Fudge Berries and Frogs’ Knickers sample

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I thought I would give you a little taster of ‘Fudge Berries and Frog’s Knickers’ after realising I hadn’t done so.

It was a stressful 2014 and my memory isn’t all it used to be. But here it is. Enjoy.

Chapter One

Don’t you just hate surprises? Maybe you don’t and generally I don’t either but when the surprise is your darling Daddy appearing on the tele surrounded by policemen, trust me it’s the kind of surprise you don’t need. I’m used to seeing my father on the tele. I’m just not used to seeing him wearing handcuffs. Armani yes, but handcuffs no. I stare bleary eyed at the silent television screen.

‘That’s your father isn’t it?’ mumbles Chelsea while trying not to crack her face mask. ‘Are those handcuffs?’

I wipe the cucumber juice from my eyes and blink. Yes that’s Daddy all right. That’s his side parting, and his Gucci tie. That’s my Daddy, my knight in shining Armani. The handcuffs aren’t his of course, at least he wasn’t wearing them the last time I saw him. And they don’t look designer. Daddy wouldn’t be seen dead wearing anything but designer, at least not by choice.

‘Can you turn the sound up Bonita?’ I ask, trying to ignore the churning in my stomach and the pounding of my heart. After all, it isn’t every day you see your father in handcuffs is it? Well maybe you do but I certainly don’t. Even the moaning whales in the background are doing nothing to calm my nerves, whale music that is, not real whales. I know this is an exclusive health club but whale singing while you have your toenails done is pushing it a bit isn’t it?  Bonita turns from my Dior Vernis toenails and presses the remote. The voice of the newsreader reaches me and I feel my blood turn cold.

‘This is a shocking blow for the government. Minister for Family, Sir Rupert Wellesley, is seen leaving Westminster police station a few minutes ago and what a shock to his constituency. Sir Rupert Wellesley charged with fraud …’

Fraud? Never mind the shock to his constituency what about the shock to his bloody daughter?

‘Fudge berries,’ Chelsea squeals.

Chelsea, my best friend, who says fudge berries an awful lot and spends a great deal of time stating the bloody obvious.

I try to stand but the toe separators make it almost impossible. I waddle to the tinsel-decorated TV screen like a penguin. My numbed brain thinks that if I get a closer look I may find the Armani belongs to someone else, but no, that’s Daddy all right.   My phone starts to flash and bleep, and Bonita looks at it fearfully as if it will blow up at any moment. I grab it and silence the ringing.

‘It’s me,’ cries my hysterical mother. ‘Will this affect my allowance?’

Never mind her allowance what about my allowance?

‘I’m not surprised,’ she continues without waiting for me to reply. ‘Minister for family that’s a laugh. When was he ever interested in the family? If he’d spent more time with his family and less time helping those on death road we would still be together.’

‘Death row,’ I correct, feeling like I’m on it myself right now.

‘He wouldn’t change your nappy. Do you remember that?’

Considering I was only three months old I’d be amazed if I could.

‘I remember like it was yesterday. He was too busy saving those on the row,’ she continues. ‘He’s always been big on human rights. What about our human rights I used to say. It comes to something when you can’t change your daughter’s nappy.’

Why we’re talking about nappies at a time like this I have no idea. I’m thirty two years old and I can assure you I don’t wear them now.

‘I had a nanny?’ I say.

‘I said to him once, let them all die.’

‘The nannies?’

‘Death road inmates, of course.’

Bonita switches channels and there’s Daddy, again, again and again. I swear his side parting moves more to the left with each channel change. He’s looking more like Hitler by the minute. His Faberge watch twinkles under the light of the flashing cameras. Three words come from the broadcaster and I feel sure my heart stops.

Bank account frozen.’

Bonita looks as shell shocked as me. I expect she’s afraid I won’t be able to pay her. I’m afraid I won’t be able to pay her. How long does it take a bank account to freeze over? Quicker than hell I imagine. I pop a Lindt chocolate truffle and relax as the flavour explodes in my mouth. Thank God for truffles. They really do make everything easier to bear.

‘I have to go,’ I tell my Mother. ‘I’m at the salon getting everything gelled.’

‘Enjoy it. It may well be your last gelling. Good God Poppy, just think. You may actually have to get a job,’ she says, and I can almost see her satisfied smug.

Is she insane, I’ve never had a job in my life.

‘Don’t be ridiculous,’ I scoff. ‘I’m getting married in six weeks. Roddy has pots of money.’

‘Ha,’ she laughs mirthlessly. ‘He won’t want you now. He only wants your money darling. He may have pots but the way he spends it he’ll be lucky if he has one left to piss in.’

She sighs.

‘We won’t get any sympathy you know that don’t you? I’ll tell you where you’ll find sympathy, right between shit and syphilis in the dictionary. God knows what I’ll do. I’m fifty six for goodness sake.’

‘You’re fifty seven,’ I correct.

‘Are you sure?’

‘Absolutely.’

‘That makes it even worse then. Trust your father to get found out four weeks before the holidays. He’ll be happy to know his ruined my Christmas. I need a large G and T.’

You and me both but I don’t think Bonita serves booze. Mother begins to cry and now it’s my turn to sigh.

‘I have to go. I’m sure it’s all a big mistake,’ I say.

Please God, let it all be a big mistake.

‘Yes, of course,’ scoffs Mummy. ‘People are always mistakenly arrested for fraud aren’t they? You’ll be saying it’s a case of mistaken identity next.’

If only it was. I hang up and watch my phone vibrate across the table as text after text are received.

‘Fudge berries,’ says a stunned Chelsea for the second time. ‘This is mind-blowingly awful isn’t it Truffles?’

Ah yes, I should mention my nickname is Truffles, the chocolate variety that is, not the mushroom, and if you saw the number of them that I eat, chocolate truffles that is, not mushrooms then you’d understand how I got that name. I’m the truffle queen. I know every single truffle in existence and I also know the best truffle to buy. Right now I could do with a truck load of them. I pick up my ringing phone.

‘Poppy Wellesley speaking,’ I say, wishing for the first time in my life that I wasn’t.

