‘Del Boy’ with dreadlocks……….

This is how I’m starting to think about myself as I review my current activities, business and interests. In honour of the irrepressible ‘Del Boy’ Trotter character in the long running and very funny, 1980s Sitcom, ‘Only fools and horses’.

The one line that still sticks in my memory- even after all these years. “This time next year, ‘Rodders’ we’ll be millionaires”.

Of course, things never quite worked out as planned, but I have always loved Del Boy’s optimism and his eternal hope that things would work out for the best in the end.

Pittabread March 1 2017

So, coming back to me and my business, I never imagined for one moment when growing up that I would end up running my own business. I always thought, hoped, dreamed I would get a good job and work my way up the career ladder.

And then when I did start my own business, I did not foresee developing such an interest in social media and all things digital but that is precisely what happened.

I continue to be fascinated and intrigued by all things digital and social media related.

On which note, I for one would dearly love to see the ‘Trotters‘, on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, etc. Just to see how they would manage social media to promote their stall and other ‘business interests’.

So, now after running my coaching business for 17 years, developing an online presence around it and observing how some are thriving in the digital world. I am starting to dream a little about becoming an online entrepreneur, though quite how this will happen, I have no idea.

But I do know, I’m more energised by the potential I see for social media than I have been for quite some time and I think this is linked in part to my past work in open and distance learning.

I have the same sense of excitement and optimism I had when working for the Open University and Ford Motor Company. Where my role within both these organisations was based on the idea of making learning as accessible as possible, to as many as possible.

Have always believed that knowledge and learning should not be restricted to the ‘elite’ or the ‘lucky few’. In fact, as I write this, I can recognise that this is what is underpinning my fascination and excitement around social media.

So, I guess you never know, this time next year I may well be an online entrepreneur. 😉

Until next time



My big ‘Bad Education’ ……..

Who are the teachers that you really remember from your school days, the good, the bad and the sometimes indifferent?

This is the question I asked myself, after recently watching the very final episode of the superb ‘Bad Education’, with Jack Whitehall and the rest of the amazing cast of teachers and school children.


So, from my days at primary school, I remember Miss S, who so effectively taught me to read – once it had been discovered, that I’d somehow reached junior school age without being able to read properly.

However, once the school realised, there was no ‘messing about’, I was ‘yanked out’ of classes and placed with Miss S – until it was sorted. I cannot remember how long it took – but thank God, it was rectified before I left Junior school.

Must admit I don’t remember much warmth and empathy from Miss S, but I thank her for teaching me to read properly and using the time effectively to get me up to speed.


Jumping forward now to secondary school, the next teacher I distinctly remember is my ‘O’ Level maths teacher, Mr H.

Particularly the day, that our tall rather ‘gangly’ looking Mr H, suddenly disappeared from view as he slipped and fell.

I can recall, the shocked silence, and then his good-natured response to the one person who could not contain her mirth and whose laughter was the first to burst forth. Namely, me.

Who else remembers science lessons, where you were allowed and encouraged to use equipment, such as Bunsen burners? I remember watching enthralled as a piece of sodium or maybe it was potassium ‘fizzed’ around in a bucket of water.


Moving forward a few years, I remember Dr P. – our ‘A’ Level physics teacher, we all had a bit of a crush on him and were a bit in ‘awe’. I also remember his ‘THINK’ scrawled in big red letters across one of my early assignments. Clearly I wasn’t, thinking at that time.

Still Dr P. – got me successfully through an A ‘level syllabus, as did Dr G my chemistry teacher.

Not without some controversy mind, as I also remember ‘storming’ out of one of Dr G’s ‘chemistry’ tutorials.  He is the one teacher – I’d quite like to go back to and ‘wave’ or perhaps more truthfully, ‘shove’ my subsequent qualifications, up ‘where the sun doesn’t shine’.

It may well take a few more years, before I can emulate Elsa, from Frozen and ‘Let that one go’. I’m not bitter ;).

But that’s a whole other story.

So, who are the teachers you remember, with love and respect or maybe otherwise?

Until next time




I’m a celebrity…get me out of here!

I am a big fan of the yearly show and have been captivated and enthralled by this year’s batch of contestants. How lovely it has been, with everything that has been going on in the world to have an ‘oasis’ of relative calm and positivity.


So, in no particular, order, here are my 15 observations from the 2016 show:

