Follow me on Twitter: @janemcintyre12



I'm Jane McIntyre, a voiceover and writer, formerly an award-winning BBC radio newsreader and producer. My blog covers life, love and loss; travel, coffee and chocolate; with some heartfelt pieces in the mix about my late dad, who had dementia. Just a click away, I'm half of the team behind - two empty nesters who whizzed round the world in 57 days.

Tuesday 31 July 2012

Good as gold; whiter than white

Seeing all the fabulous London scenes on television during the Olympics has reminded me how much I love the place.

So, inspired by the prospect of a trip at someone else`s expense, and fired up by the athletes` quest for success, I`ve just entered a competition to win a night in a `top hotel`in the capital.

I have a blitz on competition entries from time to time. I can`t say I`ve been as lucky as my Auntie Marjorie. She scooped dozens of prizes, from handbags to holidays. And all kinds of kitchen appliances.

Competitions were a hard slog in those days, though. You had to research your answers, and then often come up with a `winning tiebreaker slogan` about why you loved the product so much.This took a certain skill, blended with a degree of sycophancy towards the contest`s sponsors. Suss that and you were sorted.

My mum always hoped to emulate her sister`s success. She spent days on a competition run by a washing powder company. A massive, life-changing cash prize was up for grabs. All you had to do was make as many words as you could out of the brand name.

She pored over her task, night after night. And because you had to collect a dozen box tops to send in with your entry, the house soon resembled a laundrette. Really. The sheets were blindingly white. And you couldn`t wear a jumper for more than half a day because she`d whip it off you and stuff it back in the twin-tub.

Weeks later, a branded letter arrived at breakfast time. Mum brought it to the table; hands trembling. It told her she`d won `a share` of £10,000.

Fifty pence, actually.

Fifty pence, because so many people had found precisely the same number of words as she had. She was so disgusted that she ripped up the envelope; cheque and all. We never had that brand in the house again. Moral: read the smallprint.

It didn`t put me off though. I was determined to do better. One day, my geography homework session upstairs started to bore me, so I idled away a couple of hours on a competition in mum`s `Good Housekeeping` magazine.You had to research something about grapes and France. I had my geography textbook upstairs so sorted out the answer, but was still only 14, so whacked in an entry in mum`s name. She came home from work a month later to a crate of vino on the doorstep. Never has a detention for absent geography homework been forgotten so fast.

 More recently I won a weekend away at a lavish hotel near Windsor. Well, Heathrow, really. We wondered why the band was playing so loudly over dinner, until we saw the planes angling up into the sky from the airport every four seconds. Lovely treat , though.

But back to tonight`s competition. It took about half a minute. I mean-the answer was just a sentence away from the question. Like those phone ins on daytime TV. `What letter of the alphabet follows "P" ? ` Oh and it costs how much  to ring up and enter? And did you know there are competition websites where you can pay to get the right answer?

I reckon the prize is all the sweeter when it follows a bit of effort. And on that note, I`m heading back to the telly  to watch more fabulous, brilliant athletes going for gold in London. There`s no luck involved there. Just superb levels of fitness, years of training, and plenty of blood, sweat and tears. Mind you...if they need the name of a good washing powder for that.....

PS.Thanks for dropping by. If you`re on Twitter, could you possibly retweet this? And if you`re not from the UK, could you drop me a note to say where you are? Especially if you`re one of the readers in Latvia or South Korea! Thanks.

Sunday 15 July 2012

Spare tyre? Run over here, mate

Dateline: Sunday night, around ten ish.
Location: Just round the corner, really.
Incident log: Dumping ruddy great tyres down a country lane.

It was like this, guv.

I was just driving down the road, about a mile from home, admiring the night sky with the Welsh hills in the distance.

(Exhibit one, m`lud:)

Bit dark, I know, but you get my drift. You can`t really make them out, but the Breiddons are there, really.

Then about half a mile down the lane, I noticed this:

(Exhibit two)

Yeah ok, they look a bit like doughnuts, but they`re tyres. Big ones. Muddy, worn, and sitting beside a country lane.

Not great pictures, because it was 10 pm, y`see.

And fly-tipping might not be the crime of the century, granted. But it bothers me. 

Here`s why:

Even though things have improved a bit; it`s still a problem. The annual bill of up to £150 million to clear up the mess proves that--and it`s taxpayers and landowners who pick up the tab.

You`d get hammered if they caught you. A £50,000 fine, possibly, or even a spell in prison. But that`s not scaring everyone, clearly.

Whether it`s chucking your burger box out of  the car window, or arranging that floral three piece suite in a layby... (hey, why not pop a standard lamp beside it to complete the picture?)... it`s basically because you can`t be arsed to do the right thing--drive a bit further, and dispose of it responsibly.

So I just wondered. How is it, round your way? And is it just me who gets angry about it...or does it bother you too?

(PS: And yes, I did report it. You can fill in a form online, which goes to the Environment Agency. Good luck finding whoever dumped them, guys. Oh...and if it was you....and you`re ever keen to rid yourself of a spare tyre in the future, I suggest you go easy on the chips. And then dispose of your rubbish responsibly. OK? Thanks.  )

News just`s 24 hours on. My report to the Environment Agency`s been logged and acknowledged, and Panorama`s investigation into illegal dumping of tyres and other waste has just aired on BBC 1.

So I just popped up the lane to see how things were looking:

Yep...still there and oh...
Didn`t spot this last night...looks like they dumped the kitchen sink too!

Wednesday 11 July 2012

Come in, Moscow.

This is just a say thankyou.

The stats are suggesting that lots of people are popping in for a read. For all I know, they might be popping off again sharpish...but thanks anyway, for calling.

But get this: Apparently...I still have people reading my blog from ...among other places....Russia, China, the USA and India.

