400 smiles a day ~ here's lookin' at you
(Smiles of 2007  ...   Sep - Dec)

31st December, 2007

Life is made up of sobs, sniffles and smiles, with smiles predominating

With apologies to the ghost of one William Sydney Porter Henry (1862-1910), who actually wrote: Life is made up of sobs, sniffles and smiles, with sniffles predominating (from Gift of the Magi). Fortunately my genetic make-up is dominated by the urge to smile - physically, morally and spiritually. So what photograph to choose as a representative smile from the moment I dreamt up 400 smiles a day back in March - to now? Well, there are 3 categories: Physical, moral, spiritual.

The physical smile first. Funnily enough, perhaps the photograph that represents what this particular site was set up for is a very common or garden snap captured just half a moon back. Walking along a pavement in town something on a rooftop catches my eye: a couple of crows - in fact, I think they're rooks - are clearly having some sort of heated discussion. Now if ever I come across that magic urn and rub it and out pops a genie who grants me three wishes, I know what they'll be: to live for ever and die suddenly; to tease out a smile where none exists in default; and to understand the animals. No, not to communicate, not to talk with the animals, for that really would be disastrous - imagine having the power to impart human values upon the animal kingdom, God, what a disaster. No, wouldn't it be wonderful, say, to understand what the dolphins are clickety-clicking on about, what the cat or dog is attempting to purr or growl - and just imagine being able to follow the birds as they whistle a happy tune. Sadly, and until I meet Genie, I have to play the anthropomorphic advocate, remembering all the while what I said in First time here? above, namely that I suffer Captionitis: as soon as I register a likely image the first thing that comes to mind is the caption......

Next, my moral smile of the year, so to speak. I was trawling the internet for a particular image when I stumbled upon this truly iconic image of Ursula Andress as Honey Ryder in the film Dr No. They've been repeating the Bond films on ITV of late and I've caught a few, including Dr No. It really is a memorable scene as she enters stage right clutching those sea shells by the sea shore (in the 40th anniversary Bond, Die Another Day, the delicious Halle Berry emerges from the sea in a tribute shot, but compared with the original it's as sexy and engaging as a wet haddock on a Friday night). Oh yes, why my moral smile of the year? Well, give me this image any day of the week over a Page 3 effort, however eye-popping. Some things are always best left to the imagination.

As for my spiritual smile of the year (below), it's one of the images kindly given me by the folk who live up the hill, Birdshill to be precise, the aerial shot of Llandeilo and the Towy Valley - but including a full-frontal of the pipeline track, the project that took up so much of my time over the past nine months. But every moment a huge pleasure, as is hopefully captured above at What a gas.

Oh yes, back on the 13th September, just a quick scroll down the block, I described Llandeilo as a one-horse town - not just any old horse mind, but a stallion, and a glorious Welsh Cob of a stallion at that - and do you know, I've only just noticed from the above image that the town is shaped like a horseshoe. Wel-i-jiw-jiw, a lucky one-horse town. Now there's a thing.

May the bird of paradise perch on your windowsill during 2008. Cheers! Oh, and whether you're an Andress, Undress, Halle or a Gwladys, here's lookin' at you.

27th December, 2007

A few Christmas images compliments of Llandeilo
(below, a jumbo 'Merry Christmas' welcome as you enter Llandeilo along Bridge Street, a glorious full moon as a backdrop)

Last year around this time I submitted to the Carmarthen Journal a photo of what I thought the most eye-catching seasonal window display at Llandeilo, which they kindly published. Well, I’ve been at it again - but as I've pointed out before, I don't call myself a photographer, just someone who regularly carries a camera – oh, and it’s always set to auto pilot, so any shortcomings, it’s always the fault of the camera, right! Mind you, today’s digital cameras are so clever even an idiot like me can come up with something half decent. Below, left, is last year's effort, captured at Cutting Edge. Just as I'm not a natural-born photographer, neither am I a natural-born shopper, let alone a window shopper - and that includes clothes shops, especially women's clothes shops I might add, even if I do occasionally throw a ‘jiw-jiw’ look at Bellissimo’s in Rhosmaen Street, below right......

I’ve learnt that the camera does not like anything too fussy – which means that perhaps the cleverest or most original window display is not something the camera lens is necessarily seduced by. A good case in point is at Peppercorn, always hugely inventive, and as shown below, this year the windows feature jumbo handbags. Very eye-catching but difficult to photograph with fair reflection of thought and effort involved.

