Spud: How was your day? Get hit in the face with many pies?
Tilly: No; but I did have some toothpaste thrown into my ear.
Ah, yes. Church Holiday Club is upon us.
This weekend it’s the Heatons Arts Trail – a bunch of artists in Heaton Moor open their galleries and invite you to look around and, hopefully, buy their work.
Write Out Loud members are supporting the event by tweeting poems. I’ve written a cycle of 26 haiku – we call them ‘twaiku’ – about the individual artists, based on the information in the flyer. I’ll be honest – it’s not my greatest work; but it was fun to do.
I would say check me out at @laughwife and @heatonstwaiku but the first two twaiku I posted have not appeared. Not that I’m a technept or anything…
There’s just one annoying thing (no; not the Hub): I have had an earworm all week. I think ‘Heatons Twaiku’ and I hear ‘Eton Rifles’. What a Jam!
We had a solemn ceremony in this house on Sunday: the first traditional Passing of the Bag.
Tory Boy bought himself a good quality rucksack when he was at high school. By the time he’d finished college, Spud was at high school and needed a good quality rucksack. Tory Boy loaned Spud his, on the condition that it be returned someday. Six years on, that day was Sunday, as Spud had finished high school and Tory Boy was home.
Cue ceremonial music (Celine Dion’s My Bag Will Go On):
The two poetry books I told you about last week weren’t the only free things I’ve had lately. Feel free to read on.
Thanks to ShowFilmFirst, I got two free tickets to see a preview of Annie Get Your Gun at Manchester Opera House a couple of weeks ago. I took Spud, who has discovered a love of stage musicals since Godspell. Jason Donovan played Frank Butler. He was really good…except for the singing. His voice was weak, like he had a cold or something. I was disappointed. Despite that, we enjoyed the show, especially Emma Williams as Annie Oakley. When she told Frank she could do anything better than him, she wasn’t kidding – she sang the highest and then the longest note I have ever heard. When she finally let the note go, the whole audience sucked in a breath for her. Fabulous.
I have been absent from the blogosphere because I needed the time to catch up on poems – I have managed to edit, type, print and file 71 poems so far this month. I was aiming for one a day so I’m pretty pleased with myself. With another thirteen notebooks to work through and an average of thirty poems per notebook, I only have another 390 poems before I’m finished and will be back with you. See you in November!
Freedom to Boast
I have availed myself of this particular freedom ever since I beheld my first screaming baby. I honestly don’t understand parents who don’t boast about their kids. It’s hardwired to my genes.
Watch out, those of you who don’t understand me – here’s a boast coming up: Spud received a letter yesterday to say that he has won the school Drama Prize. We have to spend two hours of boredom on Speech Day in a fortnight’s time, for our ninety seconds of glory when he goes up to accept the award. Those 7,110 seconds of tedium will be worth it, believe me. I’m bursting with so much pride, I had to rescue my fat clothes from the charity bin.
I watched the story of Meriam Ibrahim unfold on the news. If you missed it, she was imprisoned and sentenced to death for refusing to renounce her Christian faith; and adultery because her Christian marriage was considered illegal. She was heavily pregnant at the time of her imprisonment and was chained to the floor to deliver her baby. It made me grateful that I live in a country where no one particularly cares which God I worship; or how.
More Free Time
Spud has finished his exams! His official, state-mandated schooling is over for ever. Congratulations, Spud, for surviving school and growing up into a well-rounded young man in spite of your helicopter parents. You’ll soon be free of us and able to paint your face blue and bare your bum without having it smacked. Enjoy university.
Click on the images to link to the source.
Click on the image for source
If you were one part human, two parts something else — another animal, a plant, an inanimate object — what would the other two parts be?
Before I started my weight loss programme (not a diet; I don’t do diets), I was one part human/two parts Maltesers. Now, I am mostly one part human/two parts hungry.
The Hub says I am one part human/two parts vampire i.e. sucked the life right out of him.
Scratch that, he didn’t say anything of the sort. But he did offer to slice me open to find out. Consider me one part grateful/two parts terrified.
Here’s a prompt response I found in my drafts folder:
S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y NIGHT! What’s your favorite way to spend Saturday night?
A movie, a large packet of cheese & onion crisps and a glass or three of JC Le Roux’s La Chanson.
I’m writing this post at seven-thirty on Saturday night, in bed with a hot water bottle. No, the Hub is not giving me the cold shoulder because I was mean about him one too many times (like there’s a limit…); I sneezed today and put out my back. The power of snot.
Talking of my favourite wine, Number One Son bought me a bottle for Mother’s Day. Then helped me drink it.
Now he’s Number Two Son.
Think about an object, an activity, or a cultural phenomenon you really don’t like. Now write a post (tongue in cheek or not — your call!) about why it’s the best thing ever.
Writing responses to WordPress prompts is the best thing ever because it allows me to make fun of the most off-the-wall people on the planet.
No, really. They are as much fun as dieting.
