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The Value Of A Good Blog Title

12 Sep

This is a slightly edited repost from 2013, but I’m out of ideas so I thought I’d share it again.  It contains some good advice for new bloggers.

Let’s start with a poem I wrote some years ago:

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The Thing About Poetry IsEnglish: Groucho Marx & anonymous blogging

Titles
are
vital

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The same is true of blog posts.  Titles are vital to lure unsuspecting readers to your blog, where you will dazzle them with your wit and wisdom and encourage them to waste time they could have used for eating, watching TV, and sitting on the couch.

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How Not To Write A Post Title

From my blog:

  • Joke 648

Unless you are looking for 648 jokes, it’s rather dull.  However, it does tell you exactly what you will find: a joke; the 648th joke in a long line of jokes.

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Be Specific

  • The Value Of A Good Blog Title 

is not particularly interesting but it will attract people looking to improve their blogging.  I know this because

  • Seven Tips For New Bloggers 

still attracts readers, years after being posted.  List titles like this are also popular, for reasons I’m sure psychologists could tell you, though I can’t.  

A word of caution, however: don’t be tempted to make it 147 Tips For New Bloggers, because nobody’s attention span is that long.  I know this from experience.

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Be Topical

  • It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Posted in December, it’s seasonal and likely to attract Christmas fanatics like me. In November, it makes me the blogger who’s ahead of the game; in June, it makes me quirky and will, hopefully, make the reader curious.  But beware: posted in January, it’s the blogging equivalent of the guest who won’t leave when the party’s over.

Sometimes, being topical leads to dumb luck:

  • Some Snow Facts

A fun factual post a year earlier led to my best-ever day – 4,720 hits – when Google Doodle celebrated the 125th anniversary of the discovery of the World’s Largest Snowflake.  I’d have been happier if just one of those people looking for the Google Doodle had left a comment but, hey, I’m not one to look a gift spike in the mouth.

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Reference Popular Culture

Here are some posts of mine which still receive hits:

  • Twilight: I Hope Bella Remembered To Shave
  • Seven Of Nine, And Not In A Good Way
  • Robert Pattinson With Small Hairs

Being up to date with the news helps:

  • What Really Happened To Gaddafi

brought in hundreds of people who thought a housewife in Stockport could tell them what 24-hour news channels and thousands of dedicated reporters could not.

Adding the word ‘Review’ to a title is another good way to attract readers. However:

  1. It irritates them if you use the word ‘Review’ and then don’t review whatever it is you claim to be reviewing.  I know this from experience.
  2. Reviewing books and movies four years after they’ve been released is unlikely to make your post a bestseller (I was surprised to discover).

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Use Keywords And Phrases

Here are some posts that still receive hits.  One was written six years ago:

  • You’re Only As Old As The Woman You Feel – old jokes and clichéd phrases are popular searches as ageing people begin to lose their memories (I know this from experience).
  • Smile And The World Smiles With You – the word ‘smile’ is the top search that finds this blog, with over 10,000 visits.
  • A Is For ‘Arguments’ – the key word here is ‘A’.  Bizarrely, the letter ‘a’ comes in at Number 7 on my search list, with 1,044 hits.

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Sweaty Armpits

Sweaty Armpits (Photo credit: mricon)

Have Fun!

After all, if you’re not trying to change the world, it doesn’t matter who reads your blog so long as you are enjoying yourself.  

