Sunday 29 July 2007


Are friends an insight into ones personality? If they are, I’m in deep doda. Here is a recently email received, God help me, from one of my dearest friends:

Same old same old here and seriously so manically depressed with the pleut out of the sky - even resorted to buying REAL gardening shoes today - stupid me, should have been wellies!!!! But saw them too late - and returns policy in the market is probably a no-no!!!

Had planned on a dig-in my sons’ garden this week-end - but that's been out of the question so far - although as I type this its a bit like Hello Mudder Hello Farder - I look out and see the rain has stopped....... woman arrested at midnight digging holes in neighbours garden could be me!!! Have so many geraniums to plant, constable!!!!!!!!!!

Let me know how you are.


To look at this lady you would expect her to be extremely conventional. Indeed, in her heyday she had a very successful career in the City of London. It isn’t until you walk down the street with her that you realise she is not quite as you would imagine. Everyone wants to stop and talk to her including (I should add ESPECIALLY) the wild and wacky. Long live your eccentricity oh mad one. I’m privilege to be able to call you friend.

Thursday 26 July 2007


A few months ago I read wifeinthenorth and became a blogaholic. Her words were so real they reached into my life and moved me. I was going through a difficult patch myself and thought I would like to express how I feel about “senior citizenship” and let others into my life so that I too could move them.

No chance. This first thing that happened was that I pissed off a bunch of people and was lobbied against. My site was closed down. My husband spoke in my defence. “You know she’s mad. You shouldn’t take any notice of her. Her criticisms aren’t meant to be personal, she just engages mouth before brain. It’s the way she is. She’s always been that way”. You can see he really, really loves me. Only a loved one could be that observant! My site was restored, my wrists were slapped, behave yourself, act your age.

So here you read watered down stuff, although I think I may have lulled them into a false sense of security. I think they got sick and tired of monitoring rubbish and stopped reading the blog.

Anyway, I digress. I remember when wifeinthenorth received her first link request. She wrote of being overwhelmed with emotion. Someone liked her blog so much they wanted to link with her. I thought, “I would like that too”. So I asked IT “How do I get someone to link with me?” “Just ask” came the reply. “How?” Shrug!

The trouble is they think that I have half a brain and I am compelled to foster this misapprehension because if they realise how dumb I really am they may think “Shit, our livelihoods rely on decisions make by this esteemed Senior Director and she’s a dingbat”. Also I would find it hard explained to the Board that the IT projects were delayed because they have been helping me.

So, what I’m getting at is that yesterday a fellow blogger asked if she could blogroll me. I was so thrilled I was like a kid in a toyshop. She loves me. Yes please. Blogroll me! Do I have to do anything to make this magic thing happen? Is there anyone out there that can help me? IN WORDS OF ONE SYLABLE PLEASE

Wednesday 25 July 2007


I had a good idea. My good ideas are famous. They normally emerge in the early hours of the morning. Our business was my good idea. I should write about the business idea one day. At one time an unhelpful friend thought that we probably owed more money to the banks than most small African countries. But did Bono try and persuade the US to come to our aid? Did he hell. We had to pull ourselves out of the mire inch by bloody inch. But that’s another story.

This particular good idea was “Why don’t I take the girls (our great grandchildren) to Switzerland this summer, they can go to summer school.” I think this idea must have taken form when I was particularly comfy cosy with them. Other than that maybe I was bored? Whatever, no-one tried to talk me out of it – so everyone else is to blame.

So here I am in heaven with two little devils. Last week their doting great grandfather was here to share the load, but yesterday, like John Denver, he left on a jet plane leaving behind two spoilt to death, unreasonable children that hate me.

The summer school idea has been spectacularly unsuccessful (as are most of my ideas, apart from the business). They hug each other at the bus stop and look at me with big sad eyes that accusingly say “how could you do this to us nanny?”.

The bus pulls up and out jumps a hyperactive maniac. “Good morning girls” she shrieks with wild hair, blazing eyes and flaying arms. “Come on children, make room for the girls, you move here, you move there, girls here are two seats. No don’t get in this side, go around the bus and get in there”. The children are all in turmoil with seats being re-assigned and then re-assigned again. Chaos reigns.

Up to this point the little one has gone along with my scheme, now she totally freaks out. No way is she getting on that bus with this mad woman. I have to physically pick her up and strap her in. She is sobbing and her big eyes are full of tears that are dripping down her beautiful face. The other mothers are telling me that she will be OK. And she was OK yesterday and the day before, but today I feel such a monster. Again!

