Sunday 13th March 2011

My week held a surprise … no, NOT a book deal (sigh); attending a Stand-up Comedy Course run by my friend Sarah Archer (right). There I was, just minding my own business (toilet-cleaning in my Wednesday cleaning job), and had flicked over to listen to Sarah doing a spot on local radio.  She mentioned that she hadn’t had a woman come forward to enrol on her next course – which started the following night.

After contemplating whether I had the time (I hadn’t), but then figuring that she would do it for me, I texted to say that if nobody came forward, I’d do it.  That’s how I found myself in a room with 6 strangers on Thursday night. Another woman HAD also come forward, and so there we sat, ready to embark on 6 weeks of tuition – which culminates in our having to do a five-minute spot at a Comedy night on 18th April.

The other woman (Tracy), was a bit late arriving but set me off giggling straight away by saying (completely seriously) “I’d like to be funny, but I haven’t got the time.” That’s the sort of comment I love, and wrote it straight down to quote to you here!  It turned out to be a fun – and funny – night, and I’m really looking forward to next week.  Our homework is to write two minutes material on a subject chosen at random from the Argos catalogue. My subject is Bathroom Cabinets.  Yes …

Sarah, Tracy and I are going to be speaking about it briefly on Graham Mack’s Breakfast show (BBC Wiltshire Sound), at about 8.20 am Tuesday.  I’ll be breaking off from my cleaning job to go to the studio, then straight back afterwards to carry on toilet cleaning. Oh, my glamorous life!  More on all that next week, but let’s get onto other matters now.

TV Times

I’d promised someone I’d reveal who I wanted out of Donald Trump’s Apprentice.  After having seen this week’s Eps though, it’s looking increasingly as if he might end up as the winner. It’s James.  He’s just so smug; as if he knows he’s going to win.  Mind you; those are the sort who normally DO win, precisely because of that confidence!

Boy; I wish I’d had that sort of confidence at his age.  I feel as if I’ve literally – over the last fortnight – realised that writing truly is the thing I love to do most.  It’s just heartbreaking that it didn’t figure that out 16 years ago when my safe, secure life suddenly disappeared, but this is why I work 90+ hours a week now.  I feel I can’t waste even a second, and just hope it’ll all be worth it in the end.

But that’s why people push themselves, isn’t it?  If you really want something, you’ll do whatever it takes to make it happen.  I come back to that time and time again on these blogs.  I find it so sad to see people not achieving their full potential because they’re either too scared or too lazy to try, and others who’ve got so much (often simply because they got a break and had the right people helping them along), yet don’t appreciate it.

But back to The Apprentice.  Tim will look back at this in 20 years time and probably have big regrets.  He’d taken his eye off the prize and focussed it on Nicole.  No matter what feelings they had for each other, with what was at stake you’d have thought they might have agreed to put it on hold until the end?  It became a chip in his armour, and his teammates quickly rounded on him when they lost the task, and then he was gone!

The last six were then divided into teams of two.  James wisely paired up with Stefani, and it ended up with the other front-runner (Heidi), and Kristine being fired.  As they were driven away together at the end, it was so lovely to see them both admit and accept it (rather than blame others), and to see how very dignified and sincere they both were.

That – somehow – has left the weakest candidate, Nicole, in the final four.  I suspect she won’t be in the final two.  Let’s see what tomorrow night brings.  If you’re reading this before Monday 14th 10pm (UK time), you can catch up on this week’s Eps here: Gripping!


Right: moving on. John and Greg are putting a brave face on it, but it seems as if I’m not the only one who’s got strong feelings about the new MasterChef format: and was also pleased to find that the Buzz Team have at last fixed the problem that was stopping a link to my blog appearing on BBC pages.

This week saw another Restaurant stint. Funny how (after a faltering start), the contestants suddenly manage to start producing “Plate after plate” of perfect food.  I don’t buy that.  It just doesn’t feel ‘right’ to me.  How much help from a Commis/other chefs do they get that we don’t see, I wonder?

