Friday, May 31, 2013

The Problems of Language

Language can be a bit of a problem. Speech can be a bit of a problem. If you're an Irish Jew with a speech impediment it might be a bit of a problem. (Although the good news is that you will get a job on the BBC.)

What I'm trying to say is: sometimes language and accents can be a barrier to good communication. To which I offer up this following true story:

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Live Cricket, Graeme Swann and the dilemmas of Twitter

I have been debating whether or not to join Twitter on and off for several years. But yesterday I came as close to it as I have ever done. In fact, if I'd had my phone to hand I probably would have joined up.

The reason for this?

I felt the urgent need to communicate to England cricketer, Graeme Swann, and tell him to stop gobbing on the pitch and picking his nose.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Post for Depressed Writers: Ten Reasons to be Happy and other random jolly thoughts.

I am sick to death of reading articles by depressed writers or writers pretending to be depressed. It's so depressing I'm actually thinking about killing myself.

Okay, maybe not: I like living too much. Living is interesting. You know - wine, sex, that kind of stuff.

However, I am seriously beginning to wonder if some of these arty types are faking these depressions because they are everywhere. I mean everywhere. For example, I am minding my own business, humming and happily "researching" and I click on what looks like a jolly looking writer's website which might have lots of useful tips and I find...

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Wizard of Oz and too much skipping

Yesterday I was walking across the tennis car park with the Young Masters. This is the conversation that followed:

Master Jacob: Mum, why is the Wizard of Oz so gay?

Mrs T: (Slightly perplexed at the unexpected topic): Because it's an old film. It was made long before the film studios decided every other film should be about shooting the crap out of each other in 'Nam.

Master Jacob: Oh.

Mrs T: That was when movies had lost of dancing and skipping in. In the Wizard of Oz it went like this..

*Mrs T dances like Judy Garland on the yellow brick road*

Master Jacob: (Eyes wide open, mouth aghast) Did they really do that?

Mrs T: Yes. The Tin Man, The Lion, The Scarecrow and Dorothy all looped arms and danced down the yellow brick road. Come on then, let's do it together!

*Master Ben (laughing) and Mrs T skip off across the car park*

Master Jacob: Mum, stop it! Stop!

*Master Ben and Mrs T carry on skipping and dancing while Mrs T sings*

Mrs T: We're off to see the Wizard, the Wonderful Wizard of Oz, You'll find he is a whiz of a wiz, if ever a wiz there was....

Master Jacob: MUM!  STOP!

Mrs T and Master Ben stop dancing:

Master Jacob: Never do that again, Mum. And never talk about the Wizard of Oz again. Ever.

Humph. Teenagers. No sense of fun. And I have no idea about Master Jacob's sudden interest in the Wizard of Oz - and I'm not going to ask.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

One boy is difficult, two boys are trouble, three boys spells catastrophe

I have an almost piece of exciting news - I got an honourable mention in the Nerdwallet competition for my suggestions for Mother's Day presents! In fact, I think I may have come close to winning as I got an email from Nerdwallet asking if I had duel nationality as the rules didn't allow UK entrants - meaning I would ineligible for a prize if I couldn't come up with some evidence. I thought about pretending I had some evidence - and then an image of Tony Blair appeared before my eyes and I remembered that lies are not always a good idea.

(By the way, I was actually solicited to enter this competition so I was slightly naffed off at potentially missing out on a $1,000. I just thought I'd mention that as I don't want to look a complete jerk for entering a competition that I wasn't in fact eligible to enter. Anyway, the good folks at Nerdwallet decided I could have some linky love and what's more they may even broaden their rules so that next year I can enter my handmade sheep's jewellery in the craft category.)

