Tag Archives: Humour

Now I Get It

8 Feb

Before I begin, let me just say that this is the first time I’ve used the new-look New Post feature and I HATE it.  It’s all white space and missing or moved buttons.  Wassup with that, WordPress?

I’m in a bad mood.  I have discovered the point of philosophy, a question which has puzzled me since the summer of 2003.  That was the first year of my Open University degree.  I attended summer school in Manchester – seven minutes away from my house by train; and I chose it for just that reason, having a sick husband and two young children at home.  Plus, I was a wimp in those days. Travel alone in such a lawless country as Britain?  Forget it.

It was a glorious summer (the sun always shines on happy memories) and I had a blast, spending all of my time in lectures and learning, singing in the choir that was composed of almost the whole cohort of students, and playing Medea’s daughter in an amusing stage parody.   I was disappointed not to get two weeks, à la Educating Rita, but loved any break from my adorable family.

I attended a lecture on the piece of music which was the subject of my next assignment and it was so good, all I had to do was transcribe my notes into coherent sentences, giving me one of my best marks that year.  It’s not cheating if you’re just paying attention in class.

Music was not my best subject but Philosophy was definitely my worst.  I just did not get it.  I remember sitting in a tutorial that summer and asking, What is the point of philosophy?  The tutor looked startled and then annoyed, and he didn’t have an answer.  I rest my case.

I wish he was here now, because today I learned the answer: philosophy exists to enable desperate poets to cope with the vagaries of Microsoft.

My Word stopped working.  I don’t know why.  I don’t know what version it is.  I don’t know why I didn’t read the dialogue box that came up every day for a week or more which probably would have told me.  But that doesn’t matter because of course it’s Microsoft’s fault: it is the creator, and we always blame the creator when things go wrong.  That’s my philosophy.

I haven’t been around the blogosphere much because I’m nearing the end of phase three of my second poetry collection: the editing process.  The editing process is my favourite part: the research has been done; the poems have been drafted from thin air; I don’t yet have to brutally cut some of my favourite babies, or put out for a publisher.  All I have to do is neaten, tidy and completely re-write until I’m sort of but not quite satisfied with the work that’s already done.

I edit, therefore I am happy.

I type, therefore I am busy.

I think, therefore I am using the education the Open University gave me.

I stay at my computer, therefore the Hub doesn’t have to see me.

I lose Word and my life falls apart: what am I supposed to do with my time if I can’t edit poems?  I might have to talk more to the Hub [shudder].  What if the world never gets to read my genius because Word owns me?  

Tain’t right; tain’t fitting; tain’t proper (how I miss you, Ross Poldark; please come back to my TV and be gorgeous again).

I may just be losing it…it’s only been thirty minutes since Word said Get lost and I’m babbling like a woman who just lost her Word.

On the plus side, I now have time to read your blogs.  

Sidebar: the architecture block of the 2003 course was fascinating but the only thing I remember is how to identify columns.  To this day, I have a weird finger thing I do to remind myself of whether a column is Doric, Ionic or Corinthian. Identifying a type of Classical architecture is a totally useless skill for me to have but I love that I can do it.

What’s your useless skill?  

A Poem to Mourn a Great Loss

I miss Word.
Word has gone.
How will my work be done?
I’m editless; I’m numb.
This poem is the sum of my madness.
Return, Word, and all will be gladness.  

Now you see how good a poet I am, you’ll understand why I’m going crazy here.

No Need To Nag

15 Jan

I had an email from Facebook: ‘Today is Alex Cosgriff’s birthday.’  

To be honest, I was offended; as if I need some mindless, faceless mass to tell me the date my child was born.

Get lost, Facebook.

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.

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Uh…oh…um…nearly forgot: happy birthday, Spud.

Linda & Alex 15011996

Christmas Conversations

4 Jan

November

The Hub: What do you want for Christmas?

Tilly Bud: Nothing, really.  I could do with some new socks.  Oh, and I’ve run out of perfume.  Maltesers, of course.  A large Amazon book voucher.  And somebody better buy me the Outlander DVD or you three are going to have a miserable Christmas.  But nothing, really.  You know I don’t need much.

