Tuesday, 26 October 2010

So last year!

In the episode of Ugly Betty that was broadcast on Sunday, on ITV, Mark said to Betty, after learning she was starting a blog, ‘Oh, welcome to six years ago... [PAUSE] That was uncalled for: welcome to two years ago.’ It got me thinking.

I haven’t posted for several months, but I always planned to resume writing at some point. However, blogging does seem rather passé, especially blogging about one’s misfortune. Although I have always tried to sound ‘angry’ rather than ‘crushed’ when relating unpleasant events, some of my posts must have sounded like annoying moans. I don’t want to read that kind of thing any longer – I find it tiresome and self-indulgent – and I’m pretty sure a lot of people don’t either. The only blogs that have lasted and are worth spending time on are those that provide useful information – or are amazingly beautiful to look at.

The number of visitors to Frag Name of the Day is increasing steadily and I will carry on posting there. As for Les Planches d’Outre-Manche, I don’t know yet...

Anyway, I would like to thank everyone who came here in the past few years. Hope you found Slap of the Day entertaining. Au revoir !

Wednesday, 17 February 2010


Yesterday, for the third time in a couple of weeks, I saw a woman wearing fur at my local supermarket. Her coat looked vintage (don’t you just love the way ‘second-hand’ became ‘vintage’ when the middle-class decided it was OK to use stuff that has already been used by someone else), but the other two had been wearing coats that were obviously new. And I don’t think those women weren’t Italian or Eastern European either. The fact that this was in Hammersmith, not in Mayfair, is indicative that it is about to become more acceptable.

I have to confess that I myself have worn fur in the past. My parents, who worked in the rag trade, had friends who were furriers, and two or three times (before the late ’80s, when fur became a no-no, at least in the UK, and you risked having eggs thrown at you if you wore it in the street) I was taken to their workshops and told to select a coat or a jacket. We’re not talking mink here; just something cuddly – and affordable. There is nothing like real fur for warmth and softness; synthetic fur can be very nice (items from La Maison de la Fausse Fourrure and Jan Kuperus, for instance, are wonderful), but it doesn’t age well – actually it doesn’t age at all, whereas real fur (as long as moths are kept away from it) is indestructible and always looks beautiful.

Before she died, knowing I would never want to wear it, my mother gave away her fur (a black astrakhan coat) to one of her neighbours, who didn’t have such scruples, but, later, when sorting out her belongings, I found a woollen coat with a silver fox fur collar in her wardrobe. I took the coat to a charity shop, but kept the collar. I have it still; it is lovely; it sits along the top of my armchair and I stroke it from time to time. It is old, the poor fox is long dead and nothing can bring it back to life so I have no intention of getting rid of it. At least I didn’t hunt the animal myself, like a neighbour of mine – a member of the landed gentry – who has several such trophies hanging on his wall.

If it were possible to obtain skins without hurting the animals in any way, I would wear fur again, but since that can never be I deplore the return of the fashion for fur. It may be another sign that we are going back to uncaring times. Apparently, as a journalist wrote in The Independent a while ago, there is a fashion in ethics too.


Update 24/02/2010: Twiggy agrees with me. She has publicly condemned the use of real fur at London Fashion Week. She said designers should be ashamed of themselves.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Frag Name of the Day – FIY

If you wish to know what the latest sound file is, look under MY OTHER WEB PAGES (at right). If you wish to listen to it, please log on to Frag Name of the Day.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Money down the drain

It would never occur to a printer (not the human kind – the noisy, breakable one) to poof off BEFORE a new – extortionately priced – ink cartridge has been put in (and cannot be removed because the carriage is stuck in an inaccessible corner). OBVIOUSLY!

Of all the peripherals, printers are THE most annoying. And expensive.

Slapping (and kicking) stupid printer!

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Quelle surprise!

Now that our hard-earned cash isn’t going to subsidise Mr Ross’s extravagant lifestyle* any longer – who on earth needs, or deserves, a salary of £6m a year – I was hoping he might be replaced by a woman. Preferably a mature woman. There are quite a few who would do just as good a job, or even a better one. I wanted to nominate Francine Stock for Film 2010 (her programme on Radio 4 is always interesting).