‘Martha Clegg here,’ says a clipped voice.

‘Mrs Clegg, I haven’t forgotten our meeting tomorrow for Help the War Victims.’

‘I’m not one to judge Miss Wellesley, as you know.’

Not much.

‘But there are some that do. I’m sure you’ll agree that until this situation is resolved it would be better if you stepped down from the committee.’

‘But …’

‘We wouldn’t want those poor disabled lads to think they were getting illegal money, would we?’

‘The money has been donated it didn’t come from my father,’ I argue.

Oh God, was that admitting my father’s money is illegal?

‘Yes but it would be tainted, wouldn’t it? I’ll announce your decision to the board this afternoon.’

But I haven’t made a decision.

‘Yes but …’

The phone goes dead. She’s cut me off along with Daddy. I fish my American Express from my Hermes handbag. Bonita tries to behave nonchalantly and reaches for it in slow motion, but her fingers are twitching. She pretends to admire my handbag.

‘I would so love a herpes one day,’ she says passionately.

I somehow think she is alone in that one.

‘There’s always someone willing, I’m sure,’ I say wincing.

‘Hermes,’ corrects Chelsea through tight lips. ‘It’s Hermes, not herpes.’

‘Take the usual tip,’ I say. I cross my newly painted fingernails in the hope that the card isn’t declined. I’ve never had a declined card. I’m not sure I’d know what to do. There is a tense moment as Bonita pushes the card into the machine and a small bead of perspiration forms on my forehead. I scratch at my neck nervously and I hear Chelsea utter fudge berries for the umpteenth time.

‘Your skin is erupting,’ she says with a grimace taking two steps back as if I’ve suddenly become radioactive. I throw myself at a mirror and gasp. I’ve got tiny red spots all over my neck. The ghastly rash is rapidly spreading down my arm.

‘I used the same products,’ stammers Bonita, frantically punching buttons on the card machine.

‘It must be the stress. God knows I’m amazed you didn’t have a heart attack. That was quite a shock,’ says Chelsea, stepping further away from me.

Bugger, I’m dining with Roddy’s family this evening I can’t have him seeing me like this. Okay, don’t panic. Just breathe. I take three gasping breaths and give up.

‘I think you’re hyperventilating,’ says Chelsea. ‘You’re looking a bit blue now.’

‘Do you need a brown paper bag,’ offers Bonita.

If this rash gets much worse I may well do. But right now I just need that buggery transaction to go through.

‘It’s travelling up your neck and into your face,’ Chelsea announces. She’s like Alistair Stewart on breaking news.

‘I need antihistamines,’ I say anxiously, feeling sure my tongue is now swelling. Oh God, I’m going to have anaphylactic shock. I’ll elbow Daddy off the telly with news of my own. Socialite daughter of disgraced MP dies after swallowing tongue. I really had hoped for a more glamourous death. I rub ferociously at my arm.

‘Surely that only happens if you have an allergic reaction to something,’ says a wise Chelsea.

‘I’m allergic to being poor,’ I say miserably. ‘I need a chemist.’

I head for the door grabbing my truffles as I go.

‘Card went through,’ says a relieved Bonita.

‘I’m coming,’ says Chelsea, grabbing her fur coat.

I stare at her. She looks like a furry cucumber.

‘You’re still wearing your mask.’

‘Oh cripes,’ she groans and rushes back to Bonita.

I scratch my neck and nervously peer in the mirror again. Oh no. It’s spreading up my neck and little red spots are now sprouting on my chin. I look like a strawberry. Losing my money is turning me into Frankenstein’s daughter. Oh God, this is disastrous. How could Daddy do such a thing? We burst out of the beauty salon and onto the cold streets of Belgravia, swinging our Hermes and Chanel handbags. We pass bustling Christmas shoppers trundling along with their packages. I’d forgotten it was Christmas. The awful realisation that I may be spectacularly poor after being spectacularly rich somehow pushed Christmas onto the back burner. Chelsea peeks at my face and makes a huge effort not to look horrified.

‘Is it spreading?’ I ask.

‘No, not really,’ she lies, pulling up the collar on her fake fur. ‘At least you’re not blue anymore.’

That’s comforting. I feel sure I am getting strange looks. Chelsea phones her driver after deciding it might not be a bad idea to see a doctor, which clearly means it is spreading. I dive into Chelsea’s Rolls and we hurry to Harley Street.

‘It’s a nervous reaction,’ says the doctor.

‘I’ve had a shock,’ I say.

‘A terrible shock,’ echoes Chelsea. Specks of avocado champagne face mask evident on her chin.

Well I have haven’t I? Daddy’s been arrested and my allowance will be frozen along with his bank account. I’m Poppy Wellesley, I can’t possibly be frozen. I’m rich, In fact I am very rich, that is I was very rich. I’ve no idea how not to be rich. I have only rich friends, why would I want anything other than rich friends? I live in a penthouse in Belgravia. We have a country estate in Oxfordshire. We’re the privileged. I am the daughter of Sir Rupert Wellesley, multi-millionaire and MP for Belgravia and now a crook if you believe the news. My fiancé is one of the richest men in the country; at least his family are which amounts to the same thing. I’m to be married in a few weeks. Royals will be attending. It will be the socialite wedding of the year. I do my grocery shop at Harrods. Oh buggery. Please let this be a bad dream.

‘I need it to be gone by six,’ I say.

He looks at the clock on his consulting room wall.

‘Can’t be done,’ he says casually.

‘What?’ I cry. ‘But you have to. I can’t let my fiancé see me like this. What if I pay you double?’

What am I saying? I don’t even know if I have enough to pay him single.

‘She has a Valentino wedding dress,’ says Chelsea.

Is she suggesting I use that as part payment?  We both look at her. You’d never think she went to a Swiss finishing school would you?

‘What’s my wedding dress got to do with it?’ I ask.

‘Just saying,’ she mumbles.

‘I’m afraid even a Valentino dress cannot work miracles,’ says the heartless doctor.

‘Can’t you give me an injection or something?’

‘Yes, of course, what kind of injection would you like?’

This is ridiculous.

‘This is Harley Street,’ I huff. ‘Give me an injection that will shift the rash by six.’

