, I have kept up with the news (expenses scandal, Speaker Martin, Jordan 'n Peter's divorce, summat about the Tamil Tigers) and the Honourable Member for Luton South has disappointed me in the cruelest way.  Dry rot in her boyfriend's Southampton house!  For Chrissakes!  Not glamorous.  Not glamorous at all.  I would have installed a magnificent cantilevered staircase, CAT6 cabling throughout, a staff suite, a 600-bottle temperature-controlled wine cellar, a trout lake, extensive views over Poole harbour and a garden backing onto the Thicket.  Dry rot!  Some people have no imagination.  And twenty-two grand is nothing!  How dare she ask for such a piffling amount.  And have you seen the boyfriend?  Fuck.  Get down to Old Compton Street, Margaret, and see what £22,000 buys you.  And you don't even have to sleep with them - just lovely shopping and someone to watch your coat at the eyebrow tinters.  Fabulous.  All I'm saying, Marg, is shop around.  Live a little.

Am I pleased to be home?  Darn tootin' I am.  I will be giving a full and fearless account in the days to come,  but may I just say I never want to hear the name of Peter de Savary ever again.   He is all over the Caribbean like some vile poultice.  He is the embodiment of everything you hope you won't find there, but do.  The uniform of Ralph Lauren Polo, khaki shorts, leathery old legs and Hoyo de Monterrey is enough to make an Englishwoman in her prime break down and cry, I tell you.  And no more Southern Baptists, purr-lease!  I spent some terrible time with a Mr and Mrs Rongings of Jackson, Mississippi and they showed me a photograph of their minister, preaching a doctrine of moral indignation and censorship, and he stands behind a great, thick bulletproof Plexigas sheet on all public occasions.  Wow! There's faith in action, as I live and drink.

Drink.  There's another thing.  I am cutting down bigstyle.  Numb addressed me one evening as Countess Drunkula (cruel).  I have kicked him into touch, you'll be glad to know.  What do I need with a convicted junk bond trader, anyway?  I am currently recruiting a replacement.  Previous applicants need not re-apply.


Tuesday, 19 May 2009


Mes chers amis de mon coeur, or words to that effect. This is a very brief, insubstantial missive but I have far better things to do.   Here I am on Marie Galante, and I can imagine how you are biting your own knuckles as a ravenous envy overtakes you as you think of me and my sumptuous life, and not for the first time.  I must say, this island is ravissant (and imagine how prettily I trill my rs on that word) and almost completely unspoilt, apart from the hideous vulgarisation that is the mark of modern tourism.  Americans, as usual, beswarm the place, and even the most hidden purlieus echo to the ring of their unaccountable vowel sounds and the macaws take fright at their beach-casual overprints.  But I digress.  The leaven in the lump is me, as usual, and I know you can scarce breathe for excitement as you imagine my Caribbean cocoon.   Guadeloupe was to sigh.  There is absolutely no excuse not to go, apart from your ludicrous pennypinching ways and fear over Swine Fever.  Those of us who follow the Mosaic Laws need not worry, of course. Many of you who sniggered over my kosher menus are now forced to wear face-masks in the local meat-market!  Can I just say that this might be a good example of Kosherkismetkarmakaballah, which is Madonna's new hedgebetting religion.

I will return to Guadeloupe on Thursday, and then back to Antigua at the weekend.  The Sandals resort is vile.  There, I have said it.  And I speak as someone who has been to Rhyl.  You simply can't begin to imagine the vulgarity, the klischeehaft (as naughty old Himmler had it), the sheer wankiness of it.  What is this "luxury" they speak of?  There is a whiff of Jeyes fluid about the place that negates any splendour.  And the clientele!  It's to cry, believe me.   All ex-Borscht Belt, all friends of Madoff, all verzweifelt ("my wife and I were happy for 25 years: and then we met").  Mr and Mrs Nexwee are the best examples.  I will not leave the compound, preferring to allow the hazy sunlight to vulcanise my leathery old peau and to scarf down Ti Punch.  The Nexwees, by  contrast, go on excursions and are solemnly rooked by the natives along the way.  Before I left, Mrs Nexwee went by coach to the German Village and asked me to accompany her.   I have been to more German villages than our present Pope, so I courteously declined and advised her against it, but she was deaf to my entreaties.  She was taken to a loathsome delicatessen called The Best of my Wurst and bought me an enormous Bierschinken, which I have to say I admired in spite of myself.  Wrapped in tight netting, and bronzed through air-drying, I dangled the thing in front of Numb as a kind of talisman.  His response need not be reproduced here.

