A cultural exchange with Doris Brazil


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: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pdvgf0CoT_8

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 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btGEehMAlxw . 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,



We have so much in common I don’t know where to begin. You are talking to the woman who gave BBC Daytime viewers a June Whitfield week in 1997 and received a personal letter of thanks from the great woman herself. I treasure it still. I followed up with a Terry Wogan week (old episodes of Blankety Blank) which I enjoyed hugely but honestly, it wasn’t nearly so well received. It rather forced me to put plans for a Geoffrey Palmer week on hold, something I have always regretted. Like you, I love June. (anyone who could put up with that awful Terry (Scott, I mean, not Wogan)) She’s really a sort of British Betty White I think. A national treasure with some high quality stationery and very pretty penmanship.

I didn’t know your Cesaria woman (who I am sure I would have mistaken for a man if I had only heard the soundtrack–so easy to be misled) but like you I have a little salsa in my soul and have been cha cha cha ing round the kitchen to the track you suggested. On the subject of gender flexibility, it will be interesting to see if your new Tory MP does turn up in Doris Brazil Ladies Wear demanding his discount. So many of them seem to spend parliamentary recess in something silky, clingy and supremely feminine.

I was interested to read your blog post on dry skin. Like yours, left in their natural state, my feet are more like Ordnance Survey models of African terrain than advertisements for the sex appeal of Laboutin. I make the children massage them when they have been particularly out of line. A misspent youth in platform soles and cuban heels, I’m afraid. (Mine, not theirs. They misspent their youths in Nikes)

Speaking of children being out of line, I had a couple of conversations with Hansel yesterday which didn’t go at all well from either of our points of view. In the first, he asked to borrow $40 for his phonebill and quickly got to ” I will disappear forever and you won’t be able to find me” It was not clear whether his plans to become a hermit were to be executed before or after he picked up the $40. He then called later in the evening to inquire about the wherabouts of the $40–oh, and me. Within minutes, he had slammed down the phone and then texted me to say ” lose my number” followed by “when do you want me to return your key?” He has been facebook messaging me tonight and so far it is all very civil. I imagine he’ll turn up soon full of filial affection–and hand outstretched for the $40. Children, Doris, children. I hope Kirsty didn’t put Flo through this kind of grief and pain.

Staying on the subject of family, no real plans for the summer at the moment. Keep an eye out for the postman because an invite for the Blarney half-century birthday celebrations will soon be on its way to Appleton Marsh. I have a few extra since both my brother and sister appear to have booked vacations elsewhere and are thus unavailable to attend the anniversary bash. There are those who might expect them to have marked the date on their calendars (it’s reliably at the same time every year)  and planned accordingly, but your Blabs is not one of them. And I find presents bought by those with slightly guilty consciences tend to be more opulent than those purchased by people burning with resentment after shelling out an airfare and faced with a visit to Washington DC in the sultry heat of summer 😉 But of course I do hope YOU will make the effort. Friends are SO important at our stage of life. The Cackler and I are on the outs anyhow because of my lack of appreciation of the alleged irony of Glee. She says I just don’t get it but I imagine the irony is easier to spot on trendy, cool E4 in the witty, ironic UK than it is on network television (saccharine and shallow) in the US of A ( a continent plagued by sentimental sincerity.) 

I’m delighted to learn that things are coming on so well in your kitchen, what with the grouting and new lino and all. A lot of work, but worth it I am sure.  I expect the pebble pattern on your cushioned flooring adds a certain contemporary charm to your countertops and of course with the wheat and honesty motif on your Russell Hobbs toaster the whole thing has a “bring the outdoors indoors” sort of sensibility. Add some pussy willow and people will think you’ve had in Linda Barker from Changing Rooms to effect a makeover.

Anyhow, must get on.

Love you (as they always say on sign off this side of the Atlantic)


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, Crone in America, Culture with the Crone, friendship, Gangsta Hansel & Ghetto Gretel, interior design, The Crone as Television Critic and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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