Wednesday 30 June 2010

Worra lorra words and PRESSIES

"We called Mrs Knight "Dragon Lady". She’d swat you like a fly for the slightest misdeed. I went to her funeral anyway to thank her for making me the teacher I am now"

The End

Today's words for the 33 word micro story are Knight, Dragon, Fly. Thank you Ellie!

Charlie says: No time to read your silly story cos unlike you, I WON something!! And here are my PRIZES from lovely Deborah of Amazing Animal Lovers blog! Thank you Deborah! I am waiting for the human to stop counting the words to her story and open up my pressies!

And Thank you wonderful bloggie friends for your suggestions as to what the plant might be! I've taken down names (you KNOW who you are). I meant I've taken down suggested plant names. :-)

Hopefully it'll bloom and I can check!

Have a wicked Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday 29 June 2010

Tis a Mystery

Astute bloggie friends, here is a mystery I’m trying to solve!

What on earth is this plant - the one with the two long stems?

I’ve lost the plant tag or it’s been eaten away by some rabid plant tag eating bug – who knows?

I bought these bulbs the same time I got the demented dianthus – summer 2008.

And now they’ve grown and I haven’t a clue what they are!

Would any of you know? I must admit I’m very excited to see the flowers!

I hope the buds grow bigger – the stems are so long but the buds are tiny!

Charlie says: Trust me, it's weed.

Don't forget: tomorrow's three words are "dragon" "fly" "knight".

Have a terrific Tuesday everyone!

Monday 28 June 2010

Down N Dirty

I tell my mother it’s all her and my dad’s fault I suffer with hay fever.

Of course I’m only teasing but herein is a kernel of truth.

On her wall hangs a picture of her, my three sisters and my brother – still a baby –taken in 1967. If you look closely you will notice not only is my brother’s hands wrapped in baby mittens but my sisters (aged between 2-7) are wearing pristine white gloves.

You see my dad had a chronic fear of us getting any kind of dirt or dust on any part of our bodies. Ironically he was certain being scrupulously clean was the only way to protect us from diseases. So every playtime outside was strictly supervised. Every playtime we - as my mum put it - had to be “wrapped”.

Today my siblings and I all suffer from one kind of allergy or other, are asthmatic and are prone to respiratory illnesses. Genetics have been ruled out.

Of course I don’t really blame her or my dad – they were very young parents and believed the “cleanliness is next to godliness” dictum but now as I sneeze, blow my nose, wipe my eyes and feel just miserable despite having tried and tested all the antihistamines on this planet – I make a promise to any unborn children I may have in the future.

I promise them the freedom to get down n dirty!

Charlie says: I hear ya!

Have a munchkin Monday everyone!

Sunday 27 June 2010

First Harvest

Sweet bloggie friends - I am proud to present here my first harvest of strawberries.

All five of them. LOL!

The grapes are from Waitrose!

Charlie says: Not to worry, I'll go and forage next door

p.s. Doctor Who was FABULOUS!!!! What an ending!!

Have a great Sunday everyone!

Saturday 26 June 2010

The Fall

What a weekend this promises to be!

It’s going to be a SCORCHER!

And on telly tonight: the final episode in the series of the eleventh Dr Who .

I for one will be on tenterhooks with tissues to the ready because in last week's cliffhanger there was a riotous cacophany of love, reunion, death - and a Doctor defeated.

I thought this whole series a brilliant lesson in how to write a story. Set a running theme throughout. The audience must grow to love your characters. Then in the penultimate hurdle - set these beloved characters up for a fall - not just any other fall - the situation has be so dire and the heroes have to be facing their worst nightmares and are seemingly defeated. Their fall is painful and gut-wrenching. There isn't a hope in hell. Until the final scene (I hope so anyway!).

And last but not least. Football!! Sunday at 3pm: England V Germany.

What can I say? It's a beautiful game.

Charlie says: This is a football free zone. Kindly desist all talk of penalties, the off side rule and vuvuzelas. Thank you.

Have a sunny Saturday everyone!

Friday 25 June 2010

Mary, Mary quite contrary

I've discovered the secret to making a good Bloody Mary. Well there really are two!

And ok maybe they're not secrets but I'm a novice at this and I don't have a drinks shaker or any fancy gadgets!

Here are the secrets:

1) A squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
2) Adding the ingredients in exactly the following method:

Get a tall glass, shake lots of tobasco drops in it, squeeze a small bit of lemon in, pour ice cold tomato juice, pour ice cold vodka, salt and pepper, stir. Celery stick optional.

