Well dear readers,
As agony aunt to the less than famous, the indiscreet and the truly damaged, let me draw your attention to young Phils queary.
Living in Thailand, as he does, and enduring Siam Suzie, which he does, Philip wanted to know why, after an exhaustive shopping trip, we ladies always end up buying our men ties for Christmas.
It's quite simple Phil, there is always the feint possibility that you will tie the tie just a little too tightly around your necks which means our job is half done.
Oh! no it isn't............
In my capacity as agony aunt to the follically challenged, fiscally unaware and non gender specific enquiries, I will now turn my attention to Kerri, David and Michael.
I know that as an agony aunt I really shouldn't get invovled with my subjects but sometimes it is hard to remain objective.
So with that in mind
I FECKIN' LOVE YOU DAVID, MICHAEL, KERRI, CHRISSIE, And the rest of you, you all know who you are.
Now that I have got that off my chest let me explain my absence.
Take an 85 year old mother, a working actor, a 20 year old musician, take a pair of old pink Crocs, a fluffy pink dressing gown that just covers your modesty, take a box of food pairings to the compost, add some very wet grass, a mind that is not on the job and what do you get....
Drum roll. Hooter. Cymbal crash.
One furry dressing gown covered in thick brown mud, a pair of pink Crocs in the blackberry bushes, a box of food pairings all over the horseradish root, one mashed up ankle and an old agony aunt in agony.
I had to cancel my trip to my soothsayer, my acupuncturist, The Hackney Empire, The Chelsea Church, Dan the Man and re-think my whole raisin d'ettrer. ( I hope that's correct Chrissie!?* )
On my way I popped into the dentist to have my filling repaired. Patty P, the receptionist, is an expert on everything including sprains, I imagine its all that falling off the ladder looking for peoples teeth files, anyway Patty told me to go to the Minor Injuries Unit at the Kent and Sussex, I would be in and out in 15 minues - yeah! And my name's Vera McCardle.
My ankle was so painful I didn't feel the filling. Simon, my dentist asked me whether I ws okay I gurgled 'No!'
I then drove, very slowly, to my cranial osteopath.
I usually have James Bibby, who's built like a brick ship house, but he was booked-up so I saw my cranial osteopath instead. He's built like a brick out-house but is way to young for me....
He squashed my ankle, moved my toes, worked on my sacral tail, asked me questions, made me cry and your normally centred agony aunty fell apart. Not literally, you understand, I had to drive to the Minor Injury Unit to get a second opinion. Was it a tear, a sprain or a break? As my ankle swelled before our very eyes it was thought a quick trip into A&E would be advisable.
Now I believe that the invisible world mashes you up when you don't listen, if you continue to buzz around like a blue-bottomed-blue-bottle then one of the angels gets out her besom and bops you over the head with it.
Some 20 years ago the very same angel tripped me up on Oxford Street. I was thinking about my mother, just as I had at the compost, when I stumbled over my own left foot.
I heard the snap.
I fainted outside British Home Stores, I know it would have been better to have prostrated myself outside Selfridges with their far superior food hall, but needs must. When a girl has to pass-out she'll take whatever piece of pavement she can find.
When I resurfaced I had been hauled into the mens department and was having my cheek patted by a bald man, wearing a bow tie who looked exactly like Alexis Sayle. I thought I had been brought back from the dead so threw my arms around Alexis' neck, kissed him and hauled myself off the floor.
I then proceeded to limp down Oxford Street, right into Carnaby Street and then left into Marshall street where I crawled up the stairs into a television production office only to be immediately taxied off to Middlesex Hospital. I was x-rayed. It was a clean break. I was strapped up, given a walking stick and told to ask for help. The hospital and television offices no longer exist.
We agony aunts are good at dishing out advice but bloody useless at taking it. Asking my neighbours to help me in and out of cars, getting the props department at TVam to give me a longe chaise ( I hope that's right Chrissie!?*) so I could stretch out my broken leg was torture. Isabelle McGilvray, the psychosynthesist ( don't ask ) I was seeing at the time, expected me to ground myself but not quite so dramatically.
