Tag Archives: Big Breakfast

Squeezing The Life Right Out Of That Sucker

15 Mar

There are two things I forgot to mention.  After telling you, I will never refer to this story again, I promise (until I forget or re-post):

  1. After our week of being on television, the Family of the Week was Lisa Scott-Lee from Steps and her brothers, who were in their own band at that time.
  2. After their week, The Big Breakfast ended for good.
  3. Okay, three things I forgot to tell you.
  4. I never watched The Big Breakfast.  Not before or after we were on it.  Not once.
  5. Heehee 😀



15 Mar
London Eye

London Eye (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We went on telly every morning for a week. People in the street recognised us. We had a huge cooked breakfast each day and VIP treatment at Madame Tussaud’s, the Planetarium, Planet Hollywood, the London Eye (bumped to the top of the  long queue and given a semi-private capsule – just one other couple in it) and somewhere else which I can’t now remember.

We met famous British people and the World’s Smallest Dog (they bumped our green segment for that one).  We met a man who did something interesting with Lego (so interesting, I can’t remember what it was) (they bumped our green segment again for that one).

The production staff were lovely.  They told us that our boys were the best-behaved children they’d ever had on the show.  Stuff was always coming in to the office, to be featured on TV.  One morning, a member of the production team who I don’t think we had met, came up to us with two expensive remote-controlled cars and told me they were for the boys; she had received them and thought, ‘I know just who I want to give these to.’  Wasn’t that kind?

We had a fantastic week, though the Hub was looking rather lyard in hair and face by the time we were dropped at Euston Station.  His M.E. wasn’t as bad then but it had been a hard five days for him and the kids were propping him up at that point.      Our train was in and we were about to board when we were suddenly stopped by a station guard.  She politely asked us to wait a moment, and then led us into First Class.  Apparently, the train was standing room only and she turfed four people out of their seats and gave them to us.

Euston station, London, UK

Euston station, London, UK (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nothing to do with The Big Breakfast – we were a family with two young children, looking exhausted (the boys and I) or about to collapse (Hub), and the four people were all young and travelling alone and only allowed those seats because there was no space in steerage. We still had the bulk of our cash wad but we discovered you don’t pay for snacks  in First Class, even if you haven’t paid for a First Class seat.

All in all, a fabulous week.

Now, the teabags:

When Tory Boy was eleven, he didn’t like a strong cup of tea and he liked half milk-half water.  I made two cups of tea from one tea bag, leaving the bag ready in another cup after making the first brew.  Lots of people do it; there’s nothing peculiar about it – but for some reason, it was all the council, Bella, the Newspaper Which Must Not Be Named and The Big Breakfast could fixate on.

Tea Bag Firestarters

Tea Bag Firestarters (Photo credit: Earthworm)

I made two cups of tea from one tea bag and as a result there is a photograph floating around the ether of me hanging used tea bags on a washing line; and I and my family got to be in a magazine, a newspaper, a local council event and on telly for a week.  We were given free gifts and food and money and treated like we were something special.  We met kind people and nice people and friendly people and a couple of jerks (not discussed in these posts because if you can’t say anything nice about someone then don’t blog about them).  We lived a charmed and somewhat pampered existence for a week and came out normal at the end of it.

Ain’t life weird?


I hope you’ve enjoyed my saga.  It was supposed to be one post; two at the most. It stirred so many memories, however, it stretched to a week.  With all the fun things that happened to us, it’s no wonder we felt kef on the train home, or in a state of drowsy contentment.


Fifteen Minutes Of Fame

14 Mar

Fifteen minutes of fame; six days and more in the telling.

Big Breakfast

Big Breakfast (Photo credit: avlxyz)

I did say it was rather a long story but I didn’t know just how long until I started writing it.  I would apologise but it has been fun to remember.

The story so far…

  • Short of money, I tell the council how I manage
  • I eat art exhibits
  • I get in the papers
  • I go to London and visit a TV studio for a week
  • Day One: early start; late breakfast

We were driven back to our hotel around eleven a.m. with a wad of cash and instructions to access the Tube that afternoon and present ourselves at the Planetarium, the adjacent Madame Tussaud’s, and then Planet Hollywood.

London Tube Map

London Tube Map (Photo credit: DraXus)

Tory Boy, 11, took it upon himself to study the Tube map and had great fun the whole week, steering us in the right direction.  He never got it wrong.

We presented ourselves at the Planetarium, as instructed, admitting that we were the Family of the Week from The Big Breakfast.  We were immediately chided for not jumping to the head of the queue, given free passes, and allowed to wander where we would.

While we admired the planets and the waxworks, people gave us funny looks, as if they knew us.  Eventually, one brave woman asked if we were from The Big Breakfast?  She had watched us in her hotel room!  We all had a giggle about her goggle.  Hub and I knew she was a smart woman by the way she admired our ‘adorable boys’.

