Lorna’s Gin-spiring Prompt #7 – Prep #Ginspired

The lovely Lorna over at Gin & Lemonade With A Twist Blog has started a new writing prompt.

She hasn’t named her challenge, so I have – Lorna’s Gin-spiring Prompt!


This week, we have the word: Prep

When I was at school, I used to have a prep book.

What was prep?

Well, in my school, which was an independent institution (Private), homework was referred to as prep.

I wondered why it was called prep, rather than homework, so did a little research.

Obviously, the class connotations are there. The boarding and private schools tend to use the term prep, whereas your regular state schools say homework.

See, posh I am! 😉

Then there was a whole debate on what the terms meant.

Nowadays they do essentially mean the same thing, but if you dig back, Prep – short for Preparation work, would be getting ready for the next stage of learning – because as a boarder, you wouldn’t be going home to work, as you stayed at school!

Homework is work that has been sent home to consolidate the learning that has already taken place.

Makes sense, really, doesn’t it!

I actually hadn’t thought of the term ‘prep’ for years, but the last book I read, ‘The Art Of Hiding’, by Amanda Prowse, was about a woman whose life is turned upside down when her husband dies and leaves her and their sons reeling, not only by his demise but with the news that they are actually bankrupt. Her sons are forced to go from an extremely expensive private school to a local comprehensive school.

The eldest son is really upset, as he asked about what prep they would have for that night and he had the mickey taken out of him by the rest of his classmates.

At school now, we definitely don’t assign prep, but homework.

Strange how words that mean the same can have such different connotations…



Lorna’s Gin-spiring Prompt #6 – Crossed Wires #Ginspired

The lovely Lorna over at Gin & Lemonade With A Twist Blog has started a new writing prompt.

She hasn’t named her challenge, so I have – Lorna’s Gin-spiring Prompt!


This week, we have the word: Crossed Wires

It’s all too easy to get your wires crossed, isn’t it?

You could be talking about one thing, and the person listening could be taking everything you say in the totally opposite way, depending on their mindset at the time.

Sometimes it can be amazing to see which way a perfectly innocent conversation can end up going if those wires get crossed.

It’s happened to me plenty of times.

I make a perfectly innocent comment, and it gets misconstrued, then you have a whole load of explanations to make to clear up a mess that really should never have even been made!

There are the harmless wires crossed things, like two people each thinking the other said they would bring the wine… (though that may not be harmless to some!) Sure, you might be thirsty, but it’s not end of the world!

Then there is the “When I said yes, I meant to a drink, not marriage!” kinda wires crossed, that can get you into all sorts of trouble too!

I had a recent incident, actually, which I cannot fully divulge, but it wasn’t a fun kind of crossed wires. And it wasn’t actually anything I had said,yet it involved days of uncomfortable silences… no fun at all.



Lorna’s Gin-spiring Prompt #5 – Puzzle #Ginspired

The lovely Lorna over at Gin & Lemonade With A Twist Blog has started a new writing prompt.

She hasn’t named her challenge, so I have – Lorna’s Gin-spiring Prompt!

This week, we have the word: Puzzle

I thought about Lorna and her scary cats puzzle, and it made me think of all the puzzles I have encountered in my lifetime, from the simple wooden 4 piece puzzles of childhood, to the much more complex 1000 piece world map we have sitting in a box, with a puzzle mat ready to do, but never have the time to actually complete it!

I don’t think though, that I have ever seen something as scary as those kittens! I do love a cat, but that – no thank you!

Puzzles can be the bane of my life at work. As an early years teacher we have to provide all opportunities for the children, and you would be amazed at how many don’t even have a puzzle of any sort at home. So, out come our huge collection!

We have the simple to the slightly more complex (12 pieces – wooo!) large and small, cardboard wooden, traditional and fit the shape to the cut out ones. Obviously they aren’t all out at the same time, but still, you can imagine how things get mixed up, and then there are the children who can’t play nicely, and rip pieces, or just hide them, posting them into unreachable (at the time) places!