1982 passed before my eyes as I pulled up outside the main reception at the Kent and Sussex Hospital, known for its friendly staff, filthy wards and MRSA.
I walked to the reception desk, having applied my Mac Red lipstick which I keep in the cubby hole in my car, just like Badon Powell I am always prepared. It's a bit like underwear always keep a spare handy you never know when you may need to tart yourself up. I have lipsticks of various hues in all sorts of sectret places.
The receptionist, wearing more bling than P. Diddy, fiddled around on the computer, called me 'My Dear' and took down my details. She asked me whether I needed an umbrella as it was tipping it down, the inclement weather was the last thing on my mind, she then asked me whether I had any money to pay for the car park. Despite the application of Mac Red I clearly looked like death warmed up because she said very loudly;
'I SHOULDN'T BE DOING THIS.'
as she filled out an official form, tore it out of her blue book, and told me to stick it in my windscreen. I pigeon stepped out to the car, stuck it on the dashboard, and then shuffled my way back into reception. Mrs. Bling sent me off to the MIU.
A very old man was wheeled past me. I burst into tears, he had about 3 minutes of life left in him, another man was trollied past who had about 8 minutes oxygen left. Holding onto the lavatory green walls, past grubby yellow skips of dirty laundry I made my way to the MIU. I could veritibly hear the bugs debating as to whether to alight on my feeble body. I took my seat in the Magnolia coloured waiting room.
One wall had a notice board with advice and information pinned up all over it. Broken bones was the order of the day. Neck injuries, what to do with them. Ankle injuries, how to deal with them. Head, nose, back, all known minor conditions were pinned up on the wall, alongside a display imploring us to give up smoking. A crumpled piece of grease-proof paper signified a smoke cloud. I hadn't seen a more depressing piece of art work since I went to the Tate Modern and experienced Damien's dead cow,
A family of drinking, smoking, tatooed Kent folk came in. The 'Larkin' family they were not, more 'The Wretched Twigs of December' than 'The Darling Buds of May'. The smell of their last tipple wafted through the waiting room over me and a father and son with a broken ankle, a mother and daughter with a broken wrist, a dinner lady, covered in mud with her arm in a sling, a teaching assistant who had been attacked by a pupil who had left her with whiplash, and a lone woman who kept sighing.
It was 11.o'clock.
The notice on the wall told me to raise my ankle above my hip so I lay down and hauled my foot up onto the back of the black metal chair. The swelling was now the size of a small, green,pulpy melon - and getting pulpier. I sat up, closed my eyes and meditated. Finished my meditation lay down again to try and reduce the swelling.
It was now 12.05.
Finally my name was called. I was taken into a cubicle where Jenny Raker, the physiotherapist asked me to take off my shoes and prop myself up on the couch. Jenny prodded and poked, twisted and turned my foot. Asked me whether I had ever injured my foot before, 'Several times.' I replied. She set about my right foot poked, prodded, twisted and turned it, asked me whether I had ever injured my right fetlock. 'Oh! Yes.' I said knowingly. 'Well since you are such an expert on your feet, do you think you have broken it?' she enquired. 'I don't know, I whimpered.
Jenny couldn't make a definitive diagnosis so she asked me whether I wanted an x-ray. We both agreed I might as well take advantage of the offer as I was there, so I was sent off to the x-ray department. I wanted to go barefoot but Jenny looked me in the eyes and suggested it wouldn't be advisable what with all the wee beasties a-lurking, so I squeezed my now elephantine foot back into my trainer and dragged myself round the corner into x-ray.
The nurse in the window told me to sit on the grubby green chair and wait for my name to be called. I read the John Lewis Christmas Catalogue which was lying, inert, on the chair next to me. I entertained a 'Portaloo' for Jim's xmas gift when I heard 'Ms. Barnett' being shouted from the window. I was helped onto a bed, a nurse lined up my ankle, ran into the back room, clicked the camera, ran back to rearrange my ailing foot, ran away again, took a photo and then helped me down. I shoved my cantaloup sized ankle back into my trainer and made it back into the MIU.