‘Unfortunately even Harley Street can’t turn water into wine.’

‘She doesn’t want you to perform miracles, we just want some cream to get rid of it by six,’ grumbles Chelsea.

‘That would be a miracle,’ he says.

‘I’m seeing my fiancé.’

The doctor shakes his head.

‘I’m sorry. I can only suggest you calm down. Try meditation and deep breathing.’

Meditation? Deep breathing? Is the man off his trolley? I haven’t got time for josh sticks and chanting. I’m barely shallow breathing at the moment, forget the deep breathing.

‘Let’s get a second opinion,’ says Chelsea, flinging her faux fur around her shoulders, scattering speculums and specimen bottles in her wake. We sweep out of the consulting room in disgust and visit three more doctors who also tell me there is nothing they can do in time for my dinner with Roddy. I leave the last doctor doped up on Valium, me that is, not the doctor.

‘If you’re calm then it’s bound to disappear,’ says Chelsea comfortingly.

I nod in agreement. I’m already feeling calmer by virtue of the Valium. Then my phone rings and the familiar ringtone sends a chill through my bones. It’s Jeremy, Daddy’s financial adviser.

‘We’re up the creek without a paddle I’m afraid. Are you free for a spot of lunch?’ he asks.

‘Ooh,’ I mumble in my drug induced stupor.

‘I’ve booked a table at The Ivy.’

Can I afford The Ivy?

‘Can you be there for two? That gives you an hour.’

‘I’m meeting Roddy at six,’ I say.

‘Ah yes, Roddy.’

What does that mean?

‘It won’t take long,’ he says.

That’s not a good sign.  I pop another Valium and tell myself things can only get better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Two

‘Is he guilty?’ Shout the paparazzi.

I don my Alain Mikli sunglasses, pull up the collar of my coat to hide my neck, and wait for my driver, Eddie, to open the door for me.

‘I’ll be back in an hour,’ Eddie says in his Essex accent.

‘I’ll phone if I need you earlier.’

My stomach churns as I climb from the Bentley. There are flashes all around me and security staff from The Ivy rush forward to shelter me from the cameras.

‘Have you seen your father? Did you know he was on the fiddle?’ shouts a photographer, flashing at me for all he’s worth, with his camera obviously, although if he had flashed anything else I doubt I’d have noticed. I’m so doped up. I trip entering the restaurant and picture tomorrow’s headlines: Socialite daughter of disgraced MP arrives stoned at celeb’s favourite restaurant.

I allow the maître d’hôtel to take my coat and then check my reflection in the mirror. God, I look stoned too. The rash, thank heavens, has stopped at my chin and I’d managed to cover it with Touche Éclat. My newly highlighted blonde hair is shiny and I’m wearing it loose to cover my neck. My blue eyes are sparkling, if just a little vacant, and I’d applied the minimum amount of make-up as I didn’t want to aggravate the rash. I look rather good for someone who’s been frozen. Jeremy jumps from his seat knocking over a glass in his nervousness. He pecks me on the cheek and sits back down.

‘Frightful business,’ he mumbles.

A waiter rushes forward and pulls out a chair for me.

‘Good afternoon Miss Wellesley,’ he says with a smile. ‘How are you today?’

As poor as a church mouse it seems.

‘I’m fine thank you,’ I lie.

‘I’ve ordered your favourite. I hope that’s okay,’ says Jeremy, fiddling with his cutlery.

I struggle to recall my favourite.

‘Roasted Devonshire Chicken,’ he reminds me and gestures to the waiter.

‘A bottle of Quincy, Sauvignon Blanc,’ he orders.

‘Just water for me,’ I say, feeling certain my head will flop onto the table any second. If I have the wine on top of the Valium there is a good chance the whole of me will flop to the floor in a heap.  Jeremy peers at my neck and frowns.

‘What’s going on there,’ he says pointing.

I push his hand down.

‘Don’t point,’ I hiss. ‘I’ve erupted. I think it’s the stress.’

‘Nasty business,’ he says, studying my neck.

‘I know. It’s spreading everywhere.’

‘I was talking about your father.’

Oh yes, that’s a nasty business too. I nod miserably.

‘Up the creek without a paddle,’ he repeats.

‘Yes quite,’ I say, taking a gulp from his wine glass.

‘Up the creek without a paddle and facing a pack of sharks,’ he continues.

Never mind the paddle, what about my money?

The waiter places the chicken in front of us and I feel myself gag.

‘Frightful business indeed,’ Jeremy repeats. ‘They’ve frozen the bank accounts I’m afraid. I’m not going to sugar coat it Poppy. There’s no money. I won’t be making any transfers to your account for the foreseeable future.’

He knows how to break the news gently does Jeremy. I swallow and scratch my thigh. God, don’t tell me the rash has gone to my legs. I throw back the rest of his wine and glance at the chicken.

‘Don’t worry, it’s on your father’s account, the last of the expenses. Think of it as your last supper so to speak,’ he laughs.

I’m glad someone’s laughing.

‘You’ll have to make some cut backs,’ he says, slicing through his broccoli.

‘Cut backs?’ I repeat dumbly.

He leans towards me across the table.

‘Sir Rupert’s pleading not guilty. It could drag on for months.’

I stare at him.

‘Of course,’ I say, ‘It’s clearly a mistake.’

The waiter tops up his glass and I take another gulp.

‘Of course,’ he agrees.

I push the chicken around my plate. We are silent for a time and all that can be heard is the chatter of other diners and the irritating sound of Christmas music playing in the background.

‘What am I going to do?’ I say finally. ‘I’ve got to pay my driver and there are the staff salaries…’

He holds his hand up.

‘I don’t know Poppy. I only know that there’ll be nothing going into your account. Your American Express will be stopped. As for the apartment, well …’

He gestures to the wine waiter to top up his glass.

‘Are you sure you don’t want one?’ he asks.

I shake my head.

‘I’m taking Valium,’ I mumble.

‘I thought you looked a bit out of it.’

He points at my chicken.

‘Aren’t you going to eat that?’

I shake my head and push the plate towards him.

