Saturday, April 18, 2015

Blogging A to Z: P is for Johnny Potato VC

Now I have a  true "P" story to tell you folks tonight. (Believe it or not.) The story is about the potato you see below. I've called him Johnny and I've assigned him a place of privilege on my desk.

Johnny Potato relaxing with  Sgt Percy Pencil,  Corporal Dickie Pen, Bombardier  Bertie Biro and company.

Now Johnny is no ordinary potato. He is a very special potato. He is a potato who has survived extremely hazardous living condition with little access to air, food and water. He has survived sustained bombardment from heavy objects and missiles. He has survived daily verbal and physical abuse at the hands of the enemy.

Readers, if Johnny Potato was a war veteran he would be awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery. For Johnny has done what no other potato has done before and what no other living creature would dare to even attempt.

So what exactly has Johnny Potato done?

Johnny Potato has spent six whole weeks in the depths of Master Benedict's school rucksack.

Yes, that's right. Six whole weeks.

Johnny Potato went into Master Benedict's school rucksack on March 5th ready to face certain death as part of Operation Shepherd's Pie. But, against all the odds and against all the hardships known to man and potato, Johnny has emerged victorious.

Johnny Potato is what we call in the UK a "Bloody Hero"

You can check out the other Blogging A to Z candidates HERE.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Blogging A to Z : O is for Oranges

I have been out all day in London at Foyles Book shop in Charing Cross Road attending a self-publishing event and book fair, so I'm afraid this is another (very) last minute pictorial post. On oranges. Yeah, I know - pathetic - but they were the first "O"s to spring to mind.

Anyway oranges are not just for eating and scented candles. I use mine for therapy. You know - like some folks listen to music or sing to wind down at the end of the day.

So I make models with my oranges. Here's my latest efforts.

Cool Dude Orange

Sultan Orange
Hellraiser Orange

Well I feel far more chilled now. Cool. Beats singing any day.

And so to bed!

You can check out the other Blogging A to Z candidates HERE.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Blogging A to Z: N is for No

Saying "No" is not always easy. People can get very upset when you say "No" abruptly. That's why I find it easier to soften the blow in tricky situations. Here's a few examples:

Q.  Do you fancy going to bed early? ( *cough, cough* )

A.  I haven't washed for three days but I'm game if you are.

Q.  Have you ironed my shirts?

A.  Which one were you thinking of?

Q. Can I have an Xbox One, Mum?

A. Is that for Christmas next year?

Q. Mum, will you pay my rent?

A. I'll have to ask your father but I warn you, he's in a bad mood.

Q. Mum, can we go on holiday this year?

A. It's not safe abroad. They don't have proper toilets and the people speak funny languages.

Q. Can we go to America then? I'm sure they have toilets and speak English.

A. You shouldn't believe everything you see on the telly.

Q. You know that story you tell about being related to the Queen. Is it true?

A. Yes.

Q. What about that story about you wrestling with an alligator? Is that true?

A. What is it with all these questions? It's like the Spanish Inquisition. Haven't I always told you to respect your elders?

Q. Is that a yes or a no?

A. I can't hear you. I think I'm losing my hearing.

AND for a chance to win a copy of The Changing Room and A Modern Life and many other prizes you can enter this giveaway celebrating the Indie Author Fair at Foyles Bookshop on 17th April 2015 4-7.30pm 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Blogging A to Z: M is for Moaning and Monopoly

I've been thrown a few topics to talk about today and I've decided to plump for two: moaning and Monopoly.

So let's get straight on with the moaning. (It's a speciality.)

Monopoly must be the most boring game EVER. AS a child, I was often coerced into playing it but the truth is I would have preferred Russian roulette. Yep, if there had been a choice between 4 hours of Monopoly or a 1 in 6 chance of blowing my brains out I know which one I'd have chosen.

Now there are lots of hideously boring things about Monopoly. Chiefly, it is not played with real money. I mean who wants to play with fake banknotes? Not me. I want to play for the big bucks. I mean screwing your sibling over some fake paltry rental for The Strand can't possibly compare with the chance to screw him for a grand and blow his cash on some designer earrings. 

Here's another reason to dislike Monopoly - somebody else always gets to be the dog. When I was a kid I always wanted to be the cute little Scottie dog but, no, I always ended up as the iron, It's no wonder I have an aversion to ironing and household chores - I was traumatized by years stuck in jail with a deadly boring iron who had absolutely nothing to say for itself.

However, there's worse than just being the iron and in jail - you could be both of those AND the only houses you own are the two crappy brown ones.

Now that sort of scenario is the kind that makes marriage to Tom Cruise look attractive.

You know, when my siblings and I were playing Monopoly and I wanted to be the dog, I also thought how nice it would be to be a real dog. In fact, I often gazed enviously at our doggie whilst he scratched his butt, licked his assets and slept for three or four hours. The only light relief I got was by faking the onset of diarrhea and making periodic escapes to the bathroom.

However. because I am a positive person and like to see the good in everything (even in board games that clearly should be outlawed) I can say that there is, surprisingly, one good thing about Monopoly - it is excellent for driving away unwelcome household guests.  In fact, I keep my Monopoly board right by the front door and then if anyone drops by and I don't want to invite in them I just say; "Oh great, you're just in time for a game of Monopoly!"

Works a treat. Except for Jehovah Witnesses. You have to use Russian Roulette to see them off.

A fate worse than death.
AND for a chance to win a copy of The Changing Room and A Modern Life and many other prizes you can enter this giveaway celebrating the Indie Author Fair at Foyles Bookshop on 17th April 2015 4-7.30pm a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Blogging A to Z: L is for Love, Loss and Laughter

So I threw open my letter L word to my Facebook friends again this morning with the intention of writing this post well before midnight.

