Friday, May 23, 2008


Exam time is in full swing and I wonder how my meeja students are doing. I hope none of them has been cheating.

Apparently, two students (no idea which department) have been reported for using mobile phones during their exams. The invigilators believed they were using their phones to view notes – but the uni couldn’t confiscate the phones as evidence.

Staff were alerted in a email which continued: 'However, the introduction of a mobile phone into an examination room is an office in itself, as is failure to comply with the instructions of an invigilator.'

Mobile phone an office? Must have been a smartphone.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Bears of very little brain

I don’t know why I’m hooked on The Apprentice, but I’m looking forward to my fix tonight. Last week’s episode had me in stitches – it was a brilliant idea to send them all off the National Wedding Show at the NEC where they were clearly so far out of their depth that they should been broadcasting a Mayday from the start.
One bride-to-be looked on the verge of tears as Michael piled the pressure on in a bid to sell his wedding cakes, telling her that a traditional choice would look dull and be a disaster (or words to that effect).
I’m not surprised that no-one was prepared to put a deposit down on a wedding cake then and there. But I was surprised that Michael clearly thought his cupcake version was something special or different. Googling wedding cupcakes produces about 145,000 hits.
It would have been different if he had been flogging a cake made out of tiers of cheese. That, according to deli owner Nick Lindley, is the latest ‘in’ wedding food.
There’s a picture of one on the website. It’s apparently made with a base of Brie Meaux, topped by a Cornish yarg, a Colston-Bassett Stilton, an Italian Pecorino Rossa, a local White Nancy goats’ cheese and a soft Langres cows’ cheese from France.
I had to look up yarg. It does exist. But I am unconvinced that any bride worth her salt would rather plump for yarg than icing, chocolate, or even cupcakes.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Glass half empty?

I always suspected I was by nature a pessimist but this was brought home to me on Saturday when we arrived home after a trip to get an old buggy new wheels (joys of grannydom) and saw a pair of black, be-plumed horses waiting patiently in the street. “Must be a funeral,” I said. Then I noticed that the black horses were wearing white plumes and were harnessed to a carriage not a hearse. “Ooh, no, it’s a wedding,” I corrected myself. And indeed it was.

We have lived here for nearly 27 years (we moved in two days after the daughter was born, which was interesting) and this is the first time I can recall a street wedding. My daughter had already moved away before she married, as had the girl next door, and so far none of the other youngsters who are now 20- or even 30-somethings have tied the knot. But the block of flats opposite is now full of young couples who – unlike us back in the early 80s – cannot afford to rent, let alone, buy a house in London.

Quite of few of the neighbours came out to watch and wish them well. We think it was the bride’s mum in the pale green outfit with matching shoes and hat. The bridesmaids looked lovely in strapless, full-length garnet dresses. But the bride was truly beautiful in pale gold, with little lace cap sleeves and a bouquet of deep red roses.

We all clapped as she climbed into the carriage and the horses clip-clopped off towards St Barnabas’ church which is just round the corner. And I wasn’t the neighbour who observed that if I’d been the bride I’d have got them to go the long way round to get the most for my money. She just said what I was thinking.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Hatch, match, dispatch

Two weddings have been announced this week, by daughters of friends. The friends have already apologetically made it clear that we won’t be on the guest lists.

My old room mate from uni says her daughter and the intended have announced they will be inviting only those who share half their genes to the ceremony (and partners one assumes). Children will be banned.

They want a drinks party in the evening for their friends – with the emphasis on drink not food. The father who is footing the bill is not entirely happy about this and the elder brother has declared that a wedding isn’t a wedding without speeches and a sit-down meal.

The other friend – the mother of one of my daughter’s school friends and a founder member of our book club - says their happy couple has decided on a small ceremony at the local town hall followed by a drinks and nibbles reception to satisfy the crumblies (they are up to 60 on the FOTB’s side of the family alone), and then a party for the bride and groom’s friends in the evening.

I am very happy for both sets of mums and daughters and I’m sure both weddings will be wonderful, but it’s also a sure bet that will be plenty of drama between now and then.

The other exciting news this week is that the daughter of another friend is expecting her first baby – and she invited Mum along to see the grandson or daughter on the scan. A nice gesture, I tbought.

So that’s hatching and matching – and sadly there’s also been some dispatching. This week I made a donation to the Woodland Trust in memory of a writer I met relatively recently, but who will be just as fondly remembered as the journalist I worked with back in the 1970s whose rather jolly wake took place in an old Fleet Street pub.

Anne Robinson came which was rather unexpected, arriving with one of her ex-husbands, which was even more so. And nobody got drunk enough to quote her catchphrase in her hearing, which shows how much we've all grown up in the past 30-odd years.