Hello Ladies, Gentlemen, those who aren’t quite sure and, of course K’Barthans. Welcome, once again, to Box 010; a bit of light whimsy which is, in no way, inspired by the popular BBC programme Room 101. Here’s now it works. Every two weeks, my special guest will pop in and then present us with five things they would like to see consigned to the dustbin of existence. This week’s special guest is Lynda Wilcox writer of the children’s adventure books and light hearted whodunits, the latest of which, Strictly Murder. You can find her website here .
Hello Lynda. Right before I let you rant, would you like to tell us a bit about yourself.
Of course, I was born in Derbyshire and, even as a small child, read voraciously, happily losing myself for hours in Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven and Famous Five books. Looking for a new source of income when my husband was made redundant in his mid-fifties, I turned to writing. In the beginning I wrote the sort of children’s adventures I’d been so fond of myself when young, and then turned my hand to old-fashioned whodunits, which I’d enjoyed since my twenties. I’m happy to say that both have proved popular, because I have a lot more stories yet to tell.
That’s interesting, I reckon Enid Blyton got a whole generation of kids into writing. Most of the early stories I wrote were Famous Five style, too. So, the time has come… What would is your fist candidate for Box 010?
Celebrity chefs or, more properly, TV chefs: I learnt to cook at my mother’s knee, though I suppose I must have been taller than that or I’d never have reached the stove! In my day cookery was taught in schools. Now we have to learn how to prepare and cook our food from the likes of Delia Smith or Raymond Blanc. Everything is ‘fresh’, ‘crisp’, and ‘beautiful’ before it becomes ‘delicious’, exquisite, or ‘perfect’. Yes, well they’d hardly say their ingredients were stale, soggy or bland, now would they? Or that the resulting meals tasted disgusting. I’d love to be able to pout and flaunt my way around a kitchen the size of Nigella Lawson’s but I live in your average semi and cook in a kitchen where you have to close all the cupboard doors before there’s room to open the fridge. And we don’t all live in London with a bustling daily market just around the corner. Open my kitchen door and there’s a main road facing you, not a perfect pottager or herb garden. I’m as likely to get run over as I am to find a sprig of mint!
Hmm… I do enjoy a good cookery programme but I agree that many of them tend to make certain assumptions which are just plain daft! And Nigella does my head in.
What is the next item you would like to hurl, through a black hole, never to be seen again?
Chilli with Everything: Not everyone likes chilli, and even ordinary white pepper is too hot for me, but these days the wretched stuff turns up in everything — even chocolate and ice cream! Whatever next? Chilli flavoured Victoria sponge for heaven’s sake? I’ve no objection to those who like their food so hot they can’t actually taste it, but recently my local supermarket’s selection of barbecue meat didn’t include a single item that wasn’t hot and spicy or crammed to the gunwales with chilli, lime and coriander. Hey, all I’m asking for is a little choice, OK? Besides the idea of a barbecue is surely not to feel that you’ve cooked your own tongue on the damned thing.
Mwah ha hahargh! I am going to be thinking about cooked tongue for the rest of the day! Hmm another controversial one there, I reckon. I love chilli, but I do understand this, because I’m allergic to mushrooms and the amount of times I’ve explained this carefully and been served something stuffed to the gunwales with them are too numerous to count. Sorry, going off on one there.
What is the third verucca of existence that you would like to burn from the foot of time?
Council Profligacy and Council Speak:
Excellent, sounds like a good one!
Yes. It causes more chuntering, more dark mutterings in Wilcox Towers than any other. Less than half a mile from my front door, proudly displayed over the entrance to the District Council offices is a fancy sign saying, ‘Your District Council — Working For You’. I KNOW THAT! Who the hell else would they be working for? Patagonian llama farmers?
God know how many hundreds or thousands of pounds of tax payer’s money, MY money, they wasted stating the blindingly obvious. Just how dumb do they think the local residents are? Oh, OK, don’t answer that one. Just tell me why, when the council have removed all the cameras from speed traps around the county, they need to spend several hundred thousand quid painting the empty boxes? It’s madness. If you are thinking of going and working for them, you’ll need a degree in gobbledegook. A current vacancy calls for, ‘a portfolio holder for community engagement and wellbeing’. I’m applying myself — as soon as I’ve worked out whether they want an MC for bingo nights or a doctor!
Local Government Gobbledgygook excellent suggestion. I suspect we’ll all be voting for that one. OK, Lynda, what is the fourth item you’d like to put into Box 010?
Texting and mobile phones: Specifically those who insist on keeping their hands down, thumbs going nineteen to the dozen as they walk down crowded streets expecting everyone else to get out of their way or risk being barged into. They surge across busy roads, still typing Cul*r, oblivious to traffic and the world around them. Wherever they are, in supermarkets, libraries, on the train, they feel compelled to whip out their Nokias (and there’s a euphemism, if ever I heard one!) and call someone to announce the fact. They discuss the most personal details, medical or financial, in plain hearing of all around them, forcing you to listen. I don’t want to hear about your attack of dysentery on holiday, your gynaecological examination or how you had to transfer money to pay for your son’s new car. Please, please, please, just shut up!
Oh I heartily agree with this one. Come on readers, stuff it in! Right, Lynda, we’re coming to your fifth and final item. Please can you tell us what it is.
Rude people: whatever happened to common courtesy? To good manners? Don’t people bother with P’s and Q’s any more? I’m fed up with being barged off pavements, pushed out of the way in shops, and cut-up by other road users. For all that they get a bad press, it’s rarely young people who are guilty of such bad manners, either. While I was shopping last week, a forty-something woman cried, “Oh there it is”, and without so much as an “excuse me”, shoved out an arm right in front of my face to take something off the shelf. Similarly, whilst looking at the Alfred Jewel in the Ashmolean Museum, someone reached in front of me with a mobile phone to take a picture of it. Grr. I can find no excuse for such rudeness and it makes my blood boil.
In that case, readers, to reduce risk of Lynda’s blood boiling – which can’t be effecetious for her health, please, please, vote rude gits into Box 010.
Lynda, thank you so much for joining me. Readers, it’s now time to vote! Join me next week when we find out how many of Lynda’s choices are going into Box 010. To find out more about Lynda’s books you can visit her website here, more on her latest release, Strictly Murder, at the bottom of the page.
The Estate Agent’s details listed two reception, kitchen and bath. What they failed to mention was the dead celebrity in the master bedroom. Personal assistant Verity Long’s house hunt is about to turn into a hunt for a killer. It will take some fancy footwork to navigate the bitchy world of dance shows, TV studios, and dangerously gorgeous male co-stars. When Verity looks like the killers next tango partner, she discovers that this dance is… Strictly Murder