Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What I do when I'm not blogging

Right, the good news is I'm not dead. The bad news is that it took me 13 days, 9 hours, 11 minutes and 56 seconds to saw through my ball and chain with my emery board.

I tell you, that Mr T is a cruel task-master. I've ironed hundreds of shirts, pants, trousers and even the tea towels whilst I've been confined to "The Cooler." Yep, and that wicked Mr T didn't even let me have my baseball and gloves. Huh, what's a gal gotta to do to have some fun?

Well anyway, having finally escaped I thought I'd better do a post as people were sending me emails wondering if I'd overdosed on chocolate and gone to meet my maker. Well to be truthful when I say "people" I mean my mate Huw from Uni. Thanks Huw - as your reward I will keep you on my special friends Christmas card list! ( That's two then - Huw and Willy Wonka - I'm not one for being overly affectionate without good reason.)

Well the truth is, in amidst the ironing I've been looking after Master Ben who has been poorly (but is now on the mend) and trying to catch up with some long overdue reading and writing. Firstly, I re-read Don Juan de la Mancha by the Austrian literary genius Robert Menasse. I've just posted a review on The View From Here if you're interested but if you're easily offended by political incorrectness then I suggest you don't read it.

And don't read it if you're Austrian.

Or German.

However, just to reassure you of my good nature let me say that at no point do I mention The War.

Cos, let's face it - no one does it better than Basil.

I also read 8 Rooms (a collection of short stories) by Legend Press, A Narrow Escape by Faith Martin and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame Smith. (Yep, that was "zombies" - just in case you'd thought I'd gone do-lally) You'll be able to find reviews of 8 Rooms and Pride and Prejudice with Zombies over at The View in the coming weeks. I also worked on a short story for a competition which I thought might be fun to enter. I'm not expecting to have any success as the story was a little naughty but it was an interesting challenge and it's good to keep the old brain cells ticking over. Which I definitely need to do...because having been up in the night with Master Ben one night and unable to get back to sleep I did a Sex ID profile quiz on the BBC which indicated I maybe lacking in the "logic" department. So for your general bewilderment here are my results;

Task 1; Angles. The task was to identify the angle of a line by matching it with its twin; a spatial task designed to look at the way we view space.

I scored 16/20 which was higher than the average for men and women.

My conclusion; the absolute proof that none of the three car crashes I had last year were my fault - Now I just need to convince my insurers.

Task 2; Spot the difference. A test to examine your ability to identify objects which have changed position.

I scored 36% without incorrectly identifying any objects. Average female results were 46% and average male 39%. Oh dear.

My conclusion; It was a fix; I have never incorrectly identified chocolate bars when they've moved them around in the supermarket. However, it might explain why I thought those cars I crashed into last year were really grass verges.

Task 3; Hands; I placed my left thumb on top of my right thumb when I clasped my hands. Apparently this means the left side of my brain is dominant and I excel in visual, spatial and intuitive processes.

My conclusion; When I put my left leg over my right leg it means I need the loo. When I cross my left thumb over my right it means I'm praying the loo is nearby because I've forgotten my spare knickers.

Task 4; Empathsizing. Do you empathsize or sympathize?

I scored 11/20 - slightly higher than both the average male and female.

My conclusion; I'm softie and fall for every sob story in town. However, since I didn't score over 15 it means I am not so soft as to be an ideal carer. This means I can still put Mr T in a home when he goes senile. Excellent.

Task 5; Eyes. A test for your ability to recognise other people's emotions.

I scored 6/10. Average score for men and women was 6.6/10. Therefore, I have a balanced male/female brain.

My conclusion; Hmm... I thought I'd do better at this one. Obviously, I only scored average because some of the models were wearing false eyebrows and noses. Cheats.

Task 6; Finger test; far too tedious to relate. It involved a ruler and some measuring = immense boredom.

Task 7; Faces; what do you find attractive?

Blimey - and I really didn't know this - but I prefer more masculine faces!

My conclusion; everything I said in a previous post about Catherine Zeta Jones was a lie for my own sad amusement. I really do fancy Pierce Brosnan even though he's old enough to be my father. (Well on film anyway -cos if Sean Connery can play Harrison Ford's dad it seem only fair and just that I should be Pierce's offspring - who naturally he should take to bed and read numerous bedtime stories.)

Task 8; 3D shapes; tests the ability to rotate 3D shapes.

I scored 4/10- below average for men and women.

My conclusion; I lost the will to live as soon as I saw this task. It may explain why I failed my maths O level and why I can't stack the saucepans just the way Mr T likes them. Well okay that last point could also because I get a sneaking pleasure out of just shoving them in the cupboard and doing something far more interesting like ironing instead. Ho hum.

Task 9; Words. A test designed to examine your verbal fluency.

The average male scored 11.4 and the average female scored 12.4. I scored 29!!

My conclusion; I talk a lot of bull****.

Task 10; Ultimatum. How do you divide money?

I shared £50 between 2 people for doing the same task 50/50. Amazingly some people didn't. What a load of meanies!

My conclusion; Don't tell my lawyer.

Well there you go, some more insight into my highly complex brain. (Ho hum) Apparently it's a pretty standard female brain. You know I just can't believe that- I like trousers too much. Anyway, the quiz didn't tell me anything about myself I didn't already know. So I guess next time I'll have to hire a psychotherapist; I've always wanted to lie on one of those couches and make up a load of fictitious crap about a previous life. I think it would be fun.. and who knows the therapist could get a whole thesis out of it!

Yep, so these are the things I do when I'm not blogging. And I'd just like to report that that other day I pulled on my jeans which had just been washed and found a £5.00 note in the pocket. And it was still usable! I celebrated - surely this meant the day was looking up! Then I noticed their was a tear in my jeans and my initial delight turned to despair. Anyway, not one to let things get me down I soon convinced myself I'd just look like a hip hop trendy mum. So once again I had a spring in my step and decided to put on some of my new comfy sports socks and what did I find? There was one sock missing from the pack! I ask you... am I the only person who has ever bought a pack of socks that has had one missing??

Ah well...it's the story of my life... as soon as I'm on the up something comes along to ruin it.......

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A formal complaint about shirts.

It was a beautiful day yesterday and after dealing with my arduous morning duties I climbed the stairs to my study, sat my pert bottom upon my old oak chair and for a brief moment contemplated the quiet house, the peaceful solitude. I planned to indulge myself in some creative writing, perhaps a few emails and maybe even a little surfing on the internet for any new wondrous diet pills that might be available for small, pert bottomed ladies.

Slowly, deliciously, I lifted the lid of my laptop...

And there it was.

A handwritten note.

It was clearly recognisable as the Good Mr T's handwriting.

My heart fluttered, my pulse raced. At long last, after all these years I had finally, finally got a love letter from Mr T. Thoughts of sweet, affectionate, loving words crossed my mind. Words that would make my knees wobble, my lips moist, my body tremble with desire......

