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November 11, 2011

The Final Column

For many months now Open Writing has been bringing the columns of the late Enid Blackburn to an appreciative reading audience.

Here are Enid's final words.

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November 04, 2011

Hiding Places

Enid Blackburn recalled Christmases past.

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October 28, 2011

The Party Season

"Standing alone with an empty glass trying to appear glad your husband gets on so well with the opposite sex can be an ageing experience,'' declared Enid Blackburn.

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October 21, 2011

Looking Back

Four decades ago the inimitable Enid Blackburn found herself reflecting on the year that was gone.

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October 14, 2011

One Of The Pleasanter Aspects Of Life

"But why has society conditioned us to believe that thin is beautiful, I ask myself every time I see a meringue?'' mused columnist Enid Blackburn.

Continue reading "One Of The Pleasanter Aspects Of Life" »

October 07, 2011

Cissy Subjects

"The father who objects to his son being taught ‘cissy’ subjects like cookery and needlework sounds as if he could do with a lesson or two on the facts of life himself. He says his son will be ill equipped to find a job.''

Enid Blackburn wrote these words decades ago, but they still strike a chord in today's tough economic times.

Continue reading "Cissy Subjects" »

September 30, 2011

The Scruffy List

...At the top of my ‘scruffy’ list come the teenage lads who imagine that lashings of aftershave and a comb will take them anywhere. Long hair, a pair of jeans, a graffiti covered jacket and battered training shoes; or a skull-cut, baggy clown pants and big boots, are the eternal uniform of some of our youth...

Enid Blackburn wrote this column more than 30 years ago in another time of financial constraints.

Continue reading "The Scruffy List" »

September 23, 2011

Soupy Suggestions

"No one ever questioned mother’s ingredients too closely, but we recognised the remains of the Sunday joint, and cabbage played a vital part – the rest was a secret between ma and the stew pot. It tasted so good we were past caring anyway; even if she never did partake of it herself...

Enid Blackburn considers culinary matters.

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September 16, 2011

Coo-er!

Enid Blackburn tells of fighting the anonomity of middle age.

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September 09, 2011

A Stay-Out-All-Night Teenager

...Then when he eventually does drag is wasted form to bed, he’s moaning and groaning in his sleep all night long. Let’s face it, all the evidence points to that fat bloated bitch up the road, but it doesn’t matter how I plead with him, one whiff of her exclusive scent and he becomes her slave...

Enid Blackburn tells of a "problem'' teenager.

Continue reading "A Stay-Out-All-Night Teenager" »

September 02, 2011

The Quiz Ordeal

Enid Blackburn wrote this article years ago after she and her family had appeared on a well-known TV quiz programme.

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August 26, 2011

TV Stars?

Enid Blackburn recalls a weekend many years ago when she and her family set out to be TV stars.

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August 19, 2011

Breakfast Nightmare

...While we sleep all the combs and brushes disappear. I once had to comb my hair with a fork before an urgent dental appointment...

Enid Blackburn tells of family breakfast nightmares.

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August 12, 2011

Food For Life

...One delicacy considered good for the constitution and which contains few calories has become a popular feature on our bowling night. I can personally vouch for its energy giving qualities. Battling for the league cup is nearly as exciting as fighting for possession of the communal plate of mixed tripe, provided by our club steward...

Enid Blackburn considers food for life.

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August 05, 2011

Pub Grub

...Three of us chose mousse, which proved quite difficult – how does one order three? I couldn’t decide whether mousses or mices was correct, but madame was Scottish and ‘mousses’ quite tickled her tartan. Made with fresh raspberries, cream and wine – divine and husband’s apple pie was ‘lovely.’...

Enid Blackburn wrote this column years ago, when English pubs were tentatively turning themselves into restaurants.

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July 22, 2011

Lookalike

...then, after a close look, she grinned an apology and it dawned on both of us she had mistaken me for someone else who apparently worked in a nearby mill. ‘She’s your living image, luv,’ was enough to set my curiosity on fire...

Enid Blackburn was intrigued when she heard she had a lookalike.

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July 15, 2011

Seeing Stars

"This is the amazing thing; love or hate, the thrill of meeting a famous face is still the same,'' writes Enid Blackburn.

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July 08, 2011

Relax

...My heart goes out to the non-workers of the world, because they miss one of the greatest institutions of the working day – the morning ‘break,’ that tantalising pause between discipline and treadmill, the essential ingredient necessary for successful productivity...

Enid Blackburn extols the virtues of relaxing.

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July 01, 2011

Soggy And Awful

...It kept fine until we reached the South Shore, where everyone seemed to be enclosed in plastic. Damp dads were barking at whimpering children, mums were growling at everything, small babies tucked away under pram hoods were the lucky ones...

Enid Blackburn wrote this article during a wet British summer long ago.

Continue reading "Soggy And Awful" »

June 24, 2011

The Blast Of A Band

Enid Blackburn had enjoyed a jolly festival in the park when she wrote this column some years ago.

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June 17, 2011

The Complications Of Being An Eleven-Year-Old

...After already shuffling through this issue with three other daughters and a son I find it does not get any easier. ‘What are you trying to say, ma?’ my son grinned at my initial efforts to advise, ‘Cos you’re saying it all wrong, and I’m gonna miss my bus.’ I found our first daughter’s biology notes a useful aid when her turn came. Anything I didn’t understand she obligingly translated...

In an article which will leave you chuckling until Christmas Enid Blackburn tells of explaining the facts of life.

Continue reading "The Complications Of Being An Eleven-Year-Old" »

June 10, 2011

All This Sport

Enid Blackburn tries to think positively on the bowling green.

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June 03, 2011

Wallowing In Glorious Heat

...Teenagers seem blissfully ignorant of the elements. ‘Put your coat on,’ I ordered mine as she was about to go forth in a torrential downpour dressed in jeans and sweater. She looked baffled. ‘Why? It’ll only get wet.’...

Enid Blackburn tells of coping with unfriendly English weather.

Continue reading "Wallowing In Glorious Heat" »

May 27, 2011

Strolling Round The Allotment

...I admire his broad beans as he explains to me while he has given them a change of scenery this year. I gaze dutifully into what looks like an elongated polythene play-pen for rows of bamboo canes...

Enid Blackburn lends support to her husband's horticultural efforts.

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May 20, 2011

No Holes In Your Ears

Enid Blackburn tells of her pierced-ears family, male and female.

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May 13, 2011

The Right Words

...It surprises me how many patients leave their doctor’s surgery without an answer to the pertinent question: ‘What’s wrong with me, doc?’ I always feel better if my illness has a name, especially if I cannot pronounce it....

Enid Blackburn confessed to never being able to find the right words.

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May 06, 2011

Good Health!

Enid Blackburn told of becoming increasingly health conscious in this article written some decades ago.

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April 29, 2011

Motorways

...When we were driving to the Lakes last summer we saw a figure silhouetted against the sky, above us on a bridge. As our car approached he dropped his pants, turned around and proudly presented his naked rear to the oncoming traffic. Cheeky!...

Enid Blackburn's motorway travelling occurred some decades ago.

Continue reading "Motorways" »

April 22, 2011

Huggy - And I Enjoyed The Long Grass

...Husband and I were even scorched enough to wet our toes in the briney. But one dip was enough to anaesthetise a whole leg in a matter of seconds, and we only just managed to limp back to our deck chairs on white bloodless feet...

Endi Blackburn tells of a chilly encounter with the sea.

Continue reading "Huggy - And I Enjoyed The Long Grass" »

April 15, 2011

Butter Mountains - And Coal

Prices were a whole lot cheaper - even at Ł50 a head - than they are today in the decade when Enid Blackburn wrote this column.

Continue reading "Butter Mountains - And Coal" »

April 08, 2011

Just Follow Your Nose

Enid Blackburn dreamed of running an exclusive cafe in the Dales.

Continue reading "Just Follow Your Nose" »

April 01, 2011

It Won't Be Long Now

Enid Blackburn hailed the start of a new bowling season.

Continue reading "It Won't Be Long Now" »

March 25, 2011

Nag, Nag, Nag

Enid Blackburn suggests that if you want a long life you should go out and nag someone today.

Continue reading "Nag, Nag, Nag" »

March 18, 2011

All Right At The Front

...Newspaper bereavement announcements are always sad, but I saw one recently which read doubly tragic. It concerned an elderly lady who ‘died suddenly after much suffering at her daughter’s residence.’ One can only imagine the trials she underwent under daughter’s eagle eye...

Here's another good-fun column from our Enid Blackburn archive.

Continue reading "All Right At The Front" »

March 11, 2011

Houdini The Hamster

...The other night my husband, whose only concession to pet pampering is to put his slippers on when he kicks the dog out, surprised us all when he sauntered into the dining room carrying Houdini carry-cot style in his plastic boot. Two minutes later hamster is lying shamelessly on his back giggling like Esther Rantzen while dad tickles his tum...

Enid Blackburn is not overjoyed when a new pet joins the household.

Continue reading "Houdini The Hamster" »

March 04, 2011

A Load Of Hamburgers

Enid Blackburn brings some light, humorous words on a weighty subject.

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February 25, 2011

Bridlington Beige

Enid Blackburn tells of coming to terms with the menopause.

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February 18, 2011

Training The Family

...It’s the owners who come in for some reprimanding. ‘Oh do move your dog away from that nasty puddle, dear,’ one handler was admonished. She couldn’t have looked guiltier if she had left the watery message herself.


