Wednesday, 20 March 2013

What's it all about Alfie?

Feel like I'm walking backwards, what is it all about?  Went for an interview at the Museum yesterday, walked amongst the dinosaurs, looked at the fossils and rocks and stuffed monkeys and shrunken heads.
The interview went well, so I don't know if I got the job or not, usually when it goes well, I haven't. But it was interesting and the interviewers were lovely. I am trying to get over my bout of homesickness and looking forward to moving to the next place. At least we can decorate and do things to it.

I have got to stop overthinking things - I have an IQ of 148, but the downside of that is that my mind doesn't rest it doesn't know how to.  Perhaps wandering through the Jurassic period during the day is what I need to stop me obsessing about things I can do nothing about.

The writing is going well I have more leads to research and IF I get the job at the museum I can afford to pay the poverty stricken Paul Getty to use some of his images for my book!! Yes sarcasm!!

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Cornwall again

Not feeling well today again, sick, aching, breathless. I want to be back in Cornwall to see the beautiful ocean rolling greeny blue and jelly like into the distance.  I want to go to St Ives to the galleries, but most of all I want to go home to my lovely cottage on the St Ives road.

Feels strange to feel homesick for a place I'd only lived in for 7 years where most of the inhabitants were unfriendly. Here I am in the Cotswolds, with beautiful scenery and honey coloured houses, working in some of the most magnificent properties owned by the National Trust, and all I want to do is go home.

I think it would ease the pain of life to look out the window and see the cows in the field opposite trying to clamber into the front garden, to hear Sue next door hoovering at 8 am just before she went to work. Go into my back garden and see the sea and everyones coloured towels flapping in the sea breeze. To see my dear cats in the garden, my Rose Samson and Sabrina. Have my son come down for his holidays. Sit on the sticky Sennen sand and look for the mer-people who are supposed to sing there at sunset.  A land of magic. Bereavement after bereavement - I don't know how much more I can take.

I spent all day writing yesterday which was a good day for me, and the sun is shining cold and bright today,
I have an interview next week for the Natural History Museum. We are buying a tiny weeny bungalow in a village on the borders of Oxfordshire and Warwickshire - we moved up to be nearer friends and family and so my husband could work - but I have no-one here now in this neck of the manicured woods, a few new friends that I hardly see and some old ones who live just as far away.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Mothers Day

The one Sunday I dread with all my heart.  My friends are all "Guess what the girls gave me for Mothers Day?"  and flaunt flowers and charm bracelets at me, "My son is so brilliant" one will say "he's taking me out to lunch and got me theatre tickets."  Another friend's house is full of roses courtesy of her son and daughter.

I just have an empty burning ache in my heart. 

I don't know where my son is, I wasn't invited to his wedding, I don't know whether he's happy or sad or excited or if his life has changed. I miss him and want to hear him say "Hey mum" on the end of the phone.
I don't even have his phone number. I'm crying as I write this, because after all he has done, I still love him,
he was my one and only and I put my heart and soul into bringing him up.

I looked forward to going to his wedding, he said I could go, then changed the date and venue at the last moment and didn't invite me, then he said I could go to the big celebration in the Summer when they'd saved up to have all their friends together, he promised me I could go. I wasn't invited to that either.

I have e.mailed him pleading with him asking him what I can do so that he will speak to me again - but he doesn't answer.

The shops shout Mothers Day in pink flowery cards and chocolates, DVDS and films, jewellery, every shop blasts it out at you. He was never very good at Mother's Day anyway, one year actually saying to me "I don't do Mother's Day."  I answered back "Well I do!!"

He's my only son which makes it even more sore, most of my true close friends saw how I brought him up,
the effort I put into him, the things I did for him, the money and love I invested in him.

I thought I could cope, I thought I could ride it out this year, it was only when I was standing in Tescos with tears running down my face and people staring at me that I realised that I will feel like this until the day I die.

His graduation day was lovely, hot and sunny and we hired a B&B across the road from the Church he graduated in, I paid for his fiancees mother to come across from Japan, and for her to stay in my cottage in Cornwall with my son and her daughter for a week afterwards, we had champagne and strawberries and laughed and talked together, afterwards we helped my son move for the second time to his new flat in Cambridge.