And then I read the note.

The note that drew my attention to his lack of shirts.

Yes, that's right readers; it was a formal complaint about his lack of ironed shirts.

I duly closed my laptop and retreated to the kitchen.

Unable to tie the noose sufficiently well and discovering that we don't actually have a gas oven I decided I might as well iron the shirts.

To keep my brain active during this mind numbing task I watched George Clooney in Intolerable Cruelty and Jude Law and Clive Owen in Closer. (There were a lot of shirts.) This made the task slightly more bearable. Well George made it a lot more bearable; you know I didn't even know I had a steam iron.

But what I want to know is why oh why do men require so many shirts at once? Are they so petrified about being attacked by an army of invading curries that they need a minimum of ten shirts ironed and hanging ready for battle in the wardrobe? Or do they have a bet on at work to see whose poor, over-worked wife has ironed the most shirts? Yep, I can see it now.....

"My wife ironed 10 yesterday."

" Well my wife ironed 12 and a pair of pants and she used starch spray."

"Bid deal! My wife ironed 20 shirts, 5 pairs of pants, 20 handkerchiefs, shot an elephant, painted a masterpiece and served me up a haute cuisine meal."

"Oh yeah! My wife........ blah, blah, blah, blah......."

Here's an important question; how many shirts does a man, on average, require in a day??

It's tricky. Think carefully. It could be a trick question.

Okay, that's enough thinking. The answer is...


Yes that's right. ONE.

Not two, three, four or five but ONE.

Now of course there are exceptions like when a man clumsily tips his cereal over himself at breakfast or chokes on his coffee when he reads his credit card bill but generally he only needs one shirt a day. So why this need for so many shirts? Mr T even has shirts in storage.... Why? Why? Why? Is there going to be a world shirt shortage? Will bankers throw themselves out of skyscrapers and the world economy collapse due to a lack of shirts???

" I can't take anymore of this! "

"Don't do it Mr Intrepid. Don't jump!"

"I am a broken man. I have no more shirts!"

"Don't jump. It's not worth it!"

(Sobs) "But my shirt is 12 months old and has a curry stain. I can't find another anywhere. My life is falling apart! Oh sweet death I embrace thee......."

"Take my blouse!" (Unbuttons blouse and hands to Intrepid) "Please take it!"

"No, I can't, I can't!"

" But my blouse really suits you! The colour really flatters your complexion. Pleeeease don't jump Mr Intrepid. Don't throw your life away over a stained shirt! Here takes my bra as well....You look wonderful..... you look like a new man!"

" But how can I wear them? (Weeps prolifically) How can I? When I have no matching earrings.... Oh God, what shall I do? I shall be the laughing stock of Wall Street.....(Wails)

"Here, take my earrings and my handbag...........You look divine!"

"You thinks so? (Tears momentarily abate.) But I have no tights! How can I go to the board room with no tights? Oh, no, no, no..........."

" Here, take my tights. Be careful how you put them on. I said be careful now....You're wobbling! STOP! ......STTTOOPPP....... WATCH OUT.... NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

(Mr Intrepid falls to a certain death; no mention of the tights was made in the obituary. However on the gravestone it read; "Here lies Intrepid. He died a New Man.")

So you can see from this sorry tale that men just can't do without their shirts. Just like women can't do without their choccy.

The only difference is you don't have to iron choccy.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Books, Birds, Death and Lulu. Yep, it's insomnia time again!

It's 4.20 and I've been awake for a while. Damn. Unfortunately, something woke me and my brain has gone to into wakey, wakey mode. So I might as well do a quick post! Here's a book meme I picked up from Marie's new book blog called ShoreBookWoman. I know many of you read lots so anyone who wants to take up this tag then please feel free to do so.

Oh, I've just heard a bird sing. The dawn chorus is beginning; such a beautiful sound. I've always thought it would be lovely to die listening to the music of nature. But hey, with my driving skills and frequent bad luck I'll probably peg it to the sound a freight lorry crushing me. Still it's gotta be better than the sound of Cliff Richard. Or The Shadows. Or Max Bygraves. Or maybe even Lulu singing Shout. That would be just my luck - just as I'm taking my last breath Lulu comes on the radio singing;


What drugs do you think Lulu takes? I mean she's about sixty now and she still looks fantastic. Boy, it's so unfair. Especially as 4am in the morning. And her ex hubby is a hairdresser, so she always has perfect hair too. Huh. How does that work? A BeeGee, David Bowie, John Frieda... who next? Pierce? Damn, I'm sooo jealous.

Anyway, back to the meme...

1. To mark your page do you: use a bookmark, bend the page corner, leave the book open face down?

I never bend the corners of pages -it's sacrilege! Well maybe occasionally... when the page really needs marking; you know just for those odd few occasions when a particular passage requires reading two or three times cos it's really, really hot. Yeah, you know the passages I mean. Yeah, those ones. The ones that get us ladies all steamed up, big time. Yep that's those passages describing the delicious, mouth watering, sensual experiences. I mean those recipes for Jam Roly Poly and Sticky Toffee Pudding of course. Boy, I just love all that stickiness. Mmmmm......

Sometimes I do use a book mark but it never seems to work that successfully. I've actually got a lovely silver book mark in the shape of an owl that clips over the pages but come to think of it I haven't seen it for yonks. It's probably stuck on that page for Jam Roly Poly... which of course I haven't looked at for ages. ....Cos the last time I made it I got carried away and made custard as well. Mmmm...creamy.

Anyhow, most of the time I can never find one of the many free bookmarks I acquire so I end up using an old envelope or receipt. Invariably the envelopes or bits of papers fall out so if I'm reading on my travels I just try to memorize the page number. If I'm at home I usually lie the book open face down and hope that no one picks it up. They usually do though, unless it's on the floor by my bed which is about my only safe haven from prying eyes. (One must be careful with recipe books you know.)

2. Do you lend your books?

Yes. But I'm particular to whom I lend books too. Cos I like them back. Someone I know has had some books of mine for about 10 years which were only loaned not given - I'm absolutely sure about that cos Mrs T does not part with books lightly. Hmm... a dilemma. I think after 10 years maybe I should accept they're not going to come back. It must have been a misunderstanding. Well I hope so. Cos otherwise, I'm burning their house down.

3. You find an interesting passage: do you write in your book or not?

Absolutely not! I make notes. I hate it if I borrow a book from the library and someone has written their notes in it - not only does it really rile me that they have written on something that does not belong to them but that they haven't even attempted to rub it out. The only exception to this is "recipe" books of course because I'm always interested in another person's take on jam roly polys. Sometimes I even draw pictures. It helps with the visualization. (Cough, cough)

(And if you haven't got what I'm talking about by now please put a brown paper bag over your head and end it now.)