And this is the result:

Absolutely bloody marvellous! Pardon my French!

And a great drink on a hot day. A great drink after a very stressful hot day. It is surprisingly refreshing and suddenly the world is a better place.

Charlie says: What an alky, I'm definitely off next door!

Have a lemony Friday everyone!

Thursday 24 June 2010

Messy Room of One's Own

Thank you kind bloggie friends for your feedback to my little mini micro teeny weeny story! Thank you - I am humbled that you took time to read and comment.

In all your honours, I discovered and hope to order this to toast all your fabulousness!

Yes dear bloggie friends, this is a CHOCOLATE PIZZA available to order from these lovely people . It takes 3-4days delivery but I think it's worth the wait. LOL!

Next week's words are "dragon" "fly" knight"

Charlie says: Tut tut. Does that mean another seven days of no housework and living in this mess?

Have a thrilling Thursday everyone!

Wednesday 23 June 2010

33 Words and a Gazillion drafts later

"She watched her daughter pluck the rose’s petals and throw them over the balcony of their high rise flat. Her tears dazzled in the sunshine. If only they could escape to the countryside."

The End.

A micro story of 33 words that include the words "rose", "countryside", "sunshine".

Thank you Ellie for the opportunity and the Wednesday Word Blogfest.

Charlie says: I hope you don't give up your day job! (look strawberries to the left of the pic!).

Have a wordy Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday 22 June 2010

Three Little Words

Exciting day for me tomorrow oh fabulous bloggie friends!

I shall be participating in my first every writer-ly blogfest!!! Oh yes!!

Thank you the lovely Joanne Fox who introduced me to the equally lovely Ellie of Diving in a Word Pool.

Ellie throws out 3 words and all we have to do is create a story in 33 words using any or all of the three words.

The words for tomorrow are: countryside, rose, sunshine.

And would you Adam and Eve it but I'm still re-writing and re-drafting my 33 word story. LOL!

Charlie says: I have three words for you: Door. Open. Now.

Have a simply divine Tuesday everyone! And please join in if you want to!

Monday 21 June 2010

Missed Opportunities

I did have this gorgeous moment when Charlie was sitting right next to the strawberry pot plant looking as if he was about to munch on the fruit.

Unfortunately the batteries in my camera were flat.

So by the time I recharged them, the strawberries were still there…

… but Charlie had gone off to be adopted next door!

I could equate this little episode with how it's useful to always be prepared for the unexpected in case a once in a lifetime opportunity arises - but heck it's Monday and the Summer Solstice is upon us.

Have Druid filled Monday everyone!

Sunday 20 June 2010

Day for Dads

dad on cupcake Pictures, Images and Photos

To all the wonderful dads : happy Father's Day!

My dad passed away when I was 6 years old but my memories of him will never fade. He was lovely- fallible yet sincere. Stern yet playful.

He had cheekbones and grey eyes and a full head of hair!

He loved dogs.

And when I was 5 he saved me from drowning.

How could I forget such a man?

Charlie says: I think we'd have gotten on!

Have a sweet Sunday everyone!

Saturday 19 June 2010

Snack time

For Mother's Day this year, I would have liked to think that if Charlie were able to he would have sent me a card with this sentiment:

Roses are Red
Mice are Black

Happy Mother's Day, Mom
Now Go Make Me a Snack!

(taken from Petside's printable cards for Mother's day)

Can't wait to see what he has in store for his fictitious dad's day tomorrow!

Charlie says: Easy - I just change mom to dad! Now where are my snacks?

Esme of Chocolate and Croissants is hosting a Cat Scratcher Giveaway for June Adopt-a-Pet-month in the US. All you have to do is recommend an animal shelter you'd like her to donate one of these lovely things to. Thank you.

Have a super Saturday everyone!

Friday 18 June 2010

Demented Dianthus

Green-fingered bloggie friends, my Dianthus ("Pinks") has grown into a demented thingie.

Look at it:

When I bought it in 2008 it was a tiny clump of UPRIGHT feathery green shoots.

For a year it slumbered in this big pot. This spring it's exploded.

But it has exploded into this mad swirly whirly creature.

I just hope it's ok.

At least it's flowered. But why has it gone bonkers???

Charlie says: Well don't look at me! If it ain't nip, I'm not interested.

Have a flowery Friday, everyone!

Thursday 17 June 2010

A Proper Charlie

My friend and I recently went to Pizza Express and being the sophisticated diva that I think I am, I of course ate my Veneziana pizza with my (very clean!!!) hands to the amusement of my very proper friend.