Unfortunately, I got distracted by a ping on my email this afternoon which heralded some disappointing news. So my midnight deadline is fast approaching and here I am making a start at 10.30 pm. Bah humbug!

So anyway, this afternoon my email involved news that would constitute a "loss". In the scheme of life it is not so great a loss that it is not recoverable from and it in no way compares to the loss of loved ones, pets, lovers, the loss of limbs or anything remotely so tragic. But it was nevertheless a "loss" and an untimely one at that.

Loss is a subject I deal with in my novel The Changing Room which may come as a surprise to those of you who have not read it, especially given its saucy slapstick cover. But loss is a big part of our lives and I wanted to write an uplifting story about overcoming loss and moving forward; a tale that offered hope and inspiration to people going through difficult times - in particular middle-aged women, like myself, who are often torn between many roles and facing difficult choices.

Of course we each have our own way of dealing with the traumatic times in our lives. For me, sharing love and laughter is a big part of the healing process and that is why my book has far more love and laughter in it than loss. Whilst I think it is good to reflect upon one's past - it is also something that cannot be changed and so I believe it is best to look to the future. Preferably with a smile upon your face and hope in your heart.

So to finish my story, I came home late tonight from tennis practice with my boys. I had not yet told the good Mr T of my disappointing news. "Come over here," he said. "I want to show a picture of something I thought I might buy you."

The picture was of a diamond pendant about the size of a postage stamp.

Well naturally, as diamonds are a girl's best friend, I liked it a lot. (Almost as much as I like one of giant-sized boxes of Maltesers.)

So I consider myself very lucky. I have a lot of love and laughter in my life. And I know when I get up tomorrow, whatever the weather, the sun will be shining.

You can check out the other Blogging A to Z candidates HERE.

Previous posts: A is for Arses and Aidan Turner
                         B is for Bullshit
                         C is for Chinese Crispy Duck and the Conservative Party.
                         D is for Diarrhea, Dinosaurs and Depauperation
                         E is for Eulogy for the Earth
                         F is for Ferrero Rocher
                         G is for Guns and Girls
                         H is for Hope and Horny Jelly Men
                        I is for Igloos, Ignorance and Iguanas 
                        J is for Jason Statham
                        K is for Kings and Kinkiness

Monday, April 13, 2015

Blogging A to Z: K is for Kings and Kinkiness

Kings and kinkiness are subjects I know a lot about.

Now before you jump to conclusions, the reason I know about these subjects is because I've studied history. And, as anyone who's studied history knows, kings have a habit of being kinky and have been dropping their pants at will since the dawn of civilization. 

The most notable of the kinky kings was, of course, King Henry VIII. Now I need to explain that the "VIII" is not just because Henry was the eighth Henry to sit on the English throne but because he was affectionately known amongst the royal circles as "Eight-Times-A-Night-Henry."

That's right. Eight times a night. And that's after a ten course meal and a flagon of wine. 

Anyhow, there have been many theories about the cause of Henry's death including syphilis, Type 2 diabetes and Mcleod syndrome. But the truth is - he died from exhaustion.

That's what happens when you have too many mistresses, six wives and you have to pull your tights up and down all day and night.

I get exhausted just pulling on my pop socks. I think I went wrong somewhere.

Workshop of Hans Holbein the Younger - Portrait of Henry VIII - Google Art Project.jpg
Henry always stood with his legs apart for a reason.
You can check out the other Blogging A to Z candidates HERE.

Previous posts: A is for Arses and Aidan Turner
                         B is for Bullshit
                         C is for Chinese Crispy Duck and the Conservative Party.
                         D is for Diarrhea, Dinosaurs and Depauperation
                         E is for Eulogy for the Earth
                         F is for Ferrero Rocher
                         G is for Guns and Girls
                         H is for Hope and Horny Jelly Men
                        I is for Igloos, Ignorance and Iguanas 
                        J is for Jason Statham

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Blogging A to Z: J is for Jason Statham

It's Saturday night and, as usual, I am running late posting my A to Z blog. So I am going to cheat and have a mainly pictorial post.

And what better subject than Jason Statham.

Blimey, he's pretty hot isn't he, ladies? He makes me all goey. That's as much as I am going to say as this is a family-friendly blog and I have a reputation to maintain.

Now because I forgot to write about haikus in my "H post" I thought I'd use some in my tribute to the lovely Jason. I should, however, point out that I am not particularly good at haikus but I am going to give it my very best shot.

Jason Statham TIFF 2011.jpg
picture courtesy of wikipedia

Jason is very cool
Even though he is bald
Sometimes he wears a flat cap

Jason kicks lots of ass
Unfortunately not mine
I would pay though

Jason and Vin Diesel in Fast and Furious
I am so going to watch it

Jason has a big gun
His aim is accurate
He doesn't have to lift the toilet seat

You can check out the other Blogging A to Z candidates HERE.

Previous posts: A is for Arses and Aidan Turner
                         B is for Bullshit
                         C is for Chinese Crispy Duck and the Conservative Party.
                         D is for Diarrhea, Dinosaurs and Depauperation
                         E is for Eulogy for the Earth
                         F is for Ferrero Rocher
                         G is for Guns and Girls
                        H is for Hope and Horny Jelly Men
                        I is for Igloos, Ignorance and Igunanas 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Blogging A to Z: I is for Igloos, Ignorance and Iguanas

Now, first of all, I must own up to the fact that I'm completely ignorant (with the exception of a few TV programmes) about the way eskimos live. I generally enjoy documentaries but, to my irritation, I've noticed that a lot of them don't tell you what you want to know or, just as they are about to tell you, they cut to some other subject or the adverts.