Here are some of my favourite titles from posts that I have written:

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  • Famous With Sweaty Armpits  
  • Okay, Tesco: I Forgive You
  • So Many Jokes, So Little Class   I like this one for its searing honesty.
  • If I Break Wind, I’ll Write About It  The previous title refers.
  • I Have To Kill My Kindle
  • Love Many, Trust Few And A Canoe
  • I’m Three Mugs Of Tea Away From Becoming A Feminist
  • It’s Time To Give Up Food   I like this one for its absurd premise.
  • Ten Don’ts For When I’m Dead  Another list post.
  • Bring In Arms Fat Mummy
  • Hula Hoops. Very Proud Of The Queen.   I can’t claim credit for this one as it was from a comment by another blogger.
  • Vasectomy Dog And A Frog Disease Called Awesome
  • Camping: The Art Of Staying Wet Indoors
  • Flying To Spain In A Manky Cardi
  • A Labled Easy To Follow Leg
  • Sandra Bullock Has A Sex Change And Retires To Norfolk

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A Final Tip

Related to blogging but not to titles in particular: ask an open-ended question. A question as title will pull in the curious and the opinionated (I know this from experience).  You don’t have to use it as a title, however; you can use it as a closing sentence.  It never fails (I know this from experience).

What are your blogging tips?

Train Pain

24 Jul

It’s hard to believe that Viv has been gone just over a year.  I went to her funeral and I wanted to tell you about it at the time, but I couldn’t bring myself to write that post.  A year on, however, I have some emotional distance, so here goes. I am writing from memory because, when I checked back to my notebook, there is nothing at all.  Not one word; just the funeral programme, taped in.  I couldn’t even write about it for myself.  That’s grief for you.

Viv’s daughter Sally invited me to read Viv’s self-penned epitaph poem at the funeral.  I was honoured.  I wouldn’t have missed her funeral for anything, but it was lovely to be invited to be a part of it.

My travel anxieties have been well-documented on this blog so you won’t be surprised to learn that as the funeral was held in Newcastle and I live in Stockport, I made sure to leave with time to spare when I arrived.  To be fair, I’d have done the same if I was going one town up: that’s how I roll.  Or clickety-clack.  I don’t trust public transport; or myself on public transport (remind me to tell you why I once missed the first twenty minutes of The Lion King at The Palace Theatre, Manchester, seven minutes away by train).  

To be more fair, the Hub booked my ticket and made sure to leave me with some time to spare when I arrived – but not for my change at Sheffield.  I was miffed to have only 25 minutes because I had to find the platform for the next train and Sheffield is a big station and I am a big panicker.  The Hub assured me I’d be fine.  What could possibly go wrong?

He reserved seats on all four trains for me, over my objections: I always run onto a train and grab the first free seat I can, because that’s how I clickety-clack.  The train from Stockport to Sheffield was packed, however, and I was glad the Hub is bossy because I was able to turf someone out of my reserved seat.

The seat-with-my-name-on-it went a long way towards earning the Hub forgiveness, because it was standing room only all the way from Stockport to Sheffield.  There was no refreshment cart, ergo, no tea, ergo, anxious, panicky, uncaffeinated me.  There was a delay, a slow train, only ten minutes – NOT twenty-five as I had been assured by my perfidious man – to find the platform with my next train.  I fairly erupted onto Platform 1, hitting the ground running, eyes peeled for information screens, clichés exploding from every orifice.

DSCN0956 Sheffield was obviously still feeling the effect of Austerity because there wasn’t one uniformed human in sight.  I ran up the steps to the concourse – no screens!  I ran left – no screens!  I ran right – a screen!  Heaving, bent over my shaky legs, I slowed down enough to glare at the screen which informed me my train left from…Platform 1.  That’s right: the platform I had just run away from.  I had four minutes to get there and had to use the lift because Sheffield Station is just stupid in its weird layout with no stairs down to Platform 1 and absentee staff who probably don’t carry wheelbarrows on their person for exhausted travellers anyway.

I hit the lift button and…waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Finally – finally! – the doors opened and I ran forward; and then backed up as a thousand people who obviously had at least an hour to find their platform were disgorged.  At last they got out of my way and I jumped onto the lift, slammed the button, and was transported on the slowest elevator known to man to the platform below. Sucking in such oxygen as I could muster the energy for, I ran along the platform just as my train to Newcastle pulled in.

