Showing posts from November, 2010

Another letter from Santa to me, including advice about not upsetting elves

Dear Fran So, here we are again, continuing our long tradition of correspondence.  I have to say that I look forward to your letters, but only because when I show one of them to my therapist, he offers me a free session out of compassion.  Normally, he screws me out of a hundred and fifty quid which is a week's wages for three elves and a reindeer physiotherapist, so nothing to sneeze at. I would like to respond one by one to the requests you make in your letter (and I congratulate you for leaving it until November this year to write ... your usual early February mailing really is too optimistic.) 1. There is, I am afraid, no 'vanishing cream' which will actually melt away flesh.  Getting rid of flesh needs more drastic action.  Have you tried dieting?  (I suspect not, judging from your frequent requests for books entitled 'Losing Weight without Losing the Will to Live' and 'Dieting for the Terribly Greedy'.)  I could help you with the flesh-losing, th

Evidence that all my ideas for purposeful activities are gradually drying up

Someone who has accessed my blog got here by googling 'How to make Christmas last all day'. Should someone tell them?....... People type the strangest things into Google, though, and I love playing the game in which you type the beginning of a question in and see what other people have asked before you.  I shall try it with 'How to make Christmas ...' and see what comes up .... So, stay there a minute.  I'll be back with thrilling news, I'm sure ... .......BORING, or what?  All I got was 'how to make Christmas .......... crackers, cards, decorations and cake.  How tedious.  I wanted something like 'How to make Christmas bearable when surrounded by relatives' or 'How to make Christmas pudding calorie-free'.  No joy. Except that the last one was just 'How to make Christmas' and that person needs to know that this has already been done, but you need a baby, a manger, a virgin, a man in a teatowel, some stars, shepherds and

How to hold back time and keep the house tidy for longer - another not-a-Mommy-blogger post

Even though it's a while a few years ages since my children were small in the 1980s the 1880s just after the Romans left Britain, I remember well how quickly they grew up and changed from Sweet Little Baby to Marauding Destroyer.  You spend the first year of a child's life looking for all the early signs of the next stage - the smiling, the teeth, the eating solids, the crawling, the walking ... You celebrate the first time it pulls itself up on a chair and then its first few steps.  In fact, the first trip across the living room carpet usually gets a round of applause and when it trips over and bloodies its nose on the fireplace, hardly anyone notices, they're all so happy and eating lemon drizzle cake. But then the applause dies down, and what happens?  Your cream leather sofa has so many bite marks in it, it looks like Emmenthal.  Buttered toast has been crammed into the slot for the DVD and your Gordon Ramsay box set hasn't been the same since.  You can't co

Evidence that it's not just 3 year olds who ask stupid questions

Things I've thought today. 1. Why is that woman on my morning bus, who is actually reading a very slim book, moving her head, from the neck, side by side, in such an extreme fashion as though each page is a metre wide?  Does she suffer from 'read-the-margins-and-then-check-either-side-of-the-book-for-attackers' syndrome?  She looks like she's watching Wimbledon, not enjoying literature.  What does she look like when reading an encyclopaedia?  If she was reading a book in a language which reads up and down rather than from side to side, would her head eventually loosen at the neck and drop off?  How would other passengers feel as her head rolled down the aisle (perhaps still nodding, like chickens' heads do). 2. Why, while I'm fixing this stamp into the corner of an envelope, do I feel as though I am indulging in a nostalgic country craft of some kind, like building dry stone walls, or hammering horseshoes in a smithy?  I feel like I should be wearing a check

Reasons just to agree that your guitar is a violin and avoid complications

I was on the bus with my guitar. This isn't because only my guitar will agree to travel with me, although if you've read any of my other posts about what happens to me on buses, you would be forgiven for thinking this.  (Check out the 'Me on the buses' posts and make yourself feel better about your life.) Anyway, I'm here to tell you that if you get on a bus with a guitar, don't expect a quiet ride home.  Or to maintain any kind of good reputation in your local area. 'Got your violin, then?' one old chappie said, chortling, as I sat down on one of the seats at the front where you're sideways on to the rest of the passengers.  (I always hate this.  My profile isn't my best feature, which is a shame, as it's actually my face.  I would prefer to be able to say, 'My navel is not my best feature' or 'One of the toes on my right foot is not my best feature.'  My face? - that's kind of public.) So, the old man's chort

