Archive for March, 2014

Chat’s back!

I’m so sorry I’ve let things go on so long before giving you a Chat update. In case you’re wondering, things are still mind bogglingly crazy there. I guess we should just jump in at the deep end. Let’s go!


My dog.

Ate my face.

I’m so glad she did.

Yes, that is what that says. Obviously it has a shock rating of 10 out of 10.

The story is as follows; she’s an alcoholic, she’s got a dog, she falls into an inebriated sleep/coma, the dog tries to wake her up, bites her, thinks “mmm, that’s tasty,” keeps going, eats her face. I would just like to quote from the story here, “she’d eaten my right eye and the bone around the socket.”

This is crazy talk! Absolutely, astoundingly crazy! Dog, face, eye, eating…. its all very wierd. But then what did I expect from Chat? Anyway, now she has that monobrow/fringe thing that you can see in the above picture. Good one.

Next up, it’s the Chat To Us page, which mainly consists of pictures of people and things that no-one except the person who sent it in cares about. For example, here’s my grandson hugging a stone statue thing.


Another one is, here’s me standing outside with my husband and my dog.


Who else needs to know that you were standing outside with your husband and your dog? Put it on Facebook or send it to your mum or something. Why are you telling Chat readers?

Other examples from this page are; here’s my daughter playing hopscotch, here’s my dog wearing a pearl necklace and here’s my two kids with their nan. You get the idea.

On the Top Tips page, the best suggestion by far is this one.


Yes, but now you have neck ache from wearing a coat containing three books, four pack of tissues, your phone, your purse, a change of clothes, a toothbrush, a pair of sunglasses and your passport. Why is that better? You’re taking them anyway. Just put them in your bag. Or you’ll get to your sunny holiday destination and have a massive heavy sweat-inducing coat on. Then you’ll probably take it off and carry it. In which case, you could have just left it in your main baggage,  which you’re carrying anyway!

On a separate note, does Sonia Dawson of Chester-le-Street travel in her swimming costume?!

The Health pages contain an interesting letter today, that I’m not going to comment on. I’m just going to show you and let you decide how to feel about it.



Now, I bet you’re wondering what the Star Letter of the week is, aren’t you?  I thought so. Well, check it out. 


The Star Letter says, these are my three kids, they gave me this picture of themselves. That warrants winning Star Letter in Chat World. Again, I’m not saying anything. Make up your own minds about the trees that are cut down to provide paper for this kind of thing.

A quick look at the Spirit World page gives us this short but sweet letter from Toni in Liverpool.

“Odd! My uncle died years ago but, recently, I saw an image of him. How is he?”

Toni, he’s dead. That’s how he is.

Last but not least, we’ll have a little look at the names this week. There’s always something good there.

Sienna Rae
Maisie Moo
Rylee & Tyler

Always children with these names. With parents called things like Jane or Bob or Wendy. Just ordinary names. It’s as though these parents are attempting to compensate for the ordinariness of their names (and perhaps their lives?) by forcing wackiness onto their unsuspecting offspring. I despair.

The best day off ever?

Yesterday I had a day off. As days off go, it was pretty epic. I woke up late and faffed about a bit listening to the end of The Invention Of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd and was amazed to find out that the novel is based on real people and events. I fully recommend it to everyone, by the way.

Then, out of the blue, I remembered that I had a lunch date with a friend in town. So I scrabbled about getting ready, picked up my favourite book about Italy and went to get the tube.

Lunch looked like this…


…an insalata caprese (always my first choice in an Italian restaurant as it reminds me of being on Capri) and steamed asparagus wrapped in prosciutto. Amazing food. Fabulous company. I may have mentioned before that I am a lazy friend, so I haven’t seen my lunch date in forever. It was very nice to catch up.

After finishing lunch, I headed back home, changed into a slightly smarter top and headed out again for a pre-booked fancy afternoon tea with Danda, which looked like this.


Danda’s comment on the filling in the middle row of sandwiches was; “I’m not eating cucumber sandwiches. They’re for mugs.” When I later asked him what he had meant, he claimed not to know why he had said it. Hmmm, I think there are some underlying cucumber issues here that need to be resolved.

The sweet plate looked like this….


…until this happened to it…


Danda decided he had finished when he was two and a half cakes from the end. Obviously, I finished his off. Bear in mind, I also ate extra on the sandwiches plate because of his cucumber issues. I’m so selfless.

Then I spent the evening under the downstairs duvet, drinking cups of tea and reading my book about Italy.

It’s probably one of my best days off ever in the history of the world ever.

The places I go every day

When I wake up, I’m in England. I yawn, stretch, find my work clothes and brush my teeth. Down the stairs I go, bleary-eyed and thinking about what to have for breakfast. I turn on the kettle, make a peppermint tea, get something to eat, go into the front room and sit down.

And that’s when I go to Italy.


I’m in Andrano, Lecce, and it’s summer. I’m learning how to speak the melodic Italian language, mixing up the words ‘paedophile’ and ‘pedalo’ on the beach. I have also fallen in love with Daniela and her fiery spirit and will defend her against the racist attitudes of the Milanese when we move there together. I have a car named Napoleon and a language teacher I’m pretty scared of.

After an all-too-brief twenty minute visit to Italy, I return to England, put my shoes on, get my bag ready and leave the house with a flask of tea.

This is the time in spend in America.


I am alternately Sarah, the privileged young white girl, or Handful, her slave with whom she colludes, having never wanted a slave in the first place. As I walk and see the two Canadian geese and the two Egyptian geese who wait by the river every day, Sarah secretly teaches Handful to read, which is against the law.