The only books I have ever written in are the text books I used for my Open University maths course which I had purchased.)It was a calculated decision - I decided it would be easier than note taking and that that there was a 100% chance I would never look at them again. I was correct! I've since given them away to a friend who is a maths teacher in case they prove useful. I wasn't even particularly happy about giving them away with some highlighter marks in them but on balance I thought that was probably being a bit too over anxious.

4. Dust jackets - leave it on or take it off?

Well of course I leave them on. I've paid good money for them I want to keep them! Besides I like all that glossy shiny paper - it reminds of when my hair used to look that way.

5. Hard cover, paperback, skip it and get the audio book?

Paperbacks mainly due to cost but I also find the extra size of hardbacks cumbersome. However, it does depend on what type of book it is. Some reference books are only available in hardback anyway so I've a lot of those. I also buy quite a number of books from local charity shops in hardback and paperback. The nearby town has a number of such shops where I can easily spend an hour or two browsing for new or interesting reading. So for a few pounds for a good cause I get the pleasure of some new reading matter and I don't have to worry about getting the books back to the library on time. Hoorah!

I'm not into audio books at all; I'd rather hear the voices in my head and put my own interpretation on things.

6. Do you shelve your books by subject, author, or size and color of the book spines?

I've tried various methods over the years but the one that works the best is size, followed by category, then author. However if you remember what my desk looks like please take everything I write with a pinch of salt. (Only 4 cups at the moment - yippee!)

7. Buy it or borrow it from the library later?

I usually buy my books unles it's a very specialist book or very expensive. Most of the time I buy my books from play.com because all the postage is free but I also buy a lot from Amazon. Occasionally I buy from the local independent bookstore which I prefer to support rather than the big chains. I don't use the library much these days, mainly because I have a problem with remembering to return the books and racking up big fines as a result -I'm pathetically disorganized. It's annoying; I used to be so efficient when I had a proper job now I'm just a walking disaster area.

8. Do you put your name on your books - scribble your name in the cover, fancy bookplate, or stamp?

No I rarely put any mark in a book. Although some of my university history books have my name in merely because there was the possibility of misplacing them.

9. Most of the books you own are rare and out of print books or recent publications?

I don't have any rare books. Well not that I'm aware of anyway. I have a few old books dating back to the early 1900s but nothing with antique value of possibly more than a few pounds at most. I have plenty of other books from the 1950's onwards but I have them because I've either read them and enjoyed them, they have sentimental value to me or because they represent some part of my past. Many of books represent my history, a stage in my life and therefore to discard them would be like throwing away a part of me. They are more then just material possessions. When I am dead they will have very little meaning to anyone but I hope that just one or two will remain in the hands of my children and it might cross their minds why I held onto those books for so long.

10. Page edges - deckled or straight?

Straight I think.

11. How many books do you read at one time?

I'm really a one book woman. Sometimes I do have more than one book on the go - but really that says more about the quality of the book. If a book is truly good I will read it through in a very short space of time. Sometimes in one day or night if circumstances allow.

12. Be honest, ever tear a page from a book?

No. Why bother? Some books you can lob in entirety straight onto the fire. Others must remain, aligned on the shelf (but not dusted), the visible reminder of how creative and wonderful the human mind can be.

Yep, that's what happens in the early hours Mrs T goes from mad to sentimental in the space of a few minutes. There's no hope for me - better get the choccy out.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mrs T's Eurovision Memoirs (3) Smoochy Time!

Everyone loves a smoochy tune; the song destined to be the last dance at discos and weddings. The Eurovision Song Contest and has churned out quite a few smoochies over the years but some are a little more memorable than others! One of my favourites is the 1987 winning entry Hold Me Now sung by Johnny Logan. So for all of you feeling a little lovey dovey right now here's something to help with the the mood...

I like Johnny's passionate delivery in this song. And as he also wrote it I'm assuming there was at least a little bit of self exposure in the lyrics. Maybe that's why it came across so well rather than some of the more painful exaggerated emotions that sometimes accompany power ballads.

Johnny Logan is a legend in Eurovision terms as Hold Me Now was actually his second win. He first represented Ireland back in 1979 but it was his 1980 hit What's Another Year written by another song writer that secured his first win and set him on the path to the Eurovision hall of fame. In 1984 he also composed a song Terminal 3 sung by Linda Martin which came second and in 1992 the same collaboration gave Johnny his third win with Why Me? This made him one of the most successful Eurovision Artists in its history. In fact, in 2005 Hold Me Now was voted third most popular Eurovision song of all time behind Abba with Waterloo(1974) in poll position and Volare by Domenico Modugno (1958) in second place.

Johnny Logan went on to have huge hits with his two Eurovision wins but never really cracked the UK market with the follow up records - although there has been some suggestion that this was due to poor management. As a singer who followed in his father's footsteps Johnny still has a lovely melodic voice and this is still recognised today in Ireland and the rest of Europe where he is still hugely popular.

Let's end with the song that really started it all off - What's Another Year.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Mrs T's Eurovision Memoirs(2) Gibberish comes up trumps.

If you read my last Music Monday Post you'll know I'm posting on the Eurovision contest over the coming days. So here is one of my favourites, the 1975 winning song by Teach In who sang a tune with a truly memorable title (worthy of Freudian analysis) called Ding-a-Dong.

I used to have curtains like that.

And is that hair for real or a wig? Cos if it is a wig I want one it. I'm not saying I've got hair loss but last time I shaved my legs I collected the hairs and stuck them on my head.

Okay, let's have a look at the lyrics;

When you're feeling alright
Everything is up-tight
Listen to sing a song that goes ding, ding a dong
There will be no sorrow
When you'll sing tomorrow
And you walk along with your ding dang dong

Ding a dong every hour
When you pick a flower
Even when your lover is gone gone gone
Ding a dong listen to it
Maybe it's a big hit
Even when your lover is gone gone gone
Sing ding dang dong

When you're feeling alright
Everything is up-tight
Try to sing a song that goes ding, ding a dong
And the world looks sunny
Everyone is funny
When they sing a song that goes ding dang dong

Ding a dong every hour
When you pick a flower
Even when your lover is gone gone gone
Ding a dong listen to it
Maybe it's a big hit
Even when your lover is gone gone gone

Ding dang dong, ding a dang dong

When you think it's all over
They let me down
Dry your tears and forget all your sorrow
Try to smile while you say goodbye
Sing ding dong, ding dong
Ding dang dong
When you'll wake up tomorrow
When the sun is up in the sky

When you're feeling alright
Everything is up-tight
Listen to a song that goes ding, ding a dong
There will be no sorrow
When you'll sing tomorrow
And you walk along with your ding dang dong

Ding a dong every hour
When you pick a flower
Even when your lover is gone gone gone
Ding a dong listen to it
Maybe it's a big hit
Even when your lover is gone gone gone

Ding a dong every hour
When you pick a flower
Even when your lover is gone gone gone
Ding a dong listen to it
Maybe it's a big hit
Even when your lover is gone gone gone (rpt)

Hmm... now correct me if I'm wrong but I'm thinking Shakespeare didn't write those lyrics. In fact if someone would like to translate them into something that makes sense please do try! And I'm a bit worried about all that walking around with your ding dang dong. Sounds like the kind of thing you might get arrested for. Basically those lyrics are complete gibberish but nevertheless it was the winning song. So I've concluded that for the UK to win the 2010 Eurovision contest I need to write the lyrics! Surely there can be no one better than Mrs T at writing nonsense?