My chair was now occupied by a woman in black Crocs. She was accompanied by a white haired bloke who had a bag of newspapers. Sitting opposite them was boy and his skinny mother who had bougt a brown carrier bagsworth of lunch,
It was now 1o'clock.
I hadn't eaten breakfast, and the thought of lunch made me nauseous. A hand written sign instructed us not to eat or drink anything until we had been seen by a nurse, so the skinny mum went and asked whether her son could indeed eat his sandwich. She had a choice of prawn mayonnaise or a cold chicken breast. The thought of both made me gag. Three lavatories adjoined the waiting room. Skinny ma went and washed her hands in the Ladies, the sullen son went and washed his in the Gents, whilst the Janitor used the disabled one. Ma pulled the sellophane off the top of her triangular sandwich box. She bit into the oozing pink prawns, her son watched her and decided to skip his cold chicken breast. I could see why the MIU was hardly condusive for a picnic.
The black-Crocked woman read The SUN, her companion The MIRROR, I stole a look at the headlines about the geezer who had declared himself dead in a canoe and then reappeared in Panama with his wife and a massive Insurance pay-off. Whilst I was musing on how he thought he could possibly get away with it Jenny came and got me. I resumed my position on the couch as Jenny put pictures of my ankle up on the computer, I craned my neck, there didn't appear to be any breakage.
Jenny walked 23 paces and sat down at the end of the bed. I hadn't broken my ankle but had severely sprained the anterior talo-fibular ligament and had 'INSULTED' the soft tissues. Insulted it, I thought, more like offended the Bleedin' Hell out of it. Jenny gave me two pages of physio exercises, told me to raise my leg above my hip, take Ibuprofen for the iflammation and cancel the next 48 hours.
I shoe-horned my watermelon sized left foot back into my ever decreasing trainer and dragged myself back into the waiting room, made a bee-line for the woman with the black Crocks, lifted up her left foot and implored;
'Please be careful. These are the reason I am in here.'
I had picked up her fractured foot. She had only borrowed the Crocks to slip into the hospital. I bowed out making an embarrassed exit.
I gingerly walked to the car, in my earlier haste I had left the passenger window open, my book, diary, mobile telphone and big box of mansize tissues were all soaked. The parking slip had fallen off the dashboard and the passenger seat was drenched.
It was now 1.50.
I drove to the garage for a loaf of bread and some 'Nurofen', arrived home and cancelled the last of my appointments then took my place on the settee. Hanna, my eldest daughter, ran up and down the cellar steps to get me ice-packs every hour. I took my homeopathic 'Rhus Tox' and 'Ruta' every 20 minutes to knit my bones and heal my tendons, drunk weak black tea and nibbled on an egg sandwhich, my prefered comfort food, and tried to read the papers. Jim, who instead of staying at the Theatre, came home and sat next to me on the settee nursing my poorly foot.
It was now 11o'clock night-time.
After a Marmite sandwich and 3 'Nurofen' I crawled into bed and, not unsurprisingly, slept until 6.15 this morning, when the alarm woke us. I kicked Jim out of bed and off he went.
He got to the theatre by 8.00, slept in the car for an hour, and then set about being the 'Deadly Nightshade' he played so well. I have a STARBURST sweet wrapper on my desk. The dame threw it out into the audience on Press night. The little square chew hit my knee and for the first time in my life I was one of the kids who got a sweetie. I'm keeping the wrapper to remind me of the panto which is really good fun. Do go and see it if you can.
My acupuncturist has just called and told me that, esoterically, the left side is the female, intuitive side - well we knew that. The right side is the male, logical side - yes we knew that too, but a broken ankle is about guilt, and not allowing yourself any pleasure. It doesn't take an Einstein to work out my motives then! I am now about to meditate, take my place back on the settee, feet up, remedies at the ready and the remote control for the first of a number of films I shall be watching today.
I have to accept that the besom was necessary to get me on my back, tomorrow I'm on the LBC radio thingy for three hours and then again on Sunday.