‘The flat belongs to your father. He has it down as a second home, on expenses. You will have to get out as soon as you can Poppy.’

I fight back the urge to cry. He looks at me uncomfortably and takes my hand.

‘They’re some shares I can trade. That should tide you over for a bit and maybe …’ he hesitates.  ‘Maybe you can sell some things?’

I stare at him appalled.

‘You expect me to go to a pawn shop?’ I say.

‘Of course not, obviously I’ll get someone to go for you.’

Obviously. I’m not handing over my jewels to just anyone if that’s what he’s thinking. I wouldn’t even trust them with my Mother. Anyway, many of them were given to me by Roddy. Remembering Roddy and I feel calmer. I pick at a piece of bread.

‘I’m getting married in a few weeks, so everything will be okay. Daddy’s already paid for the dress and…’

‘What does Roddy say about all this?’ he asks, beckoning for the dessert menu. God, he can certainly eat. It’s good to know that my calamity hasn’t affected his appetite.

‘I haven’t spoken to him,’ I say. ‘But I know he’ll be supportive.’

He nods and I look down at my sapphire and diamond engagement ring and feel a warmth of security.

‘Nice piece you did for that glossy,’ says Jeremy.

I smile. Roddy and I have been together for nine months. We are the socialite couple. Only last month we did a special spread for Hello Magazine on our forthcoming wedding. I’ve known Roddy since I was a child; I always knew I’d marry him. We have the same circle of friends and share the same interests. Fortunately for me Roddy has pots of money so he won’t care if I don’t have any for a while. After all, I can’t be poor forever. Let’s face it I don’t know how to be poor. I fiddle with my napkin and ask the inevitable question.

‘Did he do it?’

Jeremy orders a caramel chocolate pot and raises his eyebrows.

‘Don’t you want dessert?’ he asks.

I shake my head. I can’t eat a thing, I really can’t.

‘Truffles?’ he asks.

‘No, I couldn’t.’

‘Blimey you are taking it badly. Well, the claims are outrageous, clearly ridiculous. That’s the line we’re taking and if you’re asked that’s all you need to say,’ he grabs his wine glass before I can reach it.

I debate whether to take another Valium and decide my veins have enough drugs and alcohol pumping through them. This is the rich life all right, drugs booze and fraud, not forgetting Hello Magazine. Hells bells, I hope they still cover the wedding. I’d really look the poor relation if I don’t have my wedding photos in Hello Magazine.

‘Your father is at his Oxfordshire estate, but I wouldn’t recommend going there. The press are having a heyday.’

‘He’s not in prison?’ I say relieved.

Jeremy looks at me and laughs.

‘Good Lord no. Sir Rupert in prison, don’t be silly. He’s on remand. Do you want a coffee? You look like you need one.’

I shake my head.

‘I need to go home. I’m seeing Roddy at six.’

I go to stand up and a waiter rushes to pull my chair back.

‘Right,’ says Jeremy.’  ‘Lovely lunch, ghastly subject but good to see you and I’m sure all will be fine. You’ll keep your glad rags and all that.’

He forces a laugh which doesn’t fill me with any confidence. The maître d’hôtel checks the front of the restaurant and beckons to the doorman.

‘Good day Miss Wellesley. We look forward to seeing you again soon.’

I glance back into the Ivy. An awful premonition that I will not step over the threshold again washes over me. How stupid is that? I’m marrying Roddy aren’t I? Everything will be all right.

To read more, purchase your copy now for £1.99 here

Scones and Sherry with Natalie Love (and Anouska)

 

Today I’m welcoming the lovely Natalie Love to my blog. You will know of her, of course. Natalie runs the fabulous Raven Street Theatre in Soho.

I love this place and have seen some really cool plays there.  My favourite has been the comedy musicals.  And I’m thrilled, in fact I’m that excited I could pee my pants. Of course I didn’t. That may have put Natalie off me forever. I’m delighted because Natalie Love has expressed an interest in staging ‘The Dog’s Bollocks’ at The Raven Street Theater, how cool is that?

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Natalie has just arrived. Ooh, my excitement overflows. Although I am rather worried that the title may offend her. Ooh it looks like she has brought a friend or associate. This bodes well.

Lynda: Hello Natalie, what an absolute thrill to have you here and your friend also, of course.

Natalie: Hello Lynda, its lovely to meet you (lowering voice) I’m sorry, this is very unprofessional but I had to bring my Gran, Anouska, with me… She’s a big fan of The Dog’s Bollocks and wouldn’t take no for an answer.

Anouska: Lynda. My darlink!

Lynda: Welcome Anouska.

Natalie: I promise she’ll be no trouble…

Lynda: Of course, come in, the more the merrier. What can I offer you to drink? I’ve herbal teas, coffee, fruit juice and I’ve made some scones, which we can have with jam and clotted cream. I hope you’re not watching your weight? I’m always on a diet. I have to say I wish I looked as glamorous as you two.

Anouska: Lynda, men like somethink to hold on to! I share the same diet philosophy as Miss Piggy: never eat more than you can lift. I vill take a scone piled high vith jam, and have you any sherry?

Natalie: I think tea, for me…

Lynda: *Thinks frantically* Oh dear, what did we do with that sherry from Christmas?

Lynda: Coming right up! So Natalie, what do you have in mind for The Dog’s Bollocks?

Natalie: We’d love to produce it as a musical, for our autumn season so that…

Anouska: (interrupting) Lynda darlink, vill you sign my copy of The Doggies Bollocks, before we get too drunk…

Lynda: Certainly. I have to say Anouska , I love your Jewellery. Where did you get it?

Anouska: Ah, this vas the jewellery my mother vore when she escaped the Nazis…

Lynda: Oh dear, that must have been a harrowing experience.

Natalie: She says they escaped. They actually got a lift with an SS Officer on his way to the shops to buy bratwurst.

Anouska: Say vat you like about the Nazis, but they knew how to dress…

Natalie: Look, Gran, I need to talk to Lynda about her book. Why don’t you…

Lynda: You could go and look at my garden Anouska?

Anouska: Ah yes, that vould be nice. I vill take my sherry… can I take the bottle too?