  • Wonderful to see how, overall, a group of people from all walks of life, different backgrounds, ages etc. simply just get on. For them to form real and I hope lasting bonds of friendship and love.
  • This one is for the producers, sometimes ‘less is more’, could have managed without the excessive use of ‘critters’ for some of the trials.
  • Another one for the producers, there is I think a very fine line between cruelty and entertainment and sometimes I think you crossed it.
  • There was no ongoing camp romance, just a lot of solid and caring friendships.
  • Everyone in camp had their moments, both high and low, it was great to see people ‘step up’ and provide support in the low moments.
  • The power of ‘mind over matter’, everyone without exception wanted to bring ‘home the ‘bacon’ for their camp mates.
  • There was time for silliness and laughter, especially with some of the ‘dingo dollar’ challenges. Loved the way people just entered into the ‘spirit’ of things.
  • I’m sure there was a moment when Kiosk Keith, almost cracked a smile when Scarlett and Adam went to cash in their ‘Dingo Dollars’.
  • Somehow managed to pack a lot into three weeks, everyone had an opportunity to show their strengths and talents.
  • The challenges, allowed people to quickly build trust and strong bonds.
  • Really appreciated, the general lack of gossip and backbiting overall, certainly compared to other series. Had the sense that most things were overall ‘laid out in the open’ and issues dealt with quickly. Things didn’t or weren’t allowed to fester.
  • Liked the way jobs were swopped around, giving people a chance to have a go at doing something different. I also liked the way care and consideration was given to assigning tasks, to people.
  • The genuine celebration of success between the camp mates, though to be fair this was linked to food. People shared their vulnerabilities so when they as Adam did were able to meet their fears head on, there was genuine appreciation and support from the other ‘camp mates’.
  • Ant and Dec, superb as always, providing just the right amount of ‘mickey taking’ and support when needed. Though I do long for the day when a ‘critter covered’ celebrity gives them a big hug, at the end of a trial. ‘Share the love’, I say.
  • In my opinion the right woman was crowned ‘Queen of the jungle’, simple as that.

So, there you have it, wishing you all a restful, peaceful and joyful festive season.

Until next time

Janice Taylor


My Marilyn moment…………

This whole incident, still makes me laugh to this day, just one of many silly and funny things that happened in my life before marriage and motherhood. Its good I think at times to share and remember some of the silly, reckless and sometimes risky things you did in your past. The silly situations you found yourself in and to be thankful for the times when things worked out and to learn from those when they didn’t.


Today’s title is a reference to the iconic scene in the 1955 Marilyn Monroe film ‘The Seven Year Itch’ and happened to me sometime in the mid-eighties. That’s probably about as specific as I’m prepared to get with regards to this event.

A group of us were in Paris to celebrate the wedding of a friend, and to attend a ball. I can’t quite recall how all this came about, how arrangements were made, tickets booked, but somehow we all ended up staying in different locations throughout our stay.

In any case on the night of the ball, I ended up in one place and most of my belongings in another. So, in the morning I didn’t have a huge choice of things to wear and one of the things that hadn’t quite made it across was my underwear.

I was in one location, my clean underwear in another…..

Still, luckily for me I had a long skirt to hand and one reasonable top, so undeterred I got dressed and set off with the others. Reasoning that if I was careful, everything would be okay, all I needed to do was to ensure my skirt stayed down and didn’t blow upwards.  I could sort myself out as soon as we returned to the flat where we had initially ‘set up camp’. I was hoping that after a bit of lunch we would head back to the apartment and I would be reunited with a clean pair of pants.

Unfortunately, for me at least our French hosts were very keen to show us the city and it was going to be some while before we could head back to the flat. I did notice some sideways ‘glances’ as my hand never strayed far from my skirt. I was very diligent in making sure it stayed in place.

This went on for a few hours, me making appreciative noises and small talk in my very limited French, while all the while making sure that my hand remained permanently ‘glued’ to my skirt.

So, I was mightily relieved when someone, at long last suggested that we were so close to the flat that we may as well head back. All we needed to do was cross the road and we’d be ‘home’.

‘Great, wonderful’ I thought and in my relief and haste I stepped without thinking onto an air vent right in the middle of the road.

To this day I don’t know why I didn’t just step calmly off the vent, that’s all I needed to do really. Luckily the one other person who understood and knew what was going on, had the sense to drag me off before any damage was done.


Again, I can only surmise that our French hosts were somewhat mystified by this strange behaviour and hurried to get us back to the flat.

And once I’d been reunited with my clean underwear, I and my ‘friend’ explained the situation to our hosts amongst much laughter, coffee and maybe some wine.

So, there you have it, an unusual end to our trip to Paris.

Until next time

Janice Taylor


PS Incidentally, it was quite some years later, that my ‘husband to be’, proposed in Paris.

Don’t pee in the bath……………………

The joys and adventures of living in shared accommodation

Never again……

720a Leytonstone High road, E11, this was my address after graduating and landing my first full time job as a graduate engineer.

It cost me, just about 30 years ago now £38 per week to rent a room in a shared house, with no shared living space apart from the kitchen and bathroom.


It was the best I could find at the time – living in a room next door to a young man who though seemed very nice, also had some serious issues with alcohol, which was particularly noticeable whenever he opened the door to his room.

I then moved to rent a couple of rooms with let’s call him Dave and you can read more about my adventures here at https://pittabread.wordpress.com/2015/04/10/deux-petit-pois-et-une-carotte-de-bebe/.

My next move to Debden, in Essex wasn’t too successful either, we were burgled pretty early on and then to top it all I kept coming across BNP stickers and posters at the station, which kept reappearing as fast as I could tear them down.

So I was very glad to leave all that behind and move to Walthamstow, E17 where I found a room to rent in a lovely house. Couldn’t believe my luck, but there was just one small problem – I was in my opinion sharing a house with a slightly ‘mad’ housemate who was over the course of a few months to become the ‘bane of my life’.

