Radio: Written sketches and gags for topical shows like
DEAD RINGERS. and. NEWS HUDDLINES
T.V: Written gags and anecdotes for. 11 0 CLOCK SHOW
Theatre: As member of Liverpool Playwright's, I wrote 2 one act
plays that were showcased during Hope Street festivals.
OTHER. I wrote sitcom for BBC talent that was shortlisted by
their own judges.
I've. Written Greeting Cards' - Funny Range- for various
It was Christmas Eve. The skies were miserable and the streets dank and dreary. I was 8. My Mam was working harder than ever getting ready for Christmas, cleaning and baking and fussing about and my Dad was out of sorts. He was mostly a bad-tempered hypochondriac but he could be charming and funny and loving aswell. And we loved him. His temper that day was not improved by the discovery that there were no Palethorpe sausages for breakfast on Christmas morning.
He would only eat Palethorpe's sausages. He thought they were the best. He was always very rude about Wall's sausages. So I was bundled into my coat before I could protest too much and sent on a message to Villette Road where Adie's the Fishmonger sold Palethorpe's. Only, Adie's had closed early. My last chance was Walter Wilson's Grocer's Shop. Walter Wilson's had sausages alright but they were chipolatas, not proper fat sausages and they were skinless(even at 8 I knew this was wrong). They were also a nasty bright pink colour. Worst of all they were made by Walls.
I stared at the chill cabinet, frozen by indecision. These were the only sausages I was likely to find. But they were Wall's skinless chipolata sausages, not Palethorpe's. Damned if I did and damned if I didn"t. Time was running out. I decided it was better to have something than nothing and I took the independent decision to buy them, feeling a little bit proud of myself.
That didn't last long. There was murder when I got home, shouts of disbelief, in which 'Wall's' figured a lot, cries of "I 'told you!', lots of 'tch!' and shaking of the head. My Dad was behaving as if I had done something terrible to him on purpose. I tried to plead for sympathy. I did not think I deserved all this carry on when I had done as I was told as far as I could. He calmed down after a bit but the Christmas feeling was severely bruised and we were all a bit quiet before me and my brother went to bed.
There was no listening out for Jingle Bells that night, no delight in anticipation of the gifts to come. I was consumed by fury and determined to do something. I had to work out what I could do to turn the situation round and show my Dad to be in the wrong, as I believed he was with all my heart. I would show him!
I thought of those nasty looking bright pink chipolatas in the pantry downstairs and how much better Christmas would be if they had never been allowed in the house and it came to me that I could put things back the way they should have been. I had some money in a money box and expected more in my stocking. I would get up early, cook the sausages, eat them and give my Mam the five shillings they had cost.
I'm not sure if I slept at all. I was up at 5, dragging my sleepy 4 year old brother behind me. He always had a healthy appetite and a pound of sausages, especially Wall's, was a bit of a challenge for me on my own. I thought we could eat half a pound each but it turned out he wasn't very hungry at that time of the morning and I had to force and cajole him one sausage at a time. I think he ate three, maybe it was two and a half. And I, girlfully, ate the rest, even though I preferred Palethorpe sausages like my Dad. I could eat thirteen nasty sausages if I had to
When my Mam and Dad got up and I triumphantly gave them payment for the sausages, I was in more trouble. I knew I would be. But I sensed a moral victory. My Dad never apologised but he was a bit sheepish.
Later on I didn't feel like eating much Christmas Dinner.
This is how Fish and Chips should be:
First the fish should be fresh,
Fresh as the flick of a tail,
Tender, succulent but firm,
White, breaking easily into
Encased in a fine, light,
But completely covering,
Crispy batter with
Rococo frills and curls.
The batter must be cooked
Inside and out.
Fish covered in
Fat hot chips
Fluffy and soft inside
Or something else
You only need
Salt and vinegar
And somewhere to sit
So you can eat them
As quickly as possible.
You don’t need
If you must…
Best of all
Eat within the sight
Of the Sea.
