Eighth Deadly Sin

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/the-eighth-sin/”>The Eighth Sin</a>

An easy one this – the most annoying, inconsiderate and infuriating habit is using a mobile phone or i-pad when in company. At a social event, however informal, maybe just two or three friends having coffee together – you shouldn’t find one of the group ignoring the others and carrying on a conversation or a text messaging session with someone else, probably someone not even known to the rest of the party. It is only polite to say something like “do you mind if I take this call?” and move away from the rest of the group.

You sometimes see people sitting in a cafe or restaurant and communicating with the person sitting next to them by text message for goodness’ sake! I remember years ago in an office we used  to send each other trivial email messages, things like “Going to the pub for lunch in half an hour?” But this was for a a reason, or rather two reasons: 1 some of us were only just starting to use email (I said it was years ago,didn’t I ?) and needed the practice. 2 in a room with other people trying to work it wasn’t fair to yell across the room.


Life Without Computer ?

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/life-after-blogs/”>Life After Blogs</a>

I admit I am old enough to remember life B.C. – before computers. I even once wrote an article in my local paper called “No Micros for Me” in which I explained why you really didn’t need to have your very own computer! Incredible isn’t it? A bit like something I read about the really early days of computing when some portentous person said he didn’t think computers would really catch on, but if they did England would need perhaps 4 or 5 machines in the country! Now if you count laptops and i-pads and smart phones I think most households – at least those with children – would be able to come up with 4 or 5 computer-type devices.

But now I really find it difficult to imagine what I would – or more likely could – do without a computer. Writing is the first thing: I can no longer produce legible handwriting.    I do virtually all writing on the screen.  Some time since, quite a long time, if I’m honest, I began to work straight to the screen – and I found I could do it! Easy-peasy. And I can alter and edit and change and correct so much more easily.

But it’s not only writing that I use my computer for. If it were only writing, I could replace my computer with a word processor or an electronic typewriter – with a memory function of course. No, I also use my computer to look things up, check facts, not only stuff like the date of Rabbie Burns’ birth and death, but personal things like details of appointments with my doctor or dentist, family birthdays and contact details for all sorts of people.

If I want to know what tomorrow’s weather will be like, I consult the metrological office website, if I want to go to the theatre or cinema I look for details of what plays or films are on. I can then book tickets online.

I shop online – from the ubiquitous Amazon – but also other places too.  For me email has replaced snailmail whenever possible. Why type or write a letter, print it out, find an envelope and stamp and walk in my case half a mile to the nearest letterbox? I can put my words on screen, edit them and press send and off they fly. The recipient will receive my letter immediately and can read it at their leisure. I even have the advantage of a copy in my “sent” file so I can check what I said and whenI said it.

No life without a computer -now – would be going back to the dark ages.





New Year

New Year Resolutions

So why do we make them?
We’re certain to break them,
They are one of our worst institutions.
My New Year’s plea
 and I think you’ll agree

Is to ban all New Year Resolutions.



So I wrote a year ago and I still feel more or less the same. There’s no real reason why a new year should be connected with promises to do all sorts of things that are good for you: giving up smoking; losing weight; exercising more; being kind to your elderly mum or dad – if you’ve got them; doing more for other people; helping in charity shops or the like. The list is (almost) endless.

But there’s no real reason why it should be connected with January 1st. You can just as easily start a diet or give up cigarettes on 14th June or 29th October. But there we are and once again I start thinking about what I want to improve in 2016.

I want to write more. OK. Shall I try for a blog a day? Not very likely to keep at it, certainly not after the end of January – even if I manage that long!

There’s also the nagging thought that brilliant pieces scattered randomly in my blog aren’t really acceptable for comp entries as “unpublished” stories/poems/articles. Stuck. Up against a brick wall.

Probably the best way is to try to write: 
1. Something every day – however short or however silly
. 2. Blog entry at least twice a week – using Daily prompt if necessary
 3. One larger project – story/play/new poem each month
 4. say, half a dozen fillers/letters/bits and bobs each month

Might not achieve this but at least I have set a few goals,











Unplugged? Unconnected?

Sometimes, we all need a break from these little glowing boxes. How do you know when it’s time to unplug? What do you do to make it happen?

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/bloggers-unplugged/”>Bloggers, Unplugged</a>

I don’t have a chance to “make it happen” so I can have a rest from writing – heavens, a rest from writing would be like a break from breathing.

Seriously though, I get enough unscheduled breaks courtesy of my Internet provider. Little billets-doux saying, “You are not connected to the internet” or “Safari can’t find the URL – check your spelling and try again”.

Then of course there are the umpteen other things that need to be done; some of them need to be done at a particular time. Outings and shopping and meetings and rides, not to mention meals and snacks and household chores – washing and ironing, baking and cooking. I’m now retired: how did I ever find time to go to work?



Facing Down Facebook

I have long felt that Twitter is for Twits – or possibly Twats- and I’m now coming to the conclusion that Facebook is for Fracking Twits. At one time I was thinking of getting myself a Facebook Account, then I looked into it in more detail – as far as I could – and decided it wasn’t for me.

