Tag Archives: Blogging


25 Aug

Judyt54 made a shocking comment on my previous post – it’s been two months since I wrote it.

I’m sorry folks; I honestly didn’t know it had been that long.  In mitigation, I’ve been working on my second poetry collection; been to see VivinFrance; became a school governor; and faffed about reading free downloads from BookBub.

I’ve been wanting to tell you about France (I got back last Thursday) but I was out Saturday (Spud sang with The Tree of War cast at Manchester Cathedral) and Sunday; had a visitor yesterday; and I’m out this afternoon and tomorrow.

I’m holding up two fingers to you now – no, sorry: three fingers – and swearing on my previous career as a daily blogger that you’ll hear from me again in your lifetime.

Of This And That

12 May


What Should Be An Apology, But Somehow Isn’t

I’ve had a lot going on and no laptop for a while but now everything’s back to normal.  I saved all of your blog posts that came into my inbox – some going back to January – to read when I had more time.  Then  it occurred to me that I never have more time, so I made the decision to delete them all and suddenly I’m six inches taller because the guilt lifted as soon as the emails went into the trash.


Feeling Yellow

I don’t think I mentioned I was quite ill with renal colic before Easter.  Then the tests came back and it wasn’t renal colic after all – thank goodness, because kidney stones would have followed, the doctor was a little too eager to assure me.  What I had was a severe UTI (I don’t want to say ‘urinary tract infection’ because that’s a wee bit icky).  It had me flat out for a week (the Tramadol might have played a little part in that) and it was several more weeks before I was all better.

Live From Worktown

I had a poem in an anthology published in conjunction with this year’s Bolton Festival.  I went along to the launch event.  45 minutes on the train then another 45 minutes trying to find the Octagon Theatre, which is a five minute walk from the station.  The Hub’s instruction, via Google Maps (printed out with little arrows drawn on to show me which way to walk.  He seems to think I can’t be trusted to find my own way around) was to exit the station, turn left, follow the map arrows.  What could go wrong?  Plenty, it seems.

For starters, the station had two exits.

I checked them both out and went with the one that most resembled the Google Street View image the Hub had shown me (did I mention he thinks I can’t find my way out of a railway station?).  I exited, turned left, walked and walked and walked for much longer than five minutes, not finding any street names matching my map.  I walked back to the station and started again.

I exited the second entrance, turned left, walked and walked but not quite so far this time before I turned around and walked back to the station, then around the station, then inside and around the station, then I bought thinking time by raiding the vending machine.

Idea!  Look at the wall map.  

There was bound to be a wall map.  

There was a wall map.  

Very pretty it was, too, with a helpful YOU ARE HERE arrow.  I could even see the theatre on the map.  What I couldn’t see was any indication as to which of the station’s two exits I should use to get to the theatre, nor in which direction I should go, nor any street names that tallied with my well-worn and now a little sweaty map.  As pretty wall maps go, it was a bit of a let down.


The chocolate worked its magic and it occurred to me to ask someone – a very helpful news vendor who told me, Turn right [hear that Hub & Google Maps/Right!] out of the exit that doesn’t appear on Google Street View [okay, he didn’t say that last bit but I could tell he was thinking it], up to the clock tower which is the town hall [or courts or something] and the theatre is just behind it. Which it is, if you come at it from the clock tower’s right if you’re heading up from the station, as I discovered once I had walked the long way around the town hall.

The excitement at actually arriving at my destination meant that for me, the anthology launch itself was a bit of an anticlimax, until I was given a free glass of wine.  Everything looks better after free wine, especially on an empty except for a small bar of chocolate tummy.

I chatted to a bewildered Bolton University Creative Writing student, booze making me loquacious and free with all the writing advice she could ever need – Keep a notebook!  Follow the muse!  Get critiqued!  Read my blog!  Email me if you have any questions! – until she was rescued when I spotted a fellow contributor, Julia McGuiness, who once held a writing workshop I attended, and who used a few of my piku in a writing book she wrote [see, BUCWS: listen to me and you too can write long-winded and confused sentences in just such a style].