The camera loves a clever light source; a full moon behind a neat silhouette is heaven - see above and 3rd December, just a scroll below. Oh, and rather handily, it finds the colour red rather seductive. Now whenever I pass a certain ladies' clothes shop in Carmarthen Street my eye is always but always drawn to the display in what is really a very small window (and perhaps easier to decorate). So the Christmas 2007 Camera Seduction Award goes to......

However, my Christmas 2007 'Hello Dolly' Award goes to a corner shot at Fountain Fine Art, a delightful little porcelain figurine by local artist Gillian Still. That 'Doll' is not quite in focus adds to her magic and mystery - that's my story and I'm sticking to it, right! Rather captivating is Dolly. Wonderful, Gillian. Truth to tell, it's the real life version of Dolly I'm always expecting to find in my jumbo sock each and every Christmas morning (see
www.lookyou.co.uk 25/12/07).

21st December, 2007

I know two things about the horse,
And one of them is rather coarse.

And as this is not an 18-coarse-dirt-track - oh, okay, here's a photo of Old Llandeilo Town's famous two-legged stallion to be getting on with......

But whatever you do, never approach the stallion and ask "So when did you last get your leg over?" He'll get very annoyed - and whilst he won't lash out and kick you, for rather obvious reasons, he'll certainly give you a nasty bite and tell you to piss off. Actually, some say that he's a three-legged horse, but truth to tell, one leg is so much shorter than the other two, it doesn't count. Incidentally, the image has not been manipulated in any way - no diggery pokery, cross my heart and all that - and it's definitely not a cardboard cut out.

13th December, 2007

November's leaf is red and sear......

An affectionate wave to November with its last hurrahs of autumn. The photo below, left, was taken following the snows of last February - and the one alongside just last month. Anyone who claims that our climate and its seasons are rather boring have obviously never stood and stared......

Autumn lingered rather gloriously this year. The colours were no different to any other year, but the great bonus of 2007 was that the storms and the rains and the frosts were kept at bay, which meant that the vivid leaves lingered longer on the bough. Then suddenly the weather turned - the image below captured at Penlan Park, Llandeilo, during a fearsome squall. Autumn leaves drift past the window with a vengeance.

However, below are a couple of my favourite photos of the season. There's a group of trees I regularly pass, and during the autumn the leaves turn a vibrant and glorious red; sadly they never seem to last very long, but I'd noticed this one solitary leaf which stubbornly refused to let go - there it is below, left, highlighted alongside. It remained there for about 3 weeks after every other leaf had abandoned ship - my hero. Or perhaps my heroine. Whatever, a survivor. And I love survivors.


3rd December, 2007

Sunrise ... Sunset ... Moonrise

Friday the 23rd November dawned bright, still, gin clear with a little ice, hold the lemon. I started out on my morning walk some 40 minutes before sunrise; I can see Dynevor Castle on its rocky perch, always on my left as I make my way around the circuit. Yes, there are certain places where I can't actually see the castle, either because of woods or some rising ground, but by the time the sun actually rises I'm on the gas pipeline track and at the most westerly point of my walk. At sunrise, just a little cloud has appeared, but the castle stands out beautifully against the gold of the sunrise, below left. Friday remains a picture perfect late autumn, early winter's day, and I decide, why not also capture the castle against the setting sun, below right.

After capturing the sunset, I hang about for a while, enjoying the cold, late afternoon, a distinct Jack Frost nip in the air. The light quickly fades. As I turn to head for home, I blink, for there hanging in the sky is a glorious full moon rising. And it looks really large. I put that down to the fact that I'm seeing it close to the ground, which creates a bit of an optical illusion: click, click, click......

I guess it's the silhouette of the sheep that gives it that something extra. And that was it - but a good few days later I read in The Times' Weather Eye section that 'there was a magnificent full moon' over the weekend - official full moon was on the Saturday. 'This is sometimes called the Frost Moon, but this one looked especially large because the Moon had reached perigee, its closest distance to the Earth for the lunar month.' Well, well, so it wasn't an optical illusion after all. Quite a fortuitous little three-click-trick then.

