Sunday, 30 June 2013


I have decided that the words ‘Hell’ and ‘Hello’ are too similar.  You don’t know how many times I typo one for the other, leading to many an awkward situation.

Now I could say hallo or hullo instead of hello, I suppose.  But what I want to know is why isn’t hillo also a viable alternative.

So, as The Hill, I say Hillo.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Before I Could Write – Part 10

It's been a while since I've done one of these, so here's a quick explanation: when I was younger, I was bad at writing.  I have been putting up examples from each year of my life since I started writing.  And as we reach Part 10, 'young me' is 15 years old.

I haven’t been able to find any more self-portraits because when I was 15, The School forced me to give up art (which I loved) if I wanted to do drama (which I loved more).  The Art Teacher did say I could take art as another GCSE if I came to special lessons after school, but this sounded like too much work for a L-A-Z-Y arse like me (also, quite creepy now I write it down).  So this is why I can’t draw.  DAMN YOU HORNDEAN COMMUNITY SCHOOL.

Me aged 15.  What a fool I was.  Ahahahahahahahahhaaaaaaaa

And in English class we were only allowed to write autobiography, something I hated because nothing interesting had ever happened to me.  So all I have for The Putrid Attempts At Writing, aged 15, is this:

In my life time, I have only really experienced pain three times.  The major time was when I was five.

The family took a holiday in Wales.  As the car pulled up the gravel drive we all saw a lovely cottage, by a field and river.

My brothers and I raced out of the car to explore.  I went down to the river.  As it was summer the water was low down.  Further along was an overflow pipe.  Well when I say pipe it was big enough for a five year old if she bowed her head.

As the water level was low the pipe was empty and desperate to be the first to do something (my brothers are five and six years older than me so they had done most things already) I charged through the pipe.  But to my horror it was blocked by a wall of spider’s web.  Realising this fact too late I emerged back into daylight covered in sticky thread and having not completed my original task.  (It wasn’t that I disliked spiders, in fact it was quite the opposite, it’s just that you try charging down a dark overflow pipe into some giant spiders’ webs and tell me you aren’t just a little but shocked.)  Ironically it was my brothers who travelled through the pipe first (claiming they had found it) and befriended the children on the other side.

The pipe went under the road so could be used by badgers or hedgehogs when not full of water.  But as far as I can see now, we needn’t have travelled through the pipe as the front door of the cottage opened straight on to the road.  You would know whether a car was coming by the fact the door would be ripped off its hinges and leave you with a wing mirror. 

Of course none of this has anything to do with the story, it’s just a little background.

It was past lunch, we were in the field, the opposite side from the house.  I had that slow rumble of hunger that starts low in your stomach and gradually works its way up until you NEED food.

I ran towards the house being stung by many stinging nettles.  As I hobbled into the house I searched for food.  I looked up, towering above me on the windowsill, in a glass bowl on a glass stand were a bunch of bananas.

I reached up.  I could just reach one.  As I pulled, instead of coming away from the bunch the banana pulled over the bowl.  It toppled.  It probably happened in a second but it seemed like slow-motion.  Then a stab of pain shot up my arm and blood trickled out.

I smiled (I don’t know why but whenever I am badly hurt I find it amusing.  Once someone hit my hand with a mallet, splitting it open which I found hilarious.  Painful but hilarious.  Well almost agony but the funny side of it masked the pain).

I showed my mother who did something, my memory fades at that point.  (I mean I presume I showed my mum, because the glass isn’t still there.)

Just so you know, the glass cut my wrist 6mm from my main artery.  On the up side it enabled me to tell left from right.  When asked by a teacher which hand was right I’d hold up the one with the scar.


Oh that was bad. 

I think The Writing was actually getting WORSE at this point.

(That’s my death throes)

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Top Shelf Books #3 – Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers

The next book to make it on to The Top Shelf is

Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers

‘You are not going to believe me, nobody in their right minds could possibly believe me, but it’s true, really it is!’