 

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The Week Before Christmas

Alex and I went to the local care home to join in with my church carol singing. We’re a small church but, even so, I was disappointed that he and I were the only people to show up.

Attendant: Who are you here to see?

TB: We’re here for the St Matthew’s carol singing.

Attendant: That’s tomorrow.

Christmas Eve

Here’s a conversation I never expected to have.  I was watching ‘White Christmas’ with Spud.  Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye were performing to ‘Sisters’.

TB: I can so see you and Sam doing that.

Spud: [Enthusiastically] Yeah!  I can, too.  I’ll speak to him about it.

TB: I’ve got the perfect dress you could borrow.

Spud: [Still enthusiastic].  Great!  Thanks, Ma!

*

Christmas Eve Continued

TB: Don’t let me forget the starter tomorrow.  Every year, I forget to prepare and serve the starter.  But not this year!

The Hub: I have faith in you.

 

Christmas Eve Continued Again

TB: Hub!  The dishwasher’s not working!  Argh!IMG_0095

Hub: I’ll fix it.

Three days and seven hundred handwashed-by-me dishes later:

Hub: I can’t fix it. [TB stares] Please don’t leave me.  I prefer hospital. [TB stares] But I’d rather not go to hospital. [TB stares] But we can’t afford a new dishwasher; it’s Christmas. [TB stares] Gulp.

Ten minutes later:

Hub: I bought you a new dishwasher.  It’ll be here on Tuesday.

Christmas Day

TB: Thank you, Hub, for the socks, the perfume, the Maltesers, the other sweets, the autographed photos of Cliff Richard and Chris Hemsworth, the tourmaline necklace, the emerald ring, the Outlander DVD and the twenty-seven stocking fillers.  I told you I didn’t want much; I’m glad you listened.

The Hub: You deserve it all, so sweet and undemanding as you are.

TB: [Blush]

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Christmas Day Continued

TB: Dinner!  Enjoy, my darlings.  Merry Christmas!

The Hub: Um, I don’t want to upset you but you remember how you swore you wouldn’t forget the starter this year…?

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Bank Holiday Monday

My brother was visiting from down south.

TB: Did you watch A Gert Lush Christmas? It was so funny.  [American readers, think redneck stereotypes

Bro [Who lives in the general area of the programme’s setting]: It’s really like that.

TB: Seriously?

Bro: Seriously. They had to close Cinderford CSI, you know; they couldn’t solve any crimes.  

TB [Walking right into it]: Why?

Bro: Because there were no dental records; and everyone’s got the same DNA.

 

Five Days After Christmas

TB: Hub!  The washing machine broke down!

Hub: I’m leaving you.*

*Not really; fear makes him babble.

 

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Six Days After Christmas

TB: Right, that’s my sack full of presents finally put away.  Everything was on my desk but I had to clear them to wrap Pam’s birthday present.  You know, I’ve got the feeling I’m missing something, but for the life of me, I can’t think what.

The Hub: The starters?

The Hub: Ow!

 

 

New Year

WordPress: Here’s your annual stats.

TB: Thank you, WordPress!  How did I do?

WP: 22 posts all year?  Loser!

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January 3rd

Friend Pam: Thank you for the lovely birthday presents!

TB: Presents?  It was just one present; the framed painting.

FP: No, no; you also gave me autographed photos of Cliff Richard and Chris Hemsworth.  Weird gifts, especially Cliff’s, but I loved the Chris Hemsworth one. Thank you so much!

*

And finally…less talking, more singing: here’s Alex with his friends, just before Christmas.

 

 

 

Untidy Lounge, Untidy Mind.

21 Dec

My house is cluttered; you know this.  

You also know that from time to time the mess gets me down even though, for the most part, I can live with it.

Last Wednesday was such a day.

This was my train of thought: I‘m never going to get rid of this stuff.  Well, not until there’s just me, anyway, and I can decide without argument what stays and what goes.

