Don't call me Shirley....

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 21 July 2010

At 1.00 a.m. I'm not sure whether it's very late Tuesday night or very early Wednesday morning.

I'm getting that end of term thing you get just before you break up for the summer holidays. I have to be careful I don't get too blase and nonchalant. Get me with the Franglais, that's because the old git and I have decided to take my little red car and head South to somewhere close to Calais.

I have a notion that the air traffic controllers, pilots, stewardesses and Richard Branson might make going up in the air a bit of an issue this year - even though I support all the BA strikers - SO it'll be driving, ferries and the closest village to Britain we can find. A village with a boulangerie, charcuterie and magasin épicerie.

The old git has damaged a rib sliding down some Cathedral steps. As he gave of his Welsh Vicar in the 'Merry Wives of Windsor' he was neither merry nor in the west of London he was sliding down the steps of Norwich Cathedral.
Talk about 'Nickers Off Ready When I Come Home', the poor man has been walking, sorry hobbling, around in his silk, polka-dot blue dressing gown and blue crocs since Monday lunchtime. He looks like a very poorly out-of-work actor, which for the next two days, he is.

On Saturday I was taken to STICKY FINGERS in Kensington to celebrate a birthday. The company was loud and louche, the salad huge and moist and the assembled revellers at least 5 sheets to the wind. It made for quality flattery and ridiculous generosity.

I walked from Kensington, past The WHOLE FOOD supermarket, once BiBa's, past the Albert Hall, past Princess Diana's thingy, down to Scotch Corner and onto a No. 19 bus. I haven't trodden those paving stones since 1968 when I was a penniless drama student trying to make my way in the world by sucking up to the rich and wealthy believing they had influence. They didn't have any more influence than me but they thought they did and that's the trick.

Sunday was a shopping trip for trousers and food, not in the same emporium, a wash of the clothes, an ironing of the bed linen and a rare sunny sojourn on the balcony soaking up the sun and spending more time on the telephone than is good for the spiral (cochlear) ganglion.

The old git came home on Monday, the full extent of his injury made me cry. Of course it's not life threatening but he can't do anything and that's not like my old man.

Tonight I took a taxi back from Leicester Square, ripped off my clothes, tied a sarong round me and set off to buy the 'oosbind a pile of dreadful food. from pizzas to ribs, from meatballs to Chinese duck. I loaded up the car and delivered his supper, breakfast and lunch for the next two days. I jumped in the shower and even managed some mascara before dashing down to the car to drive back into Trafalagar Square.

To say I dashed is a misnomer since I had on 60's sling-backs. I tottered into my car, threw my black patent shoes on the back shelf and drove hell for leather into Central London. The second time in one day that I had inappropriate shoes on. The first mistake this morning, a pair of tan suede stilettos not suited to walking through St. James Park, which of course I did, cost me £39 quid for a pair of flat shoes that lost one of its defining features somewhere between LBC and Charing Cross. Grrrrr.

This evening having organised Jim I parked my car on Waterloo bridge and hailed a taxi. I got to The Trafalgar Studios in time for Barry, my date, to buy us a drink.

Meera Syal was SHIRLEY VALENTINE. We sat in row 'G' amongst a very appreciative audience, of both my shoes and the performance. It all felt a little dated to me, the kitchen set, the wall, the politics. But Ms Syal works her apron strings off as the applause testified.

Barry and I walked to my car, down the Strand, hand in hand, I was barefoot and hungry, he was booted and starving. We decided to eat in Smolensky's on The Strand. Fabulous food it was not, but the Portuguese waitress was helpful and sweet and the rack of ribs that Barry ordered was bigger than an 8 octave piano keyboard.
We had the leftovers wrapped up in tin foil so that we could give it to a homeless person. Just our luck that there were none this evening. So Barry, my lovely Beau Brummie, left the packet of food on the railings on Waterloo bridge for a hungry consumer.

Barry said he thought he might start walking barefoot in the future, it does feel nice when the pavements are warm, I would recommend it but only if you have a friend to rely on just in case you step into pigeon dudu or broken glass.

I dropped the brainy Barry off at Waterloo Station and drove home in double quick time.

I spent ages on the phone to my nephew Dan the man, and then the daughter phoned from Barcelona.

It's now time for bed, dreams and an invocation to the angels to make his and hers backs better. To think about Wednesday in LBC Towers and to remind myself that even though my husband and daughter are pains in the back -literally- they are irreplaceable and that when you have a Beau Brummie on your side anything is possible.

Well done SHIRLEY VALENTINE, good luck RITA FOR getting EDUCATED and a bonnie night night to you all.

have productive dreams.

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


1. At July 21, 2010 2:51 PM June wrote:

Oh Jeni France. Lovely, I can close my eyes and smell the bread, coffee, fruit and vegetables. Just to wander around the markets! Enjoy.

Love June

PS Hope all backs are on the way to recovery.

2. At July 30, 2010 4:35 PM Wallace Pitman wrote:


3. At August 6, 2010 3:30 AM Paving Prices wrote:

This is a big help to people like me. I recon this is going to cut down my production time a lot, thanks.

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