May 27, 2009


Can’t sleep? Not getting your work done? Don’t see your friends anymore? Don’t remember your husband/partner/kids’ names? Your cat/dog gone to live next door? Well, read on… Help is at hand in this free introductory offer!

"Hi! I’m Nora and I’m an addict! Yes, I am ’fessing up in public! And yes, I am no longer in denial. I am… a BLOG ADDICT! There, I’ve got the words out and feel ever so much better. Ever so much better, in fact, since I joined BlogAddictsAnonymous!"

Case Study: Nora was entered into our programme by her employer, Lola (below right), who says Nora used to be a normal, hard-working human. Since she took up blogging, however, Nora’s become much less efficient at tending to Lola’s requirements and so needed our specialist help. IMMMEDIATELY! "I admit I have very high standards and am very demanding with my PA," says Lola. "More so than Naomi Campbell ever was with hers. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t expect those same high standards of Nora whose work now is nothing more than a slapdash mishmash."

Simply take the following test (it’s really short, so won’t take up too much valuable blogging time). The test is FREE! A free introductory offer! An offer you simply can’t refuse - the solution you’ve been waiting for to all your problems. (And see below for special two-for-one limited offer - tell your blog pals!)

Read the following statements, see if you agree with them, add up the score at the end and check below how BlogAddictsAnonymous can help YOU too!
  1. Your computer's down - and you're taking it out on the cat, the kids, everyone. (Sound familiar? Award yourself 10 points)

  2. You've nothing to talk about.
    If you’ve nothing to talk about, there’s no need to write 10 paragraphs about how you have nothing to talk about. Perhaps tomorrow, or the day after, you may fancy doing a post. It’s all a question of what else there is to do around the house, in the garden, to the car, to the kids to the cat, on Twitter (Yes? Another 10 points)

  3. The most interesting thing you did in the past week was read a newspaper. Nobody is interested which paper you read. Except if, of course, you are as iconic as David and Victoria Beckham when it will inevitably spark a media circus ( enter, stage left, Max Clifford), 200 different YouTube videos, Facebook and Bebo log-ins and websites like ( (Yes? Yet another 10 points)

  4. Everything has already been said: in print journalism (in articles like the one below), broadcast journalism and blogs.
    You’ve just published a post: "How to increase traffic to your site". (You’re trying to beat Guido Fawkes’ record of more than 120,000 visitors a month.) However, about 100,000 bloggers got there before you. (Yes? 10 points)

  5. Nobody will read your post and your granny hasn’t the faintest idea how to switch on the laptop.
    If you find you have 50 visitors tracked by your Hit Counter, don’t get too fired up. You’ve simply pressed the refresh button 50 times. (Yes? 10 points)

  6. You really don’t have better ways to spend your time.
    Such as talk to people, get a life (real, not virtual). (Yes? 10 points)

  7. You can’t be arsed to list more than 7 points from yet another meaningless Top 10 list. You’d much rather be back at that ******* laptop. (Yes? 10 points)

  • 70 Points: You are truly beyond help! But wait! Help may still be at hand if you sign up IMMEDIATELY with BlogAddictsAnonymous!

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  • 40 Points or less: You’ve clearly already found the solution (why are you still here reading this?) and BlogAddictsAnonymous needs to hear from you NOW! (reasonable rates offered for mentoring initial cohort of BlogAddictsAnonymous patients. Could be a very long, hard slog)

Whatever your score, BlogAddictsAnonymous would love to hear from you! Whether as a potential patient OR mentor! Let us know what YOU think. BlogAddictsAnonymous's mission statement is "to help Blog addicts throughout the blogosphere". This means we will be opening franchises in other countries (starting with the USA, Canada, Australia and the UK). So, if you think you can help/need help (for yourself or others like Nora above), let us know in the comments box below and we guarantee a prompt reply (anonymity guaranteed if preferred).


What did you do before the invention of computers, the internet, Google? Can’t remember? Paying heed to a recent report claiming that heavy users of social networking sites risk untold damage to their attention sp ... lost your train of thought AGAIN ?…, BlogAddictsAnonymous is here to help YOU by compressing its message into a final, single strapline. Those with the will are welcome to plough on and come up with other reasons to join us but all you need to know is this:


MORE ABOUT THE COMPANY/ DISCLAIMER! is the registered name of BlogAddictsAnonymous, a non-profit organization based in the Cayman Islands (Tel. No. + 00 12345678) managed by Munoz MoneyMaking Machine Inc. (hereafter referred to as 3M). All fees payable should be transmitted direct to the Cayman Islands either via our Swiss bank account or in used euro notes where they will be securely deposited in another offshore tax haven of 3 M’s choice.