Anyway, being highly competitive I eventually checked out the winning entrants and just because I can - I declare myself the unofficial winner for the unlisted category People not really taking this competition seriously. There were some really sincere entries from folks baking cakes and making jewellery etc. I wish I had it it me to do that kind of specialist crafty stuff but folding the ends of the loo roll into a triangle is about as much as I can manage at the moment. The overall winning suggestion of a drawing book in which a child could draw pictures for their mother as a keepsake was a lovely idea and a particularly nice gift for girls to give their mums for Mother's Day - but for boys to give as a gift - I'm not so sure. Personally, I've suffered enough embarrassment at parents' evenings looking at my son's murderous pictures featuring decapitated soldiers, aircraft armed with nuclear warheads and fire-breathing monsters without receiving a drawing book full of the said grotesque pictures which I'm supposed to keep for the rest of my life. In fact, every now and then, when I stumble across a school exercise book I've overlooked to put in the bin I'm usually aghast at the horrors they contain. Sometimes that includes the teachers' spelling mistakes although, to be fair, it's mainly the drawings.

You see, boys and girls are fundamentally different. As evidence of this I will cite what happened last Sunday during the lunch hour of the latest cricket test match between England and New Zealand. During the television interval Sky showed a clip of some girls playing cricket which prompted Master Jacob to insult Master Ben's batting abilities by unfavourably comparing them to a girl's. Then a fight broke out, the sofa took a hammering and Master Ben ended up clutching his genitals. The overall natural conclusion of this episode was Master Ben inserting a questionable term into You Tube (current favourite pastime) and subsequently me having to endure this video. (Don't check it out if you've no sense of humour.) Then, of course, any sojourn to You Tube is usually followed by a progression of even sillier video clips until, ultimately, it finishes on one of the many videos showing Justin Bieber getting shot on CSI. Regrettably, no matter how many times poor Justin Bieber gets shot and no matter how many times they watch it my boys still find it funny. Unfortunately, so do I. In fact, I had to ask Master Jacob to halt the video half way through because I was laughing so much I thought I was going to have a heart attack. 

Male sibling rivalry should not be taken lightly.  From the moment your second son is born your life becomes sheer utter hell, requiring you to make numerous visits to casualty and break up fights using any sharp instrument you can find. If you have three sons like I do then you will be driven to not only tearing out your hair but wandering around supermarkets looking for the aisle selling bruise cream whilst sniffing bathroom cleaner.  If you are really badly affected you will end up writing a blog and losing all your self respect.

Now from what I know about girls, they tend to draw, skip, play with dolls, interact on Facebook and generally be reasonably well behaved except when they're trashing either their mum's or their sister's make-up. Boys are completely different animals though - having boys is one long continuous battle to maintain discipline and keep one's sanity as a parent. In fact it's like having your teeth extracted without painkillers whilst listening to a party political broadcast:  it's no surprise that some parents of multiple sons lose their sanity pretty early on.

I must say this bathroom cleaner smells particularly good this morning....

You know, I am sure having sons causes premature death. In fact, I'll let you know if that happens to me.

Actually, maybe I won't- it could be tricky if I'm dead. 

If you don't hear from me for a while, just assume the worst, okay?

Anyway, just in case you haven't seen a Justin Bieber CSI remix here is the latest Turley favourite...

Monday, May 20, 2013

An Update on my Desk

Yesterday, I was reading an article over at Novel Spaces about personality types: going by the replies of other writers I worked out I was probably not your typical writer and I am definitely not a "Judging" personality type. (Unless we're talking politics where I am happy to offer my judgements, especially ones that include the words "Labour,""Farcical" and "Over my dead body.") The author of the article, Julie Luek, describes the judging personality as thus:
Judging (J)—Enjoy a planned, organized lifestyle. High amounts of loose ends and unplanned interruptions will disrupt a judger’s sense of calm. They’re great with checklists and love the sense of completion of getting a task crossed off. Deadlines and a clean, organized workspace are comforting.
This statement brought back to my mind the topic of my desk which has cropped up on this blog several times before. In my post I am a Fraud! I admitted to trying to hide the truth about my desk. More recently, I posted a picture of my new desk which I had inherited, via my aunt, from my grandfather. It is a Victorian style roll top desk which is very big and very impressive and, at time of my blog posting, scrupulously clean due to the fact it had just come back from the restorers. Anyway, in the light of  the article at Novel Spaces I've decided to post an update on the appearance of my desk. When I posted the original picture of my messy desk some people were pretty shocked. However, it is no problem to me: I may be an untidy person but I actually don't have any problem working amongst mess and I usually have an idea where everything is - although I admit after taking the photographs below with my mobile phone I then couldn't find it on my desk even though I was pretty sure I'd left it there (as I'd not been out the room) - in the end I rang my mobile on the house phone and duly found my mobile - on my desk. It may come as no surprise that I am frequently ringing my own number.

