Contains nudity

Contains nudity


Photos: Radio Times and the Daily Telegraph and Touchstone Pictures

Similarly devoted #TheArchers fans will not have been able to move for (tasteful) nudey photos of the female cast of the show in Lyndy Snell’s production of Calendar Girls, this year’s Ambridge Christmas show, which will be broadcast on the wireless this weekend.

Last month’s London DumTeeDum tweetup, that featured LovelyDeadNigel a.k.a. Graham Seed, was abuzz with talk of a corresponding tastefully-shot naked calendar featuring some of us Tweetalongers. Even yours truly was asked – I assumed they were joking – but I even considered it for a little while, soon realising that prior commitments, amongst other things, would prevent me from taking part. Not to worry though, because even before that tweetup, @Dumteedum had managed to garner the services and studio shots of about nine willing volunteers. Having seen Ms @Jojosexyheels‘ putative contribution, I know I could never match up.

Reassured that the incipient calendar will not be filthy smut but, rather, done in the best possible taste, I await the ordering details. It will go well in my pantry, though it’s a little chilly in there for long-term baring of flesh.

In case you have just returned from another planet, Calendar Girls was a stage play and film about Women’s Institute women from all walks of life raising money for their local hospital by producing a calendar of tasteful nude shots. Actually I think I was at a stage in my life when I used to fall asleep whenever I entered the warm, dark environment of a cinema so I can’t say I remember much about the film.

Lots of people have a go at this every year, from Pirelli to the French Rugby Team, most of whom seem completely unabashed when displaying their all for the camera, but I think I’d be a bit more modest. It got me to wondering about what I’d use to conceal my assets if I were to pose for this sort of calendar, all in a good cause, of course.

Maybe it would be a tray of the infamous brownies that never go right or, as I might prefer, a music stand holding an opera aria score. Maybe I’d be concealing my chest with a filigree fan. More likely I’d be behind my ironing board, iron to shirt.  If I can do it, perhaps my friends might. There might be, say, a friend holding sundog training dummies; someone with a casually-slung saxophone. Perhaps another friend would use a strategically-placed hairdryer to conceal her embonpoint. Another might have a spreadsheet showing companies that had been rescued from going bust.

Who else is there?

One friend might pose behind a magnum or two of Champagne; another might be carrying a bowl piled high with Tabbouleh. There would be several carrying laptops and at least one friend might be standing behind a baptismal font. Some would be holding little dogs or a cat – very carefully; some might be sitting behind sewing machines or microscopes or wrapped in an academic gown. The picture in my head – always far more vivid than the pictures in front of my eyes – is vivid and true. Each woman is smiling with confidence at the camera, knowing she is doing a good thing.

Have you ever considered doing a nude photoshoot for a charity calendar? If so, what would you use to maintain your gravitas? How would your friends pose? Or perhaps you would just not bother with props and stand there in all your naked glory like some of those French rugby players. What do you think?




Meet the latest addition to our family:






We’ll give her a week or so to find her feet, though I’m not sure she can under all those feathers, and then she can start work. But what is her job title? Suggestions please.

Also in today’s post bubblewrap that does not pop:


How disappointing! What sort of joysucker thought that up?

7 Reasons to celebrate wearing glasses

I have recently learned that, without glasses, my eyesight once again does not meet the minimum requirement for driving. I had suspected this for a while: I go to a lot of concerts, as you know, and these days I have to don glasses to make out who is who. Otherwise I risk grinning at someone with whom my daughter is not that friendly. (Actually this shouldn’t be that difficult: clarinets don’t like flutes. They get along with saxes and oboes, but only just. And brass might as well be from Mars. You get my drift)

I am lucky to be entitled to a free annual eye test because my dad had glaucoma. So far I have inherited no trace of this painful disorder but I make sure I have the eye test, just in case.

This time, however, my marginal prescription, 15 years after Lasik changed my life, became a little more serious so instead of being mealy-mouthed and apologetic about my glasses I decided to go for a bold look:


Frames from Dolce and Gabbana. Lenses from Boots

Granted, there’s more than a trace of Amy Farrar Fowler from the Big Bang Theory to this look but it’s strong and bold and I like it.