May 22, 2009


In a comment about the previous post where I mentioned Spain’s serious economic difficulties, Charley Circus, author of the great blog, So Lovely, observed how one-sided a country’s news reporting can be. And this got me thinking. About all the stories here in Andalucia, for instance, that would hardly make it into the Spanish national press, let alone The LA Times or The Times (of London).

One recent local story stands out in particular since it highlights Marbella’s recent murky past. (A sunny place for shady people perhaps, to quote Somerset Maugham.) A litter bin (no, a skip) filled to overflowing with corruption scandals which the authorities, to be fair, are doing their best to eradicate. Though not enough in the opinion of a good friend of mine, Isabella, an English lawyer who’s been here over fifteen years and still deals with instances of corruption and bribery. In her view, it will take another generation for corruption to be the exception rather than the norm. When today’s youth comes of age in an environment when bribes and backhanders are no longer seen as the sine qua non of the Harvard Business School (Spain) model.

‘Spanish customs and practices’ is an oft used axiom - could equally well describe the operation of the UK’s ‘gentlemen’s club’ parliamentary expenses system - and here in Andalucia we are reminded of it every time we hear that a former mayor/councillor is remanded in custody/ released on bail/ comes to trial/comes to the public’s notice in some form or other.

And I was immediately reminded of it again when I heard that the former Mayor of Marbella, Julián Muñoz (above), who is not only currently serving a prison sentence, with day release privileges, for town planning crimes but still faces another 50 court cases on various counts including the so-called 'Malaya' case, is to give a guest appearance at a Madrid University Summer Course to talk about… Yes, you guessed right - "Corruption"…

It was the ‘Malaya’ case, in fact, that brought Muñoz, my chosen beast, to universal notice amid allegations of money laundering, property development offences, including building on land protected from development, manipulation of public tenders, the acceptance of bribes as well as schemes to alter the price of municipal services. Police seized, incidentally, more than €45,000 in CASH from the home of Muñoz's girlfriend, the singer Isabel Pantoja, which she claimed were for "household expenses". Which by comparison makes moats and duck islands seem pretty small fry… Hmm

So, let’s just imagine Muñoz - former waiter and chauffeur - sitting down and putting together some of the main bullet points for his inaugural lecture entitled:

The Muñoz Master Class in Corruption:

  • Fings wot I done (and got away with)

  • Fings wot I didnt get done (but would ave if I hadnt got nicked)

  • Fings wot worked (and made me shedloads of dosh)

  • Fings wot didnt work (couldnt make enough dosh out of 'em)

  • Fings wot I saw (and should have turned a blind eye to)

  • Fings wot I didn’t see (and wish now I had)

  • Fings wot I said (and were lies)

  • Fings wot I didnt say (but were lies anyway)

  • Fings wot I wish Id said (and might’ve kept me out of all this ****)

  • Fings wot I wish I hadnt said (but landed me in all this **** anyway)

  • Fings wot I would do again (now I knows not what to do)

  • Fings wot I wouldnt do again (now I knows they ******* won’t ******* work)

Signed X (Julián Muñoz), Marbella, 22 May 2009

The course director, Juan Luis Galiacho, who approved the proposal put forward by one of the lecturers, pointed out that the course is an "open forum" and "Muñoz can say what he likes ...Besides, he is not being paid to come".

And what about Muñoz himself? Asked about the course, he neither confirmed nor denied his intentions but remarked - ironically - that he never gets paid. (This from a self-made multi-millionaire. Millions made by himself - from corruption.)

Interestingly other speakers on the same subject of corruption include Spain’s Ombudsman, the Attorney General, a Cardinal, several politicians and the very judge who jailed the late, former mayor, Jesús Gil, the tip of Marbella’s corruption iceberg.

And what, you ask, is the beauty of the title? Here in Andalucia, mid-May is the season of one of the most beautiful flowering trees I know. The jacaranda. The gorgeous flowers only last for a week or so but what beauty! And what a contrast to the dirty, devious, disgusting dealings of my beast, Muñoz.

NB. Julián Muñoz wants it to be known that he offers his services as Guest Speaker (Specialist Subject: "Corruption or How To Con All The Punters All The Time") on the world business leaders’ circuit following in the footsteps of Blair and Clinton. For further details of other services available from 3 M (Muñoz MoneyMaking Machine Inc), apply directly to Julián himself to whom all moneys from whatever source (no questions asked) should be sent and by whom no reasonable offers (except from Nigeria) will be refused.