Your homework for this week, if a little late is:
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE GASTRO PUB? OR YOUR FAVOURITE COUNTRY PUB? AND WHY?
Easy peazy lemon sueazy/
Thank you all for your blogs you are truly inspirational.
I may write later if anything happens, if not, have a very good day and cul8tr.,
Jeni Barnett tells of her scrumptious time at Good Food Live in her first audiobook! Download NOW from iTunes
Duw, you've had a bit of a day, haven't you? Jiggered ankles, twp hospitals and a wet passenger seat. You can rightly feel peeved, I'd say.
Favourite pub? Billy Kenneys, which is 15 minutes, as the crow barks, on a drunken hill outside Wexford. Gastro? Gastro what? Pub? Meal? Fave country, Italy. No question there. What about fave city in the U.K? Has to be Liverpool. I've never felt so utterly safe, welcomed and at home as when I've been to that wonderful, wonderful city.
Hope your ankle settles down soon.
Oh Jeni, what a day! I never take my crocs off if I can help it (except in bed of course) but I have not yet slipped, fingers crossed I don't end up like you! Favourite pub to eat is The Blue Bell in Bury, Lancs, good food, reasonably priced, or The Fisherman's Retreat in Ramsbottom, delicious food and a separate room no kids allowed if you want, huge portions and 'real' homemade chips, and as its a farm as well the meat couln't be more local. Get well soon, lots a luv x
Well, dear Jeni!! I start by sending a big hug.
Thought I was having a bad week but you got me beat. KEEP SAFE and don't go out without a minder!
How do you feel now?
I would love to write a comment for Sunday's programme but if you broadcast my name again LBC will have to pay me wages and I'll need an equity card.
Mini from Mile End says that The Anglers at Teddington Lock is great. Feels like the country. (And only 500 yards from Chrissies home in Twickenham!)
Teddy from Paddington asks Is there such a thing as a Gastro Pub directory?
If your listeners keep hearing my name I'll not be able to enter your competitions with prizes such as a finger buffet for 75, a Christmas tree with a real angel, a trip to Lappland including an evening of traditional Lap dancing.
Now, get well soon. Keep your foot up, keep your chin up and elevate anything else you can manage.
Much love as ever
Chrissie x x
Oh Jeni!! You have my every heartfelt sympathy - I had a nasty fall 4 weeks ago and managed to shred the tendons on both sides of my left ankle in one go - tricky to do, or so they tell me.
I didn't realise that about ankles an d guilt, that'll give me something to think about next time my physio gets to work on making me howl.
Here's wishing you a swift recovery.
Favourite pub - it's long gone now, but it used to be the Pig in Paradise in Hastings - perfect for lunch on a gloomy Saturday. Not a gastro-anything, it was full of bikers nursing sore heads after a heavy Friday! Incongruously they did a vast range of pasta dishes, and good stuff too.There was a huge chalkboard on the wall by the bar, and you'd pick your pasta from a dozen or so different ones, pick a sauce (mine was usually funghi alfedo) a drink, and in five minutes time you'd be tucking into a wonderful plateful, looking out at the grumpy slatey sea.
Just so you don't feel alone in the ankle/hospt dept, a friend of mine stumbled on her way to the car and broke both her legs and dislocated her ankle!! Not a great time to do it as you can imagine (not that i suppose there is a good time!) also her youngest daughter's(age 19) baby is due in 2 weeks and as she is still living at home things are a bit stressful!!
Hope you feel better soon xx
Dearest Jeni- I've been away a week and was blogless, I come back and you've done your ankle in whilst wearing those bleedin horrible crocs.
Mind you I did read an article in the Times last week saying there's no such thing as an accident so there must be another reason why it happened, no doubt you'll find out what the reason is in days or weeks to come and it will all become clear....!
xx Fee xox
I do hope you are feeling better and the ankle is on the mend.
What is a gastro pub?
A pub that serves food?
A pub that serves very good food?