I did think about doing a photographic close-up of that teetering pile of stuff on the right so you could see how I have cunningly constructed it so it doesn't  fall off. However, I decided  even I couldn't suffer the embarrassment of a close up shot because it is a major piece of construction containing about 50 items from mere letters, a tin of air (to blast the dust off my keyboard) and  a jar of nasal rub which I couldn't risk collapsing  by getting too near to it.
Anyway, whilst I'm on the subject of my desk, here's a glimpse of another part of my "study" (the other sections have an environmental health warning on them.) I'll be honest, I don't actually do much "study" in the true sense of the word - except of some rather dubious Google images. Luckily, part of the privilege of being a writer is that I can legitimately Google anything and justify it as research. I want to remain a writer forever, obviously.

Again, I have another pile of artistically created belongings on the top shelf.  It is teetering quite badly now. I hope we don't get an earthquake otherwise a lot of stuff is going to come down on my head. By the way, there's even a chocolate fondue set and half  a wooden skull in amongst all that stuff. If you can spot them you can have a free copy of my  book if it ever gets published.  Don't say I'm never generous.

So that's it this morning folks, but if you're religious - and even if you're not - please say a prayer or send some positive thoughts over to my friend, Marie, at Nourish who is seriously ill. The power of the mind is great. Let's use it.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Another Eurovision Song Contest Disaster

So it was yet another Eurovision Song Contest failure for us Brits last night. We came in nineteenth position - out of the twenty-six finalists. I voted (in my mind only as I'm not prepared to waste my money on it) for Greece because of their high kicking dancing fiasco and also because the Greeks need a morale booster with all that economic mess they're in. Now don't go saying I shouldn't have voted for the best song because no one does that in the Eurovision song contest anymore so I am justifying my actions for no other reason than blatant favouritism towards men in silly costumes. Also, I voted for Greece because the telephone operator kept rejecting my requests to vote for the Swedish meatballs.

So costumes by Jean Paul Gaultier, tedious voting procedures from exhibitionist TV presenters, Greek dancing,  Swedish meatballs, a woman wearing a funeral wreath riding an imaginary bike, cheesy small talk and strained smiling akin to having a poker up the backside and Graham Norton giving a running commentary.

And  GB got more points than France and Germany.

Actually, I call that a successful night's entertainment. Roll on next year!

 Here's Denmark and the winning entry  Only Teardrops by Emmelie De Forest.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Penny Farthing and The Best of the Best - especially for the gentlemen at The West Point Academy

I'm afraid I have to revisit the subject of the bike with one big wheel and one small wheel again. Bear with me. It's not all repetition.

Now since I first wrote about how Master Benedict asked me if I rode a bike with one big wheel and one small wheel when I was a child back in August 2011 this blog has been inundated with hits from people searching for the name of the bike with one big wheel and one small wheel. I subsequently enlightened the world with the correct terminology in my post The Bike with One Big Wheel and One Small Wheel . Later, as I was still so astounded by the lack of knowledge about the bike with one big wheel and one small wheel I wrote another post which, amongst other vague ramblings, talked about my ideas for a documentary on the subject.

However, a strange and new development has begun to take place in the last few weeks. People are still Googling the bike with one big wheel and one small wheel or variations of it. But they are also beginning to Google this phrase:

How do you get on a bike with one big wheel and one small wheel?

