This is just about my favourite place – l’Ile d’Or just off Cap du Dramont, St Raphael, Var, France.  And these two lasses are very definitely my favourite people, my lady wife with the daughter and heiress.  Very happy memories of holidays spent here over many years starting in 1977.


When Britain really was Great.

If you were raised on Magpie, Magic Roundabout, Top Of The Pops & Blue Peter, and you played in ditches and woods, fell out of trees and went home filthy and got a thick ear plus beefburgers for tea, had 3 TV channels all finished by 11pm & school started with the Lords prayer and ended in detention, had to be in at 7 having missed Nationwide to watch It’s A Knockout, rode home made go-karts with pram wheels, recorded the top 40 from the radio by microphone on a tape, drank from the tap, rode your Raleigh Chopper or Chipper all day, went to the corner shop for a 10p mix up, watched the footy on a Saturday in the boys’ pen for 50p, scored millions of goals on Carleton Green and took hundreds of wickets in Purston Park, never had any health and safety laws or cycle helmets or rubberised floors in adventure playgrounds to protect you — and you STILL turned out OK, then YOU were lucky enough to grow up WHEN BRITAIN REALLY WAS GREAT!!!

The Good Wife Guide

Be a Good Wife.

Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs.

Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal (especially his favourite dish) is part of the warm welcome needed.

Prepare yourself: Take 15 minutes to rest so you’ll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work weary people.

Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it. Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives. Gather up schoolbooks, toys, paper etc. and then run a dust cloth over the tables.

Over the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering for his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.

Prepare the children, take a few minutes to wash their hands and faces (if they are small), comb their hair, and if necessary, change their clothes. They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part.

Minimise all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise from the washer, dryer, and vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet. Be happy to see him.Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to see him.

Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first. Remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.

Make the evening his. Never complain if he comes home late or goes out to dinner or other places of entertainment without you. Instead try to understand his world of strain and pressure, and his very real need to be at home and relax.

Your goal. Try to make sure your home is a place of peace, order and tranquillity where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit. Don’t greet him with complaints and problems. Don’t complain if he’s late for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through that day.

Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or have him lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him. Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low soothing and pleasant voice. Don’t ask him questions about his actions or question his judgement or integrity.

Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him.

A good wife always knows her place.’


1. I have played Daddy Warbucks on stage twice, and shaved my head both times

2. I love Gilbert & Sullivan with a deep and abiding passion

3. I’ve been married to Tracy for over 20 years

4. I have a daughter, Kate, who is 19 and training to be a teacher

5. I’ve made Roy Castle and Lynda la Plante laugh (not at the same time)

6. I still love Leeds United

7. I love classical music, but also early punk and a lot more in between

8. I love France, and the French lifestyle

9. I enjoy travelling, and discovering new places.  The latest one is Nerja in southern Spain

10. I’m fatally attracted to gadgets, but have to keep them out of my daughter’s clutches, as she inevitably breaks them

11. I still play a surprisingly good game of badminton (this may now be out of date)  😦

12. I once blagged a ride in a hot air balloon

13. I love swimming, but my breathing technique is rubbish, so I have to do a length on one breath.

14. I admire Jim Broadbent and Tim Spall as actors, and Mike Leigh as a director

15. I hate Manchester United.  Really, really despise them, and everything they stand for

16. I love being on stage and working with talented people, of whom I am lucky enough to know many

17. I read a lot, and a wide variety of material, but I particularly like Bill Bryson’s stuff.  THAT’S a writer

18. I believe that after death there is either nothing or something – either way it’s not to be feared

19. I speak reasonable French, but it’s a lot better after a few weeks across there

20. I hold an Equity card, so I can be described as a professional actor by anyone who hasn’t seen me perform.

21. My favourite stage role is Alfie Doolittle

22. I can’t see what anyone sees in Andie MacDowell.  She is a vapid and futile woman

23. I love Filey, and walking from the south end of the bay to the tip of the Brigg

24. I can’t understand why people are cruel to animals

25. If I appeared on Mastermind, my specialist subject would be the Flashman novels by George MacDonald Fraser

26. I find it difficult to stop at 25

27. I have co-commentated on two Leeds United matches at Elland Road alongside the legends that are Peter Lorimer and Eddie Gray.  One grumpy, one genial – both genuine Leeds United icons.

