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.

Saturday 25 October 2014

About a bench...

I was rushing through my favourite bit of London the other day--the stunning `square mile`. Here, magnificent historic, architectural gems like St Paul`s Cathedral rub broad, stone shoulders with gleaming new kids on the block--full of bankers, lawyers, movers, shakers. And at lunchtime, some escape their sparkling towers,time-travelling two blocks and a couple of centuries to squares like the little hideaway off St Dunstan`s Hill.

You can see them heading for the benches with their sandwiches, lingering over lattes...longing for a few moments` peace and respite from office pressures, for some thinking time alone. There are lunchtime lovers, too; touching, whispering; earnest and certain that their city bench, for just a few moments, makes them invisible. It`s their space; their little `table for two` in the cosiest spot any maitre d`could muster.

If it`s you on the bench, you can just watch the world go by. I still try and stop in Trafalgar Square en route to Charing Cross; watching tourists getting ticked off for trying to tame the lions, or leaning too close to the still-icy fountain water on scorching summer days. I remember standing, as a four year old, covered with pigeons; their tiny claws digging into my head; beaks pecking at the bought seed in my hand-- I didn`t really enjoy it, but mum had paid for the stuff from the bloke on the corner-- it`s what you did on a day out. In New York, we sat munching hot dogs on a bench in Central Park, feeling as much a part of the Big Apple as Carrie; then joined the throngs in Times Square, watching the snaking queues at the ticket booths; each tourist already part of their own Broadway show.

In most cities around the world, a bench can be the only place you have to sleep--one step up from the street; and every person rushing past with somewhere to go is a cruel reminder that you`ve hit rock bottom. In Shropshire, Jim Hawkins uses the simplest of devices...sitting on a bench in a different location each collect and record stories from anyone who cares to stop and share theirs. It`s uncomplicated, brilliant radio.

So that`s it really. You can`t beat watching the world go by from a well placed bench and wondering about all the secrets it keeps. And it doesn`t cost a dime.

Tuesday 14 October 2014

It`s chocolate week. Here are 3 big, fat chunks....

Chocolate. Want some? Call me.

Like it, as a business concept? I thought I'd throw it out there. With a couple more hand made, glisteningly chocolatey creations that I made earlier. Here's why:

Every time I mention my (incredible, patent pending) idea for a Chocolate Van; (*You dial; we deliver*....Lol...) I`m swamped with urgent appeals  to get the business on the road. Immediately, if the booty's in the boot; so to speak. It's usually fairly late in the evening when these Twitter conversations kick in, long after tea's been scoffed, and always after any children in the house have been tucked up in bed.

Sometimes the tweets are quite angry. Women (in the main....) tweeting IN CAPITAL LETTERS  that there's NO CHOCOLATE in their house; often demanding to know why. (You've eaten it, love. )

I used to think it was just a girl thing. All down to those ...... hormonal cravings. But men respond to the choc-tweeting too .(OK...Richard, mainly, wanting sherbet lemons.) They clearly love chocolate too...but the longing is nowhere near as intense. On the other hand, it's often the bloke (apparently)...who gets sent down to the petrol station when there`s a choccie craving in the house.

The need for chocolate can be desperate, and urgent. My friend Carol was driven to licking powder from a tin of hot chocolate mix. Sue ripped open a (wrapped) box of chocolates for her auntie which were under the Christmas tree. Then scoffed the top layer and half of the second before retiring to bed, nauseous. (Look ok, there's no Sue. It was me.)

This is often because even the `secret` chocolate in their hideaway places* has been greedily consumed.Now there`s nothing. Don`t pretend you don`t know what I mean by this*, by the way. I`m not eating chocolate at the moment, (really) but, should there be an in-flight emergency at any time, I know, entre nous, where I can find some: *Adopts air stewardess mode with that arm thingie going on...*

Here: (my desk, my drawer, my chocolate)

Here, in a kitchen cupboard.....

And even here; in the feckin` freezer:

Here`s the plan, then. I go to the wholesalers and get a shedload of the the regular stuff. .Mars Bars, Twirls, Toffee Crisps, Dairy Milk. Big slabs of the stuff. Not 'for sharing'. For `ourselves`. Then there'd be the `luxury` range. I`d have to do some deal with Julia of Toot Sweets in Shrewsbury, so that any `A` list clientele could partake of her chocolate covered honeycomb bars. Her salted caramels. Her mixed selections. (This is driving me stark raving bonkers, writing this. Julia, come in, please...over....)

And cakes. Home (not mine, obviously...) baked chocolate brownies with white-choc-chips in them. Party celebration numbers with deep, sweet, lavish layers and toppings of chocolate buttercream. Cookies... chunky chocolate biscuity like?

I`m forgetting the key issues here, like formulating a business plan. Pah. Let`s talk van colours...chocolate and cream..or `you know whose` purple? Or should I travel incognito--so that you could just pop out in your onesie and slippers, have a quick browse and get back in the house to eat the stuff?