Monthly Archives: March 2015

Here We Go Again – The Never-Ending Clarkson Saga

So, I see that Jeremy Clarkson is in trouble again, this time allegedly for hitting a producer. And I wonder this: who is surprised? I suppose the most surprising thing is that the BBC have finally taken steps against it. It’s all very well to say that you’re giving someone a “formal warning” – he’s been warned about things so many times that he’s practically a weathercock (along the same lines as the spoof UKIP Radio 4 report, one could also have: “Storms expected in North Clarkson. Moderate to Racist”). Though, of course, the BBC has regularly defended Top Gear and its presenters – the Argentinian fiasco was just a mistake, and the people who were offended by the stereotyping of Mexicans in 2011 just didn’t understand British (and Top Gear) humour.


Already there have been plenty of people coming out in defence of Jeremy Clarkson, that poor misunderstood figure, just the innocent victim of horrible people with agendas (presumably agendas such as “racism is not funny” for example). More than 250,000 people have signed a petition asking for him to be reinstated. Because, you know, it’s tough to be a rich, white, heterosexual man. Everyone is prejudiced against him – it’s sheer liberal fascism (did you know such a thing existed? No, me neither). Well, I’d like to say that my heart bleeds for him, but that would be a lie. I happen to have sympathies more with people who don’t want to encounter violence at work; who suffer the prejudice of others because they are from ethnic minority backgrounds, or female, or immigrants. You know, the sort of people Clarkson likes to mock, because cheap laughs are easily bought that way.


I’ll be interested to see if the BBC does more than suspend Clarkson temporarily. He has apparently previously been told that “if I make one more offensive remark, anywhere, at any time, I will be sacked”. And, of course, hitting someone (if such he has done) is not an offensive remark. Judging from the BBC’s previous attitude towards Clarkson’s misdemeanours, there’s enough room for them to wriggle out, once again, from actually getting rid of him. Because not only is he rich, but he’s helping making the BBC rich – which is much more important than any moral issues. It is noticeable that when a local BBC radio presenter played – he said inadvertently – a version of ‘The Sun Has Got His Hat On’ which included a racist word, he was sacked. One rule for Jeremy Clarkson, another for someone who isn’t raking in the cash.


So, BBC – are you going to put your money where your mouth is? Or are you going to continue feeding it into Jeremy Clarkson’s racist, sexist and violent mouth?

Wednesday Word of the Week

Okay, a change of approach today. This is a “which word should be used?” dilemma.

Woman/Lady – which?

For me, in a customer service role, I’d say to someone else: “This lady has a problem with her computer” (or whatever it might be). But if I were talking about it later, I’d say: “There was a really nice woman who came in today with a problem with her computer.” Possibly equivalent to using vous/tu in French? It’s much easier in my Regency fiction as it’s ‘lady’ all the way. No dilemmas. No concern that I’m going to offend someone. Book characters, mind you, are good like that. They only get offended if I decide they’re going to 😉




I know people tend to have strong views in both directions, so please take care to be polite and respectful of others.


Satisfied Saturday Six

The SSS celebrates six things that have gone well, or at least okay, in the past week. It is the creation of Terry Egan, who is all things wonderful.


1. Spring has sprung! Or at least, we’ve had a week of sunny days and lighter evenings.


2. As a side-effect of #1, Child has been out playing with his friends most evenings this week. As he’s an only child, I like it when he’s able to play with other children, and to be honest, I’ve barely seen him this week!


3. I read 18 books during February, all of which were new to me (and only one of which was a children’s book, which is unusual for me). Some of them were brilliant, including Susan Lanigan’s White Feathers.


4. I got through a couple of medical appointments this week and feel like things are moving forward on this front. One next week, and NONE the week after! Joy!


5. I was really upset and angry earlier in the week, and got over the worst of it by swearing and ranting at whatever happened to be on the television. Over-reacting to such a big degree was cathartic and so out of proportion that I could eventually laugh at myself 😉


6. Both my parents have now read Petticoats and Promises, and both (rather to my surprise) enjoyed it. My mother-in-law has also been told about the book and given a copy, and I am informed was more impressed that I’d written it than scandalised about what I’d written 🙂 I definitely did well with my in-laws (and, indeed, my family!)

Friday Fiction (Parenting)

Disclaimer: I wrote this a while back so my suggestions may be out of date 🙂


Penelope Friday offers parents five easy ways to help the environment without losing their minds!

1. Change Your Ideas On Nappies.

Okay, in a perfect world we’d all be putting our babes in reusable nappies (and doing even more loads of washing than we already are), but realistically for most of us, that’s just not going to happen. Instead of thinking, “I can’t do that, so I can’t do anything,” think again. It’s worth checking for local reusable nappy laundering services: if you’re worried about the cost, rest assured that compared to the cost of buying disposables week after week after emergency-trip-out-at-midnight-because-the-baby’s-just-pooed-in-his-last-nappy… well, put it this way, the price begins to look quite reasonable. AND the companies come to you – think ‘Tesco Direct’, the nappy version.

Unfortunately, it’s also true that not every area has a local nappy laundering company. After days of scouring the internet for any information on it, I discovered that my fine plans for reusable nappies were in tatters. No one (and frankly, I can’t entirely blame them) was willing to take away smelly nappies and replace them with beautiful, freshly laundered ones. Failing this, there’s still another option that is at least green around the edges – biodegradable disposable nappies. Not, I grant you, as great for the environment as reusable, but a darn sight more practical. ‘Nature’ nappies are not only mostly biodegradable, but also (and this is important) widely available in shops like Boots and Mothercare – places you’ll be visiting anyway. What’s more, they are not (as you are no doubt suspecting) extortionately expensive. They’re a similar price to name brand nappies, and work just as well.

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Wednesday Word of the Week

moist –  1. slightly wet; 2. marked by a fluid discharge.
Well, my lovely friend Alan asked for the word ‘moist’ as one of his least favourite words. So here you are. Moist. What is moist? Cakes are moist. Soil is moist. Early sexual secretions are moist. It’s really not a nice word. ‘Moisture’, strangely, is a bit better; and ‘moisturise’ I have little problem with.
Ooh, I’ll tell you what else is moist. The handshake of someone who turns out either to be a villain or to be a pathetic and/or wimpish character in books. Which is a bit unfair on people with ‘moist’ handshakes: you might have damp hands for any number of reasons and there shouldn’t be a moral element, yet somehow there is.
But I guess it’s all about the way you say it.
“Her body was slicked with sweat” somehow sounds much better than “She was moist all over” which just sounds quite icky. If you like a character, fellow writers, don’t describe them, or any part of their anatomy, as moist.