Friday, 16 December 2011

The Monkey's Tenner

O my brothers, things have changed so very much.  In such a very short time. 
And I know it's all my fault.

Last week I found a tenner on the floor of the shop where I work.  I knew it belonged to some kid or other, as the place was swarming with them, there being a match and everything.  And I knew the heartbreak they would suffer when they found it missing. 

I kept in my pocket for a while, scanning the crowded floor for some red-eyed or anxious-looking kid.  There were none, o my brothers.  And the tenner burnt a hole against my uniformed skin, stealing by finding.  The very thing my First Year teacher used to bang on about.  Mind you, the old cow banged on about a lot of things.  But I was trying to be sincere, and would return it to the first brat who hollered. But there was no such sounds.  Only whinging about all the small balls being sold out.

So, I resolved to put it into some sort of Poor Box, or to the Salvation Army.  You know that one who stands outside M&S.  Well, did I shite?!  20 fags, 2 packets of Knick Knacks and a can of coke later....
But the memory of this illicit tenner did not desert me and I began to feel the chill of vengence.

On Monday, when my mum didn't answer the phone, I told my brother, who went round her house and had to break in.  Finding her ill and helpless, they called the ambulance.  Brother then rang me at 4 am to tell me it was a heart attack (and not the suspected food poisoning), and that she was being moved to The Chest Hospital in Bethnal Green, and that she may not make the transition.  The chances are that she could die before she gets there! 

I lay back in the bed.  Did my punishment HAVE to be this cruel?  Because nothing could be more brutal than this.  The Monkey's tenner had slapped me coldly in the face.  I mean, true, mum was 82 and had smoked 60 a day for about the same number of years, but still I felt responsible.   She wasn't ready to leave us yet.  I couldn't see her not opening the Christmas present I had brought her.  Nor could I see her departing from this world the same time as Ken Russell!  While a hero to me, he was odious to my mum.  It would be insult to injury! 

In less than an hour, bruv phoned again, to say she'd arrived there safely and was sitting up.  Now you would have thought my punishment ended there.  Teaching me a lesson and all that.  But no, it has been relentless.  Traipsing to Bethnal Green - WHAT a shit hole!  How long has THIS place been here?

Then on to Whitechapel and intensive care.  Working my way all round the Monopoly board.  She seems to make progress, then takes a step back.  They have put a pacemaker in, but she had a very bad night.  Do I lose my mother the same way I lost my Dad? In a cold institution full of strangers? 
In somewhere I had never set foot in before, and never likely to again? 

Of course, my wish came true.  I am no longer going to that awful, hot Florida (Husband and kids are tho').  But like the Monkey's Paw, I got what I wanted in such a horrible way.  Be careful what you wish for, eh? 
Thank God I didn't wish for money! 

Not allowed to visit mum, because of the bad night and everything.  How dare a load of strangers tell me not to see my own flesh and blood!  But I am powerless to argue with such a big insitution.  They also don't want relatives phoning all the time, they told my brother, but that's tough shit, if they've got phones, they can fracking answer them.  It's a hospital, they're gonna have visitors and callers, aren't they.   

Oh dear, this is a grim post, sorry. 

Friday, 9 December 2011


Just writing a few words while I still have some Puff left. 

Been so busy lately.  This thing called Work mainly.  How do people DO that thing!  What a nightmare! 

Teachers' Strike was brilliant last week.  Brought back so many memories of 1972.  There were a lot more then tho'.   Nearly everyone's mum and dad at school were on strike!  The buggers were never at work!  And don't think they did picketing either, or fight for their cause.  They were at home watching telly and that.  No wonder so many of my contemporaries wanted to get themselves into factories and labouring. 

My birthday was on Sunday.  What a load of crap THAT was!  Still, my mum gave me £50, so that wasn't bad.  Bought a 100 fags and some lipstick.  Could be worse I suppose.  But don't see why turning 53 is anything to celebrate. 

