Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 14 November 2015

Annus horribilis.

February 22nd I broke my arm.

Lingering chest infection from American airlines and air con.

A collapsed back from July to October.

And just when i thought it was safe to go back into the water on October 5th I got Shingles.

I was told by my health team that it was a result of being run down, immune system low, that it was about low self esteem and a feeling of failure. All and some of it true.

November 14th and Paris is reeling from the aftermath of ignorance. Dead people, the victims of Governments selling each other arms and not taking into account that when ignorant people get frightened they hate. They hate everything from Vietnamese waiters to a teenage music fans.

All my aches, and plans - and let me tell you that Shingles is the single most painful thing I have ever experienced - pall into insignificance when a moments imagination rests with the parents, relatives, and friends of the victims of unbelievable cruelty.

And will the suicide bombers go to Heaven? Will their acts of desperation taken them to a better place?

We are all asking what is to be done. We all have had enough of living under the black clouds of terrorism. As long as there is an arms race, as long as the powers that be trade one gun for another, as long as we invest in war - not peace - then we will continue to witness the vicious circle of injustice.

I am sending the only thing I can send, love and light. To Paris, to The Refugees, to the poor, homeless and to all the victims of greedy governments that simply do not listen.

God help us all.

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Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 25 October 2015

How grateful the dawter and I were to be able to get a week away in Lanzafeckingrotty.

The constant criticism is the curse of the Western traveller.........

The Lava walls were everywhere, the landscape bleak and Barron.

The beds too small and the 20X12 room so basic I knocked everything off my pillow side shelf, several times.

I used a blanket in the night and was semi naked by day.


We tried our best to eat our way through two huge displays of food, from salads to dead cow, lamb, pig. We tried, we really did, to obliterate the tureens of bad sponge cake and wobbly green jelly. My thoughts never far from the starving masses. Why 'ALL INCLUSIVE' should mean piggery on a monumental scale is beyond me. But all of us Germans, Russians, Brits and French queued at the trough and stuffed our face.

Everyone wearing their wrist bands - not I, I tore it up on the first night did not want to feel like I was a branded mule - scooped portions of food on one plate, enough to feed a village of 24,000.

We tried to use up our portions so that we could justify the 'all inclusive' status. We were being force fed by our own hand - inclusive holidays are all like this I am told - have never done one before, not sure I will do one again.

Met some lovely people and the 28 degree heat was needed. Th cool pool and the Golden Beach were worth every exorbitant Euro. The sleeping and reading and eating and drinking were just what the doctor ordered. But our location was short on beauty and long on lava moonscapes.

After six nights, an airpot transfer in a fifteen seater bus for me and her, a line of sun kissed travellers and then the delay at Lanzascrottie was all in a days vacation. The delay was dealt with well by a flustered ground staff. The friek storm lasted an hour but there was only a modicum of teeth sucking. The flight home felt less than three hours.

A bundle of money for a wrap, a drink and a mug of soup. Easy Jet style.

The drive home in my noisy car was welcome.

Two foxes and a deer; their eyes lit up in the headlights.

Like death arrival was inevitable. Like life all good things come to an end. All traumas are weathered, home washed sheets are adorable, the husband is a good addition and stews are on the menu again.

Nice to be able to eat just one plateful without feeling the need to fill it up yet another fourteen times.

We both look tanned and golden, but after my next bath I fully expect to look like I looked before I went.

A week on Radio Sussex then I'm home for a bit.

I am deeply grateful for my one week away.

I am deeply grateful for Lanzascrottie.

I am deeply grateful for my dawter and 'oosbind.

I am deeply grateful for my bed.

I am deeply grateful for my bathroom.

It's so nice to go travelling but its oh, so nice to come home.

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October sun

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 15 October 2015

The rain has arrived. The grey clouds have made the cottage feel dark.

The Camellias, outside the door have rainwater dripping off their leaves.

All day, drip, drip, drip.

The heater is on in the bath room.

I have been hugging a hot water bottle and wearing thick woollen socks.

I have been drinking hot soup and dreaming of sunshine and warmth.

1.00 a.m on Thursday 15th.

I've packed a small red case.

1 black swimming costume.

1 red bikini

1 patterned bikini.

The patterned one is so old it looks like those Airtex knickers we wore in the 60's, the ones that stretched out of shape.

The red one was bought in 2010 when I cashed in my pension to get us out to Costa Rica. I had lost loads of weight - due to the end of GFL - and had bought the red bikini as a testament to my new body. Whilst sunning myself on the terrace, the hammock swinging in the breeze, the palm trees swaying, the howler monkeys howling, the old git looked at me and said.

'I don't know who you remind me of.'

I thought it must be Ursula Andress walking out of the waves towards 007.

'I know.' he said. I waited.....

'Who?' I nudged.


He called me Goosey for the rest of the trip.

So I'm taking Airtex, Ghandi and a black swimming costume that is tighter than a tight pair of Spandex. I should care it's just me and the dawter overlooking the Atlantic and dodging the hailstones. I understand the Jet Stream is splitting in two and one fingerling is heading straight for the Belariacs.

I have packed my writing notebook, a reading book, a phone charger, a pair of shorts and three other items. I have a plastic bag with my questionable bottles and a little bag with remedies for hangovers, sickness and panic attacks......

Continue reading "October sun" »

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Radio Sussex

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 8 October 2015

The garden table is full of windfalls. Half the apples are brown waspy mush the other half shiny green and red.

I'm working on Radio Sussex this week so gardening duty is out.

