Checking Out the Somerset Birds

I recently spent an evening doing something I’ve never really been sure I was into. My husband was more keen than I was, especially as he was told there might be a rare photo opportunity – but I felt a little uncomfortable about it.

We’d invited some friends to join us, but most of them looked at me like I was crazy when I asked them – or they just ignored my messages. I didn’t know if I was being weird or if they were being boring. Anyway, I went for it regardless.

In the end, I enjoyed a phenomenal performance. A bevvy of beautiful birds who were performing for a crowd of excited and very eager voyeurs who could not wait for the show to start. 

I didn’t know what to expect and I didn’t really know what the etiquette was for these things. Should I talk to the man next to me? Should I pay? If so, where do I put the money? How long would it go on for? 

After urming and ahhing about the whole situation, I made eye contact with the gentleman to my right and asked if he’d been here before and if it was any good.

He said that they’d been doing the same routine night after night so they should be well rehearsed.

And so the murmuration began. (CHECK OUT THIS VIDEO)

For those of you who don’t know what a murmuration is, it’s not a show that happens at ‘The Body Shop’ strip club on Sunset Boulevard – google it. The birds aren’t women in thongs, they are actually birds. Starlings to be exact and I got to see them in all their glory looking for a place to roost, flying like a giant black shadow across the moorlands, and it was way better than the time I had to hunt down the stripper who was dating Michael Jackson’s doctor in LA.

What the Wassailing Was That?

Around this time two years ago I was lucky enough to walk the red carpet at the Golden Globe Awards in California. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I dined on a three course Wolfgang Puck meal in the Beverly Hills Hilton and sipped (ok maybe glugged, since it was free) Moet alongside A-list celebrities and Hollywood big wigs – many of who are probably on some dodgy watch list now, but anyway.

Golden Globes
Red carpet at the Golden Globes – no big deal

This year it was my husband was the one invited. He got to mingle with the stars and get told by superstar DJ Mark Ronson to “please STOP dancing like that to my music”. (Doesn’t bode well for his tap classes does it.)

But where was I? Was I….

A.) Sat on the sofa watching the awards with my feet up by the fire? 

B.)Wrapped up like an eskimo, whacking the bejesus out of a saucepan with a wooden spoon, skipping around an old apple tree and chanting about three men trying to lift their sacks?

Well it would be a stretch even of my imagination to make the latter up.

I was celebrating Wassailing. Was..a.what? I hear you ask. I thought the same when it was suggested we throw this party in the apple orchard. 

My wise dad began to explain: “It’s an ancient PAGAN tradition,” at which point I tried desperately not to switch off. “It’s to awaken the CIDER apple trees and scare away the evil spirits to ensure a good harvest.” I heard cider and perked up. “There will be singing, dancing, gunfire, a bonfire and a lantern procession lead by the Wassail Queen.”

With this description it’s no wonder one of the 120 people invited to this bizarre shin dig ushered me into a corner at the children’s birthday party I was at just hours before the Wassail and whispered: “At this thing tonight, are we sacrificing anything?”

I looked around us to make sure no one could hear our covert conversation and nodded: “Yes. Why do you think the invite asked you to bring a saucepan? It’s to catch the blood.”

Wide eyed he asked: “Is it a pig? A chicken? Oh God, do we need to come in costume? Is your dad wearing a cloak and stuff?”

Turns out he’d been binge watching ‘Vikings’ and when I told him the saucepan was so we could hit it to make a noise and the only thing he might end up sacrificing was his dignity, I don’t know whether it was relief or disappointment I saw in his eyes.

Because while I am trying to eek out some trendy stuff to do in the countryside, it’s becoming ever more apparent that in quiet places like these, we often have to make our own entertainment and it can actually be – and pardon the pun – bloody brilliant.

I’m sure this is probably the first and only time someone has compared the Golden Globes with a Wassailing, but I like to be different.

We had a toast. Ok it was a piece of toast soaked in cider and hanging from a tree, rather than the glass of bubbles my husband was no doubting using to toast a celebrity win. 

Wassailing Toast
Not quite the toast I had in mind

We had security that came in the form of a bucket of water to throw on the bonfire and some fencing (we powered off the electric one, although that could have added a spark!) to stop the children falling on the flames.

