Warm Fuzzies – The Sequel.



So, this is my second week at the Warm Fuzzies Blogfest. The mission is to give a clue about what we scribes are working on. The above photo will tell you so much about my work in progress that actually it’s hardly worth writing the book. My dear manager Rosina, tells me that there are more than enough books about transvestite stationery salesmen and that the genre is worn out. She is a bit of a tree book nostalgoid to be honest. ( Remember the days when the big six dinosaurs used to rule the world and they ripped down all the trees so that there were only 20 literosaurus wrecks who were allowed to have paper to write on). However, if the book is not what she thinks then you guys are bound to be able to work it out, post your guess in the comments below…


As for inspiration and music whilst writing, my own requirement is actually nothing but silence, some kind of neutral middle distance to stare into and coffee. I need at least an hour to think down to the kind of depth I want to be at. I don’t want any distractions and I can be absolutely horrid to seekers of keys, bicycle pumps, menu suggestions and telephone sales-slaves.  If I’m writing about a kiss I want to be a warm lip. If I’m in the street I want to hear the sounds. When I was a serious poet I used to think for weeks about what my subject was like – you know – what does a meadow mean? 


Dear Oh dear – too much “I am an ARTIST” stuff. I have had far more immediate concerns today – particularly regarding tattooed breasts. Two ladies whom I encounter during my bus driverly duties have tattooed orbs. One of them wears her breasts au sauvage under a low necked vest. I can see that some kind of toothed serpent is rising from somewhere around her nipple and I must confess to an immense curiosity about the rest of the design – I mean is there a basket and a guy with a flute down there somewhere? I really don’t like to stare or ask. The other lady is something of an official figure and wears an important green luminous jacket. On sunny days a smudgy blue bouquet peeks out searching for warmth and photosynthesis. I can’t imagine there is a hidden flower tub or vase can you? 

Now, I know that men would only want me for my mind and soul, but I do wonder if cleavaged tattooed breasted women become offended if males allow their eyes to break away from intellectual and emotional eye contact now and then. A while ago a friend sent me an intriguing photo from Japan. If you can’t bear the thought of the needle and ink but you want to catch the eye, these revolutionary scarves might help. 



Emma thinx: Look up and you can see two thousand stars. Look in and you can see everything beyond.

For Juliana at WFBF: 2 posts on Twitter = 2 points?



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The Ghost In The Machine



I’m beginning to lose the plot. Not only is it National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and National Author’s day, but also it is the National-blog-everyday-for-a-month Fest (NaBloPoMo!). What I did not know until I went to ASDA was that it is also National Sausage Week here in the UK. Now come on guys, you’ve got to admit that all that literary stuff fades into the background compared to the English Sausage. I’m gonna be taking part in the slog the blog binge since I pump it out every day anyway. Seemingly sausage is now the number one meat choice in the UK. I do wonder if that is because it is relatively cheap. In recent years I have noted the sizzle of the gourmet sausage such as Venison and Tarragon endorsed by Igor Apronifico and similar culinary luminaries. I sometimes wonder how far this kind of kidology could go – maybe François Potagier’s Pheasant and Camomile Chipolatas?  I reckon I know a few gourmo-snobs who would go for it. 

Now – if you look at the above pic you may well wonder what it is. Last night was of course Halloween (La Toussaint). Eventually I heard a noise outside and took a shot with my camera hoping to startle them with the flash. After they had retreated with their haul of sweets I checked out the photograph. Now – perhaps the flash didn’t work or perhaps I was shaking with fear or perhaps……the Unthinkable.  It all looks a bit spooky to me. Could be a whole new genre.


The headline shot today was sent by a friend in France who knows I am temping as a school bus driver. I believe the photo is from Morocco. Now, I know I complain a bit about my lot in life but well, all things are relative. I’m just so pleased that the bosses of the bus company are unlikely to see this image. I bet you there’s some bright shiny young thing with a modern tie and spiky gelled hair who’s just dying to wow them at the next cost cutting brainstorm meeting.