She ate hers with a knife and fork.

Personally, I don't see the point. It's pizza!

She also eats her burgers with a knife and fork.

Guess how I eat my veggie burger?

So in an attempt to offset my un-couthness, I thought I'd get something lovely and sophisticated for Charlie.

And I found this:

Elegant bloggie friends, this is an An Espresso Colored Cat Washroom Pet House by Merry Products .

It promises to be "Multifunctional As A Cat’s Litter Box Cover Or Night Stand Pet House For Small Dogs".

Charlie says: I need to go to powder my nose, so where is it?

Have a terrific Thursday everyone!

Wednesday 16 June 2010

Scarlet eavesdropping

Overheard in Boots the Chemist shop between two members of staff:

Woman: So what do you plan to do?

Man: I don’t know but I was thinking of sending him to boxing classes.

Woman: Does he like boxing?

Man: I don’t know but I think this will toughen him up, he’s too soft.

Woman: How's he too soft?

Man: He’s just too soft – I think he needs toughening up. He tried tae-kwan-do but he got bored with it.

Woman: How old is he again?

Man: He’ll be seven next month.


At that point I found what I was looking for - a bottle of Rimmel 60 second quick dry scarlet red nail polish. I just didn't have the excuse to linger any longer!

But I do wonder about this particular child and hope that one day he discovers his own true voice.

Charlie says: I know you're behind me so I'm saying nowt!

Have a whacky Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday 15 June 2010

I Surrender

Wise bloggie friends, thank you so much for your support and lovely words yesterday!

I guess I just got a little frustrated with my writing as I’m wont to do and needed to step back a little and take a breather.

And guess what I did?

I capitulated and gave in to the call of Blogger Design.

I spent and wasted many er.. minutes clicking on this option, that colour, this template and ended up with this one. LOL!

I like the birds flying away to the right of the page.

I’m not too keen on how BIG and FLAT everything looks though.

I liked my neat borders in the old design – this just sort of lets the words spill out at the edges and splat everywhere. Hmm.

Anyway, I was attempting to put Charlie’s tail as my wallpaper background but have so far failed! But I shall continue to try!

Charlie says: Speak to my agent. My tail is copyrighted.

Have a fluffy Tuesday everyone!

Monday 14 June 2010

The Bridesmaid

As I await the final assessment of the first three chapters of my WIP from my course tutor, I’ve been pondering my results so far.

For each of my creative pieces to be considered “outstanding and show potential for publication”, I had to get marks of 85-100 %.

Here is what I’ve achieved:

Freewrite (autobiographical piece) – 81%
Short story- 84%
Poetry – 81%
Life writing – 78%
Writing for a particular magazine – 81%

So there you have it, gorgeous bloggie friends.

For now I’m feeling like I’m forever destined to be the bridesmaid and never the bride – because I really tried with these pieces and they’re still not good enough. Aaaaaargh!

Charlie says: I’m not bored with your whingeing I’m just resting my eyes. Honest.

Have a 100% marvellous Monday everyone!

Sunday 13 June 2010

Nips and Wips

Clever bloggie friends, you've rescued me again!

Thank you Abby of Manx Mnews and Amy of the House of Cats for pointing out that the B to the left of my blog homepage is also "dashboard". I have never even noticed that B to the left, let alone clicked on it!

I'll be sure to have a big choccie muffin in both your honours! :-)

Apologies to Blogger for thinking they were trying to control me against my will. Next time I shall just have a nice cup of tea if I think such things again!

Isn't the blog an amazing community?

Speaking of which (notice the not so smooth segueway there! LOL!), I found this fab site The Global Language Monitor. It tracks the amazing way language (they concentrate mainly on the English language) continues to evolve.

Blog was added to the official Oxford English and Oxford American Dictionaries in 2005.

In 2009 the top word in the English language was Twitter.

Language is definitely very much alive and kicking!

I find super duper evidence of this in all your fab blogs from the use of "nipfests" - catnip indulgence to "wips" - works in progress.

Charlie says: I'm off to find some nip while you work on your wip.

Have wordfest Sunday everyone!

Saturday 12 June 2010

Old Stick in New Mud

I think Blogger is trying to tell me something. No not trying – more like blatantly telling me something very specific.

If I look at the right hand side of my blog homepage screen: “Dashboard” has been removed.

The words are now “Your@email - New Post - DESIGN - Sign Out”

Personally, Dashboard is the most useful link for me – click on it and I am in my “Blogs I Follow" page and I can view the comments left by you lovely bloggie friends.

