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Showing posts from November, 2008

Making friends with buses

In London, where I used to live, bus drivers do not talk to people. They sit, staring straight ahead, thinking about life in Romania, while you beep your Oyster card on the impersonal little pad and move on, like a packet of Shreddies on the belt at Sainsburys. London bus drivers do not acknowledge you. They do not acknowledge people with toddler triplets and a buggy as long as a fish shop queue. They do not acknowledge 106 year old ladies who appear to have cleared the shelves at Lidl just in case war starts. They do not acknowledge the four hoodies at the back of the bus, blasting out Eminem from their mobiles and decorating the backs of the seats with razor etchings. They will sometimes acknowledge the fact that you've rung the bell and want to get off, but this is not guaranteed either, if the news from Romania has not been good.

In Warwickshire, the bus drivers talk. They say 'hello' and they say 'goodbye'. If you say 'thanks' as you get off, they answ…

evidence that I should get out a little more

What does my Favourites list of websites say about me? Here is a selection:

1. Be Inspired writing competition
2. How to Cover Upholstered Dining Chairs
3. Reinstalling the Microsoft Windows Installer
4. List of Estate Agents in Warwickshire
5. BBC iPlayer
6. Age Concern - Guidance on Incontinence

I hasten to add that the last entry is research I'm doing on behalf of an elderly relative, otherwise I can see you making connections between that one and the need to re-cover my dining chairs. The BBC iPlayer is for when I've no inspiration at all for entering the Be Inspired writing competition. And the list of estate agents is because Microsoft Windows isn't the only thing round here that needs re-installing; we're having to move because of a useless landlord.

Re-jigged, the list could be even more interesting and could be the listing for a very interesting selection of programmes for me to watch on iPlayer:

1. Be Inspired by Incontinence - an octogenarian wins the Booker…

how to get rid of a squeak in your shoes

A miraculous healing has occurred. No, I still have my spots. It's my shoes that have been touched with the healing power of ... the healing power of ... a wet weekend in Sheffield.

If you read my October post 'How-to Guides 1 & 2', you'll know that my shoes got soaked in an embarrassing and humiliating episode which I'd prefer to forget, which is, of course, why I've recorded it all on my blog (?!). What I didn't say at the time was that this was a pair of shoes that, since I'd bought them, had squeaked. As they were brand new, and as we know, all newborns squeak a little, I forgave them. But after three months, I'd discovered that I couldn't wear them for any activity that didn't entail background noise. Going to town, nightclubs, pubs, standing on the forecourt at Heathrow: fine. Invigilating exams, walking down quiet streets at night, tiptoeing past sleeping anacondas on my way to Tescos: not fine.

You know that ominous sound that co…

why you should be careful in bakeries

Have you ever tried explaining to a consultant opthalmologist why you have a poppy seed in your left eye?  I have.

"Have you been eating poppy seed rolls?" he said, while he puzzled over the seed held between his tiny surgical tweezers and I sat, relieved and pain-free.

"Er, no," I said, replacing my glasses and wondering just how bright orange my left eye was after having those fluorescent eye drops put in it. Should I ask him to do the other one, then at least my alien invader look would be symmetrical? "The last poppy seed roll I had was in the 1980s," I told him. "And the irritation only started this morning. I think I'd have noticed, although I have been pretty busy since then, I guess."

Neither of us could work out how I'd gone to bed at night without a poppy seed in my eye and woken up in the morning with an eye made out of Velcro and feeling like I was just about to give birth through my eye socket. So, once it was out and he…

A warning to all fairy story princes

My adapted version of an old tale was printed in the Times recently as one of the winners in their 'Mini Love Story' competition. Enjoy.

Cinderella, a downtrodden, pasty-looking thing, lived with her two sisters and stepmother. Despite being downtrodden and pasty-looking, Cinderella was still a bloody sight more attractive than they were. Granted, she got sooty from sweeping the grate, but it was pointless getting dolled up anyway when you never got invited anywhere. The only time she got out was to do her NVQ Level 1 in Broom and Mop Operative Essential Skills. She’d struggled with some components, not being that bright.

One day, though, an invitation came from the Prince. “Dear Householder,” it began, which led to an undignified scramble between the two sisters and the stepmother who each paid a third of the rent. Still, it turned out that the party had happened the night before. They’d only just got the invitation because of a postal strike.

Cinderella watched her evil rela…

Someone has to stick up for them, surely ...

Something a little different from Miss: one of my favourite rants, in verse form. I wrote this as a performance piece. Pedants, enjoy!

Keep the Colon

I’m not the kind of person who just eats and shoots and leaves
But I am the kind of person who passionately believes
That however Gordon tries to get the country back on track,
He may as well give up unless he brings the colon back.

The colon is neglected, the colon is unused.
It’s the punctuation mark that gets continually abused.
It’s put where it’s not needed and it’s left out where it’s vital.
It’s just as if our country views the colon now with spite – ll.

There’s a big gap in our culture where the colon did exist.
It used to be real handy at the start of any list.
‘Four things annoy me greatly: one armpit’s worth of roll-on,
The price of tuna, Simon Cowell and the misuse of the colon.’

It was the standard precedent for any explanation
Like this one. Colons in their place: a cause for celebration.
And anyone worth quoting got a colon…