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Hello.

I'm Jane McIntyre, a voiceover and writer, formerly an award-winning BBC radio newsreader and producer. My blog covers life, love and loss; travel, coffee and chocolate; with some heartfelt pieces in the mix about my late dad, who had dementia. Just a click away, I'm half of the team behind www.thetimeofourlives.net - two empty nesters who whizzed round the world in 57 days.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Baby, you can drive my...Popemobile....


(Follow me on Twitter! @janemcintyre12  and also @normandycottage  )


........so this little baby`s up for hire at 250 euros an hour. Interested? You need to contact Paddy Dunning. He`s the Irish businessman who inherited the Popemobile, made famous during the Pontiff`s 1979 trip to the Emerald Isle, along with a wax museum.

A quick buff up and it`s ready for you to borrow. Paddy reportedly took  his auntie back to the airport in it. She`s a nun, y`know..and her trip made her the talk of Rome.

What you drive can have that effect, can`t it? You know...turn heads in the street. Evoke envy. Make people think you`re doing damn well for yourself. Or lead to uproarious laughter and downright derision.

My dad used to have a Ford 8. Really. He lent it to my Uncle Jim for his driving test. Then hid in a shop doorway on the test route to watch the fun unfold. What he`d "forgotten" to tell Jim, was that the passenger seat had rather loose fixings. With immaculate timing, Dad heard the motor spluttering down the street just in time to emerge from his hiding place, to see Jim at the wheel, as the car kangarooed past, with the driving examiner on his back, with his size eights flat up on the car roof. Loose fixings, see. *

I could never trust a car. Or love one, really. I was so deeply traumatised as a new driver by cute little motors which promised the world, but couldn`t even get me over the Hog`s Back without the aid of a breakdown truck.This was before the days of mobile phones, remember.Once, I was attempting to drive from dad`s place in Kent, back to an early newsreading shift in Southampton in a white Mini 1000. It was late, dark, rainy and cold, and there wasn`t a single house in sight when the engine decided to splutter and die. I swore, shivered a lot, whacked on the hazard lights, and may have cried. OK, I cried. There was no earthly point looking under the bonnet. So I decided to just sit there until dawn broke. By which time the radio station in question would have missed several bulletins and hopefully decided to send the radiocar out for its reader.

Luckily, an AA recovery driver had passed me on the other side of the dual carriageway, on his way to a call out. Two hours later, he was on his way home, saw my by now, very faint hazard lights, and stopped. By this time I was frozen with cold and fear and may have hugged him. Don`t ask me what was wrong with the thing, but he fixed it, and I made it home for an hour`s kip and a shower, in time to slide into the newsreader`s chair to say..."It`s six o clock; Jane McIntyre reporting..." Just.

Several more second hand cars received a vicious, John Cleese-like kicking for letting me down at crucial moments, before I decided to bite the bullet and find a brand new one, under warranty and through one of those lease deals. I truly didn`t care what it was. I rang round every main dealer in town and asked what the monthly rate was for their cheapest model. I cut back on other things (clothes, shoes, boots, nights out.... ) and clinched the deal. Four lease cars down the line, I`m happy driving alone and far from home again. But as to what it looks like, and how fast it goes ? Don`t give a damn. There`ll always be someone who has to have the biggest, shiniest, newest motor in the car park. A head turner. A headline maker. But as long as I`m driving something (anything...) which gets me from A to B...it`ll never be me.

*Yes, he failed.

+What was your first car? And your worst? Ever been let down by your car at a really crucial moment? And how do you feel about cars as status symbols...? Love to know what you think...!  

 Loved it! Perhaps you'd like to read about "my motors?"  Hope you like it!<<



Monday, 19 November 2012

Hello, who are you?!

(Follow me on Twitter? @janemcintyre12 and @normandycottage )

Hello, I just wanted to say thanks for dropping by, and either reading my blogs....or stopping *just* long enough for it to count as a page view...!

Since leaving full time work at Easter, I`ve scribbled randomly about my new freedom...learning to run...relying on my fantastic friends...and good times and bad. I`ve told you about my family, my loves and hates and some of the places I`ve visited this year, so now it`s your turn.

Checking up on who`s reading this...and where they are...it`s great to see there are readers across the UK, in the USA, in Russia, Ukraine, China, France, Germany and Italy. Among other places. And that writing about chocolate, beer, pies and age have proved the most popular topics!

But that`s all I know. So....either in a comment at the bottom of the page, or by dropping me an email via the link on my profile page, please introduce yourself and tell me where in the world you are! And if you write a blog, I`d love to return the favour and read that too.

Thanks again!

Jane.

Someone ill? Look away now....



So here`s your scenario.

You`re in your local high street. And something catches your eye on the other side of the busy road. You realise a bloke`s keeled over and hit the deck.