Lynda: Yes, of course… careful on those heels Anouska…

Natalie: Thank goodness she’s gone. Sorry again, Lynda.

Lynda: That’s okay. Tell us Natalie, how are things at The Raven Street Theatre? I’m excited you want to feature ‘The Dog’s Bollocks’ You must meet some interesting people?

Natalie: Yes, and we’re getting a lot of press interest in our plays. I think we might be able to get some big names for The Dog’s Bollocks: The Musical. Now for the lead character of Harriet, there’s a chance we could get Lindsay Lohan? We have to just check if she’s still tagged and on house arrest… and if she can sing…

Lynda: She would need to time a comic line too… Harriet is a very funny character.

Natalie: Yes, she is. Okay maybe not Lohan. We could go the more traditional route, someone British with good acting chops. We’d love you to write the script… Can you write music? I see there’s a piano in the corner of the room!

Anouska: (comes back inside) Bloody vooman!

Natalie: What is it Gran?

Anouska: Your vindow cleaner is very rude, he said I vas too old for him!

Natalie: what are you doing with the window cleaner?

Anouska: Nothing – yet. But I am single and, how do you say, free to mingle. There is nothing wrong with dating a vindow cleaner.

Lynda: That’s not the vindow, I mean window cleaner, that’s my husband!

Anouska:  Ah. My darlink Lynda, you hev a nice husband if he cleans the vindows for you… I may hev tried to climb his ladder and kiss him… If I knew he vas your husband I vould never have done that… Although must say he is very handsome, and he has a very nice chamois leather…

Natalie: I’m so sorry… Look Lynda, maybe you could come up to London? I could take you to a lovely restaurant and we could talk more about The Dog’s Bollocks: The Musical?

Lynda: Yes, of course…

To experience more of Natalie’s world and of course Anouska’s, pop to Amazon to purchase a copy of Robert Bryndza’a brilliant new novel ‘Miss Wrong and Mr Right’ here at Amazon.co.uk and at Amazon.com And even better you’re in time to enter the ‘Miss Wrong and Mr Right’ giveaway here

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Miss Wrong and Mr Right

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Natalie Love has worked hard to have it all: she runs a successful theatre in Soho that’s about to host one of Hollywood’s leading stars. Her biggest supporter is her eccentric Hungarian Gran, and she even has the ‘perfect’ yoga teacher boyfriend – Namaste!

Life in the bright lights of London has always been Natalie’s escape from her chaotic country family in rural Devon and Jamie, the childhood sweetheart she left at the altar 15 years ago. And then he turns up at her theatre door…

With rivalry clouding old feelings, events in Soho bring Jamie and Natalie together in hilarious ways. Gran is loose in the city once more, it seems to be raining sandwiches and records are broken for Burlesque flash mobs. If she can keep her world together, will Natalie discover who is really Mr Right, and that perhaps she isn’t Miss Wrong?

A delightful new romantic comedy, from the author of the best-selling Coco Pinchard series.

You can make contact with Robert by following any of the links below

www.robertbryndza.comhttps://

www.facebook.com/bryndzarobert

Goodreads

 

 

 

The Earth Shattering Orgasm

 

 

redAnniversaries are important things aren’t they? And I really wanted to make an effort this year, considering we had both forgotten it the previous year.

So, what better place to buy your anniversary present than Ann Summers. I’ll openly admit I’m up for a bit of experimentation.  Of course when I say experimentation I don’t mean adding on another extension to make room for ‘The Red Room of Pain.’  Just the odd paddle or flogger is enough to be going on with.

red room of pain

Of course as usual I had left the whole thing very late. One thing after another seems to absorb my time. You know, things like writing novels, taking child for poo poo’s (See previous post for that horror) cleaning up cat sick and fighting off wasps every time I try to get in the front door (not the best place to have a wasps nest) Not to mention my half-hearted attempts at trying to grow flowers from seeds, while sneakily popping to the allotment to steal someone else’s rhubarb.  Well, if you saw the state of our allotment plot you’d understand why. Although stealing is the wrong word, as he did say I could have some. I just don’t think he meant the whole lot. Anyway, as usual I transgress. But you’re used to that aren’t you?

So, I go shopping to Oxford with my friend and as we approach the Ann Summers shop, I casually mention I’d like to pop in and get Andrew’s anniversary present. She’s quite surprised that we’re still having sex, let alone experimental sex. Still it has to be agreed we are in the throes of fresh love. It’s only been fifteen years!

I wander to the flogger department and ooh, low and behold, there is an offer, buy one get one half price. Well, you can’t pass that up can you? So, I go for a flogger and a paddle. Good to have choice don’t you think? A sexy card is added and then I stare thoughtfully at the small compact vibrators on the counter. Not that I’m new to vibrators of course, but as I stand there I think of the remote one at home, which has lost its remote (not useful) And the one that has rusty batteries in it (Unlikely to work anymore unless I use a defibrillator on it to revive it)

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Then there was the lipstick shaped one, which got mistaken for a lipstick so often it became embarrassing. So, you have to agree I’m due a new one.

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               ‘Shall I give you a demonstration,’ asks the assistant.

My friend swayed and I felt sure she was about to faint. Even I’m thinking a demonstration is taking customer service a bit far. Then before we can stop her she has turned it on, the vibrator that is, not herself.  Ooh it’s powerful and very reasonably priced.

‘I’ll have one,’ I say.

That done off we pop to get wrapping paper and I’m pleased to say the anniversary present exchange went very well thank you very much. If you think you’re getting any more information you’re going to be disappointed aren’t you?

Several days later following my trip to town I came back from the hairdressers and realised I’d left my keys behind and that my stepson who is currently living with us had locked the door. I fumbled in my bag to find them while at the same time a wasp fumbled its way down the front of my blouse. I shrieked as the bloody thing stung me twice on the tit. I staggered (okay slight exaggeration) back to my car where with great relief I found the door keys.

