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Archives for May 2011

We got gold at Chelsea!

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Anne Diamond | 15:08 UK time, Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Anne Diamond with Chelsea Gold Winner Mark Gregory

As if it wasn't a smashing enough day at Chelsea yesterday, meeting and interviewing all our local Berkshire growers, hoers, mowers and show-ers - today was another day for celebration, because they all got GOLD!

Mark Gregory, pictured with me, won Gold for his super Australian garden and Silver for the "New Wild Garden". Sarah Eberle won Gold for her Monaco Garden, and the wonderful Rosemary Hardy, from Hardy's Cottage Plants in Whitchurch, won Gold for her own display and her new anemone "Wild Swan" won the 2011 Plant of The Year award!
Well done to everyone.

Already looking forward to next year's show!

Had a really smashing time at Chelsea Flower Show!

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Anne Diamond | 15:20 UK time, Monday, 23 May 2011

I just sat down to write this blog and nearly got sold a beautiful swinging chair for £2000! Thank goodness I made a resolution to leave my credit card at home!

I'm now writing this perched on a rubbish bin just outside the Deaf Garden where a violinist is playing the most heavenly music!

Anne at Chelsea

But the highlight of the day has to be going up in the air with Dame Helen Mirren! She and I were invited aboard Diarmuid Gavin's floating Irish Sky Garden which is an Avatar-style world of flora and fauna hovering in the sky, actually suspended 82 feet above the crowds by a giant crane.

How to steal the Chelsea headlines - a surreal moment of tranquillity for Dame Helen and myself - and a great opportunity for a lovely interview for the morning show!

You can hear today's programme again here. Back in the studio tomorrow!

A busy tweakend for all hoping for a Chelsea Gold!

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Anne Diamond | 15:00 UK time, Friday, 20 May 2011

flowers at chelsea

It's been a great road to Chelsea with all of the various contributors and exhibitors from our BBC Radio Berkshire patch. Today I was chatting to Mark Gregory, who is now busy tweaking his two showpiece gardens there, and Rosemary Hardy, from Hardy's Cottage Garden Plants in Whitchurch (Hampshire) who says she's more excited than nervous but will be frantic on Monday morning while the judges do their bit!

It's been a delight, interviewing all of the growers and garden designers who spend most of their year focussing on the next few days at Chelsea!

So don't forget, I'll be doing my radio programme live from Chelsea on Monday. Can't wait.

With just a few careful clicks, I find my grandfather!

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Anne Diamond | 15:00 UK time, Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Nancy Astor

He's the grandfather I never met and the father my mother never knew, because he died when she was a newborn baby. With the aid of the internet, today I was able to trace him to the house he grew up in.

Today, with the government launching a big initiative to get another nine million people online, we're doing the same here at the BBC, with the relaunch of FirstClick, a project designed to get loads more of us onto the internet, allowing it to enhance our lives. You wait till I tell my mum what I've been able to find out about her family!

Oh and by the way, if you fancy a wonderful day dressing up and pretending you're a socialite, go along to Nancy Astor Day at Cliveden on Sunday. Her birthday is coming up, and so the good folk at her former mansion have organised a birthday party with entertainment, food, fun and vintage cars lining the route - and by the way, you get in free if you go along in full 1930s costume!

Fantastic character, Nancy Astor. She was the first woman in the House of Commons, and the ultimate socialite. Her maiden speech in the Commons warned about the perils of drinking, and in 1923 she introduced a Private Member's Bill aimed at raising the age at which one could buy alcohol to eighteen. She's so famous for her great historic quotes, too. Such as:

"I married beneath me - all women do"

"One reason I don't drink is that I want to know when I am having a good time."

"The main dangers in this life are the people who want to change everything - or nothing."

"The only thing I like about rich people is their money."

"The penalty for success is to be bored by the people who used to snub you."
Bu especially "I used to dread getting older because I thought I would not be able to do all the things I wanted to do, but now that I am older I find that I don't want to do them."
She said that in 1959. (She died in 1964.)

But her little exchanges with Winston Churchill (who didn't really approve of women in Parliament) are probably the best known. The portly statesman said having a woman in Parliament was like having one intrude on him in the bathroom. Nancy shot back, "You're not handsome enough for such fears." And the most famous of all: "Winston, if you were my husband, I'd poison your tea". To which the great man replied: "Madam, if I were your husband, I'd drink it."

We won!

Anne Diamond | 15:00 UK time, Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Anne Diamond and the BBC Radio Berkshire team with the Sony Awards

Well, I got a bronze for Speech Broadcaster of the Year and BBC Radio Berkshire got a gold in the Community Programming category at the Sony Radio Academy Awards - absolutely fantastic. It was a great night, the awards ceremony hosted brilliantly by Chris Evans who went at it hammer and tongs and yet still the awards went on until midnight!

Highlight for me was the appearance of the "Go Compare" tenor, the fabulous Wynne Evans who sang his way on stage and bowled everyone over with the sheer hugeness of his personality!

Well done to all the team.

Fingers crossed for tonight!

Anne Diamond | 14:20 UK time, Monday, 9 May 2011

champagne poured into glass

Tonight I'm having a rare outing and staying up far too late.

It's the Sony Radio Academy awards and we at BBC Radio Berkshire are up for two - I'm nominated for Speech Broadcaster of the Year and our programme "Warning: May Contain Nuts" is also nominated for a well-deserved gong. I was moaning the other day about going (I always get terribly cold feet about do's like this) and my 17 year old son offered to go in my place because, he said, he'd love to go on stage and say: "Sadly, Anne Diamond cannot be with us tonight, because she's filming in Los Angeles, so I am thrilled to receive this award in her place..."

But no, I'll be pulling on my stilettos and something black and joining the hoop-la. So cross fingers. Not that I'm bovvered - do I look bovvered? - but it'd be nice to be clutching something on the way home, if it's only a Sony goodie bag.

Who'd be a Lib Dem today?

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Anne Diamond | 14:59 UK time, Friday, 6 May 2011

nick clegg outside a polling station

I'm not usually one who feels too sorry for losers but today I cannot help but feel huge sympathy for Lib Dems up and down the land who've suffered a severe drubbing in the elections, and I can only imagine how dreadful Nick Clegg must be feeling right now as we anticipate a likely further blow for his hopes when the AV referendum vote comes in later tonight.

Local MP and Home Secretary, Theresa May, didn't spare a second on sympathy, however, when I spoke to her today at the count. In Windsor and Maidenhead, the Lib Dems lost 14 of their 15 councillors - all of those to the Conservatives. Surely that will affect the health of the ongoing coalition government? She says no. But Paddy Ashdown predicts that this is the end of the "rose garden camaraderie" we saw a year ago between the two leaders.

I wonder.

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