Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Dear David - Christmas Gift Ideas

Dear David

I am stuck for ideas for a Christmas present for my wife. I know she does a lot of ironing, so I was thinking of getting her a new iron. What do you think?

David Responds

This is an excellent idea, and depending on your budget, why not get a new ironing board as well? Go for one with adjustable height settings for added luxury.
For that extra special gift why not add an ironing board cover. They come in all sorts of colours and patterns. Imagine your wife’s squeal of delight when she opens her presents.

If you are still around in the New Year, let me know how you get on.

For more advice and tips on gifts for this Christmas, contact Dear David at the usual address.


Bit of an incident in stationery when I asked for a small hole punch. The lady brought me back a punch, but I said it wasn't what I wanted, what I wanted was a small hole punch.

This started a bit of a discussion as she said it was a small hole punch.

'No' I replied, 'It might be a small punch, but the hole it produces is large, what I need is a small hole, punch.

She gave me a look like thunder and snatched it out my hand - she nearly had my fingers off.

Anyway she disappeared and came back with a different punch - this time one that makes small holes!

Monday, 28 November 2011

Christmas City Lights

I have to say that there is quite a bit of doom and gloom around as we head into the Christmas season.

I have read that some local authorities are cutting the number of Christmas lights on display in town centres to save money there is even talk of some authorities cancelling celebrity ‘switch ons’ and having the mayor do it instead.

There is however no truth in the rumour that Miss Diane off of Crossroads has been cancelled and her switch on ceremony in Clacton will go ahead as planned. There is some doubt over the booking for Jeanette Krankie in Nantwich and Su Pollard has definitely been cancelled for Bridlington.

This is all very depressing as we rely on these celebrity switch ons to brighten up the dark days of December. If your town is facing such savage cuts, then don’t just let it happen. Take action by donating a light bulb to your council. Tell them you don’t want paying for it, and you are happy to lend it to them for the festive season. If everyone in your town does the same, there will be more than enough lights to bring a lot of festive cheer to all.

Top Tip - write your name and address in marker pen on your light bulb so it doesn’t get mixed up with all the others and so the council will know where to return it in January.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Laughing Donkey - A Birthday night out

Bit of a night out and a birthday excuse for a few drinks in the Laughing Donkey this week.

Things are picking up busy wise in the bars as we head towards Christmas and the Laughing Donkey even had the heating on. No Christmas decorations yet - but according to my friends the Boulevard Christmas show is running now until the New Year. (Other shows are available and can be booked online).

A couple of drinks and then over to the Bag of Spanners for a ‘cabaret show’ …it says here. If you haven’t been before, our host does a cabaret act of a few tunes, she unfortunately has only a small repertoire of Bette Midler, Julie Andrews and Lady Gaga. Although she did manage a Cilla tune - but wearing her Bette Midler wig (she doesn‘t get long between acts to change). Still it is free and the drinks are cheap. Although Rusty pet you might want to lose the Lady Gaga act as your outfit is getting a bit baggy round the knees. And I’m not too sure about your prop for your rendition of Julie Andrews ‘Lonely Goatherd’, it looked more like a cow to me.

Talking of drinks, special thanks to my friend who managed to get what seemed like a whole bottle of vodka into a single glass - I say glass, but in the Bag of Spanners the glasses are plastic - classy joint.

So after a bit of cabaret it was back to the Laughing Donkey - but no sign of the one that looks like her off of On the Buses, but we did have a group of girls who were the double of Little Mix - but a bit more like Dolly Mix.

We also had a lot of glass on the floor - the bar was remarkably glass free on our first visit, but the mops and buckets were out in force on our return.

So a few more drinks, in between the broken glass, and I vaguely remember going to a club - of some sorts, but I might have dreamt that bit. I do remember getting very wet on the way home, at least I think I did …

Friday, 25 November 2011

Continental Market

I had a bit of a look around our German Christmas Market, (although I think we call ours a Continental Christmas Market) to see if I could find any mince pies, (the ones with no lid and an icing topping). Made my way through all the stalls but I couldn’t find any - my quest continues.

