Wednesday, 31 July 2013


I've slept all day. But I worked all night.   So it's crossed itself out, and I'm writing Yukon and book and then got a 600 mile drive down to France which I'm really looking forward to.   I so miss that place when I'm not there.   I tend to write white, so I'm trying to do all the dark shadowy stuff now and leave the birds and whispering trees to when I arrive. I suspect there will be an electric storm which there usually is but the skies are so clear. And the ciccadas chirping away, the cows, those so pretty cows with their big eyes and long eye lashes in the neighbouring fields and the frogs and ducks who have hopefully found mates by now, because if not they will be making a hell of a noise in the pond in the hamlet.   And going to the market on Thursdays in Villefranche and buying far too much fruit and vegetables.   And gazing at the wonderful castle in Najac and always saying and thinking how wonderful it is.   And knowing when I'm there Tom will be asking for a dog, and why can't we have a dog, and if we lived in France with that space and that countryside and that lifestyle we would have a couple of dogs, because we would need them.   And the quiches in the local patisserie. They are to die for.   I wouldn't touch quiche in this country.  I'm sure they've put magic mushroom in it or something there. I could live off the things.  And that journey with all those tolls, ouch.  And the Parisien version of the North Circular which is just as bad as ours but they clear up crashes much more efficiently.    I want to sit out on the terrace and gaze out over the hamlet, and see how that huge walnut tree has grown outside the bedroom window.   And see if we've got honey bees like we did a few years ago, because this time i wouldn't get rid of the hive.   I miss the French house.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013


Totem poles and eagles poses


I do not have a clue what time it is.  My friends usually say I'm on Tucker Time and have no sense of time anyway, hence tardiness, but I really don't know what time it is. Yukon time is seven hours behind us, so I feel I've lost seven hours but am still wide awake and not sure if I should be wide awake or if I'm just over tired. I haven't done yoga class today so that usually sorts me out.  I've been practicing back bends (urdhva dandhasanas) every day, even in the handicapped toilets at some of the tourist information centres (is that illegal or unethical or just plain wrong?) and hope to God they don't have cameras as I'm sure they would have had me locked up. But driving an RV for up to 8 hours every day my back hurts. I know some people do that every day 24/7 but ouch.  I covered 1500 miles in 8 days, probably more.    The itinerary filling me with anxiety the diesel filling me with debt (it's expensive).  but when I did stop and take in the scenery, it is absolutely glorious. Even in my tired punch drunk state I remember the lakes and mountains and sunsets.   They are overwhelming.    But I am in sunny England - well it's not sunny and everyone here seems very happy about it because they all say it got real damn hot here while I've been away.    It's lovely hot. Don't complain about it being hot.   Hot is good. It's you that's not good at dealing with hot.

And in Tucker time style I've hit the ground running. Just completed case histories for an article on helicopter parenting and getting it right and I'm supposed to be the relaxed one. Are you JOKING.   I have written books about travelling with teenagers and articles, been on tv, radio, the net and I've returned thinking I've got it wrong. Once again the most spectacular scenery in the world (as per last year with the Canyon) and my intelligent well balanced grounded rounded son (that's what I've said he is in the article) is looking at the ruddy Ipad while I'm marvelling at the fabulous scenery.   Actually he's playing a game which joins up the coloured dots and you've got to do it in a short amount of time think one, two, three or four minutes, and he is very good at it and I'm rubbish because I'm looking at the wonderful scenery and the road and the road signs which HE IS SUPPOSED TO BE LOOKING AT AND GUIDING ME THROUGH SO I DON'T GO 100 MILES THE WRONG WAY INTO THE BACK OF NOWHERE WHEN THERE IS VERY LITTLE DIESEL LEFT IN THE TANK!!!!  Enough said. I love him dearly and we are still on speaking terms after eight days in an RV together.

I've got to write up the Yukon pieces and have a lot of material to focus on. I've already mentioned this in a previous blog briefly but I met some amazing people. The Cathers in Lake Laberge who are a wonderful family, authentic, they teach people how to race husky sledges. Tom was in seventh heaven.    Then Keith Wolf Smarch who allowed Tom to take chips out of a Totem Pole. I don't know about him but I think that's cool. My son has helped make a genuine totem pole.    Bet Blue Peter hasn't even done that (yet).  They should get that blond girl to stand on the end of one and stay there...  And Brent the guide in Haines Junction who showed us a lot of bear poo.  You can never have too much of that.  No bears though.

