Showing posts from October, 2014

Reasons to look out of windows - a guest post by Deborah Jenkins

I promised you some Deborah Jenkins and here she is, guest posting for me about windows. Enjoy..........   Windows When you enter a strange room, what’s the first thing you do? Introduce yourself? Admire pictures?  Plump for the comfy chair? Perhaps you’re a circulator or you do a quick reccy of the room checking for exits and extinguisher positions in case of fire. Perhaps you sniff the air, appreciatively or otherwise, for signs of flowers or body odour. Perhaps you sidle. I like sidlers. I used to be one years ago. The art is to flatten yourself wafer thin against a wall and move, crab-like, towards the nibbles. If you are quick – small, jerky movements work best – no one will notice you, because they’ll be too busy admiring pictures, testing the sofa etc. And by the time they’ve finished, you’ll be sitting on a dining chair shovelling cheese straws for all you’re worth and they’ll mistake the smell for body odour and leave you alone… Well, these days I don’t do any of

Evidence that Fran does get the occasional invitation despite the risks

I don't get many invitations these days.  That's what happens when, at people's dinners and parties, you tell the same jokes again and again, like this one. A customer goes into a fish and chip shop and says, 'Can I have a steak and kiddly pie, please?' 'A steak and kiddly pie?' says the shop assistant.  'Surely you mean steak and kidney?' 'But I said that, diddle I?' says the customer. One of the reasons I love that joke is that I can use it to start off lessons about phonology (speech sounds).  It doesn't always work.  Often I say, 'Let me start the lesson by telling you this joke ..' and the students say, 'Is it the one about the steak and kiddly pie?' and I say, 'Oh, damn.  Have I already done that?' and they yawn and say, 'Yes, about fifty times.  Could you just teach us the lesson and then we can go?' Anyway, having said I don't get many invitations, I did have one this week, and tha

Evidence that one vowel can make all the difference to a fairy tile

Once upon a time, there was a big mix-up about vowels across the kingdom.  Hence, the not-so-well-known story of the three ..... One morning, the three beers were having breakfast.  Things weren't going well.  Yet again, Mother and Father Beer were perturbed.  'How come,' they said, 'we have a son who is exactly the same size as us?  What the hell happened to hierarchy?' It was true.  Baby Beer, at the tender age of seven, was as tall and as wide as both parents.  When they went shopping, and Mother Beer met a friend, it was always awkward, introducing Baby Beer.  When she said, 'And this is my son,' her friends sniggered behind their hands, and patted the heads of their own diminutive offspring indulgently. Every morning, the Beer parents awoke, hoping that in the night some miraculous process would have returned Baby Beer to a normal size.  They dressed him in age 7 pyjamas, even though it was a strain to get the buttons done up.  They put hi

Evidence that, for one thing, Fran's going to leave litter where it is

Things I did this week that made me feel silly. Sillier. 1.  A child at school barged through a door rather than holding it open for me, so that I had to stand aside, and I apologised and thanked him automatically.   2. On my way to an A level class, I picked up three chocolate bar wrappers and a sandwich wrapper in a school corridor, intending to find the nearest bin, but then couldn't see one.  I arrived at my lesson clutching the sheaf of wrappers, looking as though I'd binged on fast food between the English Department and the Sixth Form Centre.  And I felt as guilty as if I had. 3. In bed one night this week, I dreamt about a giant wooden spider - imagine an arachnoid Trojan Horse, with elbow joints - and woke myself up yelling 'Aarrrggggh!' 4. I was on a train from London to Leamington Spa and an elegant* lady sat next to me, trim and fashionably-dressed.  I tried not to doze off, but I did, and woke with a sudden snort.  To her credit, she didn't mo