Handful’s mother finds more ways to rebel against her oppression, finally reaching a position where the other slaves no longer associate with her but she has become quite well off, by slave-standards. I am nervous for Handful’s mother.

I am even more nervous for Sarah, with her secret desire to become a lawyer but the barrier of her gender to contend with. Her father has found her teaching Handful to read and write. I stand in the library as he rains his anger down upon her.

Just when it starts to get very bad, I leave America and return to England. I’m in Ham House and I get to spend another day making cakes.

Late morning, I go for a break. I grab some lunch and a glass of water and go to Singapore.


I’m in Changi prisoner of war camp and my name is now Peter. The Japanese are responsible for trapping me here but it’s my fellow POWs that I have to keep an eye on. I’m on my guard when I’m in Singapore. The constant drudgery of life as a POW is interspersed with moments of fleeting excitement or terror.

Mac got malaria so he’s in the hospital, which is a shame. I’m missing his banter. The King is more than making up for it though. The new rat scheme he’s devised is a goldmine but I’m pretty nervous about the potential for it to go wrong. And there is a lot of potential for it to go wrong.

As I sit eating my game stew in Ham, I’m also a starving POW and salivating at the thought of eating a rat. Then half an hour is up and I make the journey back to England.

A few hours later, I clean down the kitchen, grab my coat and bag and set off walking home.

And boy, I’m nervous! Sarah’s father is so angry. Her stutter has returned. She is told that she has committed a crime, that slaves who can read are a threat to society. She feels helpless. I rage with her over the unfairness of the situation.

Before I get too infuriated, I am Laura again and I am in England. For the next few hours, I will be in England. Until bedtime when I can sneak back to my favourite place, Italy.

I learn words like carabinieri, meridionali and stuzzicadenti. I eat fresh figs and pears from Daniela’s garden and visit her family in Sicily. Italy is the first place I visit in the morning and the last place I visit at night.

So you see? Some people live in one place each day. I live in many places. I can leave England whenever I like.

Happy birthday blog!

It’s my blog’s 2nd birthday, everyone!

Little Blog is now a cheeky toddler. It climbs on things, inside things, runs off without holding my hand. My blog no longer needs me to carry it around or get it food. It has a mind of it’s own and can be unruly and disobedient.

This is the human version of my blog.


Little Blog would definitely say things like ‘you have been wonderful and supportive, readers’ and ‘thanks for all the fish’ if it could stay still for a minute, but you see, there’s that amazing climbing frame to master so, um, yeh. You get the picture.



Salt and vinegar crisps are pink in Australia. Everyone knows pink is prawn cocktail!

Place names – Richmond, Windsor, Newcastle, Oxford, St. Andrews, Petersham, Boxhill, Lewisham, Kensington, Surrey, Liverpool… seeing a pattern?

Vegemite is fine, everyone! I thought there’d be something massively offensive/unusual in it. There is not. It is fine.

The whole pub culture thing that we take for granted here, they’re not so big on it. There was a few dotted around but not really the force to be reckoned with that they are here.

There is a thank you sign when you leave the motorway! Cute.

Australia is really really big. Really big. No, I mean, it’s huge. Massive. Very massive.

They like adding an o onto the end of stuff. Everything. Check it out = Crappo (crap). Bowlo (bowl). Bottlo (off license). Houso (council house). Rego (registration). Rivo (Riverstone). Vego (vegetarian). You think I’m kidding, don’t you? Well, here’s the photographic evidence.



From Richmond to Richmond

So the train that goes from Sydney to Riverstone finishes at Richmond station, which is also the last stop on the line for lots of London trains. Danda’s taxi is mostly to be found outside Richmond station, when in England, working. The temptation to pop down to Australia’s Richmond station was too strong and, eventually, we went there, just to have a look around.


The first thing we saw when we got to the town was a taxi waiting outside Richmond station! It was raining quite a bit though so I just got one more picture…


…before jumping back in the car and making our way to the nearby historic town of Windsor.

There was a lovely rustic feeling to this town, the decorated balconies reminding me of pictures I had seen of New Orleans. There was ‘old stuff’ all over the place and we loved it.




The one pub advertised it’s upcoming events…


I was only upset because we’d already missed it. Good old Adam Hole with his serious face and his massive arms, making his guitar look tiny. He should probably be tearing peices of metal apart with his bare hands and pulling trees out of the ground, rather than playing a guitar.

Anyway, Richmond and Windsor were both fabulous and all the more so because we had travelled halfway across the world from places with same names!

Roast duck and final farewells

On my last evening in Australia, we went fancy and headed to the O Bar in Sydney. Not only is the food exceptionally good, the location is fantastic. You sit on the 47th floor of a huge round building. What’s so special about the 47th floor, you’re thinking, aren’t you? Well, the 47th floor revolves! In the space of approximately 90 minutes, you are treated to an all round view of the whole of Sydney while the sun sets.


To start with, we had Harbour Bridge almost in front of us then as we moved slowly to our right, the bridge moved around til we could just about spot the Sydney Opera House while the sun set and then off out into the other parts of town then the suburbs then back to the bridge.







In this last photo, you can just about make out the shape of the bridge again in lights.

The food was very very good. We started with bread and warm olives.

Then for my entrée, I had a scallop and swordfish ensemble that was cooked perfectly.


The scallops were amazing.

Danda got the spicy prawn fishcakes which were also pretty epic because I was kind and tasted them for him, to check them, you know, for like poisons or anything.


For my main, I had the soy roasted duck, which is almost the best duck I’ve ever eaten in my life (the best being this).


We were all a bit stuffed and didn’t want to push it by ordering dessert so we went for a walk around Circular Quay instead, after leaving.


Harbour Bridge


The Opera House


Bye bye Australia! Thanks for all the fun 🙂