But I did spot a stall with some nice looking pastries and speciality bread - at £3.50 a loaf it was a bit steep (times are hard and I’m not made of money) but it did look nice. Quite a few varieties to choose from, but after a little deliberation - organic wholemeal and rye it was.

My lady assistant was most pleasant, dark eyed and very fetching. Which part of the southern continent was she from, Milan, Barcelona or maybe mysterious Catalonia.

Had a bit of a chat (no queue) and she was indeed from the exotic south - Middlesbrough!

That took the edge off my £3.50 loaf but it was too late to put it back as she had it in a bag and ready to go in seconds.

She was a bit heavy handed and she flattened my carrot cake and my strudel Danish had seen better times by the time I got home.

Oh and the bread - hard as the hobs of hell.

So if you are going to the Continental Market give that stall in front of the Eldon a miss!

Celebrity Week

A look at this week’s celebrities:
  • Daybreak finally gave up the ghost with Christine and Adrian - and I can‘t believe they think the answer is to stick Eammon Holmes into it!;
  • Kitty lost her voice before going on stage at G.A.Y - so not all bad news;
  • Matt isn’t going out with Daisy anymore;
  • Pete is heading back into the jungle- and co-incidentally Katie is on the front page of a newspaper with the latest disaster to hit her;
  • George has pneumonia in Vienna and had to cancel a concert;
  • Gary says Amelia shouts her way through her songs - I said that weeks ago;
  • Harry popped into see David while he was in LA;
  • Someone bugged Katie’s pink Range Rover - wouldn’t have thought you would have to bug it, am sure you can hear it coming from miles away!;
  • Elle went outside without make-up on - but she was a little tired;
  • Stephanie decided she had so much to do that she couldn’t stay in the jungle any longer;
  • Lewis wants to get back with Nicole;
  • Rihanna spent Thanksgiving in Ireland with 100 turkeys;
  • While J-Lo was spending Thanksgiving in Hawaii.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Dear David - Grapes

Dear David

I sometimes buy boxes of grapes, after a day or two some of the grapes fall off the main stems, is it ok to eat these grapes?

David Responds

In the past these ‘windfall’ grapes would have been discarded, but times are hard and we must all make do and mend.

So rest assured, these grapes are quite safe to eat.

Dear David - Pies

Dear David

Is a mince pie a mince pie without a top or with just a star of pastry half covering it. Is it a mince pie when it is a 2" high puff of pastry with a bit of mince in the middle?

Yours pieless

David Responds

You raise some very important questions, especially at this time of year.

Although pies usually have a lid, technically, a pie does not need to have a lid to qualify as a ‘pie‘.

There is a temptation to call pies without lids ‘tarts’ but that is just a distraction and a different subject altogether.

Also there is a view that pies have to be savoury, but again this need not be so.

So to answer your first question, yes a mince pie without a lid is still a pie (even if it has a woeful topping as you describe).

Your second question is yes it is a pie, although it is a con as the puff pastry is an excuse to give the minimum amount of filling. This is a particular issue for your blogger, as I like flaky pastry mince pies but usually find the ones on offer a disappointment.

The best mince pies are the ones without lids on but have an icing topping - but getting these is next to impossible.

A further con is bar room meals where you order a beef pie and you get a ceramic dish with only a pastry lid on - that is not a pie!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Dear David - Christmas Pies

Dear David.

I have been trying to find those mince pies with an icing topping instead of a pastry lid, but I can’t find them anywhere. Can you help?

David Responds

These are my favourites too, but I am not sure they make them anymore. I think Fenwick’s of Newcastle used to make them like that years ago, give them a try.

If you find any, get me some.

Dear David - Christmas Party

Dear David.

I need a killer new look for the work Christmas party, but I don’t have much money. Please help.

David Responds

Ah yes the nightmare that is the work Christmas party. Polka dots are massive this year, but get the Stella McCartney look at a fraction of the price by teaming up last years’ little black dress with polka dot tights.

