Monday, March 29, 2010

Music Monday: Fireflies in Heaven

The Lovely Bones: Deluxe Edition
I've been working hard this morning on a book review for The View From Here so I though I'd break off for a few moments for a cup of coffee and listen to a song that I've become addicted to lately. I guess you'd call it a little down time! I'm definitely in need of it as the article I'm writing is about two books which deal with child abduction and murder  The Lovely Bones  by Alice Sebold and The Shack by W.M Paul Young. Both books also present their own pictures of heaven so as you can imagine my brain is whirring around trying to place all my thoughts about such complex subjects. My article will be up on The View later this week so if you feel you can deal with such themes do pop over and have a read. Alternatively, if you just like my usual rubbish stay here!

Well the song I'm going to play is Fireflies by Owl City. It was number one in the charts in the UK a few weeks back and when you hear it I'm sure you'll see why its got underneath my skin. It has no connection to what I'm writing at all at the moment - I just like it!

Although, on consideration, I think it would be really nice if there were fireflies in heaven.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

An Inglorious Glorious Film!

Inglorious Bastards (3-Disc Special Edition)Towards the end of last year, my blog buddy Gary Davison gave the film Inglorious Bastards a splendid review on his site. So when I happened to see it on a shelf at the supermarket before Christmas with the byline "Special interview with Quentin Tarantino,"  being a big fan of war movies, I popped it in the trolley.

Little did I know, until last night, that I had actually bought the 1978 version of  Inglorious Bastards directed by the Italian Enzo. G. Castellari and not the 2009 film starring Brad Pitt which Gary had reviewed. (It had a different cover to one shown here which looked a bit arty and contemporary.)

But I'm mighty glad I picked up the wrong copy because the 1978 version is an absolute hoot! I haven't laughed so much in ages; the film is so bad it is brilliant! Imagine every war cliche you can think of, transpose them into a dire Italian film dubbed in English and you have a work of sheer genius. It's like Aiplane but made as a serious film -although how anyone could take it seriously is hard to believe!

The plot is simple - basically a bunch of American military convicts are being transported to somewhere or other (at this stage I was still cursing Gary for recommending some shite Seventies film  - so I didn't quite take in their destination.) Their convoy is bombed, they escape and disguise themselves as German soldiers killing lots of Germans in the process. They also mistakenly kill some American soldiers (who are also dressed as Germans!) who are on a secret mission. (Oh dear, Operation Overlord suspended!) Then, trying to make their way to Switzerland, they get into even more ridiculous escapades including the remarkable discovery of a host of naked women bathing in a pool. ( This was stretching even my imagination a little too far but fortunately by this time the Barcardi was kicking in and I was half-cut.) The Americans then run into the French Resistance who think they are the Americans the convicts killed and subsequently they take over the secret mission defusing a V2 bomb, blowing up a bridge and killing lots more Germans. Eventually (and perhaps not surprisingly) they all get killed - except the one who falls in love with the French Resistance nurse.(Ahhhhhhhh!)

So to sum up; the film is kinda like The Dirty Dozen - but sucks. In good way!

Here's a taste of just how bad/good this film is:

Friday, March 26, 2010

Harold Hadrada Update

Well, I might as well let you know how Master Ben got on as a Viking. (Or not as the case may be.)

Okay, I've admitted it before - I'm no longer quite the diligent mum I used to be on the costume front. So, last night I put out an emergency SOS for a Viking helmet. Fortunately the good Mrs A turned up trumps on that score and Master Ben's head wear was sorted. Hurrah! One thing struck off the list with minimal effort!

But the bad news for mums like me is that plastic swords and daggers have been banned from dressing up days. Apparently, swords are very dangerous weapons and some children have actually broken fingernails. Even worse, some children have been known to acquire small bruises on their upper arms requiring the application of soothing creams.

Hmm. It's sure tough being a kid at times. In fact, I heard ice cream is going to be banned soon. Apparently it's too cold.

So anyway, about this plastic weaponry ban. In effect, the ban means all weapons now have to be made from cardboard or foam. Obviously, this is fantastic news if you have an interest in 11th century weapons like I do. In fact, I was so thrilled when I heard the news I dashed out and bought some more (non toxic) glue. However, much to my displeasure, in this particular instance, I really couldn't justify indulging myself with my sword fetish as young Master Ben was only going to be at school for 3 hours in the morning. (He comes out early for tennis lessons). So alas, the problem of weaponry was solved - ie - no weapons were required. Shame really.

Alright, I know, it's a pretty sad Viking who doesn't have at least a cudgel - so in the interests of diplomacy I decided it would be a good idea to get Master Ben to tell his teacher that his particular Viking was a pacifist.

Hey, don't be such skeptics! The pacifist movement definitely started in Norway. Or was it Sweden? Hmmm......could have been France though.

So anyway, all I needed in the end was Viking clothes. Excellent - although a bit of a problem at 8pm when you've got PMT and don't feel like cutting up a fur skin. However, (and fortunately for me) Master Ben is a practical child and after some discussion we decided that not only was his Viking a pacifist but he was also a "sporty" pacifist - thus requiring a specific need for black tracksuit bottoms. In addition, a "sporty" Viking would also require trainers - for hopping out of his longship with ease thus enabling him to bore the enemy to death with talk about how dangerous plastic swords are before the Health and Safety inspectors arrived.

Now Master Ben also decided ( with no overt persuasion from my good self of course) that as well as his black tracksuit bottoms and trainers, his Viking was going to wear a long sleeved white thermal sports top. This was because;

a) It is cold in Norway

b) They play lots of tennis in Norway. Apparently.

c) White goes very nicely with plastic hats from Gothenberg.