Going to Florida for Christmas.  Really don't want to go.  Should never have agreed to it.  I'm dreaming of the 30th, when we arrive back in Heathrow, especially to outside the building where I can have a fag. 

Gotta go.  I'm doing supper! 

Tuesday, 8 November 2011


Oh my brothers, I am crushed.  Really ground down.  Just like the fag butt I threw down on the ground and got fined £50 for! 

Am suffering from Post Fine Stress.  Two community Police officers, one showing the other what to do, keeping me there on the street while they radioed in my address from my library card!  (For Frack's sake!).  I mean it had my photo on there, and everything.

They said they'd write on the fine that I had a lot on my mind, that being the reason for my serious crime.  I suggested they actually put that there were no fag stubbers and those metal things on bins,  THAT could be the reason really, couldn't it?!

(Or that they could actually do something important!)

Think I'm suffering from Police brutality.  Gonna phone that European Court of Human Rights, or whatever they're called.  Are they on Facebook?  Does anyone know?

Fifty-seven pounds I had earned the week before in that shop.  On the Friday that same fifty pounds went to the Council.  Leaving me with seven quid.  That went on a packet of fags!

Despite my ordeal, have forced myself to go to Starbucks and the off-licence.  Theraputic, really.   

Sunday, 23 October 2011


Mate's mum died.  Got the message on Facebook.  Didn't have the mobile number to text the bereaved.  Had to actually get out my black book of (proper) telephone numbers and look it up, and dial it on one of those quaint appliances that stands there quite redundant in the hallway. 

What a sweet and old-fashioned process! I hear everybody used to do such a thing. 

My moleskin phone book, immaculate with crisp pages, compared to my mum's of twenty years, faded and dog-eared from constant use. 

What about those telephone diaries that had an actual dial on the cover?  How chic were they?  You wanted someone with the initial B, you had to stick your finger in this receptacle.  They never really worked properly.  They seemed to get stuck a lot.  Still hanker for one though.   

Took me right back to 1970 when we first got a telephone. With the round dial and everything.  Took you about five minutes to dial a number, usually getting the last digit wrong. 

Standing proud and new on our telephone table by the front door.  The only ones in our street to possess such a sophisticated item.  One of the reasons our phone bill was so low, apart from the fact we didn't know many people who actually had one, was that it was so bloody freezing in that hallway!  Of course you kept it short!

I used to ring my mate in Norfolk and you had to go through the operator.  Loved that.  Was sorry when those stupid STD codes came in.  That was the highlight of the call for me! 

The second highest was when my mate, 200 miles away, asked why I was shivering?  (Her's was in the kitchen, a rare thing then).

Sometimes I would have to speak to my cousin on there.  I don't know why.  Could never stand the bitch.  The feeling being quite mutual, there would be a silent eerie echo on each side.  My mum standing over me (never quite knew why), would urge me to say something.  Then the cousin would join in with the same sentiment.  Witches, both of them! 

Found their number, dialled that long and inconvenient code to Southend.  Bastards weren't in.  Couldn't be THAT upset and bereaved, could they? 

Tuesday, 18 October 2011


Feeling very sorry for myself today.  Am staying in with the blinds shut - and 40 fags! 

Two short story rejections in the space of two days.  One by email, one by post.  Don't know which was worse!  The former, which had a big twist in the tale, was reported to "have no surprises there".  What's the point of having Readers when they don't actually read it properly?  The latter just said the characters weren't engaging enough. 

I wouldn't mind, but the first magazine had sent me a contributer's letter, saying they needed more stories urgently.  Kind of raising my hopes.  Bastards!  Good mind to start one up on my own!  Only it would be biased towards stories about smoking.  There may be a limited readership for this. 

Don't want to look at my nearly completed novel (62,000 words), but I may have to. 

Put some Lime-lite on our grouty shower tiles.  It stinks! 

Thursday, 13 October 2011


Son is 13 today.  Would you believe it?  That's my toddler!  And, after waiting patiently on the cusp of adolescence, he has finally become a teenager. 