May 17, 2009


Wherever you turn, things look desperate. Be it bankers’ bountiful bonuses or plentiful pension pots, aporkalyptic swine flu predictions or politicians’ unedifying ethics - or simply the runaway recession. Here in Spain, for instance, where unemployment is the highest in Europe (4 million and counting;17% of the workforce), some Spaniards have even reportedly resorted to selling their kidneys just to make ends meet. Yes, we’re all on our way to hell in a handcart…

Or are we? Amongst all the gloom, there are often a few rays. Such as Major Phil Packer who, though horribly disabled in Basra, managed to complete the recent London Marathon in 13 days for charity. Philip Hollobone, the UK's most frugal MP, who commutes the four-hour round trip to Westminster in a standard-class train seat ("because there's no need to travel first class") and who last year spent just £400 out of a possible £100,205 on staff. And, of course, who could forget Susan Boyle…?

And in the same vein, hopefully, the following awards may provide a lighthearted moment or two as well…

The award (which I was given by the delightful ModernMom at How To Survive Life in the Suburbs is for RECENTLY discovered blogs and, like all similar blog awards, is useful because it introduces wonderful new blogs to a wider readership.

So regrettably I have to EXCLUDE those esteemed fellow bloggers I’ve known now for a little while (most of whom have already been garlanded with well-deserved awards) such as (in particular): Tania and Sarah of Backwards, Lucy Fishwife of Life happens between Books, Charlie Circus of So Lovely, Miss Whistle of Whistling and, also on the West Coast (of Canada), Pinklea. All beautifully written blogs.

In fact, all those listed on the sidebar deserve award after award but I’m restricted to just 10. (Stop gushing and get on with it. Ed.) So, ripping open the shiny, sealed envelope on the blogosphere podium, I momentarily pause (for drumroll and swig of whisky from artfully concealed hipflask) before reading out the nominations (in no particular order):

Dustjacket Attic
In An Ideal World
She Means Well, But...
A Country Dream
From Donuts To Delirium: My Life as a Housewife
The Vintage Kitten
Suzys Vintage Attic
French Charming
Chronically Vintage
French Fancy

The Rules:

1) Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who’s given it plus his or her blog link.

2) Pass the award to 10 other blogs that you’ve recently discovered. And contact the bloggers to let them know they've been chosen for this award.

Happy reading everyone!

May 11, 2009


Bonjour! I'm Lola and that Boris woman with the wild, fair hair has just left me to take Señora Noriega to her boyfriend, Juan Antonio. Señora Noriega, you see, doesn’t drive which is a shame because there’s nothing more délicieux than sitting in a convertible with the breeze rippling through your fur and cooling you down un peu in this heat.

You know, it’s already getting sooo hot here in Andalucia. In fact, I saw my first gecko yesterday in my garden, in my favourite spot soaking up the sun - always a sure sign of the arrival of summer. And, as for July and August with temperatures in the nineties, well, I dread to think how I’ll cope (yawn). I’ve tried Boris woman’s shades but they keep slipping and getting lost way down in all the fur. Sooo much fabulous fur you understand.

Now, sooo many of you, mes chers lecteurs, have asked how I’ve become so well-read and accomplished, speaking French like your average homme in the rue. (Or, should I say, caniche BCBG?) Well, the answer is très simple. Je suis française: And le résultat of all those years in New Labour puppybaccalauréatacadémie studying Chienbaudelaire, Chienvoltaire, Caninecalculus, chienphilosophie (ChienFoucault, ChienDerrida, ChienLyotard - oui, vraiment!) and sooo much else besides... But all this talk about my history and accomplishments is sooo fatigant (yawn), I feel another petit siesta coming on …

Speaking of all my accomplishments, however, does lead me on naturellement to Bo Obama. The Portuguese water dog aka Portie. The FDOTUS.

I bashed out the splash on him in my earlier guest post exclusively on Boris woman’s thingie. Namely, that it was a totally political decision to have as FDOTUS a PWG and not a Bichon ’cos Sarkozy aggravated so many at the G20 summit that the choice of a French breed at the time would have been hors de question.

Well, what are his accomplishments then? You may well ask! Bien sûr, he’ll be useless as a presidential guard dog - I mean, those webbed feet! In fact, I still haven’t fully recovered from a GHASTLY nightmare I recently had - the POTUS being chased by terrorists from the White House and that Portie diving for cover in the Potomac dogpaddling downstream as fast as his webbed feet would take him! Well, as I warned everyone then, what good are webbed feet to the POTUS on land?

