Big Brother may be watching me but I’m not watching it. I don’t have to. My mother watches. Gives me the updates like a Twitter feed on legs. And I can’t block her...
Then there’s Twitter too, of course. I made the mistake of following the LindaNolanToWinCBBUK hashtag between far more important stuff about the legal aid walkout and my own feature on the incredibly £100k fundraising drive of injured soldier Rick Clement (@SgtClem)and found myself springing to her defence.
Linda’s been to hell and back in the last few years. Lost her husband, manager, soul mate, best friend Brian. And her inspirational sister Bernie. Lost a big chunk of her self confidence too, as she confided to me some weeks back. Along with her earning ability. So she’s been on benefits. Showbiz is an unforgiving mistress. It demands all or nothing. The show must go on.
For Linda the work dried up as her tears continued to flow. Now she’s picked herself up and is out to start all over again.
She’s paid into the welfare system for decades, working since she was a child with her sisters, going it alone with one woman shows and the big Bill Kenwright productions such as Blood Brothers.
What do the Twitter trolls want? Blood? They got it. Two huge personal losses pretty much back to back. Small wonder she ended up on anti depressants. But Linda’s been fighting back. She’s no fool and she doesn’t suffer fools - or Jim Davidson - gladly. Good for her.
Trapping Linda in the so called Celebrity Big Brother house with Jimbo is like teaming Sooty up as support for Chubby Brown at North Pier. Or vice versa.
So I retweeted my feature on Linda - with the words don’t judge Linda until you’ve read this. It revealed her heartbreak, her anguish, and courage. She’s turned out time and again in support of cancer charity related public events and our own Hospice Heroes. She also supports a truly inclusive theatre company TramShed locally - giving a voice to those who might struggle to express themselves through theatre otherwise. She needs to find that voice again herself.
In a weird kind of way CBB is helping Linda do just that. We all know such programmes prey upon also-ran entertainers, fallen-from-favour stars and egocentric comics past their sell-by for rich viewing pickings - but there are gems there too.
TV exposes every flaw in glorious high definition -and too many of us thrive on trash telly. Look at the viewing figures for Benefits Street with its formulaic kicking of a community down and too foolish to realise it’s being set up for a further fall.
But CBB could be the redefining of Linda rather than just the making or breaking of her. She has the inner strength and the outer clout to carry it off.
There’s something of the stoic Blood Bros matriarch in Linda - just as there is in each and every one of her sisters. They’re real women rather than Loose Women. Vulnerable, feisty, bitchy, opinionated, always in the mood for dancing even when mourning - and compassionate. Scratch one and the rest bleed. Beware, Jimbo and Twitter trolls.
Feed the birds - tuppence a bag? No way
I’m a bird feeder. Well, I fill bird feeders. It’s costly too. Have you seen the price of peanuts?
It’s a bit of a hit and miss process since next door’s cat took up residence on the fence.
Fortunately 100ft of the garden is currently under eight inches of water. Mog does not like to get his paws wet. So I wade in - promising help is on its way to ailing tropical rain forest trees en route - and ensure high rise and low level feeders are stocked up.
The birdies get treats too. Clonakilty white pudding and Haggis for new year. Bird fat cake crafted from goose fat left over from festive roasties, finest seed (not stuff containing animal feed to bulk out the weight), sultanas, peanuts, suet. And mealworms.
I hate handling mealworms. I’ve issued this warning in the past but it’s based on personal experience. Under NO circumstances leave mealworms around while preparing bird fat cake - as inebriated guests will mistake them for Bombay Mix. “Not enough salt on this...” Gulp.