Friday, 30 May 2008

Flatish Friday

Perhaps it is the grey skies overhead, or perhaps it was coming across these when clearing out my spare room the other night, but feeling a bit uninspired today...

The Pilot

Dear Miss King

I would like to take this opportunity of thanking you for choosing me. I know there’s many other airline pilots you could have chosen, and I look forward to being of service to you again in the near future. Please return the in-relationship magazine and collect your overnight bag and confiscated shampoo on your way out of the terminal building.

PS: Apologies I was unable to watch the in-flight movie with you and prevented you from going out. Passenger disapproval issues often mar my relationships. The therapist is looking into it.

The Businessman

Dear Miss King

Thank you for expressing an interest in me. I regret to advise you that you have been unsuccessful in securing my affections on this occasion, but I will of course retain your details on file for future reference should a further vacancy arise, and/or the opportunity to purchase shares in me at a very favourable price when I float myself on the Stock Exchange next Spring.
May I take this opportunity to wish you all the best in your future propositions and acquisitions.

The Banker

Dear Ms King

I’m afraid your credit rating with this facility has slumped into negative equity with the result that owing to the credit crunch I will be forced to withdraw my fiscal Bonus Reward services with immediate effect. I wish you luck in securing a bridging loan of affections elsewhere, but would caution against the risk of diminishing returns. You may of course keep my complimentary gifts including the embossed mousemat.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008


Fear The Greeks

He boasted he had an Id

Not an Ego,

And soon he'll have a card

To prove it.

© LS King 2006

Photo by

Friday, 23 May 2008

Happy National Live-Near-To-Work Day!

My contribution to the petrol crisis is to introduce National Live-Near-To-Work Day on the basis that if work is more than an hours' commute, either your workplace is in the wrong place or your house is.

And while we're about it why can't we stick a few more carriages on all our (re-nationalised) trains, re-open the axed stations and reinstate the school bus system to minimise traffic? If the school bus was good enough for me, why isn't it good enough for today's precious little darlings?

Furthermore let's encourage every city and town to source as many of its goods and services locally as possible. It is ludicrous to have legions of salesmen and contractors chugging up and down the country farting fumes to offer services nationwide that could be provided more locally, greenly, and you would have thought cheaply, supporting their local economy into the bargain, (unless for extremely specialised products and services). Everyone and their dog for example sells office furniture and nearly all of it looks the same - why would anyone need to go too far afield for it?

And many of our continental cousins already have shared car lanes to encourage car sharing in the speediest most desirable lane of the highway - where are ours?
They also have more freight trains removing unnecessary haulage trucks off the roads. Where are ours?

Far from being an environmental purist, I rather enjoy driving, but I do feel we rely on our cars way too much and could try harder to reduce our number of car journeys. Being organised and getting as many errands done as possible on each journey also saves an amount of petrol I find.

The one positive aspect about being broke in the 'credit crunch' is at least it may force us to economise, automatically becoming greener and wasting less on every level, much though saving stuff and not consuming does not equate to 'sexy environmentalism' entailing the purchase of inflated eco-branded products.

My consultancy invoice is in the post Mr Brown! I think you'll find it's a fraction of what these overpriced transport infrastructure and economist fatcats charge!

*By the way I hereby decree this day a National Bank Holiday for househunting - for those who live an unsustainable distance from work!

A typical British railway line v a typical British road

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

A Cornucopia of Cat


Conflict calming, drama diffusing, politic purging
Sorrow soaking, tenderness transfixing
Pass the pussy please,
It’s my turn now
To tell the cat what I cannot tell my mother
Who's corrected me oft enough she's 'not the cat's mother'.
It makes me smile to recall how the cat played conduit
Confessor, counsellor, confidante
Each member of the family confiding all
Seeking complicit approval for controversial schemes
Unsolved ice cream thefts and reams of dreams.
Conferring on fur
The affections we found so awkward on flesh
Passed down our generation through lap cat osmosis
The unconditional purring furball's
Silence bought for a tin of tuna.
And so useful a parental screen for those embarrassing TV moments
'Aw, look what Sooty's doing!' when simulated sex scenes threatened
Our best-ever soft toy, obligingly akimbo, cute-ing it to the max.
He lapped up our toxic tensions like
They were the finest caviar.
Never a sick moment.
Knitted the family dynamic with a purr for a purl
And his head always smelled nice
(yawn exquisitely foul).
A chat with le chat
Was better than therapy
The shame my sister won 'Sooty', over my more dignified 'Ponsonby'

© LS King 2008

*VIP = 'Very Important Puss'. Naturally.

