Tag Archives: Humor

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?

Narrow Escapes

22 Aug

When we were kids, my brother owned a copy of The Book of Narrow Escapes. Aimed at children, it was full of stories about people who survived experiences like falling out of planes (as you do), or getting lost in the Amazon: always follow a river downstream to civilization was the advice, though how a child – or this adult – knows the difference between upstream and downstream escapes me, and not narrowly, either.  Come to think of it, I’m not sure that book, full of horror stories along the lines of Alive! was suitable reading for kids.  Unless I’m thinking like a be-fair-everyone-has-to-come-first-and-be-safe millennial.  Or a mum.

This morning, I was humming the tune to the seventies’ show Black Beauty because of a Facebook meme I’d seen, and that got me thinking that I read Black Beauty as a child and found it tedious, but loved The Book of Narrow Escapes – me, who never took a risk in her life unless it involved eating my weight in chocolate and thus the possibility of an obese, diabetic future.

As I was on the loo while all of this thinking was happening, that naturally reminded me of my own narrow escape, about twenty years ago: I went to the loo one day, finished, stood, turned around, and there were two wasps, flying around the neck of the bowl!  Talk about a squeaky bum moment.  To this day, I can’t sit on the loo without first inspecting it.  Thoroughly.  So if I visit your house and you catch me at it 1) I’m looking for stinging insects, not dirt and 2) why are you in the bathroom with me?

Do you have your own squeaky bum moment to share?

Men Are From Mars; Women Are From Who Cares?

14 Aug

Picture the scene: a new box of cereal, too tall for the cereal shelf.

Solution: reduce the size of the box.

Here is the Hub’s handiwork:

           Crunchy Neat

Here is mine:

            Rice Tearmies

Where do you stand on the Seriously?  It’s just cereal! debate?

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?

 

What Are You Up To, Dad?

7 Jul

Here’s a gratuitous pic of my gorgeous grandson.  We call it ‘Suspicious Baby’.

Cough, Cough

16 Jun

 

It’s my choir’s concert tonight.  We’re doing stuff from musicals, including a fantastic arrangement – by Ollie Mills, our choir director – of Cats.  His alto line for Memory is the most fun I’ve had singing anything, ever, not least because that’s the only bit in the whole show I can sing without mistake.

Don’t tell that to the audience.  I’m pretty sure Ollie and everyone around me already knows, but we still have some tickets available.

We had a rehearsal last night and I coughed all the way through it.  I have had a persistent cough for months, for which I’m now being treated because I finally dragged myself to the doctor after hearing a horror story from a friend about a friend of her friend’s who ignored a persistent cough, and things ended badly.  

Mine is nothing so dramatic; it’s probably a post-nasal drip.

I misspoke when I told my singing chauffeur (the lovely woman who gives me a lift to choir) about it, accidentally calling it a post-natal drip, and we giggled for an hour about me developing a twenty-one-year baby-related condition that wasn’t excess weight.

The cough is always worse after exercise: for example, from the walk to church on Sundays.  I hack through the first half of the service but I’ve noticed that it improves after communion, just from one sip of wine.  That thought brought on a brain wave – I’ll take alcohol with me tonight!  

Alex tells me alcohol is bad for the vocal chords, but we’re not talking great singing on my part; and I’m thinking, better no voice than Coughy McCoughy in the chorus, ruining the best bits.  You might suggest that I could, of course, nobly stand down and not be in the concert tonight; but I’ll thump you if you do.  I didn’t spend six months learning these songs (some of them, anyway; my first paragraph refers) only to sit sulking in the audience on my big night: yodelayee-yodelayee-yodelayeeNO!

I tested my theory when I got in from choir by supping a tot of rum and, yup, no cough after it.  I’m taking a small bottle with me, to sip throughout the concert. I’ll just have to be careful not to get drunk: no one wants to see a sozzled alto tottering around the stage, defending McCavity against the slurs on his character.

Although…if you do, tickets are a fiver.

 

Good News, Bad News

14 Jun

Bad News

The Manchester date of The Iconoclasts tour is cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances.  

