Sunday 13th February 2011

(Note: WordPress continues to cause me formatting problems.  I’m trying to fix it, but this blog isn’t laid out as I want it to be, so bear with the big gaps between lines in places, gaps missing between sentences and  ‘ ‘ ” ” being the wrong way round in places – like here – and photos with bits chopped off and not where I want them to be.)

Ok.  You know I’m always honest with you all on here, don’t you?  As I sit here at 7.15 on Saturday morning to start this week’s blog, I find I’ve got yet more technical problems that have appeared from nowhere which (combined with the other big issue I have right now), makes the thought of just walking out of this office for good seem very tempting. Most sensible people are probably still in bed now, and what am I doing?  Sitting here for 13 hours … again … and for what?

At this exact moment, the only thing that’s stopping me from quitting, are the words Donald Trump said to a candidate in this week’s Apprentice.  This is my “Quote of the week”, right here, right now.  “Never, ever give up.  Never quit.  You can never be successful if you quit.” Let’s talk more about that.

Apprentice USA

For people who’d never seen him on TV before; in his series Service, Michel Roux demonstrated perfectly how to inspire, motivate and gain respect from people by firstly giving it to them. The same is true of Donald Trump. Here in the UK, the extent of the Trump Organisation’s influence on the Business world and people’s attitudes towards him are probably not fully appreciated, but for my friends who have visited New York and come back with photos (and who speak in awe of what they’ve seen), it’s clear that this one man has created the most incredible Empire.

All successful people have their detractors.  I’m sure Donald Trump has an army of (jealous) critics, but – for me – there is just something about him that I find literally magnetic.  I know that The Apprentice USA is a TV show, and that it’s all good publicity for the Trump Organisation, but Mr Trump presents himself in the same way as Michel Roux: calm; serious, and completely committed to the process he is engaged in.

This show is so gripping I can barely breathe when I’m watching.  The format of the current Series has had many surprises already (and we’re only four shows in), and looks deeper at the relationships within the teams than at the actual tasks (which I like), and his decision as to who to fire each week has been 100% correct and fair in every case (based on what we’ve seen as viewers), and for exactly the reasons he’s stated.  (I was glad Martyn went in Wk1.  That checked shirt with that tie was a truly horrible combination!)

It’s also thrown up some real twists.  One team is sleeping outside in a tent, while the other (winning) team enjoy luxurious accommodation in a mansion overlooking the Hollywood hills! Seeing the group ’round’ totally against one of their own in Ep 4 this week was a compulsive study in pack mentality (and painful to watch, as it’s happened to me on a number of occasions), but makes gripping viewing.

The only other thing I’ll say about it this week is this: if you’re not already watching, try and catch up over the weekend, then tune in/record this week’s Eps (from 12.20am Tuesday 15th BBC1), and we’ll talk more about it next week – including Ivanka and Don Jnr’s input.  Trust me: if you liked Service and Lord Sugar’s UK Apprentice, you’ll LOVE The Apprentice USA.

Ok. If you saw my tweet Friday teatime, you’ll be wondering what I was on about: “Something so unbelievable’s just happened as to be completely unbelievable.”

Explain this:

Remember my gripping tale of battling through the snow, and the man who appeared from nowhere to let me into my office? (See blog 19/12/10)  It was all over a lost swipe card.  As I was leaving last night, I put my fleece on and checked to make sure I had my swipe card (or I can’t get back into the Building), and there it was, safely tucked away in my purse.

I locked my office door and put the key in the breast pocket of my fleece.  As I did, my hand touched something.  I pulled it out and it was … a swipe card.  But … hang on … the card was already in my purse.  The purse I’d turned out a dozen times, and the same card I’d searched every inch of my life for.  So now I’ve got two.  There is no way I couldn’t have seen that card there.  I have NO, I repeat, NO explanation as to where that card came from.  I’d paid £9 for the replacement.  As I write this now, I STILL can’t find an explanation.  Spooky … More strange things:


I should have known it was going to be a bad week.  Look at my horoscope:

Monday: “Nothing will happen for you today. Did you honestly expect it would?”