So the costume was almost complete! And for a finishing touch, we decided on a green fleece which the boys currently use as a battle cloth (ie - grass) for their soldiers - which the following morning I would fashion into a cape with the daring use of a safety pin.

However.......

This morning there was a slight problem when I discovered the green fleece was too bulky to use without Master Ben looking like The Incredible Hulk. I now had an emergency situation on my hands -I had a child who looked like he was going to a tennis lesson and not like he was going to rape and pillage in the school playground. Drastic action was required. So making due haste, I ransacked the linen cupboard and found an old green sheet, ripped it apart with my bare hands and fashioned a wondrous new Viking cloak ... all at precisely 8.25am.

But then disaster struck again - the new cloak would not stay on properly! So, with the clock against me, I rushed upstairs to find my dark green cardigan. Fortunately, it was close at hand and hastily I stuck it on Master Ben, rolled up the sleeves and pinned on the cloak with a brooch. To complete the overall Viking effect, I stuck the helmet on his head and within seconds we were off with Master Sam in the car to school. Time: 8.39am.

As I raced down the bypass (although obviously adhering to the speed limit) the following conversation broke out;

Master Ben: I look like a woman in this cardigan.

Mrs T: Rubbish! It'll keep you warm; it's cold in Norway.

Master Sam: I wouldn't be seen dead like that. I'd rather shoot myself; he looks like a cross dresser.

Master Ben: I smell of women's powder.

Mrs T: Never mind. Anyway, it's a very special cardigan because it also belonged to Nanny.

Master Sam: Oh great. It's bad enough he smells of you - now you're saying it's okay for him to look like his granny!

Mrs T: It's a special cardigan! And it's green. Perfect for a Viking!

Master Ben: I smell like a lady and I look like a granny.

Mrs T: Um.......um....I tell you what Ben... to make up for not having a really, really good costume, I'll buy you 2 packets of premier league football cards after school.

Master Ben: Four packets.

Mrs T: Four! I bought you two yesterday!

Master Ben: Four! And a lollipop.

Mrs T: Ohhhhhhhhh............................alright then.

8.50pm. Mrs T's deadly C max pulls up in layby near to school

Master Ben: I think I'll just wear the cloak.

Mrs T: Whatttttt? Oh alright. Quick take off the cardigan! (Master Ben undoes brooch and tries to fix cloak with the ( Italian mosaic brooch) to his tennis top.

Mrs T: Hurry up! Quick get your book bag! And your lunch box! And your coat or you'll be late! Quick!

Master Ben: I'm fixing the cloak!

Mrs T: Shove the cloak in your book bag and do it at school!

Master Ben shoves the cloak in his bag and legs it up the school path. It's 8.54am. 1 minute before the bell rings.

So there you have it - Master Ben went to school dressed as the first Viking tennis champion and got 4 packets of premier football cards ( and a special folder to put them in). Master Sam was late to school, blamed his mother and avoided detention. And Mrs T went home, put her torn sheet under the sink for use as various cleaning clothes and decided that come the next dressing up day she is just going to pretend Master Ben is sick and go and play tennis.

Ps - the pillowcase and belt didn't work out -far too adventurous:)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Harold Hadrada wore a pillow case, oversized belt and a plastic hat.

I swear to God if there is another dressing up day at Ben's school before he leaves in July I may be the first mum to go to school dressed as Harold Hadrada, fully equipped with sword and dagger and few non-period accessories such as a longbow, grenade, Ak47, flame thrower and a Chieftain tank and give the headmistress a taste of her own medicine.

In fact I may just nuke the staffroom.

Last night with PMT I nearly burnt the house down. Tomorrow is Viking day at school and I'm contemplating mass murder. Hmm. Things are not looking good.

I'd just like to publically say to the headmistress;

STOP HAVING DRESSING UP DAYS WOMAN THEY ARE DRIVING ME INSANE!

Enough said.

Except, woe betide anyone who crosses me tomorrow or the shit is really going to hit the fan.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Girl's Talk

This is going to be a long post, so pull up your chairs, get out your biscuits and coffee coz this morning I feel in a crazy mood and feel like full scale whinging. Think Joan Rivers on heat and you'll be getting the picture.


Now where do I start? Hmm, I'll start with some girlie stuff. Now you blokes can read too if you want -you may find stuff out that surprises you.

(Note; I am still waiting for my expensive Bday "surprise" from the Good Mr T which apparently is being "imported." Hopefully not from Holland - although you can never tell with a middle aged man. They do weird stuff sometimes.)

Right, back to the girlie stuff - which I don't think I've ever talked about in detail before on my blog, just the occasional passing mention.

So okay, let's talk "The time of the month," PMT, perimenopause and the menopause itself.

What can I say? What the hell was God thinking when he inflicted this stuff on us (and men)?? Let's face it, The Omnipotent One should have known better. Now, as I mentioned in a previous post, he made us girls look well hot with our curves and men pretty silly with their dangly bits. But well he was having a bit of a laugh though with the hormone thing wasn't he?? Humph. So, men get to remain calm and collected all their lives whereas each month us girls are flying by the seat of our pants trying to either restrain ourselves from taking a pick axe to the shop assistant or sobbing in the car just because they've run out of carrier bags at the checkout. Is that fair? NO!

