Showing posts from March, 2009

Another fairy tale from the dark side of My pen

Little Red Riding Hood lived in the forest with her mother. One day, Mother said, “Red Riding Hood, I’d like you to go and visit Grandmother this afternoon and take her some cakes. Why don’t you come into the kitchen and help me bake some?” “Okay, Mother,” said Little Red Riding Hood, for she had always seemed a pliable little thing, though with an irritating tendency lately to talk to just about anyone, and the hairier the better. This had worried her parents for a while now. They went into the kitchen together and Mother began to collect the ingredients for the cakes. “Oh, bother,” she said, searching through her cupboards. “I’m clean out of flour. Will you just pop round to the shop, Red Riding Hood, and fetch me some?” “Okay, Mother,” said Little Red Riding Hood, and she set off, leaving Mother creaming the butter and sugar. Leaning against the wall of the Happy Shopper supermarket was someone Red Riding Hood had met in the forest on several occasions. It was Mr Wolf. “Hi

The Three Bears meets Tarantino

Once upon a time, there were three bears. Father Bear had obsessive compulsive disorder and in the mornings would only eat food that was stone-coloured, thick and gluey. So it was porridge for breakfast again, no matter how many times Baby Bear spat into it and said he preferred Coco Pops. He was a little tyke and his nursery teachers didn’t know what to do with him. Mother Bear was stirring the porridge with her stump because Baby Bear was using the wooden spoon as an imaginary AK47. The stump was the result of an unfortunate encounter with a neighbour, one of those domestic niggles about chucking snails into next door’s garden. Mrs B didn’t like to talk about it. There was a knock at the door and a blonde poked her head round. “Is this Cafe Nero?” she said. She pronounced both ‘cafĂ©’ and ‘Nero’ with the emphasis on the second syllables and that was something Father Bear had never been able to stand in a woman. In a flash, he’d jumped up, grabbed the bubbling pot from off the Prim

Why I am short of money

Bought a new watch today as the one I've had for twenty years has gone to Timepiece Heaven. My old watch was everything I ever wanted in a watch, so I was feeling narked at having to find a new one. As I'm perusing the selection, the assistant says to me, 'Are you looking for anything in particular?' She thinks I'm going to say, 'No, not really. Just browsing, thanks.' and then she can go off and finish her coffee and Custard Cream behind the counter. But she has no idea. 'I want one with a silver surround, but a leather strap, which can't be baby blue or pink, and it has to have numbers, not Roman numerals or little sticks, because, I mean, what's the point?, and it has to have the date, because I need to know it in order to write it up on the whiteboard for the students, and the face and strap can't be too big, because my arms aren't very long and the watch would use up too much of my forearm and look like a piece of medical equ

Why I should stay in the low seats and avoid shame

I'm really not good on buses. If you read my 'eating stuffed olives on the bus' story, you'll know what I mean. Got on today and made my way clumsily to the back where the high seats are, hitting the heads of elderly ladies with my marking-stuffed rucksack. (Reasons for struggling to the back? 1. I can see out of the window from there, being a shorty. 2. People aren't looking at the back of my head and noticing the strange double crown in my parting. 3. A lady has to boost her self-esteem somehow, and it's not often I get to look down on others.) I was just about to sit down when the bus driver started off suddenly. I lunged forward, hitting the bell with my one of my ... er ... let's just say, a soft area to the left of my sternum. (Who knows who might be reading?!) That bell went off like a siren, I swear. The timing must have confused the bus driver, because we had only just drawn away from the bus stop at which I'd got on. He was no doubt wonderi

Expert advice on how to do birthdays

Sent Son a birthday parcel, addressed in my traditional way, with 'Birthday Boy' in between his first and second name on the envelope. But he was out when they delivered the parcel, and the postman left one of those little notes on which he's written, 'There is a parcel waiting for Birthday Boy Hill. Please will Birthday Boy come and collect it from the post office.' Now Son, who's 23, has to go and claim it. Says he's going to turn the collar up on his coat and wear a big hat. I hope he likes the present, once he's got over the embarrassment of collecting it. He also has to get over the fact that it's enclosed in bubble wrap and brown paper, not bright and sparkly birthday wrap. I asked Husband if he'd wrap it up ready to send, and Husband forgot that, usually, there's a surprise element and a celebratory element about birthday presents which most people would feel called for an attractive covering and a gift tag. Still, it will pay

Why I could be accused of needing to get out more

You're having a boring afternoon. You've nothing to do. Nothing's on the telly. So, OBVIOUSLY, you're going to try typing Shakespeare in predictive text on your mobile and see which words it recognises and which it doesn't. It's great fun. And I have all kinds of new ideas for plays I could write and submit to the Royal Shakespeare Company. "Out, fanned spot." - a woman with macho tendencies is disturbed by a skin lesion that has in all directions and is now the shape of a Chinese lady's cooling device with pictures of temples all over it. "The lady Doug protest too much methinks." - a woman without macho tendencies, but whose parents gave her a boy's name because they liked it, complains bitterly, but unconvincingly. "Et TV , Brute?" - a woman with a version of Tourette's syndrome which means she replaces all her English verbs with French ones complains to her ignorant and bullish husband about his boring plan

Why I should learn to behave on buses

I was on the bus, travelling home from school, and eating newly-bought feta-stuffed olives out of the jar with my fingers. Then I looked at everyone else on the bus, and I realised something. No one else was eating feta-stuffed olives out of a jar with their fingers. No one else had oil dripping from their digits because they hadn't realised the olives would be in grease and not saline. No one else had covered their iPod in oily fingerprints because they'd been listening to the radio while trying to eat olives on a bus. No one else had dripped oil onto their clothing in a way that cheap washing powder wasn't going to be able to deal with. No one else was so greedy that they couldn't wait until they got home to start gorging themselves. No. Everyone else was behaving nobly and morally, thinking of others. One lady had her disabled daughter in a wheelchair and was holding her hand so that the bus noises didn't scare her. A couple boarded the bus and sat talking