Friday, August 31, 2007


Thanks for your comments and e-mails. I've replied to the e-mails but am now not able to access Blogger comments. It's getting frustrating, but what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. So they say.

As it stands, I've moved over to Betty In Exile for the time being.

I don't know if it'll be a permanent move. All depends on whether I'm able to access Blogger again. If Girl With A One Track Mind can be spam blocked, it can surely happen to us more 'umble bloggers as well.

Anyway, I'm still coming to terms with WordPress, so there won't be fancy pictures, YouTube or the usual display of visual fireworks you get over here (ho ho, my sides are splitting). It's all very basic but hey - I've managed to work out how to do hyperlinks! Besides, they had to put up with more than this in the war - smearing their legs with gravy browning and using powdered egg as shampoo.

I shall bloody well pull myself together and get on with it.

Anyway, do pop over to my new, slightly reduced circumstances and I might crack open a Watney's Party Seven can if you're lucky. At least I can reply to comments over there!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


This post is being published by Geoff from his workplace as I can't post from my home computer.

As I stated in the comments on the previous post, I've been unable to access Blogger's home page since Friday,

We assumed that we'd been blocked as a "spam blog" by Blogger. Blogger are suggesting that it could be a problem caused by our internet service provider (the infamous Orange, who imply that the future is bright).

Orange say it's nothing to do with them.

Whatever the situation, we seem to be blocked from getting into Blogger's home page, let alone logging in.

It's a strange situation: you feel as though you're in a glass cage. I can see my own blog, can see everyone else's blogs, but I can't log in to my Blogger account and can't send comments to other blogs unless they use Haloscan or other non-Blogger comments boxes.

Which means: all of my blogs, and Geoff's, could be in a state of suspended animation for ever. Or even deleted. We have no idea what's going on, or who is *responsible*. It is PISSING THE BOTH OF US OFF. Three and a half years of posting and building up an audience all fallen by the wayside.

Basically, I'm scuppered. If I can't leave comments on my blog or other blogs, I'll lose my (small but faithful) audience of confused, elderly, housebound and heavily medicated readers. Then, where will I be? Oh, woe is me.

It means that I may have to do something interesting or constructive with my life instead. Well, bollocks to that. If we're still blocked by the end of the week, we're setting up blogs at WordPress.

Whatever, if I do move to WordPress, I'll let you know on here (if possible). Otherwise I may have to e-mail you (or you can e-mail me at bettysroom AT btinternet DOT com).

Er, anyway, I now have to copy and paste my archives to Word while they're still there in case Blogger decides to delete my life's work. Sob.

Still, enough carping. If I don't see you again around here, I'd like to thank you for reading and commenting (for a few years in some cases - you poor bastards).

Stay safe.

Betty xx

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Oh, woe was me the other day when I decided to do an update of the previous post, to include a couple of other candidates for Most Attractive Union Leader. Blogger wouldn't let me re-publish it!

Presumably, because of the summer holidays, a load of ten year olds are doing work experience at Blogger, hence everything is going wrong (text being thrown into triple spacing ... not being able to embed YouTube clips ... not being able to access blogs ... whole posts being lost ... comments not coming up ... etc., etc.).

In a fit of pique, I moved the text over to another post and, of course, it did publish, but I lost all of those comments. Worst of all, it was a great thread. The comments threads are usually better than my posts, but this one was a corker. Still, you can't undo spilt milk or words to that effect.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to what turned out to be a pansexual frenzy of voting. If you can't have a pansexual frenzy of voting every so often, life really isn't worth living, is it? Mind you, I don't remember that sort of thing happening when I was a member of the PCS ...

Anyway, as Derek Robinson would have said, "Way have cooom to a dishishun!"

After an early lead was established by the debonair Len Murray, there was a swing to the left. The outlaw won the day ...

Ladies and gentleman, I give you ...

Rodney Bickerstaffe!

Er, hold on ...

Rodney Bickerstaffe!

All who voted for Rodney will receive a hastily printed "Bickers For My Knickers" t-shirt (thanks to Boz for the slogan), a pair of Rodney Bickerstaffe spectacles from Dolland And Aitchison (worth £150.99) and an MP3 download of Rodney reading an M.R. James short story. Turn the lights down low and prepare to be frightened!

The rest of you will have to make do with watching this clip of the youthful Bickers in action. Beautiful and clean and so very very young.

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Saturday, August 18, 2007


Kaz complained that I didn't accompany the previous post with a picture of dreamy, Gallic former TUC General Secretary Len Murray.

So, here is a post about the Pin Up Boys of The Trade Union movement and a chance for you to decide ... who is the most gorgeous?

This is a celebration of a time when you couldn't switch on a "television set" (as they were called in that golden era) without seeing a bunch of grim looking men in donkey jackets sitting around a brazier.