Tuesday: “Nothing will happen for you today. Did you honestly expect it would?” (Sounds a bit like yesterday’s … )

Wednesday: “Oh it’s you again. I’ve already told you: expect nothing.”

Thursday: “And don’t even think about whether you’ll get a Valentine’s card this year.”

Friday: “Are you still here? Why? The only card you’ll get is one you’ll find in your purse.”

Saturday: “Frankly, I wouldn’t bother.  Your entire day will be a complete waste of time.”

Sunday: “You’ll publish your blog. That’s as good as it gets for you …”

No wonder I get fed up.

I tweeted last Sunday that I suddenly had something funny to tell you.  This is it:

Sundays are exciting beyond belief.  I work since early morning to finish this blog, then leave the office at 3.00 to go and clean my Dad’s house. I’ve started listening to Paul O Grady’s teatime show (aka Lily Savage) on Radio 2 as I work, and as he ranted on about the world in general last week, it struck me that he rattles on like I do.

He even gives out recipes (albeit they’re cocktail recipes and therefore out of my realm of expertise), and I have a vision of thousands of Sixty-somethings scribbling it down then mixing them up while they listen!

It really surprised me when I woke up on Sunday night with a ‘Dead Pet’ spot in my mind though.  You need to listen to one of Paul’s, but – in essence – someone’s pet dies, and Paul (while keeping a straight face), reads out a eulogy by the bereaved owners.  Something like this …

“Ooh, ‘ere’s one now.  What’s that name Malcolm?  Satan?  Oh, no, “Sainty” (aside) I must get me glasses fixed.  Right; Sainty.  This is from Eric and Edna in Wigan.  Our Sainty passed over last week.  We’re ‘eart-brokken. Ooh, he ‘ad no personality whatsoever – apart from being evil – but life’s just not the same without ‘im.  Ee’d just sit there staring and looking down ‘is nose at us most ot’t time.  Ee’d always been’t same. It wor just ‘is way.  The thing we miss most about ‘im though, is ‘ow when we’d get ‘ome from work, ee’d jump down off me chair, go and stand by ‘is bowl and wail loudly at us ’til we fed ‘im.  Soon as ‘ee were fed, ee’d be off out’t door and – sure as eggs is eggs – next morning ee’d be back for ‘is breakfast.  Ooh, we do miss ‘im.  Ee wor irreplaceable. But now we’ve got Tiddles.  She’s from’t Cat’s ‘ome and, ooh, she’s grand. Oh, don’t. Malcolm; get the sherry.  I can’t take it; I’m broken ‘earted here.  Eric and Edna, I’m sorry for your loss.  God bless Satan, sorry, Sainty.  Quick, get me a tissue Malcolm, I’m fillin’ up ere.”  See?  Peas in a pod – except that Paul’s got better legs than me.

I had a couple of other Quotes of the Week for you.  I’ll save one till next week. The other one moved me to tears, but is from a book that says I’m not allowed to quote from it, so instead, here’s those poignant and memorable words my Mother often used to say to my brother and I when we were children: “STOP FIGHTING!”  (sniffs) …

Handy Hints:

Don’t get so engrossed in your blog that you start to wake up at night with ideas (and have to write them down in a little book you’ve had to start keeping at the side of your bed), as it’ll make you tired when you have to go toilet cleaning the next day.

Hate the horrible plastic, metallic taste of Supermarket tomato sauces? I will eat the odd ready meal (photo of one next week), but I won’t eat ANY that’s tomato-based.  I can’t bear the taste.  Ooh, don’t get me started …  Don’t waste money on jars of sauce either.  For an instant sauce, look no further than this:

There’s only one thing you need to add, and that’s a pinch of sugar.  Add a pinch of sugar to ANY tin of tomatoes you use in a sauce, and it’ll counteract that metallic taste that takes the roof off your mouth.

