Saturday, March 31, 2007


AKA The Maroons and Sam


Our son from France is here for the week-end and has just told me of a useful variation of a Kir. When you have a red wine which is a little too tangy, sharp or vinegary add Cassis and this makes a Cardinal.

A Kir is white wine and Cassis, and a Kir Royale is champagne or a sparking white wine and Cassis.
Cassis is macerated blackcurrants in a fortified white wine

Bottoms up!

Friday, March 30, 2007


Story details

In ‘Smile Please’ I mentioned artist’s references which are when models are photographed, usually to illustrate a serial or short story. The artist then makes a drawing from the photo. Woman’s Own and Woman magazines used this method in the fifties and some of the artists became very well known. Below are two examples.

Many of the male models were struggling actors. There were a fraction of the openings for actors then, just films, and the West End and repertory theatres which paid a pittance. Modelling provided them with useful earnings to keep the wolf from the door, feed the kids and keep them free for that golden opportunity which was just round the corner.
Pat with the late, great Bill Franklyn famous for the Schweppes ads.

I can't remember who this chap was- there were so many!
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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

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Story details

Zinnia (see side bar) asked me to give ‘a teeny tiny hint about that secret scenario’ so here’s an example. Hughie Green was a discoverer of talent – following in the footsteps of Carol Levis. He wanted a pretty girl to present his show and I was sent to see him. When he told me what it involved – appearing in front of a live audience, introducing him and being televised at the same time I quailed and said I couldn’t do it. He looked somewhat surprised and said of course I could, I’d be fine. Now, I was terrified and said in any case, I thought I would be on holiday on the Broads.

‘Pat honey,’ in his mid Atlantic drawl, ‘We’re gonna film you if we have to bring a crew down to Norfolk!’

There was no way out, I had to go through with it. I went to my doctor and told him of my fears. He was very sympathetic and gave me a blue lozenge to take before the show. On the day of the show I had plenty of time alone in my dressing room to think. I had started riding in the Surrey country side and had become besotted with horses. They made me feel all gooey inside and so I decided that the front row of the audience were going to be my favourites – Bridie, Sean and the rest of the stables and I was going to introduce Hughie to them and they’d love him. The very thought brought a smile to my face and it lasted when I walked on stage and told my horsey friends what a treat they had in store. I was actually enjoying myself and swirled round in my red lace dress to announce with panache,

‘Your Master of Ceremonies – Hughie Green!’

Hughie was delighted – I was delighted and the horses laughed their heads off.
That was the first and last time I used chemical Dutch courage. From now on my mind’s eye would do it.

In recent years there was a lot of mixed publicity about Hughie Green. To me he was always a funny, charming gentleman.

Monday, March 26, 2007


Story contd.

Every thing seemed to be happening at once. There was my date with the photographer to have the all important head shots done. These then had to be delivered to the studios which seemed to be scattered all over London. The house in Epsom was now ours and I had to choose the decorations, which the agents had thrown in at no cost to us. When this was completed we had to get our furniture out of store and finally move in. Throughout I had to phone Paula twice a day in case she needed me. I was going to have my work cut out.

Having the photos taken was good experience and gave me a foretaste of what I would be doing for the next couple of years. I liked Reg, the photographer and found it easy to respond to his instructions and the resulting photos were very good. You couldn’t always rely on a rapport with whoever was shooting, either for stills or filming and I had to learn to have a secret scenario going on in my head to portray real emotion and a smile that spread to the eyes and made them sparkle.

It was a pleasure choosing the décor of our new home, the decorators did a good job and I still find it hard to believe we were given such a good deal and a free cream tea to boot. We got our furniture out of store and moved in. I decided to give myself a week delivering the photos and then concentrate on settling in. I was fairly sure there would be a waiting period before I would get any bookings. I had seen enough of the girls hanging around Paula’s office to realise that there were many more models than jobs. I had to trust that Paula knew what she was doing.