Yep, you see this PMT stuff either turns us girls into weeping wretches or psychotic nutters. For example, last month I was all ready to sign up for the Israeli army but then I broke down in tears and wanted to slash my wrists when I heard Jonathan Ross was quitting the BBC. (Um..no wait a minute that's what I threatened to do if he stayed.) Anyway, PMT does strange things to a woman; it even makes you contemplate going to the Parent's Evenings (I'll embellish on that at a future date) which no woman in her right mind would ever, ever, contemplate in "normal" circumstances.

Just to give you an idea of how things are in my household -When I have PMT Mr T tiptoes through front door at the end of the day not knowing whether he is going to live or die.

Okay - I admit I do kinda like that "power" feeling. It's a Mrs T thing; the knowledge that for a least a couple of days Mr T's not going nag me about cleaning is sort of like.... freedom.

(Oh, I should also point out that Mr T also looks good in a tutu - it's a condition of entry over the doormat when I have PMT.)

Hmm...talking about "freedom." Isn't it funny that "freedom" is what the manufacturers of some of the ladies products suggest you get when you buy their product. Yep, that's the "freedom" to go ice skating, parachuting, deep sea diving and of course abseiling providing you are wearing their product and either a bikini, tight white pants or jodhpurs.

Yeah, right. I do that allllllll the time. My day is soooo much happier knowing I can climb Mount Everest AND do the school run without having an embarrassing leak. In fact when I get home from the school run and I've not embarrassed myself I like to change into Mr T's tutu and swirl and dance around the lounge singing the praise of whatever product it is I'm wearing. Fabulous!

Oh yeah, and lots not forget the odd, skip and a jump. Just for good measure.

Anyway, when I get to those pearly gates I've already got my excuse lined up;

"Look God, I can explain the bad language, the shoplifting, the time I set the neighbour's cat alight, the hate Twitters to Ashton "Kushion" Kushter, the bad cooking and the time I choked on the wafer at Holy Communion .... I had PMT."

And you know what? I don't think God has a leg to stand on.

(And don't go telling me he's got wings.)

Right, so if PMT isn't enough us women get this perimenopause crap too. This is where you start going even more nuts and confused. For example; either very young men are attractive or very old men are attractive. There's no in between. Let me explain why;

Old men are attractive coz they don't expect anything from you except the occasional push in a wheelchair and you can get on with being a fruitcake and putting the linen away in the sink and the dishes in the airing cupboard and they won't notice. Or if they do notice you just say "You see what you've done to me?"

Young men are attractive cos they don't have either a) skinny arses b) flabby stomachs or c) double chins. And if they're about 18 and look like your son's best friend they probably haven't yet discovered the remote control which means they still might be interested in sex. (Unless they've got an Ipod or an Xbox.) Now since perimenopause is that last moment before the hormones give up the ghost, women think about sex ALL the time. Regrettably this means a few women are very unlucky and actually end up having babies. (Unfortunately not fathered by the 18 yr old males but by the gobsmacked spouse who couldn't believe his luck when you wanted sex on a night when there was no football on the telly, Carlsberg went into liquidation and the batteries ran out on the remote control.)

So perimenopause is a real downer, coz let's not forget the onset of severe facial hair resulting in acute physcological trauma, the cellulite resulting in a huge financial investment in abrasive hand mitts and, of course, the saggy boobs resulting in the need to go to bed wearing a Eighteenth century corset. So, all in all, a wonderful "period" of your life.

Then there's the menopause bit itself which is... ...when you're finished basically. BUT, if you're really, really lucky (and be grateful Ladies please) this whole peri/menopause thing may only last TEN WHOLE YEARS. So, not long then.

Pass me a gun someone. The thought is killing me. However, I don't want you ladies to feel too depressed - just think of it as a positive excuse to eat chocolate, get drunk and generally slob around without any comebacks from hubby. Now when I reach the menopause (which maybe sooner than average bearing in mind my current frame of mind) I plan to dose myself up on HRT and make out with Ashton Kutcher.

Oh wait a minute, Demi Moore got there before me. Oh well I was never interested in him anyway. It's the nappy that turned me off. Been there, done that.

Anyway, the good news is that after the menopause women become w i s e. Yes, indeed - WISE. Your body might be completely knackered but you are now blessed with a wisdom comparable with only The Almighty himself. Young women, children, even old men in wheelchairs will consult you, The Oracle of Wisdom. Yes, you will be able to impart your recipe for chocolate flapjack, short-cut cleaning solutions and tell a load of outrageous old wives tales and everyone will admire you for it. You will be able to get drunk on hideous amounts of Gin and Tonic, indulge in numerous boxes of Christmas chocolates and even wear tights with ladders in them and no one will worry because you will be A Wise Old Women.

Think of the late Queen Mum (RIP) and you'll get the idea; a perfect example of how to be wise and win at The Races.

So there you have it. A women's lot can be rough at times but be brave Readers - just be grateful you are not a man who has to shave every day or look like ZZTop!


See you all soon,

Mrs T (With, yes you've guessed it, PMT.)

Ps - This evening I drank two glasses of wine, burnt the curry and then left the teatowel on the hob, set it on fire and smoked the house out - PMT doesn't get any better than that.

Friday, March 19, 2010

New Thoughts, Different Voices and Fresh Avenues for The View From Here

I have a little exciting news especially for those amongst you who are interested in writing with a view to publication.

The View From Here, for whom I have been writing for over a year now, has entered into a ground breaking agreement in the publishing world. Yesterday The Bookseller broke the news that a formal agreement has been reached between The View and 14 publishers who have agreed to work with The View From Here to help identify the best new and emerging writers. As part of this agreement the publishers will receive monthly printed copies of The View enabling them to have ready access to writers and poets who have already been spotted by The View editorial team.


