UK Krampus Crackers

thekidshavegonetoschool:

Sometimes you feel ‘Why am I bothering?’ Then something like this comes along to give you a boost when you need it most. I’m really pleased to be part of this project

Originally posted on Tiny Owl Workshop:

The mighty fabulous Vicky Pointing and Steve Toase have chosen the 12 flash fiction stories that will be part of the UK Krampus Crackers project. Our congratulations to the authors and our thanks to all those who submitted.

The list and a little about the authors can be found here: http://vickykpointing.wordpress.com/krampus-crackers/

Terry
Terry

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Blame it on Sooty

2014-09-15 10.20.10
Sweep, Sooty and Soo. Sooty has obviously had a hard life.

So, I did it! I completed my 5k Colour Fun Run in 30 mins with a combination of running and walking fast. I’m pretty pleased with that. I wasn’t first and I wasn’t last. I was somewhere in the middle which kind of sums up my life. I maybe would have been able to have run more if I hadn’t hurt my back 2 days before the big day looking for Sooty, Sweep and Soo.

Now, if you are British, you’ll know who Sooty, Sweep and Sue are. If you are not, you probably don’t have a clue and I don’t really know how to explain them. They are British icons. Three glove puppets who have entertained generations of kids with their loveable, cheeky antics. If you want to know any more than that, you’ll have to Google them or look on YouTube. Anyway, I took my daughters to see Sooty et al at Hull New Theatre the day before my race. My girls wanted to take their own version of the puppets with them  and it was when trying to find the cheeky bear and his friends (who were hiding at the bottom of the toy box, the rascals) that my back went crack and I went “argh!”

T0 be fair, it wasn’t totally Sooty’s fault. I’d hurt my back on holiday last year so bending over the toy box at a strange angle was never going to be a good idea. So I rested-up for two days and took some painkillers before setting off from the start line and I didn’t feel even a twinge in my back whilst I was running and walking. I was too concerned with the stitch in my side and my laboured breathing. I didn’t even feel it when I’d finished. I was too high on adrenalin and feel-good endorphins. Even after the high had worn off, I didn’t feel it. I was too busy enjoying listening to the live music that was part of the event and the cider that was in my hand. Only one cider. I didn’t want to spoil all my good work. I didn’t feel it when I jumped into the shower and washed all the paint off my body and the blue out of my hair (there was a lot of blue) when I got home.

When I did feel it was when I was clean, pj’d and sitting on the sofa with a glass of wine in my hand (I think I deserved it).  Then I felt it big time. It hurt. A lot. So much so that I had to lie on the floor which isn’t ideal for drinking wine. But, hey, that’s why straws were invented, isn’t it?

It kind of was like Holi. Holi with pain.
It kind of was like Holi. Holi with pain.

Instructions

20140911_110226It’s two days until the Colour Fun Run I’ve signed up for and, yesterday, I received my race instructions. Point two is as follows:

“The colour course will begin at 1pm, colour runners will be sent in waves of 100 people every 5 minutes – these won’t be in running number order – just in the order you arrive at the start line. Please remember this event is not a race and walking, skipping or dancing (watch out for the live music along the route) is encouraged!”

Well, it would have been nice if they had told me this five weeks ago before I stepped up my training! Reading this, I just thought, “Why the hell have I bothered pushing myself?” But, there again, pushing yourself does feel good. It does make you feel like you’re achieving something in a way a stroll or skip around the course wouldn’t. Also, I’ve managed to raise over £100 in sponsorship and I wonder if people would have been so generous in their giving if I had told them I was having a Sunday afternoon stroll around the park (which is where the course is). I don’t think they would. I feel more inclined to sponsor someone if I know pain is involved so I’m going to inflict pain on myself to make sure my sponsors get their money’s worth.  And, anyway, why are they calling it a Colour Fun Run if you’re not supposed to run?

It’s funny how our decisions to follow instructions depend on whether or not they suit us. Or is that just me? I’m not talking about important laws or life and death situations, just little ones that I filter out if they don’t seem to make sense to me. For example; I picked up my race pack on Monday which, amongst other things, had my race number in it (more mixed messages, why a race pack and number if it’s not a race?). The back of my number states “This is important, please complete the details below in BLOCK CAPITALS using waterproof biro/ballpoint ink the night before the event.”

Why the night before? Why not the morning of the event or two days before? What will happen if I don’t? What will happen if I fill it in five days before? Why is it so important the night before? How are they going to know if I don’t comply? Do they have some sort of special machine that scans your race number and sets of sirens and flashing lights if you haven’t done it the night before?