Do you :

a) gasp and feel incredibly sorry for him...and carry on with your shopping...
b) assume he`s probably had a heavy session at the pub, say `tut`, ...and keep walking...
c) belt over the road, zigzagging through the traffic, to see what you can do.

If you answered a) or b), I don`t really want to know you. If you mentally ticked c), then well done. And if it`s me in a heap on the street, could you come and check I`m ok too, please?

The thing is...you never know when you`re going to trip or fall ill in a public place. Nobody does. And when you`re young and fit and 22, you hope it isn`t going to happen too often. But it did today, to my daughter, who was commuting on a rush hour train into Waterloo station in London. With no real warning, she felt ill, and collapsed.

She`s better now,and is getting checked out. But in the telephone conversation we`ve just had, I realised she`d probably encountered all shades of humanity on that train, and has been left feeling pretty saddened by the experience.

There was panic--with someone pulling the emergency lever, bringing the train to a halt.

There was, she realised, on coming round...some irritation among the regular commuters whose schedule had been momentarily thrown out of kilter.

There was some kindness--with a fellow passenger offering her a seat (albeit, I`m told, a little grudgingly...).

And there was some hilarious giggling from a group of schoolgirls.

At Waterloo she gingerly got off the train, then, feeling wobbly again, stood for a moment on the platform. At which point another young woman, dark haired, and possibly Spanish, stopped the whoosh of commuters heading for the exit gate, to ask how she was. She then offered my daughter a steadying arm, carried her bag, checked where she had to get to, and made sure she was well enough to continue her journey.

I`d like to thank her for her kindness...we all would. But what went wrong? Was this symptomatic of an uncaring city where commuters are never keen to look fellow passengers in the eye, let alone catch them when they fall? Or were people just worried they`d do the wrong thing and make a medical emergency worse?

Once, someone--an elderly visitor-- collapsed in a place I used to work. There were probably a dozen or so members of staff in the building at the time; none of the usual trained first aiders, but competent, intelligent people you`d like to think you could rely on in a crisis. And usually, you could. But you could see from the start of the emergency, who was going to roll up their sleeves, and who was going to be rooted to the spot in terror.

A group of us rushed to the room where it happened. He was unconscious; not breathing. Two of us somehow got him from the chair to the floor, one of us starting mouth to mouth, and one of us CPR. Someone had called an ambulance but it was one of those occasions where the town was completely gridlocked because of a number of incidents. For a few more minutes, we were on our own. We carried on, guided by the 999 team at the end of the line, relaying instructions via a colleague. In the end, the elderly gentleman we`d tried to save, got whisked off in the ambulance, and despite everyone`s best efforts, died later that day.

I don`t want a medal for trying. I never have. I just want to know that if it ever happens to me, or to you, there`ll be someone there to do their best for us, or to anyone else who falls ill.

Excellent charities like St John Ambulance and the Red Cross offer courses to help us all deal with potentially life threatening emergencies. It would be great to see more people learning the skills they offer, so that at least something is done until the professionals arrive.

Today, it wasn`t life threatening, but nobody knew that. So a special thankyou to one young woman in London today, who saw another alone, and in trouble, and went out of her way to check.

OK now--but did you see her out cold on that crowded train?

++How about you.....ever helped in an emergency, or even...saved a life? Are there times you`ve looked back, and wished that you`d done more? Maybe you`re a first aid trainer or a paramedic. What more could the public do if they`re first at the scene of a real emergency ? Do you wish more people were trained in basic CPR?


 bless her. Just read it now, I just don't understand some people, thank goodness for that kind lady. X

 Coincidence after reading your blog today: my wife helped an old lady who'd fallen face first on pavement. So many wouldn't.



Monday, 12 November 2012

When you say nothing at all.....




Did you see that bit in the Sunday Times magazine about who talks the most? Matt Rudd referred to a survey suggesting that women speak 21,000 words a day; men, 7,000. Really?

Most days, it would be pretty tough to calculate your talk-tally, whatever your gender.

But today, for me, it was easy. I`ve just totted it up. And realised that since 10 a.m; (it`s now nearly 5.30 p.m ) I`ve spoken eight words out loud. All day.

These gems were; at Asda: `Pump seven please.` Thanks`. And ....` F*CK, that was close` (to nobody in particular, ten minutes ago, when I almost posted my i-phone, instead of a letter, into the little box down the lane).

Today, I`ve had jobs to do around the house, emails to write, three days away from home to plan, and a satnav to set. I`ve been on Twitter, (quite a bit ) written and received texts, listened to the radio and run a mile and a quarter through the kitchen (on a treadmill) while singing (loudly, and badly).

So it hasn`t been silent. Just without human conversation . It`s felt fine. And donkeys` hind legs the world over are a little safer.