In the UK the publishers are Random House, Bloomsbury, Canongate, Penguin Books, Fourth Estate, Faber & Faber, Little Brown Book Group, Legend Press, Alma Books & Tindal Street Press. These publishing houses, which as you can see include some of the biggest names in the industry, have been joined by Unbridled Books and Milkweed Editions in the US and Text Publishing and Allen & Unwin in Australia.

For those of you seeking publication, this is an amazing opportunity to bypass the legendary slush piles of publishing houses and have your work printed in a magazine that not only challenges preconceived ideas about writing magazines but one which champions the cause of fresh new talent in a visually stunning and provocative manner.

The View positively welcomes submissions from new and aspiring writers and poets and you can check out the submission guidelines here. And for more details of this amazing agreement read this article over at The View From Here.

"The View From Here is one of the most exciting literary magazines to have appeared since I started out – not only does it have excellent content, a passionate following, but it seems to be right in stride with new developments and constantly looking for ways to be at the forefront of the publishing and literary world." Tom Chalmers, Legend Press

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Who is Sir Geoffrey Boycott?

I realise I've been presumptuous. In a recent blog I talked about Sir Geoffrey Boycott assuming everyone out there would know who he is. Then afterwards, I thought that maybe some folks wouldn't have any idea who Sir Geoffrey is, especially in America. My readers in India, Australia and South Africa I'm sure are only to familiar with the entertaining Sir Geoffrey but I feel, for the benefit of those who don't, I should offer a description.

Well, Sir Geoffrey is a cricketeer. Yes, that's right. He's a small greenish insect of the insect family Cricketeerhopperupus that starred in the Disney film Geoffrey and the Cricketeers. (A Bug's Life VI.)

Now, this may seem unbelievable but the film was a roaring success in the UK dealing as it did with how the incredibly sweet natured Geoffrey, a small town cricketeer with humble beginnings in Yorkshire, rose from rag to riches to become a cricketeer who took on the might of an alien insect army led by the evil Rickitus Pontingus, a beer swilling, loud mouthed galactic adventurer. Now, as it happened, Sir Geoffrey possessed unique and extraordinary battle tactics and after pretending to be on the back foot he trapped the alien invaders at Lords Castle where such a lengthy and boring siege took place that eventually even the evil Rickitus Pontingus became so full of despair he begged for mercy, dispersed his alien army and pledged loyalty to HRH for trying to usurp her throne with his republican army.

An incredible film right? Yes, and it was sooooo popular Her Majesty made an exception to the rule and made Sir Geoffrey the first animated cartoon character to become a knight! Amazing!

Okay, so you don't believe me eh? Oh alright, alright, I'll tell the truth about Sir Geoffrey; he is actually one of England's most famous cricketers. That's the game where blokes dress all in white and throw balls at each other whilst trying to knock some pieces of wood out of the ground. Sometimes the games can go on for five whole days. But if you're lucky they get rained off after three.

Anyway, Sir Geoffrey had lots of records for his cricket achievements. Now my memory is not serving me too well so please feel free to correct me if I get anything wrong;

The longest most boring innings.
The shortest most boring innings.
The longest most boring innings in a test match.
The shortest most boring innings in a test match.
The longest most boring innings in a first innings.
The longest most boring innings in a second innings.
The longest most boring half century.
The longest most boring century.
The longest most boring innings in test match history.
The longest most boring innings against Australia, Pakistan, India and The West Indies.
The longest most boring innings for Yorkshire CC.
The longest most boring innings in a one day international.

And of course the record of being the only man to run out Derek Randall at Trent Bridge in front of his home crowd. (Which incidentally I've never forgiven him for as Derek Randall was my favourite cricketer.)

Oh yes, and the longest, most boring Yorkshire drawl.

Well I think to be fair to Sir Geoffrey I should show one of his finest moments; his 100th first class century at Headingly in 1977.




Oh.. and that's Derek Randall on the nearside on the balcony! Clapping even after Sir Geoff had run him out at Trent Bridge. What a guy!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Healthy Eating and How it is Killing me. (Subtitled: Get Gordon Brown Out of Office!)

You know, I know exactly how some of my American friends must have felt about having that idiot George Bush in the Oval Office. We've have the same problem over here at the moment with that idiot Gordon Brown - or more precisely the Labour Party. After a while you just want to bop them on the head with a large frying pan or squash a gigantic custard pie in their face.

I know, I know - I've ranted before about the government and the trend for political correctness, the expenses scandal and the deteriorating education system. But come on, I haven't even touched the surface have I? What about the "illegal" war in Iraq or the unexplained death of Dr David Kelly?

But now something has really got me mad. So mad I'm about to explode. (And it may not be a pretty sight.)

Yes, I've had yet another irritating letter from school.

Okay, so this latest letter is about a"Healthy Eating" policy which the school plans to introduce. The letter states that children should not have crisps, chocolate coated biscuits, sweets of any kind and products such as sausage rolls, corned meat and pies should only be given on occasion.

Yeah, right. Dream on Mr Brown - you've never had any pork pies have you? And lets not even mention the charming Mr Prescott shall we??

And if that preaching isn't annoying enough, the letter also recommends some alternatives which include:

Cake (What and no choccy biscuits???)
Rice
Couscous
Noddles
Potatoes
Lentils
Chickpeas
Hummus
Falafel.
Oh, and oily fish, such as salmon, every three weeks.

Right. Stuff every British kid really enjoys, especially cold. Or even slightly warm on a hot day with no fridge. Lovely.