Well apparently there is.

Yep, whilst having one of my "Let's surf the internet but pretend to be writing" periods (so Mr T doesn't horse whip me) I decided to google "gibberish."

"Gibberish is a generic term in English for talking that sounds like speech but has no actual meaning. This meaning has also been extended to meaningless text or gobbledygook. The common theme in gibberish statements is a lack of literal sense, which can also be described as a presence of nonsense." (Wikipedia)

Interesting; I think I definitely qualify as a potential Eurovision songwriter! But then I found this;

Hmm...you know even though it's gibberish it's kinda clever and I rather like it. So who is this Ryan Leslie ? I'd certainly never heard of him. Well apparently he is better known as a music producer but is also an instrumentalist and rapper. Born of mixed origins, his mother is of Caribbean, Dutch, Chinese, and African descent and his father is from Barbados. I guess Ryan has a lot 0f eclectic interests with that heritage and as he also attended Harvard he must be one smart cookie too! His first album was released in February this year and I've been listening to a few tunes and it's sounding interesting. Maybe it goes to show that where music is concerned lyrics are just a bonus.

Still, I'm gonna give it my best shot anyway with those lyrics next year! Cos I just can't stand losing!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Reasons Why I Love being a Mum

This is a tag I received from Mrs G over at Eve's Lungs. I have to give 5 reasons why I love being a mum. Now I'm pretty sure 5 reasons why I hate being a mum could pop into my head pretty easily...... oh well might as well do those first....

1. When your children are small the only sex you know about is watching Top Gun with your eyes propped open with matchsticks and dribble running down the corner of your mouth at 2 am in the morning while your baby crawls all over the room unaware of the fact the HE SHOULD BE ASLEEP. Of course watching Tom Cruise performing is about as exciting as watching paint dry but let's face it at 2 am you don't want to watch University Challenge.

2. In the main part, children don't lie until they get to a certain age which means they always tell the truth about your cooking. This leads to depression, drug addiction and suicidal thoughts. It also leads to canned soup.

3. When the moment finally arrives that you get to have sex just at the point when it's getting interesting. (Your partner has taken his socks off) a little voice cries "Mummmmmmy!" This inevitably means that a small person will be sharing your bed within 5 minutes and you have just enough time to pull your flannelette pyjamas and woolly bed socks back on.

4. If you're lucky enough to actually have sex when your partner says " How was it for you darling?" a small voice pipes up " Tash is on my bed, why was daddy looking for pussy under the duvet?" Note; always use chains and bolts on your bedroom door and set the toddler early detection warning system to maxium efficiency.

5. Everyone else's baby is either perfect or grossly imperfect. Let me explain; if you say "I had a bad night last night" (Meaning perhaps you were up several hours and feel pretty exhausted.) You will receive one of two responses either;

"My baby slept all night and has done since she was born" (Guaranteed to really rile you.)

Or the other even more irritating response;

"Oh yes so did I. I had to call the emergency doctor out because Little Johnny's toe nail was looking odd. The doctor thought it was toenailitis so we had to been air lifted to casualty. Then the consultant thought it was toenailitis with septicemia and brain dysfunction. Oh I was soooo worried....blah...blah....blah...."

Remember with this kind of mother you will never win. Try to have some good put-downs handy. For example in the above instance something like;"So how long has Johnny been painting his toenails then?" would be an effective reply. Alternatively, stick your fingers down your throat and throw up over them.

Right, 5 reasons why I love being a mum.

1. My children's smiles are the most glorious gifts. Seeing them happy is my biggest joy in my life. When they smile and laugh I know that I am being a good mother.

2. I get to eat their chocolate when they're not looking. Yummy!

3. I get to sit on the sides of tennis courts, football pitches, karate session and cricket matches and oggle young men completely legitimately! How good is that?!

4. I have the perfect excuse not to do any housework! "I was busy playing with/entertaining/educating your sons so I couldn't polish/clean/vacuum." (Remember to wash the bubbles out of the bath otherwise you might give the game away.)

5. My children love me unconditionally and that is my greatest reward. (No one tell them about the choccy please or they might change their minds.)

This is supposed to be a mum's tag so I pass it onto Tamera and Marie but I want to see some male thoughts too! So I also pass it onto Sy (hee, hee) and PB (His kids are much older so I want to see if he still feels the same way about them now they've sucked all his cash out of him).

Monday, May 4, 2009

Bloomers at Bloomsbury (Writing Challenge 2; This Time It's War!)

Yep, that author Gary Davison has been causing me trouble again! Not only is he beating me on our 12lb Weight Loss Challenge by 4 lbs (It's sad what we writers do to keep ourselves amused) but he keeps sending me the most ridiculous words for our writing challenges. On our last challenge we were supposed to be writing a story for a competition with a theme of "uncertainty." So I duly sent Gary some cracking scenarios and he sent me back;

Characters; Mrs T and Mr D. (Himself)

Setting; Bloomsbury Publishers

Style; Humour

Theme; Uncertainty.

The result of this? Sadly, I haven't written anything that is suitable for the competition! However, at least I have the small consolation that Gary's weight loss is causing his double chin to go saggy! See how he's trying to disguise it in this picture below? Boy, he will stop at nothing - even taking up Gangster Rap in a desperate distraction technique. Doesn't look like he's fooling those folks behind him though does it?

Now I think I'm right that this is a piccy of Gary celebrating the publication of his first novel Fat Tuesday. His second novel Streakers is out in July. Boy, I'm looking forward to reviewing that one! Apparently he got the idea for Streakers when his trousers fell down when he was rapping one night. Unfortunately, he was so concerned about his double chin he failed to put his hand over the necessaries and was arrested for indecent exposure.

I'm hoping Gary is going to invite me to his next bash because we haven't actually met in the flesh yet.... although... now I'm thinking that when he reads the result of my writing challenge he may not be entirely happy with me. Besides, both of us rapping in the same room could have severe environmental consequences.

Anyway, here for your (dubious) pleasure is the result of the challenge, a short play, entitled Bloomers at Bloomsbury.


