Monthly Archives: May 2013

The Finished Posts of May

Since I started my run of posts for the last nine days of May with a post about how I was going to have a run of posts for the last nine days of May it seems only appropriate that I should end the sequence with a post about how I have now had a run of posts for the last nine days of May.

To those of you still here even though you now know how dull this post is going to be, or those of you still wading your way through that opening sentence (don’t worry, I’ll wait for you) all I can say is that the exercise taught me very little that I didn’t know before, but reminded me of things that I needed reminding of.

Firstly, you can’t beat a good vow. Promising to the world at large, even if the large part of the world at large isn’t listening, that you are going to post every day concentrates the mind wonderfully, or horribly if you like, forcing you into thinking of something, anything, to write about. Topics that you would normally dismiss with scorn, like for example walking upstairs, are viewed as having definite potential. Watch out for future posts about me using my bus ticket on the bus, the fact that the grass in my garden is green, and which leg I put into my trousers first.

What this reinforces is that writing causes writing. Starting a topic, no matter how mundane, will lead you in directions that you didn’t expect to go, grow jokes inside your head, give you sudden ideas for things you can put in which are actually not bad.

And, though again I knew this already, it reminded me that I have a group of loyal readers who are also now friends and who will come here and support me, even if my post consists of a Chinese take-away menu written backwards (watch out for it, there’s a joke about Pork Sour And Sweet that’s absolutely hilarious).

Most of all it’s reminded me that if writing makes you feel less depressed, then there is no sense in stopping writing because you are depressed.

So I’m looking forward to getting back into it, to hopefully thinking up stuff, to writing every day.

Though I might take tomorrow off.


Upstairs Downstairs

People who have been reading this blog for a long time (I mean you’ve read a lot of posts, not that you’re slow readers) will be familiar with this picture:

Our house

Which is of the Tinhouse. People who have been reading this week, and have been paying attention, will have read this sentence in the recent Step by Step post:

Indeed I’d done 681 before I’d even left the house, which is what happens when you run downstairs, put the kettle on, run back up to bring your clothes into the bathroom, go back down to make your tea, go up and have your shower….

There are four references there to our stairs and, as you can see, we live in a bungalow.

What’s going on here? Is Tinman deluded, thinking he leaves in a bigger house than he does? Or do the Tinfamily live in a house like the Tardis, bigger on the inside than on the out?

Or perhaps there’s a Tincave beneath the house from which Tinman fights crime, where he parks the Tinmobile (well, not that bit, obviously, you can see it in the driveway), his Tinsuit and his valuable array of Gizmos, including his Tin-Utility-Belt (it contains all utilities, including light (a torch), communications (a mobile phone and gas (a tin of beans), his Tin-Metal-Detector (it doesn‘t work, it just keeps pointing at him), and, in case of emergency, his Tin Whistle.

In fact, the answer is quite simple. When you enter our house you are in a hallway, surrounded by the bedrooms. The sitting-room is in front of you, and because our street was built on a hill there are three steps down into it.

Walking up these three steps is known in the Tinhouse as “going upstairs”.

This is a cause for much merriment among my friends. Whenever I say things like “I went up to bed” they say “what, in your bungalow?”. And it is not only me. I have heard Tingirl on the phone saying “no, it’s upstairs, I’ll go and get it” and then saying “we do so have an upstairs. Yes we do, stop laughing”. I’ve asked the Tinsons, and the same thing happens to them.

That’s all for today, then. I’m going to close my laptop now, and charge it in my bedroom.


Tiny But Tough


This time they had employed a girl.

The Wolf smiled to himself. This was going to be even easier than the last time.

The last shepherd had been a boy who had let the sheep wander into the meadow, which was practically the Wolf’s frying-pan. The boy himself was under a haystack and, despite the scratchy, potentially eye-poking nature of the hay, was fast asleep.

