Reasons why Fran is avoiding toffee

I broke a tooth the day before we travelled to the Lyme Regis holiday I posted about last Saturday. It was one of the big molars, right at the back, and already had a filling. And it wasn't just a crack - a large section of the tooth had snapped off and disappeared down my gullet masquerading as one of the cashew nuts I was guzzling indiscriminately at the time.

So I feared the tooth was doomed. But I haven't had an extraction since my childhood. I wasn't sure what to expect.

I decided to push my luck and see the dentist about it when we got back.

Therefore, on holiday, I ate carefully. (That's the first time I've ever used that sentence.)

'Oh, heck,' said Anna, my dentist, this morning when I turned up for my appointment.

This was after she'd looked in my mouth at the broken tooth, I hasten to add - not a negative reaction as soon as I poked my head around her surgery door.

She apologised after saying 'Oh, heck.'

'That's not exactly wha…

Evidence that Fran will never get work as a travel writer

I've been in Dorset for the week on holiday. Here's a flavour.

Mint choc chip.


I mean, here's a flavour of the holiday. In pictures and captions.

You know by now not to expect pictures of fields or beaches or sunsets from my holiday pics, don't you?

Reasons why Fran will be kept busy and off the streets for the foreseeable

I have something to share with you. No, it's not cake, so you can put your hopeful face away ;)

No, it's not biscuits.

No, it's not cheesecake.

No, it's not sherry trifle.

No, it's not a bag of chips.

It's NOT food. Honestly, does no one feed you lot?

Keep thinking ....

No, it's NOT a lottery win. More's the pity.

No, it's not a wise thought. I mean, since when ....?

No, what I have to share is a bit of recent news.

As you know, I am a very modest, self-effacing individual, so I will say it quietly ....

I am going to be a Proper Published Author!! 

Yes, it's true. Someone has actually agreed to take something I've written and turn it into a Thing One Can Put on a Shelf. (After reading it, of course.)

As you know, this will be my second book. The first one, 'Being Miss', I published myself on Kindle and in paperback. If you've read it, I hope you enjoyed it :)

So, the details about the next one. The kind publisher is SPCK and the b…

Reasons why the old should not be kept apart from the young

Have you seen the recent TV programmes and news items about young children being taken into care homes to cheer up the residents? What a fabulous idea. I wish my gran had had the benefit of this before she died last year. She loved the regular visits of the therapy dogs - great slobbery Labradors she loved to stroke and pat. She'd have relished visits from singing toddlers. On the couple of occasions I took in my grandchildren to see her, she grinned from ear to ear, round her head, and back again. 
I wrote a poem about it. 
Most stretched afternoons we are sat (don’t judge my grammar erroneous because I mean someone sits us) in front of Flog It, Homes under the Hammer, and, particularly cruel for those of us with months, not years, Countdown.
Tepid tea is served from a trolley forgotten in a corridor while Elsie Brown is rescued, trembling, from the lift. A woman with a headmistress bark speeds us through Bingo and crosswords as though afraid she left her iron on.
Today, …

Reasons why Fran avoids being pampered

I had my first pedicure recently. I went with my daughter-in-law as I'd bought her a salon voucher for her birthday and she said it would be more fun if we went together.

I wasn't sure about it. I'm not fussed about being pampered and handled. For instance, I'm in and out of hairdressers as quick as I can be. If I can get away with a dry trim and just enough time to say hello, goodbye and 'You want HOW much?' I will. I'm not at my happiest sitting in front of a mirror, gawping at my own image for an hour. It distorts my perspective of myself.

It's like when you write out the same sentence many times, as if doing lines at school. Write it once: 'I must not run in school corridors.' It looks normal the first time. By the time you've written it fifty times, the words seem surreal, unfamiliar. 'Are they real words? Is corridors really spelled that way?'

In the same way, if I stare at my own face for longer than necessary, what started of…

Reasons to prepare yourself before engaging young children in conversation

'How many years after the Great Fire of London were you born, Grandpa?' our 6 year old grandson asked my husband on Monday when we went round to their house for Grandpa's birthday meal.

The Great Fire of London is one of Elijah's 'markers'. He learned about it at school and knows the date: 1666. So, why not use it to try and get his head around time? Logical.

But when my husband told him, 'About 300,' he was flummoxed. 300 years? Is that even a THING?

'When were you a baby, Grandma?' 4 year old Phoebe then asked me at the dinner table, looking up at my face as if to say, 'Was this ever possible?'

It reminded me of when I tried to tell a little girl in a shop who was buying a Mars Bar that, when I'd been a child, Mars Bars had been four pence. She stared at me as one might gaze at the Acropolis and said, 'Were Mars Bars even invented then?'

I love this stage, though, when they're not quite sure about time and how it works.…

Reasons why Fran feels self-conscious today (more than usual ..)

I picked up my new glasses this morning. Here's a Before and After comparison for you, whether you wanted it or not.

You have no idea how long that's taken me, to post those Before and After pictures. Every time I posted the After one, it hopped up the page and decided to appear before the Before. 'No,' I told it. 'I need you after the Before. If you go before the Before, people will think the Before is the After and the After is the Before.'
'And who will care?' the After photo said to me. 'Why do you think anyone's bothered about your new glasses anyway?'
I ignored its cheek and dragged it back down again. This time, it stayed. 
It's true. Maybe no one is bothered. But it seems a dramatic change to me, and I felt very self-conscious, stepping out of the opticians into Leamington's main high street. What if I saw someone I knew? Would they do that is-it-isn't-it thing and decide not to speak to me? What if they hate the new loo…