I have even had one person leave an anonymous comment on one of previous posts asking me that very question. Now, whilst I do consider myself to be a pseudo bike historian (I used to ride one) I am not actually an authority on the subject. Anyway, the interesting thing is these hits are coming from my good friends in the US of A. Now I'd sort of figured out that these people are seeking the answer as the result of some quiz/school project but after a hit yesterday I'm now convinced it is part of an intelligence test. Why? Because that hit came from West Point - yes the US defence academy.

So it's definitely an intelligence test. Obviously, I was immediately reminded of this excerpt from the film Men in Black starring Will Smith:

So just for those lovely young uniformed gentlemen, The Best of the Best, I have made a list of possible answers for you - if you really, really, can't think of an answer that includes the word "steps."

Here we go:

1. Release the ejector button on your Falcon F-16 jet fighter and steer your parachute onto the seat of the bike. This is a "fun" way of mounting your bike and although a tad expensive at the cost of destroying your $19,000,000 aircraft the Big Cheeses at the academy will admire your creativity and ingenuity.

2. Drive up and park your MA12 Abrams tank adjacent to the bike. Climb out of the turret and position yourself on the end of the gun barrel  Then let your tank driver raise the gun over the seat of the bike. Then swing on the gun barrel and drop yourself into position onto the seat.This is a cheaper option than destroying the F-16 Fighter plane but equally creative. You will graduate with honours.

3. If you can locate him - stand on Tom Cruise's shoulders. This is the exact height required to mount your bike.

4. If you're a naval candidate you are in a more difficult position because you will be ashore and without the use of your ship to fire you onto the seat.  Also, if you did want to risk this option you might get in trouble for starting a world war - cos you just know those *uckers behind the red button aren't going to look lightly on a stray missile are they? So - you need to adapt your knowledge of knots and tie a rope to the American Flag at West Point and swing yourself onto the bike like Tarzan. Don't strip off and go bare chested though - otherwise a) the other candidates will think you're showing off and will lace your tea with laxatives or b) it won't be safe in the showers.

5. Get a trampoline and bounce your way onto the seat. Now, I don't think that's particularly original when you might be up against my earlier suggestions. However, if you can get some of your colleagues to position themselves holding hoops of fire and you can negotiate your way through the flames whilst doing a double back flip you may be on to a winner.

The Penny Farthing or The Bike with One Big Wheel and One Small Wheel. Some people have a problem imagining how people might get on it.   

6. Raid the canteen and collect as many of those tin lunch boxes you soldiers are supposed to eat your gruel out of - then you can BUILD your own steps! How impressive is that? Other men always like men who can build stuff so you will be one step ahead of the rest when you pull out your impressive design of a series of  sequential tin steps. You could even draft in your three year old son to help you.

7. Mount the back of one of your colleagues and climb off onto the seat. This is not very original and you must be very careful about the way you ask for help. In fact, just don't use the word "mount." Try "climb" instead. This is the cheapest and least imaginative option. Probably only worth considering if you want to fail anyway. Sorry.

8. Get a horse. Remember that scene from True Lies where Arnold Schwarzenegger rides the horse and chases the terrorist? That's you. Only you have to leap over the generals, tanks, an array of barbed wire and dodge machine gun fire from the soldiers who think you are trying to make off with the secret plans to capture Tom Cruise and use him as a step ladder. Then, just as you approach the bike you will switch to side saddle and flip yourself onto the bike. Impressive eh?

9. Go to the Academy's library and started collecting the books to build your own steps. (As I said before - building stuff is really impressive.) However, you might encounter a problem if there isn't enough books. (I've heard a rumour there's only three: Elvis: The songs, Elvis: The Movies and Elvis: The Afterlife but I'm hoping that's just a big fib.) However, I do know there's a massive pile of Jane's Defence Weekly so if you stack those up alongside your copies of The Beano and The Dandy you should be able to climb onto your bike.

10. Now if that's not really enough ideas to set you thinking you lovely gentlemen can always email me for some more. Don't forget to include the snapshots. ( In uniform please -my imagination can do the rest.)