I miss home.  I have had news of the expenses scandal, and of Speaker Martin forcing a by-election, and feel there may be hope for Maroon in his home city.  I can almost see him on the stump.  I also pine for my fave rave TV show, namely Come Dine With Me.  I have applied twice.  On the first occasion my proposed menu was turned down for being "too Fascist" (Rahmsuppeschlossfrauen Art, followed by Gefullter Pragerschinken with Traum des Herzens for pudding) and my second attempt was blown out for "not being Fascist enough" (veal soup with motsa balls, Kasenockerl with Montpelier butter and hot beets, Matzos Kloese).   To combat the gloom I visited the administrative buildings at Grand Bourg today, and admired the public architecture.  There are several statues, each a solid block of yellowish stone.  The figures are allegorical and represent hygiene, euthanasia, atomic energy, compulsory education and compulsory insurance.  They were erected in 1950, but they seem all too contemporary. 

Let me know you are out  there.   

Monday, 18 May 2009


I havew been drinking Ti Punch and daiquiris.  It is a quarter to three.
It's a quarter to three
There's noone in the place
except you and me
so set em up Joe
I gpt a little story I thnk you should know
we're drinking my friend 
to the end of  a brief episode
So make it one for my baby
and one more for the road
You'd never know it
but I'm a kind of poet
and I got a lot of things I wanna say
and if I'mm gloomy please listen to me
till it's all talked away
But this torch that I found
it's gotta be drowned
Or it soon might explode
so make it one for my baby\
and one more for the road

|Going to sleep now.  Laters.  Scarla, what's the weather like?  Also I am hearing more anbout the expenses scansdals of honourable members,.  Seems like a big story and Mr Jacqui /smith now off the hook.  Shame.  Is my friend Alan Duncan implicated?  Hope not.  Saw him two weeks ago at where was I then?  Might bave been Gordon Rams.  I have a feeling that Mr Retronaut was mean about Climping.  Also Kev, ar eyou there?  Boyho, I will be back next Mon. in Thames Valley when Numb will meet his slow-footed Nemesis.  

Sunday, 10 May 2009


Yes, well, off to have fun in the sun with Numb. 

 I know you will all be asking yourselves what I have done to deserve my glamorous life?  I can sum it up in one word: Godliness.  I am without question the holiest and most sinless person you are ever likely to meet.  My popularity is boundless and my family rise up and call me sacred.  I'm sorry, but there we are.  If only you could be more like me,  then you would find your lives running according to some graceful plan instead of the hideous mishmash of calamity and misunderstanding that is probably the hallmark of your existence.  

I deserve everything that is coming to me, and probably more.  I make no apology.  I offer you my friendship and sincere condolences.


Monday, 4 May 2009


As a hugely unrepentant smoker and mother of six, I do struggle with one thing: the smoking ban. Actually, I struggle with five things, but noone is interested in the other four, typically, so smoking it shall be.  A friend of mine is in print this weekend as saying that the smoking ban has ushered in another vile activity: the changing of babies' nappies on pub tables! Can anyone imagine anything more appalling?  Why should the wholesale enspreadment of faeces be more acceptable than the transient hush of a Kensitas Blue?  No, truly, tell me.  And in these days of Swine Fever.  Tell me.  Tell me now.  I am gagging for it.    The whole thing is beyond reason.  

