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A Tax rose is but a rose by any other name - Page 14 - Carers UK Forum

A Tax rose is but a rose by any other name

Socialise and chat about other areas of your life
687 posts
Hmmm. How clever of SM and how thoughtful. I'm getting the feeling that SM knows you better than you know yourself. Scary?
Do tell, what's flash writing?

Flash writing is terrifying. The tutor gives you a theme, and you are expected, in ten minutes, to write about it on your pad.

It’s one thing to write about what you want, in your own time, quite another to do that.

For instance, we had ten minutes to write about a person with super powers, but those super powers are useless.

Tutor: You have ten minutes starting from now.

My mind went a total blank of total panic looking at a blank bit of paper. But somehow I managed it. I just wrote down the first thing that came into my head. The second sentence became easier, then it just kind of wrote itself as your brain goes into overdrive.

Here’s my Superpower/useless power effort:

Janet was well annoyed. She was a mind reader. She developed this ability aged 7 after sustaining a brain injury, courtesy of an over-zealous fight with her elder brother.
There was just one problem: the thoughts she picked up from other people were backwards. So, “I could murder a cup of coffee,” she heard as, “eeffoc fo puc a redrum dluoc I.”
Overtime, she learnt to translate these backward thoughts… well, more or less anyway.
But as soon as she translated them in her mind’s ear she could no longer understand English. So she was none the wiser as to what other people’s thoughts actually were.
If she wrote the thoughts down, the same thing happened.
She tried to stop picking up other people’s thoughts as it was driving her mad. Ear plugs made no difference, and she didn’t fancy a brain operation. Which doctor or surgeon would believe her anyway? What to do? It was a quandary.

We then had to read out our efforts to the group for feed back, also scary, but, in reality, also bloody good fun.

But my fave superpower/useless power was from this bloke whose ‘hero’ could make peoples ears wiggle just by looking at them. That had us all in stitches.

We are all in the middle of writing a short story using this scary technique… I’m loving it.
Well, I gather you are a small person but your imagination and writing ability is huge. You will copy us in on the short story won't you?
I would create a super hero whose ability was to make people have an itchy anus. Especially MPs in a televised debate.

That’s a terrific super power, and far from useless. Imagine being able to stare at the telly during Prime Ministers Question Time, and making ‘Call Me Dave’ Macaroon scratch his arse manically while he refuses to actually answer questions properly.

Our short stories were sparked off via Google and a smart phone.

Tutor: (Pointing at a pupil.) Give me a gender.

Pupil: Male.

Tutor (Pointing to another pupil.) Give me an emotion; any one you want.

Pupil: Anger.

The tutor then typed in angry man into Google Pictures on his smart phone, and passed the phone around.
The picture of the angry man I saw wasn’t Victor Meldrew, but he looked dead like him. I thought he looked more pissed off/annoyed than actually angry.

Tutor: I want you all to write a profile based on the picture you’ve seen. It can include anything you like – age, occupation, hobbies – anything at all. You have 5 minutes starting from now.

Oh, the terror of the white blank page. Plus I hate writing by hand. My hand writing is appalling; a half way competent 8 year old has better hand writing skills than me. And my spelling is atrocious. That’s why I prefer computers…. Praise be to whoever invented spell checkers.

But I had no choice, so knuckled down. Here’s my profile on character 1.

Victor Meldrew’s 76 year old doppelganger is, appropriately, a retired Complaints Officer. Perhaps years of listening to other people’s moans and groans led to his permanent state of grumpiness.
Twice divorced, and once widowed, he now lives alone. With that expression on his face I’m not surprised.
Despite his age he is very computer savvy, and his favourite hobby is starting email petitions and campaigns, complaining about anything and everything going.
Going from Complaints Officer to officious complainer is Mr James Cardigan’s revenge on society.

We then had to read our profiles out. The tutor did exactly the same thing for character 2, who was to be a female hippy (I chose the hippy bit.)
The picture was of an elderly hippy who had seen better days, but looked like she had a bob or two.

We then had 5 minutes to write the profile about character 2, as follows:

Starlight Hollywood, real name Susan Howard, is a child of the 60’s; a hippy dippy tree hugger. The adored, and spoilt rotten, only child of a wealthy stockbroker father and traditional ‘stay at home’ mum, she rebelled big style in her teens using her wealthy father’s money, of course! She’s never stopped rebelling, and does so in style courtesy of said father’s money she inherited after her parent’s deaths.
She never married, never had children, and is currently experimenting with lesbianism with a toy girl 30 years younger than her pensioner plus aged self. A lady, even a hippy lady, never states her age. So much for Starlight’s feminism.

