Winning the approval ratings

, on

We’re just a few weeks into the new year and 2014 has kicked off in the best possible fashion for me, thanks to my much-talked about appearance on TV. Admittedly most of the talking was done by my mum down at her local library, but that’s a minor detail best skimmed quickly over.

I was a guest guide on Weatherman Walking, a BBC Wales programme featuring the hugely popular Derek ‘the Weather’ Brockway (he has 36,595 followers on Twitter!). The trail in question, around the Merthyr countryside, is one of my favourites in my walking trails book, the imaginatively titled Heritage Walks in South East Wales, and we filmed last May in unseasonably Arctic conditions. My trail was included in the first episode of the new series (series seven; like I said, Derek’s really popular), so the third day of the new year found me eagerly lining up on the sofa with The Artist and the kids at 7.30pm, awaiting my appearance. Who said Friday nights aren’t fun when you’re a parent?

The suspense was drawn out for 15 minutes whilst Derek walked around Aberdyfi with another guide, a pleasant chap whose home happened to be slap-bang in the middle of his chosen trail. My heart sank as he talked eloquently and entertainingly; here was a hard act to follow for someone simply aiming for coherence. Then there I was, resplendent in a fluorescent pink mac that jarred nastily with Derek’s red one, and I squirmed further behind the cushion I was clutching whilst the children squealed excitedly. Now, here’s the thing about my kids; they don’t think I’m all that clever. It’s all very well having books published and being ever-eager to give them extra spelling lessons, but it’s their dad who can fix stuff and make things and set off 20 fireworks in a perfectly-timed sequence. So it was with new interest – and a considerable amount of suspicion – that they looked at me sideways and asked me how I knew so much.

The programme also immediately drew an enthusiastic response on social media. “Saw you on telly! My dog was fascinated!” said one follower. “That is one PINK coat!” said another. And from a guy from school: “I haven’t seen Rebecca Lees for 25 years – she hasn’t changed a bit!” Damn, I’d kind of hoped to look older than 12 by now. Then there were my own observations. It’s hard watching yourself on film at the best of times, especially when it dawns on you that you’re actually Stacey, off of Gavin &…

As the credits ran, my daughter turned to me and said: “Wow, Mum! I’m really impressed!” Now maybe it was relief that the ordeal was over or perhaps it’s because I’m exhausted to the point of hysteria by 7.30pm most Fridays, but I must confess to welling up a little. In nearly 10 years of trying, I’ve never managed to impress my kids, mainly because whatever I do, their dad can do better. And I will probably never impress my daughter again, because she’s nearly 10 and teetering on the brink of being, like, so ashamed of me. So whilst I thank the Beeb for the fabulous experience, and it goes without saying I’m always glad to bring cheer to all watching canines, there’s no better validation than the approval of my girl. Perhaps it’s time to dig out the road safety video I starred in as Elderly Edna during my last year of junior school. My daughter will definitely recognise me; after all, I haven’t changed a bit.

You can see a clip of my walk with Derek on BBC Wales’ Weatherman Walking here!

Walking Trails