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Fighting For Ellie: hump day

April 1st marked exactly 1 year since I passed my driving test. It also turned out to be my ‘hump day’ in terms of this whole amateur boxing situation that I seem to have gotten myself into.

me and joeane
Sparring with Joeanne before we were matched!

By ‘hump day’ I mean the day when I temporarily ran up against a fairly unexpected mound of ‘oh shit, I can’t do this’ and was faced with the decision of whether to turn around and run as quickly as possible in the opposite direction or put my head down and throw everything behind getting up the hill and over the top.

I say it was a decision but it wasn’t really. At least not a conscious one. There was no chance I was doing anything other than getting my head down and gritting my teeth above and below the gum-shield that I am absolutely not any sort of friends with (that thing is Lucifer himself inexplicably re-incarnated in a “multi-layer construction, latex free, shock-absorbing” lump of pure unadulterated sadism). I may be exaggerating, but it is taking some getting used to.

Now as you might have guessed if you follow this blog, I’m not a subscriber to the idea that there are some things that ‘I am’ and some things that ‘I’m not’ – or that I can do some things and can’t do others. Not because I think I’m some sort of everything-guru. Or Superwoman. Or Jennifer Lawrence – but because I don’t believe that those restrictions truly apply to anyone, at least not beyond the significance that we give to them ourselves.

Nonetheless I will say that fighting is one of the things on this planet that feels most alien to me. It just hasn’t been a part of who and how I am or what I do right up to this point. At all. A fact which has of course provided a significant extra psychological fence that I’m having to haul ass over to get to where I’ll be able to step into a ring in front of 800 people and not make an undeniable and irretrievable tit of myself and or lose consciousness for the first time (at least that I’m aware of) in my life.

So perhaps inevitably, the day came when the inner monologue that sometimes helpfully but most often irritatingly nags me through all of life’s many and varied experiences, decided emphatically that I was on a head-long collision course with a knock-out punch.

The sneaky pretend-revelation came half-way through Friday night’s Fighting For Ellie class at Millennium, where I felt a little out of my depth and behind the rest of the class. The class is very much mixed-ability and so there are a lot of people in there that I should fully expect to be playing catch-up with at this stage, but not everyone.

me and mac.jpg
More shots of me and my mates punching each other. I smashed Mac in this session, if you ask me!

So feeling like I’m lagging behind just 3 weeks out from the fight wasn’t at all welcome and lo-and-behold the hump jumped enthusiastically up out of the floor in front of me, giving it “why did you think you could fight, you lunatic.”

Like I said above though, there really isn’t a decision to be made at this point. I’m doing this and I’m going to do it well. That’s all there is to it.

Of course I’m not saying that I’ve ignored the experience of that class and how it made me feel about my prospects. Because I haven’t. I think that would be impossible not to mention very, very stupid and probably self-fulfilling. But what I realised very soon afterwards was that the only productive thing I could take from it was the realisation of how much work I need to put in between now and 23rd April.

Training diary for blog (3.4.16)
Doing as much colouring in as possible!

It’s sort of funny that ‘hump day’ should have fallen on the anniversary of the day that I passed my driving test because when I was describing what I meant by the temporary “I can’t do this” hump to a friend I used the example of my driving lessons, the last handful of which were tainted by the feeling that I’d never get good at that thing that’s now almost as easy and as natural to me as walking. That feeling that this was something that I just couldn’t do was what made me put in for my test when I did, so that I could employ the “well I just have to” instead (I passed with 0 faults)! And it’s a feeling that I love looking back on now with the context of feeling like I’ve been able to drive since leaving the womb!

So rest assured, I am going to get this down! (Sorry, Joeanne) 😛

One more thing! We’re all collecting sponsorship for our fights as an extra boost to the money raised by the event. If you can spare a pound or two to help spur me on over the Mother of all humps, I will be forever grateful (link below).