Good News

I can stop nagging my friends and family to buy tickets to support them.

Good News

Which is bad news for you if you live in London, Nottingham or Bristol – the other dates are still on:

18th and 19th June @ Camden People’s Theatre LONDON, 20.00 – 21.15
Tickets: https://www.cptheatre.co.uk/production/the-iconoclasts/

21st June @ STUFF NOTTINGHAM
http://newtheatre.org.uk/stuff/

26th June @ Alma Tavern & Theatre BRISTOL, 19:30 – 20:45
Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-iconoclasts-the-alma-tav

Image may contain: 4 people, text

Good News

My choir is staging a concert on Friday, with songs from the musicals.

Bad News

I can nag my friends and family to support us.


Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, text

Bad News

You visit this blog, expect to be hounded.

Good News

Buy a ticket and watch my colour change from red to less red as my hot flushes [desperately searches for a singing pun] [gives up] [if you can think of a good singing pun, you know where the comment box is] come and go at random.

Or, as Home’s Cool, one of my American readers so memorably put it, watch me as I flash in church.

 

Flushed Away

8 Jun

To My Children: I’d tell you to stop reading now but one day you’ll have menopausal wives and I want you to be understanding husbands, like your father, so have at it.

Image result for menopause funny

I have gone from being peri-menopausal to very menopausal, and last Sunday I had to leave church halfway through the service because I had one hot flush after another; so many that I was sweating bobbers, as we say here oop north.

Aside:

What is a bobber?

According to Google:

bobber
ˈbɒbə/Submit
noun
1.
a person who rides on a bobsleigh.
2.
a float used in angling.

So, the menopause is causing elite sportsmen in weird clothing to cascade down my person?  Sounds fishy to me; and not at all the sort of thing I want to be bothered with in the middle of a woman-made heatwave.

Image result for menopause funny

Back to my story: there I was, sweating for Africa, even though our usual British summer plays more like an African winter – or a British winter, come to that: central heating on in June?  Go for it.

I was feeling ill and extremely ill tempered; so I left church.  I’m afraid the menopause is going to make me an atheist.

I know they call it ‘the change’ but that isn’t the kind of change I expected.

I have to tell you – hot flushes…I’m not a fan.  Though I’m thinking of investing in a fan.  Maybe even a fan company.  Or an air conditioning company; or an ice company.  I’m surprised these companies aren’t all run by women of a certain age.  My age.

Trust me, we don’t need to worry about a New Ice Age: just put a bunch of menopausal women at the front of the line, give ’em a cup of tea, and let ’em have at nature.

And then bring on the HRT.  Please!

Image result for menopause funny

 

The Theycanoclasts

18 May

(If They Get Enough Support)

The Blurb

‘The Iconoclasts’ is the debut show by Sheffield based theatre company, Dear Hunter Theatre. After a 5 star, sell-out run in Sheffield and performances at the National Student Drama Festival, this summer we are taking the show on a UK Tour, followed by a run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. We have been hard at work raising funds for the last few months. However, to ensure the show can go ahead, we need your help to raise a further £3000 to cover the enormous costs that come with a tour!

Image may contain: one or more people, people on stage, concert and night

All photos copyright Dear Hunter Theatre

The Link:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/dear-hunter-theatre-s-the-iconoclasts-uk-tour#/  

Image may contain: one or more people and text

Tour Dates & Venues:

18th and 19th June @ Camden People’s Theatre LONDON
Tickets: https://www.cptheatre.co.uk/production/the-iconoclasts/

21st June @ STUFF NOTTINGHAM
http://newtheatre.org.uk/stuff/

26th June @ Alma Tavern & Theatre BRISTOL
Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-iconoclasts-the-alma-tav…

28th June @ 53two MANCHESTER
Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-iconoclasts-tickets-3423…

Image may contain: 1 person, sunglasses

The Review

From The Sunday Times:

Image may contain: text

 

The (Ironic) Fun

If you are in the area, do try to see one of the shows, either on the tour or at The Fringe.  There’s a packet of Maltesers in it for you…

Don’t judge me; I’m a mother: bribery is my default setting.