25th November, 2007

Nogood Ramboyo

Summer came and went - I was going to show some of the astonishing wild flowers our damp summer treated us to but, as Dai Version down at the Crazy Horsepower would say at moments like this, I'll have to keep 'em in back pocket for future reference - so autumn came, and also nearly went. During the autumn I normally get to watch the rut in the deer park, but this year my trek has taken me along the pipeline track which takes me away from the park. However, what I have observed is the sheep version of the rut - the tupping season - which is always a very smiley affair, much more subtle than the rut, especially just before the sheep come into proper season, when both rams and sheep get themselves all worked up into a right old tizzy. The rams - there are always several running with a flock, unless it's a very small flock - after all, a particular ram might not be doing the job, or worst, firing blanks, which would be disastrous for the farmer, obviously. Where you see small flocks - 10, 20, 30 - these are usually hobby farmers, so it's not the end of the world if the ram doesn't do the business. Once the tup is in full swing it's much like the rut: Wham, bang, thank you mam, same time, same place, next year - of course I love you lots, makes mad, passionate love to you, don't I? However, just before the sheep come into heat, the rams chase around from one sheep to another, sniffing their nether regions: below, a sheep has a wee pee, the ram tastes ... then sniffs the ground, a belt and braces check ... and finally processes the aroma to see if it has a very good nose!

Whilst the ram is doing what comes naturally, the behaviour of both sheep in view is fascinating. The body language of the central sheep is straight forward: she's about to come into season and is making it obvious that she wants the ram to hang about for that special moment. It's the sheep in the background that tickles. Now if one ram sees another sniffing around he'll hurry on over and there'll be a bit of a kafuffle, the intensity of said shemozzle depending on the heat of the moment. But the female behaviour is endlessly fascinating. Above left, the sheep in the background sees the sniffing ... thinks, "Hey what's happening here?" ... then hurries on over as if saying "I want a bit of this action".
Below though we see a ram in standby mode, the black sheep is clearly feeling fruity and ambles on over ......

A little bit of 'could she love, could she coo; could she, could she, could she woo', but then being a typical female, wanders off. I also wander off, and when I return an hour or so later the black sheep of the family is also back again. Below left, she makes obvious that she's feeling reeeelly, well, sexy. Next, the ram touches her up - see how he rubs his head against her body, and his right foot paws away at her back leg - known in the trade as a leg over - but again she ain't quite ready and off she wanders once more, with Ramboyo in hot pursuit....

I'm sure that observing sheep having it away would make a welcome change on Autumnwatch TV, rather than the deer dear Humble, Oddie and King are obsessed with. Below, just a few more shots of interest, in all senses of the word. Bottom left, how delicately heart-shaped the ram's bollocks are - a true romantic at heart, clearly - just like all we men, really - wotcha mean, all men wear their hearts on their bollocks? Below, middle, a ram sniffs his gal, as if she's a particularly fine wine - which of course she is; and bottom right, on a cold and frosty morn, note the infinite patience of the Ramboyo as he awaits his lovely girl to come to the boil. This last shot sums up my sex life rather perfectly: a watched pussycat never comes to the boil.


15th November, 2007 ......  The Which Blair Project

Honestly, it's a job to know which way to turn with the Blairs. For newcomers, a quick scroll down the escalator will find some thoughts on our Cherie's planned autobiography - all done in the best possible taste, of course - and that it should really be titled No Cameras. Now I read that Cherie "Booth", QC (Queer as a Coot, as Eric Morecambe would have it) recently tussled with Sarah Montague on the Radio 4 Today programme as the former quizzed the latter about women's rights. There were fireworks later at Chatham House as Montague introduced Cherie "Blair" and was sharply corrected. Isn't it odd: now which crown shall I wear today, Booth or Blair? On her proposed autobiography cover it's Cherie Blair - so obviously if it's to do with her natural born love of money, it's gotta be Blair - and we fall for it hook, line and sinker. Talking of fireworks, I had to smile at the effigy of our Cherie, below left, burnt on Guy Fawkes Day at Edenbridge in Kent. Some folk complained to Gordon Brown about it all, but he was too busy looking for the matches and his camcorder. Anyway, I've come up with a title for her second book - as on the 'cover' below - and then there's Tony's upcoming book about his period in office: I've given that a suitable title as well......

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "To be honest, Mr Blair's speech sounds so familiar. It is just like the report of any Chinese county level official and contains no novelty. If the local political and business circles paid such a high price for a speech they could have made themselves, was it worth it?" Comment by China Youth Daily on the recent Tony Blair speech delivered to Chinese business people - for which £240,000 was allegedly paid - in the Guangdong province of China.

QUOTE OF THE DAY 2: "Tony Blair was doing damage as Prime Minister - and he is still damaging Britain. It is demeaning that someone in his position is hawking himself around like a political prostitute." Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker on the ex-Premier's speech-making.

