Here be Dragons

30 06 2013


In a bid to keep my Blog positive but feeling the overwhelming urge to whinge about my hideous week I have opted for a thinly veiled metaphor about the events of last week in the form of a short story. For regular readers – this is not the novel I spoke of last week, just an outpouring of frustration in a more reader friendly format than a massive irrelevant rant about my personal life.



Dark forces are rising.

The once vibrant and bustling city of Sarboas has fallen. The mighty city, turned battlefield is a bloody wasteland littered with the crumbling ruins of the once solid structures and cherished monuments. The flickering lights have long been extinguished, shivering waifs lurk in the shadows, abandoned, neglected. Scavenger’s prowl through the deserted streets picking their way through the smouldering ruins for anything left of value.  Sarboas is but a shadow, a burnt out carcass of its former self.

A year earlier the beloved President was struck down with ill health and was placed in quarantine. After years of peace under her solid leadership inhabitants became restless and uneasy. Members of the council were temporarily appointed to rule until the President was restored to health. But the city was vulnerable and evil powers that had lain dormant for what seemed like an age sensed their opportunity to settle old scores and troops, thirsty for battle, took up arms and started to march.

Sarboas held fast in the assaults that followed, but with each attack they were weakened. But it was Duchess Violai who delivered the final crippling blow. The Duchess had never forgotten or forgiven Sarboas for rejecting her terms excluding her from sitting on the council and participating in the coalition. The jealous Duchess did not easily forgive and was determined to wreck havoc by way of revenge.

Duchess Violai built an army of dutiful followers who followed her without question, obeyed without reservation and killed without remorse. All attempts of bringing the onslaught to a halt seem as pointless as efforts to hold back the tide.

She sneered at Sarboas which seemed smaller somehow and more vulnerable.

But appearances can be deceptive.

They have a secret weapon.

The Dragon – Bastjeernor.

An obdurate and territorial beast. Quick to temper. For now the Dragon sleeps, secure in its lair, purring like a kitten. Its bulk protected by a mass of ridged crimson scales. Its bed a mountain of shattered bones and skulls some so aged they have been reduced to a fine white powder. Bastjeernor’s teeth and claws sharp as razor blades poised to rip and tear flesh from bones.

The Dragon slumbers lulled by the day today bustle and noise of the gleaming city but now that the streets are silent and the stink of blood and death is heavy in the air, this  ancient and formidable force is about to wake.


Delayed Gratification

29 06 2013


I have never been good at delayed gratification.

When I decide I want something – it has to be NOW.

Spurred on by my sisters departure in the early hours of the morning to a much anticipated family holiday I decided to finally go ahead and book my own summer vacation with FFOMC.

We picked the destination we wanted, found a hotel with terrific reviews, established that we could book the dates we wanted and were lucky enough to get a late booking deal.

Iwas at the point of selecting my seat on the online image of the plane when FFOMC (who had previously assured me that he could pretty much take his leave at any time) chimed in with, “I better just check with my boss”.

I have decided that his boss is a bit of a meanie pants. Despite his confidence that the dates we had selected were fine, he aparently needs to check the calendar on Monday.

I am officially sulking.

Book Concept

28 06 2013

conceptWell who would have thought that inspiration would strike at random on an otherwise typical Friday evening.

It came during an episode of The Apprentice while I was “kind of” writing a totally unrelated blog post (but in truth I was mainly ordering a take away meal for FFOMC and I from a local Indian Restaurant). But I digress; in short, this evening, the concept for my own work of fiction conveniently popped into existence out of nowhere.

I did post about the idea of writing a novel a while ago and have been wracking my brains since then for an original idea to get me started. I have no idea where my idea actually came from, but it has taken shape this evening and I can see a way to at the very least develop my thoughts.

To get the ball rolling I have decided that  tomorrow I will utilise the Evernote download suggested by FFOMC to map out a very sketchy storyline over the next week or so. Then I can start to build some character profiles to inhabit the world of the story that I have in mind.

By this time next week I will hopefully have committed some of my meandering thoughts onto my laptop hard drive.

I am excited about the idea of starting a more concrete project. This is a terrific project, especially at a time when I am feeling a little deflated and unmotivated after my very own “DRAGON” took a bit of a battering this week but I am full of confidence that she will be available to edit and make changes as I start to commit my thoughts to B&W.

So watch this space!