They can be a nightmare!

But in reality, puzzles are so beneficial for the children, looking at matching colours, following a picture, special awareness, and patience!

Nowadays, everything is so immediate, that it is good for a child to learn how to stay at a task for longer than 30 seconds!

Now, the other thing that came to mind is one of my favourite children’s books, Monkey Puzzle by Julia Donaldson of The Gruffalo fame!

Image result for monkey puzzle bookHave you read it?

It is so cute! A story about a baby monkey who has lost his mummy and finds a butterfly to help him find her. The thing is, as butterflies don’t look like their caterpillar babies, the butterfly finds a host of other animals for the monkey, who gets increasingly irate!

The best thing is that the dialogue from the butterfly is actually written in the same rhythm as “Hush Little Baby, Don’t Say A Word” so whenever I read it to the kids, I sing those parts!

Oh I do love to read stories to kids!!




Lorna’s Gin-spiring Prompt #4 – People Watching – The Coffee Shop #Ginspired

The lovely Lorna over at Gin & Lemonade With A Twist Blog has started a new writing prompt.

She hasn’t named her challenge, so I have – Lorna’s Gin-spiring Prompt!

This week, we have the words: Write about someone you see while People Watching.

I am recycling a much older post which I had taken off my blog – a bit of fiction which was kinda about people watching… and there are a few instalments that followed it too!

