Monday, 28 September 2009

Yesterday was a perfect day, spent at the beach with family and friends in the sunshine. Along with a ton of fresh mussels, which we doused in wine and garlic and cooked up on the fire, in a huge cast iron saucepan. Said mussels combine perfectly with french bread and more wine - this time in a glass, and contributed hugely to enormous feelings of completeness.
Mental note to self to take next group of writers on a beach/mussel supper outing. Varied surroundings v good for creativity.
I think that when I am 109 or thereabouts and have finally tired of running about on this earthly plane, I will cast a benevolent eye over my life and see many snapshots of happiness. Yesterday will be one of them.

Monday, 21 September 2009

It was dark at 6.30 this morning as my fellow runner and I started reluctantly on our daily brain rattling, teeth shaking, boob joggling jaunt around the country lanes of rural Devon. We chatted to each other as we ran, and tried, as we always do, to forget the fact that our spouses were still tucked up cosily under the duvet - and the fact that, were it not for our devotion to the temples at which we worship daily (ie, our bodies), we would be snuggled up beside them.
Gamely we chatted as we pounded on and on, grimly ascending the hills, (of which there are many), seizing brief respite as we descended said hills, and desperately flashing our torches at one or two oncoming tractors intent on squashing us. (You can imagine the casual post mortems, held in local pubs. Well, ers shouldna' bin out at that time, runnin' round. Ah wouldn' let mah missis. Would 'ee?')
As we jogged up the final brutal ascent, two or three cars passed us, carrying locals on their way to work. Hearing them before we saw them, my brave jogging pal and I automatically straightened hunched shoulders, tensed flagging leg muscles, flung our heads back and pasted bright smiles on our faces - not forgetting to swiftly swipe a sweaty sleeve over our equally sweaty faces. Waving merrily, as they passed, we continued the enjoying the run charade until we reached the summit - and thankfully the end of the run.
I'd love to say that at this point, the adrenalin rush so apparently beloved by runners, (lies lies) finally took hold, and in a burst of endorphins, we strode glowing into our respective houses, ready to take on the day and all that it could fling at us. Sadly the reality was that our main feeling was one of relief that the entire bloody business was over - at least until tomorrow. There is a bit of a glow, however - of smugness. And I'm happy to report that it lasts all day...

Monday, 14 September 2009

I sometimes tire of the media's endless fascination with women's breasts. Helen Mirren's, gorgeously statuesque in THAT bikini, Ulrika's baggily adroop (thank heavens she's now had corrective surgery, and thanks too to OK magazine for giving us such a comprehensive photographic record of the results). And what one tabloid newspaper so charmingly referred to as Keira Knightly's 'fleabites'. Hard to know which is the greatest crime in celeb world. Too big, too small - or simply too saggy.
But of course breasts are very noticeable. Even covered up they are undeniably and obviously there. Unlike male sexual characteristics, which tend to be discreetly tucked away, for the most part.
This makes me wonder if one way of making sure male sexuality gets a fair look in when it comes to media scrutiny would be for men to put a little more of themselves on show. Nothing too obvious, you understand. Cut away jeans revealing a provocative hint of scrotum perhaps. Or a cheeky glimpse of foreskin.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Real life in the country

All freelance journos draw on their own lives for feature fodder now and again. Lets face it, when times are hard, it's a relatively easy source of ideas, and I've written about my husband, my kids and myself, in a pretty personal way.
Liz Jones takes this idea to a whole new level. In her strangely parallel universe - even for a daily mail feature columnist, no depths remain unplumbed, and no line uncrossed. We haven't yet been privy to the frequency with which she masturbates - but I have no doubt that day will come.
More disturbing however, than her regular bleatings about herself and her few remaining friends, and even her constant, personal and vitriolic attacks on women with children, are her recent and venom coated rantings about her countryside neighbours. Most of which are, if not complete fabrication, heavily embroidered.
What complete bollocks she writes - if you can really dignify her ridiculous wittering with that description. I've lived in the west country for 15 years, and I've never noticed a particular problem with dental health. And what on earth is Illey coffee anyway?
'I long to be clean and warm again,' moans Liz - from her filthy cave on Exmoor? The woman lives in a huge great house - which presumably has heating and hot water.
I know, I know, Liz Jones is paid by the DM to be controversial. But this is just nonsense. Don't shoot at her house. But in the name of common sense and half decent journalism, don't, for God's sake buy her book.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

What is it with the shiny eyes? Up until about ten years ago, I prided myself on how rarely I gave in to tears. I scorned those who dissolved rather obviously into moistness at the merest hint of sentimentality, feeling that my rather tougher stance gave me the edge when it came to dealing with LIFE.
Now however, I find that a lumpy throat is almost part of daily LIFE. I don't think there's any more to cry about than there used to be -but good heavens, these days, the sight of a small child being cuddled by its large male parent is enough to provoke said lumpiness. And last Saturday when my gorgeous nephew married his beautiful girlfriend, surrounded by adoring family and friends, my supposedly waterproof mascara was thoroughly tested (and failed.) So is it an age thing? Are my hormones letting me down - or mucking me up?
Interestingly though, I find the whole filling up experience not unpleasant. It's sort of sweetly liberating. So much so that when a particularly moving advert came on the tv last night, and my eyes got really shiny, I allowed them to spill over - and rather wallowed in the sensation. Have I been missing something all these years?