Thursday, March 24, 2011

One brave lady

Just a short post today....It's easy to get caught up in the frivolity and petty silly stuff, worrying about things that in the great scheme don't really matter.

I am posting an article published yesterday in The Mirror, written by one of my Fleet Street colleagues, about her battle with cancer. It sounds depressing but Sue, who is not only a great writer but also a fair boss and a very kind and funny person, has managed to turn a brutal subject into a very honest, heart-warming and humorous - a strange word to use when talking about cancer - read.

Judge for yourselves. And good luck Sue.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The wonderful world of Disney

So it was that I left the rainy, cold Cote d’Azur for warm, sunny Paris. After five long days of relentless torrential downpours, it felt good to get off a plane in spring sunshine. It did feel wrong to be going sans kids to the world’s most famous playground but I soon dispensed with any guilt on arrival at the Disneyland Paris hotel.

You gotta love the Japanese...the lady in front of me was clicking away at the motorway exit signs for Disneyland and filming the motorway ahead on the hotel shuttle from the airport. Can you imagine what she was like once she actually got there?

We arrived at a pink palace which smells of baby’s bottoms (clean ones) and talcum powder. Someone in the know told me that every Disney venue in the world has the same ‘eau de Disney’ aroma which I guess is meant to transport you back in time to your childhood. As you can see from the photo, I made friends very quickly.

Following a sumptuous lunch and conference introduction, we were taken on a tour of the park. For tour, read being cajoled onto rollercoasters that in normal circumstances I would not dream of stepping anywhere near. My last rollercoaster ride was in Australia and I humiliated myself by crying and throwing up (aged 20, not my coolest moment) so how I found myself on Space Mountain 2 and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril is anyone’s guess. I can only say it was in the interests of appearing professional and doing my job properly. I emerged from both rides hoarse from screaming and had angry red fingernail digs in the palms of both certainly broke the ice with the rest of the press pack and I think I made quite an impression on Paul from the Express and the girl from Sky magazine who were sitting in front of me.

One of the highlights of the trip was managing to eat three four-course meals in the space of 24 hours, not including breakfast. I could never go on a cruise as when it is all laid out delectably in front of you, it is impossible to pick the sensible salad option and sail past the dessert trolley. Drastic measures were called for so on Saturday morning, following a fresh dump of late season snow, I headed off toute seule for a morning skiing. There are definite advantages to going it alone, even if you do look like Billy no mates...the highlights are...

• Being able to ski all morning without being forced to stop for a ‘rest’ every half a run or peeling off at the bar for a refuel every hour. Some people would see this as a lowlight.
• Playing Phoenix there and back without being told to turn it down/off.
• Being able to dance at the wheel, which involves bouncing the shoulders and nodding the head and singing so loudly that you are in danger of drowning out the lyrics with NO-ONE telling you to shut up or grow up.
• Driving like a rally star around the gorgeous alpine roads that lead to Greolieres and marvelling at the views from the ridge at the top.
• Getting sprayed by white mist as you drive through the Gorge du Loup past the waterfall which is so amazing that people stop dead in the middle of the road to admire it (you only ever notice it on the way home.)
• Dumping the skis on the terrace to pull up a sun lounger having done three fantastic hours and still being home in time for lunch.

What a perfect end to the week.