I can't believe it was 13 years ago that I was flat on my back in that delivery room, huffing and puffing, dying for a fag.  Painfully delivering a boy child into the world.  And did I get a word of thanks? Did I Shoot? 

For his birthday, he got a BMX and an Inbetweeners book (filth!).  The cat got him some coloured gel pens, and his sister got him a PC game.  And he had m&ms and Coke for breakfast! 

He put his Inbetweeners book in his school bag, and set off happily for the day.  The promise of a Burger King tea followed by birthday cake keeping him warm on that silly little bike.  

When I was 13, I got one of those crocheted waistcoats.  The older ones of us will remember these were all the go in late 1971.  Mine was bright red with tassels hanging down.  I also got some Holy Cow tights.  White thick ones, with holes going down the side.  The last word in chic round our way. 

I also had a Ben Sherman shirt with a button on each collar, and it was yellow with blue checks.  A bit last-season, and it was my brother's old one. 

I also had, like, a feather cut.  Thankfully, this style has not been brought back into vogue at all.  Where half your hair stays long, and the other half resembles Rod Stewart. 

Every year, this first teenage one being no exception, my mum made a fruit cake with pink icing on top.  Never did like it, but I ate a bit anyway.  And every year I would tell the woman I couldn't stand this type of cake, and yet she would still make the thing. 

However, to give her credit, I would get chops and chips for tea.  So it wasn't all bad really. 

I didn't smoke then.  Still had a couple of years to wait for that one. 

Son really doesn't know he's born.  Couldn't see him in a crocheted waistcoat anyway! 

Tuesday, 27 September 2011


Well, would you adam and eve it?  There's me strolling around Leicester Square (as you do), and what has replaced the long-lost Swiss Centre?  An M&M shop!  I mean, for frack's sake, how can you build a four storey shop out of a packet of M&Ms?

Easily, it seems.  M&M keyrings, back-packs, plastic bowls, stuffed toys, anything but a packet of bloody M&M's!  I mean, you can get them loose from big dispensers, at two quid a time!  But no blue or yellow packets like from the Co-op.

Got two bags for the kids, but my mate declined, saying he was getting some from his corner shop at a fraction of the price. 

I mean, what a tacky place!  The Swiss Centre was of this calibre too, I admit.  But a nice class of tack!  Seventies sort of tack.  I mean it was a pretty pointless sort of place, with that stupid clock outside and their extraordinarily expensive cheese.  Plus the one cup of coffee I had in there.  But it was like a reassuring sort of establishment, and a great meeting venue (when I had a life!).  And compared to the M&M shop, it's almost a focal point of one's existence.

Oh, and another thing, the music was so loud  in there!  When the lady at the counter asked what I thought of their new shop, I told her the music was up too high.  She said: "Pardon?".  I rest my case.

But then it's not for people like me, I suppose.  It's for Son and Daughter, all willing to spend their money on shit!  The Swiss Centre was for people like me, sigh!

Nearly time for the Woman's Hour drama.  Joanna Trollope!  Better go

Monday, 12 September 2011

The F Word

Daughter (15) got 3 A*'s, an A and B for her module things. Son (nearly 13), by a hare's breath, managed to remain in Set One for Maths. Daughter's friend only just scraped by with 3 D's and an E, and Son's pal has gone down two sets for Maths. Neither of them giving a rat's arse. Bringing back sunny memories of my own schooldays, myself not giving a flying fart either. Parents, like the rest of our street, also that way inclined. Further education leading to long hair and drugs and that.
Husband then cast a deep black cloud over my sunny disposition. He said the F word. Yes, after years of being nagged, I have finally caved in and agreed to go to Florida for Christmas.
Twenty-two degrees, they say. Whoever contemplates spending yuletide in such a ridiculous climate? And whats wrong with staying at home cracking nuts, and leafing through the bumper Radio Times? Watching the James Bond film, the lights on at 3 in the afternoon, Husband sleeping it off upstairs. Swept aside without a second thought.
And what about Boxing Day? So cruelly snubbed by our Transatlantic cousins. No visits to my mum for cold meat and pickles. And what the hell do I do about my Christmas cake? And New Years' Eve, without our traditional KFC Bargain Bucket?
Palm trees will replace our fir one, and Christmas stockings will be nixed for endless theme parks. There will certainly be long hot afternoons, this so-called "comfortable" climate prickling my skin. In fact, there will be nine of them.
Watched the Deer Hunter the other night. Would rather go to Vietnam. So would Son.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

