Showing posts from December, 2010

Reasons why I feel unprepared for the New Year

Right. I'm sure I can cope once it turns midnight.   Just need a little practice ..... "Twothousanununeleven." "Twothousanlevelven." "Twothousanunelevenen." "Twothousandanunleaven." "Twothousanelevenun." "Twothousanun ..." Okay, sod that for a game of soldiers.  I'll try the easier way. "Twentyeeeeeeleven." "Twentyleven." "TwentyEEEEE (big gap to delineate the words)  EEEleven." I give up.  Whose stupid idea was it to have us nununununning and ee-ee-ee-ee-ing all over the place?  Did no one consult a speech therapist before plunging us into this decade? I'm off to bed.  I feel an eejit anyway, sitting in front of my computer practising saying a date when everyone else is out enjoying fireworks with friends. Before I go, though, I'll wish you all a Happy New Ne ... Happy New Yew ... Happy N ... All good wishes for the year ahead. (And, for your in

Advice to literary characters about their New Year Resolutions

I'm not making any of my own New Year Guaranteed-Total and Depressing Failures Resolutions.  Instead, I thought I'd make a list of New Year resolutions which some literary characters should have made .... Resolutions that would have made these characters' lives easier, and the stories a hell of a lot shorter ..... Red Riding Hood: When taking cakes to grandparents, avoid anyone with hirsuitism. Pilgrim: Steer clear of Sloughs. Gulliver: Don't ever lie down in someone else's country. Dr Frankenstein: Use different materials for my sewing hobby. Madame Bovary: Read up on how long the effects of arsenic last. Dr Jekyll: Learn to live with my self selves Jude the Obscure: Refuse to be a character in any of Hardy's novels Holden Caulfield: Revise. Jay Gatsby: Never let the woman drive. Piggy: Lose weight before any journey on a plane. Lennie Small: don't hold on for quite so long. Mr Bennet: Develop a hearing problem. Dorian Gray: Jus

Evidence that trying to make sense of anything is a futile occupation

Let's play Spot the Link .  Here are some happenings from my day.  Can you see the connection between them all?  (That question was ironic and you will see why later.) Happening 1 .   Online chat.   I am learning to use the chat facility on Skype so I can talk to The Daughter in Japan .  The randomness of the resulting conversations, with one person typing a response to a question which was asked two questions ago, takes some getting used to when you're forty-blah and do that What-Did-I-Come-Up-Here-For? thing at the top of the stairs at least once a day. A couple of excerpts ... a) hello, are you there? why.  has everyone else gone out?  what time is it 11:41 Mostly.  Hello. i'm so bored b) sounds good. i need to start writing that essay, but i still have no idea what to write ben barnes!  oh wow.  that will be a trip to london ... did you just have to google ben barnes to find out who he was? ah yes - which essay was this?  the one about the proof that religion i

Advice about how to make the festive season memorable for Grandma and Grandpa

Hell's bells! (Not the most appropriate festive expression, I know.)  Yes, all the fuss and bustle of Christmas is over but you still have the whole family, which covers the entire age range, staying over until New Year!  What to do? Well, there's always the 'hang yourself in the bathroom' option, but, let's face it, what a waste of your new silk dressing gown cord when Fran has advice for you which could change everything. Grandma and Grandpa will be finding things particularly difficult.  You can tell, because they will be making the following comments about the children.  (Note that these are invariably made in the third person, directed to a parent.) 1. Does she have to answer her mobile phone at the table? 2. Won't he get square eyes if he looks at that computer much longer? 3. Isn't one chocolate enough for a small child? 4. Do the children always choose their own clothes to wear? 5. When do the children have their nap? 6. Should they be all

Reasons why no one should have let Scrooge near a musical instrument ...