Feeling rather kef at the great day we were having, we ambled on over to Planet Hollywood, telling them we’d been sent by TBB.  We were given a VIP table, told to order whatever we liked and as much of it as we wanted; and presented with gifts for the boys: Planet Hollywood caps and t-shirts and souvenirs.  Some of the wad was meant to be used for food but they gave us our meal for free (we made sure to tip the waitress, however).  We did spend a few quid on Tube fares and a photograph of TB and Spud with Pierce Brosnan as James Bond (wax). 

Planet Hollywood

Planet Hollywood (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Safe back at our hotel, we were all asleep by six o’clock.

And so the week went on – early starts, lots of laughter, the occasional slice of burnt toast, and fun fun fun!

Some of the celebrity guests (in no particular order; just as I remember them):

Chris Eubank British boxer

Chris Eubank British boxer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Boxer Chris Eubank: had a handshake that was surely compensating hard for that lisp, and signed photographs ready in his pocket for the boys when they asked.

Actor Scott Wright: played stripper Sam on Coronation Street.  I watched it back then so I was really excited to meet him.  He was so sweet – the Hub asked if I could have a picture taken with him when he had finished his breakfast but he jumped up there and then to oblige.  A lovely man.

Presenter Mike McClean: working on TBB, mostly outside broadcasts.  A funny man but I found him rude: the morning he came in to the studio, we were all sitting on a couch and he said Hello, how are you? to the Hub, Tory Boy and Spud, shaking hands with each in turn.  He blanked me.  Hard to believe he is a big Man City fan like the Hub, because City fans are pretty good-natured.  We have to be, the way City throw chances away.

A researcher was sent off on a train one afternoon with a team shirt, instructed to find the then City manager, Kevin Keegan, and get him to sign it.  Once the shirt came back signed, they ran a quiz between the Hub and MM to test their MCFC knowledge.   The winner got the shirt; the loser had to be photographed wearing a United shirt.  The Hub would never in his life wear a United shirt but he wanted that prize and they hadn’t said on what part of the body it had to be worn so we hatched a plan that if he lost – as if! – I would take a photograph of him sitting on the toilet with the shirt covering his, um, well you get the idea.

The Hub won the quiz, which included a karaoke version of Blue Moon, City’s anthem.  MM flat refused to wear that shirt, on pain of losing his job.  Once a City fan, always a City fan, even rude ones.

The Hub was also given three tickets for him and the boys to see City play at home to Crystal Palace (footy fans, that should date this week for you).

Photo credit: http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lxpn49j6MS1r7zo0ho1_500.jpg

So Solid Crew: a garage band, whatever that is.  They had some Top Ten hits. There were about twenty in the band but only three or four were on TBB.  They had a reputation for being hard and edgy and they lived up to it on TBB.  A member of their crew was imprisoned for murder a few years ago, if I remember correctly.  They were not the sort of young people I want my boys to emulate. As they left the set, they smiled at our boys and ruffled their hair in a friendly way.  Just the kind of young people I want my boys to emulate.

Any truly famous people were interviewed somewhere like the Ritz or the Clarendon, where TBB kept a replica of the famous bed.  The bed at the house was filthy.  I wouldn’t have let  my dog sleep on it.  

I’ll wrap up the story tomorrow, you’ll be relieved to hear.


Yesterday’s word was jejune:



without interest or significance; dull; insipid.


juvenile; immature; childish.


lacking knowledge or experience; uninformed.


deficient or lacking in nutritive value.
I like the last one; it rather describes this blog.
By the way, I spelled it jejeune yesterday and nobody mentioned it.  That’s the advantage of using new words – no mes to nitpick.

The Telly Chronicles, Part Four

11 Mar

The great (Sun)day arrived – we were off to London to be Channel Four’s Big Breakfast’s Family of the Week!

Big Breakfast

Big Breakfast (Photo credit: kaige)

But not before a hundred phone calls from the production team: bring family videos (all twenty of them)/ photographs/your jar of buttons/the soap maker/as much crap as you can carry on a train with a suitcase each and two kids.  The idea was that we would have everything with us that they might need to illustrate how interesting/funny/weird we are.

We arrived at Stockport station forty minutes early (there was no way I was missing that train).  On board, we discovered our reserved seats were four separate singles.  Tory Boy was eleven and Spud six and we are not the kind of parents to leave our kids alone and so, according to my notes of the day, I complained loud and long and several scared-looking passengers quickly vacated a table area, making four seats together suddenly available.

I’d forgotten that handsel moment.  Thank you, note-taking younger me.

We spent the whole journey shushing the kids because we were in a quiet carriage.  That was back in the days when mobiles were only madly popular instead of ubiquitous and people still obeyed Be Quiet signs.  I did manage to chat to some people and tell them – to the Hub’s intense irritation – that we were traveling to London to be on Big Brother.  Little Spud made us laugh by saying it was an easy mistake to make because they both begin with ‘The’.

