Chapter 12. Sweet Chilli Pork Balls

I awoke early on Boxing Day with a splitting headache and the most terrible thirst.
Spats admitted that he wasn't feeling all that chipper either.
It occurred to me, that maybe we had come down with some kind of flu bug or something.
As I said to Spats, “we probably caught it from little Fiji, children of that age are riddled with bacteria, it's from being at school with all those other children, they're an absolute breeding ground for infection. Now, thinking back to yesterday, when I looked across the table at Fiji over dinner, she had seemed rather under the weather and green around the gills.”
Anyway, after a lovely cup of tea and a few flu capsules, we began to feel slightly better.
“We need to rally Spats,” I said, “there is still the Boxing Day gathering to get through!”
After a quick shower, I spent quite some time trying to straighten my hair which, since the awful perm, looked particularly ludicrous first thing in the morning. I looked like a great big thistle.
Unfortunately, even heavy duty foundation and a bold application of eyeliner did little to conceal my lack of beauty sleep. I had endured a fitful night and kept needing to get up and drink some water.
“Too much salt on the potatoes,” I said to Spats, “very dehydrating.”
Spats said I looked as radiant as ever. He's no fool that man!
“Put on something bright and sparkly,” he suggested, “something to detract attention from the fact you have a rather nasty cold.”
I thought, pink sequinned cashmere cardigan. Spats agreed.
“Wear it with those cute little yoga pants.” he suggested.
They've always set his pulse racing.
Gordon announced that he would not be going to grandmas because of his arm and ankle. Which seemed like a good enough excuse and I rather wished that I had one.
“You stay right there on the sofa,” I said, “I can see you're already getting faster with just one hand. It's amazing what we can manage when needs must!”
By the time we arrived at mums house, everyone was there except for Tiffs and Jim.
Sebs and Cynthia looked particularly jaded. When they said that they thought that they might have come down with some kind of flue, I offered my sympathy and explained that both Spats and I had been similarly inflicted.
Darryl's eye was no better than it had been on Christmas Day, and his mood had soured considerably. Tamara's cheerful persona had evaporated and she just sat there looking hungover and distracted.
Mum was pale and complained of having had a night of palpitations.
On the other hand, Sherri, having been released first thing from the hospital, was on good form and Fiji was threatening to play her recorder after lunch.
“Poor Fiji,” said Sherri, she was rather sick in the night, according to Lance, and she had a headache, though she has had some Calpol now and is feeling much better.”
I gave Spats a knowing glance and mouthed the words, told you so.
I whispered to mum, “what is that rather awful smell in here? Smells like a decaying rat or something.”
“It's the cheeses,” she said. “Maybe we should have waited till nearer to Christmas Day before buying them, is it really that bad?”
“Overwhelming,” I said, “to avoid asphyxiation I suggest you open a window.”
The table was adorned with cheeses, crackers, the Freezerland party snacks and a dazzling array of condiments.
The party snacks were rather disappointing. The sweet chilli pork balls were very greasy, as were the Duck'in Doughnuts. Fiji bit into a mini cheeseburger and then promptly spat it out, declaring that it tasted like that horrible McFries stuff.
As I said to mum, later on, “Lance and Sherri are going to need to keep an eye on that child, she can be very precocious and needs to mind her manners.”
Sherri took the conversational helm this time as she had much to tell of her night on the Pendragon Ward.
“You know your friend Flora, Evie,” she said, “well, her husband Harvey was in there. He had been admitted on Christmas Eve. Arrived in a dreadful state apparently, broken leg, sprained wrists, massive cut to his head, all from falling down the stairs. Flora wandered into my ward just as Lance was picking me up and I heard her ask one of the nurses where Harvey was. He was just being wheeled to the bathroom and would be back soon, they said. So, just as Flo was about to head off for a quick coffee, I managed to get her attention and beckoned her over. What's going on? I asked, what's happened to your Harvey?
Well, she said, it's quite a long story.
Was it comedy slippers? I interjected.
No, apparently, a couple of days before Christmas, Harvey always makes a visit to the fish market to buy some smoked mackerel. According to Flo, he loves to grill it up and have it with a nice cheese topped baked potato on Christmas Eve. After buying the mackerel he came home, put the fish on the side in the kitchen and went up to have a shower and change as he was meeting his mate Sid, in the Yacht and Sails, for a quick drink before Flo got home.
