Sunday, December 28, 2014

How to slow up the pace of life

I've come to the conclusion that the pace of life is too fast, especially around Christmas. Luckily, I've discovered a good way to slow things up:

1. Hand over the wrong debit card at the supermarket queue. Make sure the queue is really long first so you can slow things up for other people too. They'll be grateful for the rest.

2. Spend several minutes looking for the correct debit card in your purse and bag. Then remove all the contents (except the spare knickers) while you search for the correct card.

3. Announce to everyone in the queue that you cannot find your debit card but luckily you have your credit card!

4. Forget the PIN number to your credit card.

5. Suggest you go to the cash point but then remember that in the amongst all  crap  essentials in your bag you might be able to find enough money left from the Christmas shopping money to pay your food bill.

6. Laboriously count out all the cash in your purse. Ransack every pocket, crevice and seam in your handbag and coat until you have finally counted out... £132.19.

7. Thank everyone in the queue for waiting patiently. They may not look like they are grateful for you slowing down the pace of life but they are. Looks can be deceiving.

You see how happy these people are about having the pace of life slowed up for them? I took this photo of the queue behind me at the checkout -  see how grateful they are? Some of them are now my very best friends. They love me.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Santa knows what's good for him!

So you thought Santa was a bluff old fool being misled by a host of  demanding kids? Not so, dear readers, not so! Santa has taste; he has style. He is one cool dude.

How do I know?

Well, this morning I was sent this picture:

Only the best is good enough for Santa! 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Problem of Facial Hairs - Again.

What is it with facial hairs when you're over forty? My chin feels like a badger's arse at the moment and I look like Popeye after an overdose of spinach. If any more hairs sprout I'll be able to pluck them and start my own business manufacturing scrubbing brushes and garden brooms.

God, the menopause is depressing. I've never been that keen on the idea of taking drugs but as I get older the idea of hallucinations and days spent slumped over the sofa as opposed to watching foot-long hairs sprout from every conceivable hair follicle is becoming more attractive every minute. I've always liked being a brunette because it gives a woman way more intellectual kudos (even if you don't get to party so much) but, as an older woman, being a brunette is a living hell. The only plus side is there's no fear of England every being invaded again as I've written to the MOD and told them that all they need to do the next time some assailants set foot on our land is to get all British women over the age of forty to stand on the beaches and the enemy will soon be fleeing. I mean - who would want to rape and pillage an island nation where most of the women have chins like badger's arses? I reckon that's why Hitler gave up on the idea of invading us - German intelligence probably got whiff of the excess of facial hair and said there was no way their men, with their preference for blondes, could stomach shacking up with British women.

Yeah, that must have been the reason for halting the invasion. Although I kinda think Hitler shot himself in the foot by invading Russia because I've heard a lot about Russian women and it's not all good. I don't want to say anything too derogatory - but I've seen the Olympic games.

So, I've not been around much lately because I've being doing stuff - none of which has been constructive. But that's Mrs T for you - one lazy, good-for-nothing writer. Still, there's a new year coming so I'll have to buckle down and continue my next masterpiece of English literature. In the meantime look what turned up on Twitter today!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A personal perspective on living with Crohn's disease, cystic fibrosis and cancer by Derrick LoRusso

Before I begin I'd like to thank Mrs. Turley for letting me write on her blog. So if traffic suddenly stops coming to her blog after you read this she knows who to go after. Thankfully, I live in Canada (Or as you Brits call it “Across the pond"), so she's got a long swim to get me. Not including the rabid polar bears and the bone chilling cold. 

I was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when I was six and Crohn's disease at eight. (Or as I call it "The Ultimate Weight Loss Program.") Ever since then it has, quite literally, been a roller coaster ride on the “Tilt-a-Hurl 2000.” Every day I question if I'm going to breathe easy or I worry about coughing up phlegm. A lot of people have shot me dirty looks because of coughing fits that randomly pop up. My stomach will get into knots of pain at random, causing me to be, literally, out for the count all day. About a year ago, I was also diagnosed with a tumour on my pancreas. Cancer does run in the family, but I thought life would spare me the grief of cancer. The tumour was found by a complete accident during a CT scan - at least I got something out of being in a cramped coffin while horrible disco music blasted in my ears. As the great doctors laid me down on the table, I told them, “Be gentle. This is my first time.” (Humour has been the one thing to keep whatever sanity I have left.) 