The set is the reception of Bloomsbury HQ in London. A secretary is seated at a desk on the right with her back to a large window which overlooks a bustling London street. On her right, centrally placed, is the entrance from the hallway with a nearby hatstand and opposite, on her left, is a door to Ian Waldorf’s office, senior contracts manager. Opposite the secretary's desk is a seating area which comprises 2 light tan leather couches and 3 fabric covered chairs in a darker shade of tan with an assortment of plush cushions strategically placed. In the middle is a coffee table, with a variety of books, newspapers and a vase of exotic flowers. Behind the seating are a water dispenser, a side table with a coffee percolator and other accoutrements. Pictures of famous authors and novels adorn the walls.

The Cast:

Miss Pamela Sidebottom: Secretary. Late 50s, a rather prim secretary who purports to be a fan of Zadie Smith, Salmon Rushdie and James Joyce but secretly reads raunchy Mills and Boons in the bath whilst sucking dark chocolate. The last time she dropped her knickers was in 1981 when she caught them on a pitchfork during a protest march at Greenham Common. She has been writing her memoirs for the last 10 years.

Mr Ian Waldorf: Senior Contracts Manager. A spindly man, with silver rimmed glasses who wears ancient suits and waistcoats from Saville Row. He also sports a pocket watch and albert and repeatedly looks at the time. He is a stickler for detail and dines mainly on salads and fruit and vegetable smoothies. He lives with his mother and his been working on a self help manual for the last 5 years entitled “Getting by without meat.”

Mr Gary Davison: Published author. A Northerner with delusions of grandeur. Debonair in a Northern kind of way. Although good looking unfortunately has a baggy chin which is a source of annoyance and discomfort. He is contemplating plastic surgery but can only afford it if he clinches a mega contract with Bloomsbury so he is desperate to clinch a deal of a lifetime with his second novel “Streaky Bacon and Eggs,” the story of a Northern chip shop owner named The Fryer who replaces his cod and chips for streaky bacon and eggs and becomes an overnight success securing his own TV series and best selling cook book.

Mrs Jane Turley: Surprisingly young looking 40 something and global blog superstar. Stunningly attractive despite a larger than average bottom. Her first novel failed to find a publisher but her memoir Diary of a Housewife Extraordinaire is now up for grabs. She is a blog friend of Gary Davison but as yet they have never met.

An unknown Author(??)

The scene;

Miss Sidebottom is at her desk reading a copy of Crime and Punishment, unfortunately her copy of Mills and Boon’s “ A Night to Remember” by I M Raunchy keeps slipping out between the pages and falling on her keyboard. Mrs Turley is seated on of one the sofas, a coffee on the table, and her head buried in a copy of Bloomsbury’s latest coffee table publication “Scatter Cushions for the Visually Impaired.” By A.Twat.

The main door to the reception opens and in strides Gary Davison. He is looking extremely nervous as he is 15 minutes late for his appointment. His suit is looking rumpled and there is a rip in his shirt. His purple tie looks particularly hideous and his trainers look totally out of place with the suit. He carries a yellow builder’s hard hat and a briefcase bulging with manuscripts. A copy of The Sun (page 3) is sticking out of the top.

Gary; Good morning Pammy (Miss Sidebottom cringes at the over familiarity and the sudden interruption causes her Mills and Boon to drop out. She hurriedly picks it up and hides it again.) I’m sorry I’m late. Bloody Underground. You know how it is.

Miss SB; (Regaining her composure) Ah Good morning Mr Davison. (Mrs Turley looks up with a quizzical expression.) Well better late than never. Luckily for you Mr Waldorf is running late. Perhaps you like to take a seat with Mrs Turley while you wait.

Gary; Mrs Turley? (Gary spins round. And eyes up the attractive woman on the couch. He mutters to himself.) Hmm….Can’t be the Mrs Turley I know this one is gorgeous…and so slim… ( He makes a coffee and while waiting desperately tries to cover up the ripped shirt and polishes his trainers on the back of his trouser legs.)

Mrs T is sneaking the occasional look at Mr Davison and trying to hide her laughter. Gary sits down opposite Mrs Turley and pulls out a massive manuscript covered in coffee and beer stains whilst trying to eye up Mrs Turley’s legs.

Mrs T; (Looking up from her book at Gary.) I hope you don’t mind me saying you look so much like a friend of mine. There is a remarkable similarity although there is something a little different. (Gary is looking as puffed as a peacock by the interest of the incredibly sexy woman.) Oh yes… now I see the difference… it’s the chin. My friend has a….. (Pauses as if searching for a suitable word)… different chin. (Gary looks very deflated and tries to cover up his chin with his manuscript whilst talking over the top of it.

Gary; Oh… um…yes. People often mistake me for Brad Pitt but the chins are a little different.

Mrs T; Oh really? (Raises eyebrow)

Gary; I think it’s the eyes that are the same.

Mrs T; Not the dress sense? (Gary, is so pleased with himself the humour of Mrs T’s remark is lost on him.)

Gary; No definitely the eyes. (Gary leans forward lowering the newspaper and stares at Mrs T with his eyes wide open like an owl.)

Mrs T; Oh yes, I see exactly what you mean. (Said in a way that she absolutely no idea what he means.)

Gary; And who is your friend who looks like me. Do I know him?

Mrs T; Oh it’s unlikely you know my friend. He’s from The North – probably couldn’t even find his way here on the Underground and no doubt would probably get himself stuck in a turnstile. (Gary goes bright red and looks very uncomfortable.)

Gary; Well perhaps you can tell me who you are then?

Mrs T; Oh I’m just an aspiring writer.

Gary; I see. (He’s recovered a bit now and is feeling a bit flirtatious.) And what pray, brings you to these prestigious offices today?

Mrs T; I’ve written a book. Bloomsbury has been considering it for a while and now they’ve asked me in here today. I’m hoping I’ll get a contract.

Gary; That’s tremendous! I’m here for a meeting too. I’ve had a book published independently already but I love to get a contract with Bloomsbury! (Runs hand unconsciously under chin and then gets out a copy of Fat Tuesday and pushes it across the table.)

Mrs T; Hmm…Fat Tuesday? That rings a bell. Is it about a Northern gangster who runs a protection racket of the black pudding industry?

Gary; Um….no. It’s about….

Mrs T; (Cutting across Gary) So you’re THE Gary Davison?

Gary; That’s right. (Beaming) I’m a builder by trade but I’ve taken to writing and now I write seriously.

Mrs T; I guess that explains the hat then.

Gary; (Looking defensive) There’s a lot of scaffolding in London one should always be prepared.

Mrs T; Oh I quite agree. One should always be prepared. That’s why I always carry spare knickers with me.

Gary; (Looking like his luck is in.) Oh… yes…. Never thought of that….

Mrs T; Well you know – just in case one has the touch of the runs. You can never be too careful.

