Boris Hung Out to Dry. Weapons Of Mass Destruction and the Dangers of Double Dipping.

So there was Boris hung up by his under pants on a zip wire, actually this must have been very painful and cramped his style for a bit, this could only happen in England. We are a very quirky race, and contrary to the words of the great Doctor Johnson “ nothing odd will do long”, we love eccentricity, and if you are clever with it, you can get away with most things. Foreigners must wonder who the hell this overweight albino clown actually is? He has eyes that are so close together he could be a Cyclops, his legs are like traffic bollards,  and for the most part he looks like a large blowsy unmade bed. But he is lovable funny and heart-warmingly human he doesn’t give a damn what he looks like, and has moments of brilliance, and everyone adores him.  But the sharp deflections we have come to admire and love  were  not in evidence in the last few days, surely he knew he would be asked about his sexual adventures and relationships with criminals when he bought into the recent bout of publicity. But no, he was wrong footed by all the predictable elephant traps, surely a deft response to the question about why he denied an extramarital affair to Michael Howard, could have had a more witty reply such as, in Boris speak like “ Well come on old fruit, who would trust a man who told the truth about his private life?” But no we had the Boris dandruff dispersal routine, the roughing of the famous golden locks and lots of incoherent bluster. People love him because he is a clever rogue, but we look for more in a future PM and the man needs to reinvent himself, reveal the gravitas underneath the clowning,  he probably will because somewhere in there is a canny operator, watch this space. I remember as a little boy, he was called Alexander, so it won’t be the first time.

So Flapjacks are now a now a danger to the public. Someone got injured in a food fight and had a sore eye. I hope there are parliamentary questions on this issue. Now there will probably be legislation on the precise cutting of a flapjack and food police will sniff you out if you cut them diagonally , this will probably apply to marmite sandwiches as well . Honestly, we are all quite mad, which is why Boris is such an unlikely hero. One piece of fabulous news however is that little Thusha Kamaleswaran who was shot and paralyzed while shopping in Stockwell by gangland cross fire, is going to walk again. This should have been headline news not the boring flapjack sensation.

There was a get-together of some interesting members of the Anson Family, of whom I am one, at the weekend and the pioneering spirit of our communal ancestor the great Admiral who circumnavigated the globe in1740 was much in evidence. It is too late for me now to achieve great acts of daring, so I do the next best thing which is writing about them . I am just researching a real life character called Blackadder who discovered the connection between some sort of skin necrotic illness and the dirty cloths used for cleansing wounds on board ship. I guess some hospitals should read up his research. This is one of the reasons I won’t have people putting their spitty forks in the Hellman’s. There was quite a row with the Sainted One at dinner last night over this, he pulled out the old chestnut about how I wouldn’t have lasted long in the Army. I am very quick you know, I replied, that with him in charge the Army wouldn’t have lasted long anyway. Boris should come to me for some tips in nastiness, it is the only way when the chips are down or being double dipped. There was a lot of sniggering about double dipping last night in the all male household , they think I don’t understand , but believe me I do, there is a lot they don’t know.

Stanley Johnson, Compassion in World Farming, Gastro Enginering and a Wegan Lunch.

It seems odd I suppose that a table of vegan vegetarians are working for the welfare of animals bred and eaten for meat, but perhaps this is why they are so well placed to do the work they do and makes it even more laudable. I was asked to give a lunch for them in my house by a remarkable lady called Joyce, to whom it is impossible to say no, it took place today and was a great success. The star of the show was Stanley Johnson, who is a great conservationist and has for many years supported CWF. This man, whom I have known for many years, is a class act and kicked off the dialogue brilliantly, with just the right light touch, backed up by some good sound facts . One of the most interesting things he said was that he had never been shopping in his life. This went down a bundle with the Sainted One who I have just educated to go to Sainsbury’s, as long as the items do not number more than about twelve . The thing about supermarket shopping is that, it does not seem like a joyful experience, where selectivity is governed by the taste buds and an interest in the history of things you are eating. That is why it is the supermarkets have to get responsible about what people eat, which is where my thing about Gastro Engineering comes in.