Again, India Fisher’s narration sent my blood pressure through the roof, and – combined with the seriously loud, overly-dramatic music, far too long having to watch people sniffing food blindfold, and the OTT ending – I just ended up cringing through most of it. I hope the Producers are taking note of the public’s comments and will return to a less ‘Game-Show’ format for the next series.  There’s more than enough of those type of shows already.  Ooh, don’t get me started … We’d like more food and less ‘drama’, please.


Did you see my tweet on Wednesday afternoon?  I was listening to the Omnibus as usual (while doing the ironing at my Wednesday cleaning job), and I don’t mind admitting, I was ‘filling up’ when Kenton and Jolene finally admitted their feelings for each other.  It’s so nice to have a fledgling romance to follow.  I hope the writers give us a happy ending on this one.

Henry Archer continued his amazing performance as the world’s cleverest baby this week; cooing in response to everyone who talked to him.  He’s 10 weeks old.  Not really what they do at that age usually.  I thought it was a euphamism for a second when Helen said that she was about to have a sleep after Henry’s feed until “Someone opened up downstairs.” I thought she meant that he’d filled his nappy, but she was referring to someone making a noise while opening up the village shop below her flat!  Ooh, how I laughed when I realised my mistake!

I was thinking how we haven’t heard from a lot of the characters lately.  They must pray for a good long storyline, as they only get paid when they’re ‘on’, and it’s hardly a steady income for them, bless.  I was sat in an Italian Restaurant in Wandsworth a few years ago with my friend, and we were talking about The Archers.  The tables were really close together, and the woman at the next table started talking to me.  Turns out it was Lizzie Pargetter.  We had a right good natter!  Ooh, isn’t that a lovely story!

Foodie Corner

I recorded a show on TV this week called How it’s Made, to see how they made peanut butter. It was all going well until they added the sugar and the hydrogenated vegetable oil (to stop it separating).  If reading this makes you ‘gip’ at the thought (a good old Yorkshire word!), then go and buy the natural organic, sugar/salt-free stuff from Health shops (this is my own actual jar here; isn’t that lovely?)  Ok; you might have to stir it a bit, but the flavour’s SO much better, and it’s actually good for you without the addition of  trans-fats.  Found this photo too, which tickled me!  (If you can’t read the words, it says: This product is processed in a facility producing peanut and tree nut products.  May contain peanut and/or nut parts.)  Don’cha love it!

What’s happened to bananas?  When I go to Tesco at 6.30 on Tuesday mornings, the place I spend the most time lurking around is the banana stand; just trying to find even ONE that isn’t bruised or discoloured.  It’s only been over the last year or so (and it’s worst in Tesco), but – in general – something seems to be wrong with bananas.

I bought these 6.30 on Tuesday (the skins were almost completely unmarked), but this is what they looked like by 1.00.  What’s that all about?  Are they storing them at too low a temperature, or just manhandling them?  They barely last a day, and seem to go from green to black/bruised literally in front of your eyes.  “Eeh, I remember a time when you were able to buy a hand of bananas and it would last you 4 or 5 days.” Now I can only really buy them on the day, as they’ll barely make it through the night!  I’M not doing anything different, so what’s going on?  Answers on a postcard please …

Handy Hints

Like flowers, but get jolly fed up when they don’t last long?  Eucalyptus: that’s the answer. Get down to  your local florist for some eucalyptus.  Comes in several varieties, is a great colour; smells SO good, and lasts for ages too. There’s a lot of other green twiggy stuff you can get for about 50p a sprig.  It really cuts the cost, but looks dead expensive in a nice tall vase.  Just add a few tall flowers (or some spray carnations), and you’ve got a gorgeous display that really lasts, and all for about £5.  Here’s one I prepared earlier (this is what I’m looking at in my office right now).  If the flowers die, just buy a couple more, but the foliage can last up to three weeks.  Marvellous!

Are you plagued by fingerprints and smears on your brushed steel hob/fridge/oven/sockets etc? Well, despair no longer.  Baby oil; that’s what you need.  Just squirt a little on a piece of kitchen roll and rub it lightly over the surface then get a couple of sheets of dry kitchen roll and remove/polish-off the excess.  Brings it up bootiful!

