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Tag Archives: Bishop’s Stortford

Thank you for being a friend

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Spent a pleasant weekend down south last weekend, visiting old school friends. Not as many as I would have hoped to meet, but the ones I did see made up for the lack of enthusiasm from the rest.

Balls to them.



We caught up on who works where and with who. How our kids are. Where we’ve all been on holiday etc. We discussed Star Wars and crammed as much ‘plego’ as we could into a tub in Wilkinsons, using a plant pot to keep the lid in place.  There was loose threat of giving me a makeover as I scoured the shops for a hoodie (because I don’t have enough already).  I kyboshed that idea, fearing some kind of Pretty Woman/Sweetest Thing Movie Montage Scenario.  We had a decent dinner and had accidental espresso martinis and all got home in one piece, without hangovers the next day.




Tomorrow is GCSE results day.  Eldest offspring is quietly optimistic. I am sure she will do fine, probably better than fine.  Certainly better than me and Bman did at that age.  She is going into school first thing to collect them and then meeting us at the train station, for tomorrow is also Shambala day.  4 days of what could go either way for me.  Could be a glitter laden cider fest of joy and dancing. Or… feeling morose and pondering the meaning of it all from within my sleeping bag, whilst muttering “Man I hate camping”.

I’ll let you know… Xx


High 5 yourself if you’re still alive after 2016

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So it’s the final day of the year 2016 and time for my annual review.


Essentially, in the words often used in our house, when we were kids, when providing a synopsis of a film plot – “Everybody died”.  The day is still young so there is still time for Death to pull more names from his hat of finality.  This year has seen him taking rather too many for my liking.  For now though at least, I am still here and so are my nearest and dearest, which is what matters.

Despite the celebrity death toll, 2016 hasn’t been completely unfortunate for me.  I  have survived a cull of a different kind at work (for now at least), which saw other friends sadly fall by the wayside. My role has changed. It’s busier and often more stressful but do you know what? I still have a job and in these harsh times, I am grateful for that.

We have a new Prime Minister. Brexit happened – sort of – not yet – who knows when that shit will get sorted out!  There’s a new & controversial President of the USA. We lost British Homes Stores and it looks as though we lost Bea Smith on Wentworth too.


Socially I have reconnected with old friends not seen for many years, and that has been a highlight for me and reassuring to know that after all these years, they are still cheeky, lovable cunts. I may not have a massive circle of friends and I may not go out all that often, but I love the friends I do have.  I have even been asked to perform 2 marriage ceremonies for 2 different friends in 2017!


I have spent quality time with my girlies. My youngest is now in High School.  We’ve done a festival with my sibs.  I finally visited Brighton after threatening it for years. Had a great family holiday to Tenerife.  I have a new niece in Liverpool.  Bman and I have managed another year of not killing one another. We have a new kitchen (and another cat to shit in it). 

What’s next for 2017?  

     Investigating a haunted house next week.  Hooking up with old friends again in Bishop’s Stortford in March. A family holiday to Florida in April. A mum & girlies week in Tenerife at the end of July.  A return to Shambala festival in August and two weddings to officiate.  Also hoping to do Brighton Pt2 – The Return of the killer hangover, and get to see the lovely ‘Crap Possee Official’ at some stage, because it’s been far too long.  Looking forward to a Cards Against Humanity rematch including Bman, my brother & his girlfriend.  If only to see if we can possibly top my bro-in-law whispering the words, “erm, it’s dick cheese Paul” to my dad.


What could go wrong?

So, to summarize, in traditional picture form:-





Essentially how I have felt all year!


Baby Alan Lickman




Big fat Alan Lickman – in festive attire



Remember to trust your cunt in 2017!



Stay alive y’all. Be happy. Don’t take any shit. Brush your teeth. Try not to be too much of an asshole and remember that a little bit of what you fancy does you good.


Nostalgia & not being dead yet.

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Friday morning on a PE course for work.  I missed my pal & fellow inset terrorist Gene Genie, but managed to still arse about & have a laugh (whilst obviously also learning a great deal for my professional development).

