Tuesday, 23 December 2008


Usually umbrella-shaped apparatus allowing person or heavy object to descend safely from a height, esp. from aircraft. Yes, that’s what the dictionary says about parachutes. I remember the little parachuting things you could get in a lucky bag when I was young. A moulded soldier, with his own little parachute. If Chris would let us, we would throw them out of our bedroom window. Other toys would have parachutes made from cotton handkerchiefs, and they would be tested.
Most people who parachute have two, one spare in case the regular one doesn’t work, but what if the second one doesn’t work? I know the old joke, cross your legs so that when you hit the ground you’ll screw yourself in, then it’s easier to get you out. It’s not the fall that kills you, well, most of it does no harm, it’s just the last few feet, and the pull of gravity.
But what is a parachute? It’s a kind of safety device, like the safety net at a circus, when the acrobats go onto the high wire. Seat belts in a car as well, they are safety devices. I hate seeing people driving around with their kids no belted in, apparently the police can stop the car and charge the driver and standing fee of £25, or thereabouts, for each passenger not wearing a seat belt.
Anyway, back to the parachutes, I love the little parachutes on dandelion seeds. Even now I like to blow at a dandelion clock, and see all the seeds blow away. The part of me that weeds the garden doesn’t like me doing that, but the big kid inside me likes it. And I let the big kid have their fun every now and again.
Would I like to parachute jump? Well, no, not really, seems to me a very dangerous thing to want to do. If we were meant to jump from planes we would have wings. Although I wouldn’t mind paragliding, or whatever they call it, where you have a huge canopy and get the wind to lift you, and you travel on the thermals. I watched someone doing that at Heysham Head one day, it must be incredibly restful. Then there’s the one’s who have parachute like canopies, and surf boards, kite surfers I think. That looks so much fun, I think the thing that makes me like some activities and not others is the amount of control over a situation you can have.
During the war some women got married in dresses made out of parachute silk. Not quite sure where they got their parachutes from, or was it after the war, I’m not sure. If I had a character having their wedding dress from parachute silk I would check up the facts, and make sure I got the timing right.

I know I haven't posted much here lately, just thought this might amuse.

Sunday, 25 May 2008


Drifting, floating
Soaring, dipping
Catching thermals
No control,
Sinking, drowning,
Deeper and deeper
Lines blur,
What is real
No longer clear
Left doubting
All you hold dear
When did the world
Elemental forces
Guide life
Seismic shudders
Realign frontiers
New appearing
None there before

Ok, it has had some re-drafting, but the poem above is almost in the form it first appeared.

Monday, 5 May 2008


I wrote this last year, but it is a piece of freewriting. I have gotten out of the habit of writing recently, really need to get back into it.

House! That’s what Mum shouted that day way back…when she was at bingo…she came home with her winnings…all in 10 bob notes..And threw them into the air in our bedroom. The next day she took us to get shoes and coats. Just going out to get them, cos we needed them and not having to save up for them was a luxury to my parents back then. The house we were living in then was a brand new council house. We’d been moved from number 90 to number 17, as soon as it was finished. Back at number 90, even though it was a lovely bungalow, all three of us were ill one after the other; it was not good for Mum or us. So the doctor wrote a letter and sent it to the council, and as soon as the new council houses were built, we were re-housed in one.
But what is the difference between a house and a home? To me? I’ll tell you. A house is a place where people live, but they don’t necessarily belong there, you can tell this by where they say they are going. Are they going “back to the house”, or “going home”? The latter has a more comfortable feel to it.
After my divorce, we moved here, to Tuluz. Tiz my home, it’s not a house..It’s home. When I looked for somewhere to live, I looked at a few places, some were ok, but some were claustrophobic, but Tuluz was different. It was like coming home, walking in through the door. The whole house seemed to welcome me…there was nowhere to sit down, but it was asking me to sit down.
I am trying so hard to make Tuluz into a home, and now I am trying to get it ready for my love and his son.
Home is where the heart is…all the corny samplers says..But tiz true…you never yearn to go to your house…but people yearn to be home.
Silly footnote thought…hermit crabs? Do they sit around watching all the shellfish pondering on what look they would like next?

