A Rose By Any Other Thorn – #Valentine’s Day Snags pic.twitter.com/plGWt0rbd0

It is Friday the thirteenth. Although my life is an obstacle course of superstition, this occasion has never brought me any bad luck. Happily this morning I saw two magpies out of the window at first light. In the semi gloom I did put my knickers on back to front and resisted the urge to adjust the mistake. I’m just so pleased I don’t wear a thong. So, I’m safe. It is well known in supernatural circles that the defiant power of reversed knickers always trumps the hand of doom. 

Far more important is the date tomorrow – 14th February. I guess it’s potentially the best or worst day of the year. You love him. He loves you. He loves you not. He loves you but doesn’t know the date. He loves you but he’s a creepy stalker with dog breath and a socially plausible excuse! She sends you a card out of capricious vanity….dear me – just remember what happened when Bathsheba sent Mr Boldwood a teasing card in Thomas Hardy’s novel “Far From The Madding Crowd”. Yes – it’s an interpersonal swine-field. 


Like most things spontaneous and romantic- they can be improved with good management. For the past two weeks I’ve been indicating to my man that there may be a package arriving that he is not to open because it may contain items he should not see yet. I’ve been casually talking about the Valentine’s merchandising in Walmart as I complain about regular items being moved. 


“Do you know they’ve moved the unwashed organic potatoes so that they can sell more cards with gaudy quilted hearts!” I say casually. He nods. He gets it. He loves it when I talk dirty.


But, it’s a wonderful festival of sentiment. It can be over the top and under the bottom but that’s how love is. Check out my Valentine poem. It’s an indulgent fest of vulgar velvet but that’s the way I love my man.

Emma Thinx: You are not my heart. You are its beat.










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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?



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.

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.

The Sultan Of Sullen.



All of the kids except one come out of college at 3.45pm. The final passenger finishes his class at 4.15pm and emerges at about 4.30pm.(Funding only runs to one bus for the whole city). He does not rush. He is a charmless youth whom I think of as the Sultan of Sullen. If such thoughts ever became known to the Authorities I think I’d be looking at a spell in jail. Whilst we all wait for him the kids do what they do best: ARGUE and FIGHT. I suppose I should care, but I really don’t. A student runs from the bus in tears and returns with an harassed tutor who attempts to intervene in a matter of infantile infinity rooted in the affairs of a pop singer called Justin Beaver who one supports or does not support. After five minutes of counselling the teacher rolls his eyes at me and suggests that I seat various kids apart. I suggest firmly that I am a bus driver and that louts who cannot behave should walk to college. Eventually the Sultan of Sullen turns up and exclaims “F**k**g  shut up you c***ts” (Actually I couldn’t have put it better myself).The tutor exits stage left pursued by a stare.


I direct the bus out into the traffic. Miles away there has been a crash and rather like stock markets, serial panic has set in. I inch my way across the city, dropping off my students. Suddenly a plaintiff call from a girl behind – “Emma – I need a toilet.” Now, this kid has been on the bus for nearly 2 hours. To my left are some bushes on a kind of road island. I pull over. I don’t ask but I hope it’s just a pee. I get her off the bus and stand there as a kinda guard. After far too long she comes back looking grubby with a branch of holly in her hair and dead leaves sticking out of her clothing. I didn’t ask – I did not want to know the answer. No one died. So far I’m not in jail. All in all a good day. Romance writing and middle class life in France (or anywhere) seem like a universe away. Well, actually they are. 


Nobel prizes today for the dark matter physicists. These are the guys who have shown that the rate of expansion of the universe is increasing. Apparently this leads to a theory of dark energy. Look – my dark roots used to grow at an increasing rate until grey energy started to take over  and slow everything down into decline. Believe me guys – everything will shrink back. Classical Physics remains unchallenged. 


Emma thinx: Would a dark matter neutrino out-accelerate its own non existence?



That curtain smile


From the genteel parks and terraces of Leamington to the cab of my bus this morning. “Ee’s doin’ is teef.” Came the voice from the 23rd floor. Regular readers will know that this is the standard response when I call to pick up a particularly time challenged student. “Could ee do is teef before the bus comes?” I reply.
 “Wah? We dunno when you’re gonna be ‘ere?” 
“Get ‘im ta do is teef when ee gets up.” I reply in dialect
“Ee does – ee gets straight aht a bed and does ‘is teef.”
I wonder if I’ll ever meet the voice from floor 23. I suspect she has a hard life up there. At least the dental hygiene should be OK.

I’m never really sure how to feel about animals. I always keep in mind how much I enjoy eating quite a few of them. I know that as a Romantic novelist I should be a cat and dog lover with at least a frilly poodle called fartio. I can never quite get over the knowledge that cats torture little birds. Dogs on the other hand roll in dung and lick their own and other dogs’ bottoms before moving on to your face. Both species can be infected with parasitic worms that cause severe illness and blindness in children who are apt to pick up cat and dog faeces. If this kinda stuff worries you check out Toxocariasis here. I only mention this because a friend’s daughter lost her vision on account of this problem. I suppose that my attitude to animals is unsentimental, practical and culinary.