Reasons to be happy to wear glasses:

  1. I can actually see stuff. Which comes in handy when driving; being at concerts: watching TV
  2. Being shortsighted means, thankfully, I can still see to put my make-up in the right place. I pity those poor folk who are longsighted and can’t.
  3. Being shortsighted with a very longsighted OH means that I can see up close to put on my make up but he has no idea how I look.
  4. Wearing glasses makes me look serious and intelligent and means that men are more likely to at least pretend they are looking at my face.
  5. My glasses cover up the bags and shadows under my eyes. Especially the sunnies. Useful.
  6.  Wearing glasses highlights my cheekbones. Always useful when other things are rapidly going south.
  7. I feel able to wear prescription sunglasses indoors without looking like a divot. And when you are wearing sunglasses, you can watch people without them knowing.

Polaroid frames; Boots lenses


The cost of ageing

I have just about managed to pick myself up off the floor. Dizzy with the shock of the bill, I wheeled past the Krispy Kreme donut stall in Bromley and sought immediate comfort in a strawberry glazed. Of course, I felt no better afterwards, and the sheer pain of it all had become overlaid with a miasma of guilt at yet again turning to eating carbs for comfort.

What caused this horror of horrors? I’d just been presented with the bill for my new glasses: an ordinary pair and a pair of prescription sunglasses. I have now reached the point where it is illegal for me to drive without glasses. Again.

I first found out about my short-sightedness at the age of 7 when my parents received a letter to say that the authorities had found a DEFECT in my vision. Even at that age, my shame in my imperfection knew no bounds. I cried and cried and felt awfully ashamed at being so defective but didn’t talk to anyone about my feelings because I don’t think there was anyone around who would listen.

My parents eventually took me to the optician’s to measure me up for those pink NHS framed glasses – do you remember them? There were utterly dreadful and didn’t suit me at all but this was not a concern to take seriously. So great was my embarrassment and shame that I never wore them and I can probably blame the non-development of my hand/eye coordination on the fact that I simply couldn’t see properly.

A succession of cheapest and ugliest possible frames that I’d never wear later, including being forced to change and wear glasses in order to learn to drive,  and finally I had an income and a credit card and contact lenses. Which suited me well until I realised that they had become uncomfortable and unsustainable. I don’t like the concept of daily wear disposable lenses. I don’t like the concept of disposable anything, really.

To cut a long story short I had LASIK surgery on my eyes in 2001 and never looked back. Honestly, it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done and improved my confidence no end. Suddenly I was having debates and argument with all sorts of people! This was great until I realised a few years ago that I was squinting at the signs on the motorway. I mentioned this at my annual checkup and was told I was borderline shortsighted but came away with some glasses I saw as optional.

Today, however, I was presented the bad news that I have to wear glasses when driving otherwise I don’t meet the legal requirement for visual acuity. I’ve had to pay hundreds of pounds for a new pair of varifocals and a pair of corresponding prescription sunglasses and, with my half century looming next week, it feels like another nail in the coffin, another reminder of mortality. And an expensive one, at that.

I’m told that my eyes are currently changing so there’s no point in me having further surgery at the moment which would have probably to be repeated a couple of years down the line. When I enquired about lens replacement surgery, the sort that they do to correct cataracts, I was told that I’m probably too young for that to achieve a satisfactory result at present, since the replacement lenses are still quite rudimentary. How we take our eyes and brains for granted!

So it’s back to glasses for me. I chose a statement black Dolce and Gabbana pair, which is why it has set me back so much money. Frivolous and first-worldy I know, but this time I don’t want to cower behind my glasses, rather celebrate them as a style choice. I’m never hiding behind horrible glasses again.

On the bright side, wearing glasses will help hide my eyebags and wrinkles. It’s an ill wind.



Maison Margiela £515

Tonight, dear reader, you find me lusting after boots like this from Maison Margiela. Yes, I’m aware that they can’t function properly as boots, what with that inconvenient peep toe.


In fact I’ve seen similar sorts of footwear classified as sandals but they patently aren’t sandals because most of the foot is enclosed and they’d be too hot and sweaty for proper sandals wouldn’t they, on account of all that leather?

I initially pooh-poohed boots of this kind because of their sheer lack of functionality: boots are supposed to keep your tootsies warm and dry in the winter and it’s clear that these would do neither on an icy winter’s day.

And yet, and yet…I find myself drawn to them out of sheer frivolity. Don’t worry, I shan’t be buying them: look at the price tags (at Net-A-Porter in case you’re about to rush to your laptop.) They’re so pretty.

Here are a few more:


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