Parents seem to be very laissez faire these days, and can I say I don't like it?  They allow their offspring to belabour minimum-wage barstaff with unreasonable demands for dilute squash and CBeebies on the widescreen.  What is wrong with the world?  Time was, a wholly incurable inebriate, such as myself, could propel herself into the Cross Keys* in Gun Street for solid and uninterrupted vodka until 11.15 pm, whence a tame taxi could be conjured up, and home in Sonning before midnight.  A charmed life, if you will.  Everyone happy.  My children firmly tucked up in bed, and the au pair chipping baked-on bourguignonne from the Le Creuset.  Or should that be the Creuset? Or just Le Creuset with no the.  No matter.

My thrust here, however, is children.  God knows, I have had my fill of them, and they of me, saints bless them.  The inescapable fact is, I had too many, and I was completely bedazzled by the responsibility.  Trailing clouds of glory, is how dear old Wordsworth had it, but I let them down in the cruelest way.  My children, without exception, are prettier, kinder, cleverer and more violent than I, and I thank the dear Lord above for that.  I have to tell you that yestersday in Chez Gerard, Marlow, I witnessed a deathly scene:  a grim middle class couple, both overweight and wearing fleeces,  were encouraging their podgy son to count in the binary system.  Can you begin to imagine the flames of hatred  in my soul?  In Chez Gerard, where children should be outlawed, and the only sound should be that of a silversmith calling for more Punt e Mes.  How I thanked  providence that my friend, the bent Geriatrician, has provided me with inadvisable doses of Cymbalto and Lexalpro. They course through me like the Yuculta Rapids, and keep me calm but angry, which is how I like it.

But, all work and no play makes Jane a dull girl.  Or something.  You will be excited to hear that I met Jackie de Shannon this week in Claridges - think of the thrill!  I will expand on this fortunate (for her) collision next week, but mainly I want to wallow in self-reference and cloudy memory, as is my want and hallmark.  Six kind friends, and they know who they are, will understand that this has been a weekend of almost unbearable emotion for me, and to them I say this:  my father's favourite book was the Confessions of Rousseau - in translation, regrettably, but there we are, and his favourite quotation of all was from the King Victor Amadeus chapter that says " I have only one thing to fear in this undertaking; not that I may say too much, or what is not true, but that I may not say all, and may conceal the truth".  Of course, nobody knew why he liked this particular aphorism and, when asked, he would shrug his shoulders and smile sadly.  He would do the same when questioned about Tommy Lawton or the Albanian coast.  Before he saw sense and bought a bijou property in Antibes, my dear old father could not be tempted away from Vlones (Valona).  Edward Lear painted here and wrote "Let an artist visit Accroceraunia; until he does so he will not be aware of the grandest phase of savage yet classical picturesqueness whether - Illyrian or Epirote - men or mountains."  Albanians claim to be direct descendants of the Illyrians and were still clinging to their feudal systems even then.  In the countryside it was not unusual to see men supervising the women in the fields, or sometimes walking along the roadside carrying long sticks to emphasize their authority over the load-bearing girls trailing behind.  

The Russians based ten submarines at Valona, but could not persuade the Albanian peasants to take any interest in industrial pursuits, and even less success with government officials who failed to control the finances properly.  By the mid-60s they had given Albania up as hopeless, and withdrew all support, even stopping the satellite countries from sending the summer tourists, who at this point were heading towards the beaches south of Durazzo.   At this point my father decided to move on, too, and never returned.

I didn't care.  I vastly preferred Antibes - who wouldn't?  But even more than Antibes, I liked Bournemouth, because we had a beach hut and everyone spoke English, and none of this silly siesta business and keeping out of the sun, because there wasn't any.  At the Winter Gardens one year I saw a troupe of performing poodles and a man with a musical saw.  Antibes could offer nothing on this scale.  It wasn't very child-friendly.

*It is now the Sahara Bar.  Could anything be nastier?

