Valentines, horsing around and a Simon Wilson blooper…


Debbie and Bovril the horseSo the big day came and went, and I found the perfect way to celebrate it – and celebrate we did! In many ways, on several days!

Also this week…
- Get off yer hawse and drink ya milk! Deb and Craig's Great Adventure, pts 1, 2 & 3
- Move over Aguilera, there are new divas in town!
- And Potter gets dark – 'The Woman in Black' film review

Adventure part 1 – horsing around!
Debbie riding on BovrilOK, so how many other horsey puns can I fit in?! Lol. Yes, last week, after only ever having ridden a donkey in the Pontin's donkey derby when I was a kid, I finally took the plunge and got on a hoss!

Craigy and I used another one of my special groupon offers to go to the Higher Park Farm in Chobham, Surrey, to meet two very special new friends. Craig's was called Trevor!! Haha! And Bovril was my horse – with a cute little moustache which you might just be able to see in this pic above left.

Craig riding Trevor the horseHe's slow, steady, and perfect for me for my very first ever horse-riding lesson. We did half-an-hour one day and an hour the next – on two of the coldest days of the year, mind you! But we were indoors in the training ring, so once we warmed up I was actually quite hot! All that moving of the hips to match the horse movements, plus I even got to trot! On my own! Then I did it on the horse! Hehe not really! Not bad for a beginner, they said, so it made me want to do more.

That and wakeboarding this year methinks! Mind you, if I hadn't spent much of the last eight months doing all those squats and lunges there's no way I'd have been as able to cope with that quads and gluts work! As it was, after Friday, it felt like I finally knew what people mean when they say 'felt like I'd been riding a horse', cos' I'd, er, been riding a horse! Lol.

Now my friend and fellow presenter Craig had only ever been on a horse for a one-off trek some years back, so was in a similar position (mainly bumping hard on the saddle on every 'down' stroke!) to me, but we both enjoyed it!

Debbie and Craig with 'their' rosettesDo go see his blog about his version of our days out. But suffice to say we really enjoyed it and want to get a bit more proficient, so we'll see what this year may bring. Who knows, maybe one day we'll have our own selection of rosettes!

The most surprising things were the way if actually felt on the horse's back – much more precarious than I'd imagined, and as a beginner, you should have seen my first attempt at trotting! When the rhythm changed and omg… no actually, OMG!… just couldn't stop laughing as I just couldn't get into the rhythm! My bottom was hitting the saddle every time, and I just couldn't stop it, as the trainer ran alongside and made Bovril go faster, even though I was squealing away laughing my head off. You had to be there – she thought it was hilarious – Bovril was completely not 'bovvered'. Fortunately the next go I realised you have to go down one, up one, down one, up one, rather than up –down – up-down – up – down…  Oh, they make it look so easy on the telly!


Craig and Debbie with their steedsI looked enormous 'cos I had about eight layers on to try to keep warm, but the important thing was – I got to trot on my own, and on my lovely gentle horse Bovril. I hope to see him again. Thanks also to Laura the trainer on the second day who helped us to get the hang of some fundamentals, and Izzy and Dave, the junior trainers on the first day, who humoured us two beginners and made us feel like we weren't completely incompetent (even though we really were!)

Deb and Craig's great adventure – part 2
Craig 'channels' Norman WisdomSecond, we went in the evening to watch a new show being recorded at the BBC – 'Mad Mad World', with Paddy McGuinness. The panel included 'Jungle King' Joe Swash, and ex-Pussycat doll Kimberley Wyatt and several funny comedians, who made the three (!) hours pass by relatively amusingly. Probably worth catching it on ITV Saturday nights if you get the chance. But how did it happen? We were supposed to go see Harry Hill? Well maybe it was how Craig had dressed himself (in the back of my 4×4 after horse riding!)

Debbie and Craig at BBC Television Centre… Or maybe it was just destiny, but we were about ten people too late to get into the 'TV Burp' recording we had booked to see at BBC White City.