Sponsor me here —>

Love yas!
L xx

Here’s the closer from one of the recent classes at Millennium, where we all had to kneel down within the pink square on the mats and try be the last one remaining within the boundary as everybody endeavoured to man-handle each other out. It doesn’t frighten me at all that against all of the huge blokes in the gym that night, my opponent Joeanne was last one standing (well, you know what I mean)…

Fighting For Ellie: getting back on track

As I was driving over to Bothal Bank at 8am today in the kind of cold that’s reserved only for those clear, bright mornings that lure you into the false sense that it’s in fact summery-warm outside; only to quickly and violently remind your face and any other daringly-exposed patches of skin that you do indeed live in England and it is indeed still only March – I was looking forward to hill sprints just enough to make me think I might just have lost my mind.

Either that or I hadn’t actually gotten out of bed and was in the middle of a dream where I was embodying a way less lazy and more athletic version of myself.

With the Punch-Drunk run taking up my evenings last week, followed by a bank holiday that involved the gym being closed for Monday’s usual Fighting Fit and Pad-Smash sessions, I’ve been feeling the mounting pressure to get my head back down and get prepared for the fight that is now only 23 days away! I mean, I’m sure you’re thinking that I could have fit in workouts in the mornings during the Punch-Drunk run and done work outside of the gym over the bank holiday weekend. And you’d be right. And I did to an extent. There were some particularly gruelling hill sprints with Team Johbraker* on Sunday morning that I wont be forgetting in a hurry! (followed by a way more awesome 15 mile walk in the woods that you can see my snaps of HERE).

There are worse things to be distracted from the gym by, but still…

Regardless though, I definitely feel like I let things slip last week and into the beginning of this one – not an acceptable state of affairs considering the ever-shortening window before it all goes down and the fact that I’ve officially been matched-up with my good friend Joeanne Collis; who I don’t mind admitting I’m a teeny-tiny bit scared of!

FFE Go Fund Me Cover - no sponsor me


Joeanne gumshield
All smiles before I proper knack her 😛

I was back on it as of last night though, with Fighting Fit circuits ending on team hill-sprints at the harbour, around the corner from the gym. Those are the easiest of the 3 locations that I’ve done hill-sprints so far, it’s just a little hill and not too steep – but are still enough to require some substantial recovering from.

So, rather counter-intuitively (as is every element of this journey towards stepping into the ring for a fight despite absolutely not being what anyone would describe as ‘a fighter’) hill-sprints are to be the first thing that I do every day from now until 23rd April. And I’m actually looking forward to making a habit of smashing them before breakfast!

In other news, updating on the promise last week to go to this week’s Wednesday sparring class. Well. I didn’t. But I have enlisted my boxing enthusiast flatmate for daily lessons, ahead of throwing myself into the shark-tank next  week for absolutely definite! I’ll have photographic evidence and everything, promise!

One more thing! We’re all collecting sponsorship for our fights as an extra boost to the money raised by the event. If you can spare a pound or two to help spur me on in potentially one of the stupidest things I’ve done in a lifelong string of pretty damn stupid things, I will be forever grateful (link below).

Sponsor me here —>

Love yas!
L xx

*Team Johbraker is the name of our fight-team and I haven’t stopped laughing at it since it was announced a week ago. When we got our match-ups we were split into 2 opposing fight-teams and won’t train alongside our opponents now until the other side of the fights. Our team is coached by John Cairns & Liam Bowmaker and has been beautifully christened by them as ‘Team Johbraker.’ Nicely done, lads!

Fighting For Ellie: It’s On!

Today’s a bit of a big day in the whole Fighting For Ellie process, with weigh-ins and the submission of match-up choices at the gym tonight as well as tickets going on sale!

The last Fighting For Ellie event – the 3rd of its’ kind overall and the first outing of the partnership between Princess Ellie’s Trust and Millennium Martial Arts (hence it being christened ‘Season 1’ – was at Newsham Side Club, which is the 350-capacity home to the Punch-Drunk Blyth events. Tickets were to go on sale at Millennium at 5:00pm on a Friday evening and by 4:50pm the queue was so long – and it being September, everyone was waiting in the cold – that they started selling early and were sold out by 4:55!

This time around for Season 2, FFE is moving to Blyth Sports Centre which recently played host to the spectacular UK Comics Boxing: Fight For Kian and which can host a colossal 800 people. So this time the tickets might last half an hour or so!