Plus we had our three course meal. Cider punch, bratwurst and Danish pastry. A combo worthy of a Michelin star or two I’m sure.

So perhaps next year I should combine the two celebrations and throw a Golden Wassail. Who is in??

Ryan Gosling is Coming to the Countryside

You can take the man out of Hollywood, but you cannot take the Hollywood out of the man! That is something I discovered this week. My husband is the quiet one in our relationship, but he has a wicked sense of humour and much sharper wit than I have.  

So while he’s not particularly verbal he’s far from boring and on top of that he’s always willing to make a fool out of himself in the name of fun (hence he begrudgingly gave me a thumbs up to post this). Take the time he turned up at my mum’s 60th ’60’s’ themed birthday party dressed as a woman. He’d only met my parents a few times and never their friends! He slipped quietly – because that’s what he does – into the party in his orange mini dress, blonde wig and knee high, high heeled white boots and stood smiling as my dad tried to work out which one of his friends had brought a 6ft 3 date!

Or how about the fact HE was the one who wanted dance lessons before our wedding. But not just any dance classes. We had classes at ‘Third Street Dance’ where all the celebrities for ‘Dancing with the Stars’ (the American ‘Strictly Come Dancing) practiced their Cha-cha-cha and Foxtrot. But it doesn’t stop there. I was allowed to pick the style of dance so long as he could pick the music. I chose Disco (despite his insistence that he could pick up the funky art of Street Dance in just a few short weeks) and he got me back by picking the ‘YMCA’. We’d made a deal so I couldn’t back down and so we flipped, leapt and paraded across our marquee to the dulcet tones of ‘The Village People’.

Reading all of this back I’m now wondering why I’m surprised by the emails I sent for him today.

So here they are. In the midst of my hunt for hot yoga and cocktails I’m firing off emails like this – as I’m crying with laughter – on behalf of my 38-year-old husband; and yes, I know he should be writing his own correspondence but I think that’s the least of my worries right now.



My husband is interested in starting an adult beginners tap class and I wanted to enquire into the prices – and if he’d even be able to do it? – you can be honest.

He’s never done tap before (I’ll admit he does at least have rhythm), but he’s eager to try something new and this is what he’s chosen.

If you could let me know as soon as possible since he’s keen to get started in the New Year.

Thanks very much,




My husband is interested in joining your choir, but he has a couple of questions for you. 

Firstly can he just turn up and get stuck in or does he need to audition? Also what sort of music do you sing? He’s way more Katy Perry than Jerusalem, if you know what I mean. No offense meant.

If you could let me know any other details I’d need – prices, times etc – that would be great.

Thanks very much,


So there it is. We moved away from Los Angeles and now my husband wants to become the next Ryan Gosling creating ‘LA LA Land’ in the countryside by taking up singing and dancing! Fortunately in his spare time he chops wood….and sculpts it into teeny tiny cute little decorations.

tap dancing in the British countryside

No seriously he’s too busy Googling ‘size 12 adult tap shoes’ to do that! 

I’ll conclude by letting you concerned folk know that no husband’s feelings were harmed in the making of this blog post, although he did omit a very firm and deep ‘NO’ when I ‘tapped him up’ for some photo evidence to put online. I guess he does have his limits. 

Halloween in Hollywood Laid Bare

WARNING: This post contains partial nudity which may be disturbing.

I love fancy dress! I’ve always loved it. In Los Angeles where Halloween was often branded ‘Whore-O-Ween’ due to the slutty nature of so many of the costumes, I often revelled in wearing the biggest, ugliest, most ridiculous costume instead. If you’ve seen my Mrs. Potato Head kid’s party social media post, this probably won’t come as a surprise to you.

Halloween in Hollywood
Fortunately my friends in LA were as ridiculous as me

Boy did I see some costumes in my time there. Terms normally reserved for a Daily Mail article would best describe them “spilling out”, “busty display” “jaw-dropping cleavage”. You get the picture. But I’m still lost for words at a costume that has been forever been etched in my mind. 

One year I ventured to the famed West Hollywood Parade where apparently pretty much anything goes.

There he was, a regular looking man wearing a pair of glasses, his head just poking up out of the crowd. 