Instead we were offered the chance to go to 'MMW', and took it. The upshot was, Mr Rowe got picked on by the warm up guy. I'm sure he had no idea who Craigy was, but he decided that, amongst the three hundred or so audience, the two people who he'd get to dance up the aisles would include Craig. Two, out of three hundred. And one of them has to be Craig! Haha! The 'dance' went down very well with the audience – it did include a bit of a big spender type version of that Full Monty song we all know so well!

Craig with his wine rewardBut Craig got a bottle of vino for his troubles, and a hundred pats on the back and handshakes as we exited – into more snow! But it took me back to the old days, when I was the first girl to replace Phillip Schofield in the Children's BBC broom cupboard in the mid 80s, and it was all done at TVC.

Pal LJ works there now on BBC Click, and it's nice to take the opportunity to visit when I can, before they redevelop this landmark of British TV. Whether 'Mad, Mad World' will be so memorable, who knows – let me know what you think if you see it. Have you ever been in a TV audience?

Deb and Craig's great adventure – part 3
Craig snowballingOK, so the final part of our two days together involved aforementioned horse riding session part two, as well as a lovely long dog walk, in the thick Dorking snow! I definitely shouldn't have thrown that first snowball, 'cos as you can see, Mr Frosty here thought it was funny to retaliate – Craigy style! A good time was had by all tho'! As I said do check out Craig's blog for more info. Great fun tho', and he's a good pal. (And that's all, before you ask, as many of my Facebook friends did! Lol).

Burlesque instead of romance – good swap!
Another great pal, as you'll know if you read my blogs regularly, is our lovely model Goody. Well, she and I decided, having no dates this Valentine's Day, to do something that we'd never done on February 14th. Now since I've usually spent the night working over the past decade, as the day itself hasn't meant much since my divorce, I welcomed the chance to go to a meal and cabaret – in the form of burlesque!!

Burlesque knightMove over Aguilera! Now some people think it's just about Dita Von Teese type classy stripping – but no, it was very much a joint effort from the male performers too – specially for the ladies in the audience! Hehe! It was a good knight!…

You may recall I went for the first time before Christmas, with pal Shyama, and enjoyed it a lot. Well he certainly made Goody and I enjoy it even more! Lol. Mind you, we were grateful not to be sitting too near the front, as the excellent 'hostess' made it her job to pick on several of the audience!

And I loved her new lyrics to the classic song 'If You Go Away' – know the one? Her alternative words were:
'If you go away, I can paint the flat
I can clean the loo, I can buy a cat
If you go away – please go away – if you go away!'
Real antidote for singles for sure! Lol. The rest of it was very funny too.

GoodyWe had a nice meal there, then left relatively early and stopped off at a nice café afterwards (see EAT below) for a coffee and a catch up, since it was quite loud in the burlesque! Although they did have a harpist – yes a harpist! – playing in between acts! Yes, a very very different evening with my lovely mate Goody.

BTW, next week I'll update you on my second outing for Valentine's Day – Shyama's persuaded me to go with her on Saturday to a singles Valentine's disco – (is that what they call them nowadays?) – run by singles solutions or some such. Why not, I thought! Got to try to fulfil my '50 dates in 50 weeks' challenge somehow eh! I'm in about week 8 now, I think!

What did you do on Valentine's night? Anything creative? See below in Snippets for my alternative love hearts! Funny!

Blooper alert
And lastly before the Snippets and the Footnotes, just to let you in on a gag that Simon Wilson made this week – a real howler! The Butler & Wilson shows this weekend were fast and frantic, Simon having just returned for the first time since November, showing how much he's been missed with so many sell-outs happening so fast, and showing how cheeky he can be! Did he do it deliberately? Or was it a genuine faux pas!? Lol.

Fancy asking a girl how many she's 'had'! 'Specially me! Hehe! Great fun shows anyway, as it was with the much anticipated return of designer Antthony. We were looking forward to some entertaining hours, and he didn't disappoint! Did you enjoy them too?

Cynical love hearts- Alternative to Valentine's Day Love Hearts! For all those jaded or cynical or single people out there this year! Enjoy!

- New toys for the pogs – you may know I have four Labradors. Well Patch is the one that loves the squeaky toys the most – she's ten, but is still so puppy-like with her penchant for carrying around her favourite squeaky. Trouble is, after a few minutes with madame Daisy, they don't squeak any more!