I collapsed into my thankfully reserved space and waited for the sweat to puddle on the seat, the breath to return to my aged lungs, and the spots to disappear from before my eyes.  Then I heard the bad news: no refreshment cart again.  I muttered to myself long and hard.  No one would have heard me if I’d muttered aloud, anyway, because I had no spit to help me articulate my uncaffeinated state.

I settled in, anxious and fidgety – you know, the normal addict state, except that my fix is Earl Grey, black, hot – for the longish journey, and became more anxious and more fidgety as the journey became ever-longer.  I discovered later that there had been a lightning strike on a signal box the day before, causing extended delays.  I watched the time and stressed.  I watched the time and fidgeted.  I watched the time and became tearful. I watched and watched and watched my watch and guess what?  I arrived in Newcastle about the time the funeral started.

I made sure to be first off the train – get out of my way, mother with a baby and elderly wheelchair user!  I’ve got a deceased friend to honour – and ran and ran and ran some more, finally finding the taxi rank when I wiped the sweat from my eyes and could read signs again.  I ran to the first taxi, but I was hailed by a uniformed human – better late than never, eh? – and we had the following conversation:

UH: Oi!  There’s a queue!

TB: OhpleaseI’mlateformyfriend’sfuneralandI’mreadingthepoemandit’salreadystart
edandthetrainwaslateIdon’tknowwhybutI’vegottogetthereassoonaspossibleplease
pleasecanIhavethistaxiplease?Sob

UH: Uh, sure, go ahead.

The taxi driver was wonderful and sympathetic and got me to the cemetery as soon as possible – perhaps wanting to get the hysterical woman out of his cab, but I prefer to think he had the milk of human kindness in abundance – where I encountered a problem: two chapels.

Seriously, folks, how I didn’t have a complete meltdown at this point, I don’t know.

Like a Wimbledon viewer trapped between two players serving high-speed aces, I gazed back and forth, back and forth between the chapels, paralysed by uncertainty.  What if I burst into the wrong funeral?  The odds were good that it would happen, because I never met a blunder I didn’t make. My favourite photo of Viv

Just then, a limousine rolled up and I was inspired to ask the sad-faced woman emerging, ‘Excuse me, I’m looking for a funeral and I know it’s not yours because you’ve just arrived; can you please tell me which chapel you’re going to because I’m so late and my funeral must be in the other.’ Bless her, she did.

I burst into Viv’s funeral as quietly as possible and only eighty percent of the people looked at me, including the eulogising vicar.  Small mercies, eh?  I was ushered to a seat, given a programme, offered a glass of water – because I clearly looked like Mr Rochester’s first wife at this point – and sat my trembling bum on the seat so I could frantically scan the programme to see if I’d missed my spot.

I hadn’t missed my spot!

If I had never believed in God up to that point, I believed in Him that day.  The vicar finished talking and it was my turn to get up and read Viv’s poem.  I’m proud to say I read it as if I’d travelled to Newcastle the week before and spent three days in a spa, being massaged from head to foot and back again.  I would never have let Viv down.

Several people came up to me afterwards and greeted me as if they knew me. Turns out they did: Viv’s friends I’d met and fellow bloggers amongst them.  I was still in Yellow Wallpaper mode, however, and couldn’t register anyone until at least two teas later.  I apologise if you felt slighted, but I assure you it was not on purpose.  Travel in general and lateness in particular send me a little crazy; throw in grief for a beloved friend and it’s a wonder I didn’t end up in Newcastle-Under-Lyme instead of Newcastle Upon Tyne.  Viv’s family were wonderful and understanding, and I was so grateful to them.

My only consolation is that Viv would have loved this post.  As far as I’m concerned, that makes any craziness on my part entirely worth it.  Just as well, eh?

 

Eyes, Look Your Last…

7 Oct

Spud’s old room:

Photo by Best DSC!

I’m going to be AWOB (Absent Without Blogging) for a week or two, as I’ll be decorating my new room in proper girlie colours – honeysuckle, pastel yellow, pink accents.

