Nonsensical rhymes


Having been around children a fair amount over the past couple of weeks, the sound of their laughter over what adults consider to be ‘silly’ brought back memories of my own childhood. In particular, a daft verse that my mother used to semi-sing to us. I have no idea who to attribute it to (so if you know, please do tell), and I’ve probably missed a large chunk of it out, but as it still makes me grin I thought I’d share it:

‘I went to the pictures tomorrow, and got a front seat at the back. I fell from the pit to the gallery, and broke a front bone in my back. I went round a straight, crooked corner, to see a dead donkey die. I pulled out my pistol to stab him – and he kicked me one in the eye.’

Warped sense of humour in my household, obviously!

P.S. No donkeys were harmed in the writing of this little ditty.

Memes and the (mis)use of English

I’ve not had a lot of time to write, let alone blog, for the past couple of months (due to work constraints) so have spent whatever spare seconds I’ve had flicking through social media. I’ve noticed that the majority of posts nowadays are memes. For those of you who just look at the stuff as it whizzes past your nose, these are the little images, videos, or pieces of text aimed at making the viewer smile or, occasionally, think. If you’re an avid social media user, you’ve probably noticed this yourself?

Now I like clicking on something that makes me smile. There’s enough crap happening in the world that we can all use an uplifting moment or two during the course of the day, but I can’t help but think that this is having an effect on how we perceive (and use) the English language nowadays.

Let me explain: aside from writing, I currently teach in Adult Education, and the vast majority of those I work with are aged between 16 and 19 years. Most are in work-based training, taking apprenticeship qualifications. Part of an apprenticeship is for the learner to achieve their functional skills in English, Maths and ICT. Some of these learners have gone all the way through school without gaining a single GCSE, and I have a year or so to impart this knowledge to them, or they don’t achieve their overall qualification. So; no pressure then!

I regularly receive work wherein the writer has made no attempt at grammar, has no idea of sentence structure, has used no capitalisation or punctuation, but has (if I’m lucky) had a vague stab at spelling. As a result, their work makes absolutely no sense to the reader (i.e. me)! I receive work written in text speak (along with abbreviations and smiley faces) and the general consensus seems to be that if they didn’t ‘get it’ in school, why do they have to learn it now?

I deliver qualifications to people who work with children.

Let me say that again: I deliver qualifications to people who work with children.

Surely it is of the utmost importance that anybody working with children should know about SPaG, or what hope is there for future generations?

Which brings me back to memes: how many have you seen that don’t have at least one spelling or grammatical error within them? So whilst I am laughing at the joke in the meme, the writer in me has a twitch in the eye as I pick up on each infraction. I can’t help it. I see them and wince.

Children are active on social media from a very young age and are regaled with these things in their feeds. They soak them up. It’s an escape from the pressures of school (and I admit that I go online for relief from work pressures in much the same way), but children absorb the information they read and bad spelling and grammar becomes ingrained in their subconscious and is perceived as being correct writing.

I take memes for what they are: light pieces of (sometimes) witty fluff, made to be looked at, smiled (or tutted) at, and possibly shared before I move on to the next one in line. I can ignore the errors whilst knowing they are there. Children learn from what they read. Don’t the people who create them have a duty to at least run a spell check over their work before they put it out into the world?

A Bad Judge of Character

For those of you who are interested, the dating site thing didn’t exactly work out as I imagined (not helped by the fact that since I joined there’s been non-stop news reports about the dangers of internet dating – and now I can see why!) I can’t believe the amount of men that join these sites who are married/involved and looking for ‘extra curricula activities’! I bypassed those, (once I’d sussed out the language they all unwittingly use.)

I’m obviously a bad judge of character: I spoke on the phone to one guy twice. He was quite a lot older than me (which I had reservations about) and he was genuinely single (you’ll see why in a second). In writing he seemed both nice and normal, which was why I swapped numbers with him despite the age difference. He spoke with a slight lisp and in both conversations he brought up that he ‘suffered from surges’. As our entire first conversation had revolved around his ailments (oh, the glamour!), I thought it was possibly a euphemism for prostate troubles, so I let it pass. But when he repeated it during the second conversation a couple of days later (when I intended to let him down gently), he qualified it by saying that so far nobody had been prepared to satisfy him.

I was a bit intrigued as I had no clue what he was talking about. I mean, was this guy looking for a carer? I had visions of him expecting me to help him to the loo until he added that ‘it was all still in working order’ and it dawned on me that he hadn’t said surges, he’d said urges

Well, I did tell you you’d see why he was genuinely single.

I removed my profile.

If you’ve found yourself single at a certain age, how have you dealt with trying to meet new people? I’m not necessarily talking about for dating, just to make new friends and try to rebuild your social life? Do let me know before I stagnate!

Love, romance and… oh, who am I kidding?



A couple of weeks ago I joined an online dating site for the following reasons:

(1) Having been a single parent for more years than I  care to think about, my daughter keeps telling me I need to get a life. Actually, she more kind of mutters it under her breath after I’ve asked her to do something around the house, but I choose to think she means it nicely and she does have a point.

(2) I keep hearing stories of how ‘so and so met that way and they’re happily married now’, and;

(3) If the actual dating doesn’t work out, I have had this idea for a book…

So I took a deep breath and completed my profile (honestly – no point in doing it otherwise and you never know, Mr Right may be on there somewhere) and was instantly inundated with messages from blokes who, I can only presume, hang around on there all day and night in the hope of getting lucky. The messages I received varied from ‘hi’, to ‘here’s my number, ring me’, to ‘let’s meet up tonight’, none of which left an opening for an actual, proper, conversation (and no, I’m not giving out my number willy-nilly to anyone or just hopping in the car and popping off to meet a random stranger!)