Enid Blackburn wrote this article years ago, inspired by a then-popular TV programme.

Continue reading "Training The Family" »

February 11, 2011

The Palace Theatre

Enid Blackburn recalls theatrical days.

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February 04, 2011

Excitement In A Draughty Saleroom

"We arrived at the draughty saleroom ten minutes before eyes down, to find most of the furniture occupied. Under clouds of pipe smoke and pork-pie hats, stern faced dealers sat a-brooding. I managed to find myself a chair about two inches from the floor that no one else had managed to fold their frame into. With my knees so near my nostrils, I felt a bit like a grasshopper.'' writes Enid Blackburn.

Continue reading "Excitement In A Draughty Saleroom" »

January 28, 2011

When There Are Grey Skies

The skies were grey, but Enid Blackburn's thoughts were on a holiday in the Isle of Wight.

Continue reading "When There Are Grey Skies" »

January 21, 2011

A Week In Bed

...Once I was so desperately incapacitated with what felt like a fractured throat, I expected nothing less than a fortnight’s bed rest. Mind you I didn’t realise how fast I was sinking until I looked up my symptoms in a lethal Home Medical tome, which I am surprised does not carry a government health warning...

Enid Blackburn longed to be ordered by a medical man to stay in bed.

Continue reading "A Week In Bed" »

January 14, 2011

Rich Dreams

Enid Blackburn was dreaming of being wealthy long before the arrival of the national lottery with its multi-million-pound winners.

Continue reading "Rich Dreams" »

January 07, 2011

A Year Gone By

Enid Blackburn was in a reminiscing mood when she wrote this coloumn three decades ago.

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December 31, 2010

Father Christmas's Last Stand

Enid Blackburn's reflections turned to Christmases past and present.

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December 24, 2010

Silver Wedding

...It started with our running errands together. King Street will always have sentimental associations for me. Twenty warm pork pies at 3d from the arm Stores, two dozen iced Swiss-buns from Whiteley’s, graduating to shepherd’s pie and chips for two at the Kingsway Café and finally the ultimate, back seats at the Tudor Cinema. The last radio programme on Saturday night was Jack Jackson’s record show. His signature tune ‘Dancing in the Dark’ also heralded my parent’s bedtime – naturally it soon became our favourite tune....

Enid Blackburn reflects on 25 years of married life - and the six years which preceded the wedding bells.

Continue reading "Silver Wedding" »

December 17, 2010

A Full-Length Wallow

...My father was a compulsive walker. On the day I was born, it must have been a great disappointment for him to learn it would be another 12 months before I could walk. My sister and I once visualised the way he chose the house we grew up in. He probably stepped off the bus, walked until he dropped, then choked out the words ‘This will do Emma, find an empty house, we’ll live here.’ ...

Enid Blackburn was giving serious thought to physical fitness when she wrote this article.

Continue reading "A Full-Length Wallow" »

December 10, 2010

A Dinosaur’s Jaw Bone?

Enid Blackburn recalls the day she struggled to get rid of a veal knuckle.

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December 03, 2010

Christmas Stock

Enid Blackburn wrote this article in the run-up to Christmas some years ago.

Continue reading "Christmas Stock" »

November 26, 2010

Dinner Parties

...As the need for support increased I made for the nearest object – the piano. The pianist’s hands were tripping busily along the ivories. In my fuddled state he looked to be playing a duet.

Gratefully I lunged against the open piano top. I was about to strike up a lightning friendship with the pianist when my cigar inadvertently dropped into the piano works and disappeared...

Enid Blackburn tells of her aversion to dinner parties.

Continue reading "Dinner Parties" »

November 19, 2010

Dog Days

...My dog is acutely intelligent. When husband and me attempted an experiment, my husband pretended to attack me to test dog’s reaction, our mongrel rolled over and laughed...

But when Enid Blackburn wrote those words her pet was entering into his dotage.

Continue reading "Dog Days" »

November 12, 2010

Tandem

...The chance to become a tandem slave came when I was courting. Another cycling duo enthusiastically converted us, and every weekend I took up my position behind my future husband. However much you love your partner, a perpetual view of his back pocket can wax monotonous...

Enid Blackburn tells of tandem days.

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November 05, 2010

A Festering Affliction

...I believe this percentage of under-achievers, the couldn’t care less element, is a festering affliction of the comprehensive system. Left to smoulder un-checked this bane is often carried forward into a non-career when they leave...

Enid Blackburn wrote this article a number of years ago - but many will feel it is still relevant.

Continue reading "A Festering Affliction" »

October 29, 2010

A Kipper Left Out In The Sun

Enid Blackburn tried her hand at adult ed classes.

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October 22, 2010

Topless Bathing

...Then, splattered here and there between the broken blood vessels are the boil craters that have grown up with me. If I have a ballpoint pen handy – and I usually have – I can amuse myself for hours turning them into eyeballs...

Despite this, Enid Blackburn exposed her skin to the sun.

Continue reading "Topless Bathing" »

October 15, 2010

Private Patients

Enid Blackburn visited a friend in a pay-for-your-treatment hospital.

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October 08, 2010

War Years

...Most of us were compulsive queuers. A person would only have to lean against a wall for a second, immediately five others would join him. Often, such luxuries as oranges or bananas were suspected...

Enid Blackburn recalls stern days and strange times.

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October 01, 2010

The Animal House

...I was on the phone the other day when something whizzed past my ear and thudded at my feet. Cat had either decided to end it all, or accidentally fallen from upstairs banister...

Enid Blackburn tells of a summer entertaining animal guests.

Continue reading "The Animal House" »

September 24, 2010

Contractions

...Recently, in a hairdressers’ I heard two ladies in full-womb discussing their forthcoming events. The question ‘When?’ cropped up. One was due ‘Some-time next month.’ ‘I’m going in to have mine next Wednesday at ten,’ was the other’s surprising forecast.

On her last clinic visit she was told she was about to be induced. The decision had nothing to do with her or baby’s health; she said it was simply to ease overcrowded hospital conditions during the holiday period...

When it came time to give birth Enid Blackburn was of the opinion that there was no place like home.

Continue reading "Contractions" »

September 17, 2010

Driven To Distraction

...Usually so tolerant, his sense of humour turns off the moment I turn on the ignition. He would go through the starting routine in hushed tones with a face like a bankrupt counting his assets. Tiny giggle bubbles would rise in my throat and I never managed to find a way to stop them exploding.

‘Yes, I do really want to drive and I honestly don’t know what I’m laughing at,’ I had to recite before we set off for every lesson...

Enid Blackburn was never at home when she found herself in the driving seat.

Continue reading "Driven To Distraction" »

September 10, 2010

Gluttonous Soup-Sucking Noises

...Dental visits are so undignified. No make-up, my front tooth staring at me from his tray; rinse and spit, the slobbery battle with stubborn salivary strands that won’t let go. The suction tube that makes gluttonous soup-sucking noises you’d rather not be associated with...

Enid Blackburn shied away from the dentist's chair.

Continue reading "Gluttonous Soup-Sucking Noises" »

September 03, 2010

A Touching Subject

...When our relatives congregate for birthday and Christmas celebrations I genuinely enjoy doling out bear hugs and kisses. Sometimes I can even manage it with the women. I am always first in the queue for greetings or farewells when our neighbour’s French relatives visit. I find their double cheek brushing particularly endearing....

Enid Blackburn confessed to being a touchy person.

Continue reading "A Touching Subject" »

August 27, 2010

A Question Of Sex

Enid Blackburn writes about a TV programme broadcast some three decades ago.

Continue reading "A Question Of Sex" »

August 20, 2010

The Bowling Bag

...When bowling ladies don’t turn up for matches or if they are late they are ‘scratched.’ ‘Does it hurt, mum?’ our small daughter once asked. It certainly does, and nearly happened to a friend and me recently...

In this column, first published a number of years ago, Enid Blackburn tells of the frustrations of being a lady bowler.

Continue reading "The Bowling Bag" »

August 13, 2010

Sunshine And Fun

... Sometimes we played hide and seek with the milkman’s wife, in her husand’s best mowing field: ‘I know you little brats are in there, I can see you,’ she would scream into the distance, as we all slipped through the gate behind her...

Enid Blackburn recalled sun-filled days.

Continue reading "Sunshine And Fun" »

August 06, 2010

It's Bad Luck To Breathe Under A Bridge

...On normal school mornings I often see children drifting towards school with an ice lolly trickling down one paw and a packet of crisps in the other. To counteract travel sickness, eating on the bus is strictly forbidden.

Within half an hour withdrawal symptoms are rife. It’s amazing how quickly happily flushed expressions can evaporate, leaving that deathly glow no pill can remove...

Enid Blackburn tells of an outing to a country hall.

Continue reading "It's Bad Luck To Breathe Under A Bridge" »

July 30, 2010

Ageing Symptoms

...A certain freedom of spirit does descend as one passes forty. If I want to escape for an hour or two in the evening with husband, our teenagers cope at home. I use the term with husband loosely, of course. He takes me out and I usually find him when it’s time to come home.,,

Enid Blackburn faced up to the ageing process in her usual cheerful way.

