Welcome! You have found the home of 'Being Me', Fran Hill's blog. Please browse my posts and if you like what you read, you'll enjoy my book 'Being Miss' which you can order from my website or on Amazon. My next book 'Miss, What Does Incomprehensible Mean?' will be published by SPCK Publishing in 2020. My website is at www.franhill.co.uk. Come and visit for more Fran info!
Evidence that soap dispensers can prove a threat to one's peace of mind and give rise to passive sentences
I know you're probably bored, and sitting there thinking, 'I've finished reading Dostoevsky. What next? Oh, I wonder if Fran has ever written anything on soap dispensers. I must go and look.'
So here's a section from Chapter 9 of my book 'Being Miss' in which Miss has an adventure with a soap dispenser during a 'free period' when she doesn't have a class.
In free periods, or
‘frees’ as they’re dubbed, all the school clocks speed up, their hands sweeping
round with spite to the next bell. It’s
bizarre, because during lessons in which children are uncooperative, you’re
hungry or you’re teaching possessive apostrophes, the clock hands stutter round
like aged relatives. Yes, time flies
when you’re having frees.
But, in those frees, while the clock hands speed up, everything else slows down. Computers take longer to let you log in. The ink in your red pen dries up so that you
have to go foraging in the back of a dusty cupboard for another one. The kettle warms up reluctantly, moaning and
holding back, like the fat boy on the Games field in winter.
One thing that never slows down is my bladder, especially if I’ve had
coffee for which I have a separate channel that runs straight down the middle
of my body, unlike my ‘tea’ channel which takes the normal, less perpendicular
I trudge over to the Staff Room
toilets. In there, a colleague is
staring in dismay at the soap dispenser which is making a noise like the
rutting deer I hear in the park. It’s
spewing out soap like my old cat used to be sick: a bit at a time with a slight
pause in between each output.
‘What’s happened?’ I ask.
‘I don’t know,’ she says. ‘All I did was put my hand underneath. It gave me the usual one big squirt, but when
I pulled my hand away, it just kept going.’
The puddle of soap is increasing,
like a pool of green slime, and we put a layer of paper towels on top of
it. It’s clear that this is only going
to be a temporary measure.
‘Maintenance ought to be told,’ she
says gloomily, drying her hands. Both of
us know she won’t ring Maintenance. I
make a mental note to use this nugget of linguistic interest in my next A2
English Language lesson: Consider the use of the passive voice in the sentence
‘Maintenance ought to be told’ and contrast with the active voice ‘I’ll go and
‘That machine is evil, anyway,’ I tell her. ‘I was in here the other day, dumped my
rucksack on the surface and went into the toilet. The sensor thought my bag was a pair of hands
and soaped it several times while I was in the cubicle. Took me ages to rinse it off and it still
frothed up in the rain on the way home.’
‘What have they installed these for,
anyway?’ she complains. ‘Give me a bar
of carbolic any day.’
‘Stains the sinks green.’
‘Yeah, but at least it’s quiet,’ she
says, and we both look at the demon dispenser, belching its contents out
without shame and still making the rutting noise. She leaves and I go into the cubicle,
checking my watch. I’m already fifteen minutes into my free.
This soap dispenser looks innocent enough, but then, so did Dr Jekyll
A crossword book travels with me everywhere now. It's a hobby that's developed into an addiction over the past couple of years. If I'm stuck at a bus stop, waiting - a daily occurrence, and sometimes twice or thrice-daily - I'll whip my crossword book out, turn to a new puzzle, and while the time away filling in the clues.
I've nearly missed my bus many times. Buses sneak up on people with their heads buried in books, then hurtle past to punish you for not staying alert. There are some bus drivers around here who probably keep a joyful tally of the number of people they've outwitted this way.
Never mind missing buses, though. My bigger problem, currently, is that the book I'm carrying around is filled with general knowledge crosswords. My husband bought me this for Christmas, forgetting that I do not possess General Knowledge.
I possess only Generally Forgotten Knowledge and it's so far down, at the very ends of my brain neurons, or wherever knowledge r…
Is it just me? Is anyone else affected by the colours of food?
I've just made an omelette for my lunch. On my days off (Mondays and Wednesdays) lunch is usually an omelette. I'm trying to avoid bread. We have fallen out, bread and I. I can eat most anything else and not put on weight. I have one thin slice of bread: suddenly I'm the size of a Juggernaut and can't get through normal doors.
Two or three slices of bread, and people pass me saying, 'Look at that hot air balloon, out walking.'
I reached into the cupboard for eggs for my omelette, pulling out a box of eggs that looked different from those we usually buy. My husband bought them - they're called 'Burford Browns' and there's a message - I call it a warning - on the box: 'With deep brown coloured shells'.
Fine. Deep brown coloured shells I can cope with. Who cares about the shells? They go in the recycling, to shell heaven.
But when you crack these eggs for an omelette, inside the…
We are on holiday in Tenby, Wales. Paul and I come here most years, renting the same house each time because it has an original version of Monopoly with the metal tokens such as the top hat, boot and iron. We also like the pretty duvet covers on the beds. And there's a sea view, which is also nice.
It's a bit quiet this year - usually we bring some of our offspring with us. We are missing them. In part, this is because our she-was-on-Masterchef-once older daughter always does the cooking. We've been sitting around waiting for dinner to arrive before remembering she's not here and leaping to our feet to run to Tesco.
I'd like to share some of my holiday pictures with you. Fear not. My holiday snaps tend not to feature panoramic views or cathedrals.
This is post-op and relieved Rat, although his look says 'If you'd known the difference between a wall ornament and a light fitting, none of this would have been necessary ...'