Melissa Kite

Melissa Kite

Wasn’t AA meant to be about helping people?

The hatchet-faced woman who shouted at me pulled out her lipstick and sat reapplying it during the meeting. The pretty young girl next to her took out a nail file and sat filing her nails, as people shared. She was wearing see-through, skin-tight, skin-coloured leggings and a pair of six-inch wedged boots. I sat opposite

Why I love budget hotels

For a few blissful days I became ensconced in a room at the Premier Inn, with no fixed abode. I was not a property owner. I had no responsibilities. I was free. This wondrous state of near-vagrancy was only until the purchase of my house in Ireland went through, but I enjoyed it all the

Melissa Kite, Nigel Biggar and Matt Ridley

24 min listen

This week Melissa Kite mourns the Warwickshire countryside of her childhood, ripped up and torn apart for HS2, and describes how people like her parents have been treated by the doomed project (01:15), Nigel Biggar attempts to explain the thinking behind those who insist on calling Britain a racist country, even though the evidence says

Train wreck: HS2 destroyed the countryside I love

When I drive to see my parents in the once-peaceful farming country where I grew up, it is a strange, bittersweet experience. The car journey takes me through places I ought to recognise but I don’t any more, because the green fields of Warwickshire, the villages and the farms, are scarred by the tortuous works

The BB and I are escaping the Soviet States of Surrey at last

‘You’re only allowed one roll of packing tape per customer,’ said the lady in the local hardware store. The builder boyfriend was holding five rolls, at £2 each, thinking it was reasonable to buy a tenner’s worth, or even that she might be pleased, in line with the normal rules of commerce. But this lady

Why are vegans addicted to replica bacon?

Queueing behind a young woman in the supermarket I became fascinated by the items she had placed on the conveyor belt. Several bottles of expensive booze had gone through first, followed by six tins of chickpeas, two bits of broccoli, then packet after packet of processed meat substitute products.  Cheese-free cheese, ham-free ham, soy this

In defence of cows

‘They’re going to have to stop cows,’ said my mother, looking doubtfully down at her plate as we tucked into a roast dinner. It was not like her to come over all veganistic, but she had been watching the BBC where she had got hold of the idea that cows might have to be banned

Our favourite beach has been destroyed

‘Ukraine Family – Welcome You,’ said the ungrammatical sign at the entrance to the car park of our favourite West Sussex beach. The rest of the beach was like a bomb had hit. Mounds of shingle had risen up like statues of mythical creatures We had arrived for a sentimental visit that might be our

Concrete, marmite and jam: the fight against Ulez 

‘We’re renegades now. We’re outlaws. Bandits.’ This was my assessment as the builder boyfriend pulled up outside the house in his old truck with a load of wood hanging off the back. White van man and dirty great pick-up truck man, in the case of the BB, have found a way around paying the Ulez.

Is it really possible to get Covid for a fourth time?

‘I can’t go through this again!’ I groaned, as I lay in bed encased in icepacks, one on my eyes and the other round the back of my neck. Covid – which seems to be alive and kicking this summer despite being pronounced over by the World Health Organisation – always strikes at my nervous

Have millennials sunk my house sale?

We were about to exchange contracts when I got a call from the estate agent to tell me that another list of queries had come in. I took one look at it and decided I had better not read it properly, because I saw the words ‘wind turbines’. In a few decades no conveyancing will

How builders plan to get round the Ulez charge

‘What a worry the Ulez must be for you both,’ said a friend with a nod to the pick-up truck parked outside our house. It was kind of him to wonder. The builder boyfriend drives an old Mitsubishi L200 to work in London every day and like almost every other working man he cannot afford

Will I have to forcibly flood my house to sell it?

‘Come on, let’s get a move on with filling in all the forms and we could have this done and dusted in three weeks!’ the estate agent bellowed at me down the phone. ‘Are you perhaps confusing the sale of my house with your Tesco delivery?’ I said. But in spite of myself, I took

I am escaping Surrey in the nick of time

As I slapped a rude note on a car parked outside my house, I realised that nature was taking its course. My transformation into a Surreyite was in danger of becoming complete. ‘If you have enjoyed using this private access track, then perhaps you might consider making a donation for its maintenance,’ I had snidely

The problem with posh dog food

Having loaded the last sack of working dog food in Surrey into my car, I slammed the trolley back into the trolley park and shouted an expletive at no one in particular. ‘What have you done to your lovely country store?’ I thought about asking one of the sales assistants inside the newly revamped posh

How I incurred the wrath of my iPhone

As I sat down to dinner in a lovely old country pub my reservation was cancelled by my iPhone, which was having a tantrum. The owner of this restaurant was serving us with a smile, we had been shown to our table, drinks and menus had been brought. But the buzzing lump of metal in

Maybe the village will be sad to see us go after all

‘You certainly gave us a run for our money,’ said the village elder, serving us with what appeared to be the official goodbye statement. I was sick of that old navy dressing gown myself. Shortly afterwards I got him a new one from Sainsbury’s The builder boyfriend was flabbergasted. He had been walking across the

The Co-op can keep its no claims discount

When I received an email from the Co-op telling me they had made a mistake with my car insurance, and I was owed money, I should have been pleased. I was not pleased. I was terrified. The letter included a reissued no claims discount of nine years, instead of the no years they had reduced

Canine manners have gone to the dogs

‘Do you want me to put my dog on the lead?’ shouted the woman on her phone, as she came towards me on the woodland path, her huge hound bounding ahead. It was not a polite question. It should have had ‘or what?’ on the end of it. Dave leapt into action and grabbed the