Now at the time of writing this, I have what is called a PICC line in my arm for almost three months now (Don't Google it, you won't eat proper for a week). Basically it's a large IV put into a vein in my arm, followed by a tube running through the vein to my heart. Great conversation starter let me tell you! It's in me thanks to three viruses growing in my lungs. One of them was *supposed* to have died off in 2008 but now, recently rediscovered, has returned like a villain from a Batman movie. My poor doctor (who has been in the field for 20+ years) is trying to figure out how to cure it without upsetting an even more deadly, harder to “treat” virus. Apparently, shoving a Dyson vac down my throat and vacuuming up all the phlegm within me might help. Beats having to shove down a dust buster that's for sure.

My parents and I donate whenever we can to charities supporting a cure. I didn't think they would ever find a stem cell for lungs! And they did. Science is breaking boundaries on curing not only cystic fibrosis, but also other chronic diseases of the lungs. There are hundreds of people out there with CF, and they all suffer differently. Some are in the hospital daily, unable to even breathe without constant medical assistance. But it's not just lungs; it's pancreas, bone density, even fertility. We suffer until the day we pass - or until a cure is found. 

Some sufferers are, like me, diagnosed with what the medical community refer as “mild cases of CF.” Able to go outside, go to work, eat and sleep within their own place. We can try to live a normal life. Even if every day does feel like we're drowning, or worse, suffocating without any real way to stop it. I used to keep quiet on my illnesses - a constant fear people won't understand that I am unable to do many things. That fear of “I'll look weak,” or, “I'm not worthy of their time.” Some people are too busy to understand or just don't bother. They see someone like me and think I can work just fine. In reality, I can't walk up the stairs today without feeling like I just ran fifty miles. Recently I've been more vocal about the issue - letting people know about what happens to us both mentally and physically.   

Which is why people like Linda Huber, the Write Romantics and the book Winter Tales are important to the cause of finding a cure. Yes, they are just a small piece of the aid, but big things come in little packages. I won't see a cure for cystic fibrosis in my lifetime, but maybe with help from people like you, we can kick it's ass and get people affected by it to know what it's like to breathe normally, live normally. Until then, I'll continue to take several hundred pills and vitamins, fifty shades of puffers and inhaled medicine, and countless hours of waiting at the hospital, hooked into an IV, and confusing doctors from here to Timbuktu. But I wouldn't give up my illnesses even for a million dollars. It's a part of what made me who I am today. And normal, is not in my vocabulary.

Many thanks to Mrs. Turley, my dear friends and doctors for their constant good will and generosity. And many thanks to my parents who everyday sacrifice their happiness to help and support me through all of my pain. They're part of the reason I'm still here today. Keep smiling everyone!

 Derrick LoRusso

Currently just £0.97 on kindle in the UK and £5.41 in paperback.

For more on this subject please check out below links to two previous posts. And please check out Winter Tales on Amazon - even if it is not for you, please pass on the link to someone who may be interested. There are a lot of romanctic fiction lovers out there - let's find them!

 Linda Huber, author of The Paradise Trees and The Cold, Cold Sea, on why she contributed to Winter Tales.

My post on why I am supporting Linda and The Write Romantics  

I will be returning with my usual brand of silliness and an update on my self-publishing journey in the very near future.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Quest for Cures

Have you ever seen a child short of breath?

Have you ever been fearful your child might die?

I think every parent has, at sometime or another, had macabre thoughts. If you're lucky enough to have healthy children then those thoughts might only be fleeting but, if your child has a serious illness, you may have lain awake at night, tossing and turning, whilst your imagination takes you into the places that every parent fears. It's tough when your child is ill, no matter whether it's a cold or cancer, because for most of us, our children are the central pivot of our lives. Perhaps the love of parents and carers - is the greatest kind of love - love that is unselfish and bounteous.

My second son has a peanut allergy and asthma. Luckily, he is extremely fit and these days his asthma and peanut allergy make very limited appearances. He has only been treated for asthma in hospital once and, on one further occasion, for anaphylactic shock. On a day-to-day basis I have very little to worry about and, as the years have gone by, I have learnt to put my fears and his afflictions into perspective. In recent years there have also some been some extremely successful peanut allergy trials in the UK which mean that there is the very real possibility that in the near future a cure for peanut allergy will be widespread. For nut allergy sufferers the future is looking brighter almost daily.

For some parents though their fears never leave them. There is still a long, long way to go towards finding treatments and cures for many other illnesses and, of course, towards solving vast global problems such as drought and disease. In fact, there are so many demands on us from charities that sometimes it is overwhelming - especially when you know you only have a finite amount of time or money to help. Just where do you begin? Who do you support? Sometimes we can only follow what our heart tells us.

You know, I think there is a lot of truth in that old phrase "charity begins at home" because if we cannot feel compassion for those closest to us we are unlikely to learn how to extend it to others. Seeing our loved ones afflicted or dying from cancer or heart disease, or any number of other illnesses, is when we truly understand pain. Not just the sufferer's pain but the pain of loving them too. Adversity, loss, suffering make us appreciate what we have - and what others do not. 