All the same, I can see the charm of dogs. In the yard where the buses sleep there is a rag-bag of sheds, grease pits, vehicle repairers and various oily humans who appear to have been absorbed in an osmotic process by their overalls. All sorts of welding, car cutting, foreign tongues, hammering, revving engines, paint spraying and diesel smoke merge to form a synthesis of something I call Fumanity. I adore the place. In amongst this mechanical stew lives Alf – the workshop dog. He is a terrier and looks like he is a kinda mobile wiping rag. So many lubricated hands pat him that he has taken on the colour of sump oil. He kinda growls out with lop-sided white teeth through  an axle grease beard. Most of the time he runs about with an old football begging for anyone to kick it for him to chase. Then he dives under or into trucks, bins, piles of scrap, greasing pits or buses to retrieve it. He also attacks any kind of water hose – the water just beads off the grease. If anyone wants me to investigate the full story of Alf please let me know. I believe he has lived there for many years.


Just as an aside I must admit that since I have been back on the buses, grinding out a working life, all that romance fiction seems  wonderful, yet for me un-writeable. I just can’t imagine swooning in the arms of a billionaire hunk. I dream of traffic and hooting road- ragers. If a spillionaire (saturated with uncountable wealth) hunk cut me up in his Ferrari I’d probably smack his smug orthodontically perfect gob.


Emma thinx: Do it doggy fashion. Collar him and take the lead.





Left Right Left Right.



In the office I mumbled a few “hellos” to other drivers. The guy behind the desk handed me some keys and a worksheet. “You’ve got the 21 seater on locals – it’s door to door”. I heard a comrade driver give a little ironic laugh. “Hope the little sods are ready!” I walked out to the vehicle which is a kind of stretched mini bus. I had given myself plenty of time to put all the data into Sat Naff. The first pick up was right across the other side of the city. I filled in the tachometer sheet and did the vehicle defect report. Right girl – you’ve gotta get on top of this. Forget all frilly romance novelist nonsense and do a good job. I had plenty of time. My first pick up was at 0715 and the traffic was still light. Sat Naff chattered away. I tuned the radio to BBC radio 4. Stock markets were crashing…wars were thrashing….sex offenders were flashing…..As Euro summit talks controlled the world, I controlled my bus through unfamiliar streets towards a large peripheral housing estate with a troubled reputation. With minutes to spare I pulled up at the base of a dilapidated tower block. Graffiti tagged concrete walls backdropped some fly tipped bin bags and old car tyres. I spoke to Sat Naff about the times we had had together. “Why did you bring me here?” he said. “You brought me here!” I replied. “I am a machine – you have free will”. It’s a good job he doesn’t write novels.


No one appeared. A lady in pyjamas wandered past with a plastic bottle of milk. I got out, locked the bus and went to the intercom. It was out of service. I decided against trying to get in and going to the flat. I gave it a further 5 minutes and drove off. So far so good. The next half dozen went smoothly but I noticed that I was already late. My phone started to ring. I pulled over. “You’ve forgot one at the tower block”. Said a rather harsh voice. “He didn’t come out.”
“He’s got anger issues and couldn’t find his tablets – can you go back for him?” Well, I was already late – and now I had a real excuse. I went back. A lad jumped in, punching his fist in to the palm of his other hand. I sat him in the front where I could see him. He plugged himself in to Lady Gaga.  We finished the round and headed for the college. Sat Naff was a wonderful friend, (well, he did want me to short cut through a pub car park but no one is perfect). Gradually I noticed that the kids were kinda laughing and shouting out a couple of words. GOSHE. DRAT. GOSHE. DRAT. They had cottoned on to Sat Naff who is still set on French! I laughed too. I think we’re all gonna get along just très bien


Emma thinx: Sat Nav – where your sense of direction becomes the direction of your senses.

Where next for determinism?



A gorgeous Autumn day. I am looking out at verdant grass, sparkling with slightly amber dew as the low sun hauls itself above the trees. Oh yes- this is England. Now no church bells mark my hours and once again I will wear a watch. The noose of time tightens. At least I know the words for everything – well almost. I’ve just been phoning around to get some pâté de foie gras. Can you believe that there is none! Whist on the line to the deli I asked a young girl if they stocked moules. She went off to ask the manager and didn’t come back.


Other than imminent economic implosion, the News is filled with uplifting English tales. Eight year old boys apparently put on a cage fight in a social club to entertain the crowd. I suppose I should be shocked – but I’m not. At least there were adults to supervise and I imagine that the parents actually knew where their children were that night. When my brood were adolescents I suggested to various toy companies that they produce inflatable street corners with spittoons so that kids could hang out safely in the warm at home. Since then inflatable friendships and hostilities have been developed by social media and most kids are too badly affected with rickets to go out.


On the subject of pugilism I hear that the boxers of Azerbaijan tried to buy gold medals at the 2012 London Olympics. If you wanna read about this kinda stuff in boxing get my novel “Knockout”. It’s all true. The book is damn near free at 99 cents or 86 pence on Amazon Kindle. There’s SEX too, but I know you wouldn’t read it just for that soppy stuff.


I’m not sure what to make of the discovery by Italian scientists of particles that travel faster than the speed of light. I’ve always known that if you are in a hurry, stockings ladder before you touch them. I’ve also found out that banks put charges on your  account before you perform any transactions. The philosophical implications for fiction writers are massive. Characters will  move ahead of the plot into a kind of uncharted mist without any causal structure. Come to think of it, I might have already written a couple of novels like this.


This afternoon I’m going to the bus depot to sort out my next career move. I’ve spotted quite a few lady bus drivers. Dear old Geoffrey will be there to ease me into the system. Once again I am to be a horny handed daughter of toil. Maybe I won’t drone on about the shortage of foie gras just yet.


Emma thinx: Causality – the next great step for man.