Seriously though, I’ll be at the gym and can’t wait to see how fast 800 of these things go!

The Sports Centre venue is amazing if ever-so-slightly daunting! Fancy having your first ever fight in the middle of this set-up…

FFK set-up panoramic

So it’s a very exciting day in the FFE: Season 2 build-up calendar – but I do wish it wasn’t coming at the end of a week in said calendar that’s looking decidedly blank…

Training Diary for WordPress NEW

The forever-good-intentions of getting into the gym during the Punch-Drunk run faded, as usual, into nothingness and coupling that with less than desirable eating habits over the last week and I’m hoping I’m not going to be weighing substantially heavier than I will be in 4 weeks’ time after engaging full beast-mode tonight.

I promise that the next time you see that calendar, there will be a lot more colour happening because not only am I getting steadily more terrified as the hours go by – but comparing how I feel today to how I felt last Friday is easily motivation enough to get right back into it.

So I’m off to make some eggs and try to resist sticking bacon on too, I’ll check back in on how tonight went down, or might see you down there!

I’ll warn you now, this will be the first of many, many of these… Eeeeeeeeek!

L xx

Tickets for Fighting For Ellie go on sale TONIGHT!
(25th March)
Millennium Martial Arts

Standard tickets are £25 each.

Ring side at table with waitress are £35 each or £400 for a table of 12.


Fighting For Ellie takes place on 23rd April @Blyth Sports Centre – check the event page here for further details



Fighting For Ellie: holding pads and hill sprints

So my first training update – as many of them are likely to be – is all about first time experiences.

This week so far I’ve done my first Pad-Smash session at Millennium (Monday night) and my first Hill Sprints up the very beautiful but utterly sadistic Bothal Bank (Tuesday morning).

Like seriously, my little Phoebe Fiat 500 doesn’t like dragging her arse up that thing and my little legs have substantially less horsepower than she does!

It was also very nearly my first instance of throwing up as a result of working out – something that it would appear is some sort of uber-grim rite of passage for any serious boxing trainee. So I’ll keep you posted on if and when I achieve that accolade. I might even take a picture for ya 😉

As it happened today I narrowly avoided a spewing incident – but it was a close run thing.

The thing about Hill Sprints (Yes I’m giving ‘Hill Sprints’ capital letters. You would too. If you don’t respect them, they’ll kill you) is that your head will keep telling you that you don’t need to stop long after your body has quietly come to the opposite conclusion. This is because just as the uphill sprint gets too much and everything’s screaming at you to stop, you do, returning to the bottom of the hill in what in comparison to the uphill part feels like (undoubtedly doesn’t look like but definitely feels like) a proverbial jog in the park.

So guess what. By the time the short window of time has passed that gets you back to the bottom, the uphill bit now somehow seems like a good idea again. Well not exactly a good one but certainly a not-terrible one. Do 7 of these though and if you’re anything like me your body will eventually ‘put it’s foot down’ and use the threat of impending vomiting to convince you that the uphill bit is very much not a good idea any more. Yes only 7. But we’re talking firsts, here!

On the plus side, the photo below shows Bothal, of Bothal Bank fame. So it’s not the worst of places to visit first thing in the morning, even if it is a bit rainy…


Yep, Northumberland’s quite nice.

Going back to the other first of the week – Pad-Smash at Millennium on Monday night came directly after I had (if I do say so myself) kicked a Fighting Fit circuit class in the dick. It was super-encouraging to go in there and kick its arse because the last twice that I’d been in, Fighting Fit (a high-intensity circuit class) had unquestionably kicked my arse. The only difference really being that this time I was very aware that I had only 6 weeks until Fighting For Ellie and needed to start training in earnest. So I decided I was going to smash Fighting Fit – and I did.

Now the significance of this lies in the fact that I’m relying very much for the success of this whole process on the belief that by the very virtue of deciding that I’m going to achieve something, I can achieve it. So naturally this small confirmation of the fact that deciding I’m going to do something is the key to accomplishing it, was very welcome indeed.