Have you heard the album of songs which Scrooge has just released?  It's called 'Christmas Tunes for the Truly Miserable'.  Here's his playlist. I'm D reaming of  Hoping There Won't Be a White Christmas As I Can't Stand the Sound of Happy Children Let it Snow Sleet and Hail and Keep Everyone Off the Streets and from Laughing Outside my Window Jingle Can-Someone-Stop-Making-that-God-Awful-Clanging-Noise-or-I'll-Throw-Something-I-Swear Bells I Saw Mummy Kissing Slapping and Kicking Santa Claus Underneath the Mistletoe Last Night Have yourself a Merry Truly Awful Little Christmas Then Perhaps You'll Think Again Next Year All I want for Christmas is You A Bit of Peace and Quiet if that's Not Too much to Ask Frosty the Snowman Pile of Slush that No one Bothered to Do Anything With and Too Right, I Say Rocking Around Slobbing on the Sofa wondering whether to bother with the Christmas Tree Everyone's Driving Home For Me Mad at Christmas

Advice about how to make Christmas really memorable for the kiddies - another not-a-Mommy-blogger post

Of COURSE you want to make Christmas special for the little ones!  What parent doesn't?  The kiddies need experiences at Christmas which they will talk about for years to come.  I was the same when I was a young parent (and that was before Sellotape was invented and we had to use moose skins and catgut to wrap the Fisher Price kitchen set).  We did everything we could to make Christmas especially memorable, and I'd like to pass on a couple of ideas so you can do the same. 1. Teach the truth about Santa in a way they will always remember.   Children never forget the Christmas during which they find out that Santa is not real.   Don't leave it to an older sibling or a cousin to break the news - often the job is very unsatisfactorily done because the kiddie begins to cry uncontrollably and the sibling/cousin doesn't have the guts to go through with it.  So, as a responsible parent, it's up to you to make sure the moment really is unforgettable.  Follow these easy sta

Evidence that posting twice in a day is possible but only when a bolting reindeer is involved

Watch Rudolf go in this BBC video  .... Rudolf the Reindeer makes a bid for freedom As Rudolf had said to the police earlier on that day ...  'Look, Inspector.  It's like this.  Guys mention your shiny nose once - you just ignore them.  Twice - well, okay, they're jerks, but you stay cool.  Three, four times - it gets kinda annoying.  Five, six, seven - you give them a little nudge with your hoof to let them know you're no sucker.   But three thousand four hundred and seventy nine times?  No one can take that kind of hassle and stay calm, especially when they insist on singing the damn song each time, too.  So, I bribed an elf to attach spikes to the ends of my antlers (these elves are mugs when it comes to illegal height hormone drugs) and then, next time they started the old shiny nose routine, I picked them all off one by one.  Yeah, I know.  Gory.  But, look, that's a lot of meat lying around just now if you're looking for an alternative to turkey for

Reasons why I am glad that I only exfoliate in the summer

We were just on our way back from the shops, slipping and sliding in freezing conditions, and I was in the MIDDLE of saying, 'Maybe we should cross the road because it'll be less icy over there'. Suddenly, I found myself sailing through the air like something shot from a catapult, only much bigger (fatapult?).  I landed inelegantly on my hands and knees in an inch of snow and ice, coming to a halt only because I haven't exfoliated my kneecaps for a while so there was a good friction thing going on as I slid. Moral of the story: if you're going to say things like 'Maybe we should cross the road because it'll be less icy over there', say it rapidly and get it over with, just in case you fall over while you're saying it. (This incident was my punishment, I know, for having written that last post about dying while you're singing on stage.) Of course, it was a nice quiet road, so there was no one to see.  Phew.  Lucky or what? Was it hell a ni

Reasons why one should do useful things with a free evening and not just let the mind wander ...

Don't ask me why I suddenly thought of this (the strangest things happen inside this head of mine), but I was just thinking, if I ever became a famous singer and then died on stage, what would be the WORST song to be midway through at the time?...... A moment like this Achy Breaky Heart Against all Odds (Take a Look at Me Now) Angel of the Morning At Last Bright eyes Breathe Bury me Deep Inside Your Heart Bye Bye Love Can't You Hear my Heartbeat? Everything I do, I do it For You Forever and always Heaven Must be Missing an Angel I left my Heart in San Francisco I will survive I'll stand by you Killing me softly My heart will go on My Way Nobody Does it Better Out of Reach PS I Love You Perfect Day Poetry in Motion Quit Playing Games with my Heart Save the Best Till Last Someone to Watch Over Me Still Suddenly Take My Breath Away Take the Keys to my Heart The Show Must Go On Unbreak my heart Up Where we Belong Vanishing We've only Jus