  • Facebook insists on being given you real name and email address.  – compare this with a blog such as WordPress where I can be whoever I like:  Lass from Lancashire, Threewheelergran, Esme, Willamina Shakespeare if I want. I don’t have to proclaim my identity for all to see and reveal my email to scammers, hackers, trolls and other nasty pieces of work.
    I read a recent article about various groups of people objecting to giving their “real” names on Facebook. The objectors included Drag Queens, Native Americans, LGBT people especially those undergoing gender reassignment, and teachers who didn’t want their pupils or the kids’ parents to know all about their private lives. I don’t belong to any of these groups but I can see their point.
  • It’s very difficult, or at least I found it difficult, to get to see a sample Facebook entry without actually taking out an account. I don’t like to sign up for something without full info available. I found a Facebook website which told me in detail about how marvellous Facebook was but not how a non-user can look at a Facebook page. I did eventually find a help screen but all the requests seemed to be people wanting their date of birth removed from the system: it appears this isn’t possible.
  • They seem to ask for (presumably a photocopy of) your passport, your photo driving licence, your bank account details, a recent utility bill etc just to prove you are who you say you are. More “proofs of identity” than you would need to take out a mortgage or open a credit card account.
  • This business of Facebook pages being only available to other Facebook users is my real gripe. I’ve seen umpteen organisations and websites where the viewer is invited to “like us on Facebook”. I might like them if I wasn’t required to like this dodgy organisation Facebook to do so! If I could just look at say Little Wittering Women’s Walking Club and Cake-making Society or Man United FC without having to enroll in this ominous entity called “Facebook.”
  • Facebook is picture-oriented and I am a words rather than a picture person. After an important occasion or event I am more likely to write or read about it than gather a file of pictures. Perhaps it is my age!
  • I’ve had another try to find out about Facebook . I even went to their Help page where there is  place to ask questions. I tried it – No answer. Tried again –  ditto . All I need is a one-word response: Can non-Facebook subscribers look at Facebook Sites? Yes or No. They won’t tell you unless you join Facebook!

I might be losing something by leaving Facebook alone but I am worried by the complex instructions for editing a Facebook page and the thought that I might easily publish something to the world that I had intended only for a select group of my nearest and dearest.


Note: Fracking – I don’t like using asterisks eg f***ing and “fracking” seems a good alternative pseudo-swear word. Fracking is an unpleasant and dangerous activity that currently threatens some areas of Lancashire not far from where I live. Seems appropriate.



(Inspired by the comments on the Blog Dysfunctional Literacy about reading Huckleberry Finn.)

What words are the most unmentionable nowadays? At one time it was the f-word, or the c-word, now it seems to be the n-word. I can’t for the life of me see why. But while I can happily include the f- or the c- word my blog, I wouldn’t want to use the n-word in full because some nasty search engine might pounce on it and perhaps get my whole WordPress.com blog blocked.

You think I jest- I assure you I do not. Recently a broadcaster in Britain was forced to make a grovelling apology for an accidental use of the forbidden word when quoting some children’s rhyme from years ago. (I’m not trying to avoid giving his name , I simply don’t know it. ) I’m very concerned about the over-reaction to this accidental slip-up.

There’s the story and play by Agatha Christie that had to be renamed so it didn’t offend the delicate sensibilities of American readers. Totally bonkers. As far as I know the story had no racial connotations whatsoever but was about a group of people who were killed off one after another.

Of course this banned word appears “Tom Sawyer” and “Huckleberry Finn” – usually considered classics and I imagine in many other well-known and highly regarded American novels, like “To Kill a Mocking Bird” by Harper Lee or “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett. I would expect it to be used in many other works of fiction both in America and elsewhere.

There’s a strong tradition in England of using insulting terms for people of a different racial or ethnic background. These are a godsend to writers of fiction or plays; if your main character describes someone as a “frog” or a “kraut” or a “dago” you show not only the geographical origin of the person described but the attitude of your main character towards them.

I read somewhere that the only people allowed to use the n-word were black American men when referring to themselves. If this is true it is discrimination of the very worst kind.

The meanings of words change over time, witness the way “gay” once meant “light-hearted, cheerful” but is now used almost exclusively to mean homosexual. I remember a comic I read many years ago about a group of schoolgirls referred to as “the gay girls”.  I  can’t remember the details but they were just jolly cheerful schoolgirls and certainly not lesbians.

If the use of the n-word is such a problem that Huck Finn gets banned, why not insert a footnote saying that this word when used by Mark Twain was the equivalent of “black person” but as many black persons at that time were slaves or very poor and underprivileged it was used as a term of disparagement? That way today’s children wouldn’t miss out on what is a very fine story.

Surely it’s true
As writers you




How Far? How Long?


If I ask “how far is it to Manchester?” I expect an answer in terms of distance. 50 miles, 100 kilometres or  even 40 leagues. What I don’t want is an answer given in units of time – an hour or two and a half hours.

Responses like this irritate because they don’t give me the information I’ve requested. It is as though I asked someone “How old are you?” and got a reply “Five foot three.” . Accurate probably,  but the wrong information in the wrong units

I suppose I can see why some people use this method. They tell me how long they think it will take me to get to Manchester, or wherever. Or rather, they tell me how long it takes them to get there. Not the same thing at all.  I may be travelling on foot, by bike, by train or bus; the person I ask is likely to be a car-driver who never considers any other form of transport.  Even if both of us are talking about car travel there will be variations, not just how fast or slow the person drives, but the weather, the traffic and other variables. Why can’t people simply give distances in miles and leave you to work out how long a journey will take?