Tag Archives: Humour

FF – Pillars

Friday Fiction again and this week a photo from veteran player, Sandra Crook. I think she must have been with us at least as long as me, right Sandra?

Your thoughts and critique of my writing are always welcome.


Edith took the news with a sigh.

“I know you don’t approve, Mum, but the marriage just isn’t working for us.”

“I remember when marriage didn’t work for you, you worked for it. Things got a little rickety, you propped them up. Added a pillar. Or you leant harder on the ones you had.”

“And when there’s no pillars left?”

Edith glanced over at her grandsons. “You’ve three great pillars right there.”

“I don’t love her any more.”

“Well. Love’s the weakest pillar of all. I haven’t been in love since the Great War. And certainly not with your father.”


Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

Friday Fiction – Appearances Can Be Deceiving

This week’s FF picture comes from the adventures of Sandra Crook. You can read other responses to it, or join in with one of your own, at Rochelle’s FF HQ. No doubt there will be plenty of Gladiators and Christians to delight the palate this week.

My story is below, with a brief rider at the end. Feel free to leave your thoughts and feelings, and your suggestions for improvement.


Appearances Can Be Deceiving

“We should go to Greece sometime,” said John, looking up from his magazine. “It looks all ancient and cool.”

“Huh?” I was trying to concentrate on Jordan’s latest makeover. It looked very similar to her last one: big boobs, plastic face. Neither one something I’d had much luck copying.

“They’ve got a picture of the apocalypse here.”

I almost looked over. “What’re they naming the fourth one – Conquest or Pestilence?”


“Biblical interpretation or Modern?”

He was completely stumped. “The building?”

“Oh, you mean Acropolis,” I looked then. “Jesus, John. That’s the Coliseum.”


“In Italy. Remember our honeymoon, dear?”



I’m aware that this isn’t actually the Coliseum either. For the purposes of the story though, it was a picture of the Coliseum that John was looking at.

And no, this isn’t in any way autobiographical.

If you’re interested in the Conquest / Pestilence reference, Wikipedia touches on it here.


Filed under Friday Fiction, Uncategorized, Writing

Friday Fiction – A World Of…

Short on time this week, so I’ll just say thanks to Rochelle and EL Appleby for hosting and providing the picture respectively. As regular readers will know, feedback is always welcome, and as long-term followers may notice, these boys have been around before.

ADDENDUM: If you have time, there’s a bit more of this story here


A World Of…

“It’s an elragebron.”

“It’s a world of ridiculous is what it is.”

I can hear the boys arguing again. Luke’s been drawing so it’s probably about that. Matty likes to tease him when he gets home from school, and I’m worried he’s being bullied, and taking it out on his brother. My husband says it’s just what boys do.

Matty’s new phrase makes me laugh: ‘A world of’ whatever. I mustn’t, though. I must be the serious parent and discipline him for being mean. Then I catch sight of the picture. And it is … it’s a world of ridiculous.


Language note: I didn’t see the tail at first, so it was going to be an elragra. Of course, inspiration not illustration and all that, but I think the new name works too. For those who can’t work it out:

ELephant giRAffe tiGEr zeBRa liON


Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

Friday Fictioneers – Fireworks

This weeks’ FF inspiration comes from Lora Mitchell  and is hosted as ever by the incomparable Rochelle.

As an extra challenge, Rochelle has asked us to include a genre heading above our stories this week. Which leads me to a great admission – I don’t really know what genre most of my writing falls into. Occasionally, I have been known to write a thriller, chick-lit or something else specific, but for the most part, I just write mainstream fiction. The characters are realistic, live in our own world and do things we could do. The MC is not necessarily female, though, and the focus is rarely her love / sex life, so I don’t think it’s chick-lit. If I think of the books I read which have a similar style, they are not found in one fo the genre sections of the bookshop or library, and the “genre” note on the back of the book almost always just says “Fiction”. So I think my genre is just Mainstream Fiction, but that feels like a cop out.

Suggestions on this, or any comments / crit about the writing are always welcome.




We’re together under the midnight sky. I can feel his warmth as we move, slowly, carefully at first, then quickly, but still with care. Gasps and sighs fill the air around us.

We come together, perfectly timed. Mine, a flurry of sparks, escalating in a series of stronger and stronger bursts; his, a single world-shaking flash.

I want to enjoy my own moment, but it feels overshadowed by his – always higher, stronger and bigger. It makes me feel a little blue, even in the moment of delight.

When the night is over, what remains falls to Earth, spent and cold.


If you were thinking of suggesting the genre “Erotic Fiction” for this story, ask yourself whether this is in fact the story of two people who set up and let off fireworks for a public display, or indeed from the POV of the firework itself (thanks, Ted). Then consider whether you’ve just got a dirty mind 😉


Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

Friday Fictioneers – Huis Clos

So, I went to Rochelle’s website this morning to find the prompt and discovered this:ted-fashion-statement

“Right,” I thought. “This is going to be interesting.”