If he had had an ounce of common sense, of course, Flora said, he would have put the mackerel straight into the fridge. Harvey really has only himself to blame.
Then Flo went on to explain her cat Nelson's part in the tale.
Nelson had only been trying to impress Harvey, you know, the way cats do, like when they present their owner with a dead mouse or something.
So, while Harvey was in the shower, Nelson had jumped up on the side, got his paws on one of the mackerel and then dragged it all the way up to the top of the stairs, as an offering for Harvey.
Harvey emerged from the bathroom and was in the middle of towel drying his hair as he walked towards the bedroom when it all happened. As he passed the top of the stairs he slipped on what we all know is a very oily fish, and that was that. Head first down the entire flight.
Flora said she found him flat out and unconscious on the floor half an hour later when she arrived home from work.
She said that the sight that greeted her as she opened the door was incredibly touching.
Nelson was simply sitting there on Harvey's chest licking his face.
What Flora now believes, is that Nelson was actually trying to revive Harvey, maybe even
resuscitate him.
Obviously, I called an ambulance and here we are! She said. Certainly not the Christmas Day I predicted! Harvey's become obsessed with the idea that Nelson had got it in for him. He wants me to take him back to the rescue centre. No chance, I said, when he suggested it. You can't hold a cat responsible for your own clumsiness, let's face it, you should have paid more attention to where you were walking, waited until you got to the bedroom before towel drying your hair, so that you could see where you were going. Harvey argued that it was hardly his fault, as you don't expect to find a fish in the middle of the landing.
Flora told me that she stood her ground on this matter.
It's just not going to happen, Harvey, she had said, Nelson has a safe house with us. He may be an exceptionally clever animal, but to think that he actually sat around concocting some way of deliberately causing you harm, is borderline deranged.
Then Flora left, saying that she couldn't wait any longer for Harvey to be brought back on the ward as Nelson would be waiting for his tea.”
Tiffs and Jim arrived just as Sherri had finished filling us in on the Harvey, Nelson, drama.
“You two have missed out on the most amusing tale,” I said, “good animal stories are just the best, always so funny!”
“Sorry we're so late,” apologised Jim, “the car broke down and we were two hours waiting for breakdown recovery to arrive. They couldn't fix it, so we had them tow us back here. We're parked in a space just up the road.”
“What sort of car is it?” Inquired Spats, who always perks up at the mention of a car.
“It's a Ford Focus,” Jim informed him.
“I'll take a look at it for you tomorrow,” volunteered Spats, enthusiastically, “see what I can do. Should have got yourself a good old reliable vintage car. They knew how to build an engine back in those days. Ford Focus, Ha! More like Ford Fiasco. I remember when I worked for British Leyland...”
Spats' Leyland tale was, fortunately, very abruptly cut short, when Jim told him that the Ford Focus was simply a jobbing car for work and then explained, that the rest of the time, he liked to drive around in his Aston Martin DB6
Spats eyes lit up with admiration and desire at this announcement.
“An Aston Martin DB6, goodness me! What year?”
“A 1967, automatic.”
That was it, both Jim and  Spats were in their element and were now talking of nothing other than vintage cars and listing their favourite makes.
“What I wouldn't do for an Hispano-Suiza H6C Saoutchik Xenia Coupe!” Declared Spats.
“What about a 1966 Alvis TE21,” retorted Jim.
We left them to it, and any chance of a full inquisition into Jim's past, present and hopes for the future, had been momentarily blighted.
Mum beckoned me into the kitchen for a private word.
“Tiffs could have told us!”
“What could she have told us?”
“That he's from India, he's Indian.”
“Actually, if you recall, Tiffs told us that he was born and brought up in Islington. His parents are from India, so yes, he is of Indian descent, well spotted, do you think the others have noticed!”
Of course, I was simply teasing her, which is always fun.
“It's not that it matters, persisted mother. It's simply, well, one likes to know these things. Maybe I wouldn't have gone out and bought spicy pork balls if I had known, that's all. Maybe I would have chosen the bite-size onion bajahs, instead. I mean, I know it doesn't matter. It's not like I care in any other context. He could be pink, green or purple and I wouldn't bat an eyelid.”