Then I've got the book to complete, and to find the piece I wrote on LA for PA because PA don't know where it is. And I met a very nice man on the flight back who said he was a securities lawyer (dull) but then explained he liked poetry, knew what Indian astrology sign he was (warrior monk) and that he was a leo virgo cusp Rooster (very good combination) and has his dreams analyse.  He's also built his own boat which was sea worthy and sounded as though it could have gone the distance with the goldrush crew over 100 years ago.   He should in future mention the lawyer bit last. It's so not him.

And to add to the sureality of my day, my ex is sending me videos of himself dancing to camera and playing air drums (is there such a thing? I know air guitar..). I am not sure if he loves me or hates me.  I don't think he does either.   My friend tells me I should read into the subliminal message of the lyrics.   Huh?   Perhaps I should just ask his girlfriend.  

Sunday, 28 July 2013

LAND OF THE FREE SPIRIT...sort of.....

I haven't been eaten by bears. Mosquitoes yes, but not bears and no launderettes or bakeries that have internet just in case anyone is following me in my Yukon Quest.  

I have covered a lot of miles. Almost as many as they do in the Yukon Quest (1000) albeit not with huskies in minus 50, just an RV that hopefully will bring us back in one piece.

 My itinerary is bonkers so although I am a free spirit and this is the land of the free spirit I'm up against time all the time and looking to see if I've run out of diesel so I don't feel very free. I feel very stressed.     It doesn't help that some of the signs are in miles and others are in kilometers and some are both.   Passed through Beaver Creek although didn't see any beavers - or bears - and crossed border crossing into Alaska.   Border control always interesting into the States.  I always get the impression they don't want you in their country no matter how many 'have a nice days' I hear thereafter.   First impressions matter.     First stop is 'Chicken', a small place where all the souvenirs revolve around the slogan 'I got laid in...Chicken'.    Yup.

The Top of the World road is stunning. Again no bears, but a tour bus on it's side in the mud.   In the absence of taking a photo of the bears, I took a picture of it.

Dawson City I remember well on my last trip. Little has changed It's got a bit bigger but the tour around Dredge Four and the Gold Bottom mining tour fascinating.   And we found gold - all $7 worth of it.

Then 400 mile drive to Tombstone Park.  Shattered.   Still no bears.    But the best day so far was with the Cathers in Lake Laberge, an incredible family with so many stories - bear and otherwise I could have stayed there all week.   They teach you how to sledge with huskies but they do it properly in the most stunning setting. In the summer you can hike with them and go canoeing in the lake which is beautiful, but in my articles I'll write more about the stories.   Some of them involve people pissing up trees, sliding along ice at 20mph trying to correct huskies going in the wrong direction and playing chicken with black bears.

Then met Keith Wolf Smarch, who taught Tom how to gut fish he'd just caught. He's a master wood carver and taught Tom how to do it.  Tom helped with a totem pole.   Now that's something he can put on his CV. "I helped carve a totem pole'.    There's experiential travel for you!

Thursday, 25 July 2013


Everyone has a bear story to tell. There was the story about the man who walked along the path and a fully grown grizzly bear was lying still. As the man drew closer he realised the bear wasn't sleeping, but was dead.   They later found out that there was moose calf in the bear's stomach and two large moose print hooves on the bear. The mother had killed it, obviously annoyed the bear had eaten it's calf.    Then there was the one about the little dog called Charlie that was a little terrier who frightened a full grown grizzly away.   Everyone tells that story, only the name of the dog changes.

We haven't seen a bear. We're still on our bear hunt but the scenery has been spectacular. The roads are either wonderful or extremely bumpy.  The views blisteringly beautiful.   Soppy thing that I am, I have been in tears.   Tom has managed to tear himself away from the ipad.     We are going over the top of the world today which even I think, sounds cool.    Watched a vaudeville show last night in Beaver Creek.   Lots of Americans, two Canadians and us. Everyone asked if we liked the baby names.  (I presumed they referred to Kate's babe).  Completely different world. I didn't care.
I am blogging from a launderette on the Yukon Alaskan border. Yesterday it was a bakery, now its a launderette.  Multi tasking or what.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013


We are here!! The Yukon is the most awe inspiring place in the world.   The scenery is jaw droppingly spectacular but I am driving an RV so my first day was spent being glued to the screen looking at the road. Screw the scenery I don't want to crash.