Here’s what I said to the Hub: I can’t wait until you die and I can get rid of this stuff.

Worst wife ever.

Wonder if I’ll get a Christmas present this year?

A Little Ocular Jocularity

23 Oct

Image from PictureSpider

I’ve had a busy few weeks, giving poetry readings and attending poetry events of one sort or another.  A lot of saliva flies around at poetry readings; have you noticed?  Sibilance by its very nature demands a level of spit not seen anywhere outside of a snake hissing contest.

The result of all that liberated discharge, however, is that at some point I contracted a cold.  I felt rough – really rough; rougher than a cold should make one feel; but I am of a delicate nature, of course, as I might have mentioned once or several hundred times.  I was useless for the first three days and then the mucus began its exodus and then it eased and then I started with a sore throat and then the sneezies came.

It was at that point, lying in bed feeling very sorry for myself, that I remembered that I had once read that you can’t sneeze with your eyes open, or your eyeballs will fall out.

Now this is one of those things that I believed I didn’t believe, so when I felt a sneeze coming on, I decided to try to keep my eyes open.  The things we invalids have to do to keep ourselves amused.

When it came to it, however, I chickened out. Apparently, I do believe that if I sneeze with my eyes open, my eyeballs will fall out. I was assailed with a terrible image of a huge sneeze and…plop…plop…stinging eyeballs caused by carpet fibres (apparently you can feel carpet fibres even though your retinas are literally detached.  In my world, anyway).   I could hear myself screaming at the Hub, My eyes!  My eyes!  Don’t stand on my eyes!  

There was I at three a.m., 52 years old and afraid to sneeze in case my baby blues fell out. (My baby blues are actually hazel, but ‘baby hazels’ doesn’t have the same ring to it).  I think may have overdosed on the cough medicine.

Tell me you’ve got a similarly ludicrous fear; please.  Eye don’t want to be alone.

A Grand Day Out

6 Oct
Everything you need for village living

Everything you need for village living

The conversation went like this:

Friend Pam: Look at these fabulous desserts at the restaurant where we took Mum and Dad for their anniversary.

Tilly Bud: Drool…

Friend Pam: I’ll take you there one day; you have to eat these puddings; they’re fabulous.

Will she, bud?: Droo…l

Friend Pam: Hang on a minute…your birthday’s coming up…I’ll take you for a meal on your birthday!

There is a God: Thank yo…r….oo…l…

And so it came to pass last Wednesday that I found myself heading out of Manchester and into Burnley.  To misquote Field of Dreams (and, in fact, tell an outright lie for comic effect), the only thing we have in common is that Pam came from Burnley; and I had once heard of it.

Pam suffers from a chronic condition: she cannot plan an event without it being a huge success and, as we were heading in that direction, she reasoned, why not go up the famous Pendle Hill (never heard of it) and be tourists in the famous Witch Trial/Trail area (never heard of it).  We could see the famous Eye of God (never heard of it) in the famous centuries-old church (never heard of it) where her husband had proposed to her (I’ve heard of him); call in at the Elizabethan Towneley Hall (never heard of it); eat lunch there (definitely heard of that!); call in to see her parents for some northern hospitality (we’re all famous for that up here); and finish off at the famous pudding restaurant (which sells other food but, seriously, who cares?).

The woman is a genius.

DSCF3292We had a fabulous day.  Pendle Hill was gorgeous; the witch business was fascinating and a little sad (hanging innocent women gets me like that; I dunno why).  The church was…open.  It was hard to believe we were in 21st Century Britain when we could walk into an open, unmanned church and be trusted not to damage/steal anything.  Amazing.  Of course, it probably helped that it was situated halfway up a mountain in the middle of witch country.

DSCF3264I forgot to take my camera but Pam obliged by taking photos with hers, including my request for a pic of the inside of the public toilet – it had a high cistern with a chain!  I was back in my childhood (complete with cold seat) particularly as, technically, it was an outside loo.  Pam and I have a friendly rivalry going to see which of us is most common and I think I win because I was born in a Liverpool slum and come from Irish peasant stock (hence the Liverpool slum): an outside toilet with a lock was a step up for me.

