Posted by Jeni in | 18 January 2018

17 days into January, and the wind is howling and blowing up a storm.

The New Moon is the time to plant stuff that grows underground. I know this because one of the kids bought me THE ALMANAC a seasonal guide - which tells me when the New Moon is (Today) and what Orions Belt looks like, when the tides come and go and what I should expect from the January weather.

So far I've looked at it once for myself, twice talking to you, and I'll study it again when it gets light.

I've been up since 4.00. Did the ironing, listening to the World Service.

Printed up various notes I need for the week.

And recovering from a ridiculous accident, which I cannot blame either Trump or May for. Although i would love them to be the architect of my misfortune, but they aren't . Although you could argue that their appalling leadership leaves most of us reeling like a drunken sailor on a Saturday night in Rotterdam, with rum on his breath and a belly full of badly cooked Rending, piled high on a chipped plate, and served by an ancient mariner.

So it goes like this.

On Tuesday morning I left the house at 6.00a.m. Limited petrol, but enough to get me to the seaside. I had had but two hours kip. Had a nice, gentle drive to Brighton. Got to the BBC and using my lanyard let myself in to collect the fob for the car-park.

Which is up towards the station on Queens Rd. Left at the traffic lights, then sharp right into a tiny alley-way. The fob opens a very heavy metal gate which rolls up into the ceiling. The car park has a few bays for the BBC, and other designated places for other designated businesses.

Turning round can be a hazard, as the space is so narrow. There's scrapes of white paint on my car from the wall, and scrapes of red paint from my car on the wall, where before I got used to the dimensions, I fumbled my way round a 37 point turn.

Walked the three minutes back round to the studio, dumped off my fob, and took the lift to the first floor.

Script delivered, at 7.27 I went down to the bowels of the earth to record my teaser on the telly. All done by 7.30 A little mic clipped, by yours truly, to my green t-shirt, learn the lines, call Tunbridge Wells, who film me from the Radio Kent studio, speak into camera. Turn the lights off, leave the studio, which invariably results in an humiliating return to my seat, like pinging elastic, since I always forget to unplug the mic.

Then boil the kettle for my first cuppa - hot water and three dabs of Rooibosh - upstairs to set me bits up in Studio 1; My headphones, my scrap of paper with aide memoirs on, my pen, my mug, my empty plastic cup for the tea bag, which gets used twice, my scripts, and my lanyard for leaving the building.

I was so hungry I decided to go across the road to 'Fit For Life' and buy a tub of hot porridge - almond milk, pumpkin seeds and cinnamon - when to my horror I realised I had left all my cards at home in the dresser drawer.

I waited for Mr. Miller, engineer extraordinaire, who very kindly walked me across the road and bought me said porridge.

We did a pre-rec at 8.00, then downstairs again for a little chat on air with BBC Surrey,then up to Studio 2, to have a teaser with Neil Pringle, back to Studio 1 and my porridge, then back again to Studio 2 for my talk up to the nation at 8.59, a precise little churn, giving out details of the show, the telephone number for the first topic, so that listeners can call in, then back again to Studio 1.

After the 9.0'clock news the show begins. And so we go on our merry way until 12.00- when I say my goodbyes, drag a colleague with a fob to walk me back to the garage to collect my lovely little red car.

Janina opened the gate. We parted, she having to get back for the next show, I climbed into my car and then it all went tits-up.

Put in my ear buds, drove to the gate, got my seat belt tangled in may ears, changed my seat position, which shot back, I couldn't reach the pedals, and before you could say Lewis Hamilton the car sped up and crashed into/through the metal barriers, my windscreen wipers wrenched out of their sockets, they went flying in the air, the car, with a life of its own, sped across a main road and somehow I managed to turn right, into North gardens, narrowly missing two midday taxis who were in a hurry to kill me. I lay flat and managed to reach the pedals, jammed my break on, and with a shuddering squeal I skidded to a halt. Undamaged but leaving my water squirter somewhere on the garage ground. I got out of the car, the door getting stuck on the buckled wing. And my, lovely little red car was lovely no longer, it was now ripped to shreds, lights gone, a deep gash in the drivers side and a dent so bad the'oosbind picked off bits of red, damaged metal.

And why was the old git present. Well I had left my cards at home hadn't I, and I fully intended to fill up on the way home. As it turned out my petrol gauge now revealed that I was on empty.

I called the Northerner, and as you can imagine, I sobbed like a spoilt child.

'I've just driven through the metal gate' I wailed, 'My car looks like it's been in the Bicester Heritage Sunday Scramble and, and and,' I hiccuped. 'I've run out of petrol and I haven't got any money.'

The man who knows everything told me to drive as far as I could and he would come with the money.

I drove gingerly through the Cuilfale Tunnel, and pulled up in the BP garage and waited for his arrival.

I called The Boss, at the BBC, realising I had been involved in a hit and run, albeit with a metal gate. Mark laughed, and told me not to worry, enquired as to my welfare and told me to contact my insurance company.

When the 'oosbind arrived he looked at, my mascara smudged face and ordered me to back into a petrol bay. I was too shaky. So he jumped into my battered little motor, and filled it up with enough petrol to get me home.

I did call the insurance company, they were extremely sympathetic but told me, from the sound of it, my darling little red Nellie, was a right off. That it would cost more to mend than the car is worth, but to take pictures and hope for the best.

To pics went off today, my sorry little excuse for a car, with only one working windscreen wiper, and a body that is more battered than mine is now in the hands of insurers.

When I woke this morning my back ached, my shoulders hurt and I was suffering from self inflicted whip-lash. Well not exactly whip-lash but more a humiliating stiffness brought about by a lunatic set of events. It will be the last time I ever wear green when I'm driving. Me superstitious? Never, although I do throw salt over my shoulder, avoid ladders and refuse to sit in seat Number 13 on airplane seats......

And that is why I got up at four. Cant sleep as my little red heap signals the end of an era. I bought it 17 years ago, when money was a-plenty, and sliding in and out of the driving seat was easy. It was about to become a classic car, but now, due to a series of Keystone Cops Capers, I shall probably get 25 quid and have to buy an old lady car.

One that doesn't have the elegance of a little red sports car, or a glove compartment full of lipsticks, emery boards, pens, hand cream, 17 years of silly notes I've kept, and the smell of youth.

Still at least I don't have to share a bed with Trump, or wrestle with a Maybot conscience. The only thing bruised is my pride. I have an old git who, even though he's older than I am, jumped into his car like a knight in shining armour. Although to be fair his waist has thickened, so armour's not his thing and he's didn't so much jump as slide into his old banger.

It's nearly 7.00 and I'm going to bed for a couple of hours, I've got a meeting at 10.00 thankfully they are driving to me, and my garage man says he can fix the crippled windscreen wiper. I am grateful for small mercies.

Bits of motorised metal can come and go but I'm still here, thankfully, to tell the tale....Drive Safely please.

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


1. At January 18, 2018 12:58 PM Lucy Fergusson wrote:

Poor you Jeni, hope you're alright.
You have written the incident so vividly I can picture the whole sorry saga. Thank goodness you have a knight in shining lose armour.
Thanks for sharing and do take good care of yourself.
Much love, Luce xx

2. At January 23, 2018 7:37 PM Lyn Misselbrook wrote:

Oh bugger - that's all you need. When will you know it's beyond recall ... ?
Saw The Post yesterday - typical Spielburg style with all the women lining the stairs as Mrs G exited the Supreme Court ... Mrs Bradlee had already made the point. Think I might watch All the President's Men again.
But loved it. Clearly it's also a critique of 45 and the fake news disaster in the US and now here ...

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