I haven't seen or spoken to him for three years now.  My heart actually hurts when I think about him.. I just wish I could go back to that day and hold him close and say goodbye properly.

Because I live my life with this great gaping hole in it that only he can fill and I don't think I'll ever see him again.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Cabin Fever

I have been working at home now since the Manor closed for conservation 4 months and I need to get out.
We have been snowed in, flooded in, fogged in, and today it's overcast and in minus numbers AGAIN.

I have written and re-written chapters of my book - phoned a friend, tweeted, blogged, e.mailed, cleared out at least 3 years of ancient  (2000) business accounts by shredding them and bought a garden incinerator to burn the shreds. There's more to do.

We've taken 4 boxes of videos to the dump, and there's still, my dear husband tells me eight boxes of finances to shred and burn - looking at all the work we did over the years and the surprising amount of money that passed through our hands during that time - made we wonder why we aren't millionaires by now!

We're not!

We surfed credit cards and changed banks for best rates and one of the letters we kept was from the HSBC saying that my husband was 42p overdrawn and that they had transferred 27p from his savings account to try and help re-dress the balance and could he come to the bank and discuss how he was going to pay the remaining  15p.   We peed ourselves laughing! This all happened because he changed his account to another bank - but considering the multi millions the HSBC handle and what has been happening recently in the banking world it seemed really funny.

Old BBC payslips showed I was on megabucks at one time and I spent it on private education for my son
and my mortgage after that there was not much left for me - so I lived on Mars bars and Twixes for lunch
and when he left public education - then we had money!  We used to go shopping for designer clothes,out to restaurants, I worked weird shifts at Television Centre so got shift allowance as well.

Aah those were the days!  Valued at work, exciting stuff to do, loads of friends and rellies always busy with fun stuff, my son being my best friend, all I needed was the perfect man in my life.

Now I have the perfect man - I have lost most of everything else - but life changes and you have to learn to deal with it, and after a period of grieving for the loss of my family and my job, I think apart from the need to get out, everything is finally getting back on track.

So I am off to meet my lovely hubbie for lunch in Oxford, I have blogged and tweeted and e.mailed - time to get into the real world for an hour or so.  Yeah!!

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Moving Experience

So we are moving again, this time to a pretty Oxfordshire village to a wreck of a 1960s house we will do up.
A lovely avocado bathroom, a kitchen which would look amazing in "Call the Midwife" a blank patch of grass that is the garden and no heating. The challenge is exciting, a blank canvas, we'll pull all the innards out and start again.

Sadly our castle has never materialised so we will have to sell some of our antique furniture and move ever so slightly into the modern world. I would love to live in a  huge17th century honey coloured Cotswold stone house with stone lintels and a big open fireplace with fire dogs.  A huge garden for my pets to roam and explore and the thing I want most of all at the moment a Blenheim Cavalier King Charles puppy.

But the 60s house has potential it's in a village we know well, the road seems quiet and there are views of the Church steeple and thatched cottages in the same street. It will be cosy (i.e. small) and we weren't looking to downsize but in Oxfordshire a small house is all we could afford. Having paid over £12K in rental a year to live in a house where when you mention to the landlady that such and such needs doing she smiles and says - "Oh thanks for telling us - we'll get that done when you move out." She is a lovely lady and does get urgent things done like the heating boiler which burnt out last week in minus temperatures. Whereas in your own house you just do it. When I rented my Cornish house I kept on top of the repairs because it can get expensive if you leave them and it's not fair on your tenants.

So I am now writing my book, getting a job,buying a house, speaking engagements, dieting, working at the manor, making 17c Clothes and doing websites, I am getting a bit tired, especially in the cold. For someone who doesn't have a full time job I have never been so busy.

But I can't wait to have my own house again and we will not have to deal with other people's decoration and bad plumbing, corny as it sounds it really will be a moving experience for me.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Cornish Dreams

Well Trevor Grills dreamt of making his fortune perhaps, or bringing the wonderful voices of Fisherman's Friends to the world, and his dream cost him his life in a freak accident.  Would he have changed anything?
I didn't know Trevor but I knew Port Isaac and Cornishmen and so I don't think he would have done.

