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Showing posts from May, 2014

Evidence that the stream of consciousness method of writing is alive and well in Leamington Spa

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I never thought I'd be the type to watch videos/read news items featuring cats.   But, as with many of my principles, that one's gone to the *realises using dog metaphor will sound odd in a sentence about cats* place where all the others have gone.


1. I have watched the cat who plays Jenga with its owner

2. I have read a news item about paintings made better with cats

3. I have -

No.  I was going to make a list from 1 to 10, but I am already wondering whether this post was a good idea at all.

Let's talk about something else.

Someone bought me this chocolate Scrabble board game.

You can only play it once, because when you've played, and eaten the chocolates, that's it.  I don't think you can get replacement chocolates for it.  My question is: on a scale of 1-10, how immoral would it be if, too lazy to play the game, I just opened the box and ate the chocolates?  How good an excuse would I need?

Talking of excuses, I was shocked once when I asked a group of very…

Reasons why people walk out of Fran's creative writing classes #1

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I wrote this article recently for the magazine of the Association of Christian Writers.  I thought you too might like the story of Mr Eggshell who was once in my creative writing class.


The writing gift is precious. But we mustn’t be.
I’ve never trodden on eggshells (life is so busy, and one doesn’t get to try out everything) but I have taught creative writing to adults.  I suspect that treading on eggshells is much, much easier.   Here’s a story about a student I’ll call Mr Eggshell. 
Mr Eggshell wanted to be a crime writer.  So he signed up to my creative writing classes ostensibly to study the writing craft.  He joined in the activities with gusto, shoehorning a serial killer, a bent cop and three corpses even into ‘Describe a landscape’ and ‘Recount a joyful moment’ exercises.
On Week 3, Mr Eggshell read us his new crime story.  We listened carefully, although Brenda, a lavender-scented lady from Virginia Water, blanched at the throat-slittings.  I made my customary notes as he r…

Evidence - more evidence than you ever thought possible - that opposites attract

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Okay, so now a man who is a woman but who has a beard and who has a high voice has won the Eurovision Song Contest, we need another way to define identity, sort out who's who, and know where the boundaries are drawn.  

I have the answer.  We can divide the human race into two neat categories by answering this question. Delete as appropriate.

Are you the type who is driven mad by a loudly ticking clock?  Yes/No.



We could also, I suppose, divide ourselves by answering this question:

Are you the type who is driven mad by a sudden and unnecessary increase in font size?

But we won't, because I want to discuss clocks.


I am a woman, and my husband is a man, and although this helped us with procreation, none of those old distinctions matter any more.  They might, I suppose, if poverty strikes us, we only have one piece of clothing between us and it happens to be a pair of Y-fronts, which is a very good reason for us to continue in employment as long as possible.

My husband is to tick…

Evidence that the frown lines on Fran's forehead are a result of deep philosophical meditations.

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I have some questions.

1. Can it be a just world while we have the easy-peel tangerine and the banana, but also the pomegranate and the mango?

2. On days when I find myself taking a video of my own feet when I was only trying to make a simple call, am I being over-sensitive to wish it wasn't called a Smartphone?

3. How come, when I catch my reflection in a shop window, it's always a shop window selling bikinis and lingerie for people who could fit inside the right leg of my trousers?

4. How can a hollow chocolate egg the weight of a baby sparrow cost £17.99 just because it's a certain time of year?

5. Can I still retain a sense of hope in humanity, even when someone on the phone tells me my call is important to them, and then makes me listen to Mendelssohn played on a xylophone made out of tin foil?

6. Am I wrong to feel it unfair that I will only ever get one chance to try a deep-fried Mars Bar, because that will be about three minutes before I die?

7. If some tomato…

Evidence that keeping up with the Joneses applies even when you're not in your own house

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One of my favourite parts of a self-catering holiday is writing in the guest book, and seeing what everyone else has written.

Once we stayed in a house where it was clear there was a competition going on, a bit like this......

Mr & Mrs Williams, Devon.  'We saw the squirrels and the rabbits twice in the garden.  Lovely weather, despite a little rain.  Fish & chip shop really recommended.'

Mr & Mrs Smith, and Daniella, Yorkshire.  'We saw the squirrels and the rabbits twice, and also spotted a fox.  Not a spot of rain all week.  Loved the pizza restaurant - real Italian food.'

Pete and Sandy Brown, Essex.  'We saw squirrels, rabbits, a fox and a badger.  Weather incredible. Could have been in Alicante.  And we really recommend the French restaurant, the escargots in garlic and parsley butter especially.  Bon appetit!'

The Baker family, Cardiff.  'We saw squirrels, rabbits, a fox, a badger, a herd of wildebeest, David Attenborough and a full cam…