 

 

I Lost A Friend

9 May

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, outdoor

Photo copyright RR Nichols

Her personal blog

Her political blog

Some of you read Laurie Nichols’ blog; more of you will have seen her comments on my blog.  For those who have been wondering, I’m sad to report that Laurie passed away on February 17th, aged 49, due to complications caused by her cancer.  Her husband Robert told me that he was with her the last 60 days of her life full time in the room, talking, and holding her hand and making sure she was comfortable.

Laurie was a beautiful woman, inside and out.  She was sweet and kind and lived life to the full.  She loved politics, gardening, travelling with her husband, cooking, movies, her dogs but, above all, she loved her family.

She was one of my greatest cheerleaders and we corresponded privately as well as through our blogs.  A favourite memory is the time she sent me some elephant ears, all the way from the US to the UK.  You can read about it here.  That post arose from another post (read that one here) I had written, and here is the conversation which ensued in the second post, which was the first post (hey, I may be missing Laurie but she’d expect me to write as confusingly as always):

Laurie: Love, love, love this! I bake Elephant ear cookies (Palmier cookies in French) so I thought that the bad man had thrown her cookies off the balcony, I never heard of a plant called Elephant ears. I would have been crying too if a bad man had thrown my cookies off the balcony, they are so delicious, flaky pastry dough folded umpteenth times in sugar and baked until golden and caramelized, cookie bliss. 🙂

TB: Drooling…

Laurie: Sorry about the drool, they are drool worthy though, next time I make a batch, I’ll be sure to send you some. 🙂

TB: The reading of this comment constitutes a legally binding contract under blog law.  Can’t wait! 🙂

Laurie: Don’t worry I honor all of my promises, you will be getting a surprise by the end of the month or the beginning of April the latest. 🙂

TB: Bless you!

Laurie: Anything for my Tilly 😀

And that’s Laurie in a biscuit tin.  The biscuits arrived as promised, and were devoured.  I still have the tin she sent them in.

DSCN2836

I miss her.  I miss her a lot.

 

I Think I Lost My Funny

24 Apr

Artist’s impression of lost and lonely dog

I found a lost dog on Sunday and I told people about it and didn’t crack one joke in the telling.  How is that possible? Remember when I lost my dog, Toby, a few years ago?  I managed to get three blog posts of almost novella length from that thirty minutes of agony, and cracked one joke after another despite my overwhelming trauma (Hello? Scraped knee, remember).  Here, I find a dog, and nothing: no funny, no cute, no whimsy.  I think I need to plank face-first again in peak traffic to knock the funny back into me.

Here’s what happened: I walked the dogs up to the local park and we arrived and a lone dog – husky-cross, I think – ran up to us, freaked Toby out, followed us off the park, freaking Toby out more, followed us back on to the park…are you asleep yet?  The man lying in the grass whose dog I thought it was and who turned out not to be dead (I seriously wondered, he was so still) was.  Asleep, that is.  You forgot where I was up to, didn’t you?  See, not funny.

Toby freaking out plays a big part in this story, because I had to pick him up to calm him down and his toenail caught in my chunky cardigan – kind of like a KitKat made of wool – oh give me a break, I’m desperate here – see what I did there? – and he screamed, and I mean SCREAMED in panic and wriggled like mad and I happened to be wearing earphones and he got tangled in them, my cardi and the lead so he was practically hyperventilating.  Trust me, a screaming, wriggling, hyperventilating Yorkshire Terrier is a terrifying sight to behold.  And hold.

Meanwhile, Molly slipped out of her harness, Lost Dog capered around blissfully unaware of the mayhem he was causing by being within, oh, I dunno, three miles of Toby, Toby freaked some more, and Not Dead Man kept on sleeping, despite the fact I practically fell over his feet trying to untangle me, my dog, my earphones and my clothes.

Artist’s impression of Molly, the naughty little monkey

Then I had the first of what turned out to be the same conversation with several strange men that day:

TB: Is this your dog?

SM: No.

TB: Oh.  Okay, thanks.

