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?