So the tiny rebel in me with a mischievous streak is going to fill it in tomorrow morning to see what’ll happen. I mean, what a silly instruction. It’s just crying out to be not followed. And this blatant disregard of the rules will result in nothing. No-one will know, except me which means a can have a secret smile to myself whilst I’m running (or attempting to run) around the course.  Unless the ink fades if you fill it in too early. Or they do have a scanner. Then I’ll be busted.

 

 

 

 

“You are live… Please do NOT swear”

Great advice for if you're ever on the radio.
Great advice for if you’re ever on the radio.

I’m a firm believer that you should never let the fear of failure or fear itself get in the way of trying new things. Sometimes, it’s all too easy not do something because the idea terrifies you or you’re worried you’ll make a laughing-stock of yourself. However, I always think it’s better to have tried and hated or failed at something than spend the rest of your life wondering, “What If?”

This doesn’t mean that you should accept everything that’s thrown at you. If you really, truly don’t want to do something – then don’t. I don’t want to climb a mountain as it’s too much like hard work and I’m not good with heights. I don’t want to go in a submarine as the thought of being underwater in a metal tube feels me with dread. What if something went wrong? How would I get out? I most certainly don’t want to go into space for much the same reason as I don’t want to go in a submarine. Plus, I’ve seen the film ‘Gravity’ which just confirmed all my worse fears about space travel.

But there are things that are offered to you that you know you probably would like to do really if you weren’t so worried and nervous about how they might turn out. This recently happened to me. A friend of mine is a DJ on our BBC local radio station and he asked me if I would come in and review the Sunday newspapers for his Sunday mid-morning show.

My first reaction was, “No bloody way!”. I don’t know about you but I hate the sound of my voice. I’m not sure if that’s because I have an awful voice or is because our own voices sound so different to our ears that we can’t reconcile the real voice from the one we’re used to hearing. Anyway, whatever the reason, I was going to say “No” as if I don’t like listening to my terrible voice, I’m sure no-one else would want to either. But, there again, it was to review the Sunday newspapers and I always like watching that bit on the TV news. In fact, I make a point of trying to catch it so, what the hell, I said “Yes.”

It’s at this juncture where I feel I must comment on my thought process. I decided to go onto live BBC local radio (for over an hour) to pass intelligent comments and make witty remarks on the Sunday newspapers because I like watching the paper review on the telly. It’s a bit like deciding to do a Charity Colour Fun Run because I like the idea of going to a Holi celebration. I really think it’s time I got myself a new thought process.

I also don’t listen to this radio station because, to be honest. local news doesn’t interest me. National and inter-national news – yes. Local news – no. It’s all cats stuck in trees and someone complaining there’s a pot-hole in their street. So, once again, my thought process for agreeing to do the paper review was flawed. But, once you’ve committed, you can’t back out. I did think about doing some prep for the show but that’s as far as it went – thinking about it. So, instead of listening to local radio or buying a local newspaper, I bought a marker pen and wrote “Do not swear” on the back of my hand which I thought was good advice.

And, as it turns out, it was because the only advice I got from the good old BBC was, “Don’t talk about Sir Cliff Richard and don’t swear.” Which, perhaps, says a lot about the BBC’s thought process.

Fun Run?

My life is littered with projects I have started and never really finished. I first started this blog (nearly 2 years ago) in a bid to motivate me to finish something. Because if I’ve blogged about it and committed it to cyber-space then I’ll have to finish it, right? Wrong. I haven’t even written my blog for such a shameful while that even writing a blog didn’t make me write a blog.

However, there is one thing I have kept up with. One thing that, quite frankly, if you asked me to name the one thing I wouldn’t continue on with would be at the top of my list. And that thing is exercising. Whilst writing my blog (I have been writing other things, honest) and the host of other things I was going to do have fallen by the wayside keeping fit and healthy has been something I’ve focused on and kept up. I’m not sure why either. I suppose it’s because I feel better for it and have had to buy a whole new wardrobe too. Oh, shopping. That’s something else I’ve kept up too.

My new-found love of exercise has led me to enter a Charity Colour Fun Run  in September. For those of you who don’t know, a Colour Fun Run is where you run and people throw paint at you. I’m hoping it’s powder-paint, although I’m not entirely sure. My reasons for doing this were (1) It’s for a local hospice which cared for two of my relatives in their last weeks of their lives; (2) I’ve always wanted to go to the Hindu Festival of Holi and this would probably be the closest I would get to it. Holi with pain, that’s what I’ve signed up to.