Freaky Friday is the story of Annabel Andrews, a girl who wakes up one morning to discover she has been transformed into her mother.  So begins a day of getting to do whatever the hell she wants with nobody to tell her what to do, and quickly learning how tough it is to be an adult and a mother.  She has to contend with the racist cleaning lady, a demanding toddler, baffling housework, family politics, the judgemental attitudes of strangers, mysterious appointments in the diary and her teenage crush falling for her mother.

This is one of those books that seems to have always been part of The Bookshelf.  I’ve read it quite a lot, as you may be able to tell from the state of my copy.  I certainly remember that the narrator Annabel was much older, practically an adult, than me when I read this as a child.  Annabel is thirteen.

The Keen Detective skills have led me to notice I have written my name in the front along with my class ‘5J’.  So presumably I was ten when I got this book.  Hmm.  Or possibly ten when I took this book to school.

Anyway, it is a book I always found easy to read (although it was the first American novel I read, so I was occasionally baffled as to what she was talking about) and always welcome to dip into when I needed something to do or something comforting to escape into.  When I read it again as an adult, I was delighted to discover it really is very good.  In fact, I think I appreciate it more now.

‘I fished the bowl of macaroni out of the wastebasket, and turned on the living-room television set.  I was hoping to find a good cartoon, but it was after ten and I couldn’t even find a bad cartoon.  I suppose they figure all the kids are in school and grown-ups like to watch other kinds of shows.  Not very thoughtful of them.  What about a poor little sick kid who has to stay home, or a poor little kid who’s changed into her mother for the day.  Not even one ‘Road Runner’?  No sir.  One ladies’ panel show, one sewing show, ‘Romper Room’, one show that looked good but it was all in Spanish, and a show called ‘Swing and Sway with Jean Dupray, Physical Fitness the Real Fun Way’.  That seemed like the best of the bunch, but just as I was beginning to get the hang of the swinging and swaying (which was easier for old Jean than for me because she was wearing a tank suit over tights and I was wearing Ma’s long silk thing), there was the most staggeringly horrible noise in the kitchen.  Right away, I knew it had to be the washing machine, and it took all the guts I had to go in there and look.  Not that there was much to see – just bubbles – but the clatter and bang was enough to make you deaf for life.  I was just about to turn it off before it went into the spin cycle – because it was mad as a hornet now, but when it started spinning it would probably break loose and chase me around the room – when the phone rang.

‘Hell,’ I said.  Too late.  The spin cycle had begun.  Last year, our class took a trip to an old car graveyard – a big crane throws dead cars into a pile and then a compressor thing mashes them all together into one large, tutti-frutti mess.  All I can tell you is that compared to the racket in the kitchen, a trip to an old car graveyard is like a trip to Grant’s Tomb (where we also went last year).’

Annabel is a slobby underachiever but actually very smart, which allows her narration to gallop along at a childishly frenetic pace while making deeper, interesting observations.  It’s certainly an example of The Favourite First Person Narrators.

The rather obvious body-swap premise actually opens up a fascinating existential crisis, as Annabel has to face the fact that she may be trapped as her mother forever, while dealing with her chauvinistic husband (father), being nice to a son (brother) she can’t stand, who adores his big sister (her) and can’t understand why she hates him, talking to a bunch of teachers about her underachieving daughter (her), the boy upstairs falling in love with her (the mother) but hating her (the daughter) and the fact that whoever is in her body has gone AWOL. 

It’s wonderful that Rodgers has managed to write a story in which a stroppy teenager learns things from a new perspective and have the ugly girl turns beautiful ending without ever getting clichéd.  It even has several false endings and parodies the essay style kids are forced to write in, which is delightfully smart.

What else can I say about it?  It’s intelligent, engaging, witty, entertaining and exciting and as far as I can tell, it’s a great read whatever age you are.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Musical Monday #14

How The Housemate makes my life more like a horror film.

Well, after that horrible shock, I think I need a nice musical number to calm my nerves…

Doll On A Music Box/Truly Scrumptious from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Performed by Sally Ann Howes and Dick Van Dyke
Written by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman

I'm not sure that helped.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

The Good Day

I recently took a fun-filled trip to Yeovil City Centre.