Tuesday, 28 April 2009


I give you my word, and  my word is my bond, that I will not be mentioning Mr Jacqui Smith in this glamorous new post, even though I can't find contempt enough for a man who would invoice the state for Anal Boutique Parts 1 and 2 and £9.99 for a Wahl Beard Trimmer.  No, I have had a wonderful week, and I know you are breathless, positively asthmatic, for my pensees and I will not besmirch them with the shady onanist of Redditch.  

Firstly, may I get Susan Boyle out of the way?  She is not a particularly good singer.  There, I have said it.  I was once at a party in Beaconsfield where Elaine Paige was a fellow guest.  After (not very much) encouragement, she clambered onto a table and gave us Mack the Knife.  A priceless Strass chandelier was rendered to powder after she hit the money note,  showing what a true professional can do with Kurt Weill and a makeshift megaphone.  Susan Boyle, on the other hand, is applauded because she looks like Denis Healey in slingbacks.  If only she had stuck to this shtik, possibly with a well-placed impersonation of Healey arguing with George Brown,  then she would have won the hearts of the nation for all the right reasons.  After all, whoever claims not to miss Mike Yarwood is either a liar or a fool. Possibly both.  However, I now see that Susan is receiving proposals, some of them for marriage, by every post!  When I read that, I thought SHE looks like the Bunyip, for God's sake, and I'M not getting laid.  The whole thing is beyond reason.  

Anyhoo, on with my glamorous news.  You will be relieved to hear that I went to Gordon Ramsay at Claridges last week, after being in a prolonged sulk over the closure of my beloved Causerie, and the hidden entrance on Davies Street.  It matters little how you feel about the old blasphemer when you sink your teeth into his provender,  because I can cheerfully report that the standard is thrillingly high, and reassuringly expensive.  I had smoked halibut with Oscietra caviar, then veal and artichoke with sauce Robert and a saffron creme brulee with roast mango.  I drank two Tanquerays and a bottle of Soave Classico and had an animated conversation with Tory funster Alan Duncan who was at the next table.  He tries too hard, but I let him prattle away.  Noblesse oblige, as I never tire of saying.

My dear old deceased papa loved Claridges.   It was he who first took me there, to the Causerie, as a silent and surly seventeen-year-old.  I had pale green hair and a pair of perspex stilettos, but no-one baulked.  On the contrary, they kindly brought me a plate of whitebait, which is all I would eat at the time, and some chocolate cake.  Over the years, my father and I would meet up at the Davies Street door, and once inside I would tell him my news, which was always dismal and sometimes dangerous, and he would give me a good lunch and an envelope full of money.  My mother never came because she never knew.  My father was worried about me, but I was beyond the pale; during my Lost Years I often found myself in Davies Street.

My father was careful around food.  A generational thing,  but also because he had what would now be called A Cholesterol Problem.  A very thin man, he just manufactured the stuff, and there wasn't much he could do except not add to it.  However, he adored London restaurants and in the 1960s when he maintained a provincial NHS surgery and a private practice in W1, he began to keep a little notebook about memorable meals.  My mother, the glamorous old harridan, and I are currently engaged in the drearsome process of clearing my father's belongings, and I came across his restaurant journal yesterday under a pile of old Lancets.  His first entry is for what remained his favourite restaurant of all time, Prunier's of St James's Street, and it concerns a date in 1964 when he was taken there to celebrate victory in a court case.  More than once my father had to give evidence at grisly proceedings concerning the Felonious Use of an Instrument to Procure a Miscarriage Contrary to Section 58 of the Offences Against the Person Act.  He truly hated being summoned to appear on these occasions, as the story was often sordid or sorrowful, and he was always on the side of the unfortunate woman and frequently, ironically, also spoke for the abortionist which made him unpopular.  The instrument of choice was usually a Higginson's syringe ("kindly pass it to the jury") and if you haven't seen one, then you should.  The 1967 Act will make absolute sense to you then, if it hasn't already.  Anyway, Prunier's.  Sweetly, he records the menu, the other guests, and what they drank.  Pate Traktir, Tournedos Boston, pommes allumettes, haricots verts, fromages assortis, souffle Cote d'Azur.  1960 Muscadet, 1955 Ch. Nenin, 1959 Ch. Suduiraut.  Almost nothing on that menu makes any sense anymore.  Who would call for such a board?  

