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Showing posts from April, 2011

Why I was glad today to be Fran at her Street Party and not Kate at her Wedding

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1. At my street party, only 43 people could have been looking at me at any one time.

2. I could just make up my words as I went along.  I haven't had to practise saying, 'Hi, what number do you live at?' for weeks and weeks, worrying about whether I'd say, 'Number what live do you at, Hi? by mistake.

3. Showering myself with icing sugar when biting into a cake didn't matter so much as it would have done had I been wearing a 2011 Sarah Burton dress rather than my Bon Marche fleece bought in 1994.

4. I only had to walk out of my front door and into the road, not along fourteen miles of red carpet dragging enough material to dress all of the Chinese.

5. I didn't have four toddlers following me who could have needed a wee at any time.

6. There were no men in dresses at my event.

7. No one tried to put a ring on me, in the process finding out that I was nervous and sweaty.

8. No one got hold of my dress and lifted it up at the back.

9. It was okay to pop back in…

How not to teach a Shakespeare lesson to teenagers if you want them to learn about iambic pentameter

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This post - a real-life experience of mine when teaching Shakespeare - has been written especially to celebrate Shakespeare's birthday as part of the http://birthday2011.bloggingshakespeare.com/ project.  Happy birthday, Wilko.

How not to teach a Shakespeare lesson to teenagers if you want them to learn about iambic pentameter

Preventative (Measure for) Measures ...

1. Do not eat blackberry and apple crumble for lunch before teaching a lesson on iambic pentameter.

2. If you will insist on eating blackberry and apple crumble for lunch before teaching a lesson on iambic pentameter, look in a mirror before going into the classroom.

3. If you have eaten blackberry and apple crumble without looking at a mirror before entering the classroom to teach iambic pentameter, get ready for humiliation.

How things will go if you haven't taken preventative (Measure for) Measures ....

1. Teach your lesson on iambic pentameter.

2.  Wonder, at regular intervals during the lesson, why the teenagers …

Reasons why the traditional typewriter doesn't deserve to die .....

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So, it's all computers now.  No one uses the typewriter any more ..... *sigh of middle-aged woman who trained as a secretary in the 1970s*


Ah, but, those were the days when ....


1. Parents of wayward teenagers who said, sighing with relief, 'Oh, well, at least young Monica's out of danger now she has a reliable typing job' severely underestimated the high induced by sniffing Tippex thinning fluid.

2. If you wanted to murder someone by dropping a typewriter on them from the fourth floor, there were no tricky wires to undo first.

3. You felt like you were working hard even if you weren't really, because anyone making that kind of racket HAD to be getting SOMETHING done.  (The same claim has been made for years by men who 'mend' roads by drilling them, despite obviously making the situation worse.)

4. Having to correct the top copy and the four carbon copies underneath one by one was what you did before Zumba was invented.

5. When things went wrong, and the IT…

Evidence that I can write a poem about a microwave as well as find old chips in one

How would you feel if you thought your kitchen implements might turn on you?.....

Learn from someone who knows - read my poem, just published on Poetry 24.  If you didn't know about Poetry 24, which publishes poems on topical issues, you do now....

Reasons why the burqini is already SO yesterday ....

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Blimey, packing for my beach holiday this year is going to be SO easy now I've decided to wear a sackini.  Forget all that faffing about with swimwear, sun tan lotion, waxing, shaving, polishing and creosoting (or is that just fences?) - the sackini solves all these problems.

Here it is: this year's new swimwear option.




You can see already how the sack is positively designed to be worn as beach wear.  It is one size fits all - voluminous enough to fit the largest female form, whether that voluptuousness be caused by I'm-a-nobody- roast-dinners-and-apple-crumbles-throughout-the-winter-months or by the fact that you are a-television-celebrity-cook-who's-a-brilliant-advert-for-her-own-profiteroles.

And if you want to keep your beach picnic in the sack, too, as well as your towel, picnic blanket, beach volleyball set, Jilly Cooper novels and perhaps children, there's loads of room.

The tie does up nicely round the neck, leaving a bit of sacking that comes up just unde…

What those emoticons REALLY mean

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I thought it was a good idea to marry a dressmaker. What I didn't know is that she'd have innovative ways of shutting me up when I asked about her shopping trips.


Mummy, don't fuss. Sitting at the computer for hours is doing me no damage at all.

So I was at the vegetable counter and the assistant said, 'Look, you owe eight pounds, okay, and if you don't pay up, I'll shove this jalapeno pepper right in your gob.' And I said, 'Look here, young man, do you know who you're spPHLUMPH ...'