Cornwall invades my Oxfordshire home, with paintings from John Miller, Judy Trevanow, and many others, and a pottery lamp made by another Fisherman's Friend on my sideboard to match the vase on the table.Seven years working and living there, cleaning my own holiday cottage and marketing it, selling my business of print and design alongside working as a temp to make ends meet.  I had three jobs in Cornwall most times.

It made me ill, the damp sea air creeps into your bones if you are not Kernow born and bred, but I loved it. Those who emigrated long ago for work, the Scots and the Welsh and the Yorkshire miners descendents live and are almost as accepted as those born and bred in the craggy land that drops spectacularly into the sea.

This time of year the sea fog crept in and stayed until March, the Pendeen Watch howled soulfully into the grey cold night, During the day Polish men and women pick daffodils and vegetables for the supermarkets on the hills above Marazion living in cold caravans and spending the pittance they earn in Lidl in Penzance.

The fire would crackle and spit and I would put potatoes into the embers and they would cook a smoky delicious crispy coat with a fluffy inside. Cornwall lives in me, the colour of the sea, the smell of the air,
my own pet seagull called Barney, so old he couldn't fish so we fed him and he became a member of the family.

I hope Trevor goes to a Cornish heaven, where he can sing to his hearts content and hear the waves crash onto the beach and listen to the seagulls circle and see his family and friends in Port Isaac getting on with life like they have always done, but without him, and missing him.

God Bless and God Speed Trevor and keep singing.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Nanter Part Deux - the return

Started Nanters with a Pikeman's kiss - a friend forgot he had his morion on when he tried to give me a kiss and dug me in the head - no damage done - I have a thick skull!!  A real Pikeman's kiss is when the pike go against each other and the sharp point of the morion helmet slips up and splits your opponents lip in close combat.  Met up with some of the KG ladies took their permission and their photos for my book.

Me? did you ask what I wore?  Urmm after 3 weeks of being snowed in and depressed and making most excellent cakes I found my kit had shrunk in the wardrobe while I wasn't looking.  So I wore my new arran sweater, nice black mini skirt, warm tights a big black coat and my new leather flat soled boots. I took my new camera and was a photographer for a day. 

I have never "cross dressed" in the Knot, that's wearing a mix of civvies and authentic kit, so if I'd have dressed up I couldn't have used my camera. I took photos of the march down, very slippy as the pavements hadn't been gritted, got some nice close ups of the army and the ladies, took photos of the Rosebowl drill,
KG came second, and when they all went to fight in the mud, I repaired to the Crown Hotel for a nice hot filter coffee and listened to the gentle sound of the piano player.

I then went shopping in the town and got a new pair of purple trousers (yeah I know but I like purple,must have been royal in a previous life!) then back to the 4x4 at the school to make tea and get some cake and sarnies on the go for my soldier returning from the wars.  I do LIKE a man in uniform!

Went back to the hotel and crashed out in the nice warm room then got ready for the evening went to the Indian Ocean - think it must have been under new management. It was being refurbished and I didn't recognise any of the guys serving. We waited an hour for our food to arrive and one of our party stormed out cursing(he must have had low blood sugar) as soon as he left his food arrived.(Sods law). There was a bit of discussion about not touching the food so we wouldn't have to pay but generally SK people are gannets so it disappeared.

I was starving, but had to eat light because I have a gastric ulcer (stress - don't get stressed not worth it) and it had been playing up recently and I am not supposed to eat after 9pm.  So not wanting to wake up with a mouth full of blood the next day I had a couple of spoonfuls of everything we ordered and left it at at that.

I was the only woman in the group and was fed up with man talk and needed to talk lace and dresses so we trawled the pubs trying to find the ladies as we were going in one they were coming out to go get their curry
the pubs were so crowded you couldn't get in unless someone left!