Monday, 4 February 2008

The Three Pigs

A long time ago, there were three pigs, they were brothers. One day they decided that they would like to leave their Mum’s comfortable sty, and find a home of their own. Now, being fairly resourceful pigs they decided that they would build their own homes, just moving in a pre-existing one just wasn’t their style. Besides, where would they get the money to pay the mortgage, they were pigs after all, mind you, this was folk tale land, and people didn’t have normal jobs that were rewarded by normal wages. Money was something that no one seemed that bothered about. So much so that there was only a few people who seemed bothered about cold hard cash, the pieman being one of them, and the three pigs gave him a wide berth, after all, his speciality was PORK pies!
So, the pigs set off one lovely sunny day to build their houses, and as they set off they wondered why it was always bright and sunny, apart from the part of town where Dr Robert Foster lived. That man seemed to have a rain cloud follow him around, wherever he went. So, the youngest pig got hold of some straw, and decided to make a house from straw, not the world’s best building material, but hey, he’d got it free, he wasn’t going to argue. The middle pig, he’d found some sticks, loads of them, so he decided his house was going to be made of sticks. After all, there were loads of sticks just lying around in the woods, not as if they were in short supply. The eldest pig decided to make his house from bricks, now where he’d got the money to buy bricks from I’ll never know. Not the sort of thing that you find just lying around is it? I mean enough bricks to build a house, not something you trip over when you are walking down the street. Anyway, the three pigs set about building their houses, and were minding their own business when disaster came stalking them. Now I don’t know why he had it in for the pig brothers, but Big Bad Wolf was bad news, with a capital B. He’d caused problems around and about, and the word was out not to trust him. What the three pigs had done to cause his anger is difficult to say, as when he finally got to the youngest one’s house, he was too fired up to do much talking.
The youngest pig had just finished thatching his roof, and the house looked beautiful. He was sitting on his straw patio, drinking a well-earned beer when Big Bad arrived. The first the youngest pig knew of it was all the shooting, he strained his ears to listen. It sounded like someone was shooting him, something like “Little pig, little pig, let me in.” The youngest pig shook his head, “Why can’t folk use the doorbell?” he wondered. There it came again, it was someone shouting, “Little pig, little pig let me in.” That’s flaming rude thought the youngest pig. I won’t be shouted at in my own house. A pig’s home is his castle, by the hairs on his chin it was. He took another swig of his beer, it was good. There went the shouting, again! Sounded like someone was threatening to damage his house, he could have sworn the voice shouted, “Well, I’ll huff and I’ll puff, and blow your house down.” The youngest pig shook his head; cold callers were getting awfully aggressive these days. He pried himself out of the lounger, he’d been hard at work all day, and didn’t need this. Why couldn’t a pig be left to relax in peace? He started to make his way around the side of the house to see what all the noise was about, when there was a rushing noise, like a strong wind, it became difficult to walk against the force. Then it suddenly ceased, and his house fell down. The youngest pig was now face to face with Big Bad, and he’d heard his reputation, not a wolf to be crossed, so the youngest pig ran, as fast as he possibly could do, away from the wreck of his house, and Big Bad. Bet you’re wondering why Big Bad didn’t chase after him, and get his business finished there are then? Yes, I was as well, until I realised that he couldn’t chase the youngest pig, no matter how much he wanted to, as he had just worn himself blowing. Yes, the “force” that the youngest pig couldn’t walk against was Big Bad in full flow, huffing and puffing.
Now, whilst the youngest pig had been building his straw house, the middle one had been building a house from the sticks he’d found just lying around. He was relaxing, with a cup of tea, deciding whether to send for a Chinese or Indian, or maybe have a pizza, he was too tired to cook, almost too tired to eat. The first thing that happened is his little brother came racing round to the kitchen door, shouting for help. He let him in. It was difficult to tell what was wrong; his brother seemed so wound up. So, in an effort to get his brother to calm down he poured him a cup of tea. “Here, drink this, take a moment to gather your thoughts, then tell me what is wrong.” The younger pig took a gulp of tea and opened his mouth to tell his brother what was wrong when there was shouting from outside. “It’s him, he’s here now! What have we done to make so sore?”
“Who?” asked the middle pig, peering round the corner of his window. “That Big Bad is out there, our kid, and he looks cross what have you done?”
Just then Big Bad started shouting again, the middle pig turned looked at his brother and said, “He wants us to let him in. Should we?” The younger pig sat there, quaking so much his tea slopped all over the floor, then in a teeny tiny voice he squeaked, “I think we’d better leave, now.” At the same time Big Bad started shouting something about huffing and puffing, and blowing the house down. The youngest pig though his brother’s stick cabin was cosy enough, but he also knew how hard Big Bad could huff and puff. Without a backwards glance he dropped the mug and ran for the back door, he was a good ten foot away from the door when his brother ran out yelling “Wait for me!” They ran as fast as their short legs could carry them, with the sound of crashing sticks following them. They slowed to a jog, once he’d got his breath back the middle pig asked, “where now?” The younger pig shrugged, then said, “Guess it will have to be big brother’s house.” They headed off towards their brother’s house still jogging.
