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8th August 2004: Hello everyone,

Just a little missive to wish you all a fabulous Summer.

At the moment I'm spending my sleeping hours as a contortionist, i.e. finding new positions to put my arms and legs to escape the heat. The perfect place is on top of the bed, surrounded by a mosquito net, wearing not much more than a smile.

Luckily, the theatre in Stevenage, the Gordon Craig, has very effective air-conditioning. never been so welcome. This is our last week as "A Happy Medium"! And what a challenge the play has been. The whole cast and I agree that this has been a job with 150% concentration. your wits cannot wander for a second. the play has improved tremendously during the last weeks and I would like to thank everyone for their positive feedback. I'm sure A Happy Medium will have another outing. It deserves one, as it is tremendous fun, both for cast and audience.

At the moment, I'm enjoying a great time, socialising and generally catching up. Having done two days of "pottering about", i.e. doing domestics, I then set about spending time doing what I luv most; meeting up, lunches, dinners, and an odd visit to a gallery. Not that what I saw was odd, just the fact that I actually went.

Had a fab time at Gary Wilmot's birthday do. Just opposite the gate to Hyde Park, a beautiful baroque looking Italian restaurant welcomed its guests with champagne, luvly food and ambulance! (OK, I know its ambience, really, but it's a hangover from my play, where my character was riddled with malapropisms!!) A great band, great mates, fab food and a host that was attentive at all times. Now that was a "do"!

Having spent a great two days with friends, and relishing the freedom of no time-tables, I decided to start writing to mates and, indeed, this "catch-up" note.

Went to Royal Ascot. Apparently it can only be "Royal" when the Queen attends. Poor cow was there everyday. OK, I know she loves horses, but how much dung can anyone take?

My friend, Josh (many of you will remember him as Frederic in The Pirates Of Penzance), and I were warmly welcomed by Ron Wade, MD of the company HOME-TEK, whose products I'm promoting at the moment. I so enjoyed the box we were in, beautifully entertained and fussed over. I lost 5 and Josh won 16.20! We were careful to leave at a good time, to avoid the crowds.

I wore my beautiful purple ostrich-feathered, American handmade titfer, and it didn't blow off once!

Then it was off to the TRIC lunch - Television & Radio Industries Club. This is a function attended by representatives of the various TV manufacturers and, indeed, companies such as HOME-TEK, hence another invitation. This particular do was to thank the outgoing President and welcome the in-coming one. The outgoing Pres. was the luvly June Whitfield, who was very gracious in her farewell speech and, mercifully, short too. She warmly welcomed Charlie Dimmock, who was taking over. Nice body, luvly hair. And a lot of it!

Loads of champagne flowed, with gorgeous food. We all spent a great afternoon, chatting to each other and not too much networking.

Proceeded to then spend a few fab lunches with good mates, countless phone calls catching up. Spent a gorge evening with a German friend, Karl, who makes the Queen's frox - the real one - He's very discreet, I can't get any gossip on the Queen. He does say she's extremely gracious and funny. I shall have to invite her to the Wimbledon week of Annie.

Also had a fab dinner with my wonderful mate Jimmy Perry, who, as you know is the creator of Dad's Army. Him and me have some fab chats and fun. He was telling me about David Croft's autobiography. Have bought it and will be visiting him in Suffolk so he can sign it for me. Jimmy is still writing and doing shows for the Water rats, and attending special Dad's Army functions. He's so fab and one of the best-dressed men I've ever met. And his wine cellar is T.D.F. I'm so lucky. I remember when I used to get excited about Hirondelle! And it was hideous. I'm so glad we've moved on in the grape world.

Attended the Annie Christmas launch, which you may have read about on the site. We were very well looked after by the staff of the Tameside Hippodrome, and I would like to thank everyone involved. It was luvly to see Louise English - who is, once again, playing Grace Farrell - and a new Daddy Warbucks; James Smillie. James has a great catalogue of work to his credit. Many people may remember him especially for his appearances on an Australian drama East Of Eden. Poor James, tho, he has the most gorgeous white hair. It's all coming off! It's not fair. Why can't mine be luxurious? It's no good anyone running their hands through it, they'd have nowhere to go!

Although I adore panto, it'll be luvly to have a change this year. But Annie has still got all the feel-good ingredients and the "goody and baddy" element. Poor Miss H will probably get booed. HELP! Anyway, after the launch I stayed at my fab two friends' house in Tintwistle, a luvly little village in Glossop. It was just so great to have time away from such a busy, cosmopolitan city like London.

Went for a lovely walk round this reservoir, ending up at the village pub. I so enjoyed it. I adore London and am its greatest advocate, but how marvellous to roam the village streets and not once see a shopping mall.

