Thursday, 25 February 2010


Thank you SO much for all the birthday wishes. It made me really happy to read them along with the wise words about turning fifty. I liked the Scattered Gardener's advice to 'embrace your inner crone'. Love it! Be assured I'm planning to do just that.

I spent the day very happily with family and friends. We had Sunday lunch which lasted well into the evening and ended with us crying with laughter. Great day.

Did all of you who partake in half term have a lovely time? We took a little break in a village just outside Lyme Regis in Dorset. Son was in Spain with the school, so it was just the three of us.

Here is the harbour at Lyme:

And here are the very colourful beach huts:

The cottage we stayed in had a thatched roof and a lovely feel about it. The kitchen full of china in blues and white, stripes and spots. There were lovely patchwork quilts on the beds and a very welcome pile of Country Living magazines on the bedside table:

The cottage was directly opposite the church. I mean, this is how close we were:

(That's my daughter twirling around).

This was the view from our bedroom window. Sorry about the quality of the pic. Don't know how that happened. Let's call it 'atmospheric':

My brother (who's a bit squeamish) said he would have turned around and gone back home, but being opposite a churchyard didn't bother me. The neighbours were quiet and the only time we were disturbed was during the bell-ringers' practice evening. It was LOUD!

As my daughter and I are monkey fans, we took a trip to nearby Monkey World:

The monkeys are all rescue animals. They have fantastic playgrounds to amuse themselves on:

This image is a hands-on exhibit to help the visually impaired get an idea how the monkeys look. I think it's a great idea and have only seen this once before, in Edinburgh castle where there was a hands-on replica of the Scottish crown (much nicer than the English one):

The resemblance to Roddy McDowall is amazing, don't you think?

Lyme Regis is world famous for being a Jurassic coastline and therefore very popular with fossil hunters. We spent a happy couple of hours searching for fossils:

The gray section of cliffs that runs across this next picture was actually in the middle of a landslide as I took the photo. It's a regular occurrence and many new discoveries are exposed after this happens:

The fossils here are so common, some which are on larger rocks have been left on the beach for all to see:

We had a really lovely time. Just what we needed. There were also some lovely shops in the High Street. Of course we did the charity shops, found a shop which sold hand-made hats (purchases were made!) and also a shop which, although wasn't a branch of Cath Kidston, sold so much of her stuff, it might as well have been. I managed to find that CK blue and white polka dot dressing gown that is sold out on the Internet. Did I buy? Of course I did!

Happy days, everyone!


Andi xx

Saturday, 20 February 2010


21st February

It's happened. How did it happen? One minute I'm celebrating my fortieth birthday and then, what seems like a couple of months later, I'm hitting fifty.

Forties suited me. I enjoyed being forty-something. I can honestly say that some of my happiest years have been in the last decade. My baby-making days were over, I could just enjoy my children.

I experienced the classic mid-life crisis of re-inventing myself. When the kids began school I threw off my leggings and sweats and went shopping for some REAL CLOTHES. I dyed my hair blond. I enjoyed having some time to look after ME again as well as my children. Gone were those all-consuming baby days. I picked up my writing ambitions again, started community theatre again, began to feel much more confident.

Fifty doesn't feel like that. I'm telling myself to be excited by it and embrace it, but I have a feeling I might be just fooling myself.

Ah well, there's nothing I can DO about it, so I'm just going to enjoy celebrating tomorrow with family and friends and smile as I indulge myself by telling you about three people in the public eye that share my birthday. I'm ridiculously chuffed that they celebrate the same birthday as me as they have all influenced me in some way, and I very much admire all three.

Kelsey Grammer who, as Frasier Crane, has kept me laughing for nearly half my life. When Cheers finished it was hard to imagine another sit-com being as enjoyable and enduring, but Frasier came along and I was bowled over by the wonderful scripts and impeccable performances. To have just a drop of that talent ... It fired my enthusiasm and encouraged me to try my hand at script-writing. I may not have an ounce of the talent that obviously filled the Frasier script-writing room, but I've had such fun trying.