The next entry concerns Quaglino's - Quag's - of Bury Street, which he regarded as a treat, or somewhere to take Americans.  He was with a party of GPs from Chicago one night in October '64 when they ate brochette de fruits de mer, cailles perigourdine, courgettes, pommes Berny, salade, Crepes Quaglino (1962 Chablis Grand Cru; 1959 Ch. Leoville Barton; 1961 Bollinger; 1928 Croizet Gr. Reserve).  In big red letters, in the big red letters that he used to scribe over patients' notes ("time waster", "NLFTW", "Catholic" etc. etc.) he has written 'THEY PAID!"  I bet they did, poor fuckers.

I wish I could report that Gordon at Claridges carries the same shimmer as Quag's and Prunier's, but I don't think it does.  One senses an invitation to be impressed; celebrity carries all before it.  The customer is almost incidental.  Still, it was nice to be asked, and the company was agreeable.  They paid.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009


So sorry, but I haven't the time to talk.  I am simply strapped for time, believe me.  Normal service will be resumed next week - or possibly sooner - but, for now, everyone wants a piece of me, and who can blame them?

I will leave you, if I may, with a few pensees: firstly, I have discovered a divine new drink.  It is called a Red Lion (Grand Marnier, Gin, orange juice, lemon juice, serve with ice and orange peel) and one is not enough.  Secondly, there was a radio programme about Clement Attlee this week; did you hear it?  It absolutely brought into relief all my hatred for Mr and Mrs Jacqui Smith who, it now transpires, also claimed 22p for a biro and 18p for a shower-cap.  This is on top of the 88p bath-plug, you will remember.  Can you imagine Mr Attlee doing anything so cheese-paring?  And as for expecting the State to pay for his porn!  Really, the whole thing is beyond reason.

Just two more things: the fine weather is with us in the Thames Valley.  Any women thinking of baring their legs should get Fake Bake (House of Fraser, Reading, have a well-run concession, just next to the Benefit counter) or pay a visit to Tan-fastic of Pangbourne.  I saw many vile sights this morning, including potato-juice thighs and various varicose; and the young women are just as lackadaisical as Those Who Should Know Better.  Skirts CAN be too short.  Just because someone is 19, it doesn't necessarily follow that their arse-cheeks should be en valeur.  I looked around to see men recoiling in horror, but there weren't any.  Au contraire, they were transfixed.  This is a sharp lesson for those of us who believe that the savage breast hides a noble heart. It doesn't.   Finally, I saw a horrifying car-bumper sticker in the Waitrose car park, of all places.  It said: Here's to the Kisses I've Snatched and Vice Versa.  Appalling.  And in WAITROSE, too!  Can you imagine the loathsome standard they must suffer in the Lidl car park, for example, or Aldi.  Whatever happened to We Have Seen The Lions Of Longleat?  Or I Slow Down For Horses?  Why do we not see Running In Please Pass any more (home-made, usually written on the lid of a shoebox)?  We live in vulgar times.  That is the long and short of it.

Monday, 13 April 2009


Have you seen it?  Have you seen the report just issued by RoSPA which reveals the most popular accidents for 2007?  Why has it taken them so long, and why do they simply advocate "common sense" rather than telling everyone to sit still and not touch a fucking thing.  I give the figures below, unadorned, with no hilarious commentary to accompany it.  