But enough of the flip flow of one liners and glib assessments and down to the nitty gritty. And the EXCLUSIVE scoop you’ve all been waiting for… Apart from the fact he can’t hope to match the Bichons for agility, Portie suffers from one HUGE disadvantage. He may be friendly but he’s absolument pasphotogenic.

Dark, furry animals, you see, are notoriously difficile to photograph and the results in newsprint end up as featureless, amoeba-like blobs. La Maison Blanche should have asked the advice of one of the snappers who dog their every step. A Bichon, renowned for its looks and poise, would have been a parfait choice. Even an ugly, ugly mongrel with a patch over one eye - like Bill Syke’s mutt, Bullseye, a real character in the film Oliver - would have been préférable!

President Obama’s spin doctors not only missed the chance of countless, countless photo ops - starring yours truly (plus the President, too, of course way off in the background) - but have also complètement exaspéré countless, countless photo editors! Who are now demanding he change the dog for one beaucoup plus jolie - more like me in fact!

Oh that Boris woman is back again to write more drivel - who’s interested anyway in (yawn) Nightjack, Orwell or K-a-f-k-a. Ugh! Such ugly, ugly names and boring, boring stories - sooo unlike the history of my life. Anyway, I'd better jump in the basket, smile sweetly (it always works) and let her caress my fabulous fur.

PAWNOTE: That’s me in all my pulchritudinous pedigree above and in the side bar. As if anyone could confuse me with that human with the wild, fair hair…(yawn).


May 8, 2009



Otherwise unavailable in Spain except by invitation, Spotify has been offered to me personally by the Head of Spotify Spain (many thanks, Señor HOSS, if you’re reading) and I've thus regained a bit of paradise lost (not so sure about sanity). So in love with it, in fact, it’s shunted the Beloved Blackberry and Magnificent Manolos into reserve spots on my Desert Island Discs essential luxuries list waiting for that elusive call from Kirsty ...

Result: can now work and listen to those two great musical icons Berlioz and Bob sans interruption ('cos no commercial interruptions).

Berlioz and Dylan in the same breath?, I hear some shout. A musical heresy, I hear others scream. Berlioz, 19th century master showman that he was, would have been hugely flattered; not so sure about Bob…

Interesting that so many 19th century composers’ surnames begin with "B": from Beethoven, Bellini, Berlioz, Borodin, Brahms and Bruckner to Bliszt, Baganini, Bendelssohn etc etc. Surely the sine qua non for appearing on that well-known 19th century show, Europe’s Got Talent, hosted by Amandeus Humperdinckholden, Johann Simbastian Corellicowell and Piergolesi Mendelssohnmorgan (above)?

P.S. Hopefully will be back in the blogosphere (who wouldn’t?!) just as soon as get out of the way big current assignments which have been holding things up a lot. Something of an occupational hazard…

May 3, 2009


… Or merely Spotify-ed like me?

From the comfort of my chair, was idly google-earth-street-viewing old haunts in the UK, making lacklustre comments to P along the lines of: Oh, they’ve finally finished that bit of motorway here and that eyesore there. That sort of thing.

Then I swing over to our former home of twenty years which we sold to a couple with two small boys. Oh, look, I continue, they’ve taken down my beautiful shutters (so difficult to fit), painted the front door black (was pristine white) and installed window boxes (definitely out of proportion).

Zooming in, I can detect the gleam of a silver vase in the living room window. Scroll up, and I can see one bedroom window wide open and the other half closed (and that the marigolds badly need watering).

Zooming in further, you can easily make out each side of the rear garden - the house is set in a largish plot. Take a look, P, I call out again. They’ve pulled down the old conservatory and put in what looks like one of those flash Amegda jobbies. And some god-ugly goalposts for the kids…

By now, I’m almost pulling my hair out. P can’t understand the fuss. What does it matter what they’ve done? he replies with a withering look. We don’t live there any more, for pity’s sake!

But you don’t understand, I cry. They’ve ditched all my beautiful new curtains too…!

Finally tearing myself away from No. 22, I turn my attention to No. 24 to check if that’s also turned into an Iraqi reconstruction project. New windows, new coat of paint, new driveway I note absentmindedly. About to turn away - already getting a bit bored by this Google-thingie - when something in No. 24’s rear garden catches my eye.

I zoom in closer. What’s that palid, lumpy mass beside one of the high walls dividing the properties? I zoom in even closer. And all is revealed.

