VALERIE SINGLETON On life
Blue Peter legend Valerie Singleton talks photography, her sweet tooth and not worrying about her age
Veteran TV presenter Valerie Singleton, 80, lives in Dorset with her two tortoiseshell cats.
How tidy is your house?
I like things to be tidy. If the house is untidy, then I like the untidiness to be organised. I think if you’re tired and it’s untidy, then it makes you feel awful.
When did you last clean your bathroom?
About a fortnight ago.
What is your signature dish?
I don’t cook very much, I just buy a lot of quick meals and add fresh vegetables. I find eating very boring. If we could have nice tablets that tasted of things, I would be very happy.
What food could you not live without?
I grew up with plain cooking, so I love a nice roast, and I’m a pastry junkie. I don’t like sticky cakes but I do go for a lovely Danish pastry. And doughnuts are a bit of a weakness I’m afraid. I love Indian food, and I love mackerel.
Who is your dream dinner-party guest?
Empress Joséphine would be interesting. I think she was amazing. She was brought up in the Caribbean, ended up in prison during the French Revolution and then married Napoleon. It would be lovely to ask her what he was like!
Where in the world is your happy place?
I love Greece. I once stayed there in a hotel that was quite high up a hill, and within a week my bottom was a completely different shape because it was such a steep hill. I can’t tell you how my figure improved within that week. It was absolutely amazing. I might go back just for the exercise regime.
What did you learn from your parents?
Not to have any prejudice, as people are just people. If people are nice, kind and good to others, then I don’t care where they come from or what their background is – or their age. I turned 80 last year, which I can’t believe, and I’ve got great friends around me who are in their 40s and 50s. My boyfriends have always been younger than me, but equally there are people I like who are in their early 80s who are fun and good company.
What advice will you hand down?
Take the path that you don’t know rather than the path you do. Take the one that may be a bit of a surprise.
Hoarder or clutter-free?
I collect mugs and magnets when I travel, which cover my fridge. They make for a lovely reminder. And my garage is an overflow dress shop, shoe shop, book shop and office.
What one thing will always lift you out of a bad mood?
Going off and exploring, and finding somewhere new. It takes your mind off other things. I also enjoy photography, so I like to hover in a corner and take pictures. I’ve had some printed and sold as postcards in London and in my local post office in Dorset.
What is the secret of a happy house?
I’ve got a couple of pussycats, which make the house very happy. An animal in a home makes a huge amount of difference. And light. I couldn’t live in a dark house.
◆ Blue Peter celebrates its 5,000th episode and 60th birthday in 2018 and is on CBBC every Thursday
My boyfriends have always been younger than me
‘My advice is always take the path you don’t know,’ says Valerie
Valerie presented Blue Peter from 1962 to 1972