Blimey, isn't that habit is annoying? Documentary makers seem to think everyone has the attention span of a gnat. How come I can watch the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy in one sitting (bar loo breaks) but a documentary maker thinks I can't manage more than five minutes on the feeding habits of an otter? I hate that constant jumping back and forth  - by the time the narrator finally gets back to telling me the baby otter has learnt to swim or the owl has ate its sibling I'm so fed up with the episodic interruptions I've cracked open a bottle of red and I'm painting my toenails.

So anyway - back to igloos. I reckon they're pretty cold places (for obvious reasons) and what I've always been curious to know is - do Eskimos drop their trousers for the necessaries or do they have a "hatch"?

And how chilly is the exposure? On a scale of 1-10?

You see, I'm curious because recently I've been having a recurring nightmare that I'm trapped in an Eskimo-like onesie and I desperately need the loo. In my dream I'm repeatedly trying to undo the onesie with frozen fingers and failing. It's awful. It's like the worst nightmare you could ever have - and I've had some pretty gruesome ones. There was the dream where I parachuted into France with a horse, another where I was in an a prop shop where they were selling fake corpses and another time where I auditioned for a role as Santa Claus in a Ricky Gervais movie.

But none of my previous dreams compare in awfulness to being stuck in a onesie and needing the loo. The only saving grace is just as I'm about to pee myself the scene abruptly switches to a nightmare about a lost and hungry iguana. Well, for about five minutes. Until the iguana needs the toilet and discovers he's wearing a onesie....

That's when I wake up, dash to the loo and realise I've still got my tights on.

It happens. Believe me. The menopause can do very strange things to you.

You can check out the other Blogging A to Z candidates HERE.

Previous posts: A is for Arses and Aidan Turner
                         B is for Bullshit
                         C is for Chinese Crispy Duck and the Conservative Party.
                         D is for Diarrhea, Dinosaurs and Depauperation
                         E is for Eulogy for the Earth
                         F is for Ferrero Rocher
                         G is for Guns and Girls
                        H is for Hope and Horny Jelly Men

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Blogging A to Z : H is for Hope and Horny Jelly Men

"Hope" is a great word. It inspires lots of positive thinking and happy thoughts. Luckily, I am one of those people who has an optimistic outlook so I don't get depresssed too often - well not for much longer than it takes to eat a bar of Cadbury's Fruit and Nut or watch the England cricket team doing their warm-up stretches.

Now, on the whole, I think it is a good thing to be an optimist. However, some folks might say that being an eternal optimist means I'm really a fantastist and I'd be better off being a little more realistic. I'm not so sure.  I rather like my sunny disposition. Anyway, I thought I'd make a list of things I regularly hope for and you can judge for yourselves when it's a good or  a bad thing for me to have such an optimistic outlook.

Here we go!

1. When I wake up every morning, I hope I can still feel my toes. (All good so far. Yay.)

2. Every morning when I wake up, I hope George Clooney has got divorced and moved in next door.  (I've been hoping since 1990 and I'm not giving up now whatever anyone says.)
3. When I get up in the morning, I hope I can raise my sons from their comatosed teenage sleep so     they can get on the bus and get to school without me driving them. (Praying as well as hoping on that score.)

4. Every morning when I wake up, I hope my novel has topped the bestseller charts so I can finally tell all my literary friends that is pays to write gibberish and I can splash out on a new biro. (I have my eye on a boxed set of biros but even I feel that might be too optimistic.)

5. When I wake up in the morning, I check under my pillow to see if Master Jacob (aka the tooth fairy - it's role reversal now it's my teeth that are falling out) has left me some more Horny Jelly
Men. (This is a catch 22 situation - it's not good that I'm running out of teeth but on the plus side Horny Jelly Men are really tasty and are excellent for sucking. They are also small enough to get in my mouth without the need to bite off their heads.)

Excellent for sucking and nibbling.

6. Every morning I hope I have lost some weight. (Without having made any effort the day before.)

7.When I wake up in the morning, I hope I will read in the newspapers that all the leading political parties have agreed to cast aside their differences and work together for the good of the country. (Oh come on - we're all allowed one really far-fetched dream!)

8. Every morning when I wake up I hope one of my family will be bring me breakfast in bed and tell me to have a lie-in. (Not since Jan 1992.)

9. When I wake up in the morning, I hope Mr T and the boys will say; "It's okay, we don't need any food at all today. You can have the day off." (Not bloody likely.)

10. Every morning when I wake up, I hope that I make someone, somewhere, in the world, smile.
(Sentimental crap which readers love. There's loads more of it my novel which is only £3.49 on Amazon. An absolute bargain!)

You can check out the other Blogging A to Z candidates HERE.

Previous posts: A is for Arses and Aidan Turner
                         B is for Bullshit
                         C is for Chinese Crispy Duck and the Conservative Party.
                         D is for Diarrhea, Dinosaurs and Depauperation
                         E is for Eulogy for the Earth
                         F is for Ferrero Rocher
                         G is for Guns and Girls

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Blogging A to Z: G is for Guns and Girls

This could be a contentious post because I have quite a few American readers and I know the US has a far more relaxed gun law than the UK. So it's possible US readers might want to let off some steam in the comments.

Now I suspect some US folks might think that we Brits are a bunch of wet pussies policing London with umbrellas and a couple of old batons. But before any of you go leaving your pro-gun law rants I want to let you into a secret.


I have some guns of my own.

Yeah, that's right, readers. Mrs T has her own guns 'cos I am well into personal safety and no mad serial-killer-fruitcake or author-stalker is going to get through my front door without getting his arse blown right off.