The Path to Enlightenment (via Tesco's)

Got an Alexander Technique lesson today. At the library. Free. Gonna have to nick my daughters camping mat, and wear black trousers.

Now I don't mind this, obviously. I signed up for it and everything. But also my heart sinks. Have to tidy the whole of the house before I go.

No-one's ever demanded this of me. Even when the children were little, Husband never used to say a word about the Teletubby floor puzzles and upturned beakers that greeted him when he came in. But somehow I have to.

Beds made, Shoe rack and coats tidied (a vital and underrated hallway factor), washing up and floor swept. Luckily I don't have to blacken the fireplace or clean the silver. But I like it to be nice for when kids and Husband walk in.

Think it goes back to when I was a child. My home being a shithole and that. Bed never made, lino never swept, the settee never cleared. So demoralizing to come back to. Think my mum couldn't be arsed. She never went to work or anything.

I like reading about the fifties and sixties and that. When housework really was a full-time occupation. When it was more laborious. Monday would be laundry, Tuesday ironing, Wednesday baking day, Thursday floor cleaning and Friday was polishing. Good days them!

When the children were toddlers, one day a week we would go round to my mate's who had a child of similar age. We would trash her house good and proper, and return to a serene and immaculate home. Of course it never stayed that way for long. Especially round teatime, but somehow it was soothing pshcologically. (can never spell that bloody word!).

And to return the favour, she would come round to me and do that same. Fair do's and all that.

Anyway, it would be suicidal to discover enlightenment at the local library, then come back to crusted oven dishes and that.

Will they let me smoke in there?

Monday, 9 May 2011

Mean that most sincerely....

Well. Watch that Hughie Green play, don't I. The one where he's played by Trevor Eve. All the memories of ITV dross coming flooding back. I remember Mr Green doing his nut, in 1971, when Myra Hindley went out for a walk over Hampstead Heath (on loan from Holloway). Shouting and raving the silly bugger was. All I wanted was to see if Bobby Crush had won again!

Probably '71 was really the last time I watched Opportunity Knocks. I don't remotely recall Lena Zaboroni or anyone.

Anyway, I get the book on Ebay, don't I. Hughie and Paula, Their Tangled Lives by his son Christopher Green. Expecting to keep hold of it for about a week, then passing it on to my mum.

Can't put the bloody thing down, can I! Two people I hadn't the remotest interest in before, are suddenly urgent and fascinating.

Supposed to be writing, yet all I can hear is Hughie calling for me. Pick me up, read some more, the ghostly voice wails. Never thought you were anything but a silly sod, I wail back. But my words are hot air, no more. He has me right by the armpits. Just like he did in '71.....

In fact, what am I doing on here......?

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Round The Elephant & Castle!

Where are we now? Christmas, or somewhere? Oh yeah, Easter.

Don't think much of it so far! Yesterday, my mate said she'd pay me if I helped her load these pictures into a storage place in South East London. Well, did I see any money? Did I, shite!

The only thing I enjoyed was going to South London in an Addison-Lee cab thing. I have to say, that Elephant & Castle place hasn't seemed to have changed since I last went there in 1972. On a Red Rover thing on a bus. Still the same grey sort of sprawl, and people walking around looking bloody miserable! Kensal Rise and this place, we ended up at. Seemed exciting at the time. But then, so did Harlow once!