Trainers 71 309
Secateurs 27 104
Baking trays 19 751
Rope ladders 16 822
Nail scissors 14 535
Tights 12 003
Cardboard boxes 10 492
Frankfurters 10 020
Bathmats  9  917
Diving boards  8  795
Cotton buds  8  751
Bus passes  8  623
Trousers  8  455
Hamsters/gerbils  8  297
Twigs  8  193
Mouthwash  7  532
Piccalilli  6  621
Swords  5  780
Irish coffee  3  917
Aromatherapy  1  301
Pigs  1  o70
Kilts      894
Loofahs & sponges      763
Sambuca      599
Flutes      463
Butter      377

Just a few things jump out.  Firstly, how are trousers so much more dangerous than kilts? Secondly, what's the deal with piccalilli?  How is Branston (for example) safer?  Or PanYan? And lastly, look at swords! Surely, surely dangerous?  So how are they languishing down there with pigs and mouthwash?  And what's going on with the huge gap between trainers and secateurs?  There must be SOMETHING in between, even if it's just Socimi 821s and cyanide.

Mind how you go.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009



Today I came back from Henley via Caversham and I went to the big Tesco to buy a toothbrush, some Anadin Extra, fizzy water, kneidlach, a melon and some greaseproof paper.  So far, so good. You will never guess, never in a million years, what they stock right next to the oral hygiene products?  Cock rings.  Honestly.  Saw them with my own eyes.  Durex-branded cock rings.  In blister packs.  And flavoured lubes - not so unusual, admittedly, but an exciting new range called "Lickyours" in  Tia Maria, Creme de Menthe, Cassis and Baileys.  Doing a roaring trade, too.  Good old Dame Shirley.  I am tempted to make my own from Trex and Tanqueray.  We live in straightened times.  Needs must.

And can I just say that Jacqui Smith's husband's porn film was called Raw Meat 3.  I mean, honestly.  Did he also watch Raw Meat 1 and 2?  Has the world gone mad?

Don't forget that my blissful avatar disappears tomorrow, so do kiss it goodnight before retiring.

PS - I have just read today's Guardian (Mrs Rumteigh's bolshie nephew who's levelling my ha-ha left it on the credenza) and on page 12 I learnt that "women can orgasm on TV before 11 pm, rules watchdog".  One person complained to the ASA about a woman apparently coming to an aria from the Magic Flute at 2100 hours.  It was during an ad for Durex's new Pleasure Gel.  Condoms are still banned before the watershed, though.

THURSDAY EVENING - I now learn from a VERY reliable source of mine that Mr Jacqui Smith watched two movies: Raw Meat 3 and Anal Boutique.  Jesus.   What is Anal Boutique about?  I daren't even Google it just in case I get put on some list.  On some other list.   Who is Mr Jacqui?  What do we know about this shady onanist?  What is the Taxpayers' Alliance  going to do about it?

Thursday, 2 April 2009


Busted flat in Baton Rouge and waiting for a train, feeling just as faded as my jeans ... these appalling words by K. Kristoffersen could never have been written for me and the lovely Debbie McGee, and I will tell you how I know.  On Monday, feeling strangely unsettled, I drove to the nearest town, which is Reading, to immerse myself in the only therapy I trust.  Obviously, those kind souls who know me well will now raise their bespectacled eyes to heaven and sigh, oh no!  Another post about Tanqueray Export Strength and inebriation, but they would be wrong.  I speak of shopping, and lots of it.  Shopping in its keenest sense, wherein the spirit and the flesh are equally willing. One has in ones L. Vuitton multi-zip a myriad of payment methods (not cash; don't be so silly) and plastic fatigue is the aim!  I know the VERY few women who read my words will sigh in agreement and envy; none of them are wealthy enough to indulge as I do, but so be it.   I was to shop with a purpose, however.  Let no-one be foolhardy enough to paint me as one of those idlers who might be glimpsed schlepping about HMV with the best of Richard Clayderman in her palsied hand! Or later in Waterstones with a remaindered copy of the Bob Holness Story. No, I was Out There; I was In The Zone;  I had a Date with Destiny (good heavens! I nearly wrote "Dentistry".  I wonder what vile Freudian vibe has raised its head?) I had to assemble a frankly slutty series of ensembles to entertain Lord Numb during our forthcoming vacance in Jumby Bay and I knew where to start.