28 06 2013


Tonight was the annual year 11 prom. It is always a lovely evening but it is also highly political and I was advised by a colleague that certain protocol must be observed. The rules are as follows:

1/ Dodgy hair extensions must be worn at all times.

2/ You must apply a streaky Rimmel tan.

3/ Make up is a necessity and you should ensure it is at least one inch thick.

4/ Following from the previous rule you must leave foundation lines just under your chin.

5/ Your hair needs to be backcombed to within an inch of its life.

6/ Wear impossibly high heeled shoes which are impossible to walk in and have only been on your feet once before when you first tried them on.

7/ Wear the biggest fattest “gypsy wedding” style frock – preferably in the most garish and unflattering colour imaginable.

8/ Arrive in an impressive mode of transport such as a fire engine or a retro school bus.

9/ Arrive drunk and leave early to get ready for the after party

10/ Remember you only have one prom so make the most of it – tomorrow you will have to join the working world like the rest of the world.

I went with the boring classy/semi professional look. My make-up was tasteful and enhanced rather than desguising my appearance. I arrived in my very unimpressive but well loved Peaugeot. I walk beautifully in heels! I was sober as a judge. After prom I came home to get tucked into bed. I screwed up the pillar of the community image during cloakroom duty when my colleague and I decided that from behind our window we could recreate such comedy classics such as “walking down the stairs”, “the escalator” and “the elevator” it is worth noting that the head teacher was less than impressed with our efforts. I will repeat the same process every year that I remain a secondary school teacher.

But it was a lovely night and my Drama bunnies looked really grown up and definitely red carpet fabulous – SO PROUD!!!


The future father of my children…is a modern day Sampson

26 06 2013

Sampson and Delilah

When my parents first met my husband to be, my mother was deeply upset to discover that her potential future son-in-law came with an accessory she did not care for – his ponytail.

As long as I have known him FFOMC has had long hair and I absolutely love it.

At one point he even had dreadlocks following one of our early holidays together to Morocco – on our return flight we were stopped at every single check point and he was all but strip searched.

We were both a little emotional when the dreads had to be cut out, and my mother harboured a – not so secret – wish that he commit, on a long term basis, to a short back and sides. But after the trauma of the shortest hair cut he had in many years, his hair continued to grow and by the time of our wedding he could have taken work as a Kurt Cobain lookalike. It is not the “done thing” in Northern Ireland for men to require a hairdresser to straighten their shoulder length hair on the morning of their wedding and my family were running a book on the likelihood of Mum sneaking into his room at night with a razor. He looked amazing on our wedding day so handsome.

During the speeches FFOMC’s hair and goatee beard were mentioned by most speakers and my good friend got a fantastic laugh from all of our guests when he outlined the reasons that I was too good a catch for a mere mortal and was a worthy partner for a god – but at least I had married someone who looked like the son of God.

I often wonder, if like Sampson, FFOMC’s strength lies in his manly locks. If he were to cut his mane I wonder if he would be less humorous, less attentive, less patient, or less loving. Clearly this is not a risk worth taking.

So long live the ponytail!

Good Deeds

25 06 2013


I am the eldest in a family of three girls. Thanks to, what I understand was extreme tenacity on the part of my parents; I have been blessed with two wonderful younger sisters.

Sister 1: Mother to two wonderful boys with a loving partner who is a fantastic step-father to her eldest son. She is plagued with constant anxiety about the well-being of all of her “boys”. Working life has been a struggle due to finding a work life balance and being treated poorly by former employers.

Sister 2: Owner of two gorgeous Labradors and wife to a loving and romantic husband. They are desperate to be parents and are in the process of trying to start their own family but ongoing ill health is a major barrier to both their financial position and their prospects of becoming parents.

Sufficient to say, both of my sisters have a hard time. They are not in particularly well paid jobs and seem to be first in line when it comes to adopting additional difficulties in their personal circumstances – they have both definitely drawn the short straw.

As the eldest I am ashamed to say that I am not around anywhere near as often as I should be as I moved to England in my late teens and even worse with building pressures in my own job, I missed both of their birthdays in April this year – EPIC FAIL!

I did buy them cards. However they are currently somewhere on my dining room table and I would need to enlist a team of archaeologists to unearth them from the ever increasing volume of teaching debris before I could consider posting them.

