Monthly Archives: April 2010


RATS is my new campaign. It stands for Remove Absurdity from Television Scripts.

My latest pet hate is ‘ahead’, as in –

Ahead … how a duck in Norfolk transformed a pensioner’s life.

Ahead? Does anyone actually say ‘ahead’ in real life?

Here’s your porridge. Ahead … toast and marmalade.

As if ‘ahead’ doesn’t chafe my sensibilities enough, it’s now evolved into ‘also ahead’.

‘Also ahead’ makes sense, I suppose, if it’s preceded by something. But they just use it, willy-nilly, at any old random point – including the top of the programme –

Hello and welcome. Also ahead, are peewits making a comeback? And have you ever wondered why Belgian Buns have a glacé cherry in the middle?

Why the ‘also’?


Weird Woolf Coincidence

I’ve just read Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, and I was rather taken aback by an unexpected image in the novel.
You may know I’ve been obsessed in recent weeks by a statue of Ceres which used to preside over Fore Street in Hertford. It was removed in World War Two and its head now lives in the museum stores.
So I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read Woolf’s reference to…
…a statue of Ceres, being destroyed in the war.
It was World War One of course. The book was published in 1925. But how very odd.
Perhaps she knew of a statue of Ceres that had been destroyed. Or maybe she just dreamt it up as a melancholy symbol. I guess we’ll never know.

The Exact

I took a load of change to the supermarket the other day and painstakingly counted it out to pay the checkout emo.
‘Is that the exact?’ he asked, clearly too bedevilled by ennui to use a noun.
‘Yes. It’s the exact. But maybe you should check.’
‘No. I don’t like counting,’ he replied, pouring it into the till.

Beach Party

Here’s the latest pic of Canary James (with his pets Piggy Sue and Natasha) on their local beach in Gran Canaria.

Stupid O’Clock

This expression is beyond tiresome.
It irritates me even more than ‘Thanks very much indeed for that’ and ‘Coming up later in the programme’.
I heard someone, with a voice so twangy it could kill a gerbil at 30 paces, whine it today into a mobile and gave them a Paddington Stare.
That was bad enough. But then, in Tescos, at the self-service tills where the shoplifters go, I distinctly overheard another twangy personage tell her friend she’d been up till ‘silly o’clock’.
The expression is clearly mutating and must be stopped.

Hertford Ceres Update

Thanks for all the information about the whereabouts of the Roman corn goddess Ceres, who once graced the roof of the Corn Exchange on Fore Street.
Jane informs me that her head is now in Hertford Museum store.
Stella tells me the head was actually in the museum garden before the revamp, having been blown down during the Second World War.
Holly at the museum says the statue was donated to them in December 1940.
Meanwhile, Linda informs me that some members of Hertford Civic Society think it may have arrived at the museum later than that.
So now we know. I think the Corn Exchange and Fore Street looked much grander with Ceres, but I can’t imagine she’ll ever return to her rightful perch.

Higgledipiggledy House – Bengeo Woods

I’ve always been intrigued by this house, with its odd thatched tower. I hope it’s inhabited by an eccentric.

Dog and Duck(s)

The river’s like a swimming pool for dogs at the moment, including this duck-obsessed Border Collie I was watching earlier.
The ducks were constantly one step ahead, but he just wouldn’t give in. His owner said he’s never actually caught a duck, so I can assure you no mallards were harmed in the making of these photos. In fact, I suspect they were quite enjoying it.