Hmm... I'm just not sure if Master Jacob will look forward to his lunch of chickpea fritters and cold noddles. And of course there's no knowing what Master Ben would do with some hummus but let's just say that the school won't ever be short of adhesive. And as for Master Sam well he prefers to walk round to the local Tescos to buy some lunch rather than have a school dinner - since salt was prohibited.

So anyway, I've drafted a letter. Here goes;

Dear Sirs,

In reference to your letter regarding Healthy School Dinners in which the opening paragraph states the school “should address the issue” of children filling up on sweets and crisps purchased on the way to school, I believe it is unfair to penalize the majority of parents by restricting the dietary choices of children/parents because of the actions of “a small number of pupils.”

If this is indeed a problem caused by out of school activity I do not see how it can be actively policed. In all likelihood, children will still continue to purchase the offending items and consume them on their way to school and/or in secret with the same net result. Personally, I believe what children do out of school hours is a matter for parental responsibility and unless the school wishes to ask local retailers to prohibit sales (which I feel will hardly be welcome) I cannot see how this policy can be satisfactorily implemented. Indeed, it is possible that the introduction of such a dictatorial dietary regime may only become a source of antagonism with the majority of responsible parents who themselves attended school with a bag of crisps and a chocolate biscuit in their lunch bags with no ill effect.

My son occasionally buys sweets and drinks on the way to school. I do not object to this. In fact, I believe it is actually a positive thing for him in developing his own individuality and maturing without me constantly supervising him. Further, it necessitates him becoming more consciously aware of what he can and cannot eat in the light of his peanut allergy. I always question him if items remain in his lunchbox and, if need be, I take the appropriate action. This usually entails giving something he likes to eat rather than imposing my own choices on him or checking his pockets for stray bonbons.

I appreciate the school’s concern over this matter which no doubt has its origins in the government inspired directives to contend with the current problem of childhood obesity. However, I believe, trying to implement a regime in this manner is actually quite insulting to the majority of parents. It is quite one thing to be offered advice but to have our children’s meals inspected and regimented smacks of George Orwell’s 1984.

In my opinion, these potential directives take no account of the fact that many parents are trying to balance work and family life and need to produce simple, nourishing and yet ultimately attractive meals that their child will consume. I’m sure most busy mums do not have the time or energy to produce little tubs of couscous and fresh noodles on a daily basis. Whilst I have every admiration for mothers with such noble sentiments I’m afraid most of us ordinary folks live in the real world and not the world of celebrity chefs and stir fried vegetables and risottos. (Although I’m sure such delicacies are every child’s dream; especially when left cold for 3 hours and drizzled with olive oil.) Most educated parents will provide the mainstay of their child’s dietary requirements in the evening meal and the packed lunch acts as a supplementary meal consisting of a mixture of healthy and tempting products they know their child will eat and keep them energised until the evening.

With regard to the proposed menus I would also like to suggest that some of the recommendations are questionable. For example, my son has a simple chocolate coated digestive biscuit daily (in which I see no harm as he extremely fit and healthy) and I would suggest that such a biscuit has less calories, sugar and fat than a slice of cake – even the homemade ones which (and this may come as a surprise to you) I will not be baking on a regular basis. However, I am happy to produce my homemade flapjack if this is acceptable. (Please note that it contains outrageous amounts of golden syrup, butter and brown sugar heavily disguised in some healthy looking oats.)

In summary, I believe a child’s eating habits are a matter of concern for parents alone. Further, given the wide variety of children’s dietary requirements, fetishes and food phobias it is presumptuous to implement a regime which takes no account of individual likes and dislikes. If the school wishes to raise the matter of poor eating habits with parents who maybe unaware of their child’s behaviour or perhaps even uneducated in what constitutes “healthy” than that is perfectly acceptable. However, the school essentially has no authority over this matter and in a free and democratic society that is just the way it should remain.


Yours sincerely


Jane Turley


Now I should add that I also rewrote the school motto from;

"Our aim is to create a happy school where every member feels valued and able to achieve personal excellence."

to;

“Our aim is to create an unhappy school where every member feels hungry and able to achieve personal starvation."

But on second thoughts (and the good Mrs A reigning me in) I decided maybe that was pushing my luck too far; I can just about get away with the rest as they already think I'm a complete nutter.

Still, I feel better for having a rant. It's a therapeutic. And you know what? Now I feel like some cheese and onion crisps and a chocolate biscuit. I think I'll draft out a letter to Mr Brown advising him on his eating habits while I munch. In fact, I may even go so far as to ask him about his lunch receipts; I hope he hasn't been eating any crisps.

Oh, and a final note when I feel the need to chill out I play some music. Today I choose this... enjoy!


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Boredom, magazines and Jennifer Anniston

Blimey, I'm having a couple of funny days. Have you ever had a day when you've got absolutely stacks do but just can't settle to it? When you are fundamentally bored out of your mind?

Yep, I had one of those yesterday and I can tell I'm gonna have another today. I've read blogs, news headlines, looked at threads on Blog Catalog, surfed the net looking for that elusive something that's going to fire me up. No can do. Nothing is happening in my brain. It's in that "Almost Dead" mode. You know the one where you can look at an anagram for 2 hours work out that 14 letters spell Geoffrey Boycott but not work out that the remaining three letters I R S spell SIR. Yep, I did that yesterday. And then Mrs A, Mrs S and I from the Book Club and our respective partners lost the village quiz by one point. One sodding point.

Look, how can you have SIR Geoffrey Boycott but not have Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Alec Guiness? Those conniving quiz masters were just trying to throw me off the scent. I say, if you gonna have people's titles then you got be consistent MRS ******Quizmaster.