My dear old nanny always said "A lady should build on a foundation garment", and how right she was!  In the old days, the good old days of plenty and profligacy, I would have gone to Agent Prov. and racked it up.  However, we live in straightened times, and I have had to cut my cloth accordingly, so at 1400 hours on Monday, I was to be found in La Senza, a rather down-market lingerie outlet in the Oracle completely awash with filing clerks and housewives from Tilehurst. I steeled myself, however, and in short order had an arm piled high with folderol of the basest type, which is what Lord Numb prefers.  I had a multi-bow lovelace thong in neon pink, a balconette ruched ribbon polkadot bra, a lullaby lace peppermint frou-skirt, a Pussycat Dolls satin panel split crotch and a tangerine bow-back boypant.  Vile, I know, but needs must.  The queue was long, and I bore easily, so imagine how I felt to see the Lovely Debbie McGee lining up behind me!  Simply in the spirit of research, and to bring my breathless readership news of great joy, I can reveal that she was carrying an almost identical selection!  Her colour choice was different, however, as she is a true English Rose, whereas I have the gorgeous glow of West Hampstead.  To call me sallow is a compliment; my own dear father oft-times diagnosed Addison's Disease.  However, this means I can wear orange, which is not a shade chosen by many, and leaves me quids in with Ends of Ranges.  But I digress.  The point is that The Lovely is buying the sort of lingerie that I am obliged to purchase to keep Numb interested.  What does this tell us?   Two things, I think.  Firstly, P. Daniels is still reeling with shock and grief at the recent demise of Ali Bongo and needs cheering up with some frivolous lingerie and, frankly, who doesn't?  And secondly, the recession is biting far deeper than we suspected, with  The Lovely and Mrs Pouncer having to shop in downgrade knicker emporiums.  C'est la vie.  However, this is where we part company, because I  was wearing my Britt Lintner silk jersey dress, my Marni shoes, my Anne Klein jacket, whereas The Lovely was dressed by M&S. Noblesse oblige.  Poor old conjurers' wives.

Oh, I don't know.  Maybe because I'm facing this vile birthday, or maybe because it's past 2.00 am and I'm still awake and pissed and feeling antsy, but I feel guilty about being snotty about Debbie.   I wasn't always like this.  I DID have a life at one point, and I have won awards for set design.  In particular I was known for staircases.  Staircases in the theatre are only temporary things, as you know, but are treated with great reverence because of Health and Safety.  I am now quoting from the handbook which all set dressers are given: :"Staircases  provide a means of effecting vertical movement about a building for persons circulating upwards or downwards".  Well thank heavens for that elucidation!  I was extremely good at this sort of thing and made my name in handrails and balustrades. Part H6(2) of  the Handrail Regulations arose from some of my observations from my design of a installation for a musical with a huge juvenile chorus.  I decreed that a handrail should be securely fixed with at a height of not less than 840 mm and not less than 1 m measured vertically above the pitch line, and must be terminated with a warning feature such as a scrolled end.  I know you will all breathe a sigh of relief on reading this.

The main point of this post is one of AGE.  Metaphorically, I am looking over my shoulder and seeing naught but missed opportunity and wasted potential.  And I don't mean just ME, before you get too complacent.  No, actually, I do mean me.  Oh Christ.  What next?

Wednesday, 1 April 2009


Because it is my birthday month, I have decided to display half of my face FOR ONE WEEK ONLY.  The other half will appear during the May bank holiday.  In June, you can admire my left hand, and in July I will reveal my feet.

Sorry, I am a bit pissed; good lunch.  it has taken me hours to do this so I hope you apprciate the effort involved.  Tomorrow I will unveil my thrilling new piost wherein I expose what happened int he queue at La Senza in the Oracle on Monday.  Arrivederci.