Go small with the polka dots for a classy look.

German Christmas Market

As you might already know, your blogger isn’t really a great fan of Christmas, it seems very complicated and an awful lot of work to me, but you can’t help noticing the increase in popularity of German Christmas markets. We have one in my home town, although I think ours is called a Continental Christmas market.

In fact they are becoming so popular I think I might go and have a proper look around for myself.

I did almost stop and buy something as I passed a stall last year (or was it the year before), but they wanted £5 for an apple pie. £5!

I might go later in the week when I am off work, but if I buy stuff now, it will have gone off before we get to Christmas. But if I leave it until the week before Christmas, it will be packed and they will have nothing left - see what I mean about complicated!

Oh - does anyone know if ours is there yet?

Monday, 21 November 2011


Just noticed Twiggy has a new album out for Christmas.  Thanks for the warning ITV1, I can’t bear her at the best of times. But hang on, how long has Twiggy been a singer?

She is even having a crack at Someone to Watch Over Me - God help us!

Note to friends and family, if you are plannig to buy me this rot for Christmas, I would rather have a box of Maltesers

Friday, 18 November 2011

Celebrity week

A look at this week’s celebrities:
  • Kitty created the most embarrassing moment on TV for ages;
  • Chantelle might be having a baby - you might want to wait until he has divorced the orange one first;
  • Kerry got chucked, because she is a nightmare to go out with - who would have thought that!;
  • apparently Justin isn't a dad;
  • Alex got £1 million for being married to the orange one for 11 months - which is about £100,000 a month so not a lot for a hazardous job;
  • Frankie had a night out with some scantily clad ladies - it does say ‘ladies’ here;
  • Martin isn't England coach anymore;
  • Nick is going to be new Countdown host;
  • Harry didn't want Peaches’ phone number;
  • Cheryl isn't doing Children In Need with Gary because she was sacked from X Factor - oh no sorry, it is because she isn’t well;
  • Trevor had a night out with his wife;
  • Kitty has been catty about Amelia;
  • Fergie will soon leave the Black Eyed Beans;
  •  Demi and A shton are definitely splitting this week;
  • Rihanna wore a snuggie - whatever one of those is; and
  • Lady gaga is round the twist.

Radio 4

I was flicking through the radio stations and stopped on radio 4 for a moment (I know!). This chap was singing a bit of a gloomy song and it seemed quite old.

When he had finished the announcer (they have announcers on radio 4) said to tune in later for more, and other of Queen Victoria’s favourite songs.

No thanks, your alright mate!

Dear David - Heavy Legs

Dear David

I have been told I might have 'heavy leg' disease. Can you tell me anything about it? I am very worried.

David Responds

I can see how you might be worried if you think you have this distressing complaint.

This is an alleged medical condition, described as an "unpleasant sensation of pain and heaviness" in the lower limbs. It occurs mainly in France (I am not surprised and I wouldn't put anything past the French), and to a lesser extent elsewhere.

The cause may be venous insufficiency or peripheral arterial disease, but it is generally thought to be all in the mind - not the legs.

Remedies (if you can have a remedy for something that does not exist) include drinking lots of tea, essential oil massages or walking in the sea!

Also you might want to think about avoiding ice skating of frozen rivers during the coming Christmas season and I would probably give up tap dancing lessons until your condition has cleared up!


As we head into the Colds and Flu season, I thought I would take this opportunity to clear something up.

If you have a cold\flu and feel dreadful and tell me about it I will be sympathetic.

I will ask 'have you taken anything for it?'

If you say yes, I will remain sympathetic.

If you say - no, you like to take care of your body and don't like to take drugs made of unknown chemicals and you will just carry on as best you can. Then I will not remain sympathetic and tell you to get a grip and take a pill - that is what they are for.

And in due course I shall remind you that you declared body was a temple and chemical free the next time I see you knock back 10 pints of lager and wolf through a doner kebab covered in chilli sauce.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Dear David - Hug

Dear David

I believe strongly in the power of giving people a hug. So far in my life I have hugged over 30 million people. I am currently in the UK and I would like to give you a hug, may I?

