Showing posts from April, 2015

Evidence that even rejected writing can find another home

I like this passage from near the beginning of a book I was writing a year ago. It's a shame the main premise of the book got a big NO WAY  from a potential publisher. I enjoyed writing the two middle-aged characters, even if the story was flawed. The narrator has a friend, Beatrice, who stays with her overnight and is found murdered in her bed the next morning. Look, here’s a quick snapshot from the previous evening, a few hours before Beatrice died, just so you don’t judge me.  Here’s me in action, apron-clad, frying mince and onions and pouring Beatrice, who seemed in need of cheering up, a generous glass of red wine.  Here’s me saying, ‘So, how’s life at the B & B?’ and ‘I’m so glad you didn’t have any guests and could get away for a couple of days’ and giving her a second portion of blackberry and apple crumble.  Here’s me nattering to her about this and that, mainly this dead friend and that divorced one.  Strange, isn’t it, how getting past a certain age makes yo

Reasons why you should avoid reading anything in the mornings

I had a letter from the tax people this morning. It began exactly like this, with the first word in lower case and the rest in forceful capitals: Hi, MRS FRANCES ANNE HILL Is it me, or have the tax people not done the training module called 'Achieving a consistent tone'? On the other hand, I'm more irritated by letters which begin, 'Hiya Fran! We don't know you from Eve, and frankly we don't care, but would you like to donate £3,000 to our worthy cause?' To distract myself from having to think about tax, I had Special K for breakfast and read the back of the box while eating it. This shows you how desperate I was not to read the tax letter. There's a current, thrilling 'free personalised spoon' offer from Kelloggs and it goes like this: 1. I save 3 'vouchers' from three different boxes of Special K. 2. I email Kelloggs, giving the voucher numbers. 3. I give them the message I want written on my spoon handle. (I would choose

Evidence that people can be admired for all kinds of feats

Yesterday, a woman on the train who had no teeth was noshing her way through a whole Scotch egg as if it were an apple. (For the uninitiated, a Scotch egg is a hard-boiled egg wrapped in sausage meat and breadcrumbs and fried.) If you'd given me the choice between watching her eat a Scotch egg and not watching her eat a Scotch egg, I'd have plumped for the latter. But she was directly opposite me, and I admired both her skill and her total lack of self-consciousness. I didn't take a photo (one can get thrown off trains) but to help you imagine, here's a picture of a woman with no teeth. And here's a picture of a Scotch egg. This egg is a world-record beater for the largest Scotch egg made in a restaurant. The one she ate wasn't quite that impressive, but, to her, it may well have seemed that way. There are other tasks that could be compared with a woman with no teeth eating a whole Scotch egg. a) Someone eating a whole joint of roast beef

Reasons why teachers get nervous about Ofsted inspections

I thought, for the Easter weekend, I'd give you an extract from 'Miss', the book I'm editing, ready to tout it round agents and publishers. In the book, 'Miss' is worried about an imminent Ofsted inspection, her husband is going to walk out on her, fed up with her workaholism, and she is about to find out that his old flame will be one of her Ofsted inspectors .... I hope you enjoy the extract. I enjoyed writing it. Happy Easter holidays! As 11F arrived, jostling at the door with the tardier members of my tutor group, I remembered that Max King, my teaching assistant for this class, had a meeting with his line manager. Also, I'd left my photocopied worksheets on a shelf in the Reprographics room downstairs. ‘Right, Year 11. Settle yourselves. Phones away. Ties on.’ I turned to a blonde girl in the front row. She was critiquing her flawless face in a mirror. 'Maisie, sorry to interrupt your beauty routine, but I need a favour.'    She d