Now I suspect you'd all like to see my guns. Well, here they are:

Oh there's a crossbow there too - that's for when I'm chilling.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know they're only plastic. But, believe me, I can do A LOT of damage with those guns. I've got three sons so I've done the equivalent of ten years SAS training in my 23 years as a mum and there ain't nothing I can't do with a stack of rubber bullets and a water pistol.

Yep, you heard correct - I have water pistols too. Well not strictly water pistols - more like effluent pistols. One shot in the face from one of  my MK46 Sub-Effluent machine guns and you're done for. You won't be able to hold anything down for a week and you'll be dead before you've run out of clean undies.

So basically, I am cool gun-toting chick (hence the "girls" in this title) like you see in the movies. Except I'm British which means not only am I cooler than Angelina Jolie but, since I am also younger than Helen Mirren, I am super super cool.  Anyway being so super hot and cool I thought I'd post a picture of myself cos I know you're all now curious about the way I look.

Now long term readers of my blog will be familiar with the picture of me below, posing in one of my relaxed moods, but I just want to remind any new male readers that I am handy with guns so keep your smutty thoughts to yourself. Also, I am related to the Queen so if you get too familiar with me it will be straight to the tower.

The MK46 sub effluent machine gun is under the bed. I feel naked without it.

You can check out the other Blogging A to Z candidates HERE.

Previous posts: A is for Arses and Aidan Turner
                         B is for Bullshit
                         C is for Chinese Crispy Duck and the Conservative Party.
                         D is for Diarrhea, Dinosaurs and Depauperation
                         E is for Eulogy for the Earth
                         F is for Ferrero Rocher

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Blogging A to Z: F is for Ferrero Rocher

So I need an F-word.

Hmm. Nothing springs to mind. I need to think harder.

Da de da dum da de da dum de da.

*lightbulb moment*

Ferrero Rocher chocolates!

Blimey, why didn't I think of that before? I love Ferrero chocolates! They are so yummy and...chocolatey. In fact, I love Ferrero Rocher so much I once built one of those pyramids like you see stacked on the tray in the adverts. I was really pleased with myself - until a dog came along and cocked his leg on it.

That's when I realised I shouldn't have built it on a beach.

Anyway I was as mad as hell. And, if the dog cocking his leg wasn't bad enough, as soon as it had finished peeing it ran off with a mouthful of the remaining unspoilt Ferrero Rochers.

I hate irresponsible dog owners. Peeing on someone's chocolate is unforgivable but stealing it should be a capital offence.

Anyway, I gave chase and ran after the dog. He was faster than me but I could track his paw prints in the sand and eventually I caught up with him in the dunes.

"Give me back my Ferrero Rocher!" I cried.

He couldn't reply because his mouth was full. And also, as this is a true story, he was a dog so he couldn't speak English.

He could, however, speak German. (He was a German Shepherd.)

"Woof, woof, woof, Englander," he barked dropping the chocolates. "Sie sind dumm! Ein Idiot! Woof. Ich habe ihre pralinen und ich werde zu essen!"

Which means (I speak German so I'm able to translate.)

"You are a very attractive woman with a fine pair of breasts. Are you an actress? I think I've seen you on television."

Anyway, before I could answer he grabbed up the chocolates and started to run off again. At which point I threw myself through the air and knocked him to the ground. (I'm a bit like the Karate Kid.)

"Give me back my chocolates," I said, grabbing his hind legs as he tried to escape. But the dog kicked up sand in my face and, by the time I'd recovered, he was standing on his hind legs smirking and pointing a Luger pistol at me.

I knew my number was up.

 But just as he prepared to fire and I prayed for a merciful end, Mr Whippy's Ice cream van revved over the top of dunes.

"Fire!" shouted Mr Whippy, steering the van to one side as Mrs Whippy launched a 99p Flake.

The ice cream flew through through air. The dog was so taken by surprise that his mouth fell open releasing the chocolates.

I dived to catch my Ferrero Rocher. Time slowed as my outstretched hand reached for the chocolates.

And just as the ice cream hit the dog in the snout, I scooped up my chocolates and popped them in my mouth.

They were sort of...squelchy and tasted slightly of Pedigree Chum. But they were my chocolates and I wasn't going to let any old dog eat them. Especially a German Shepherd.

(Even if the tinfoil did get stuck between my teeth.)

Ferrero Rocher Chocolates. Yummy. Even better when accompanied by  Roger Federer. In very tight shorts.

You can check out the other Blogging A to Z candidates HERE.

Previous posts: A is for Arses and Aidan Turner
                         B is for Bullshit
                         C is for Chinese Crispy Duck and the Conservative Party.
                         D is for Diarrhea, Dinosaurs and Depauperation
                         E is for Eulogy for the Earth

Monday, April 6, 2015

Blogging A to Z : E is for Eulogy for the Earth

I know most people think January is the time for new beginnings and resolutions. But it seems to me that Easter, when flowers bloom and branches sprout, is a more appropriate time to start afresh and mirror the new life that is bursting forth.

Of course, across the world, our seasons and climates are often different. Here, in the UK, spring flowers are blossoming but in California, Steinbeck's land of milk and honey in The Grapes of Wrath, the soil is currently starved of water as a consequence of extreme drought. A key contributory factor to the drought is the reduced water supplies from the Sierra mountains where the snowpack has been measured at just 8% of its usual levels. So there is little snow and ice to melt - and rivers are running dry.

In 2009 I interviewed leading environmental journalist and former science correspondent for The Guardian newspaper, Paul Brown, here on my blog. We discussed his best-selling book Global Warning; Last Chance for Change in which Paul suggested that, by 2020, there could be a global deficit of water for 20 million people in California. Climate change was to be the guilty protagonist.

