BBC BLOGS - Anne Diamond's Blog

Archives for September 2012

What a name to live up to!

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Anne Diamond | 12:50 UK time, Thursday, 20 September 2012

Clarissa Dixon Wright

I always thought Clarissa Dickson-Wright was enough of a mouthful. But my guest today, who swears that she was actually meant to be a boy called Fortescue Thomas (or something of other!) is actually called...

Wait for it...

Clarissa Theresa Philomena Aileen Mary Josephine Agnes Elsie Trilby Louise Esmerelda Dickson-Wright.

She just HAD to become a larger-than-life figure, didn't she?

Get along and listen to him but be prepared for exhaustion!

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Anne Diamond | 13:05 UK time, Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Peter Hitchens

Today, fantastic guest - the journalist and newspaper columnist Peter Hitchens. He's got a new book out about the so-called 'war on drugs' and, as you can imagine, holds very strong views and presents them in a very forthright way.

For this reason, he has earned a bit of a reputation as "the Mail on Sunday's fulminator-in-chief"

No doubt he knows his stuff - but can you take it? He's speaking at the Henley Literary Festival next week. Go and see him if you dare!

I've just spoken to him for an hour, and I'm utterly exhausted. What must it be like in his home if anyone dares to ever venture an opinion about anything?

Just asking the man to 'pass the salt' would provoke a diatribe!

Delighted that they've got that injunction...

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Anne Diamond | 15:30 UK time, Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

...But I still cannot understand why Kate thought she could go topless anywhere except her own bedroom.

Like Diana before her, she is now possibly the most famous young woman in the world, and is at the centre of a multi-million pound market for photos of her. So why haven't the Royals learned anything from the Diana experience?

Yes, of course Kate should have the right to sunbathe topless. And yes, she has the right to privacy.

But let's get real.

That's what my guest today, Royal biographer Christopher Warwick said. In the real world, those rights are compromised on a daily basis by paparazzi desperate to get the big money shot. So, in the real world, when you're the most famous young woman on the planet, don't take your top off.

It's not exactly a terrible sacrifice to make.

Perhaps, as Christopher said, when you enjoy a privileged lifestyle, you have to accept certain responsibilities.

Have another listen to what Christopher said on today's iPlayer 1 hour and 45 minutes in to the show..

Stressful weekend so back down to earth...

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Anne Diamond | 13:00 UK time, Monday, 17 September 2012

....with my Tardis.

It really was a very stressful time. On Saturday, my penultimate son went off to uni, and I must confess to a couple of tears as I drove home.
Then my baby son had a party. Lots and lots and lots (it felt like thousands) of teenagers marauding through the house. Bless them.

So I slipped away upstairs and spent a couple of hours cooling off, by building more bits and pieces for my model railway and its village.
I was making a telephone box, and then I thought - why not a Tardis?
Why not indeed? Dr Who is bound to have visited my village at some point or other in the past.

These things keep me grounded.

A student bedsit as a London pied-a-terre?

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Anne Diamond | 12:55 UK time, Thursday, 13 September 2012

One of my sons starts uni next week, and so we went along to have a look at what will be his student accommodation (which is costing an absolute fortune) yesterday. Very, very, nice. A stone's throw from Waterloo, totally modern, beautiful bleached oak desk and shelving, an immaculate ensuite shower room and even a double bed - yes, in a single bedsit!

He was quite pleased.

I was ecstatic.

It's absolutely what I want. Not for him, for me. A lovely, clean, modern, hassle-free pied-a-terre. I could move in quite happily tomorrow. I am so envious.

When is an apple not an apple?

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Anne Diamond | 11:52 UK time, Wednesday, 12 September 2012


When it's a Pommes Dorres. a delicacy invented some 600 years ago.

It looks like an apple, all shiny and crisp, like a Golden Delicious. But it's anything but. In Tudor times, they didn't eat raw fruit - they were actually worried it was poisonous or carried disease. So if you walked into a banqueting hall and saw these Pommes Dorres on the table, you would have been quite shocked. IT was actually the chefs having a little medieval-style joke.

Because that's no apple - it's meat!

In olden times, the cooks would have boiled meat down to a squidgy pate, then moulded it into shape and painted it. Nowadays, as recreated by Heston Blumenthal, it's a duck liver foie ball, dipped in apple gel and served as a starter. This picture comes from his kitchen, courtesy of head chef Kevin Love.

Pretty convincing, ain't it?

I wish my back garden were this tidy!

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Anne Diamond | 11:58 UK time, Tuesday, 11 September 2012


It's the back yard of number 3, Station Cottages. In my model village, part of my model railway.

Yes, it's coming along well. I've got the basic rail track all laid out (though with one pesky corner which is often the site of mystery derailments - still got to sort that out!) and now I'm busy building cottages, shops and a massive church which started small and well...grew.... until it's nearly the size of a cathedral. (They're very God-fearing, the residents of my as-yet-unnamed village. They have to be - there's a train crash every time the express rounds the bend!)

But I am just LOVING making the miniatures. The challenge for me is making things using my own materials - not shop-bought special stuff. So the grass in my garden is a glued-down wet-wipe, dabbed with green paint and the fabric tufted with a nailbrush.
I've nearly finished the telephone box and, the Tardis. Yes Dr Who's Tardis will be part of the layout. It will appear now and then in different locations.

More soon.

Another Olympic star, twinkling on the sidelines!

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Anne Diamond | 12:58 UK time, Monday, 10 September 2012


Meet Jacqueline Cass (and that's her dad, Dave) from Thatcham who was awarded an MBE for her work with wheelchair basketball in our patch.

It all started when she was just 14, and knew she wanted a career as an occupational therapist - to help people transform their lives through sport. So she set up her own wheelchair basketball team - and her involvement with the sport grew and grew until she found herself living in the Olympic village for the past two weeks, and working everyday as an official with the Paralympic basketball events.

The past few weeks of Olympic and Paralympic spirit have been simply wonderful, and not just because of the fantastic feats of the athletes, but also because of the spirit and enthusiasm - and committment - of people like Jacqueline.

Thanks for a terrific time, Gamesmakers and officials. You've made us proud.

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