Whatever Happened to Duffy?

So, the WordPress prompt of the day is ‘Mercy’ and when I think of mercy my natural reaction is to get on a podium and dance.

And to think, if I’d decided to study Politics I may have had a different reaction to the concept of mercy. A world where Alice is unmoved by the above song. What a sad world that would be.

It did however lead me to wonder: where is Duffy now? Where is Duffy, and Dido and Celine Dion and everyone with a D under five characters?

Well it transpires I wasn’t the first one to think this big question (about Duffy that is. No one seems to have a clue about Dido and I’m quite sure Celine is making plump middle aged women cry in Las Vagas still). Duffy wise, Digital Spy has already addressed this point.

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I didn’t even have to look hard for the article, on a Bing search (don’t judge, I’m too lazy to switch) it came up as second in results under the keyword “Duffy”.

The article paints a story that is heard all too often in the music industry. Too much fame, too quickly, leading to breakdowns and even firing her own publicity team. She went quiet and then fired off a batch of new singles in early 2017 following a break from music. I know, I was completely none-the-wiser either. (If you want the full article click here.)

So there you go. Who says you don’t learn stuff from this blog.

 

Written in response to the WordPress prompt of the day: Mercy

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A Crumble by Any Other Name

I’m looking at an apple crumble made by Mum, complete with a dollop of clotted cream on the side. Because it’s homemade I have no idea when it’s use by is or, indeed, was. Because it’s me I don’t really care. It’s sweet and sugary and has fruit somewhere deep inside and in my world that’s all that matters. (Well, that and not being poisoned by it, of course.)

I debated whether to take a snapshot of the squidgy, crumbly, goo but then opted against. “The world will not judge my diet today!” I triumphantly thought, before typing up my eating habits for the world to read online.

I momentarily stop in creative passion to return my attention to more pressing matters. The beast calls for what it cannot grab from its imprisonment within. Like a puppet dancing on strings my hands respond to the master’s call. Ten twitching digits grab the faded bowl which had been lain on crumb-covered sheets, the dirtied spoon lifted from a used yoghurt pot beside.

“They cannot judge what they can’t see” I uttered to myself once again. A scoop of dessert piled high with cream onto the small tea spoon, the perfect combination of dry and moist. Each component would be lost without the other, and yet under the strain of such a mass the teaspoon could almost be heard squeaking for mercy. I happily donate my charity to the plea as I inserted the mixture into my mouth, eyes closed in anticipation.

Suddenly the relaxed, drawn, eye lids sprung open to reveal a very different emotion.

“The cream’s gone off.”

 

(Written in response to the prompt of the day: Crumb )

Famous Speeches Reimagined with Tea

Because the world would be a better place if we let out the hate and let in the tea.

 

Speech to the Troops at Tilbury Fort – Queen Elizabeth I

I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a strong tea drinker, and of a tea drinker of England too, and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade my beverage stocks on a Monday morning…

 

Address to the Army at the Beginning of the Italian Campaign – Napoleon Bonaparte

Soldiers, you are naked and ill tea-ed! Government owes you much and can give you nothing. The patience and courage you have shown in the midst of these rocks are admirable; but they gain you no renown; no glory results to you from your endurance. It is my design to lead you into the most fertile tea plains of the world. Rich provinces and great cities will be in your power; there you will find honour, glory, and rich beverages. Soldiers of Italy! Will you be wanting in Breakfast or Earl Grey?”

 

We Shall Fight Them on the Beaches – Winston Churchill

We shall drink tea on the beaches, we shall drink tea on the landing grounds, we shall drink tea in the fields and in the streets, we shall drink tea in the hills; we shall never surrender…tea

 

I Have a Dream – Martin Luther King Jr.

I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day every valley shall be replanted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made green, and the crooked places will be made straight rowed, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. This is our hope. This is the faith that I will go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation’s into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, coffee drinkers and tea lovers, knowing that we will all have tea one day.

 

Chairman Mao Zedong

An army without tea is a dull-witted army, and a dull-witted army cannot defeat the enemy.

 

Neil Armstrong (on the invention of fruit tea)

That’s one small step for tea, one giant leap for mankind.

 

Dali Lama

Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own action to make a good cup of tea.