Continue reading "Ageing Symptoms" »

July 23, 2010

Old Photos

...Here’s one taken on his first birthday. All you can see is a chubby lower lip hanging beneath a sun hat. That year we discovered he hated Bridlington, sun, sand, going to bed, getting up and waiting for food. He also spoke his first sentence, ‘Carry me, mum,’ which I quickly translated to ‘Carry me, dad!’..

Enid Blackburn was dewy-eyed when she browsed through the family photo album.

Continue reading "Old Photos" »

July 16, 2010

Where Can We Go?

...Today’s teenagers are short of places to go, but not money. There is a wide explosive wave of boredom that threatens to engulf most youth these days. It often erupts with sickening results...

Enid Blackburn wrote this article some years ago but it is still revelant.

Continue reading "Where Can We Go?" »

July 09, 2010

Being Waited Upon

...On holiday I am actually smiling ‘Good morning’ to strangers, before breakfast. I ate porridge, egg, bacon, sausage and still said ‘yes please’ to another round of toast and marmalade. We gobbled three more courses at lunchtime, three more at the evening meal, shamelessly nodding ‘yes please’ again to the afters of ripe stilton, even asking for more biscuits to finish off the over-generous lump of cheese...

Enid Blackburn tells of a joyous, if somewhate untuneful, holiday.

Continue reading "Being Waited Upon" »

July 02, 2010

Wimbledon

...But for once the male element took second place. The majority of us were more intent on viewing Virginia to victory again. Sadly she was outplayed by cool hand Chris. Fashions were not to disappoint us, lace frillies were coyly revealed below the ever-decreasing hemlines and hairstyles were as bouncy as ever...

Enid Blackburn's column harks back to a Wimbledon of yesteryear.

Continue reading "Wimbledon" »

June 25, 2010

Holidays Ahead

...Some years ago an irate van driver chased our car through Manchester. Apparently, my husband, in between handing out holiday buckets for two of our virus-stricken children to be sick into, had forgotten to signal that he was turning right. After a chase my husband decided to give himself up. But when the van driver saw the pathetic picture in our car – my mother’s impromptu paroxysm of acute bronchitis adding just the right touch – his contrition was a joy to behold. He even led us out of Manchester and waved us off!...

Enid Blackburn was in a holiday mood when she wrote this column.

Continue reading "Holidays Ahead" »

June 18, 2010

New Outfits

...We spent a whole day shopping for wedding outfits and returned empty handed. All that our bags contained was a placating bag of mixed chocs for daughter’s husband Mike and a crusty cob, which I had optimistically bought for tea, if we hadn’t missed the train back home, that is...

Enid Blackburn tells of a fruitless though enjoyable shopping expidition.

Continue reading "New Outfits" »

June 11, 2010

Bringing Up Children

...I now believe, although mums and dads are responsible for a large percentage of their children’s personalities, there is another essence of something, call it what you will – that shapes their ends....

Enid Blackburn considers the never-ending task of bringing up children.

Continue reading "Bringing Up Children" »

June 04, 2010

Not Too Much Off

...Our eldest had a pre-wedding set and shampoo – a rehearsal for the big day. She put her waist length hair in the hands of a recommended stylist. Unfortunately, once it was shampooed he couldn’t do a thing with it. He tried everything - when hairspray failed he tried prayer...

Enid Blackburn tells of a day in the hairdressing salon.

Continue reading "Not Too Much Off" »

May 28, 2010

Just Visiting

...Depending on how ill one is, of course, private rooms sound a little isolated. Or so I thought until I recently endured the long playing voice in the bed opposite a patient I visited. Compulsive chatterers have their value, admittedly. Had I been ill her voice would have had me on my feet, ready for home in no time...

Enid Blackburn visits a patient in a private hospital.

Continue reading "Just Visiting" »

May 21, 2010

Garden Your Way To Sleep

...I am not an enthusiastic gardener – my excuse being settee too comfy. But my potted plants manage to survive on their erratic diet of drought one week and flood the next...

But Enid Blackburn finds that gardening yields a surprisng bonus.

Continue reading "Garden Your Way To Sleep" »

May 14, 2010

Fur Coat Weather

Enid Blackburn, writing some years ago, was looking forwards to a holiday - despite the weather.

Continue reading "Fur Coat Weather" »

May 07, 2010

A Languid Little Rut

Enid Blackburn wrote this column about her telly watching habits a number of years ago.

Continue reading "A Languid Little Rut" »

April 30, 2010

Mottled Arms And Kneecaps

...The excitement of marching on, arms swinging, behind the brass band is an experience I shall never forget. As our procession joined the others, pride and loyalty welled inside me. I always felt fiercely attached to whichever church I had temporarily joined; vowing that it would always be mine...

Enid Blackburn recalls the joy of those Whitsuntide walks of yesteryear.

To read more of Enid's columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/in_good_company/

Continue reading "Mottled Arms And Kneecaps" »

April 23, 2010

Doctor Bills

...We had to suffer many indignities to keep the doctor from the door. Never would we have been allowed out after August with an inch of goose pimpled midriff showing, like a lad I saw recently...

Enid Blackburn recalls home-made remedies used to avoid paying doctors' bills.

Continue reading "Doctor Bills" »

April 16, 2010

Sturdy Little Shoots

...One way to throw off spring fever is to indulge in your favourite fantasy. Masculine daydreams usually flutter around the opposite sex but I suspect women would surprise their mates if they confided their inward desires. I must be a frustrated entertainer because all of mine are connected with applause – other peoples...

Enid Blackburn welcomes Spring by pounding away on the piano.

Continue reading "Sturdy Little Shoots" »

April 09, 2010

Shirley Temple Curls

Enid Blackburn reveals a few of the secrets of female apparel.

Continue reading "Shirley Temple Curls" »

April 02, 2010

Undressed Holidays

...I imagined undressed holidays would be restful. Surely anything more energetic than walking would put either sex in a flap, but no, one voluptuous foursome treated us to a bouncy game of tennis. All they wore was a serious expression...

This was Enid Blackburn's reaction some years ago to a plan to allocate a cove on the Yorkshire coast to nude bathers.

Continue reading "Undressed Holidays" »

March 26, 2010

No Giggling On The Green

...Our main bowling rule this year seems to be ‘Behave’ and ‘No giggling on the green.’ We have pledged not to enjoy ourselves as much after our relegation and plan to reach new heights as soon as we’ve learned to bowl again...

Enid Blackburn welcomes the start of a bowling season.

Continue reading "No Giggling On The Green" »

March 19, 2010

Swinging Arms

Enid Blackburn looks back to yesteryear and the days of Whit Walks.

Continue reading "Swinging Arms" »

March 12, 2010

"We Don't Say Nude...''

...I imagined undressed holidays would be restful. Surely anything more energetic than walking would put either sex in a flap, but no, one voluptuous foursome treated us to a bouncy game of tennis. All they wore was a serious expression...

Some years ago Enid Blackburn found herself musing on the bare facts of life.

Continue reading ""We Don't Say Nude...''" »

March 05, 2010

Solitary Lunch

...One asset of this Siberian weather is that we’re all wrapped in so many layers you cannot discern the thin from the fat – or in some cases the faces from the hats. I saw a woman recently with what looked like next door’s ginger tom coiled around her head...

Enid Blackburn considers weighty matters.

Continue reading "Solitary Lunch" »

February 26, 2010

Let Them Eat Cake

A bakers' strike a good number of years ago re-awakened Enid Blackburn's bread-baking instincts.

Continue reading "Let Them Eat Cake" »

February 19, 2010

Cat's Claws

...I watched flabbergasted, when my husband, an avid animal ignorer normally, casually threw a bluebottle in a web while passing...

Some pets are beyond Enid Blackburn's outer limits.

Continue reading "Cat's Claws" »

February 12, 2010

Look Out The Visitors Are Coming!

...When we ask, out of politeness, ‘What’s she in for?’ does the answer have to be quite so detailed? All that talk about bladder tubes and doctors’ merciless gropings up her ‘back passage,’ is so unnecessary, not to mention ulcerative, for non-patients...

Enid Blackburn has advice both for hospital patients and their visitors.

Continue reading "Look Out The Visitors Are Coming!" »

February 05, 2010

Longer Nights

‘Well wasn’t it a deliberate foul?’ asks my distressed supporter. Aren’t they all deliberately foul, but no need to tell him, my attention has wandered, he’s not really talking to me anyway? This conversation is just between him and an unseen assenter who sits on his shoulder during all sporting events.

Enid Blackburn refuses to be enchanted by football on TV.

Continue reading "Longer Nights" »

January 29, 2010

Facelift

Enid Blackburn turned her face away from cosmetic surgery.

Continue reading "Facelift" »

January 22, 2010

Blackberrying

Enid Blackburn confesses that she comes from a long line of blackberry pickers.

Continue reading "Blackberrying" »

January 15, 2010

A Penn'orth Of Pleasure

Enid Blackburn recalls the pleasures one could once purchase for a penny.

This column was written some 30 years ago. It will still strike a chord in many of Open Writing's readers.

Continue reading "A Penn'orth Of Pleasure" »

January 08, 2010

Decision Made

Enid Blackburn endures a slow trip along a Yorkshire canal.

Continue reading "Decision Made" »

January 01, 2010

A Wonderful Discovery

...My mother invented her own language before I was born. We often take her euphemisms for granted and forget to translate. She never could remember Lena Zavaroni’s correct name and now we all think of her as my mother christened her – Lena Macaroni, Bobby Crush the pianist has become Bobby Brush.