I am relaxing into it which may be a good sign.  I did this with my ex's Lotus and I killed it, swerving to miss a rabbit and they have great big ruddy moose out here so I have an excuse this time.

I am typing from a bakery in the middle of the Yukon. I do not know if this is progress but the buns are really good.

Yesterday we hiked with our excellent guide Brent to Kathleen Lake. We saw lots of bear droppings but no bear.   They like snowberries so lots of snowberry 'pies' on the trail.  Brent told us Kluane is half the size of Switzerland, the mountains are the tallest and youngest in Canada and grow as fast as our finger nails do.  So now you know.  

Kathleen Lake itself is incredible. Teaming with fish so the bears here are very happy.     The greatest lakes are always the ones named after women. They are the most beautiful, the most serene and wondrous but become dangerous and treacherous at a moment's breath.   Not fair and not true. But 'she' was stunning, will send pix later.

We then took a small plane with Daniel and flew over the glacier at Kluane National Park (means lots of fish) - the Kluane bit - not the National Park bit.     The glacier looks prehistoric and terrifying.  We flew over the ice burg lakes I kayaked through fifteen years ago when I was pregnant with Tom and presenting the Discovery Channel programme Trailblazers.  The guides we had were incredible.  Strong, suppportive, grounded.  I remember them as distinctly as I do the journey itself.     Daniel carefully explained the names of the mountains and rivers as we flew over them.  Many were named by native indians who gave each one a lyrical prosaic name such as 'whispering bear' or 'laughing eagle."  And what did the goldminers call them?    Disenchantment river and disappointment mountain.   Typical.   I think they should call one 'hiccuping chipmunk'  there are so many round here and they are so cute.  But alas I ran over one. Tom still not talking to me but the bloody thing has loads of time to cross the road and along we come and he chooses then. I learnt my lesson with the Lotus...

Friday, 19 July 2013


I am travelling to the Yukon for nine days, and taking a journey with Tom that I took fifteen years ago for the Discovery Channel. Then I had a film crew in tow and was four months pregnant (they didn't know that at the time, but the make up artist looked into my eyes and asked if I was pregnant - you can tell by the eyes) and I had to sign documents to say that it was my responsibility etc.  But Tom benefitted from the adventure in my tummy and now he's going to benefit from it as a teenager.

I am however going to be driving an RV. I have never driven an RV before and I should imagine it's a bit like a tank but with hot and cold running water and better facilities and more space.   Thankfully the roads in the Yukon are wide and open and the scenery is quite simply the most stunning I have ever seen in all my travels. It leaves you breathless.

I remember meeting park rangers, and talking bear encounters with locals who had defended themselves with the use of pepper spray and little dogs (the smaller the better) and met a goldminer who asked if I would be his wife, which was rather sweet if inappropriate.  First Nations who told me Tom's spiritual animal would be an eagle and he would 'fly' in life, which he's certainly done a lot of over the years in our travels.  (I think they meant in other ways too..)  Kayaked through lakes past icebergs, had a bath in an old freezer box looking out at said iceberg lake, all on camera.    And danced with the dancers in the theatre in Dawson City.   Fished in the lakes, hiked the chilkoot trail and encountered and ate moose. Tried to kill a wild salmon with the back of an axe (for TV they like it dramatic if improbable), and managed to give the poor thing concussion.   I eventually did it third take. I still live with the guilt.   Oh yes, and listened to an actor reciting the poems of Robert Service, the bard of the Yukon (though he was Scottish). The actor stood in the wilderness in an outdoor theatre and recited one poem 'The Quitter', which is about never giving up or giving in, something my father use to say to me all the time.  As he'd recently died, it made me very emotional and despite the director's request to have tears on camera - I told him a categorical no.   Think this trip will be emotional too.  Driving the RV is the least of it.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

DIANA'S LEGACY...and the rest

Love this weather and seen little TV as have been out. But watched show tonight about Diana's dresses. She was so much more than what she wore but it was a neat way to show how she became a strong confident woman despite being hampered by a family who didn't want her to grow and a man she married who didn't want her to shine.  She blossomed when she left them.  She even tried to do the goodwill ambassador bit before Jolie had even thought of it, using her celebrity as the 'most famous woman in the world'.    Of course they still had her boys, and over the years they have tried inelegantly to belittle her and her memory.    The Royal Family treated her appallingly.    I doubt they will call the baby Diana (especially if it's a boy!) but if it's a girl it would be wonderful.   Charles is a little man and since her death he has become even smaller.