BONUS QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Never give a sucker an even break - and there are more than enough suckers out there to keep us both happy for ever more and a day." The imagined pillow talk between Cherie and Tony before they drift off, somewhere over the rainbow.

7th November, 2007 ......  Looking for a lift
My friend Sue has a thing about cranes. I know, I know, but best not to ask, just go with the flo'. So, especially for Sue, and compliments of the National Grid, Nacap, Land & Marine, a clutch of crane operators, Sony - oh and a certain Nogood Boyo ......

From Rhydyffynnon With Love
(who knows, perhaps next year's pipeline will be From Russia With Love?)

A dance of cranes? At which point it suddenly dawned on me - I hope, Sue, you didn't mean the all-dancing, two-legged, winged variety of crane. Bugger. Just in case, here's one taken earlier by The Unknown Snapper ......

Tell you what though Sue, you've no idea how difficult it was to persuade those macho crane operators to throw you a sws across the valley!

30th October, 2007 ......  "A fly can't bird, but a bird can fly ......"
Up there on
What a gas, I've just introduced some aerial pipeline photos, compliments of the folk who live on the hill - Birdshill, to be precise - so I thought I should show a little appreciation, in my own little way, you understand. So here's a photo from the archive, of the Birdshill balloon over the Towy Valley and approaching Paxton's Tower at Llanarthne - together with my thoughts and thanks ......


Every egg a balloon;
Every balloon a bird.

Up, up and away with
Floating sensations unlimited.


One particular aerial shot especially caught my eye, showing Llandeilo - the good old one-stallion town - and its surrounding areas (Ffairfach to the right, Rhosmaen to the left), with the pipeline pretty much running parallel with the town's eastern bypass. But more than that, the image sits comfortably with the photo I took and on display if you scroll down to the 13th September, one taken from higher ground to the far left of this image.

One final point, and to illustrate how everything goes around in a circle, you've doubtless registered the big sws above - okay, the kiss - okay, the X - now if you scroll down to the 7th September you'll see the babes of the White Hart - the pub cum hotel is located near the kiss, just off the bypass. You must drop in sometime! Oh, and tell 'em Hubie sent you to claim that kiss. But remember now, first come, first served - or was it first served, first come? Bugger!

23rd October, 2007 ......  Eternity's sunrise ......
There are many ways to garner 400 smiles a day. I'm fortunate because my lifestyle ensures that I've a head start: I catch every sunrise going, weather permitting, no matter whether it's December 21st or June 21st - who'd have thought that during our rotten summer I went 52 consecutive days, including June 21st and all of July, without a single sunrise. Extraordinary. But occasionally just the one makes up for all those gone AWOL. Yesterday was such a day - not the actual sunrise itself, but what leads up to a picture-perfect sunrise when conditions are right, something which is always at it's best some 25-30 minutes before the sun itself appears. I can't say that I've ever witnessed such a colourful sky, one that was reported throughout much of Wales. Now if this doesn't make you smile......

Amazing or what?
Precisely 24 hours later - well, 7.34 as opposed to 7.33 - I capture this......

What I love about this is the mountain range on the distant horizon, shrouded in mist and low cloud ...... actually, the horizon is the rather obvious one crossing just above the trees in the centre, the 'mountains' behind and just to the right of those trees, are an illusion created by the cloud. Very smiley.

20th October, 2007 ......  Lights, Camera, Click ......
I was surprised how many watch the TV evening news, Wales Today, on BBC1 Wales - at least I've been taken aback by the number who caught sight of a photo of mine last Thursday on Derek Brockway's weather forecast segment. Derek had asked viewers to submit photos of Autumn doing its annual version of the dance of the seven veils. Well now, as mentioned before, I'm no photographer, just someone who carries a camera on my walks, just in case, so for that reason I never expect to win any sort of photo competition (and I guess in its own little way getting a snap on the telly is akin to winning a competition). I was dead chuffed. That's a great word: chuffed. A really smiley word. If I have to come back as a word in the next life, I want to come back as chuffed. Anyway, I'll get to the photo in question in a moment. Even though I understand nothing about the technical side of photography - my camera is always set to auto-pilot - I'm intrigued by what the camera can do, and what affects its performance. Take the two photos below of a particularly distinctive young heifer, a creature that never fails to grab my attention: she appears to have a bit of Guernsey or Jersey about her, indeed if I were a randy old bull and caught sight of that face across a crowded field, I'd hurry on over and insist that I "Come up and whisper some sweet nuthins in your ear some time soon!".