There I was, at the dentist, and he says to me, 'You want teeth like Simon Cowell?' and I says to him, 'Yeah, go on then!' and so he did all this work for me. I just didn't realise the grin would be permanent, though. I'm having real difficulty being taken seriously at my business meetings. And my jaw ACHES, man!

Yep, I know. Never trust a plastic surgeon when he says he'll do all the operations at once. And where are my ears? I said I wanted…

Evidence that I am now officially a Twit

Okay, so after waiting for Twitter to get over my last bungled attempt at becoming a Twit (as in 'You've tried once, and you can KEEP trying until you DIE of exhaustion, you loser') I have had another go and managed to squeeze into some back entrance they weren't keeping an eye on.

To contact this particular Twit, my profile is http://twitter.com/beingFran  


But that's all I can do so far.  I've posted two tweets, and I am at the limit of my Twitty powers.  I'm sure I'm supposed to be able to put a little sign up somewhere on the blog saying, 'Come, follow me, disciples and disciplettes', but I'm blowed if I can work out how.*


I am expecting a call from the Professor of Technology at Oxford University any time now to ask me to be an honorary graduate.


You see - even the font has gone grey.  What did I do?  What did I do?


* I did it!  I am a GENIUS!  (Except now the font has shrunk.  My computer does not heart me tonight.)

Evidence that childhood dreams are not always best fulfilled

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Oh my word.  I just watched a re-run episode of Top of the Pops from 1976 and was transported back in time.  (For any non-UKers, it was the pop music show we watched religiously on Thursday nights from 1793 when it started until a few years back when it stopped.  When they ditched it, I couldn't have been more shocked had someone shot the Queen between the eyes with a crossbow during Morning Service at St Paul's Cathedral.  It wasn't just a national institution; it was WHAT YOU DID then, like lovebites and Arctic Roll.)

The link below is a taster of what Top of the Pops was like when I was fourteen and driving all my teachers bonkers by being a pain in their pedagogical arses and leading them to write things in my reports such as 'Fran's efforts are dangerously selective ..' and (quoting my Physics teacher) 'E for effort, E for attainment ... She's just hopeless'.

Warning: only watch this if you have had your Tony Blackburn immunisation jab

One of m…

Evidence that one can sometimes check one's allergic rashes against one's animal encyclopaedia and find a perfect match

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I've been thinking today about the giraffe.








And I've been thinking only one thing ........................... WHY?

Here's a couple of whole ones, just to make my point more forcefully.




I don't get it.  Granted, they don't look any weirder than camels .... here's a camel, just to illustrate this ....





... but, then, at least camels are USEFUL, in which case they can be forgiven, a bit like having a husband who looks like a medieval gargoyle but who can whip up a cracking little chocolate mousse or mend a broken iPod.

Other things about nature intrigue me, too.

1. Why is it that, on hot days, wasps, even when there is a table laden with jam sandwiches, sticky cakes and fizzy drinks, still want a bite of a human who tastes of sweat and cheap suncream?

2. And how come flies, wasps, bluebottles and bees cannot see that there is a piece of glass between them and fresh air and keep head-butting it, but as soon as you come near them with a newspaper, they can see well …

Evidence that spending all day marking gives rise to shorter poems than usual

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Monday’s teacher is pale of face Tuesday’s teacher is slower of pace Wednesday’s teacher is kind of dragging Thursday’s teacher is constantly nagging Friday’s teacher is mean and tough Saturday’s teacher can’t sleep enough
But the teacher that marks all the Sabbath day Is a gibbering wreck and deserves more pay ....

How to get Baby helping you in the garden - another not-a-Mommy-blogger post

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It's many years since I was a full-time Mummy - so many years, in fact, that my garden was just the little piece of grass outside the cave where I sat knitting nappies out of dried pondweed while watching out for marauding wildebeest.

But my babies loved playing outside, just like your modern babies.  And now that the weather (at least, here in the UK) is cheering up, you too will be thinking about letting Baby out into the garden.  So, here are some suggestions for ways in which Baby could a) learn valuable things about Nature and b) help you out with those pesky garden jobs, both at the same time!

1. Dealing with garden pests.  How annoying it is for any gardener to find blackfly or bugs or little snails and caterpillars on those nice new spring leaves.  But, with all your energies taken up with looking after Baby, and with eco-friendly methods in mind, which parent has time to pluck the pests off one by one?

There's a simple solution.  Baby needs every chance to practise h…