David Responds

No you may not.

Dear David - Moving House

Dear David

We are moving house soon and wondered if you had any advice to make the move easier.

David Responds

Moving house is never easy, so best prepare yourself for a difficult period and just try to get through it as best you can. But there are some things you can do to make the process easier. Follow my tops tips for a happier moving house experience:
  • This is a great time to move house as it gives you the opportunity to do some early Christmas shopping. As you pack your things, you are sure to find possessions you forgot you had and some you never wanted. Some clever re-wrapping and placing in a nice box with a big Christmas bow, will have your friends breathless with excitement when you give them their Christmas gift - and it will have cost you next to nothing!;
  • Collect all the junk china figurines and glass vases your great aunt Dolly has been sending you for years and place in a single box. Make sure the box is flimsy and write FRAGILE in big letters. Your removal people are sure to chuck it in the back of the van on moving day. If not, it is easy for you to identify when you arrive in your new home and you can drop it out of a window yourself;
  • Alternatively if you have to give Christmas gifts to people you don’t like - see the first tip above;
  • Take moving house as a new beginning for your wardrobe. Sort your clothes and mark for recycling\disposal anything you haven’t worn in over a year. Do this before you move. Don’t do what many people do and do this after you have moved. Doing it later rather sooner means you end up packing and paying removal charges for junk you are going to throw out!;
  • If you have pets make individual name tags to put around their necks saying ‘living room’ or ‘outhouse’. Your removers will think you are cute and take extra care with your belongings;
  • Separate out your Royal Doulton with the hand painted periwinkles and your fine china, take these to your new home yourself, don’t expect a remover to take extra care;
  • When you are packing, invite friends around for a cup of tea. Once your friends see what you are doing, they won’t be able to resist helping you pack. Let them pack your books and heavy items, while you sort through your jewellery.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Dear David - Facebook

Dear David.

Can you provide a beginners guide for 40 somethings new to Facebook?


David Responds

Ah yes, catching onto Facebook can be a bit of a challenge for anyone, not just middle aged men.

Knowing what to do can be a little difficult at first, if it was easy, Facebook would have understandable guidance on their help pages.

The area that causes most confusion is over who can see what.

I shall try to explain, (you might want to put your pipe down for this bit).

When you update your status all your friends can see what you say.

If any of your friends comment on what you say, their friends can see their comment and your original comment. They can also see all the comments anyone else has made on your original comment.

In the same way, if you comment on anything any of your friends say, then all of your friends can see the status update and your comment.

The best thing to do is assume lots of people will be able to see what you say, so keep it light, keep it friendly, and if you possibly can, keep it interesting!

For the options about posting information (or status updates as Facebook calls it), the main status people see is as described above.

If you want to see what is going on without accessing Facebook directly you can set a status to receive texts whenever anything exciting happens on your account. Check out account settings.

Posting on someone’s wall is much the same. A common mistake is to think Wall post are only viewable by the person involved - this is incorrect. I think only ‘messages’ are between the two people involved.

For your profile, keep it simple. If you record where you went to school, all the ratbags from school will be able to track you down and want to be your friends.

Ditto for place of work (no offence).

For your date of birth, at most put day and month, leave off the year to foil harvesters. Check out Privacy settings and I would suggest having the most secure settings until you become familiar with how Facebook works, then refine your settings as required later.

Watch out for Facebook suggested friends, this is quite clever, it is too complex to explain here, but the system will offer you people it thinks you know to make as friends on your account. Don’t rush to make everyone your friend, unfriending someone at a later date can be quite tricky.

Most of all - post something now and again!


Bit of a to do in Homebase.

All I said to the woman was 'have you got a powerful stun gun'.

She went mad, said she was going to get the manager and everything.

She knew I meant staple gun!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Dear David - Getting Ready

Dear David

I am always having arguments with my partner over how long it takes me to get ready for a night out. Please can you settle this for me, what time should I start getting ready for a Saturday night out?