Artist’s impression of Toby, the Freaking Yorkie

Molly was already off the lead and Lost Dog had a collar but no ID, so I clipped him on and Toby almost fainted.  Resignation then set in, though he did manage a couple of thin-lipped nips at the air beside Lost Dog when he got too close.  Molly followed us home.  Fortunately, the park sort of backs onto our street (trust me, you don’t want a topographical lesson here; I’m falling asleep in the telling as it is), so I knew she’d be safe on the short walk back.

The Hub was watching City lose the FA Cup semi-final (though he didn’t know that yet) when we all arrived home, but promised to help me find the dog’s owner once the match was done.  Then it went into extra time so I marched Lost Dog out of there on his lonesome this time, Molly declining to walk if it meant her own extra time in the street and Toby reclining on his bed (actually Spud’s bed but what Spud doesn’t know Toby could not care less about), emotionally battered until dinner time.

I had the brainwave of saying to Lost Dog, ‘Home!  Take me home!  Let’s go home!  Where’s home, boy?’  He responded by pulling me through a hole in the park fence and running straight to a front door.  I knocked and a handsome man answered:

TB: Is this your dog?

HM: No.

TB: Oh.  Okay, thanks.  Did you know you’re gorgeous?

Actually, I didn’t say that last bit (I think), but I certainly thunk it.

I was beginning to suspect that Lost Dog, though amiable, was a six-pack short of a six-pack.  I repeated the home mantra and he walked me up and down many streets before leading me to another front door.  I knocked and another handsome man answered:

TB: Is this your dog?

HM: Yes!

TB: Oh.  Okay, thanks.  Did you know you’re gorgeous?  Wait, back up…he’s yours?  Why aren’t you out looking for him?  Handsome is as handsome does, you know.  Can I leave my husband and have your puppies?

Um, everything after ‘thanks’ may have taken place in my head but, seriously, where did all these handsome men suddenly appear from?  It’s like the sun came out and a shower of hunks descended on Stockport.

Artist’s impression of Handsome Man

Handsome Man (who so isn’t because is as does, like I said) was extremely grateful but in a real hurry to get rid of me.  It was odd – discounting the fact that a middle-aged, frumpy dognapper* was drooling on his doorstep, why was he so eager to be rid of me?  And then I looked at my watch: aha!  Extra time was almost over.  He obviously wanted to get back to the match.  Loving your pooch is one thing; football is quite another.

So, good deed done for the day, I headed home, where the Hub was crying into his fixture list:

Hub: Hey, let’s go find that dog’s owner.

TB: I already did, and you wouldn’t believe how ugly he was, yuk! Eurggh! Disgusting, horrible.  I didn’t embarrass myself at all, honest.

Hub: That’s not funny.

*

*Spellcheck wants to replace ‘dognapper’ with ‘dapper kidnapper’.  I’m so tempted.

 

Birthday Boy

18 Apr

Twenty-seven years ago today, I was given a little gift:

I loved this gift.  I played with it and dressed it and took it with me everywhere.  And then one day I lost it (I hate Lancaster University; anywhere he’s ever lived; any job he’s ever had).

But then, my gift returned one day, bearing another gift:


So I forgave my gift for having a life of its own without me, and was just glad that it had doubled in size.

Happy birthday, darling!  Did you know that you share your birthday with some illustrious people, including:

  • Lucretia Borgia (alleged poisoner) (hey, there weren’t that many careers available to 15th Century women)
  • Bernard Ogilvie Dodge (American botanist and pioneer researcher on heredity in fungi) (no joke required; his job says it all)
  • Clara Eggink (Dutch poetess) (…?)
  • George Huntington Hartford II (American heir) (seriously, who wants to be famous for being an heir – Prince William excepted, of course?  I’d rather be famous for being an alleged poisoner; at least I’d be making my own way in the world) (though I wouldn’t object to being an unfamous heir)
  • Lenny Baker (rocker with Sha Na Na) (well that’s just embarrassing) (though he is saved by the fact he was in Grease) (and he is often mistaken for Kenny Baker – being mistaken for a midget android with a cute voice has to be a step up, surely?)
  • Herbert Mullin (American serial killer) (some mothers do ‘ave ’em) (not this mother, of course) (right?)
  • Bernadette Robi (ex-wife of football player Lynn Swann) (yes, well…almost as worthy as being born an heir)
  • Thankfully, the list is saved by the great David Tennant (my child has a Doctor Who connection!!  He is now officially my favourite child)
  • Kourtney Kardashian (and he’s back off the favourite child list) (happy birthday, anyway, sweetie pie xxx) (love you)

Author’s Note:

The favourite child thing is just a joke: mothers don’t have favourite children.

