The Frost Report

Here is the frost report: it’s frosty.  I cycled to my counselling session this morning with the air biting my fingers and chewing my ears.  It was cold then and it’s cold now: one of those days when the sun doesn’t make it through the clouds.  The kitchen is down to 12 degrees and I will have to put the heating on soon or it’ll never get up to temperature.  Still I guess, what with global warming and stuff, it’s good to know it can still freeze.

So: at the moment I am focussing on short stories.  I’ve got one almost ready to go off, called ‘The Dot Com Revolution’.  It’s about an older woman’s struggles with the modern world and specifically technology: she keeps the TV and computer well away from each other in case they fight, and always switches them off when she goes out.  She has a friend who keeps trying to get her to go on Facebook and eventually she gives it a try.  Then there’s another story about my teaching days and a third story is about people being like sticks of rock, but that’s not so well worked-out.

At the moment I am shivering in the front room with the gas fire on and trying to warm up.  You’d think I’d be used to it, what with growing up in freezing vicarages with ice on the inside of the windows, but somehow it never gets any easier.  I am aware that I find dry cold better than damp cold even if the temperature is lower, because the damp seems to seep into the bones, but I’ve never been very good at dealing with cold weather.  My friend at school used to call me a frowsty, which was possibly a word she’d made up.  When I think about it though our uniforms were totally inadequate for the winter months: a skirt and blouse with a thin v-neck jumper, a raincoat (my mother bought a lining for mine) and a regulation scarf (I had a long brown maxi-scarf which kept getting me into trouble.)  And tights!  Hideous, futile garment!  They ought to be banned.

That’s it for now.  Back to the pen-drive.

Kirk otu


What the Who?

Some good news yesterday – my poem and short-short piece have finally appeared in What the Dickens? magazine.  I’ve had a leaf through and it looks quite good – some interesting articles, short stories and poems, though of course the highlight comes on pp 35 -36 (look for Sarada Gray, not Liz).  It’s free to read on-line though the print version will cost you.  And here it is:

And that was the high point in an otherwise rather dull day.  I made it down to Yesim’s for about an hour and then came home again: there were icicles hanging off the shop-fronts and the puddles were all frozen.

Yesterday Daniel tidied his room without being nagged (a minor miracle) while I watched ‘Coronation Street goes to Ancient Egypt’.  I think you can go a bit far with this ‘viewer-friendly stuff: I’m all for things being accessible but for this documentary on ordinary Egyptians they found a presenter who would not have been out of place in the Rover’s Return.  She really played up the accent and was rather bizarre-looking to boot.  Where do they find these people?  Or do they have a lab somewhere?

Take a look.  It’s quite an interesting programme once you get past the presenting style:

We now have 4 OD downstairs because Daniel’s reward for room-tidying was to bring his x-box down for a week.  So prepare for comments on channel 4 stuff.

Today will be busy-ish: a friendship group followed by Sainsbury’s order coming and then Drink and Think tonight.  Join us at the Ale Wagon for 8 pm where we will be discussing Political Correctness.

Has it gone mad?

Have I?

Kirk out

Let me Smell the Sound of your Money

All right, come on now – it’s more than six weeks after Groundhog Day and, whether the thing could see its shadow or not, it’s still winter!  I want my money back: this is just not on.  Every time I go outside my lungs seize up and I can’t breathe and I’ve JUST HAD ENOUGH!!!!!

Still, it was warm and cosy in Yesim’s once I’d made it down there last night, and another good evening evolved, during the course of which we heard this story about a Japanese magistrate, a Solomon-like figure of legend.  I don’t know what it’s called so I’m just going to call it:

Japanese Magistrate Story

There was once a miser who kept a shop.  The miser loved to count his money and he kept it locked up securely: every night he bolted his doors and windows, and then he would go into his kitchen to fry tempura for his dinner.

Now, upstairs lived two students who rented his rooms: they were very poor and could only afford one bowl of rice a day.  One of the students was getting very fed up with this and he complained to his room-mate.

‘You know what I do?’ said the other.  ‘I wait till the old codger’s frying his tempura and then I get the smell of that with my rice.  Everyone knows 60% of the taste of food is in the smell – so it feels as if I’m eating a proper meal.’

The other thought this was a great idea – but unfortunately the shopkeeper, who was given to listening at doors, overheard them.  His peevishness at being called an old codger was as nothing to his outrage that the students were getting something from him – for free!

The next day he went to the magistrate and told him the story.  The magistrate immediately summoned the students.

‘This is a serious case,’ he told them.  ‘The shopkeeper is in the right and he must be paid.’

The students were outraged.  ‘But we can’t pay our rent if we have to pay him for the smell of his tempura!’ they objected.  Still, they knew the magistrate had a great reputation for justice, so they waited to hear what he would say.

‘Take your money out,’ said the magistrate to the first student.

He did so.

‘Hold it in one hand.’

The student put five gold coins – all the money he had for that term – into his hand.

‘Now, hold them up and let them fall into your other hand,’ instructed the magistrate.

He obeyed.  The shopkeeper began to salivate at the delicious clinking sound.

‘Now let them fall back into your other hand,’ said the magistrate.

The student did this five times in all; then the magistrate turned to the shopkeeper.  ‘Now you have been paid,’ he said.  ‘The smell of food is paid for by the sound of money.’



I’m thinking of doing one of my own stories next week – but we’ll see.

Wishing you warm weather,

Kirk out