Talking of small, Posh Spice has been named Woman of the Decade by a magazine. Why?   Her ability to delegate well? Her ability to find someone who will manage her well?  Her ability to surround herself with genuinely talented designers and singers (well Mel C anyway)?   She was once famously quoted as saying she wanted to be the most famous person in the world.    Her husband has talent/had talent, whereas her ability seems to be surrounding herself with people who have talent, who are able to publicise her every move, so I suppose that in itself is a talent, but to be named Woman of the Decade.  How low can we go....

Sunday, 14 July 2013


Somerset House Friday night, band called the Band of Horses.  Rock country. If Status Quo came from Middle America with a dash of the Pogues thrown in.      Someone liked my bag (from Argentina), someone else (S Cooper, novelist) recognised me from the travel column (that pix is sooo old so not bad going).   Music good, audience v middle class (lots of Panama hats probably from Hampton Court Flower Show Country Living tent), v posh hot dogs, £12 Pimms ridiculous.

Richmond by the river with friend Kim, to take in a Saturday in Richmond which I never do, because everyone out of Richmond arrives, especially in this weather and especially by the river.   Builder called Simon (I think) approached us, telling us we a) smelt nice, b) looked liked classy ladies c) knew there were a lot of very unhappily married couples living on Richmond Hill as he handled the extensions on their homes (was this a euphemism for something?) and there is a series called Surrey Hills due to be scheduled for our screen next year, which is a fly on the wall of things going on on Richmond Hill as TOWIE is Essex and Made in Chelsea is Chelsea.  It will be nothing like the truth. If it were, marriages would fall apart within the first program, houses would be burnt down, people shot or mysteriously disappear.   If Simon the builder is on the ball, I am intrigued to know when it airs.

Any way, onto d),....d) he dropped into conversation he is a caveman in bed as he knows women like to be dominated in bed and e) would we like to take his phone number for extensions (again we weren't sure if he was touting for work or pleasure). We said no.

Sunday, had the yoga graduation, Tom came (bless him) to the ceremony although I should imagine, was bored silly but at least he saw where his mother disappeared to once a month - a studio in Old Street. I know that area is supposed to be trendy, hip and happening. I just thought it grungy, gritty and grubby.   But hey, Richmond on a Saturday night isn't exactly champagne and smiles.

The ceremony was lovely.  Everyone of the students was spoken to by our 'guru' Claire, who's done a brilliant job.   She's tough but think that shows in the standards. She's given us all very strong 'roots' on which to build.   I was described as determined, a fighter, passionate, with a lot to achieve, but my journey pales into comparison to some of the other yogis.    One girl dealt with throat cancer, another two had knee injuries, others still had other issues that I'm not going to share on here, but their courage was incredible.  We all showed courage, commitment and determination. And they are without exception, exceptional women.   I do feel the course chose us as much as we did it.

Then to Hyde Park, Jo Lo (who made it look like hard work) and Lionel (all night long...well until 10.30 curfew) Ritchie. We saw more of J Los bum than we did of her face (she knows her best side...or the cameraman did) and Lionel Ritchie who to my surprise was brilliant. He made it look easy, him and a piano, and even when the mic gave way (it happened earlier in the day too) we sang for him.    Too many love songs - reminding me of my teens and being a wallflower which I was again tonight. But it could be worse. I could be one of those couples on Richmond Hill.

Thursday, 11 July 2013


Check out   Currently on at the South Bank Centre (which is in the midst of it's 'festival of neighbourhood'), it's a circus that only Quebec could produce.  A family (70 something grandfather and two year old grandchild both 'perform') production it celebrates music, dance (from clogs to ballet) a fascinating cornucopia of eccentricity.  Five minutes into the performance the audience not only enjoyed the performance, they cared about the performers.  There's only about nine performers, and at the start I thought they were each going to specialise in singing, dancing, juggling, axe throwing, acrobatics, but no, they each do everything and do it well.       They sing beautiful wistful songs, juggle axes, saws, (I admit I couldn't watch that bit),  balance on bits of wood, swing from the ceiling, perform visual comedy that is inspired and wonderfully eccentric.    This show, which is on a European tour, promotes Quebec's rather than Canada'a  culture.  Quebec culture is distinct from it's neighbouring provinces - quirky clever as the others are but this is completely over the cliff imagination.    The male performers (all with beards) are incredibly strong, but also incredible flexible. The girls strong, flexible and feisty hold their own. And the man at the end of the production is literally left holding the baby.     Think of the English rugby team being able to do any position in yoga or the splits and you've got an idea of what these guys are like.   Forget Monty Python, in Quebec, lumberjacks are definitely OK.