And pain is the appropriate word. You see, I’m not a runner. I’m a walker. A fast walker, I’ll have you know, but a walker none the less. And, in my head, there really couldn’t be much of a step-up from walking fast to running. Foolish woman! But, despite being able to walk or dance the Fun Run, I’d decided I wanted to run it. So I trained and I pushed myself a little more each day. It was hard work and I sweated buckets but, gradually, little by little, I could run further and further.

This is when I realised how marvellous the human body is. How, when you set your mind to it you can set yourself to achieve anything. I felt great. I felt fantastic. I felt pain – ouch. I chose to ignore the pain and run through it. It was just a question of mind over matter. I could do this. I would do this. I would…

That’s when I realised that whilst I was marvelling at the human body and ignoring the pain I was also ignoring the fact that the pain wasn’t from just training and, actually, was pain from an existing injury and problem. It didn’t matter how much I wanted to run through it, my body wasn’t going to let me and, if I wasn’t careful, I’d end up not being able to walk the Colour Fun Run let alone run it.

At first, I cursed my body for not being as marvellous as I thought. I had set my heart on running and was terribly disappointed that I couldn’t. I felt like I’d let myself down. I was angry I couldn’t do what I wanted. Then I realised that the human body is a marvellous thing. I was pushing myself too hard and, in the long-run, if I wasn’t careful, carrying on that way would just end up with me being bed-ridden for a week or so.  My body was telling me this and I should have been listening to it, even if I didn’t like what it was telling me.

Wishes

Be careful what you wish for. It’s easy to wish. It’s easy to long and want and imagine. It’s easy to loose yourself in daydreams and believe wishes will make everything alright. It’s easy to believe you really want something. That you have to have it more than anything else in the world and that, by having it, you’ll be complete. Your skin will stop itching, your head will be quiet and your soul will stop aching. It’s easy to believe your wish will make you happy and that you’ll never be lonely again.

It’s easy to believe this when the wish isn’t yours. When it belongs to someone else and is so far out of reach to be impossible. When the longing is just longing and the wanting is just wanting. It’s easy to believe the wish will change your life if only you can grab it, pull it to your chest, hold it tight and never let it go.

The old woman pulled her cape tight to her body. “Are you sure this is what you want?” she asked as she peered down into the face of a young woman. The face was filled with longing and want. The young woman’s eyes were brimming with hope and expectation. Her mouth was set firmly with realisation of the seemingly impossible as her head nodded excitedly up and down.

“Are you sure?” the old woman asked again, though why she asked she didn’t know. It was clear to her what the answer would be. That she was wasting her breath and her time with this one. The young woman nodded again as the old woman knew she would. The old woman reached deep into the folds of her cape. She sighed as she pulled out her wand and said, “Well then, you better go and fetch me a pumpkin.”

 

 

Monday Blues

 

Earth's horizon and the International Space St...
Earth’s horizon and the International Space Station’s solar array panels are featured in this image photographed by the Expedition 17 crew in August 2008. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t like Mondays,” sang Bob Geldof. Neither do I but not for the same reasons as Sir Bob. I don’t like Mondays as the it’s the day when I’m harassed and bothered and badgered. I don’t like Mondays as I’m constantly interrupted. I don’t like Mondays as it’s the day the Cold-Callers come out in force.

I’m not sure why they pick Mondays as the day to ring me three or four times an hour. Maybe Monday is a good selling day (although they assure me they’re not trying to sell me anything). Perhaps Mondays are when we’re at our most vulnerable. Maybe after the excesses of the weekend we feel we need to claim for the PPI we took out with a loan or that we need solar panels on our rooves or we need to switch our bank accounts.

What I do know is that they are very persistent and the fact that I registered with the Telephone Preference Service was as much use as a chocolate teapot. My tried and tested methods of dealing with Cold-Callers are to say, “Sorry, I’m not interested” and slam down the phone or to say, “Hello…Hello… Hello,” and pretend that it’s a bad line and then slam down the phone. But these are not very imaginative or much fun. So I’ve decided to come with a list of more exciting and creative ways of dealing with Cold-Callers.

1 – When they call asking to speak to my husband and ask what time he is due home I will say, “I’ve no idea. None at all. Infact, if you find him and speak to him can you tell him to call me. I haven’t seen him for weeks since he went off with that bitch from work – Bastards!”

2 – Whilst speaking to them and feigning interest, I will suddenly say, “Can you say that again?…It’s just…I…I’m not sure where I put…Do you know where I put it?…The thing…The thing I’ve lost…Surely you must know…I…I’m not having a good day…I know it’s here somewhere…You must have seen it…Have you taken it?… You have, haven’t you.” I figure by this point they will have hung-up on me. Unless, of course, they are really tenacious or desperate for a sale. Then it will become a game as to who can keep it up the longest. I will win.

