BBC POD 1Assess me for my radio voice and not on my wine reviews and wine teaching skills as I appear (well heard) on Paul Kerensa’s radio history podcast The British Broadcasting Century (Series 3 Episode 44 Hanso Idzerda and The Dutch Concerts).

A great listen (even when I'm not in it...) with such well-researched details of the early life and personalities of the 1920s radio pioneers. Paul has a section known as Firsthand Memory where he invites listeners to send in a short recording of their first memory of behind-the-scenes radio - mine was in 1995 when I was interviewed on the radio for the first time.

IMG 2258This was by BBC Radio5 Live after the local and national papers had picked up that I was running an adult education evening class on, of all things, tea tasting (wine came later) and for some reason this was thought unusual...

I've still got the recording of what I said, and what they said, on a cassette tape somewhere. Remember those? The interview was conducted down the telephone line with me sitting in my front room in Kent and the two radio presenters were in London somewhere. I had been practicing my answers with my other half for some days beforehand, but I was still nervous. But once I got talking about my favourite subject, tea, then all was really well. I don't think the interview got me any more enrollments for the evening class itself, but I sure needed a cup of tea afterwards to steady my nerves.

I'm in at 18minutes but the rest of the half hour is great too.

I did have another brief moment of fame on The British Broadcasting Century podcast in Series 1 (Episode 15 John Reith: Mastermind in at 32 minutes) when my History Today article (Volume 48 December 1998) on the chimes of Big Ben being broadcast on the BBC for the first time was mentioned. This was on New Year’s Eve 1923 when its chimes were broadcast at midnight to announce the New Year. But Big Ben had another radio first when on February 18th 1956 radio listeners heard not only the clock’s chimes but workmen's conversation being picked up by the microphone.

Following publication of The History Today article I received a gift of a book from a reader - the one and only time! Sent by the daughter-in-law of the author, John Darwin, The Triumphs of Big Ben also came with a thank-you card.IMG 1286

If you want to know more about the wine tasting events mentioned on the podcast then take a look at my wine website and the online wine events coming up. To be sure of being first in the know for more of these then sign-up for the WineUnCorked newsletter.


Each week since 2008 you've been reading my wine recomendations in the Paula's Wines of the Week column for Mature Times but the person behind the bottles has remained slightly mysterious. But now you have a chance to meet me and taste wine at the same time in the first of a series of monthly online tastings held on the second Thursday of the month.

grapes white on red 180Wine-specific information now has a new home at The website is designed to bring you wine reviews and tips in a simple, straightforward way - not just WineUncorked but uncomplicated and understandable, too.

tape measure

By eating the same foods you’ve always eaten but making slight changes, combined with a bit more sweat-inducing exercise, you will lose weight. If, like most of us, those extra stones have been gained over several decades then spending a bit of time getting thinner and fitter isn’t really that bad considering it’ll affect the rest of your life. So what is the sensible way to lose weight once and for all?