At Christmas she refused my offer of white wine with a shudder saying it had ‘too much of a pang’ for her taste. The other day she complained about the arrival of two ‘Jofia’s Witnesses’ on her doorstep...

Enid Blackburn recalls Christmas jollity as she braces herself for the reality of a new year.

Continue reading "A Wonderful Discovery" »

December 18, 2009

What A Pantomime

...If they looked away I sang louder and revolved my eyeballs even faster. As long as the pianist played I sang. We were all blissfully relieved when her strength failed and she stopped. There must have been a shortage of stage-struck twelve-year-olds that year, because after complaining about having to ‘drag the talent’ from me the unsmiling principal said I was accepted...

Enid Blackburn recalls her short career as a stage hoofer.

Continue reading "What A Pantomime" »

December 11, 2009

A Lakeland Weekend

...Keswick was busiest and coastal Maryport the scruffiest. But the hills and lakes radiate such a superior majestic quality anything man-made appears shoddy by comparison...

Enid Blackburn recalls a weekend in the Lake District which included a visit to the childhood home of William and Dorothy Wordsworth.

Continue reading "A Lakeland Weekend" »

December 04, 2009

Christmas Shopping

...This is the season when my generosity has a rash habit of exceeding my purse. I have a disconcerting habit of promising too much. As if some fantastic Santa Claus will fall from the skies and grant all my wishes. But without a little fantasy wouldn’t life be too phlegmatic?...

Enid Blackburn keeps an observant eye on other shoppers as she goes in sarch of Christmas gifts.

To read more of Enid's delightful columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/in_good_company/

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November 27, 2009

Impersonators At Large

...Over the years I have paid to see some whimsical sights. Some with beards pointing due West, some with outsize moustaches almost growing out of their
eyeballs, some whose spirit of goodwill had left a telltale stain along his whiskers and ignoring my negative expression promised too much too soon to one small boy....

Christmas Day is weeks away, but Santas are already "Ho-hoing' in countless stores. Enid Blackburn considers the fraught business of toy-buying.

Continue reading "Impersonators At Large" »

November 20, 2009

A Shocking Sight?

...Lucky enough to have breast-fed all my five children, I believe doctors are right to prophesy that breast is best. But, I confess overcoming embarrassment is the most difficult part, and the unrealistic false modesty shown by some people does not help...

Enid Blackburn wrote this column a good number of years ago, but the topic still arouses heated debate.

To read more of Enid's splendidly-entertaining columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/in_good_company/

Continue reading "A Shocking Sight?" »

November 13, 2009

Rudeness Rewarded

...It appears to me that the more ill mannered and rude customers behave the better the service they receive...

Enid Blackburn records sadly that behaving badly seems to reap dividends.

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November 06, 2009

Please And Thank You

...A friend who worked there for a number of years tells the story of one awkward customer they renamed ‘horseface.’ She was a noted culinary fad. My friend served her with carrots one lunchtime which she refused to eat and demanded they were sent back. In the servery my friend, greatly annoyed, made a statement which was laughed over for years. ‘Huh, it’s the first time I’ve known a horse refuse carrots.’...

Enid Blackburn reached the conclusion that courtesy could be quite costly.

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October 30, 2009

Brave The Brambles And Pick A Pie

...But the drought affects everyone. A thief stole cash from a house and had a bath before leaving!...

Enid Blackburn wrote this column some years ago during a period of drought and a serious water shortage.

Continue reading "Brave The Brambles And Pick A Pie" »

October 23, 2009

Phone Me

Enid Blackburn wrote this column in the innocent days which preced the arrival of mobilel phones - or cell phones, as some folk insist on calling them.

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October 16, 2009

Rice Pud

...Today when meals can be prepared so quickly a slow-oven seems a luxury. Instant dinners are convenient but that long-simmering, mouth-watering period beforehand which stimulates young appetites to fever pitch is cut out also...

Enid Blackburn makes rice pud the old-fashioned way.

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October 09, 2009

Wet, And Wetter Yet

...Those of us untouched by the continental sun are beginning to look a bit mildewed. Thank goodness for my waterproof hairstyle – frequent watering gives we curlies extra bounce...

Enid Blackburn wrote this column a number of years ago during one of England's prolonged summer downpours.

Continue reading "Wet, And Wetter Yet" »

October 02, 2009

A Red Neckerchief

In a column written a number of years ago Enid Blackburn tells of the day she ended up in the gents' toilet.

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September 25, 2009

A Day Of Sunshine

...One moment I shall always treasure – the few minutes my husband and I stood hand-in-hand during the morning, when we went to check the floral arrangements in chapel.

Everything was still and seemed to be standing on tip-toe, the empty pews, and the air cool and heavy with rose breath...

Enid Blackburn wrote this article following her daughter's wedding.

Continue reading "A Day Of Sunshine" »

September 18, 2009

A Trip To The "Lights''

...Feet occupied every inch of promenade. The roads were blocked with traffic. With a hair-splitting gale rattling our teeth we decided the emptiest part of Blackpool was the beach. The wind was blowing waves of sand at the raging sea as we descended the wooden steps. A donkey man was galloping across the sand with his animals, after a long season he looked more like a donkey than they did...

Enid Blackburn recalls a trip to see Blackpool's "illuminations'' a good number of years ago.

To read more of Enid's joyful columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/in_good_company/

Continue reading "A Trip To The "Lights''" »

September 11, 2009

Back To Winter Food

... ‘Mum, Julie’s come to look at your legs,’ our youngest said one teatime, while her giggling companion lurked in the doorway. Friend had come for a demonstration of my thigh-dithering act, part of the previous evening’s mirth-inducing designed for family viewing only – but it seemed my fame, like my thighs, was spreading...

Enid Blackburn tells of the endless battle to control the flab.

Continue reading "Back To Winter Food" »

September 09, 2009

A Trip To The "Lights''

...Feet occupied every inch of promenade. The roads were blocked with traffic. With a hair-splitting gale rattling our teeth we decided the emptiest part of Blackpool was the beach. The wind was blowing waves of sand at the raging sea as we descended the wooden steps. A donkey man was galloping across the sand with his animals, after a long season he looked more like a donkey than they did...

Enid Blackburn recalls a trip to see Blackpool's "illuminations'' a good number of years ago.

To read more of Enid's joyful columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/in_good_company/

Continue reading "A Trip To The "Lights''" »

September 04, 2009

When The Leaves Fall

...These are all signs that the pleasures of autumn are descending upon us. The ‘back end’ season of fires and toast, chips instead of salad, succulent stews and butter-filled crumpets are with us once more. Our kitchen is brimming with wintry sounds even now...

Enid Blackburn harks back to former days of mists and mellow fruitfulness.

To read more of Enid's columnsplease click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/in_good_company/

Continue reading "When The Leaves Fall" »

August 28, 2009

Teleholics

...It’s the animal-like personalities behind the rackets that I find most fascinating. Virginia Wade with her snarling panther-like crouch with all her hopes and fears shining in her eyes and Chris Evert whose bland expression reveals nothing. Her winsome stroll onto court reminded me of that doggy star of ‘Lady and the Tramp.’ Billie-Jean King is exactly like a rabbit we once had who used to pull its hair out when it felt broody....

We are delighted to re-run a column about the Wimbledon tennis tournament written by Enid Blackburn some three decades ago.

Continue reading "Teleholics" »

August 21, 2009

The Sounds Of Summer

...Leaning against the wash kitchen wall the other morning, my usual washing position since the miracle of automation, I had a slight shock. A shiny black beetle crept from behind the dustbin carrying a piece of spaghetti!...

Enid Blackburn tells of encounters with the untamed.

Continue reading "The Sounds Of Summer" »

August 14, 2009

School Trip

...On these occasions children undergo a metamorphosis – the quiet ones go mad and the mad ones go berserk. It’s great fun. Mothers not present would be surprised at the challenges their children often aspire to...

Enid Blackburn tells of the delights of the school trip.

Continue reading "School Trip" »

August 07, 2009

An Impending Royal Visit?

...Summery conditions certainly evoke some quaint sights. Pretty rear views often turn into ancient ruins when you reach the front. To my left there’s a heavily-built hulk wearing tattoos and what appears to be his son’s jeans. It took him quite some time to persuade them into a sitting position...

Enid Blackburn finds more than enough to write about on a family day out.

Continue reading "An Impending Royal Visit?" »

July 31, 2009

A Built-Up Area

Enid Blackburn and her daughter had a fit of giggles when they looked in the windows of an exclusive gents' outfitters.

To read more of Enid's sparklinhg columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/in_good_company/

Continue reading "A Built-Up Area" »

July 24, 2009

Operation Wedding

Enid Blackburn has weddings at the forefront of her mind.

To read more of Enid's columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/in_good_company/

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July 17, 2009

My Turn To Sleep With You

Enid Blackburn muses on school holidays, empty houses and being wanted.

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July 10, 2009

Sandblasting

Enid Blackburn finds a ready welcome when she goes snooping on a neighbour's property.

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July 03, 2009

And What A Sight!

...I once asked my spouse what scintillating factor drew him to my side, but he deliberated so long we both fell asleep. When I ask ‘Why did you marry me?’ which I am inclined to do if I think he owes me a favour, it’s always the same response: ‘Felt sorry for your father.’...

