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Archives for February 2013

Everybody's doin it...

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Anne Diamond | 12:30 UK time, Thursday, 21 February 2013

Anne Diamond in the studio holding a banana

...The two day a week diet plan.

You know, the one that Michael Moseley investigated for a recent episode of Horizon? It's meant to be incredibly good for you, reducing cholesterol, extending your life, losing you weight and generally increasing your health. Some call it 'intermittent fasting', others the 5:2 diet - whatever it's called the basic principle is the same. On your 'fast' days you eat only 500 calories if you're a girl, 600 if you're a man, but at least you know the next day, you can eat totally normally. (Because the two fast days do not have to be consecutive)

Michael Moseley told me today that his fast days were Mondays and Thursdays - and he recommended doing with a 'dieting buddy'. So me and Producer John are teaming up to do it together - from this week. He's already on his second fast day - this is my first. Then we can eat normally over the weekend, and keep each other going through Monday together.

I reckon I can do it. Surely any of us can stick to a mere 500 calories one day, at least if you know you don't have to do it the following day...

So instead of my usual 'sins' this morning (a bag of crisps and often a chocolate biscuit, too) I've brought in, and been munching quite happily, a box of carrots and a banana. Producer John is saving his calories for a big pile of broccoli later on, as he's already had three scrambled eggs on a piece of toast for breakfast!

Join in with us if you like. I'll keep you posted every week to tell you how we're doing. And if you need to know more, you may still be able to watch clips of that Horizon online plus Michael Moseley has even written a book about it.

Good luck to us all. Munch munch.

Black sheep in your family?

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Anne Diamond | 12:55 UK time, Wednesday, 20 February 2013

A black sheep

Lovely cartoon in today's Daily Mail of a black sheep sitting at a computer, looking up his ancestry online.

Today, the national archive of criminal records was published online and The National Archives, and it means that, whilst you're checking up on your own family history, you can also trace any murky characters on your family tree. Hope you don't find the one I've been talking about this morning - one Amelia Dyer, the Caversham woman who (in Victorian times) was responsible for the murder of some 400 babies she'd had entrusted into her care. She was hanged at Newgate in 1896.

Aaah! At last it's happened!

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Anne Diamond | 14:01 UK time, Tuesday, 19 February 2013

I've been invited to open a model railway exhibition.

That has to be one of the best gigs ever. I'll keep you posted. Not sure if I can do it yet but I am certainly going to try. I'll be like a kid in a candy shop.

That's one in the eye for Matthew Wright who reckons I'm just a bit sad and boring to be a model railway enthusiast - and this from a fisherman! (Love you Matthew)

Cook from scratch...

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Anne Diamond | 14:57 UK time, Thursday, 14 February 2013

raw beef joint

...and don't go back - ever - to those budget, pre-prepared, ready meals.

That's the advice from dietician Nigel Denby, who recommends we all learn to cook again from scratch - with mince that's been minced by our local butcher (or supermarket) right in front of our eyes.

That's what I'll be doing this weekend - cooking a barrel load of shepherd's pies and bolognaises for the freezer. Nigel has free recipes available - if you need 'em - at

Never mind Harold, do you remember Mary?

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Anne Diamond | 13:00 UK time, Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Harold and Mary Wilson in black and white

Tomorrow is Harold Wilson night on the BBC - on the Parliamentary channel, to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Harold Wilson's 1963 election to Labour Party leader.

I remember meeting him way back when. I met him, not because I was doing a serious political interview, but because he was with his wife Mary, who was quite a character in her own right, and I was chatting to her for tv!

Back at the turn of the 1970s, Mary Wilson was not only married to the Leader of the Labour Party, but was also one of the best-selling poets in the country, up there with the likes of Marc Bolan and Bob Dylan. She was a bit of a Pam Ayres of her day, if you like - and was a bestseller. Her 1970 book, "Selected Poems" sold an extraordinary 75,000 copies (now out of print). I even remember reciting one at school - this example which I thought was pretty cool at the time:

After the Bomb After the Bomb had fallen, After the last sad cry When the Earth was a burnt-out cinder Drifting across the sky,

Came Lucifer, Son of the Morning,
With his fallen-angel band,
Silent and swift as a vulture
On a mountain-top to stand.

And he looked, as he stood on the mountain
With his scarlet wings unfurled,
At the charnel-house of London
And the cities of the world.

And he laughed..........

And as that mocking laughter
Across the heavens ran,
He cried 'Look!' to the fallen angels -
'This is the work of Man
Who was made in the image of God!'

Our Bronze Age legacy....a beautiful butterfly.

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Anne Diamond | 15:05 UK time, Tuesday, 12 February 2013

trees in a woodland

Were it not for the ancient people of Lambourn in what's sometimes call the the Valley of The Racehorse in Berkshire, the wonderful Marsh Fritillary would have disappeared centuries ago.

But this little three hectare patch of land now known as Seven Barrows (even though there are nine) is one of the very few places in the UK where the beautiful butterfly can now be found - and the reason is the Barrows themselves. They're ancient burial mounds (one grave alone was found to contain the cremated remains of 100 individuals dating from 2200 BC!) and because they make it impossible to plough the land, they've always been impossible to farm.

Which means the habitat has been kept more or less intact for thousands of years.

That's important for the (wait for another fantastic name...) Devil's-Bit Scabious which is a small wildflower with purple-blue pincushion-like flower heads - and is the foodplant for the Marsh Fritiliiary.

So thanks to those Bronze Age mounds, we still have a beautiful butterfly which would otherwise have disappeared from Berkshire forever. For more on this, have a look at BBOWT.

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