So a good night's carousing followed by a nice warm bed and the following morning a lot of very stiff Knotters limping to get their breakfast  Bacon Eggs Mushrooms Sausages Hash Browns Beans yeah and can you make that double? With double toast!   Good brekkie for me of Bacon Mushrooms Beans Tomato and toast. (Allergic to eggs - not keen on sausages unless I know what's in them and hash browns lovely as they are are too full of fat.)  Well anyway - quick drive home  pile the laundry in the utility room crash out
and recover!

It was the best Nantwich ever!

Thursday, 24 January 2013


Tomorrow we are off to Nantwich in Cheshire with our mates the Kings Guard, the town will be alive with 17c folk and tourists.The Millfield where the battle takes place will be a muddy freezing cold swamp. As I am known for getting injured at the drop of a hat I'll give it a miss. My hubby will go on and I'll go a watch for a bit, we normally all get together at the school at the top of the town, a chance to meet old comrades and chat about the winter, make arrangements to get together for a drink, choose which pub we are going to monopolise - The Black Lion is a favourite crammed to the gills with merrymakers in 17c costume in a 17c pub, the fire is roaring and the drinks expensive. The Black Lion is a code name for venereal disease - usually syphilis - most of the soldiers would have had this at one time or another if they used the facilities at
Love Lane!

I love the march through the town, I usually dress as a woman and drop out just as they go on the field., then I meet up with a friend and walk round the town, we went to the Church last year and saw the mouseman pews and the poor knight laid to rest with no feet as the stone of his feet had healing properties for sheep so the local farmers chipped bits off to help their flock !

I watch the musket firing and the Rosebowl competition - a drill competition that locals think it's ok to walk their dogs and shopping through while it's going on. It's only one day a year - and we bring loads of our cash into the town, so you'd think they'd walk round us. But no.

My authentic shoes really hurt by the end of the day, not being cut for left and right feet they take a while to wear in. So cold and painful feet and being stopped to have your photo taken every five minutes is usually the order of the day. At six o clock we repair to our hotels and have a shower and a lie down and a big cup of tea and get poshed up for the evening do, banqueting dresses and suits are applied to our now mud-less bodies and we're back to the town for a Curry and an evening of carousing.

The less brave of us leave at 1am before the rowdy nightclubbers come, go back snuggle down and talk about the days events. Morning a big hot english brekkie and back home.

Every Nantwich is different, this year one of the mainstays of the event will not be there, he died last year but last Nanters he was in the town square at the age of 90 dressed in his finery, and this year we will remember him as a fine old Cavalier.   There was the food posioning year, the ripped off year, the lock in year, the year I slept in the school hall, the year a sister turned against me, the year my hubby sang Swords of a Thousand Men" with a group in the pub. But all of them, and we say it every time when we turn the lock in our door when we get to our home "That was the Best Nantwich Ever!"

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Garlic Arrows

Trying to order Garlic this morning from the Isle of Wight Garlic farm and they have sold out already!
Yet another one of my multitudinous hobbies. Being a typical Saggitarian I shoot my  arrows all over the place and I wonder what it would be like sometimes to be really good at one thing again.

I make 17c clothes, I write,I paint, I draw, I read, I garden, I have rescue cats, I photograph, I design, I cook, not just the latest recipes from Hairy Bikers and Jamie but 17th Century food. I love my museum work and I love re-enacting, I love crafts and home-making, and birds and dogs. I love my husband.

Yesterday on what was supposed to be Blue Monday (the day when people are supposed to be at their lowest ebb and miserable) we both woke up laughing and joking. There was the usual thing about who stole all the bedclothes overnight (it was me.) and my hubby told me about a time at college where he'd gone to a party and was staying over and sharing a kingsize bed with three mates.  When he woke up he was lying star shaped having had a good night's sleep and all his mates were downstairs on the sofas. Apparently in the middle of the night he stood up in the bed starkers with a growl on his face and making fists shouting - "you want some of this? Do you? Do you?" growling and wanting a fight!  So his mates all left.  He was having a dream - and woke up and couldn't remember it.  Funny in itself because he is usually a gentle sort of guy!