Being at home during the day is such a contrast to all the years I spent in screamingly noisy newsrooms; sometimes longing for people (certain people in particular...) to shut the hell UP. Some days I`d have killed (probably) for a bit of quiet. God knows what the decibel levels were like in the early days-- the constant drone of banter, the clattering of (yes, really...) typewriters, and phones ringing non stop. Oh and London traffic right outside the door. There were subs shouting at you from the other side of the room because they didn`t have your copy...then shouting at you all over again once they`d read it. B*stards. These days journalism can be a whole lot quieter...you still get the banter and the shouting ...but there are no thundering qwertyuiops, and many of those calls to contacts get replaced by a quietly tapped out email. Oh and the offices are double glazed.

Decades later, in my home `office`, I know that if I get cabin fever I can make a call or send a text, and meet up with a friend. I feel incredibly lucky to have the choice. And at some stage this evening, the house will be full of noise and news, company and cooking, laughter and chat, TV and music....and I`ll enjoy that too.

Real silence can be a luxury. It can be so powerful and poignant, as we saw this Sunday, when a nation stood together on Remembrance Day to think about lives and loves lost; selflessness and heroism. But true, lonely silence--that aching, `nobody`s calling`, `no-one to talk to` kind of silence must, at times, be deafening, and desperate. I hope I never hear it.


+How about you? Would it drive you mad to be alone in the house all day? Do women `really` talk more than men...what...all of them? I`d love to hear what you think.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Ain`t too proud to blog...(sweet darrrlin..)





......or something like that. Just one of the temptations to get me on to the dance floor on Saturday night. There were so many amazing tunes at the soul event in Stone, that  I boogied pretty much from start to finish. That`s three or four hours..sheesh...I could probably run a marathon if they played Motown all the way through.

To be frank...I`d necked enough Pinot and champagne to get me more than merry. A little sharpener or two in my boudoir before the event. A couple at the bar. A few more along the way. You know how it goes. I could hear the alarm bells. Still popped a couple of things on Twitter. As you do. That led to slightly louder alarm bells and a frantic message from my sixteen year old daughter: `MUM.GET OFF TWITTER`. ( I didn`t. I never listen.)

Another big *stop drinking now* klaxon sounded as I realised that the previously unchallenging two flights of stairs up from the ladies had turned into the kind of vertical ladder you see on a galleon,up to the crow`s nest. In a force nine gale. Boy did I grip that banister. Yet..when I was back on the dancefloor; all seemed steady enough. I probably listed to starboard a couple of times but that was just me throwing shapes, right?

Y`see... although I talk and tweet a fair bit about a lovely bottle of white at the weekend, it rarely happens. Often because I`m on taxi duty. So I don`t drink from one month to the next ( REALLY!) So when I do....it seems to take quite a hold on me. Anyway...as I recovered (for most of Sunday) I mused on previous drunken nights. Like this one, a New Year`s Eve party  involving not only wine....but wild dancing, lovely friends, and chocolate. In a beautiful marquee up the lane.

You have to get the tent pegs in tight, don`t you? I know this; because at the post party coffee and brandy session round ours at about 3 am, I realised to my complete horror that I`d left several untouched chocolate puddings on a table in the tent. It was dark. And snowy.The lane was full of potholes. And my skirt was tight and my high heels high. But, like I said, it was chocolate. So I walked--kind of sideways--down the lane, to find the marquee securely zipped up for the night. Like a canvas Fort Knox.There was only one thing for it. I burrowed under the bottom of the tent, and slithered in,like a commando. Not *commando*, you understand, but like one. Covered in mud (it had been a long night, and I was past caring...) I just managed to stand in my heels and locate my quarry.Well..one chocolate roulade and a banoffee pie. Now. How to get them back out of the marquee....and home (in heels).

I checked (and confirmed) they were still good enough to eat; passed them under the gap I`d curved into the canvas until they rested on a low shelf of snow outside,then followed them through. This had taken about forty minutes. It was another fifteen or so, after several newborn Bambi like attempts before I was standing upright, in the snowy field, in heels, with a plate in each hand--not caring a jot about my clothes or shoes, but desperately trying to keep the chocolate on the china.

I staggered back down the lane, and with mud smeared hands and face, (Commando like, see?)..I held my trophies aloft to my guests....as they climbed;waving maniacally at me, coffee all quaffed....into their three, home-bound taxis. They were pretty wasted; but believe me, the puddings weren`t.

The field where the marquees used to be has been turned into a lovely house now, for the same neighbour, so no more parties there. But plenty of memories.And knowing your limits? Nah...nothing learned about that, whatsoever.




 Reminded me of a recent wedding reception I attended and subsequent zombie impression walking home.. Marvellous.


 Welcome. Always an enjoyable read!

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