Your local electronics store has just started selling time machines, anywhere doors, and invisibility helmets. You can only afford one. Which of these do you buy, and why?
I think I’d buy the invisibility helmet. I like the idea of walking around scaring people when they see a headless body.
And think of how much weight loss that adds to my non-diet… No one can call me fathead any more!
The friendly, English-speaking extraterrestrial you run into outside your house is asking you to recommend the one book, movie, or song that explains what humans are all about. What do you pick?
Of course, it would be an alien that spoke to my headless body, wouldn’t it? Because it wouldn’t know I was weird.
And the book – as you regular readers must surely know – would have to be Ender’s Game, in which we earthlings kick some alien butt.
Damn aliens, coming over here and stealing all our humanity.
When you do something scary or stressful — bungee jumping, public speaking, etc. — do you prefer to be surrounded by friends or by strangers? Why?
I prefer to be safe in my bedroom, not jumping off or on to platforms, thank you very much.
You are all welcome to crowd in, of course; but I get the window side of the bed.
You’ve been given the superpower to change one law of nature. How do you use it?
Crisps and Maltesers would be one of my five-a-day.
Do you not know me at all, WordPress?
What’s the one guilty pleasure you have that’s so good, you no longer feel guilty about it?
Tormenting WordPress Prompters.
Oh, and breaking wind…there’s no smell, now I eat properly.
What? Nobody comes here for the dainty English refinement – you know that, right?
Click on image for source
Well I never! Or I should say, Beh io mai!
I signed in to my blog to visit all of yours, and discovered a comment which needed approval:
Thanks for your contribution.
Silvia Pio (editor)
That’s the same poem which was read at a memorial meeting for Nelson Mandela, and I learned of it after the event.
It seems it’s not just my kids who are going off having lives of their own.
By the way, I’m chuffed! I love the idea of my poem taking on a life of its own, making new friends, learning new languages. It has a way more interesting time than I do.
But at least it won’t break my heart when it moves into student accommodation in September.
My baby’s all grown up. Sad faces all round…though I am relieved he survived my cooking.
This was him seven years ago:
This was him two weeks ago:
That uniform really lasted!
The school gave them a good send off: Leavers’ Day started with a Full English Breakfast; followed by a huge dragon bouncy castle with tunnel and slide. As the Hub said, they filled them up then emptied them again…
Lots of fun activities ensued including a barbecue and the handing out of Most Likely To… certificates (decided by each student’s friends). Spud was found Most Likely To Run The Grand National, because his nickname is ‘Stallion’. I daren’t ask for details. Finally, they let off the traditional balloons in the school colours.
They were given leavers’ hoodies:
They received Year Books; but they didn’t write in them. The tradition is for each child to buy a hard notebook and pass it around; teachers and friends write pages and pages of memories, good and bad. It’s a lovely tradition. Spud read the clean ones out to us. I may have sobbed a little.
In the evening, they attended a Leavers’ Ball. Five of Spud’s friends came here for pre-ball drinks and post-ball sleep. What a funny world it is: hundreds of screaming teenagers on a bouncy castle in the morning and hundreds of screaming drunk teenagers bouncing on the dance floor in the evening.
They boys passed their school on the way there and back to the ball. Both times, they spontaneously burst into the first two lines of the school psalm (no one ever remembers the third-plus lines). ‘How middle class are we?’ asked Spud’s friend; before coming back to sleep on the floor of our council house and be fed a breakfast of homemade pancakes – some burned, some not; it’s the luck of the draw.
Spud has had seven happy years at a wonderful school. He has been given a first class education at their expense. He has great relationships with friends and teachers and many great memories.
It’s all downhill from here.
Happy future, darling.
What is the one word or phrase that immediately cheers you up when you hear it?
No shit, Sherlock.
It always makes me laugh; I don’t know why.
Sadly, I never use it, because I don’t swear. Life is so unfair sometimes.
In other news…I haven’t been around much lately. No mystery, just life.
No sugar, Sherlock, as my mother might say. She didn’t swear either.
I haven’t written a post in thirteen days; and if you haven’t noticed, then I haven’t written a decent recent post.
I don’t believe in Writer’s Block, preferring to call the occasional arid periods in which my fingers take on all the attributes of blank paper with none of its promise – rather like a British tabloid newspaper – ‘dry spells’. I know I could write something if I neck a bottle of wine in one sitting; but you might not like what I’ve written. Or understand it, come to that. Rather like a British tabloid newspaper.
Fortunately, WordPress has been watching me (I knew it!) and sent me a prompt post entitled Five Posts to Write Right Now:
Mired in bloggers’ block? Pshaw — we’ll give you a push! Here are five posts you can publish right now, no matter what topics you usually blog about.
Thank you, WordPress; that’s really thoughtful of you.
I can’t believe WordPress is spying on me! What business is it of theirs if I don’t write for two weeks or two years? Pshaw!