Well I know a lovely cosy pub that serves great food and is everything a pub should be, I don't know if it's "gastro" as I don't know exactly what "gastro" means. It's The Anglesea Arms in Selwood Terrace, Kensington. You could be sitting there and half expecting one of Dicken's characters to walk through the door!
Oh Jen, what a rubbish week. My son who is 16 and affectionately called the Child From Hell (I love him dearly) is a sports fanatic and is totally fearless. He regularly gets injured and I recognise the ankle anguish all to well. As for favourite pub it has to be the Lifeboat in Thornham near Hunstanton in Norfolk. A stones throw from the wildest beach which has never been busy when I have visited. Good food and roaring open fires (dogs are welcome too) together with great walks make this my favourite place any time of year.
Hope you are soon on the mend
Much love, Carol
When I said in my last comment "break a leg" I was being rhetorical. Nice try, anyway.:-) Good to know you didn't break anything and to have a good excuse to stay on the sofa. I do hope it's feeling better soon. Get someone in to peel you a grape. I hope the crocs have been given the heave ho.
We are up and running - the first original German musical (modelled very much on Mamma mia). Survived opening night - mixed reviews, producers happy, cast and crew exhausted after 3 months rehearsals! And we're still rehearsing for the covers.
Anyway, Pub I know well - love English pubs. Bur Gastro pub sounds like some kind of staphylococcus infested public house - everything a lovely cosy English pub should not be.
luv from Hamburg, Glenn
PS Martin and David - all the best to you. It's a tough call, especially because of the laws of the land there. I personally wouldn't want to be anywhere where I couldn't live openly and freely. Good luck to you.
Oh you have been in the wars Jeni ! Hope your ankle deflates soon.
Gastro pubs ??......
Kings Arms at Aston Cantlow,The Eagle and Child at Stow on the Wold are my favourites.
I've just got back from Blighty and trying to deal with my cottage that was flooded in July and still not fixed due to impossible insurance company...and now it's beautifully sunny here in Spain and after an amazing sunset last night and sunrise this morning I feel uplifted again. Hope you do too very soon.
My heart goes out to you. What a tumble you must have taken. Can I just add here that (living in Wadhurst and) having a 20 yr old son who suffers football injuries and a husband who isn't very good up a tree with a saw (!!) each time I have driven them to Crowborough's Minor Injury's Unit. They are absolutely wonderful there. The examinations were immediate amid clean and pleasant surroundings. The follow up care too was excellent. I can't recommend them enough - not that anyone WANTS to go to hospital of course. Next time eh?
I can do one better..the gorgeous Laurence Llewellyn Bowen works in our dinky Cotswold town now and I was so busy checking out his snazzy outfit as he wandered back to his own office a couple of weeks ago whilst I was on my way back to our own office with the staff lunches, I missed a loose flagstone outside the church and went flying with limbs and lunches in 4 different directions... I was scraped up by a lovely old chap and the kind lady from the sweetshop but Laurence didn't even notice I'd fallen at the altar for him.....sob.
The only local to us is The Playa, The Leas, Minster, expensive but divine food, don't know if it counts as a gastro pub, but on Sheppy choice is limited.
love the blog, Chanette
I think it's funny.......
We Feckin love you too!
Just think of it this way we'll both be lying on sofa's this week. Hope you mend soon.
Love a country pub for a drink myself, The Barn in Cross Inn, South Wales, lovely open fires and a warm welcome, and good food, not that sure what a gastro pub is - isn't a regular pub with higher prices!!!
Lots of love and good wishes floating your way.
Marmite Girl xx
P.s Good luck to Martin & David in whatever you decide x
Just a note to Martin and Dave. Whichever way your lives turn, if you stay here or re-locate to South Africa, I hope you find nothing but happiness. Most partnerships and marriages don't last anywhere near as long as yours! All the best, fellers.
A note to marmite girl..........remember to keep dreaming your dreams,,,,,,,,,,even when they feel like bleeding nightmares
You'll make it
Can I take it that it's alright to throw Starbursts into the pantomime audience but not chocolates?!!!! Hard hats to the ready