Friday, 30 December 2016

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Outbreak: Patient Two

So it turns out that I was fine all along and didn't get sick at all.

Report filed: 14/12/2016 1427 GMT

Patient name: 'M'

Point of infection: House, cuddles with infected

Initial symptoms: Grumpy, sarcastic, tired

Later symptoms: Grumpy, sarcastic, tired, upset stomach

Remedial measure: Dosed with 300ml ultrasweet Earl Grey and self-pity. Awaiting results.

Recommended measures: With only 25% of the household left uninfected, recommend taking off and nuking the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

Chapman household, Wednesday afternoon. Ha! Who's the hypochondriac now?

Monday, 12 December 2016

Outbreak: Patient One

Report filed: 12/12/2016 2101 GMT

Patient name: 'A'

Point of infection: Household - cuddles with Patient Zero

Initial symptoms: Smiling, wiggling, slight diarrhoea

Later symptoms: Giggling, smiling, wiggling, copious neon diarrhoea

Remedial measure: Dosed with milk and cuddles

Recommended measures: Continue quarantining household, shoot-on-sight policy authorised for escapees, await further developments

Special note: With fifty per cent of the household infected and the washing machine running at capacity, morale is low amongst the uninfected adults. Recommend airdrop of wine and chocolate.

No...I'm not being ridiculous, though a survey of adults in my house revealed that 50% of them thought I was a hypochondriac.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Outbreak: Patient Zero

Report filed: 11/12/2016 2015 GMT

Patient name: 'C'
Point of infection: Nursery

Initial symptoms: Lethargy, loss of appetite, shambling toddle around the house

Later symptoms: Vomiting, diarrhoea, incessant singing of the 'Do-Re-Mi' sound from the Sound of Music

Remedial measure: Dosed with Fruit Shoots and chocolate buttons, awaiting results of treatment

Recommended measures: Quarantine the household, reassure all civilians about their exposure and imminent symptoms, await further developments

May God have mercy on our souls...

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Baby Writing Challenge SUPER//OVERTIME//MODE Story Eighteen: "The Disappearance of Harry Glass"

Well, ladies and gentlemen, we're here at the penultimate story. It's taken me a long time to write this one (almost a month this time) because of all the late night work stuff that's been cropping up. Oh, and having two kids to help bring up too. Raising kids is important because if I do it right, then I can start delegating all the housework to them.

They're lucky we don't have any chimneys that need sweeping.

This story was inspired by the word 'ultrasound', which was suggested by a good friend of mine from university, someone's whose kindness and generosity with hummus on toast knew no bounds. The random genre picker gave me 'occult detective', which was initially a bit of a headscratcher.

After an unrelated chat with my wife about one of her childhood excursions, I had a perfect setting. That's right. This place is real.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you "The Disappearance of Harry Glass."

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Baby Writing Challenge SUPER//OVERTIME//MODE Story Seventeen: "Wherever We Go"

So...having a baby uses up a lot of your free time. Having two uses up nearly all of it. Would I swap them both for extra writing time? remains to be seen whether either of them is a match with me for possible future organ donation.

I kid, obviously. Lyn...if you read this...I am definitely kidding. Unless I need something in the future, in which case this is all forward planning.

I'm entering the final run of stories now. After this, there're only two more to go and 'it's all over save the crying' (read: editing). The master plan is to edit all the stories thoroughly once they're all finished and stick them up as a free book on Smashwords or Kindle. Given the work rate I can currently sustain, that might be after my children leave home.

This story's word was suggested by an old university friend of mine - "swazmacking". Don't look it up in the dictionary - it's entirely fictional! The random genre picker gave me "science fiction robinsonade" - so riffing off Robinson Crusoe. A fictional word and a genre thoroughly mined out in '60s and '70s sci-fi.


Ladies and gentlemen, I give you "Wherever We Go".

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Found Footage

The following is a true story, pieced together from fragments posted on Facebook, of one man's descent into madness.

Digital History #1

This just cropped up on my Facebook feed from when Celeste was weaning two years ago. Her accuracy with food has improved, but my abilities with adventure games have not.

Watching Celeste explore the world reminds me of how bad I am at adventure games on my PC.
Use BISCOTTI on BLANKET - "I don't understand what you want to do"
Use BISCOTTI on FOREHEAD - "That doesn't seem right to me"
Use BISCOTTI on DADDY - "He looks confused"
Use BISCOTTI on NOSTRIL - "It doesn't fit"
After a long while, I work out how to get through the locked prison door and Celeste works out that biscotti go in her mouth.