Daisy is of the opinion that Patch shouldn't be eligible to keep her toy intact, so she gets to grips with chewing them up! So I buy more. I love those first few minutes when the toys first arrive…

Chewed toysBefore they end up like this – took her six minutes flat to decimate them! Any suggestions? :-)

- Had some lovely family time again this week – so happy to have my son living near and talking to daughter most days – sometimes twice a day! Very proud of my two lovely kids. Was going to go to the theatre this week with my boy, but had some last minute changes, so will go instead Kari, Brad and Laurenfor his birthday at end Feb, to see one of my favourite shows – '39 Steps' in the West End – very funny and very clever! 

- Had a lovely get together with pal Liz from the Arvon, Inverness retreat I went on last August. Have met some lovely friends through my various Debbie and Lizwriting courses, and on Saturday I was off to St. Albans once more to the 'Get Writing' workshop. Stephen King's editor, Phillipa Pride was my one to one, and I'm happy to say she liked the extract I sent her of my novel – said it was a bit Jilly Cooper, who is very much in vogue again nowadays, apparently


WATCH - 'The Woman In Black' – Potter gets all grown up! Yes, Daniel Radcliffe makes his horror debut which is not half bad, once you get past the image of him with a wand in his hand. I'd not seen the theatre show, but my Facebook gang mostly agreed it was even better than the film.

However, as a scary movie, it certainly does the trick – if you let it! Not a lot of people know this (!) but I'm not strictly a fan of horror films. Unless they're a bit clever with it. This one, even thought it was scripted by the accomplished Jane Goldman ('Kickass', 'X-Men', 'Stardust', 'The Debt', oh and Jonathan Ross's wife) there were still a couple of holes! See the P.S. at the bottom for more – but it's a spoiler, so don't look if you're going to see the film!

Not bad tho', as it certainly achieved its aim of scaring the bejeesus out of most of the audience! I just clicked into my 'analyse the script' mode, 'it's only a film' being the failsafe that often helps in situations like that! Anyway overall, it's probably worth seeing if you like those sorts of films, or Daniel Radcliffe! Watch out – even the trailer's scary! Eight out of ten – but only just, and it mainly scores that high for a supercool twist I didn't see coming.

Paul RuddAlso this week, a fab DVD – 'How Do You Know' – with my fave Paul Rudd as well as Reese Witherspoon and even a small role for Jack Nicholson! Owen Wilson plays, well, the same role he always does – as a lothario sports star, competing with down-on-his-luck Paul Rudd for the same girl. A triffic film to watch on Valentine's night for sure! As the right man gets the girl in the end. I want a Paul Rudd of my own, please universe! This year if possible! Lol. A fun 8 and quarter out of ten. And an extra quarter just 'cos Paul Rudd's so goddam scrummy! :-)

Rice pudding at WallaceEAT - Goody and I went this week to 'Wallace' – the Masterchef celebrity Greg Wallace's restaurant in Putney. I've been there before and knew it did great desserts! Since I'm going on a bit of a health kick between now and my birthday, I thought it'd be a last chance to sample a superb rice pudding. You know one of those that you keep revisiting in your mind afterwards, it was so good? Yum! Highly recommended if you have one of his restaurants near you!

QVC highlights this week -
 if you love your crafts, don't miss Tuesday on QVC – a big craft day, including the long awaited return of the fabulous Tim Holtz!

Then watch out on Thursday 23rd 6pm tea time for a new show 'gardening Inspirations with Richard Jackson' – where Richard takes us through what's made him so green finge red – might work for me too, you never know! Although my main inspiration is him!

That's followed by the return of supercool bag designer Lulu Guinness

Finally, This Week I Are Mostly Been Using… my new ladder! Time to clear the gutters and prune the rose trees, and my latest DIY purchase Wolf 11 in 1 Multi Position Ladderwill be put to good use all year round I think!

Anyway, enjoy your week and come back next time when I will hopefully have a new book review, plus a report on 'Young Adult' – the new film from Charlize Theron! Plus that update about the Saturday night Valentine's Disco with pal Shyama!


