Doris Brazil on Greg Pope, Shirley Horn and Bombay Mix

Dear Blabs,

As I type, using my right hand, my left is dangling above a finger bowl of Bombay Mix. Segregation of duties is something I learned long ago with BM.

I share your love of the spicy snack and also the inimitable Lena Horne although I was rather more fond of Shirley Horn who was, if I’m not wrong, laid to rest in your very own Fort Lincoln Cemetery.

As for my constituency MP, desolate does not come close. The economy of Appleton Marsh is so reliant upon fashion and tea and scones with butter; Jon Underwood understood that, but Neil Parish…? The votes may be in but the jury is still out.

I was quite surprised how well connected you are, politically-speaking, but no Lib Dems, tut tut. Rosie Winterton’s name cropped up more than once in DBLW when Flo and I formed an unofficial Pensions Think Tank and she was Minister of State for Pensions. Following the Liberal/ Conservative coalition I suspect that Rosie is facing a number of years in the wilderness, or Doncaster as it’s otherwise known. And my my, doesn’t Greg enjoy a challenge! I once brushed shoulders with Greg at the West Country Scything Festival, well, actually I stumbled over Flo’s insulated food bag which she’d placed on the ground while she adjusted the straps on her bra. As it turned out it was more of a shoulder barge; Greg flashed me a look which I’ve never forgotten.

Half-day closing tomorrow and an opportunity for me to finish the grouting around my sink. I also have some paperwork to catch up on and I plan to write to my new MP about the water level in the Memorial Park duck pond which reminds me, I must remember to clean the filter on the kettle. It’s all go.

With fond thoughts,


Dear Doris,

How funny that you should have had a brush with Greg Pope, handsome former MP for Hyndburn, Lancs. Just be glad it wasn’t John Prescott who you shoulder barged–he might have taken a swing at you and laid you out on top of Flo’s picnic cooler. I wonder what Greg was doing in the West Country at a Scything Festival? Perhaps Blackburn Rovers were playing away from home or was there perchance some sort of real ale event attached to all the strimming? I haven’t seen very much of Greg since we left Hull University nearly 30 years ago but, if memory serves, he would willingly travel for a decent pint. I am sure he would say the same about me.

As usual, you are a fount of useful information and have once more enriched my cultural life. I confess that, although she is a local girl, I had somehow missed the music of Shirley Horn. Thanks for the introduction. Here she is singing The Very Thought Of You very slowly, but very, very well.

Another recent discovery of mine is Carmen McRae. I realize you are probably way ahead of me on this, but I hope you enjoy the song below.

On the subject of singing, have you by chance ever watched Glee on TV? Everyone I know here, and the Cackler and her daughter ( a little younger than Flo’s Kirsty and no squint) in the UK are huge fans but I must admit I am mystified. I realize that I am imperiling my long-established fag hag reputation but it seems to me that the characters are more shallow than is typical even in musicals, and the storylines even more contrived. For weeks I had no real idea what was going on and, now that I’ve sort of caught up, I admit to feeling alternately repulsed and slightly exploited by the show’s saccharine ham-fisted do-gooding. Am I wrong Doris, am I wrong? Tonight’s storyline featured one of the regular cast learning a new selflessness while visiting a singing paraplegic. I am no singer myself but I am largely immobile and was watching while supine in what I like to call my bed of pain. I practiced a few bars and can report that one’s range and tone is not improved by being prone. A quick Google search on “singing paraplegic” threw up a few testimonies from people claiming to be both paralyzed and particularly tuneful, but it seems fair to assume that this is far from the norm. All a bit UGH in my view but I know there are legions of fans who will beg to differ.

Of course, I had a bowl of Bombay Mix to hand while watching Glee in bed and this resulted in a unfortunate spill and spice between the sheets. (words I thought I’d never write. Cue for bitter laughter)  As I am sure you know, those long, thin pieces work their way in everywhere…

Enjoy your half day closing and make your maiden missive to your new MP a good one–start as you mean to go on and plague the life out of the man.


About Liz Barron

US Peace Corps Volunteer in Armenia. Permanent address in Washington DC. Deep roots in Northern Ireland and persistent Belfast accent. Blogger,cook, mother, grandma, Scrabble-player and enthusiastic world traveler.
This entry was posted in Crone as Pen Pal, Culture with the Crone, The Crone as Television Critic and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Doris Brazil on Greg Pope, Shirley Horn and Bombay Mix

  1. Doris says:


    The grease stains on my sheets are testimony to the perils of eating Bombay Mix in bed. As for those long thin pieces, there have been nights when it’s been like lying on a bed of nails.

    I’m so pleased that you enjoyed Shirley Horn, I am especially fond of this song:

    And I, in turn, did enjoy Carmen McRae’s sultry, smokey performance. Like so many things in this life, she had passed me by but at the weekend I’m going into Exeter and I shall make a point of popping into Emporium Hi-Fi and Records and seeing if they have any of her albums in stock.

    Continuing this cultural exchange, are you familiar with Cesaria Evora? She is Cape Verdian. Of course I don’t understand a word that comes out of her mouth but then I could say the same of Flo. Here’s an upbeat number to make you forget in little over a month the nights will start getting longer again . I used to dance around the house to the soaring Cuban trumpets. Later on I would gyrate, and now I’m just happy to waggle my feet from the comfort of my Parker Knoll.

    I confess that I did see one episode of Glee and (alas you know too much of my life) it was in the company of Kirsty. I found it moderately entertaining in a 200% of recommended daily sugar allowance manner; I told Kirsty it evoked ‘come on, let’s put on a show’ memories of Pontins in the fifties. I don’t watch much television these days but I do love a good documentary, and I love anything with June Whitfield.

    What are your plans for the summer, Blabs? Many weekends in Itchy Ankle I don’t doubt with a longer interlude somewhere more exotic perhaps? Will you meet up with the Cackler?

    Well, I am exhausted and must get some sleep. I did write to Neil Parish MP, quite an essay as it turned out, setting out my thoughts on the economy, youth crime, electoral reform, the turnstiles at the library, so many things. When I put my pen down I was spent. I did pop two DBLW discount cards into the envelope which I thought was a nice touch. Let’s see now how he responds; the ball is in his court.

    I look forward to seeing your photos and I must endeavour put up some of my own photos onto the interweb to show off our corner of Devon.

    All in due course,


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