I hate those storage units! They're so spooky! Corridors and corridors of yellow doors and eerie silence. Any number of zombies could walk round them undisturbed. Or a simple common-garden murderer!

Anyway, one bad back later, and swollen wrists, and I'm still just as skint! Son wants a tenner to go out with. Can anyone lend me such a thing? There might be some change down the back of your sofa, I could use perhaps? You'll get it back later. Much later.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Out - Now!

My little girl (nearly 15) has been made a prefect. Tears of joy reached my eyes on having heard such news. Something I and Husband have never been, and Son never likely to. Already she has reported me for smoking, and chucked me out of the toilet. Bless her! They don't appoint you any more, it seems. You apply for the role, with a form and everything. Jings! I said at the time, its not a job, you know. At our school, you became a prefect the moment you entered the sixth form. Just had to turn up for that one! But our sixth form was very small, like most schools then, jobs being so much easier for school leavers to get and everything. However, in the fifth year, you could be chosen to be a Sub-prefect! (Whatever the hell that was!) It really was a golden finger that pointed at you then. One that didn't point at me, but at my mate next to me. I still remember my eyes stinging red, and the fact that the bitch had got one over on me yet again. "I see you haven't made the grade.", our drama teacher drawled at me, and the others who were not asked. Carlton cigarette smoke blowing out of her huge nostrils. Bitch ! Whore ! Anyway, my mate gave the badge back, saying she wasn't turning out first years who were blue with cold. She was trying to impress this stupid boyfriend of her's, who was at art school or something. The truth was, she couldn't be arsed. I'm over it now, I really am. erm.... sob! (oh no, not again....)

Monday, 4 April 2011

Fat Men

Mien Gott! Took my clothes off in a changing room of a well-known shop today! Lordy! What a grim sight stood before me in that mirror! Bloody hell! Diet for me! Even when I put on this pretty dress - a sort of retro floaty one - I did not resemble that blonde one from Mad Men, as I naively thought I would. You know, Don Draper's ex-wife. I mean, I've got the same blonde hair...... Mind you, I'm sick of Mad Men now. The novelty that they smoke and drink anywhere has worn off for me. Once Don Draper got engaged to his secretary, and Roger lost his witty charm, the infactuation waned. Its gone to Sky Atlantic now anyway. And we don't have that one. Us being tight and everything. Husband in tears because that curvy woman, Joan's not gonna be in it anymore. Good riddance, I say. Four series - sorry, seasons has said it all really. Got to tell my mum I don't want an Easter Egg this time. Not after the debacle last year when she gave my nephew a far bigger one than me. I'm holding a grudge, and I don't care. Shame really, all those happy past Easters swept aside by one thoughtless gesture. But that's how it goes really. Lovely sunny memories of past pets ie rabbits and fish, all buying me eggs from each of them, little china mugs and egg cups that I've kept for years, just blown away. Never mind, eh? She can give me money though if she wants. Quite fancy that film, Logans Run. No, its not been remade like Husband thought. I am referring to that one with Jenny Agutter and Michael York, the one from the early to mid seventies. My mate told me the plot the other day. Have any readers fancied films that are nearly 40 years old? And have only just had the plot explained to them? There's a Superking Light in it for them. Answers on a postcard please.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Wish You Weren't Here

Husband gleefully sent me an online article, with the above title, about Jaywick (in Essex), claiming it was the most deprived seaside area.

Now I know it's a rathole. Many a time I have stayed in a mate's chalet next door to multi-occupants, and Hari Krishna houses. The dust blowing in our faces. But my childhood memories are too strong to slag the place off like Husband can. All of the Clacton area is magical to me, in fact. Walton-on-the-Naze (getting chatted up by boys), Holland-on-Sea (Gran's house), Leigh-on-Sea (can't remember!), and of course, Jaywick. Drunkenly stumbling down that dirt track to a chalet with frozen pipes and rotten windows. And that was one of the posh ones!