Almost six years have passed since I interviewed Paul and climate change is now a far more topical subject. Our news is flooded with reports of erratic weather, environmental disasters and human tragedy. An increasing number of reports suggest that an irreversible tipping point is looming closer. Yet despite strong scientific and physical evidence, I still read articles and comments from sceptics who refuse to believe that climate change is upon us. Their primary argument is that the earth is going through natural periods of cooling and heating and all the anomalies we are experiencing are part of this cycle. Now I don't doubt that the earth has natural cycles and that some disasters are inevitable. However, I still can't help feeling their argument is weak and that, at its most basic level, it is also an abdication of responsibility. It is also a failure to accept the simplest logic - that every action has a consequence.

History tells us that civilizations often die and are replaced or reborn. So it seems likely, should the worst case scenarios of climate change befall us, civilization on earth will continue. But, very possibly, it will not be with the scale of population or luxury that we currently enjoy.

But sometimes, not just civilizations, but entire species die. It's happened before. It's happening now to other life forms and it could happen to humans long before the earth expires. Hopefully we'll have time to leave a legacy or write an eulogy. It could take the form of  a vast library awaiting the visit of extraterrestrials or, perhaps, it might even be a simple message scratched in stone.

 We lived. We loved. We devoured. We died.

Who knows? 

My interview with Paul Brown is HERE and my review of his book is HERE. And for a glimpse into the possible future you can read my fictional story Fantasia HERE.  

Spring. The season for rebirth and rejuvenation. Don't waste the opportunity.

Previous posts: A is for Arses and Aidan Turner
                         B is for Bullshit
                         C is for Chinese Crispy Duck and the Conservative Party.
                         D is for Diarrhea, Dinosaurs and Depauperation

You can check out the other participants in the Blogging A to Z challenge HERE.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Blogging A to Z : D is for Diarhea (or however you spell it), Dinosaurs and Depauperation.

Today, I am going to talk about a subject that affects us all which is diaherra dorehha dirraheaa, doiaherra  doiorea  diare..


... the shits.

Blimey, I just cannot spell dioherra... that word. I've been trying for well over forty years but I just cannot do it. I have a mental block about how to spell it. I'll just have to abandon the subject in case I offend all those of you with delicate ears.

I know! Wendy Jakob over at Wendy's Waffle challenged me to write a post about the word "depauperate."

So, first thing's first, I need to look up the meaning of "depauperate". How depressing is that? To think I call myself a writer and I don't know what "depauperate" means. Humph.

On the plus side, I do know what "donkey" means. That's got to put me ahead of E L James surely?

Okay, time to Google "depauperate."'s a biological term that means "poor or imperfectly developed" in relation to species or genes.

Oh cripes, so "depauperation" could be bad news. It could even make reproduction and continuation of a species pretty difficult. I wonder if that's what happened to the dinosaurs? Maybe a few of them developed a massive growth gene and crushed all the smaller ones others to death in the act of mating and then the remaining dinosaurs were too big to mount each other?

You know,  I reckon I could get a research grant on that theory and go on an archaeological dig. Somewhere hot. Like Barbados. Or Florida.

Nah. It's a ridiculous idea. No one would believe me. Everyone thinks the dinosaurs were wiped out by a meteor.

Hmm...I wonder if I could get funding into the theory that the dinosaurs were wiped out due to a massive outbreak of diaherra,  dooherra, dairhhha....dysentery. That's a bit more believable.

Yeah, I reckon that's worth a submission. Some of those government bodies will believe any old crap. Apparently some of them still think James Bond is real.  Gez.

Rumour has it that dinosaurs had an aversion to oral sex.

Previous posts: A is for Arses and Aidan Turner
                         B is for Bullshit
                         C is for Chinese Crispy Duck and the Conservative Party.

You can check out the other participants in the Blogging A to Z challenge HERE.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Blogging A to Z : C is for Chinese Crispy Duck and the Conservative Party.

First of all I want to establish that I think ducks are just great. They're pretty and that quacking is kinda cute. But, let's be honest, folks, they are pretty good on a plate too. Especially, Chinese crispy duck. I just love it covered in plum sauce and wrapped in a pancake.


However, I have some disturbing news which will be of special interest to my UK readers.  Sadly, I've heard on the grapevine that Chinese crispy duck in the UK might soon be in short supply.

Calm yourselves, readers. Breathe deeply into that paper bag.  I know you're probably mortified by that news but, remember, panic attacks are strictly for creative types like me - the rest of you need to hold the world together and prepare for that inevitable alien invasion cos us creatives are going to be no bloody use - we'll still be panicking over a misplaced adjective.

So anyway, I heard this rumour about Chinese crispy duck because I have friends in very high places. Very high places indeed. And what I heard was that as the UK parliament is now dissolved, the Conservative party (traditional right-wing party) and that the United Kingdom Independence Party (barking mad even more right wing party) are in secret talks about the possibility of forming an alliance if there is no clear winner after the general election in May.

So what has this got to do with ducks?

Well my sources tell me that the Conservatives are planning more stealth taxes to penalize the workers. Not just more taxes on cigarettes and beer but more taxes on Chinese crispy duck.

And if that's not enough, UKIP also want to ban all imports of Chinese crispy duck, especially illegal imports. In fact UKIP are planning to build huge deep freezers to store the illegal imports where the Chinese crispy duck will sit in ice for a thousand years!

How wretched is that?

Now this joint tax and embargo will have a catastrophic effect on the UK duck population. Inevitably, as ducks become rarer, poachers will steal the protected ducks from their nests and flog them to the highest bidder. Chinese crispy duck will escalate in price until it beyond the price of the average worker and, worst of all, British ducks might even become EXTINCT.