Directly following the 45-minute circuit class and with my “let’s do this” head firmly on, after a brief water-break as the class members changed over, we started to warm up for an hour’s class on pad-work. as I warmed up I thanked the sadistic workout Gods that it was ‘just’ pad-work and not sparring, because I was sodding knackered already.

Now you’ll notice that I put the “just” in inverted commas. This is because since having that thought on Monday night I’ve realised the error of my ways and won’t refer to the pad-work session as ‘just’ anything, ever again.

Now there are pros and cons to doing pad-work with Gav Humphries as your partner. The pros include that he’s bloody good at holding pads (which it turns out is actually harder than throwing good punches, or at least more confusing) and a good pad-holder makes for a good training session.

The cons are simple – when Gav repeatedly punches pads that you’re holding  with the tiny hands on the end of your chicken-wrists for half of an hour-long session. It eventually gets to fucking hurt.

About 50 minutes in (so 95 minutes into my gym session all together) I asked Gav if we ever got to leave the gym again or if this was it. I mean I knew there was a second wind in there somewhere and that I’d finish the class but we did get to leave at some point, right? I needed to know there was a light at the end of the tunnel.

Thankfully it turned out we were allowed to leave. After a “burnout.” This turned out to consist of what felt like endless consecutive sets of straight punches, right & left hooks and upper cuts followed by burpees and press-ups. My self-consciousness about making a racket whilst throwing everything into a punch was very quickly wiped out. There was no way in hell I was finishing that without a peep! I managed it though and even managed to keep my face almost grimace-free while Gav took his turn at what felt like 7,000,000 punches. Then did star-jumps until everyone finished their own burnouts.

Let’s just say I left more than a little bit exhausted and after talking to a friend in the carpark for 20 minutes – very cold – as the once-warm sweat went cold on the back of my t-shirt.

I have to admit that I decided against a third first tonight by dipping out of the sparring class that I’d been considering. I’ve heard the sparring class at Millennium (where you make your way around the class practising sparring with as many different partners as possible) described as a shark-tank. And after watching one or two of them I can confirm that description to be terrifyingly accurate. But I’ve got to fight – that kind of being the point of this whole thing – so after a few more pad-work sessions and some practice at home over the next couple of weeks, I’ll have an undoubtedly hilarious account of my first sparring session for you.

This feels like leaving it a little bit late to get into those classes to be honest but with the Punch-Drunk gigs running Monday-Wednesday next week, Monday and Wednesday’s classes will be a no-go 😦

Guess I’ll just have to make up for lost time!



Thanks for reading!
L xx

Fighting For Ellie: f**k the comfort zone

Nobody who spends any marginally significant portion of their time on social media will have recently gone a day escaping the steady stream of inspirational memes peppering their various newsfeeds. And there’s one particular subject that’s no stranger to an inspirational meme or two that can be well summarised with a pretty handy umbrella-phrase. A phrase that I like so much it’s written on my fridge in industrial-strength sharpie.

Fuck The Comfort Zone

This sentiment takes many forms. So many that you probably come across it most days in one configurement or another:

“Do one thing every day that scares you”
“In the end we only regret the chances we didn’t take”
“If you want something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done”
“If it does not challenge you, then it does not change you”
“The person who risks nothing, does nothing”
“He who dares, wins”
“Nothing worth having comes easy”
“Your largest fear carries your greatest growth”
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”

It’s struck me more than a few times that we all use these sayings on a regular basis but few of us really employ them. In fact it seems like it’s the norm not to employ them – at least not on a tangible, practical, consistent basis. As a way of life.

Instead some of us post them regularly on social media and some of us scoff at others for regularly posting them on social media.

But they’re persistent, aren’t they? The words take different forms but the idea never gets old.

I could go all the way down the ‘conspiracy’ route (what I think of the connotations placed upon that word over the centuries will probably have to spill into another post) and suggest that someone, somewhere (in a broad sense of course, I’m not referring to one guy sat on his couch) maybe doesn’t want us to look all the way down the line on these ‘inspirational’ sayings and really understand and employ the meaning behind them. After all, we’d sure as hell be harder to cram into manageable categories like those based on our political persuasions, social classes or career choices, if we en-masse were living by those sentiments.