Last week, I introduced Legend Press author Linda Huber and The Write Romantics and their anthology Winter Tales, a collection of romantic stories, which is being sold in aid of The Cystic Fibrosis Trust and The Teenage Cancer Trust. I decided to support them as not only do I have direct experience of cancer - my father died from it in 1999 - but earlier this year I met a young Canadian writer called Derrick on Twitter who is only a little bit older than my eldest son and who suffers from Crohn's disease, cystic fibrosis and cancer. Despite Derrick's illnesses he's a lot of fun, has a sharp sense of humour and tries to see the best in life even when he's struggling to breathe. So, when I saw Linda's post about her contribution to Winter Tales, I knew instantly it was a venture I wanted to support. I hope you'll all support it too.

On Wednesday, Derrick will here on my blog telling us about his life and why support from people like Linda and The Write Romantics is crucial in the fight to cure debilitating and life-threatening illnesses like cancer and cystic fibrosis. After that, it will be back to the usual (silly) business! 

Currently £0.97p on kindle and £5.43 in paperback.
Winter Tales is a super little collection of stories ideal for any lady (or gent!) who likes to indulge in romantic fiction. There's a whole variety of love stories from the cosy and warm to the surprising and unexpected. The ebook is an absolute pittance at the moment at only 97p in the UK - which is less than a cup of tea or a weekly magazine. So, if you like romance or have a relative or friend who likes romance, please consider purchasing or sending a gift card and helping Derrick and others like him in their fight for survival.
  Thank you


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Writing For A Good Cause

Today, I am breaking away from the usual silliness on this blog to introduce you to Legend Press author, Linda Huber. A few months ago, Linda spontaneously bought and reviewed my novel and since then we have become Facebook friends. It was through one of those fleeting Facebook feeds, and quite by chance, that I noticed Linda was contributing to an upcoming charitable anthology. The two beneficial charities rang bells with me and I immediately decided I wanted to support Linda and her writing partners in their very worthwhile cause. Today, I'm leaving it to Linda to introduce the anthology but later in the week, as well as reviewing the anthology, I shall be telling you why supporting Linda's endeavours is personal to me. In the meantime, and with no further ado, here's Linda...

Hi everyone and first of all huge thanks to Jane for letting me loose on her blog this week… (brave woman). The bad news is she’s much funnier than me, but there’s good news too – I’m here to tell you about the PERFECT Christmas present for all those difficult mums and aunties. Yes, I know the dads and uncles are even trickier but as you won’t have to worry at ALL now about the female side of the family, you’ll have lots of extra time to plan for the men…

What is it, I hear you ask? It’s a book called Winter Tales; an anthology, to be exact. Full to bursting with light-hearted, romantic, humorous stories, and the best bit of all is that every penny made by this book goes straight to the Teenage Cancer Trust and The Cystic Fibrosis Trust. The project was organised by a group of romance writers called The Write Romantics. They wrote some of the stories, and for the others they drafted in people like me. (My usual genre’s suspense). I was really, really pleased to be part of this because as a physiotherapist I’ve worked with both cancer and CF patients. Cancer needs no introduction; Cystic Fibrosis is a horrible disease affecting mostly the lungs and the digestive system. It’s genetic, you have it from birth, and although it used to be a death sentence sufferers can now live well into adulthood –  though not a day goes by when they can forget their condition.

Winter Tales  stories to warm your heart, is currently £2.52 on Amazon  Kindle and £6.00 in paperback. In the US it is $3.95 on Kindle and $7.20 in paperback.
So Winter Tales is a nice, funny, romantic book supporting two excellent causes. And we like humour, don’t we, us Brits, even when we’re talking about something as serious as cancer. We’re famous for that. I live in Switzerland, and I get quite a lot of odd looks from people, followed by the careful question ‘Is that British humour?’ And usually it is. Mind you, my story in the anthology, ‘Something Blue’ (as in Something Old, Something New etc), was inspired by a wedding right here in Switzerland when the fire brigade played quite big part in proceedings…

I think too that a bit of humour doesn't go amiss even when you’re writing suspense. My new(ish) book The Cold Cold Sea is about every parent’s worst nightmare. But my cast of characters includes a school class of five-year-olds, and it’s these kids, who all have names – I was terrified we’d edit one of them out by mistake – who provide the light relief. Just by being nice funny little kids. A sense of humour can help us through many an unfunny situation.

"Disturbing and compelling" Hilary Johnson.
So there you have it. Winter Tales is available on Amazon in e-book and paperback, and buying a copy or two or three or forty will help two excellent causes. I’ll be getting a few myself – please join me!


