Ee, what about a coop a tea and a slaice of caike?

Two very good friends have now remarked that I am losing weight.

They used to be just good friends but they have been upgraded.

The first was cutting me a slice of her home-made Victoria sponge, spread with buttercream and her home-made jam when she noted my sylph-like figure.

It stopped me in my tracks, to be honest because she then asked me to indicate how big a slice of cake I would like.

Until she said I looked smaller, I had been thinking about something in the region of 45 degrees (an eighth) but, because I was now a thinner person, I felt I couldn’t really go much above 20 degrees (a paltry eighteenth).

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“Have you been dieting?” she asked.

“Sort of… except for cake.”

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When the other very good friend also remarked I had lost weight, I feigned surprise.

“Do you think so?”


“Have I?”


“Have I really?”


“Thank goodness. It gets more difficult when you get to my age.”

“You’ve done well. You must have lost about four or five pounds, I reckon.”

“Er… hurray!” I said, recovering quickly from the slight disappointment that it wasn’t more. At this point I had been at least two days without bread, butter and chocolate and had been hoping for a better result.

But true friendship is all about honesty, isn’t it… although I wouldn’t have minded if she’d lied a little.

Hopefully, the new skinny-me will continue to wrestle its way out of its fat-suit and be a butterfly by April 16 2011. The Big Day.*

With any luck the metamorphosis will be accelerated by the increase in physical exercise brought about my upcoming stage performance, for I have graciously accepted a role in a comedy play.

I know I said my days as a leading light of the amateur theatricals were over but it was simply impossible to refuse.

And the reason that it was impossible to refuse is that the director asked me if I would like to be in it.

“Lynne, I’m producing a play in the autumn and I wondered…

“Yes, yes, yes!”

You can’t afford dignified periods of reflection when there’s a large part going. The trouble with actors is that they are easily flattered and I am easier than most. I am playing the mother. This will be my second mother in the last few years. When you reach a certain age, you mostly get mothers and busybodies.

Give it 10 years and I will have graduated to grandmothers and busybodies.

The play is set in the 60s, rather like me, and the action takes place in Bolton, Lancashire. It will be my first action in Bolton and therein lies the challenge. An accent is required and I can’t make do with all-purpose Shakespearean Mummerset.

This is a fictional dialect most often adopted by actors playing Will Shakespeare’s clowns to cover for the fact that they aren’t funny (the clowns not the actors).

But Bolton? That’s a real place.

Then I had my brainwave: “Vernon Kay,” I said in a loud voice.

“You’re not having those dreams again, are you?” said my husband.

“Noor,” I said.

“I beg your pardon?”


“Are you in pain?”

“It’s Bolton. Vernon Kay (lanky chap; does All Star Family Fortunes) comes from Bolton and that’s the accent I need. So-oor, Ah’m trying et oot.”

“I think that “oot” is more Scottish, Lynne.”

“Ah’ll maeck a coop a’ tea,” I said, rehearsing my most frequently uttered line.

“No thanks.”

“No, I’m not making a cup of tea I’m saying it in Bolton.”

I can see the next couple of months are going to be a bit of a trial.

On top of the accent and the possibility I may be a mere size 14 and therefore far too sexy to play a working class, 60s northern mum, there are the lines to learn.

If in doubt I can fall back on: “Ah’ll maeck a coop a’ tea,” most of the time but occasionally I am required to deliver a pithy one-liner or express an opinion. So far, I have tried in vain to memorise my first line which may or may not begin: “Hello, love,” or, as Vernon and I would say: “Helloor luv.”

It was Noel Coward who condensed the art of acting into two tasks: “Learn the lines and don’t bump into the furniture.”

It looks like two strikes and I’m out.

Stage furniture is notoriously diva-ish especially when it is period. I have watched an actor disappear into a poorly sprung comfy chair until only his arms, legs and top of his head were visible.

My problem, being both near-sighted and long-sighted, is that having announced I am going to “maeck th’ tea” I then have to negotiate a number of chairs and people in order to set the tea tray down on the table.

If I manage to accomplish that without injury to myself or others, I will then have to pour the tea into the coops.

With my combination of amnesia, astigmatism, myopia and hyperopia the chances of accurate delivery of either tea or lines is pretty slim. But, looking on the bright side, I may, at least, be pretty slim.

*Countdown to Mark and Caitlin’s wedding day: zero plus 243

Countdown to Lynne’s wedding outfit: zero plus 16

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