Saturday 31 May 2014

An opportunity for fame?

Today, John received a letter from the police to say that he'd been caught speeding.  But casting our minds back, we realised I was probably the driver (we'd just swapped over). Bad news all round, you might think.

But hush...what's that I hear? The tinkle of the bell of opportunity? For if indeed it was John, and we say it was me, and we get caught, and tell a lot of lies, and go to prison (like the notorious Chris Huhne and his ex), and I then write a book, it may well sell  far better than anything I've written so far. Ok, so we aren't MPs, but it's a start, isn't it? Vicky Price's experiences were published in a national newspaper after her release, so why not mine?

So in a way, I hope it was me, and we say it was John, and we get caught and etc. etc. etc......

Sunday 25 May 2014

Magpie 221

'If''. The alternative.

If you can fill your room with junk and clutter,
And still contrive to find your (unmade) bed.
If you withstand your parents' angry mutter
And play your music extra loud, instead.
If you can hoard your dirty mugs and dishes
And grow green mould therein, and cease to mind,
Stand fast against your teachers' well-meant wishes,
And, stalwart, keep your place in class (behind).
If you can eat three plates of food at mealtimes
And still have room for cereal in between,
And leave your dirty garments where you dropped them,
So everyone can tell where you have been.
If you can leave the jobs you're meant to do, lad,
And make quite sure that they remain undone,
Yours is this room, and everything that's in it.
You've now become a teenager, my son!

Dedicated to T, B and J.( But particularly T.)

(With thanks to Tess at Magpie Tales for the picture, and apologies to Kipling)

Saturday 24 May 2014

Poem from Death Row

Received in my latest letter this week:


Why would I ever get out of  bed
When facing the day means facing the dead.
Still I arise and herein lies death
That no dream can conquer though what else is left
Other than surrendering to this reality, or run
Screaming into the medicinal haze that blots out the sun.
By which I mean that human reason alone
Cannot be of help where the sun has not shone.

So catalogue your memories, or throw them away,
And let the magic moments fall where they may,
Each like a snowflake in its majestic flight
That fades into nothing in the darkness of night.
My mind's eye cares not in the least
Whether the sun rises in the west or sets in the east.
All these emptying cells* still fill me with dread
As I wake every morning to go face the dead.

*Texas has already executed seven people this year. They had been on death row from between ten and twenty years. Many of those still waiting have been there for much longer.

Thursday 22 May 2014

European elections. A very dull post

To earn the vote, brave women fought,
And so today, I know I ought
To go and put my little cross.
But I'm reluctant to, because -
And here's my point - do you, like me,
Know nothing about your MEP?

(Plus, it's pouring with rain.)

Monday 19 May 2014

A small but satisfactory triumph

Do the words "self-assemby" strike terror into your  hearts? Of course, if one were to be pernickerty  - perish the thought - the words should mean that the item in question, upon its release from its mountains of packaging, jumps to it and assembles itself, but no matter.  It doesn't. And when the chair illustrated - that actual chair - arrived, it was in a flat box. Flat. Hmm.

John and I are not handy. Not at all. No DIY for us, but DISEPASAP (do it somebody else, please, as  soon as possible). So, the box sat in the hallway for a few hours, while we thought about it. But we couldn't leave it like that, and in the absence of handy sons (where are you, B, when I need you?), it was up to us. Me, as it happens.

Reader, I assembled it. No bad words passed my lips, not even when I found that there were not one but two kinds of screws, varying ever so slightly in size, and I'd used the wrong ones in the wrong (right?) place. The instructions, such as they were, were all in pictures, so no useful words to assist me. But notwithstanding interruptions (son asking for chicken stew recipe; neighbour locking herself out of her house. That kind of thing), it was finished in...well... it was finshed anyway.

My biggest mistake was to assemble it downstairs, rather than in situ, thus having to lug it up two flights of stairs, putting both myself and chair at risk (I wanted to surprise John, which was why I didn't ask for help. He nearly got a bigger surprise than I'd planned. I have a history of breaking my back falling downstairs).

That's all. Just a little boast (I don't expect anyone who doesn't know me to be in the least impressed).

Friday 16 May 2014

Of toadstools and survival

Adrian has posted today about, among other things, edible toadstools, which put me in mind of a wonderful book much beloved of one of my sons when young.

It's The SAS Survivors' Handbook, and it will tell you exactly which fungi you can and can't eat. As I commented on Adrina's page, we came home from an evening out to find said son, handbook in hand, feeding pieces of a toadstool he'd found to our elderly babysitter (she survived, I'm glad to say).

Other useful tips included what to do when your vehicle starts to roll towards the edge of a cliff. Since you ask, I seem to recall that the answer involved rolling into a ball, and then hurling yourself out of the car door. Have you got that? Roll first; hurl afterwards.

You  may thank me one day.

Wednesday 14 May 2014

Confession time

No. Nothing juicy, I'm afraid. But I'm still ashamed.

Since Christmas, we have been in thrall to the boxed set of the American series 24. If you haven't seen it, and you don't want to write off several months of your life, then avoid it like the proverbial plague. It is totally, utterly addictive (see the reviews on Amazon if you don't believe me). We were given the first series for Christmas, and borrowed the other seven from a riding companion of mine.

Now it's finished, and we have emerged blinking into the bright light of normal life, like Mole in The Wind  in the Willows. And we are totally lost. In fact, last night, I'm sorry to say, we watched the first two episodes (of 192. Yes. 192) again.

This has to stop. I think we need help.

Monday 12 May 2014

Of crisp packets and condoms

There was an abundance of both these items scattered over the pavement outside our library this morning. Someone must have had one hell of a party (the condoms had

That's all. But it/they did set me wondering. As you do. (Not exactly material for a story, sadly, and not enough plot for a novel. A poem, perhaps? Nah.)

Sunday 11 May 2014

Magpie 219


Try "wandering lonely as a cloud
That floats on high oe'er vales and hills",
You said. But  there's  been some mistake.
You promised there'd be daffodils!
"Beneath the trees", "beside the lake", you said.
Well, It was all a fake.

From now on, you can make the tea.
For me. Your sister, Dorothy.

(With thanks to Tess at Magpie Tales for the picture)

Thursday 8 May 2014

Of bucket lists

It seems fashionable at the moment to have a bucket list. I've never given this much thought, but if I went in for bucket lists, mine would be a bit like this:

My bucket used to contain the following;

1. Become a ward sister (tick).
2. Have at least six babies (two thirds of a tick. Husband only wanted two, but I did manage to persuade him into two more. After that, he put his foot down. I'd better add that I love my "babies" just as much now they're grown up, in case B sees this).
3. Be a Relate counsellor (tick. I absolutely loved it).
4. Sell some stories (tick).
5. Have a novel published (tick).
6. Be a grandmother (tick, though not really my own achievement).
7. Have my own horse again (I had one as a child).

What's left in the bucket includes:
1. Visit South America (not much chance, for a variety of reasons).
2. Rent an enormous house somewhere warm with beautiful sea/weather/views/food etc and have my entire family to stay(no chance).
3. Read all of Trollope (Anthony, of course).
4. Have singing lessons (yes. Really).
5. Write a best-seller (hah).
6. Be invited onto Desert Island Discs (no chance at all. Sad, that, as I have my list of music all ready).
7. Gallop a horse along a long, sandy beach (I have the horse, but not the beach, so no chance).

 What's in your bucket list (if you have one)?