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  Finally, in the house and I’m about to search for the antiseptic cream when I freeze as I hear this reverberating sound like a pneumatic drill. Oh my God, is someone in the house? Was it them that locked me out. Calm down, I tell myself, it’s probably James doing some DIY. Have I gone insane? This isn’t DIY. This is someone knocking my house down. I rush upstairs to where the noise is louder and trace it to the spare room. My body shaking and my tit stinging I stare at the boiler. It sounds like it’s going to blow up. It’s banging away like mad. I struggle to find the switch to turn it off. It’s getting louder now and I swear people can hear it from outside. Must keep calm, and phone the doctor, my very intelligent and clever husband.

‘Can you hear it,’ I shout over the noise. ‘What shall I do? Will it blow up. Should I phone a plumber or an electrician?

‘Please calm down,’ yells the doctor. ‘Can you trace exactly where it’s coming from? We need to find the source of the problem. It’s very loud. I can hear it.’

I walk out onto the landing where it seems louder. Bendy runs up the stairs and meows nervously as I open the bedroom door where the noise is even more intense.

‘Oh God, it’s coming from the bedroom,’ I say, trying to think what could blow up in here. Bendy dives out of the room as I edge nearer and nearer to the window where the noise emanates.

‘I think it’s something to do with the windows,’ I say nervously heading towards the light.

It’s like something out of the film ‘Poltergeist’

‘Go towards the light.’

‘Perhaps you should phone someone,’ says the usually calm doctor.

‘Like the police,’ I say.

He sighs.

‘Like an electrician.’

I’m now close to the meter cupboard and the noise is so deafening I can barely hear Andrew at the other end of the phone.

‘It’s in the meter cupboard,’ I say, backing away, expecting an explosion any minute. I feel like a member of the SAS Squad. It is then I realise the noise is coming from the bedside cabinet. It’s deafening me and I can barely hear Andrew who is yelling down the phone but I think he is asking me if I’m okay. I open the door hesitantly, my heart thudding in my chest.

There inside the cupboard banging against the side is the new vibrator.  Well that was a bit anti-climactic if you’ll excuse the pun. Great vibrator though. Certainly makes the earth move. Only relieved I didn’t phone the electrician or worse still the police.

Fish Fingers and Poo Poo’s

Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

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Having a four and half year old living with you is very sobering, very sobering indeed. The fact that he thinks I must be at least 100 years old is rather disconcerting too. Especially as I see myself more like a young Bohemian Lady Gaga. Mind you, since he arrived to live with us I have aged considerably. I’ve invested in the best face creams known to man and Timothy still claims I look 100. Mind you, I blame a lot of this on the stress of trying to cook Fish Fingers and chips. You might think it’s easy. I’ve never cooked bloody fish fingers and chips in my life. Let’s face it, why would I? But there is clearly a knack to this which I don’t have. Although in theory and as a working class kid I suppose I ought to have the knack to prepare the perfect fish finger.  The truth is while all my mates were eating them, my lovely mum bless her, hardly bought them. Not because she didn’t like them but most likely because we couldn’t afford them. Much of my life was spent scraping margarine off the wrapper and filling my sandwiches with sugar. Ah, that’s where my sugar addiction started, with sugar sandwiches. Just the thought of it now makes me want to puke. Can you imagine offering a child a sugar sandwich? Jamie Oliver would have a stroke if he even heard the words. Even worse, when we ran out of sugar we had to eat that sandwich spread stuff, which looked very much like vomit in a jar to me.

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Come to think of it, it also tasted rather like vomit too. I had a mum who could do a hundred and one things with mince. Well, that’s not strictly true. Mostly she could do one thing with it. Boil it up and then dish it up with mash and processed peas. On reflection fish fingers may have been better. In fact we consumed so much mince when I was a kid that I really don’t know how the whole Renham family escaped Mad Cow disease. Although it could be argued I didn’t escape it. My sister seems fine, in fact, she seems normal, you know, like most people. Maybe, she ate less of it than me. But the less said about that the better. Anyway, as usual, I digress.  How hard can it be to make Fish Fingers and chips? When his father cooks it everything is perfect. Fries are nice and brown and just crisp enough and the Fish Fingers, crisp and hot. Surely it’s simple. Just throw them in a dish, shove them in the oven and follow the cooking instructions. Surely if I can make Cambodian chicken and Tom Yum soup I can cook Fish Fingers and chips for goodness sake.  I thought the reason most kids lived on the stuff was because it was quick and easy to do. I’m starting to think that all mothers should be given a Damehood, never mind giving one to Joan Collins. When did she ever cook Fish Fingers?

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I was left with the four and half year old for an afternoon. I figured this would be a doddle.  I was so confident I even invited Andrew’s other son over for dinner. I decide to make fish pie. I’ll impress his kids with my culinary skills.

‘Are you sure you’ll be okay?’ my stepson asks before leaving for his private nursing appointment. ‘I’ll only be a couple of hours and dad will be home soon.’

Ooh, that’s the worst thing to say isn’t it? It’s like saying dad can handle it but I can’t? It’s only babysitting and some Fish Fingers. I sit Timothy on the couch and go into the kitchen to start the dinner only to have him yell,

‘Who’s looking after me?’

‘I am,’ I yell back.

‘But you’re in the kitchen.’

Well, that’s because I’m cooking his Fish Fingers isn’t it?

‘I can see you,’ I say.

‘Someone needs to look after me,’ he says again his face creasing and tears welling up.

Oh no, this is all I need. I fleetingly wonder if Bendy would be considered human enough to sit with him but dismiss that as quickly as I think of it. It might not go down well with Daddy if Timothy tells him I abandoned him and left him in the care of a cat. No, that won’t work will it? What’s the point of a cat that eats me out of house and home but can’t babysit when needed?

‘Can you read me a story,’ he asks weepily.

Timothy that is, not the cat. I don’t spend my time reading stories to Bendy the cat. I may be mad but I’m not that mad.

Ah, now this I can do. This is what I know, right? Okay I can make up a children’s story. All I need to do is throw in some monsters, a few dinosaurs and a few starfish and he’ll be happy. In fact he can sit in the kitchen while I do it. I can multi task. I’m a woman after all. That’s what we do best isn’t it? But maybe not so well when we’re 100 or at least heading that way, but right now I feel about thirty. I can make up a story, prepare a fish pie, chuck in Fish Fingers and chips and clean up. It’s a doddle, right? except, it would have been, if Timothy hadn’t decided to act out the roles of all the characters in the story. I’m now trying to prepare fish pie, while making up a story and trying to cope with a terror bird squawking around me. Telling Timothy that terror birds don’t squawk is pointless. He’s into it now and that’s that.