Oh, before I forget, went to see Liberace's Suit, starring my mate, Bobby Crush. It has been very well received and I do hope it has a future. I loved it and laughed a lot. Bobby did a really good job. Although a stage performer for years and very comfortable there, he must have been so nervous. but good on him, ever a real pro, he rose to the occasion - and his contract, by producing a fine performance. Funny and poignant. Well done, Bobby!

Just recently, I went to the theatre for the first night of Saturday Night Fever, at the Apollo Victoria opposite Victoria Train Station. Had a ball of a night. My escort was a luvly, chunky, dark-haired, beautifully toothed, 30-something gentleman. More of him later.

I was delighted to see old mates there; Toyah was looking as good as ever. I'm sure her hair gets longer! Must stop going on about hair! Cheryl Baker was there with her children and friends. Bucks Fizz are embarking on another tour, so watch out for details. Chatted with Dean Gaffney and his girlfriend, and luvly Ian Talbot, who directed The Pirates Of Penzance, and his gorge wife, Claire, who is expecting their baby. I was so chuffed for them. Ian has the most famous and talked about "Bottom" - a character in A Midsummer Night's Dream - in London. Claire is really pretty and talented so the forthcoming child will belong to an acting deity. It will probably want to be a welder! And nothing wrong with that, it makes a change from wanting to be famous without learning your craft.

Anyway, then had a fab moment. Duncan from Blue politely introduced himself. I thought he was great. Unaffected, well-mannered, friendly, not bigged-up, and gorgeous! I forgot to take his phone number, very remiss, I shall have to rectify that.

To get back to the show. Great, trivial entertainment. I'm not disparaging when I say that. We all know it's feel-good, "had a great night" evening out. It was very well attended and was fab to see everyone on their feet, clapping and cheering. I set off about six party poppers and whistled till I went deaf. Mark Goucher, producer of Pirates, also produced Fever. It's been a great success on tour and I wish him the same with his London run. It's very risky for a producer, financially, to secure a London venue, outgoings, etc are enormous, so GO!

Oh, went to the after-show party at a nightclub, conveniently situated opposite the theatre. Great 70's band, loads of TV presenters, with hair!! And tasty canapes. My mystery man had a luvly time, especially as he is not in "the business". We found ourselves behind the bar in a roped-off area, where we took off our shoes. I wore Tammy Girl trainers, actually, and we proceeded to devour some sushi. Do not try it with tomato sauce.

Next night, it was off to the Mill Theatre at Sonning. It was a quite boring, if quick, journey. I can't stand car travel. I would luv a private jet. I remember a few of us from Hi-De-Hi! decided to form a syndicate. I got carried away with the thought of a P.P.L. The idea came to an abrupt end when the hangar rental per year amounted to the cost of a house in Kensington Palace Gardens!

The show at Sonning was Stepping Out. Very good fun with some excellent performances. Was great to catch up with mates again, especially Mary Maddox, who I worked with 25 years ago in an all-girl group called Midnight News - rather like Bananarama and The Three Degrees, but more eccentric. Nice theatre, but it smells of damp - well, it still has a working watermill.

Friday saw the arrival of sister, Jeannie. No, she's not a nun. her birthday celebrations started with several party poppers and some Dave Edmonds, plus a few pals. Then it was a trip on the London Eye. Now, never being one for heights - unless it's of passion! - I've always dreaded it. Anyway, not wanting the 'Wimp of the Year' title, I gritted my teeth and jumped on. It's still moving, you know, so that was a feat in itself. Well, after a few minutes staring at the bottom of the pod I gradually started to enjoy the views and ended up walking all around it. I must thank a luvly lady, Laura, who made sure all was well.

Got chatting to a guy from Newcastle who had brought a little boy on the pod. It turned out he was a lad from Chernobyl, the radio-active city, who was flown to London by a charity to help alleviate his day-to-day burden of life there. Most of the inhabitants of the place are not expected to live beyond 30. I was so humbled. It's incidents like that that bring you right down to reality. So it's my belief we should all be eternally grateful when we feel like moaning.

Then it was on to the Tate Modern. I usually go to galleries, nipping in and out of each room, knowing nothing about brush strokes - unless you count the sit-com starring my friend, Louise English - and avoiding the ludicrously high-priced sandwiches. Why do they think a see-through slice of cucumber, one piece of compressed wet lettuce, and two dog-eared chillis constitutes value for money?

Well, Tate Modern is just fabulous. Every single room has something in it to enjoy and marvel at. I don't know about you, but I'm hopeless at art. Anything to do with a brush and that phrase; "she doesn't do a stroke" comes to mind. We all agreed it was a great couple of hours.

Next stop, Harrods. Or as my friend, Simon Cadell used to say - "Rod's" Opulence has got to be the describing word. Even before we went in I clocked the door attendant. tall, wonderful, dark hair, immaculate green uniform, white gloves, and teeth that would do justice to Colgate. 