Gary; (Looking deflated) What’s your book about then?

Mrs T; Oh it's a sex manual with a self help orientation. (Gary suddenly becomes very alert) I had to do a lot of research. It was so tiring especially putting all the photographs together…… (Gary is straining forward on his seat) I had to study them in detail…. In fact I went to this demonstration…..

The door opens from the inner office and out comes Mr Waldorf, looking spruce.

Mr W; Ah Good morning Mr Davison, Mrs Turley. I hope you are both ready for me. (Turning to Miss SB) No sign of our third guest? (Gary and Mrs T get up to greet Mr W.)

Miss SB; Not yet Mr Waldorf. His plane was delayed but he should be here any moment.

Mr W; (Rubbing hands together with glee.) Well I am looking forward to your presentations. May the best man or woman win!

Gary; What exactly do you mean? Presentations? I thought my appointment today was to discuss my contract?

Mrs T; Yes, I’m not exactly sure what you mean. My letter said just to discuss my book.

Mr W; (Looking perplexed) Oh dear. Miss Sidebottom didn’t you send those follow-up letters out?

Miss SB; Definitely Mr Waldorf. They must have gone astray.

Mr W; Oh dear, dear, dear. This is not what I was expecting. But we shall just have to make the most of a bad situation! (Claps hands together in sudden excitement) Now let me explain. It’s approaching the end of our fiscal year and I only have the budget for one more contract so as I been unable to make a decision on your books I thought I’d give you the chance to do a presentation and whoever is the most convincing wins the deal of a lifetime!

Gary; (Horrified face) I’ve never heard of such a thing! (Mr W looks annoyed)…. But what an excellent idea…. I’m game for a laugh.

Mr W; And you my dear Jane? Will you consent to my little request?

Gary; Jane? Jane Turley?

Mrs T; (Talking to Mr W and ignoring Gary) Yes…well alright Mr Waldorf. I’ll try my best.

Mr W; That’s the spirit! We’ll kick off when our third guest arrives. In the meantime get your thinking hats on! (Returns to office looking suitably pleased.)

Mrs T sits back down.

Gary; It is you isn’t it? The Housewife?

Mrs T; (Grinning wickedly) Yes.

Gary; Why you bitch! All that stuff about getting caught in turnstiles and the sex manual!

Mrs T; Well you fell for it hook, line and sinker!

Gary; And now we have to fight it out over a book contract. (Sits back down) I’m going to win you know.

Mrs T. You’ve already got a book contract. You don’t need this one. You could concede. (Flashes eyelashes and hitches skirt subtlety.)

Gary; Don’t think I’m going to fall for that old trick and don’t even think about trying it on with Waldorf.

Mrs T; All's fair in love and war and book contracts you know.

Gary; I happen to know Waldorf is gay.

Mrs T; No he isn’t.

Gary; Yes he is.

Mrs T; No he isn’t. I know he isn’t.

Gary; (Looking suspicious) Just how do you know?

Mrs T; Weeeeell…. he helped me with my manual…..

Gary; Oh don’t start that again! You haven’t written a sex manual. Remember I’m your writing buddy. Your book’s called The Diary of a Housewife Extraordinaire. Who wants to read that mindless gibberish anyway?

Mrs T; Well who wants a read a book called Streaky Bacon and Eggs?

Gary: More people than those who want to read about dishcloths!

Mrs T; Oh yeah! We’ll see about that! If people bought John Major’s autobiography why wouldn’t they buy mine?

Gary; Maybe because you’ve not been Prime Minister?

Mrs T; That’s just the sort of answer I’d expect you to come up with. I’m going to get a coffee and think about what I’m going to say.

Gary; Yes, let’s call a truce and have a think or we’ll both blow it. Luckily I’ve brought my manuscript. Maybe I’ll read an excerpt or two.

Mrs T; Good idea. (Gets up and makes coffee) Do you want a fresh one?

Gary; (Studying manuscript) Umm… yes… thank you.

Mrs T fills up two coffees and moves next to Gary. As he moves she emits an enormous sneeze and the coffees jerk violently dropping their hot contents all over Gary’s manuscript.

Gary; Oh my God! (Leaping to feet.) Look what you’ve done to do my manuscript! It’s ruined!

Mrs T; Oh dear, I’m sorry. That sneeze just took me by surprise. I’ll clear it up. (Mrs T pulls a solitary tissue out of her pocket and starts to dab feebly at Gary’s manuscript.)

Gary; You did that on purpose didn’t you?

Mrs T; (Mortified look.) Gary how could you even think that? I thought we were best buddies?

Gary; You’ll stop at nothing to get this contract will you?

Mrs T; Well you’ve already said you’re going to win it so what are you worried about?

Gary picks up the vase of flowers and empties the contents over Mrs T’s head.

Gary; Yeah, well explain your new “look” to Waldorf and I’d just like to say you DO have a big arse.

Mrs T (Drenched and with several flowers strewn on her head.) God, you Northerners are all the same. No manners. (She picks up his builders hat and sits on it crushing it beyond recognition.) Yeah well … sometimes my big arse comes in handy!

Gary; Hey that was my favourite hat!

Mrs T; Oh poor, poor little Gary. His little hatty-watty is sicky–wicky.

Gary; You bitch! ( Grabs a scatter cushion and starts to pummel Mrs T)

Mrs T; You bastard! (Grabs another scatter cushion and a book and starts to retaliate.)

Miss Sidebottom; (Screeching) Mr Davison! Mrs Turley! There’s no need for this!

Mrs T; Oh yes there is! (Now covered in feathers from a split cushion.)

An almighty fight ensues. There are feathers and flowers everywhere. Gary is chasing Mrs T around the room. Mrs T is screaming. Mr Waldorf enters from his office and is looking around totally bemused. Mrs T grabs hold of an umbrella from the hat stand and so does Gary. They are duelling. The room is a complete shambles

Mrs T; Take that you Northerner! (Poking him in the belly)

Gary; ( Beating Mrs T around the arse) Take that you stuck up bitch!

Mrs T leaps on the sofa and they continue duelling. Gary leaps on the sofa too and with the extra weight it tips over and they both lie breathless on the floor. Mrs T has landed near her handbag and starts to reach out for it. Gary grabs her leg and is trying to pull her away but she gets hold of it and starts to clobber him on the head. The bag spills open and the contents fall all over the floor as she continues clubbing him.

Gary; (Trying to defend himself he lets go of Mrs T’s leg.) You crazy woman! Get off!

Mrs T; You started it! (Seeing Gary is temporarily incapacitated she jumps up and sits on his chest whilst picking up the large pair of granny knickers (A dull grey) that have fallen out of her bag and holds them threateningly above Gary’s face.

Gary; Noooooooo! Not the Granny Knickers! Help! Help!