My favourite spot: The Long Gallery. Can you see me way back there?

My favourite spot: The Long Gallery. Can you see me way back there?

Towneley Hall was wonderful.  Walking through rooms which have been inhabited by who knows how many people over the past 500 years is one of my favourite things to do and I’m afraid my mouth got stuck in the Wow! position until it hurt Pam’s ears.  But that’s to be expected of a slumdog, of course.  I was, like, well impressed.

DSCF3297There was a slight change of plan when we saw the queue outside the restaurant door and, as we’d only had huge slices of cake for elevenses we decided – which is to say, Pam decided and I went happily along with any plan intended to feed me – to head straight for pudding paradise and eat there, calling in for a brew at Pam’s folks’ afterwards.  Which is just as well as Pam’s Mum was having her feet done and didn’t really want her guest to see that.  I don’t know why; I’ve got feet; I know how the whole thing works.

I am praying for the strength to dig in and climb out the other side

I am praying for the strength to dig in and climb out the other side

I forget the name of the place where we ate because I was too busy stuffing my gullet with a delicious carvery (which could have been called a spoonery because the meat just fell off the bone and the chef told me that sometimes he has to use a spoon to serve it) to write it down.  Pam tells me it’s called Sycamore Farm.  Check the desserts:

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Now tell me it wasn’t worth turning 52 just for that.

We rolled out of there for the short journey to Pam’s parents’ house and I’m not sure that it wasn’t the best part of my day.  Her parents are lovely and her mother is adorable.  She hugged me despite never having met me before and then gave me an entertaining rundown of some of her neighbours, past and present.  They included friendly drug addicts who ran in to help during a crisis to the creepy bloke who introduced himself with the words, I’m not a paedophile and I’ve got a letter to prove it.  Pam’s Mum – or I should say, Pamela’s Mum, because that’s what she called her the whole time; no one ever calls Pam Pamela, she’s too friendly to be full-named;  but you know what mothers are like.  As I was saying, Pamela’s Mum wasn’t convinced by the not-a-molester, though she was glad to see him go when he was arrested for his cannabis farm and stealing his neighbour’s electricity to supply it.  I can’t decide which of her neighbours was my absolute favourite, but it’s a toss-up between the biker who stripped and rebuilt his motorbike many times over fifteen years, in the middle of his living room and partner and children; or the dominatrix who kept a dungeon in the basement but lived elsewhere.

DSCF3278Don’t think that any of this is my usual hyperbole; I swear I had it straight from the horse’s mouth – which was wearing its false teeth at the time, as she happily informed me.  Only the best for Pam’s friends.

I think I love her.

Thank you, Pam, for giving me a brilliant day, showing me a fantastic time, and for having a wonderful mother.

All photographs courtesy of Pam Robinson.

The Tree Of Bore

5 Sep

Performance Week is almost upon us!


I suspect my Facebook friends are sick to death of all The Tree of War posts I’ve been sharing – but I don’t care: it’s an amazing show and needs to be seen by everyone.  So there.

Blog readers have probably forgotten all about it, so here’s a recap: it’s a musical about life in the trenches, written by a vicar and a (then) university student. Here’s last year’s review of the preview show.  The show has been extended, with more songs added – including a solo for Bert.  It’s bigger, better and I’m bursting with excitement!  

Tree of War BertFor your interest, there are some cast interview links on the Facebook page (you don’t need to be on Facebook to watch them).  Excuse Alex, who – as his mother, I’m sad to report – sounds supremely unintelligent with his ums and ahs.  He’s saving everything for the performance.  No, really.  

Or you can listen to three of the songs. The cast sang at Manchester Cathedral two weeks ago and they sounded phenomenal.  

If you live anywhere near Burnage, do yourself a favour and go see the show (September 15-19).  You won’t regret it.  You’ll be calling it The Tree of Awe.

Vivinfrance's Blog

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

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notices and reflections in ministry

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