An Ode To WordPress, The Object Of My Affliction
When I don’t write
You prompt me to
Bloggers not blogging
don’t reflect well on you
When I do write
You spy on me
I must object
But let’s be fair
This ode is crap
Are you really sure
You want me back?
I’ve seen it on Facebook as in Suchabody Withnolifetospeakof is listening to Songs For Those Too Lazy To Share The Dull Minutiae Of Their Lives Via Blogs Like I Do on Spotify.
Take the five books on your nightstand, the last five songs you listened to, the last five movies you watched or the last five blog posts you liked — what do they say about you?
Three Brenda Jagger novels, Siegfried Sassoon’s War Poems and the Bible:
Prepare Ye, Beautiful City, Day By Day, All For The Best, By My Side:
The Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Terminator Salvation, Dumb & Dumber.
Posts I Like – I have to be discreet here so as not to offend anyone by not including them, so I’ll go for generic subjects instead of specific posts:
I know mad libs are (is?) some weird American traditional game played at Thanksgiving and when the internet is down, but that’s all I know, so we’re back to dry spotify again.
Thanks for nothing, WordPress.
You may recall my post about elephant ears and what a disappointment (of sorts) it was to discover that they were not, in fact, mammoth trophies but were…well, if you don’t know, you’ll have to read the post for yourself.
Now I discover there is another kind of elephant ears: the kind you can eat! The best kind.
Don’t worry, I might not be vegetarian (shudder) but even I would balk at a pachyderm pot roast.
No, my lovely American friend Laurie, who blogs at laurieanichols, sent a surprise parcel in the post – a tin of elephant ears: homemade biscuits, so-called because of their shape.
Sadly, the Hub has just been diagnosed as diabetic, so he couldn’t have any; Spud doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth, so he had a taste, approved of them, but declined to eat any more; Tory Boy lives elsewhere; and I watch my weight these days.
I value my friendships more than my figure, however, so I manfully swallowed as many elephant ears as I could.
At the risk of offending all of my other friends who have fed me homemade biscuits before, I have to apologise and say: these were the best biscuits I have ever tasted.
I will always remember them fondly. And so will my waist. Thank you, Laurie!
The Hub wears a new t-shirt to the play and is ‘awesome’, ‘best dad ever’, admired by all of Spud’s friends.
I pay a teacher a compliment and I’m banned from ever speaking to anyone Spud ever knows for the rest of his life, ever.
Here’s the Hub’s shirt:
Here’s my compliment to Godspell’s choreographer:
Wow! Spud told me the dancing was really naff but I think it’s great!
I don’t understand Spud at all.
If you have long hair like mine was, and decide to cut it, you can send it off to a charity in the UK called Little Princess. They make wigs for children who have lost their hair through cancer. A quick Google search found similar charities in other countries. Please think about doing it if you’re going short; you need a minimum of 7″/17cm and all it costs is a padded envelope and postage.
My hair was long but thin, so my plait was pretty feeble; but every little helps.
When the Hub posted it off, the clerk asked if there was anything valuable in the packet. The Hub explained what was in it and she winked and said, Aw, that’s nice. Are you going to do the same with your beard?
I think he should; I heard their office needs re-wiring.
Click on the photos to enlarge them
Actually, I cried the day before yesterday but I wrote this post yesterday so the title was correct for yesterday’s yesterday but not for today. Anyway, me crying at all except at the end of Love Actually is such a rare event, I felt I had to blog about it.
As you must know, because I’ve bored you to death about it for months now, Spud is playing Judas in his school production of Godspell. The first night is
tomorrow tonight. I can’t get the songs out of my head and as I was preparing his sandwiches for tonight’s tea between tweaking-rehearsal and performance, I sang Beautiful City to myself. I suspected I might be allowing it to take over my life when I came to the line, We can build a city of man and sang, We can build a city of ham…
Yesterday (‘s yesterday) was the dress rehearsal. The Hub is an excellent photographer and took some great pics of the last three school productions Spud starred in (no bias here, honest). He gave them to Spud’s drama teacher and she loved them and asked if he would go along to yesterday’s yesterday’s dress rehearsal to take photos of this production.
The Hub has M.E. so of course he needed his loving and supportive wife along to hold the spare camera batteries. The fact that I got a sneak preview of the show was purely coincidental.
We had front row seats and we needed them, because my heart swelled with so much pride it took up all of the space between the audience and the stage.
I know he’s my son and I’m biased and all that rubbish, but Spud was fantastic. He began as a happy, hopeful man and changed over two hours to anger and betrayal via confusion and doubt.
He sang, with music and without.
He cried in Jesus’ arms the moment before he left to betray him. He sobbed on the floor after the crucifixion.
He was totally believable.
Teachers made a point of coming up to tell me how good he was and how he should pursue acting as a career. But better than that, the director told me that, for all of his talent, he is a lovely, lovely boy and she hopes her own son will grow up to be just like him.
Can you blame me for blubbing?
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