So do I, man. So do I.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Eggless Halloween Wiggly Worm Cake Recipe

Okay...I know it's a long way from Halloween yet, but it's an excuse to make disgusting-looking cakes, so...

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Guest contributor: Celeste Chapman (3)

Story by Celeste Chapman (aged 2 1/2 years):

There was Princess Celeste and Queen Mummy and King Daddy. King Daddy and Celeste wore pink dresses. They all went for a walk by the river and found acorns. They took them to the funfair and went on the rides. They ate sausages and mango and lived happily ever after. The End.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Guest contributor: Celeste Chapman (2)

Story by Celeste Chapman (aged 2 1/2 years):

Dolly and me had a shop and Dolly grew big and I was small. The shop was pink and sold soldiers. Dolly grew small again and I grew big. Then a dinosaur came and 'ommed' a rabbit and he was bad and he stomped away. Dolly cuddled me and I went home and went to bed with a blanket and a cushion and eyes shut. I went to sleep. The End.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Speaka da Toddler? Part One

I have, through many hours of research, cracked toddler speak. To many, it sounds like relentless complaints about the temperature of custard or hysteria about the washing of a favourite toy. However, there are basic linguistic rules that can be followed to understand your toddler!

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Baby Writing Challenge SUPER//OVERTIME//MODE Story Fifteen: "White Castle, Black King"

A lot darker subject than I usually tackle this time.

I should explain.

I'd been casting around for the angle for the story I was writing for a friend of my wife. The random genre picker gave me "historical fiction" which narrowed the field down to the whole of human history, which wasn't especially helpful.

I listen to an excellent podcast called Lore.  It's tag line is "Sometimes the truth is more frightening than fiction". That's a understatement. I listened to an episode about an American gentleman called H H Holmes and it shocked me so much that I had to stop listening to check that the narrator wasn't winding me up. He wasn't. Knowing what I know now, I am absolutely astonished that the world has forgotten him.

I won't spoil the shock for you. I've put some schematics for perusal after the story. Just bear in mind that everything, save the fictional narrator, is true. You won't believe me, but there it is.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you "White Castle, Black King".

Friday, 16 September 2016

Baby Writing Challenge SUPER//OVERTIME//MODE Story Fourteen: "Lost and Found", a toddler and a baby equals less writing time. I've tried writing with the toddler around. She - bless her golden heart - wants to 'help'. Apparently, if you mash the letters on a keyboard that makes words and if you do that for long enough, that makes a story. She seems to have the basics of fiction writing sorted then!

Thankfully, there are enough naughty kids in my classes this year that they can do all the tidying up of my classroom in their detention, while I write (in five minute bursts between naggings).

Super Overtime Mode Ho!

The next story in the sequence was prompted by the words 'celestial' and 'chaos', after the human hurricane who is my toddlerThe word was suggested by my sister-in-law,  now famous through her work in drug development.  The random genre picker gave me 'lost world' as a genre and it is here that I have a confession to make.

There was literally no way that I could think of a story about finding lost dinosaurs, cavemen, etc that I could tell in 2-3k words that wasn't massively cheesy and also rubbish. I've managed to sneak round that by being very, very literal. 

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you - 'Lost and Found'.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Silver Medal

Hooray! My story that won second place in a national competition has been posted online in Writing Magazine's Winners' Showcase (and there's even some very flattering comments from the judge right at the end!). What a lovely start to the weekend!

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Baby Writing Challenge SUPER//OVERTIME//MODE Story Thirteen: "Leviathan"

So it turns out that having a baby - in fact, having children - eats up your free time so you can't spend as much time on your hobbies as you used to!

Did anyone else know about this?! I sense a global conspiracy at work here.

Getting this most recent story out has probably been the most difficult of all. Between some mild sleep deprivation (not as bad as the stoic and wonderful Mrs Chapman) and managing a toddler who's suddenly decided not to nap in the afternoon anymore, it hasn't left an awful lot of time or brain energy for writing.

Still, persistence conquers all things, so...

Here's the next story in the sequence. The word "skerry" was given to me by my father-in-like (a Scottish word meaning 'small island'The random genre picker gave me 'sea story' which is another nice fit between word and genre!