After reading our profiles out, the tutor read out a short story he’d written previously using the same Google Pictures technique.

He then explained that using our characters we were to start of writing a paragraph about one of them, then jump to the next character, and so on, but to stop at the point before they actually meet, or not as the case maybe. Ships passing in the night and all that. That was entirely up to us.
Tutor: You have 20 minutes, starting right now.

And that’s the point we’re up to. We have to finish our short stories at home, and read them out next week.

When I was reading out my profiles to SM last night, I took great pleasure in informing him that about half the group had chosen to make Angry Man an ex sergeant major. As one class member put it, “Everybody knows what knobs they are.” SM did not look amused.

SM: Well, come on then, let’s hear this short story. I’m all agog.

Me: You can agog away all you like, matey, but I’m blowed if I’m reading out half a story; that’s just plain pointless. You’ll just have to wait till it’s finished.

SM: Is it true what they say about novelists, that even their fiction is based on their own experiences?

Me: How should I know? I’ve never written a novel.

SM: It’s just that…. about Starlight and her girlfriend… I don’t suppose you by any chance….

Me: Hate to burst your bubble, sunshine. But, in my book, there are some things for which there is absolutely no substitute for. And what dangles between a man’s legs happens to be one of them….. Try not to look too disappointed.

I’ve got to dash now. I’m ferrying dad to his hospital appointment. He gets an injection by his armpit as part of his post cancer treatment. He’s on several of them for life now. Then the heady delights of a supermarket shop await me… oh, joy!
Hi Sajehar
That method reminds me very much of when I was an English teacher way back when, before National Curriculum. I remember one lesson where I read the beginning of a story to a class who all had their eyes closed. Reached the description of a scene, perhaps of the hallway of an abandoned house. Something like, (I was speaking quietly) 'I stood, mesmerised by the dancing dust motes in the beam of light from the open door way, when.....
at that point I slammed the lid of a desk (yes in the years when school desks opened from the top), with an almighty crash. The class jumped out of their skins, with accompanied shrieks and gasps, and were urged to complete the story. Got some good writing if I remember rightly.
Wish I could come with you on your course. Sounds like great fun.
I hated the National Curriculum.
Honest to god, you try to be a concerned citizen doing the right thing, and all you get is grief for your troubles…. ARRGH!

Our back garden backs onto the back gardens of the houses on the main road. Dad spotted that one of chimneys diagonally opposite to us appeared to be on fire, emitting billowing orange smoke and sparks.
He’d noticed this a couple of weeks or so ago and called the fire brigade out. They rang him back later saying they couldn’t see anything but could smell burning but couldn’t locate the smell, so had to leave.

Dad was blowed if he was calling them out again. But I couldn’t sleep at nights if I found out people burnt to death all because I couldn’t be arsed to warn them. So I set off for the main drag and marched up and down looking for the suspect chimney. Only one had normal white smoke coming out of it and no sparks. However, I did come across one which had sparks flying around its base but no smoke at all, let alone orange smoke.
I rang on the doorbell for the only flat with a light on. I explained where I was from and what we’d seen from our back garden. This bloke was really shirty towards me, as if I were accusing him instead of trying to warn him. He insisted loudly, and somewhat aggressively, that his flat had no fires.
I politely suggested that maybe another flat did. He practically yelled at me that, “No they didn’t.” I then politely suggested that he came and saw the sparks for himself from the pavement. He slammed the door in my face.
I was genuinely shocked at his reaction; I was only trying to potentially save his life. Most normal people would’ve thanked me for my concern, even if I had made a mistake. What an obnoxious little dickhead!

Shortly after I got back SM rang me from Wales. I was still fuming, and related the whole sorry tale with far more expletives than above.

SM: It does seem unusual behaviour. Was he drunk?

Me: No, not as far as I could tell; seemed stone cold sober to me.

SM: Maybe he was guilty, and that’s why he reacted the way he did.

Me: Guilty of what?

SM: Perhaps his landlord had blocked off the fire places, perhaps because the chimney was unsafe. Perhaps he had re-opened it. Perhaps he didn’t and perhaps….

Me: That’s an awful lot of perhapsi.