“I think I would,” I said. “If Jim had turned out to be of a purple or green hue, then I would have been fairly taken aback, never having seen a purple person and all that. Or, if he had been green for instance, that would have been most unusual. It might have meant that Tiffs had actually met a Martian. Personally, my eyelids would have been batting like mad! Anyway, let's get back in there and try to steer the conversation away from cars! Go in and see if Jim fancies a prawn tikka spring roll, or some of those cheeses. We need to get rid of them today, or shove them in next doors bin.”
We returned to the dining room where Fiji had finally been forced to stand on a chair and perform her recorder recital.
Silent Night was quite a challenge and there definitely was rather a lot of squeaking on the high notes. Why anyone in their right mind would buy a young child a recorder, is beyond me. Wait until they get older, I thought, and far more capable of playing something worthwhile, like a saxophone or a banjo.
After we had all recovered our hearing, mother and I distracted Spats from his conversation with Jim by suggesting that it was time for him to mix up one of his special cocktails.
“This, I call the Leichenwagen,” he informed us, “one of my own inventions. You know, I gained quite a reputation for my skills as head barman while working in the V.I.P cocktail lounge at 'The Grand Central' Texas. Quite a few famous faces stayed there then. As I recall, the Leichenwagen was particularly popular with old Larry Hagman.”
“Who?” Seb's asked.
“You know, from Dallas, J.R. Ewing, who got shot. He certainly downed quite a few of these during the filming of the final series! I often had a chat with Larry, when he was propping up the bar. Some of the stories Larry told me, about what the other actors and actresses got up to behind the scenes, well, hard to believe really.”
Yes, I thought, very hard to believe.
I'm not sure that the Leichenwagen was, on reflection, such a great idea. It's very strong and has a very high alcohol percentage.
It proved to be mums downfall. She, literally, slid under the table, after just two glasses, and I commandeered Sebs into helping me guide her upstairs to her bedroom. Sherri, who has always overestimated her vocal talents, started singing 'Last Christmas' to Lance, who looked as if he wanted to slide under the table. out of sheer embarrassment.
Cynthia and I tried to drown out the dreadful caterwauling  by putting on some decent eighties tracks and having another good old dance around the living room.
Spats and Jim had returned to car talk.
By early evening, our little gathering started to disperse.
First to leave and head for home were Tamara and Darryl.
Darryl initially insisted that he wanted to stay longer and have another cocktail.
Tamara, as the designated driver, told him to get in the car, or be left behind. Reminding him that there would be no welcome awaiting him at the 'Seaspray'.
“You won't be let through the doors of that hotel again, I can assure you,” she said, “so, unless you want to top a night in the nick, with one on a park bench, you had better get in.”
Tiffs and Jim had managed to get a last minute booking at the 'Seaspray', after realising that they would need to stay on in Penswithian until the car was fixed.
They decided it was time to check themselves in and unload their luggage.
Tiffs had been delighted that such a popular hotel had any vacancies during the Christmas holiday week.
“Well, I suspect that if you had telephoned them a day earlier, prior to our visit, they probably wouldn't have,” said Tamara, giving Darryl a rather aggressive stare. “I'm sure a number of rooms have become unexpectedly available since our arrival. It's a good job you have had something to eat this afternoon, as I suspect the main dining room may be closed for refurbishments.”
Spats expressed his sorrow at their need to leave so soon.
“Can't you stay another hour or so at least? There's still so much to talk about. I didn't tell you about that amazing barn find I had some years back when I was in the States.”
“Don't worry Spats, you can tell Jim all about it tomorrow while you're fixing the Ford,” I reminded him. “They've had a very long day on the road and it's time we headed for home too. I'm worried about Gordon and need to see how he is coping with his temporary lack of an arm.”
Lance left to get their new Nissan Pathfinder from the car park on the front, while Sherri and Fiji gathered their things together.
“I didn't know the terrain was so challenging from here to Godalming,” joked Spats, as Lance got out of the car to help Sherri with the bags, and I couldn't resist joining in.