I said "jump on it",  Arsehole!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Excuse me whilst I swear

A couple of blog posts ago I wrote about turning up at 8.20 am with my boys on the wrong day for their dentist's appointment.

Today, I forgot my own.

Yes, at 9.28 am the dentists rang to tell me my appointment was at 9.20. What I want to know is - with my track record why don't they just ring me an hour before?

Okay - I know the answer - it's because they charge you for missed appointments. Great. Now I've got two bills to fork out for. Humph.

Excuse me whilst I swear.

***** ****! !

On an entirely different matter, my short story The Princess and the Thief is featured as a staff pick on the short story website ReadWave. I'm going to pat myself on the back because frankly I need to cheer myself up as I know I'm going to get yet another whopping dentist's bill next week. Somehow, my dentist always seems to find stuff to do on my gnashers. I think he actually enjoys dentistry. In fact, I know he does. He's always showing me his new gadgets. Once, he even took me into his back room and showed me his new diamond drill. And I mean that sincerely, folks. No innuendo intended there - I can't afford to be sued by him as I have enough trouble paying his bills already.

On yet another entirely different matter I haven't mentioned my uncle's funeral yet. I left home at 10.30am to get to a 1.30pm service at the crematorium: I finally arrived - at the wake at 4.30 pm. Now that is a long, long, story which I don't have time to recount now but believe me they could make a film out of it. If you've ever seen the film Clockwise starring John Cleese - all you need to do is to substitute me and a funeral and there you have it. Anyway, that rather embarrassing episode is now going to be the opening chapter of my next book - move over Hilary Mantel. Who wants to hear about dead people wearing tights? My life is way more interesting...

My short story The Princess and the Thief on the Readwave front page. Hurrah! You can read it HERE

Thursday, May 9, 2013

My top ten tips for Writers (sort of)

Okay, Readers, you'll just have to bear with me whilst I write this post as I know most of you don't come here to listen to me talk about writing. However, it’s come to my attention that at some point almost every writer likes to impress with their top tips for writers. Almost inevitably, these are a variation of the same stuff which makes it exceedingly dull - especially as it seems like everyone who's ever written anything at all - from a childhood essay which won third prize in the under thirteen "My Summer Holiday" category to retired pensioners who previously have only written exclusions clauses in their will -are all now writers. Writing is the new big thing: it's almost as exciting as wearing a onesie.

So accordingly, as an (almost) writer I’d like to give my own take on the top tips for writers. I think that's only fair. So here we go:

1. Most writers say:

Keep a notebook handy so you can jot down all those random thoughts that pop into your head in the middle of the night.

Mrs T says

Keep a luminous covered notebook handy so you have at least a vague chance of finding it when you have that "random" thought in the middle of the night. I still wish you good luck with finding it though as when I wake up in the night I am either so disoriented I wouldn't spot an elephant standing next to my bed or I leap out of it like Usain Bolt and fast-track it to the loo.  In my opinion, the only creative things a writer should do at night is have sex or get drunk or have sex and get drunk at the same time.

2. Most writers say: 

Write every day: get a routine and try to stick to it.

 Mrs T says: 

Don't forget to buy a yellow sticky notepad, stick it on a high visibility area on your desk and write on it: "I am a writer." Then after you've stared at it for an hour you can take your laptop down to the local cafe and pose artistically for an hour, sighing and moaning and looking all melancholic like an eighteenth century poet. Not only will you then have convinced yourself you are a writer but you will also have convinced everyone else – although a good percentage of them might also think you’re a twat as well.

3. Most writers say:

Read, read, read.