I note that as a foreigner I can’t win any of the NaBloPoMo Blogfest prizes. Well, I do not suppose I would be in the running but come on ….we gave the Fonz an MBE, or rather the Queen did. Next time I take tea with Her Majesty I may well raise the matter, although generally she raises this kind of issue with me first.


I’ve been walking quietly in the soft low sun as if I were still a poet. In the end my poem was one line, but so are we are we not?



Emma thinx: For each fallen leaf there is a branch with a memory.





The Overall Effect



“Ee’s just doin ‘is teef but the lift’s broke,” came the voice of intercom mom from floor 23 of the concrete sky. We all waited on the bus as the lad made his way down the steps. At last he arrived dressed in the same clothes that he always wears. It’s fashion sport wear and it’s always clean. I think it’s all he possesses. Mom must strip him off as soon as he gets in and poke it in the washing machine. Poverty is relative of course. Seemingly there are now 7 billion of us and the world can no longer feed us. When I see these poor kids and how they cling to the lifeboat of fashion even at the expense of food, I realise that the soul/status/ego/self image of each person is both our joy and our agony. It is a perversity to see the anorexic vision of  catwalk model beauty amidst the plenty and the Fast food/Big Biz/glamour glitz worshipped by the poor.


Yesterday afternoon I watched snatches of the first ever Indian Formula One Grand prix. How lucky they are that the Gods of Guzzle have handed them  the golden gladiators of radiators. Oh yes – the land of Shiva is now the land of GP diva. I’m a bit wary of making liberal arty farty capital out of the whole car racing circus. Probably it makes no difference but to me India has always seemed a land of advanced spirituality – beyond the brand and logo of plastered bill board overalls. And yet the taste of madness is sweet you know. Those childhood orgies of fallen conkers, hoarded simply because they were there, run on into adulthood and are delicious. The scream of wasteful engines and the kingfisher flash of  wealth are seductive. Seventeen thousand revs of orgasmic horsepower speak louder than a quiet voice of thought groping out for some gentle insight. Rip the rubber and ram it home to the chequered flag. Think simple and get the goods. That’s the true grand prize. Who am I to say different? At one stage of the race a car stopped at the edge of the circuit. Suddenly a mob hurtled towards the high grilled fence and pressed their faces against the metal in an agony to touch that far far world of the man with sponsored boots and million dollar gloves. These two worlds will never collide – provided that the fences hold.


 A very disturbing film is out on DVD about the life of  the racing driver Ayrton Senna. I’m not sure if it was meant to worry me but I kept posing a Wagnerian question “Where is there for defeated gods?” Many folk saw him as a GOD. That would be very difficult for a guy who simply drove cars in the name of a cigarette brand would it not?


Oh no – trouble in the temple. The Dean of St Paul’s cathedral has resigned over the strife around the anti-money changer demo on the steps. I love St Paul’s cathedral and have so often lit candles to the lovely building echoing choirboy fake-up-kid-yourself-spirituality God. Seemingly the elders of the temple can’t agree over whether or not to support the protests. I can see that this is a tough one. You get some kind of hippy guy show up with a few rough looking supporters and they go on about wealth and greed. Yup, even old Pontious Pilate was perplexed. He kinda fixed things up in the end though.


Emma thinx: Bossmosis – How the higher sucks out the lower.

Allez Les Bleus



I’m guessing that most of you will recognise the above picture. Certainly it is one of my favourites. What many people do not realise is that somewhere under the heap of bodies is an oval rugby ball. Poor old France lost the world rugby cup to New Zealand by one point. The game was a dour muscular struggle and I think the French can come home filled with pride at the show they put on. A couple of weeks ago, France played Wales in the semi final. I am not a rugby fan and to be frank some of the guys look a bit fearsome. France won by one point against a Welsh team reduced to 14 when the captain was sent off. I must confess to having felt a slight conflict of loyalty since Wales used to be part of Great Britain. Nowadays they are semi independent but they don’t hate the English like the Scots do. I don’t know if the Scots and the Welsh hate each other. They probably do, but at present they are united by their dislike of the English.