So today I changed the blurb from all the clichéd stuff that I’d originally put on in the hope of meeting someone normal (which blatantly wasn’t going to happen) to this:

“Hi, is there anyone out there willing to throw their lot in with a skint, post-menopausal mother of two? As a special offer I come complete with one child still at home, hot flushes, a body that’s fast heading south, cellulite, a tendency to snap your head off if you say something stupid (and then cry about it afterwards) and a pathological desire to hold a pillow over your head if you snore loudly enough for me to hear you through the walls (as the night time hot flushes will ensure you’re happily ensconced in the spare room.)

What keeps me happy? Beach walks (until we’ve gone too far and my legs ache, at which point you will be expected to carry me to the nearest pub and ply me with restorative wine), logs on a fire (that you have built and tended and, obviously, are willing to muck out the following morning without making a huge mess of it), meals out (tell me again; what’s an oven for?), solvency (yours – mine’s up a creek without a paddle), and a dog. A Pyrenean Mountain dog please. Or a black Labrador.

Oh, and you may need a sense of humour as life’s too short to sweat the small stuff.”

I wonder if anybody will reply…

Release Day!

FB Ad 1

It’s here! Release Day! I’ve had my first review and it’s rather lovely (check it out here: ) so I’m happy!

Releasing a new book is always more than a bit frightening – will people like it?

Make your own mind up, as it’s available in a multitude of places:




Barnes & Noble:

I hope you enjoy it!

‘Til next time,




Paperback Writer!

Paperback photo I had a package arrive today! Ta da! Yes, you’ve guessed it (!) – the paperback proof editions of Nan Nose Best came and I am so pleased with them!

Release day for the book is 25th June and will be available in a variety of places which I’ll list on here on the day.

Here’s the blurb:  “14-year-old Jade Greene lives on a run down council estate with her workshy, thieving Dad, workaholic Mum and diabetic sister, Chrissie. Oh, and her Nan may as well live there too, seeing that she is never in the old people’s paradise of a flat she has around the corner.

When Gloria Greene writes an innocent post on her granddaughter’s social media page, no-one expects the attention it attracts, least of all Jade.

Enter a billionaire, a famous football team, a TV crew and a best friend (who isn’t very friendly).

Mix it up with first love, old love and the patter of tiny feet and Jade just has to hope that it’s true that Nan Nose Best.”

If you’d like to pre-order a copy from Amazon (for your kindle), then please follow one of these links:



I’ll post where you can get your hands on the paperback version on the 25th, too.

I hope you love it as much as I loved writing it. Let me know what you think!


The good, the bad and the downright ugly!

Hello from the heart of England where it is either way too hot or piddling down!

I hope you are all finding time to relax in the heat? Perhaps with a good book to read? Which reminds me: Nan Nose Best is up for release on 25th June and here’s a sneaky cover reveal for you:

NNB Paperback Kindle

Let me know what you think and you can pre-order it here:

^That was the good!^ Now for the bad:

Aside from writing, I am now considering a total career change – I’m a bit fed up with promises made by companies that don’t live up to reality. Let me explain: part of my role is to go out and observe students at work to assess their ability. I live in Essex, which is quite a large area to cover. I am willing to travel around Essex and cover most of Suffolk. What I am not prepared to do is travel around the M25 (that’s London bound for those of you who don’t know) simply because the road is an absolute nightmare – horrendous traffic (it’s more like a car park than a motorway) and toll fees – and it takes me an hour to get to it.

I’ve recently been taken on to do a work from home role, covering the Essex area. The role states that I visit students one day a week and deliver lessons the rest of the time (via Skype), and it is to be my choice which day I do my visits. The key words here are ‘Essex’ and ‘my choice’.

At interview I was straight in my requirements – I would not have considered the job unless it was going to work for me as well as for the company – why waste everybody’s time? I was guaranteed that I would work in Essex and that I would be free to choose my ‘visit’ days.

So why, less than one week into the role, have I been told that a) I have to cover Kent, and b) the day I am required to do it? Aside from the fact that Kent is only accessible to me via the M25 and the Dartford crossing, the day they have told me I have to go is my daughter’s birthday, and as I am expecting deliveries for her I need to be home to take them in. Not only that, but there is an extreme likelihood that if I go I won’t be back in time for her to get out of school – meaning I can’t get the banners up, or sort out balloons and other bits and pieces I like to do on her special day. And no, the company doesn’t care about any of that – I’ve been told I have to do it as, get this, they don’t have many students in Essex yet…

Sadly, this happens more often than not in the world of adult education – you go for an interview, are promised the terms of employment you need, and then it changes: 25 mile driving radius? In your dreams!  Straight case load of 36 students? Ha, ha, ha – try 50 or 55 (and, recently, 133 – no kidding!) and how can anyone do their job properly? Ask any apprentice how many tutors they’ve had, and I bet you it’s at least two, (if not more) and this is why. Stress levels skyrocket in this role.

Why do companies do this? I know that if this company had told me that they would be sending me outside of Essex I would have said thank you, but no thank you, and stayed in my old role. So now what the hell do I do? I am employed in a role that is not what I signed up for, but I need the income. I am also not prepared to let my child down on her one special day a year.

Talk about being caught between a rock and a hard place😦

(^And that was the ugly!^)