Do you feel depressed when you look in a mirror and see how fat, old, saggy and wrinkled you’re getting?  My advice is: don’t look.  Just turn your head away until you’ve got something on or a towel wrapped round you, and you’ll be fine.  Your face?  Can’t help on that one I’m afraid, but Stop Frowning, as that’s not going to make it any better, is it?

Quotes of the Week

“Why take life so seriously?  Nobody gets out alive,” and a late, late entry: “The problem with quotes taken from the Internet, is half the time you don’t know if they are true or not” – Abraham Lincoln. (Thanks to Twitter-y @chalwa312 and @bowbrick)

This week’s Celebrity Handy Hints have been held-over till next week, as there’s been an exciting development.  I only got the go-ahead for this on Saturday afternoon, so next week’s spot will be longer, but – and I mean this most sincerely – I am beyond excited to welcome a REAL celebrity to this blog: Westside Moira (AKA Moira Stewart) “From da BBC an ting.” (see if you’re in the US perhaps, and are wondering who she is!)

Moira’s been cracking me up with her tweets, so I strongly recommend you to follow @WestsideMoira, and if you’re not on Twitter, then join – even if it’s just to follow her!  Each week, Moira will give us a little glimpse into her special world (and what a world it is!), so let me hand you over for the first ever  Moira’s Corna.

Mi tank you for welcom an ting. Moira’s well smilin to be aksed to do dis blog an mi wanna giv you likkle feel of ow tings are in Moira world, so mi do sum tongue talkin so ya can be gettin a feel of  Moira’s life an’ ting. Moira got new ‘mutton’ cardigan dis week. Mi like bovine animal sometime (but not for eatin – only goat on treat day), but mi ad slight acciden wen mi chase sheep’s mudda in shopping centre an it die ouside Clinton Cards, but I’s made mutton cardigan from sheep’s wool, an Moira wearin it lately to keep from chillin down at da Studio each day where mi do show wit a man an some other man an ting in a mornin on Radio 2.

Moira like to nom clam, spam, Nelson Mandela chilli sauce, an a gherkin, all wash down wi dark rum for a snack, an mi get vex when me drop me pepperami in bath one time. Still ate it thoug – was well spice. Moira like to get down to Boney M, an sometime Abba wen mi’s been drinkin wi me bros an hoes on payday Friday nite an ting.

Mi need to go naw, as mi neighbour cat is makin me raaaas, an Moira need to deal wi da matta fore tings get outta hand, so while mi do it, mi look forwar to ya all read Moira tweet, an fine out more bout Moira for nex week an ting, ok?!/WestsideMoira


Wasn’t that lovely? And now, yet-another new spot this week! Twitter is quick, instant, and – unlike Facebook – you can find people like yourself instantly; just from what they tweet.  If you haven’t tried it yet, then why not make this the week to start?

For example: has your life got no meaning? Do you search for something to hold on to? Each week, I’ll do a “Favourite Follow”, and this first one will be right up your street.  It’s @GreySkyThinking.  Here’s one of their profound thoughts: “Do you feel lost? Are you going round and round in circles, getting nowhere? It’s your own fault – you shouldn’t have agreed to go to Ikea.”


I’ve barely had time to sleep this week as I’ve worked such long hours (loved it though!), but Ameri-Corner has proved to be more work than I anticipated.  I come across loads of interesting stuff when I’m NOT looking for it, but because I WANTED to find things, I’ve ended up spending hours going down one dead end  after another!  I’ve got a few links here for you, but wonder if you might like to make this a bit interactive? If you’re in the US and see something you think people in the US/UK might both fancy, then email me the link to and I’ll put it up next week.

This one’s about all the latest gadgets/sites etc, and I’m looking forward to having a proper look at it tomorrow:

This one gives some useful hints on how to get more Twitter followers Thanks to @Carol_Stephen

10 Social Media Campaigns that failed!

This is an article from this week’s Daily Mail which must be heartening for  all Americans?

And lastly – for fun – a great picture + lots of interesting stories at the bottom of this page

Soap-y Corner

Had a big problem trying to bring you my first ‘proper’ soapy corner.  As I said last week: I don’t have preview tapes, so can only write about what’s been on this week, and as I usually record the Emmerdale/Coronation Street Omnibus Editions at the weekend, I’m always normally a week behind, so THIS week, I’ve been having to record them as they’ve gone along.