The whole business of the Delacroix painting of Liberty leading the people came to mind as protesters all around the world have set up encampments in capital cities to protest against CAPITALISM. Given the course of politics I guess there will soon be camps of folks  protesting about lowercaseism. Shortly after the Popular Italic Front will split away and it will be the story of Great Britain all over again. What I didn’t know is that the figure of Liberty served as the sculptor Bartholdi’s inspiration for the statue of Liberty in New York. In researching this matter I came upon this fascinating photo taken in Paris. The link of course is that the underlying framework for the Statue Of Liberty was fabricated by Gustave Eiffel. 

Ooh, for a woman I can be a right old boring anorak. And that brings me to something you can all help with. (No – it’s not about my placing of prepositions.) My agent and manager (my dear friend Rosina)  has been on to me about my blog. Seemingly it’s too wayward. I am a Romance writer but my daily wotsit can be about anything from Fine Arts to Old Farts. I must promo myself to the Romantic readers. It’s no good going on about carrots or world events. I think she’s right so let me give you a sneak preview of my up and coming Romantic blockbuster “The Billionaire’s Woman’s Secret Furrow”.


She drew the ripened marrow to her belly. There had been moments among the carrots, and a brief longing around the courgettes. Since the multi billionaire Rogerico Fantastico had entered her garden she had longed for his seed of fertile wealth. Even her past lover – the Count of Monty Bisto- with all his beef was nothing. But how could she bring him to her furrow when he was busy controlling the world?


Emma thinx: Molecool – two trendy atoms getting it together. 











I Think Therefore I Spam



Oh what joy it is to be home, if only for a few days. My tanks are filling with that long shadow/warm sun mellow ecstasy which still lives on this far south. We arrived back in France to find that a friend was moving house today. The affair had been in the wind for a while and suddenly the dam of expectation broke, the lawyers dipped their quills and the peasant mob moved in to finish the job. It’s only when you live in France that you realise just how anal the Anglo Saxons are about everything. Here, one day things will unfold. No one knows which day but everyone lives and hopes. By the time it happens there are dozens of people who share the expectation. When the time comes, everyone moves into gear and somehow everything is achieved. No one is allotted any duty and no one is in charge. In rural France most people have vans. Those who do not have vans have trailers. This obviates the need for any furniture removal businesses. In fact, when you think about it, most of the services we think we need and have to pay for only exist because folk don’t know one another. Gilles gave a hand rebuilding beds and I suggested that I cook dinner since there would be plenty else going on. Sometimes things go wrong…….


At about 1 o’clock I was about to put a chicken casserole in the oven to cook slowly for a few hours. The guests appeared at the door. Yes – you spotted the problem. They had come for lunch, thinking that when an English person says dinner, they mean lunch – because everyone knows that the English get it wrong. Accordingly they had double guessed my supposed error. I had single guessed that they knew I did not make that error. Look – this is no problem. You take some tagliatelle, a tin of Spam, a jar of Dolmio  pasta sauce, a tin of chopped tomatoes, some garlic, some Parmigiana cheese and a baguette. In 15 minutes a dish of  Spamastia Fantasia a l’Anglaise was served. Very few people have served Spam to the French. The meal disappeared and plates were cleaned with bread. I kinda felt that my life had not been in vain. 