David Responds


Sunday, 13 November 2011

X - Factor competion

How exciting - a competition on X Factor.

You could win a prize of going to Marks and Spencer in Barbados. You only have to find the missing word in the following song title.

‘the only girl in the ‘blank’

A - Kitchen

B - World

C - School.

This is trickier than it looks. It can’t be B - World as there are lots of girls in the world so that doesn’t make sense.

I don’t think it is C - School as there are always lots of girls in a school. Unless it is a boys school and then there wouldn’t be any. But it doesn’t really say whether it is a boys school or if it is mixed, so not sure, but I don’t think it is C - School.

That leaves A - Kitchen. It is a bit sexist, but I think that is the answer!

Saturday, 12 November 2011


Just been looking at a friend's collection on his iPod.

Where did he get that music from - not so much an iPod Nano, more an iPod Nana.

Get some new tunes!

Dear David - Groups

Dear David

Are Feetwood Mac and Pinkl Floyd the same group?

David Responds

Yes they are. Although I think these days they are called 'bands' not 'groups'.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Celebrity Week

A look at this week’s celebrities:
  • Abbey wore a cut away dress;
  • Tulisa is being pushed to the limit - it is so gruelling sitting next to someone you don’t like for a couple of hours a week;
  • Samia got divorced;
  • Christine and Adrian could be on their way out of Daybreak - again;
  • Lewis might have a new girlfriend;
  • I’m a Celebrity list has been confirmed as - Stefanie Powers, Mark Wright, Jessica Jane Clement, Freddie Starr, Crissy Rock, Willie Carson, Antony Cotton, Fatima Whitbread, Dougie Poynter, Lorraine Chase (I am sure some of these have been in before!;
  • While they were heading in - Frankie was heading out!;
  • Apparently Big Brother is still on TV - Is anyone watching it?;
  • Mike isn’t playing for England anymore;
  • Pippa had a row;
  • one of the first four act to leave X Factor is going back in;
  • Gary Barlow has done himself no favours working on X Factor;
  • Nicole has a pair of legs;
  • Anna and Enrique were on a boat;
  • the Queen had a day out in Margate, but the day was spoilt by having to spend it with Tracey Emin;
  • Theresa has had better weeks;
  • Jimmy spent all week getting buried;
  • Liz and Shane were at a London Ball;
  • while Jennifer and Justin wore matching outfits; and
  • Chelsey wont be telling us what it was like kissing Harry.

GM Daybreak TV Competition

Another GM Daybreak TV completion, you could win a car and gadgets you will never use worth £57,000 - and I think I have a chance of winning this one!

Which country is famous for reggae music?

A - Jordan

B - Japan

C - Jamaica

Well I have never heard Jordan sing reggae music and Jamaica is famous for ginger cake, rum and I think they play cricket.

So the answer must be B - Japan

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Dear David - Early Christmas Tree

Dear David

I noticed yesterday that, to my dismay, one of the houses on my street has already put up their Christmas tree. Would I be justified in requesting that the house occupants be sectioned?

Yours despondently on 10 November.

David Responds

You don’t say whether the tree is indoors or outdoors, but either way this is a most distressing situation.

I have long campaigned for an agreed, single, nationwide date for unveiling Christmas trees. This would end the uncertainty over when to display your tree, and give a magical ‘instant Christmas’ appearance to the whole country.

I have made little progress in my campaign for 15 December to be designated National Unveiling Christmas Tree Day, so unfortunately there is little you can do in your current difficult situation. But obtaining a section order would seem a reasonable course of action.

But please note you usually have to obtain signatures from two appropriately qualified medical practitioners for a section order to be valid.

Jimmy Savile

As you know, your blogger isn't really one for mixing with celebrities, but this week I was very firmly thrown into the glittering world of the stars.

I regularly stay at the Queens hotel in Leeds, and even the casual observer of the news in recent days can't have failed to notice the Queens has this week been the setting for a preview of the no longer with us Jimmy Savile.