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you - 'Leviathan'.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Baby Writing Challenge SUPER//OVERTIME//MODE Story Twelve: "A Nice Cup of Tea"

Okay, so the baby's been born now (details to follow!), so strictly speaking - according to the rules of my little challenge that I set myself - I should stop now. However, not only do I have words still outstanding but I'm also still having a lot of fun. I think I'll finish off the words I've still go at my own pace and see where I stand.


Here's the next story in the sequence. The word "consequence" was obliquely suggested to me by my aunt who joked that I was using my writing challenge to avoid thinking about the future. The future has now arrived in all of its delicate, beautiful, poo-dispensing glory.

The random genre picker gave me 'black comedy' which is a lovely fit with the word.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you - 'A Nice Cup of Tea'.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

An Unexpected Letter

Holy smoke! Lyn, Celeste and I got back from the shops yesterday and found a letter through saying that I'd come second place in a national fiction writing competition - prize money and everything! I'd totally forgotten I'd even entered it! I'd say it was the big event of my summer, except that I'm going to be a Dad again...well...any time now!

The nice people at Writing Magazine (UK's biggest writing magazine - whoop whoop!) will be publishing my story in October - I'll see if I can put the website link up then!

This is my first proper big win (with money, rather than exposure) so I'm pleased as punch!

Monday, 8 August 2016

Imminent Baby Challenge Day Eleven: "Chalkface"

Okay, firstly an admission that this really isn't going day-by-day as I intended. Having a heavily pregnant wife, a toddler who's just discovering the joys of defiance and a pressing need to sleep before the new baby gets here has put a serious crimp in my original timetable.

Frankly, I need to rest and the nagging of friends and family has finally convinced me.

I'm still going to do this, but the pace is going to have to slacken a bit.

Regardless, here is the next story in the sequence. The words "mug", "naive" and "masochist" were suggested by a very good friend of mine to describe this challenge I've set myself, so I...wrote a story around them, instead of resting. Whoops. Thanks again Rachel.

The random genre picker gave me 'education' which is, finally, something I know something about - hooray!

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you - 'Chalkface'.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Imminent Baby Challenge Day Ten: "The Scourging of the North"

Two weeks to go now! Hasn't time flown?

Today's word was suggested by my brother-in-law who gave me the word 'Circassian circle' - a Scottish country dancing term - because, although he is a genuine nice man, he can also be a 'wit' when he wants to be (aka a massive pain in the bum). This then got the random genre 'dieselpunk'. Considering that I knew nothing about either before I started, I have done my best!

However, in recognition of how annoying he's been with this, in this short story his current home town of Aberdeen is burned to ash by an English aristocrat. It was strangely satisfying.

So, ladies and gentlemen, I give you - "The Scourging of the North".

After this, I'm going to be taking a short break to get more baby stuff ready and then I'll be right back!

Monday, 1 August 2016

Imminent Baby Writing Challenge Day Nine: "Toxin"

Just in the nick of time, with 90 minutes to spare, here's Day Nine!

Today's word was suggested by my sister-in-law who gave me the word 'tea party', which I suspect was influenced by the bellowing toddler she was playing with when it came to mind, which then got the random genre 'suspense'.

 Tomorrow's word is 'Circassian circle' - because my brother-in-law is a jovial pain in the arse - and  'dieselpunk': two things I know virtually nothing about. I'd best start reading up then!

If any more of my blog readers want to suggest a word, I'll write you a story too! (as always, the genre will get randomly picked out of a list).

So, ladies and gentlemen, I give you - "Toxin".

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Imminent Baby Writing Challenge Day Eight: "Adaptations"

Sorry I've gone quiet for a few days on this. This story turned out to be nearly three times longer than my average so far, so I couldn't keep to my usual schedule. Fingers crossed for the future!

Today's word was suggested by my father who gave me 'beekeeping', a topic much on his mind at the moment, which then got the random genre 'sci-fi' - although I will admit to straying into sci-fi horror a bit with this one.

 Tomorrow's word is 'tea party' (picked by my wife's sister-in-law) and the random genre is 'suspense' - in my personal experience, these are not two words that often sit together!

If any more of my blog readers want to suggest a word, I'll write you a story too! (as always, the genre will get randomly picked out of a list).

So, ladies and gentlemen, I give you - "Adaptations".

Out of the Mouths of Babes - Part Two

Scene: MIKE is SINGING because he is HAPPY

CELESTE: Stop it Dad. You're bad at singing. Mum better.

MIKE: Oh. I'm good at dancing though.