How to make Christmas and birthdays an extra-special day - another not-a-Mommy-blogger post

I hate to be immodest, but when it came to Christmas and birthday gifts for our kids, we were the best parents ever.  (Whaddya mean, was there space in the cave for 'gifts'?) I'd like to pass on the secrets of our success.  You often share with me how much my advice has helped you.  Yeah, maybe it helped some of you to a lawsuit, but c'est la vie, as they probably never even say in France. Every birthday and Christmas, our kids would come downstairs early to look at their pile of presents.  This didn't take long, because when I say pile, I need you to think 'gentle slope', not 'Everest heights'.  Okay, so forget what I said about being the best parents ever.  We were as mean as ... as mean as ... as mean as a brain which won't come up with a simile when it's asked nicely. The kids were only allowed to open one present before breakfast, though, and that present was on the breakfast table.  It was shaped like this ... ... only, it

Another fairy story shot to pieces by a simple typo

Once upon a time, there was a little girl called Red Riding Hoof. Everyone knew who Red Riding Hoof was.  Her family was a well-known one in the area - wealthy, and with a large house and stables.  They were all keen horsey people and often held gymkhanas and such-like.  So, it was difficult, in a small village community, to conceal the fact, as Red Riding Hoof galloped around on her pony, that one of her feet looked strikingly similar to those of the animal.  And, of course, there were stories about how it had happened, which belong to a different kind of blog altogether and will not be dealt with here. RRH was less worried about being eaten and more worried that if the wolf ripped back the blanket, the awful truth would be revealed.   Poor RRH, born with one normal foot and one hoof.   Her mother had intended calling her Ruth.  But when she was born, it was obvious that a pretty name like this wasn't going to do at all.  A conversation had ensued between RRH's mother

Evidence that the bus is where I really belong

I went in a taxi cab today.  I don't think I've taken a taxi alone for years and I had no idea what to do.  So, I have some questions about taxiquette ... 1. Was I right to sit in the back, even though there was only me?  By automatically opening the back door and getting in the back seat, was I saying, 'Hey, driver.  I'm cool with this.  I know what to do when I call a taxi'? or was I saying, 'I am a taxi virgin and you are probably an axe murderer.  The minute you turn round and even look at me, I'm out of here, buddy'? 2. Should one start a conversation, or is it the thing to keep quiet?  And if one does start a conversation, what does one say (apart from 'I have this annoying habit of saying 'one' when it's really such very old hat - can you advise me?)?  I didn't know whether to say, 'Nice weather today, eh?' or 'Lovely soft seats' or 'I like this song that's on the radio' or 'Hell, old chap,

How to have enjoyable mealtimes with your child - another Not-a-Mommy-Blogger advice post

Look, kid.  It's bad enough, you not eating.  I just don't need that stress as WELL as not knowing the answer to 43 Down in the crossword Okay, I admit it.  It's about fifteen years since I last uttered the words, 'Darling, please do finish up your tasty-wasty swede and squishy-squashy carrot, and then you can have yummy pudding-wudding, and then I can stop crying'.  This is because there is really only one context in which it is suitable to utter all these words together and that's with recalcitrant non-eating young children and I now have none of these.  My children are still recalcitrant, but they are all over 20, and they all now eat without being forced.  I have considered saying those words once or twice to people at posh dinner parties, just for the hell of it, but I've wisely held back, and left out the 'Darling'.  I pride myself on careful decorum at social occasions. Whose stupid idea was it anyway that mealtimes should come three ti

A fun idea for a game for which you will need dice and a bus

As you know, I love to play games. I have invented a new game which I play on the bus and am intending on inventing a new board game based on it.  It's called the 'If I Get on the Bus and it's Empty, Can I Possibly Ride all the Way Home Without Another Passenger Getting on and Spoiling my Fun?' game.  It's SUCH a hoot to play, and if I can get the board game marketed by Christmas, I'll be quids in, and will be rolling in cash, and won't need to be bothered at all about losing money because  THE NEWSPAPER COLUMN I HAVE HAD FOR TWO YEARS HAS BEEN DROPPED AND NO I'M NOT AT ALL UPSET ABOUT IT BUT DON'T HUG ME WHATEVER YOU DO.    I know you are excited about my game, and want to know the details even before the official board game comes into the shops (or, for an advance order, log on to my website at So, here are the rules. 9.35pm.  Get on the bus in the evening and find it gloriously empty, so that you have a