 

Presidential Inauguration Speech – Donald Trump

From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this moment on, it’s going to be only Tea First. Tea First. Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American Teabags and American Tea drinkers. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our caffeine, and destroying our mid-afternoon breaks. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength. I will fight for you with every breath in my body and I will never, ever let you down Mr PG Tips Monkey.

 

You get the idea.

Written in response to the WordPress prompt of the day: Tea

Blame it on the Weatherman

Sunshine in Britain? Hah, hah good one! When the TV weather forecast tells me it will be sunny tomorrow my only natural reaction is to call it out as bull poop. I mean really Mr Weatherman, are you going to stand there in your shiny suit and snazzy London office and tell me that tomorrow it’ll be sunny? Liar. It won’t be, will it? At best it’ll be cloudy or at worst muggy (ergh). Either way it will not be sunny. I bet it’ll be all sunshine and rainbows in the patch of paradise that is the South East but not in my dark corner of the country, no siree. I’m sorry but I have been caught out too many times these past couple of weeks in the middle nowhere without a coat or umbrella. BBC weather you have lost my trust.

(For those of you who have yet to be introduced to my work properly I tend to moan…a lot.)

I don’t think I need to explain this in great detail but let me break it down for you; the sun barely shines in Britain. In another life all British citizens stole a chocolate bar from Gran’s fridge and our actions in that life disgruntled a deity just enough to have us placed, in this life, in a country where there is little to no sun. If you’re displeasure by the weather is not made vocal enough you’re basically classed a nutter/not British (whichever is worse). Of course the other thing you should know about the British people is that when the sun does finally come out and temperatures soar above the dizzying heights of 15C you can count on one thing for definite – we’ll moan to buggery about that too

Moral of the story? Don’t move to Britain for the climate and don’t become a weatherman.

 

Written in response to the daily WordPress prompt – Sunny

Why The Word ‘Commit’ Makes Me Yawn

When people talk of commitment they’re usually referring to an attachment to a person, goal or foodstuff. All well and good but incredibly predictable. So what you can commit to your job, guess what? The rest of the employed world already does that. You’re committed to your partner? I should darn well hope so! It’s just so predictable and, well, boring.

On the flipside I often feel the word “commit” can also come off as a bit strong, for me it casts images of stone handcuffs imprisoning you forever to an assertion. So you say you’re committed to a food brand? Uh huh, lets see what happens when I double its price and halve that of its rival.

Take this hypothetical example…

Me: “I want to eat a banana.”

Internal Devil Voice: “NO! You must eat chocolate. You said you’re committed to it!”

Me: “But that was one time when was single and having a binge day.”

Devil: “You can’t just drop a commitment because it suits you. You said it then, deal with the consequences of your actions.”

Me: “But…but…”

Devil: “No buts, now eat fatty, eat!”

And this is why I can only eat chocolate. Damn you Devil voice, you and your forcing me to eat unhealthily! *shakes fist in the air

However to prove that I’m not some kind of free spirited hippie that can’t bind herself to anything more than breathing, here is a list of things I can at least half-commit to (without lying or making you want to throw up).

These things are:

  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • Spilling both on frequent occasion
  • Vintage-style dresses
  • The memory of Heath Ledger in Ten Things I Hate About You
  • Mika’s first album
  • Chocolate (see above conversation)
  • New pillows
  • Phil Collins…just Phil Collins
  • The 2016/17 TV adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale (thou shalt not talk about the 1990 film)
  • My writing

There you go, all the things I can reasonably commit to and make me happy. You now know a lot more about compared to a post writing a soppy love story about how committed I am to my family. I bet as a reader you preferred it too. Please feel free to send me any combination of these things to my door, although FYI chocolate covered Phil Collins is a definite no. Lets get that idea nipped in the bud.

 

Oddly enough this post was written in response to the word prompt of the day Commit

Mess With My Garden, Mess With Me. 

It’s a gloriously sunny day in the fair town of Swindon, Britain. The temperatures are scorching, children are playing about on the lush green communal lawns and there are men walking around topless who really shouldn’t be. So why do I find myself ripping my hands to shreds as I tug away at weeds and vines in my garden?

