“My next scene was a big dialogue that goes on for twenty minutes and at the end of it he ends up going for my throat. Not at all like My Fair Lady, it’s much heavier, and the funny thing was that Philip did the whole scene with the script in his hand. I was so new to the business that I just had to keep telling myself to pretend I was still in the rehearsal room, and just carry on.
“I got wonderful reviews and they just slated poor Philip for stumbling over the lines. It had never happened to him before, and fortunately it’s never happened since.”
Sam recalls Philip’s contribution to Linda’s This is Your Life. “They were telling me what incidents had happened, and I thought that Philip would never turn up in a million years, but he was fantastic. He went on last – top of the bill at the end of the show – and he told that story. I thought it was wonderful.”
“It was the Christmas This is Your Life,” says Linda. “They surprised me on stage where I was playing the wicked queen. They kept the audience and everything. Lionel Blair was talking to the audience, as he always did, and then he said that we had a special guest. That was when Michael Aspel came on.
I knew it was somebody’s This is Your Life. I looked at Lionel and thought it couldn’t be him because he’d just introduced Michael… and he was looking at me! Sam had tears running from his eyes and I thought, Oh… it is me! Then I just burst into tears, thinking it doesn’t happen to people like me. Then I thought that I hoped they hadn’t got the kids out of bed, because Jack was only a baby and it was about ten o’clock by then.”
Both have had work commitments that have taken them away from home: Sam’s long run with musical theatre and Linda’s appearance on Channel 4’s The Games. The Games was a big hit with the children, who were avid viewers. “Yes, they did watch it. One of the stipulations that I had was that I would be able to phone home at least once a day… I wasn’t going to do it otherwise. I used to phone home about 8′ o clock in the morning and the kids would say: ‘Oh mummy you tried really hard!’ and I’d say I was sorry I didn’t win. They always said: ‘Oh it doesn’t matter – at least you tried’. So they loved it. I think it was half term week actually, so they sat down and watched it every night. They had their popcorn ready to cheer on Mummy.”
So had Linda been enthusiastic about the offer to join The Games? “Actually, no. I kind of wondered who else was in it. And they all turned out to be so much younger than me… But then Sam told me not to be ridiculous. He said I couldn’t pass up a chance to train with Colin Jackson and be pampered and looked after all the way through with sports massages!”
The massages were certainly needed, as the show made serious physical demands on the participants. “At first, you know, I was just walking wounded. I could barely get out of bed to get to the car; but a couple of weeks later you kind of get through that. Your muscles are just so much stronger. By the end of it I was a completely different person. It was fantastic and I didn’t realise that at my age you could improve your body as much asI did. For example, the first time I tried to do the 100 metres, I struggled to finish and I thought I was going to have a heart attack at the end of it. But later on I had a photo finish with Isabella Harvey, who is 22 and runs 6 miles a day. That’s how much I improved!”
Since The Games Linda has been busy with another project. “I’ve launched my own skincare range, so I’ve been doing Ideal World on television, which is sort of like QVC. I’ve been doing that once a month.”
There are seven products in the range which is called Linda Lusardi’s L7. The cleansers, anti-wrinkle creams and skin firming tonics in the range are made from natural ingredients, the most exotic of which is probably the alpine edelweiss that provides the common element running through the range.
“Edelweiss lives up in the Alps, and because of the strong sunlight at altitude it’s had to create its own sort of sun screen,” says Linda. “The scientists in Switzerland have found that extracts from the edelweiss can actually repair skin cells that have been damaged by the sun.”
At the moment the Lusardi L7 products are only available from the L7 website, and from Ideal World on the days when Linda appears. The main reason for keeping distribution controlled at the moment is that Linda doesn’t want to generate more demand than they can currently supply. Judging by the interest already evident, supplying major retail outlets at this stage would be quite a challenge. The vital edelweiss is an endangered plant, so it has to be farmed specially. As Linda points out, now interest is established they can increase the scale of the farming. It is obvious that Linda is taking the project forward one step at a time according to a well-formulated plan, and that plan includes expansion.
Her enthusiasm is obvious. “The properties are unbelievable. It really is fantastic. I’ve been using it for a year and I’ve seen a big improvement in the lines around my eyes. We were looking at photographs I had taken about 12 months ago and, compared to how my skin is now, I looked old!”
Home for Linda and Sam is in the Hertfordshire village where they have lived for about eight years. “It’s not been all plain sailing,” says Linda. “When we moved in I was just about to give birth to Lucy, who’s 7 now. When they built this house they cut a lot of the trees down, and the trees take the moisture out of the soil. Without the trees, the earth swells up where the moisture is not being taken. Anyway, they built the house and they didn’t build it properly: they didn’t put the right protection round the piles. I think the house was about six years old when we bought it, and about three years after we moved in we started noticing some cracks. We got the insurance company round and they said that because the crack was wider at the top than it was at the bottom it meant the house was being pushed up by the pressure under the earth… It was pushing the house up and cracking it in half.
“Anyway, I had to move out for a year. Sam was away and I had a brand new baby. I had to move away, they were in here a year and they had to dig all underneath. They had everything out: kitchen out, bathrooms out, everything out. The whole house was gutted.” Drastic though all that sounds, it still hasn’t completely solved the house’s problems.
“They sunk new piles down a long way,” says Linda. “A bomb could go off now and it wouldn’t move, but when they did the concrete floors they put metal trunking in for the pipes to go in. Unfortunately, they didn’t solder the pipes before they filled in the floor! This was about 3 years ago, then about a year ago we started to get patches of water coming up through the carpet.”
All this meant that they had to move out for another two weeks while further repairs were done to half of the house. Linda continues. “Then about a month after that, it started to smell under the stairs, so it’s obviously running from that half of the house now, so the kitchen’s got to come out. We’ve had nothing but nightmares since we’ve moved in.”
Sam laughs at this. “But we do love it here. That’s why we’re still here!” “I love it,” says Linda. “We’re not overlooked and we have great neighbours. This is our bit of peace and quiet.”
Our reporting team concur with Linda’s sentiment and are reluctant to leave the tranquility of the couple’s delightful home.
Interview: Angela Banh, Rick Cadger, Photography: Stan Thompson
© Regtransfers.co.uk – The World of Personal Number Plates Volume 3 Issue 1
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