Later, I took a ride on my bike. There is a field nearby still filled with wild flowers. These days I can no longer do poetry. Life has kicked it out of me and the jingle jangle of road traffic, commercial pop radio, hair dryers, mobile phones, work schedules and world noise blunts me down to a stub. It does this to all of us and we call it getting by and survival. Writing Romance is a different state of mind. It is about escape. You have to see that from which you wish to escape. So, I went to the field of flowers. The sky was a perfect blue and the heavens a dome of azure over my head. Under that  same dome all things lived in the only ways they could. A hawk hovered, a mouse scurried and the flowers ….well, the flowers simply blew in the wind as the world turned and the vacuums drew in the pressures and the strong sowed the seeds of their failure in the defeat of the currently weak. And when all the hour glasses are turned again and all the cards are shuffled, the flowers will blow in the wind. I took a short video which is a kind of a poem. It says nothing but itself.





Emma thinx: Make a deal with time while you can still negotiate.

Putting The Boot In.



Many moons ago while I was working in my kitchen, my daughter came to me sobbing and asked if she could raise a very serious issue. Oh no – this must be the pregnancy/drug addiction/solvent abuse/pedophile situation that we watch as entertainment on the soaps, but do not wish to confront with the suds. I dried my hands and took her to the lounge, selected some calming baroque music and told her that whatever it was, we were there for her, that I knew several state registered professional counsellors and that we would not be cross. I decided not to raise the possibility of groundings, thrashings or bread and water diets. At last she spoke.
“Mother – um – I think it’s about time I had some Adidas trainers. I’m being blanked and excluded because I haven’t got brand names on my clothes.”
It was true. “But you’re not being held up at knife-point by trainer pirates” 
“No,” she conceded -“but I am called a retard and a dork. I’d rather be stabbed.”
The truth was of course that she was being stabbed. Needless to say we pulled together as a family, called in some counsellors and had the child suitably billboarded and labelled. I knew that one day our innocent unbranded world would end. We had had a good run. She was nearly seven after all.


 My dear friend Oscar Sparrow wrote a poem about fashion and how it had mattered to him as a kid – long before he became a stuffaphobe Buddhist and renounced all possessions. Check out “Fashion Footwear” here. 


And so it is that I tip out my load of kids each day at the college as waves of fashion branded youths troop in. A few retards and dorks mingle in, but are clearly an underclass of non-populars. Fashion and status have become tyrants, and it is not only the young who suffer it. In my guise of a sportive cyclist more and more carbon fibre bandanna clad executive types swap “better than you” tales of Specialised and Trek. I have a Boardman from Halfords and jolly good value it is too!


This whole subject came to mind as Prime Minister Cameron launches a mission to restore childhood and to stop kids advertising to kids on TV. Pester power is truly an awful phenomenon. Most parents I know with even 3 year old kids are hounded by demands – some of which the three year olds pick up from advertising on their lap tops. I witnessed such a thing earlier this week and I was astonished. Would you let a three year old play on the internet? Come to think of it they would probably be a bit sophisticated for some forum sites.



Some things are just so hard to judge aren’t they? The trial of Yulia Tymoshenko (ex-president of Ukraine) all looks a bit like a political shenanigans to me. (Good job Gordon Brown was’nt put on trial for losing £7billion on our UK gold!). I mean – she’s a simple billionaire girl who mis-read her gas meter. Seven years in jail seems harsh. I just hope they have decent hairdressing salons.  I can tell her that Gilles is very much on her side and that if ever she comes back to politics he would definitely offer to stuff her envelopes. Why are there so many multi-billionaires? Which bus company are they driving for?


Emma thinx: Reveal your inner darkness. Let your roots grow out.





King Of The Fountains

By the time you get to my age you feel that maybe you’ve seen a fair bit. Well – you may have done but the fact is that so much changes so quickly. I arrived at the internet keyboard as a pure virgin only a couple of years ago and it is only recently that I had the courage to venture onto a forum. I felt like an apprentice wildebeest attempting to cross a crocodile infested river. I had always imagined cyclists to be  gentle grass eating creatures. I had clicked on a link to the magazine of the Cyclists Touring Club. I figured there might be some advice for the guys on positioning your winter flask in your shorts to avoid embarrassment or a few patterns to knit your own Lycra. I spotted a thread about bus drivers and their interaction with pedallers. As a member of both communities I read on. Suddenly I realised that I had unearthed a 2 wheeled Al Qaeda cell. All bus drivers were reviled as Morons. I decided to put the contrary case, pointing out that cyclists needed to understand the operation of big vehicles and of visibility/mirror issues. Dear Oh dear! Back came echoes of bile and hatred. MORON, MORON! chanted an accuser. I felt the tearing of flesh as the crocs tore into me and pulled me under. And that was a forum for righteous lentil gobblers.