*'Sooty' is here modelled by my parents' cat 'Tiggy' (not v. sooty as you can see). I'll have to hurry up and master photoshop. Or spraypaint him.

Friday, 16 May 2008

Day Dreaming

All the Men I've Ever Loved

You were Lord Nelson and I was…you’ll never guess!
You were a Victorian architect, I embellished your reputation
You were a Highwayman, I was your Wicked Lady
You were Richard Hannay, I was your Mata Hari
You were a Dutch sailor, I was your girl-in-every-port
You were a 1930's matinee idol, I was your art deco IT-girl
You were a safe cracker, I was your unsuspicious getaway driver
You were Atticus Finch, eyes ablaze, I was MM on the wrong set
You were a businessman, I - the trophy secret of your success
You were my fave pop star and I was your last groupie
You were a romantic poet and I was your Bloomsbury muse
You were a journalist and I was your Exclusive!
I was your luck with women - you were my fate with men.
What larks we shall have when I turn you on again
(there’s an extra TV dinner in the fridge).

© LS King 2008

I was thinking the other day about all the silly romantic dreams that helped me through a somewhat bleak childhood, and was inspired to write the above. Lo and behold I have been off ill most of this past week and found some key inspiratory films-of-old cropping up again on digital, so it seemed apt to post it, unpolished as it is. I still adore old films. Funny how film stars seemed so much more glamorous then - black and white film was surely the Botox of its day!

Stills from The Wicked Lady (1946) starring James Mason and Margaret Lockwood

Monday, 12 May 2008

Memetime II - Five Things About Me

Some time ago I was tagged with this meme by LucyFishWife of Life Happens Between Books, so here goes;

1. I was an unconscionably cruel child who used to pull the wings off kittens (well, have you ever seen a kitten with wings? Told you!)
2. I took several flying lessons in a Cessna 152 at 18 and did my own take-off first time. Sadly finances didn't permit me to continue, thus my flying 'career' was cut prematurely short!
3. Conversely I didn't learn to drive until I was 32! (though ironically I had a job with the Driving Standards Agency for a while in my 20's)
4. I dislike the colour green, considering it belongs on grass rather than people, and have resisted attempts by various well-meaning souls all my life exhorting me to adopt the 'leprechaun look' - ie 'Why don't you wear green? It would look lovely with your red hair', as much as I have resisted the fashion advice that redheads should confine themselves to clownish orange lipstick and bad blue eye shadow! Indeed I have found that despite the generally assumed 'handicap' of my colouring, I can carry most colours with relative élan - even red - which I love (and which co-incidentally my mother hates and always swore I couldn't possibly wear!). My favourite colour of all is Burgundy - unfailingly warm, flattering and classy - not to mention the colour of theatres, the finest wine and Kings!
5. Call me old-fashioned, but I'm appalled by this new trend for not installing doors on bedroom en-suite bathrooms, and wonder how romance can possibly survive this lack of the most basic personal privacy! On a similar topic I can't abide people who try and conduct shouted conversations at you through the keyholes of those bathrooms which do still possess doors, and regard it as the height of bad manners (unless of course there is only one bathroom in the house and they have genuine need of your hurrying up!). I'm sure a psychiatrist would get some mileage out of this, but for me a little bathroom etiquette is merely one aspect of the wider everyday respect for one another that we all be entitled to expect.

As this is quite a well-worn meme, which I expect most bloggers will have had before, I will desist from tagging anyone on this occasion. Unless of course you insist!

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Nothing Better to Do With My Life

I know it's my own fault for being addicted to makeover shows (much though they tend to act as wallpaper while tapping on my laptop), but do you ever see something on TV that makes you experience a 'Whoops, wrong planet!' moment.

I mean make-up for BREASTS??? for example?