Mrs T says:

Read, read, read. In fact, read as much as you can except writers' discussion forums unless you are writing a young adult paranormal romance in which case you should definitely read all the writers' forums so you can hang out with other YA writers and discuss someone else's ideas in a really positive, awesome way. Hopefully, then you'll be discussing it so much you'll stop writing and the bottom will fall out of the YA paranormal market and the rest of us writers can make a collective sigh of relief that the reign of paranormal romance is over. We will then take to the streets singing:

Give me joy in my heart, keep me praising,
Give me joy in my heart, I pray;
Give me joy in my heart, keep me praising,
Keep me praising to the end of YA fiction

Sing hosanna, sing hosanna,
Sing hosanna to the King of Literary Fiction
Sing hosanna, sing hosanna,
Sing hosanna to Mr David Mitchell

Give me peace in my heart, keep me wishing,
Give me peace in my heart, I pray;
Give me peace in my heart, keep me wishing,
Keep me wishing for the end of paranormal romance

Give me love in my heart, keep me hoping,
Give me love in my heart, I pray;
Give me love in my heart, keep me hoping,
Keep me hoping for the break of Twilight

Sing hosanna, sing hosanna,
Sing hosanna to the King of Literary Fiction
Sing hosanna, sing hosanna,
Sing hosanna to Mr David Mitchell

As we non-YA paranormal romance writers sing we will rejoice in the fact that as the paranormal romance genre slowly burns out so will all the posts on the forums which begin "Hi, Everyone, I've got a great idea for a YA paranormal romance... 

Deep joy.

Paranormal romance - please, please, please, make it stop. Somebody, please. I beg you.

4. Most writers say: 

Don't over promote yourself in writer's forums it looks tacky and you will annoy everyone.

Mrs T says:


5. Most writers say:

Develop a thick skin. You will need it when the damning critiques and snide reviews come in. Remember you can't please everyone all of the time. 

Mrs T says:

Forget the thick skin. Just get a sense of humour. Particularly if you're in the middle of a writing a young adult paranormal romance. Haven't you heard? The market is crashing...

6. Most writers say:

Don't try to emulate other writers. Find your own voice.

Mrs T says:

Most writers don't know what their own voice is. However, the very best writers actually hear voices inside their head. Usually these writers are either mad or they are one half of a Siamese twin.

7. Most writers say:

Get a professional editor, especially if you're self-publishing. You don't want to look a jerk with numerous typos.

Mrs T says:

I absolutely agree. Can I also suggest that if you're writing a self-published young adult paranormal romance you also get a professional ghost writer?

8. Most writers say:

Don't use exclamation marks or use them sparingly.

Mrs T says

Bollocks! If you know when to use them, then use them.

9. Most writers say:

I don't review other writers’ books. It's not wise.

Mrs T says:

I do review other writers’ books. It's fun and one day I hope to get paid for it. In the meantime, I would be delighted to receive any free books, especially in the young adult paranormal romance genre.

10. Most writers say:

Don't use clichés.

Mrs T says

Don't use clichés and if you can refrain from writing anally retentive tips for writers please do that as as well.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Gifts for Mother's Day Under Twenty Five Dollars

Okay, so I got this email in my inbox inviting me to contribute to a competition hosted by Nerdwallet for ideas for a gift for Mother’s Day for $25.00 or less. This is not something I normally do but I thought what the heck I might as well give it a shot. My ideas don't fall into any of the judged categories. But who cares? I don't. I've got three sons. I've got my enough problems without worrying about judging categories.

Obviously, my first thought was to ask my mother:  she’d be sure to know for sure. Unfortunately, then I remembered she was dead.  So, screwed at the first hurdle, I’d knew I’d have to come up with some original ideas of my own.

Firstly, as I’m British and this is an American competition I had to convert the $25.00 gift scenario to pounds: it’s £16.08. My initial response to this was: what kind of joker is proposing that men only spend $25.00 dollars for Mother’s Day? Answer: only a true nerd. Yep, you can bet Sly Stallone doesn't spend only $25.00 dollars on his mum and whilst he is a nerd he probably isn't your true geeky nerd. Sly is an action hero nerd - which is slightly different to a nerd who collects action heroes.