Mrs T starts to stuff the knickers in Gary’s mouth as he makes desperate muffled cries and bangs his legs up and down on the floor. Unfortunately for him Mrs T’s big arse is winning the day.

Gary lies defeated on the floor and Mrs T is punching the air with her fist.

Mrs T; I win, I win, I win!!

At that moment the door opens and in comes a man with a bronzed suntan, wearing khaki shorts, tee shirt and a hat like Crocodile Dundee.

Man; Ah….G’Day folks. Have I interrupted anything? (Looking somewhat bewildered at the sight of wrecked office.)

Mr Waldorf: Ah…Paul…. Delighted, delighted to see you. (Hurries over to the new arrival and puts his arm around his shoulder) Just in the nick of time…you have no idea what’s been happening…..

Gary spits out the granny knickers and at the same time he and Mrs T turn round and see the new arrival.

Mrs T and Gary cry in unison; PAUL BURMAN!

Gary; (Despondently) Fancy a drink Mrs T?

Mrs T; (Even more despondent.) Yeah, okay.

They pick up their stuff and head towards the door.

Gary; Your round first.

Mrs T; WHAT?

Gary; Yeah okay, okay…my round……

The door closes behind them. The sound of muffled voices gradually developing into shouting...


Yep, I think we can safely say this play won't be in the West End. But what the heck, I enjoyed writing it!

Copyright Jane Turley 2009

The Honest Scrap Award

Well I'm expecting the critique of my novel back mid May and then I'll be pressing on with finishing it so I maybe around a little randomly. (Unless it's totally panned where I will then be around more frequently while it forms a nice funeral pyre in the back garden.) However, for the moment I thought I'd use the time to catch up with all the posts I'm owing. So I'm going to start with The Honest Scrap Award which my dear friend Marie over at Nourish gave to me back in early February. Now it took Marie three months to accept her award before passing it on.... so what can I say... but don't feel bad Marie three months looks like the standard now!

Now a condition of accepting this award is that I have to list 10 honest scrap things about me and 5 addictions. Now even though I'd read Marie's post I had to think what was meant by "scrap" in this context...I ummed and ahhhh and then suddenly the little light bulb (long life obviously) went PING! and I realised it actually meant "crap" - The "S" is a printing error! Sooo 10 crap things about me..... well that should be really easy......

1. I hate all these conditions that come with Awards! I mean I know it's lovely to spread the love but it's like being at school again. You know, when the teacher told you to do something you really didn't want to do when you just wanted to play .....

"Eat your mashed potato before go out to play!"

"Tidy up now, I want to see this room spick and span before you go out to play!"

"Have you done your homework? No? Right do it now before you go out to play!"

Blimey, teachers are just killjoys aren't they? When are they going to understand that school is about playing? Education....that's just an incidental.

So what am I trying to say here? Umm... I have a problem with authority! Yep, I would have been crap in the army. I'd have been arguing all the time with every instruction and complaining about my chocolate rations. In my defence I think arguing can be a useful asset-even in the army - for example I'd probably have argued with Field Marshall Haig "The Butcher of the Somme" during the First World War about his military tactics which could have been a positive. Of course, the downside of this is that I might have been shot for treason but hey at least I'd have got a last request!

" Double portion of Chocolate Devil's Cake please and tell Haig he's a ****** will you?"

2. I still have a pair of maternity knickers...and boy are they comfortable! (I'm not explaining why but I am not pregnant. So work it out.)

3. I am secretly in love with Gordon Brown. In fact last week I sent him a letter;

Gordon, Gordon, where for art thou Gordon? I knowest thou has mucked up the economy big time but I can forgive thee if thou comest to my bed chamber quickly. For I have tasted the vileness of poisoned chocolate and will soon fall into a deep eternal sleep unless your sweet lips do bring me back to life.

Ps. Don't forget to bring your dagger and stab yourself.

4. I'm just going to fake it when Gordon comes. And I don't mean that kind of "faking it." I meant looking like I'm dead so he stabs himself. I can't think of anything less sexy than the idea of making out with Gordon Brown. In fact just the name "Gordon" makes me feel queasy, so let's not even talk about that body. I've got principles you know. (Not many, but not having sex with buffoons IS one of them.)

5. I am not in love with Catherine Zeta Jones. I have never, ever thought about her and her stunning good looks and curvaceous body. And she is soooo gorgeous and talented I'm sure the fact that Michael Douglas is hideously rich and knew everyone in Hollywood had absolutely nothing to do with her trapping him. I mean "marrying him.".You see nice girls don't marry for money - I didn't.

Boy, have I made some mistakes.

6. Oh well back to my desk again....just for the heck of it. Currently I have 5 cups, 1 glass, 1 bottle of Apple and Raspberry Slightly Sparkling Spring Water Drink,(Glad they clarified the "water" bit - I was worried for a moment), a small bottle of Lucozade (For the sugar high) and an empty can of Diet Coke. I also have an empty bottle of Diet Pepsi on the printer. Now you've got to admit that is a "crap" fact isn't it? 10/10 for crapness? However, it may explain why I have an embarrassing problem when I sneeze.

7.When I was at Whipsnade Zoo I bought a little reusable bag. It's about 10 x 8, green and has printed on it "My Little Green Bag."

Wouldn't it have been funnier if the bag had been pink?

8. I have written to David Cameron, the Tory Leader, and said that I am prepared to support him in the next election if he promises to introduce compulsory facial hair checks for women over forty.

I think he'll get a lot of female (and possibly male) supporters.

9. It's a bank holiday Monday here which means the kids are at home. -We are NOT going to Whipsnade zoo - I received a letter of thanks. Apparently some ape hanged himself after our last visit. His suicide note said he was worried about evolving into a human.

10. All of this blog is a complete fabrication. My name is actually Gordwina Brown, I live in an institution for retired actresses in the seaside resort of Hastings. Most days I sit in my bath chair listening to recordings of Michael Jackson singing "We'll Meet Again - If Only I Knew Who I Was."

Okay my 5 addictions.

1. Cupcakes (Obviously)

2. Chocolate (Obviously)

3. Pierce Brosnan. (Obviously)

4. Being silly. (Obviously)

5. Catherine Zeta Jones. (Perhaps I should explain - I'm her body double.)

Right I pass this award onto Gary, Master Sy, PB, Georgie and Roxy The Dog; I have a tag for the girls later in the week and you'll be surprised as it has nothing to do with men. (Although I did contemplate it.)

Copyright Jane Turley 2009

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Music Mondays; It's Eurovision Time! (Mrs T's Eurovision Memoirs)

You know it had to happen didn't you? Yes, it was inevitable that sometime I would have to dwell upon that most ridiculed of subjects in the UK - The Eurovision Song Contest.

