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!
OK, 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.
He'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!
Do 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!
I 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
Second, 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!)
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!
But 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
OK, 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!!
Move 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!
'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.
We 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!
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?
– 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…
– 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 for 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 writing 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.
Also 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! 🙂
EAT – 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 will 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?