I took photos on my phone, sure in the knowledge that I could fiddle with the phone charger lead and connect it to my laptop to upload the photos to share with you.  

I did manage to fiddle with the phone charger lead and connect it to my laptop.  

Sorry there are no photos.  It appears that I don’t know what to do once the phone and laptop are connected.

 Julia D. McGuinness Julia on somebody else’s phone.

Spud Acts Again

Over Easter, Spud was at the national Student Drama Festival in Scarborough, sponsored by The Sunday Times, in Joe Bunce’s The Nutcracker [I accidentally typed The Butcracker and I can’t help thinking I’d really like to see that play].  

A committee checks out student productions throughout the year and then invites twelve from around the country to appear at the Festival. The Nutcracker won four awards, including Best Director and The Cameron Macintosh Award.  I suspect Mr Bunce will go far.  I hope Spud is his Facebook friend because it’s often about who you know in the brutal business known as show.  

You can read a little about the festival and The Nutcracker here.  Spud sent me some photos but I can’t upload them.  Is it possible that UTIs can affect your brain?  Mine stopped working about six weeks ago.

The Hub and I are off to see Spud play Mole in The Wind in the Willows.  More of that later in the week, but here’s a teaser:


101/1001 (Week 143) Or, The End (Part One) So, The Penultimate Episode, Really

20 Dec

That’s it!  My 1001 days or 143 weeks or thirty-three months or two-and-three-quarter years of purgatory/fun/must-remember-to-do-something-on-my-list time has reached the end.

So, how did I do?

I didn’t complete all of the challenges – including, Find another 64 challenges for the list.  I found 38.  Technically, then, this project should have been called 75 Tasks in 1001 Days, but do you really want to argue with a menopausal woman so close to Christmas?  I thought not.

There are some I regret not doing:

  • Get a job.  I didn’t.
  • Leave my poems in 101 locations. (0/101).  I didn’t have the guts to be a poetry bomber; it seemed presumptuous to force myself on strangers.
  • Read 101 new books (84/101).  I did a lot of reading, but mostly old favourites.  
  • Save £1 for each completed task.   I never seemed to have it to spare.

Some I don’t:

  • Win NaNoWriMo. This writer really doesn’t have a novel in her.
  • Do a REAL spring clean.  Talk about your proverbial pipe dream…
  • Ride my bike twenty out of thirty days.  (0/30).  Too much like hard work.
  • Try out three new recipes (6/15).  Previous comment refers.
  • Try olives AGAIN.  Forget it.  I can still taste the last one.
  • Taste a courgette.  The olives put me off.

And some are on my To Do List:

  • Answer all comments received in one day with song lyrics.  Too much fun to let go.
  • Ensure Spud can cook before going off to university.  My timing was out: that’s next summer’s job.

Tune in tomorrow for the tasks I did manage to complete.

Remember the Scary Snail?  He celebrated the first anniversary.  

I Told A Joke A Day For A 1001 Days

19 Dec

…And then some!

When I set myself the challenge of telling you a joke a day for 1001 days, I’m not sure that I believed I could do it.  It seemed like a fun challenge but I can’t say I had a burning desire to complete it.  However, I plodded on; sometimes staying up late with a couple of matchsticks and glowing screen; sometimes scheduling them a week in advance.   Occasionally, because of computer or internet problems, I posted late…but I never missed a day!

I told puns and one-liners and shaggy dog stories.  I shared lists and cartoons.  I lifted stories from news sites, comedians, the telly, and other blogs.  I told jokes so bad, I had to give you another dozen to disguise them.  And I never missed a day.

When I was stuck for a topic, I looked around the room until something caught my eye, then I Googled it: jokes about computers; jokes about dogs; jokes about chairs.  I once shared this habit with you and I was challenged to find a joke about orange.  I found a hundred.  I have to say, I’m probably Google’s biggest fan.

Some of you love the jokes; some of you never read them.  I found it arduous at times to come up with something, but I kept on going for the diehards who wanted their joke for the day.  Thank you for making me post a joke a day.

