Friday, 30 November 2012

Bless You!

Andy checked our Lulu account today.

'We have sold a copy of 'A Christmas Malarkey!' he said.

So whoever bought a copy - THANK YOU!!!

And bless you!

And bless me because I've caught another cold and it is sneeze city chez the Manor this evening. Two colds inside of two months - I am not amused. I don't like it. And I have been especially vigilant about not touching doors and handrails at school. But I think this one is a present from Kayleigh who was round last weekend all snotty and disgusting.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to steam my head.

Back tomorrow with the first thrilling instalment of 'Primrose and Daisy's Christmas Advent Calendar.'

Thursday, 29 November 2012

A Christmas Carolling and Malarkey Partying

Well, after much frenzied activity the Much Malarkey Manor Christmas Preparations are well and truly under way.

Firstly, Andy and I have, for the third year running, managed to produce a little Christmas book. Okay, so the size and content of this book are smaller than last year's offering, which in turn was smaller than the year before that, but hey, we've been working full time and we'd rather produce a literary work of quality rather than something more hefty and lacking in substance. (Well, that's our excuse anyway.)

So, 'A Christmas Malarkey' has been written by moi, illustrated by Andy and printed by Lulu, and our consignment of 22 (yes, 22!) copies were delivered by a spotty and tardy courier last night 6 hours after the courier company had indicated they would be delivered, much to Andy's piqué because 'twas he who had sat in waiting for them all day.

(Feel free, dear reader, to purchase a copy for yourself from the aforesaid Lulu. Support a poor writer, won't ya guv'nor? Three cats with expensive dietary needs to support...)

Secondly, I have finally organised what I've envisaged doing for the last three or four years and that is to have an 'at home' open house Christmas gathering the Saturday before Christmas. I've sent out invitations for friends and family to feel free to pop in and visit between 11.30 a.m and when we get fed up with them and kick them out in the evening. On offer will be a running buffet of lovely Christmas scrumptiousness, fun and games and chit-chat and cake, coffee and tea, other drinkies and nibbles, jolly singing and jappery, and I am hoping it will be a relaxed and happy start to the festive season with comings and goings and mixing of all the people we love and admire.

Please come, too, if you can. Of course, I realise for you lovely people across the ocean that practicalities of time and distance might cause a problem, but if you happen to be in the vicinity of mid-Kent you would be more than welcome to drop by for some Christmas cheer. If not, then I shall be thinking of you and you'll be with us for our Christmas Malarkey in spirit if not in body. I'll force down a bit of cake in your honour (I know - such a sacrifice, but you are all worth it!) and I'll sing a carol loud and clear.

It's all keeping me busy and getting me through the last three weeks of being a teacher. A new job is on the horizon. More on that when I have the firm details.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012


Well, here I am, back from another day at the creative end of the sausage machine! Every time I think of that phrase it tickles me! I've tried to think of some alternatives today, but words have literally failed me, such is the genius of the wording.

Anyway, today's excitement was provided by a fly infestation. In my classroom. Ooo-er.

I didn't notice at first. Too busy catching up with some marking before students began to arrive, and thinking it was a bit chilly and I'd leave my coat on for a While. Fly buzzes by. I think, unusual for a fly to be about in the nearly Winter. Then another appears. Lands on the desk I am working at. Looks a bit drowsy. I despatch said fly to fly heaven with a nearby handy copy of 'The Kite Runner.' It's not a book I enjoy, I have to admit, and I believe my sixth form chose to study it out of pure spite.

Well, I don't think the fly noticed its demise. Didn't put up the kind of fight a Summer fly would.

And then I made the mistake of looking up. I have two sets of skylights in my classroom ceiling. When they are open I can hear what I lovingly call the Crows of Doom thumping about on the flat roof and cawing, and impersonating telephone ring tones. No, honestly, one of them makes the noise of a phone. 'Pprrrrrp, prrpppp, ' it goes. Very clever. Most entertaining.

But beating against the skylights today were several flies. And when I looked around further, I noticed more and more flies.

By break time I had committed what shall henceforth be known as 'The Great English Department Massacre 2012'. There were bits of squished fly remains on the walls, on the windows, on text books and children. I was using the sticky side of a Post-It note to remove wings and legs and innards from exercise books. I went to the staff room and put a note in the Caretaker book along the lines of 'Biblical Fly Plague in D5 - Heeeeeeelp!'

