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Saki / H. H. Munro - Master of the Short Story

My boss provided the introduction. He asked me whether I'd read any of Saki's short stories after he’d read a very short story of mine about a talking ostrich called Belinda who lays garlic dips.  It was one of those crazy little dream-stories I've always really liked writing.  I wrote it with craziness and surrealism in mind.  I wanted to be a bit weird for weird’s sake.  Weird doesn’t take itself too seriously and this leads to a sense of freedom.  This gives them a bit more snap, crackle and pop than if I was writing something a bit more serious.   What I’ve learnt over the course of this year is that people like weird.  Or at least the sort of people I like like weird.  When I'd showed my boss that story, I was worried that he’d be a little bamboozled by it.  But regular readers don’t get bamboozled easily and my boss is a regular reader.  What actually happened was that he found it quite normal – normal within the construction of this dream-story.  And everyone dr
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Last night I dreamt you ordered a pepperoni pizza

Last night I dreamt you ordered a pepperoni pizza.  It came with seven garlic dips.  Me: Why do we need seven garlic dips?  You: Because I like garlic dips.  And I don’t think this is going to be enough.  I’m going to order more.  Me: More?  You: Yes.  I like dipping my pizza in garlic.  I think 777 should do it.  Me: You’ve lost it.  You’re going to order 777 garlic dips?  You’re not even going to eat the seven we’ve got here.  You:  Chill out, Tom.  I’ll pay for it.  Me:  Okay, but you have to get the delivery man back and explain to him why you want 777 dips.  You stuck your head out the window and called him back.  Then there was a pecking at the door.  You opened it and the same delivery man was there but this time he was sat on an ostrich.  You: I’d like to order 777 garlic dips please.  Me: I’m so sorry she’s placing such a big order.  Delivery man: That’s okay.  I get it all the time.  That’s why I brought the ostrich.  Me: Right.  Well, is it possible to order all these garli

every lost ring

every lost ring, every lost glove, every lost smile, every lost love, every lost wallet, every lost purse, every lost blessing, every lost curse, every lost thing goes to a museum, straight to the museum it goes, every lost thing goes to the museum, straight to the museum it goes.

Train to Oxford

A man in the training station waiting room blows his nose with a handkerchief.  He's trying to think of the name of the film starring Jim Carey in which everything is artificial.  I want to say The Truman Show.   The man he's speaking to says he doesn't think it's the sort of film he'd watch.  Maybe it's a trick question because every film is artificial. He uses the word salubrious to describe Oxford Station.  I have to look the word up.  I've never been so I'm looking forward to a fully salubrious experience.  If I ever used that word in a conversation, I think I would take my time over it.  Spend at least three times longer saying the word salubrious than I would another word of the same length.  Sal-uuuuu-bri-ooous.  It seems correct to say it like that.  Like saying Wales in a Welsh accent.  Way-ells.  Or Newcastle with the castle spoken quickly and given much more emphasis than a southerner would give it: new- CASTLE.  A woman is warming her face i

Chipping Norton School park run Race Report - 7th March 2020

I’d been praying to The Goddess of Splendid Dryness all week.  We all knew about The God of Rain.  He’s been watering Those Mortals Down There for most of 2020.  He was boring us.  He’d outstayed his welcome and he knew it.  This has resulted in park run cancellations.  Many of them.  We’ve had to find our 5k fixes elsewhere, or otherwise had to forgo them altogether!  But The Goddess of Splendid Dryness had the cunning plan of sending The God of Rain off on a wet weekend of white water rafting.  And it was done: she blessed us with the sort of splendid dryness that befits the Goddess of Splendid Dryness.  Chipping Norton School remained resolutely off the cancellation list.  We would have our local 5k fix.  Everyone was happy again.  Hooray! After a three-week absence, Chipping Norton School park run was back on.  Today was their eighth park run and the third that I’ve attended,  but it was the first one I’ve arrived to in my running kit.  I’d volunteered as a marshal on the 4th

The Sub-20 Minute 5k

Last year I set myself the goal of running under 20 minutes for 5km.  It thought it'd be a nice thing to aim for - and it was.  It really was.  But it's the setting of the goal that's 'nice'.  'Nice' describes the way you tell your friends and family that you've got this goal.  'Nice' describes a hope, a desire.  'Nice' describes the pre-action.  'Nice' describes the theory.  'Nice' fails to describes the way you have to put that desire to work.  It's too easy an adjective to take with you on the cold, wet winter runs.   My first 5km park run was on the 19th of January .  I ran 23:50 with my brother in Coventry.  My personal best in February came at the Gloucester North park run and I ran 23:34 - and that was on grass.  Then a great leap forward came at the end of March .  I ran 21:52 at Gloucester North again.  In April I ran 19 times - the most I've ever run in one month.  The training paid off: on the 27t

February

It's 10:49pm and I'm led in bed with a hot water bottle stuffed down the front of my dressing gown.  It's cold and wet outside and I'm sick of the mud.  Storm Ciara made its way through Oxfordshire on Saturday night, tearing the guttering off the front of the cabin as it did so.  Thank you very much.  You're welcome.  I'm sending Storm Dennis over next week.   Delightful.  Tell him that the guttering around the back still requires removal.  And while he's at it, he might as well take the roof off.    The wind turned bitter when we saw the back of Ciara.  The sort of bitterness that gets into your bones and stays there.  There's nothing worse than rain and a bitter wind.  They're troublemakers together and they're troublemakers apart.  This is the time I yearn for signs of blossom amid long and unfriendly spells of gunmetal grey.  I dream of Spring doing the Haka against the quivering cold squelchy mess of Winter.  A Winter that knows it will