The Coffee Shop
She sat amongst the crowd, looking aimlessly around. This wait… It seemed like forever she’d been sat there, mentally twiddling her thumbs. She didn’t want to really do it, what if people thought she was mad?
The queue at the counter grew and shrunk, almost like the ebb and flow of the tide. Six customers, five, four, three, oh, up to five again. Then down, four, three, two. And up again. It was a continuous flow of caffeine-starved individuals, or groups of friends, meeting for a catch-up.
Glad she’d got there early, bagging her favourite spot, she had set up her ‘tools’ ready for the day. Laptop up and running, pen and paper, iPod ready with suitable music.
She was on her third drink so far, and it was only 10am. But still, she was waiting… Her cursor flashed at her impatiently on the laptop screen. She glanced at her notebook… An empty page stared back at her.
Slowly, the coffee shop emptied and there were just a couple of tables occupied. Great! A bit of calm. It’ll happen, any time now. Before the lunchtime rush started would be good. She hated being jostled around, or glared at, as she sat at her special table, not moving, but gathering empty cups over the day. Wouldn’t but be easier if they served coffee by an intravenous drip for people like her? So no need to queue up again and again. And while they were at it, a colostomy bag, to save the trips to the toilet too.
Looking around, she observed the others, manning their stations. She wasn’t the only one, regularly haunting this place for days at a time. There were a couple of others.
There was old Bill. He used to come here with his wife, was here at the opening 23 years ago he told me once as we queued for our refills. They would come each Monday to Friday at 10am for a cup of tea and a slice of cake. Apart from when they were away, they were here every day.
Until his poor wife, Mabel, was taken ill. Cancer, he told me. Breast cancer. They hadn’t realised there was anything wrong. Mabel hadn’t noticed anything unusual, Well, she wasn’t used to really looking at herself, or feeling for anything different.  At her age, she thought she was past all that nonsense. Then one day she noticed a stain on her bra, discharge from her nipple, and realised that was not normal. Off they went for the checkup.
And after all the tests it was discovered that she had breast cancer, at quite a late stage too.  No wonder she’d been feeling so tired recently.  The weakness hadn’t gone unnoticed, but she had put it down to her advancing years.  The doctor suggested all the treatments, but what would it do?  Strip her of more energy, her hair and of her dignity, and for what? Maybe a year or so extra onto her life.  She took a decision, with Bill’s agreement, to not have any treatment, and to live whatever life she had left as best she could, with her head held high.
They continued their daily routines, while Bill watched his wife gradually grow weaker and weaker. Soon she could no longer get out, the appointments and check-ups were becoming more frequent.  As the end drew closer, she was admitted into a hospice, and before the day she left Bill forever, she made him promise to always go to their ‘special’ place and have tea and cake, and remember her.  She would joke that maybe he’d meet a kindred spirit there to take away the loneliness.  So here he was, regular as clockwork, Monday to Friday at 11am.  it had taken him a while to stop ordering two cups of tea. Habit, he said. But still, he would sit and reminisce, thinking of his beautiful Mabel and when they would be reunited.
Then there was Sarlota. A beautiful, haunted-looking girl who sat at the same spot every day for up to Two hours with her skinny lattes.  She would sit, and wait, drinking her coffee, and after a phone call, she would up and disappear.  sometimes it was more or less straight away, sometimes it was for longer. but without fail, when that phone rang, she went.  She had never got a chance to speak to Sarlota.  In fact, she wasn’t even sure if that was her name.  She had heard her say it on the phone sometimes so had christened her anyway. She had a slight accent, possibly Eastern European, but who knew… She wondered who would phone her, and what was so important that she would often leave a fresh cup of coffee and rush off…
Today, however, as the crowds dispersed, she noticed another solitary camper.  A new face.  A young guy, maybe her age.  Dark hair, slightly longer than his collar, jeans and a simple tee shirt and jacket. A pair of last seasons Nike on his feet and a pair of black rimmed glasses rested on his nose.  He was reading a book, she couldn’t quite see what he was reading, but it must have been good.  He hadn’t looked up it seemed since he sat down an hour ago.  Quite possibly she had been staring too hard, and he must have felt it, that sensation of someone’s eyes on you.  He looked up, and straight over at her.
She looked away. Oh, how embarrassing! To be caught staring at someone.  Especially when she had something more pressing to do!
She quickly picked up her pen and started to draw.  She had to make herself look busy.  As she doodled, her mind started to wander. What might his story be? As she looked up, she noticed him watching ‘Sarlota’. Then she saw a strange thing, his book that he was reading was covering what looked like a phone, and he had it pointed right at ‘Sarlota’.  He appeared to be filming or taking pictures at least.  Why would he be doing that?
Bill was still sat there, looking at his cake.  He hardly ate any of it nowadays, pushing it around his plate, then after finishing his tea, he would leave.
‘Sarlota’s’ phone rang. She picked it up, answering “Sarlota” then listening and within a few minutes, she had gathered her things, ready to leave.
The guy behind was watching. It looked like he was definitely taking pictures. As she left, he got up too, and quietly followed her out of the door, seconds later.
Bill sat, oblivious to his surroundings. No one else seemed to have noticed… But she definitely had… And finally, she got what she had come here for. Her fingers began to whizz across her keyboard, pausing, only to reread her typing, and scribbling ideas down.
She’d never really know what the truth was, but her imagination had been running wild. Inspiration had hit, and she felt good.




Lorna’s Gin-spiring Prompt #3 – How Far Have We Travelled From Home? #Ginspired

The lovely Lorna over at Gin & Lemonade With A Twist Blog has started a new writing prompt.

She hasn’t named her challenge, so I have – Lorna’s Gin-spiring Prompt!

This week, we have the words: How far from home have you travelled?.

Well… I have managed to rack a few countries up under my travelling belt over the years… not as many as some, but a good few!


My travel map!

It’s not as accurate in that it covers the whole country whereas I may have only visited a city that is closer to home than the map shows.

But I have visited

  • Kenya many times, due to our familial connection, discussed last week.
  • India a few times
  • USA
  • Canada
  • France
  • Spain
  • Finland
  • Russia
  • Barbados
  • St. Lucia
  • Jamaica

I think that’s it!

And from that list, when I researched the cities I went to, the furthest is Vancouver Island, or Victoria in Canada! (4,717 miles)

Close (by a couple of hundred miles) after is Kenya, Mombasa( 4,496 miles) and India, Mumbai (4,466 miles).

I thought Russia would be the furthest, but we were in Moscow so it was closer than I thought! (1,554 miles).

So, there you have it!

And I do hope to add more countries to that list in the future!



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