3 – I will break off in the middle of conversation by saying, “There is someone at the door, I won’t be a minute.” I will then wait a few seconds, let out a blood curdling scream, make lots of banging and crashing noises before hanging up the phone. Actually, this might not be such a good idea as they could dispatch the police to my home. On second thoughts, this isn’t very likely. They’ll be too busy calling the next poor sod to achieve their targets.

4 – I will put on some music and turn it up really loud. I will then say, “I can’t hear you…No I can’t turn it down, I’m having a party…Where are you? …Do you want to ditch work and come over? It’s all going off in here…It’s really fucking mental.” Anyone who is having a party at 11am on a Monday morning is clearly not someone you should be doing business with. This will work best if you put on some dance music – Old Skool Acid House is my recommendation.

5 – Finally, I will say, “Of course I’d like to hear all about your PPI claims service/solar panel promotion/how I can save money with my bank account. But first I have a message for you. It’s from God.”

So there you have it. Five new ways for me to transform Mondays for the day I don’t like to the day I love. Roll on next Monday.

Apprehenison? 2

Fear & Anticipation
Fear & Anticipation (Photo credit: hartlandmartin)

So the apprehension and excitement came about two hours before the curtain went up. It was bound to, wasn’t it? The apprehension and the excitement increased as we found the venue, parked the car and went inside. The apprehension increased as I had to tell the man on the door that I didn’t have a ticket as I was a guest. There hasn’t been many times in my life that I’ve got in somewhere for free by being a guest. The few times I have I’ve always felt a little uncomfortable with the whole idea of not paying. It always sounds a bit pretentious to me.

My apprehension increased a little more when the man seemed unable to find my name. If he couldn’t find it then I’d have to say, “But, I’m one of the writers” which would sound more than a bit pretentious. However, after much searching, he did find it so I was saved this embarrassment.

My apprehension increased even further when I saw some of the ladies from my writing group there. They had come to support me, which was fantastic, but suddenly I wished that everyone in the room didn’t know me.I wished that they had never met me before or heard my name. I even wished my husband wasn’t there. This could all go terribly wrong and I might need to quietly sneak out the back with no-one noticing me. I couldn’t do that if people I knew kept smiling and wishing me luck.

My apprehension reached fever pitch when I saw my play was to be the last of the evening. I’ve always been the kind of girl to volunteer first in order to get whatever public display I’ve somehow got roped into out-of-the-way. I can then breathe a sigh of relief and relax a little. But not tonight it seemed. Tonight there were four other plays on before mine and a singer and an interval.

So I sat and watched the other plays, and chatted with my mind only half on the conversations during the interval and listened to the singer. Then it was the turn of my play. I had had no input in this at all. I’d just sent the theatre company my script and I’d written it a couple of months ago so the lines were not fresh in my mind. I didn’t know what to expect. A stunned silence (not in a good way)? A half-hearted round of applause? Oh God, where was the nearest exit?

The music started, the actors took their places and then it began. And it was odd to watch. The lines all came flooding back to me, the actors and director had interpreted it just the way I had envisaged it and the actors were fantastic. Especially the lady who played the main character. And then it was over. Just like that. And people clapped and people congratulated me and people said they liked it. And one lady asked for my contact details as she said she would possibly like to use the piece in another theatre night. It was then I realised that the apprehension had gone. 

Apprehension?

Map of Lincolnshire, UK with the following inf...
Map of Lincolnshire, UK with the following information shown: Administrative borders Coastline, lakes and rivers Roads and railways Urban areas Equirectangular map projection on WGS 84 datum, with N/S stretched 165% Geographic limits: West: 1.16W East: 0.39E North: 53.75N South: 52.62N (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I feel surprisingly OK this morning. I wasn’t expecting to. I expected to wake-up feeling excited yet nervous the same time. Sorry, apprehensive not nervous. You should never use the word nervous. It has too many negative connotations attached to it. At least, that’s what a therapist once told me (Yes, I have been in therapy but, then, who hasn’t? It’s the twenty-first century after all).

Anyway, I’m not feeling excited or apprehensive – yet. That will come later. And I know it will come because, tonight, my first play is going to be performed. Ok, it’s a short play (less than ten minutes) and it’s being performed in a social club in Lincolnshire but, none the less, I have a play that I have written being performed in front of a paying audience tonight. How cool is that?

And this might be the start of something and, then again, tonight could be the pinnacle of my writing career. But it doesn’t really matter how this all turns out because tonight I’m going to have a play performed and not many people can say that. It’s an exciting and apprehensive moment. At least, it will be later.