Monthly Archives: March 2015

Satisfied Saturday Six

The SSS celebrates six things that have gone well, or at least okay, in the past week. It is the creation of Terry Egan, who is all things wonderful.


1. Wow, I am really happy that my blog entry ‘Five Things People With CFS/ME Would Be Happy Never To Hear Again (And What We’d Like You To Say)’ has done so well. Obviously, after 22 years living with ME, it’s an area really close to my heart and I’m so glad that it resonated with so many other people. (Well, sort of glad – I’m really sorry how many people with this illness have heard the same unhelpful things I have, but I hope that maybe a few more people might understand now.)


2. The ‘Dark Lord Funk’ version of ‘Uptown Funk’ (a beautiful Harry Potter parody) has made me so happy.  I have no shame in saying that I’m a Harry Potter fan, and it incorporated so many parts of the original books and films into it – words, phrases, even the film’s theme music – that it was perfect. Love it.


3. I have a new (to me) car! After a couple of weeks without one, it is so great to have the freedom to get about. When your mobility is as limited as mine is (very), life is very curtailed without a car. I’m still getting used to its quirks, but I’m sure it will come.


4. On a slightly more mundane level, I managed to take my anti-migraine medicine the other day before the migraine took hold. I was still under the weather, but when I get migraines I can get frighteningly ill, and I managed to avoid that.


5. I had a parents’ meeting at Child’s school last week. Child is doing very well at maths (which doesn’t surprise me – he’s the sort of kid who thinks ‘mental maths problems’ is a great game to play in the car) and he seems happy at school. (That doesn’t surprise me, either – I ask him after school each day whether he’s had a good day and he always says yes. I got paranoid that maybe it was just a reflexive response, so I asked him if he’d tell me if he hadn’t had a good day, and he said “Of course!” So apparently, he really does have a good day every day!)


6. I’m really looking forward to going on holiday next week with my extended family. Thirteen of us! I’m expecting chaos…

Friday Fiction (poetry)

Random anecdote time: My grandmother had a slightly eccentric habit of clipping out pictures and phrases about cats and sticking them all around the two bathrooms she had. (When I say ‘bathrooms’, there was actually only a toilet and washbasin in one, and a toilet in the other with a washbasin in the ‘real’ bathroom next door. But I wrote ‘toilets’ to start with, and it gave me a mental image of picture-covered-u-bends…) Anyway, she has been dead for many a year, but a whole lot of the phrases/poems/extracts about cats have stayed with me. There was one, I recall, which read:

The gardener’s cat called Mignonette
She hates the cold, she hates the wet.
She sits amongst the greenhouse flowers
And dreams for hours – and hours – and hours.

Now, in one of my more pretentious moments as a 13 year old (fresh back from holidaying at my grandmother’s house), I wrote a poem. I felt a little guilty because it was the poem I’ve just typed out that gave me inspiration, and you can see links between the two. But I doubt if the original author would feel that I had stolen their poem. Mine?

Oh rose! Thou rose of ruby red
When summer comes, lift up thy head,
And dream away the passing hours
Sitting alone from the other flowers.

Oh rose! No greater beauty known.
A summer flower, yet one alone.
As pure and simple as is gold;
A sign of love from days of old.

Oh rose! No flower quite so sweet.
As cold as ice in days of hear.
In summer thou art dearly blessed,
But then in winter, sleep and rest.

Now, before you comment – I know, I know, it is not the most wonderful poem ever written. And even when I wrote it, I was sometimes embarrassed by it. But it’s interesting how one thing may trigger another. And my grandmother’s bathrooms will live in my memory forever 🙂

Wednesday Word of the Week

Crannied –  Having crannies chinks or fissures as a crannied wall

Okay, so I couldn’t think of a word for today so I went to a ‘random word generator’ online and it gave me this. Whilst, if offered the word ‘crannied’ I would probably have come up with this definition, I would not have been certain that it was a word which actually existed. I’m still not 100% convinced by it now.

Anyone ever used it?

Satisfied Saturday Six

1. I’ve read some really interesting books this week, including Joanna Trollope’s updated version of Sense and Sensibility. Also For The Record, by Ellie Irving, which Child lent me and which was fab.

2. Writing a poem last Sunday, out of the blue, was fun. It’s not Wonderful Po-tree. But it was silly and fun.

3. I am, rather meanly, enjoying watching UKIP implode in the weeks up to the election. Sorry, but it’s true.

4. Last Thursday, I invited one of Child’s friends home for tea. I try to do this at least once every half term (we have unofficial visits from the boy-who-lives-round-the-corner regularly, but that’s different) and it makes me feel like I am doing Worthy Motherly Things.

5. When you’re not feeling well (and even when you are), there is something ineffably consoling about having a lapful of cats.

6. Although I’m still car-less, I have a most wonderful ‘dalek’ so I can pick up Child from school without needing anyone else to help me.

Satisfied Saturday Six

The SSS celebrates six things that have gone well, or at least okay, in the past week. It is the creation of Terry Egan, who is all things wonderful.

1. I’m blogging with the Huffington Post! Me! It feels terribly exciting, and I keep thinking of things I could blog about 🙂

2. I’m not sure whether it’s something to feel ‘satisfied’ about, but I got a diagnosis of fibromyalgia yesterday, which probably helps explain some of my pain issues. I don’t think it’ll do a lot more than just pin a name to it (like pin a tail to the donkey, with me as the donkey!) but at least I feel that I’m trying.