Trouble is; I work such long days that I’ve not had time to watch them, so have been having to catch up in bed at night – which would be ok if I didn’t have to get up at 5.30 most days to go to my office!  I’m a bit tired as I write this, and will have to do better next week.

The other problems is: I could write loads on each one, but then this blog gets even longer!  I’m wondering whether to split it down and do a separate Soap-blog, but that’s more time spent blogging, time which I ought to be spending trying to get an Agent/Publisher for my book (and trying to crack on with writing the next one).  I love doing my blogs though, so what on earth can I do?  Ooh, it’s just like something from a soap, isn’t it?  No?  Ok.

Coronation Street

My brother Michael was back for a week this week and has fixed my YouTube, so – at last – here’s the clip of Rosie Webster telling Betty Turpin about Twitter that I’ve been raving about:

Corrie is hilarious at the moment.  The gags are funnier than a lot of actual comedy shows!  Didn’t Maria used to have a baby (Liam)?  She’s out day and night, with barely a moment to re-apply her lipstick, let-alone give him his dinner.  And Ossie the dog too … vanished.

When Kylie slapped David Platt around the head in the Rovers, she did what we’d all like to do (for starters!), but I think she hit him a bit harder than she meant to.  The beer shot out of his mouth, and it made me think that if he’d hit HER around the back of her head in the pub, every man in that bar would have had to have been held back and stopped from flattening him.  I’m not trying to be all ‘PC’, but it really made me think for a moment (before carrying on with my dinner).


This week, we saw Charity and Cain in a Hotel in Leeds.  The Hotel was 42 The Calls.  I used to stay there in the 80s when it was the first ’boutique’ Hotel in the City, and I had money!  (Sighs nostalgically.)  It was a fabulous place, and had the most gorgeous smell from the frog-shaped soaps in all the rooms.  I still have one of those soaps in a tin, and open it up every now and again and take a deep sniff.  That’s the nearest I get to posh hotels … acutally – ANY hotel – these days!

Jeff Horley plays Cain so well, as I veer from loathing the character when he’s being a nasty, spoilt bully-boy, to loving him when he uses that same verocity to defend his family/principles.  He and Charity have got such great chemistry, and Debbie looks SO like them, she really could be their daughter!  I LOVED Charity’s line to Cain: “The only way you’ll ever satisfy a woman … is by dropping dead.”

Carl and Scarlett are another pair that could be real siblings.  When she first came into Emmerdale, I thought she was going to be revealed as his daughter; they look so similar. Have a gander this week if you haven’t spotted it yet.  PS: Paddy’s head looks like an Easter egg now he’s shaved his hair off.  It is SO not a good look.


And talking of So not a good look … Ben.  Those glasses.  All he needs is to have one lens covered in tape and his look of ‘gormless git’ would be complete.  It is SO not a good look … unlike Cat, who just commands the screen (for me).  When she and Alfie are on, they’re so believable as a couple, and I can’t wait for them to get little baby Tommy back next month.  Wasn’t it nice to see Shirley smile on Friday too?  Must be a right stretch for her – seeing as she has to walk around as if the grim reaper’s wrapped around her neck most of the time.  How long’s the non-marriage going to last then?  I give it three months before he’s at it again!

Glenda left this week.  It never ceases to amaze me how characters always leave with only a single (empty) suitcase (unless they’re leaving in a box of course).  I take a bigger bag than that to Tesco!

Any Other Business

My hope of having “Just Good Friends?” up on Amazon/Kindle this week hasn’t happened (it’s down to others, so is out of my hands), but hopefully by this time next week, it’ll be properly sorted.  Might encourage a new rush of sales perhaps?

Sarah Archer’s Comedy Course/Site:

Sarah Archer’s Website:

As per: if you’ve enjoyed this blog (and well done for making it this far), PLEASE tell your friends, as the more people that read it, the more chance there is that I might one day be able to start earning money from writing, and be able to give up the cleaning for good. I’m janereynolds8 on Twitter, don’t forget!

See you next week I hope?


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