Only children can make you feel such a louse. Tonight I promise that I will be better to them. I won’t moan when they refuse to eat the tea that I have lovingly prepared. I won’t scream at them when I discover that the game they are playing quietly in their bedroom involves tipping a full box of pins and needles all over the carpet and their beds. I won’t bellow at them when I see them “cleaning” my new (expensive) bureaux with a scotch brit cloth. I will laugh and play with them until it is time for them to go to bed. AND PIGS MIGHT FLY.

But as Scarlet O’Hara said, ”tomorrow is another day”. Only in my case it will bring with it another opportunity to fail miserably. Oh well!

Saturday 21 July 2007


My colourful neighbour and I planned our next excapade. The swaying, scary suspension bridge above Saillon in the Valaise. To avoid the “difficulties” experienced on the train/bus journey last week I insisted that I drive, after first removing the ski rack that was still on our car. When we were last here there were a few intrepid glacier skiers with racks on so we weren’t particularly out of place, but now, in the heat of summer people (and the police) are laughing and pointing at us, so off it had to come.

I struggled with it for a while but I am deliberately not very practical, particularly when there is a man in the vicinity. True to form (and to my great relief) my friend roped in the assistance of a young male neighbour who was playing on “the parking” with his son. Before he could say “Jack Robinson” he had the ski rack key thrust into his hand and he too had taken up the struggle. The rear rack eventually lifted off, but the front rack remained obstinately attached to the car. No matter, we would deal with that later and off we set. My rational was that people would now only laugh and point half as much.

On arrival at our destination a kindly old gentleman who was washing his car gestured where we should park and out we climbed. To my horror, my friend asked him if he knew how to remove a ski rack. He said with a Gaelic shrug and in French “but of course” (I translate).

With the ski rack key now thrust into his eager hand he continued the struggle. Eventually he managed to loosen one side but this left us with an even bigger problem. We now had a flapping ski rack that had reached a point of no return. The other side had to come off too, come what may. The inconvenient, laughed at but safe ski rack had now elevated itself to the dangerously flapping ski rack.

Not to be outwitted in front of charming ladies he went to his Cave (this is what the Swiss call a ground floor storage room) and returned with a wrench. This was serious stuff. Many “sacrer blurs” “bon débarras” (good riddance) “ne faites pas l'enfant” (act your age), embarrassed grins (that was us) and grunts later the battle was won and amid great fits of laughter and loud cheers the ski rack was lifted off of the car. My friend then asked if he would wash our car. Oh how we all laughed!

My friend offered to pay him for his troubles but he adamantly refused and demanded, instead, a kiss. He must have enjoyed the kiss because he invited us into his Cave to partake of a glass of home made grape juice. It was a blisteringly hot day and, with girlish giggles, we accepted. Poor innocent fools that we are, it had not occurred to us that we might have been entering a den of iniquity. But drat, he was quite harmless and after refreshing ourselves we bad farewell and went on our way.

On returning to the car there he was again with a lady who was marginally smaller than a house. She was hosing herself down after working (on crutches I might add) in her very steep mountainside vegetable patch. She asked if her husband had looked after us well, and when we said he had she grinned and said with a wink that he looked after her very well too.

As he had, indeed, washed the car, my friend insisted that he must take some payment for his troubles. He again refused and his wife laughed. “He won’t take payment but he will ask you for a kiss”. So the old rogue must make a habit of waylaying good-looking gals and luring them into his Cave with the full complicity of his wife. Perhaps we had stumbled on a den of iniquity!

We are now planning to re-visit our new friend with a bottle of wine as re-payment for his extreme generosity.

Friday 20 July 2007


More nail biting news from our intrepid racing driver. Another good day Wayne. Keep it up. Good luck at Snetterton.

“Hi all,

It was another satisfying day at Castle Combe in Wiltshire on Saturday. I qualified 3rd in Class D, just behind Mark James and Nik Mantikas, a decent effort as I had never driven the circuit before.

In the race I made fantastic start, so good in fact I hit Nik in the rear bumper very lightly, it was enough to make me back off the throttle and 2 cars behind me squeezed past – this wasn’t going to be easy!

I dispatched one of the interlopers within 3 corners and set about the next guy, he was obviously slower than me and this was confirmed when on lap 2 I got a good run at him out of the last corner and was driving up the inside of him when he decided he wasn’t going to allow me past and barged me onto the grass at 100mph which isn’t a particularly nice feeling.

He kept pushing me over until he actually spun himself around the front of me so at one point I was actually pushing him along whilst he was completely T-boned against my car, eventually he got turned around the drivers side and spun into the grassy field (not before giving me another tap on my way) this had seriously slowed me down in my pursuit of Mark and Nik who were making a quick getaway.