SM: Perhaps.

That made me smile, and we said our good byes.

SM had also popped round earlier to try to persuade me to come to Wales with him. But I couldn’t.
As dad is always a bit depressed after receiving any hospital treatment, I decided to cook his favourite meal for him: slow cooked mince & kidneys with onion tatties, just how his mum did it. A simple dish, but bloody gorgeous, even if I do say so myself.
SM pitched up just as we were sitting down to eat our supper so he joined us.

SM: You’ve been holding out on me. I didn’t know you could cook so well.

Me: I may not be Delia Smith, but I can hold my own.

SM: (Turning conspiratorially to my dad) Between the two of us we’ll turn her into a housefrau yet.

Me: Over my dead body.

SM: That’s my girl! Are you sure you can’t come to wales with me? Looks like good biking weather ahead.

Me: I’d love to, but I really can’t. I’ve got to go to my flat tomorrow as I’ve got to cash in this £12 Government Electricity Rebate voucher/letter thingy from Scottish Power before the 28th Feb. That’s by Sunday.

I then had to explain the ins and outs of a pre-payment meter. He didn’t even know they operated via keys, and I had to physically present my leccy key in order to claim my rebate.

SM: If all that’s standing between you coming to wales is £12, then I’ll give you the £12.

Me: That’s not the point. It’s the principle. I’m buggered if I’m letting Scottish Power get away with even a 12p rebate.

SM: You’re obsessed with Scottish Power.

Me: No I’m not. And anyway, it’s not just that. I have engineers turning up next week to do a gas safety check, and I can’t put them off for a third time. The place needs a spring clean; it hasn’t been touched since March last year. I don’t want them reporting me to the housing association.

SM: Is that likely?

Me: I’ve no idea, but I’m not risking it; they’re in-house….. That’s an idea. When my flat’s sorted, we can go clubbing sometime, and crash the night there. How does that grab you?

Judging by the visible shudder that passed through his body, it didn’t.

SM: I’d stand out like a sore thumb.

Me: Are you kidding me? Eccentrics are 10 a penny in Liverpool; no one would take a blind bit of notice of you. So stop being such a boring old fart; you’ll enjoy it.

SM: How can I be a boring old fart and an eccentric at the same time?

Me: I’ve no idea, but you somehow manage it. So, are you up for it sometime?

SM: Perhaps.

I may, or may not be, obsessed with Scottish Power, but SM is definitely obsessed with perhapsi… sounds like a cult from Ancient Egypt.... now there's an idea!

P.S. Elaine,

Now I’ve calmed down from the chimney stuff, I’ve read your post. I wish I’d have had an English teacher like you. Mine were so boring I don’t even remember them, apart from one. She was worse than boring, and we played tricks on her.
That mote stuff... sounds like something I remember from a Steven King novel called IF... I think? He definitely went on about motes in it, anyway.

I’ve got to tell you about my English Lit O level. I so hated English classes that when I was sitting my mock exam, I refused to write anything, and handed in a blank exam paper at the end of two extremely boring hours, apart from my name, etc.
My reasoning was very logical. I’d get zero results and therefore could not be entered for the actual exam itself… sorted!

It was not to be. I was hauled off to see the head mistress, with my mother in tow, and was entered for it anyway.
Jesus, what does a girl have to do in order to avoid an exam?

Come the actual exam, I was determined to do the same thing. I was actually frog marched to the exam by my parents and two teachers. I should've got up earlier for a successful bunking off. Talk about overkill. You'd think I was trying to escape from Alcatraz, not avoid a stupid exam.
But the thought of two hours twiddling my thumbs got to me so, after about half an hour, I started to read the exam paper for want of anything else to do.
One question caught my eye – something to do with the Merchant of Venice – so I answered it; the only question on the entire exam paper I did answer.
Basically, I wrote a diatribe accusing Shakespeare of being a total wuss, particularly when it came to Portia.

To everybody’s surprise, and my disgust, I got a B grade in Eng Lit. I’m still convinced to this day they got my results mixed up with somebody else’s. How the hell can you get a B grade when you’ve only answered one question, and then by criticising a national institution to high heaven and back again?
Tis a mystery. Not to mention the poor marker would’ve had to decipher handwriting that looked more like Sanskrit than English.
The joys of Eng Lit! I really liked ‘To Kill a Mocking Bird’ though… I might re-read it.

