Radio Sussex

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 8 October 2015

The garden table is full of windfalls. Half the apples are brown waspy mush the other half shiny green and red.

I'm working on Radio Sussex this week so gardening duty is out.

It's a 6.00a.m. start. Shower, dressed, torch to the car. Headlights on and I'm off. I put on Radio 4 on and listen to the economic report. Marvelling at the conversation about more money than sense.

A little bit of Radio 2 and Chris Evans.

A little bit of Radio 3

And then BB.JAMES singing at me from my CD player.

I arrive just after 7.00, drive round the Queens Road bend into the BBC car park. So narrow that the wall has been chipped and crunched by better drivers than I.

Into the studio, up to the first floor to get the script. Down to the basement, clip on a mike call Tunbridge Wells studio, James turns the lanterns on remotely. The hot lamps are welcome, the studio always a little chilly so early in the morning.

After James, on the telephone, has checked me on the remote camera, and I have moved a little to the right, a little to the left, 'Jen, split the difference' I talk into camera. 30 seconds of the top story to give out the telephone number. Encourage callers.

Then its across the road for my porridge which is made with water, and a hot croissant for one of the team.

I eat my gruel in the studio, enter Mr. Miller my engineer. A screen is rearranged, so I can read cues, and a box to plug in my very own headphones is slapped on the desk.

A hand over to Radio Surrey, a little giggle. Then into the breakfast show studio and a tiny chat with Neil Pringle.

It's now nearly 9.00. Pre-records out of the way. I have sheets of paper with each story, reading the research between songs. Beware of dropping notes on the floor when a seriously important guest is on the line. Scrabbling between my legs for his name is not a good look. Out goes the news, in come the travel, I read out the teaser to get the callers, and then its the first disc.

And its a chat and a song, an interview and a song. Mr. Miller plays everything from Jesse Glynn to Buddy Holly.

Hot water and lemon, in the first hour, green juice for the second hour, more lemon water for the third hour.

I cant eat any more, old age and lazy muscles mean the tiniest crumb will potentially choke me. This morning I had a bit of an almond stuck on me vocal chords thank God for Billy Joel singing over my coughing. After glugs of water I was ok.

The topics come thick and fast, from Argos same day delivery to pensions. Writers, comedians, sad stories, funny stories, callers, experts. By 11.58 the last disc is spun and I'm off to get my car.

I get home by 1.00. Out into the garden to sit in the sun, all those apples accusingly pointing their stalks at me.

The windfalls sitting on the table demanding a juicing.

'I'll do it, I'll do it.' I cry, as the apples turn their sour faces to the dwindling sun.

Alarm set for 5.58 a.m. and it's tomorrow already.

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Mists and mellow fruitfulness.

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 3 October 2015

The leaves are turning from green to red. From green to yellow. From green to pink.

Yesterday I drove to Brighton and sat in for Danny Pyke on Radio Sussex, he's broken his collar bone. I'm sitting in for Danny again on Monday, and possibly all week.

My front tyre was flat, so called ATS, they were chockah, the old git said to pop in on the way back and make an appointment. They told me to come back at 4.00.

Got home and lay on a quilt in the garden. The hot October sun lulled me into a deep sleep.

When I awoke I had missed the appointment.

Sat at the end of the garden in the middle of the bending Borage, the slug eaten cabbages, the monumental dahlias, so big and white they look like they are made out of porcelain, sat on the bench in the sun and re-made an appointment for today. The boughs bending from the ripening apples, the lemon balm and sage as bushy as they could be. The runner beans, the courgettes, beetroots and carrots still throwing out their fruits.

Continue reading "Mists and mellow fruitfulness." »

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Primo Italian, Secondo too.

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 1 October 2015

I went into town yesterday for a meeting.

I took the Uckfield train. Stood in the sunshine and did some exercises whilst I waited for the little chuffer to turn up.

On the platform, opposite where the steam train club meet, there are vintage advertisements on the walls. Ladies and Gentlemen's waiting rooms and lavatories. A clock whose face is set in the 30's and a sense of history. Like nothing has changed since Jenny Agutter played with the railway children.

I stood looking across the tracks. Bird song - silence - rustling September leaves - silence. The platform, mostly empty, save for one man, two women and me. The computerised timetable told us that the train would arrive at 10.50, and bugger me if at 10.49 the shhussssh of the wheels on the rails didn't signal a perfectly punctual arrival.

I took my seat in an empty carriage, apart from a Chinese couple who were reading their telephones. I walked the length of the train to find the guard to buy a ticket - the station did have a ticket machine but they unsettle me. I'm always worried about losing my card and my patience.

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silence aint so golden

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 26 September 2015

Forgive lack of blog.

bad back

radio sussex

Charity do

I will resume next week.

Thank you for your concern

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Ground Hog Day

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 18 August 2015

Well it aint Baton Rouge, but my next gig is Brighton and Radio Sussex.

Up at 6.00. Stumble into the bathroom. Stick out my tongue to see if I'm getting better, seems my body is beginning to slough off the toxins of the last month.

A bad back, that is being treated by Brian, is finally settling down.