Jilly Cooper - I read my first Jilly Cooper back in 1988. It was Riders and the overwhelming feeling I got as I devoured the book was 'what fun Jilly must have had writing this'. I wanted to experience that fun, too. So Jilly is entirely responsible for setting me on the writing path, and although I now realise what incredibly hard work goes into writing a novel, I'm still convinced that Jilly's sense of fun exudes from the pages of her books and in turn has given me enormous fun writing my own stories. I met Jilly at a book signing years ago. After shaking her hand, I went straight home and wrote with my 'Jilly-vibed' hand!

What can I say? Just, 'thank you, Mr. Rickman, for being born'! Alan Rickman has my complete admiration as an actor. I am constantly fascinated how he can take an ordinary sentence, put emphasis on a word no one else would dream of emphasising, and make the line sound not only totally convincing but bloody fantastic at the same time. His delivery has caused me to look at my own performances to see what I can bring to them. I'm in total awe of his talent. Ruby Wax once said '(Alan) has this sex thing he switches on when he walks on stage' and I have to agree. I once met him at a charity function. He is a very polite, unassuming gentleman, but on stage... WHOA! I'm watching - and I'm liquid!

And they're all older than me!

As I celebrate the very last day of my forties, I send you blessings,

Andi xx
(Jilly photo by Yui Mok. Frasier and Alan Rickman - credits not found)

Sunday, 14 February 2010



Not to squash anyone's bubble today, but apparently St. Valentine had nothing to do with sweethearts and romantic love. It's not even sure how many people St. Valentine is actually made up of.

According to Wikipedia, there was no celebration of St. Valentine until Geoffrey Chaucer, who mentioned in Parliament of Foules a fictional old tradition of celebrating this day.

The feast of St. Valentine was allegedly (has anyone noticed this word becoming the most used word in English newspapers today?) devised to take the place of the very ancient pagan festival of Lupercalia, which was observed in order to 'avert evil spirits and purify the city, releasing health and fertility.'

Sounds like a jolly event. What are folk supposed to do during a festival that leaves them healthy and fertile? Why, invent St. Valentine's Day! And I'm very glad they did.

Here is the little tin of chocolates M presented me with this morning. I have to say, I'm more excited about the tin than the actual chocolates. Isn't it sweet?

Here are some romantic things I have around the house:

This ornament was bought from a charity shop last week. I think they had a number of them because my friend bought one at the same time. (Floss, have you noticed how I've mixed red and blue? The nearest I can get at the moment to red and turquoise!)

A collection of random hearts I usually keep in a bowl. Here set out on an old piece of lace curtain I have in my stash:

A friend gave me this picture when I was busy writing romantic (and stronger!) stories:

A few years ago my son made this picture for me. It's his version of a piece of art we saw in a gallery. I loved it, but couldn't afford it and he very kindly put this together for me (as it's not an exact copy - rather a fifteen year old's interpretation, I hope we don't get into copyright trouble)

Sorry about the reflection of my lights.

This last picture I won on ebay recently. I fell in love with it instantly and had to have it. There was a frenzied last-minute bidding for it and I won. Just hope none of you was amongst the other bidders:

Once again, sorry about the reflections. It's hard to photograph glass-fronted pictures without getting the reflection.

Have a wonderful St. Valentine's day.


Andi xx

Friday, 12 February 2010


Hi Everyone,

Haven't been posting recently as I had a minor op last week followed by a horrible cold, both of which have brought me down. Hopefully I'll be on top of things very soon. Have enjoyed reading all your blogs in the meantime.

I have a message for all those who were affected by the SNOWFALL WIDGET. I'm not sure if it is the thing responsible, but I've just had my credit card bill in and some of the transactions were not mine. All the transactions were from abroad and about £200 has been taken over several payments. There is one other possibility of where my details could have been stolen, but in case that problem with being redirected is responsible, please, please check your credit card statements.

Andi xx