3. Went shopping with my mother yesterday, and had a free ‘look after your skin’ consultation at the Body Shop. It was nice, especially because after they’d done it, they didn’t hang around trying to sell you things in a guilt-inducing style. Which meant that we did in fact buy some things (my Mum treated me to some skin products, which I’m not sure is the way round Mother’s Day is supposed to be, but it was very nice).

4. I set up a ‘symptom tracker’ thing online this week, which hopefully will give me some sort of idea as to what things are making me feel worse and better. It probably won’t do a lot to help, but it makes me feel as if I have more control over things.

5. Listening to my Partner play the guitar is splendid!

6. I’m still loving the longer days and actually seeing the sun. Plus, as we’ve got solar panels and my dalek-mobility-scooter runs off the electric, I can truthfully say that my current transport is a solar-powered dalek 🙂

Friday Fiction (Disability)

So, I wrote my first piece for the Huffington Post blog today, so I think that really has to be today’s FF.

I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends

Hello, I’m Penelope Friday. I am a disabled mother: I’ve had a diagnosis of moderate to severe ME/CFS for 22 years, and a diagnosis of fibromyalgia for 1 day (yes, really. No thank you, in the nicest possible way, I don’t want to know what you advise for either of them). I have a very wonderful son of nine, but when he was a pre-schooler, I had a horrendous amount of trouble getting him to pre-school. I have been reminded of this recently because my car – fairly vital when you can barely walk – has unfortunately gone the way of all things mechanical. And I’m back to relying on… well, that little (or, in my case, big) bit of help from my friends.

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Here We Go Again – The Never-Ending Clarkson Saga

So, I see that Jeremy Clarkson is in trouble again, this time allegedly for hitting a producer. And I wonder this: who is surprised? I suppose the most surprising thing is that the BBC have finally taken steps against it. It’s all very well to say that you’re giving someone a “formal warning” – he’s been warned about things so many times that he’s practically a weathercock (along the same lines as the spoof UKIP Radio 4 report, one could also have: “Storms expected in North Clarkson. Moderate to Racist”). Though, of course, the BBC has regularly defended Top Gear and its presenters – the Argentinian fiasco was just a mistake, and the people who were offended by the stereotyping of Mexicans in 2011 just didn’t understand British (and Top Gear) humour.


Already there have been plenty of people coming out in defence of Jeremy Clarkson, that poor misunderstood figure, just the innocent victim of horrible people with agendas (presumably agendas such as “racism is not funny” for example). More than 250,000 people have signed a petition asking for him to be reinstated. Because, you know, it’s tough to be a rich, white, heterosexual man. Everyone is prejudiced against him – it’s sheer liberal fascism (did you know such a thing existed? No, me neither). Well, I’d like to say that my heart bleeds for him, but that would be a lie. I happen to have sympathies more with people who don’t want to encounter violence at work; who suffer the prejudice of others because they are from ethnic minority backgrounds, or female, or immigrants. You know, the sort of people Clarkson likes to mock, because cheap laughs are easily bought that way.


I’ll be interested to see if the BBC does more than suspend Clarkson temporarily. He has apparently previously been told that “if I make one more offensive remark, anywhere, at any time, I will be sacked”. And, of course, hitting someone (if such he has done) is not an offensive remark. Judging from the BBC’s previous attitude towards Clarkson’s misdemeanours, there’s enough room for them to wriggle out, once again, from actually getting rid of him. Because not only is he rich, but he’s helping making the BBC rich – which is much more important than any moral issues. It is noticeable that when a local BBC radio presenter played – he said inadvertently – a version of ‘The Sun Has Got His Hat On’ which included a racist word, he was sacked. One rule for Jeremy Clarkson, another for someone who isn’t raking in the cash.


So, BBC – are you going to put your money where your mouth is? Or are you going to continue feeding it into Jeremy Clarkson’s racist, sexist and violent mouth?

Wednesday Word of the Week

Okay, a change of approach today. This is a “which word should be used?” dilemma.

Woman/Lady – which?

For me, in a customer service role, I’d say to someone else: “This lady has a problem with her computer” (or whatever it might be). But if I were talking about it later, I’d say: “There was a really nice woman who came in today with a problem with her computer.” Possibly equivalent to using vous/tu in French? It’s much easier in my Regency fiction as it’s ‘lady’ all the way. No dilemmas. No concern that I’m going to offend someone. Book characters, mind you, are good like that. They only get offended if I decide they’re going to 😉




I know people tend to have strong views in both directions, so please take care to be polite and respectful of others.


Satisfied Saturday Six

The SSS celebrates six things that have gone well, or at least okay, in the past week. It is the creation of Terry Egan, who is all things wonderful.


1. Spring has sprung! Or at least, we’ve had a week of sunny days and lighter evenings.


2. As a side-effect of #1, Child has been out playing with his friends most evenings this week. As he’s an only child, I like it when he’s able to play with other children, and to be honest, I’ve barely seen him this week!


3. I read 18 books during February, all of which were new to me (and only one of which was a children’s book, which is unusual for me). Some of them were brilliant, including Susan Lanigan’s White Feathers.


4. I got through a couple of medical appointments this week and feel like things are moving forward on this front. One next week, and NONE the week after! Joy!


5. I was really upset and angry earlier in the week, and got over the worst of it by swearing and ranting at whatever happened to be on the television. Over-reacting to such a big degree was cathartic and so out of proportion that I could eventually laugh at myself 😉


6. Both my parents have now read Petticoats and Promises, and both (rather to my surprise) enjoyed it. My mother-in-law has also been told about the book and given a copy, and I am informed was more impressed that I’d written it than scandalised about what I’d written 🙂 I definitely did well with my in-laws (and, indeed, my family!)