There has been much speculation on this event, and in an attempt to dispel some of the myths here are some facts on the event witnessed at first hand (yes indeed) by your blogger:
  • Jimmy arrived on Tuesday morning and I was there to see the arrangements being made for his arrival;
  • I had a bit of a chat with one of the preview arrangers;
  • I wondered how they were going to get him through the revolving door at the front of the hotel;
  • On Tuesday evening I was there to see the lady from Look North (not sure who it was, I think it might have been Cathy Secker) do her 'piece to camera' (technical term);
  • The lady from Look North had a new black jacket for the occasion;
  • Look North items are not transmitted live, I saw the lady say some words at 18:20 and then in my hotel room five minutes later I saw her say the same words on the TV
  • The coffin was not made of solid gold (this disappointed one lady visitor, not sure she realised how heavy and expensive a coffin made of solid gold would be);
  • The coffin was not 'gold coloured', it was brown gilt at best;
  • Jimmy was held on display in the bar;
  • There were no bowls of nuts on the coffin;
  • Jimmy was not in the hotel overnight;
  • The visitors to see jimmy were a very distinct group;
  • There were not thousands gathered at any point;
  • A service was held at Leeds cathedral on Wednesday;
  • Jimmy is to be buried at a 45 degree angle in Scarborough on Thursday so he can see the sea;
  • Eternity is a long time to spend standing at a 45 degree angle;
  • The 16:57 to Scarborough was delayed on Wednesday (coincidence).

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Dear David - Santa

Dear David

I want to send a letter to Santa. Can you please tell me where he lives?

Sarah age 6

My mummy helped me write this letter

David Responds

I can’t tell you where he lives - he doesn’t exist.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Jimmy Savile

You might have seen Jimmy Savile in the news today as he is … what's the word  … on display at the Queen's hotel ahead of his funeral tomorrow.

As it happened your blogger was staying at the Queens the very same day!

I arrived early to leave my case and already there were cameras set up outside the hotel.

Inside the place was swarming with lots of serious people in black suits.

I made my way across reception and this lady with a clip board zeroed in on me.  Well I knew she wasn't staff (I know all the staff at the Queens and apparently I am quite well known in the hotel - wonder what that means?) so I was having none of it.  She asked me if she could help.

'No thank you' I said 'I'm just waiting to leave my case'.

'Oh' she replied helpfully 'I am sure the porter won't be long'.

This was intolerable - I said 'This is the Queens, it is a Concierge service not a porter.

Flaming cheek!

Monday, 7 November 2011


You might have seen the economic situation in Greece over the last few weeks\months and now with things getting out of control in Italy I am struggling to keep up. I thought the best thing I could do would be to write down what is happening and see if I can make sense of it all. Here goes.

Greece borrowed a lot of money so Greece owes a lot of money.

Greece doesn’t make a lot of money but Greece spends a lot of money so Greece has to borrow even more money. I’m with it so far.

Greece has borrowed so much money it can’t borrow any more so it borrows money off the rest of Europe to make up the money it hasn‘t got.

The rest of Europe want to help Greece out so it says there is no need to pay back everything it has borrowed, so Greece only has to pay back half of what it owes.

But that means that the people who loaned the money in the first place won’t get it back.

So if they only have half the money they thought they had, they wont have enough to lend Greece the extra money Greece needed to pay the rest of Europe back.

If Greece doesn’t pay back what it owes, then the countries that loaned Greece the money in the first place will have to borrow money to make up the shortfall.

That is what I think is happening now in Italy.

I think all Greece has to do is borrow some money off Italy and lend it back to Italy at a slightly higher rate of interest rate than Italy has loaned it to them and we should be all right again!


Exciting news in the world of physics with the announcement of three new elements in the Periodic Table.

The new elements are 
numbered 110, 111 and 112 and are called darmstadtium (Ds), roentgenium (Rg) and copernicium (Cn).

Just for information - Copernicium has been named after Prussian astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus and not after the character played by Kenneth Williams in Carry On Cleo!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Dear David - Asteroid

Dear David

I have seen on the news that an asteroid the size of an aircraft carrier is going to pass between us and the moon this week. Should I be worried?