But thanks to the work of groups like CWF this is beginning to happen, even the Sainted One has overlooked the deceptive allure of size rather than quality, and now after a lot of argument recognized the virtues of Burford Brown Eggs as opposed to the flatulent numbers incorrectly labelled as coming from “happy chickens” when look closely and you will see the small print says they are reared in cages….happiness???? . Anyway back to Mr Johnson who gave me a copy of his fascinating book “ Where The Wild Things Are” Travels of a Conservationist . This is a must read, and I hope The Duke of Edinburgh, whom Stanley was about to see at the opening of the new tiger pen at the London zoo will put it in her majesty’s stocking next Christmas.

A very beautiful woman called Melody MacDonald also came to the lunch, who went undercover in to a vile animal experiment laboratory and wrote a book called “Caught In The Act” which she also left for me to read. This woman is immensely brave to have done this, and you have to have strong stomach to read it, especially if you have a cat or a pet rabbit, some of the photos she took, make one ashamed of the human race; we are supposed to be a nation of animal lovers, but open the box and you will see this is far from the truth. There was also a fine young man who is an animal rights lawyer and we talked about the bad name some animal rights activist give to legitimate protesters . Animals need us to speak for them and Jung had much to say about our abuse of the animal kingdom. It was a privilege to have these people in our house and the Sainted One rose to the occasion magnificently and did half the washing up while I was saying goodbye to them all. We have organically farmed pork belly for dinner the men in the house love it, but the truth on processed meat makes scary reading …. No more sausages I am afraid.

Builders Crack, The Queen does Not Use Eyeliner , and No Honey for Wannabees.

I learned many things this weekend, the most interesting of which was the origin of the fashion for builders crack, which is now so predominant that sometimes one can actually see more than just the aforementioned, which is horrible enough. Apparently prisoners in the United States of America are not issued with belts for obvious reasons. Well actually some not so obvious , many things are possible with a belt. Also when leaving prison after the very long sentences some of them get for things now common place there, such as mass murder of a whole community, they are deliberately issued with very large sized trousers. This “look “ became I am told very much a banner of pride showing that you had lived a very varied and interesting life and had a story to tell . “The look” has caught on of course over the years, and Calvin Klein saw a good opportunity with the “crack,” and started putting a brand name on the elastic of his underpants. There are of course practical advantages to the ” crack ” I remember as part of ongoing magistrates training being shown a video of drug exchanges at Kings Cross involving areas made easily accessible  by the ” crack” and the use of kit kat wrappers for reasons of hygiene no doubt. The whole thing was very upsetting and cured my desire for chocolate bars.  actually I too in my modest way have Bonnie and Clyde moments ;   I was stopped at Heathrow the other day and taken to a search booth which was rather unpleasant. I was relieved that it was my M and S under-wired bra which set the thing off.

I watched a marvellous programme about the Queen on the television last night. She is a fantastic woman and always looks interested in whatever she is being shown, but I did notice she had rather a glassy look when shown a display of bloomers and knickers in a primary school which was called the “Queens Knickers.” This we were told in advance by the, well-meaning teacher was the only idea which was able to spark up enthusiasm from the children., she also explained that they had had to shop around for a very large size…..Her Majesty muttered something about “ washday” and moved on. While we are on the subject of the Queen, I read a very nice piece by a young journalist, about the Queen’s commendable attention to economy, surmising that the contents of her handbag would reveal an eyeliner “sharpened to a stump”, news for you little girl journalist, the Queen does not wear eyeliner ! How do I know this ?… I just do.

Onto wannabees, “The Wannabee Bee” by the way is an enchanting book written and illustrated by one of my six fabulous, clever Granddaughters (well they would be wouldn’t they). Well thanks to all the wannabees in Notting Hill, meaning Dave and his gang who abstained from the vote to ban the insecticide that is killing all the bees, there will soon be no bees and consequently no fruit or anything that needs pollinating. This is a mystery. I wish the Queen ran the country, she would have made short work of that lot. While we are onto the subject of Dave and Nick why can’t they speak properly it’s all “wanna and gonna”  instead of want to and going to, even my spell check wont or will not have it! I suppose it’s all to do with people pleasing but it “ is not “ working Dave, we all know you are posh.

Smoke Screens in The House of Commons, Hot Air and Odd Socks.

