Showing posts from April, 2009

Happy/Glad/Joyful/Cheerful/Content/Jovial St. George's Day

I recently unveiled my rather spiffing new website - . On the “Tips for Aspiring Authors” page I included the suggestion that I have found most helpful in my writing career – adding the Thesaurus feature to the Word toolbar. Or, if you do not have the technology, investing in a good Thesaurus. Reading one of my favourite books, by one of my favourite authors (Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson) this morning, however, I discovered that speakers of languages other than English have no idea that such things as Thesauri exist. (or at least, that if they did they are now extinct.)

English has the biggest vocabulary of any language in the world. French has about 100,000 words in common use; English has double that number. What a wonderful blessing I consider it to be that English is my mother tongue. When I count my blessings each day, it’s right up there with “I don’t live in Rhyl”.

When I am attempting to write moving and pertinent prose, I have a huge wealth of…

Pride Comes Before A Fall

I cancelled the piano tuner. It may not sound like much, but it was almost traumatic. He comes every six months to tune our ancient piano, and he charges £40 for doing so. But with the recession even reaching his usual workplaces of Russia and Azerbaijan, Hubby Dearest hasn’t had any work since November, so we are having to tighten our belts. That means luxuries like piano tuning, have to go.

Actually I’m tone deaf and wouldn’t know whether or not the piano is in tune. In fact, for all I know, the piano tuner could has been scamming me for years and laughing quietly to himself when I declared “That sounds so much better!” and handed over the cash equivalent of half our weekly food budget. But even so, it was very difficult for me to phone him up and ask him not to come next month, as scheduled, because we couldn’t afford to pay for it.

Whilst it’s easier to admit to the necessity of such cutbacks when everyone is in the same boat, it is never easy to tell others that things are difficul…

School Holidays! Hurrah!

Any moment now, my thirteen year old daughter will come running through the door waving her hands in the air and cheering as though she's won the lottery (despite never have bought a ticket). I am anticipating her joy, and sharing it, because the schools break up today for the two-week Easter Break, and I love the school holidays.

I know many parents dread them, but I have ten reasons for rejoicing about having the children home for a fortnight.
I hate doing the school run. I don't have a car at the moment, so it involves cycling a total of two miles, often in the rain. Twice a day. Four times on Monday when Hari has Brownies too.My children are rubbish at getting up in the morning, and I don't like dragging them out from under their duvets when they look so cosy and peaceful.I don't like having to drag myself out from under my duvet in the morning either. If I don't have to get the children ready, I can have a lie in!Making sure their uniforms are clean, ironed and …

Safety in Numbers

Democracy works! I know, I was surprised too, and quite thrilled to have made that discovery last year.

Here’s how it happened: Recycling services in our area were really quite poor. The council collected paper, cardboard, glass and green waste, but most of us could never remember what was being collected which week, and what colour box or bag it was supposed to be in. And they didn’t collect cans and plastic bottles. Being a responsible sort of soul, each time I visited friends in the next borough (where they do have collection facilities for such items) I took along my empties. I was extremely popular, as you might imagine, arriving with three noisy children and four bin bags full of mouldy tins and festering milk bottles, then eating all the cheesecake and going home leaving the smelly rubbish, and occasionally a child or two, behind.

But last May I actually took the time to read through the “Vote for Me” leaflets which came through my door from potential local counsellors. You know …

A Beautiful History

Last Wednesday I attended a meeting in central London, an hour away from home on the train. The meeting was held in a glorious old building in Westminster, inside which was a modern law firm. Getting there involved me walking past the Houses of Parliament. Whatever your opinion of what goes on inside it, the building itself is stunning. I walked past Westminster Abbey, which was also breathtaking. It was almost strange to see so many buses, taxis, cars and people plodding blithely past as though there was nothing to stop and stare in wonder at. Happily, of course, there were also plenty of tourists stopping and staring.
I’ve lived in the South East for many years, and been to London many times, but luckily I’m not yet at the stage where all the amazing ancient architecture is just some blargh background to my life.I was reminded on the way home that wonderful historic structures are not confined to London. Walking back from Rayleigh Station I passed “The Round House” which is indeed c…