Also it was raining.

I went into several charity shops that contained nothing I wanted to buy.  In The Last Charity Shop, I eventually ended up by The Children’s Books Section.  I could see already that there was nothing of interest here.  The First Shelf were tiny little books and The Bottom Shelf were huge hardback books and nowhere was there a shelf of ‘wide rather than tall’ picture books.  But I didn’t want to go back into The Rain yet so I mechanically flicked through The Rack of books in front of me.

Flip, flip, flip, nothing.  Move to next pile.  Squirm out of the way of someone trying to get past.  Flip, flip, flip, nothing.  Turn to The Housemate to hear what he’s saying.  Mutter response.  Move to next pile.  Flip…

Turned on its spine to completely conceal and fit it behind a large hardback book was

The Church Mice And The Moon
written and illustrated by Graham Oakley, 
published 1974.

‘They knew they were being made into astronauts, but they weren’t quite sure what an astronaut was.  Humphrey said that a friend of his knew somebody who had read in a newspaper that somebody on the telly had said that an astronaut was a camel with three humps.  But they didn’t see how rotating and gyrating and doing huge horrible sums would turn them into one of those.’

The third book in the Church Mice series.  One I do not own.  Or did not, until this point.  This brings The Collection up to SEVEN, which means I am past half way.

It also cost 99p, which is somewhat of a saving on The £27.05 it was going for on Amazon.

Arthur and Humphrey, the leaders of the Church Mice, are kidnapped by two scientists who intend to send them into space... 

‘A reporter asked how they were to get back from the moon, but the scientists pretended not to hear, and went on to say that blast-off was scheduled for 2.0000436 seconds after eleven, so there was just time for everybody to get a quick cup of tea.’ 

...and it is up to Sampson the Church cat to rescue them.

Like the second in the series and The Last Most Recent Acquisition, The Church Cat Abroad, the main body of the mice aren’t in it very much, which is a shame, but it’s still very very witty, full of delicious detail and utterly beautiful.

God, I love these books.

‘He felt sad because he thought he would never see his friends again and it had been nice having someone around to feel so superior to.’

Also during this Yeovil trip I found a V cheesecake.

It was a good day.

See HERE and here for more on how much I love this series of books.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Musical Monday #13

A recent trip to The Cinema:

I always cry at films - the music manipulates me.

And now for Musical Monday.

In an attempt to be thematic here, I wanted a song set at a cinema.  Well, kind of.

Sandy from Grease
Performed by John Travolta
Written by Louis St. Louis and Scott Simon

Monday, 10 June 2013

Musical Monday #12

The Hill is not here at the moment.

But it is still Musical Monday.


Hula Song from The Lion King
Performed by Nathan Lane

I was in love with Timon when I was a kid.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Musical Monday #11

I've had a very busy weekend and nearly clean forgot it was Musical Monday.  So this is just a quick post to fill The Obligation.

I watched Road To Morocco (the third in the Road series) this weekend, among several other films.  It is certainly the best so far.  It skips and jumps over the fourth wall like a prancing gazelle.  A gazelle with a charm and a wit you just don't get any more.

I wanted to quote The Favourite Exchange, but I've already sent The DVD back to lovefilm, so I had to look it up online and the two quoted versions I have found are different, so what follows is probably slightly misquoted.  OH WELL.

Turkey (Bob): A fine thing!  First you sell me for two hundred bucks.  Then I'm gonna marry the Princess.  Then you cut in on me.  Then we're carried off by a desert sheik.  Now we're gonna have our heads chopped off.
Jeff (Bing): I know all that.
Turkey (Bob): Yeah, but the people who came in the middle of the picture don't.
Jeff (Bing): You mean they missed my song?

 And now...

Road To Morocco from, uh, Road To Morocco
Performed by Bing Crosby and Bob Hope
Written by Johnny Burke and Jimmy Van Heusen.

I love Bob Hope.