“How big a family are you planning on having for goodness sake? The bus from Penswithian to Pendeen is half the size of that monster.”
Sebs and Cynthia were staying one more night, which was fortunate.
“Keep an eye on mum,” I urged, as Spats and I left. “Just look in on her every now and then, check there's still a pulse.”
So that was that, the main event was over and we now had a week to recover.
The following day, while Spats was working on Jim's car, I dropped in on mum to see how she was bearing up. I hadn't woken until quite late and Sebs and Cynthia had already left.
She had had some antacid tablets and a small brandy as a quick, 'pick me up'.
“I'm not feeling too awful now,” she insisted, “slightly nauseous that's all. I may be coming down with something”.
“You could be,” I agreed, “both Spats and I have awful colds. We woke feeling even worse today than we did yesterday.”
However, I joined her in a tiny drink of sherry to level the blood sugars, and we both concurred that the festivities had all gone rather well.
“That Jim seems a decent enough chap,” said mum. “Our Tiffs is already having a better time with him than she ever did with that Klaus in Hungary. At least she's enjoying a couple of nights in a nice smart hotel, rather than the asylum, or the Beirut drug den! Tiffs told me that they are off to the Cotswold's next weekend. It's lovely in the Cotswold's.”
“It was Budapest, mum, not Beirut,” I corrected her, for the hundredth time. “There is quite a difference you know. Anyway, I agree, looks like Tiffs has met a very decent man and Spats is most approving. He said to me this very morning, I don't know how Jim can drive around in a Ford Fiasco, even if it is just for work purposes, but if I cut my mind off from this one disturbing flaw in his personality, I'd say that Jim is a thoroughly decent fellow. Certainly knows his classics that man. If I get that piece of rubbish fixed fairly quickly, then I think I shall drive him over to see the Daimler. The potatoes could have been slightly less charred though,” I lamented, to mum. “Gordon loves my roast potatoes. Still, when questioned, he did say they were delicious. However, there is no denying that the parsnips were rather underdone. My second batch of cheese sauce was alright, but there was still some grit from the leeks. Gravy, maybe rather greasy, bird, slightly anaemic, stuffing, rather soggy, maybe a tad too much garlic.”
Mum told me not to talk rubbish, it was had all been more than delicious, a culinary triumph.
“Don't do yourself down,” she said, “the only disappointment this Christmas were those Freezerland snacks. I felt very bilious in the night and I can only put it down to the ducky doughnuts. It couldn't have been the drink, as Sebs said that I was in bed by about six. Glad I had the forethought to retire early and take it easy. I must have decided not to bother undressing. I do that sometimes, it speeds things up in the morning.”
Sebs and I had agreed not to embarrass her with any unnecessary stories of sliding under the table and being bodily carried to the boudoir.
“Let's face it,” I said to Sebs, “we've all been there! We've all slightly overdone it on occasion.”
Mum did remark that Sherri's fall had been a rather unfortunate incident.
“Still,” she said, “you wouldn't have found out about your friend Flora's husband accident if Sherri hadn't had to go to hospital.”
“Yes,” I agreed, “and we did enjoy the story of Nelson and the mackerel, didn't we? Rather unfortunate too, about poor Gordon's slippers and the broken arm. Still, in the end, it's probably done him some good. He's had to learn to adapt to a difficult situation. As I said to Spats, it will give him some insight as to what it must be like for those who are not lucky enough to have the use of all their limbs. Some important life lessons there I think.”
Spats then swaggered in and announced that the Ford had been fixed.
“Fuse blown, that's all, breakdown repair people could have fixed that if they had bothered to look, bloody fools.”
Jim and Tiffs then came in to say goodbye. Jim needed to get back to work the next day.
“Make sure you come down in the DB6 next time,” insisted Spats, “give us a chance to take her out for a spin. Maybe drive over to my friend Mike's, have a look at his vintage cars.”
Jim agreed and the two men shook hands with a manly fondness.
As we waved them off, Spats expressed his hopes that Jim and Tiffs would have a long and lasting relationship.
“You can't leave a man who owns an Aston Martin,” he added, “especially the DB6.”
Spats then joined mum and me in draining the remaining of the cocktail mix left over from Boxing Day, before we both sauntered home.
'Singin' In The Rain' was on in the afternoon and it didn't matter how many times we had seen it, it could always be watched again.