But so what? Husband likes Brighton. Wonder why that is? Because there's like, posh people there, I expect. And they have antique shops there - what a surprise! I mean, big deal! Their beaches are shit, with all that shingle and that. Jaywick has proper sand - albiet filthy.

Well, bollocks to Brighton and thumbs-up to old Jaywick, thats what I say!

My bloody ankle!

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Special Needs

Well, my week has turned to shit, hasn't it. Just like my entire life, in fact.

Working in the frackin shop yesterday, I walk straight into one of those mobile units, the ones with wheels on and sharp corners, where you hang things up. Tore my ankle virtually apart. Ultra pain!

And then, as I was limping in agony, some German comes up and asks if he can try one of the boots that are on display.

Two world wars, and the 1966 World Cup, and he asks me if I can get him a size 8! The cheek of the bastard! Me, virtually crippled, only his type would dare impose on a disabled person like that! The stupid pratt!

Swollen to buggery today. Got one of those support things from Boots. Like an extra thick sock. I guess stilettos will be out for the weekend. Got the Pet Shop Boys at Sadlers Wells too. Bollox!

Got two more days at the shop - oh wah! Will this suffering ever end? Hang on, only got 10 fags left. Just gonna hobble to the off licence!

Friday, 18 March 2011

The Twickenham Husband

Bloody hell! Sitting here working on my book, aren't I. Guess who storms in! Husband. Said the Ideal Home Exhibition was crap (well, I could have told him that one) and he was bored and came home.

Never mind the disruption to my bloody work! No, that doesn't matter, does it! Then he demanded the shopping list for a nearby supermarket to be done then and there!
Can't you go later? , I disinterestly suggest.
Well, I won't tell you exactly what he said, but the answer was no.
He's passionate about supermarket shopping (don't ask...)

Its like having a third bloody child! How many more people round here are going to hold me back? And it's no good telling him, either! I've let him have it straight. He'll still do exactly the same thing tomorrow! Worse than his bloody son!

Listened to that Woman's Hour drama, The Paris Wife. Hemmingway's first wife Hadley and their lives together in Paris (obviously). Well, she was a stupid mare, wasn't she! Lost all his manuscripts on the train journey there, and get's pregnant! Hemmingway would certainly understand about being held back, him being in the same boat too. Despite his work being inferior to mine, we would still be brothers. Suffering and smoking together.

No wonder the poor sap shot himself. Mind you, that was some years later, but still..... Fancied F Scott Fitzgerald out of all his mates. He seemed the best bet!

Monday, 14 March 2011

Shock Treatment

Hands throbbing, excrutiatingly so. I can see the veins and everything. Osteo something. Doctor gives me exercises - they hurt, the silly mare! Has she ever had any medical training?

Heat, the old cow says. Does she mean the magazine? Or one of those things with electric bars? No, apparently. Like Deep Heat, out of a tube, and those thermal glove things. I now look like some goulish surgeon, with the fingers of the gloves cut off. Feel like doing a burglary or something, tho' it would be bit redundant I suppose.

Go down the local high street. I have been living in this for one year now, and I have never set foot down there. Neither have I gone down the pretty walkway by the river, that leads me straight there. It was like an urban yellow brick road - without that annoying girl and yappy dog, and lion and that, obviously.

Well, what a marvie time I had! Loads of charity shops, butchers, bakers and greasy cafes! Proper ones, run by families and that, not those Starbuck things. Well, I get a take away coffee from one of these, and the young girl hands me a hot stylofoam cup. So accustomed to those poofy protective things round the cup the BIG chains hand out, I burn my bloody hand off! She apologetically hands me a serviette.

Funnily enough, down the road, my right hand feels so much better. The sudden and brutal lunge of heat seemed to penetrate my poor veins. Now there's an article for The Lancet: Don't bother with all that exercise shit for osteo-arthritis, simply go into a small cafe that stinks of grease, get a foam cup of cappuchino, and stick your mitt straight round the thing. There you go - Deep Heat my arse!

Going there next week. What great therapy!