Enid Blackburn considers the nature of physical attraction.

Continue reading "And What A Sight!" »

June 26, 2009

The Gentle Art Of Prevarication

...But my best ‘romances’ were woven at junior school, when imagination was dangerously fertile. My mother’s maxim – ‘I’d rather have a thief than a liar, you can always get to the bottom of a thief,’ had little effect. I was fast becoming equally proficient at both...

Enid Blackburn confesses that she has often made use of the gentle art of prevarication.

To read more of Enid's sparkling columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/in_good_company/

Continue reading "The Gentle Art Of Prevarication" »

June 19, 2009

Happiness

...When we were newlyweds happiness was reading the newspapers in bed on Sunday mornings. Now I’m lucky to see them before Monday...

Columnist Enid Blackburn considers the nature of happiness.

Continue reading "Happiness" »

June 12, 2009

On With The Summer Show

Enid Blackburn tells of coping with what-shall-we-do-now children during the long school holidays.

Continue reading "On With The Summer Show" »

June 05, 2009

Say Hello

...But learning not to trust is difficult, especially when one has been brought up in an excessively friendly environment. I come from a family where any one who crossed the threshold was automatically entitled to a cup of tea or a dish of water, in the case of animals...

Enid Blackburn's column confirms that it is best to beware of strangers who come a-visiting.

Continue reading "Say Hello" »

May 29, 2009

Midsummer Madness

Enid Blackburn was up to her neck in wedding plans when she wrote this column.

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May 22, 2009

Good Morning Campers!

...This dynamic duo wove in and out, he miraculously missing her pointed toes while they performed intricate patterns of half-turns and side-steps guaranteed to baffle Victor Sylvester himself and intensely fascinating to all nine of us watching.

After a salutory skip round they stood in their supervisory capacity and scrutinised two brave couples who dared to impersonate them. A while later he turned his aquiline profile in our direction. Understandably, I suppose seeing as we were the only other people there. Throwing us a ‘We have ways of making you dance’ glare, he strode over to the microphone and shouted ‘Everybody dancing’ then an even louder ‘please.’ I tried to look deformed and he approached the mike again. ‘Have you come to dance or not?’ he snarled. We pretended hyper-interest in the two stricken dancers on the floor...

Enid Blackburn recalls holiday camp days.

Continue reading "Good Morning Campers!" »

May 15, 2009

Really, Chaps, It’s Not Cricket

...To add to the aggravation we also have to endure the dreariness of the commentator explaining what we have just seen not happen for ourselves.

As if this was not disconcerting enough, he then asks another bore to describe it all over again! Sometimes they wander off into unexciting regurgitations from past matches – here they become quite animated. ‘Yes, I remember it quite clearly, old Don was wearing his pullover back to front that day,’ hearty chuckles all round. ‘Was he really,’ says a voice. ‘Most remarkable,’ chants someone else...

As another season gets under way, Enid Blackburn hearkens back to past years of boredom and confesses that televised cricket is not her scene.

Continue reading "Really, Chaps, It’s Not Cricket" »

May 08, 2009

An Attack Of The Yawns

...I am definitely not an asset to any of them. For years I have had to struggle with my intrinsic aversion for all things planned, whenever I am called upon to attend. The only contributions I ever add are loud, long yawns. When I am in the mood I can infect a reasonably alert group to inertia within five minutes. Two or three spontaneous gasps from me soon have the rest of them dabbing their eyes...

Enid Blackburn admits that sitting on committees gives her the pip.

Continue reading "An Attack Of The Yawns" »

May 01, 2009

Wish You Were Here In The Rain

Enid Blackburn recalls rain-washed English summers.

Continue reading "Wish You Were Here In The Rain" »

April 24, 2009

Pointers To A Career

...In my schooldays – when I was your age – I never heard anyone actually confess enjoyment in their work. Satisfaction came at the end of the week in a small manilla envelope. Work was something my father left his bed for at 5.30 am. With his ‘jock’ in his pocket he tramped the two miles across the valley towards the roar and grind of textile machinery. His day ended at 6.30 pm when his clogs and his whistle rang in my ears long before his figure turned the corner of our fold...

Enid Blackburn recalls the days when for many school leavers choosing a job that was enjoyable did not enter into the equation.

Continue reading "Pointers To A Career" »

April 17, 2009

All A Matter Of Habit

...The eyes are considered to be the ‘windows of the soul’ but always in my opinion hands can reveal all. That’s why I always wear gloves...

Enid Blackburn considers, hands, nails and a variety of bad habits.

Continue reading "All A Matter Of Habit" »

April 10, 2009

Holidays And Dreams

...Deciding where to go is usually the best part of my year. I collect as many fantasy brochures as my bag will hold, stoke up the kitchen fire, pop on the coffee, then turn the pages and spin my dreams. Where would I go if . . .? Every year I plan: a tour of the Greek islands, a safari trip, self-discovery in the Tibetan mountains or, say, a mingle with the natives in a colourful Moroccan market. Then our bank statement arrives and we head for the nearest coast...

Enid Blackburn thinks of holidays, future and past.

Continue reading "Holidays And Dreams" »

April 03, 2009

Art And The Artist

‘Don’t open your mouth when you laugh, mum,’ I am usually advised during family photographic sessions. ‘We can see your fillings.’

Enid Blackburn tells of her inability to adopt a suitable pose for the camera.

To read more of Enid's delicious columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/in_good_company/

Continue reading "Art And The Artist" »

March 27, 2009

Worth Every VAT Penny

...Life has this habit of jogging one along in neutral for weeks on end, until you feel to be suffering from over-exposure to the ordinary – times when the only change in routine is a day when it just rains during the morning, or an unexpected visit from next door’s cat. Then suddenly you can be swept off your slippers into a totally revitalising experience....

Enid Blackburn sees her daughter receive a BEd degree.

Continue reading "Worth Every VAT Penny" »

March 20, 2009

Everything Will Be All Right (I Hope)

Enid Blackburn tells of the one sure way that a parent can successfully cope with her tennagers' party.

Continue reading "Everything Will Be All Right (I Hope)" »

March 13, 2009

The Day Of The Stork

Enid Blackburn shares her delivery room memories. (Perhaps males of a squeamish nature should take a stiff drink before reading the following column.)

Continue reading "The Day Of The Stork" »

March 06, 2009

The Bathroom Terror

Who could imagine the fear and trepidation wrought by one small breakfast announcement from son; ‘By the way I met a mouse on the bathroom corridor this morning.’

In this hilarious column Enid Blackburn tells of the day her household was plunged into turmoil and hysteria.

For more of Enid's very special columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/in_good_company/

Continue reading "The Bathroom Terror" »

February 27, 2009

Chips And Everything

...In my opinion outdoor fish and chips eaten from paper are unbeatable. It takes a while to master the feeling you are doing something faintly illegal, a hangover from a school rule, ‘No eating in the street,’ but worth it when you do...

Enid Blackburn extols the delights of fish and chips.

To read more of Enid's ebullient columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/in_good_company/

Continue reading "Chips And Everything" »

February 20, 2009

On The Receiving End

...At our house we share a zest for the mysterious, and love presenting surprises. If these well-meaning eyebrow-lifters are to be fully appreciated, an auto-suggestion period is necessary beforehand...

Enid Blackburn considers the hazards of both giving and receiving gifts.


Continue reading "On The Receiving End" »

February 13, 2009

If Music Be The Food Of Love...

My dog is also affected by the tonic-sol-fa. One croon from me and he’s begging to leave the room...

Enid Blackburn suggests there is too much music in the world.

Continue reading "If Music Be The Food Of Love..." »

February 06, 2009

Manners Maketh Man

Bad manners unmaketh men and women alike, as Enid Blackburn reveals in this delicious article.

Continue reading "Manners Maketh Man" »

January 30, 2009

Breezy, Bracing Blackpool

You can't beat a day out in Blackpool, says Enid Blackburn. It’s smelly, noisy, but oh boy, it’s matey and it’s fun.

Continue reading "Breezy, Bracing Blackpool" »

January 23, 2009

In A World Of Their Making

Can children at play bring insights for the busy housewife?

Enid Blackburn muses while packing cases.

To read more of Enid's columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/in_good_company/

Continue reading "In A World Of Their Making" »

January 16, 2009

Another Year

...Although my after-lunch siesta presents a crazy picture of confusion – me dozing by the fire in the shadow of the unwashed pots – I consider this habit has been my salvation in times of stress. To anyone who finds letting go difficult, I would say that a full stomach, a coal fire and, in my case, a full sink, are definite assets...

Enid Blackburn had restful thoughts at the start of a new year.

Continue reading "Another Year" »

January 09, 2009

A Wonderful Discovery

Feeling jaded and after-Christmassy on this January day? Well cheer yourself up by reading this column by the ebullient Enid Blackburn.

Continue reading "A Wonderful Discovery" »

January 02, 2009

It’s Bargain Time Again

...I find the best grin and tonic among the hat displays. I am still searching for a woolly cap which does not make me look as if I am about to tackle Everest, or a turban type which doesn’t remind me of paint-stripping...

Enid Blackburn cannot resist bargain time.

Continue reading "It’s Bargain Time Again" »

December 26, 2008

Impersonators At Large

Enid Blackburn thinks of Father Christmas in all his guises.

