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!
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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
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…
Well, Happy New Year, everyone! Thank you for following me during 2018 - your forbearance and long-suffering are much appreciated, as are all your comments. This year I'm meant to be writing and delivering to the publishers my diary-memoir 'Miss, What Does Incomprehensible Mean?' Watch out for news.
I thought I'd write about fish pie as it's the start of the new year and there are many, many reasons I am not the right person to write a blog about new year resolutions ...
I made a fish pie last night for dinner because there was a packet of supermarket pastry in the fridge that never got converted into mince pies over Christmas.
Why didn't I make the mince pies? Mainly because I knew that no one would eat them over Christmas because they'd all be stuffed to perdition with other goodies. So, if I'd made 48, I would eat 47 of them and then my husband, who's not a major fan (of mince PIES, you at the back!!) would wander into the kitchen in mid-January …
This is a scene from a novel I hoped to get published. But I've moved on now and am writing another book which will be published in 2020. Watch this space!
I really like the scene, though. So I thought I'd let you read it, rather than having it fester on my laptop.
Enjoy! It's very much based on my personal experience, and it's a scene that's played out in real life in many, many classrooms across the country. And perhaps the world.
Setting: a secondary school classroom, England. Friday afternoon. Characters: an English teacher and her class
The pupils, as they did every
week at this time, drifted from all corners of the school, in spits and spots
like a gradual, hesitant build-up of rain. They
seemed weary, as did their end-of-the-week uniforms, which drooped and slouched
on their bodies as if drained of life.Indeed, some of their blazers had died and slidden off their bodies like
thin corpses, hanging now from the ends of their fingers. Several pupils had