Reasons why I will never become a theatrical costume designer

The picture of Tara's little boy in a toga over at her funny  Sticky Fingers blog  reminded me of the day we sent one of our kids off to play a Roman in her junior school play but with the wrong costume. It had been a big rush to get her out of the door and to the school for the evening's performance, for which she had rehearsed and practised so much we were sure it would all go like a dream.  We gave her the plastic carrier bag - one of those cheapies from the supermarket - which I   was convinced  contained her incredibly complicated toga costume of a white sheet and three safety pins (no, I never was that kind of mother), hustled her out of the door and over to school to prepare for the evening show.   We came back for a while and sat at home having a cup of coffee as we weren't due to be at the school until later for the performance.  Then the phone rang.  It was one of the teachers from the school.  Did we realise that we had sent the wrong bag?  If we didn't g

Reasons why you should always have a wheelbarrow with you when you're especially hungry

I ate this flapjack today the size of a garden wall. Here's a picture of a flapjack just in case you're from Uruguay/America/Japan/the Philippines/Scotland/the posh area a few streets away and speak a different language from me. And here's a picture of a garden wall in case ditto. I ate the flapjack on the bus home because I'd had no lunch and so after work, on the way to get the bus, I went into the health food shop (ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! ha ha ha flippin' ha!) and just picked up the first thing I could see. There was a very good reason why it was the first thing I could see.  Let me just remind you why that was. In the shop, the assistant asked me if I wanted a bag for it.  'A bag?' I said.  'You have one that will take this?'  'Yeah, sure,' she said.  'We have a few here from the garden wall shop next door - they had spares.'  She held one up to show me.  'See?' she

Evidence that one extra consonant can do a lost of harmy

Once upon a time, there were three bearks  I mean three bearts I mean three bearfs .  (Oh no!  Don't tell me I'm having one of those add-an-extra-consonant-by-mistake days!)   Here is a picture of the three of them.   The three beards were very happy living together in a cottage in the woods.  They got up each morning and breakfasted together.   Here is what they breakfasted on. Passers-by, peering in through the windows, were often fascinated by the sight of these three beards sitting at the table eating their coats, munching on a sleeve or two and crunching on buttons.  But the beards were perfectly happy and often agreed together that bits of coats didn't stay around on one the way spaghetti or soup often did.  In fact, the three beards had a neighbour who exemplified just this problem. So, the three beards had every reason to be happy with their lives.  Until, one day, they h

Evidence that I am wasted as a teacher and should take up a career as a personal shopper

The shop assistant's face had that 'why did they let her out of the asylum and into the public domain?' look on it and she glanced sympathetically at my husband as if to commiserate with him.  The look he gave her back said, 'She's like this all the time.  You get used to her after a while.' I'm not sure the assistant has many customers in who have to approach the long mirror in lots of different ways before deciding whether to buy a jacket.  But for me it's the only way to be sure it's the right choice. Five ways to approach a shop mirror in a new jacket (and if you're pleased with the result each time, it's the right jacket for you): 1. The 'Hide behind a display of clothing then suddenly leap out in front of the mirror' approach.  This one gives you the same impression as when you suddenly spot yourself in one of those brown-glassed shop windows in the street when you weren't expecting it.  If you can stand yourself in th

Santa's therapist writes to me

I dunno.  Not only do I get complaining letters from Santa himself  but now his therapist has begun a correspondence with me.  (What a silly, silly, silly man .... does he know what he's letting himself in for?) Dear Fran I hope you don't mind me using your first name.  I do keep asking Santa what your surname is, but I am afraid that he has enough trouble saying 'F ...  F .. Fr .... Fra .... Fran' without falling to the ground in a stupor and screaming 'No!  No!  Don't let her near me!'  and I don't like to push him further. I have been seeing Santa for a few years now.  Do you remember when you sent that first letter in the year 2002?  Well, it would have been that year when he called me and asked for an appointment.  When I say, 'he' called me, I mean one of his elves, for my first few visits to Santa had to take place at his own home, where he was tucked up in bed with a bright red blanket and several elves mopping his brow and feeding