Taking advantage of the unexpectedly bright, sunny day of filming and unknowingly caught in its unforgiving glare are our neighbours, Joanna and Jeremy. Lying protected by high walls from neighbours’ prying eyes but not the camera’s - stark naked!

Well, J & J, it could have been worse. Pity that poor bloke caught on camera being arrested, another coming out of a sex shop, the yobbo vomiting while his mate’s relieving himself on a hedge and the couple caught …well, you know.

Street View maps reveal all sorts of scenes of ordinary daily life depicting all sorts of people caught in all sorts of places they are not meant to be – images available to anyone, remember.

There but for the grace of God, I later say to P who has totally forgotten the earlier conversation. I get another pitying, withering look.

In high dudgeon, I turn for relief to my latest source of soul balm and brain porn. For, in a word, I’ve been spotify-ed! More in next post.

FOOTNOTE: Don’t worry, J & J, you know your secret’s safe with me. Now, where the hell did I put Max Clifford’s phone number?

May 1, 2009


Got back from Spanish class yesterday, shaken and not a little stirred. Because of Jesús.

Jesús, you may recall, is our teacher. I’ve added the italics because he spends more class time talking about (through?) his personal problems than the other stuff (like teaching us?). Currently, it transpires, he’s trying to resurrect his broken engagement (he and Dolores were due to marry this summer and move into a new apartment until, that is, the development company he’d gone with went bust and lost all their money).

He’s since been virtuously trying all sorts of surprises and jollies to tempt her back. Trips to the cinema (though suffers from claustrophobia), trips into the countryside (despite bad dose of hay fever), trips shopping (hates shops, period). He even declared he was planning to take her to Granada today (a bank holiday) to tour the Alhambra. Until, that is, he discovered demand is so great (8,000 visitors a day) there’s currently a minimum two week advance booking requirement. So no point going there then.

Almost saintly in fact. But perhaps not quite enough. And the reason for yesterday’s outburst.

Dolores has apparently laid down a precondition of her own. Namely, if they do get back together and if they eventually marry, any daughter will bear the name of her grandmother, a family tradition.

Well, OK, we all shouted at Jesús. Fair enough, what the hell’s the problem then? What’s in a name? After all, take a name like Dolores for instance, that sounds fine, doesn’t it?

The problem, he replied seething, isn’t in a name like Dolores - full, legal name “Maria de los Dolores” (Mary of Sorrows) because it can so easily be shortened.

By now, some of us were starting to lose the thread and not a little patience. Yes, and…?

At last, he got a sufficient grip to carry on. No, the problem lies, he rasped, in her grandmother’s full, legal name - “Maria del Socorro” or Mary of Perpetual Succour or, simply, Succour

And this problem, he explained, goes all the way back to Franco who, rather like Lloyd Webber over half a century later, had a hand in trying to deal with it. He (Franco, that is; Lloyd Webber didn’t, to the best of my knowledge, go quite so far) issued many decrees, some bad, others more so.

One of the worst - and still prevalent - states that all baby girls not christened after a saint (like Teresa, Agnes etc) or religious concept - “Concepción” (Conception), Encarnación” (Incarnation) - either had to add “Maria” to the first name (so Ana suddenly became Anamaria) or to a shrine/ site of vision: thus “Maria del Rosario” (Mary of the Rosary), "María del Pilar" (Mary of the Pillar), "María de los Ángeles" (Mary of the Angels), "María de la Luz” (Mary of the Light) and so on.

And, Jesús added, the “Maria” problem isn’t just confined to baby girls. It can also be added to a boy’s name as in the case of former prime minister, José Maria Aznar, whose nickname, Pepe (Joe), offers yet another historical conundrum. Everyone assumes that’s derived linguistically - albeit bizarrely - from José (Joseph). Nothing of the kind, snorted Jesús. In fact, it’s derived from the pronunciation of the initials P.P. - since in monasteries during the reading of the Scriptures, St Joseph was always referred to as Pater Putativo, or simply P.P., putative father of Christ.

During the bank holiday weekend, I know Jesús will be in high dudgeon and deep contemplation. And I also know that, instead of doing the homework he’s set for Monday’s class, I too will be in deep contemplation - of ways to solve the intractable problem that is Maria.

P loves Spain (possesses, I swear, a solar-powered psyche) and has recently been talking up the advantages of acquiring Spanish nationality. However, since under Spanish law this would necessitate two surnames - hence Nora Johnson Johnson and The Johnson Johnson Diaries - this got, from me this time, a particularly withering look…