Haven't we workers suffered enough in this depression? Must we suffer more at the hands of such an extreme and brutal government? I am gutted at the thought that not only will our beautiful English ponds be denied the presence of our feathered friends but our plates too. Millions of workers who enjoy their Friday night crispy duck will be driven to despair and depression. Thousands of Chinese restaurants and manufactures of orange and plum sauce will lose their jobs. There will be riots on the streets, the whole country will be brought to its knees because of a cruel and heartless government.

It's an awful scenario. It doesn't bear thinking about. But we must, dear readers, we must. I have never used this blog to sway public opinion but now I feel it is my duty. So, for the sake of the working man and his right to eat low-cost Chinese crispy duck, I ask you to join me in my latest venture.

You see, readers, yesterday I did the most daring thing I have ever done. I went down to the local council offices and I registered a new political party - The Chinese Crispy Duck Preservation Party. I am going to rally housewives and fans of Chinese takeaways all over the UK and we are going to march on Westminster waving our tinfoil cartons and pinafores. We will draw attention to this wicked collaboration the Conservatives and UKIP are planning and their evil scheme.  Once the potential lack of Chinese crispy duck is brought to the attention of the rest of the UK, I am certain my fellow Brits will rise up with me and The Crispy Duck Preservation Party will be elected as the governing party and forever oust the Conservatives, UKIP and all the old miserable two-faced parties and their lying, cheating ways.

It is time for change in this country! Join me, The Housewife Extraordinaire, and The Crispy Duck Preservation Party and let's get rid of these miserable bunch of self-serving tossers!

You can check out the other participants in the blogging A to Z HERE. And if you want to offer up a subject for tomorrow's post beginning with the letter D please leave a comment!

Previous posts: A is for Arses and Aidan Turner
                         B is for Bullshit.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Blogging A to Z: B is for Bullshit

Okay so my subject matter today is bullshit. And I happen to know a lot about bullshit.

Now some people will tell you I know a lot about bullshit because I talk and write a lot of it. Which, of course, is a complete fabrication. I am, in fact, a highly studious author who takes her writing and research very seriously indeed. Indeed, the only thing I take more seriously is the need to pluck my facial hair on a daily basis.

So let's get on and talk about bullshit.

God, it stinks doesn't it?  I've lived in the countryside and it's not like ordinary cow shit which looks like this:

This is calf-sized cow shit. Barely detectable. Step in some bullshit though and you won't ever forget it.

Bullshit is way more odious. And about ten times the size of normal cow shit. It's like crap that's been sprayed from a cement mixer.  I know the academics and city dwellers amongst you will be curious why bullshit is worse than cow shit. Well, basically, it's because bulls are really angry *uckers. They are never content with one herd of cows to themselves - they always want more, more, more. They just want sex 24 hours a day and, if they don't get it, they take their anger out with projectile shitting. I've seen an entire herd of cows parting, like Moses parted the Red Sea, to try and get out of the way of a bull with a turtle's head.

Another difference between cow shit and bull shit is texture. Cow shit is pretty gross and sticky but bullshit is like quicksand: one foot in it and you can be sucked into it up to your neck. And I should know - when I was kid and out picking blackberries with my siblings I accidentally stepped in some and before I knew it I was being sucked down into this vile bottomless pit of shit. It was awful - if you've ever flayed around in a tonne of shit whilst inhaling it up your nose you'll know exactly what I mean. If it wasn't for the quick thinking of my siblings, who formed a human chain and attached themselves to a nearby tree, I'd have drowned in bullshit.

Anyway, I'm afraid, dear readers, that my hideous experience has stayed with me all my life and left me deeply traumatized. I can never forget the smell or sensation of bullshit up my nose. A few years ago I tried to overcome my trauma with counselling but the therapist wasn't very sympathetic - he said I was making up my problems. Honestly, what kind of therapist takes that sort of attitude? I should have reported him to his governing body. In fact, I would have done had not the very next day I slipped on some dog crap outside my house and was hospitalised for a year with memory loss. By the time I'd regained my memory it didn't seem so important - I was too busy reeling from the discovery I wasn't married to Daniel Craig.

Anyway, that's it for today. I hope you've found this post informative. Tomorrow is the letter C. If you want to throw you hat into the ring for a subject for me to write about please leave a comment!

You can see who else is doing the blogging A to Z Challenge HERE

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Blogging A to Z Challenge - A is for Arses and Aidan Turner

So it's day one of the A to Z blogging challenge. Having not prepared anything at all (standard practice on this blog) last night I threw the challenge down to my Facebook friends to come up with an "A" topic or I'd be forced to write a post on the subject of arses which obviously would include a massive tirade about the United Kingdom Independence Party leader, Nigel Farage. You see, Nigel believes the UK should be separated from Europe which is not a bad idea (in theory anyway) as those Europeans have caused us a whole heap of trouble over the last few centuries and I am not just talking about the French and the Italians constantly bragging about being the best lovers (get real) or the German fetish of blitzkrieging across Europe. I am talking about their awful habit of trying to inflict revolting food on us. Snails? Froglegs? Horse meat? Sauerkraut? I mean who needs that kind of shit stuff? We Brits like it simple: tea, bread and cheese. Some buns, maybe a pastry or two and some chicken drumsticks.

I mean how do you think Her Majesty has lived so long? It's down to a solid diet of chicken drumsticks and tea. None of that revolting foreign crap that the Europeans would have us eating.

Anyway, to get back to my story, I threw down the challenge, expecting everyone to say "We want you to write about Nigel Farage and arses!"