Monday, 7 March 2011


Well, for frack's sake. All I'm trying to do is find is information on how to make a make-up or wash bag. Got some spare oilcloth, and was going to make some Christmas presents. (I know. I know).
Could I find anything on this internet thing - could I shite! And when I finally did, it just printed out adverts and that, not the actual thing what to do. Bastards!

Saw Frankenstein at the National on Saturday. Directed by Danny Boyle and starring that nice Benedict Cumberbach. Started off dead creepy, this bell ringing really loudly, and like, electrode things going off and that. Then it kind of went off into nothing really.

The Creation creature was okay, felt a bit sorry for him really. I mean, he had a nice personality and everything. I reckon I could have fixed him up with a bird, but Husband gave it the thumbs down. He weren't that hideous. They said it took 3 hours to put that make up on, well, you could have fooled me to be honest! A few scratches on the head and face, and that was it!

Frankensteins' dad was really shite! I mean, shite! He looked like Ainsley Harriott, which is a disadvantage from the start, if you ask me. I mean, did Danny Boyle sit round a table and say, I want a black actor for Frankie's dad, but one that's really shit at acting!? And who looks like a TV chef that gets on everybody's nerves. I mean, he's an oscar winning director, he can probably get what he wants.

Did he also say : I want the supporting cast to be pretty thin and ropey too - or else!

Anyway, Dr Frankenstein didn't know he was born! What about me? I'm trying to create a make up case, he only had to make a human type thing - bloody lightweight!

Sunday, 27 February 2011


Come back, haven't I. Had to cut away at the overgrown grass and weeds to get through here, but I made it! The windows are all smeared and there are cobwebs everywhere. It was an effort to pull back the dust infested curtains - nearly catching them alight on the flames in the fireplace.

Been writing my buggering book. It's shit! - I think. And even if it wasn't, can't let no-one read it until everyone in my family dies (my mum and brother and that) because they would quite literally have my guts for garters if they read what I've written about THEM. Not that they haven't deserved it of course! I think. Anyway, Salmon Rushdie thought HE had it tough with mobs trying to lynch him - wait till he sees MY brother and kids in action - I tell you! My book is far more interesting than that Satanic Verses by the way. Don't know why he went to all that bother to be honest.

Been brutally rejected by Woman's Weekly - again! No lifeline there. Even my beauty tips are getting the cold shoulder - not by Them tho'. My writing career is as dust! Just dust! I am truly washed up!

Went to the Titanic Exhibition at the 02 dome thing. (Ugly place!). We all got a boarding pass each of a real passenger. I was Edith Evans from New York, 36 and first class! Was in with a chance of survival there!

The testimonals of the survivors written around the walls were very moving. Also the stories of the one's who didn't get there. There was this posh old American couple in their '80s. They owned some of Barneys or Macy's or somewhere - and they were rich and first class. Anyway SHE wouldn't get in a lifeboat. She said her and her old man had been together for years, and she was not going to let him face this alone. So she joined him back on board for certain doom.

I wondered if I was capable of being a Big person like that. Assuming me and Husband were of retirement age - kids grown up and not with us and everything - and we had just collided with an iceberg. Would I get in that lifeboat? A new life in New York and the prospect of living it up with the life insurance? Or would I stay with Husband? Could I really drift away in a lifeboat and watch him there on deck?

They say drowning is a terrible way to go. I mean, all untimely death is, I suppose. But they say your lungs burst and you don't lose conciousness for a very long time.

But then, suppose it was a non-smoking lifeboat? What did I do then? No-one's going to stop you having a fag on the Titanic, are they? They would be preoccupied with the boat sinking. If I had say, 40 fags, and get Husband a few bottles of wine, we could have a bloody good time until The End, couldn't we?

Anyway, Husband said if there was one space left in a lifeboat, he would give it to The Cat. So that's answered that question then.

Wasn't one of the bloody survivors, was I! There was a list of them all at the end, who had been lost. Was furious! Went and let those bastards have it! They still remember me from Julie Andrews!!!