Showing posts from August, 2013

Reasons why Fran got home from holiday but immediately had to go out again

So, we left Malvern, and said goodbye to the beautifully decorated holiday house with the symmetrically-arranged glassware in the cupboards and impeccably laid-out kitchen tools described a few days ago in this post  here .  Here's a reminder of what the kitchen drawer looked like when we got there last Thursday. I did my best to leave it as I'd found it. Joke.  I found that picture on the Internet. We'd even got a little fond of the Monster Lamp , in a Stockholm Syndrome kind of way. We came home at midday to a house full of plaster dust and littered with tools and a man in our hall who said, 'Oh dear.  I thought you were coming home a bit later than this.'  It was our landlord, come to do some repairs. We've had a leak from our shower-over-the-bath for months, resulting in a collapse of the masonry underneath the bathroom and a hole in our hall's ceiling, just below the bath.  'Will the bath fall through the ceiling in that s

More things you didn't want to know about Fran's holiday experiences

We went to Worcester today.  My husband got bored wandering around the cathedral and fell asleep. So emBARRassing! Then we went into the crypt where there was an exhibition of ancient manuscripts.  I found this early copy of a letter (below) from a young monk who used to be employed many centuries ago.  It says, 'Dear Mum.  I'm having quite a nice time, but it is cold in this basement, and as they are making us wear dresses, and there's quite a breeze when you're walking across the cathedral green, I am glad you packed my thick woollen pants.  I know I complained at the time and said they were well old-fashioned, but you were right.  They have given me a very strange pen to write out the Gospels with, and I wonder if you could send me a packet of Biros instead. Finally, if you fancy visiting, that would be great, but we have a vow of silence, and I can't promise a two-sided conversation.  What's new, hey, Ma?  (Only joking.  I miss you.  Monks can't

Evidence that, when on holiday, Fran takes photos of really important things

I am on holiday in Malvern, Worcestershire.  Come along with me to see the sights.  Be warned, though.  I can't promise that any of them are in the 'Things you Must See' official brochures.  But who wants to see pictures of abbeys and ancient wells when you can see pictures of kitchenware and monster lamps instead? The Holiday Cottage wins the 'Tidiest Kitchen Drawers in the World' Award 2013 And the 'Most Symmetrically Organised Kitchen Cupboards in the World' Award, too. SUCH a shame to have to spoil the arrangement in order to pour wine, but SOMEone has to do it. On a different note, there's a Monster Lamp which hangs, like a threat, in the middle of the living room.  It is seriously scary.  Stephen King should write about it. Here it is again, shown in proportion next to a human hand, which it was just about to eat, before my husband whipped it away and denied the Monster Lamp its evil desire. But even Mo

Evidence that being on the bus never fails to provide Fran with inane blog material

As Julie Andrews famously sang in 'The Sound of Music' ...  "Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens Bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens Really long bus rides with a 'stop' bell that pings These are a few of my favourite things." I agree with Julie.  There's nothing better than a long bus ride and if I don't have one at least once a week, I get a tremor. I've written before about my favourite Warwickshire bus, the G1.  One of the local G1 buses has a STOPPING sign at the front that lights up when you press the bell, but on which the STOP bit of the word has broken, so that the only bit which lights up says PING! .   I think that's just brilliant, and if they ever mend it, I'm going to write to the Chief of Buses and say Why Are You Ruining My Life?  I may even send them a poem. My best thing Is that broken ping. I'd do anything to see it back agin. It makes me want to dance. It makes me want to sing. I th

Evidence that Fran's obsession with grammar decreases not as the years pass

An elegiac sonnet to mark the tragic demise of Mr Semi-Colon We gather here today to pay respect; he suffered much but then could take no more. He lies here now; his time of pain has gone, released at last from years of being ignored. His early days had seen him rise to fame as someone who could punctuate a list of items far too long for comma use; he made sure readers wouldn’t lose the gist. A main achievement was the way he’d join two sentences; this was so efficacious when using a full stop was too abrupt and using a conjunction too loquacious.                 Alas, we used him less and less and less;                 we unappreciated him to death. Postscript: Inspired by this, Frances Garrood has written a poem about the exclamation mark.  Go over here now  to look at it.  

Evidence that one's learning can continue even while one is enjoying a weekend's mini-break

Three important lessons learned from a weekend in the Cotswolds. Lesson 1.  Don't ever say to your horticulturally-minded husband in a botanical garden, 'Hey, look, that lily plant is broken.'  The chances are, despite what he KNOWS about how lily pollen can stain, he will more or less climb INTO the bush to help out the stricken stems. Fran's husband was regretting only bringing one sweater for the weekend away. Lesson 2 . A book soaked in beer is not as pleasant to read as a book not soaked in beer. I'm reading 'The Help' by Kathryn Stockett for the second time in preparation for teaching it to A level English Lit students in September.  I recommend you read it, although preferably a beer-free version. We were in a lovely Cotswold pub and my husband went off to fetch some drinks.  I got my book out to read it. Then, when he came back, one of us - I won't say who because it'll only embarrass him - oops, too late! - knocked over his gl