Steve, one of the Caretakers, objected to me writing in the book because he had only just caught up with the list of jobs and was thinking he could have a bit of a break and a macaroon (don't ask).

'But I've got flies!' said I. 'The children don't concentrate at the best of times. They are concentrating even less now they have the entertainment of a fly circus.'
'Might have to get the pest controllers in,' said Steve.
'That's a bit harsh, isn't it?' I said. 'They're only children after all.'
'Ahahahahahahahaha!' said Steve, and we shared a bit of a laugh.

Well, nothing had been done by the end of the day and the flies they kept on a-coming and 'The Kite Runner ' was looking rather the worse for wear. I am dreading what I am going to find tomorrow. It's only one small step from flies to locusts to frogs, you know.

But where are they coming from, these flies? Oh, I know all about the maggot thing. Which makes me think that the Crows of Doom who play on the roof have left some half- eaten squirrel/ sparrow/ chicken tikka baguette from the canteen up there and it's gone off and is mouldering in a way that only a fly could love.

Anyway, the flies brought to mind one of my favourite sayings, which the writing of today's news now gives me a chance to share....ahem...

'Time flies like the wind like fruit flies like bananas.'

Too much time at the creative end of the sausage machine, I think.

Monday, 26 November 2012

The Creative End

It is a great source of annoyance and sometimes entertainment to me that staff training days are often little more than New Age psycho-drivel on a plate. And that people, sorry 'consultants', are paid huge wodges of cash to write and deliver this drivel to professional people like teachers who sit in drafty halls (because when the children aren't in school the heating gets turned off and we all have to sit there and shiver) like I did today, looking confused and bemused and wondering if I had some how slipped into a parallel universe where everyone had gone stark staring mad.

Staff training days at school always achieve the same outcome, regardless of content. And that outcome is 'What am I doing here?????' and the urge to run screaming from the building.

So today I am reading a handout because by the end of the day I have to decide which of the two offered new initiatives I am going to implement in my teaching in order to become a better teacher. I am trying not to think a) I wonder what's for lunch and b) I have 18 more days left as a classroom teacher - how much can I actually achieve in 18 days? and c) I could have marked 25 exercise books by now AND changed my Gothic horror character display for my Oliver Twist storyboard display.

And part of what I read is this:- 'If you put pork into a sausage machine, you get pork sausages. If you put beef into a sausage machine, you get beef sausages.'

And at this point I think, 'Is there a vegetarian option? Only I'm feeling a bit nauseous with all this talk of sausages.'

But I don't know who to go and ask about this; Senior Management are conspicuous by their absence - probably hiding in a cupboard somewhere eating chocolate digestives and chain smoking unfiltered Capstan Full Strengths - so I carry on reading.

And within a couple of minutes I have an epiphany! I discover the purpose of the teacher, and I have to say it is quite a revelation and would explain why I have been confused of late, because it appears I've been barking up the wrong tree altogether regarding my understanding of the role defined by 'teacher.'

For here I am thinking that a teacher is an imparter of knowledge, a leader of learning, a guider to the font of wisdom, when according to this new initiative of superb psycho-babble on a plate, a teacher is, in fact...

...the creative end of a sausage machine!

Please don't ask me to explain further. At this point I collapse in a heap on the floor and nearly wet myself laughing. The creative end of a sausage machine? Well, I am glad that's been clarified. I know exactly where I am now. I know my place.

And I now have lots of new material on which to build some new writing. It'll have to be fiction in genre, of course. No-one will believe me otherwise.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Leibster 2

Right, it's not that I've been thinking about these eleven questions very much, oh no sirree, but more that I haven't had time to do the eleven questions justice. Lots of stuff has been happening in the last week or so, which I shall reveal in a later blog, but as I sit here, having done 4 hours of marking, I am going to indulge in a fairly lengthy blog whilst keeping half an eye on the First Christmas TV Film of the Year - Fred Claus.

Q1. If you could win any competition in the world, what would it be for?
A1. Well, dear Questionner, the obvious answer would be for writing wouldn't it, but as that goes without saying, then my less obvious and slightly more entertaining answer would be 'Best Dancing for Person Who Hasn't Had a Proper Dance Lesson for 37 years Since She Did Ballet 'n' Tap After School on a Friday.' Or, as it is known nowadays, 'Strictly Come Dancing.'

