Pj Sunday

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 14 December 2014

November came and went.

Parties, voice overs, writing and cooking.

Not a lot of walking - I'm sooooo lazy at the moment.

Meditating, yoga and film watching. Went to see PADDINGTON in Brighton. We all cried.

The dawters gigs.

Squash soup on the stove.

Red cabbage bubbling away in fancy red wine. Belly of pork slow cooking in the oven.

I'm still in my pj's.

I'm looking at the weather that has changed from gold to grey.

A quick vacuum and then sloppy viewing and perhaps a game or two.

Scrabble is 7/6 to me.

The old man is lagging behind - but then what's new.

happy sunday.

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Stepping out.

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 27 November 2014

The old man made me a cafétier of coffee. Right nice it was. Then I added the last dregs and it was thick, sour and horrid and nearly wiped away the delectable first taste. All was not lost, on the wooden board there was a piece of Jim's toast from this morning. I slathered it with Danish butter, and the crunchy, wheat toast did the trick.

I have spent the last hour and a half wittering away my life on this wretched lap top.

Facebook, emails, more Facebook, ridiculous time wasting rubbish.

But now I must upstairs and write.

Today I was asked to be guest on a naughty internet radio station. Yee ha.

I also went to hot yoga. 39-41 degrees.

Went shopping. The price of food is harrowing. Came home to discover that the £7.00 bottle of olive oil cost £14.99. I had a fleeting thought to take it back since there was a ticket saying it was reduced to £7.00, in the event I've kept the bottle for dipping functions, balsamic vinegar and hot, fresh bread.

My 'oosbind has a drawer in the dresser, next to mine. My drawer is full of cheque books, receipts, old spectacle cases, photographs, an old Elastoplast tin full of hair grips, two lipsticks and me driving licence, plus mountains of paper stuff. Jim's is full of tools, medicines, glue, spare business cards, small instruction manuals, gloves, some batteries, three penknives, pencil sharpeners, sewing kit and a cigar cutter. He says his drawer sounds more interesting than mine.

Still the reason I tell you about the contents of our drawers is to reveal that hidden in between his detritus were three pedometers. He set up the talking one, an American woman asking me about my stride length. With my hot yoga outfit on I set out to do at least 6,000 steps. Apparently the required amount for fitness.

It was freezing, mud everywhere. I went down the hill and by the time I got to my tree I had done nearly a thousand steps. I knew the walk was going to have be the back road otherwise only four thousand steps would have been stepped. So I power marched through puddles, shouted to a rabbit and giggled with a squirrel. Crows cawed, pigeons cooed and there was the occasional bark from hidden dogs.

A bonfire on Frogspawn Bend threw out some warmth, the woodcutter said I wasn't walking hard enough if I was still cold. So I upped my game. On the slope I had done four thousands steps. By the time I rounded the pub, onto my last stretch, there was the glorious six thousand mark. In one hour I'd managed to do over six thousand steps.

I was warm. My thighs hurt. Now I've exercised my fingers on this 'ere keyboard, exercised my mind on this ere blog, and all being well I will exercise my legs getting up the stairs, exercise my balance climbing in the bath, then exercise my discipline before I really do apply myself.

The old git has just offered a game of Scrabble, bugger bugger and bugger, how can I turn him down?

Scrabble has won out. I will work into the night - or not!

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Soggy Sunday

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 23 November 2014

The first of the Bafta films have arrived.

By 1.30a.m. we had watched two.

'Jimmy's Hall' Ken Loaches latest offering. Based on a true story of a free thinking man, it tells the tale of sectarian politics in Southern Ireland in the 30's.

Moments of powerful polemic and some arresting Irish music. It's both touching and telling. The Hall, in question is a meeting place for the young, art, boxing and poetry, symbolising freedom of expression pitted against The Church with it's conservatism.

It didn't pull at my heart strings but its a worthy film. We'd been to see TURNER and I wasn't totally pulled in by that either Mr. Spall is good, the women even better, but the whole film lacked an emotional centre for me.

After watching humans battling it out we decided to go down the epic route of 'The Dawn of the Planets of the Apes.' Its not the kind of movie I would ever pay to go and see, let alone sit in my own red bean bag nibbling walnuts whilst the likes of Andy Serkis run around in an ape costume taking on Gary Oldman and other human animals.

BUT I have to say that apart from the two cats fighting each other, not in the film but in our sitting room, the old git and I were riveted to our seats. It's formulaic, deeply clichéd, and some of the human animals acted rather lamely, but them old apes certainly gave us some Bafta nominated performances.

It was a quick scroll through 'Strictly', an even faster forward with X Factor and then Jonathan Ross. I can get through the dancing but the Tess Daley contribution sometimes makes me cringe.

I cannot sit with Simon, Louie, Ms Ferndez-Hows-Your-Papa and Mel Spice, the screaming crowd and the empty loneliness of the concept makes for very uncomfortable viewing, but in my capacity as a radio host, armchair pundit and downright busybody it is within my remit to watch popular television. It always reveals what a sorry state our nation is in.