The day I apply make-up to my décolletage is the day I book in for a sex-change and give up trying to be female altogether! Writer Shirley Conran once famously declared 'Life is too short to peel a mushroom!' Yet day-by-day it seems we females are getting suckered into becoming total body prisoners to a relentless tyranny of unsustainable, unaffordable, (mostly useless), high maintenance, beauty and health regimes, all of which are being railroaded through our sub and waking consciousness via the devious means of our own insecurities as 'essential', and even normal, to the extent that eventually it will probably become abnormal not to have that fortnightly Botox injection/Brazilian, and the woman who resists will be a freak or social outcast.

To get back to basics, try going into your local pharmacy to buy a no-nonsense all-purpose moisturiser. They scarcely exist any more. Instead you will find a dizzying array of day creams, night creams, elevensies creams. And not just single products either but whole ranges of each product for each part of the body, one set for each skin type/tone/age, one set for anti-aging, one set for pro-aging (?), one set with SPF's in, one set with 'pentipeptides' one set with Q10 in etc etc - and none of them cheap. And that's not to mention all the strange serums, skin glazes, shimmers, misters and body blacmanges (?) that abound for who knows what purpose. Such expeditions have been known to leave me seriously depressed, often exiting the store empty-handed.

It is only a matter of time until whole nations of females are rendered housebound as their beauty regimes do not permit them time to leave their homes any longer and they must get up before they go to bed to find time for it all.

Needless to say fake tans and wrestling with foundation every morning are not my idea of fun either, so I don't. If I'm honest it's all I can do to keep the leg leylandi down and abide by the law of cleanse, tone and moisturise.
And you guys complain about shaving???

But to return to mammary make-up - doesn't the very concept suggest that women are baring way too much these days? (ie exposing their décolletage to the extent that it then needs make-up to disguise the sun damage)? The most ironic thing was that after they'd finished with the latest victim in this week's How to Look Naked, the make-up actually made her previously normal-if-modest breasts look saggy with all the extra 'shadow' in between, rather than pert! No thanks.

19/5/08 OMG! On this week's 'How to Look Good Naked' they covered FULL BODY MAKE-UP for the beach and PUBIC HAIRDRESSING! Shoot me now!

Glass Heart

Not just a pendant, but a work of art
My turquoise-blue cartoon Venetian glass heart!
The best example I've found of the simple-but-stunning
Pity the darn thing doesn't go with anything.
But its symbolism isn't lost on me
For my heart is large, of summer-blue and broken easily...

© LS King 2008

More Venetian glass jewellery (not mine, alas!)

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Memetime I - Books

Having been tagged with this one aeons ago by the delightful Reluctant Blogger I thought it was high time I caught up with my memes!

Books I Have Always Meant To Read

1. Down and Out In Paris and London by George Orwell - It sits patiently in my bookcase but I have never got past the first couple of chapters as I find it too harrowing.
2. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck - I hardly got through the stage play as again, it was just too harrowing and I'm too wimpy. I still remember being reduced to tears by the closing chapters of his classic The Grapes of Wrath following the malnourished cavalcade of poor white families making their way across America in beat-up old vehicles hoping for a new life of plenty in California following the Great Depression, with the daughter of the principal family eventually reduced to breastfeeding a starving man with the milk meant for her stillborn infant. I understand most people go through a John Steinbeck phase in their early 20s!
3. Rather shamefacedly my friend Helen Rappaport's novel 'Dark Hearts of Chicago' (co-written with William Horwood), which I have now possessed for over a year and not finished yet! It follows the hair-raising adventures of an early female reporter dispatched by her New York editor (one suspects to get rid of her since she has foisted herself upon his employ in the days when this wasn't done!) to the 1893 World Fair in Chicago to investigate the fate of a missing woman, also from New York. It has won rave reviews and I know it will be brilliant, with an authenticity found in few other novels (Helen is also a well-known historian), but between being a dead slow and easily-distracted reader and the fact that my copy is a large first edition hardback which is hard to cart around and heavy to take to bed - ok, then there's the squeamish scenes in the 19thC Chicago meat processing plants - well I just haven't finished it - sshhhh - don't tell her!

