Rik Mayall Day

Today would have been Rik Mayall’s 60th birthday and it got me thinking about his career and all the various characters he has played over the years.

So in honour of Rik and in no particular order my favourites are:-

Richard “Richie” Richard

Starring with Adrian Edmondson as Edward Elizabeth “Eddie” Hitler, Rik played Richie in Bottom.  Bottom ran for three series from 17th September 1991 to 10th April 1995 and also produced five stage-show tours between 1993 and 2003.  Not forgetting the feature film Guest House Paradiso in 1999.

Bottom is about two bachelors who live together in south London and spend most of their time trying to get women to sleep with them.  Despite neither of them having a job, they are always dressed in a suit and tie even though they look awful!

I think that the stage shows are my favourite as they often go off script.  In the second live tour, the guys end up in prison and Rik forgets to put his watch on.

Richie – “You know my great watch gag?” 
Eddie – “Yes”
Richie – “I forgot to put my watch on!” 

Cue laughter from the audience who appreciate this mistake, although it is funnier on-screen than I’ve described here.

There are a couple more of these lapses in character and, rather than spoiling the show, they add to them.  Not everyone’s cup of tea, but it always made me laugh!

Also,  may I say that’s a smashing blouse you have on.

Lord Flashheart


Appearing in the first episode of the second series of Blackadder, Rik is Lord Flashheart.  He is a cad, a bounder and all the ladies find him attractive.  The men all admire him.  What else is there to say?  Woof!


Drop Dead Fred

Fred is the imaginary childhood friend of Elizabeth.  When Elizabeth starts to have troubles in her adult life, Fred reappears.  He makes her realise that she is worth something.  Rik is brilliant in this film and it made me want him as my imaginary friend.  His comic timing is spot on he also shows his sensitive side (well for a few seconds anyway), and he adds a certain magic to this film.

He has played several memorable characters over the years, but these are my favourites.  I was too young when The Young Ones was first broadcast and The New Statesman didn’t appeal to me.  Whatever character he played, he always seemed to give his all and he is much missed.

Who are your favourite Rik Mayall characters?  Let me know in the comments.

Tea Loaf Recipe

Nom Nom NomThis is by far the easiest tea loaf recipe I have found – you just need to remember to soak the fruit overnight.  I have made it several times and I’ve even given the recipe to my mother-in-law who has also passed it on.

I am not a fan of raisins or currants so I use 225g of sultanas and rather than adding nutmeg, I just put a bit more cinnamon in.  I also do not think it needs the butter or jam – it’s delicious on its own.

Preparation Time: overnight
Cooking Time: 1-2 hours
Serves: 6


  • 75g/2 ¾ oz raisins
  • 75g/2 ¾ oz sultanas
  • 75g/2 ¾ oz currants
  • 300 ml/½ pint tepid Earl Grey Tea
  • 250g/9oz self-raising flour
  • 200g/7oz soft light brown sugar
  • 1 free-range egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • Butter for greasing
  • Unsalted butter and apricot jam to serve


  1. Place the dried fruit and tea into a large bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and leave to soak overnight.
  2. The next day, preheat the oven to 175°C /325°F/Gas 3.
  3. Add the flour, sugar (make sure there are no lumps), beaten egg and spices to the soaked fruit and mix well.
  4. Grease a 22cm x 10cm/9in x 5in loaf tin – I use greaseproof paper to line the tin – easier to get the cake out.  Spoon the mixture into the tin.
  5. Transfer to the oven and bake for one and a quarter hours or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  6. Serve slices of the tea loaf spread with unsalted butter and jam.

It will should last a few days in an airtight container.  Let me know if you make it and if you do – enjoy!

*originally made on BBC 2 show “Something for the Weekend” by Simon Rimmer.

Finding a job

As you know if you have read my post “Being made redundant – my story” I have been out of work since July 2016 – that’s longer than I perhaps thought I would be and you’ll see from the above post that I was going to start looking then, but it never happened!  I think I enjoyed being at home too much but it is now time for me to start looking for a job.

I’ve updated my CV and will shortly be sending it to local job agencies and I have been looking online, but I just don’t know what I want to do.  I’ve also been out of the “looking for a job” market for over 14 years now and it scares me a bit to start again.  Don’t get me wrong, I do not regret leaving my last company but sometimes I wish it hadn’t happened.

I do know that the new position needs to be local to me, maybe within walking distance if I am very lucky (I shan’t hold my breath) and that I like office work.  I introduced social media to my last employer and really enjoyed the interaction with the customer so maybe I could find a job that allows me to do that and if it includes website administration, even better.

Does everyone feel like this when they go back to work after a long absence?  Did you?  Do you have any hints or tips that would help me – please leave them in the comments section if you do.

