Sunday, 19 February 2017

Angelina and Midi-Me go on a bear hunt. (Well, a walk.)

Mummy on the Edge
Families North West London
Jan/Feb 2017


It was the kind of gorgeous, sunny winter morning that would be photographed, superimposed with a corny platitude in a cool typeface and posted on Instagram. As we ate our hipster brunch of seeded toast, topped with spinach, parmesan, fried egg and chilli oil, in our sundrenched living room, my body tingled with let’s-do-somethingness and a cloud of fomo loomed large over my brow daring me to waste this gift of a day.

“How about a long walk,” suggested Midi-Me. I stared at her suspiciously and continued to chew my spinach. Not usually so enthusiastic about long-distance activity, Midi-Me had just signed up to the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award at school. It’s basically about trekking and plotting a course and eating cold beans and camping overnight in the back of beyond. I am guilty of neither lessoning nor encouraging her in this area of… I don’t even know what it’s called… outwardboundedness?? I feel this remissness on my part, I feel it deeply. Therefore I felt pressured to yield to her desire; my interpretation involved a pub linner (that’s an early dinner) and going somewhere not Bushey (where we live). “Let’s go to the Cotswolds! They’re far-ish but near-ish aren’t they?” No sooner than Midi-Me had agreed to this, I remembered we couldn’t leave the house till 1 as someone was coming over in the morning.

“I think it will take too long to get to the Cotswolds. How about the Chiltern Hills? They’re a bit nearer, I think.”  I consulted the google, looking at all manner of council and walking websites on the way that detailed walks with difficulty, the time they would take, and the area covered in each walk. The walks were long. And distant.

“Erm, I think it’s going to take too long to get to the Chilterns and we need to be back by nightfall. I need to be a responsible mother.”

And this continued. I looked at Lea Valley, which turned out to be further away than the Chilterns and then at Colne Valley. The area of our theoretical walk appeared to be diminishing concentrically, towards our house at its centre.

“I think we’re going to end up doing 3 laps of the garden, mum,” sighed Midi-Me.

We parked at Harrow View Point on Old Redding which is on top of a hill not far from our house and provides views across London. I would drive Midi-Me here to look at other people’s fireworks when she was little. It’s a place where snogging couples hang out. I’ve just looked it up on the google and someone has put in their review “It's like a movie scene right out of California.” Well no, not quite, but it’s no bad place to park your car before you commence an adventure.

On my little phone I had bookmarked the two really terrible maps I had found online of the 7km Bentley Wood Circular Walk, which would, in 2 and a half hours take us into the woods (da-da da-da, that we have daily over fourteen years driven straight past) from Grims Dyke down past Stanmore Hill and back past Bentley Wood High. We role played. Midi-Me was James Bond and I was James Bond’s sidekick who he finds out is his mother after she dies. I died pretty early on and then became myself as I couldn’t be bothered to role play. We chatted. We marvelled at nature. We sang Proclaimers songs. Midi Me got us to Stanmore Cricket Ground and then I panicked as the sun started to set and insisted we abandon the map and the woods in favour of getting back intact before darkness. To this day I don’t understand the route we finally took. It involved roads and also dipping back into the woods in search of shortcuts and then doubling back on ourselves when we couldn’t find anything except impenetrable trees. I shouted a few times (and may have stamped my foot) to make Midi-Me listen to me. (I know. I’m not proud of that.) By the time we returned to the car it actually felt like we had walked 5 hundred miles and 5 hundred more. But at least I redeemed myself on the outwardboundedness front.



Join me on the radio!! Thursdays from 10am to midday on www.thepulsehr.uk. Send your song requestst to: facebook.com/angelinamelwani * twitter @appleina * mynotesfromtheedge.blogspot.com *Instagram @mynotesfromtheedge *

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Playlist for Thursday 12 Jan 2016

How's this for a pic n mix of tunes to transport a forty-something back to her salad days when a packet of crisps was 12p?! 10 - 12midday every Thursday on The Pulse HR. Listen on the TuneIn app or HERE:  (Please excuse haphazard lack of capital letters.)

Lisa lisa - I wonder if I take you home
Janet Jackson - Nasty
Joyce sims - come in to my life
Loose Ends - hanging on a string
Terence Trent D’arby
Ashford and Simpson - Solid
Imagination - Body Talk
Shannon - Let the music play
Mantronix Got to have your love
Nu Shooz l- I can’t wait
Maxi Priest - close to you
Cheryl Lynn- Got to be real
Oletta Adams
U2 - Still haven’t found
Culture Club - Victims
Bjork - play dead
Simple Minds - Don’t you forget about me
Madonna - Borderline
Tears For Fears - Mad World
Luther Vandross - If only for one night
Kylie Minogue Where the Wild Roses Grow
Elton John - Your song
Belinda Carlisle - I feel free
Stranglers - Golden Brown
Bananarama-Cruel summer
David Bowie - Life on Mars
David Bowie - Modern Love
Queen - Killer Queen
Neneh Cherry -Woman’s world
Duran Duran - save a prayer
Billy Joel - Allentown
UB40 - Don’t break my heart
Pet Shop Boys - What have i done
Scritti Politi
The Police - So Lonely
Frankie Goes to Hollywood - Two tribes
Howard Jones - new song
Billy Idol - Eyes without a face
Abba - Slipping through my fingers
Janis Lan/ Ian - At seventeen



Train of thought on today's events.

I read this http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/10/veteran-spy-gave-fbi-info-alleging-russian-operation-cultivate-donald-trump at the end of October last year. Why is it only just coming out now and why is everyone acting surprised? They sat on this info and let the election happen without releasing it.