Chapter 13. A Shocking Turn Of Events

The days between Boxing Day and New Years eve passed in a haze of afternoon parties. Then, on New Year Eve, Flo, Zoe, Jackie and I, met up for our traditional New Years  lunch.
We booked our usual table at Cosmos for midday. It's always been an important occasion for us. A time to reflect, take stock of the year we are about to say goodbye to and discuss our hopes and expectations for the year ahead.
Zoe had had a mixed year. Romantically challenging perhaps, and yet, not without some memorable and amusing moments.
I said to Zoe, “at least you're out there getting on with life and giving it your best shot. Who knows what's in store over the next twelve months. That's the excitement of being single. The man of your dreams could be just around the corner, whereas,  for most women, they know that they can have nothing more to look forward to than another year stuck in a dull old marriage, devoid of romance and simply holding it together for the sake of the children.”
At which point, Zoe revealed that she had been out on a couple of dates over Christmas.
“I met this fab looking guy in the household cleaning products aisle of Pound Paradise,” she said, “he had just been about to chuck some fabric conditioner in his basket when I felt compelled to warn him that he was making a big mistake.
I told him, waste of time and money that, I said, those fabric conditioners, in actual fact, make your towels harder rather than softer. Then we struck up a conversation on the merits of biological over non-bio washing powder and before I knew it, he was asking me over to his place. He said I could show him the best setting on his machine for heavily soiled, while he cooked us dinner.”
Our interest had certainly been piqued at this point and we leaned in closer, for the full story.
He had a two bedroomed flat on that nice terrace overlooking the Mount. Very fit, liked to play squash. Cooked her a lovely Thai curry and then, on the second date, took her to that expensive restaurant just up from the 'Save the Donkey's' charity shop.
“Well, this sounds more like it!” I thought.
Then Zoe elaborated.
“All was going rather well and then he had to go and make a confession. He was a huge Madonna fan.That in itself would not have been a problem. When we went back to his place after our dinner at the restaurant, he insisted on taking me into the spare room to showed me the massive shrine he had erected in her honour. All her albums were there, and the walls were covered in pictures of her, pictures that spanned the last three decades of her career. There was a central table, groaning under the weight of promotional tat from her concerts. A plate with Madonna's face on it, an, 'I love Madonna' mug, some Madonna bunting, a pair of boxer shorts with Madonna's face on the front, a Madonna doll, and then, bang in the middle of it all, there was a copy of her book. 'Sex'.
Worse still, he showed me a pair of knickers that he claimed had once belonged to Madonna. He'd bought them on eBay. I mean, how gullible can you be? Standing in front of her window, there was a large cardboard cut out of Madonna in her gold pointy bra. Just as I was trying to make some sense of it all and somehow find reason behind, what looked like, madness, he suggested that we had sex there, where the cardboard Madonna could watch us perform a few of the fantasies depicted in her book.”
Flo, Jackie and I all agreed that that was a pretty bad turn of events and she'd been right to run straight for the door and into the throw herself into the nearest taxi.
Jackie, of course, had had quite a tumultuous year.
The break up of a marriage that she had totally believed in and had devoted herself to. Months of pain and anguish caused by the erosion of all that she had known and loved. Then the unexpected joy of a getting together with Roy and realising that, in truth, she would actually be much happier with him.
Then, Jackie really surprised us by announcing that she was pregnant.
“Wow, this is big news! What does Roy feel about that?” I inevitably asked.
“Roy is as thrilled as I am,” she said, and then went on to tell us something that she had never revealed before.
She had always wanted children.
“I know I said that I didn't, but it wasn't true,” she confessed. “It's just that Rick said that if I ever got pregnant he would have to leave me. Said he's already got three from his last two marriages, didn't want any more and hadn't really wanted the ones he did have in the first place. Because I loved him I was prepared to make the sacrifice and tried to live with the idea that I would never have my own family.”
“So, you have certainly had one hell of a year,” I said, “and what a great end!”
Flo, of course, had had her own setbacks, such as the tragic death of poor Dibbles, her lovely old ginger tom. However, she now had Nelson, who had become a beloved and major player in her and Harvey's lives, and indeed, that of their whole neighbourhood.
Flo entertained us with yet another tale of what Nelson had been up to recently.