David Responds

I too saw this news item and the scientist interviewed said it would appear from one direction and leave in the opposite direction. Very helpful!

But I have looked into it further and it would seem that this interaction with the asteroid is quite safe and there is no need to worry - although there might be a slight ‘whooshing’ noise on Wednesday.

But you might want to take the following precautions:
  • If you live on high ground consider having your TV aerial taken down for a few days in case the asteroid clips it as it goes past;
  • Similarly if you dry your clothes outdoors think about taking your washing line down for a few days;
  • Joan - you might want to bring your hanging baskets in until the weekend;
  • If you are quite tall, then keep an eye out when your outside, and it is probably best if you don’t wear a hat until the weekend.

Laughing Donkey - Fire Night

Bonfire night in the Laughing Donkey was quiet after all the excitement of Halloween last week.

I suppose they can’t really have fireworks indoors so it was to be expected, even her that looks like Olive off of On the Buses wasn’t out.

Still with fewer people out it gave your blogger a good chance to take a close look at what we are wearing for the coming season.

In case you missed it, top of your shopping list for autumn should be a large chunky knit jumper. These were much in evidence in the Laughing Donkey.

These ‘chunky knits’ are not to be confused with ‘hoodies’ or ‘coats’ worn by the newly arrived student set, acquired since the start of the new academic year. These visitors from distant lands like Manchester and Glasgow have yet to learn that coat wearing is not allowed in the North East.

No these chunky knits are a fashion accessory and need to be considered as such.

And as worn tonight by our very own high end fashionista Mr J, who was wearing his white cable knit in a bit of an ‘off the shoulder look’. Very fetching as it revealed his low slung vest and extensive body tattoos.

This look isn’t for everyone so think carefully before having a go.

I think his friend had had a few and there was nearly a fight when some drinks were knocked over (well if you will dance with your boyfriend in a tiny bar wearing an off the shoulder cable knit, you should expect these things). But fortunately it came to nothing as there was already more than enough glass on the floor!

Other than that it was a quite night with only Mr J’s cable knit jumper to brighten the night … still it will soon be Christmas.

I am already taking bets on the date the Laughing Donley Christmas decorations will be put up … how exciting!

Friday, 4 November 2011

Celebrity Week

A look at this week’s celebrities:
  • There was shock in a Hollywood club when Debbie Harry sang a song wearing only one glove - I don’t mean she was wearing one glove and nothing else, I mean she was only wearing one of two gloves that came as a pair;
  • Sinitta might be heading to the jungle;
  • Justin has a new hair-do;
  • Hugh had a baby girl - being a celebrity, we aren‘t trying to guess the name of the baby, we are trying to guess the name of the mother;
  • While Stephen and Alex had a baby girl too;
  • Justin might have had a baby - but that can't be true, can it?;
  • Wayne made his acting debut;
  • The Saturdays turned on Oxford St Christmas lights on Monday - which is confusing;
  • Kelly is feeling better;
  • Robert Vaughan is to join Corrie - yes indeed!; he is to be love interest for Roy's mother after she meets him on a cruise;
  • Anton said he didn’t’ think Nancy was a very good dancer;
  • and Holly isn’t in love with Artem;
  • X Factor gets ready for a double eviction - can we have a double eviction every week?;
  • Katie wore a ‘sexy Santa’ outfit - god help us!;
  • Kate wore a black dress and had a hole in her tights;
  • Renee wore a red dress - red dresses are so last season; and
  • Ronan is looking more like Beckham - but not quite.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Dear David - St Paul's ... again

Dear David

I currently work in St Paul’s Cathedral and a load of riff raff have camped outside. They are becoming very annoying, how can I get them to go away?

David Responds

Oh dear this must be most distressing, you don’t say how many people are outside but I think I saw something on the news and there looks to be quite a few of them.

Have you tried tapping the window and making a ‘shooing’ motion with your hand while at the same time slowly saying ‘Go Away’?