This whole showergate thing is good for Trump. Looking at twitter this morning, looks like it’s just be something else for everyone to laugh at and will detract from any present deals/ appointments/ changes/ repeals he's announcing. And it’s possible that it won't lead to any real consequences for him. If this is all they had over him, it wasn't much, really, in and of itself. I don't believe he would actually give a toss about it. We could assume that now it's out, it reduces Putins leverage but maybe it's just a bait and switch distraction. The world thinks that's all there is so the heat is off him. However they probably have something far more powerful in the bank to keep him acting in their favour. How he gets his kicks doesn’t really matter to me. What matters is the mentality of someone who is doing it out of pure venom for a perceived “enemy”- as Richard Branson said when he was recounting a lunch he had with Trump (http://edition.cnn.com/videos/tv/2016/10/25/rciahrd-branson-entrepreneur-erin-burnett-out-front.cnn).  

Also, as several people have stated on twitter: "The scandal isn't about pissing on a bed. The scandal is treason. And Russia, via Donald, pissing on the world."

"It's simple. Getting gratification from a kink - Not bad  Paying women to defile a bed a man you're obsessed with once slept in - Very bad"



I'm not shocked at all. It's not even making me laugh as this whole thing has turned me into a humourless freestanding shoe cupboard. I can just about do what I'm supposed to in terms of storing a certain amount of pairs of shoes. But I now feel like someone has tried to stuff too many pairs piled up untidily upon each other and it's too much. The door won't shut properly; random individual shoes keep falling out and being stuffed back in. I cannot, as a self-respecting shoe cupboard that needs to stay mentally on point to deal with a daughter that I have brought up and deposited into the world through no fault of her own, serviceably  engage with any more shoes. In this way my usually capacious appetite for digestion of current affairs (of all flavours variously- bonkers, disastrous, tragic) is impaired. I'm turning away when I shouldn't be. I shouldn't be burying my head in the collective bosom of of Real Housewives in active avoidance of engaging with current affairs. This scares me.  

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

What's the correct pronoun for an imaginary puppy?...


(And tune in to my debut on The Pulse Hospital Radio via the interweb.)


Since last week’s news, I have felt unable to engage with the world. The normal me would desire and even enjoy a discussion on how and why this great political history was made (or actually not made), and what circumstances lead to He Who Cannot Be Named winning the White House. But all I can do is mentally adopt a foetal position and imagine what life would be like if I adopted a puppy. A cute beigy-brown, yipping puppy. I am by no means a dog person. I’m not even a pet person. But I can see it now. I’m sitting on my sofa in my candle lit, hyyged-up living room, stroking this new beigy-brown puppy that loves me. He/ she/ it (what’s the correct pronoun for an imaginary dog?) is contentedly sitting on my lap, exuding love and warmth, its velvet fur rising and falling rhythmically with every gentle puppy-breath. Ahhhh…

(Wait, do puppies actually sit on your lap? Or is that just cats? I can’t have a cat. Mr Angelina is allergic. Yes, even to imaginary cats. Probably.)

I’m watching cute puppies and cats on facebook. And laughing babies. It gives me comfort and is an antidote to all the other stuff I’m reading. I can’t help reading it and now I’ve been on Twitter I realise how much I wasn’t seeing. Twitter goes much faster than The Guardian or my friends on Facebook or Newsnight or Have I Got News For You or The Last Leg or Trevor Noah or Last Week Tonight. I haven’t been able to watch The Daily Show or the last episode of Last Week Tonight since That Fateful Day. I will have to psyche myself up to do so soon as my Sky box is getting really full again. I’m going to have to delete some of those unwatched French films I recorded in 2007. And maybe the Oprah episode where she interviews JK Rowling but I pressed a button on that one to stop it from ever being deleted  because I thought if I kept it and watched it a few more times it would make me write a novel and I can’t remember how to undo it. Anyway, also on Twitter are memes and jokes that I see repeated four days later on facebook (so I can’t “like” them as they are now old) and on the popular topical news shows (so I can’t laugh again plus I now know they are as original as poor Melania’s speech).

On Twitter I found out about this secret facebook group/ page called Pantsuit Nation where HRC supporters hang out and offer words of encouragement and now, post-apocalyptic consolation. It is invitation only but my friend from the US added me so now the posts appear on my feed. Reading these posts makes me cry because people are posting awful stories about going to work and being faced with people rubbing their noses in the election results. On Twitter I’m following this @shaunking who is documenting all the post-Voldemort (damn, I said it) hate-trocities. [Ugh -I just made that up and hate myself for it- but frankly it was only a matter of time before someone did- if they haven’t already] that are happening around the U.S. in schools and on the street. I follow links to articles and news stories and personal testimony till late into the night and fall asleep, drunk on injustice and dread.
I can’t really do anything about anything. Impotence in the face of a darkening world can be wildly frustrating and even a cause for shame. But to counter this, I have undergone secret training in a studio in the roof of Watford General Hospital. Tomorrow, Thursday 17th November, I will climb the steps to the seventh floor and enter the dodgy area that looks like the boiler room setting of an 80s action thriller where the love interest is strapped with duct tape to some sort of large industrial pipe. I will step over the section of wall beneath the door and try to avoid the likely comedic outcome of getting my foot stuck in the bucket which has been placed to catch the leak from the roof. (It is very glamorous.) And at 10 o’clock, I will make a broadcast of cheerful/ borderline-hysterical levity to the patients of Watford General. I’m not making any jokes about that. It is a terribly serious endeavour. My training has qualified me to press Very Important Buttons. Which is more than can be said for He Who Cannot Be Named.



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