Not that I'm sour of course. No way. Really, I don't mind not getting the prize of a big chocolate Easter egg. Who wants one of those anyway? It's just chocolate right?

In fact I like losing. Love it. Which is probably just as well as Master Ben's footie team lost 3-2 yesterday because they were in that "I'm not sure if I want to run this morning mode." Gez, I hate lethargy (except when it's my lethargy of course when it's perfectly acceptable) especially when it causes you to lose when you should have won. Yeah, last week Master Ben's team won 10-1 cos they were AWAKE, yesterday they lost because they were ASLEEP.

All credit to Master Ben who looked marginally more awake then some of the others. Enough for him not to be chained to his bed for a week with no food and water anyhow. Just.

Anyway I'm in one of those moods. I don't feel like writing my novel (which I've been working hard on lately) or reading a book or even a magazine. Although why I should read a magazine when they're all full of adverts (does anyone with a half a brain take notice of them?) recipes (no need for those obviously), regurgated advice about how to lose weight (again no need there I know all that stuff inside out) or rekindle your marriage by dressing up as a nurse/tart/ nun. (Delete as appropriate.) I mean, womens' magazines are just well.... how do I put this delicately? Ummmm......

Crap?

Yep, that's the word. And if I ever see another picture of Jennifer Anniston I will blow my brains out.

Who writes this garbage anyway? Yep, I can just see the editorial team sitting round their big impressive table, strewn with takeaway coffee cups, free samples and bulging Filofaxes...

"Darhhhhlings, we must make a decision on next week's cover! I'm sooo stressed about the deadline. Hilary Clinton's not available for the cover shoot, neither is Judy Dench or Anita Roddick."

"Anita Roddick is dead, Zara."

"Oh is she? Why didn't you tell me, Babs? I would've sent flowers!"
"Oh Sorry. I didn't think you want to know."

"Okay, scratch The Body Shop from the Christmas card list. I didn't like that cherry flavoured lip gloss anyway."

" Actually, I have a good idea, Zara. Let's go retro. We could do a cover with Marie Curie, Golda Meir or Emily Pankhurst on the front. How great would that be?!"

"Ohh....Retro, Great idea, Babs. I can see the cover now..all swirls and circles. Psychedelic colours. Yummy! Who's this Marie Curie then? A 60's fashioner designer? Maybe we could find a piccy of her in a miniskirt and boots? Fabbbbulous!"
"Um....no. Marie Curie was a scientist."

"You mean, she had her own cosmetics and perfumery range? Oh how absolutely fabbbbulous! So revolutionary back then! Maybe we could do a centre spread featuring all those lovely red lipsticks from the 60s? Ohh...I'm seeing vibrant reds here, maybe some paler reds.... even some pinkish reds ! Ohhh.. fab, fab, fab! Darrhhhling you're a genius! "
"Um.....Zara... um.... actually Marie Curie was a pioneer in the field of radioactivity. She won two Nobel peace prizes in physics and chemistry..... But hey, I can see you're not too smitten with that idea....but I've got an even better idea! Now I don't want to play Devil's advocate but.....but..... but................ have you thought of Jennifer Aniston?"

"Oh genius Babs! Jennifer Aniston! I love it! So refreshingly different and her hair is just fabbbbbulous....."

Is it just me or are women's magazines just utterly boring? Look, just for once I'd like to read something that doesn't involve a celebrity, a makeover or a crochet cardigan. In fact, I'm so fed up with women's magazines I'm drafting my own letter and sending it out en masse;


Dear Editor

Your Magazine is boring. I am not a dimwit. You are.

Regards,

Jane Turley.

Well, can you tell that I'm bored folks? Yep, absolutely mind numbingly bored.

I wish a was a scientist. And I wish I could do anagrams.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Flash Fiction; An Enterprising Story

Just before he jumped Gerald cleared his mind of everything except the image of Claire as he’d last seen her dressed as Mr Spock at a Star Trek convention.

For years Claire had plagued him with her obsession but the look on Leonard Nimoy’s face when she’d asked him to autograph twenty-three books was the breaking point. He’d get his revenge by making her the subject of ridicule as the woman whose husband had killed himself dressed as a wombat.

He’d considered dressing for the big day as a Vulcan just to get his message across but instead he'd randomly chosen a wombat. Claire wouldn't be able to figure out why - no matter how much “logic” she applied. In fact, she'd probably write to Leonard for advice. As usual, he’d reply with a signed photo with the postscript “Live long and prosper” which, for once, would have a certain irony.

Gerald took a final glimpse over the cliff edge, imagining Claire behind him, phaser wedged between his ribs. Then propelling himself forwards, he stretched his arms wide and fell into space.

But instead of his life flashing before him as he imagined would happen, Gerald began to fly, soaring on the crest of the wind like a heavenly seagull.

“Fuck you, Starship Enterprise!” he screamed, riding the currents with childish delight until, with a gentle flop, he lay giggling in the breaking surf.

He’d tell Claire he’d discovered how the transporter worked.

Then he’d go on a mission. Where he’d explore strange new worlds, seek out a new life, a new civilization, and boldly go where he had never been before.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Birthdays, Bras and a whole load of stuff about me.

Do you want the good news or the bad news first folks?

Okay, lets get the bad news over with first;

On Saturday I am 45 years old. Bugger. I could elaborate on that statement but as you know this is a "clean" site. About as "clean" as my bathroom. Ho hum.