Over the next few laps I tried my hardest to catch them up but I suspect the red mist had descended in my helmet and I wasn’t driving as well as I could – the incident had knocked my rhythm and its quite difficult to regain during a race, I found that no matter how hard I pushed I just couldn’t make any ground up – I was currently sitting 3rd in class D and I had settled for the 16 points and the little trophy that third brought when I came across the smoking wreckage on Nik’s cars, he had gone off heavily into the tyres and written his car off thus elevating me to 2nd place, not the way I wanted it to happen (Nik was ok apart from whiplash and bruising) but an extra 2 points which I’d never turn down.

I had caught John Pogson in his class C Alfa 155 V6 and decided to have a play with him as Mark had long gone by now, there was no point throwing 2nd away for the sake of a foolish attempt at catching Mark – I had a lot of fun chasing, catching, overtaking and being passed time and time again by John, he would blast off on the straights – his 220bhp being too much for my little 150bhp car, but I could brake much, much, much later than him and would often approach the corners with the car completely sideways and then stick it up the inside before he could turn in!

And that’s how it finished, another top 10 position overall and 2nd in class D – very happy indeed considering the shenanigans earlier in the race.
Next race is at Snetterton in 3 weeks, looking forward as it’s a real power circuit and my little 8v engine from last year didn’t quite cut the mustard – this new 16v should go really well! J”

Sunday 15 July 2007


In Switzerland I have a young friend, slightly older than me, who from time to time winkles me out of my reclusive shell to take me on adventures.

One of her recent escapades was to take her visiting niece to the Napoleonic Museum at the Simplon Pass - would I like to go too? We would catch the train to Brig and then the bus to the Pass. Why the train and bus when we both have perfectly good cars I haven’t quite figure out yet but it sounded like a plan to me.

She instructed me to “be on the parking at 1000”. The “parking” is the tarmac in front of our garages. So there I presented myself on the dot of 1000.

The plan started to go awry when we couldn’t find the bus that would take us up to the pass. My friend approached a man who was marshalling a gaggle of bright young lycra clad rollerbladers onto private buses to be shuttled off to some place else. She asked him where our bus was. He tried to fob her off, but she persisted in getting an answer from him. He was not in the least bit interested and kept shouting and pointing for us to “go to the office”. I guess he just wanted us doddy old ladies off of his patch so that he could attend to his chargees. I thought “my rollerblading beloved should be here, he would show these upstarts a thing or two”.

My friend was not very happy with the pointy shouty man and shouted back that the timetable stated the bus would leave at 1205 and it must be here somewhere. He, however, continued to point and repeat “go to the office”.

A younger marshal, taking pity on us, lead us to an enormous all singing, all dancing, illuminated, flashing information board that any fool would have seen but we hadn’t, and explained that the next bus was at 1330 from bay 4. My friend demanded to know what had happened to the 1205 bus. He shrugged and apologetically pointed to his watch. Ah! 1210. The bus had gone.

Eventually ensconced on the correct bus our next problem was on arriving at the Pass where, exactly, was the Napoleonic Museum and was it open? The bus driver couldn’t help us, (great) but two passengers knew that it was the next stop down the hill, although they didn’t know whether or not it was open.

Plan numero duo, I’m ashamed to say, was mine. “Let’s get off the bus here, at the top of the hill, ask at the Kiosk if the museum is open today and if it is walk down and catch the bus back from there”. Yes, it was open and it was only a 30 minute walk - so off we set. 50 exhausted sweaty minutes later we arrive and I suggest plan numero trios! “Let’s ask if there is a bus stop near here for the journey back”.

Not only did the museum attendant refuse to speak English, the stupid man didn’t even understand pointing and shouting, a fact that we found hard to believe. Surely everyone understands pointing and shouting. Perhaps it hasn’t reached this mountain outpost yet.

At first he seemed to say the bus stop was 1 hour away further down the mountain. Even we, total strangers, knew that this was total crap. More pointing and waving of the bus timetable under his nose caused him to renege and admit OK, it might be 45 minutes down the mountain. By this time he was running out of credibility and we were running out of time and options. Home and a good bottle of wine beckoned. The 1700 train out of Brig being our preferred option we thought to hell with this stupid museum anyway and with that set off up the hill again to a bus stop that we knew really did exist.

The bus was late and when we eventually hauled ourselves onto the 1700 train it was full of the dreaded lycra clad objects. Problem was that after spending all day rollerblading in the blazing sun, they were lycra clad SMELLY objects who lolled across all available seats. With that my friend declared “I’ve had enough of this” and marched us into the 1st class compartment where we thankfully sank back into luxurious seats. An “Ahhhh” moment.

We all agreed that we had had a great time and the “icing on the cake” was the excellent meal accompanied by a delicious well-earned bottle of wine pressed from the grapes surrounding our favourite restaurant The Napoleonic Museum would have to wait for another day.