Still, enough about Dexy's Midnight Runners. Trade Union Leaders were heroes to the dispossessed in the days when men were men and women ought to go and make us a brew, there's a love, and can we 'ave some of them biscuits to be going on with?

Take your pick.

Len Murray, purveyor of dry cough and world weary French bohemianism without actually being French. The Jake Thackray of the TUC.

White collar union leader Clive Jenkins always seemed like the kind of clammy, sweaty and slightly creepy little man who would play the part of a clerk in an office-based drama who had power over somebody because he knew An Awful Secret about them and would resort to blackmail so that the secret didn't get out, all the while wearing an ingratiating smile.

One of the great outrages I've just become aware of is that I CAN'T FIND A PHOTO OF POSTAL WORKERS LEADER TOM JACKSON ON THE INTERNET. The flamboyant Yorkshireman had the best anachronistic facial hair of the 1970s alongside Lord Lucan. Instead, I have had to resort to using someone whose facial hair looks a bit like Tom Jackson's - oh, the humiliation! If anyone is aware of a photo of Tom Jackson being available on the internet, please let me know.

Vic Feather was given the title Baron Feather during those crazy hazy loony lefty days. People like that would have been imprisoned by that nice Mrs Thatcher. In fact, it's a surprise he wasn't deported to Australia as a criminal as he admitted to stealing sheep in the 1930's. May win the vote of women who like the tough-talking rogue type.

As Arabella said "(those) glasses! Be still, my beating heart!" Rodney's irresistible magnetism may win the day. After all, my dad, who'd been asleep all afternoon, with the TUC Conference on in the background, once woke up and announced "bloody hell, he has got such a sexy voice, that bastard!" while Mr Bickerstaffe was at the podium, before promptly falling asleep again.

Still, don't let me try to sway your vote. Let me know in the comments box: WHO WAS THE MOST ATTRACTIVE TRADE UNION LEADER?


The people have spoken, which means I have to offer up two new candidates for your delight and delectation, as Leonard Sachs would have said.

He headed the final stand against Thatcherism, he was THE redhead in the decade of redheads (Cilla Black, Neil Kinnock, Mick Hucknall), he "grabbed defeat from the jaws of victory" (said X Moore of The Redskins, har har), he had the only combover in history that was better than Bobby Charlton's ... ladies and gents, it's Big Hearted Arthur Scargill!

Derek Robinson reminded me a bit too much of the sort of people my dad used to work with, but was a major figure on Midlands Today in the late 1970's as Peter Colbourne announced that there were rumours of yet more redundancies at Longbridge. Garfer mentions his "jackets made of old curtains", but I could only find a picture of him wearing what is known by fashionistas as "an environmental science teacher's jacket". Oh well, never mind. "After a lung mayting with the manidgement, we 'ave coom to a dishishun": that was his catchphrase.

Once again, I throw the vote out to the public, in true trade union style. One out, all out.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007


A terrible cloud of illness has hung over our house for around a month and a half now.

When Geoff announced that he had got a sore throat, I ignored him. This is a man who complains that he *thinks* he's in the early stages of a cold on at least a weekly basis.

However, this time he actually became ill, and developed a fever and chesty cough.

The sort of chesty cough that tended to keep him awake at night.

... or, more importantly, kept waking ME up at night.

"HEUGH, HEUGH, HEUGH" would wake me up at midnight. I would go back to sleep.

"HEUGH, HEUGH, HEUGH" would wake me up at one o'clock. I would go back to sleep.

"HEUGH, HEUGH, HEUEUEUGH HEUGH" would wake me up at one thirty.

That was it. I couldn't get back to sleep and would have to get up and read for a couple of hours.

This carried on for a week and a half until, amazingly, Geoff admitted that he was feeling better. Never one not to wallow in illness, it takes a lot for him to confess that he's on the mend.

That night, I woke up with a raging sore throat. This was about the tenth sleepless night in a row.

The next night I developed a cough - a dryer cough, or, as it is known to professionals, a Len Murray cough.

While my parents watched interminable footage of TUC Conferences in the 1970's, I wasn't paying attention to what was going on during the speeches: only to the TUC's saturnine General Secretary Len Murray and his persistent, annoying dry cough.

"Hem hem. Hem HEM Hem." That's all I remember of Len Murray's contribution to the disruptive 1970's trades union action.

It doesn't surprise me to find out that he died because of complications from emphysema and pneumonia.

... so I had now fallen victim to the 'lurgy, and was hem hemming my way through another few sleepless nights. Even the Venos cough mixture, with the picture on the packaging of the lantern jawed woman, apparently in a state of heightened sexual enjoyment, couldn't help me sleep.