               Please share this post and help support The Teenage Cancer Trust and The Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

Thank you!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Bargain Alert, Bargain Alert!

I've just got home from Morrisons petrol station where I saw such an absolute bargain at the checkout that I feel compelled to inform you of it, dear readers, so that you can rush out and get it for yourselves.

This was the wording I saw on display at the checkout:

Customers spending over £15.00 will receive a voucher for three minutes of FREE air.
Vouchers valid only on day of purchase. 

What the *uck? I am sorry to let that slip out - but I've never seen anything so ridiculous in all my life (except this blog of course). I mean, I appreciate the FREE air (no doubt factored into the £15.00) but I can only have it on the day of purchase? Is there a rush on air or what? Is it in short supply? Is Cameron going to start taxing it or what? I am gutted, absolutely gutted, I cannot pick up my FREE air tomorrow. I am going to complain to Morrisons about this - I spent £100 in the store and another £50 in the petrol station and I can only pick up my FREE air today? What sort of customer service is that?
"It doesn't matter that our car has broken down - if we keep pushing we can make it to Morrisons for our FREE air by midnight."
"I love you, Josh. I'm so glad you spotted that FREE air at Morrisons - now we can be together all day!"

In fact Morrisons have not just got it coming to them from me with the FREE air issue as I'm also going to complain to them that their FREE air nearly got me killed. Unfortunately, after I saw that sign I couldn't stop laughing and I laughed all the way home - it is a miracle I didn't kill myself or someone else with my erratic driving. So I'm lodging a complaint with them for making me a danger to myself and to everyone else. 

Ahhhh ... look how happy this young couple are knowing they have got some FREE air. It will making saving up for their first child soooo much easier.
Well now it's time for me to go back to doing something constructive. I'm going to pump up my tyres on my driveway with my own FREE air and I shall, very generously, give my voucher for FREE air to my neighbour with the one leg.

"Quick - come over to Morrisons the air is FREE all day. I'm getting two  bursts!"

Monday, November 10, 2014

Reality is Dangerous

I know you all thought I was dead. But I still have a few years left in me. So says my taxidermist.

So what have I been doing?

I am not sure - but in the last week I forgot the dentists (again), broke down in Mr T's car and was stuck on the A5 for 3 hours in the dark with Master Jacob only wearing his tennis shorts, the central heating system failed, the school rang me for a second time to remind me about the forms that Master Ben has failed to hand in since September and I gained 1lb in weight despite having gone swimming six (yes SIX) times.

In addition the upstairs bathroom light only works after twenty pulls and the downstairs one blows all the fuses.

Just an ordinary week for Mrs T then.

The good news is the plumber has already come and fixed the central heating. The electrician is coming at 1am, the car is at the garage and I have started a diet.

Everything else is not resolved.

And that was just last week. You don't want to know about the preceding weeks.

Now, sadly, there has been a lot that I have wanted to talk about here on my blog in those missing weeks. Even sadder is that I now can't actually remember what those subjects were. And as a writer who has about 100 notebooks (but who doesn't write in any of them) that is shameful. Still, with any luck, it will all come back to me and there will be a whirlwind of activity on this blog.

Anyway, I have two things to mention.

Firstly, this coming Sunday, I am at the Indie Author Fair in Chorleywood, Hertfordshire where I will reading from my novel and pretending to be a bestselling author.

Anyone who splits on me will be knifed. That's not spits - but splits. Anyone who spits will feel the wrath of my tongue - and that is probably worse than a knife.

Secondly, my novel The Changing Room is available free as part of the Choosy Read and Review Programme - where I give you a free mobi file for Kindle and you give my book an honest and impartial review on Amazon or elsewhere. Now, in my opinion, that is a absolute fantastic bargain - my work of (dubious) genius in exchange for a couple of lines on Amazon. What could be better? Further, I am going to make a tempting offer - anyone who writes to The Guardian telling them they ought to review The Changing Room gets a pair of my old tights and a Christmas hat. It's an offer I know some of you won't be able to refuse. There is so much you can do with a pair of my old tights - hold up David Cameron for instance. I mean - who wouldn't love to see him on his knees begging for mercy whilst you pocketed his Rolex. I know I would.

Well that's it. Accept to say - I would welcome any notebooks for Christmas as I am trying to build a dam in the beaver compound at London Zoo and Mr Beaver has already complained that I am not collecting notebooks fast enough.

Don't be fooled by their cute looks - beavers can be bolshy little bastards.

Monday, October 13, 2014

I give in!

I give in.  I've been trying to hold off.  But I don't think I can hold back any longer. The excitement and intrigue is just too great.

All that gossip, scandal and name-calling.


Sometimes a woman's gotta do what a woman's gotta do.