Continue reading "Impersonators At Large" »

December 19, 2008

Dear Diary

The irrepressible Enid Blackburn charts another week in the life of a busy housewife and columnist.

Continue reading "Dear Diary" »

December 12, 2008

On Receiving And Giving

Enid Blackburn considers the nerve-taxing business of giving and receiving presents.

Continue reading "On Receiving And Giving" »

December 05, 2008

What A Pantomime

Enid Blackburn recalls her days as a panto "star''.

Continue reading "What A Pantomime" »

November 28, 2008

No Giggling On The Green

Enid Blackburn recalls the start of the bowling season.

Continue reading "No Giggling On The Green" »

November 21, 2008

School Trip Metamorphosis

...On these occasions children undergo a metamorphosis. The quiet ones go mad and the mad ones go berserk. It’s great fun. Mothers not present would be surprised at the challenges their children often aspire to....

Enid Blackburn tells of the delights of school trips.

Continue reading "School Trip Metamorphosis" »

November 14, 2008

The Luxury Of A Slow Oven

...When roast beef and Yorkshire pud are frizzling in the oven the ‘How long before dinner?’ starts straight after breakfast. Even the dog sits guarding the oven door....

And who could resist a fried onion teacake?

Enid Blackburn tells of tasty delights.

Continue reading "The Luxury Of A Slow Oven" »

November 07, 2008

Attitudes Before Arteries

...Here I am, middle-aged already, yet I still feel the same immature dope inside....

Enid Blackburn believes that a person is as old as her/his attitudes.

To read more of Enid’s words please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/in_good_company/

Continue reading "Attitudes Before Arteries" »

October 31, 2008

When The Leaves Fall

...These are all signs that the pleasures of autumn are descending upon us. The ‘back end’ season of fires and toast, chips instead of salad, succulent stews and butter-filled crumpets are with us once more. Our kitchen is brimming with wintry sounds even now...

Enid Blackburn's thoughts turn mellow.

Continue reading "When The Leaves Fall" »

October 24, 2008

Back to Winter Food

...Will I ever kick this vocation I have for enjoying my food, I ask myself. Will my stomach ever get used to receiving only half of what it asks for; will the noisy protests it subsequently transmits between small portions ever be silenced?...

Enid Blackburn reluctantly wages war against the flab.

For more of Enid's chuckle-inducing columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/in_good_company/

Continue reading "Back to Winter Food" »

October 17, 2008

Holiday Blackmail

...Our three suitcases, the good, the battered and the indifferent, lie open-mouthed in the front room all week, until everyone has played their hysterical scene about not having a thing to wear, Then I sit on top while our strong arm tries vainly to make ends meet...

Enid Blackburn tells of the traumas of packing for a holiday.

Continue reading "Holiday Blackmail" »

October 10, 2008

Making DIY Music

...When I was first married I could not even change a plug, but long nights sitting with a baby in one hand and a plug in the other waiting my overworked husbands’ return soon had me extending my electrical education. My penknife and I became inseparable, except on washday when a sharp wallop with a rolling pin seemed more effective, until one morning found me embarrassingly hysterical on my neighbour’s doorstep. The wringers on the washer had snapped menacingly back at me and had fallen to pieces...

Enid Blackburn is enamoured of the benefits of self-reliance.

To read more of Enid's smile-a-line words please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/in_good_company/

Continue reading "Making DIY Music" »

October 03, 2008

Sore Lips And Hot Cheeks

...Where does an experienced adolescent learn his trade? Do young suitors ever compare their sweethearts with a summer’s day any more or are they inspired by the modern lyricists?...

Enid Blackburn considers the art of the romantic chat-up.

For more of Enid's good-natured columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/in_good_company/

Continue reading "Sore Lips And Hot Cheeks" »

September 26, 2008

Handkerchiefs And Applause

Enid Blackburn has good reason to swank on the day a daughter receives a BEd degree.

Continue reading "Handkerchiefs And Applause" »

September 19, 2008

Talking To Strangers

Enid Blackburn brings a cautionary account of the day the light bulb counter came to call.

Continue reading "Talking To Strangers" »

September 12, 2008

The Day Of The Stork

...On another occasion my man was discouragingly brushed out of maternity like a swarm of bacteria the moment my back was turned. No one asked him if he wanted to stay and watch. I can imagine the colour he would have turned if anyone had. To tell the truth I could have done with a blindfold and earplugs myself...

Enid Blackburn considers that most pregnant of all issues: should men be present when their offspring are born?

For more of Enid's high-spirited words please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/in_good_company/

Continue reading "The Day Of The Stork" »

September 05, 2008

Simple Pleasures

Enid Blackburn considers the nature of happiness.

For more of Enid’s cheery columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/in_good_company/

Continue reading "Simple Pleasures" »

August 29, 2008

The Gentle Art Of Prevarication

...When other children were boasting about their father’s strength, my son was making up stories about my health. He told some beauties, especially if he was left pram-guarding outside a shop. ‘She’s been rushed off in an ambulance’ was his answer to enquiries of ‘Where’s your mum?’ The symptoms varied according to season. ‘She’s been stung by a wasp,’ he told one. ‘In both eyes,’ he added, when she didn’t look impressed enough...

Enid Blackburn considers the gentle lies we sometimes tell.

Continue reading "The Gentle Art Of Prevarication" »

August 22, 2008

Questions And Answers

Enid Blackburn’s sparkling column suggestst that overheard conversations offer the best entertainment.

For more of Enid’s columns please click
http://www.openwriting.com/archives/in_good_company/

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August 15, 2008

The Mystery Of Attraction

...I once asked my spouse what scintillating factor drew him to my side, but he deliberated so long we both fell asleep. When I ask, ‘Why did you marry me?’ which I am inclined to do if I think he owes me a favour, it’s always the same response: ‘Felt sorry for your father.’...

Enid Blackburn considers the subject of male and female attraction.

Continue reading "The Mystery Of Attraction" »

August 08, 2008

Being Neighbourly

…Noting the place looked deserted last Sunday, I decided it was time to pay a neighbourly call. There is a limit to what you can see from behind a net curtain. With the family’s farewell singing in my ears – ‘I don’t know how you dare,’ and ‘Oh, you are nosey,’ I crept surreptitiously up the side wall in best commando style. After first cocking an ear at the corner, I took my inquisitive instinct in both feet and stepped into the front garden….

Enid Blackburn cannot resist taking a peek at the re-building work going on next door.

Continue reading "Being Neighbourly" »

August 01, 2008

Good Morning Campers!

...We were awakened on our first morning by what sounded like a dozen highlanders dancing a fling in hobnailed boots on our chalet roof, but on investigation turned out to be two seagulls and a rather depressed-looking pigeon. All I can say is they must have suffered from flat feet...

Enid Blackburn shared her Scottish holiday with birds and the Ballroom SS.

Continue reading "Good Morning Campers!" »

July 25, 2008

Alas, Poor Napoleon

...Going on holiday can present some of us with a serious parking problem. What to do with the family pets?...

Enid Blackburn writes in delicious detail of her family's pet fostering experiences.

Continue reading "Alas, Poor Napoleon" »

July 18, 2008

Holiday Dreams Turn Sour

Deciding on a holiday destination is one of the best parts of Enid Blackburn's year. "I collect as many fantasy brochures as my bag will hold, stoke up the kitchen fire, pop on the coffee, then turn the pages and spin my dreams.''

Though on one occasion the dreams led to a soggy few days in sloshy Lakeland.

Continue reading "Holiday Dreams Turn Sour" »

July 11, 2008

The Bathroom Terror

...Who could imagine the fear and trepidation wrought by one small breakfast announcement from son, ‘By the way I met a mouse on the bathroom corridor this morning.’...

Enid Blackburn tries to face up to her fears.

Continue reading "The Bathroom Terror" »

July 04, 2008

Really, Chaps, It’s Not Cricket

Enid Blackburn tells of lettuce cowards and cricket lovers.

Continue reading "Really, Chaps, It’s Not Cricket" »

June 27, 2008

Everything Will Be All Right (I Hope

...The stranger tickled his chin and avoided a nasty side-kick, ‘They aren’t babies long enough, are they?’ she smiled and left me pondering on the profundity of this remark....

Enid Blackburn notes the irritating habit which children have of wringing platitudes from strangers.

Continue reading "Everything Will Be All Right (I Hope" »

June 20, 2008

If Music Be The Food Of Love . . .

Enid Blackburn muses on an age when there's music with everything, including the drilling of teeth.

Continue reading "If Music Be The Food Of Love . . ." »

June 13, 2008

It’s Coming Out Time

...As soon as the sun comes out so do I. My sturdy frame can be seen distorting the deckchair stripes whenever possible...

Enid Blackburn is a creature of the Sun.

Continue reading "It’s Coming Out Time" »

June 06, 2008

Everything In The Garden

...Brooding sparrows happily blocking our fallpipes are splattering their messages all over my clean washing. In fact, Flaming June is a pest...

Enid Blackburn is not entirely enchanted with this time of year.

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May 30, 2008

Leave Your Worries At Home

...Anticipation is always a mixture of joy and trepidation. On good days I remember all our marvellous excursions. On bad days I dwell on the disasters. Holidays do not always live up to expectations, but there is the fun of grumbling about it afterwards...

Enid Blackburn enjoys planning for and remembering holidays almost as much as being beside the sea.