On the back of each photo I had to write my details. Probably now it’s all done electronically but then it was a truly hands on job. You turned up cold at the studio, introduced yourself, offered them a photo compete with your details and then hoped they liked you enough to book you for a shoot. The receptionists were the worst part as they examined you like a piece of meat before deciding if it was worth calling the photographer. One particularly frightening woman with jet black hair scraped back in a chignon – a dead ringer for a female Dracula - glared up at me from her desk.

‘Have you got a plate?’ she snarled.

Feeling like a bumbling idiot I asked her what she meant – I was still getting used to people who didn’t have a Northern accent. She meant a dental plate. When I’m nervous my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth and she had glimpsed it and concluded I had shop clackers. I managed to convince her that they were mine, all mine, but felt I wasn’t going to be top of her list. Eventually when I became known, she actually phoned Paula and asked for me but she was still more of a dragon than a pussy cat.

One place where I was treated with charm and courtesy was Tower House Southampton St, which housed Woman’s Own magazine. I immediately felt at home and they were the first to use me regularly for artist’s reference, fashion and eventually covers. They seemed to take a personal interest in my modelling career and couldn’t have been more helpful and encouraging.

I used the Underground to get around London and would look for the nearest station to the studio. Eventually I realised that often I was doubling the distance travelled when I could just walk round the corner from A to B. It was a nightmare if the weather was wet and windy. Arriving at the studio looking like something the cat had dragged in didn’t impress them much. More cash was expended on taxis. Throughout my nursing career with all the stress involved I had never had a migraine, but the stress of always looking immaculate started me on a cycle of migraines which lasted until I had my first child. Touch wood, I have never had them since.

You had to look immaculate then. Barbara Goalen the top model de nos jours was the epitome of elegance wherever she was. Some time back I was with my daughter in law in London and she pointed out one of today’s top models.

‘She can’t be!’ I protested.’ She looks so scruffy!’

But I was assured she was. The lift man in the Mansions where Paula’s office was once said I always looked as if I had stepped out of a bandbox. It was expected.

NB Artist’s references were when models were photographed to illustrate a story and then the artist would do a drawing from that.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Weymouth Memorials - click to enlarge.
A British one
An American one
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Friday, March 23, 2007

Was this George 111? Motto - take a note book everywhere!
Oh we do like to be beside the seaside! Oh we do like to be beside the sea!
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We had a romantic dinner here sitting in the window seat overlooking the harbour(scroll down)
We didn't eat here but I'm sure it was excellent.
Palm trees and the Jurassic coast - not bad for a mad March day!
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Thursday, March 22, 2007



During the last week I have discovered Nigel Slater whose autobiography ‘Toast’ tells how his mother died of asthma when he was aged nine. He then had a loveless childhood with a strict father and a step-mother. He was hungry for food and love and discovered the comfort of preparing and eating food. Born in Wolverhampton he is now one of the best loved of food writers.

Matthew Ford wrote ’Every episode is keyed to a precise sensory memory; every reference comes with a Proustian resonance.’

I happened on a TV programme ‘A Taste of my Life’ which he is presenting on BBC2 6.30pm till 7pm where he chats to various actors about their own culinary memories. I have a mild aversion to TV chefs but warm to him and find the programme as restful and soothing as four squares of dark chocolate. I told my husband he reminded me of the young Alan Bennett and lo and behold Alan is tonight’s guest. Give it a whirl if you can get BBC2
Nigel Slater
Alan Bennett
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Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Story contd.

As I was in Soho I thought I may as well get stuck in right away and went to look for the photographer’s studio. The street was interesting with various ladies standing around keeping a distance between each other. I suspected they were ‘ladies of the town’ and to me they looked quite old and raddled. The studio was over a night club and walking through its rather shabby décor, in broad daylight, convinced me that night clubs were not going to be my scene.

The receptionist was friendly when I told her that Paula had sent me. She was married to the photographer and called him out to meet me. We fixed a date when he would do my head shots and they asked me to bring a variety of tops. Tentatively I asked how much it would cost – I would have to have masses of prints to take round the studios. The total bill would be about what I would earn in a month, nursing. Ouch!