No really, I did. And I'm really good about writing about arses. Instead, I got a whole heap of words: acupuncture, anarchy, appaloosas (had to google that one - it's a spotted horse), amnesty, Aidan Turner (actor from Poldark), attractive, aristocracy, Apple iphones, Abba, archery and alcohol.

Obviously, the words Aidan Turner jumped out at me for obvious reasons.(Cough, cough). I felt I could write about Aidan in a very in depth (and possibly explicit) manner. The rest of my evening was therefore spent conducting (visual) research into Aidan. This is one of the problems of being a writer - the enormous amount of research we have to undertake is exhausting. For example, my last book contains a few sex-chat scenes so I had to spend weeks researching sexual terminology. It was extremely hard going and got me down I can tell you. My doctor wanted to put me on antidepressants like all those other crazed writers you hear about but I stood firm. "Doctor," I said,"I need to suffer for my art. How will I write a decent book if I'm happy on anti-depressants? Don't you know all the best writers are suicidal maniacs?"

Anyway to cut a long story short in the end he prescribed me some dark glasses and a tube of acne cream. It was probably cheaper to do that than arrange a course of counselling.

Aidan Turner bearded.jpg
Aidan looking dishy. Shame about the clapped out boat behind him but I suppose when you're desperate to depart France anything will do. (Picture courtesy of Wikipedia)

Oh cripes, I've just remembered the Blogging A to Z challenge guidelines were to keep the posts short at around 300 - 500 words. Ah well I've screwed up again. No change there then. Anyway, since I've started I might as well finish.

So, it transpired that my facebook friends (after I'd used my skills of perceptive analysis) really wanted to read a story about a naked Aidan Turner riding bareback across an attractive headland (That's across an attractive headland not with an attractive headland - just in case any of you ladies out there are getting too excited) which possibly might include all the other words that had been mentioned.

Some friends I've got eh? There I was wanting to write a simple post and I end up having to write a story. It would have been so much easier writing about arses.

Anyway let's get this challenge done. I've wittered on too long already. So here comes the story:

Aidan had a new part. (For god's sake, ladies, keep your minds on track! I am talking about a ROLE, not some sort of transplant.) It was an acupuncturist in a BBC historical drama called The Anarchic Acupuncturist. (They can be very unimaginative with titles at at the BBC - think Dr Who and you'll know what I mean.) In order to perform this part Aidan had to research how to use and manipulate needles. One of them, which he affectionately called "Arnie" was an especially big needle and he liked to practise with it a lot. So much so that, one morning, he was so absorbed in practising with it on his girlfriend he forgot he was due on set to shoot a climatic scene where he quits his job and sets up a rival acupuncture practice. (Remember this is a BBC drama - excitement is not high on the agenda.)

"Oh my God. I'm late!" cried Aidan.

"It's okay, it's okay," soothed his girlfriend. "It's fine by me."

"No, I really am late," screamed Aidan. "I must get to the set on time otherwise I'll never work at the BBC again. Then I'll have to work for commercial television and that would be simply appalling. It'll compromise my artistic integrity!" (Typical actor bullshit obviously.)

And with that Aidan grabbed his Apple iphone and rushed out of the house. Naked. He leapt upon his spotted appaloosas horse and galloped furiously across the attractive headlands towards the film set which was nestled in a windswept bay. (Where else?)

"Go faster! Go faster!" cried Aidan.

"Ah stop being a big girl's blouse," said the horse. (It was a talking horse obviously.) "I'm going as fast as I can. Oh, by the way, do you know you're naked?"

"Oh my God, I've forgotten to put my clothes on!" said Aidan, tears welling in his eyes.

"Well, you're giving me friction burns," said the horse. "Can you hold on tighter and stop wiggling around so much?"

"I can't," said Aidan. "I'm carrying my iphone."

"Shove it up your arse," said the horse. "We animals are always having stuff shoved up our arses. It's no big deal. Haven't you seen All Creatures Great and Small?"

"I can't do that, I'm an actor, not a vet. I know - I'll put it behind my ear."

"Cool," said the horse, sarcastically. "Now you look super attractive. Oh look there's the ladies from the Women's Institute."

"Where?" screamed Aidan, panicking at the thought of the WI seeing him stark naked with an iphone behind his ear.

"Nah, just kidding," grinned the horse. (He was a very malicious horse) "I'll get you there on time. But I want a year's supply of hay and new spiky brushes otherwise I'm dumping you at the vicarage."

"Yes, yes, you can have anything! " said Aidan, aghast at the thought of seeing the vicar who he knew was female, weighed twenty-five stone and had a fetish for dressing up as Bjorn from Abba.

So the horse charged across the fields and cliffs until, breathless, he arrived on the set of The Anarchic Acupuncturist where the director was setting-up filming for the day and sounding off about cutbacks to his budgets because some twit had fired Jeremy Clarkson. The horse pulled up so sharply that poor Aidan couldn't hold on and flew off the the horse, spinning over its head, and knocking the director to the floor.

Aidan and the director lay sprawled on the floor.

"You're fired," shouted the director. "Look what you've done to my breeches!" (Note: all BBC directors wear breeches.)

"You can't fire me I'm your star,"  Aidan shouted in return. "You need me!"

"I can and I will. I will fire, fire, fire you!" said the Director getting back on his feet.

"You arrogant, self-important twit," said Aidan. "You think you know everything but without me and my fans you'll sink into oblivion."

"You're fired! You hear me? Fired, fired, fired!" shouted the director.

"Good," replied Aidan. "I shall work for commercial television and earn twice as much!"

And with that Aidan stormed off the set and started walking back to his small-holding which he'd purchased because, as a serious actor, it was necessary to have a weekend retreat away from the noise of London which might shatter his delicate artistic sensibilities. (Also, he had to walk as his horse had sodded off because he was fed up with all the histrionics and fancied a bite to eat down at the local stables.)