The Audience baying like a brainless crowd of baboons, although having watched 'Planet of The Apes' the monkeys could give the Saturday night audience a run for their money. I get depressed if I watch too much naff television, feels like our world is closing in. Has it always been like that? Or is it just getting worse. Chasing the buck with toothless entertainment. Next thing we'll have people in the jungle eating animal testicles and scrapping with each other - What there is a programme like that hidden in the schedules? Nooooo.

Two games of Scrabble, I lost both, just one point between us on the second game. I'm now researching words with J, X and Z so I can thrash the old git. The score stands at 6-4 to him.

The rain is just drip, drip, dripping down. All thoughts of gardening have been put on hold.

I'm off to do the ironing, then into the attic for some writing.

I put my lenses in the wrong way round yesterday, I don't mean inside out I mean in the wrong eye. I had to spend the last of our Saturday shopping trip blind to what is around me. So what's new then? Says the husband of 37 years.

Thirty Seven years!

1977 and I was 28, childless, mortgage less, moneyless and as happy as Larry. If anybody would have told me I would have lasted nearly a lifetime with the same man I would have laughed in their face. He must be doing something right. Or that I was doing something righter, maybe it's my homemade Cauliflower Soup and the probability of more Scrabble.

Whatever, keep dry.

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Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 19 November 2014

And now I have finally re-entered the world.

Been strange, tricky, but with the help of homeopaths, witchy healers, friends and the old man I'm feeling more grounded.

There's something about this ageing stuff that makes me panic. The light at the end of tunnel is almost visible. The reality that what 'was' is greater than what 'is'. So many friends popping their clogs. So many getting ill.

But a massive reminder that THIS IS IT has finally given me the push I needed to get back on the horse.

I'm doing a voice over for a new Channel 4 series. QUIZ NIGHTS. I've got a proper meeting next week for something exciting.

There is talk of us going to the States in the spring for The East Coast wine trail.

The affirmation

'My life manifests with ease, joy and glory.'

Is superglued to my brain. Every time I have a wobble I say it over and over and over.

If I'm feeling weird guaranteed others must be feeling weird too.

I'm hot yoga-ing, writing and getting back my energy. I've untangled myself from depressing thoughts.

The old git and I now sit opposite each other in the kitchen. The cat curls up between us. We shake the letters, put out the board. The 'oosbind writes down the scores and bugger me if we aren't paying Scrabble. So far it's two all. We play with the wooden tile holders from my childhood. My brothers pencil drawings on the wood, and my writing is there too.

When we played Scrabble, 50 odd years ago, we had to let my father win. He couldn't read very well so we protected him. Now, my husband is so clever, I don't take any prisoners. ZO,ZA, whatever new word I can get my hands on, my aim is to THRASH him. I admit to being a bad loser, he says he doesn't care, but of course he does.

If only I could drink, Scrabble and red wine, bit of cheese and biscuits. I can't, thanks to Diabetes, but a 50 point bonus for getting out all of my tiles is marginally better than a Sauvignon Blanc don't you think?

Who'd have thought it. Games in the kitchen....

As I write I'm wearing a cardigan that belonged to my ma. Have brought down another game BANANAGRAMS. I'm told it's good.

Anything that gets me and him opposite each other with no distraction is good by me.

My little red Nellie has been serviced, the tappets have stopped rattling and it cost me a third of what I normally pay. I've gone to a man with a garage that is up a beautiful country road. All quiet and local. OAP'S have to watch their pennies no?

The cat is on my knee, my computer is upstairs waiting for me to return, and tomorrow is the second meet of my writing course.

Welcome to the world jeni barnett Senior

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Made in Dagenham

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 6 November 2014

I thought it said 7.30.

We left the cottage at 5.00.

When I read the card again it said be seated by 6.45 Show starts promptly at 7.00.

The 'oosbind then drove like Sterling Moss, Jason Button and Lewis Hamilton all rolled into one.

I was clutching onto the door handle so tightly, it felt like we were riding through the mountains, that when we got to The Strand my fingers had locked.

Down the A21 like a rocket, onto the M25 the driver dodged and swerved -all within the speed limit I may add - until we reached Lewisham. I was counting the minutes. at the end of The Old Kent Road we had precisely 20 minutes to get to The Adelphi Theatre.

Jimbo got me there with one minute to spare. I was so flustered when I went to the loo I nearly forgot to pull my trousers up, I kid you not, I didn't know whether I was in Hell or High Water.

The show started and Jim was somewhere trying to park the car. Three songs down he arrived and plopped into a latecomers seat.

In the interval I took both my tights and one of my two remaining undergarments off as I was so hot and bothered.

GEMMA ARTERTON et al gave us their all in MADE IN DAGENHAM. I have never seen so many 'A' listers in the audience, I've never seen so many retirees under one roof.

Large women from the radio and skinny women on the arms of Marketing men.

The show came and went. It's heart is in the right place for sure. On the last chord the whole audience rose to its collective feet. Well done to them all.

We grabbed a taxi to get us to the after party which was a fiver away.