A simple ‘Jason Voorhees’ hockey mask rested on top of his balding head.  

But as the people parted to make way for him, I realized he was wearing the most terrifying outfit I’d ever seen.

He was naked, all except for a very small pouch that barely, and I mean barely covered his privates. This homemade banana hammock would have given Borat a serious run for his money.

As if in a bad dream, I stood unable to move or scream as he tapped his way towards me in…..wait for it….a pair of clogs.

Halloween in Hollywood
No denying this man had some balls to wear this!

The worst thing was yet to come though as my husband (boyfriend at the time) encouraged me to have a photo with him. 

“Go on, get in close, put your arm around him and give a smile,” he said. 

God, how I wish I’d had a pair of Marigolds at that moment – or a time machine.

My arm slipped behind his back, and I guess I was so stunned by the lack of outfit at the front, I hadn’t given enough thought to what was going on in the back.

My hand grazed across his bare bottom just as my husband yelled: “Cheese”.

Seconds later, after the camera had captured this moment, ‘Pouch Man’ only went and dropped his tiny man purse and guess where I was stood at this point? Right behind him. 

I could then confirm the pouch DID NOT cover everything!

I refuse to let this image (which if you need a bigger photo you can see here) taint my love of Halloween though. 

So even now as we live our life in this sleepy Somerset village, we brought a bit of Hollywood Halloween with us. Don’t worry, we didn’t fly ‘Pouch Man’ over.

But we did decorate our house to the nines and much to our surprise and my joy, so did lots of other families. 

The village was rife with carved pumpkins and a festive spirit.

The kids still went trick or treating and came home with a belly and a bucket full of sweets and best of all the only balls I had to contend with were chocolate eyeballs!


Crazy For Coffee

Coffee shops used to be about more than just a place to get my caffeine fix when I lived in Los Angeles. My local Starbucks was my office three days a week and the crazy clientele was as regular as my daily order – a tall Americano, chocolate covered salted almonds and a chicken, veg salad (not all together) in case you care. 

There was Moty the Israely man who approached me because I was “always typing” and asked me to help write about the hangover cure he was marketing in return for some free samples! Not sure how I should have taken that?

Mrs. McDonald – as I called her – who always hijacked the corner table as a sales booth where she chowed down on her chicken nuggets and fries and in between mouthfuls attempted to round up clients to buy the same pair of shoes – clearly stolen…..and worn – day in and day out.

Mad bike man who reveled in walking around the joint in his crash helmet shouting: “Breaking news everyone. I have just proposed to my girlfriend and she said yes. She’s a Christian. First time for me, second time for her! Congratulations to me. That’s it for now. Over and out goodbye.” 

But my personal favorite was the blind man who would tap his way up and down casually bumping into people –  nearly always females funnily enough – with his white cane. I’d watch and sigh when a kind hearted sole would pull out a chair next to them and help him sit down. I’d fallen for this once before too so I knew what was coming. He’d unzip his military drum – and no, that’s not code for something else, he really did have an oversized military drum with him – and proceed to give a demonstration which, if you didn’t just walk away, would last FOREVER. Once you were trapped with him, there was no escape. I used to feign different voices because if he heard me talking in my British accent he was there like a shot, reciting every line from the old English show ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ and blatantly ignoring me when I’d politely say “I’m so sorry but I’m actually working”. 

Bow Wharf in Langport won H over with it’s marshmallow hot chocolate!

I probably looked just as nuts as some of the other customers as I played musical chairs to try to avoid him. I know it sounds cruel, but this debacle happened every week for well over a year!

Amongst the unusual Starbucks frequenters was also a handful of regular celebrities. I’d marvel at how Rod Stewart always made time to not only buy the homeless man a coffee, but would sit and chat to him too and I’d look at ‘Sex and the City’s’ Mr. Big and wonder what Carrie would have to say about his slightly hungover, stubbly appearance.

So I was eager to find good coffee shops and cafes in South Somerset. I knew I wasn’t likely to stumble upon quite such an eclectic group of caffeine addicts in my local Caffe Nero but I have found some great places to sip on a decent roast or brew –  listed below! 

The path to the coffee shop – mind the cars!