I wish I could fly. Given the choice of being invisible and being able to fly, I'd go for flying every time.  I don't like the idea of timetables, schedules, compartments, one way systems and traffic lights.  I don't like terminals, stations, anywhere there is a sense of waiting to go and not knowing if you're actually going to go when you're supposed to and I'm not sure travel systems are there to facilitate or aggravate the customer.  Out of all the bits of travel I don't like it is airports that I dislike the most. 

Airports seem to have the most systems, terminals, compartments, schedules, extortionate parking facilities and traffic systems designed to aggravate the customer, or this customer.  They are glorified waiting rooms, some of which are glamorous, designed to make you spend money you don't have on things you don't want for people you don't like.    

The TV series Come Fly With Me probably comes closer to the truth of airport life than Airport or any of those fly on the wall programmes do.  An Ecuadorian Embassy must be civilized compared to the Moscow airport where, alleged spy Edward Snowden is currently in residence. He must be suffering from depression having spent nearly two weeks in one.     Being able to see the outside world, knowing that he's stuck there, not knowing when he's due to leave must be a miserable experience - and I guarantee this Summer there will be a lot of you out there who will be doing exactly the same thing at airports around the world because of air traffic control - or lack of it.  

So I surprised myself when I accepted an invite to spend a day at an airport albeit one that has been given numerous awards for being the 'best in Europe'.  It’s not in the UK of course – it’s Schiphol in Amsterdam. I would never willingly and knowingly spend any more time than I would sanely need to in an airport but this airport is the most environmentally friendly airport in the world, and with over 51 million people walk through it's terminals every year, six runways, and numerous other statistics about how many miniature windmills, clogs and tulips are sold every day it looks good on paper.   And it is now offering guided tours from 15 euros for adults, 7.50 euros for children, so you can see behind the scenes for yourself.  The multimedia tour takes you to the fire station, the snow fleet, the airplane hangers and for plane spotters and five to nine year olds it’s the ideal birthday present.  

I flew from Heathrow Terminal Four on the 6.30am with the business types who sit in quiet contemplation, despite the relative civility of business and first class, looking jaded by the experience.    The traffic on the M4 was rubbish so I ended up in Short Term car park, the best way to burn money needlessly. I got lost in the lift as there were no signs saying which level was departures (it’s four).   My flight left on time.  Travel insurance doesn’t cover things like getting lost in lifts. 

 A 45 minute flight from London Heathrow to Schiphol, the airport deals with mainly transfers to long haul destinations and having spent the day there as a transfer airport, this place fits purpose beautifully.    It’s been proven that a short haul journey followed by a long one is preferable to having two middling journeys. Ideally, one long journey is preferable to both, but if you’ve got to have a break, it’s an excellent airport to choose – if you have that choice.

So what does the ‘best’ offer that makes it different from the rest?   Loads of space and light that compares well to Stansted, families are well catered for though most of the airport’s business is business.   It has a baby care room which reminds me of one of those up market romantic restaurants where all the tables are set behind semi transclucent silk curtains and very well maintained play areas, although I find it odd the airports around the world offering the best facilities for children, have the least need for them.

There's a large lounge area with a large screen and very comfortable reclining chairs reminding me of that room in the film Soylent Green, set in the future where everyone goes to a room and looks at a screen of beautiful scenes with tinky tinky music before they are sent off to die. Perhaps they need to change that bit, at least for the ones who have seen that particular film.

Other unusual or quirky facilities that differ from the norm?   There’s a casino which has a clock and sign showing departure times so you don’t lose your flight as quickly as you lose your money.  Perhaps they should make that exclusive entry to business people who work in the financial sector and lose the clock.  

There is a deep sleep area in the KLM Crown Lounge which consists of a series of about twenty cubicles with a simple reclining couch set in near darkness. I initially thought it said ‘deep heat’ across between sauna, steam room and treatment for aching limbs.  That room would be useful.    I was advised passengers choose to sleep here if they are in between transfers or have decided to turn up a few hours early, or their flight has been delayed.    You need an alarm. You will miss your flight if you enter this room although I was not provided with the number of passengers who had missed their flight because of it. That statistic wasn’t available.   