P.S. About that script hole in 'The Woman In Black' – where on earth did the dog go? Eh, eh, eh? Cutting room floor, methinks… Plus, overall, it just seemed that the Kipps character simply wouldn't have kept going back to the haunted house on his own, pursuing visions etc, if it was so flipping scary! Took me to the edges of my feasibility test I can tell you! But very well done, and blinking spooky, so it made up for the holes that way! Enjoy it if you see it – if you did already, what did you think?


  1. Michelle Roberts February 20, 2012 at 3:02 pm -  Reply

    Hi Debbie,
    Love the little clips of you and Craig horse riding, you took me back to when I was 10 years old and my first riding lesson and boy did I get the bug, I ended up costing my mum and dad a small fortune I had my first pony at the age of 11 my lovely Louie who was 13.2 in height and a lovely grey colour, we even brought him to North Wales when we moved from Bury in 1980. I then went on to bigger horses and bigger things I loved 3 day eventing where you did dressage,cross-country and show jumping all in one day great fun. Also when my dad turned 40 I taught him to ride and years later we used to compete in pairs cross-country events- so you are never to old to learn!!! It was a sad day for me when I discovered I had Rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 20 and to go from being a very fit and healthy person to being crippled and so poorly in such a short time- happy days and great memories!!!
    Anyway life goes on and takes a many different paths, I for one never thought I would run a boarding cattery remember I was a cook!!!
    You made me laugh with the clip of Patch and squeaky toys, Dennis big boy Yorkie also destroys his toys in 5 minutes flat he’s not happy until he presents me with the plastic bit and ends up panting his head off with frustration!! Dogs hey!!
    Think I might be in trouble tonight Debs with hubby I have just signed us up for another dose of ballroom dancing starting you guessed it tonight- must cook him a nice tea, he moans like hell about going but he’s good at it and I love dancing!!
    Thank you for another good blog, hope you a have a nice week.
    Great big hug to you and the pogs!!!
    Michelle x x

  2. patricia cochrane February 20, 2012 at 4:46 pm -  Reply

    I just want to know what “Pills” you take, as I would dearly love even a few. Where on earth do you get all the energy from?

  3. Susan February 20, 2012 at 7:11 pm -  Reply

    Hi Debs,
    What a mammoth blog again!! I shouldn’t be reading as I’ve lots of work to do! I loved your riding clips!! Makes me wana get back on a horse! And the clip of you and simon lol…a conversation for after indeed!!
    Hope you had a good night at the disco?!
    Susan x

  4. Gayle Metcalfe February 21, 2012 at 12:11 am -  Reply

    Hi Debbie, My youngest labs a real chewer too! still have to crate her at night for fear of losing half a kitchen or settee as she has already eatent three leather arms and is proving very expensive! I’ve bought her the kong toys as she destroys anything soft very quickly too, especially if left alone! but the kongs are going well! also the nylon bones seem good but great tight ladderers!!
    Gayle X

  5. Nigel February 21, 2012 at 1:52 am -  Reply

    Debs – Funny how these ‘shorter’ blogs take longer to read – missed it at the weekend(thought OMG she has moved to LA already!) so glad normal service has resumed.
    Firstly, 10/10 for keeping a straight face after Julians blooper during your Yankee show the other night, bet the gallery couldn’t. Often wondered what the americans called it !lol! Worth putting on your blog methinks.
    Talking of Yankee – I know your name is Carol but now you have the iPad why not use the calculator app when things get tricky working out burn times – I beat you to it the other night and my brain is only single core as opposed to your quad core! – soreee but had to mention it.
    As you use goats milk have you surfed ‘’ ?(GM soap).
    The underwater shot of pogs ( that went viral last week reminded me of Gracie’s hydrotherapy – how is she and is she still swimming ?
    Strange how images from the Thelwell books keep popping into my mind !lol! – sure your horse wasn’t called Kipper?
    Thanks for the entertainment, take care, Nige :)
    BTW Hope your publishers get a move on – the world ends in December !

  6. beverley young February 21, 2012 at 4:16 pm -  Reply

    Well I’m glad to know I wasn’t the only one that wondered where the dog went !!!??

