#fiveminutefriday – Would you just LISTEN!

The premise is simple: We write for five minutes flat. All on the same prompt that is post on the Lisa Jo Barker’s site at 1 minute past midnight EST ever Friday. And we connect on Twitter with the hashtag #FiveMinuteFriday

No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation.
Unscripted. Unedited. Real.

This week: Listen.

It’s been a good few months since LSH and I fell out or had a real argument. If I’m honest, we’ve been together now over a decade and I can count the number of real arguments we’ve had on my fingers (possibly on one hand). We are generally quite composed people and if one of us is being irrational and mental, we can tell the other flatly and openly. This generally ends up in giggling.

But just occasionally, one of us flips. And with good reason. When that does happen it’s usually because one of us has stopped listening. The frustration that builds when someone hears your words, but isn’t understanding what you mean is immense and it occurred to me that the last time I screamed at LSH, I used the words “Would you just f******** LISTEN to me?!!?”. He had listened, but what he heard was the irrational rantings of a mad woman, but hadn’t understood that my rantings were born of deep seated insecurities. Once we actually stopped being busy and listened to each other, it was ok. Or at least it was better.

These frustrations are generally kept in check – as a parent and a teacher, the number of times I have to do various dances, songs and evil threats to maintain kids attention on a daily basis leaves me exhausted, but rarely frustrated on the same level (here, I could talk about ‘lunch leaves’, lolly sticks, fancy dress hats and brain gym …. Did I mention I teach ages 13-18?!). Perhaps I just extend less patience to LSH, or perhaps because we are usually so in tune with each other, it’s frightening when we don’t understand each other. Either way, the response is toddler-esq and dissipates just as fast. Neither of us sulk; mainly because the other will not put up with it. The kids have picked up on this and during our last bickering session (totally understandable as we were trying to put up a tent. It’s practically the law to argue while doing this), they wandered off on their bikes and came back asking loudly “Have you two finished yet?”.

I hope my girls find partners who are both able to listen and put up with their own irrational madness with as much grace as LSH shows on a daily basis. If not, they at least have the self-confidence not to put up with any sulky crap their partner throws at them.

Marriage: 1 part listening, 1 part talking, 1 part responsibility, diluted with humour, silliness and innuendo 😉


#fiveminutefriday Imagine

The premise is simple: We write for five minutes flat. All on the same prompt that is post on the Lisa Jo Barker’s site at 1 minute past midnight EST ever Friday. And we connect on Twitter with the hashtag #FiveMinuteFriday

No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation.
Unscripted. Unedited. Real.

This week: Imagine.


Imagine if I didn’t make weird noises when I sat down, or got up, or bent forward. Imagine what it would be like to turn over in bed and not have to do it in stages and occasionally bash my hip a bit to keep it going.

I’ll admit, I quite fancy a daily routine where I’m not thinking ‘f*** it, how much worse can I make my back anyway?’. But it’s that exact question that makes me who I am (for those out of the loop, that would be a bloody minded fool). Ok, so on occasions I rely on some nifty opiates to take a bit of a pain vacation, and other days I’m as right as rain. But life is for living. Just imagine what life would be like if we spent all our time trying to avoid pain – we’d do nothing! We’d try nothing! We’d take no risks. And taking a risk can often lead to longer term happiness. On the flip side, it can also lead to temporary pain. But a lack of action just makes us dull and depressed.

Will I try new things? Yes. Having broken bones, dislocated things that should definitely be located, and got through two ‘interesting’ births (another time), I know my pain threshold well. I can break stuff and deal with it, I do not cope well with having a baby’s head rammed into my pelvis repeatedly by ridiculous drugs (the kid wasn’t impressed either).

I’m not one for positive thinking. Imagine the worst, and hope for the best. That way you’re at least prepared when you fall on your arse and you’ll have the common sense to check each body part for damage and deal with whatever flies at you.