See you on the other side!

One Prompt

12 May

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.

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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.

#Global Selfie Earth Day Today!

22 Apr

Here’s mine:

DSCN2841

 

While We’re On The Subject

19 Apr

Keats House Poets Forum's photo.

 

At the moment, I have no words.  It made me smile, then, as one of life’s little ironies, when I received an email announcing the launch of a new poetry ezine containing one of my poems – a poem about censorship, in which most of the words have been removed.

I may not be writing much but I do know how to make a short story long, so here goes.

My poem In The Tradition of ‘The Star’ appeared in the anthology In Protest: 150 Poems for Human Rights last year.

Earlier this year, one of the anthology’s editors contacted me, asking for permission to use it in a new ezine she and another editor were starting; and inviting me to read at the magazine’s launch in London at the end of March.

I gladly gave permission but had to refuse the invitation, commenting that I wouldn’t know how to read it aloud anyway.

She replied that she quite understood: her employer (a charity fighting female genital mutilation) had held a memorial meeting for Nelson Mandela and my poem had been read out at the meeting – with difficulty.

I sent a garbled reply about poems being like children and taking on a life of their own without you, once you’ve sent them out into the world.

I didn’t hear from her again, but that’s hardly surprising.  If you’ve read this far you’ll be in the same dazed state.

Anyway, to get to the point, here is a link to the new magazine, Writing in the Blackout.

Here’s a bit of the blurb, for the political amongst you:

‘Writing in the Blackout’ is an anthology of poetry and art work that explores the theme of arts censorship and freedom of speech:http://www.ideastap.com/Partners/keatshousepoets

It features newly commissioned poetry and art work from Keats House Poets and IdeasTap members, an interview with English PEN and much more! We hope you enjoy reading our anthology, and would be delighted to hear hear your thoughts on it and do forward it to any of your networks who would be interested in reading it. This project is a snapshot of some of the complex issues connected to censorship, and we are interested in continuing investigating this theme- do let us know if you know organisations who might support a ‘Writing in the Blackout’ workshop or performance. 
We will be hosting a poetry performance and discussion of ‘Writing in the Blackout’ on June 14th, 4:30-6pm at the Keats House Festival in Hampstead. Do follow @KHPoetsor check our blog for more event details http://khpoets.wordpress.com/  
You will find me on page 39 but the whole thing is well worth a read.

 

A Dry Write Season

17 Apr

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.

1. The last thing that made you mad.

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!

2. Your typical childhood lunch.

Large.

3. An ode to an object.

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
Tremendously

But let’s be fair
This ode is crap
Are you really sure
You want me back?

4. Self-psychoanalysis via your bookshelf or Spotify playlists.

Spotify?

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:

  • Lives in the past; hopes for the future.

Prepare Ye, Beautiful City, Day By Day, All For The Best, By My Side:

  • Lives in the recent past; hopes for the son’s future.

The Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Terminator Salvation, Dumb & Dumber.

  • Loves a good romance.

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:

  • Hairless cats (funny)
  • Doctor Who (essential)
  • The return of old bloggers (old as in been around a long time, not old as in been around a long time)
  • Boobs with belly buttons (we’re back to the future again)
  • Jolly good news (even more essential than fictional doctors)

5. A mad lib.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

In Which I Eat Elephant Ears

4 Apr

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.

DSCN2833

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.

DSCN2836

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!

Googling Myself

12 Mar

It’s not that I’m vain, or anything, but I do occasionally Google my name (okay, I am vain; but can you blame me with this hair?).  At least I don’t check to see if I’ve got a Wikipedia page – no, really, I don’t, honest…

I have to Goggle myself when I’m submitting poems, because so many editors exclude poems already published online, even if it was on my now defunct poetry blogs which can no longer be accessed.

I Gaggled four poems and my name this morning and I was disappointed to find one of them in the 2010 comments section of a poetry blog, which means I can’t use it.  