Yep, we are only a few days away from that supreme masterpiece of international diplomacy and display of musical mastery which brings the entire British nation weeping to its knees. Why is this so? Yes, we the nation who produced The Beatles, Queen and Des O'connor can barely secure a few miserable points no matter how good (or bad) our songs are. We are the outcasts of Europe!

Last year we came last. Yes, that's LAST with a pathetic 14 points. I thought playing Even If sung by the lovely Andy Abraham would be a good prelude to Mrs T's Eurovision Memoirs a little feature I will be posting regularly over the next 2 weeks highlighting some of my favourite Eurovision songs.

The song Even if was co written by Andy Abrahams who some of you may recall was the X factor runner up in 2005 during which his pleasant demeanour and humble status as the singing refuse collector secured him a huge following.

So lets see Andy in action and you tell me ...did this song deserve to come last?

Well personally I don't think it did. It's not a bad a little dance number and it's in the spirit of Eurovision. What's more it's proof that bald men can be sexy!

Okay, there's lots more Eurovision to come in between my other blog entries. However, I hasten to add that at no time will I be posting the two Cliff Richard entries. ( A woman's got to have some principles.)

I leave you with a question for my fellow Brits (or indeed anyone else).... Why haven't we been represented by Des? I feel sure we would have won.......

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. One simple rule, leave ONLY the actual post link here. You can grab this code at LJL Please note these links are STRICTLY for Music Monday participants only. All others will be deleted without prejudice.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

I can talk to the animals!

It's true! Yes, during the Easter holidays I took Master Benedict and Master Jacob to Whipsnade zoo for one of those delightful family excursions where by the time you get home you are wondering what on earth you were thinking about when you decided that procreation was a good idea.

(Note: In my opinion it is always wise to keep a set of divorce papers handy for these situations - you maybe be able to swing yourself a better deal - especially if you were foolish enough to sign a prenuptial agreement. I haven't actually managed to swing it myself yet but I've got a outing planned to LegoWorld which might just do the trick. I hear all those little bricks can cause a lot of frustration.)

Strangely, whilst I was at Whipsnade Zoo, I had one of those bizarre experiences similar to the one I had on the ferry crossing back from my holiday in Ireland. When, if you remember, for some unknown reason the perfumery counter started talking to me. I'm beginning to think I have telepathic powers. I don't know why I've developed them but it all started with the stabbing pains in my head...then the voices began...and then things just started talking to me. Often they were supposedly inanimate objects. For example, I'd be in the shopping centre, minding my own business, and then I'd hear whispering...

"Psssst....Mrs T, over here! Over here in the shoe shop! Oh, I'm so lonely in here Mrs T. The horrid teenagers keep splitting me up from my twin and sticking me in this hot window. I'm so lonely and frightened. Please, please, please can you take me home so I can sit in your nice cool cupboard with my sister. We'll be very well behaved..and you can wear us anytime you like..."

Well, what's a girl gotta do in these situations? How can she refuse such sad, pitiful talk? Especially as I'm such a sympathetic, charitable soul. Oh, and it was simply awful before Christmas when the pre-Christmas sales were on - so many poor hot little shoes crying out for attention afraid of getting crushed. On one occasion I had to rescue two pairs at one time! Poor, poor little things...I've tucked them safely away at the back of my cupboard so Mr T does not disturb them.

So that's how it all started. So anyway, there I was walking around the zoo enclosures when my ears began ringing. I shook my head trying to rid myself of the noise...but I could hear voices again which got louder and louder. I looked around me, totally bewildered, for it was not the voices of my children or my shoes or those lovely little notepads and pens in the gift shop...

It was the animals...

"Okay nobody look at that woman with the camera we've done our set poses for the day, let's get down to some serious grooming. You got the nit comb Gus?"

"Nah, lent it to Nellie over in the Elephant enclosure."
"Hey, she ain't even got any hair!"

" I dunno, something 'bout scratching her arse.

"Blimey, when are you ever gonna learn? Don't lend out the nit combs....now I'm gonna have to use my fingers again. Okay bend over, I see one of the little buggers...."

"Oh shit guys I think that's crazy Mrs T over there -the one who was on our neighbourhood watch poster; the sadist who pegged Flopsy to her washing line. Right, better keep your ears down and try to look hard."

"Yo Mrs T! I hear you're good at scratching beavers. Would you mind? I got one irritating itch!"

"Hey Rodney, there's that mad Mrs T the one who thinks she can run faster than we can."

"Where? I can only see the woman with the big arse. Can't be her - too much wind resistance. I'm gonna have a kip. Wake me when Carl Lewis comes past will you?"

"Look Gerald, will you stop painting the aviary. Last week it was Hint of Lilac, now it's Salmon Pink. Your obsession with home decor is getting ridiculous...I'm going to report you to the keeper. Right, someone pass me the sponge."

"Hey Gnashers, you see that big arse over there? I could really sink my teeth into that!"

"What...you mean the the woman with the two kids and the tall guy?"

"Yeah that's the one!"

"I see what you mean. Could be a little fatty though."

"Ah who cares. My teeth need sharpening. Yo, baby! Yeah, you - the sexy honey pot. Over here sweetie, I got a surprise for you!"

"Oy, Mrs T, wanna come in for cuddle? There's plenty of room in my sty for two. You know you and me were made for each other! You don't need that skinny guy with you ... think muscle, brawn.....pork chops..... some really tasty bacon......Yeah baby....come on, come on.... hoist your leg a little higher and you'll be over the fence....."

"Man, if I have to bounce another ball on my nose I think I'm gonna go mad. Ever since the 1966 World Cup it's just been balls, balls, balls. And I bet it's fish for supper again. And I can't even get my whiskers trimmed. It's just sub standard service here....I'm applying for a transfer to Woburn."

"Hey, do you think she can hear us JJ?"

"Nah, she's way too busy trying to photograph the hyenas. I heard her talking to herself too. We got some serious problems when she gets old. You know we're gonna have to lock her up don't you?"

" You reckon? Do you think it'll cost much? She keeps saying she's not got enough cash for that gold plated tennis racquet I'm after. But last night I found a whole stash of chocolate hidden in the utility room. I ate some too, it was real tasty stuff."

"Man, you are dicing with death. She goes mental if someone nicks her chocolate."

"Nah, no probs; I put the wrapper under Dad's pillow this morning."

"Oh boy, the shit is really gonna hit the fan now! Hey you got some of that choccy left?"

"Yeah. Want some?"

"Yeah. Slip it over real carefully so she doesn't see. She's always saying she's got eyes in the back of her head."

"Is that why she always put her sunglasses on the wrong side of her head?"

"Yeah, she thinks it's funny. I just think she's mad."

"You know you could be right. Shall we start on the tunnel again tonight?"

My Nominees for the US and UK Elections and Other Waffle

It's the early hours of the morning, and I have had a large gin... Late-night alcohol is always a good recipe for writing gibberish. And...