I'm someone who always bounces back from colds after a couple of days, so the week or so of coughing and squeaky voiced-ness must prove how debilitating this bug was. Still, at last I recovered ...

... only for Geoff to find out that his germs had gone away, re-grouped and had decided to once more tear the roof off the motherfucker (as we used to say in the 1970's).

At one o'clock in the morning for the past week ... HEUGH HEUGH.

Two o'clock ... HEUGH HEUGH.


I am currently reading Simon Reynold's Rip It Up And Start Again until the sun rises, as well as suffering from sleep-deprived hallucinations.

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Saturday, August 11, 2007


You know, someone once said to me "I'd love to say that Tony Wilson was a complete wanker, but he re-mortgaged his house to help finance Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures, so I can't".

As Blogger doesn't seem to want to let me embed YouTube clips at the moment (grrrr), you'll have to go here to see what I'm talking about. I'll try to re-publish later ...

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Thursday, August 09, 2007


Unconfined joy in our house recently: Geoff's sister has married.

It's not the fact that she's got married that's the source of joy. It's the fact that she eloped to Gretna Green with a couple of witnesses and only had a celebratory meal afterwards with the two sets of parents. Therefore WE DIDN'T HAVE TO ATTEND A WEDDING.

More summers have been blighted in my life by HAVING TO ATTEND A WEDDING than I care to remember.

Weddings are shite at the best of times. In the case of this one, I wouldn't have known anybody beyond Geoff's immediate family. Given that most of the guests would have been from South London (in other words, *bubbly*, *cheery* and *extrovert*) the likelihood of our being able to hold a conversation with them would have been virtually zero. In fact, we would've been driven into a corner, keeping ourselves to ourselves, and have people say under their breaths "they're a right stuck up pair. Some people don't know how to have a good time, do they?"

As I've said here before, having to socialise with people is one of my least favourite forms of activity. In fact, the older I get, the less I want to socialise. I should imagine that within the next fifteen years, I'll be living in a cave and avoiding any human contact whatsoever ... with any luck.

Unfortunately, very little provision is made in society for people who want to *keep themselves to themselves*. Weddings are supposed to be grand gestures where hundreds of guests have a right old knees up to celebrate the happy couple's union and conveniently forget the fact that they'll probably be divorced within the next few years ....

Er, anyway, to conclude: everybody thinking of tying the knot should elope. Well, it would be absolutely lovely not to have to attend a wedding ever again, wouldn't it?

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Monday, August 06, 2007


Gentle Giant

We are sitting in our living room reading various bits of the Saturday Grauniad.

Geoff is reading a story about the large, shaggy, Newfoundland dog that has apparently been mistakenly dubbed "The Beast Of Dartmoor", although there appears to be some dispute about this.

"I bet that the dog's referred to as A Gentle Giant at some point in that article" I say.

"How high is the chance?" asks Geoff.

"Oh, it's got to be at least eighty per cent. I'd be very surprised if it wasn't."

A few minutes later, Geoff has finished reading the article.

"Well, the dog wasn't described as A Gentle Giant, but he was described as ..."

"... A Big Softy?" I suggest.

"Yes" replies Geoff.

A Big Softy

You'll notice that the expression A Gentle Giant DOES occur in the online BBC story, however.

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Thursday, August 02, 2007


As recently discussed in the comments box, Michelangelo Antonioni died after I'd done the three-for-the-price of one obituary, which was very inconsiderate of him. So I ended up looking at this scene featuring The Yardbirds in Blow Up again ...

... in which Jeff Beck has obviously been instructed to destroy his guitar and look like the wild man of rock. He does so very unconvincingly.

I thought in a moment of whimsy that it would have been better to chose some real rock 'n' roll outlaws to do the scene. Herman's Hermits, for instance ...

... who I also looked up on YouTube, when I had an unpleasant feeling of deja vu. For anyone who can't stomach the whole song, drag the cursor across to around 1.13 or 00.29 ...


I will not be doing a Spot The Blogger In The Video competition, so I'm keeping the John Denver box set.

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007


Here are the results of the day before the day before yesterday's Spot The Difference competition!

The picture was the one above of MJ hanging around near to a hospital meal assembly factory waiting for staff to put reject or out of date food out into the bins so that she can sift through them for tasty treats.

The five differences in picture B:

* her cigar was even longer

*her trousers had a Royal Stewart Tartan pattern

* she had a Groucho Marx moustache

* she was wearing purple Crocs instead of those big, spongey Walls Viennetta trainers that all elderly American tourists wear

* she was wearing wraparound shades instead of George Burns spectacles

Today's lucky winner in ROGER WIGGINS of Vancouver, who is the lucky recipient of a Gordon Lightfoot box set. Congratulations Roger!

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