Friday, 9 November 2012

Six hundred and sixteen legs

Hello. I didn’t write a blog post last week. Smack me with a tofurkey and call me Matilda.

(If you’re bored with this already, scroll down to the bottom. There’s a freebie.)

I’ve just been having a think about what to write about while I was in the shower. I was running through what I’ve done this week. At about the hair conditioner stage I realised I don’t interact with people much. This is what happens when you work from home. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’ve met people.

I did interact with a lot of spiders this week though. There was a scout party of three sent to my office. I was happy to co-exist. They were on the ceiling and I don’t go there often.

A couple of days after they first arrived, I looked up to see how Itsy, Bitsy and Charlotte were doing. I noticed there were bits of dirt in the corner of the ceiling. Then I realised that the bits of dirt were moving. I got up to give my short-sighted eyes more of a chance. I saw it wasn’t just one corner of the ceiling. The swarm was concentrated there, but they were spreading. A dozen had already taken the corner by the light switch. A troop of eight was marching across the expanse of white matt to the bookshelf corner. It was a full-on invasion. I lost count at 77 arachnids when the doorbell rang (it was the twazzy postman – the one who has to snort snot back up his nose before he talks).

In the end they had to be dealt with (sadly only the spiders, not the postman). I didn’t do it myself. I’m choosing to believe that every one of them is now living on a farm in the country.

I released Enjoy Your Stay, a short story, on Smashwords this week. If you use code WT99X at the checkout, it’ll be free (valid until 9 December 2012).

Friday, 26 October 2012

Dear Diary

I don’t keep a diary. I’ve tried, several times, which is testament only to an attitude of hope over experience. The first day’s entry will go something like this:

25 March 8:43pm
Had pasta for dinner. Earlier today the twazzle next door was playing dance music again. I don’t know how he manages to sing along. My left ankle hurts if I stand on one leg.

I generally continue like this for three days. Can’t-be-arsedness sets in on day four, and by day five I’ve forgotten that I was writing a diary (again).

Someone who I imagine does keep a diary (or else has phenomenal memory skills) is Joan Stubbs, who gives a detailed account here of her trip on the first mass voyage ferrying GI brides to the USA. I love a bit of social history (you can keep the dates and what-King-when stuff).

Then there is the Mass Observation Archive, which started life in 1937 by recording – via written diaries – the everyday lives of ordinary people.

Simon Garfield, in his book Our Hidden Lives: The Remarkable Diaries of Postwar Britain, collates the diary entries of five Mass Observation volunteers in the immediate post-WWII years. The result is utterly engrossing, completely fascinating and, ultimately, just a little bit heartbreaking.


p.s. 25 October 8:08pm
I had couscous for dinner. The neighbour’s bought a karaoke machine. My left hip hurts if I hop.

Friday, 19 October 2012

I Can't Believe It's Come To This

There once was a boy named Thistle
Who wanted to launch a missile
His finger on the button
But then all of a sudden
The weapon went bang and then fizzle

There once was a man named Ned
Who had an oddly sharp head
It was a plaything for fleas
Who went down it on skis
Which left the black run scratchy and red

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Let's All Think About Windscreen Wipers

I love my phone for one reason. When it comes out of hibernation, and demonstrates to me that it’s raining by showering the screen with CGI raindrops (complete with rain-on-a-tin-roof sound effect), it then produces the image of a windscreen wiper, and swiftly cleans those raindrops away.

This never fails to amaze and enthral me. If it ever stops being a source of wonderment, there really will be no reason to carry on.

I’ve been thinking a lot about windscreen wipers this week, entirely due to the assertion in Autoglass’s current ad campaign that I don’t think about them much.

I didn’t know a lot about them to start with and little has changed there. I did start reading the Wikipedia page but it couldn’t hold my attention. If a wiper had dropped down from the top of the screen that would have been a different matter. I’d still be watching it now.

What I did find was a lovely little animation about their invention at Not only does it have the mellow charm of old school children’s TV, but I’m pretty sure Gladstone Adams farts at around 56 seconds.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Ts and Cs

You know the high-pitched fast-voiced ‘Ts and Cs apply’ at the end of every other radio ad? I’ve been wondering what the ‘T’ and the ‘C’ could stand for. If no one can be bothered to use the proper words, let’s make it interesting.

Tequila and chundering? Tall and chubby? Tampons and Charles (or Camilla)?

I’m for having the ‘T’ represent cups of tea. The ‘C’ represents, well, the sea. The cups will float on their saucer boats on the sea, rising and falling on the crests of rolling waves, slopping mid-brown brew over the side (this explains the colour of the sea at Blackpool). The sugar lumps on the side will lose their purchase and fall into the salty brine. It was probably a sugar lump that sank the titanic.

That’s what I’ll picture now when I hear ‘Ts and Cs’. A granulated cube of the sweet stuff causing a deadly maritime disaster, resulting in that episode of Dr Who with Kylie in it.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Call Me

A little over a month ago, I was talking about phone scams (Don't Call Me).

My brain is even slower than I thought. The right and correct way to handle it came to me earlier, not as predicted while in the shower, but as I was adding Marmite to toast (which is always a great activity to engage in, earth-shattering revelation or not).

This is how it will go.

            ‘Ma’am, it’s about your computer problem.’
            ‘Oh, thank you for ringing back so quickly. I just didn’t know what to do.’
            ‘That’s okay, ma’am, I’m here to help you. I’ll just need your password, then I can fix it all for you.’
            ‘Oh, that’s wonderful. Thank you so much.’
            ‘If I can take your password now, ma’am.’
            ‘Here we go. It’s Y for Yankee.’
            ‘O for Oscar.’
            ‘U for uniform.’
            ‘R for Romeo.’
            ‘E for echo.’
            ‘A for alpha.’
            ‘C for Charlie.’
            ‘U for uniform.’
            ‘N for November.’

Then they put the phone down.

At least that’s how I imagine it will go. Now I just need some sort of DeLorean-based time-travelling device so I can test it out.