CELESTE: No Dad! Mum better

MIKE: I'm pretty good at stories and cuddles, I think.


MIKE: What am I good at then?


CELESTE: Changing poo nappies. That the only thing. One thing. Need change now.

MIKE is no longer SINGING because he is UNHAPPY

I always get the bum jobs...

Friday, 29 July 2016

Oh, Give Me A Home...

We all enjoyed the Sudbury Open Gardens charity day the other week, that I wrote it up and send it to the community newspaper and they were kind enough to publish it. This time, I actually remembered to include author information in the copy file I submitted!

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Imminent Baby Challenge Day Seven: "The God Stone"

Not long to go until D-Day now ladies and gents! "The muslins were washed and then folded with care, in the hope that a little babe soon would be there!" and so on. I'd write the rest, but a story each day is keeping me pretty busy already!

Today's word was suggested by my mother who I think decided to scupper me by giving me 'lamp shade' which then got the random genre 'fantasy'. That's right. A fantasy lamp shade. I've done my best!

So, ladies and gentlemen, I give you - "The God Stone".

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Imminent Baby Challenge Day Six: "The Dance of the Shadows"

T-minus 20 days until blast-off! Mind you, with the number of warm-up contractions that Lyn's having, I suspect showtime might be even sooner than that!

Today's word was suggested by my brother who's always had a fascination for stories revolving around the dark, chaotic and macabre. He gave me "shadows" and the random genre picker gave me "steampunk."

So, ladies and gentlemen, I give you - "The Dance of the Shadows".

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Imminent Baby Challenge Day Five: "Post Haste"

T-minus 21 days until blast-off! Yes, I know you expected that to read 22 days, but I miscalculated - don't tell Lyn.

Today's word has given by a very good friend from university with whom I lived for some years, spending a king's random on beer and "House of the Dead" shooting galleries in the student union. He gave me "biplane" and the random genre picked was "western", two words that have an overlap of about eight years chronologically and only in about four states in the US.

So, ladies and gentlemen, I give you - "Post Haste".

Monday, 25 July 2016

Imminent Baby Challenge Day Four: "The Little People"

T-minus 23 days until blast-off! Or less! Or more! Who can say? If Lyn's got it all planned out, she won't say!

Today's word has given by the lovely wife of a very good friend of mine from university - it is "bannister" and the random genre picker gave me "folk tale". I'm very proud of getting this one out on time because halfway through, my computer died and I had to finish writing and editing it on my phone's memo app.

So, ladies and gentlemen, I give you - "The Little People".

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Imminent Baby Challenge Day Three: "Just the Shine"

T-minus 24 days until blast-off! Or less! Or more!

Today's word has given by my very lovely and heavily pregnant wife Lyn - it is "shine" and the random genre picker gave me "crime". There are far, far worse combinations than crimes involving shiny things. Actually, come to think of it, the majority of crimes revolve around shiny things.

So, ladies and gentlemen, I give you - "Just the Shine".

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Imminent Baby Writing Challenge Day Two: "Cloak, Club and Cups"

T-minus 25 days until blast-off! Or less!

So Day One seemed to go pretty well. Now though, the choice of an old university friend of mine - 'hammock' - which got paired with 'fairy story'. Not an easy one this, but I've given it my best go. Thanks very much for the word - and it's been brilliant to see photos of your lovely boys on Facebook. Tomorrow's word is 'shine' and the genre is 'crime'.

If any of my readers want to chip in a word, I'll write you a story too!

Friday, 22 July 2016

New Baby Celebration Day One: "A Flash of Pink"

To help celebrate the imminent birth of my second child and mourn the fact that I'm not going to be writing for a while once that happens, I asked some of my friends on Facebook to throw a word at me and I'd write them a story about it. To keep it interesting, the genre would get picked by a random selector. To make it really difficult, I'm going to try to do one per day.

This first one came from a very dear friend of mine who lives in Canada and who I sadly haven't seen in bleedin' ages, but it's been brilliant to see her flourishing in far, much colder, soils. The word was 'blues' and the topic was 'thriller'.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Because I have a brother, I'll always have a fiend (not a typo)

It was my brother's birthday at the weekend - he's turned 30 - so Mum and Dad, with their usual generosity, put on a slap-up feast. For once, there's not much of a story here. Just family sitting around a table, enjoying each other's company and only occasionally descending into rows about Brexit. Rather than forcing jokes about a lovely afternoon, I'll let the pictures do the talking.