Of course I’m not saying that I’ve cracked the code for fully downloading the ‘fuck the comfort zone’ mentality and living life on the edge with a complete conviction that I’m capable of anything.

I’m not trying to pretend that I’m way cooler than I am.

But I do make sure to factor the knowledge that the comfort zone is nothing but a self-prohibiting illusion, into every major decision that I make.

I refer to it as an illusion because I don’t think people are too often happy when they confine themselves to what they think of as their ‘comfort zone’ and I’m not sure how a person can be comfortable in a place that they’re not happy. Put simply, I don’t buy that the ‘comfort zone’ is a comfortable place to be.

Anyway! What got me onto all of this is the latest major decision that I’ve made – which was to take my less-than-warrior-like body and complete lack of natural fighting prowess through some intensive training and into a ring in front of 800 people to fight on Fighting For Ellie: Season 2.

Fighting For Ellie is a renowned charity event in the one and only Blyth, Northumberland which has through it’s first 3 outings, played a huge part in Princess Ellie’s Trust’s incredible achievement of raising a phenomenal £100,000 for The Meningitis Research Foundation and the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, over a period of just 5 years.

This fourth event – the second edition to be produced in partnership with Blyth’s Millennium Martial Arts who have recently become an official partner of major martial arts equipment brand Sandee Thailand – is taking things up a notch or 3. This time the previously 350-capacity event will seat around 800 people in it’s new home at the town’s Sports Centre. Meaning that it’s set to comprehensively obliterate the already incredible £13,565.28 raised by the last event in 2015.

I’m all over it this time around for a few reasons:

Firstly and probably most importantly it’s an incredible cause that radiates positivity and pro-action in the face of disaster. Rachel and Dan Long lost their 2-year old daughter Ellie to septicaemia caused by Meningitis in 2010 and they have reacted to this tragedy by creating a legacy for their Princess that has inspired more good in and around their hometown of Blyth, than any other single organisation. Through their carrying of the bright torch that is Ellie’s sparkling personality, they’ve lit an enduring fire under our struggling community – and the sense that they’ve only just gotten started is definite. I’ll be collecting sponsorship for my fight from my community and hope to make a significant contribution to the fundraising achieved through this event.

Secondly – as Punch-Drunk has seen me start spending a lot of time at Millennium Martial Arts, helping out on their Home Show as well as Fighting For Ellie and producing our own fight-event in the shape of the UK Comics Boxing: Fight For Kian, which I’ll be talking a lot more about on this blog over the next few weeks – I’ve been hearing A LOT about the transcendent experience of getting into the ring, what there is to be learned from it and how much fun it can be. Not least of all from the rest of Team Punch-Drunk and particularly Gav Humphries. So I can’t let another opportunity to have a go, pass me by!

And thirdly – my belief in the importance of fucking off the comfort zone as regularly as possible. Not just refusing to let it’s pull affect your decisions but actively letting opportunities to remove yourself from it, decide your actions. I’ll be posting updates about everything that I inevitably learn from the process right here, if you’re interested at all 😉

Thanks for reading!
L xx

The Lesson of Emotions

A lot of work has gone into this post by my good friend. I’m sure writing it was therapeutic for him but the main intention is clearly to make other people smile. Well worth investing 10 minutes in!


“What is luck? It is not only chance, it is also creating the opportunity, recognising it when it is there, and taking it when it comes.”

Natasha Josefowitz

Life truly can be a tricky ol’ thing at times. Sometimes, we feel as if we are at the peak of our existence. At other times, almost within one split second, we can feel as if our world can come spiralling down on us, whether it all comes at once, or whether it takes its ‘roller coaster route’: starts out slow and then throws what seems like a million light speed twists and turns that can leave you feeling physically sick.

Occasionally, you can come across a person that can learn to take the good with the bad and shrug it off almost as if it never happened. But for some, the suffering of anguish is an all-too familiar feeling. I would…

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What about the Wealthy Pregnant-smokers?