Little Boy Blue had eventually arrived, blowing his horn, but by then the Wolf had made off with a month’s supply of mutton, spare ribs and rack-of-lamb.

A quick detour through Mary, Mary Quite Contrary’s garden on the way home had got him some fresh mint to top the whole thing off.

The boy had been fired and they had advertised for a replacement. Since the only requirement was a willingness to be delighted by a red sky at night you’d have thought there’d have been lots of applicants, yet somehow they’d ended up with this young girl.

She had had the job for less than a day now, and seemed to have lost her sheep.

It’s not easy to see how she could do this, what sheep mainly do is follow, so you’d have thought she’d have been unable to shake them off unless she’d taken up rock-climbing, but there she was, and there the sheep weren’t.

The Wolf prowled the area, and after an hour or so he found them. They were on their way home, dragging their tails behind them, not an easy trick when your tail is three inches long.

A thought struck the Wolf. If can they find their way home, he thought, then why on earth do they need the girl?

A crook struck the Wolf. He turned in surprise.

The girl stood there, swinging the crook back for another go.

“I’m Little Bo Peep,” said the girl. “Leave my sheep alone.”

“Not a chance,” said the Wolf, “I’m in the mood for a kebab.”

“Then you’re wasting your time,” said Bo Peep. “I’ve seen the lump of meat they slice kebabs from, and none of my sheep have a leg that thick. Come to think of it, no sheep on the planet have a leg that thick. I think you’ve been eating elephant.”

She swung the crook again and caught the Wolf on the side of the head, the most painful thing to have happened to him since Little Red Riding Hood had punched him in the face. (Why is everyone called “Little” in this town, thought the Wolf as he fled, they’re all as strong as horses).

Eventually he stopped running, at the top of a hill overlooking a small valley. There were three small houses in the valley, and each house seemed to be built slightly differently, as if the local store carried only a very small stock of each type of building material. Three pigs (the Wolf just know that they would be called “Little” Pigs) were sitting chatting in the garden of one of the houses.

All thoughts of lamb vanished from the Wolf’s mind. It was time, he thought, to bring home the bacon.

Still huffing and puffing from his long run, he started down the hill.

Surely nothing could go wrong this time.

Weekly Photo Challenge: In The Background

Tinman’s camera-less version of the WordPress Photo Challenge…


Steve ran. Oh, how he ran, wide-eyed in panic, every now and again looking back over his shoulder, because when you must, absolutely must, run as fast as you possibly can nothing keeps you going full-out like breaking stride every couple of seconds to look backwards.

It was all to no avail anyway. The Empire State Building still fell on him.

The Director called “cut”. Steve pushed away the cardboard boulders under which he had supposedly been crushed, and headed off for lunch.

They were filming Independence Day, and he was an extra.

That was his job. He had hurled himself into the water in Titanic and begun swimming, presumably towards America, or perhaps Southampton. He had been an expendable crewman in Star Trek, and an expendable baddie in The Expendables. He’d been attacked by piranha in Piranha, by snakes on a plane in Snakes On A Plane and (with Samantha of course) had had sex in the city in Sex And The City.

Sometimes he had more than one part, an extra extra if you like. He had been both a wizard and a muggle in Harry Potter, an orc and an ent in the Lord of the Rings (he’d never been sure which was which) and, thanks to the marvels of CGI, he had sword-fought himself in Braveheart.

He had never had a speaking part, although occasionally he got to yell “aargh”.

And why did he do it? Because it meant he was in the movies.

Here Comes The Sun

When I vowed to post on every one of the last nine days of May, I was not expecting one of them to be astonishingly sunny.

The temperature is still only sixteen degrees, but that’s irrelevant. Global warming has given Ireland a succession of disappointing summers, so when we get a cloudless day like today we go absolutely mental. People rush down stony beaches to hurl themselves into a still freezing sea, like someone getting into a shower five seconds after they have turned the hot water on.