FYI .  Year 5 boss pal can’t handle partnering me for a mirrored balance routine without falling out of her balance for laughing.


Quick escape home at lunch for shit, shower & shave & then I was off to the train station for a visit ‘darn sarf’ to my old stomping ground of Bishop’s Stortford.

It’s been a loooong time. 

I have fond memories (& some not so much) but mostly good.  Excellent friendships were formed, as I was 12 when we moved there & that age from 12 to about 18 is a great one for all the crap you get up to and the things you try.
If you’re lucky you’ll stay friends with some of these people for the rest of your life.  Thanks to social media we can now stalk track down those who’ve dropped off the radar due to life in general or geography.  We can exclaim at their apparent success, lack of hair, brood of offspring, relocation to sunnier climes & the way they actually (despite a few extra creases) look exactly the same really.

I enjoyed the entire process of the visit immensely. The outbound journey – despite having to change trains 3 times.  Music on. Book in hand, or staring out the window watching the world go by. Thinking about the time I’d spent in Stortford aged 12 to 14 & also aged 18 in the summer of 1990.  A misspent time indeed. Consisting mostly of excessive drinking, riding in cars with boys; unrequited love & an unsuitable mini relationship with a boy we nicknamed ‘Grand National’ for reasons I’ll just let you speculate upon. 


Arrived at my destination at 6pm & immediately thought I’d got off at the wrong stop. I didn’t remember anything about the station at all.  There certainly hadn’t been a cinema & nightclub complex outside the station!  I took a leisurely stroll through town to my hotel, taking it all in.  Had a shiver of je ne sais quoi, when I passed Woolies.  Of course, not a Woolies anymore, but as good as.  Same shit different name.  The railings still outside that we’d casually lean on, trying to look cool in our 1980’s pastel wear.

Checked into The George Hotel hoping to meet some of the resident ghosts.  Instead I was met by a receptionist calling down from the top of the stairs; taking me my room across wonky floors with hallucination inducing carpet.  She then informed me that she had “just put some purple stuff down my loo so would go fetch a brush to give it a swill round” She did indeed give it a swill.  Told me that it wouldn’t come off and then asked if I preferred bourbons or custard creams.



The building across the road, once a ‘Spoils’ (for all your defective crockery, glassware & soft furnishing needs) was now a lively bar with rooftop terrace.  The furniture store where my folks bought their first proper suite (& won a set of Le Cruset cookware at a cheese & wine evening) was also a lively bar.  Would my old school friends have changed as much aswell?

Thankfully not.

Spent the weekend having a real catch-up.  Drinks.  Late dinners & chatty lunches.  Laughing about getting told off for stealing random objects from school.  Making animal-themed tat in metalwork.  About using a naked centerfold spread of Madonna in an English lesson & when a boy in my year found a picture of me (it absolutely wasn’t!) in his brother’s girly mag & brought it into school!!

Had a look round the old alma mater (now extortionately priced houses). It was most tranquil & so lovely to be back there with such genuinely good people.

Then & Now

Then & Now

Met up again in the evening at a pub I swore I had never drunk in before.  The moment I walked in, I felt a rush of something or other (& it wasn’t gin).  The old synapses started firing & I was like “Holy Shit! I have been here!”  Later in the evening, on a visit to the ladies, I had an acid flashback  as I remembered having been in there on a flying visit circa 1993 that I had totally forgotten about.

Hadn’t seen one friend for about 6 years since she paid us a visit in Sadford.  The other 2 I hadn’t seen for 30 years!!
It was so great that conversation flowed without being stilted.  Smiles &  laughs all round all weekend.  Sharing life stories so far & reminiscences – some that I recalled with vivid clarity but others I had no recollection of whatsoever!  All with a random backing track of a Ghostbusters theme/Wacko Jacko mash-up playing in the background.

Good to know that despite not being much to write home about, somewhere down the line I might have made some small but significant difference to someone.





One long lost mate was unable to join us.  Very busy working in Belgium (so he said).  Thank god for Whatsapp so we could taunt him that we’d been chatting up his son in the pub.  (We hadn’t really although if we’d found him, we totally would have).  He’ll have to come &  join us next time.  Suspect that it may get messier for round two.  Not waiting another 30 years though.  A bunch of 70-odd year olds out on the piss is not a good look.