The Haggle brought up a pleasant surprise, however – which isn’t always a given when you Giggle yourself; all I’m going to say is tea bags/washing line/shame…. Fortunately, I’m such a prolific blogger that the embarrassing photo is hidden way down in my Boggle listing.  

I discovered that a poem published by English Pen last year in their Dictionary of Made-Up Words was featured on their website earlier this year, as part of an ongoing promotion of the book.  I didn’t know it was there.  I’m chuffed!

Even better – it was retweeted!  It’s nice to be twit.

You may say it was coincidence, but I think it’s strange that I didn’t come across this poem until I had my hair cut.  I’m like an anti-Samson: all of my power was consumed by my long hair; now it’s short, I’m discovering my work in the ether and being invited to take part in poetry events which may or may not come off so I can’t say anything at the moment…except that the invites were issued after the haircut…

So, do you Wriggle yourself?  Or are you afraid to discover dirty little secrets of yours hiding out there in the ether?  Are there photos of you drunk at a party? Taking an illicit beach day from work?  Wearing flares?

I’ll find out, you know, when I Ogle you.

Prompts About Prompts

19 Feb

Tell us about the time you threw down the gauntlet and drew the proverbial line in the sand by giving someone an ultimatum. If you’ve never handed out an ultimatum but secretly wanted to, describe the scene and what you would say to put an end (one way or another) to an untenable situation.

Really, WordPress!  Enough is enough!  Stop mixing your metaphors and going on for three pages to get to the point (that’s my job).  Give me better prompts or I stop blogging!

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Imagine yourself at the end of your life. What sort of legacy will you leave? Describe the lasting effect you want to have on the world, after you’re gone.

She was the sort of woman who never followed through on an ultimatum. Consequently, WordPress walked all over her.  However, she knew when her time was up, so she played The Last Post on her last post.  She might have been weak but she went out in style.

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Describe the one decision in your life where you wish you could get a “do-over.” Tell us about the decision, and why you’d choose to take a different path this time around.

I don’t believe in regrets.  If we like who we are, we can’t regret how we got this way.

However, I am sorry I have a weakness for the WordPress Prompts.

Not.

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If you were involved in a movie, would you rather be the director, the producer, or the lead performer? (Note: you can’t be the writer!).

None of the above.  I’d like to be the person just off set, with the script.  You know…the prompter.

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We all know how to do something well — write a post that teaches readers how to do something you know and/or love to do.

  1. Sign up to The Daily Post.
  2. Check your email inbox each day.
  3. Start a new post.
  4. Choose a prompt from your Daily Post emails.
  5. Make fun of it.
  6. Thank your lucky stars that you have never been Freshly Pressed because flying under the radar means you can scoff at the prompts until the cows come home to mock your mixed metaphors.
  7. Bask in the adulation.

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Look in the mirror. Does the person you see match the person you feel like on the inside?

No.  Without slicing myself from that funny little triangular bit at the base of the throat to the unmentionable in a family blog bit at the top of my legs, I can’t get my hands inside my body to rummage around feeling what I feel like.  I’d have to be a particularly skilled surgeon to do that.  And insane.

How much stock do you put in appearances?

A lot.  I have to wear a disguise because the WordPress Prompters have put out a hit on me.  Something about ‘norespectforourhardworkcomingupwithideas-
every
dayjustsoyoucanmakefunofus.’

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Cooking The Prompts

13 Feb

You’re at the beach, lounging on your towel, when a glistening object at the water’s edge catches your eye. It’s a bottle — and yes, it contains a message. What does it say?

Drink Me.  Oh, wait…you’re not Alice.  Damn rabbit!

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Tell us about something you’ve tried to quit.

Blogging.

Did you go cold turkey, or for gradual change?

Cold turkey.  It was Christmas.

Did it stick?

What do you think?

What’s the one item in your kitchen you can’t possibly cook without? A spice, your grandma’s measuring cup, instant ramen — what’s your magic ingredient, and why?

