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Showing posts from March, 2016

Evidence that Fran can even turn a cooking disaster into a linguistic opportunity

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Yesterday I made Florenjacks. Another name for them is Flapentines. It depends which way you look at it. They are the first biscuits in history with a duality of personality, a bit like Jekyll and Hyde, only baked on Gas Number 6 and containing flaked almonds.

You've never heard of Florenjacks/Flapentines? Well, where have you been?

Forgive me. I am dissembling and making you feel bad about yourself for being out of the Florenjack/Flapentine loop. You were thinking, I know, 'How come I'm always last to hear about the latest baking fashions? Whaddya mean, no one cooks Madeira Sponges any more?'

They call it FOMO, don't they? Fear Of Missing Out.

Having brought up the FOMO issue, before I tell you about my duality biscuits,  I have a raging desire to tell you the difference between acronyms and initalisms.

It wasn't until I trained to teach English that I discovered there was a difference, in the same way as, it wasn't until I trained to teach English that I …

Evidence that Fran has been single-handedly supporting the cough sweet industry for a fortnight

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'Do you know the little rhyme about coughing?' I asked a sixth former at school on Thursday.

We were discussing the problems associated with having a cough. I've had a hacking, violent one for two weeks now, one of those in which your insides make a strong bid to become your outsides. This is fine if you're at home and can bend over double in your own kitchen, but not in front of a class of 25 teenagers watching you cough and hack like a tuberculous hag throughout an explanation of the difference between a dash and a hyphen. 'So, you see [cough cough cough], whereas a dash is punctuation and can be used to [hack hack hack] separate clauses in a sentence do excuse me while I open this cough sweet [cough cough cough], a hyphen is used to create [desperate, panicked sucking on cough sweet] compound words [hack hack hack inhale sweet].'

No pupil wants you to come to their desk to help with their punctuation exercises, either, when it's like having a eucalyptus …

Evidence that I don't always finish what I start

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I've just come across this piece I entered for an 'Opening to a Novel' competition a few years ago. I wrote it, entered it, heard nothing, and years later I find it in my files.

I'm most intrigued to know what I intended to write next, should they have written back and said they liked it.


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We lay calm in our beds that night. Even the baby, for once, slept soundly; even the dog, out in its kennel. And perhaps that was the odd thing, after all: how trustingly we slumbered.  As if fate had gifted us a few last wholly innocent hours, before innocence fell away for ever. For when I woke, in the early morning – what was it? A difference in the quality of the light? Some new texture to the silence? But I opened my eyes, and I knew it. Something had changed. 
Even Mother seemed subdued at breakfast and her eyes were dark and heavy.  I would say, heavy with an omen, but at that time, she didn’t have the knowledge.  None of us did, except for Marielle, whose tongue was in m…