A Funny Old Week

It’s been a funny old week. The first thing that happened was an indecipherable item on my To Do list. I’m an inveterate list-maker because experience has shown me that I need order in my life. I accept that there are people for whom chaos is a seed bed of creativity, but I work a lot better if I know what I’m doing come 9 am on Monday.

That said, my lists can be a bit random. Stuff jotted down as I think of it and distilled later into various sub-lists. Thus, Worcestershire Sauce may appear alongside ‘flu shot, Norwich train times, telangiectasia (check sp.) and Mr Muscle. All perfectly clear. But last Monday morning there was an item that baffled me. Frieda Rootboost. What the?

An idea for the name of a character, perhaps? No, definitely not. I spend a lot of time (too much time, arguably) choosing names for my characters, even minor ones, but Frieda Rootboost would never have made it past first base. The mystery plagued me all day, then solved itself as I was drifting off to sleep. It was the abbreviated name of a hair product, the only thing that saves me from autumnal hat hair: John Frieda Rootbooster. Such a relief.

The following day, as I was travelling into Dublin to buy my chronically hypothermic husband some new thermals, I overheard the following conversation. I swear. I scribbled it in the margins of my Spectator so as not to forget it.

First Lady:  Had she been ill long?

Second Lady: Not at all. In fact she was supposed to go to the hairdresser’s that afternoon. But then…

First Lady: Did you go to the funeral?

Second Lady: No, just the viewing. She looked very nice. Of course she’d have looked a lot better if she’d made it to the hairdresser’s.

Straight out of the Cissie & Ada playbook. And people wonder why I prefer public transport.


  1. pauline beaumont on November 14, 2019 at 5:00 am

    I absolutely adore Laurie Graham books, Ive read them all, but I didn’t know about Dr Dan until a friend mentioned that she had it, I always look at the book pages in the paper and magazines, so I would have been so upset to have missed it. I ordered it straight away, and have just finished it, loved it, made me laugh out loud, and I have had a very sad year, so it was just what I needed. I am just going to start reading all the books again, I love them so much. Thankyou Pauline Beaumont

    • Laurie Graham on November 17, 2019 at 8:38 am

      No, thank YOU, Pauline. Laurie

  2. Helen on November 22, 2019 at 5:54 pm

    I love overheard conversations. I hope you will forgive me if l give a couple of examples from my collection.

    1. In Hannington’s, a department store in Brighton, sadly no longer existent but missed by many:

    (I have to explain first that in the local hospital the waiting room for those with venereal diseases was in the main waiting area, but screened off by a curtain.)

    An indignant old lady speaks: “So when I got to the waiting room there was nowhere to sit, so the nurse opened the curtain and said I could sit there. And there all these young people were, bold as brass. I said ‘I’m not sitting there with them; I’ve got rheumatoid arthritis!’ ”

    And the following shows we should not judge a sausage by its skin:

    In Lidl, I passed a group of men engaged in earnest discussion. They had piercings, many tattoos and the sort of haircuts one would give a wide berth to. As I went by I heard one say “No, you can’t say that, it’s an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms.”

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