Showing posts from October, 2008

Why a visit to department stores can be stressful

Revolving doors make me apprehensive. If they put any in my school instead of the push-or-pull-the-oldfashioned-way doors we've got, I'll be looking for another job. How could I teach the bloody bits in 'Macbeth' or 'Lord of the Flies' with any integrity to Year 10s who've seen me hesitating at an entrance as though I think it's an electric fence? But there are just too many dilemmas involved. Firstly, is it good revolvingdooriquette to get into the same quarter as someone else? I did this today and it felt too close, like I was being one of those people who doesn't understand about personal space. Spontaneous piece of advice for personal space invader types: Only shaving mirrors should be allowed to see people's pores that close up. Only clouds should be allowed to spit on people. Only Mediterraneans in crowded tubes have an excuse for breathing garlic over people. No one converses with their back and palms against a wall without a good r


Just had a tussle in the pub over the word 'tousled'. I said it was pronounced 'tuzzled'. My sister and her partner laffed a lot. She said it was pronounced 'toozled'. Her partner and I laffed at her. Her partner said it was pronounced 'towsled'. I and my sister laffed at him. Turns out he's right, dammit. What powsles me is, how come I've been pronouncing it 'tuzzled' for so long and no one's said anything? That means that, for 46 years, people have been secretly laffing at me behind my back. This is why I moved back to my home town, I've decided, to be near my sister. Now, at least, although I'm being laffed at, the mocking and scoffing is all out in the open. These words ending in 'led' remind me of when, in a school I taught at a while ago, a young teacher came into the staff room crying. She'd been teased by some sixth formers for reading out a passage from a book in which a character had been 'sever

back where I blong

I apologise. I have been viewing lots of other blogs tonight and I realise that my postings are very, very long. Or theirs are very, very short. Either way, I have decided that mine should be called a blong. And that was the shortest posting yet. Ah, the irony.

How-to guides No. 1 and 2

How-to guide No. 1 You know that feeling you get when you've just had your carpets shampooed and they're still wet, but you have to walk across the room to fetch something, so you do it in bare feet? You know - that splurgey damp sensation where your feet sink in ever so slightly as though you were walking on a wet gymnastics mat or a pile of blankets that have been on a non-spin wash? Well, if you want to recreate that feeling, and some of you might, as there's no accounting for taste, here is a recipe for success. What you will need: One pair of shoes that you think is waterproof A weekend in rainy Sheffield A husband who places a higher priority on comfort than elegance Method: Pack for the weekend in rainy Sheffield with your husband where you are going to visit your daughter-at-university. While packing, scoff at his decision to take a pair of ugly, enormous walking boots as well as his trainers even though you are only wandering around the city. Smugly p

perhaps a paper bag?

Look, I'm sorry, but when you buy a product called 'spot concealer', you have certain expectations. Or perhaps my understanding of the words 'spot' and 'concealer' are different from those of the manufacturer. Here we are again, in the tricky and dangerous swamps of vocabulary. Let us flounder together for a while in the mulch of meaning. Spot : In the old days, shouting 'out, damned spot' never did Lady Macbeth any good (I presume her problem was acne - I'm a bit shaky on the play myself). She had to have a doctor and a nurse in attendance, so I guess her skin trouble was pretty serious and in those days they didn't have Clearasil, although they may have had Witch-hazel. I've tried to out spots by damning them, too, but nothing happened. Perhaps what I'm doing wrong is trying to out them when they are already as out as it's possible to be, as in 3 or 4 centimetres out and shouting to the world, 'HEY, I'M A SPOT AND, BOY

trying to park when I don't have a car

Just in case you didn't believe anything I said yesterday about my difficulties with technology, I have to tell you that last night I nearly bought a parking ticket instead of a 'Permit to Travel'. I had approached the machine, located the slot and hovered my 50p over it when I read the instruction 'After purchasing your ticket, stick it to your windscreen'. Windscreen? I was going on a train. Honestly, I thought. I wish they would advertise this kind of change to procedure in the press or something before springing it on the general public. Then I realised. It may surprise you, because it does me, to learn that every day I manage to get up, wash, clean my teeth, walk to school, teach English for six hours, and plan the next day's lessons before going home again. Having said this, I have, before now, got up late because I don't understand the am/pm distinction on my mobile, failed to work the shower because someone else changed the settings, cleaned

Why I can't mention the restaurant called 'Ask'

So, I move to the Midlands from the South of England, and my sister (uses the short 'a' for grass, pass and bath) thinks it most amusing that the road I'm now living in (I, having been in the South for twenty-five years, use the long 'a' for grarss, parss and barth) is called 'Grassington Avenue'. "You can't even say it properly," she guffaws. "It's so ironic. Say it again, say it again." And so I have to repeat 'Grarsington, Grarsington' just for her amusement. She doesn't have a lot else to do, poor thing. So now I have to call my road Gramaundington Avenue. It's all because, one day, staying at her flat, I asked her where she'd like me to put the washing. "Shall I put it in the washing barsket?" I asked. She could barely reply, doubled up as she was. I waited patiently for a coherent reply, but it never came. Later that day, I was studying some Shakespeare, and found that an Early Modern Engl

why my window cleaner owes me £13.50

I woke up Saturday morning and it was 10.30. There are three reasons for this. 1. Husband away, so he wasn't there to turn over, make a noise like an elephant with sinusitis, then go back to sleep again. This usually wakes me up, and I'm sure every wife of every elephant who's ever had sinusitis will sympathise. 2. The previous evening's 'embarrassing visit to Poetry Slam' experience, detailed in last blog, took, I think, a greater toll on me than I had realised. To be precise about this, I had stayed up until 1am Googling the names of the people who won. As I couldn't actually remember their names, this took longer than it might have done. 3. Husband away, so I had not had to put up with the Arctic conditions he prefers for the bedroom, usually necessitating, for me, an extra quilt, fur-lined pyjamas and some leg and arm exercises to warm the bed up. Instead, I had brought upstairs a portable fire and turned it on. Why didn't you just turn up the cen

recipe for embarrassing evening

Here is a recipe for an embarrassing evening: 1. decide to turn up at a Poetry Slam event where you might win £100 2. fail to contact the organiser to find out the rules because her email isn't working 3. forget to have your poem with you after work, thereby either necessitating a long walk home to fetch it or the writing of another one in one hour. 4. decide not to walk home, stop off at your sister's flat, and write another one on sheets of scrappy A4 paper. 5. go to the poetry event half an hour early so no one else is there and you are VERY OBVIOUS 6. pay £6.50 for the privilege of being very embarrassed and out of place 7. sign up for the Slam even though you have just found out that you are not following the rules by only having one poem and not three which you will need if you get through the first round. 8. watch everyone else arriving and saying, 'hello, darling' and hugging each other. 9. try and strike up conversation with other people however reluct