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Sunday, 29 April 2012

Brackets just don't hack it (except with me!)

I might as well admit it. I've got an addiction to brackets. Not in my every day writing, you understand (no, that could be regarded as lazy) just in my social networking. (Don't you just hate that phrase - I wonder who invented it?)  Anyway, as I was saying, I've been told that I tell stories just like Ronnie Corbett used to do on TV, sitting in front of the camera to make his point and digressing so many times that even he forgot the story he was supposed to be telling. Now where was I? Oh yes, brackets. They can be very useful (especially when you don't want to confuse the reader) and similarly very helpful when you do.  And you'd be surpised how often you see brackets in official notices as in: 'We'll all meet at noon outside the Post Office in Grasmere (weather permitting)' or 'The pony trek will go ahead as planned (all ponies must be accompanied by their owners)'  Anyway you get the gist. And at least I don't have a problem with apostrophes. Now that really is irritating. (You know the sort of thing:  Apple's - 96 pence a pound -  Get your tomato's cheap here.)  But then apostrophes are another thing altogether. And mis-placed apostrophes are written about so often it's almost a national pastime, so they're really not worth mentioning (ok -I just have.) Now,before you ask if I'm going to do something about my addiction (to brackets, that is)   the answer (quite clearly) is No. And yes, maybe my time would have been better spent out in the sunshine than writing this post, but then it's raining. (Very hard, actually.) Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

( Ps - the Collins English Dictionary definition of brackets is as follows: a pair of characters used to enclose a section of writing.)  A right pair of characters they've turned out to be!

Friday, 27 April 2012

Wine patch, anyone?

Today I'm going to talk about wine. Or should I say the lack of it.  For some reason I have always been able to write more effectively, vibrantly even, after a couple of glasses of red wine; my characters start to do things that are, well, out of character.  This is great because it enables me to decide whether the plot needs to go in another direction, or if the character  has a devious side that even I didn't know about. The problem is that I'm on medication  the moment, in the form strange plaster-like things that deliver a powerful drug that  finds its way to my spine without directions.  Under these circumstances, alcohol is banned, and I wouldn't dream of breaking the rules.  (Oh, well maybe I have the odd dream on the subject, but that's another story.)  I've been wondering lately whether it might be possible to have alcohol patches in the future - the kind that give you a psychological lift without the headache, so to speak, which could even lead to the offer of a three book deal...(just joking.) Some of my writer friends have admitted to getting inspiration from the odd gin and tonic, as if  their imaginations are heightened by the experience, their  writers' block a thing of the past...

When my father was in hospital many years ago, after a serious operation which left him unable to eat or speak, the nurses asked if we could think of anything that might cheer him up.
'Well,' I said, 'he obviously hates not  being able to work, and I' sure he'll be missing his regular pint.'
The following day when I arrived at visiting time, the senior nurse was beaming. 'We've given your dad half a pint of Guinness, straight through the tube in his arm, she said triumphantly. 'It certainly seems to have done the trick.' She was right, it did.
Looking back, this  genuine act of kindness must have broken every rule in the hospital manual and a few more besides.  And it still makes me feel humble, even after all these years, to think of how a simple gesture caused so much pleasure. So, cheers, Dad, wherever you are.   Glass of lucozade anyone??

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Why is my nickname 'Froggy...?'

Spot the frog

Yes, I'm always being asked why my nickname is Froggy. (No it's nothing to do with the bulging eyes or the fact that I' m hard to get hold of.)  I could tell you the story but then you may fall asleep and then you would never get to see the strange collection of frogs that I keep hidden (or not so hidden) round the house and garden.( Mr GG is kindly taking the photos for me at the moment, so that's a bottle of his favourite red I owe him) . Please do concentrate, fellow bloggers,  I said favourite red, not off his head, though the latter is probably more accurate after looking after  me  for what seems like months now.

Anyway, it's not as if I'm any trouble to look after.  Once up in the morning (it only takes a couple of hours) and happily settled on the sofa (sitting not permitted, on doctor's orders, this is my spine we're talking about) I then compile a list of things for my wonderful partner to do for the day. I won't enlighten you on this, either, as it's almost as long as the frog story) and then we discuss in which order I, sorry,  we, think the things should be done.

Between clearing the breakfast dishes, cleaning, ironing and collecting prescriptions, he checks that I have written the right amount of words each day and records this along with the hourly medication which I'm sure he would over-prescribe if only he had the courage. Anyway, it doesn't take him long to pick up all the things I have dropped on the floor (pens, paper, reference books, Thessoorus (never could spell that word as I thought it was a prehistoric animal till I was around 12) and then prepare my lunch.

It's annoying, isn't it, now that Spring is here that insides of the windows look smeared in the sunshine and he does so hate me looking through smeared windows. Fortunately, he's a very patient man (which reminds me - why does the recorded message at our local medical centre say "please be patient" - what else do they think we are?) so he usually gets to do his own thing round about three o'clock.

I just called out for him (I've mislaid the hand bell I used to use) and then the phone went and it was my (former) friend.  She said she'd heard he'd gone back-backing in France (in search of grenouilles probably) and had left a message that he didn't want to be disturbed... Oh well, at least I won't be lonely.... animals (unlike humans) never let you down.

And this is the one that started it all ...

N.B The above is on loan from my very special friend Lesley Davison in memory of Patricia Simister

Friday, 20 April 2012




My health worries are over - I've been allocated a new assistant on the National Health Service! The photo above shows our very  first breakfast meeting. Of course I have to train her for the next 15 years. But then isn't that's what's called taking care of the future...?????

Here's to progress, Andrew. Long may we prosper.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

April Cowers....

Hello again - Guernsey Girl here - did I miss something? Oh yes. Easter. I manged to get myself an emergency admission to A & E last week when my spine went into spasm, so I wrote a little ditty' (with apologies to Robert Browning  and thanks to a large shot of morphine.)


Oh to wake in hospital
When  spring has just arrived
To hear the nurses's  merry chant
'Your brew's been there since five' 

To watch the onset of the day
Through windows locked and barred
To ask when the consultant's due
(now that one's very hard)

The physio looks hopeful
His folder clutched in hand
'Now why don't you get out of bed
And lets see how things stand?'

'I've not been down for my op yet,'
I say, my heart in bits
'But  I've ticked all the boxes
So should be there by six.'

The catering lady grabs my list
'No wonder we're behind
This one right here says shredded wheat
And you've ticked fractured spine...'