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I give the oven chips instructions a quick glance and shove them in the oven while hastily mashing the potato for the fish pie.

‘Can we play Starfish now?’ he asks.

‘Not at the moment,’ I say while thinking a Starfish might be quieter than the bloody terror bird. The kitchen is beginning to resemble a scene out of Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds.’ So when the Doctor walks in a few minutes later my sense of relief is so great that I almost throw myself into his arms. The Alfred Hitchcock hero is home to board up the house and save me from terror birds and Tyrannosaurus Rex. Son number two arrives and it finally seems safe to run to the loo. Or simply run away. Yes, it feels that bad.

‘Can you watch the fish pie,’ I yell down the stairs ‘and pop some peas on.’

‘Sure,’ says my confident, very clever husband.

I saunter back down ten minutes later to find them chatting away like two women while Timothy is still squawking away. I realise the fish fingers haven’t gone in and there is still no water on for the peas.

‘Poo poo,’ says Timothy, grabbing me by the shawl.

I know exactly how he feels.

‘I need to poo poo,’ he repeats.

He’s surely joking. No one poo poo’s just before dinner. Besides I’ve never taken him for a poo poo. I’ve never taken anyone for a poo poo, come to that. Why the dickens would I? I look to Andrew who pulls a face. I grab his hand Timothy’s that is, not Andrew’s and take him upstairs shouting my orders as I go.

‘Can you keep an eye on the peas and the fish pie?’

‘Sure,’ says Andrew.

I’ve heard that before haven’t I?

Timothy crouches over the loo and begins grunting. I’m holding his hand, terrified he’ll fall off.

‘Is this right?’ I ask.

‘I always do it like this,’ he says, looking at me oddly.

You usually have a shower after too, I’m thinking and I just don’t have time for that. There is more grunting and straining and I think it will never happen when finally … Well, I won’t go into details.

‘Finished,’ I ask.

He shakes his head.

‘I think there is more.

There bloody would be wouldn’t there?

‘Will you be ok for one minute?’

‘Yes,’ he says. ‘I’ll hang onto this,’ he says, grabbing the toilet roll holder.

I dubiously consider this. Okay, I’m only going to be a minute. A quick check on the pie and peas and I’ll be back. Surely a child can’t fall off a loo onto the floor and concuss themselves in one minute can they? Mind you, knowing my luck …

‘Don’t touch the loo roll,’ I instruct.

I dash downstairs, where the peas are nearly boiling over.

‘Andrew,’ I shout. ‘I’m in the middle of a poo poo.’

‘This is a mad house,’ says middle son.

‘Sorry,’ says Andrew. ‘It’s just I haven’t seen him for six weeks.’

My ears are cocked for a thud. I really don’t want to have to tell stepson number one that I managed to kill his son during my first babysitting stint. I fly up the stairs to find the bog roll all over the floor.

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               ‘Finished,’ he says. ‘Shower now.’

No way, Jose. I show him the shower substitute cleaner which is my Liz Earle polish cloth and some Johnsons baby wash and a quick scrub of his arse. We make it downstairs to see stepson number one is back.  I hand over child.

‘He never gets held on the loo,’ he says.

I give Timothy a stern stare who just grins. Bloody four year old’s, no wonder I look a 100.

I dish up dinner only to find the chips are now crisps. I toss them onto his plate and he stares at it for a few minutes and then asks his daddy,

‘Why are the Fish Fingers soft?’

Honestly there’s no gratitude for making up stories is there?

I raise my eyebrows. How can they be soft? They’ve been in the oven like forever.

He crunches on his chips and finally says.

‘These are burnt. Can you make my Fish Fingers Dada? I don’t like it when Lynda does it.’

‘No pudding for you,’ I say.

Well, I’m entitled to the last word aren’t I?

 

Kippers and Marzipan

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Holiday breaks are odd things aren’t they? Or maybe they are just odd for me.

Off we go on Thursday evening for an Easter break in Ross on Wye. I’m very excited. Of course this may have something to do with the fact that I have it in my head that we are going to Hay On Wye, where I know there are lots of book shops. This is, of course, completely wrong, as Hay on Wye is an hour away from Ross on Wye and only has two bookshops. Well, that’s all I managed to find. I’m sure it has more, if you feel inclined to look, but not as many as Hay On Wye, and seeing as I thought that’s where we were going you can understand why I felt a bit let down.  Not that it’s anyone’s fault and after all I was the one who booked the break.

The doctor arrives home from work and I’m packed and ready to go. I’ve packed enough books for two weeks in Mauritius. I’m determined to have a break. It is then little Matthew (my grandson) realises we are not joking and that we are really going away for a few days and leaving him. He’s having none of it and races to the car before we do and dives in. Now, there is nothing worse than an upset child, except an upset child who refuses to budge from the back seat of your car demanding to go on a weekend break with you. I had planned a lot of things happening on this break but babysitting a child was not one of them. I check my phone aware we had booked our table for dinner at the B&B for 8 pm. We still had the rush hour traffic to fight through. Twenty minutes later we have wrestled said child from the car, handed him back to his parents and are waving goodbye. I start to fret about Bendy (the cat) Did I leave enough cat milk for him? Will my stepson and his wife remember to pull the blinds at night so he doesn’t see the bully cat? Is this whole break thing a bit extravagant?  I tell myself I deserve it and the doctor tells me so too, so it must be true.

We arrive at Ross on Wye and the little B&B I had been expecting is nothing short of Ross On Wye’s own Shangri La. Our room looks like one out of the Shangri la that Andrew stayed in while in Hong Kong (okay slight exaggeration) but it feels as hot as bloody Hong Kong. I struggle to turn down the radiators and have already drunk my way through their two bottles of  complimentary water when I realise it is the towel rail that has turned the place into a sauna.

