Monday, 11 August 2014

Long time no write

Hello Pals,

It's been a while since I last wrote something and to be honest, it has been a combination of 'I couldn't be arsed' and 'life circumstances' which has kept me away from you.

I always think it's better to not say anything at all if you have nothing interesting to say and if you do want to say something, you're best not doing it in an open forum when you're feeling fed up as you don't want to share the misery.

I can honestly say that 2012/13/14 so far have been of very mixed fortune and more bad than good. It has been mainly down to a health problem that I 'inherited' from my Mum and that has seen me get from bad to worse to rock bottom and now I'm slowly climbing back up again, but it's a long haul and I am finding each day a challenge.

So, what I hope to do is to write more often and try to be entertaining, thought-provoking and interesting. If I fail one any of these things, you have my permission to delete me from your list of bloggers!

Speak soon,

Ali xxx

Monday, 25 February 2013

My night with the stars!!!

Me getting some much-needed kip

Note: I am a weekend presenter on in Belgium and last night I was tweeting live from the Oscars!!!

At the time of writing this, to be honest I couldn’t tell you what time it is as I haven’t slept since Saturday night, so in a way the power cut that took Radio X off air on Sunday was a bit of a blessing as I could cat nap during what should have been my show!

If the show had gone ahead – you would have listened to my Oscar predictions and I’m proud to say, apart from one, I was spot on with all my predictions. The only one I got wrong was saying that Steven Spielberg would get best director, when in fact; it went to Ang Lee for ‘Life of Pi’

I have always been a fan of the Oscars – I love movies. I love going to the movies, I get obsessed by some movies and I love to read about the movie stars, so being Radio X’s ‘reporter on the spot’ for the night and tweeting the goings-on made me feel even more of a part of it.

OK, I wasn’t on the red carpet (ours is a sort of mucky brown) but sharing the action with you all was a thrill for me. I even had a tweet after the show from a Radio X listener in LA who said that they hadn’t got a TV and couldn’t watch what was going on, so was thrilled with my updates!

If I had to sum up the 85th Academy Awards in one word, it would be ‘slick’ – everything seemed to go according to plan (apart from poor Jennifer Lawrence who went splat as she climbed the stairs to collect her best actress Oscar) but that aside, I thought the night was a jolly good show.

Seth McFarlane as host was a bit of an unknown quantity for me. I know he’s the man behind ‘Family Guy’ and the film ‘Ted’ but that was it. He was a good-ish host, some of his jokes got a few groans of disbelief from the audience, but his interaction with Captain Kirk from the future and a song about ‘boobs’ seemed to go down well with the star-studded crowd.

It was a night to feel proud to be British as well. Some Brits who took an active role in the show included Daniel Radcliffe doing a song and dance number, Samantha Barks (the lass from the Isle of Man who played Eponine in Les Mis) who took part in the Les Mis number, Adele, who won the Oscar for best original song for ‘Skyfall’ or ‘Skeeeefaaaawl’ as I sing it and the best Brit proud moment of the night was seeing Dame Shirley Bassey getting a standing ovation for singing ‘Goldfinger’ as part of the tribute to the Bond films.

Before the show, I was tweeting about the various outfits that the ladies were wearing and it was the long gown worn by Jennifer Lawrence that resulted in her tripping up the stairs. As an eagle-eyed viewer, I spotted the lovely and extremely talented Hugh Jackman, run from his seat to offer her assistance, but she managed to get to her feet before he got to her (what a guy).

The main Oscar winners went the way I predicted: Best Film was Argo, Best original screenplay was for Tarantino’s Django Unchained, Actress in a supporting role went to Anne Hathaway for Les Mis (I was really thrilled as she was superb and I’ve seen the film 4 times now) Christoph Waltz picked up his second Oscar for actor in a supporting role in Django Unchained, Ang Lee won Best Director, Jennifer Lawrence was best actress for ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ and of course, the one that definitely was the most predicted Oscar win of all time, was for Daniel Day-Lewis for his excellent portrayal as President Lincoln in the Spielberg film ‘Lincoln’ – it was for a pop at Lincoln that Seth McFarlane got a bit of a jeer from the crowd when he said Daniel Day-Lewis wasn’t the first person to get inside the head of President Lincoln – John Wilkes Booth got there first !!

There were treats galore when it came to musical numbers, Adele gave a live performance of Skyfall, Catherine Zeta-Jones recreated her role from Chicago and did the song ‘All That Jazz’, there was, of course, the Les Mis cast doing a mash-up of Les Mis songs (I thought it was a tad ropey in places) but none the less an excellent show of talent – even Russell Crowe stepped up to the mark and held his notes!! – Charlize Theron amazed everyone with her dance routine, Jennifer Hudson sang a song from Dreamgirls (it was ok, but she wailed a bit too much and scared my cats away with the high notes) but apart from Dame Shirley, the other musical high spot of the night was seeing Barbra Streisand sing ‘The Way We Were’ as a tribute to composer Marvin Hamlisch who has died and was featured in the ‘In Memorium’ bit, which always brings a tear to my eye.