I picked up ‘the vibe’ from the moment we met and it ‘kinda’ went down-hill from there, in any case I am not going to dwell on that today but rather to consider the etiquette needed to live harmoniously with others.

Particularly as I consider my daughter and the likelihood that she is likely to spend far longer renting and sharing her living space, than her parents.

So in no particular order here are a few things I learnt (the hard way) during my time as a lodger………..


  • Leave all and any shared space better than you found it, regardless. It is just possible that the people you are sharing with, will notice and move up to your standards.
  • Don’t allow things to ‘fester’ so that your time is spent quietly seething with resentment until you explode. Far, far better instead to deal with things whilst you can still do so with a smile, rather than a snarl or through ‘gritted’ teeth.
  • Don’t do as one person I know did, pee in someone’s bath, if someone is irritating you that much maybe it’s time for at least one of you to move out.
  • Conversely, probably wise not to leave the bathroom unattended if you have just run a bath. With regard to my friend a whole host of irritations and resentments came to the fore, when presented with this ‘golden’ opportunity.
  • If someone leaves a chair full of cuddly toys directly outside your room, probably best to start a conversation rather than persistently and stubbornly ignore it.
  • Avoid at all costs, having a screaming match with your flat mate, really doesn’t make for a harmonious coexistence.
  • Be wary of ‘live in’ landlord owners looking for more than a lodger, who needs the hassle and the added complication?

Think that’s probably about it, be happy to hear about your ‘renting adventures’.

Until next time

Janice Taylor


A day to remember………………..

I had the privilege very recently of attending a service to celebrate the life of an old and much loved family friend. Have attended a few services in recent months, but have to say this is the only one that started with the sound of Jamaican steel drums.


It was an amazing day, which started in a packed church in South London – so much so that people were spilling out into the street, just one small demonstration of how involved our friend was with his local community and his friends.

There was I am sure much sadness, but there was also a lot of laughter for the husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather and friend that most of the congregation knew simply as Frank. An old family friend going back to when I was growing up in South London, almost 50 years ago now.

It was a truly uplifting experience and event, which I feel blessed to have attended, a remarkable day, organised and arranged so well by his wife and children.

There was singing, praying, laughter, some tears, some interesting musical accompaniment on the piano, some wonderful speeches, a gospel number by Norma White and some real Jamaican food. How else would we celebrate Frank’s life and mark his ‘passing’ other than with ‘rice and peas’ and some ‘curried goat’?

It was also a time to catch up with people I haven’t seen for over 45 years and swop our life stories. Some people we recognised and knew straight away, others knew us and had to remind us of the times we had shared.


But what I have come to realise is just how much Frank and his wife Peggy, helped and supported our mum when she needed somewhere to stay as a young mother with two girls under five.

And they were both there for us towards the end of mum’s life.

So although mum couldn’t attend, she would have certainly wanted the rest of her family to be there to pay their respects. Which is exactly what we did.

So there you have it, until next time

Janice Taylor



To ‘Walter Mitty’ and all ‘daydreamers’ out there……………

A reference to the wonderful film, ‘The secret life of Walter Mitty’, where the main character superbly played by the inimical Danny Kaye, ‘escapes’ his ‘hum drum’ life through his ‘day dreams’. Internal ‘vignettes’ in which his character always manages to ‘save the day’, by being the ‘modest’ but always brilliant hero.


THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY, Danny Kaye, Virginia Mayo, poster art, 1947.

My tendency to ‘daydream’ and become lost in my own ‘internal world’, probably explains why I identify so much with ‘Walter Mitty’ and why after 30 years or so I can fully appreciate the compliment I was being paid when a past boyfriend described me as being ‘mentally alive’. Another incident which had my two younger sisters howling with laughter.

Explains why after reading Biggles I decided to become a fighter pilot until someone pointed out that the RAF were unlikely to take on someone with flat feet.  So that was that……..

Then after reading Jennings, I decided to start a detective agency, roped in my sister and we got as   far as making some business cards from cardboard. Unfortunately, we didn’t quite manage to find a mystery to solve or a client to help.

Then remember a little further down the line wanting to move into forensic science, until my chemistry lab partner pointed out that it meant dealing with ‘sh*t and stuff’ – and that was enough to kill that one off……….

‘Swallows and Amazons,’ by Arthur Ransome, was another favourite and I had a head full of high adventure and ‘derring-do’ as we learnt to row at Battersea Park and to sail on the Norfolk Broads.  In fact as I write this I am reminded of our recent ‘snorkelling adventure’ in Jamaica and I now accept that my days of ‘water based’ adventures are well and truly past.

So I would and could if left to my own devices, ‘day dream ‘ for England. It is something I have done throughout my childhood and continue to do, to the present day. In fact, my ‘day dreaming’ is probably growing rather than diminishing with age.

Pittabread Walter Mitty Aug 2016

Which is why without the ‘day to day’ business of running a home and business I treasure our holidays – because I can get so much done. I can simply ‘drift off’ and let my imagination run free and generate all sorts of ideas for blogs, articles, courses and just life in general.

So there you have it, to all us daydreamers out there, until next time…..

Janice Taylor