Q2. If you could eliminate one habit you have, what would you stop doing?
A2. Switching everything off at the plugs because I am certain that if I don't, the electricity will leak and we will get a bill for a gazzillion English pounds which we won't be able to pay and will thus be rendered homeless, and all for the sake of turning off the digital radio properly at the mains.

Q3. If a photo of you were to be used in an advertisement, which part would you want used, and for what product or service?
A3.This is a no brainer - I have a photo of me, aged around three yeas old, sitting in a pushchair holding a live spider monkey wearing a polo neck jumper (the monkey, not me) looking totally unimpressed by the experience (me, not the monkey). The product would be nuts.

Q4. If you had to have a piece of music softly playing in your mind for the rest of your life, what would it be?
A4. Hmmm...tricky this one. Went to a very loud Adam Ant concert this time last year and it took nine months for the background whistling to abate. So I will say 'Dancing in the Moonlight' by Toploader for the daytime, and Gymnopedie No.1 by Satie for nighttime because nothing beats a bit of plinky plonky piano music to calm the soul.

Q5. If you had to be the underwear of someone famous, who would you choose to wear you?
A5. One of Miss Piggy's corsets. What an adventure in satin and lace that would be!

Q6. If you could have the world's largest collection of one thing, what would it be?
A6. Flowers. Proper flowers, too, like roses, lily of the valley, lavender, primroses, poppies, ones that look pretty and smell nice. Either that or kittens. Or Paperblank notebooks. Tres posh!

Q7. If you could have stopped ageing at any point in your life up to the present time, how old would you want to remain?
A7. 36 years old. Young enough to defy gravity, old enough to not really care (about the gravity thing, I mean, not 'caring' in general because that would be a bad thing if we all stopped caring. Actually, it would be pretty bad if gravity stopped, too....oh, shut up Denise!)

Q8. If you had to eliminate one of the four seasons permanently, which one would go?
A8. Summer. When did we last have a proper summer? You don't get them nowadays, well, not here in Kent. It's all wishy-washy patheticness. Every year people say, 'Ooh, I can't wait for summer,' and you wait and it never turns up properly and you end up feeling hugely disappointed by the whole malarkey. You know where you stand with the other seasons. Summer has become irritatingly unreliable.

Q9. If you could have a romance with any fictional character, who would it be?
A9. Now, it would have to be either Mr Darcy from 'Pride and Prejudice' or Pop Larkin from 'The Darling Buds of May'. And as this question appertains to fiction, I have combined the two to make a new fictional character called Mr Pop Darcy de Larking About. Perfick!

Q10. If you could destroy a single CD your partner plays, what would it be?
A10. I can honestly say that Andy doesn't play any CD that annoys me. And if he does, I wouldn't notice because he is usually plugged into earphones whilst listening. Some pretty weird sci-fi things occur sometimes, but they don't induce annoyance in me, merely the raising of the eyes to heaven and a bit of sighing.

Q11. If you were to perform in the circus, what would you do?
A11. I hate circuses. All those weird clowns with their clowny faces and clowny behaviour which is about as entertaining as sticking pins in your eyes, and people balancing on things and swinging from things and whooping. But if my arm was forced I'd be in charge of chicken juggling. Not juggling with chickens you understand, but teaching chickens to juggle. That should keep me out of the spotlight for a while.

And thus end my responses to the eleven questions posed by Azara.

Job done!

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Flush, Thyroid, Buyers and Goodbyers

Andy, being a scientist, has come up with a way to harness the power of the hot flushes I am having at the moment. Well, okay, he hasn't, but it would save us a fortune in heating bills if he could, because the heat I am generating from therewithin moi self is quite spectacular. What I don't understand is how I can feel like a furnace inside, yet be freezing cold to the touch. It ain't natural, guv, that's all I can say.

Phoebe is having her own hormonal troubles. Having had some fairly severe dental work done, we thought she was losing weight because she was finding eating uncomfortable. Turns out, though, that her weight loss, which was reaching super model proportions, is due to an over active thyroid. She is on pills and she is going back in for more surgery in a couple of weeks to have the offending article whipped out. Meanwhile, her appetite has returned and this morning she was looking quite plump again. Still grumpy, but plump.