That being said I actually think my latest Somerset coffee experience trumps anything I came across in Holly’weird’. Because while sipping my coffee around a campfire – not a fire pit, an actually campfire with a giant black kettle alongside a tub of onions cooking – outside a woodland coffee shop, yep you heard me right – a lady approached me to tell me about proud she was that her ‘slightly psychotic’, sweet but once troubled son had just got this chainsaw license.

I gulped as she continued, envisaging a talented, all be it mildly troubled wood sculptor roaming the Somerset area wielding his rather dangerous work weapon.

But I could breathe a sigh of relief when she informed me that while they’re getting his meds sorted, he’s only using a chisel!!!


HERE’S MY PICK OF PLACES SO FAR (Feel free to tell me about more!)

The Orchard Food and Coffee House

Provenda Deli 

Bean Shot Coffee Bar

Finca Coffee

Bow Wharf Cafe



Caravanning Anonymous

Hi, my name is Hannah and I went on holiday and stayed in a static caravan!

There, I’ve said it.

I’m aware it’s not a big deal, in fact some of my happiest holiday memories as a kid were from vacations to caravan parks, but as a new friend pointed out to me the other day: “I think perhaps you’ve been spoiled by your holidays in America”.

She’s right, a pool drenched trip to Palm Springs or a few days snowboarding in Mammoth were at our fingertips (because we lived so close and it was affordable) and it’s probably for that reason that, like some sort of unnecessarily embarrassed idiot I’d whisper details of my British based holiday to my friends across the pond for fear of being judged.

“I hear you’re going away next week, anywhere nice?” some friends in America asked.

“Yes, just a little trip to the coast,” I replied. “A place called Woolacombe Bay, it’s supposed to be beautiful.”

Then I’d gulp when they asked if we had a house there or if we were staying in a hotel before revealing: “Nope, I’m staying in a static caravan.”

caravan park at woolacombe bay holiday park devon
Juxtaposition? This isn’t my car by the way!

“Ohhhhh. Like a mobile home?” they’d enquire, and I was sure they were envisioning me kicking back in a downtrodden ‘trailer park’ chewing tobacco, with the kids running around half clothed and caked in dirt.

Why is it that I’d happily tell them I was going camping in a muddy field where I have to pee in a bush, but I was worried about saying the words ‘static caravan’.

I had butterflies – I”m not 100% sure because of what. Excitement? Trepidation? Terror? – as I pulled into Woolacombe Bay Holiday Park to begin our four-day trip with my husband, our two kids, a friend and his daughter too.

My first thought was that we’d be transported to the set of Dr. Who and we were staying in a Tardis – because for six of us to fit into one of those homes, I presumed that’s what it had to be.

After picking up my key from the VERY VERY VERY animated man at the front desk (I see the bright lights of Butlins in his future), I could see my 6ft 2 hubby almost breaking out in hives as he unlocked our front door and practically had to get down on his hands and knees to get inside.

Our friend (who is a seasoned static caravaner) strode in confidently admiring “the spacious living room” and marveling at the “ample amounts of seating.”

Both my husband and I were more concerned about the toilet situation considering our pal had joked before we got there that the movie tagline for our holiday could be “6 humans, one bog, no mercy”.

Also our daughter has taken to shouting “Roll up, roll up, who wants to wipe my bum?” after using the toilet and I didn’t want the neighbours thinking the circus had come to town.

woolacombe bay beach devon
Sunny, but chilly morning at Woolacombe Bay beach

So I was pleasantly surprised to discover we had two loos! I mean my husband says he had to straddle it to be able to shut the door and whoever decided crepe paper was a sufficient material to use for the interior walls of a caravan clearly wasn’t thinking straight.

But lets look on the bright side, no one wanted to waste time sat in there reading a book and you could turn the kettle on while taking a wee, if you got the angle right!

Did the kids notice any of these quirks though? Of course they didn’t. They had pools, playgrounds and beaches (almost sounded like I was back in LA there) on their doorstep.

sunset woolacombe bay devon

Plus you couldn’t help but smile when you heard them roar with laughter every time my better half hit his head on the door frame or they heard each other’s bedtime toots through the wafer thin walls.