Her stomach sank to the floor. Immediately she was taken back to every single Saturday afternoon in the back seat of her parent’s white Ford Cortina, being ferried around shopping centres to help with the weeks groceries. Her sister, two years her senior, would be jumping around the back seat on the right, behind their Dad, the family’s designated driver. She always chose to sit on the left hand side behind their Mum in the passenger seat, who would have a smoke in the car en route, while both girls choked in the back. The minute she heard the click of the lighter and the mashed up sound of gas and burning paper, she would immediately wind the window down, even before her Mum had taken her first full drag. She hoped the smoke would spare her, but the unsolicited swirl of nicotine-laced vapour would dance its way around the interior, hugging everything; upholstery, mats, clothing and hair. Nothing was safe from this unwelcome passenger. Eventually it would weave its way up her nose, creating an intolerable throbbing at the front of her head and a deep nausea at the base of her stomach. Any ventilation was pointless, especially in summertime, as the nausea just seemed to intensify with the heat, so she’d bury her nose in the nook of her elbow to stop any more smoke penetrating her nostrils, lifting her head up intermittently in the direction of the window to take a breath. With each one, she felt like her small, undeveloped body was inflating with toxic air and she wondered if the sharp, stitch-like pain underneath her ribs was what lung cancer felt like. After the shops they’d often visit great aunts who would also join in the chain. She could at least play outside and breathe in the fresh air and feel clean again, but in the car, although they were moving, there was no escape from the musty odour of nicotine smoke, old and new, that made her feel dirty. Yes, this was the Saturday afternoon smell of her young childhood years, and there was no choice in the matter. Now here she was, almost 35 years on, back living with her parents, both of whom had seen the light long ago and given up the dreaded weed. She’d been offered a two-bedroom house, an opportunity to create an independent life for herself. A place of her own at last she thought. She’d spent hours on Pinterest and Freecycle looking at ideas to do the place up and furnish it at the least cost possible. She’d keep it minimal, tidy and smoke-free, she thought. Returning with her best friend for a second viewing, she could sense that something wasn’t quite right. The vertical blinds she could tolerate for the time being. No, there was something that was getting up her nose. She showed her friend around. The cigarette papers that were stuck to the artificial turf in the yard raised the alarm, and back in the living room, there it was; the stench of stale, aged, cigarette smoke, clinging to the carpets, walls and blinds of her potentially cosy home. ‘There is a bit of a smell,’ said her friend.
George’s jam fritters | Life and style | The Guardian 14/10/2017
We love to eat: George’s jam fritters
55g plain flour
2 slices of sliced white bread Raspberry jam
Beat the egg, milk and flour in a bowl to make a thick batter. Spread margarine on two slices of white bread, sandwich them together with raspberry jam, then cut into four squares. Heat the lard in a big frying pan. Dip each square in the batter to cover. Wait until the lard is sizzling hot, then place the battered jam sandwich squares into the pan of fat. Fry until crispy golden brown on both sides. Lift the squares out with a fish slice on to a piece of kitchen roll to soak up any excess fat. Sprinkle with sugar and serve.
My sweetest childhood food memory is eating my dad’s jam fritters, as an evening treat. The recipe originally came from his uncle George, who made them when he was a chef in the army in the 40s, and then later, back in Liverpool, for his own offspring and my nan and her six children who lived next door, probably as a cheap, postwar dessert. My grandad had died in the second world war when my dad was just a baby, so as a youngster he went everywhere with Uncle George. A good impression was obviously made because Dad, also called George, became an army chef during his national service, later becoming a full-time butcher.
During the 70s and 80s, my mum and dad worked full-time and had four kids to feed, so jam fritters became a staple of our household menu as a quick, fun way to satisfy four constantly hungry mouths. Dad made them for us after Sunday dinner, and often as a midweek evening snack. Smoke would billow from the back kitchen, through the serving hatch, to every room in the house. We kids would fly into the kitchen like vultures, grappling for that very first, golden fritter.
Despite the fact that they were essentially fatty, sugary, stodge, I still hold a special place for jam fritters in my arteries, and my teeth will never forget them.
I think it's all over.
Head's above water
Emotions that annhilate the soul,
I carry on forward with new gusto
and hope... Suddenly... There's a
tap on my shoulder.
"We need to talk"
My departed unwanted guest still
here. This is GRIEF...MY GRIEF.
He plys his trade on bereaved lost
souls. Plays mind games too.
Maybe he's not that clever after all,
Maybe he just hides behind the sofa.
If my head's above water, then my feet
are sinking in quicksand.
Can't take much more, Nothing else
matters. Awareness and mindfulness
help me capture the essence of this
villain. And of course... time.
After many taps on the shoulder and
sleepless nights, grief really does go.
Can't be sure, but the instinct is good
Grief was right after all
Grief is tough love but above all, grief
is LOVE. I think it's all over.
IT IS NOW.
On the settee.
Of her cold
A Red Spitting
In the sea
I am almost
Outside the Hotel Window,
Chink and clink
Against the masts,
Singing us to sleep.
In the morning
The yachts are gone.
Here were Liburnians,
Straining to move
Heavy wooden ships
And change the world.
The leaky life raft
Made to hold 35 people
4 are dead already.
One is a child.
High Density Polyethylene,
Low Density Polyethylene,
We have turned
The World’s Oceans
Into plastic soup.
A piece of
Pale green sea glass.
Listens to a shell.
Can you hear the dying?
The distant sound
Of a fairground Organ.
The smell of fish and chips