After a lout (Jonathan Ross) and a dinosaur (Barry Norman), it would have made a refreshing change.

Unfortunately, rumour has it that it will be an ageing rocker with a quiff**.

Sigh. And slap!

*Actually, I have no idea whether his lifestyle is extravagant – I’m not interested enough to find out, but with that amount of dough at his disposal it certainly should be.

** Mark Kermode, who I always thought was related to the great literary critic Frank Kermode. He isn’t. Yet another disappointment.

Monday, 4 January 2010

Frag Name of the Day – Serge Lutens

Earlier today, on a message board that I still read occasionally, people were arguing about the correct pronunciation of a French perfume house, and finally agreeing on an incorrect one, so I intend to record (and post here) a new name every day – starting with that of my favourite perfumer, Serge Lutens.

I hope all perfumistas out there will find it useful. Log in tomorrow for the next name on my list. What is it? Ah, that would be telling... 

Update (5/01/2010): I have just found a blog host where you can download any sound file posted by the blogger. Go here if you want to save the file for further reference.

I welcome requests, please don't hesitate to ask by using the comments form.

Thursday, 31 December 2009

Happy New Year!

Update (1/01/10): I hope you all had a good time last night. But not too good. To check the state of your gall-bladder, visualize a piece of toast dribbling with melted butter. If you instantly feel nauseous and clutch your right side, you have overindulged: you need to cut out all fat and alcohol from your diet for a while.

This is an actual test that was used by French doctors in the olden days. It should be revived: it does work. Try it!

Monday, 28 December 2009


I’m sitting here writing a post for Les Planches d’Outre-Manche with the TV on (with the sound off and out of my line of vision – the ideal setup) and I’ve just glanced at it and seen David Tennant taking part in some game show… GO AWAY, we’re all utterly sick and tired of seeing your silly face all over the place this Christmas!

Slapping silly face!

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Season of Goodwill

A lot of parcels get lost in the post in the UK. Millions of them every year, and probably a high percentage of those around now since so many are foolishly entrusted to Royal Mail before Christmas. (Actually, I believe this is the safest period mail-wise because every parcel is assumed to be a present that has to reach its recipient. Royal Mail employees called off the strike that had been going on for several weeks in October and November because, otherwise, they would have been lynched by their nearest and dearest, let alone the general public. Nothing, but nothing is allowed to get between a Brit and his/her Christmas cards/pressies.)

Anyway, if you agree with the above statement, could you, please, go and tell those neighbours of mine (a young couple from Thailand) who have accused me twice in the past few days of stealing a parcel meant for them. Notice I didn’t say ‘addressed’ to them because, apparently, the sender made a mistake and wrote down my flat number instead of theirs on the label. It goes without saying (but it’s even better said) that I haven’t set eyes on their blasted parcel: all parcels are left with the porter on duty at the time (I know, it sounds ever so grand, but I assure you it isn’t), who enters the name of the recipient – exactly as it appears on the parcel – and the flat number in a book (which you sign when you collect your parcel).

The young girl came to see me first. Her English is practically nonexistent, but I eventually understood she had ordered goods from a company somewhere and the parcel bore my address. I told her that if I got notification of a parcel waiting for me in reception and the parcel didn’t bear my name I would, of course, not collect it and let the porter know which flat it was intended for.

She seemed OK with my response, but the following day, the young man turned up and said – in slightly better English – that he knew I’d recently had a parcel: he’d seen my flat number in the book. The implication being that it had been theirs. Er, no, it is Christmas and lots of people get parcels and, however surprising it may seem, so did I. The parcel, as the name entered in the book indicated, had been intended for me. I also showed the guy the box the stuff had come in – with my name on it.

No doubt their parcel is lost, like all the other unfortunate pieces of mail that never reach their intended recipients, and I expect the company is refusing to send them a duplicate of whatever it was they ordered from them and will carry on telling them, ‘Sorry we made a mistake, but you need to sort it out with the person who lives in that flat.’ I feel sorry for them, but there is nothing I can do. Please tell them that for me – again. And tell them not to turn up on my doorstep any more with an accusatory look in their eyes. They also accused the porter – five times – of the same offence. Enough already! This is England: things will go wrong.


Friday, 11 December 2009