VE Day and a dead fox

Just in case you missed me  I have been a bit sick for the last 48 hours. Not COVID19  well I don’t think so but who knows. It’s hard to keep up with all the symptoms. I do check in with the COVID symptom app which they tell you to do even if you have no symptoms and yesterday, they invited me for a test. Yet to take it up.

I hauled myself out of my sick bed yesterday to celebrate VE Day. I mean if those brave soldiers can fight for our freedom making an appearance is the least I can do. We had a street party and it was quite wonderful. Bunting galore, 40’s music, Churchill all very moving. I kept bursting into tears but think it probably had more to do with my state of health than the occasion. I even put on a dress. People tried to keep to social distancing, but I think we all just might have slipped up a bit. But it was certainly good for morale. Methinks there might have been a few interlopers from other streets but hey who am I to question. I am willing to share my lovely street with others who are not so lucky.

anna maria (1)

Above are the neighbours with their very civilised afternoon VE Day tea,  note the white tablecloth.  Compare it with my Heath Robinson set up – well what did you expect.   Despite being sick I think I made the best Victoria Sponge ever – thank you Delia Smith your recipe worked a treat. It’s taken me a while, but I now realise the longer you beat the butter and sugar and then the eggs the lighter the cake. Of course, you bakers will have realised this a long time ago – me – well it has taken me almost all of my life. Note the background to Toby Linda and Izzi – its the fall out from the garden shed awaiting collection.

toby and linda

And talking of the garden shed look what the builders found underneath the structure.

I am wondering is it a fox or a dog and if it is the latter whose was it? Think probably not a good idea to put it on the Next Door website under the heading DOG FOUND.

So now I have this huge empty space at the bottom of the garden that needs a lot of work and a huge clear loft with all the rubbish congregating in the bedrooms which needs sorting. And I am wondering Why?? I know fast forward 6 months I will be very pleased. Maybe.

And it seems apt that today post V Day  I should be wading my way through some of the letters from Billee to my Mother (they were sisters) from her war time exploits in Cairo. I have learnt a lot about my mother and Billee today. She, apparently was having sex with most of the British soldiers in Cairo because, “I feel so sorry for them out here, so I am just giving them what I know they want.” Meanwhile she is advising my mother about my father and advising her that it is important they have sex a few times before she decides if he is suitable as a husband. “Go and spend the weekend in a hotel because if  you are not sexually compatible it will be a disaster,” she advises. Adding, “and have you told him about the Colonel yet – will he mind?” God they were like rabbits these women in the war.  And they talk about the Sixties.

So tomorrow its back to thermals as the temperature is due to drop 15 degrees. Perhaps it might spur me on to take another look at EBAY. Wondering if any of the 150 vintage Liebig Company Fleisch Trading cards are worth anything.


“Let’s to be careful out there”

What did you do in the great epidemic?


 I suppose our children, grandchildren and great children will be asking “what did you do during the great epidemic.”  A bit like ‘where were you when the Cuban missile strike was about to happen, or Kennedy got assassinated or Mandela was released?’

I remember all of these but probably most memorable because I was older was when Nelson Mandela was released. I had been an avid anti-apartheid campaigner for many years, boycotting various products and trying to persuade my father to stop banking with Barclays, unsuccessfully.

We were at home with Zak our youngest and sitting together on the couch and waiting with incredible anticipation for Mandela to emerge. I remember thinking what will  he look like, because nobody had seen an image of him for so long. It was very exciting and a momentous event. Years later I was employed to do the PR for a huge Nelson Mandela worldwide benefit concert in Cape Town.

It was on  29 November 2003  called The 46664 (Mandela’s prison number) Concert  and it was held at Green Point Stadium, Cape Town. It was hosted by Mandela and its goal was to raise awareness of the spread of HIV/AIDS in South Africa.  Among the artists appearing were Beyoncé, Bob Geldof, Queen (Brian May and Roger Taylor), Dave Stewart, Baaba Maal, Youssou N’Dour, Yusuf Islam (previously known as Cat Stevens), Peter Gabriel Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Eurythmics, Bono and The Edge from U2 and many more. 

Should I run low with cash I still have an autograph from Beyonce who wrote to Zak, Jake and Toby with much love from Beyonce. 

As I have no grandchildren as yet hint hint – I doubt that my grandchildren will be asking me the epidemic question.

I am in good company with the blog though for William Shakespeare wrote a daily blog during the Great Plague. On Day 13 he wrote that he had been ‘wearing the same doublet and hose for two weeks.’ Another reluctant clothes changer.

And while The Grove Theatre in London was closed Shakespeare used his time efficiently and wrote some of his darkest plays; Macbeth, King Lear and Othello – all whilst isolating. It will be interesting to see what our current writers produce from this period.

I will have this blog. Not great literature but as I hadn’t written anything in fifteen years, I think quite an achievement. I do know though fellow readers that some days the blog can be rather bland.

I have never been a great writer. Good journalist/reporter/interviewer yes. I loved the research, the chase, nosing out a good story and finding great interviewees but flowing wonderful prose has always eluded me. And now when words are also eluding me, I am happy that I can just put word to paper or screen.

The mundanity of my daily life continues, and I am pleased to report – for those who have been eagerly awaiting the next instalment of the demolishment – that the first load of rubbish has gone. I had 4 different rubbish companies competing for my business and managed to negotiate a very good cash price. I was always a good haggler although I am not proud of this attribute.


Tomorrow I need to bake a cake with no eggs. We are having a street party, music cakes etc all from the safety of our front garden. We have such a wonderful  community on our  road.  That’s another thing I will miss when lock down eases.  But I don’t have any eggs and just a little  bit of flour so need to be creative.

When my brother had pancreatic cancer and he was in his last weeks, he decided to get married to his long-term partner Tamatha. They got married in London and I tried to make a cake with no butter, no flour, no eggs no sugar and no chocolate. He was on a special diet. Lot of good that did!!! It’s all very well these alternative cancer diets but if you have to spend the last few months of your life eating nothing that you like, well is it worth it? I gave up  keeping Tod on a special diet and in the end just let him eat what he liked. Who am I to play God?

Back to the cake – I used a lot of coconut and nuts and it was quite awful. Sadly, he died a few weeks later. Nothing to do with the cake.  I made a wedding and a funeral all within 6 weeks.

That’s much too sad to end this blog on and I will try to refrain from ranting on about how on earth the UK  can have the  highest death rate equal only to that other illustrious country governed by  another great blonde  leader.  Not going to talk about it  because it caused me a sleepless night last night. I made the mistake of watching the midnight news and then became so angry that I spent 20 mins tweeting and posting on Facebook. So, I said earlier I am not going to mention this!

Instead let’s celebrate Fray Fraynelin Cuevas Mendez who is 102

Made her own cake


“Lets be careful out there”