I WOULD like, for a moment, to take you back to 2007. I know, our appetite for nostalgia is getting out of hand and we're about a week away from the point when a 1990s babydoll dress will be considered vintage and we start going misty-eyed over the Sugababes in their third incarnation. But please, stay with me, at least until Easter is over.
Chitra Ramaswamy: 'I am now a disapproving adult and it's my right to be horrified by the state of the nation'
The scene is Newcastle, though it could be any city, anywhere in this kingdom. I've just returned from a holiday in paradise. Seven days of blinking at the Indian Ocean through warm eyelids, pointing at stripy fish, sucking in my tummy on white sand.
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Spring is in the air. No matter that there is snow on the hills and the wind continues to batter our shutters open every night like an insistent Peter Pan. The clocks go forward today. Evenings are stretching out. Daffodils are opening their mouths. Hats are getting left on the hook. And all of this means one thing. Ma Ramaswamy is in the garden.
Chitra Ramaswamy: ''Being asked to fill in the census is a bit like being punched in the face and then being asked to rate the effectiveness of said blow'
AH, THERE it is. An envelope the colour of officialdom (brown) is on the hall floor. It is bigger than a bill, smaller than a Tolstoy novel, and it wants to thank me for helping to shape Scotland's future.
IT'S 8PM on a week night. Any week, any night. Yes, people, it's dinner time and C and I are going through the time-honoured routine. We're so skilled at it we don't even need to speak.
THERE isn't much that Lucy Walker wouldn't do for a film. The British documentary maker, currently talking my ear off in a London hotel, has already climbed the north face of Everest with six blind Tibetan teenagers, infiltrated one of America's Amish communities, interviewed Jimmy Carter, Mikhail Gorbachev, Pervez Musharraf and Tony Blair about their respective countries' nuclear weapons, and spent months in the world's largest rubbish dump.
My virtual life is falling apart. Nothing, not even the keyboard upon which I'm bashing out this letter of complaint to the Big Computer In The Sky (no doubt another network owned by Rupert Murdoch), is working properly. Put it this way, if my technological life were a house, it would have WikiLeaks. If it were food, it would be Spam.
If there were an award for "most Welsh actor", Matthew Rhys would win it, hands down. OK, so he lives in Los Angeles rather than Llandudno and these days is better known across the pond for playing a dashing American gay lawyer in Brothers & Sisters than Dylan Thomas. But that aside, Rhys is as Welsh as coalfields and Caerphilly cheese.
Chitra Ramaswamy: 'In truth, I feel I should be changing more than I am, shedding some leaves of my own'
F riday night in Leith and your correspondent is devoting a disproportionate amount of her life to a very tiny plant.
Chitra Ramaswamy: 'I haven't had an official diagnosis but I've checked on the internet and I believe the medical term is Boiler Obsession'
Friday night, and C and I are in our usual positions. In our kitchen, side by side, in front of the boiler. Yes, the boiler.
The Big L is a many splendoured thing – from falling head over heels to gifts that say more than words. To mark Valentine's Day, Chitra Ramaswamy asked 16 people to share their most romantic moments
This is a romantic time of year, no?
In a small, dark nightclub in Marseille, James Blunt is about to take to the stage. It's Friday night in Provence's old port city, just one of many locations in the world where legions of James Blunt fans reside. Inside this sticky-floored venue – a rare chance to see the pint-sized pop star in such close proximity – a 500-strong crowd are baying for Blunt.
Chitra Ramaswamy: 'By the time the train wheezes into Berwick-upon-Tweed (late, obviously), I've done more than consider Vancouver. I've decided to move there'
O n a train home from London, I get chatting to the stranger beside me. She is a middle-aged Canadian woman but, beyond our gender and front-facing seats, we have little in common.
THE year is still in its infancy. But from where I'm standing (OK, lying), it's already old and tired. It's not just the prospect of the Royal Wedding, the next batch of Wiki-Leaks cables revealing that life is EVEN WORSE than we thought it was last week, or the takeover of Saturday night by a show so brash and Lynx-sodden it makes Blind Date look like Lorna Doone (yes, I'm referring to Take Me Out). It's that, on top of all this, I'm ill.
THEY'VE warbled for their prince to come and made it to the ball. They've taken to the skies on magic carpets and swapped fins for pins.
I FEEL I should start the year as I mean to go on. By moaning. About banks. I know, it's sooooo 2010 of me to be banging on about those bespoke-suited bogeymen who are probably in the Bahamas toasting their bonuses as I write this from my sick bed surrounded by tissues and paracetamol (more Princess and the Pill than Pea).
I SAY, isn't it rather splendid that Upstairs Downstairs has returned? It is so ghastly having to do without a Dame in period dress in one's life, isn't it?
Chitra Ramaswamy: 'I can't believe it has taken me more than three decades to put all my favourite things together'
I HAVE uncovered a great secret about women. I realised I was on to something when a friend, Aline, told me she was staying in, as one tends to do at this time of the year, and then looked cheeky.
THERE was life before Coronation Street," the late Russell Harty once said, "but it didn't amount to much." On 9 December, 1960, a gritty 13-part drama written by a young northern upstart called Tony Warren was commissioned by Granada Television.