I never use a flash if I can possibly avoid it; I'd rather have slightly inferior quality as opposed to the artificiality generated by a flash. Sometimes though it throws up something unusual. The first above, taken in bright early morning sunlight, the second on a dull, dank morning that demanded a quick flash. How different the heifer looks in artificial condition. And those eyes! Perhaps that bull had better watch it. Still, no matter how clever the camera lens is, it can't even begin to compare with the power of the human eye. No matter whether you're looking at something a foot in front of you, a mile, even ten miles away, everything is in instant focus. The photo on the left below is the one I submitted to the BBC; the one on the right is simply where I've switched the focus to the tree.


Now wouldn't it be wonderful if the camera could capture everything included in both above images in sharp focus. I'll have to ask Barbara, the lady expert who sorts out my technical shortcomings, if the two photos can be digitally manipulated to prove a point. My guess is yes. To be advised......

11th October, 2007 ......  The Blair Necessities

Having had a slice of innocent fun at the expense of the rather seductive photograph on the cover of Cherie Blair's up-coming autobiography (see 25/09/07), and remembering of course that the camera ambushes Cherie the way Tom ambushes Jerry, then if it's to be an honest tome then she should use the worst possible photograph of herself, in particular that infamous one of her in nightie, hair all over the shop and receiving congratulatory flowers - but hang about, I've had a change of heart. If, as I suggest, it should be called No Cameras, then really there should be no photograph at all - as below. Now there's eye-catching, look you. Incidentally, it's pure coincidence that the font on its cover is something called 'Jokerman'. Honest. Apropos of nothing to do with Cherie, yet certainly to do with things photogenic, when trawling through my images for Smile of the Year (see World Smile Day below, 05/10/07), I stumbled upon this handsomely marked young ram, clearly ruminating on the life of debauchery just around the corner. Now here's one youngster whose definitely going to be a jump ahead of the opposition. Well, it made me smile.


5th October, 2007 ......

So, how to celebrate World Smile Day on 400 Smiles A Day? Well, I have many images which make me smile and smile and smile...... So here are just two, selected pretty much at random from My Pictures. First up ......

Smile of the Day ......

This good lookin' fella - Sir Cliff meets Bob Marley - is a regular and faithful deacon down at the Crazy Horsepower Saloon. Here he's seen modelling the latest nearly-off-the-shoulder, nearly-little-black-number, a favourite he keeps for those special occasions shared with his beloved. The PM (Brian the Preacher Man), resident Minister at the Crazy HP, calls him John Deer; he is, apparently, twinned with John Deere, the famous agricultural equipment manufacturer. Rumour has it, according to The PM, anyway, that much like John Deere's famous Self-Propelled Forage Harvester, John Deer works but 3 months of the year. Which is of course a foul and contemptible lie. Both work 4 months of the year, ho-ho-ho! In fact, John Deer is a conscientious worker and has to have his arm twisted to take any time off work. Truth to tell he is very much like his grandfather, the famous Doc Holliday, who insisted that "If you're happy in your work, every day's a holiday".

Smile of the Year ......

A delightful snowwoman, even if the smile is a bit wonky, snapped during last February's snows - hang on, I hear you say, what's with the snow-woman business? Well, I looked and looked, but I couldn't find any snowballs. Have a nice smile.

25th September, 2007 ......

Some folk are photogenic, Cherie Blair, bless, is not. If the photo on next year's autobiography is as the advance blurb shows, left, then the subliminal message, surely, is ‘all spin and no substance’. Now if she used the delightfully honest one from 1997 where she’s all hair, nightie and flowers, right, and where her ‘rags’ to riches journey really begins - and she calls it 'No Cameras' - I would be seriously tempted to pick it up, read the first paragraph, and who knows, perhaps contribute further to her already burgeoning pension plan......

13th September, 2007 ......

And folks say "How do you do?"
And you know they mean it too ......
And friends say "All the best!"
And they trust you'll pass the test ......
...... Yep, That's my home ......
Welcome to Llandeilo
(Please invade carefully)

Llandeilo's a one-horse town – but! – and this is probably the most important ‘but’ of my life, otherwise I’m likely to get lynched by the town’s posse (in full, posse comatose – well, the formal legal term for a posse is actually posse comitatus, but posse comatose suits Llandeilo best) – anyway – but! – the town is not just any old horse, but a glorious Welsh Cob of a stallion, the sort that instantly grabs your undivided attention as it proudly rears up out of the morning mist in front of you, its coat glistening in the early sun.