As for this Chair De Tomate; it’s a blank canvas.  You can add salt, chilli, smoked paprika, any fresh/dried herbs, (crushed fennel seeds are 5*), cream, blue cheese … the list goes on.  Just add them all to the tin (one tin serves 1-2), while you’re waiting for the pasta/meat etc to cook, then when it’s draining, just tip it into the pan and heat through.  Takes no time, and is thick and rich. Passata is a compromise, or just plain tinned chopped tomatoes.  It only takes a second to “Jazz it up” (as Jamie Oliver would say), and will taste 100 times better than anything out of a jar in my opinion.  (Other opinions are available.)

Fabulous Foodie Tip of the Week

Lentils are hardly anyone’s favourite treat, but Sainsbury’s do this: you’ll find it in the Chiller Cabinet with all the other dips.

It’s healthy, low fat/calorie, chunky, spicy and completely moreish.  Spread on a black pepper ryvita (they’re actually quite nice – in a cardboard-y way), tortilla chips, or (if you’re being really healthy), carrot/cucumber sticks etc.

A few links for you:

If you want to pay 9 US cents per track to download music rather than 79 UK pence,

Want a chuckle?

Wish there was something that would download Radio/TV shows from your Mac straight onto your iTunes so that you could play them back when YOU want to – rather than just have to watch them on iplayer? Can’t get the link to work on this one, so just key in “iplayer automator” and choose the first one listed.  (There’s probably a pc version, but I don’t know which one it is, sorry.)

Let’s see if that video of duck that wouldn’t upload last week will work this week … Nope, it wouldn’t.  I despair.  I’ve tried and tried, but need to get someone technical to hopefully get it fixed it for me for next week.

Last-minute bits: Uh, oh. Masterchef’s back this week.  Time to reach for the mute button. Love the show, but I get palpitations from the stress of listening to that Narrator. More on that next week I think …

If you haven’t been watching BBC1’s Episodes, it’s been an absolute gem.  Series 1 will get repeated, there’ll be a second Series, and people will rave about it.  Just like I said would happen with Miranda, Lead Balloon, Outnumbered etc …

Helen Flanagan is sublime as the airhead Rosie Webster in Coronation Street. The skill it must take to deliver her lines while maintaining that image of almost constant hysterical outrage at the world around her (combined with her incredible comic timing), are an utter joy to watch.

Thanks for reading this week.  If you liked it, how about leaving a comment?  Do please tell your friends too, and why not follow me on Twitter (janereynolds8, or click on the link above).  If you like my writing, I’m sure you’d like my book.  It’s got a bit of something for everyone, so please take a look at the rest of my site (if you haven’t already), and consider treating yourself to a good old romp!

I could go on, but it’s almost 2.30 Sunday now, and I’ve got a house to clean …


One Response to Sunday 13th February 2011

  1. Heather Stack February 16, 2011 at 6:19 pm #

    Belatedly, and with many apologies, I am making my comment on your, always entertaining and heartfelt blog. I had meant to make a comment earlier, on some previous blog, so do forgive that I did not, and am writing here instead.

    I do enjoy reading your musings on so many things and do admire absolutely your resolute commitment to your writing. It shines through all that you do and I think it is inspirational.

    I do not know that I am as bold as you, or as courageous, or as honest, or as open, but I do share the sentiment (expressed in an earlier blog, maybe a week or so back) that it is difficult determining the fine line that exists between absolute honesty and the gloss that can shroud over misfortune or despair. I think it is commendable that you have found a line that sits easy with you, that is meaningful, and that you follow through, that is utterly open and earnest. What I think emerges is an insight into someone who has an indominatable spirit, a boundless enthusiasm for life and a quest for more riches – and that does not necessarily mean material riches, but a richness in the quality of life that is lived and yearned for.

    Do keep writing and do keep entertaining your followers, on Twitter, on the radio, on your blog, and through your novel writing.

    I shall look forward to more episodes. You know, there is much here that would make a very fine screenplay, if ever you are in need of a writer to adapt your musings….

    with very kind regards

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