So- looking at yesterday’s item about honey bees, I read some of the comments that readers had added on the Newspaper website. The professors were “feathering their own nests”. A counter opinionater declared that another correspondent was a “Mong” who should get back under his shell.  The fact is that this sort of behaviour is horrid.  Everyone in the writing game has come up against Trolls who abuse other people’s work in an unacceptable way. In my opinion some “forums” are Troll fronts where many correspondents are mentally ill. A few days ago a man appeared in Court in the UK for trolling on  memorial websites to  dead kids. If you do not know of this case check it out here.

The fact is that anonymity permits the very worst of us to emerge, uninhibited by fear of actual violence or reprisal. I know a lad whose life was turned into a Hell by cyber threats on Facebook. I feel myself lucky to have grown up before any such thing was possible. I have just a suspicion that I might have been cowardly enough to express my true vile self.

Emma thinx: You can snipe at rabbits but beware of the cross hares.

Lean and Mean.



It’s all toppling you know. Everything we believed in and trusted lies trampled in the dirt of experience. Bloody good thing too if you ask me! Today the British nation learned that Big Ben is leaning. It’s only a small lean – but in 4,000 years it could topple. Apparently the lean of 1.5 inches is perceptible to the naked eye from Parliament Square. Well, I can tell you that my ex husband would not have been able to spot it. He used to think that a spirit level was the whisky department of the supermarket. We had shelves that looked like the doors of a gull wing Mercedes. But they did have a certain charm. Many a dinner guest asked if there had been an earthquake. The completely vertical tower of Pisa just does not have any cachet does it? My suspicion is that all of this stuff is a part of a tourist promo – “see it before it’s too late” stunt.



Then there is far more serious leaning from vertical in the actual Houses of Parliament. Now, I want you all to note that this is the first and probably the last time that I speak well of a Tory. (That is a Conservative politician). Poor old Dr Fox (Minister for Defence) is being hounded by the righteous because his mate has been bragging about “My friend the minister” and hanging about in the corridors of power. Look – the whole Power and influence thing is based on friendships, insider deals and assortative matings. The minister appears to have a loud mouthed friend who loved bigging himself up and fancies himself as a bit of a fixer. Now the righteous are all huffing and puffing. The main hound-master admitted that his own Party had taken money from this same guy to assist with “Policy Development”.  OK readers – I’m gonna give you £10,000 pounds to fund a nice policy making trip. No strings attached – but let’s all be friends eh. Hypocrisy and tub thumping methinks.


Scientists at the local university are suddenly in the spotlight for asking if bees are affected by diesel fumes. The theory is that small particulates of combusted fuel disturb the function of their brains and they cannot find their way home. Almost certainly this is true. Many bus drivers who have lived their whole lives in diesel fumes cannot find their way anywhere. I still know where my home is in France and I long to be there.


And finally on the subject of leaning towers I was once in Venice and asked a guide why the Campanile had fallen down in 1902.
“I don’ta know – ma – no worry – we make  again esattemente the same – no deefference.” Might be one to watch. If leaning structures  are your thing check out Fred Dibnah.


Emma thinx: Power accepts no friendship. No friendship accepts Power.



Handling Loose Balls


Me and my big mouth! Over a couple of drinks with a colleague of Gilles last night I mentioned my difficulty with the offside rule. Now- all of his life this guy had been waiting for an unsuspecting little butterfly to fall into the back of his goal net. He was on me like a spider sensing the death struggle of a gnat. Within seconds I was wound into a cocoon and injected with a paralysing sporty drug. Salt and pepper pots, a beer glass, several coasters and a wine cooler shunted up and down the table. I agreed with everything that was said but was suddenly confronted with a test to see if I had been listening. I had not been! I had got behind the pepper before the gin bottle was played.