That night I talked to William about it and he said you had to speculate to accumulate and not to worry about the cost of the photographs. When I told him about phoning Paula morning and evening he thought there was no point until I had the photos. However Paula had been quite firm about it so at 6pm I phoned her.

‘Pat now write down this address. You have to be there to be seen at 2.30 tomorrow, looking very glamorous. Don’t let me down!’

Paula dictated the address and said I was very lucky as it was a big advertising campaign for the Milk Marketing Board and they particularly wanted a small blonde. Paula had already said that my height was a disadvantage at only 5’ 4” for modelling, although fine for films. Even though most of my work would be hair, teeth, make-up and sweaters, photographers, sometimes lacked imagination – like casting directors and liked to have the whole package. I was frequently called ‘little Pat -----‘.

I was very excited and William and I pored over a street map of London to decide how to get there. I had my date with Renata in the morning; I couldn’t let her down again, so I asked her if she could come earlier, and when I explained why, she agreed. When I saw her next morning I noticed she had a fading bruise on the side of her forehead and wondered if that was why she had kept her head down the last time I had seen her. Had that brute been hitting her? I couldn’t bear the thought of it but she seemed much happier and explained that she had left a cupboard door open and walked into it. She was wearing a pretty silver necklace with a heart on it which the spiv had just given her. I told William about my fears but he said we shouldn’t interfere. If she came to us for help that was fine but otherwise we shouldn’t come between husband and wife and anyway she was probably telling the truth.

When I arrived at the studio they were very nice but said they had decided to use a well known model who really was petite – a good two inches shorter than I was -with white blonde hair and an elfin face. For the next few months her photograph was everywhere – her white blonde fringe complimenting the large glass of milk she was drinking. She was perfect for the job. All in all it was good experience and rejection was something I would have to get used to.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A furnished Tudor House sadly closed till April

Am endless variety of houses
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Weymouth Harbour

The lonely sea and sky
A different light
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Monday, March 19, 2007


At last the Battle of the Blogs is over and I thank all of you who voted again and again and yet again. I am most grateful. I was delighted to make the final sixteen and thrilled to be in Third Place. Congratulations to ‘Where the Bees are.’ SHE is a worthy winner and also to runner up ‘Straight White Guy,’
Thank you LEESA for organising what must have been a complicated project
Weymouth - the Harbout
For Hoss

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Views of Weymouth

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Saturday, March 17, 2007



I had happy memories of this seaside town. When the children were little we stayed with a naval friend who happened to be Harbour Master at Portland. The children loved the beach and I found it very atmospheric. I was awakened each morning by the rhythmic stamp of heavy, nail studded boots on metalled roads. Looking out of the window through the morning sea fret was a squad of boys marching past; their hard bitten faces set and determined on a life of crime or redemption. I have often wondered which.

This was the fifties and they were Borstal boys – young offenders hopefully being taught to keep out of prison. Whether they were successful or not some of them were inspired to write - the playwright Brendan Behan was one of the most famous ex Borstal boy and the system inspired ‘The Loneliness of the Long distance Runner’ by Alan Sillitoe and the horrific ‘Scum’.by Ray Minton.

I had no previous knowledge of hotels in Weymouth, so used the internet and narrowed it down to two. At our stage in life we try to avoid unnecessary stress so easy parking was a factor and my final choice was for a place that stressed ample parking space. We arrived at lunch time and the car park was empty- which should have told me something. One foot inside the door and I realised my mistake. Years of heavy smoking had impregnated the heavy curtains, carpets and fabrics with a choky aroma.

I hadn’t realised that we had become so accustomed to smoke free air and kicked myself for not having done more research. However we are British with some of the Dunkirk spirit. I think if we had been on the Titanic we would have exhorted each other to look at the fantastic view of the iceberg in the moonlight.