Secondly, I tried to put myself in the position of a mother who knows her son is a nerd and therefore expects a nerdish present. (This may help to alleviate the disappointment of not getting a Porsche Carrera, a whopping ten carat diamond or a blind date with the hunky best friend who is slightly less nerdy and attends a gym.) Now, as a mother of three young males of whom one is a true geeky nerd (he’s twenty one and plays Warhammer), I know that you must always, always, lower your expectations when it comes to Mother’s Day gifts or, indeed, any kind of gift. In fact, you should just be grateful if he remembers who you are and where you live. Then, if you actually have the good fortune to receive a present, you will be able to act with genuine spontaneous glee when you unwrap your gift - even if turns out to a tube of superglue, a 1996 “collectible” Sega Mega Drive game or a piece of wire mesh which can be moulded into either a kitchen sieve or, more conveniently, a piece of railway landscape.
Ladies - if you have a nerd for a son your life may not be worth living.
Okay, so let’s get down to business. As a mother whose nerdy son forgot both Mother’s Day  (it’s a different day here in the UK) and her birthday this year here are my top ten gifts under $25.00 that I wouldn’t have minded receiving (bearing in mind my expectations are really, really low.)

1.       A Mother’s Day card. Well, I suppose that counts at a gift. It’s not exactly a present but on the plus side you could have it framed so that you can remember for all eternity the year your nerdish son actually remembered Mother’s Day.

2.       A bottle of bath salts. I never thought I’d say this but there might be a day my son gives them to me and I will be truly grateful to receive them. In the meantime, I shall continue to give away any I receive to the local church fair to be sold on the White Elephant Stall.

3.       A kitchen sieve which is actually a kitchen sieve.

4.       A bottle of red wine (or preferably two) to drown out the sorrows of knowing your nerdy son will probably forget to attend your funeral.

5.       A bottle of red wine (or preferably two) and a box of chocolates to celebrate the fact you will have written your nerdy son out of your will.

6.       A hammer. This is very useful for all sorts of DIY, especially if you feel the need to vent your anger on model railways.

7.       A selection of paracetamol, aspirin and anti-depressants.

8.       A line of coke (a cola).

9.       A copy of Fifty Shades of Grey and a packet of matches.

10   A tea towel. Because they’re useful and you can wear them on your head and tell your son you’ve converted to Islam.

So that’s my top ten suggestions. If none of these appeals to you nerds out there just give your Mum £25 voucher and let her chose her own present. Then you’ll both be happy.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Who gives a monkey arse about Twitter when there's Pinterest!

Ohhhhhh what shall I pin to Pinterest today?

*Dances joyfully around room*

Okay, okay, okay, I admit it. I have way too much time on my hands lately. Master Ben has been off school for three consecutive days. Master Jacob was off school for three days the week before - I am going quietly insane.

Okay maybe not that quietly.

I just need some quiet time. Alone. I want to do that artistic author thing - contemplate major philosophical ideas, be reflective and pose artistically at my desk without any interruption from children wallowing in self pity that they're ill and bored.

I mean: three days off school? I would have been leaping for joy when I was their age if I was off school for that amount of time. Unless I was so ill I couldn't walk, couldn't see and had dysentery I was at school every single sodding day. All my boys have had is sinusitis. Huh - I would still have been going to school with sinusitis AND doing fifty press ups in the gym.

Now what shall I pin on Pinterest? I think I need a new display board. Maybe a shopping related one?

Maybe I don't really need to pose artistically...

Yes, so a shopping board it is. Hmm...wait a minute. What about a board for "Things I fantasize about when I'm stuck at home when my kids are ill" ? That could be shopping then and lots of other things too! Whoa, I'm a genius!

Now, let's Google "sexy hunk cleaning my kitchen" and see what the images throw up.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Addicted to Pinterest

Okay, so I decided I have to branch out with this social networking thing in order that one day it might help with the promotion of my novel.

I am still wary about Twitter. But... I have discovered Pinterest.

And I am hooked. There is nothing I like better than writing silly captions for pictures. Apart from writing silly stories.

Anyway, I will be back soon with tales from the gym as soon as I've posted some more pictures. I think that means that I probably won't be doing any housework today. Again.

You can find me on Pinterest HERE. Join me if you're on it!

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...