A few weeks ago the neighbours, three doors up from Flo, had left their living room window open to air out the room while their little boy cleaned his hamster cage. The hamster was enjoying a brief moment of freedom, in a cordoned off area in the living room, just as Nelson had jumped up onto the outside the window sill.
“I mean, there's Nelson, he looks through and spies, with his one good eye, a big fat juicy hamster, practically laid out on a platter for him. It all happened in seconds. The neighbour was ever so angry, said she'd only left Ben on his own for a few minutes. Kept on about how devoted he was to the hamster and going on about how inconsolable he was.” I said to her, “it's hardly my fault, or Nelson's, is it! Fancy leaving a window open, how thoughtless! I mean, Nelson's a cat and a hamster's practically a mouse, we've all seen Tom and Jerry.
Some people really aren't cut out to have pets, they don't exercise enough caution. Of course, I offered to buy another hamster for Ben, but Margery insisted that it just wouldn't be the same. Chewy was unique. I don't think so, looked the same as any other hamster if you ask me. If she had just given the matter more thought, she could have pretended that Chewy had managed to escape the attack and was, most likely, hiding under the sofa. Then, she could have nipped down to the pet shop and, suddenly, hey presto, Chewy's been found! Lack of imagination that woman, bit dim if anything. Poor Nelson, I don't think the hamster snack agreed with him either, he had a terrible upset stomach afterwards.
I said to Harvey at the time, it's not Nelson's fault he threw up on your work overalls, he'd just had a very large meal. I mean literally, he'd bitten off more than he could chew!
Harvey keeps complaining about him, told me that the only reason he's recently taken up smoking again was because of, what he now calls, that bloody cat. He said that he couldn't go out of the front door these days without one neighbour or another complaining about Nelson's exploits.
Gary from over the road was blaming Nelson for all the dead birds he kept finding in the kitchen, said he even found feathers floating on the top of a jug of milk the other day.
Janice, four doors up is holding Nelson responsible for their budgie having gone missing and Pam, from the bungalow opposite, is even accusing him of being a jewel thief for goodness sake! She told Harvey that she had seen Nelson leaving by the back window with her string of real pearls in his mouth. I said to Harvey, what nonsense, I've not seen him wearing any pearls, have you? Harvey had to concede that he hadn't.”
Flo then said that she reckons the neighbours are all just jealous of them, especially since they have had the new water feature installed in the front garden. Once all the koi carp in the pond had been eaten, it had become rather redundant and something else was required to take its place.
“You haven't seen it yet Eva, have you? It's really beautiful. It's got two angels, with spilling urns, all made of stone, three tiers of cascading water and LED lighting. Much better than the Thomas's over the road. They've got a stupid cheap looking bronze effect cherub fountain, with no tiers or lights at all. Basically, theirs is no more than a glorified bird bath. I said to Harvey, if people are going to put bird baths on their lawn, who can blame a cat for showing a, quite natural, interest.”
“Anyway,” Flo reflected (as we ordered some more drinks and another bowl of nachos), “Harvey is now back at home, rooted to the sofa, leg up on a pouffe, watching sports all day and yelling out endless demands. Another cup of tea! Can of larger! Sandwiches! Bowl of nuts! It's not easy, I can tell you, and he still won't stop going on about Nelson.
That b****y cats just eaten the ham out of my sandwich. The cats coughed up a fur ball on my nuts. That bleedin' cat drank half my larger while I was watching the snooker, now he's kicked my crisps all over the floor. On and on, all day. I'm not sure the fall hasn't resulted in some permanent brain damage, to be honest. I'm run off my feet! Not the ideal start to the new year. Still, my sisters coming over to babysit tonight, so I can join you all in the 'Dog and 'Duck' later on and see in the new year with my friends.”
After lunch, we temporarily parted ways, so that we could all go home and rest up before heading out again in the evening.
Zoe had wanted us all to wear fancy dress. So we had decided to be different characters from the old classic TV soap, Dallas. I was going to be Sue Ellen and Spats was going to be JR Ewing. We had had a dress rehearsal the day before. Spats looked ever so good in his ten-gallon hat, although the cowboy boots were really quite comical.  I was going to wear a wig, like Sue Ellen's and apply loads of blusher and make-up.
Spats said I looked like drag-act. Which was rather unnecessary and I can only assume that he must have found my big, power-woman jacket, slightly intimidating. It certainly wasn't that easy to walk through any doors wearing those eighties shoulder pads.