My initial reaction to the news that cash incentives are being considered for sucessfully quitting smoking whilst pregnant, was total shock. I was completely astounded that anyone would suggest it, even more so that enough people would go along with it, or give it the time of day, for it to become a talking point.

After reading more and chatting about it, I’ve simmered down a little, as is usually the case because my reactions do tend to be a little ‘knee-jerk’ at times. Having read, talked and thought more about it though, I can see some of the reasons that a scheme like this is being considered.

But realistically, can we really go there? Can we really be comfortable with rewarding parents for finding more motivation in the promise of £400 than in the increased likelihood of having a healthy baby?

Let me explain my thinking here because I really do not mean to over-simplify things or throw around accusations…

To be clear about my position, I am a non-smoker and I have never carried a child. I’ve been around children all of my life, I have 5 brothers and sisters, a niece and two nephews and I consider myself to be pretty maternal. I don’t particularly like it when I see a pregnant woman smoking, as I’m sure most people will agree with what we now know about cigarettes, it’s never a very nice thing to see.

That said, I am not passing judgement on mothers who cannot quit smoking when pregnant. As I’ve said, I’m not a smoker and have never been pregnant, I’m not in a position to understand the reasons why some people cannot quit. I have both friends and family who haven’t been able to stop smoking while they were pregnant, as well as both family and friends who have.

I can also say with confidence that some of the best and most devoted mothers that I have the privilege to know and to learn from, have been unable to stop smoking while pregnant. Some were ill-informed about the dangers (and yes that is still the case even today, in some cases), some didn’t believe it was as dangerous as they were told, and some just simply could not stop.

It isn’t called an addiction for nothing.

To be addicted to something is to be both ‘physically and mentally dependent‘ on it. So as much as I hate it and would love everyone that I care about to stop doing it forever, tomorrow, it’s clear that smoking can become a significant physical and psychological element of people’s lives. Therefore surely it follows that as pregnancy is a time of massive change and anxiety in the best of cases, quitting smoking at that time may not be quite as easy as it sounds.

What I can’t find any wiggle room with though, no matter how much I try and what angle I look at it from, is this…

Surely if you can stop smoking for £400 worth of shopping vouchers, then you were always capable of quitting for the health of your child.

I am all for providing as much support as possible for women to quit when, and if possible even before, they are pregnant (the same goes for their partners, who are just as responsible and whose fumes can also harm the baby). Anything that can help increase the amount of babies born 100% healthy is always worth spending money on, as far as I’m concerned.

But to me this just seems like a way of continuing to encourage the attitude that is so rampant across a lot of our country (we are actually, on the whole, a pretty privileged society after all, whether we care to admit it or not) that everything, perhaps even the wellbeing of our children, is someone else’s responsibility. “If they give me money to stop, then I’ll be able to stop, but if I’m being left to do it alone, how am I supposed to manage?” That sort of thing.

The idea is to offer vouchers in stages, totalling £400 throughout the pregnancy, as a reward for succesfully engaging with smoking cessation services which already exist. That’s right, services that already exist and that you can access for free. So if you want that type of support (and think that it may work for you) it’s there. If you think that type of service will help you, then join it. If you do engage in these services but find you are unable to successfully quit (i.e. you’re supposedly one of the women targeted by this scheme), that is not something that I at least, would ever judge you for. But what I don’t understand is how on earth the addition of shopping vouchers could make a difference?

Put simply, if you are so addicted (which I fully believe you can be) that you cannot quit for your baby, how can you do it for money?

And thinking more generally, how could waves of people engaging in these services for no reason other than to take home their voucher, achieve lasting results?

Anyway, I don’t buy the idea that money is a motivator and certainly not one strong enough to convince a body and a mind that they no longer need nicotine. If I’m wrong and it is an effective motivator, then why is the money to be saved by not buying the cigarettes, not motivation enough to quit? With cigarettes costing what they do now, even when they are self-rolled and/or bought from a good friend who happens to go abroad a lot, it wouldn’t take most people that long to save £400 by giving them up. Probably less than 9 months, put it that way.

So say it’s true that the vouchers will in most cases be spent on essentials that the mothers-to-be cannot otherwise afford, then why would the money saved by quitting, not have the same effect?