Friday 13 July 2007


Part of the retirement plan was to buy a small bolt-hole in the Swiss Alps and gradually spend more time there. This worked for me, but not my husband. He gets easily bored. So as we grow older we are spending more and more time apart.

Some people might think this strange but in our wild, wonderful, hippy youth we came across a book called The Profit by Kahil Gibran and in this little treasure was written

"And what of Marriage, master?"
And he answered saying:
You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when white wings of death scatter your days.
Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.
Drink, but not from the same cup, let there be spaces in your togetherness.”

So, there are spaces in our togetherness and we drink not from the same cup. This is what makes our marriage work. And while I spend my time luxuriating at the Health Spa in glorious sunny Switzerland, my dear husband spends his time renovating and extending our house in the UK. Result! Here endeth the first lesson!

Thursday 12 July 2007


Here is news that, strangely enough, made me feel young. The Borough of Hillingdon in London has allocated parking places for the elderly. Great. Who do they define as elderly? The over 50s! I think Mick Jagger would be interested to hear that as indeed would be my daughters! This is political correctness gone mad.

Why did this make me feel young? If they think 50 year olds are decrepit then I’m in pretty good shape for my age! Now I’m off to spend the morning at my favourite Spa.

Tuesday 3 July 2007


Hi all, Sorry about the quality of the photo, plus I didn’t exactly get the trophy holding right but I think you get the jist of how happy I am! I have also included a picture from the race, you can see just how wet it was!
Thanks, Wayne Ashford


This must be July, it’s raining again.

I sit here in my office eyrie, watching the builders hauling a steel girder onto our dumper truck. Thereby hangs a tale.

My husband, the ex-builder, had an unrequited youthful yearning to own a hardware store. Now that he is a grown up I have a theory that this youthful obsession has metamorphosised itself into an unhealthy obsession with acquiring expensive construction accoutrements and needless girders.

This obsession became a full blown addiction when he built our offices. He NEEDED a JCB. The market, he assured me, was good for re-selling at a profit. OK, I went along with that. Then he NEEDED a dumper truck. The market, he assured me, was good for re-selling at a profit. OK, I went along with that too. He NEEDED construction strength (for that read multiple purchases for shit loads of money) cement mixers, sanders, electric saws, towers, theodolites, levels, trowels, barrows, buckets, shovels, etc. etc. Get the drift?

So what happened? The JCB and dumper are too handy to sell and the expensive tools have mainly been stolen by various drug-fuelled yobs prowling around in the middle of the night.

The girder is a wild purchase years ago. We NEEDED a girder. One day it would come in handy. Well today, strangely enough, both the dumper truck and the girder came in handy, so his forward planning has been vindicated again.
Am I destined never to win and argument? Piss him, I’m off to watch Wimbledon being rain off again. This, after all, July!

Monday 2 July 2007


News from our racing driver:-

I won on Saturday! Well the weather was awful, I was as nervous as hell because I had never raced in the wet before and the guy to beat was mega quick and has been racing for years.

I qualified 2nd in class after having to pit after only one lap because the window screen has misted so badly I couldn’t see a thing! I was 2.5 seconds slower than the quick guy but only just behind him on the starting grid which was the important thing.

The weather kept changing and 2 hours before the race it had stopped raining completely and there wasn’t many puddles around so I thought about changing my suspension settings in case it dried out – well it didn’t, it started hammering down just before the race so with a quick adjustment of tyre pressures to compensate we went out onto the grid.

I got a good start with no wheel spin and stuck to the quick guy’s rear end (never thought I’d hear myself say that! ), I followed him as best I could considering the conditions which at that point with so many cars close together were very bad with visibility no more than 10 metres which is a little scary – especially when you cannot even see the lights of the cars in front!

On lap 3 I made my move into the fast Druids corner and slid up the inside, the car got very sideways during the move and I had to keep the throttle flat to the floor to get the wheels spinning to keep the front end gripping but I made it stick and once my heart had restarted itself I got my head down and tried to pull away.

The guy tried staying with me but I kept it very neat and tidy whilst he was pushing too hard and falling back by getting scruffy.

I caught a car from the modified class – an Alfa 155 3 litre V6 but decided not to jeopardise my class win by overtaking him so I backed off and just followed him to the end and thus gaining my first class win!

I also got the fastest lap by nearly 2 seconds meaning I got 22 points in total (maximum possible is 24 – I missed out on 2 points for pole position)

I got a lovely engraved silver plate, I will send a photo of the presentation and some of the race as soon as I get my hands on them.

Castle Combe is in 2 weeks time, I will again be pushing hard – winning gives you a real confidence boost, lets hope I can keep the momentum going!

I will be putting a race report and some pictures on my blog very soon, keep an eye out –

Well done, Wayne. We had every confidence in you and good luck at Castle Combe.