On the whole, I thought the night was excellent and what made it even better was that there was not one film that dominated – there was a good spread of Oscar love on the night with all the main films getting at least one award – the biggest winner was Life of Pi with four Oscars.

I really enjoyed ‘being there for you’ last night and am flagging a little bit so I definitely think I’ll sleep tonight.
Oscar didn’t disappoint and now I really feel I should catch the films I didn’t get the chance to see before the big night, like best picture in a foreign language, ‘Amour’ and I haven’t yet seen ‘Lincoln’ as I have heard mixed reviews and at three and a half hours (including the ridiculous amount of ads before the film) it’s a tad too long for me without a tune to hum or a barricade to cling to.

Thanks for your company if you did follow my Tweets last night. I think I should at least try and get a bit of shut eye and I will no doubt mention the Oscars on my shows at the weekend (that’s if I don’t get my power cut off again!) 

Oh, by the way. If you’re wondering why I didn’t include Daniel Day-Lewis in the line-up of successful Brits, it is because he prefers to be known as an ‘Irish’ actor – but we’re still proud of you, Daniel!

Bye for now.

Ali B

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

And your point is?

There are some days when I feel like this and when I saw this image on the web, I just had to share it. The expression on the cat's face says it all, he looks totally and utterly peed off and someone is obviously bothering him.

Long time no write

It has been quite a while since I last wrote something and that's because I have been quite busy. Since I last wrote at length, I am now self-employed and although the work is not as regular as I had hoped, it does give me the freedom to pick and choose projects to work on.

I really needed a break from the norm and it was a big leap of faith for me to go it alone. I've not been working for an organisation now for over a year and although I am making a living, I do miss being around people, so I may opt to go back to work again but the right thing needs to pop up to get me interested - I'm way to young to retire and I've got such a lot more that I want to do before I shuffle off this mortal coil!

As you can see from the picture of our garden, we've had some snow. Today was the first time I had ventured out of the house since Saturday and I had to dig my car out of the drive in order to go out this morning to go to the docs to collect my prescription. The roads were very icy and I'm not the most confident of drivers, so I took it easy and was very cautious.

I went to the chemist and because of the snow, I couldn't see the parking bays and ended up guessing where they were by just lining up alongside the cars already parked- how was I to know that I'd parked on the path! Oh well.

I did several other chores before I noticed that the temperature had started to dip and so I decided to go back into the warm and there is where I stayed and will continue to stay until the snow goes. In short, I'm just a wimp. In fact, I really should be in hibernation.

Tomorrow, I'm going to be updating my CV and because of the amount of time I have spent in the house these past few days, I can now add another skill to my attributes - I have a lot of pointless knowledge in my head - Thanks to the show of the same name, I have realised that I have a lot of obscure knowledge that could come in useful when used in the right circumstances.

Onwards and upwards.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Winnie Johnson - a fighter to the end

I was only one year old when Keith Bennett was murdered by Myra Hindley and Ian Brady but the Moors murders were something that I grew up hearing about, mainly because they shocked a nation and for as long as those two evil people were alive and in prison, they were always going to be in the news when it came to the anniversary of the murders.

One woman I grew up respecting and feeling totally sorry for, was Winnie Johnson, the mother of Keith Bennett.

For as long as I can remember, she has been a constant reminder of the devastating effect of losing a child in such horrific cirsumstances can have on someone.

It was bad enough that Winnie had to endure the pain of losing her young son, but unlike the  parents of the other children who were murdered, Winnie did not get the clousure that she desperately needed in finding where her son had been buried on the Moors and no amount of pleas or letters from her to Ian Brady and Myra Hindley gave her the news she wanted.

Her death came a day after the latest news that Ian Brady may have written in a letter 'to be opened after his death' that finally would have given Winnie the news she waited nearly 50 years to hear.

Or, as I suspect, was it just another sick ploy for Brady to get himself in the news again?

Whatever the outcome of the speculative letter is, it did not come in time for Winnie to get her dying wish.

Unless you have lost a child in the way that Winnie lost hers, you can not imagine what the last half decade has been like for her. I just know that I wished she had got the news she longed for before she passed away.

I doubt Keith Bennett's body will ever be found. Saddleworth Moor would have changed drastically over the years and Brady's memory, no matter how long he's had time to think about it in prison, will not be up to pin-pointing the final resting place of this little lad, whose cheeky grin, podgy face and round glasses is the image we all have of him.

Whatever your beliefs, I'd like to think that Winnie is now reunited with her son and her long journey to find him is now at an end.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

October already?

Believe it or not, this photograph in the sunshine was taken at 5ish yesterday while I was at the local fun fair.