So, I just bought KP's autobiography in hardback. Cos there's no way I can wait till June 2015 for the paperback and I'm not paying £7.47 for the Kindle version.

I'm a hard woman to please, Kevin. So this had better be good for £9.00.

Yep so it seems even cricket players can be bitchy. It comes as no surprise to me.Two of my sons have played junior county cricket. The only difference is at junior level it's the ambitious parents you have to watch out for. I'm still reeling from the fourteen daggers in my back and the toxic berry juice at tea.

Great cover by the way. Kev. (Cough, cough.)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Pen or The Finger?

I am in my kitchen making a cup of tea when I see an attractive man in his thirties approach my doorstep carrying a parcel. This doesn't happen very often. (That's the attractive man knocking on the door - the parcels come a lot. In fact, Amazon would probably go into receivership without my custom.)

I open my front door and take a closer look at my visitor. I decide he has modelled his appearance on George Clooney's semi-bearded look. This is pleasing to the eye but doesn't quite have the same impact as Gorgeous George is a six-footer and the delivery man is like Tom Cruise in stature. Somewhere six inches has gone missing.

Still, I'm not one to complain about six inches.

So I smile as he breaks into conversation.

"Would you mind taking in this parcel for your neighbour?"

"Sure." I reply.

The man hands over one of those electronic signature devices where I am supposed to sign for receipt of delivery. For a moment I am perplexed as there is no stylus or pen and I wonder how this device works and then (being super intelligent) I realize I am supposed to sign finger.

I raise my finger and strategically place it on the screen and attempt to sign my name.

Nothing happens.

I try again. Nothing happens. The screen is blank.

I am perplexed.

I raise my finger and study it. (Yes - I can't believe I did that either.)

What has happened to my finger? It's not working! Why is my magic finger not working? Have I lost my touch? Oh. My. God. My finger is broken!

 The deliver man sighs. "You're supposed to use your finger not your fingernail."


I  quickly sign my name with as much flourish as possible.

J a n e

The delivery man hands over the parcel.

"Bring back pens," I say and close the door.

Fingers. I like them and find them pretty handy. However, the next time someone
 asks me to sign something without a pen I know which finger I'll be using. And it won't be the one they're expecting.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Haiku Stink

Master Benedict: I need to find a three word poem, print it off and take it into school.

Mrs T: You mean, a three line poem. A haiku?

Master Benedict: Yes, that's right. A haiku.

Mrs T: Let's look on the net.

Mrs T pulls up some haiku websites

Mrs T: How about this one?

Master Benedict: It's crap.

Mrs T: Yes. How about this one then?

Master Benedict: That's crap too.

Mrs T: Hmm..yes it is. This one?

Master Benedict: No.

Mrs T: This one?

Master Benedict: No.

Mrs T: This one?

Master Benedict:They're all crap!

Mrs T: Umm..yes. Most haiku is crap.What about this one ?

Master Benedict: I suppose it will have to do.

Beans are kind to hearts. 
I like to eat them daily. 
And then do big farts!

Master Benedict: It's still crap.

Mrs T: Yes.

Culpability and White Lies at Tesco

A few days ago, I read with interest the breaking news in the UK that the FTSE 100 UK-based firm, Tesco, is under investigation for financial malpractice. Like many others, including shareholders whose investments have plummeted, I will be interested to discover the possible extent of the wrongdoings and the degree of culpability amongst the top executives.

Since the global recession and the collapse of some banks, we are all more acutely aware of the malpractices and corruption that can occur within big companies that are driven to produce ever-increasing profits. I wrote about big business, corruption and culpability in White Lies, one of my stories in my collection, A Modern Life. The main protagonist, William Baxter, is a tyrannical profiteer who relishes his ruthless reputation until, one day, he meets a blind woman who unwittingly changes his perspective on life. The twist in the tale though is, by the end of the story, where Baxter is redeemed from his abhorrent ways, the blind woman has been corrupted by her new found material wealth.

Not all decisions are easy.
It is sometimes too easy to criticise and mock people in big business and politics. Of course I do it here on my blog in a jovial way and, at a deeper level, discussion, scepticism and criticism are part of the democratic processes that helps to keep businesses and governments in check. However, we should remember that not all companies or executives are corrupt and without banks and businesses we would have nowhere near the scale of wealth and prosperity that we do in the Western world. Banks and businesses supply the investment that provide jobs and mortgages that ultimately have taken us from the poverty-ridden subsistence level existence of the pre-industrial era into a world where the quality food, warmth and housing that were once the prerequisite of the elite are now commonplace. We should also remember that corruption is not limited to the rich or powerful. Stealing the office paper, using the office franking machine to send Christmas cards (I've seen it happen), hiding aspects of your income, exaggerating expense claims - are all examples of degrees of corruption.

