Sunday, 22 November 2009

Bad Squirl

I am a bad bad squirrel. There you all are, visiting my world-wide-web-log in your dozens, saying delightful things in my Designated Commenting Area, and I am ignoring you all.

I don't mean to, and I don't want to, it's just that my new career is living up to all the dire warnings I was given. Rather impressively, in fact. It sucks the very marrow from my bones.

It's still the right thing for me to do.

But it is also all-consuming, and I am consumed.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

The Chaos Hour

There is this hour every day, after the kids have come home, before their dad appears, when suddenly everybody is shouting in my ear, wanting stuff which I struggle to provide.

The baby wants boob and a cuddle. The child wants his tea. The dog paws at me with her unclipped claws, demanding moist chunks of meaty goodness. The phone rings, the doorbell clangs, and all of this waits until I am changing a stinky nappy, about which the baby is complaining vociferously. And then the sausages / fish fingers / unhealthy chunks of easily-cooked junk catch fire, just as my fingers are covered in poo.

I don't like that hour very much.

Smells of Wee

I got knocked off my bike this morning. I'm fine. The bike wasn't, but the car driver gave me a wodge of cash, which I gave to the bike shop, and the bike now has a shiny new wheel.

The driver also arranged for her husband to pick me up from work and take me and the broken bike home again. He had a van, which was handy. But it smelt of wee.

I was intrigued by this wee-smellingness. Why did his van smell of wee? Was he incontinent? Did he know someone who was? Was he an alcoholic? Was he in the habit of giving lifts to random smelly strangers? Or maybe...

What if he and his wife were Manchester's answer to Fred and Rosemary West? She lies in wait on side roads, waiting for women cycling to work. She drives into them, slowly and gently, careful not to harm them. She gives them money, then arranges for her husband to pick them up later in his van. He wouldn't really take me home at all. He would take a sudden wrong turning and drive me to his house, or one of those desolate industrial wastegrounds of which there are so many, and then he would do horrible things, so horrible I would piss myself in fright.

He didn't though. He took me home, and was blessedly silent throughout. We listened to the radio. And smelt the wee.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009


I have identified a pattern. I'm pleased. I like patterns.

Thing is, I like the idea of being good at stuff. I want to be good at stuff.

I also like making lists.

So when I'm learning how to do something, I take notes. I make lists. For instance: Lists of things I need to remember / pay attention to when writing a first draft. Lists of things to do when editing. Lists of things to include in submissions. And so on.

So... guess what I have in my New Job folder? Yup. Lists of things I need to remember / do / include in order to be Very Good at my job. It seems so simple. All I have to do is follow my rules, and I will be brilliant!

But there are so many items on these lists. And it's one thing knowing I should be doing these things. I may even know how to do them. In theory. But in practice... well, that's just it. You can't carry hundreds of balls without practice, and lots of it. Which is fine and good and pretty bloody obvious really, but I'm impatient and keep forgetting that just because I've written everything down in a list doesn't mean I can do it all.

I pick one ball up, I drop another.

And then I look at my list and I say to myself, Look at that! Look at that list! It's enormous! How will I ever master those things? It's impossible! I'm rubbish!

And yes, I do think in exclamation marks.

Time to pat myself on the head and say such things as "There there," "All in good time" and "Chill out gel."


Saturday, 7 November 2009


Me and a 7-yr-old I know were playing the game where you have to try and trick your opponent into saying the word "Yes". He had held out for ages, then he said: "You'll never catch me out."
"Are you sure we can't catch you out?" said I.
"Yes," said he.

And a little later...
"You do me now," said I.
"No, you do me," said he.
"Oh go on, do me," I said.
"No me," he said.
"Oh all right then," I said. "So I'm doing you then, yes?" I said.
"Yes," he said.

Hahaha. I love that he's old enough now for me to play proper games with him and not have to make concessions!