Two Books Which Changed My Life

1.Cancer as a Turning Point by Lawrence Le Shan - the best book I know to help anyone get through cancer. Sensible, supportive, comforting and inspiring to help the cancer sufferer unlock all sorts of inner creativity, strengths and managing mechanisms they may not realise they had in order to turn their remaining time (however short or long) around to achieve the best possible outcome that they can, whether that be a successful return to health, or a minimal-regret, minimal-pain, peaceful farewell without unfinished business. What I really like about it is that it's not about positivity-at-all-costs, religion or advocating a particular form of alternative or conventional medicine, but rather helps cancer sufferers to ask themselves what they might be learning from the cancer experience, however difficult, as a key to re-thinking their previous assumptions, attitudes and feelings about their lives, with their families encouraged to play an active role in aiding their emotional and physical healing and supporting any changes they may wish to instigate as a result.
Perhaps my friend would have survived in any case, but I like to think this book helped! A great 'Emergency, Break Glass!' book, though it is not always easy to get a copy of, surprisingly, despite many reprints.
2.Mr God, This Is Anna - by Fynn. A lanky young sailor in 1930's East End London comes across a hungry four year old waif whilst sitting in a doorway having a smoke. They strike up a conversation and he ends up buying some sausages which he shares with her before taking her home to his mother, who promptly dunks her in a tin bath for a good scrub. So begins his extraordinary relationship with the young Anna, who decides to move in with them full-time (despite vain attempts to find her parents), and although scarcely able to read and write, the little girl turns out to have an extraordinary and voracious appetite for knowledge, testing Fynn to the limit on maths, astrology, nature and 'Mr God' in particular, so that after her untimely death at the age of eight, he feels obliged to record their many magical conversations together discussing the world and its workings, and all that he himself learned from them.
Child Protection would never approve of the fact that she often climbs uninvited into his bed for a cuddle and tells him she loves him, but their unlikely bond is the whole charm of the book. You will feel touched by angels by the end. Happily it just about escapes a descent into schmaltz.

Recommend a Book I've Been Talking About Since The Day I Read It

'I Didn't Get Where I Am Today' by David Nobbs - the hilarious autobiography of one of Britain's foremost comedy writers, responsible for 'The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin' among many other television and novelistic successes over the years. This man is a genius for observing life's absurdities, seemingly inspired by being subjected to a few himself, and from the moment he is single-handedly mistaken for an entire battalion while doing his young mans' stint in National Service, shipped over to Denmark with an entire deck to himself and then served over 300 dinners by a very surprised-looking Danish Chef, you will find it as impossible as I did to put it down. I also loved his behind-the-scenes experiences of getting television both accepted and made - not without its own many absurdities and outrageous contradictions. A great book for a television nut like me! Or just anyone who loves comedy or writing really.

Who better to pass this particular meme baton onto than new Lit Chick on the block - LucyFishWife of: Life Happens Between Books

Thursday, 1 May 2008

The North Antrim Coast & Other Bits

To conclude my series of musings on my homeland, here's the prettier pics I promised and a poem.

In Northern Ireland

Whole valley vistas at a stretch rise into view
Dotted with barns, farms and random bungalows
Driving through the green hills of home,
along fresh tarmaced, pristine dashed roads
Of unexpected dips and zed-bends
Set off by lurid verges
Glistening from the last rain.
A backdrop of mountains,
Alternating between the road to myself
Not a speed camera in sight,
Or trapped behind a tractor.

Occasionally I’m tailed
For miles and miles
By some BMW that should have overtook
Then a rear view mirror check
Reveals a tiny farmer’s wife
Straining to peer above the wheel.
Hay bales poking out the boot.

Red, white and blue kerbstones by decorated flagpoles
Announce a middle of nowhere, Orange Hall.
Eventually the village
A collection of 60’s council houses beside an old church
A high-wire fenced, sandbag-surrounded, Police Station
And a chemist.
All smothered in hanging baskets,
Riotous flowers trying to escape
From the regimented gardens and
Fresh painted street furniture of red, white and blue.
Best-Kept Village competition is fierce round here
And this village has won five times.

Beyond, a bleak and desolate stretch
An RUC officer was blown up along here in 1978
Near the checkpoint, long gone
I remember it vaguely on the News
His three we’ans will be grown by now,
In the new Police Service of Northern Ireland? I wonder

But apart from the odd hotspot of hatred, it’s really ok.
People ask ‘how ‘bout you?’
Say they’re ‘sorry for your trouble’
And drive bloody good cars.

© LS King 2004