Can it be true that the Labour MP for Tottenham considered the black and white smoke screens from the Vatican indicting whether or not the new pope has been chosen were full of racial innuendo? Well yes it is true and Mr Lammy used a very grown up word in his complaint, it was, he said “crass” ,the definition of which in the Oxford dictionary is, “ grossly stupid without sensibility of thick course texture” need say no more.

The thought that a person of such ignorance should be representing us in Parliament is beyond belief, the ridicule he must be getting is not sufficient punishment, he should be made to take an IQ test and spend some time studying some elementary history . Surely he has Catholic Constituents who must be insulted by this. Did he think the white smoke meant a white Pope and the converse for a black Pope? Really I think the man needs to reassure us all that he is of sound mind or if he just has a sick sense of humour. Actually his remarks are in themselves racially offensive, minority groups do not need idiots like him giving them a bad name . I am beginning to think there are evil forces at work here, where there is smoke there is fire and there is more to this than meets the eye. I wonder if Mr “Wammy” knows who Saint Francis of Assisi was, after whom the new Pope has chosen to be named? I asked my two Spaniels, who are clearly better informed and educated than Mr Wammy, what they thought about the choice, they both nodded sagely and I am sure one of them quoted Lady Bracknell saying “ignorance is an exotic fruit , touch it and the bloom has gone.”But don’t worry Mr Lammy just go on spouting hot air, it’s all smoke and mirrors, stay as dim as you are and you should do well at Westmister.

I had a wonderful birthday dinner at the weekend prepared  by the “Young”. A lot of birthday cards were hung on a string across the kitchen and the Sainted One complained that the Christmas Cards were still left up. Someone explained that they were birthday cards and not an example of sloppy housekeeping and suggested that the quantity was in some way an indication of popularity. This theory did not meet with agreement from the Sainted One who has a terror of people getting to big for their boots, and there followed a long address setting out the reasons why so many cards had been received, explaining that it was only because  the recipient obviously spent a lot of time sending cards to other people including virtual strangers encountered on public transport, over the year with the senders address included,  to ensure reciprocity, I gave one of my divine enigmatic smiles and thought about the dogs mince in the fridge which would make a nice lasagne for one. The taciturn grandson nudged the Sainted One under the table and muttered “you are saying the wrong thing.” I think the Sainted One and Wammy should have lunch one day, actually they can both put it all up their stove pipes and smoke it.

I sorted all the male person’s socks yesterday, there are twelve odd ones. I have a wonderful idea for a new venture it should be called “Socks Anonymous” all on line like a dating agency. I also found a bra and a pair of girls knickers that were not familiar or of a size or style compatible with female visitors and family.

The Saga of TheCarpet And The Greyhound.

Believe me Greyhounds do not make good bedfellows. I know this because you see I am known for my insane affection towards dogs to whom I attribute superhuman qualities of intelligence and charm. And dogs can tell and so can people particularly members of my family whose dogs I have housed over the years , because they all know one look from those limpid eyes and I am a sucker. One such was a very beautiful black greyhound whom I was assured had to sleep in the bedroom coiled neatly and obediently on the bedroom floor because he had panic attacks if he was left alone. It was OK to start with until one night he crept up onto the bed and infiltrated his way between the sheets, and then lay stretched out beside me resting his head seraphically on the pillow. I awoke feeling rather hot and in the darkness became aware of this sleek moist body next to mine wearing a thick studded collar , semi comatosed my mind raced with a mixture of hallucinatory pleasure followed by alarm. The light revealed the sleeping form and I turfed him out of the bed. His response was to squat on the floor ( for some reason he never learnt to lift his leg ) and do a giant pee on the carpet.

Over the coming days many attempts were made to clean the carpet and the stain just got bigger experts came and said it was no problem,more attempts turned it purple and then on the final go it went to a rich amber yellow. It looked like a map of England except I think many people would  have thought there could possibly be a human explanation, as it is right by the bed . Consequently not many people  have  been into my room for  at least three years. Until yesterday when I bit the bullet and ordered a new carpet. I covered the stain with a rug and the fitter was none the wiser . However soon they will come to take  the the pee stain up. I am worried in case they think it was me, and I know they will not believe that I slept with a greyhound. Last night I dreamed I had  beard and awoke trying to pull it out. My psychotherapist friend said it is a Jungian dream and it means I am trying to get rid of my masculine side. I know it has something to do with the pee stain because the greyhound had confused sexuality and peed like a bitch.  I am going to be through this soon I wonder what the future holds?