If you`re one of them....I`d love to say hello and find out how you got here. In fact, it would be great if you could leave a comment and a bit of information about yourself. Maybe I could read your blog, too. Post a picture!

Have a good day/evening/night...wherever you are!

Tuesday 10 July 2012

Hiring? Be inspiring....!

Gissa job.

No it`s ok...three months into `non work` mode after taking voluntary redundancy...I`m not after full time re-employment, ta * .Plenty keeping me busy.

Unless, of course, you `gissa job` .....rewriting job ads.

Yes, I`ve been looking. But not for me.

So far, both  our daughters have, somehow, always managed  to find themselves paid employment during their education....with waitressing, babysitting, bar work, drama and dance classes under their belts. 

But our eldest is immersed in three months` Camp work in Minnesota at the moment; planning and taking  singing, dancing and drama sessions for `young Americans`. She`s busy, day in day out;  but still bashing out job applications when she gets a minute. When she returns to the UK she`ll have a degree, rent to pay, but no full time job.

So as I`m the one with the most time on her hands for once, I`ve been scanning the job ads too, and emailing her any links that might help.

What an eye opener.

How about  working for a `global provider of mobile connectivity`?  Or a company that`s won `co regulatory champion status` ?

Not quite `you`? There`s more. If you fancy it, you could be `accountable for the technical lifecycle of at least one major application or capability within the Integration Domain services portfolio, and for the shaping and delivery of project workpackages that generate demand into the domain.` 

You could be :`using expertise in Service Oriented Architecture, Agile delivery techniques and other relevant technologies`. Yeh? And an hour for lunch, right?

I know that language changes. Not least in the field of recruitment, and that some specialist terminology is required. But am I the last to know what a `mid weight` digital PM is...and the only one to snigger at the idea of an `arm`s length regulatory board`?

I`ve only just discovered today that you can use the term `onboard` as a verb, rather than the kind of motor you whack on the back of a in....` an ambitious and growing organisation is looking to onboard a professional and career-oriented Analyst. 

It`s not just the world of recruitment though, is it? I drove past Eddie Stobart the other day. His back doors were emblazoned with the words `road train`. That`ll be a lorry, right?

How is it, that after years of  `Plain English` awards, and  loud and protracted guffawing at completely barmy job still need to scythe through some sentences to make any sense of them?


I need to spin round three times and become a  Repast Nutritional Solutions Architect. Yep; got to get the dinner on.

Have a good day!

And PS: Reading this on Twitter? Could you RT for me? Thanks!

*Voiceovers and film extras work, however, a speciality . Call me, maybe :)

*pic from

Tuesday 3 July 2012

Wake up and smell the coffee....

You know those mornings when you want to leap out of bed and grab the day with both hands?
No it doesn`t happen to me *that* often, either...but it did today.

After all that rain, including a veritable monsoon yesterday which made many a shoe squelch, sunbeams were curling round the curtains today and so my morning mile was just after 7 am.

It was already warm, as it bloody well should be in July, and as ever, the going was pretty slow (yes, coach, I know I shouldn`t attempt it on half a coffee and no tea the night before...) but it was gorgeous out there!

I stopped on the bridge which crosses the Severn and took this. And I`m so energised now, I`m going to have a shower, sit down, and write.

Whatever the weather...hope your day is fab.

Sunday 1 July 2012

Scanties in the pantry...sort of

I`ve just been on a brisk two mile walk through my kitchen. Well that was the plan.

In theory, it`s easy when you`ve got a treadmill in the corner. It`s great for rainy days, or those occasions when you can`t be arsed to get the full running kit on. It`s quite liberating, clocking up the kilometres in little more than your undies, without the risk of arrest, or hilarious laughter from passers by.

Anyway, it was while I was striding out past the fruit bowl, that I realised how grubby the bottom of the long kitchen curtains were. So I hopped off, slid them off the pole and shoved them in the washing machine.

And even though I`d only burned enough calories for three dry crackers and a slimmer`s soup, I didn`t get back on the mill. Too much to do.  If I`d been pounding (it`s actually little more than a shuffle) along on my morning mile, there`d have been no stopping me. No distractions, see?

But for the past few days, I`ve been unable to concentrate on anything for very long. Thought it might be the know...when there`s a `storm in the air`. Or too much coffee? Or maybe it`s in the genes. My late mum started knitting me a chocolate brown tank top in the early seventies and just couldn`t sit still long enough to get the damn thing finished. Never got it. (Probably for the best, in hindsight).

Anyway, I`ve concluded Twitter and my i-phone are to blame for my short attention span. (I`m now stopping to check which song mentioned `short little span of attention` . Know it? ) Twitter conversations are 140 characters long, tops. Information about anything, including song lyrics, is there at my fingertips. Nearly everyone I need to contact is right there, too, because, like me, they have a burning need to keep their phone in their pocket, or close by. If you`re impatient, like me, it`s perfect. And even though it`s Sunday, if I need food, a bottle of wine, or something to wear, I can just jump in the car and get it.

Is that a good thing?

While our house is wired to the world to suit  this frenetic pace of life, there are still reminders of the relaxed and rustic life the Edwards family lived after building this place in 1928. We`ve seen photographs of three generations under one roof before we`d added a room here and there; showing children feeding the chickens by the back door (and no treadmill in sight). And a pigsty, half way down the garden, now completely overgrown.

Not sure I could`ve waited that long for bacon buttie, but I guess, once the sty`s residents had been er...processed...the results were well worth waiting for.

How about you? Loving life in the fast lane? Or relishing those moments when you can just slow right down?

If you`ve read this far without getting as distracted as I do, by the way...thankyou!

Have a good day

@janemcintyre12 on Twitter  (please RT for me? Thanks!)