A new day and a new year dawned.
Soon daily life was back to normal, or rather, as normal as it was ever was going to be.
Then, two weeks in, just as we were all going into hibernation for the next couple of months, I had the most shocking call from Flo. Harvey was dead!

 Another great book!
Comic fiction

So, you want front page news coverage?
Then you need to put on a show.
In this case, a fashion show.
With much to organise and excitement mounting, we follow Eva, the owner of a small town boutique, through the highs (and a fair amount of lows), as she works her way from booking the venue, right through to the final performance.
It's a comedy of errors.
So will it be all right on the night?
What do the papers say when the stardust settles?
Read all about it!


Here we have the all-new greatest old movies of all time page.
If you would like to recommend your own then why not share it with me on twitter

I have been trying to track this film down for years and there isn't anyone else that I have met that has seen it. Finally, I find a link. This is a wonderful, rare, touhing film and one of my favourites of all time!


Jane Eyre 1943 Trailer

Without doubt, the very best ever Jane Eyre film of all time. This is an absolutely gripping version of this great story. Orson Welles is brilliant as Mr Rochester and Joan Fontaine well cast as Jane. The young actors in the film are also excellent. It's wonderfully dark and atmospheric throughout. No other attempt to turn this story into a film can touch this.

Ace in the hole starring Kirk Douglas is an unmissably brilliant film. Kirk Douglas is superb in this chilling dark and utterly gripping story. 
Above is a link to a recording on Youtube ... though I highly recommend downloading or buying on DVD a full screen good version of the film. It deserves and is worth it.

Angels With Dirty Faces 1938

All time brilliant classic staring the wonderful James Cagney.

 James Cagney interview

Found this recent interview with James Cagney on YouTube.
Well worth watching. What a star.

To Kill A Mockingbird

Brilliant and unmissable film.