‘TO RUSSIA WITH LOVE’ VIKING RIVER CRUISE - ST PETERSBURG TO MOSCOW MAIL ON SUNDAY – SEPTEMBER 2009
"I have changed a lot since 1974 but, despite the ravages of the years, not half as much as Russia. I first visited 35 years ago when it was part of the USSR and didn’t even exist as an independent country. Travelling with InTourist, the State agency set up to supervise curious foreigners, our motley group of 20 was shepherded around Moscow and Leningrad and then flown south by battered turbo-prop plane to glimpse the glories of Central Asia. On arrival at Samarkand airport via Tashkent, I was immediately ‘arrested’ and marched to a dingy office for interrogation. My crime? Foolishly, I had taken a photo of quasi-Biblical characters clutching assorted livestock as they descended the steps of the aircraft but had failed to spot, in the background, some indeterminate buildings. It took them an hour to decide I was not a spy and confiscate my film. Order restored, we were grudgingly allowed on our way. Read more here.
ARTICLE FOR DAILY TELEGRAPH 29 OCTOBER 2009
"MPs on ‘Wife Swap’ – whatever next? ‘Come Dine with Me’ on expenses? Sir Christopher Kelly, the chairman of the committee on standards in public life, has been tasked with drawing up tough new rules to stop MPs abusing their allowances. Has any report been more gleefully anticipated? In addition to his recommendations that MPs will be banned from claiming the cost of mortgages on expenses, he is also banning them from employing, at public expense, members of their family - whether it be wives, children, great-aunts or dogs. Even Derek Conway (whose colourful abuse of the system lit the blue touch paper of this meltdown) might agree he’s got a point about great-aunts and dogs. Read more here
"Mail on Sunday" Travel Section - 15th February 2009
"Never look back - you're not going there. Wise advice but I ignored it when I returned, some 55 years later, to the Gower in South Wales where I had holidayed as a small child with my parenst and older brother........Read more here."
ON BEING PORTRAYED – YET AGAIN – BY A FINEACTRESS! - Mail on Sunday 2008
“I find it very easy being me. After so many years, and with some toughdirection, I’ve learnt the lines. I knowthe cues, when to enter dramatically and when to exit quickly stage right. I may sometimes wish I’d been given a different part but it’s too late now...Read more here."
MY MOTHER - 'GRANNY' - a slightly abridged version of this appeared in the Mail on Sunday on 23rd April 2006
"Tomorrow, for the entertainment of viewers of ITV’s ‘This Morning’, I take up residence on a small balcony at the London Television Centre, clad merely in dressing gown and slippers, with only a laptop for company. I then have to survive for a week obtaining everything I need via the internet. As my mother often said, 'Carry on with your extraordinary behaviour!’...Read more here.
`LEAVING HOME` Article written for the `Mail on Sunday` September 2003, when we sold up and left our house in Cheshire
'For thirteen and a half years we exited and entered our beloved Old Rectory passing under the Latin inscription above the front door , `Deus nobis haec otia fecit` (`God made for us this life of ease`). Read more here.
IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF MY FATHER` This is the unabridged article I wrote for the Mail on Sunday in July 2001. A slightly shorter version appeared in print.
"Well, where would you like to go?" The cheery voice belonged to Catherine, researcher for the BBC`s "Summer Holiday" programme, who had rung to ask me to present an item for them. What an invitation! Read more here.
THAT`S LIFE!! - Article written for Airline Magazine – Spring 2004
`Never have a dull moment in 2003 – or 4 or 5`. That is my perpetual New Year resolution and I look forward to an ever-changing melee of stage, screen, air waves and print. Roll on, roll up and roll over!'... Read more here.
`STAND BY YOUR MAN!!!` - Article I wrote for the ‘New Statesman’ magazine when Monica was causing a bit of bother for Bill Clinton!
"Let`s get one thing clear. There are two important differences between Hillary and me when it comes to `standing by our man`...Read more here.