Yep, I can feel the Grim Reaper moving closer, rattling his bones, waving his scythe. And I still haven't done any of the things I dreamt about doing when I was the child. Mind you, having designs to pilot the first spacecraft to Venus probably was a little ambitious. As was becoming Miss World. What can I say? As a child my parents didn't believe in having mirrors.

Well I guess I've done the family bit anyway. Although I originally thought I'd have five children, then I gave birth and took a different view on matters. It sort of went like this;

ARGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGH!

So it was only 3 children in the end. All boys. Unfortunately, no girl to pluck the facial hair when I'm old and senile. I guess I'll be lucky if one of the boys goes over my chin with a lawnmower.

You know in my mind I still feel like I was 16. The unfortunate thing is I still act like I'm 16 which means instead of acting with a dignified grace I have these funny moments where I make a total prat of myself. You know those moments were meant to get less as I got older but well I'm not sure things are working quite as they should.

Well the bladder isn't anyway. And the eyesight. And nobody mention the bowels.

Anyway, lets move onto the uplifting stuff.

Support bras.

Wow, are they good. One minute you've saggy boobs and the next minute you look like you're gonna take off into space. Perhaps there's a chance I will get to Venus one day. Who knows what you could do with one of those bras filled with helium. Personally, I reckon with one of those bras and a couple boulders and you easily could take out an entire army.

Did you know one of the world's best selling bras is called "Doreen"? That conjures up an image of crimpolene trousers, curled hair and v neck sweaters doesn't it? Not the sort of marketing that appeals to me. Something like "Nymph,""Slinky," or "Bad Girl" is more up my street. Still, there must be lots of ladies who do need that kind of support. I'm only jealous; the last time I went out with a support bra on it was very hot day, my cotton wool inserts ignited and I had to be doused down by the Fire Brigade.

Anyway, here's even more uplifting news; the other day I realised I've actually been writing this blog for over two years and written over 200 posts. And not once have I written a post without the aid of paracetamol or alcohol. That has got to be achievement. Okay, let's not forget the Jaffa Cakes, chocolate biccys, sandwiches and a various assortment of condiments.....

Now, this writing lark has been great fun and some of you may remember that ages ago I posted a picture of my "working" desk. Here it is just in case you've forgotten;


Umm... not very impressive I know. Now the piccy was in contrast to my idealised desk below which in a (rare) moment of blatant fibbing I actually posted on my blog in the hope that all you folks would believe I was actually super efficient and incredibly charming.


Wow, I even put soft focus on it! I really was up to no good!

Okay so a long time has passed since I posted those piccys. All sorts of things have happened to me yet somehow I've still managed to keep on writing this blog. Have I improved as a writer? Have my organizational skills improved on my quest for publication? Let's take a look at my desk as it stand today;




Uh. Nope. My organisational skills have not improved at all. In fact, I've probably got worse! Now the observant folks amongst you may have noticed that I've actually relocated my desk in front of the window; it gives more light although I can't actually see anything but the tops of a few trees. However, what it has given me is more expansion room for my desk! Can you see how I'm taking over the window sill? And there's now a table to the left and there's even more stuff on that!

I think I should point out that I have lots of my tissues on my desk at the moment as I have a horrendous cold...it has nothing to do with my cat. (As mentioned in my last post.) And that big mess to the left ...well I keep a porcelain tray there now in which I keep business cards, scraps of paper with telephone numbers on etc etc. You know stuff which you're supposed to file away. Which I don't. Anyway it looks kinda messy there because sometimes I get a little frustrated when I can't find things and then things get.....even messier. It's a problem I know, and so is the language. But hey, during the day I'm by myself so there's no need to worry about the occasional verbal faux-pas...

Anyway, moving on from my desk, I thought it would be nice at this moment in time, so close to my b-day, to celebrate by accepting a lovely award from Usha at Agelessbonding. I am now officially a Creative Blogger! My thanks to Usha for her kind words and for her continued support of My Witty Ways.

Now a condition of this award is to tell you 7 facts about me. Now that's pretty difficult as I think I told you a lot of intimate stuff here and well pretty much everywhere else in this blog. Cos well, I'm just a ego manic and if I hadn't been born to sweet lovely parents I'd probably would have taken over the world by now -Hitler only had a teeney weeny moustache and I have a whole beard.

You know, having big dreams can be a bit of a problem sometimes. In fact, I'm always dreaming about those big Toblerone bars but Mr T is so mean he never lets me get one. Although I was kinda sneaky last year when the manufacturers made a limited edition one for Father's Day; I bought one and gave it to Master Sam to give it to Mr T as a gift! And if you think that's sneaky you should know that Mr T doesn't actually like Toblerone. Hey, how was the kid supposed to know? He was just trying to be a good son. (Well that's what I told Mr T anyway.)

So 7 things about me. That you don't already know. Hmm.

1. I love nuts. Brazil nuts, peanuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, the lot. As I child I used to pick hazelnuts of a tree in my grandparent's garden. They were still green and inedible then but I was still fascinated by the concept of something hidden inside. These days I rarely have nuts in the house as Master Jacob is allergic to peanuts. This is in spite of my following all the advice when pregnant about not eating nuts, not using creams with nut based oils etc, etc. I even gave up Crunchy Nut Cornflakes! Huh. I miss having nuts at Christmas, sitting by the fire, cracking them open and flicking the shells over the floor.

Or leaving them inside Mr T's pyjamas.

