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Radio Review: 7 June
I’m not a regular listener to The Organist Entertains or Listen To The Band on BBC Radio 2. I like to hear a good theatre organ and I’m a devil for a bit of Hammond jazz, but the electronic variety with full rhythm accompaniment leaves me stone cold....
Radio Review: 31 May
When, earlier this year, Wilko Johnson announced that he had terminal cancer, it came as a shock to his fans. But probably not as much of a shock as it came to him. However, Wilko’s reaction was in marked contrast to those of us who revere the former...
Radio Review: 24 May
We’re not at the stage where all the archive recordings of our broadcast heritage are available, but a lot of progress has been made – 20 years ago, the BBC’s iPlayer would have been science fiction. I received an invitation to join a trial for an...
Radio Review: 17 May
When I found out that BBC local radio in Yorkshire had a weekly hour-long show devoted to the weather, I imagined it might be like the Four Yorkshiremen sketch from At Last The 1948 Show, with competitive tykes trying to outdo each other about the...
Radio Review: 10 May
I like to use my 400 words wisely. With the exception of the odd rant, I prefer to enthuse about radio I’ve enjoyed. So, I won’t be saying anything about the Radio 4 panel game Wordaholics, which I had the misfortune to catch for the first time last...
Radio Review: 3 May
A former major label executive once told me about a bizarre conversation he had with the firm’s accountant. ‘I’ve been looking at our releases, and there are an awful lot of flops,’ said the number cruncher. ‘You should try to release only hits.’ The...
Hello, sweet pea
Last autumn I spent a glorious day at the Hampshire cut-flower farm of Rosebie Morton. I told readers how I travelled back to London by train in a carriage suffused with the delicate, slightly peppery fragrance of great bunches of newly picked roses....
Radio Review: 26 April
In recent weeks, this column has become something of a whistlestop tour of my record collection. First it was Wally Stott, then it was Tom Lehrer, and now it’s Ella Fitzgerald. It’s not my fault. It’s all down to radio types making programmes aimed...
The Politician’s Husband
There have been weeks, I’m sure you will recall, when I have griped in these pages about the slim pickings to be found in the TV schedules and I’ve struggled to find anything worthy of your attention. And then there’s this week. The Politician’s...
Radio Review: 19 April
Whenever idiots claim that Americans have no concept of irony, I offer Tom Lehrer and David Letterman as the case for the defence. Lehrer has been one of my heroes since I first heard his LPs when I was a sixth-former. If you can believe this, someone...
Radio Review: 12 April
I own a lot of LPs. Not as many as John Peel had but, when it came to moving house last year, it felt like more than enough. Some of them are special and wonderful. Others are terrible old rubbish. Over the years, charity shops have kept me supplied...
Radio Review: 5 April
We live in a wonderful age. Most of the editions of Desert Island Discs in the archives can now be heard online. As an avid recordist and hoarder, this level of access to our broadcast heritage gladdens my heart. This isn’t the only show receiving such...
Radio Review: 22 March
The concept of guilty pleasures is alien to me. As Marie Lloyd sang, ‘If I likes a thing, I likes it, that’s enough.’ There are things, though, that make people raise their eyebrows if you admit to them. As a teenager in the 1980s, I was an obsessive...
Radio Review: 15 March
I feel I should say at the outset that I like Alyn Shipton. As a jazz musician himself, he brings knowledge and experience to his broadcasts. The only problem I have, is that he’s not Geoffrey Smith, whose laid-back ‘Helloooooo’ at the start of Jazz...
Radio Review: 8 March
If you want to get a documentary commissioned by Radio 2, find a celebrity presenter. Never mind the subject, you won’t get anywhere unless a famous name is attached. This curious policy was explained to me by a friend who writes radio documentaries,...
Radio Review: 1 March
Mark Lawson was responsible for a large part of my cultural education. Not the irritating one on Front Row, but my school friend of the same name, who introduced me to Geoffrey Willans and Ronald Searle’s Molesworth books and to Douglas Adams and John...
Radio Review: 22 February
I follow my local BBC radio station on Twitter. The other morning, they tweeted that they would be ‘finding out after 11.30, what’s more calorific: real ale or wine?’ Now, I like wine a great deal, and I am, frankly, obsessed with proper beer to the...
Murder On The Victorian Railway
Stories about spies always used to involve a good deal of action, and the occasional cigarette case that unfolded into a speedboat. Since the Cold War was supplanted by The War On Terror, though, television and film have tended more towards the quiet...
Radio Review: 15 February
It came as no surprise to me when Doris Stokes was exposed as an appalling old fraud. Among her tricks was to place associates in the queue outside the theatre, earwigging and priming her with the names they had picked up. Obviously I’m not suggesting...
Book Reviews: 15 February
OUT NOW ILLUMINATION by Matthew Plampin (Harper Fiction, £14.99) The strength of this book lies in large part in the exactitude of the historical details and the successful conjuring up of the seething atmosphere of the siege of Paris in 1870....

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Housekeeper to Headmaster
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Full Time Housekeeper, Nanny
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Experienced Carer, Companion, Housekeeper needed
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Cook, Housekeeper wanted
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