We arrived at the hotel – basic but clean – dumped the cases and popped next door to The Beefeater, as instructed, to avoid being the Famished of the Week.   We and TBB had forgotten it was Mother’s Day.  There was no room at the inn.

English: Replica Big Breakfast House. In May 1...

GUESS I’M NOT THE ONLY PERSON TO GET CONFUSED (read the caption carefully)  English: Replica Big Breakfast House. In May 1994 the Big Breakfast caused national mayhem when it ran a competition to win an exact replica of the Big Breakfast house being built in Telford. Gillian Baker from Grimsby who won the house spent a two week holiday there before selling it for £64,000. It has now been converted into three flats. Click on the link for the real Big Brother House: http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/289540 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We informed them we were Channel Four’s The Big Breakfast’s Family of the Week and, as they wanted Channel Four’s The Big Breakfast’s business, they squeezed us in.  It’s easy when you have connections. 

But still a long wait – we finally ate their leftovers some time after ten p.m.  It was average but filling and we weren’t paying so no point complaining.

We fell into bed around eleven, exhausted, and slept for at least four hours before being woken by the alarm…Telly day had arrived!

As a matter of interest, which I only discovered on digging out the scrap book, it was exactly eleven years ago today that we first appeared on The Big Breakfast. How weird is that?  Eleven years ago today, it was also a Monday.


Yesterday’s word was gangrel: I took the second meaning, wandering beggar; vagabond; vagrant.

The first meaning is a lanky, loose-jointed person.  So not me, in any of those descriptions.


Prompters, Panic & Sharpened Pencils

7 Mar


I’ve watched through his eyes, I’ve listened through his ears, and I tell you he’s the one.

I hope you don’t mind another prompt post.  I had  42 prompts sitting in my inbox, begging to be answered.


Take the first sentence from your favorite book and make it the first sentence of your post.

I don’t think you thought this through, dear prompter: the first line of this post bears no relation to the rest of the post; shouldn’t you have instructed me to carry on the story?  As it is, all I have is a confused reader and a line from Ender’s Game – being made into a movie at last, at last, at last! 


What’s the most surreal experience you’ve ever had?

Front garden of the Big Breakfast house

Front garden of the Big Breakfast house (Photo credit: Ben Sutherland)

Meeting a pretend stripper and a pretend gangster on The Big Breakfast.


Now that you’ve got some blogging experience under your belt, re-write your very first post.

The original post:

[I didn’t know how to use the colour icon back then]

I’ve just had my teenage son sort me out with my own blog; now I have to hope
1. I can think of something interesting to write and
2. I can get some people to read it.

Mission Statement: to be amusing (mission: impossible)

Welcome, new reader;  I hope you enjoy this as much as I expect to.

Now for the official bit: you can’t reproduce anything on this site without my permission; it all belongs to me…nnnhhhaahhhaaahhaaaaa! (Wicked laughter, not a raspberry)

The re-written post:

I swear I’m funny; please like me.


Tell us about a teacher who had a real impact on your life, either for the better or the worse. How is your life different today because of him or her?

Mr Lever marked down my English essay because I used the word ‘amoral’, which he said did not exist.  I looked it up in the Oxford Dictionary.  It did and does exist.  I did not have the courage to prove my point.

I now have a compulsive obsession to make fun of WordPress prompters who make grammar and punctuation errors* and if they dare misspell a word…well, let’s just say it’s not pretty.

*Should that be ‘grammatical and punctuational errors’?  I’ve lost my Cassell Guide To Common Errors In English so I can’t check.


GrammarlyonFB (Photo credit: tengrrl)


You’re locked in a room with your greatest fear. Describe what’s in the room.

An angry WordPress prompter with a grammar handbook in one hand and a well-sharpened pencil in the other.  I suspect they suffer from dacnomania, brought on by pedantic bloggers and evil dentists.


Honestly evaluate the way you respond to crisis situations. Are you happy with the way you react?

  •  If it’s a bomb threat, I have no problem speaking quietly to the store manager and calling for an orderly evacuation.
  • If the building is on fire when I am seven months’ pregnant, I have no problem ensuring all students have been evacuated from the classrooms before evacuating myself.
  • Ahem.  I mean, I have no problem ensuring all students have been evacuated from the classrooms before I leave the building in an orderly if somewhat clumsy fashion.
  • If the door is locked and there’s an angry prompter with a sharpened pencil, I have no problem screaming as I scratch at the window in a  futile attempt to avoid being…well, let’s just say it’s not pretty.


I’m pleased to see you had no trouble spotting yesterday’s word, cunctation (procrastination; delay).  I hope my use of it didn’t put you off.




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