It wasn’t just about the kid’s enjoyment either. We loved the daily woodland walks down to the incredible coastline and the sunsets were out of this world. I’m not saying we grew to love the caravan itself. Our names aren’t down on the waiting list for next year! But we did have a great holiday with a lot of laughs, many of which wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for our choice of accommodation!

Somerset Sushi – I’m on a Roll!

It’s happened! I can’t believe it, I finally have a decent sushi restaurant closer than 45 minutes from my house. I still have to drive there, but lets face it there’s not much I don’t have to drive to anymore.

It might not sound exciting to many country folk but for me it’s music to my ears because sushi was my go to food in LA and the grub I’ve missed most.

But when I was first informed about this so-called ‘Sushi’ restaurant opening up in the summer, I was dubious. The news came via my mum and while she’s a well travelled and intelligent lady with a love of foreign foods, raw fish has never really been her thing – unless they are Danish herrings.

sushi in the british countryside
‘Crazy’ excited for some sushi

Dad has always insisted on calling it ’Shh-shi’ and on the numerous times we took him to a Japanese restaurant when he was visiting he never once latched on to why we insisted on telling him to keep his voice down when he was ordering.

It was only when I saw with my own eyes that ‘Daniel Sushi’ was in fact a real place intending on serving up actual sushi that I began to get excited.

This wasn’t just some local fisherman dragging in a bottom feeding carp for us to dine on, the menu looked good and the chef was a professional.

The reviews were complimentary but I have to say the one that really stood out to me was this:

“I’m so happy there’s more than just supermarket sushi now, and even more glad that it’s really really good. I tried some of the beef that my dad ordered and it was out of this world.”

sushi in somerset
No, this isn’t a google image, this is the real deal

Once the laughing subsided off we trotted to ‘Bond Street’ – sadly not the posh one in London.

I nervously sipped on my chilled red wine – yep, they should probably do something about that – and wondered if in 24 hours I’d be doing an impression of the Exorcism of Emily Rose from both ends.

It’s true my Eastern European waitress wasn’t exactly up on her sushi lingo, but the meal was actually delicious and the only reason my tummy was rumbling was because I wanted more.

I went to bed on a salmon tartar and maki roll high. All I need now is for them to start delivering!

At the Car Wash

I thought I had stayed relatively British during my 15 year stint in Los Angeles. I Iost count of the number of times people commented that I hadn’t lost my English accent, I insisted on packing my bags at the supermarket and I still had a roast dinner, complete with Yorkshire puds on a Sunday. But on my return to the UK it became apparent that I had become a little ‘LA’ when living there.

I’m pretty sure the smartly dressed man outside the National Trust property didn’t appreciate me tossing my car keys at him when I mistook him for a valet and I’m convinced the owners of the local petrol station think I’m a complete idiot.

So much so I’m too embarrassed to go back there.

I’m used to driving a big car…but on big roads. I had a couple of prangs in Los Angeles but I still blame the fact I honestly couldn’t see over the steering wheel.

But for the majority of the time I could navigate the five lanes of heavy traffic on the 101 freeway – it just turns out I can’t navigate my way around a village petrol station – specifically I can’t drive my way through a car wash.

I was so excited about taking the kids through one – yeah, I know I said I was going to find fun and trendy things to do in the countryside, but I was having one of those days. Automatic car washes are far and few between in LA – mainly because when you valet your car you get the option for it to be washed too – so I figured it would be fun.

The problem was it had been a LONG time since I’d used one. I sat in the car and actually googled “how to go through a car wash”. Then to make doubly sure I did it right I went into the petrol station shop and spoke to the lady behind the counter.

I carefully explained – much to her amusement – that I was basically a foreigner and because I’d lived outside of the country for 15-years I wasn’t 100% sure on how to use a car wash.  It was my kid’s first time and I didn’t want to mess it up.

She kindly gave me instructions that basically amounted to “line your car up, turn off the engine and the machine will do the rest”.

I still managed to mess it up.

Five minutes later I was stuck inside a dark car wash, with a pair of petrified children. I couldn’t get out because my door was wedged up against the oversized brush I’d somehow managed to get way too close to and I had to make my exit via the passenger door. Sheepishly and covered in soap suds –  with the kids still screaming blue murder inside the car I might add – I had to go and explain myself to the woman.