And also at home this morning were Andy and I on a cleaning frenzy because we were supposed to have a house viewing at 10 am. Come 11.05 I was phoning the estate agent, fuming slightly, to inform them that the 'viewees' had failed to arrive, and we were going out now, so they had missed their chance. I am of the opinion that these 'viewees' are phantom ones made up by the estate agents to make it look like they are doing some marketing because we haven't had any viewings for three weeks, and the two weeks before that there was only one. Andy says I am being paranoid.

'At least the house is clean,' said he, being unnecessarily upbeat.
'Pah!' said I.

And finally, some of my sixth formers said to me on Thursday, 'we wish we had you as an English teacher.'
'You do,' I said.
'We mean last year,' said they. 'We'd have learned far more from you than Mrs P.'

Awwwww. Now, how am I going to tell them I am leaving at Christmas? That the time has come to say 'Goodbye'?

Perhaps I shouldn't. Perhaps I should slip away, silently, unseen, and without fuss or ado.

Like a Phantom Viewee...

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Dear Lord

Today, I watched my Year 10s ruin 'Romeo and Juliet'. I sat on a desk and I watched them do it, because I didn't have the energy to stop them and protest at the desecration of the Bard's exquisite poetry.

And how did they achieve this hideous feat? Well, I suppose it was my fault.

'I want you to develop your own adaptation of the Capulet Ball scene where Romeo and Juliet first meet,' said I, in a rash moment of dramatic licence.

Well, they didn't need further encouragement, did they? Within the hour, I was sobbing inside as I watched their final offering of 'Capulet Ball - the Musical' featuring Lionel Ritchie, High School Musical, Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Gangnam Style.

Oh, dear Lord.

And then I experienced a moment of shame during my Year 9 lesson when I had to try really hard to stifle an hysterical laughter reaction in response to an act of physical violence. There is a boy, you see, who is a hideous little monster. He is rude and lewd, he is obnoxious, he hits other kids and throws missiles, he is sexually provocative, he prevents the rest of the class from learning, and he spends most of the time in my class making stupid noises and shouting out inappropriate comments like, 'Is Nelson Mandela gay?' which was yesterday's offering.

Today, he was swinging on his chair. I have warned him about this many times. Today, he fell off his chair and smacked his head on the edge of the desk behind him.

The whole class laughed. Because they would. They are 14 years old. Most of them have failed to develop their sympathic abilities and will likely become psychopaths later in life. But to my shame, I nearly laughed, too. It was the whole divine retributionism of it all.

I asked him if he was okay. I tried to look concerned. He looked stunned. There was no blood, but I reckon there will be a sizeable bump tomorrow. He didn't say much for the rest of the lesson. It meant the rest of the class could get on with learning and I could get on with teaching. I was thinking, is it ethical to use wood on head as a behavioural tool? I was thinking, it's a good job I'm leaving teaching in four weeks' time if I am having thoughts like these.

Dear Lord.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

11 Things Part 1

As usual, the time-sucker that is school has left me lacking in little moments in the day avec to blog, so my attempt at responding to the Liebster award will have to be tackled in three parts, unless I get a sudden rush of wind at the end of the week. Very unlikely as I feel quite exhausted today. Mostly because of my sixth form. We are studying a Restoration play called 'The Rover.'

'When was the Restoration?' said I, suspicious that they hadn't done their historical context research as requested by moi. And suspicious rightly so, as it turns out, as they pitched in with suggestions that maybe it was some time around the First World War? When James I was on the throne? And wasn't Spain involved, ma'am? Well, I was banging my head on the desk by the time I'd sorted that little mess out, I can tell you! And don't get me started on when they wanted to know if contraception was available in those days and I had to explain about pigs intestines tied with ribbon, and vinegar-soaked sponges, and they wasted ten minutes making inapppropriate 'YUKK!' noises. And these are youngsters who got A grades at GCSE! Exam standards going down? Of course they aren't, said she ironically.

Anyway, back to Liebster.

Firstly, eleven facts about myself:

(I have given these careful thought and have tried to avoid the obvious appertaining to cats, bees,  chickens, cake, flowers, books and writing)

1. Rice pudding and pomegranates make me physically sick. My mum had to send me to school with a note to excuse me from school dinner rice pudding because of the projectile effect.