The Hub.  If he’s not there, cheering me on and hugging me through my failures, I go to pieces.  I once incinerated a pack of chippolata sausages because he was in another country instead of my kitchen.  I have to burn food so I know when it’s cooked (I was one of the few people to take notice of all those safety adverts as a child).  I need the Hub there to tell me when ‘burnt to a cinder’ is too much.

What’s instant ramen?

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You’ve been granted magical engineering skills, but you can only use them to build one gadget or machine. What do you build?

Star Trek TNG‘s food replicator.  

But then I wouldn’t need the Hub…what to do, what to do?

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What’s the household task you most dislike doing? Why do you think that is — is it the task itself, or something more?

Previous answers refer.

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Write a post that includes dialogue between two people — other than you. 

A True Story, almost

The Hub: Where’s your Mum?

Tory Boy: In bed.

The Hub: Where are the boiled eggs?

Tory Boy: On the ceiling.

The Hub: She cooked?

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned from the person you’re the closest to?

To leave the cooking to him.

Actually, not any more; his M.E. means that he can’t cook these days.

So I guess the lesson is, marry someone rich enough to afford takeaways.

*

It’s January 26. Write a post in which the number 26 plays a role.

Hello?  I’d like to order a Number 26, two 14s and a 32, please.

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Tell us about the nicest thing you’ve ever done.

Stopped cooking for my family.

*

If you could fast forward to a specific date in the future, when would it be?

The day the replicator is finally invented.

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I Do Love You, Spud, Honest

11 Feb

Wednesday 15 January, 2014

Where’s my birthday post?

I’m not blogging at the moment!

You don’t love me.

Spud turned eighteen while I was on a break.  I didn’t write a happy birthday post – because I was on a break.  I did take him tea in an eighteenth birthday mug, buy him banners and balloons and not say a word about the girl in his bed on a school day; but, no, all he can see is no birthday post.

Apparently, I didn’t write him a birthday post last year when he turned seventeen.  I wrote one for his brother and his father, a hundred readers and even myself – but not one for him.  My argument, ‘But you don’t read my blog!’ didn’t cut it, because, apparently, he does.

I have been ordered to write a make-up post and not to make this make-up post all about his brother, which is what I appeared to have done in last year’s make-up post, saying how great his brother was and how he spoiled Spud on his birthday blah blah blah.

I’m a terrible mother.

But I can’t say that, because this post is all about Spud.

Spud was the biggest baby in the hospital, the week he was born – about ten pounds.  I have mentioned before that he looked like the V alien baby when he came out all blue and crinkly.  And absolutely gorgeous – which is how he’s stayed:

DSCN1860_IGP5708DSCN1770

Spud is now a man, and he has a learner’s driving licence to prove it.  He has done a lot of thinking this past year about what he wants to do with his life; but the decision was really made in the summer, the moment a sweaty Macbeth spat on him during the performance at the Globe: Spud wants to act.

This past year he has played Greek tragedy, Shakespeare and farce.  At the moment he’s rehearsing Judas in Godspell.  He doesn’t want to be rich and famous; he wants to work in theatre.  He is deadly serious: he wants to pretend to be other people for the rest of his life.  I couldn’t be prouder; or more scared.

Happy birthday, my darling boy.  Whatever you do in life, I know you’ll obsess about it until it’s right.

I love you.

Breaking My Own Rules

8 Feb

From clangnuts.blogspot.com

Remember how I was only going to blog three times a week?

So far, you’ve had posts on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Thursday and Friday – six out of eight days.

This is Seven of Nine*.

*If you’d like to read an amusing post about Seven of Nine**, go here (ignore the first bit about blogging).  If you get there and you don’t find it amusing, complain to the management.***

**Ding!Ding!Ding!Ding!Ding!  I just realised where the Beckhams found Harper’s silly second name – they are Star Trek fans!

It’s not sounding so silly now, is it?