28. I can’t stand bad manners and people who think it’s OK to be rude

29. I once scored a hat trick in a competitive game of football past a goalkeeper who’d played in a World Cup Qualifier.  OK, he played for Oman.  But still.

8 responses to “Notes

  1. Rob

    I just read your 25 list … we are very similar people … only I find the word ‘hate’ very inappropriate … even for The Scum! I am also not as much a fan of all things French as you.
    The rest struck a chord … especially as our family holiday each year when I was young was to Primrose Valley Caravan Park (in those days probably ‘Site’). We used to play ‘soldiers’ in the old concrete pill box close to the Butlin’s fence, go fossicking on Filey Brigg, fishing with the old Filey fishermen, archery on the ‘front’ and being treated to the very best fish and chips dinner ever in the back room of the fish and chip shop at the top of a hill up from said ”front’. The owners of the fish and chip shop had a daughter with what was commonly called a ‘club foot’ back then and she wore a thick soled boot. She was the waitress who served such things as ‘pop’, pots of tea and brown and white bread and butter! 🙂 Great memories …. many thanks for helping me to remember. 🙂
    Christopher, Perth WA


    • Hi Christopher – thanks for making it as far as the Notes page, and for you generous comment! We’ve just returned from a very welcome few days in Filey, surely the best place to chill and relax anywhere – well, it is for me.

      Regarding hate – I think it’s a word with an undeservedly bad reputation. I wrote an article called “We Hate Nottingham Forest, We Hate Liverpool Too” where I was looking at the contribution a bit of hate makes to the atmosphere at football matches, how the matches can be cathartic and how a bit of tribal posturing on the terraces can help matters stop short of violence, something I abhor. I guess what I’m saying is that I can feel a bit of hate and still regard myself as an ok person, but everyone’s different!

      I’m really pleased that you have read my “25 Things…” post though, especially as a lot of your childhood memories are similar to a lot of mine. Perhaps you’d care to do your own list of 25 – or 30 or whatever. It’s quite rewarding 🙂

      Thanks again for reading and for taking the time to comment – much appreciated.

      Best regards from Yorkshire to WA



  2. Rob,
    I too just read your 25 list and reveled in the memories. Share your hatred of Man United, I won’t wear anything red and won’t have that colour in the house.

    I don’t share your fondness of the french and France however, and can I please swap Whitby for Filey? Although I always call along that whole East Coast when I am back in UK.

    Once again a top site mate, keep up the good work. It makes for great reading with my morning coffee here in New Zealand.

    Martin, Napier New Zealand


    • Cheers Martin – I love Whitby too, in fact the whole East Coast. I find the west coast feels the wrong way up, it feels like you’re heading north when you’re going south. All part of my bigoted view of lancashire. Something to suit every mood on the Yorkshire coast. As for France, I speak French and I think that helps – but I know the natives are an acquired taste. Thanks for reading, I really appreciate it!


  3. Excuse me education for yorkie puddings Millwall are NOT repeat Cockneys Boys this weird assuming is sadly assume by all north of Watford that all London football teams are as such Cockneys now as education is free may I suggest goggle will tell you that but just one London team can be labeled with that great title it is with great pleasure and pure pride I state West Ham United FC world cup winners 1966. So please Yorkshire folk cast not wild thoughts that Pikies from Millwall are Cockneys, their little boys trying to play with out success a big boys game


  4. Great site. Agree on the Man Utd comments especially the ones about Ferguson who changed the face of English football and in my opinion, stoked the animosity between Liverpool and Man Utd supporters, with the repercussions should still being felt today.

    Can’t agree on Andie McDowell though. Absolute stunner in her prime and still good.
    Who do you prefer Norah Batty?


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