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May 23, 2008

In a World Of Their Making

There's a lot to be learned about family life in the games that children play, as Enid Blackburn reveals.

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May 16, 2008

Painful? Only When I Laugh?

Cyclist Enid Blackburn comes down to Earth with a bump.

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May 09, 2008

Manners Maketh Man

...It has been my misfortune to come into contact with many potentials who would benefit from a refresher course in good manners....


Enid Blackburn recalls displays of exceedingly bad manners.

Continue reading "Manners Maketh Man" »

May 02, 2008

A Wife In Disguise

Enid Blackburn confesses an addiction to reading "How To Succeed'' books - but "all the case histories supplied as bad examples sound just like me.''

To read more of Enid's delightful columns please click on In Good Company in the menu on this page.

Continue reading "A Wife In Disguise" »

April 25, 2008

All A Matter of Habit

The eyes are considered to be the ‘windows of the soul’ but always in my opinion hands can reveal all. That’s why I always wear gloves.

Enid Blackburn mentions nail nibbling, and other compulsive habits.

Continue reading "All A Matter of Habit" »

April 18, 2008

Art And The Artist

...Me at the age of thirteen, wearing a garter for a hairband, so tight I could only wear it for an hour if I wanted to stay alive. The photograph must have been taken at five to the hour, judging by the row of white blisters forming at the base of each root....

Enid Blackburn thinks that some "art'' works are best left in the box.

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April 11, 2008

Pointers To A Career

...After perusing the list, one of our dissidents, whose ambitions have fluctuated between becoming a librarian, a designer or hairdresser during the last month, has made her final decision. “I want to be housewife,” she declares...

Enid Blackburn muses on career choices.

Continue reading "Pointers To A Career" »

April 04, 2008

An Attack Of The Yawns

...My powers of concentration are so vigilant on other occasions. For instance I can often repeat other people’s conversations on buses when not directed at me, word for word. But at meetings, no matter how hard I purse my lips or chew my pen, my mind shies from reality like a capricious truant...

Enid Blackburn is no lover of annual general meetings.

Continue reading "An Attack Of The Yawns" »

March 28, 2008

Chips And Everything

"Being seen in the fish shop queues in the early days of married life made me feel as guilty as a baths attendant caught smiling,'' says Enid Blackburn.

Now she unashamedly extols the delight of fish and chips on Fridays.

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March 21, 2008

Growing Happiness

Can home-grown veg result in a happy life? Enid Blackburn ponders horticultural matters.

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March 14, 2008

Spring Into Summer

...While others greet this season with disinfectant, I am busy preparing my old deck chair and brochures for some serious outdoor study. Our holiday is booked, now all we have to do is save up the small fortune it will take to finance it. By the time the week arrives I should know every face in the brochure, I study them all closely for any visible signs of discontent...

Enid Blackburn welcomes the arrival of lighter days.

Continue reading "Spring Into Summer" »

March 07, 2008

Old Wives - True Tales

Enid Blackburn recalls old wives' cures for a variety of ailments.

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February 29, 2008

Awaiting The Patter...

...The realisation that this noisy red-cheeked bundle had to be fed and watered every time I wanted to put my feet up, overwhelmed me. I don’t know who was more alarmed by our first meeting – baby or me. It took us weeks to get over it, night after night we cried ourselves to sleep...

Enid Blackburn, five times a mum, shares some thoughts on new "arrivals''.

Continue reading "Awaiting The Patter..." »

February 22, 2008

Rise And Shine

...Can you automatically cast the sheets and head for the toothpaste without batting an eyelid, or does your plunge into the coverless need half an hour’s careful consideration first?...

Enid Blackburn admits that she is not a morning person.

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February 15, 2008

Today Is The Best Day

Enid Blackburn considers the future and reaches a philosophical conclusion.

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February 08, 2008

Old Times, Old Places

...Years ago when we were fortunate to own a small part of history in Huddersfield, a few Christmas fairies and myself were discussing our future in an old dressing room at the Theatre Royal. We optimistically planned a meeting to take place ten years hence. With uncomfortable flying ballet harness protruding through the sequins and a mutual ‘cork tip’ wending its soggy way round the fairy ring, we cast our predictions for the future...

Enid Blackburn muses on the folk from her past that she would like to meet again.

Continue reading "Old Times, Old Places" »

February 01, 2008

Birthday Blues

...The party invitations ambitiously forecast a 4pm kick-off, and as the clock ticked towards 3 pm the first of the long-gowned guests arrived before I’d had time to clear away the baking mess and change from my working gear. The tension began. While I pick up the trail of coats, scarves, gloves, handbags and shoe bags, everyone unwraps the presents. By the time I return to suggest a game before tea, the dining table is half empty....

Enid Blackburn tells of the "horrors'' of organising children's parties.

Continue reading "Birthday Blues" »

January 25, 2008

A Gourmet’s Delight

...Trying out new dishes is as exhilarating to me as trying on a new outfit. I wish it had the same effect on my tea-time crowd. But George Bernard Shaw was right, ‘there is no love sincerer than the love of food.’ ...

But are Enid Blackburn's family as eager as she is to sample all kinds of food?

Continue reading "A Gourmet’s Delight" »

January 18, 2008

It's Good To Have A Cry

"Although we are all slapped to tears the moment we are born, a dry-eyed status seems to be a desirable asset as we mature, as if a trembly chin and bubbly eyes were something to be ashamed of,'' says Enid Blackburn.

But Enid advocates the value of a good cry.

Continue reading "It's Good To Have A Cry" »

January 11, 2008

Is There A Doctor In The House?

…When it comes to describing ailments I have this exceptional talent. Of course it takes a lot of practice and not a little suffering…

Enid Blackburn confesses that she dreamed of being married to a doctor.

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January 04, 2008

Tiring Work, Relaxing

Here are Enid Blackburn's reflections in the midst of a bleak mid-winter some years ago.

To read more of Enid's delightful columns please click on In Good Company in the menu on this page.

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December 28, 2007

Where To This Year?

This is the time of year when the package holiday firms go into overdrive, advertising their offers.

Enid Blackburn considers the weighty question: where to this year?

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December 21, 2007

Ready For The Fray

Amid the bustle of Christmas-nigh Enid Blackburn recalls Christmases past.

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December 14, 2007

Whizzing Crowds

Amid the hassle and the fun of Christmas shopping Enid Blackburn stopped off in a cafe for a bite to eat.

....As I plunged the knife into the soft pie pastry, we both watched the rich brown mess gurgle forth. My mouth watered in anticipation and I was glad I hadn’t chosen the potato pie.

‘I wish I’d known you were having that, I could have warned you,’ was her opening gambit....

Continue reading "Whizzing Crowds" »

December 07, 2007

It's Party Time Again

Enid Blackburn recalls party times - good and bad.

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November 30, 2007

A Trip To The Lights

...We pushed with the rest of the crowds towards what we hoped would turn out to be the sea front. Trying to curl intransigent fingers of six to eight year olds into a controlling hand-clasp in the midst of Blackpool exuberance is not easy...

Enid Blackburn conveys all the magnificent, exasperating, unsurpassably tawdry joy of a day trip to Blackpool.

Continue reading "A Trip To The Lights" »

November 23, 2007

Bag A Bargain

…We have been together now for over twenty years. In spite of the dark rings, the gammy leg and the indelible stains and wrinkles left by a lifetime of close proximity with intemperates, I could never bear to part with this dear companion….

Enid Blackburn is not writing about what you think she is writing about. Do read on…

Continue reading "Bag A Bargain" »

November 16, 2007

I Can See Where I'm Going Now!

…Glasses give wearers a new ‘lens of life’ and I have never seen a permanent wearer yet who didn’t look ill and strained without them. They disguise the parts that contact lenses never reach…

Enid Blackburn acknowledges that her eyes now need a little help in fulfilling their daily duties.

Continue reading "I Can See Where I'm Going Now!" »

November 09, 2007

Signs Of The Times?

...It’s most frustrating for a garrulous person like me having to waste valuable talking time in outbursts of ‘Pardon?’ ‘What was that?’ or ‘Eh?’ A bewitching smile is not always a suitable standby, especially if your mumbler has just confessed his mother is dying of leprosy...

Enid Blackburn is surrounded by folk who seem to speaking through clenched teeth, or with forked tongues.

Continue reading "Signs Of The Times?" »

November 02, 2007

A Gap Without Bridge

Enid Blackburn is all in favour of a Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Parents.

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October 26, 2007

Try The Exotic Potato

...For a good wholesome economical stand-in you can’t beat home-made bread. Ignore the agnostics – believe me it is cheaper and it tastes better. Your man will adore its yeasty flavour: a whiff of hot bread has saved me from many a telephone bill explosion. It’s so easy a child could tackle it. If I didn’t enjoy baking it so much, mine probably would...

Enid Blackburn not only advocates baking one's own bread. She gives you a recipe, and tells you how to to about it.

Continue reading "Try The Exotic Potato" »

October 19, 2007

As It Was

Enid Blackburn looks back on her teenage days.

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October 12, 2007

Don't Jump In - You Might Be Thrown Out!

If you go down to the swimming baths today be prepared for wagging fingers and disapproving whistles, Enid Blackburn warns.

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October 05, 2007

Old Grey Bristle Test

Enid Blackburn turns her thoughts to garments to be worn during the dark days.

