Monday, July 16, 2007


Is, as every Douglas Adams fan knows, of course the answer to life, the universe and everything.

It is also the name of one of the best episodes in the current series of Dr Who. (I just put that in so I could think about David Tennant for a few minutes...)

And - ahem.

It apparently is the age I reached at the weekend. Though of course in my head I am still 21.

My eldest daughter very kindly made sure that I hadn't forgotten this fact by drawing my a card which said Happy Birthday Mum - 42. Wow!

Yes, like SUPER WOW.... thanks so much for reminding me.

She'd gone to all the trouble of drawing 42 candles on the cake, though she evidently ran out of enthusiasm for the kisses (she drew 5 kisses x 42 instead).

In her enthusiasm to do the card, she and her sisters also forgot about the breakfast they had prepared earlier - much earlier. So I got congealed porridge, rubbery toast and a cold cup of tea. But the thought was there, so that's the main thing.

Spouse meanwhile proved that he is definitely the man for me, by buying me a tardis shaped birthday cake complete with David Tennant. Sadly DT didn't jump out of it (as one of my friends suggested he might), but another friend pointed out the usefulness of a tardis for someone who is still 21 at heart.

So if you'll excuse me, I'm off to do a bit of time travel.

(Mad Twin, care to join me???)


Anonymous said...

Oh yes!

Particularly if the lovely David Tennant was in tow.......

Mad Twin

liz fenwick said...

Sounds like a great the tardis cake :-)

Mad Twin said...

Oh and keeping the David Tennant theme, "42" was also a crackingly good episode...........


Anonymous said...

Maniacmum of four...I've tracked you down! I went to school with you and remember your loving family very well. Your mother really was superwoman! Eight kids, and she still found time to bake her own bread (no processed rubbish for you lot!)and knit your jumpers. As a large family, you children didn't have a great deal in a material sense, but you were surrounded with love and given the most precious gift a parent can give a child...time (no mean feat with a brood that size!). I'm so sorry to hear about your Dad. My mother died when I was 33 and just before I had the first of my three kids. Time is a great healer, but I don't think I will ever get over the loss, although I am learning to live with it. I'm so pleased that your first novel is being published soon. Can't wait to read it! You always were good at English!

granny p said...

Oh God - you're younger than my daughter....Happy Birthday, belatedly. (Sharing a birthday is GOOD. So weird when you don't, any more...

Political Umpire said...

I once had a letter in the Times on the subject of Time Travel. It was printed as the lead letter on the subject. I pointed out that since the Earth, solar system, galaxy, cluster of galaxies etc were all continuously moving at great speed from any fixed point in space, you would need to travel through space as well as time if you wanted to visit Earth in the past/future. The Times were obviously by this sophisticated astrophysical explanation. I didn't mention that I got the idea from the fact of a certain machine being called Time and Relative Dimensions in Space.

(I quoted a few statistics about the planet revolving at 900 mph and orbiting at 90 miles per second (so it's reckoned) a sun that's the source of all our power - deriving all this from, of course, that equally authoritative source, Monty Python).

Thus, not only is an interest in Dr Who fun, it can come in extremely handy.

Jane Henry said...

MT - David Tennant is a necessity. I don't know if you spotted the line at the end of the last chapter of the wip I showed you which is pure Doctor?????

Liz, the only problem with the tardis cake was it turned our tongues blue. And the children fought about who was going to eat DT's head

Anonymous - nooooooo! You can't do this to me!!!! You have to tell me who you are - you can email me from the blog, so please please do!!!! Thanks for the lovely comments about my super mum. She is too, and still going strong. Mind you... she's given me a lot to live up too...

Granny P - many thanks for the bday wishes. And I can imagine that about suddenly being solo.

PU - Thanks for the laugh. I knew there was a good reason for my Dr Who obsession, and I am glad that I am not so shallow as some who appear to be lusting after David Tennant or something.

Political Umpire said...

Hello Jane, once again we start an interesting conversation thanks to Dave - his dinner parties must be quite effortless, don't you think?