It's like looking at me, but with optimism about the future

Food? But look at all the lawn toys! Golf instead! Play now!

Oh...wait. Hummus? What was I saying?

My brother and his lovely fiancee

 Celeste insisting on washing up the cutlery. From a different angle, you could see a quarter moon. Think about it Tom.

Tom's game attempt to light his birthday candles in a stiff cross-breeze

For some strange reason, I didn't think putting a picture of a bare-bummed toddler in the paddling pool on the internet was wise. This will have to suffice.

A lovely afternoon was had by all. I drank enough beer to catastrophically wreck my diet and Lyn kindly drove the three of us home afterwards. Celeste went to bed nicely and I fell gently asleep too, stretched out on the living room floor (I wasn't drunk, I was just really tired - oh hell's bells, who'll believe that?)

Monday, 18 July 2016

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Celeste and I have been indulging in our usual power games over getting dressed in the morning for a while now, but today she used some of my own tricks against me. I'm so proud. And concerned.

Imagine the scene...

ME (pointing at several piles of socks): Right - no fussing about. You have a choice between this pile, this pile or this pile. Which ones do you want to put on?

CELESTE ignores me, snatches up a pair of tights from the sock draw and her trousers from the floor and turns to face me with a stern face, determined to not let me control the morning's sock agenda.

CELESTE: You have choice Daddy: trousers and tights. Which put on me first?

ME: *giggling*

CELESTE: No fussing Daddy!

ME: *giggling hysterically*

Battleground: Footwear

EDIT: Further cheekiness at the Sainsburys Cafe today! When the nice lady comes up with the sauce sachets, Celeste stole them all and put three carefully in front of me.

CELESTE: Here your choices Daddy. No fussing! Pick one now.

Celeste is a strict custodian of the sauces

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Quiet Contemplation

Quite a personal one from me this week. About four years ago, I was having a really difficult time at work. I'd just moved schools to a promoted position and nothing was as it had been presented at the interview and tour. It was less like trying to buy a car and being sold a lemon, as buying a car and finding it on a driveway up on bricks with the tyres stolen and the engine out on the road, on fire. Lord only knows what the management team thought putting someone with zero experience in charge would accomplish. Anyway, after killing myself for a few years, I quit and was immeasurably happier for it.

This story came out of that nightmare experience, towards the end once I'd handed my notice in. I had a sudden moment of clarity about how miserable I'd been (God bless Lyn for her strength in putting up with me!) and how work had consumed every waking thought. The place described below is real. There is a coda at the end if you read on.

The Hollow

When I drive home from work, I pass a sunken hollow in the woodland through which a babbling brook flows. My steep approach along the road means that I only see it for an instant and I never remember that it’s there until it’s gone, but one day I will stop and paddle in the cool inviting waters.

By the stream, I’ve spied the stump of a felled tree and I will sit on it while I unlace my smart work shoes, rest them on the soft mossy soil and tuck my ironed socks carefully into them. The cool temperature of the water will be a shock at first, but I will become accustomed to it. There may be fish in the water or there may not be. All will be still while I placidly investigate the flat stones on its bed with my curled toes.

I first saw the hollow with the stream in the spring. I had finished my first day at my new job and my stretched nerves were stuffed full of lightning. My little car hurtled its way up and down valleys: for a moment I saw it and thought of stopping and stepping into the shallow water. Then I was gone and my thoughts drifted to microwavable dinners and tomorrow’s meeting. As days sped by, I gradually developed a picture of the hollow through these brief still pictures. I saw snowdrops and bluebells surging upwards through the damp soil, adding splashes of colour to the monotone green palette. I watch a flick book: skeletal dark branches suddenly sprout tight green buds which unfurl into glorious leaves. Sometimes there would be birds, other times not: they flicker in and out of the sequence like friendly sprites.

There was no time to stop, though. The gutter on my house needs repairing and there are promotions at work that need chasing. I need to put the washing on and put the bin out before it gets dark. Perhaps I’ll stop next week when the pace has slowed.

It is summer now. I am promoted and I am wealthy, but the extra responsibility makes me tired and stressed. Some days, I go home and fall asleep in front of the television's predictable burble of bad news. I have a new car, which is much faster than the old one, but I still make the effort to slow for a moment when I pass the hollow. That surging vitality I saw in spring has matured into the lush strength of summer. Although the bluebells and snowdrops are gone now, they have been replaced with all manner of vibrant plant life: a tangle of wild roses, ranks of daisies and eruptions of flowering grasses. Sometimes, as I hurtle by, I see little specks of colour hovering above the water – I imagine they are dragonflies, busily darting this way and that. The days are hot, so I roll down the window of my car and allow the smell of the meadow to waft in. On the days when I do this, the smell of warm grass replaces the artificial lemon funk of my air freshener.