The “Price of Revenge” ! The Best Revenge is Happiness.

Poor Vicki Pryce, she had lousy women friends or perhaps very few, or perhaps none at all. Anyway she must be rather dim actually for all her academic success. There have been many examples of clever women who got revenge in rather less draconian self-abusive ways.  I know a woman who put all her husband’s clothes in a skip and set fire to them. A friend of mine wrote a brilliant book called  “The Revenge Of The Middle Aged Woman” it was a best seller and the heroine did find happiness because she was rather philosophical. Frankly as it has turned out “Miss Pryce,” as she ridiculously likes to be called, has revealed herself to be a shrewish sort of person and I don’t blame her husband for wanting out. What on earth possessed the woman to bring her entire family to ridicule and ruin and how stupid to kill all the geese that laid the golden eggs for her family? No starter flats now for thy Pryce children, and why didn’t one of them stop the whole thing before it got going?

Any woman I know would have warned her not to go down that path; but frankly she looks a trifle odd, still smiling smugly as she is driven off in the sweat van to Holloway. She may think it was worth it in a barmy sort of way, but another thing she doesn’t know is that men always win. He will slot back into life after prison, write his story, recoup his finances and live happily with his lady friend, who I must say had been very dignified and loyal. He will most probably mend bridges with his kids and in the end and look quite distinguished with the patina of suffering … but her? No she will look more and more raddled and become even more embittered and God help him, probably haunt him for the rest of his life. That is the kind of woman who never gives up, she makes a Japanese Kamikaze pilot look positively amateur. Did she learn nothing from her Hellenic roots? She might read up on mythology while she is in the nick, she might learn something.

Cruse Bereavement Care , Sir Sigmund Sterngerg and The Tools to Turn Another Page.

We all know that most lives have a great deal of sorrow given in equal measure to the many blessings that are given to us on our journey. A remarkable life time involvement came to me when I met a man called Derek Nuttall who was the director of a comparatively small charity called Cruse. It was 1978 and they needed help with fund raising, and a dear friend of mine, Sir Sigmund Sternberg with his usual far sighted acumen thought I would find it of interest. I knew nothing about bereavement counselling. It was not long before Derek gently ferreted out the fact that my father and two siblings had all died when I was in my teens. This was something which had been so profoundly awful that the only way I could live a normal life was to blot it out completely. I did not need much help with that at first because nobody ever mentioned it to me, not even at school. My mother was so devastated that she became an alcoholic, and basically decided that everyone she ever loved died on her so the only way I would survive was if she pretended I did not exist. I see that now that she has been long dead.

Life was generous though because I found two wonderful surrogate parents. I did manage to have a conversation with my poor mother about all her loved ones when she was dying, and when she was  finally gone I cried a lot as I looked at her, and thought how awful it was that nobody intervened at the time these things happened and showed her that life was worth living, without a gin bottle and a seedy lover wearing my father’s clothes; that she could have been a loving mother and grandmother. I vented anger in the sterile hospital room. I cannot say if she heard as she left, I hope she knew that I loved her and would have given anything to talk to her about my darling father and my brother and sister . There is nobody who knew them now but I have a very precious cousin and we talk about family and our grandmother a lot.

Later when I had resolved my own grief, I trained as a Cruse councillor, and went on organising events for them . My work with Cruse for the last thirty five years has been both a privilege and joy. Knowing that by talking and living the journey and finding the strength through understanding that there is life after death here and you must go on living it. I have been a trustee of Cruse for a very long time, and faces have come and gone. Yesterday a retired from the Council and they gave me a most moving thank you. Seeing such lovely people around me was very enriching, I tried not to be too emotional. A great eminence in the organization Colin Murray Parkes read something out of one of my books called A Rose in Winter, and remarked that overcoming bereavement is a recurring theme in my novels. He is right of course, and when I write about this, for as in real life we must all experience loss, I usually weep over my word processor. I am so grateful to the things I have learned from Cruse, recently I have had to draw on all this for family reasons, and never cease to be grateful to Sigmund Sternberg for putting me on that path.