There are several hotels in the terminal, one being the Yotel which you need to book for more than four hours, not per hour as one of the people I was with queried (again a very good idea).   The airport signs point to bars, restaurants and McDonalds as though McDonalds is a totally different concept completely which I suppose it is. There’s a man sized McDonald clown sitting on one of the benches - supposed to look friendly but just looks sinister.   Schiphol Airport is encouraging a healthy eating campaign so there’s more sushi and salad and juice bars than fast food outlets which is no bad thing especially in between flights.   There’s a panoramic terrace where a Fokker 100 is pitched, as though it’s missed the runway and decided to take residence on the roof.   Passengers are able to look inside the plane although this seems my idea of hell, going on a plane that’s going nowhere.  But at least you know it’s going nowhere, you’re not just sitting there in the anticipation it’s going somewhere.

What else?   There's a grand piano on the Holland Boulevard area which is set out like a large sitting room with comfy chairs and fake fireplaces.  Any one can play but it's positioned dangerously close to a play area called the 'child's forest'.   I am told children are allowed to have a go.

There's a museum showing some interesting and prestigious paintings from famous Dutch which will kill ten minutes.   Clogs, cheese and tulips are on sale in most outlets and self check in areas and machines, of which the airport is very proud, as well as luggage check in machines which allow you to check in your own luggage, putting it into a capsule that looks like something out of Star Trek.
The best idea?   The spa areas scattered around the airport are exceptional.  There’s no more than a 10 minute waiting time but usually you are seen on demand mainly because in the airport it is quick in quick out and the spas are spotted everywhere.    They should have these franchises in airports around the world.   I had the best foot massage I've ever had there (go ask for Esther at the spa by the KLM Crown Lounge, it saves the feet when they've been walking round a terminal for hours.   They also offer neck and shoulder massages but it’s the ideal option for airports – much better than Casinos and grand pianos.  

The airport also has a very well stocked library some of which you can download onto your own iphone   There's a mortuary if you or a travelling companion suddenly drops dead which I suppose would be useful if hopefully very unlikely. There's a vets, a place where you get injections if you need to (for exotic destinations) as well as a place where you can get married if you need to although I can't think why anyone would need to get married at an airport.

I admit at the end of my almost day at Schiphol airport I didn't care how environmentally friendly it was, what the statistics were, or how many awards it had won, I just wanted to get on my flight and go home.    And that's the point.   If I had to chose between flying from an airport like this one or from Gatwick I would choose Schiphol every time, but I don't have that choice.    Airports have a monopoly on your time, your patience and your money and they continue to be the black hole in the travel experience. Even the best ones. 

Monday, 8 July 2013

YEAHHHHHH I'VE PASSED - and a day out in the country...

ROLLER COASTER or what. I received an email saying I've passed my yoga exam.   I am so happy I squeaked when I read the email. Know I've still got a long way to go but it's a step in the right direction and it was a big one (for me).

What else I do today?  I've been at the Hampton Court Flower Show today. The traffic was appalling, but the parking was easy.  The Country Living tent I find intimidating and a bit depressing.  The women owning their own businesses and setting up their stands today all smelt fragrant, looked thoroughly well bred, fine high cheek boned emaciation or English rose hamster cheek features, but their steely blue eyes and thin mouths suggested they are as hard as the proverbial nails and I wouldn't want any of them as friends let alone enemies.   The men all look wonderfully weathered like fine garden furniture although slightly embittered as though they're married to the fine high cheek boned types and haven't had sex for ages - well not with their wives anyway. It's therefore very reassuring to know I'm not a Country Living type, do not want to live my life in linen, alpaca or cashmere throws nor fill my home with £10 scented candles or bits of stick stuck in perfume, nor fill my cupboards with chutneys of every reincarnation, consistency and colour imaginable.  Superficial expensive nonsense filling empty lives - that's probably why I found it depressing.     As I wandered round they did glance at me and we both instantly recognised I do not belong. Thank fuck for that.  

Out of Country Living, a jug of Pimms selling for £22, sandwiches at £6, and no one would tell me what they were charging for a strawberry. Some guy was dressed as Santa Claus, two others as very large birds of paradise (the plant not the bird) and there was a famous chef (didn't recognise him) telling about fifteen housewife types (dressed in linen smelling of scented candle) how to understand a pig.   Yup, they were his words.