It's a 6.00a.m. start. Shower, dressed, torch to the car. Headlights on and I'm off. I put on Radio 4 on and listen to the economic report. Marvelling at the conversation about more money than sense.

A little bit of Radio 2 and Chris Evans.

A little bit of Radio 3

And then BB.JAMES singing at me from my CD player.

I arrive just after 7.00, drive round the Queens Road bend into the BBC car park. So narrow that the wall has been chipped and crunched by better drivers than I.

Into the studio, up to the first floor to get the script. Down to the basement, clip on a mike call Tunbridge Wells studio, James turns the lanterns on remotely. The hot lamps are welcome, the studio always a little chilly so early in the morning.

After James, on the telephone, has checked me on the remote camera, and I have moved a little to the right, a little to the left, 'Jen, split the difference' I talk into camera. 30 seconds of the top story to give out the telephone number. Encourage callers.

Then its across the road for my porridge which is made with water, and a hot croissant for one of the team.

I eat my gruel in the studio, enter Mr. Miller my engineer. A screen is rearranged, so I can read cues, and a box to plug in my very own headphones is slapped on the desk.

A hand over to Radio Surrey, a little giggle. Then into the breakfast show studio and a tiny chat with Neil Pringle.

It's now nearly 9.00. Pre-records out of the way. I have sheets of paper with each story, reading the research between songs. Beware of dropping notes on the floor when a seriously important guest is on the line. Scrabbling between my legs for his name is not a good look. Out goes the news, in come the travel, I read out the teaser to get the callers, and then its the first disc.

And its a chat and a song, an interview and a song. Mr. Miller plays everything from Jesse Glynn to Buddy Holly.

Hot water and lemon, in the first hour, green juice for the second hour, more lemon water for the third hour.

I cant eat any more, old age and lazy muscles mean the tiniest crumb will potentially choke me. This morning I had a bit of an almond stuck on me vocal chords thank God for Billy Joel singing over my coughing. After glugs of water I was ok.

The topics come thick and fast, from Argos same day delivery to pensions. Writers, comedians, sad stories, funny stories, callers, experts. By 11.58 the last disc is spun and I'm off to get my car.

I get home by 1.00. Out into the garden to sit in the sun, all those apples accusingly pointing their stalks at me.

The windfalls sitting on the table demanding a juicing.

'I'll do it, I'll do it.' I cry, as the apples turn their sour faces to the dwindling sun.

Alarm set for 5.58 a.m. and it's tomorrow already.

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Mists and mellow fruitfulness.

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 3 October 2015

The leaves are turning from green to red. From green to yellow. From green to pink.

Yesterday I drove to Brighton and sat in for Danny Pyke on Radio Sussex, he's broken his collar bone. I'm sitting in for Danny again on Monday, and possibly all week.

My front tyre was flat, so called ATS, they were chockah, the old git said to pop in on the way back and make an appointment. They told me to come back at 4.00.

Got home and lay on a quilt in the garden. The hot October sun lulled me into a deep sleep.

When I awoke I had missed the appointment.

Sat at the end of the garden in the middle of the bending Borage, the slug eaten cabbages, the monumental dahlias, so big and white they look like they are made out of porcelain, sat on the bench in the sun and re-made an appointment for today. The boughs bending from the ripening apples, the lemon balm and sage as bushy as they could be. The runner beans, the courgettes, beetroots and carrots still throwing out their fruits.

Continue reading "Mists and mellow fruitfulness." »

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Primo Italian, Secondo too.

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 1 October 2015

I went into town yesterday for a meeting.

I took the Uckfield train. Stood in the sunshine and did some exercises whilst I waited for the little chuffer to turn up.

On the platform, opposite where the steam train club meet, there are vintage advertisements on the walls. Ladies and Gentlemen's waiting rooms and lavatories. A clock whose face is set in the 30's and a sense of history. Like nothing has changed since Jenny Agutter played with the railway children.

I stood looking across the tracks. Bird song - silence - rustling September leaves - silence. The platform, mostly empty, save for one man, two women and me. The computerised timetable told us that the train would arrive at 10.50, and bugger me if at 10.49 the shhussssh of the wheels on the rails didn't signal a perfectly punctual arrival.

I took my seat in an empty carriage, apart from a Chinese couple who were reading their telephones. I walked the length of the train to find the guard to buy a ticket - the station did have a ticket machine but they unsettle me. I'm always worried about losing my card and my patience.

Continue reading "Primo Italian, Secondo too." »

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silence aint so golden

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 26 September 2015

Forgive lack of blog.

bad back

radio sussex

Charity do

I will resume next week.

Thank you for your concern

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Ground Hog Day

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 18 August 2015

Well it aint Baton Rouge, but my next gig is Brighton and Radio Sussex.

Up at 6.00. Stumble into the bathroom. Stick out my tongue to see if I'm getting better, seems my body is beginning to slough off the toxins of the last month.

A bad back, that is being treated by Brian, is finally settling down.

Out of the bathroom, slip into my clothes, down the path to get the car, in the driving seat and at 6.21 I leave the comfort of my own garage.

A slow - no more than 45 miles an hour - drive. Through Lewes, into the tunnel, out the other side and 20 miles an hour into Brighton.

By the time I reach the pier, the clock tells me its just after 7.00.

Down the front, right at the traffic lights, up past the clock tower. Park outside the BBC. Knock on the door and the lovely Steve Cranford gives me his fob.

A trickle into the car park, that is so narrow I have to breath in when I attempt the 23 point turn to get my car in one of the parking bays.

Into the studio, and we're off.

Continue reading "Ground Hog Day" »

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