But grandmothers do.

Two Songs & A Book

28 Mar

First, Alex singing Celie’s song I’m Here from The Colour Purple in Miscast the other week:

Next, do yourself a favour – two favours – sign up to BookBub and download lots of free books to your Kindle…and then delete half of them because they’re terrible, but at least you didn’t pay for them; and the good ones are worth wading through the dross.Neanderthal Seeks Human (Knitting in the City, #1)

And do it TODAY, so you can get a free copy while it’s available of Penny Reid’s Neanderthal Seeks Human.  She writes witty, intelligent romances with quirky characters and I own every book she’s written and hate that I discovered her while she’s still writing because I have to wait for the next book, and the next, and the next…you get the idea.

How can I convey the depth of my love for her books?  If I tell you I would spend my Malteser money on them, would that do it?  

My favourite line: This is the mammals all over again.

Go and get it NOW!  It’s FREE!

Finally, Alex and the other Colla Voce Boys in Chicago’s Cell Block Tango:

A True-ish Story

20 Mar

A Cup of Flour

They say truth is stranger than fiction; sometimes, it’s on par.

I laughed when I saw this cartoon, for something similar once happened to my mother.

Forty years ago, we had just moved to Runcorn and Mum had met our new next door neighbours but no one else.  She answered the door one morning and there stood a strange woman, holding a plate containing an egg and two bacon rashers.

Stranger: Can you please help me?  I’m a bit short for my breakfast; have you got a sausage to lend me?

[Bemused] Mum: Um, erm, sure, yes, hold on a sec.

Later that day, Mum saw our next door neighbour and told her all about the strange Image result for full english breakfastbreakfast-begging woman.

[Laughing] Neighbour: Oh, that was Irene*.  Don’t worry about it: she came to me for the beans!

Irene and her family eventually moved to a better part of town, into a large, posh house.  I wonder how many neighbours’ sausages helped to pay for it?Overnight Blueberry French Toast Recipe : so easy to make the night before and pop in the oven the next morning. A delicious breakfast casserole recipe with the surprise of blueberries and cream cheese and a lovely blueberry sauce topping. Perfect brunch recipe for a special occasion.

*Names changed to preserve privacy: ‘Irene’ is still alive; no doubt living on the neighbours’ Overnight Blueberry French Toast (breakfast has changed a lot in forty years).

SElf-Explanatory

13 Mar

Here are some videos of Alex performing.  The first is from The Boy Next Door, a concert of the music of Hugh Martin.  There are more videos if you let it play out; and The Mamas & The Papas fans might enjoy a new girl group’s rendition of one song in particular:

The second is a compilation of snippets from a show he did last year, The Colla Voce Theatre Cabaret, made up of songs from modern musicals:

This weekend Alex was involved in several events at Sheffield University’s Platform festival, in aid of Cavendish Cancer Care.   On Friday he sang in the SUPAS Showcase, playing George III in Hamilton, singing You’ll Be Back:

 

Thursday to Saturday he’s performing in Miscast, again with Colla Voce Theatre:  

Image result for Adhesive

Hit the link to buy tickets if you happen to be in the Sheffield area.

If you haven’t heard of Miscast, it’s ‘an annual benefit in which Broadway stars perform songs from musical roles which they would be very unlikely to land in…’ [Playbill].

And finally, I have a belated Christmas gift for you: I don’t think I’ve mentioned that he had his first paid acting gig at Christmas…playing one of Santa’s Experience Elves at the Trafford Centre.  I love that he did that as it gives me another opportunity to poke fun at him; I don’t even need to say anything – just put the pic out there:

 

 

 

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