#fiveminutefriday The ‘comfort’ of old friends

The premise is simple: We write for five minutes flat. All on the same prompt that is post on the Lisa Jo Barker’s site at 1 minute past midnight EST ever Friday. And we connect on Twitter with the hashtag #FiveMinuteFriday

No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation.
Unscripted. Unedited. Real.

This week: Comfort.


Let me introduce you to a bygone age. A time where we were discovering the world, allowed to roam free without the hysteria of evil people lurking around every corner to steal us.

This was not decades ago. Actually, I suppose it was now. This was the early 90’s and this is my friend (I’m the one with the dodgy dyed blonde hair). We were 14 there.


We were appalling teenagers and behaved like, well, like horrible teenagers I suppose. Some of the choices we made were more than dubious. Some were downright dangerous. I now teach kids this age and I’d have a few words for that younger me!

But looking back on this from a 33 yr old perspective, the things I remember most clearly are that from the minute she and I met at the age of 7 (the age TinyPants is now!), we were friends. We knew everything about each other and despite our young years we cared about the other with empathy that was unusual for children. Years later, we remain in touch even though our lives have taken different paths and we’ve rarely spoken face to face in more than a decade.

Our friendship may not always have been easy, but when my girls look back with their adult eyes, I hope they smile warmly and are comforted by the memory of that friend who, despite everything made your days a bit brighter.


#fiveminutefriday Jump! Because I’ve not learnt to be a grown up yet.

The premise is simple: We write for five minutes flat. All on the same prompt that is post on the Lisa Jo Barker’s site at 1 minute past midnight EST ever Friday. And we connect on Twitter with the hashtag #FiveMinuteFriday

No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation.
Unscripted. Unedited. Real.


I am a walking disaster. Or at least that’s what I’m told. To put this in context, over the past 18 months I have slipped a disc, dislocated my pelvis, broken my elbow, and concussed myself two separate occasions. I’ve Lao managed to give myself a few chemical burns from various hair dye and removal products which weren’t quite as successful as hoped. So this along with a couple of black eyes and a fat lip and some other minor injuries sort of suggests that I ought to lay on the floor and stay still. Don’t move. Try not to get hurt again.

But I don’t. If I’m honest, I get off on doing stuff that’s a bit outlandish and a bit dangerous (a bit. Not mountain climbing, or base jumping… Although that does sound fun…). But roller skating does it for me. Riding a mountain bike down a really steep hill, although I’m not so keen at going up. Swimming in deep water and knowing I can’t reach the bottom. LSH says I am in no way allowed a longboard. But of course what he doesn’t know…

I long for the summer when I can roll down hills with the kids, and climb trees.

It turns out, I am in fact a ten year old trapped inside a 33 year old’s body. And this ten year old is getting her skates on and practicing her moves to try out as fresh meat in roller derby in 12 months. All I need now is a name. Because even fresh meat needs a name. Frankly my Facebook friends need to let their imagination run a little freer!


If it looks like fun, yes, I’ll jump.


#FiveMinuteFriday – After

We love to just write without worrying if it’s just right or not. For five minutes flat.

Here’s how we do it:

Go to Lisa Jo Baker’s Blog

1. Write for 5 minutes flat on the prompt “After” with no editing, tweaking or self critiquing.

2. Link back here and invite others to join in.

3. Go and tell the person who linked up before you what their words meant to you. Every writer longs to feel heard.

This week’s prompt: “after”

We plan so much ahead, that often we forget to enjoy now. Life is a series of decisions, often based on a balanced consideration of the impact of our actions. It’s only when we look back on something that we regret not basking in the joy of the moment. But if you are fully engaged, when looking back after the event, the memories are so much more vivid.

But what if we stopped obsessing about what might happen, accept what has happened and base decisions on creating ongoing tranquility, or peace? What if we put past transgressions behind us? What is we stopped living fearful lives based on the possibility that someone might get hurt? (With a fractured elbow currently resting on a heat pad, I can conclude I wouldn’t change a thing – the memory of those precious few moments roller skating with TinyPants will last years, my elbow will heal).

