Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 6 July 2007

I don't know how to post a picture of me. I'm sure somebody will tell me after this entry. I'm now being invited by 'friends' to go on Facebook, but I'm completely in the dark as to what I have to do, and how to give them my face. BB says it's easy and she's going to show me after she's finished putting down another one of her 'toons'.

It's now Saturday and a delicious date - 07/07/07. Deeply satisfying.

It has been an exhausting three days. I should have been preparing for a family wedding tomorrow but I've been stricken with some nauseating bug. Added to which our local road network is closed from 8.00am tomorrow until 3.00pm so the Tour de France can pedal fast past on its way to Canterbury.

I've got nothing against bicycles, only I would have had to leave very late tonight or very early tomorrow to get to Hertfordshire, all of which is now academic since I am sick to my stomach.

On Wednesday a girl friend arrived from Devon. We lunched out at a pub overlooking The Weald of Kent. The food was terrifying. I had a smoked chicken salad which smelt of dried blood and decay. Mandy said smoked chicken always smelt like that. The waitress, God bless her, knew as much about smoked chicken as I do about crocheting a parachute. The manageress sat with us, smelt the plate, looked anxiously-relieved when I promised not to sue if I chucked the chicken 6 hours later. Meanwhile, the chef said the chicken pieces were fresh, but I had my doubts. Doubts based on my brilliant nose and their version of fresh - the birds were probably tiny little battery hens that had been limping around two inches of hutch, munching on their own feathers. I'm not mentioning the name of the pub since Mercury is in retrograde and I'll probably get sued by them for deformation of character and fowl language. I don't think the chicken made me sick. Although it did make me a little queasy.

That evening we watched movies and talked until it was far too late for two old ladies who should have been in bed straight after News at Ten. BONG!

Thursday was a quick trip to the dentist whilst Mandy walked the dog round the houses. I had my teeth cleaned. Karen, my genial hygienist says I am the only person she scrapes who positively enjoys sitting in the chair whilst she files my gums. I like the relaxation of it. It's also because I know there's very little wrong with my aging ivories, so I can relax.

My lovely dentist, Simon, poked around a bit, complimented me on my tan, and off I went with Mandy to Lewes.

Friday I spent shopping, having dropped Mandy off at the station. I went to the 'Russell and Bromley' sale. Always a sucker for shoes, I am like most expanding/decreasing women who enjoy our feet inordinately. It's because they don't have a waistband. Feet are always supportive and constant, unless you have a bunion, or corns or hard bits on your balls. I have more shoes than cupboard space yet still I go looking for more. There, smiling up at me, was an exquisite pair of fake leopard skin boots reduced from £165 to £19. I know.

The sales assistant looked at me, leant across the counter as she boxed up my boots, and said shyly 'You're Nigella Lawson, aren't you?' as if I didn't actually know who I was. 'No', I said equally conspiratorially. 'If I were Nigella I wouldn't be thrilled at a pair of bargain boots as I would be worth £48million and anyway, her bum is twice the size of mine.' She giggled embarrassedly, as did I.

Then I went next door to 'Phase Eight'. They always make me feel slimmer than I am as their sizes are cut for the petite - the very petite. Then I took my daughter to Carluccio's for lunch - not a great fan of their food actually. The coffee is always too strong whilst the soup is always cold. This time though I had a bowl of delicious buttery spinach and a bowl of green beans in olive oil and mint - delicious. I always give too big a tip, but the boys in there are yummy.

Two diners stopped to talk about the demise of GFL. They were so lovely that I was utterly indiscreet about a famous chef. So forgive me, girls, if you're reading this. He's not as smelly as I said he was!

By this point, I'd bought another pair of shoes from 'Phase Eight' - a pair of black and white wedges. One of the bows had fallen off so the assistant knicked one from another shoe. There is a woman out there, as we speak, with a bowless right foot. My second purchase of the day was also reduced from £65 to £19.50. I know. All the women were of a certain age, so we had a giggle over Nigella's bum and I told them my quantum physics jokes:

'If a man is alone in the woods, is he still wrong? '

Only women born circa 1956 really understand it. Then I told them about the the little three year old boy in Lewes who sat watching Mandy and I talking together. He tapped me on the shoulder and whispered ''Excuse me'. 'Scuse me', he repeated. Then, pointing to Mandy, he asked, 'Is she your husband?'

Well, we were both wearing sensible shoes and cardigans so he could be forgiven for stereotyping us.

After my shoe-spree I toddled off to HMV, who are closing down for refurbishment. I bought a stack of goodies. I've never shopped in there, always preferring to use my little Indie CD shop, but the developers developed so they had to close down. It was tragedy. Still, HMV were selling the most wonderful bargains. I had watched the Biography Channel's film on Al Pacino so I ordered a set of his films and bought Donnie Broscoe. I watched it last night. At 2.00am. I took Jackson out for his widdle in the weeds and cried, not at the dog's actions, but at the movie - the story, the Pacino, the Depp, the passing of life. The dog took long enough for me to have a jolly good weep - we were both watering the ferns.

It could have been the lateness of the hour or the fact that Johnny Depp is unavailable for marriage, but when Mr. Pacino's 'Lefty' went to meet the mob, it had unleashed something in me.

When I arrived home yesterday with all my CD's, DVD's and shoes, I dumped them in the kitchen to take advantage of the sunshine. The rain had stopped long enough for me to mow the lawn. Glorious. I took my time but had to boil the kettle five times. So many ant hills, red ants with millions of their baby eggs. Before you have a go at me, I do always apologise to them but I am allergic to their bites. I don't put chemicals on the lawn, and whilst I really hate killing any of God's creatures, war is war - I can't let them critters get the better of me. If there is a better way to eliminate them, apart from scalding them in boiling water, please let me know.