  7. debs f February 23, 2012 at 3:34 am -  Reply

    Michelle – wow – you dark ‘horse’! lol! Who’d have thought it! See I bet there are lots of people out there who were horsey people on the quiet! Nice to hear your story hon – glad you had some fab times. Good luck with the ballroom dancing – another thing I’ll put on my ‘sometime/whenever’ list!
    thanks for a lovely long post!

  8. debs f February 23, 2012 at 3:38 am -  Reply

    Patricia – you asked, but I think it was rhetorical, right? Just in case it wasn’t, the literal answer is below! lol! it’s just nice to be able to do so many different things hon – I get a real buzz out of doing something I’ve never done before and filling each week as much as I can. What I don’t write about is the hours I spend ‘staring into space’ when I first get up as I’m such a useless morning person! hehe!
    thanks for asking -come back again!
    omega 3 (high EPA), CoQ10, Echinacea, Vit C, L-Tyrosine, multi-vit C, glucosamine,Eve Primrose, and others! :-) Plus a spoonful of green drink every day (spirulina etc) and manuka honey whenever I need it. Plus lots of water! Then doing exercise like dog walk each day really helps keep my motor running! :-)

  9. debs f February 23, 2012 at 3:40 am -  Reply

    Susan – ahh but if you guys didn’t read it there wouldn’t be much point would there! lol! Thanks for commenting as usual!
    We did speed dating! All will be revealed in next week’s blog!

  10. debs f February 23, 2012 at 3:47 am -  Reply

    Gayle – yes it’s very funny watching poor Patchy carry around the ever-decreasing bits of chew toy till Daisy’s completely decimated them! Must see if I can get some of those kong ones – she doesnt seem so interested in those tho! Thanks for writing hon! nice to hear from you!

  11. debs f February 23, 2012 at 3:52 am -  Reply

    Nige – where’ve you been?! lol
    Ta for YOUR long reply! : – ) Actually it was a problem with one of the links and the blog didn’t get put up at end of last week like it should have so apologies for that! It’s nice when you get into a routine of doing something isn’t it? I like to awake to my teasmade now, (grandma!) and read the Metro on my ipad each morning, for instance. Anyway if you like funnies, this week’s one will be slap bang on time – and there are some other fab bloopers to watch too! Yes it was hilarious when Julian made that boo boo – you can imagine the mirth in the gallery during his link! Gracie will be going swimming again before too long – and am going to be taking Devildog to disciplinne classes at some point too! No rest for the wicked! lol
    best wishes to you!

  12. debs f February 23, 2012 at 3:53 am -  Reply

    Beverley – I know! THanks for commenting! You didn’t say if you enjoyed the film – what would your marks have been hon?

  13. Susan February 23, 2012 at 2:27 pm -  Reply

    Can’t wait to hear about the speed dating Debs! I’ve heard lots about it! Any luck!? I can’t believe all those supplements yhou take!! No wonder you’re running about all the time!!
    Chat soon x

  14. Jason Hicks February 24, 2012 at 8:18 am -  Reply

    Just watched the riding video,Debbie. Yes,you do have an excellent trot.

  15. Lindalou February 24, 2012 at 6:24 pm -  Reply

    Debbie always read your blogg. I find them great to read and so funny. keep it up cannot wait for your next one. Love Lyn

  16. Debs f February 25, 2012 at 2:01 am -  Reply

    Susan – ahhh that would be telling! Lol! As you’ll know if u follow my blogs, after the last one, I promised myself, and the gods, that I wouldn’t be tempting fate too much by revealing all too early should a new relationship come along! So don hold your breath! But as you’ll see from next blog, speed dating was definitely fun!
    And yes the supplements do really help! Specially the green drink, manuka and omega 3 EPA – I wouldn’t be without them now!

  17. Debs f February 25, 2012 at 2:03 am -  Reply

    Jason – nice of you to comment hon! Now Just got to master the bit of the trot where you actually make hoss start doin it! Novelist was a lazy blighted they said, and it felt like one of those dreams where u r trying to fly but u can’t get off the ground! Lol

  18. debs f March 1, 2012 at 5:07 am -  Reply

    Susan – yes it was an amaaaazing flat! Imagine it in the summer! looovely! hugs d x

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