The noise, the canapés, the wine. The young waiters danced between us shoving indigestible comestibles, some of us stood by the swinging doors to make sure we got a bite of the bites. We left having hugged the right people and chatted to the wrong uns too. Many a glancing smile was thrown at nameless faces that were looking over the heads of other nameless faces.

I took my boots off and my one remaining underpiece. Now, wearing just trousers, Vivienne Westwood's t-shirt and a black and gold jacket I walked barefoot to Waterloo Bridge. The ground was freezing under foot.

We got home at 1.10

I watched the 12COCS which I had recorded, then fell into bed.

Today my body hurts from back seat driving.

I'm still not sure whether the Sarf Lunden Slalom was worth it.

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Potatis Bravas

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 1 November 2014

5.30 and its dark outside.

The moon is half hanging in a big sky.

The telly is burbling on in the background, whilst the old man is mending a pair of my favourite trousers.

I collected my little red car today. She is all brand spanking new, shiny and bump free thanks to a Mr. Woodcock in Bassetts Lane. In the middle of nowhere. He very quietly eyes up your vehicle, gives a very decent quote then charges less.

I've made potatis bravas, not cubes of spuds but all mushy - I used the wrong tatties - and the biggest baddest vegetable soup. Huge chunks of all sorts of green and orange.

Last night the 'oosbind and I took the 17.21 into Charing Cross. Collected our theatre tickets, then took a light supper in Gaby's. Falafel and salt beef, that kinda thing.

We took our seats in the front two of the Grand Circle at The Garrick. Seats 20/21. Vivienne Westwood was behind us whilst one of the Suchet brothers was three seats down. We all, clearly had been given comps, freeby's and discounts.

THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS, is a true story, 9 young, black men, accused of raping two lying, white women.

The juxtaposition of Black minstrel music, dance and Julian Glovers Interlocutor, made for an entertaining but uncomfortable night.

All 9 died either in jail, or in desperate states outside.

They were all finally pardoned. Thirty years being banged up for a crime that you didn't commit.

We didn't talk much on the way to the station.

10.00 train, and a gentle trundle back home. I needed the lavatory. WHY CAN'T THEY BE KEPT CLEAN. I was incensed and am complaining to South East Rail. Disgusting, horrible nasty, unnecessary shabbiness.

Home at 23.00 hours.

Now the old man's home and we are starting our life together again. Everyday counts now.

Apart from vegetable soup and mushy Spanish potatoes gratitude is on the menu.


Homely sweet homely

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 23 October 2014

There is an air of suspended animation.

Leaves clogging up the path.

Apples dropping off the trees.

Overgrown Basil and green tomatoes.

This mornings breakfast Brussel Sprouts, the last tiny courgette, all the overgrown Basil the last few kale leaves and those green tomatoes sliced thinly. Cooke in olive oil and black pepper. Followed by a fresh pot of coffee. Delicious.

It feels like the days are closing in, so dark and damp.

Jim has 6 more shows, two more sleeps in Leeds and then after nearly three months of living in digs he's home.

'This is the last time' we say every time.

The last time that he is away from home using somebody else's bed, washing machine, fridge. Touring is a young mans game but when duty calls....

I went to see MEMPHIS on Tuesday night. Beverly Knight is ridiculously good, the dancers are breathtaking and the music, written by a Bon Jovi bod, had the full house jumping and clapping.

I don't remember any of it, but I know that I didn't move from my seat. It's a cool, neat production and well worth a visit if you have ticket money to spare.

I was very lucky to be invited. Before the show I walked down Endell Street, famous in the 70's for it's sit-ins and hippie squatting, and sat outside, under an un-ecological heater to eat fishcake and chips. I was so hungry that I burnt the roof of my mouth shovelling in the Maris Piping hot potatoes.

Yesterday I was driven to Winchester to voice over the 12COCS, I look ancient but the shows really are sweet, the food delicious and the chefs inspiring and fun.

I felt enormous gratitude that this old dame was still in the game.

Tonight I'm on my first night of my advanced writing course. It fills me with both dread and excitement. I remind myself that many writers don't start until they are 70, so I'm still an ingenue when it comes to the screen writing game.

When Yinny, my yoga teacher, says 'Where's your mind' is it in the future, in the past or right here in the present? I'm usually hauling myself out of what was, into what will be. The effort it takes to be in the now is more difficult than scraping chewing gum off the pavement.

But right now my heart is beating and I can muster a smile.

This morning I made soup from all of our home grown onions. When the postman dropped off the letters he commented on the smell. All homely and sweet.

So there really is no place like homely sweet homely,


autumn leaves

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 16 October 2014

Paracetamol, did the trick. Who knew?

Paracetamol and three trips to my wonderful cranial osteopath.

Three trips and then I was back to hot yoga.

36º then 39º and higher.

For the first three classes my left thigh was so painful I had to skip some of the poses. But this morning, and yesterday I'm in there, bending and stretching - stretching and sweating.

Continue reading "autumn leaves" »


Copyright 2007, Jeni Barnett and Chopstix Media Limited.