Well, Jeannie and I were like two kids in Tammy Girl, all giggly and excited. Anyway, after rummaging desperately through every rail and finding nothing - sob! - we retreated to the foodhall for sustenance. We chose a mixed selection of oysters. I always thought there was only one variety, but Flavies, our waiter, explained there was six. Anyway, I scooped mine away from the shell, held it to my mouth and the oyster promptly fell out and landed in me lap. I scooped out the next oyster with a fork, adding a little vinegar and onion. Providing you can balance the slithery fish on said fork and bend your head forward before the oyster falls off, you may be rewarded for your efforts! Champagne completed the experience (now and then you have to get away from noodles and rice-cakes!).

Harvey Nicks was next. Another chunk of the opulence word. Found some fab cosmetics, complete with free overnight bag - suede - now that's what i call a complimentary gift. The giggling sisters skipped off quite happily, walking to the mall, stopping off at one of my fave hotels, the Lanesborough. Apparently the dining room was once a crematorium, as it was previously, the Lanesborough that is, St George's Hospital. Luckily, my food has never been well done there!

After a couple of cocktails - do try a Slippery nipple - Sambucca and Baileys - we headed off to Oxford St. Still a nightmare! I've never liked it, even when I first arrived in London 30 years ago. I know it's a must-see for tourists, but to me it's tat-ago-go. Then we decamped to another favourite - the Langham Hilton. The bar is like a reading room with chat. Sounds a bit dull, but it's really great for unwinding.

Businessmen finishing the last of their mobile calls, whilst giving admiring glances to their female companions - Nudge! Nudge!

Anyway, walked halfway home, then succumbed to a black cab. Arrived back at Campus R. Soles, showered, re-dressed and headed for the nightlife. Isligton is littered with it. Went to a couple of bars, decided everywhere was too busy, returned home and put Tom Jones on. Fab!

Next day, Sunday, found us at the Windows Restaurant on the 28th floor of the Hilton Hotel, Hyde Park. As you can imagine, the views are spectacular. I think the Queen was a bit peeved after learning her residence would be overlooked, but the bathroom cannot be seen atall. So, all's well.

There is a superb, superior buffet, of lobster, langoustine, most meats with beautifully accompanied pickles, exotic sauces, breads from everywher eint he world, followed by a great selection of main courses, served from beautiful tureens. there isn't just meat - paella, pasta, exotic omelettes - I'm afraid I was a dithering fart and had a bit of everything.

Then, if you can still manage anything else, you can choose any crepe you want, made in front of your eyes. As if that's not enough, there's a glorious array of cheeses, fresh fruit, and stunning desserts. luckily, I'm not a great chocolate lover, but for those people who are, heaven is on the 28th floor.

While you're eating, there's an excellent jazz musician, plus champagne included in the price. I think it's a fab treat for birthdays etc.

After feeling extremely stuffed, we popped over the road to 'Party In The Park' - Fab! Then we walked halfway home, me feet slightly crippled so we caught a welcome cabaand finished the day off with a hot chocolate. I jest of course!!

Have just come back from Brighton where I participated in a new radio show - a bit like Whose Line Is It Anyway? Thoroughly enjoyed it. Don't know transmission date yet, but I'll send details as soon as...

Oh, something happened the other day... I have been voted the 'Campest Woman in Britain by 'What's On' magazine! Well, I can add that to 'Rear Of The Year'.

Friday saw me and David Alder, a dear mate who was the Major General in Pirates, at the Open Air Theatre, Regents Park, watching the first night of Camelot. Now, I've never really rated this show. I think a production I saw at the Dominion years ago put me off. it was far too long and the pauses inbetween the dialogue put me in a coma!

Anyway, this performance sped along and contained lots of funny business. Most of which came from King Pellinore, played by Russ Abbot. he was very well received by the audience. The lighting was so fab, and it didn't rain! Luvly David made some fab salmon sandwiches, accompanied by champers and raspberries. I was really spoilt. It was a delight to mingle afterwards and catch up with old mates and colleagues. 

I have to say I've had a marvellous time off and done so much, so when rehearsals are under way in two weeks, I shall throw myself into Miss Hannigan with relish. Just before I go - I'm making an infomercial for HOME-TEK. Should be fun. I'll keep you posted.

Finally, once again, my heartfelt thanx to you all for logging onto the site. I'm always more than happy to answer emails etc. If I don't reply straightaway it's because sometimes it takes a while to collate, but you will get my reply.

As a codicil, I must once again thank Davie, who is doing a marvellous job with the site. I think it's one of the best there is, so definitely 200 out of 100! My thanx also to Rob, who assists me greatly - much appreciated, doll.

Time to go - have to voice 'Noisy' again. 

Have a fabulous Summer and keep in touch.

My luv 2 U all,

Su x x