Evidence that Fran did perhaps learn something at school after all

I've just eaten a chocolate eclair and it reminded me to tell you about Mrs Gough.

Mrs Gough taught me to cook at the Warwickshire grammar school I attended in the 1970s. I think they called her subject 'Domestic Science' officially but it was 'Cookery' to all of us. 

Now the subject is called Food Technology or Food Science or How to Grow Up Without Knowing How to Make A Stew. There is cookery involved, but there's also much scientific theory, assessment of nutrition, costing of dishes, market research, and other sub-topics that Mrs Gough would have sniffed at. The science, in 1976, was what the boys did, while the girls cooked them steaming sausage rolls to give out at break time in the hope of an invitation to the school disco to snog behind the school hall curtains.

No, Mrs Gough was all about the pastry - puff, buttery rough puff, tough puff, shortcrust, longcrust, flaky, tough-flaky, choux buns and eclairs, puffy and otherwise.

She was all about the bread -…

More evidence that Fran isn't shy of tackling the really big topics

Let's talk ear wax. Or is ear wax, like politics and religion and how often people actually do break wind, not for polite conversation? 

We all have ear wax, yes? I looked it up and Auntie Google says it's there to moisturise the ear, to fight off infections, and to act as a shield, stopping dust, dirt, insects and presumably lost sparrows from finding their way inside your head and into your brain. 

I'm liking my ear wax more, reading that. There could be nothing worse than trying to think through something complicated like difficult long division or the Times Cryptic Crossword or the concept of nihilism only to find a random small bird flitting about among your grey cells as though he didn't have a wife and three tiny children to feed. 

But ear wax is all very well until it begins to proliferate as though in a bid to take over Warwickshire, like mine is currently doing. 

The ear wax build-up happens to me about once every two years. Normally, I go to the GP surgery, see …

Evidence that you/can write some super haiku/about your schooldays

I mentioned the 'schooldays haiku' competition last week that I ran as part of my book launch.

First, here's an anonymous one that was put through my letterbox. I love the fact that someone decided to do this. I don't know who it was for sure, although I do have a couple of ideas. But there's a sadness about it that touched me. 

I'm posting the winning entries and highly commended here as I think you'll enjoy them. The winners get a free copy of my new book 'Miss, What Does Incomprehensible Mean?' and the highly commended get .... well .... highly commended. I didn't intend to do a 'highly commended' category but frankly had too many lovely haiku entered not to give them a mention, too.  

All winners and highly commended have agreed that I can post their poems and their names. I'll hold off from posting their full addresses, dates of birth and internet passwords. 

I have added some comments to show you why the haiku were chosen. 

The thre…

Evidence that Fran's front room has seen some excitement

So, my book 'Miss, What Does Incomprehensible Mean' is born into the world, and I thought some of you might be interested to see the book launch, which happened from my front room and was beamed out to the world via Facebook Live.

Writers are having to do things differently in these days of lockdown!

It's an hour of entertainment with games, jokes, clips from the book, Q & A, and a time lag that meant I saw comments 10 minutes after they'd been made, which added to the sense of the surreal.

And, when I say the book is 'born', I actually mean that, and it happens on camera.

Enjoy! You could fetch yourself Prosecco and cake as my live viewers did.

Reasons why Fran's mornings can be fraught

Let's talk breakfast.
I have one Weetabix to start the day. That sounds like an innocuous statement describing a simple process, doesn't it. What could go wrong? 
But that's not why you read this blog, is it, to find out what hasn't gone wrong? 
Plenty can go awry with Weetabix. 
First, I've never yet managed to extract a Weetabix biscuit from its paper packet without spraying wheat all over the kitchen counter. I've eaten Weetabix since I was a child. The paper packets containing 12 Weetabix were badly designed then, and they are now. I suspect that the same person has been in charge of 'Packaging' all that time. He's now 103, some kindly, frail war hero with a leg brace whom management don't have the heart to fire. 
Well, compassion is all very well, and God Save the Queen and all that, and hurrah for Chelsea pensioners, but what about my ruined morning? 
'It's like a Tarantino movie with crumbs,' I said to my husband, sweeping a third o…

Reasons why Fran thinks Boris has chosen the wrong name for his son

So, the Prime Minister has called his (already mop-haired) new son Wilfred.

Sorry, Boris, but that name is taken. I think you'll find this is Wilfred.

I quite understand, Mr Johnson, if you decide to change your little boy's name in the light of my photograph. It can't be easy, realising you've named your son after a giant stuffed duck with a preternaturally enormous beak.

How about something more modern, anyway? Jake? Kyle? Connor?

Horace, to rhyme with your own name?


Or, as these are more enlightened times - Doris?

Readers, while the Prime Minister ponders over my suggestions and looks up my number so he can ring me to discuss the options, I will tell you instead the story of how this toy duck became known as Wilfred.

My grandfather was called Wilfred and my grandmother Kathleen. The day before their 50th wedding anniversary - some time in the mid-1990s - I said to my husband, 'I am going to town to buy a Golden Wedding present for Gran and Grandad.'

Evidence that Fran has children and grandchildren more famous than she

Just a quick hello to say, I wonder if any of you UK people spotted this video on the BBC website today. Maybe you already thought, gosh, those kids are so beautiful, they must surely be related to Fran Hill.


Okay, then. I'll tell you about it.

My son and grandchildren made a music video about what it's like to be in lock down and not able to go to school. It's pretty cute and I think it resonated with people. Local radio picked up on it and then they had a call from the Queen BBC England.

This first clip is the BBC item in which they were interviewed and Phoebe says she misses playing unicorns.

Don't we all?

This second clip is the full video  on Youtube and it's very professionally-done, though don't tell my son I told you that. Ssh!

Hope it gives you a smile. It's given me one or two!