So it was that instead of my Sunday morning romantic novelist’s lie in with warm baguette, I found myself with a bunch of parent types at the edge of a windswept recreation ground. Gilles had agreed to bring me to watch his chum’s boy play football and to finally split the infinitive and the atom of the offside rule. The ref looked like he had the right clothes but the guys who ran up and down the edges looked like passers-by who had been handed flags. It was these conscripts who were to judge the offside rule. Seemingly anyone you meet in the street who can hold a flag will know it.

The game kicked off and various stampedes of lads hurtled up and down. All of a sudden, a parent type shouted “Ref! That’s gotta be offside – Lino, Lino- you must be blind!”
“Lino – that kitchen floor stuff?” I ask Gilles.
“Lino – it means the linesman,” (That’s the conscript guy with a flag).
The referee blows his whistle for play to continue. A parent of the opposing side calls out “well played lino! – that was never off!”
It then became apparent that the lino guys were from each team and their decisions were allegedly based on a biased interpretation of the rules. By the end of the game it was more or less agreed that all of the officials had obviously lost their sight with solitary handling of their balls. Why does anyone want to be a football official?

Torn shreds of clouds scampered across a pale sky as church bells peeled for morning service. The sound of a ball punted at the far end of the field reached my ears long after the action. This is a world of rules facts and beauties. We are nothing but poor interpreters and conscript linos.

Emma thinx: A granted freedom is merely a longer chain.

Making a Splash



Last weekend at the motorway services I saw an advertisement which said “You shoudn’t have to plan your life around toilet stops”. I must confess I don’t know what product they were offering. I guess it was some kind of she-wee potty or maybe some medication. All the same, I think we’ve all known one another long enough to reveal some of the inner secrets of bus driving. You just cannot stop the bus and get off for a wee. The same problem applies to lorry drivers. My ex husband used to carry a 2 litre plastic milk bottle. If he hit traffic and he was trapped in the cab he would dangle his dingle into the neck and obtain relief. In cold weather with a failed heater, this can be a challenge even for the well developed male. If ever you pull into a lay-by you may see a few containers looking like they contain whisky or orange squash. They do not! Some very inconsiderate truckers just empty the full bottle out of the window whilst travelling at full speed. Do you still want that wind in your hair cabriolet? I hope you realise that in reading this you are being admitted to an inner cognoscenti of romantic novelists, truck and bus drivers. If you are on or driving around a public bus and you feel that the driver is pushing the boundaries of traffic etiquette please try to be aware that the poor soul at the wheel may be in a desperate plight.


The reality is that we are animals no different to say – cats. We have to go but we want to do it somewhere else, and certainly not in our own clothing. The agony of the long distance bus driver is known to many folk in different guises. My worst personal incident was when driving a coach into central London a few years ago. I had had lunch a little late and had had an extra cup of tea. On the A40 I hit terrible traffic. As we crawled towards the Marylebone Road I knew that I could not make it to any kind of refuge. Just as we were about to take the flyover I saw a park to my left. I pulled over, waved at my open-mouthed passengers and dived for the gates. LOCKED!!!! Pressure was unbearable. Then I saw some kind of yard with bins. I dived in and squatted between some huge galvanised stinking cylinders. After a desperate wrestle with trousers – release at last. Even if the Queen of bloody England (she hasn’t got bits) had turned up I could not have stopped. Evidence of my crime flooded out into the street. I felt that sense of shame and relief that surrendering soldiers must feel. Then I bolted back to the bus. The passengers were coming up to London to see a show. I think they thought it was part of the entertainment. A couple of guys gave me a decent tip and a wink.


Emma thinx: The purest happiness is release from anguish.