Men show off horrendous legs in horrendous shorts. Women forego tights to wear open-toed shoes with red-painted toenails peeping from them. Everyone eats their own weight in ice-cream.

And people have barbecues, the chance to swap meat cooked thoroughly and safely in your kitchen for the same meat burnt in spots over an open fire.

While I have done none of the above, I have unashamedly slept Sunday afternoon away in a sun-lounger in the back garden. I am now slightly pink (rather like barbecued chicken normally is), but I don’t care.

After all, the Pink Panther is probably the coolest person on the planet.

Get A Grip

Sidey’s Weekend Theme is “handles”…


The King looked up as Sir Olaf the Inventor entered his throne room. He moaned, and not just because he did not want to see Sir Olaf.

Kind Frederick of Saxe-Coburg was King of, well, Saxe-Coburg (sometimes the answer to the question “what’s in a name?” is “everything”), part of what is now Germany. It was Oktoberfest and the King felt that it was part of his Royal duty to join in. Then, as now, Oktoberfest was a month of quaffing, an old Germanic word meaning “pouring beer down the front of your face”. Oktoberfest meant mornings of sore heads – some caused by hangovers, some by being punched in bar-brawls, and some by banging the back of your head on the toilet-cistern when getting up after throwing up. It was a time of debauching, bauching, and de-flowering, which is stealing flowers from gardens to present to your wife in a desperate attempt to atone for the fact that you have come home five hours after you said you would, and that you are wearing a traffic-cone on your head.

Even when the King was feeling at his best a meeting with Sir Olaf was difficult, as Olaf’s inventions tended to be a little odd. He had, for example, invented the bicycle pump, although he had to admit that since nobody had yet invented the bicycle it was of limited use. He had invented the German war helmet with the spike on top. This was only useful if you charged head-down at an opponent, but many had learned to step aside so that you impaled yourself into the fence behind them, with some of them adding insult to injury by shouting “Olé” as you passed by.

The King had given Olaf a knighthood in the hope that he would take it as a hint to retire. Instead he had invented the knight hood, though it had no eye-holes in it since, as he said, the hood would only be worn at night.

He was a remarkable inventor, but not very good at spelling.

“Ok, Olaf,” sighed the King, “what is it this time?”

Sir Olaf reached into his satchel and produced a goblet, though one with a difference.

The King shook his head. This was a mistake, since it caused the feeling that someone had just struck the inside of his forehead with a tin bucket. “It seems to have grown ears,” he said, when his head stopped spinning.

“I call them handles,” said Olaf proudly.

“What are they for?” said the King.

“They are for carousing with your friends,” said Olaf. “If, for example, you are in wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen and would like to clink and drink one down, you can do so without trapping your fingers between the goblets.”

“I see,” said the King. “And this goblet -”

“It’s not a goblet,” said Olaf, “I call it a tankard.”

“Why?” asked the King.

“Because I thank hard before I came up with the idea,” said Olaf, whose grammar was on a par with his spelling.

Just then Queen Margareta entered the throne room. She pointedly ignored King Frederick, and looked instead at Olaf and the tankard. “Interesting,” she said.

She took the tankard and, to Olaf’s horror, broke off one handle. She held it daintily by the other handle, and found that her little finger stuck out of its own accord.

“It would be perfect for drinking tea with the ladies,” she said, almost to herself.

“What’s tea?” asked Olaf.

“Don’t know,” she said. She smiled sweetly at him. “Invent it.”

She sailed galleon-like from the room. The King and Olaf looked at one another.

“She likes it,” said the King. “And it’s the first time she’s smiled since Oktoberfest began. This calls for a drink.”

The King poured some beer into his goblet and into Olaf’s tankard, which Olaf had to admit looked better with just the one handle.

“To the tankard,” said the King.

They clinked their vessels together. The King’s fingers got trapped between them.

The word that he uttered was the first ever in what is now often referred to as Anglo-Saxon.