Then I scrolled down and discovered a second picture, this time courtesy of Rich Voza. Makes for a different story, I can assure you. So, with apologies to Ted, and to Rich…corridor

Huis Clos

“Surprise,” the text began, “We’re in the lobby, coming up.”

I opened the door to my room, looking for an escape. A long corridor greeted me, filled with useless doors, and the elevator menacing at the end.

They say “You only see what you want to see” but I can assure you of this: On that September night, in a Paris hotel, I did not want to see my wife and kids, and they did not want to see me, dressed like that, or what lay within the room I had booked for the latest “conference”.

The elevator pinged.



Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

Friday Fictioneers – Drive-Thru

A rare and dangerous attempt at something lighter this week. I’d love to hear what you think!

Thanks to Madison again for the prompt. Hers and others can be found here: http://madisonwoods.wordpress.com/flash-fiction/moths-at-the-drive-through/


“Green One to Green Leader. I have the target in my sights. Permission to fire, Sir?” Luke paused for a moment, then settled into a steady ack-ack-ack of machine gun fire.

“I think they are lovers,” said Mom. “The green one is the boy, trying to persuade the pretty but shy girl to date him.”

Jenna sighed. Her family were so predictable, like a TV show cliché. She stared at the window, willing it to open and the cashier inside to pass out their food before Dad chimed in. But it was too late.

“Do you want flies with that?”

For your further amusement and entertainment, Tim McGraw.



Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

It’s Friday, but not Fiction

As I’m away and unable to play with the Friday Fictioneers this week, I thought I’d practise posting about my adventures in Canada. Thanks to all those who encouraged me to do so in response to my post (https://elmowrites.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/writer-seeks-readers-gsoh-a-must/), I’d love to hear what you think about this first attempt!

One of the big questions people ask when you move away from England is “How do you cope with driving on the wrong side of the road?” And the answer, actually, is that it’s no big deal. At first, I was conscious of which side I drove on, but the street furniture, road-markings and the rest of the traffic are all pretty big clues and I got used to it pretty quickly.

Nevertheless, driving in Toronto has taken a lot of getting used to.

One cause of this is pedestrians. English school children learn the “Green Cross Code” from an early age, we know to stop, look and listen and, although there’s no law against jay-walking, we know that cars are big things that can’t stop on a dime. Even in summer, and certainly not in a Canadian winter with black ice and freezing rain. In most parts of Britain(1), as a driver you can take it for granted that pedestrians will at least give a passing thought to these things when close to a road.

Not so in Toronto.

From school-age, Canadian children learn that all traffic is immobilised by the sight of a stopped school bus. Pedestrian crossings are “push and point” – similar to zebra crossings in the UK, with the addition of a button which instantly lights up the crossing – as soon as a pedestrian steps out onto the road, cars must give way. Pedestrians have right of way in pretty much all circumstances. The result is that Canadian pedestrians are fearless. If the pavement they are walking along is interrupted by a minor road, they consider it an irrelevance – the vast majority keep walking without even pausing or looking up. If they are running up the road and need to cross at a crossing, they will hit the button and sprint straight into the road.

I spend time being a pedestrian and a driver. As a driver, I respect that pedestrians are smaller and weaker and need protections, but as a pedestrian I recognise that cars are bigger and more dangerous, and have less manoeuverability than me. Canadian pedestrians could do with learning this latter lesson.


1. Blackboy Hill in Bristol is not typically British. I used to direct people to my flat by saying “Next, you drive down a steep hill where everyone seems to be out to kill themselves.” My guests always arrived saying “I knew I was going the right way when I got to that hill. People here are Crazy!”


Filed under British Expat in Canada

Writer seeks Readers, GSOH a must!

Every time I think about re-starting my blog about an english girl’s adventures in Canada, I come across the same problem. The best way to make it interesting to other people would be to cast it in a humorous light, a la “A Year in the Merde”, Stephen Clarke’s book (later, series of books) about his time in France. But my sense of humour is traditionally British – dry and sardonic. If sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, then I might be the lowest form of whit(1).

Ok, I throw in the occasional pun for good measure, but mostly my sense of humour doesn’t translate well onto the page, and especially not to a Canadian audience. It didn’t take me long over here to discover that God’s Frozen People were taking me far too seriously, and potentially getting upset by what I appeared to be saying.

For example, in one piece of short fiction, I had a young character who doesn’t like children, refer to the “spawn” of some of her friends. To me, it was clear that the term was used (by the character) in jest and with an eye to the dramatic, but my writing group friends were almost universally appalled!

So I hesitate to publish any anecdotes about life in the colonies for fear of causing offence, or at least confusion. And my fictional writing tends to steer clear of any attempts at humour too. Maybe this is why I am always inclined to write about death and destruction!

If you have any hints or tips about ways to add humour, and particularly how to indicate sarcasm in print, I’d love to hear from you. Otherwise it’s back to reading Clarke and Austen, two great British wits (whits?) for suggestions.

1. Whit, for those without a British English dictionary, is a 15c variant of “wight” and means “creature”.


Filed under Uncategorized, Writing