For Blogger to remove the "Dashboard" quick link and add "Design" is therefore a BIG THING.

And the way I see it, Blogger is screaming:

“Your blog is OLD – it needs to be revamped - look at our new young fresh templates – choose one now! Click on the Design button. NOW!”

It’s a shame then that I don’t take kindly to sudden changes or to blatant hints! LOL!

Then again, I could be such a stick in the mud when I want to be.

No wonder my mother despairs.

[To get to Dashboard, I now click on New Post, then Dashsboard.]

Charlie says: I don't think it's your blog that needs a revamp. Look at this mess!

Have a summery Saturday everyone!

Friday 11 June 2010

Head Over Heels

As my writing course winds down, the itch to continue learning something burns bright and breezy within me!

And I think I found my ideal course courtesy of South Thames College.

Fantastic bloggie friends, the course that has caught my restless eye is wonderfully entitled:

"Sexy Heels in the City : a six-week class in how to walk in high heels”

In this course I will learn the following: the main aspects to wearing killer heels successfully are foot exercises, adopting Alexander techniques for good posture, relaxing knees and working towards achieving a good balance.

Unfortunately it’s now finished.

But if such a thing ever crops up again, I shall be first in the queue.

I am of course being entirely fictitious.

The course however hasn’t been.

Charlie says: You’ll need a PhD to walk in these!

Have a balanced Friday everyone!

Thursday 10 June 2010

The Science of Grrrrr!

Gorgeous bloggie friends, being grumpy is good for you. The science of this conclusion is reported in more detail here.

Apparently being grumpy and miserable sharpens the brain, clarifies the mind and allows thought processes to find solutions. Apparently.

So things get done, problems get solved and people move on! Apparently.

Now I’m all for being cheerful and feeling happy from inside all over and I really would much prefer to be in a permanent state of bliss and ecstasy.

But every so often you just want to shake that fist at everyday “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” – for perceived injustice, unfairness and downright ignoramous-ness of others!

My problem is that I always tend to feel bad and guilty after (it’s the lapsed catholic in me!) but now I feel a little vindicated for having growled at people at work for not doing stuff they said they would; for refusing to bunch my legs any further under the train seat so that this selfish man sat opposite me would dump his bags on his feet rather than on mine; for telling a queue jumper at my Costa coffee place that “hey you silly cow there’s a queue you know!”

Charlie says: Now you know why I look at you like so when you point that flashy thing at me!

Have a problem-free Thursday everyone!

Wednesday 9 June 2010

Art - not just for bipeds

Oh this tickled my funny bone, lovely bloggie friends!

A free concert by Laurie Anderson and Lou Read was put on at the Sydney Opera House, Australia - exclusively for doggies!

The music was played at a pitch that only dogs (and bats and cats) could hear - so the concert was in near-silence apart from the doggies really loving it - tails wagging and lots of howling. Well I hope they enjoyed it!

Anywhere here is a clip of the news item ( a better one is at the BBC site, here)

Charlie says: Ow!! My ears, my beautiful ears!

Have a musical Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday 8 June 2010

Ailurophiles United

Ailurophile – a noun describing a person who likes cats.

For some reason The Oxford Dictionary of English (2006 ed) doesn’t have this word.

Instead it only lists Ailurophobia – a fear of cats.

I think that’s bizarre. Why have the fear of cats but not the love of cats??

Charlie says: I’ve invented a new word “wozatatweetybirdyouttadawindow”: verb - to be mesmerised by bird-like or actual bird movement outside a window.

The blog that Charlie is hogging is the fab Jacqueline's Cat House! Charlie's in love with Sukkie, Calle and Halle! Heheh!

Bowdlerise. That was the crossword answer – thank you my lovely intelligent bloggie friends for helping me with this word!!! (Naughty Reenie!! :-))

Have a terrific Tuesday everyone!

Monday 7 June 2010

Drool is not cool!

It’s warm and muggy and I’m on my way home from work.

It’s also a Sunday so train commuting is a bit relaxed and I have a whole carriage to myself.

I am on the Stansted Express train complete with a “food trolley service” where a train employee pushes a food trolley along the length of the train selling snacks and drinks and suchlike.

Of course minutes after I settle into my seat, I fall asleep.

And I am woken up by my snoring at the exact moment the guy pushing the food trolley walks past me.

Did I mention that in my stupor I had slid and slumped halfway down the seat, my head to one side, my hair now rivalling Einstein's with drool dripping from my mouth?!?!?

And that I was snoring?

