Category Archives: How do you categorize this?

Tinman’s Guide to Brexit

Hello, Tinman. I’m a UK citizen with a few questions, and I’ve heard that you know a lot about politics, so can I ask you?

I think you’re mixing me up with Paxman, but sure go ahead anyway.

Ok. I’ve heard that we triggered Article 50 last week. What does that mean?

It means you’re leaving the EU.

I thought we did that last summer.

No, last summer you told your politicians that you wanted to leave.

Then why has it taken so long?

Politicians act very, very, slowly. For example, have you ever asked your local councillors for a pedestrian crossing in your village?

I get your point. I’ve heard we have to pay £50 billion to get out. What’s that about?

It’s like the Departure Tax that you pay at airports, only for a whole country.

Speaking of airports, will I still be able to bring 800 fags back from Ibiza?

No, though you will be able to drink duty-free on the plane.

What about getting European stuff here? Will I be still be able to buy French Fries?

Why would you want to? Buy chips!

What about Mars Bars?

Mars is not actually a member of the EU, so there’ll be no change.

Is it true that I can get an Irish passport?

Depends. Are you any good at soccer?

Isn’t it going to be awkward, having Ireland still in the EU, but further away then us?

I believe they’re thinking about a kind of house-swap, where we’ll move to Britain and you’ll move here. We’ll get the London Eye, and Stonehenge, and Glastonbury, and you’ll get, well, rain mostly. And Termonfeckin.

But I like where I live now, though I admit I’d like it more if they’d put in the bloody pedestrian crossing we asked for ten years ago. The idea sounds nuts. Our Foreign Secretary would never agree to anything so daft.

And your Foreign Secretary is?

It’s Boris – oh.


Will Brexit affect us in the Eurovision Song Contest?

No, you still won’t win.

I’ve heard that there will be a lot less red tape. Is that true?

In the beginning, perhaps, but it is likely that some British company will spot that there is now a shortage of red tape, and will rush to fill the gap. 

So this will be good for British manufacturing?

Of red tape, certainly.

I’m an Arsenal fan. Will Arsene Wenger have to quit as manager?


Damn. Ok, one last question.

Go ahead.

What do Nicola Sturgeon and Theresa May’s legs have to do with any of this?

God knows.


For Today

Jeanne d'Arc

Jeanne d’Arc, painted by Eugene Thirion, 1876

This painting of Joan of Arc was today’s prompt in the Flash Friday weekly 150-word challenge, and this is what I wrote….


She is beautiful, even in her grief.

They blew horns of hatred, loud trumpet blasts filled with anger at her faithlessness.

They whispered, whispered around her head, sibilant, spiteful hisses. They called her a witch, a jezebel, a whore.

They could not break her soul, could not break her spirit, so in rage they broke her heart.

They took her children.

Now she clutches her breast, trying to ease the dreadful ache, trying to understand, trying to see how God’s will has been served by her suffering.

She weeps, though she will not let them see. She mourns, and her friends mourn with her. A part of her has died, but she has not died. When the flames of their stake have faded to cold grey ash she will still live, a light for a dark and broken world.

She is beautiful, even in her grief.


Hedgehog Day

Today I’d like to introduce you to a good friend of mine, a member of my writers’ group.

Her name is An Gráinneog Galánta (it’s Irish for “The Elegant Hedgehog”), and she has a blog called My Brilliant Divorce, which is, obviously, about her divorce, but about many other things as well.

Her blog is like her – sometimes sad, often hilariously funny, and just basically good.

She wrote this post two weeks ago, and I’ve asked her can I link to it.

I was blown away by it.

Noted Name

The door to the internet opens, and Tinman creeps sheepishly back in. It’s been too easy over Christmas to find excuses not to write, but I finally went back to our Inksplinters Writers’ Group tonight. The prompt we were given was “Edward is asleep in his chair”, and I wrote two sentences to the prompt before my brain took over, which is never a good thing…


Edward is asleep in his chair.

Most people don’t sleep in a chair-lift when it’s on its way to the upper slopes of Mont Thing (sorry, I’ve never been skiing, so can’t think of any resorts), but then most people aren’t Edward.

In fact, very few people are Edward – take out the female half of the population, the Chinese, people who are named after their Dad’s favourite soccer player, everyone called Darryl, Henry of the six wives and the seven Henrys who preceded him, pop-stars children with names like North, Moon Unit and Scent of the Gloaming, anyone named after the town in which they were conceived excepting of course the residents of Edward, Minnesota, people whose parents thought Edward sounds too posh, people whose parents thought Edward sounds too old, people who thought Edward sounds too much like Jedward, people whose parents had wanted a girl and who are therefore called Edwina, people whose parents think it’s hilarious to list their religion on a census form as “Jedi” and have called their son Ewok, all of Jermaine Jackson’s sons, aliens secretly visiting from the planet Xjrui, people christened Edward who have since opted for a sex-change, all of the members of Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Titch, He Who Must Not Be Named, people named after the Pope, Englebert Humperdink, Jude the Obscure, Robin the Rich, Given the Poor, all five of the Tracy brothers from Thunderbirds, a Man Called Horse,the Man With No Name, a Horse With No Name, people named after famous literary characters such as Holden, Yossarian and Tarzan, the Artist Formerly Known As Edward,and a boy named Sue, and you’re left with very few people who are Edward.