Hubby and I went along because I'd been pestering him all week that I wanted to go and although we didn't stay long, we were there long enough to have the obligatory burger and for me to have a go on the grabber machines and a go on either the darts or the hook a duck (I went for the darts because at least there is some tiny bit of skill involved)

The grabber machines were a bit of a rip-off, in fact a lot of a rip-off. Normally, you put your pound in the slot and you get five goes for a pound, but at this fair, you only got one go for a pound - which was not very good.

So, I made my way to the darts and started talking to the stall holder about the unseasonal weather.

"We were here this time last year," she said, "and we were knee deep in mud but it's typical that it is like this at the end of our season."

While I was paying for the darts, she was telling me that she lived in Nuneaton, her next fair was at Kings Norton and then she had one at bonfire night.

So, chit chat was over and I was eyeing up what needed to be done in order to win a prize. For £2.50, I had 2 goes, that is 2 x 4 darts and with each dart in the set of four, I had to get an over 10 score.

My first dart scored 10, my second, a double 8, my third, a 20 and my fourth, 19 - I HAD WON!!!! She gave me the choice of which bear I wanted and I chose the one you see my holding in the photo.

Right, now I had the taste of victory, I wanted more.

I eyed up the darts again, just like Kevin Costner eyed up his target with his bow and arrow in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, the first dart - pinged out. The second dart scored 5, the third dart pinged out and hit one of the bigger bears on the head and the fourth dart, pinged out and went out of the stall and on to the gravel, barely missing the stall holder's husband!

OK, so I wasn't going to win again. Hubby said that he couldn't believe I could do so well with one set and so rubbish with another. I told him that I was just like his favourite football team, INCONSISTENT!

We walked around the fair and then decided to go for a meal. However, I didn't fancy taking the toy with me so I decided I would give it away to a little person and came across this little blonde girl who was walking around fair with her Mother.

"Excuse me but I've won this on a stall and don't want it and wondered if your little girl would like it?"

The lady looked at me with a big smile and said thank you and looked at her little girl and said "look what the nice lady has given you, what do you say?"

The little girl held out her arms for the cuddly toy and with a big grin, said in a shy voice "Fank you" - it made my day because she clutched it so tight towards her body and gave it a hug.

I felt good all night after that.

We had a lovely meal, went home and then watched the telly.

And that was my Saturday.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Magical memories in a photo box

I had a bit of a disaster at work this morning. I got in at my usual time (7.30am) and because I had not got the right key to open the grill, I set all the alarms off!

It was really embarrassing because I was the only one around, so there was no-one to let me in or switch off the noise. The thing is, with it being so early; I had to wait for about 25 minutes before someone came in to help me.

Because I had a couple of days off, I was anxious to get an early start, so being so far behind with my normal morning routine was not good at all.

I was a tad grumpy to one of my colleagues on the phone who had supplied me with the rogue key and once I was back at my desk, I was ok.

I went to the doctors yesterday to see her about my trip to A & E and she was really nice and kind to me and told me everything I needed to know about my newly acquired gallstone! She told me what I needed to do in order to manage the pain, stop it from coming back and ordered a scan for me to go to the hospital to check if there are any more there.

As I do NOT want to go through that sort of pain again, there is no way that I am going to risk it so I will have to put up with the blandest food going – which is going to be hard as it is hubby’s 50th Birthday at the weekend and he’s having a BBQ and I LOVE BBQ’s – wrong, I used to love BBQs!

Bushy had been busy sorting out the loft since we had a new floor put in it and he bought down all sorts of boxes which had lots of things in them that I had lost or forgotten about.

One of the things I was pleased to find was a box of photos that had lots of memories in them – some of my mate Sam Plank when he was doing a live OB about the cleaning of the Town Hall steps with a toothbrush – a task that the then afternoon programme presenter, Grant Leighton had said that he would do if a certain record went to the number one spot!

It was so funny and the photos bought it all back as if it was yesterday - see photos above. There is also another one of me on stage with Sam during one of our many performances together - such fun.

I found so much in the loft that sent me on a bit of a nostalgia trip. For instance, I found a box of stuff that related to my Mum’s death: order of service cards, letters of condolence from friends and cards, the cassette of the music that was played on the day etc and it all made me very sad.

I found a letter that my Aunty June wrote to me, which made me sob and I rang her and sobbed down the phone to her!

In another box, there were photos of my Dad’s funeral and rare family photos of the three of us together (my brother, my sister and me) and some photos of an old flame and me (those promptly went to the dumper!!!!)

It is amazing what crap you keep and what things you think will come back into fashion one day. I haven’t been through everything and I am sure there will be lots more chucking out to do before the year is out.

One of the things I would like to do is to listen to some of the old cassette tapes I found of past radio programmes – I am sure there are many memories on there waiting to be re-lived!

Work today was fun but also a bit of a groundhog day experience because so many people came up to me to ask me how I was feeling and what it was I had got and after my trip to the docs tomorrow, I know that I am going to have to buck up my ideas if I want to remain pain free.