2. The first song I ever remember hearing was 'Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head.'

3. I got told off in my first year at primary school for chasing a boy around the classroom instead of making paper chain decorations for Christmas. I have never repeated this error. My lesson was learned at a very young age. Keep your eyes on the tinsel.

4. My grandad told me that burgers were made from elephants' trunks and for quite a long time I believed him.

5. I have never broken a bone in my body ( or anyone else's come to that). I hope this is not tempting fate.

6. I can play the flute and the guitar. Both very badly.

7. When I was nine, I won a handwriting competition. I wasn't even aware I had entered. My sample was entered by subterfuge. And that same year, and the following two years, I won the school sight reading competition much to the annoyance of Anita Harris who thought she had it in the bag. Ha!

8. When I draw elephants, I often forget to add ears, and it can take me ages to work out what's wrong with the picture. I try not to draw elephants too often. The irony of me forgetting and them never forgetting is just too awful to bear. I suspect if an elephant drew a picture of me, it would never forget to add ears.

9. On the morning of my first marriage, my right arm ( the register signing one) froze rigid and would not loosen even with an ample application of Ralgex by my Gran. I couldn't hold a pen. I should have seen this as a sign.

10. Conversely, on the morning of my second marriage, I failed to notice Andy hiding in the bushes at the venue when I popped in to check the tables in the marquee. He didn't want to break the tradition of not seeing the bride until we got to church, and on seeing me arrive ( he'd been in the
marquee inflating helium balloons)  he flung himself into the undergrowth surrounding the marquee. He said he surprised several unsuspecting rabbits.

11. I have a weird boney bump on my head about an inch above my left ear. As far as I am aware I have always had this bump. It's about the size of large grape. I like to think it's an intelligence bump. I suspect, given I've done some pretty stupid things in my time, that this is not so.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Liebster Award

Much Malarkey Manor has been nominated for a Liebster Award by lovely houseguest, Azara!

I am thrilled! It is the first award the blog has received; and in order to accept it I have to a) reveal 11 facts about myself b) answer 11 questions set by the nominator ( thank you, Azara!) and then c) I have to nominate 11 more blogs and set 11 questions for them.

Well, this seems like a mammoth task, and whilst I am very keen to do this NOW, it is getting on for 10 pm, I am sleepy and I want to do this award acceptance malarkey justice. I also need to consider my facts and study my questions and this requires the exercise of sleeping-uponess.

I have been Leibstered! It's lovely! Brace yourselves for the ensuing acceptance. (Ooh, it feels like the Oscars - where's me posh frock 'n' diamanté stilettos? Book the stretch limo! Order the canapés! I'm off to practise my autograph...)

Penny Poos, Lovely Grey and the Birthday Monkey

Well, it's been a very odd week. Firstly, Kayleigh swallowed a penny.

'It'll go through, ' I said. 'Give it a couple of days, it'll reappear.'
Andy was doing veterinary calculations. 'We usually say that a pound coin will not pass through a kitten,' said he.
'Kayleigh is NOT a kitten,' said I. 'And she has swallowed a penny, not a pound. I think she'll cope.'

Anyway, a trip to Casualty confirmed my diagnosis and sure enough, a couple of days later, the penny  reappeared via the medium of poo, and all was well.

Secondly, the students at school seem suddenly transfixed by my increasingly white hair. The sixth form boys have declared it to be highly original and unique. On duty in the mist early in the week, they pointed out that it blended in with the sky.
'Yes,' said I. 'Thanks for that observation. Makes me feel so much better.'

And then a Year 7 girl gazed up at me and said, 'I love the way your hair matches your cardigan. It's like slightly off-white but very sparkly snow.'


And then thirdly, Mum appeared on my birthday with a monkey. Not a real one, thank heavens because I think the hens AND the cats might have had something to say about that, but a small toy monkey that was presented to Mum on the occasion of my birth by my ancient aunts Pollie and Nece, who both read this blog but are sufficiently far away from me at this precise moment in time that I can refer to them as ancient without fear of a slap round the back of the leg.

'This monkey is as old as you,' said Mum. 'I didn't give it to you when you were a baby because I thought you might chew its ears off, but I am passing it on to you now.'