Anyway, the good news is there is a trial underway at Addenbrookes Hospital which has had enormous success in desensitising children to peanuts. In a few years time, should the trial continue to be successful, I'm optimistic we will be able to live without the threat of anaphylactic shock hanging over us all. It will be an enormous relief to be free of the worry and I intend to celebrate by dressing up as a large packet of KP Salted Peanuts and indulging myself in a nut feast of stupendous proportions.

2. I don't know why but for some inexplicable reason I don't want to make love to Andrew Lloyld Webber.

3. Master Benedict makes me laugh so much I find it difficult to discipline him at times. For example he came home a while back and said he was cross with one of the boys in his class who keeps calling him Benadick. So a few days later we're driving home and very casually he says to me "Furkan still keeps calling me Benadick. So I said to him, if you want to call me Benadick I'm going to call you Fuckan."

4. Yesterday I broke my prescription reading glasses. So I'm in Tescos with Master Benadick and see some cheap black reading glasses. Great, I think. They'll do as a replacement for a while. However, I can't see a mirror so I stick them on anyway and ask Master Benadick what he thinks. He looks at me contemplatively, nods affrimatively and says "They're fine." So I get home, pop them on and look in the mirror; I look like a cross between Joe 90 and Nana Mouskouri. Let's just say - making love with Andrew Lloyld Webber is looking more of an option.

5. I am consistently... inconsistent. Yep, you can totally rely on me to never met a deadline, get a letter back to school on time or to fill out a form and return it promptly. I am always messing up things. In fact I once turned up with the entire family for a dental appointment a week early and then followed up the replacement appointment by turning up a week late! If it wasn't for the likes of good old Mrs B at school who constantly reminds me about school letters I would be, to put it simply, up shit creek.

6. I prefer baths to showers. Showers are great for a quick refreshing cleanse but you just can't wallow. I love to wallow! Preferably for a whole hour although that's usually impossible as one of the cats usually will want to have a dump. And then things just don't smell the same. Instead of the delicate essences of pine, lavender or honey soothing my senses it's the not so delicate fragrance of Eau de la Pussy Botty. Still, I enjoy myself when I'm in the bath and if I'm not reading, talking to my rubber duck or doing whale-like manoeveres, I just simply lie there and daydream. Bliss.

7. I write this blog for my own silly pleasure. I even laugh at my own jokes, which I'm sure many of you have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about at times! So thank you all who comment and also to the many of you who don't for coming back here time and time again - You've made an old girl very happy!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Dreams do come true... Just not the way you think!

Now I'm sorry to bring up this subject again but well let's talk James Bond, 007.

Now I've had a fetish for OO7 since I read all Ian Fleming's books in my early teens. I love thrillers, spy stories and all that secret agent stuff. All that excitement! Wow, I love it! I'm not sure, having imagined myself as a secret agent for the best part of my life, how I've ended up as a dowdy housewife though. Life just isn't fair sometimes.

By the way, If the FBI are reading this please note I'm ready for my mission! (I'm assuming you pay better than MI5- cos we are just so tight in this country it's untrue. And I do get a gun don't I? Cos, you know, with MI5 I'd only get a brolly and a small packet of Jelly Babies. Boy, that is so disappointing....)

Anyway, being the fruitcake that I am I often have these fantasies about making wild, passionate love to James Bond. (Okay, some one step in if I start giving away too much information) Yeah, so anyway I have this fantasy where he's peeling off my clothes, I'm slowly undoing the buttons on his shirt, he pulls out his gun and....

Ummm....okay, okay I'll stop there! (Damn.)

Anyway, you get the idea. A fantasy about having hot rumpy pumpy with a super hot guy. (Gez my hormones are on overdrive at the moment.) So anyway, I want to tell you that my fantasy about Mr Bond actually came true the other day!

Only with my cat Mr Bond and not 007.

Yeah, I was sitting on the sofa chilling out and Mr Bond jumps on to my lap and starts feeling me up. You know that kneeding stuff cats do. First, my tummy, then he moves onto my breasts, then back to my tummy again. Pawing away. Nothing unusual there really. Cats always do that kind of stuff - although I admit I was kinda shocked when he tried to unclasp my bra.

Anyway, there I am thinking the little fellow is gonna settle down for a nice stroking session with good old Mrs T when he starts to make noises. In a manner which could only be described (in hindsight) as "sex talk.".You know folks I think Mr Bond was talking dirty to me! Real fruity stuff too cos well, all of a sudden, poor Mrs T felt a warmth spreading on her jeans......

Gez! That'll teach me to have fantasies! It could only happen to me. I wait all my life for wild sex with a secret agent and I end up getting humped by a cat. Pass me the tissues someone. For the tears folks....not for the other....

Maybe it was my fault. Cos well you see when I adopted the little fella he still had all his body parts. (If you know what I mean) And he was such a sweet guy, no trouble at all and well they looked kinda soft and silky like a black velvet purse. I just didn't have the heart to do it too him....

Yeah, so I rang the vets immediately and took him the next day and had 'em chopped off. I mean I can't put "making whoope with cats" under Hobbies on my CV can I?

Well that should be the end of the story really. But unfortunately for you readers it isn't. You know they say that cats have nine lives? Well I'm kinda thinking it's not nine lives but...nine balls. Yep, I don't know what's going down there but Mr Bond looks like he's still got them to me. Only bigger, better and firmer!

Yes, so the the other day there was this other incident.... Now let's not go into too much detail. I've got my pride you know. Let's just say I changed my jumper and he was looking particularly smug. In fact, very smug. Yep, he jumped off me and starts cleaning himself and then shoots me a look which says "Sooo how was it for you then baby?"

You don't want to know my reply.

Anyway, so you see dreams do come true - Just not the way you think!