I'm aware that there is a huge difference between the culpability of people who are trying to exist at the most basic human level to those at the highest level. But the point of my story White Lies is that we are all capable of corruption and we all just as capable of redemption - should we so wish. Sometimes things happen in our lives that makes us change the way we think and act, for better or for worse, so perhaps nothing, except death, can be predetermined. What is important, I believe, is that people who have the power to influence and change lives have a strong ethical code. In my opinion, Western society is pursuing a relentless quest for increasing profit and obscene indulgence which will result in an unequal distribution of wealth so great it will beyond any justification. Maybe we have already reached that point. It concerns me that some people have more money than they could ever need and yet, even in Western world, there are those still living on the breadline. If we extend those comparisons to the Third World, where societies still suffer extremes of poverty and disease, then the comparisons are far greater. These inequalities are not just sad. They're tragic. It's impossible to pretend that such deprivation does not exist; the faces of dying children are no longer pages in a book or a remote column in a newspaper but faces on our TV screens, tablets and mobile phones. They cannot, or should not, be ignored.

I do believe that individuals and companies should be amply rewarded for their efforts. It is pure idealism to believe society will ever be truly equal in all respects. However, that doesn't mean we can't strive for an equality in basic human comforts and health care or ensure companies conduct their business in an ethical fashion. So many companies relentlessly pursue increasingly profits for their major shareholders on a yearly basis and many top executives have massive bonuses based on those profits. The temptation to resort to unethical behaviour, for some, must be strong. And I don't just mean unethical behaviour that is strictly illegal but behaviour that involves unfavourable treatment of suppliers or subtly misleading promises to consumers.

There is only so much money one needs to live, even gloriously. Wouldn't it be nice if we shared it around more?

White Lies and twelve other tales of contemporary life can be found in my story collection, A Modern Life

Friday, September 19, 2014

We're still better together

So we've got to keep flogging haggis in our English supermarkets.

I knew those cunning Scots were just trying to get my hopes up about us banning haggis imports.

Now, if we can have a referendum on Europe, we'll look even more like a democracy. Cameron's promised one in 2017, if he gets re-elected.

So that'll give Cameron and his cronies two years to convince us the rest of Europe really cares about us.

Good luck with that one, David.

Yes, I know I shouldn't be cynical. The truth is, I am all for European unity. I'm a liberal, forward-thinking kind of person. In fact I'm more than happy to see an exchange of imports and exports.

We'll take some Belgium chocolate and the rest of Europe can take the haggis.

Seems only fair.

The French can keep Gerard Depardieu as well. Apparently he drinks 14 bottle of wine a day and recently was caught urinating in an air-plane aisle.

That's the sort of problem we can do without. It would give a whole new meaning to word "Easyjet."

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Just because it makes me laugh

Blimey, I wish Scotland would go to the polls more often. I've spent all day laughing.

"Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious" - Oscar Wilde

Last night I watched (for about the third time) the action movie, The Rock.

I laughed my socks off when Sean Connery (weather beaten ex-SAS released from prison to help fight renegade marines) quoted Oscar Wilde (witty Irish dramatist) to Ed Harris (balding bad guy) in that all-knowing way of his - creased forehead, one eyebrow slightly raised and talking out the side of his mouth.

It's the Scottish referendum today and with Connery noted for his Scottish patriotism, his character's usage of the quote "Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious" rather appealed to my sense of humour.

And then after I'd had a good old chuckle we got back to the deadly nerve gas and blowing up the bad guys.


And just because it is referendum day, I am going to throw in another quote:

"I realise that patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred, no bitterness towards anyone."

Edith Cavell.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Bad Timing - Again

Why is it that on one of the very few mornings I have overslept in my entire life it is the one morning I had booked an 8 am dentist appointment?

I am still getting over the shock that the boys have gone to school and Mr T has gone to work with without waking me.

The dentists have now given me a cancellation for 8 am tomorrow. Please God let me remember.

Anyway, I have done a quick survey of the house: I am not convinced the boys have had any breakfast, brushed their teeth or, in Master Ben's and Mr T's case, taken a packed lunch - although there is a rogue plastic container on the kitchen cabinet. I think that's as far as they got before the effort of making a sandwich proved too much.

Nobody had remembered to let out Miss Agatha, our last remaining chicken, into the garden. She was lodging a formal protest which roughly translated went like this:

w******! No eggs for you anymore w******!

Other random news:

I came back from a coffee with two friends on Tuesday and, as I pulled up the drive, I saw a plastic bag on the doorstep. I wondered whether one of my neighbours had left me either sawdust for Miss Agatha's hutch or some apples for a pie. I was hoping for the apples but would have been very happy with the sawdust.