There were times when I was ready to jack it in.  I have been tired and unwell this year and ready to take a break from blogging, but I had to post a joke a day. I plodded on.  Then I hit day 851: the bulk of the challenge was behind me; the end was almost in sight.  I was determined to reach the end.

Animated horse, made by rotoscoping 19th centu...

Animated horse, made by rotoscoping 19th century photos by Eadweard Muybridge. Artistic license has been used to achieve the cartoony look. Animated by J-E Nyström, User:Janke, released under CC-BY-SA-2.5 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And I did!

I have to say it – I’m rather impressed with myself. Telling a joke a day doesn’t sound that difficult, but have you tried to find funny, clean jokes on the internet or elsewhere?  I swear, there isn’t one topic that cannot somehow be made grubby by those with the will to do it.  My eyes dropped and my chin boggled at some of the stuff I was forced to filter on your behalf.

But it was worth it.  Searching for laughter is always worth it.

Sharing the laughter – my reader-approved-by-poll tagline – is what this blog is all about and you helped me, beloved readers: you shared your jokes by email, post and comment; you re-blogged and pinned the best jokes; you tut-tutted at the duff puns and gently/forcefully steered me in the direction you wanted me to take.

Most of all, you laughed.  You commented.  You shared the laughter.

Thank you.  Thank you for your encouragement.  Thank you for your terrible (and sometimes terribly rude) jokes.  Thank you for your hilarious jokes.

Thank you for sharing the laughter.

Now, I’m going to take a month off blogging; and re-group.

And that’s no joke.

I have prepared a couple of end-of-challenge posts, to round things off; but there will be no jokes; no posts; no comments after this week.  

I apologise to new readers but something’s got to give.  I don’t want it to be my sanity.

To soften the blow, I will share my absolute favourite joke from the archive.  I laugh out loud every time I read it.  

A man was dining alone in a fancy restaurant and there was a gorgeous redhead sitting at the next table.  He had been checking her out since he sat down, but lacked the nerve to talk with her.

Suddenly she sneezed, and her glass eye came flying out of its socket towards the man. He reflexively reached out, grabbed it out of the air, and handed it back.

‘Oh my, I am so sorry,’ the woman said, as she popped her eye back in place. ‘Let me buy your dinner to make it up to you.’

They enjoyed a wonderful dinner together, and afterwards they went to the theatre, followed by drinks.  They talked, they laughed, she shared her deepest dreams and he shared his. She listened to him with interest.

After paying for everything, she asked him if he would like to come to her place for a nightcap and stay for breakfast. They had a wonderful, wonderful time.

The next morning, she cooked a gourmet meal with all the trimmings. The guy was amazed. Everything had been so incredible!

‘You know,’ he said, ‘you are the perfect woman.  Are you this nice to every guy you meet?’

‘No,’ she replied.  ‘You just happened to catch my eye.’

Joke 1001

19 Dec

First, jokes from the archive:

Very British Problems

There was a knock on the door one morning.  Seamus opened it to find a young, well-dressed man standing there who said, “Hello sir, I’m a Jehovah’s Witness.”

Seamus said, “Come in and sit down.”

After he offered his visitor a fresh cup of coffee, Seamus asked, “What do you want to talk about?”

The Jehovah’s Witness said, “Beats me.  Nobody ever let me in before.”

Any guy out there who believes women are the weaker sex has never tried to reclaim his half of the blanket on a cold winter’s night.

An old sea-captain was sitting on a bench near the wharf when a young man walked up and sat down. The young man had spiked hair and each spike was a different colour…green, red, orange, blue and yellow.

After a while the young man noticed that the captain was staring at him.

“What’s the matter old-timer, never done anything wild in your life?”

The old captain replied, “Got drunk once and married a parrot. I was just wondering if you were my son.”

From A Doctor:

At the beginning of my shift I placed a stethoscope on an elderly and slightly deaf female patient’s anterior chest wall.

‘Big breaths,’ I instructed.

‘Yes, they used to be,’ replied the patient.


And finally, at last, here it comes, ta-da!  