In the bar there was a glitter ball, a pool table and a karaoke machine.
On the pro side, our room had masses of drawers and hanging space and the bed was comfortable. The bathroom was large with both bath and shower and we could see the sea in the distance. Unfortunately, at night, the lighting was too dim to read by and at midnight the noise level inhibited sleep. The owners were pleasant and helpful so we determined to make the best of it and use it as a bed and breakfast.

We were blessed with sunny weather and had dinner at an elegant restaurant (Perry’s) and a delicious lunch at Bella Italia restaurant. We have stayed at so many delightful places in the past I had begun to accept it as the norm. At least I have learnt something. Please tell me if you have had any dire experiences on a break and any hints as to how to avoid them.

PS. Please scroll down if you wish to vote.

Weymouth with Jurassic coast in distance.

Monday, March 12, 2007

'Another year older and deeper in debt'. Another birthday this week I'll be off line till Saturday DV. Keep the faith!
Thanks to all who have patiently voted for Past Imperfect. We have made it to the final round. I promise I will never allow myself to be nominated again but having got this far 'once more into the breach dear friends, once more!'
Vote here

Sunday, March 11, 2007


Story contd.

I followed Paula in to the most chaotic room I have ever seen. The walls were covered with black and white photos – mainly men – she was noted for her stable of excellent male models, and some glamorous women. Marta had pride of place looking very sophisticated with her cheeks sucked in. Two long narrow windows looked out over the Circus and Paula’s desk was placed so that her face was away from the light which illuminated whoever else was in the room.

Her desk was covered in papers, directories, notebooks and a large diary. The two phones on her desk were constantly ringing so there was plenty of opportunity to look round. One of the photos of a long legged beauty looked familiar and further scrutiny revealed it was Paula, a decade or two and a few gallons of gin earlier. In spite of the chaos it was clear as she answered each call that she was superb at what she did and subtly changed her approach with each call, depending on whether it were a client or a model, who could be either in or out of favour. I soon realised you really didn’t want to be the latter.

‘Dawn the studio have just been on the phone and they said you were half an hour late. I’m not having anyone on my books who is unreliable. I have queues of beautiful girls outside waiting for an interview. (pause) It’s no good saying the bus was late - for God’s sake get a taxi – you’re paid enough! Anyway I’m far too busy to argue with you – this is your last chance!’
She slammed the phone down which immediately started ringing again.

‘Paula Day Agency. Robert how are you darling?’ Paula was positively purring.
‘How did it go, did they like you?’ (pause) ‘I should think so. I told them you were the best I had. Lunch? Marta’s coming. (pause) No I didn’t think you would. Ring me tonight sweetie.’

In between the phone calls Paula peppered me with questions about my age, my marital status, where I lived and what training I had had. She thought I looked younger than my age and that being older and married was an advantage. She didn’t want any more silly young things going off the rails. The nursing training didn’t impress her but she latched on to the fact that I had done some am dram which in agent speak would be translated into my being a very experienced actress.

The door burst open and in breezed Marta – surprised that I was here already (she was half an hour late). There were kisses all round and she suggested we went to lunch as the phones never stopped. I gathered myself and prepared to leave them.

‘Pat where do you think you are going?’ Marta looked amazed.

‘Well I …’

‘It’s alright Pat – don’t take any notice of Marta – you’re invited and we can finish getting your details over lunch.’

I blessed William for giving me some spare cash – in case of emergencies. We arrived at a smart Italian restaurant where both of them were obviously known and respected. Marta had a campari and Paula a gin and tonic. I wasn’t sure about campari so settled for a G and T and found myself relaxing and enjoying myself. They gossiped about other models, photographers and actors – some of whom I had heard of so I found it fascinating. At one stage Paula was talking about a society osteopath and suddenly said.

‘Look out Pat. He collects young girls from the provinces.’
I didn’t take it seriously as I felt I had my head screwed on and I wasn’t that young.
Paula certainly was astute but I think even she would have been surprised a few years later when the Government was rocked by scandal, a cabinet minister was disgraced and Stephen Ward committed suicide on the last day of his trial. That was the Profumo affair with a Russian spy, Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice Davies who immortalised the phrase ‘Well he would say that wouldn’t he?’