The bag contained six cans of Lynx spray-on deodorant.

Is someone trying to tell me something?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Breaking Voice

I am quite sad that in the last week or so young Master Benedict's voice has begun to break. In a way it signifies the end of an era.

Some of you may remember this funny video of him playing with his plastic machine gun.

More recently, he was filmed at Wimbledon.

The next time I post a video of him he'll probably sound like Placido Domingo.

On another note - I am going out later and I plan to put a bra on.

 (See previous post if you're confused.)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Give Me The Booby Prize

I have just returned from the local post office where I was sending off a package. Just as I was handing it over, the post office clerk looked at me with amusement and said:

"Your top has fallen down."

I looked down at my cleavage with horror.

Unfortunately, I was still wearing the camisole top I was wearing in bed last night.

 And I had no bra on.

Watch out for clips of CCTV footage on YouTube entitled "Braless Woman Shocks Post Office Clerk."

God, I hate the menopause.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Bye Bye Joan

How sad to hear that Joan Rivers has died. I enjoyed her superb wit and self-deprecating humour immensely. She was the only true international comedienne and a wonderful entertainer. I think she's gonna have them rolling in the aisles beyond those pearly gates.

One must always look on the bright side of things though as did Joan when times are tough. Therefore, I hope it isn't too bold of me to say:

I am optimistic that Joan's jewellery collection will be buried with her.

Friday, August 29, 2014

More Menopausal Stories

Good news, readers!

Yesterday I went swimming and I remembered to see to my bikini line! The bad news is - it was only when I was having my pre-swim shower that I realised I still had my reading glasses on my head.

Still, that was not quite potentially as bad as Wednesday when, after I had started up the engine on my car and was just to pull-out from the garage, I remembered I hadn't actually paid for my petrol.

It is possibly that sometime in the next couple of years I may be arrested for something that I have no idea of what I have done.

Please God, I hope it is not shoplifting. Please.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Horror upon Horrors

Ladies, I know you will share this moment of ultimate horror with me...

Yesterday, I went swimming for the first time for several weeks. I walked leisurely along the side of the pool which was full of children, parents and a few foolhardy swimmers, like myself, who were prepared to brave the onslaught to our ears. I lowered myself into the pool and began to swim at a gentle pace, blotting out the noise and relaxing after a few fraught weeks.

And then, dear readers, I had my moment of ultimate horror.

I realised I had forgotten to shave my bikini line.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Game, Set and Match

So, as usual, I am spending the summer holidays on the tennis circuit. This year has been slightly different as last week Master Benedict got the chance to play at Wimbledon in a national U14 tournament. He reached the last sixteen of the singles and won the doubles title 6 - 4,  6 - 1. Being only 13, if he gets through the qualifying rounds next year, he will get a chance to compete again. I'm looking forward to him taking on the might of the LTA sponsored kids and seeing just what he can do at the next level.

My boys, Jacob and Ben, now hold nine county titles and one national title between them but, despite Jacob being no 1 in our county almost consistently since the age of nine and Ben since the age of seven, in all that time they have only received £300 of funding between them - which will just about pay for two reels of their tennis strings. Unfortunately, in order to get them to the next level, it looks like I'm gonna have to write some sleazy sex and gun-toting blockbuster to finance their training because having a nine to five job when you're committed to sport is nigh impossible and tennis is seriously expensive. So my ManBooker dream is well and truly over. Ah well. You can't win 'em all.  Anyhow, if you can't wait for my take on Fifty Shades meets Pulp Fiction you can help spread the word about my novel, The Changing Room, which isn't Fifty Shades meets Pulp Fiction - although it is kinda sleazy in places. (Hey ho.) The eBook is less than a cup of coffee on Amazon at the moment. So yep, I do have other motivations for wanting to be a successful writer other than just the sound of my own voice (although admittedly that is a quite a big attraction) so now with Master Ben's big win I suppose one might say - it's game on.

The good looks and athleticism are inherited from his mother. And I'm not talking about Tim Henman. I don't know where the ears come from but they're not mine.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Should Scotland vote "Yes"?

So it's the early hours of Sunday morning and, as I have insomnia, I have been occupying my time by reading the news over at The Guardian.

Yes, I've been trying to take-in some big words and long sentences over at the Guardian. Toughen myself up enough so I can open-up Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall without gulping.

So anyway over at The Big G they've got some high profile writers giving their views on whether the Scots should vote aye or nay to stay in the union. (You folks abroad may not know but, in the autumn, the Scots are voting on whether they want to still hold hands with the rest of the UK - or whether they just want to do it discreetly behind the bike sheds.)