Autumn arrives. I have succeeded at my job and I am proud of what I have achieved, although precisely what my achievements are is difficult to remember. I play golf regularly with my boss, although I dislike his company and I detest the sport. It is important to make him like me, so I often drive directly from work to his home so that he can enjoy talking to me about lawn care and classic car maintenance. To my delight, the route is similar to my drive home: I still see the hollow when I drive there. I often think of stopping there: the water will be less pleasant and the weather will be colder, but it will still be my hollow and I can still paddle my toes in the river. The hollow looks more barren now. The summer plant life is thinning away, and although much of it is replaced by an impressive spread of blackberry-heavy brambles, the black earth beneath is starting to poke through. The thought of snacking on those blackberries while I paddle beneath the trees’ riotous red foliage is appealing, but unfortunately, I can’t today – I have to eat dry pork chops with my boss and his humourless wife. Or tomorrow either – the kitchen needs repainting. I definitely shouldn’t go there while I’m this tired as I won’t enjoy it. It’s important that I choose my moment carefully.

When the year slips quietly into winter, the hollow slips quietly into a palette of greys and whites. Much of the exuberant growth has died away and the rich black loam is speckled and then covered with white frost. The slow freezing of the hollow is inexorable and gradual: days then weeks pass as the birds and insects flee, the mud around the brook freezes solid and a hostile wind funnels down along the river’s valley. I am tired, as I am much of the time. I have lost interest in my job, but I do it anyway. There are payments to make on my car and my house, so I do my hours and go home. I have more time to sit beside my river, but it gets dark earlier now and the river has frozen solid. It’d probably be too difficult to find somewhere to park my car and pick my way down the slope. I feel I’ve missed my chance.

But this has not happened yet. Snowdrops and bluebells still carpet the ground near the tree stump; birds still flit skittishly from branch to bush to water. Today, I will paddle in the water.

I stop driving.


Now, some years later, I have finally stopped at the hollow to paddle. Unfortunately, it is private properties, and I'm not allowed near it. This is probably a metaphor, although I'm lost as what it is!

Friday, 15 July 2016

Red wire or blue wire?

Ah. I think we've hit the terrible twos. In helpful preparation for adolescence, Celeste has started seesawing between her useful joyous, cheeky self and an irritable, tearful sulk. Sample dialogue:

ME: There we go! Hair all brushed up and beautiful. I've got rid of all of the tangles and...

CELESTE: *tearing up* Put them back!

ME: What? I...

CELESTE: *starting to sob* Put back tangles!

ME: What? I can't put back...

CELESTE: *sobbing* My tangles! Put back!

And so on. Although this has made getting ready in the morning a minefield of upset, it has given me a great idea for a book I could write:

Cut the red wire or blue wire? Nope - it's a trick: they're both booby-trapped!

I thought these might be suitable chapter titles:

  • Dinner Time: Give Peas a Chance
  • Bedtime Routines: Brushing a Tooth, the Whole Tooth and Nothing But That Tooth
  • Buridan's Ass: Picking between the red dress and the blue dress
  • Hobson's Choice: Dealing with a broken banana
  • When Negotiations Fail: Duck and Cover

(I guess my sense of humour failure didn't last that long after all!)

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Sense of Humour Failure

I haven't posted anything on here since the weekend, which is a shame because I've got quite fond of blogging. It's because my sense of humour has basically gone and it's my job's fault.

Don't get me wrong, I still like teaching. Not with the same manic zeal as when I started, but as a job it's fine. It'd be brilliant without relentless government pressure and the talking down of my profession, but that's by the by.

And there we have, ladies and gentlemen, the reason for my semi-silence. I am not in a happy mood. My students are not in a happy mood. The majority of the staff at my school are not in a happy mood. Each and every one of them is exhausted and irritable. The hysteria on the run down to the GCSEs even takes it out of people who aren't involved. Everyone needs it to be the summer holidays now; everyone needs to escape the pressure cooker for a few weeks.

I don't expect sympathy from anyone who's not a teacher because they can't get it. I'm just writing this because I don't think I'll be writing anything funny for a little while. Please do bear with me, though!