The other thing that didn’t jump out at me when I first heard about the idea but seems obvious now that it has occured to me, is that this idea seems to suggest that someone, somewhere, is labouring under the frankly pretty disturbing assumption that the significant majority of people who don’t give up smoking when pregnant, are those who are in a financial position to see £400 of shopping vouchers as a reason to do something that they wouldn’t have otherwise been capable of doing. What about the wealthy people who don’t give up? They surely won’t see £400 given to them in instalments as an added motivation, certainly not a strong enough one to help them battle an addiction that has been likened many times, in it’s addictiveness, to heroine.

So here’s what I think may be the most important question to ask about this research – is an assumption being made that smoking throughout pregnancy somehow correllates with an individual’s financial situation, or dare I suggest it, their social class?

Why I Would Rather Try To Find The Funny Than The Meaning Of Life

Peg-o-Leg's Ramblings

Sir Loin of Beef Sir Loin of Beef

Some look at life’s journey as a pitched battle, and some as a noble quest. Either way, a smart knight should be prepared for the dragons he or she is bound to encounter along the way. My weapon of choice is a feather duster.

It has only snowed once so far this weird winter.  I took advantage of the unlooked for boon of ice-free roads here in the country last week and went for a walk.  My mood was somber as I set off down the road, well bundled against the bracing cold.  I needed the lift that nature always gives me because I felt lower than I have felt in a long time.

I was thinking about my dear cousin, Moe. She’s experimenting with multiple chemo treatments, locked in mortal combat with the cancer that has spread despite her efforts. We recently learned that her…

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Tonight I Watched Big Brother

So tonight I watched the first episode of Celebrity Big Brother and I made a decision… when I have my own home I’m not buying a tv…

For the first 10 minutes I was just plain angry. Raging in fact. Of course this is what they were aiming for, parading around the wonderful K**** H****** (I refuse to post her name and add to the results count when she googles it). But it wasn’t her hateful bullying statements aimed at fat people, ginger people, scottish people, the list goes on and on… no, what made me so annoyed was the fact that she’s still being paid to be on telly spewing them.

Not only is she on there but they’re playing her up as the Wicked Queen, as if her professional bullying is funny and makes her the most entertaining character.

Then the parade continued, some of them I recognised and some I didn’t (I should probably be ashamed of how excited I got over Kavanagh – but I’m not)! Some of them were booed and some were cheered in traditional pantomime style. It was interesting to see, though, how Alicia Duval talked about getting famous and sleeping with lots of people, and was loudly booed when she came out. Immediately after that a man (I forget which one) did exactly the same and was cheered like the stud that he apparently is. Lovely.

I carried on watching, really, really hoping it would stop being the K**** H****** show at some point but alas, it never happened… so it looks like at least the first part of this series will be based on continuing to celebrate the school bully in all her vindictive glory. Playing the game of forcing her to ‘pretend’ to be a decent human being to the other celebs’ faces while bitching about them in the diary room.

But the point that CBB is missing is that the overly bitchy, nasty pantomime villain portrayed by ‘she-who-must-not-be-named’ in her column and on tv, and now in the special lair custom-designed for her ladyship in the Big Brother house – is an act! She’s playing a character for a living and the time that she’s going to spend being forced (read allowed) to be nice to people is going to be easy, in fact it’ll probably be a nice break, because she’ll get to just be the plain old, nice, probably pretty boring human being that she does actually happen to be!

So I’m not the biggest fan of reality tv at the best of times (you probably haven’t read this far without realising that) but I am a bit of a sucker for the jungle and to be honest I wouldn’t have minded catching some of this year’s CBB if it had been sans KH, as there are some people in there that I wouldn’t have minded watching.

But I honestly don’t think I could cope with watching what that awful woman does for a living being glorified to that extent, while the producers sit behind the scenes like a poor man’s version of President Snow’s game makers, praying that she can’t manage to be half-decent and it all blows up. Just imagine the gleeful hand-rubbing when she makes someone cry, and oh the spike in viewers if someone does just smack her square in the face!