She took one look outside the window, looked back at me and called her daughter in to take a look at what I’d done. “Look, look” she said pointing her finger at the disaster zone outside. “We haven’t had anyone mess up this badly in years!”

Oh how they laughed!

She then picked up the phone to call her husband!

“Why not call your mum too while you’re at it,” I said, because by this point I was not only red-faced but also painfully aware my children were still stuck out there.

Turns out she was only calling her mechanic hubby to come and help. I then had to stand there as they marvelled, along with a few rubberneckers, at “how the hell I’d managed that.”

After a lot of manoeuvring, tutting and shocked shaking of his head he broke my vehicle free of the brush that had got caught underneath the wheel arch of the front wheel.

I thanked him very, very, very much and went to jump into the car to make a speedy and shameful getaway, when they asked; “Don’t you want another go? Your car is only half clean.”

At first I was convinced they were only asking so they could catch another failed attempt on camera and flog it to ‘You’ve Been Framed’ for £250.  But then the husband thwarted his wife’s plans by leaping into the driver’s seat of my car and positively INSISTING he drive my car and crying kids through the car wash.

Had this been in LA they would have probably forced me to pay for someone to come and fix the car wash and then sued me for damages. In the countryside however, they not only gave me my second £3.50 wash for free, but they also threw in two chocolate bars for the kids.

Lucky for me the English rain has kept me from having to go back and show my face, and terrible driving skills, any time soon! I knew there was a reason to love this weather.

Curry in the Countryside

Unlike other places in America, Los Angeles was the hub of healthy. Friends and family would visit and feel compelled to tell me how shocked they were at how few overweight people there were there. “I thought Americans were supposed to be fat?” guest after guest would ask as another perfectly pert posterior strutted past.

With the statistics showing that a third of U.S adults are obese, I can understand their confusion.

I do remember once waiting at Minneapolis airport and being left completely gobsmacked when I saw a VERY large lady in a wheelchair with a block of cheese in one hand and a loaf of bread in the other. She wasn’t just carrying her shopping, it was in fact, her snack! Her head bobbed back and forth like she was watching center court at Wimbledon as she took a bite out of the oversized lump of American cheddar in her left hand followed by a bite of her uncut loaf in her right. It was, for lack of a better word, incredible!

But in LA people were forever ordering their food “without cheese,” with the dressing “on the side” or requesting it sans bun aka “skinny style”.  My husband, friends and I used to joke about how far it could be pushed. “Hi. Can I get (because you don’t say “please may I have” in America) the bacon, avocado beef burger. But without the bun, bacon and avocado. Also is it possible to get a veggie patty instead of a beef one? I’d also like that without the mayonnaise and tomato, and actually scrap the patty all together”. 

I honestly don’t think the waiters would bat an eyelid if I’d done it.

In England and specifically in the countryside I’ve discovered it’s probably best to just eat it as it comes.

When I asked for ‘white meat’ – a very common request in America, simply meaning breast or tikka meat – from the local curry house, I’m convinced they thought I was being racist. 

Me: “I’d like to order a Chicken Madras but with only the white meat please.”

Them: “You asked for chicken, right?”

Me: “Yes, but can I just have the white meat, please.”

Them: “Chicken is white meat”

Me: “I know that but can I have the light coloured meat, not the dark meat.”

Them: “You didn’t order lamb.”

Me: “ I realise that, I ordered chicken. But could it be the chicken like the stuff that comes in the Tikka Masala.”

Them: “The best meat is the darker meat, why don’ you like it?.”

Me: “I do, I just prefer breast meat.”

Them: “I suppose you want white rice and not brown either!”

Kudos to the man on the end of the phone, I thought his closing comment was quite witty. 

But by that point I didn’t dare ask for the bottle of white wine they were offering for free for orders over £30.

“I’ll just take an onion bhaji thanks.”

The Dangers of Rural Living

The other day a friend asked me if I felt safer living in the British countryside rather than in LA and I didn’t know what to say.

I lived in a few different neighbourhoods, as they are called there, during my life in California but the majority of it was in a historic (1938) – which by Los Angeles standards is ancient –  block of lofts in the heart of Hollywood.