I would've loved an English teacher who banged desks. And our desks lifted from the top too. Don't they still? If not, how do they open nowadays?
No desks these days. Tables and a big school bag crammed with everything including PE kit, lunch and books for the whole day. Oh and my granddaughter has to cart her coat around too. There are lockers it seems but at the other end of school so not convenient for storage during the day.
I was a 'spelling test, handwriting practise and nouns and verbs' boring kind of teacher too. Oh and I used to teach 'sex', along with childcare, diet and other personal development subjects. I taught RE and computers and electronics and maths and history --------------
(Started of in a Sec Mod in early 70s, then a 'middle' school (age 9 to13) then a primary class teacher.)
If that desk stuff is true then expect an awful lot of back problems down the line. The worst place to put a weight is on your back (the head is better, more even distribution of weight apparently.)

I was dreading going over to my flat to sort it out, it has barely been touched in a year. On the rare occasions I did visit it, it was to pick up mail (mainly junk), and then get back to mum. So intensive had my caring become, I only managed three full weekends there, and all I did was either sleep, or wander around enjoying my freedom… anything other than tackle my flat!

I was last there about a month ago, and all I could remember is so many cobwebs hanging from the ceilings, especially the corners, that I could’ve given Miss Faversham a run for her money, piles of paperwork everywhere, thick dust and the floors still covered in dust and stuff from when the gas and radiators were fitted late last march. I remember turning tail and running from it.

But I couldn’t have done because, when I got there, the ceilings were clear of cobwebs, there was very little paper work kicking around and only a thin layer of dust. The floor was as bad as I remembered though.
I was truly puzzled; had the elves been in? It was a bit freaky.

Then I slowly began to remember slowly. The last time I visited my flat was on the day I had my mini psychotic breakdown caused by WAY to much coffee, hardly any food and days without sleep.
I began to remember that in order to distract myself from the music band that was following me outside my head I started tidying my flat.

But I had totally, totally forgotten that…. Until I was presented with the evidence; also a bit freaky. So, no elves then. Pity. I liked the idea of elves. I must have been in some kind of fugue state when I was last there. It's an odd sensation not remembering something and then beginning to remember something, in like flash backs. I've heard of this in traumatic events... but tidying a flat???

Regardless, it well pleased me that I had far less work to do than I’d previously thought, so I set to and sorted out the living room and hall way.

Then I got hungry and decided to go into town for a bite to eat. I was confronted with what appeared to be some kind of riot in the city centre; police were everywhere cordoning off streets. I got moved on about 4 times.
When I asked a rozzer what was going on, he didn’t seem to know all that much about it, other than I should move on.
The last thing I needed was to get wrapped up in some riot, so I went back to my flat and settled for a Pot Noddle instead of the pizza and salad I really wanted.

With the energy supplied by my chicken & mushroom Pot Noddle, my flat is now respectable…. That is such a good feeling! The floors are a bit streaky though. I’ll tackle that, and the windows, next time I’m there.

SM was horrified that I’d nearly got caught up in a riot just because I wanted pizza.

SM: And you want me to go night clubbing with you?

Me: It was nothing, and hardly ever happens, so you’ve nothing to worry about. My flat’s dead tidy now. Besides….

We’ll argue about that another day; it really was a storm in a teacup.

Talking of which, kind of, decaff coffee beckons.
Right, I've had a couple of decaffs, now...............

Curious as to what this riot was actually about, I’ve been online (I don’t have internet access at my flat, and didn't take my laptop with me anyway.)

I found stuff on the Liverpool Echo (obviously; it’s a local rag) but I could only find this on the nationals: Mirror online. Nothing in the Guardian, Independent, mail, Express or Telegraph (you have to pay for the Times.)

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/fa ... ns-7454080

I heard explosions that were obviously fireworks. At one point there were so many of them I actually thought it was a lorry discharging a ton of corrugated steel sheets (that’s what it sounded like.)

I was on my way to a café by Lime Street station when I was turned back. I now know it was some clash between far right protesters (who were supposed to be protesting in Manchester) and anti-fascist protesters.
Never saw any smoke bombs though. Still, at least I have a tidy, clean flat now. Knowing me, once I was out of my flat, I'd come up with any excuse to avoid going back. So that riot actually forced me to get on with cleaning the rest of flat. I can't wait to tell SM when he rings that I was forced to be domestic goddess by a riot :dry: :roll:
687 posts