Anyway, he did the polite and professional thing and asked if I wanted any refreshments.

Charlie says: I don't snore and I'm gorgeous even when asleep! I must be adopted!

Thank you beautiful bloggie friends for helping me with my crossword!! You are all just perfectly brainy and lovely and very naughty (Reenie!!)!

I got the first letter wrong - heh heh! Sorry about that!

So in your honour I had ten MINI choccie muffins! Yum, yum!

Have a momentous Monday everyone!

Sunday 6 June 2010

Word Games

Ok brainy bloggie friends!

I try to do The Guardian quick crossword every Saturday.

I rarely finish but yesterday I came very very , very close.

I was stopped by this fiendish clue:

Expurgate the indelicate unnecessarily” 10 letters.

These are the letters I have so far: R_W_L_R_ _ _

If you know the answer, I promise to have a chocolate muffin in your honour!

If you know what the phrase "Expurgate the indelicate unnecessarily" means, I’ll have the double choccie one!

Charlie says: nope the answer ain’t in these pots. (Those are my next door neighbour’s pots btw, not mine!!! Mine has flowers in them!)

Have a super Sunday everyone!

Saturday 5 June 2010

Books, Beach, Ball

So finally we have a mini-heatwave (along with a high pollen count and the onset of hayfever season).

What better way to celebrate than with a day at the beach with a book – or more precisely a day at the beach with shelves full of free books!

Or better still a day at the beach with free books AND this guy! LOL!

[Photos© James.D. Morgan/Rex Features]

Ok – this really is IKEA celebrating their 30th year by setting up their famous Billy shelves on Bondi Beach in Australia in January/February this year.

But what a fun way to go book-swapping!

Charlie says: Don’t speak to me you broke my yellow toy thing!

(I did, lovely bloggie friends! I stepped on it! See the broken ball bit on a stick? That's attached to a long stick and should be under the yellow cover. Ooops.)

Have sunkissed Saturday everyone!

Friday 4 June 2010

Being creative in the loosest possible sense

I predict bright futures for these students!



Charlie says: This yellow thing is on my sleeping area. Please move it. Thank you.

Have a Great Friday everyone!

Thursday 3 June 2010

A tiny eensy weensy writerly triumph

Nothing major!!

It's just I got my marks for the short story that I wrote aimed at women's magazines from my tutor and I'm so chuffed by it.

This is the part of his assessment that's made my night:

"This is a heartwarming and efficient story, Jennifer, in the way in which it supplies a back story and offers more than a gleam of hope at the end. One of your triumphs is your use of dialogue to establish character and push the plot forward. You give an effective thumbnail sketch of Angie but she really comes alive through what she says. This skill will appeal to any number of editors."

Awww. Well I'm happy.

Will it see the light of day in a mag somewhere? Probably not, but for now I can pat myself on the back and sleep better!

Charlie says: Ahem. I gets some of the royalties right?

Have a trimphant Thursday everyone!

Wednesday 2 June 2010

Oh to be a sloth

What’s not to like?

They move only when necessary.
They take so long to climb a tree algae will start to grow on their fur.
They live their lives in perpetual slow motion, feeding on this leaf that bud and this shoot.

Of course they can move quickly but only when threatened.
Otherwise they stay put and don’t waste unnecessary energy.

Oh and they’re so darned cute.

Here is a video of orphaned baby sloths.

While it’s sad to know that their mums have been killed by either being run over or by being electrocuted by power lines, it’s very, very, very hard not to feel the world is a happier more wonderful place for having these sweeties to share this planet with. Awwwwwwwwww!

Meet the sloths from Amphibian Avenger on Vimeo.

Charlie says: Yep, no point wasting energy when you can just sleep.

Have a restful Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday 1 June 2010

A Tardy Five

It’s my 5 month blog birthday!! Yay!!

So yesterday I went to the Ritz sporting the pimple on my chin that would have been funny if my sister didn’t beat me to it.

No, she didn’t spontaneously erupt in a pustule as big as mine.

Wonderful bloggie friends, she was an hour and 10 minutes late.

We are booked into a specific timeslot of 1 hour and 30 minutes

(not 20 as I mistakenly said in my last blog post!).

We had exactly 20 minutes to eat, drink and be merry.

We have never sipped freshly brewed tea and ate perfectly cut and sliced sarnies, beautiful warm soft scones, meltingly delicious teensy weensy bitesize cakes so fast as we did then!

We had a great time!

Charlie says: So did I while you were away, me and my nip-cushion!

Have a terrific Tuesday everyone!