Thank you!

Hazel x

PS  The orchid is still alive!!


Being made redundant – my story

8th July 2016 – a day I will always remember, as it was my last day at work.  I can’t quite believe it has been nearly a year since I was made redundant and I said goodbye to my friends and colleagues.

Back in 2014, the landlords had taken the decision to convert the property into flats once the tenancy had expired in 2016.  Management started to look at possible places to move to and it was decided that the company would move to Cambridge.  I knew that it would be too much for me to commute to Cambridge every day so made the difficult decision not to move with the company.  I had two years to get used to the fact that I would (by my choice) be unemployed and I had lots of support from my employers whilst going through the redundancy process.

The announcement that I was leaving was made three months before my last day.  Those last three months went so quickly and before I knew it, it was my last day.  The week before, I had a leaving do and my wonderful colleagues bought some lovely gifts.  They had all signed a card and I was very emotional reading all their lovely words.  I just about made it through my speech before the tears threatened to fall (those that know me, know that I am not always very good at public speaking).

My last day was very strange – very surreal.  I went and saw everyone that was in the office that day so that I could say goodbye.  I think they were more upset than me and although I had been telling them for ages before it was announced that I would be leaving, I don’t think they believed me!  Tears, hugs, a leaving interview and then at 4 o’clock I left.  Forever.  There were tears in my eyes as I walked home.

I knew I was going to have some time off before looking for another job and the time to start looking has now arrived.  I’ve checked and updated my CV and now the hard work of trying to find something that is interesting, pays reasonably well and is located in my home town of Hitchin begins.

I’ve loved my time off but now I feel ready, if a little scared, to get back to the world of working for a living.

Have you ever been made redundant?  How did you find it and how long was it before you found employment again – let me know in the comments.  If you have any tips on finding work, I’m all ears!

Hazel x

PS If my colleague that bought me the lovely orchid is reading this – IT’S STILL ALIVE!!


Podcasts I’ve been listening to

I thought I’d share with you the podcasts that I’m listening to at the moment.

They are, in no particular order:-

The Danny Baker Show – Danny Baker and Lou Pepper present this two hour extravaganza live on a Saturday morning (9am – 11am) on Radio 5 Live.  The format each week is mostly the same in that Danny will tweet a selection of topics for listeners to peruse before he leaves for the studio.  The person with the most obscure and/or funny story will share it on air.  There is a guest which Danny will chat in-depth to and then there is the Sausage Sandwich Game.  Ahh the Sausage Sandwich Game – a hilarious game in which two callers (playing for any team they support) score goals against each other by answering trivia questions about the celebrity that week, including whether said celebrity has red sauce, brown sauce or no sauce at all on their sausage sandwich.  My description doesn’t do it justice – you really have to listen to the show to get the full effect.

Kermode & Mayo Film Review – Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo broadcast on Friday afternoons (2pm-4pm) on BBC Radio 5 Live.  During the show, Mark will review the latest films, there are guests, actor interviews and listeners emails.  The podcast does have extras that are not included in the live show.  Mark and Simon have a great rapport and make the show a joy to listen to.

Desert Island Discs – I’ve just finished listening to the Ed Sheeran episode – what a lovely down to earth guy.  I’ve written a post on my Desert Island Discs here.

At Home With Colin Murray – There are (at the time of writing) 5 episodes in the series but I’ve only listened to Jamie Carragher and Gary Lineker.  The guests are interviewed either in their own home, or they visit Colin in his.  The first 4 episodes are football related but episode 5 is all about Kate and Helen Richardson-Walsh who are hockey players.

At Home With……… – Presented by Lily Pebbles and Anna Newton.  This is a new podcast that was launched last week.  Lily and Anna are beauty bloggers who have added this podcast to their expanding empire (my words, not theirs).  There is only one episode at the moment – Jo Elvin who is the Beauty Editor of Glamour Magazine.  The guests are interviewed in their own home so the girls get to have a snoop as well as ask the questions that we would all like to know the answers to.  As well as listening, if you download the podcast via the Acast app, you get to see photos of the items that they talk about in the episode.  It shows how popular the girls are, as it went straight to number one in the iTunes audio podcast chart just based on people listening to the trailer.

The Emma Guns Show – another recent discovery but I absolutely love it.  It’s a beauty related podcast where Emma interviews a beauty insider and quizzes them on everything.  Topics to date have included online content, music taste, saving lives, and anxiety.  So far I have listened to Sam & Nic from Pixiwoo, Caroline Hirons and Fleur de Force.  Each one is over an hour long and it does feel like you are listening to friends having a chat as the conversation flows and it not forced.

So there you have it, my favourite podcasts at the moment.  What are you listening to – let me know in the comments.