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After freshening up we go down to the bar for dinner where we’re invited to sit in the library and peruse the menu. I’m not sure if my eyes pop out before the doctor’s or vice versa. £36 per person for a three course meal? I check I’m wearing the right glasses.

‘Was dinner included with our booking,’ I whisper, thinking of the little pub just up the road and how pie and chips would be just as good as the Garlic and thyme rump of Herefordshire lamb, saffron potatoes chantenay carrots, peas, and broad beans offered on the menu in front of me.

‘What was that?’ asks Andrew, who never hears me at the best of times but at present has an ear infection so is basically only hearing me with one ear.

I whisper again, a little louder this time.

‘I think so,’ he whispers back.

Before we know it, drinks have been ordered and we’re being led like lambs to the slaughter into the dining room, a waitress carrying our tray of two glasses, which we could easily have carried for ourselves.

‘Would you like me to pour water into your glasses?’ asks the waitress.

I shake my head. I think I am still capable of lifting a jug.  Dinner turns out to be quite superb and we both make a mental note to check that the evening meal is included in our booking.

I can’t believe we have this luxury for three nights. The following morning we toddle down to breakfast (also included, in case you were getting anxious for us) we’re shown to our table where we consume a pot of lemon and ginger tea, cereal with yogurt, followed by kippers for Andrew, full English for me and toast to finish.  We then toddle off to Ross on Wye for me to look in the two bookshops and countless charity shops. I’m at my happiest. The doctor then encourages me to do some sightseeing away from the shops.

The churchyard
The churchyard

We wander into the local church yard and I take a few photos before we walk towards the church where a vicar stands to welcome us.

‘Hello,’ he whispers ‘are you visiting?’

Oh dear. Andrew inclines his head, obviously wondering how his hearing could have deteriorated so quickly. I lean forward in an effort to hear the vicar thinking he must have a sore throat.

‘We’re having a service of silence for six hours. But if you’d like to come back.’

Andrew inclines his head.

‘Come again?’ he asks.

‘If you would,’ whispers the vicar. ‘Tomorrow would be fine.’

‘That’s good,’ says Andrew. ‘The weather is not so good today.’

Meanwhile I’m standing there wondering why the vow of silence seems to have included us on the outskirts of the church. But God moves in mysterious ways, so they say.

We leave the vicar to his silence and when he is out of earshot, Andrew says,

‘I can barely hear you at the best of times and that’s with both ears. How am I supposed to hear him?

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We make our way back to the town, discussing what great food it is at the hotel. How the breakfast is so vast that guests can’t possibly want lunch.

‘It’s nearly two and I couldn’t possibly eat lunch,’ I say.

‘People do though,’ says Andrew. ‘I’d never want to be a glutton like that though, would you?’ he asks as we both glance in the local bakery window.

Ten minutes later we exit the bakery after buying two marzipan cakes, a hot cross bun, and a large custard tart.

Well, it’s a long time before dinner.

Hope you all had a fun Easter.

My Daughter’s Obesity: One year after the War began.

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lyndarenham:

There are no words to express how we feel…

Originally posted on Nurse Naomi:

IMG_0362One thing is for sure: we’re still losing the battle…but we aren’t giving up.

Hana’s Hypothalamic Obesity…

Hana hit 51.4 KG this week. So she’s gone from 21.4 KG January 2014, to 51.4 KG in just over 12months. Can you imagine what that must be doing to her body on the insides? It makes me feel sick to think about her liver, her heart and the threat of Type 2 Diabetes looming on the horizon. She had an oral glucose tolerance test a few months ago and this showed that her body churns out enormous levels of Insulin – both fasting and with glucose stimulation. What this means is that her brain is stimulating her Vagus Nerve – which connects to her Pancreas – to constantly pump insulin. This contributes to her sensation of constant hunger but high levels of insulin can also cause weight gain, brain fog and irritability…

View original 1,417 more words

Naomi: My Inspirational Stepdaugter

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My aim for this blog is to have fun. To recount the fun experiences of my own life and mostly that is humorous, delightful and fun, even in the face of adversity we try to laugh. It isn’t always easy. Life can also be difficult and challenging, as I am sure you will agree. So, today, I am sharing a posting by my inspirational step daughter, Naomi. Today, she and her daughter Hana, appeared on Sunrise channel 7 in Australia, talking about Hana’s medical condition, which many of you who read my blog or visit my Facebook page will be familiar with.

 

 

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Video link https://au.tv.yahoo.com/sunrise/video/watch/26688780/hana-cant-stop-eating/

Hana was diagnosed with a brain tumour just over a year ago. We all hoped that the removal of the tumour would be the end of the problem but sadly the problems really only then began.

In Naomi’s own words ‘

‘When damaged from a tumour, surgery or an accident, the Hypothalamus can go totally crazy and for some really, REALLY cruel reason seems to do all it can to make that person morbidly obese. 75% of children become morbidly obese within the first six months after their craniopharyngioma tumour is removed. 

Firstly, the appetite control centre messes up. People, kids, like my daughter, stop receiving messages of ‘fullness’ after eating. In addition, hormonal signals  such as ‘leptin’  from fat tissue stores also get ignored, these signals would usually inform the brain that the body doesn’t need to eat.  The result is a brain that thinks the body is physically starving. Now, we all know how hard it is to concentrate on anything when we’re really hungry. A brain that thinks the body is starving will only be able to think about things other than food for short periods of time. My daughter asks for food every few minutes of the day and, when one meal is over, will immediately start planning for and asking for the next meal.

Hana is getting bigger with each day. I saw Hana eighteen months ago four months before her tumour was removed. It breaks my heart to see what is happening to her. I’m uplifted whenever I hear her mother speak. I’m in awe of Naomi’s tenacity in the face of what must, some days, feel like such hopelessness. She never gives up.

The way I feel we can help is by sharing her blog posts and her Facebook updates. It may just reach someone who can make a difference.

I’ve posted the link to the video, please watch it if you have a spare moment. You can read more about Naomi at her blog Nurse Naomi here. I am re-blogging the most recent posting. I hope you will take the time to read it.

Meanwhile a fun posting coming very soon. xxxxxx