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September 28, 2007

Shelve The Shelf

...‘When you get back your new shelf will be in position’ he said proudly.

This proved to be a profoundly modest understatement. When I returned two hours later, our new shelf, complete with brackets, was resting on the hall carpet and a hole as big as a golf ball was gaping above the radiator. Inside the cavity was a lead pipe decorated with an outsize lump of chewing gum...

Enid Blackburn tells of the days when the gasmen came to call.

Continue reading "Shelve The Shelf" »

September 21, 2007

Let's Have Some More Bare Chests!

…In between postman and insurance callers, I have managed to give my spare tyre an airing. Unfortunately as soon as I sprawl out in plump abandon, every fly in the neighbourhood decides it is time for the family to leave the rotting vegetation and go walkies on me…

Enid Blackburn copes with a spell of warm weather.

Continue reading "Let's Have Some More Bare Chests!" »

September 14, 2007

Lament On The Gas Pipes

...I was just pulling faces at the dog while I waited for the sausage to brown, when the most painful sentence to date was passed upon me. ‘We are turning you off, love’ My blood ran cold and so did the sausage.''

Enid Blackburn tells what happened when the gas maintenance men came to dig.

Continue reading "Lament On The Gas Pipes" »

September 07, 2007

Who Says It's A Holiday?

…Actually, it’s just a matter of keeping them occupied and quelling the ‘What can I do?’ before it takes root….

Enid Blackburn presents a mum’s-eye view of the long school holidays.

Continue reading "Who Says It's A Holiday?" »

August 31, 2007

Smile Please, I Want A Photo Of Your Knees

…Sharp clicks here, a blinding flash there and another technicolour memory is preserved for the family album.

Living proof that dad lifted his head out of the deck chair, took off his jumper and said ‘cheese’ last Friday…

Enid Blackburn considers the mind-joggers of our favourite technicolour memories – holiday snaps.

Continue reading "Smile Please, I Want A Photo Of Your Knees" »

August 24, 2007

Those TV Adverts

...‘Bum, by dose is blocked’ says malingering son on exam morning. We all have ways of dealing with this complaint, which can strike scholars from Monday to Friday. But a sniff of nasal spray is enough to send a reluctant son over the doorstep...

Enid Blackburn ponders the efficaciousness of TV advertising.

Continue reading "Those TV Adverts" »

August 17, 2007

On Taking A Cut

...The children had stopped being sick, no one with the exception of a one-eyed doll needed new shoes, the dog was not in love and I would shortly be the owner of a new hairstyle. What more could anyone wish for?...

Enid Blackburn hails a beautiful day. But can it last?

Continue reading "On Taking A Cut" »

August 10, 2007

Tell-Tale Morning Egg

Enid Blackburn wonders how many of us take the trouble to notice our partner’s idiosyncrasies.

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August 03, 2007

Standing Room Only

...After what seemed like an hour contemplating the empty tramlines, our deteriorating hairstyles and the children’s unalluring social habits, the carnival atmosphere began to decline. Depressing rumours concerning an accident further up the line began to circulate the dripping queue. A tram had stopped and almost let a passenger on...

Enid Blackburn experiences a wet day in Blackpool.

Continue reading "Standing Room Only" »

July 27, 2007

Every Time I Open My Mouth...

…Like the time a pregnant woman and I were awaiting our weekly prod at the maternity hospital. We were soon deeply engrossed in intellectual baby talk. ‘We don’t seem to be able to decide on a girl’s name this time,’ I confided, leaving out the fact that this was our fifth time round and suitable names were becoming a bit scarce.

She helpfully suggested a few which included the name of a relative’s slobbery-mouthed dog. ‘I wouldn’t even insult our dog with that name,’ I laughed, appreciating her sense of humour. My smile soon disintegrated, how-ever when she called her small daughter over using the same name…

The sparkling Enid Blackburn confesses to possessing the “gift’’ of being able to put her foot in her mouth.

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July 20, 2007

Tentatively Tottering Through The Tango

Enid Blackburn enjoys a good old-fashioned family seaside holiday.

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July 13, 2007

Time For Packing Up!

Getting ready for a holiday can be a time of trauma, as the irrepressible Enid Blackburn reveals.

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July 06, 2007

Saying What You Mean

... Clothes have a language all their own. At a local school meeting the interesting guest speaker amused us all with a few anecdotes concerning an old Slaithwaite family who dated back to 1700. The mood of one member could always be determined by the tilt of his bowler hat. When worn straight all was well, the more his temper deteriorated the further back it was pushed. If it reached the back of his head, everybody ducked!...

The delectable Enid Blackburn considers the messages in body language and the clothes we wear.

Continue reading "Saying What You Mean" »

June 29, 2007

Looking Forward Week

Enid Blackburn shares her excitement as she looks forward to a holiday.

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June 22, 2007

Liberation? - A Few Hints

…I gaze lecherously at the vac, my wet lips pouting sulkily and break into the sexiest song I know all the words to. Usually its Marlene Dietrich’s ‘Lili Marlene.’ Then I do my sultry hip roll down the hall (just missing the dog), my big toe poking seductively through the hole in my slipper, trying to fight my way through the writhing mass of admirers who are dying of unrequited passion by the kitchen door…

Enid Blackburn samples ‘loose’ living.

For more of Enid’s hilarious musings please click on In Good Company in the menu on this page.

Continue reading "Liberation? - A Few Hints" »

June 15, 2007

As Exciting As An Attack Of The Flu

Enid Blackburn presents some more delicious reflections on the domestic scene.

To read more of Enid’s engaging columns please click on In Good Company in the menu on this page.

Continue reading "As Exciting As An Attack Of The Flu" »

June 08, 2007

A Question Of Values

… I was brought up with the idea that an open house is a happy house. Anyone who stayed at ours longer than two minutes was entitled to a cup of tea, my mother’s cure for all ills.

Consequently it was always full – and the kettle whistled eternally. The day war broke out my aunt arrived with two cousins and a large suitcase to stay until it ended. After three weeks of hilarious fun with our cousins, she got tired of waiting and we all had to wave a tearful goodbye…

But the delightful and ever-welcoming Enid Blackburn was never one to become a slave to housework.

Continue reading "A Question Of Values" »

June 01, 2007

Less Of This Horse Nonsense

…I think the horse trials would be a lot more interesting without the overworked horses. Look how much fun it would be watching the ladies toss their manes as they dive head first over the sticks.

Imagine the mounting tension as they scramble through the mud trying to get a foothold on the slimy bank as someone lends a few posterial whip-lashes for encouragement. Then I would really feel like applauding the winner…

Enid Blackburn thinks that the best place for a horse is somewhere where she isn’t.

Continue reading "Less Of This Horse Nonsense" »

May 25, 2007

Inconsistencies

A teacher once inscribed in a report on the academic work of Enid Blackburn’s son ‘Does not like to exert himself.’

‘Does this mean he is lazy?’ Enid and her husband Bill demanded on parents’ evening.

‘Yes,’ the teacher replied.

Enid, in her good-humoured style, wonders how well we know our children.

Continue reading "Inconsistencies" »

May 18, 2007

Theatre Science

…Before the miracle of television, operations were something aunts whispered about, with painful upward glances, and lots of head shaking. Today the cameras sweep up to the bedside and we are almost hand in glove with the surgeon…

Enid Blackburn thinks that TV may be bringing us too much medical information.

Continue reading "Theatre Science" »

May 11, 2007

Waiting For The Big Freeze-Up

…Take yesterday morning for instance. It started out as a typical day, cold, miserable with a hint of rain. Gazing through the window in my usual stupor and marvelling how the little birds found the strength to fly before dinner, I turned on the tap to wash up. The water gushed down forcefully on to an upturned cup and hit me full in the face! Then I expertly chopped an onion a la Fanny Craddock, after carefully putting the skins in the frying pan I threw the onions in the fire. I waved goodbye to my neighbour as I boarded a bus to town, then quarter of an hour later I waved again as I panted up the garden path to retrieve my purse from the kitchen table…

Enid Blackburn wonders if her memory is up to the task of allowing her to join the age of the freezer.

Continue reading "Waiting For The Big Freeze-Up" »

May 04, 2007

Out On The Town

Enid Blackburn tells of that particular British occasion – the annual club outing.

Continue reading "Out On The Town" »

April 27, 2007

All In The Mind

…I recognised an old school teacher of mine the other day as soon as she smiled. The only other time I have seen her do this was when a few of us sneaked an eyeful through the staff room keyhole. She was on the headmaster’s knee laughing her head off. So this was what they did while we shivered outside in the playground!…

Enid Blackburn says we often remember people for the wrong reasons.

Continue reading "All In The Mind" »

April 20, 2007

Breezy, Bracing Blackpool

You can’t beat a day out in Blackpool, says Enid Blackburn.

Continue reading "Breezy, Bracing Blackpool" »

April 13, 2007

Bowling The Jack

Today we introduce a new columnist, Enid Blackburn. Enid worked in a public library in a Yorkshire township – a vantage point which gave her ample material to write about.

Enid, a delightful lady, is no longer with us. Her husband Bill gathered the columns she had written for a local newspaper and published them as a book. We are delighted to re-publish those columns on the Net.

Here Bill introduces Enid to Open Writing readers – then Enid, in her own breezy words, describes a certain sporting activity which commences in Yorkshire in the Spring of the year.

Continue reading "Bowling The Jack" »

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