What if we stopped planning for retirement and nurtured the next generation instead of hoarding everything away for ourselves? That way, if we do make it that far, we have financially stable offspring to take care of us (as happened in many previous generations).

Because after all is said and done, you could get run over by a bus tomorrow.

And if I do? Well, I’ve lived more vibrantly than ever the last few months and I regret very little.



#fiveminutefriday – broken

As with the previous posts – this is part of the Lisa Jo Baker Five Minute Friday blog project.

I have five minutes to write continuously based on a single prompt each week. No editing, no rewriting, just from brain to paper (sort of).

This week’s prompt is ‘broken’.


It’s Easter weekend and people around me are getting very into the ‘real’ meaning of Easter. We even bought the kids ‘real’ Easter eggs. I felt a bit vindicated filling them with chocolate this way.


Except I’m inclined to feel that actually, the whole torturing a man to death thing is not really symbolized by eggs and bunnies. These are two separate stories.

Across the globe, there are many goddesses in history that were worshipped for their links to fertility. Even the word ‘Easter’ is most likely linked to the Goddess ‘Ichtar’ who brought her son back from the dead by her tears through the spring leaves (sounding familiar?). In the UK, prior to the Romans, there were many religions, several of which involved goddesses of nature and fertility. One in particular was Damara, who was linked with spring and her protection of children and fertility. The May bank holiday where children are still encouraged to scatter flowers and dance around Maypoles is intrinsically linked to her. The scattering or gifting of floral wreaths was specifically to ask her blessing on those to whom the floral gifts were given. This is one of the many reasons that the tradition of May Day celebrations in quaint Christian villages throughout the UK never fails to raise an eyebrow. That and Morris dancing – men with bells on bashing each other with sticks is odd in anyone’s books.

Spring is a time to contemplate the fertility of nature, and perhaps ourselves. Which means for some accepting that our own fertility has passed. This was something which I was required to do at the age of 29 after my body again rejected our final efforts at creating new life. My body was officially broken. Since that point, I have generally avoided the joyful postings of scan and birth pictures on social networks and laughed off the questions of whether we want ‘any more’ – if only because replying ‘I’d love to, but my uterus kept killing them off’ just doesn’t help make friends.

Interestingly, my closest friend appears to produce babies like sausages, then thrusts them into my arms when they are minutes old, causing not a single pang of pain. Possibly because I love her kids like my own (although, and I know you’re reading this, that is not an offer of babysitting the whole tribe!)

I have two beautiful girls, and I thank whatever deity is keeping them happy and healthy, but I will forever wonder what the other faces would have looked like.


Ok, that was a bit longer than five minutes, and a little more personal than my cake explosion from earlier. I’ve shared and now the frog can move on.


#5minutefriday – musings on rest

I have five minutes to write without editing or really overthinking what I’m saying. Whatever appears on the topic goes down on the screen…

Join in with Lisa-Jo Barker’s Project here.

This week’s topic? Rest.


I need a rest. I actually look like the Corpse Bride.


I actually have those scary staring eyes. The last month has been busy beyond belief and following two weeks where the usual days occur (7am – 7pm) Monday to Wednesday, then Thursday and Friday have started with me leaving the house at 7am and not returning until nearly 10pm or later, I am physically knackered. Mentally, I’m not sure. If I think therefore I am, I’m not sure that I am. Maybe I’m so tired, I’m not really here….

But what is rest? I have daydreams at the moment of curling up on a pile of furry rugs and just sleeping for days on end. I have caught myself occasionally whilst I’m marking work wondering if I could just put my head down for five minutes…. Just on the desk….. Or just laying down in the floor… Just because gravity is extra heavy at the moment…

What I need is sleep. But not the sleep where I am analyzing test scores or coursework grade boundaries in my dreams. I need the sleep of the dead. The brain dead. Or to sleep like a frog – quietly soaking up the surrounding heat and occasionally peeling open an eye to survey my surroundings. With a weekend packed full of kids activities, there’s not much chance of sitting around on my lily pad.

Still, as they say “a change is as good as a rest”. I’m pretty sure sleeping for several days is better than a change…