Just remembered the part about my friend’s mum saying that our hotel was rumoured to be a knocking shop!

As I leaned out the window on Saturday morning in my towel, I was slightly concerned that there seemed to be a bit of a queue forming below my window. I needn’t have worried. Obviously it was for the mobile fish van that had set up over the road.


 So no extra beer money to be earned after all. (Insert own kipper or salty clam joke here..)



Oddball neighbours, death (& a little bit of Micky Flanagan)

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I am of curious mind today.

Right now I am mostly wondering why my neighbour (ANB) has been alternating between sitting on his front garden wall and leaning up against his car for the last hour? 

Is he locked out of his house?  Has he had a barney with the wife?  Why isn’t he sitting in his car like he usually does (why does he do that?)

I know he sees me watching from the office window. 

I was peeping, yes, I freely admit it (and yes, I was hardcore and maintained the peep!) 

If he has nothing better to do, why doesn’t he shift that skanky mattress that’s been propped up against the front of his house for 6 months?

Also.  I watched the news and saw that sadly, 2 teenagers have chosen to end their lives in Hertfordshire by stepping infront of a train.  The head of their school read out a statement of condolence, there was talk of counselling for the students and of course the obligatory floral tributes.  Even a sign that advised mourners where to leave their flowers.  All very tragic and sad and I do feel for the family and friends. 

My question is this. When did the whole floral tribute thing begin?  It is so very normal now for people to do this but when did it start? 

Two of my friends ended their lives in exactly the same way in 1985, when I was 13, (also in Hertfordshire funnily enough and I have a sinking feeling it was the same dodgy crossing that has claimed at least 4 other lives since!)
I may be remembering this wrong but I don’t recall any statement from the Head,  counselling, or floral tributes.    I remember a girl on the school bus being distraught because her dad was a police officer or fireman or something and had been at the scene and she’d overheard him telling her mum about it.  She knew on the bus, what we didn’t yet, that it was our friend and her boyfriend!

   Maybe people did go and lay flowers at the crossing, but I don’t remember, I just remember it being a harsh lesson and a time of suddenly growing up (a bit).

Please do correct me if I’m the only one who thinks the accident-site floral tribute is a relatively new (like in the last 20 years I mean) thing.

Morbid topic of conversation I know but I blame a certain ‘Mrs Window’ and her R.E. class today which resulted in maximum tissue usage for the weepers and bubblers as we discussed the theme of death!

I may not have left a floral tribute or had counselling or be able to find a single thing about you on the information superhighway but I haven’t forgotten you Melanie…
….or Bevin, or Carl or any of the others – the car crashes, the grandparents,  the in-laws, the terminal illnesses or that boy in Y3, when I was 8 years old,  who just dropped dead in the dinner hall when we were stacking our chairs away!


Hopefully later in the week I’ll have something less dismal to babble about.


In retrospect P2

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Name that Tune:    “I am the raindrop out at sea. I cause the ripples that become the crashing waves” – Reign, Ian Brown

Movie Quote of the Day:   “I’m not simply frivolous you know. I never ever want to be taken for granted” – Mrs Henderson Presents


A loud comment in the right direction and stamping ones feet a little sometimes DOES still work, even though I am clearly 38 years too old to be having hissy fits about not getting a party bag!

I was presented with this, by one of the dinner ladies this afternoon with an apologetically belated chorus of Happy Birthday


Don't mind if I do!

Don’t mind if I do!

Speaking out and making a big enough fuss clearly does pay… there’s a lot of it about!

Well, I’ve had my 2012 retrospective and now it’s January 8th, which can only mean one thing…

     Cue swirling mists and those wiggly dissolving images to depict a flashback (topical) about to begin.

Back in a much greener painted kitchen, when I was less haggard, much slimmer and people still used Myspace, on this day in 2006, I started up this blog. 