So, 47 years on, I am old enough to be trusted not to chew the ears off a monkey and swallow them.

I keep looking at this monkey. It keeps looking at me. Its hair has kept its colour better than mine. It's got less wrinkles. Presumably because it never had to suffer the indignities of being chewed by a baby me 47 years ago.

I wonder why this monkey has suddenly appeared in my life.

'Is it an omen?' I say to Andy. 'Is it a sign?'

'No,' says Andy. 'It's a monkey.'

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Teaching the Young

'Today,' said I, clopping into the back garden armed with wellies and lady gardening fork, 'I am going to initiate you into the world of worm.'

'What did she say?' said Primrose.
'Something about worms,' said Daisy. 'And before you ask, I have no idea what worm is.'
'Is it a type of cake do you think?' said Primrose.
'I just said I didn't know, didn't I?' said Daisy.

'The old girls used to love this,' I said. 'Many a happy hour did we spend digging for worms.'

I am worried about the lack of variety in the hens' diet. I keep thinking, were the other hens this fussy about food? Am I being too previous in expecting them to get excited about grapes and curly kale and snails prepared on the snail sushi bar aka a couple of rocks by the back fence? After all, they are very young still. And they have only just moved from layers mash onto layers pellets, so that's progress, isn't it?

Primrose and Daisy eyed me with suspicion. My Mum brought them a head of spring greens yesterday and I saw they had made several holes in it. At least they were getting some greens. But they have rejected my offers of grapes and sunflower seeds, and this, I have decided, is not normal chicken behaviour.

'Right,' I said. 'This is how is goes. I dig my lady gardening fork into the ground and you two rush forward in a high state of excitement and gobble up all the worms that come to the surface.'
'Nope,' said Primrose. 'I still don't get what she's on about.'
'They are a good source of protein, worms,' I said, and began my dig.

The hens stood fairly close to the action, and they cocked their heads to one side in a kind of 'we're reasonably interested in what you're doing' way, but only becuase it looks a bit crazy. But as the worms came to the surface, the hens just stood there. In frustration, I picked up a worm and passed it to Primrose.

'There you go,' I said. 'Fresh worm. Have a try.'
'What?' said Primrose.
'I think she wants you to eat it,' said Daisy.
'You are joking ?' said Primrose. 'Eat that? Why in the name of all that is holy would I want to eat that? You eat it.'
'No thanks,' said Daisy. 'I've got a nice piece of red snapper in the fridge chilling with the Cabernet Sauvignon and a strawberry cheesecake.'

And the pair of them wandered off to strip a little more bark from the bottom of the willow arch.

'Well,' I said, 'there's gratitude for you. I came out here in the mud and the cold and I've used my lady gardening fork to dig you up a rare chicken treat, and you don't want to know. You are one weird pair of hens.' And I wellie stomped back indoors, muttering under my breath.

'What did she say?' said Primrose.
'I think she wished us a pleasant afternoon,' said Daisy.

Friday, 2 November 2012

What more could a girl want?

Firstly, a Very Happy Birthday to my birthday buddy twin (as she delightfully describes us) and MMM houseguest, Olly, with whom I share happy felicitations today because we both have exquisite taste in choosing this day upon which to be born. Although we have never met in person (having connected through the blogosphere), our spirits are joined in the sharing of many common interests beyond a 2nd November birthday.

And if my birthday experience is anything to go by so far, then I am sure Olly is having a good day, too.

The sun is shining. The Birthday Hens are rootling around the garden. Andy is busy baking lovely stuff like foccacia and quiche for a birthday tea.

I have a new cat mug (bone china and exactly the right size) for the drinking of the tea. I have two new silly films to watch, I have three new silly books to read. I have a new funky music CD to do silly singing and dancing to. I have gorgeous flowers to admire. I have new soft 'n' fluffy socks and a scarf to wrap my cold toeses and noses in. I have a lovely silver and purple watch to wear. I have chocolate.

What more could a girl wish for on her birthday?

Nothing, that's what.

And now I am going to NaNoWriMo. I managed to fling out around 2,500 words of silliness yesterday which I don't dare re- read because a) I suspect at least 2,000 words may be complete drivel and b) there is no time for reading! GOT TO TYPE AND TYPE QUICKLY!!

29 days and 47,500 words to go!