Lofts at Hollywood and Vine

Friends used to visit and be bitterly disappointed because they’d assumed I lived in a mansion in Beverly Hills and that my local supermarket was on Rodeo Drive.

While there was an abundance of celebrity filled restaurants and trendy hotels,  sex shops, smoke shops and tattoo parlours were dotted between them too.

My dad used to make me laugh when he’d try to look at the positives, and point out that “it’s nice that they’ve got so many individual and non-chain shops here”. I’m not sure the ‘Adult Warehouse Outlet’ or ‘The Pleasure Chest’ were really franchise material!

Perhaps it’s pretty apt that my apartment block featured on the start of the movie ‘Pretty Woman’ and is regularly zoomed in on for the crime show ‘Bosch’.

Hollywood on Bosch

There’s a reason Hollywood was often referred to as Hollyweird, I mean among other things I did witness two grown men dressed as Spiderman being arrested for having a turf war, like a couple of prostitutes.

But I grew to love the city and all it’s quirks.

My daughter has always been able to sleep through pretty much anything, and I believe thats thanks to the police helicopters and ambulances that used to fly over and race past every hour of the day.

Sounds horrific to many I’m sure. BUT I did feel strangely safe.

Now, when I moved to the countryside, I was still excited not have to worry about earthquakes, roaring traffic and the other obviously perils of city living.

But it turns out I can’t get away from it all and when it comes to driving here, I’d take a major 5 lane freeway any day!

I’m not good behind the wheel anyway and it’s been pointed out that the majority of the time I actually breath in when I pass a car and practically crap myself when I see a tractor headed my way.

small roads countryside
This photo did the road justice!

Case in point, I’ve just returned from a little holiday to Cornwall with my FLF (food loving friend), you may remember him from a former blog post.

I was in charge of driving and much to his dismay we had to abort a mission to get into a local village when the roads became so small I feared I’d meet my death wedged between, what was admittedly a beautiful Rhododendron and the way-too-late sign post that indicated ‘narrow road ahead’.

I had to do an ‘Austin Powers’ style 25 point turn to get out of the corridor – because I swear to God the route between my kitchen and bathroom is bigger –  and drive out of the village with sweat pouring down my face as my daughter pointed out repeatedly “daddy’s right, you can’t drive”.

Then there are the insects. Going for a hike in Los Angeles meant avoiding rattle snakes or the occasional cougar – both the animal and the older lady seeking a younger man variety.

Here it’s become apparent that it’s the smaller things I should be concerned about. My anally retentive and arachnophobic  – slight exaggeration – husband informed me he’d purchased a ’spider catcher’ after he claims he saw “one with teeth, hiding and ready to pounce” underneath his towel.

I had visions of this Spiderman inspired device that shoots a net out to gather up the critters faster than lightening. Turns out the ‘spider catcher’ is just a ridiculously expensive Black and Decker hand held vacuum cleaner.

My dad leaving the hedge cutter in the kid’s sandpit drew way less concern than when I thought my son had a tick! I flipped out even more than when I believed I saw a flea in his bed – hedgehogs carry them you know – and I may now have scarred him for life.

hedge cutter in sandpit
“It would have been very difficult for the kids to turn on” said my mum

I had him pinned down in the garden as I argued with my husband over the best way to remove it. I knew from having a dog decades ago that you shouldn’t just pull it out and you needed a special device, but the wireless didn’t stretch from the house and there was, as usual, no signal in the garden, so Googling was out of the question.

Lyme Disease raced through my mind as I stood there arguing with my spider fearing husband about who and how we were going to pull this disgusting thing from my, by now, terrified child’s leg.

It was perhaps a tad overkill, because when I gritted my teeth and took the plunge I discovered it wasn’t a tick after all, it was just a leaf.

There’s also a sheepdog, who has a reputation for being a biter up the road and there’s a pack of cows who saw me dive head first into some brambles to escape, what I believed was, an inevitable stampede the other day.

But wilderbeests, creepy crawlies and ridiculously small roads aside, I’m happy to say we do feel safe here!

If I could just get this mosquito out of the bedroom to ease my fears of catching West Nile virus, I’d be able to sleep just that little bit better.