There was a stand showing you how you can breed and keep chickens, grow your own herb garden and I met a moustached guy I'd chatted to in Chelsea Flower Show. Deborah Meaden was there again speaking very loudly into her mobile phone, wearing something floral again.  There was a list of celebrities who attended or will attend. Kate Humble was speaking.  All the names on the list were the same names at the Chelsea Flower Show.   They probably have a rose named after them.

Felt desperately sorry for the guy at the Chocolate Fusion stand (handmade in Wales  as all his truffles were melting and he was giving them away for free.    He wouldn't charge. If you go, go buy his chocolate. He's on the same tent where the guy is asking you to understand pigs.   There was also a stand selling curries in the corner which if it had been a normal English summer would have been perfect but the guy was very sweet and told me 'my mum makes them all'

Korean stand has fans to give away (you are going to need them!), Spanish stand gives free compasses so you can literally get your bearings...and you can see the butterfly garden which is phenomenal but I had to fly off myself as I had a deadline to meet. This isn't Chelsea Wives, it's suburban housewives.  Frustrated suburban housewives. should have a stand there.....


Sunday, 7 July 2013


On our day at Wimbledon last week we saw a game between a S Butler and G Quinzi.   Little did we know Quinzi would win the boy's championship.  (SEE WOMBLING AT WIMBLEDON BLOG).   Still think S Butler was good....


Two days in a yoga studio hopefully this time confirming my place as a yoga teacher.   I have back bended more over the past two weeks than I've done in certain relationships.   I still don't know if I have passed.  Yoga is all about the journey, you are always learning, always gaining knowledge, always on the journey.  Yup, as a travel journalist I get that, but I've worked so hard on this I want to arrive. Bit like having sex without coming.

Talking about having sex without coming, my ex texted me to let me know he had left his job without having another one to go to. I'm sure there's someone to go to, if not something to go to, but it did make me smile as he thought I would be interested.   He disliked the people he worked with with an intensity that spanned the days he was there, working out how he would leave on the day he was hired.    Sort of arriving at the destination even before you've been on the journey...

Friday, 5 July 2013


while everyone is sunning themselves, either getting burnt watching the Stones and getting as prune-like as the super stars themselves, I will be trying (again) to pass my yoga.   I have been back bending and forward bending and learning what my  tensor facae latae (I think) and rectus abdominus, and upper lower and middle trapezius and psoas, pectinius, sartorious,  and rectus femurs, and infraspinatus and teres minor muscles do.  I will probably forget the whole lot and have some vague recollection of what the quads, hamstrings, biceps, triceps and deltoids do but I have tried.   I was at yotopia today with my friend Paula practicing.   Covent Garden is very different to how I remember it. Very trendy with courtyards, it was always a bit sawdust. Not talking horse and cart, but when the Pineapple studio opened and I would travel from deepest Essex on Saturday mornings to do a dance class with a teacher called Chris who was a better mover than anything on Strictly Come Dancing.   There were loads of beautiful people and tourists - not necessarily the same thing.   Wish I could have stayed longer.   perhaps next week..

Tuesday, 2 July 2013


Ivy Club for cocktails, then onto the House of Peroni where lots of beautiful Italians and ad creatives talked off the record. Tom on outward bound and I was a grown up on a school night.   Thank you Claire. xxxx

Just woken up by someone banging on my bedroom window. Screamed top of voice as last thing watched last night was Paranormal 4.    Also now realise three cocktails and a beer for me is a lot. And that walking back to the house, I bought two vegetable samosas, a tin of lentil and veg soup and ate them at midnight watching Paranormal 4 and a bit of Sex and the City.   I do not like samosas.   It could have been worse. Could have been a kebab.  Or better, one of those beautiful Italians. :)

Monday, 1 July 2013


I HAVE WON AN AWARD. Amongst all the bad stuff in my life, there is a light but because of a deadline over running for work, I wasn't there to receive it!! Aghhh.     It was a piece I wrote for the Richmond Magazine WONDER WALLS about my trip to California with my son Tom.   We missed out on the Olympics but Tom told me the Canyon, Yosemite, San Fran (especially Alcatraz), Death Valley and Vegas was sooo much better than watching the Spice Girls dance on mini coopers.    "Just think," he said as we watched the fountains outside the Belagio, hoping for a glimpse of Clooney, Pitt or 'my name is' Matt Damon -  "this is in the middle of a desert."  Thank you Visit USA. You have made my day. xxx