Paula told me that the first thing I should do was get some decent photos – some good head shots. Then she would give me a list of all the studios and I would have to take the photos round and introduce myself. Marta was late for an appointment and had to rush off. Paula gave me the address of a photographer in Soho and said I should get started as soon as possible. Nervously I asked her if she thought I would be any good.

‘I wouldn’t be wasting my time on you otherwise dear. You’ve got to start believing in yourself. As long as you do as I say you’ll be fine. Phone me morning and evening. Got the phone number?’

I couldn’t help wondering if Marta always did as Paula said. Some how I couldn’t quite believe it. As for the phone number – my memory isn’t what it was, but if I live to be a hundred and ten I shall never forget that Temple Bar number
Lewis Morley's iconic photo of Christine Keeler
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Saturday, March 10, 2007


It’s like the number 19 bus. You wait half and hour then three come along at once. I go to the cinema maybe twice a year but this past week I have seen three rattling good films – granted one was on TV. That was ‘Cold Mountain’ and I was particularly interested as it was set in Carolina and that is where my friend Kenju (see side bar) lives. But Judy tells me it was shot in Rumania of all places! I found the film very involving and cried out loud when – at the end – the hero spits out blood and it’s Good night Vienna! Anthony Minghella was the director and he got me equally devastated in ‘The English Patient’.

The first one of the trio was ‘The Queen’ – see review below in the post ‘Her Maj’. Brilliant – go see it!

The last one was ‘Notes on a Scandal’. This was made from the book ‘What was she thinking?: Notes on a scandal.’ by Zoe Heller.
Zoe is a British journalist and novelist who, when I first knew of her, wrote a weekly column in the Daily Telegraph about her life in New York. Her book was short listed for the Booker prize. The story is told from the point of view of a history teacher Barbara (Judi Dench) who is nearing retirement and living a lonely life with her enormous cat. A new beautiful younger teacher, Sheba (Cate Blanchett)–‘a white peach’ Barbara calls her- comes to teach art and instantly one sees the predator in Barbara rear its ugly head.

We gather that Barbara has had a failed relationship with another woman but when she discovers that Sheba is having an affair with a fifteen year old boy who is a pupil, she knows that she hold all the cards and Judi Dench brilliantly demonstrates the character’s malevolent machinations. The acting is superb with Cate making one want to shake her silly frame and Judi causing one’s skin to crawl. It was very brave of her to play so unsympathetic a part and to allow the camera to reveal every wrinkle and dewlap.

It is a very explosive film – both in content and action. For example when Cate comes across a crumpled piece of paper from Barbara’s journal she doesn’t just empty the drawers – the room is destroyed. And there are scenes with the paparazzi and the cuckolded husband (Bill Nighy) which are truly ‘in your face’. The acting is first rate throughout the production and it was great to see Phil Davis as a teacher who falls for Sheba and Michael Maloney as the headmaster who has suffered Barbara for years.

‘The Queen ‘has to be the winner in this trio but I have already requested Zoe Heller’s book for my birthday. I don’t quite get why the boy had such an immediate volte face in his relationship with Sheba and also couldn’t see Barbara being so careless with her journal whilst Sheba was staying in the house. Hopefully the book will explain all. I feel lucky to have seen these three films – they’ll take some beating
Cate Blanchette as Sheba and Judi Dench as Barbare in 'Notes on a Scandal'
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Cate Blanchette as Sheba in 'Notes on a Scandal'
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Friday, March 09, 2007

Update on Battle of the Blogs.

Thank you to the faithful who have continued to vote for 'Past Imperfect'. Round 2 ends Sunday night. The good news is that next week will be a straighr fight between the remaining sixteen and then it will be over.

Voting at

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Helen Mirren and Sylvia Symms as the Queen and the Queen Mum
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The Queen Mum - charming but extravagant
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Liz and Phil - she married for love.
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