Out of the bathroom, slip into my clothes, down the path to get the car, in the driving seat and at 6.21 I leave the comfort of my own garage.

A slow - no more than 45 miles an hour - drive. Through Lewes, into the tunnel, out the other side and 20 miles an hour into Brighton.

By the time I reach the pier, the clock tells me its just after 7.00.

Down the front, right at the traffic lights, up past the clock tower. Park outside the BBC. Knock on the door and the lovely Steve Cranford gives me his fob.

A trickle into the car park, that is so narrow I have to breath in when I attempt the 23 point turn to get my car in one of the parking bays.

Into the studio, and we're off.

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Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 13 August 2015

The rain came. It was warm but the rain came down and I feared I wouldn't get a train.

In the event the 11.39 trundled into the station. I had on a little waterproof jacket which revealed itself not to be proof against any kind of precipitation.

'A' level results day and the mother of two daughters, sitting opposite me, spent the whole journey talking about options, cousins and jobs in Germany.

Coming home I had to sit with the family from Hell. Their very loud entitlement included teeth braces, hockey tournaments, pierced ears and enough plum-speak to irritate a full carriage of tired commuters. I fell asleep reminding myself not to veer to the right, which I've never down in my life.

So on the train I snoozed until Charing Cross. Two stops on the Piccadilly Line to Oxford Circus, then a very damp walk to the Beeb.

I shouted at the security guards inside our British Broadcasting foyer since they wanted to check the contents of my bag before allowing me to use their Public facility.

I called the producer I was working with to let me in so I could have a less harrowing micturition.

Then me, Hewete Haileselassie, and Lizzie Mabbott, shared our foods of love.

Enjera and shirro from Hewete.

Congee from Lizzie.

And chicken soup from me.

I made the chicken soup last night. A perfect little free range organic chicken in a huge pot with a big, fat red onion, 4 carrots, two squashy tomatoes, a stick of celery and parsley from the garden.

Brought the chicken and water to the boil, skimmed off all the impurities, added the vegetables, a tablespoon of salt and a flash of white pepper, then on to the stove it went for at least five hours.

This morning I strained the veg and chicken out of the soup, and boiled up the broth for five minutes. Poured it into a thermos flask and took it into London.

Four of us in a dark little studio, the hot soup emptied into mugs, the aroma of my grandmother's cooking, and all the women in my life, permeated Portland Place whilst the rain lashed against the window. It was a delicious moment to savour.

The enjera and sheera was spicy and filling. A kind of flat bread with hot curry. Whilst the congee, although looking like congealed tripe, tasted absolutely delicious.

A lovely thing to do, and my debut for the World Service.

Continue reading "SCENAR" »


Wheel in the Smoothies

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 10 August 2015

Change of clothes in my pink suede bag

Olly went driving round town and the rest of us went to a side road.

Parked up was a stall with two bicycles. Nailed to the floor.

Inside the roadside arrangement was a handsome young man.

He filled a goblet with kiwi fruit, apples, and some other green things, put it on a fitment on the bicycle and told me to pedal.

With a slow start the goblet blades turned. I pedalled faster and the green ingredients changed before my very eyes. By the time I was pedalling like a lunatic my goblet was filled with an icy green smoothie.

The taste? Divine.

My thighs. Wobbly.

We did it again with red ingredients.

On you marks, get set, go. My little legs pedalling as fast as they could go. And there, before my very eyes, my icy berry smoothie. A group of dedicated customers came to the open window.

The cycling smoothie truck was the best thing yet.

I drunk my weight in Kiwi and changed, in the blacked out truck, for a piece to camera by the water.

Wrong clothing so I changed, in the blacked out truck, into my old clothes.

Took me back to my early days as an itinerant thespian.

And then my last change. Underwear in the outside zip of my suitcase. Into my travelling dress, the one that lets me breath and sleep and does no harm to any bits of my body. Bags in the hold and it was off to Seattle, for a four hour wait.

Then the plane that would take us back to Blighty.

And before you could say 'stop the circling just land already' we were back at Heathrow.

I got back to my home by 3.30 in the afternoon.

The garden green. The husband there. The cats all furry and feline. The husband, the home, the kitchen, the clean bed and - after all that time in America - I was finally back in my own home.

JENI AND OLLY'S WEST COAST WINE ADVENTURE airs on our screens in September. But then you've read all about it, you won't need to watch it now, or will you?

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Waffle on

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 10 August 2015

Another early start.

All of us tumbled into the two SUV's. Kit packed and we were off to Eugene.

Two hours later we arrived everybody needing the REST ROOM. After which we talked, into camera, in the car park. My piece was about the universities track coach, who wondered why his running team weren't the best on show.

He went home, and staring at his wife's vintage waffle maker, had an idea. He poured some kind of concoction into the machine. The Waffle maker cooked his idea. He had running shoes made with the waffled sole and before you could say Mo Farrer, the NIKE running shoe was born.

Billions of dollars later Eugene is now known as running city. A pleasant, green filled city, with a university, restaurants, and visiting film crews all wanting to tell the story.

We drove to a restaurant owned by a father and two of his sons. The restaurant was airy, the kitchen busy, filled with trendy cooks, and us.

Continue reading "Waffle on" »


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