As Aidan walked home contemplating whether he should audition for the role of the archer in an upcoming ITV production called The Archer and the Whorehouse, a car pulled up beside him and a middle-aged, slightly rotund, but nevertheless still attractive woman, wound down the window and leaned across the passenger seat  to talk to him.

"You look cold," said the woman. "Can I give you a lift?"

"Yes, please," replied Aidan,  jumping enthusiastically into the car.

"Hey, aren't you Aidan Turner?"

"Yes, I am," said Aidan, a bit embarrassed by his nakedness but still somewhat smug that the woman, who was probably old enough to be his mother, recognised him. This meant his fan-base was growing and the BBC would probably overrule the director in a few hours and he wouldn't have to audition for that horrid ITV drama.

"Well, I'm Jane. But you can call me Janie. I'm an aut...optician." 

"Thanks, Janie. You're a life saver."

"No problem. I'll turn the heating up so you can get warm."

"Great," said Aidan. 

"I hear they're filming a remake of "Misery" around here soon," said Jane. "Is that why you're here?" 

"No. I'm not familiar with "Misery". Too young, I guess. It sounds depressing."

"It's a novel by...Katie Fforde. A romantic comedy. The title's ironic."

"Sounds interesting. I must get my agent to look into it," said Aidan, relaxing into his leather seat.

"You take a rest, dear," said Jane, patting Aidan's knee. "I'll get you home safely."

Aidan's eyes began to close and soon he began to drift off into a deep slumber.

"What a sweet boy," said Jane as she locked the doors.


Right that's it. This post is far too long tomorrow it'll be a lot shorter and the letter will be "B". If you want to leave a suggestion for tomorrow's topic please do, otherwise I might be doing B is for Bullshit - a topic very close to my heart. Obviously.

ps - I left some words out cos I forgot them. Ah well. You can't win them all.

Check out who else is blogging in the A to Z challenge HERE

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Let Down by The Guardian

I am on flu overload at the moment, readers. I have been alternating between hot sweats and cold shivers and have been barely able to speak for the last five days.

Mr T is thrilled.

Yesterday it was 8 degrees (pretty warm for this time of year in the UK) but I drove the boys to tennis wearing a yellow and purple woolly hat and a bright blue fleece.

I looked stupid.

So I haven't done much at all this week. In fact I've only just about managed to follow the Jeremy Clarkson debacle in the media. It's been fun counting how many articles on Jeremy The Guardian can post in one week and truly heartwarming to see them tackling the Clarkson affair with all the impartiality of a open-mouthed shark.

But today folks I feel let down - where oh where is the habitual anti-Jeremy rant? Where is it? I am at a loss how to fill my time between wiping my nose and coughing.

Maybe the lack of an article on Jeremy is cos it's the weekend? Yes that must be it - they must be saving themselves for an article on Jeremy's underpants next week.

Great! That's something to look forward to. For a moment I thought I was going to have to read The Mail to get some unbiased reporting.

*chuckles* (very quietly)

Monday, March 9, 2015

25 Bookish Things Males Have Actually Read By The Age of 25

If you're an avid reader, you've probably read one of the many articles advising you which books to read before you're 18/25/30/40/dead. Well, last week I came across a lively discussion on Facebook about the dominance of male authors in many of these lists. Unfortunately, some accusations about male misogyny were being bounded about. I was reasonably impartial about this accusation as I happen to like men (cough, cough) and probably read more books by male authors than I do by women authors.

However, this morning I have cleaned the Young Master's bedrooms and transferred the good Mr T's underpants from the bathroom floor to the laundry basket so I am not feeling so impartial. As a consequence I have come up with my own take on these annoying book lists. My list is called:

 Twenty-Five Bookish Things Males Have Actually Read By The Age of Twenty-Five.

It's not your standard list. Obviously. But it is, nevertheless, a very important list.

Right here we go:

3. Thomas the Tank Engine - A Cow on the Line. (Trains + farm animals = deep joy.)  
5. The Dandy (4th Dec 2012 - last physical edition - perfect collectible for every saddo Dandy geek.)
8. The Viz - any edition. (Ideal reading material for an intimate bonding experience between father and son.)
9. The leaflet inside a packet of condoms. (Any brand.)
10. The rear of a packet of Kellog's Cornflakes.
11. The dating adverts in their local paper.
12. The telephone numbers scrawled inside their local phone box
13. The menu at the local Chinese Takeaway.
15. The lingerie section of their mother's mail order catalogue. 
16. The Sun newspaper. (Available at the local barber's shop.)

Farrah Fawcett 1977.JPG
Farrah Fawcett in 1977 - the golden haired icon of a generation who had men drooling before lunchtime.
Picture courtesy of Wikipedia. (Public domain.)

17. Their exam results slip. ( Very briefly - before returning their attention to No 21)
18. The washing instructions on the jeans they haven't cleaned for eight weeks and the bedlinen they haven't cleaned for twelve weeks.
19. The product description on a Lamborghini Roadster.
20. The price tag and mileage on a 2002 Vauxhall Corsa.
22. The Google search results for Keira Knightly.
23. Captain Underpants and the Tyrannical Retaliation of the Turbo Toliet 2000.(Kid's book with universal male appeal.)
24 The alcohol content on a litre bottle of cider.
25. Their sister's diary. (Especially the section on menstruation.)

So there we have it. I think I have more than made up for all that male bias in those books-to-read lists. 

*Sticks tongue out.*

Also, if you want a darn good read by a female author read my novel. It's (almost) a work of genius. And a bargain price.