Very nice to see my mugshot and book cover in the biggest and bestselling mag for anyone in the UK who writes – ‘Writing Magazine.’ Wa-hey!
The title of the article was ‘It’s not so grim up north’ and this got me to thinking about why we associate the North with being ‘grim’ anyway. Personally, I can’t think of anywhere less grim (apart from London, that is.) And I grew up in east Manchester, for Gawd’s sake!
Many of you know that I’ve been wittering on about street children in Africa in between having my head stuck in boxes of books and getting all giddy about my launch (photos of me in a FROCK coming soon folks!) But beyond all of that, there have been many light-hearted moments. Honest, guv!
So, I thought I would scribble ye a blog that contains some of the very un-grim chunnerings that have occurred over the last few weeks in our community.
Un-Grim Scenario 1:
Daughter with dyslexia presents daddy with a ‘Hapy Fartrs Day’ card. Yes. We said nothing. She gets very touchy about her spelling.
Un-Grim Scenario 2:
Walking the kids to school. Our next door neighbour slows down in her car and says ‘Do you want a lift?’ I reply ‘No! Go away with your flashy BMW, we’re walking! We’re a healthy family we are! Not like you lardy lot!’ Neighbour pulls away and gives us the finger. Just as one of the teachers from school crosses the road in time to see it.
Un-Grim Scenario 3:
Visiting our local Co-op shop. Note – we’ve always thought that wherever you live, in west Yorkshire – the Co-op tends to employ really …. hmmm…. ‘unusual’ people. I mean, they’re all really quite *nice* (apart from that pervy bloke that reminds me of a slug. In in the-village-that-cannot-be-named). But. They’re just sort of … different. And recently, I’ve begun to suspect that our local Co-op staff have been on the Happy Pills. Perhaps senior managers have created a new staff incenctive scheme. Anyway, I was there, trying to rifle through the reduced items (they had mini pork pies AND sausage rolls) and my quest for the best bargain was being accompanied by a woman who was singing away as she cleaned the fridge section out. ‘You sound happy!’ I said. ‘Yeah!’ she goes. ‘I love cleaning the fridges. Actually – it’s my day off and I came in today ’cause I was bored and I like cleaning the fridges here. Can’t stand doing my own one, at home though. Well boring.’ I had noticed that she wasn’t wearing any uniform. ‘Hey – will you do mine for me?’ I asked her. ‘Only if it’s industrial-sized,’ she says. ‘They don’t do it for me, otherwise.’
Un-Grim Scenario 4:
DAUGHTER: MUM! Guess what happened today? One of the dinnerladies told me that she’d read your book!
ME: Wow. That’s great. So what did she say about it?
DAUGHTER: Nowt. Just that she’d read it.
ME: Oh – okay.
DAUGHTER: But don’t worry. You know what people are like round here. If she’d thought it were right bobbins, she would have said so!
Un-Grim Scenario 5:
On being told that we had to leave early from the Yorkshire Yurt Festival at the foot of Holme Moss
SON (aged 6): It’s not fair! We never get to stay in yurts! Everybody else can stay in a yurt forever! But not us! And Father Christmas never gets me what I want. And all my other friends have the best Skylander LEGO Chima Ninja whatever – but not me! We are so poor! I want to stay in the yurt! Everyone else in the world can stay in yurts! I hate this family! I want to live with another family!
Un-Grim Scenario 6:
On being asked by my daughter (9) to sign a form so that she can join in with a new class at school which is all about something mysterious called ‘Living and Growing.’ She seemed to think that this was the big “bleugh bleugh – word beginning with ‘S’ Education’ lesson stuff. I was trying to convince her that the lessons would probably be about plants and animals. And general lessons about life. Nothing too hideous for the kids’ delicate little ears. She wasn’t having any of this though (I mean, what the hell do parents know, anyway?) She became more and more insistent and animated and then shrieked something at the top of her voice. I was very shocked. And confused. But tried to stay calm when I said;
ME: What do you mean, they ‘teach the lessons to us by using a cock’? I don’t understand. Where on earth did you hear that from?
DAUGHTER: ‘I didn’t say ‘cock’. I said ‘cop’. A cop. From Huddersfield police station. To teach us about dangers and drugs and things. Why would a cockeral teach us about Living and Growing? You’re so weird, mum!”
Un-Grim Scenario 7:
DAUGHTER: Hope it’s alright mum, but we’re doing about drugs now at school, so I’ve taken the envelope of drugs in to show everyone in my class.
DAUGHTER: You know. The envelope by the back door which says ‘Drugs from Eric the dodgy policeman.’
ME: What? No! Those are flower seeds from Uncle Eric. For us to plant in the garden!
DAUGHTER: Well. Why did you write something so stupid on it then?
ME: Because …. we thought that it was funny. He’s a policeman. And he gave us an envelope with seeds to plant. It just seemed amusing …
DAUGHTER: Well it wasn’t. And he’s a policeman. So he should have known better. It would have been really embarrassing if I’d brought drugs to show everyone at school and they turned out to be rubbish flower seeds.