From Heroes magazine (supporting the British military), my 1001st joke:


Four strangers travelled together in the same compartment of a European train. Two men and two women faced each other. One woman was a very wealthy and sophisticated 70 year old lady who was decked out in the finest of furs and jewellery. Next to her sat a beautiful young woman, nineteen years old, who looked like something right off the cover of a fashion magazine. Across from the older lady was a very mature looking man in his mid-forties who was a highly decorated Sergeant Major in the Army. Next to the Sergeant Major sat a young private fresh out of boot camp.

As these four strangers travelled, they talked and chatted about trivial things until they entered an unlit tunnel, and there they sat in complete darkness and total silence, until the sound of a distinct kiss broke the silence; following the kiss a loud slap could be heard throughout the cabin.

In the ensuing period of silence the four strangers sat quietly with their own thoughts.

The older lady was thinking, “Isn’t it wonderful that even in this permissive day and age there are still young women who have a little self-respect and dignity?”

The young woman, shaking her head and greatly puzzled, asked herself, “Why in the world would any man in his right mind want to kiss an old fossil like that when I’m sitting here?”

The Sergeant Major, rubbing his sore face, was outraged that any woman could ever think that a man in his position would try to sneak a kiss in the dark.

The private, grinning from ear to ear, was thinking, “What a crazy and mixed up world this is when a private can kiss the back of his hand and then smack a Sergeant Major in the face and get away with it!”


And here’s my end-of-performance jig, to celebrate:

Thank you, everyone, for reading along and commenting.  It has been my pleasure.

The Best Laid Plans Of Mice And Buds

13 Dec
Cover of "The Muppet Christmas Carol - Ke...

Cover via Amazon

As we are now in the final week of the 101/1001 challenge, I had intended to write a celebratory post each day about the experience.  Yesterday’s post was abandoned because of migraine; today’s because of unexpected visitors.  The coming week’s itinerary includes Christmas grocery shopping, Christmas shopping for just about everyone (for various reasons we haven’t been able to do much this year), a girls’ night in, visitors, visitors and more visitors (it is Christmas, after all) and the annual screening of A Muppet Christmas Carol for the boys and me.

I have to mark the end in some way, however, so here’s a summary of what I would have written, if I’d had the time:

  • It was fun
  • It was hard work
  • I didn’t complete all of the challenges
  • But that’s okay because it was meant to be for fun, anyway
  • Which it was
  • I’m pleased with the challenges I did complete
  • My favourite task was…

…but that’s all I have time for today – there’s a mop calling me (can’t have my guests knowing how dirty I really am).

I will try very hard to wrap up the past two and a half years’ experiences in the next five days, but I can’t guarantee it.  I feel a bit of a muppet.


I’ll Never Catch Up

9 Dec
chevy chase, ass

chevy chase, ass (Photo credit: “Cowboy” Ben Alman) Kind of what I’m doing, without the retired movie star

My week last week:

  • Dog walks every day, many long
  • Baking mince pies for vulnerable people (sneaking a few to four freezing workmen who heckled me on my walks between the vicarage oven and church)
  • Doctor’s
  • Creative Writing class
  • Studiously ignoring my homework
  • Welcoming home Tory Boy with ALL of his stuff
  • Finding room for all of Tory Boy’s stuff
  • Cooking 
  • Cleaning
  • Catching up with ironing
  • Yawning
  • Recuperating all Thursday on the couch
  • Grocery shopping (huge)
  • Reading old jokes
  • Christmas shopping (a bit)
  • Helping a friend with something
  • Church
  • Stockport Writers’ Christmas do (playing word games – great nerdy fun)
  • Coming down with a stonking head cold

So that was my week, with the dull bits left out.

Sorry to have abandoned you.  Again.

I’ll be honest, it’s going to get worse before it gets better.


Vivinfrance's Blog

mainly poetry, also quilts, pictures, life-writing and the occasional short story.


Where is the heart of Stockport?

The Jog

notices and reflections in ministry

The Cvillean

The adventures of little read writing Hood

Guernsey Evacuees Oral History

An Overlooked British Evacuation


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