However I came up with a master plan. I hoped to show up unexpected in NI for a surprise weekend and take Mommy and my two baby sisters on a spa day. The plan was flawless but due to my own circumstances this never happened – a new plan popped into existence.

My parents have added to their bucket list their plan to take all of their girls on a holiday with their partners and children. FFOMC and I have been wracking our brains to work out holiday plans that will suit. Sister 2 was first and she enjoyed a fabulous cruise with hubby and parents.

In little under a week Sister 1 will take a 2 week all inclusive holiday with Mommy and Datty and her partner and 2 children. She is concerned about finances. I can understand this. After all even on an all inclusive holiday, you want options and having some spare spending money available just in case – is something of a necessity!

I had decided to deposit a small amount of money into both sister’s bank accounts as a belated birthday present.

Following a FB conversation when Sister 1 revealed her anxiety about finances I brought my plans forward and made the deposits before telling her to check her bank balance. It was not a life changing amount of money but the reaction was heart warming.

It is so amazing to be able to treat the people you love. I hope my both enjoy spending the money and that it eases whatever pressures they are currently under. Any time I am in a position to help I fully intend to do so – I only ask for photos showcasing their happy memories with their respective partners and families.

The Literary Gift Company

24 06 2013

I have just discovered the best website for finding gifts for bookworm friends.

The Literary Gift Company

I wish they had a “love” button! I could easily spend a fortune but before I do thought I would share it on WordPress because as we all know misery loves company and I will definitely be miserable when I read my bank balance after checking out of this site!

These are some of my favourite finds so far:—metamorphosis-brooch-12319-p.asp





bard game

I must not spend too much, I must not spend to much, I must…at the very least buy the brooch you say? Oh go on then:)

Fantasy Cast List – My Inner Self

23 06 2013

Tim Curry

On Friday at work, I was feeling particularly rebellious and mischievous. Although I did nothing when it came to acting on my impulses – which would have lead me into acting totally unprofessionally and going into self destruct mode – I realise that I often have minor rebellious tendencies even if I rarely act on them.

It occurred to me that in the film version of my life, my inner self should definitely be a character in his/her own right. Of course I would need an actor who could fully capture my inner child/deviant/rebel/exhibitionist. An imaginary friend of sorts, who guides me and provides the kind of poor advice that my more rational self ignores in the spirit of self preservation.

But secretly who amongst us would claim that they wouldnt love to throw caution to the wind one day and follow the guidance of our ill advised inner selves?

There is only choice to play this role and it is of course the wonderfully quirky, not to mention extremely talented, Tim Curry.

Just once it would be amazing to follow the mantra: “Dont dream it, be it!

General Fluffy McMuffin

22 06 2013

General Fluffy McMuffin

People come up with the most ridiculous names for their pets.

The title of tonights post is the most recent in a long list of names that owners have come to regret with the passage of time.

The probem is giving young children the responsibility of naming family pets. Children can be incredibly creative and they read adorable books with comedy animals with daft names.

I remember a friend holding her head in shame as she described her embarrasment one evening when her Gobolina had gone missing and she stood by her garden gate for hours calling to the great amusement of her neighbours.

Even the children aged 4-6 who I was teaching today found great amusement in the name General Fluffy McMuffin.

One does wonder if the pets in question would approve of such names of if they would prefer something more mainstream like Steve or Karen.


Technical Run

21 06 2013

Backstage Crew

In my past life in the Theatre industry I have always been a performer.

I understood the importance of those who worked behind the scenes and respected the work that they did, but as a director I am growing increasingly dependent on my backstage crew. This is becoming a bit of an issue. Over the past few years there have been fewer and fewer upcoming stage management candidates emerging and it is becoming increasingly difficult to stage a production in college without the assistance of strong people working behind the scenes.

Today, during a run of “The Dream” my colleague and I tasked three inexperienced but extremely keen students with winging it on the sound desk. I have been given a mini-disc of soundtracks used in a past production of “The Dream” and am in the process of working out which tracks work with my own reimagining of this classic text.

I was extremely impressed with the initiative taken by these students and grateful that I have a small team who can make up for my own incompetence in the technical side of performance arts. They will be a massive asset to the department in the years to come.

I have also managed to secure the involvement of a few other staff willing to support with making props and costumes and I am finally starting to build an infrastructure. This is helping me to relax about the prospect of future projects as I will not feel so rudderless.

God bless you backstage crew- you make the rest of us look good!