Monday, 19 January 2009

They'll never eat toast again!

Like many houesholds throughout the country, we have had to host the occasional unwanted guest. Yes, mice have been regular visitors for some time now. We have tried all sorts of ways to get rid of them and all have been a resounding failure.

Until today.

This morning, Baby came to tell me that she'd had heard noises from behind the TV in the breakfast room. By the time we both walked into the room again, there was no sign of anything. Then the TV went on as my girls are hooked onto CBB. I went into the kitchen to make Baby's toast. The smell wafting from toaster was rather odd, but it all came out OK and Baby ate her breakfast. Rosa Klebb's toast was OK too, although the smell was rather stronger now. Girl from Ipanema reported that she'd just eaten bread and butter as smoke and a very nasty smell had poured out of the toaster.

It was the single mousedropping in the crumb catcher tray that alerted me to the horrible truth.

I opened up the bottom of the toaster - it's a Dualit, so I can do that - and switched it on to see where the smoke was coming from. The little line of smoke led me to the Horrible Truth. From the side of one of the elements, a tail and two back paws poked out.

Now what do I do? My brother has kept that toaster going for me for years now - after all, it cost a fortune. Should I simply chuck the whole think in the bin, and select a replacement from my newly acquired Argos Catalogue? Or should I dismantle it, scrape mousy remnants off, and start all over again?

Dear Reader - what would you advise?

Friday, 16 January 2009

Brave People at the BBC

I paid my first visit to the Royal Court Theatre yesterday. I didn't go to see a play, but to attend a presentation by the staff at the BBC Writers Room. There was a power point presentation, lots of tips, questions and answers, and general encouragement from a very brave bunch of people. In response to an email to everyone on the mailing list, I reckon about 300 writers showed up.

The mix of people was very interesting. Older men, younger women, young men. Middle aged women not much in evidence, but I suspect that's because most of them were dealing with their children. Very few people knew eachother, so there was little chat in the audience. There was the usual old git at the front with An Issue, as is usual at such gatherings, but the lady running the event obviously had plenty of experience in dealing with old gits with issues.

They very clearly explained what was required, what to avoid, and what the procedure was. They also downplayed the fact that out of the 10,000 scripts that they received every year only about 5% got any further than the NO pile. They were encouraging, enthusiastic and very open about what they wanted.

On departure, they whipped out sacks and asked for any scripts that people had brought along. I did see a few people with parcels, but I think many took them home for revision following all the tips that we were given.

Much of the audience, like me, raced home, but I suspect Nice Lady and Old Git had a good chin wag in the bar. I got home about an hour later - wonder if I was the first one!

Monday, 5 January 2009

Another year bites the dust!

Having a birthday in the hinterland of christmas and New Year is very good. I certainly appreciate more as I get older. When I was young, it was very irritating as there would be this double present thing going on, people were all partied out, and I would not have a mid year window of opportunity to stock up on items I didn't get for Christmas.
Nowadays, the sales are in full swing , so I have over recent years collected some very over budget gifts, and more recently, the whole birthday thing has certainly faded away so that now I have a non birthday - and never get older.

I find birthdays very awkward - there's no sense of achievement, only emphasis that I've let another year slip by without getting thinner, fitter, rich or more scintillating. Just another layer of dust on the ornaments. No gratitude or positivity there!

So let's try again. Today I can look back on a year in which lots of good things happened and forward to a year in which lots of wonderful things will happen. So there. Feeling better already! I did the Moonwalk, remember - all 26 miles of it! I have just about recovered.

As part of the Lake Wobegon empire, Garrison Keillor is involved in a project called the Writer's Almanac. Here is today's offering. Who knew that Umberto Eco and I shared a birthday!

More GW news - there was a get together last Saturday organised by the wonderful Kim in a great pub near the embankment in Central London. A group of women gathered to indulge in their passion for GW, but actually were more interested in catching up with eachother whilst sporting yellow post it notes. We also played Spoon of Destiny and Chocolate Towers. You had to be there.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

All The Rage - January 2009

Some little pixies have been working overtime to bring you the January 2009 edition of All The Rage.

I hope you enjoy it. Leila has worked very hard to bring it all together.