Llandeilo lies in the Towy valley, but unlike other local villages and towns it sits proudly on a rocky outcrop (of not less than 13.2 Hands high in Welsh Cob terms). Whichever way you approach, you climb, something which takes those who retire into the town rather by surprise. If it were possible for towns and villages to mate, then Llandeilo would be one huge, permanent erection as it sets about satisfying the places demanding to be covered. The above was taken during a glorious late-summer sunrise, shot from my born-and-bred square mile - before I became a townie, that is. And you thought my equineotical description of the town was a load of bullshit? Or stallionshit, to be precise! I'm a lot of things, but a bullshitter I am not.

Even though Llandeilo has had its fair share of incomers, and continues to attract outsiders at a rate of nots (not more?), it has managed to retain its heritage of Welshness, and its central core of traditional characters remain intact. Talk of stallions, the Crazy Horsepower boasts a couple of pedigree stallions, one I fondly refer to as Old Shaggy: been there, done ‘em - still gathering T-shirts, I’m told (for some strange reason I'm reminded of Tom T Hall's song: "Ain't but three things in this world that's worth a solitary dime; But old dogs and children and watermelon wine"). And then there’s the up-coming generation of stallion, young Shagwell, who rumour has it can put smiles on the faces of the ladies of the harem of the court of King Caractacus as fast as you can slide 'em under him. Another colourful town character, but in a different context, is Ken, a literary agent, or something media-ish like that – or was – I believe he has put one of his feet up these days. Some individuals always remind me of having Christmas decorations up all year round, for whenever I see them I catch myself smiling. Enter Ken, stage left. I was returning home from an early morning walk when I noticed Ken, seemingly on his knees, praying – and I must point out here that Ken is a fully-paid-up member of the church just up the road, so I posted the photo below through his letter box, including the comment thereon – happy in the knowledge that our Ken has a great sense of fun ......

Yes, Ken enjoyed it; in fact, he was preparing the gate for painting. Ken spends his time divided between Rome and Llandeilo – if you have to share your affections, then Llandeilo and Rome sounds rather inspirational to me – and the last I heard the photo was on display out in Rome. A quick tale before I go. This week The Times newspaper has been running a series by Paul McKenna: I can make you rich. A few moons back, coming towards me, Ken and another fellow: “Ah Hubie,” says Ken, “you must meet Al, a friend visiting from the States.” Truth to tell, and with my awful memory for names, I don’t think his name was Al – still, let’s not allow the facts get in the way of a good tale, eh? We exchange pleasantries. “Hubie here,” Ken enlightens Al with dramaturgic tongue firmly in cheek, “is one of the richest people in Llandeilo.” For once in my life I have an instant answer, rather than the bog-standard 30 seconds after the event: “This is probably true, Al – as long as you appreciate that we are not necessarily talking money.”

7th September, 2007 ...... Birds of the White Hart flock together ......

Four lovely serving birds,
Standing in the bar;
Two named Linda and Thérèse,
The others named Sarah and Claire.
Fly away, Sarah!
Fly away, Claire!
Come back, Sarah!
Come back, Claire!

This bevy of delight is what keeps us no good boyos on our toes at the White Hart, Llandeilo. Thérèse, on the extreme right, is the manageress who wields a big stick - she's unsure whether she's a www or a sws (the wicked witch of the west or the soft wench of the south - sws, incidentally, is the Welsh word for kiss); although she has threatened to open a bbbc (big bad boy crèche), the feeling in the bar is that she's a sws, a big softy at heart... Linda, on the left, is the resident barmaid. Remember Margaret Thatcher famously saying of her trusted deputy, Willie Whitelaw, that "Everyone needs a Willie!"? Well, every pub needs a Linda... Sarah and Claire are students, who work part-time, obviously - hence fly away Sarah, come back Claire! Actually, as you can see alongside, Sarah has just gained her degree - in psychology, and what better place to work at to gain experience than the White Hart. She is now job hunting, although Thérèse has offered her a job, at least until she finds suitable work. Be sure to include that on your CV, Sarah, especially as you, like Claire, have worked in the back since knee-high to a tall tale... And there's Claire, in her final year, reading languages, and spending it out in France, lucky girl. Go well. Oh yes, delightfully wicked pose, Claire. xxxx

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