***Management will not be available until Monday.  Maybe.

This seventh post comes to you courtesy of Edwina Currie, who riled me so much, I had to write about it.  My rant didn’t suit this blog’s theme of sharing the laughter, however, so I had to start a new blog.  Go and take a quick look, if you don’t mind.

It’s called Edwina Currie Made Me Start This Blog.

New Year, New Rules

3 Feb

Image from integral-optionsblogspot

A Little Housekeeping

As you know, several minor health issues last year left me with no appetite for blogging.  The break has helped but, if I’m going to keep it up, I need to change my habits.

My intention is to try to post at least three times a week from Monday to Friday; and to visit your blogs on Saturdays.

Apologies

I won’t be commenting on my or your blogs as often I used to.  If last year taught me anything, it’s that I just can’t sustain it.  I’m sure you understand.  And if you don’t, feel free to leave a comment.

But don’t expect a reply…

The Kindness Of Stockport Strangers

31 Jan

Image from Wikipedia
What happened to Zemanta?  I’m away for one short month and WordPress has changed everything.
I feel a prompt post coming on…

Yo, readers!  I’m back!  Did you miss me?  I told you I’d be back.  Thank you for your patience.

I had a lovely blogging break and feel refreshed and ready to write again…or I did, until yesterday.

Back With A Bang…Literally

I had intended to write my first post-break post tomorrow, on the first (you will note that my break didn’t wash away my propensity for mangled sentences; there’s no break in the world long enough to make that happen), but I had such a day yesterday, I wanted to tell you all about it; and to boast about how kind the people of Stockport are.

The day began in the ordinary way: at 08:35, my Yorkshire Terriers Toby and Molly, my friend Pam and I left my house for our weekly walk along the river Mersey, on the Pennine Way.  It takes us into the heart of Stockport, under the M60 motorway, but away from roads, so it’s safe to let the dogs off the lead.

We’d been out about fifteen minutes and Toby was a little way off, investigating smells.  Have you ever walked Yorkshire Terriers? They were bred as ratters. Try throwing a ball – they’ll get halfway to where it lands and be distracted by a smell, à la Doug and squirrel in Up, and that will be that for the game of Fetch as far as a Yorkie is concerned.

Toby was nose-deep (probably in something disgusting), when his body language changed and he realised he was being stared at intensely by a large dog which had come up behind us, a husky-type dog.  The husky charged, scenting prey. Toby legged it.  He ran up the path, under the subway and followed the path until it turned left.

I acted instinctively, forgot I was fifty and charged after him, yelling his name in what was intended as a command but which came out as a whiny beg.  Fortunately, Pam had the presence of mind to grab Molly before she ran after me running after the husky running after Toby.  We must have been quite a sight, with the husky owner running after me running after the husky running after Toby…who ran into rush hour traffic.

I rounded the corner as he dashed across the far four lanes.  The traffic in the two lanes closest to me had stopped so I belted over to the other pavement and suddenly realised I was running downhill, faster than I’ve ever run before, and I would very shortly be crashing face-first to the ground.

And lo, it came to pass.  My left hand must have taken the impact because it hurt-hurt-hurts today, up my arm to my shoulder.  I thought at first I had sprained it and I’m lucky not to have broken it, such was my momentum.  It is worth the pain because my face merely bounced off the pavement, leaving no scratches or bumps, just temporary indentations where my glasses had tried to give me eyes in the back of my head.

A car pulled up, and another, I think.  Someone helped me stand, a cyclist chased off after Toby, who was running the wrong way through the cars on a busy intersection.

Image from webaviation.co.uk 

See the triangle of grass above the .co.uk?  I had crossed the diagonal red path above it and was now prostrate on the path to its left.  Toby was running down the slip road in front of the Pyramid, which has a large white truck going one way and a yellow van going the other.

And I will stop there for today, for two reasons:

1. Always leave them wanting more and

2. My arm hurts. Which leads to three:

3. Always leave them feeling sorry for you: it may result in chocolate.

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