Thursday, 26 March 2009


You can't tell an eel he's wrong.  Primitive instinct  was devised by Nature to safeguard her creatures.  But in many cases, it succeeds in doing the exact opposite.  Every year, instinct leads millions of silver eels straight into manlaid traps.  These eels, spawned in Bermudan waters, swim to Europe, grow up in about two years and return to their birthplace to breed.  Many of them take the route round the north of Scotland, because when the migratory instinct was formed, the North Sea was dry land.  These eels could avoid the traps now laid in the North Sea if they took the English Channel route; a convenient short cut to safe deep waters.  But you can't tell an eel he's wrong.

How hideous, therefore, to apply this same logic to ourselves!  We won't be gainsaid, not even when our exploits are manifestly idiotic.  We make the same dismal mistakes, over and over again; we follow the same dreary pattern, and we learn nothing from it.   It is a sign of the times, my friends, and I fear that my generation carries a burden of guilt not visited on our dear old parents.  Consider my venerable father, for example, lately laid to rest in an earthy bed.  He went to his reward with no grimy vestment of guilt.  No; he had set out his stall in the full bloom of youthful optimism and had achieved professional success in direct proportion to the effort he put in.  And don't think that his life was narrow!  For some years he had an association with Lancelot Hogben, the father of modern Medical Statistics, and assisted on the revision of some of his reissued works.  My father was a general practitioner, but had an interest in completely incomprehensible mathspeak.  Yesterday, in an old notebook, I found the following in my father's hand: "The magical content of the number three, which has occupied a position of veneration in European culture, seems to be Semitic in origin.  Probably the worship of triangular numbers and the mystical attributes of the triangle itself in the Pythagorean culture, is traceable to the triangular symbol of the ancient Hittites, now the two triangles of Zionism".   This sort of mumbojumbo would find no seedbed in our modern life! And anyway,  which provincial GP, bestrewn with Practice Managers, and government targets and rising levels of chlamydia across all social classes, has the time to indulge in out-of-hours flimflam?  

I compare my eighteen-year-old self with my father, and the tears spring readily to my eyes.  In that glorious year, the year of the Queen's Silver Jubilee, my summer was divided sharply into protracted periods of idling and feverish attempts to make money.  I spent a lot of the summer on my back in Corsica,  an island-dwelling contemplative, who Just Lay There.  The rest of the time, I was engaged by two tobacco giants and required to attend sporting events  to promote the product.  Mid-July found me at Lord's for the Benson & Hedges Cup Final (Gloucestershire v Kent.  Gloucestershire won.  Fred Trueman adjudicated.  I was carried home, as per) in a vile polyester ensemble, a tiny dress that buttoned from the thigh to the neck and a golden sash with sequins.  We were encouraged to smoke like fuck, which was easy, and to engage all-comers in flirtatious conversation, which was not.  We had to sell the fags, natch, but we were also allowed to accept "gratuities", which were dependent on the level of outrageous compliments that we could pile onto the punters without gagging.  I was quite good at it.  A little girl from Leamington Spa was hopeless, however, and cried all day.  She said the men were all old enough to be her father, which was rather the point.  It still is the point.  That particular point will never change.  

My personal nadir, however, was Silverstone.  I was working for John Player, and the whole event was a cynical money-removing exercise of the first order.  We were each assigned hospitality marquees (working in pairs) and I got Elf Oil.  I am afraid I still feel shivery when I remember this terrible day, but let us just say that corporate entertainment was still in its infancy, and the rules of engagement had not been ratified.  I spent that night in Birmingham with 10 other John Player girls and we sat in a bar in stunned silence until Captain Morgan worked his magic.  By the end of September, I had bought an Anthony Price dress and a Simca.

We had to wear black and gold uniforms,  one-piece trouser suits, unbuttoned virtually to the navel, and heels.  It was prostitution of the vilest nature.  I have been listening today to Black and Gold by Sam Sparro, which is a sweet song and drives away the ghastly ghostly sounds of my Silverstone summer.

Because if you're not really here
Then the stars don't really matter
I'm filled to the top with fear
Because if you're not really here
Then I don't want to be either
I just want to be next to you
Black and gold, black and gold, black and gold.