I recoiled at this passage in your comment on UK history: "To try and put say (as they did in the execrable Robin Hood) black/asian stories in the middle of fifteenth century England"

They didn't, did they? If they did, thank God I didn't watch it.

Indeed our politicians really ought to study history. They might have picked up on the following:

1. No war goes to plan, even apparently emphatic victories (in the Falklands, many of the cabinet had no idea that ships would be lost, and nearly threw the towel in after Sheffield went down; Gulf War I was supposed to end with Saddam's domestic overthrow).

2. Removal of an authoritarian regime will not usually result in the principled, virtuous rising to the top of the pile, but the most ruthless and aggressive.

Jane Henry said...

PU I love Dave Hill's blog precisely because he always has me thinking outside the box. And very often outside my comfort zone.

I am sorry to say that in Robin Hood they had a black nun (I missed that episode) and an asian (I presume Muslim) woman who ended up with Robin in the forest somehow.

Marion was a pouting girlie. Keith Allan did put in a great pantomime perfomance as the sheriff, but sadly lacked Alan Rickman's stature, and Robin was wet beyond belief. Richard Armitage as Guy of Gisborne OTOH was sex on legs and there was no reason on earth why Marion would have chosen Robin over him.

It was truly awful, which was a pity as they had a great opportunity to grab the Dr WHo audience and introduce them to one of our great legends. Sadly they clearly felt they could tell the story better (they couldn't). What is WRONG with keeping to tradition? There is a reason these stories are handed down to us, and they help us understand where we come from.

Which brings me neatly back to what we were discussing. However the PC brigade like to dress it up the story of this country until really even the last fifty years (even with the effects of the slave trade - so ok you could go back 250 years) hasn't been about a multicultural experiment. Although, I suppose if you went back further still, we're a hybrid bunch of Vikings, Celts, Picts, Romans, Angles, Saxons etc. So maybe we always have been a bit of a melting pot (but not in quite the way the PC lot would have us think).

To try to rewrite history to say that Mary Seacole (who my children have learnt about without learning about Florence Nightingale) is more important that FN because she was black and her story ignored, seems rather Stalinist to me.

We cannot pretend that three hundred years ago whites, asians and blacks were all mucking along here equally because they simply weren't. Most people would go through their whole lives not seeing anythign other then a white face. I knew people who came from villages in this country who had barely seen a black face till they went to uni. And that was twenty years ago.

The story of how that has changed is a fascinating one and deserves telling. But it ain't the story of of Great Britain.

Political Umpire said...

There's so much to say in response that I would like to do a dedicated post on the subject, but I don't think I have time to do it justice.

On matters Robin Hood, I never get to watch that much tv these days anyway, though when very much younger watched Robin of Sherwood, I have to confess. Nicholas Grace as the Sheriff and whoever played Guy of Gisborne were great (this is a 12 year old boy's perspective). All the black magic stuff was occasionally tiresome (though I liked Richard O'Brian's Gulnar) but I did play D&D so at least I got the point of it.

Anyway, point is they had a Saracen amongst Robin's mob, called Nazier. I was shocked when discovering that he was actually played by a fat white bloke!

I would have thought loony lefties would have liked Florence Nightengale, since she was from a stupendously wealthy background but threw her lot in with nursing and helping those most in need (troops on the front line). And of course she has additional significance for the work she did on statistical presentation - indeed, according to QI, she invented the pie chart (what a shame it wasn't the flow diagram, boom boom).

Comes back to my point about 'relevance', that all-pervading obsession of modern educational bigwigs. In one sense neither MS nor FL are remotely 'relevant' to anyone alive today - they've been dead for a century and their world has long since vanished. Anyway, I agree with your last three paras and don't have much to add.

One thing though - I posted something this morning about received pronunciation. Tell you what - have a listen to the recording of FN reading her tribute to the troops of Balaclava. It was recorded by Edison's company in 1890, when FN was 70. (Google it and you can hear it over the net, else it is in the British library). She makes the Queen sound common. They don't breed 'em like that anymore, no mistake (as FN would NOT have said).