If this doesn’t work, try going to your front door and standing on the step and shouting down that your mam says they have to go away.

If they still refuse to move then you need to take more forceful steps. You will need to try and make your uninvited guests want to leave.

Have you tried standing on the steps giving sermons for several hours at a time, or passing a collection plate around the tents. Both of these used to work at my church and were great ways to get people on their way!

Dear David - St Paul's

Dear David

I am currently living in a tent outside St Paul’s Cathedral, but I‘m getting fed up with it. Do you have any advice on how to make the experience more bearable?

David Responds

Yes living in a tent can be fun (although your blogger can’t see how, but some people like it) but pitching your tent in the middle of London in November can have its drawbacks.

Try the following to get the most out of your rather unusual experience:

  • I have seen some of the tents on the news and they look rather drab, so I suspect you might be missing some of your home comforts. Brighten up your tent with some new curtains. You have plenty of time on your hands so think about making your own. A few metres of material and some thread will make a world of difference. With any left over pieces of material make matching cushions for that fully co-ordinated look;
  • Christmas is coming so with lots of time on your hands and no TV what better time to make some gifts to give to your friends on Christmas morning. If you are new to crafting, try a range of things, tapestry, knitting, macramé, there are so many to choose from, I am sure you will find one that suits you;
  • Now is the perfect time to take a critical look at your wardrobe, be ruthless and mark for recycling anything you haven’t worn in the last year;
  • You are sure to have met some lovely new people during your stay outside St Paul’s so give some thought to entertaining. It might be a little tricky to hold a large dinner party in your tent, but a small gathering with a few hand picked special new acquaintances will be a great boost to morale and give you lots to talk about in the coming days. And living so close together there will be no worries about getting home, so open a bottle of wine and make a night of it.
Let me know how you get on, I’d love to hear all your news!


Reading a report in the paper it said that they think humans got as far as torquay 40,000 years ago.

Well they must have booked ahead or it was in the winter because it's always packed!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Dear David - Bonfires

Dear David

I have been invited to a firework display on Saturday, but I have never been to one before. Is there anything I should know about this event?

David Responds

Ah yes now the clocks have gone back we have lots of rituals and festivals celebrating light.

The event you refer to - bonfire night - isn’t one of my favourites, not really into celebrating the torture and execution of a man, but a nice fire on a dark cold autumn night can be fun.

But be aware, bonfires can be fraught with danger. Follow my top tips for a successful occasion:

  • Organised bonfires are invariably held in the middle of a muddy field, this can seriously damage your christian louboutins, so take the glamour look down a notch and wear something a bit more serviceable;
  • This does not mean Wellingtons;
  • It is likely to be cold and wet, this isn’t an excuse to wear any old tat, you are still required to dress suitably for a night out;
  • Don’t go too far down or you might find yourself on top of a bonfire;
  • If you see some old sofas lying around - be aware these are not for sitting on;
  • If your event provides cooked food like burgers and sausages, avoid them like the plague. Eating dead animals off an open fire is not a good look;
  • Instead ask them if they will do you a baked potato, if they say they don’t do baked potatoes, hand over a couple you prepared earlier and brought with you, they can hardly refuse to stick them on the fire for you;
  • Be careful with sparklers, they can burn like mad!;
  • When the fireworks go off, don’t point and go ‘oooh look at that one’, everyone is already looking!


You might have spotted in the news over the weekend that Jimmy Savile is no longer with us.

I am not really a ‘celebrity watcher’ so I don’t really have many ‘claims to fame’ other than once years ago spending an evening with Dannii Minogue (long story) and an occasion when I was stuck in a lift with Miss Su Pollard (don’t ask).

I am sure this is a sad time for those connected to Mr Savile, but he wasn’t one of my favourites so I had thought this news would pass me by.

Until today.

I now learn that Mr Savile is to be in the Queens hotel overnight on Tuesday next week before his funeral on Wednesday. Which is where I will be staying that night.

I’m not sure what to make of it all!