A short while later the two younger brothers arrived at their big brother’s house, and boy was it impressive. They found him chilling out in his hot tub. “What’s wrong brothers?” he asked. “Care to join me?” The two younger brothers were tempted, but decided they’d better tell him about Big Bad first. When they’d finished telling their big brother, he looked thoughtful.
“And you say he just came up to your house, no warning, and blew it down?” he asked his little brother.
“That’s right, and then he did same to Middle’s house.” Big brother thought about this.
“I don’t like this at all, what have you two done to vex Big Bad? He’s not a wolf to be crossed.”
“Nothing.” They both said ”Except…. he was crossing the field when I got the straw from the farmer for my house.” Said the youngest pig,
“And he was in the woods when I collected the sticks for my house.” Said the middle pig.
“He must think you know something, that’s why he’s after you. Did he see which way you went?”
“No, but he does know that we used to all live at Mum’s. Did you see him when you were getting your bricks?” asked middle pig.
Before big brother pig could answer there came the shouting the other two had heard before,
“Little pigs, little pigs, let me in!”
“Who does he think he is?” asked big brother pig “and why can’t he use the damned doorbell, like normal visitors?”
The two younger pigs were shaking like aspens. Big brother couldn’t get them to speak, then Big Bad shouted again. The eldest pig just laid back in his hot tub, sipping at his chilled champagne.
“Aren’t you worried?” asked Middle pig
“No, he can’t blow this house down. I put footings in, and it’s properly built. We could watch to see if he goes blue in the face trying, if you want.”
His brothers just sat there, still shaking. Big brother pig clicked the remote control so that the TV showed CCTV coverage of the front of his property. He smiled as he watched Big Bad huffing and puffing for all his might. Hmm? Should he release the Dobermans? No, not necessary, he saw Big Bad walking away. He was puzzled, but he knew people, and knew that Big Bad didn’t give up so easily. He wondered what would be his next move. He’d met people like Big Bad before; he just knew that giving up was not an option. Well, Big Bad hadn’t met big brother pig before, or he’d know that he’d met his match. He made sure the intruder alarms were set, and the CCTV was set to record, with long tapes in, then he suggested to his brothers it was time for bed.
“But what about Big Bad?” asked youngest pig
“Don’t worry about him.” Said big brother pig, “Just rest, we’ll deal with him when we need to.”
“You OK about us staying here?” asked Middle pig
“Yep, I guessed you might need to, at some point, so you both have your own rooms. Didn’t figure it would be quite so soon though.” Big brother pig replied. He showed his brothers their rooms. The three pigs settled down for the night. As they were falling asleep, the intruder alarm started to sound.
“Nothing to worry about” big pig called to his brothers, “although you might want to see what’s on the CCTV”
The brothers all went into the lounge. There on the screen was Big Bad Wolf, and he had a ladder, he was putting it up against the side o f the house.
“Damn! I can’t see what he’s doing”
But pretty soon it was obvious what was going on, as soot started to fall into the hearth.
“Thinks he’s Father Christmas does he? Well, I’ll stop him.” He piled logs on the fire, and opened the damper up to set them going. The fire roared to life. The pigs expected to hear the scuffles get further away, and then see Big Bad Wolf on CCTV running away from the house, but the scuffles intensified, and the roar of the fire was joined by the roar of Big Bad Wolf, yelling in pain, as he fell into the fire. There was nothing the pigs could do, but watch him burn.
“Have you ever had roast Wolf?” the big pig asked his brothers.

This isn't strictly free writing, as it took me several days to write, but I quite like it, so I thought I'd share it with you.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008


Whenever the word snoring is said , we all conjure up our own mental image related to it.
Countless women complain that their husband's snoring keeps them awake at night, but they probably snore themselves, only you don't hear yourself snore.
I'm not altogether sure of the reason people snore, but I think everyone must do, at some point in their lives.
At the back of your mouth, at the top you have a soft palate, and your tonsils. The air has to get past these, the more loose they are the more they will vibrate when you are asleep. Stands to reason.
When I was in hospital a few weeks ago I fell asleep one night to a symphony of snores. Each persons snore was slightly different, and they were all slightly different in timing. Animals snore, at least both my dogs do, which is why I am guessing that everyone snores.
It must be awful on the plains of the Serengeti, do you think the zebras go up to the elephants and poke them from snoring too loudly. And what does a giraffe snore sound like?
So next time you are about to complain about someone snoring, stop, and think. It could be an elephant lying nearby snoring, keeping you awake.
And as I have been writing this there's been a background snoring, as my son is asleep, and he has tonsillitis, his throat is very swollen, so his breathing is blocked causing him to snore. He must keep moving as the sound keeps changing slightly.