Anyway I thought it was appropriate that some lesser known folks i.e -  me and a few of my buddies should have our say too.

Now firstly, I should say that my experience of Scotland is two weeks in a small cottage with my in-laws in a remote field in 1988.

So we're not exactly starting on the best footing. On the plus side, I do have a small amount of Scots blood in me (to add to my English, Irish and Welsh blood) so I think I'm able to give a pretty balanced overview of things.

So after some deep thought on the matter, my answer is that the Scots should definitely go their own way because I am not convinced that any plan to make haggis as a currency is going to work. And I want to see the aftermath. I also want to know where the Scots are going to keep their haggis currency - cos there's no pockets in those kilts you know - so the only place to keep their new bigger currency would be in their sporrans. Which would look kinda...awkward. Okay, okay, maybe a few Scots would get some extra dates wearing their heavily-weighted sporrans but I reckon when the kilts come off or up (depending on the wind speed) it would be a bit of anti-climax for us girls.

So anyway, I asked some of my buddies to sum-up their thoughts on the Scottish vote as I reckon what is needed is more sincere debate on the subject by people on the street - not just these big cheesy writers weighing in with their self-important views.

Okay, so let's get down to business and see what my buddies said:

Hugh Pounceby-Smythe:  "The Scots are voting on whether to stay in the union? I say that's jolly inconvenient ...Are they using chalk or ink on the ballot papers?"

Dougie MacDougMcDouglas: "Aye, aye, aye, aye. Of course we should vote "Aye". I'm all for haggis currency. I could wear a sporran as big Ben Nevis and it'll not affect me walk. That puny wee Cameron can keep his pound and his pea-sized wallet. I'll be wearing me sporran with pride."

Connor Macleod: "I've lived for a thousand years and I've a chill between me legs that even a haggis won't stop."

Her Majesty: "Put the servants at Balmoral on siege rations and hoist the flag, Mr Butler. We are at war! I may have the weak and feeble body of an eighty-eighty year old woman but I the heart and soul of a noble Englishman. When you've done that bring me my tea. With crumpets and some of Charles' jam."

Russell Brandit: "Let's have a *ucking revolution! No haggis, no pound. Just a big *ucking revolution!"

Her Majesty: "Take Mr Brandit to The Tower."

Darth McVader: "I am your father, Alex. Use The Force. Destroy your enemies."

Alex Skywalkersalmond: "As you wish, Father. But first - lend me your cape. It'll look good with my skirt."

Obi Wan-Kenobe Esq: "You are not well, Alex. Do not use The Force - it will destroy you and all that you hold dear. Also, try my tailors in Savile Row."

Billy Connolly: " really......och...... did you hear the one about .....ah...oy.....och....ah....oy."

Her Majesty: "Take Mr Connolly to The Tower."

Some geezer at Luton Airport dressed in a tartan turban, a kilt and wearing a suspicious-looking sporran: "I have nothing to declare. I'm just flying to Iraq for a holiday."

So there you are. Just a few comments from some of Mrs T's buddies. All thought-provoking stuff. As for Mrs T what does she think about a UK without the Scots? Well she thinks it would be like Oreos without the cream in the middle.

Kinda sad really.

"On the count of three, gentlemen. Let's give the English the scare they deserve."

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Word Crimes and Fashion Crimes

The musical parody of Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines by Al Yankovic is a fun reminder to us all about the value of literacy. I've no objection to people cutting corners with their grammar on social media - but I do think it's important they know how to use it correctly in the first place. I'm starting to get the hang of text-speak myself - if I'm pressed for time I occasionally substitute "u" for "you" and sometimes I substitute "No way!" for anything which would normally be a 5 page rant.  I'm also  trying to brush-up my vocab by working my way through Mr Blobby's Guide to the ABC. I am up to the letter F. Which is handy as I find f-words invaluable.

You see I like to keep up with the times. I know you lot think I'm an old stick-in-the-mud but I'm actually a forward-thinking and liberal person. Some might say I'm even fashion-concious and trendy. In fact I recently bought some trendy black leggings. Although I had to take them back for a refund - when I realised they weren't a triple pack of car-polishing cloths.

Anyway, that's my post on writers' news finished. Hoorah. It's dull stuff I know but I feel I must fit-in with the crowd and do what all the other writers are doing. Of course, the good news is now that I have one post I can work it into a self-help manual in about twenty years time when I've thought up some other ground-breaking advice.

 So, to sum up, so far two I've got two valuable pointers for inclusion in my self-help guide:

1.Writers - know your grammar.

2. Writers - don't wear black leggings it makes you look even more mentally unstable. Especially if you wear them with a fuzzy hat and a paisley scarf.

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...