Bumble's Christmas Cake


There were few people and fewer dogs climbing Runyon today.  I read some vile, homophobic comments on the Sex Rehab message boards.  I reported them as ‘harassment’ and they magically vanished.

When we were making our Sex Rehab show Amber told me never to look at the ‘boards’.  I vowed that I wouldn’t but vanity gets the better of me.  I want to know what people think.  Well, they think I am sanctimonious, they think I bullied James, they think I like having sex with little boys etc. etc.  They say that they would never let someone like me near their children.   They think I am brave, sexy, handsome, and more attractive with longer hair, less attractive with a beard, well dressed, and should have known better.

The nasty things people write sometimes turn me on-that’s the kind of sex addict I am.

Whilst Sex Rehab airs, I have enjoyed that so many thousands of you have bothered to read my blog.   The singular benefit of appearing on the show-that I have been able to share myself fully with you all.  As the show winds down and it’s treachery becomes apparent I will miss your kind words and kinder prayers.


It’s hard when someone you love thinks that they know more about everything than you do.  I have learned to keep my mouth shut because ultimately it means little or nothing but at the moment, at that infuriating moment when I am being told things I have known for thirty years, I just want to say, “yeah, and?” but I don’t, I nod as if this is the first time I have ever heard these scintillating insights.

Whitstable Harbour Street


I remember, as my mother approached 65 years old, she burst into tears.  She was crying because she had been looking in the mirror and seeing an older woman look back at her, look her in the eye.  An older woman than she remembered ever being.  She was crying for lost youth.  She said that she felt ‘the same’ but looked ‘terrible’.  There is a theme that runs through our family about lost opportunity, lost youth, unfulfilled dreams.  We were unable; it seems, to close the deal.


Bumble Ward posted a picture of her freshly baked Christmas Cake.  I was thrown into a nostalgic tailspin for everything I had left behind in my Whitstable kitchen.  Bumble baked a rich fruitcake to which she had added cardamom and bitter cherries.  Every year I lived in Whitstable I baked a Christmas cake and made the marzipan from scratch.  I rolled out white, shimmering with glycerin, blankets of royal icing.  I would bake with whoever was around to join in on the fun.  Usually it was Georgina and her grandchildren.  We would drive to Sainsbury’s, buy heaps of dried fruit then haul it home and beat and stir and bind and grate.  Then, if we were feeling particularly ambitious we would make a huge Christmas pudding.

Blackberry and Apple crumble with Georgina and Henry

A great, steaming pan of fruit, molasses and shredded suet bound in white muslin.  Oh I love cooking so much.  I love the smell of allspice, orange zest and nutmeg, I love peeling almonds and soaking sultanas and currants in rum.  The house filled with the intoxicating aroma of Christmas baking and pine trees.  I love wrapping presents and serving mulled wine to my friends.  I loved cutting out cardboard stars and covering them with silver paper. I loved the little children singing carols on my doorstep and the rare Christmas when snow fell.   I love my glittering advent calendar and everything that a Christian celebration has to offer.   I loved going to midnight mass with my bawdy, drunken friends to sing carols loud and clear.   I love my Victorian town decorated festively.  I love Christmas.  I really do.

On Christmas Eve, after the smoky pub, weaving my way home through the matt black night I would sit by the fire and knit and listen to the sea gently lapping over the shingle.

Whitstable Christmas Beach