Back then (as only a few of you will recall) it was called ‘Diary of a Desperate Housewife’ – hence the reason you may see tags for DOADHW attached to my posts.  I wasn’t desperate, and was shortly due to return to work at a real job with a real wage (but crapper holidays) from my second maternity leave, so I wasn’t technically a housewife either.  I had recently become engrossed in the TV show though and was blogging under that name long before any other imitators of the same name!

Since then it has also been temporarily (while I cyber hid for a while) called ‘All Hail the Jinna’ and now here we are with ‘Divine secrets….’ – a title magpied from one of my favourite books.



I wanted to use the internet to express myself and use it as a cathartic vent. I didn’t care if anyone read it (and still don’t) .  Some people did.   Some of them still do and have been along for the ride for many a year (god help them).  Some of them lived thousands of miles away but are now so much closer although alas, not on the old 508 route!  Ironically the very number of the beast, tagged in many a post, that attracted my blog to their attention all the way down under!

I have all those early entries on back up and wanted to reproduce the first ever entry for you here. However, technology is such that it was all backed up on floppy disk!  A-Drive?  What is this archaic portal of which you speak?  A-Drive? Eh?

I remember it going something along the lines of; comparing myself to someone from Eastenders who isn’t on it anymore.  I forget who, but it wasn’t anybody glam. 

I tried not to bang on about my kids as I didn’t want to be known as a Mummy Blog.  Mostly it was Alan Bennett-esque observations about Morrisons and shopping in Bradford and people who needed to use more conditioner on their hair….. Shit! I’m amazed I wasn’t closed down.  Still, there’s duller shit than that out there on the etheral plains of the cyber highway – trust me!

I believe in free speech and although I have offended some people and some friends have left the wolf pack (as it were). So be it.  I’m not apologising for saying what I think.  Don’t like it?  Sod off & go play on The Sims or whatever!

This is my modern day equivalent of a teenage diary, like the ones that came with a crappy little key and you got for christmas and spent all year blathering bollocks into and were shamed into shredding at the end of the year in case anyone found it. (I had several years worth of these, which I collected into a carrier bag when I was 14 and hid in a ditch behind the park on Knebworth Court, Bishop’s Stortford.)  Go and look for it if you like. Knock yourself out.  The park is long gone.  They built little houses on every last scrap of land up there years ago!

I may talk bollocks on here too just like I did in my diaries.  Just like the early 90’s letters (some of which DO still exist  – thankyou Wigster!)


Sometimes I’m told, I can be quite funny.  FYI, contrary to common consensus, I don’t always say what I think, because also contrary to outward appearances, sometimes I don’t want to upset people or hurt their feelings.  For everything that is said, there’s a whole lot more whirling around in my head that I don’t put down.  If all else fails it’s an excuse for me to inflict movie quotes and song lyrics on you and indulge in my passion for 1950’s pin up art.



I’ve only ever deleted one post.  Way back in 2006.  But I was a newbie at this and I very much regret deleting it a whole lot more than what was written, which was of course, brilliant (if slightly raw).


So, read.  Don’t read.  Whatevs.

But to quote another movie line…  “Hey!  See you in the next life!”

"Want to know how it all ends?"

“Want to know how it all ends?”

 Ciao for now Xx

Images courtesy of google image



I just re-read this and want to make it perfectly clear that this is not a  suicide note people!

Undervalued and overloaded

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Name that tune:   “I’d like to drop my trousers to the Queen.  Every sensible child will know what this means” – Nowhere Fast, The Smiths

Póg mo thóin!!

This is no metaphor – this actually is me, showing my backside to Payroll, because there’s nothing I like better than getting underpaid by over 14 Teaching hours!  Meaning that for the last month at least, I seriously HAVE been doing my job for love, cos it sure as shit wasn’t for the money!

If only it WAS me! 

I did once stop the  traffic (in a good way) with my backside, on Bishop’s Stortford High Street when I bent down in a bright turquoise lycra miniskirt to pick up some dropped change. 

If I did that these days I’d still stop the traffic but only when the drivers crashed as they shielded their eyes in terror, or in fact literally stopped it as they ploughed into me like a great big steel buttcheeked Yorkshire wombat!