India can wait
What's the worst I can do? Lie.
Well, it wasn't exactly a lie. Somewhere deep inside my addled brain I really thought I would go to India but here's what happened. For three nights I haven't slept. I'm not saying I am the New Messiah, but when I rose this morning I knew that something had shifted.
I showered really early. So early that the dawn chorus was just clearing it's throat. Then I jumped into my little car and set off for London. Don't be silly - of course I got dressed first.
I have a two seater red Mazda MX something or other (I don't care about that bit) with a soft top and a very good sound system, although Jim reckons his controls are better than mine. (What is it with boys and their knobs?) I clambered into my seat, put on a wooly Tibetan hat that makes me look like a very sad old meer cat, checked the time, 7.00a.m., and put my foot down.
It wasn't exactly cold but it wasn't warm either. By the time I reached Streatham, I'd thawed out. I arrived at the flat in time to check my emails (lovely people you are), strip the bed and change into my trainers.
Then I walked very briskly. So briskly that when the white van men honked their horns, I knew it was less about my hour glass shape and more about certain body parts wobbling and my little legs taking me as fast as they could. I arrived in Sloane square with 30 minutes to spare.
I went into Chelsea's Parish Church and sat in a pew on my purse. Fancy me - thinking anybody would nick it in a house of God. But anyway, I sat unevenly, closed my eyes and had a jolly good meditate.
When I opened my eyes, the parish council were quietly mumbling round their big table. It was a little like the Vicar of Dibley without Ms French. The huge stained glass window was incandescent. I tried to leave as quietly as I could but my trainers squeaked on the floor. The parishioners ignored me in that obvious way groups do when an interloper has interloped and I left the smell of lillies behind me.
I then met up with my literary agent and a young woman, who are both setting about shaping my memoir. I asked for a camomile tea with a little pot of honey and got an Earl Grey instead. The girls asked for one cappucino and one latte - two cups of identitical coffee arrived. I ordered a croissant. Something resembling a dry ferret landed on the table, and that's when the aforementioned literary agent lost her trolley and demanded a plate, a napkin and a little respect. All I wanted was my tea.
We discussed me and the book and that was it. I sauntered off. Well, less of a saunter and more of a trot. Then I called Jim, who was walking Jackson in the woods 50 miles away. The 239 bus arrived and I decided to jump on it.
A very loud young woman, reeking of old vino, entertained us all with her beery ramblings about taking her trousers off in the public lavatory so she could blow dry her gussett. Dont ask.
In the car on the way home I started thinking about what my problem was with India and it became clear:
- Why go somewhere so beautiful without Jim?
- April is just about the hottest time.
- My resistance is so low at the moment, what with GFL coming to an end and me having sudden bouts of deep sadness, that I thought I would come back with malaria, sleeping sickness and a large hole in my bank balance.
By the time I got to Crystal Palace, I had made a decision.
Now, the thing about ironing is that the gentle monotony of the task enables you to think things through. Although, 'The National Theatre of Brent' were on Radio 4 at the time and they are so brilliant and funny that I nearly burnt a hole in my underlay. When they had finished, I dived back into thought. Where could I go that would give me the retreat of Cochin and the sun of Kerala with peace of mind?
I decided to go to San Diego where The Optimum Health Institute resides. It's meant to be quite the place. So, using Jim's credit card I/he booked three weeks in the Californian sun, with four days in La La Land with my mate Sybil the Soothsayer, and the cheapest flight in the history of aviation. I just hope the email tickets arrive on time.
In the middle of all this, I had a back tooth out. Right horrible it was, but the Tibetan's believe that when somebody pops their clogs a tooth dies in sympathy. GFL and my tooth have, like all good things, come to an end.
So, dear friend, that is why I am now going to the manaical US of A instead of the magical IN of Dia. My gum hurts, my tongue hurts, but I am all of a quiver thinking about three weeks of vicious de-toxing. Carol Vorderman watch out - the old girl is on the juice again.
Jackson will be cared for by my eldest step-daughter, Hanna. Jim will be rehearsing at the Globe and I get back just in time to watch BBlicious strut her stuff in Lewisham. Hurrah!
I am going to bed now because my gum is nagging (Jim says not unlike me, the cad.)
Sleep well, y'all ( just practicing my yankee) and cu2morrer.
Jeni Barnett tells of her scrumptious time at Good Food Live in her first audiobook! Download NOW from iTunes
HELLO JENI, YOUR COMMENTS ON INDIA SET ME ATHINKING. HUBBY AND I HAVE TRAVELLED ALL OVER THE WORLD FOR THE LAST 34 YEARS. ENGINEERS DO THAT !!!. WE ARE NOW VIEWING RETIREMENT AND REGRET THAT ONE OF THE FEW PLACES PLACES WE HAVEN'T LIVED AND WORKED IS INDIA. ALTHOUGH WE HAVE LIVED IN SOME AMAZING PLACES AND SEEN THINGS NOT EVEN "AUNTY MAME" KNEW EXISTED, WE STILL HAVE A NAGGING REGRET THAT WE DIDN'T LIVE IN INDIA FOR A WHILE. AT THE MOMENT WE ARE IN TRANSYLVANIA AND ALTHOUGH IT'S A STUNNINGLY BEAUTIFUL PLACE THE NAG REMAINS. MISSING GFL TREMENDOUSLY SO GET BACK INTO OUR LIVES ASAP. HAVE A GREAT SUMMER.
I hope you have a wonderful and revitalising time and come back to do another programme on a channel which appreciates you. I look forward to it. I don't want to watch the new show (nepotism gone insane) so have done away with my Sky box and gone over to Freeview. I look forward to seeing you in the future and good luck with whatever you do.
Very best wishes,
I think you made the right choice if you are going to stare at the Taj Mahal you better be holding the darling Jim's hand! Not sure I can imagine you drinking a glass of crushed wheatgrass and cleansing your colon mind you!! Have a wonderful time, come back revived, rejuvinated and back to our screens, I am missing GFL and don't want any of my teeth out !
Don't worry about it missus ;) you have yourself a well deserved rest and recoup and get back on the telly as bold and bright as ever. I must say that my evenings at 6pm aren't the same anymore since you and GFL left the air. Just take care of yourself and make sure you get lots of pampering in the US.
We can at least show our displeasure at the demise of Jeni and GFL by signing the petition here... http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/gfl
Only you could go from the Dalai Lama to Dolly Parton. Rock the States girl and bring me back a sexy farm boy from Tennessee. And remember, when you get of the plane, it's customary to sing, "Oooooooooooooooklahoma!" in the loudest voice you can muster. Watch out America - Moosewoman is comin'!
have a wonderful time in la-la land and come back superbly refreshed. Its only been a week since GFL disappeared but I have felt a very real sense of loss all this week even with the re-runs showing. Wish they would just repeat the whole 5 years somewhere for us devoted fans!!! It really is YOU we miss though, GFL wasn't quite the same when you were on holibobs although Simon Rimmer always did a sterling job (and SO sexy).
Good luck with everything please come back to our goggle boxes asap
Hi Jen - why not try Sri Lanka instead of India. It is lovely and the people are absolutely wonderful. After going there for 10 years, still don't get fed up. Try the Dolphin Hotel in Waikkal they will really look after you especially if you are on your own. Lots of luck and love and come back soon. Miss you lots.