Who is asleep in his chair, by the way, and after reading this who could blame him.


It’s nice to be back, by the way…

Return To Sender

Recently I wrote a story about Mary Poppins, and was a bit surprised by one of the comments I received.

It was from Mary Poppins.

It was sent from this lovely website here, and I have to say that I was thrilled that they (sorry, she) would take the trouble to come along and comment, and do so in keeping with the tone of what I had written.

Very few of the subjects of my stories write back. Hamlet, Sherlock Holmes, Batman, The Loch Ness Monster, Captain Kirk, William Wordsworth and Pavlov’s cat (yep, cat) have all featured here and not one of them has felt the urge to reply.

Snow White hasn’t either, which perhaps isn’t surprising. I did write one nice story about her, but in another one I made it clear that I thought her the thickest person on the planet, and in yet another I had the Mirror on the Wall call her a minger.

God hasn’t commented either, despite appearing in several stories. It can’t be that he doesn’t know about them, so I can only assume that he’s miffed at me.

Perhaps it was the one in which I applied to the Vatican for his job, and got it, that upset him.

Pick A Letter

Sorry about the last week, my brain just stopped working, and I couldn’t think of a single thing to write about. I’ve been driven in desperation to WordPress’s prompts, and to one which asks us to pick a letter, any letter, and start each sentence in a post with it. Well, maybe it’ll get me going…


Begin each sentence with the same letter. Bloody hell. By the time I’d reached the second sentence I was stuck. Best if I choose some other letter, perhaps. But I can’t just give up so easily. Better writers than me probably would. Brainier ones, too. Bet Shakespeare didn’t spend his time doing this. Boswell either. Brown cows in a field would make a more exciting thing to write about than this. Bulls too. By gum, bulls and brown cows together, that would have possibilities. Butch Cassidy would have spend a lot of time around brown cows, because he was a cowboy. Brokeback Mountain – that had cowboys in it too. Bugger me if it didn’t. Balls of steel I’ll need if I decide to leave that joke in.

Pick a letter. Put it at the start of every sentence. Pretty simple? Possibly not. Perhaps I could pick a story topic that would help. Penguins could feature. Parrots too. Perched on their, well, perches. People might rather read a story about brown cows in a field. Pasture, really. Pasturised milk is what you’d get from them. Pathetic joke, I know. Prefer the one in the last paragraph? Paragraph was totally wasted there, I could have started a sentence with it.

Choose a letter and start each sentence with one. Cool. Can’t be too hard. Can it? Couldn’t I write about, say, animals? Cows, maybe. Could be brown ones. Corralled in a field. Clever, that. Cunning, even. Cowboys could also feature. Cassidy, the guy in the film. Cor, I can’t think of his first name just at the moment. Curious, isn‘t it?

Select a letter. Start each sentence with it. Sentences like this one. Sounds easy. Simple, really. See? (Silence). ‘Snot as easy as I thought, actually. Somehow ideas run out pretty quickly. Suppose I could write about animals. Sepia cows, in a field, maybe.

Tinman’s back. Terrible, isn’t it?

I Didn’t Feel Alone Till I Met You

The title above was the prompt at our Writers’ Group last night. I was staring haplessly at it, with not an idea in my head, when one of the girls said “It sounds like a Country and Western song”. So…


I’ve felt happy as a warthog who’s been eatin’ from a trough,

I’ve felt wind blow up my long-johns when I’ve left my trousers off.

I’ve felt gassy after drinkin’, I’ve felt somethin’ in my shoe,

But I didn’t feel alone till I met you.


I’ve felt giddy watchin’ Nascar and the way those engines roar,

I’ve felt dizzy after moonshine and next mornin’ I’ve felt sore.

I’ve felt man-love for Hank Williams and for Lyle Lovett too,

But I didn’t feel alone till I met you.


I’ve felt deeply philosophical but I took some pills for that,

I’ve felt angry when my dog threw up in my ten-gallon hat.

I’ve felt great relief when prune-juice made me do a massive poo,

But I didn’t feel alone till I met you.


I’ve felt sorry when my wife left and felt worse when she came back,

I’ve felt horny when I met a girl with a really massive rack.

I’ve felt hungry till I’ve eaten all my beans and grits and stew,

But I didn’t feel alone till I met you.


I’ve felt master of the road when I’ve been in my pick-up truck,

I’ve felt scared at how this line might end, but I’m gonna trust to luck.

I’ve felt tears of pride well up while watchin’ Dukes Of Hazzard 2,

But I didn’t feel alone till I met you.


I’ve felt bad I wrote a Country Song and never mentioned God,

I’ve felt sure that this song has no chance in this year’s Eisteddfod.

I’ve felt stuck for one last rhyme and so this one will have to do,

But I didn’t feel alone till I met you.