Today I woke up feeling under par but I still I nipped into T'Wells to collect some books then the French Market in the Pantiles, for trois Toulouse sausages for Jim's supper. I don't know about you, but whenever I shop in the French marche I always try a little French, thinking that if I don't they will think me rude. Treating them like bloody foreigners, however, if I do try my schoolgirl French and they answer me in proper Francais, I'm screwed since I don't understand a word of it. So today I asked for 'Trois sausages, merci.' The costamonger said, 'Ah! three kilos.?'

'Non... I mean no', I stuttered. 'Only joking', he quipped as he bunged three big bangers in a bag. His command of English allowed him to make a joke whilst I didn't understand the humour even though I'm British. The shame of it.

I filled the car up with petrol, in preparation for my non existent road trip, nearly crashing into the car in front, who were French (over for the Tour De France). They had parked Gallically across the fore court.

By the time I got home I was ready for bed. I am off for a bath. Jim can cook his own damn sausages, and however much I love Mr. Pacino, he'll just have to wait until I'm feeling better. I hope the bug has passed you by.

Bon Chance and CUSoon.

Jeni Barnett tells of her scrumptious time at Good Food Live in her first audiobook! Download NOW from iTunes


1. At July 8, 2007 9:58 AM Rhianon wrote:

Nah, the bug didn't pass me by. Wish it had. 2 days of shivering and feeling foul. Still, it's gone.
We get a French Market near us at Christmas. And German. The rest of the year it's the local market and my cousins home reared pig meat. Her latest pig, Albert, is in my freezer as we speak, butchered by her husband, head, trotters and all, ready for consumption. He made some beautiful black pudding a while back. Now, do I mean the pig or her lovely husband....?

2. At July 8, 2007 10:31 AM Jill wrote:

Good morning Jeni

Yes the 'bug' hit here! Oh boy! Work (therapists) were badly hit and we felt awful - to the pit of stomachs. Thankfully the worst appears to be over but Oooooooooh- if you know what I mean. I too managed to mow the pocket handkerchief at the back. We have been trying to lay a new patio but each evening the weather has been against us, so the endless bags of soil were moved yesterday - not only was the green stuff in a mess before but the bags have killed what grass there was! Grrr
The errant son has employment!! Hurrah!! He starts tomorrow - the first £20 is mine - lol!
P.S I can't tell you how to put a pic on here either!

Take care, J -x-

3. At July 8, 2007 1:42 PM David wrote:

Hi Jeni,
I've been meaning to write some comments for what seems months and finally! I'm here. Really enjoyed the banter you had with the male chefs and I'll repeat what thousands of of your and GFL fans have already said " we really do miss you lots"
Your daily writing about your life with Jim, BB, and Jackson is a real joy to read so many thanks for that.

In the process of preparing to move house, it's only taken 300 hundred years to sell so to say I'm relieved would be very understated. Thought about my new home yesterday and got so excited I nearly stopped breathing!!

My parents would more upset that I've not made a will out so the B------g lot would go to Mr Darling (new Chancellor)
Finally! take care and keep boiling that kettle, summers not over yet!
David xx

4. At July 8, 2007 5:33 PM chris Carcassonne wrote:

Hi Lady,
You poor thing! Feeling better?
I love Rhianons pig in the freezer. Lucky girl.
As you will understand, an English market would now be exotic for me. Love Toulouse sausages but, to be honest, British bangers are the prize winners. So many different sorts. I do miss them
Chris Carcassonne

5. At July 8, 2007 6:08 PM judi4 wrote:

Hi Jen, hope you're feeling better now.I to use boiling water for ants, what do you suggest for slugs? We had a huge ivy on the garage wall, and I believe they just love ivy. Although we got rid of it a couple of years ago we still got the slugs but not as many!! I've tried beer, but you can't use that in this glorious weather we are having. We went to a farmers market today and got 'dirty' carrots - what a novelty, real mud!! Let us know where we can find your picture when its done, lots a luv xx

6. At July 9, 2007 2:23 AM Alison wrote:

Jen, I think you and I must have kindred souls, first the MBT's, and now Phase Eight. I've even been laid low with the bug today. But for all my intelligence and being born in 1959 I don't really get the man in the woods joke, am guessing man may have a friend called William, am I right? Love the blog Alison x x

7. At July 9, 2007 8:12 AM Chris JW wrote:

Hi Jeni

Your Jim has pics on his site maybe he could help you put your picture on yours.

I sure I'm not the only one who would love to see the new leaner you.

I keep trying to improve myself i.e. weight, hair etc. but it seems to be taking an age or maybe itís age that is slowing things down.

Keep up the good work; hope to see you either on your web site or on a new TV programme.

Love to you & yours.
Chris JW

8. At July 9, 2007 9:36 AM Emma - Chocmonster wrote:

When I lost some weight my feet went down a shoe size, so they don't always stay the same Jeni!

Oh and Judi use salt on the slugs, it dries them out and they shrivel up.

9. At July 9, 2007 7:14 PM Francis wrote:

*sigh* Yes, our beloved Longplayer is no more, a victim of the internet, supermarkets and developers. If you do join Facebook, there's a "Long Live Longplayer" group that a few people belong to.

Copyright 2007, Jeni Barnett. Website produced by Chopstix.