So I told him about the time I went to a friends housewarming party and was sleeping in the spare room upstairs in my sleeping bag when - lets face it - I was plastered - I needed to get to the bathroom urgently to throw up, and I couldn't undo my sleeping bag, as I didn't want to throw up in their newly decorated and carpeted empty spare room, so I crawled like a caterpillar in my sleeping bag along the top hallway went to the bathroom threw up crawled back to the spare room the same way and fell asleep again.

See what did I tell you?  What started off about Garlic and being a Saggitarius ended up as something else as is always the way with me now. Grasshopper mind!

Thursday, 17 January 2013


Hate it. Makes me feel claustrophobic. For someone with Viking in their DNA I can totally relate to why they left Norway. I always feel the need to get out and do stuff make the most of my time.  Sometimes that means just getting away from the computer and from remembering facts and dates.  I look at the blank whiteness and I feel miserable, my hubby snowboards, but sold his snowboard years ago when we went to Cornwall where it never used to snow - how things have changed. When we lived in Cornwall, the locals not really known for travelling very far from home drove up to Bodmin Moor to see the snow taking children who have never seen it in their lives.

I have been in a car covered by a snowdrift and it was horrible, I have been trapped in my house by 6ft of snow outside it for 3 weeks and by the end of that time I was chewing the wallpaper out of boredom.

I hate living in my current house - no real fire - that was some compensation in Cornwall feeling cosy and hot - but rented houses with magnolia walls no fireplaces don't do it for me.

Well like every Vike before me and as it's Thor's Day I'm going out to explore. I'm going to pull on my boots wear my furry hat (unforunately no horns) and get out of my magnolia box.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Margaret Cooper-Evans

Having looked at so many Margaret Evans' on the web I'm going to have to change my name to stand out!
I thought about using my previous name Buxton, as I had a fair amount of success with that when I worked in tv but I was born Cooper. All the names in my English family are work names, Cooper, Turner, Smith, all the careers of my 17c forebears borne across the centuries by the work they did.

As a woman any plaudits earned are secondary given to the name of the man you have married. I love taking my husbands' (yes more than one) name I felt it made us family, one, a jointure.  But it was me who did the work, my first husband was quiet, not wanting to be noticed, hiding away from life. My current husband is famous by default, the man who gave a million little boys world-wide the famous Robot Wars title sequence
that marked an exciting night of smash and bash! Now copied by so many other designers for so many other things, he also designed the Who Wants to be a Millionaire, gave life to Mr Bean and Fred Flintstone and Wilma as computer games. Terrorised the gamesworld with Alien vs Predator and Judge Dredd.

Me, I had an altogether quieter famousity (I've just invented a new word, it's allowed I'm an author.)
Writing for magazines and newspapers, the odd tv appearance and they were, one thing I was asked to do and refused was to breast feed my new baby on camera.  No way!  Private! (you have to say that word with the Essex emphasis and wave your hand!)

Appeared on a programme about Barbie as I had and still have one of the original 1968 Bubble Cut Barbies,
appeared in Pepys with Steve Cooghan barging him out of the way in a theatre shot.  Lying dead in a field at Naseby for the History programme.  I also got many camera credits for my camerawork but now I want to be known for my writing.

Wow! I have had a fabulous life since I sat next to a 15 year old Dennis Waterman in a mock prize giving assembly in a film to encourge adoption that was made at my school.   To Famiousity and beyond!

Friday, 4 January 2013


The sticky smoke like grasping fingers of the old year are trying to reach into the new before it even starts.
I'm not going to let it.  This is a sparkly New Year with opportunities and adventures just waiting to be had.

I am going to write a screenplay for television, something I used to do long ago, and have had refused on many occasions. There was also one time one of my scripts had been plagurised by the TV company that I sent it to, and it was turned into a series sitcom. It was strange to see the little adventures I had written from my life being played out in front of my eyes with the credit given to someone else who didn't know me and wasn't there when these funny things happened to me.

Working for the BBC had it's downside, "STAFF NO FEE" was one of them. Anything you wrote, discovered, appeared in was upaid. You just got a little docket that said "Staff - no fee".

So the New Year awaits and I am going to grasp the hand of fate and give it a good shake and ask it to be kind to me this year.