Crawling under my front hedge to pick up pieces of rogue rubbish, putting together an outdoor table and realising at the finish line I’d screwed one part upside down and thereby having to start all over again. When I bought a house they did no tell me this is how I would spend my finite time on Earth. My government sold me a lie! Damn you Teresa May!

As I look at my patio garden, now with correctly assembled three piece dining set, I acknowledge that to some the small outdoor space would hardly pass as acceptable. The fact that despite the owner’s hard efforts, vine and weed sprouts are already starting to poke through the wicker fence would be inexcusable. There is no water feature or decorative sculpture, no plants and excluding the weeds there isn’t a speck of green. Not a single blade of grass can compete with the paving stones which stretch from the back door to the boarder of my territory. In fact it could be said that the only characteristic feature of the plot is the clothes horse proudly plonked in the centre to catch as much light as possible. As I type my floral duvet in ruffling ever so slightly in the near still breeze. Foliage will make an appearance eventually, as soon as I have the money to buy pots, soil and greenery which requires zero attention to look fabulous. (As I reread that I realise that basically I’m asking to plant a tub of weeds…)

And yet do I care? Pfft, of course not! Because although it’s not perfect and it’s not a 20 acre meadow, it’s mine. Who wants perfect? Who wants to battle a wild meadow on their weekends just to use it as a five minute conversation piece at dinner parties? Not me. You can keep all that, I’ll take my perfectly small, perfectly improve-able garden. It’s not ugly but a work in progress.

It may not be full of colour, bees and landscaped features but it’s mine and that makes it more attractive than any one blossom in your garden. You mess with my garden, you mess with me and my poorly constructed table.

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Written in response to Daily Prompt Blossom

As Replaceable as the Sky

The rain rolls down the cold, hard, glass of my little bedroom and I find myself pondering on the topic of ‘replacement’, debating in my equally little head what the term actually means.

Grey clouds sit high above in a content fashion. On this drizzly January evening it’s hard to imagine that anything else could possibly occupy these temperate British skies. Only occasionally are the plump objects forced to move on, being replaced by a substance more yellow and warmer in personality. One would expect the ants below to rejoice in this uncommon of events, yet the reaction is ironical. Instead of being celebrated, hailed and praised, the British will complain. We’ll moan that it’s too hot, or complain that our offices are insufferable, some will even complain that it’s bad for our health. I can predict the headlines now “Sun Sizzles Cells!”, “Cats Fainting in Cumbria!” (or words to that effect). But, until that happens we will all sit in the gloom and sniff and cough until a suitable replacement is found. We complain when it’s cold, tut and sigh when it’s hot, that’s just how we are. Just as the sun is characteristically warm, our Island is habitually cool.

My gaze moving now from the window, I look across my room until my eyes fix on a plastic storage unit, my plastic storage unit. Complete with bugling drawers of linen, stationery and books, I smile at the thought that my life can be summed up by the very existence of this cheap short-term, turned long-term, storage solution. My necessity to collect the trivial but essential fuels its existence. However when the time comes to move it will, at best, be relegated to a dark corner or, at worst, disposed of entirely. In short, it will be replaced. It’s years of service will mean nothing. Utilitarian style is after all so 1941. In the history of never has anyone ever shown off a £15 storage cabinet to visitors. It has skills, it has done me no wrong, but it is ugly. Like the grey skies above me, it must be replaced.

The books stacked on top tell the stories of fictional individuals, but they also whisper unwritten tales of the reader who studied each page so very closely. They speak, to pardon the pun, volumes. The reader has laughed, cried and everything in between whilst flicking through the dog-eared pages of these novels, sat on the plastic storage unit. I happen to know her very well. And yet, they have been read now, the stories seen, the lessons learnt, which is why they now stack up in an ever growing pile. There is no space to put them anywhere else. They used to look pretty, create the feeling of an intellectual figure who reads a lot, but now the reader has had enough of these books, she bores of them. Overnight the stack has turned from romantic to repulsive. Yes, new books are needed, but the old ones must be given new homes. They may be of a different breed to the generic storage unit, but then surely one book is as good as another? After all they all have jackets and pages, what are a few differing words? Yes, the old needs definitely needs replacing with the new.

Isn’t it funny how a seemingly harmless word can be, well, so harmful? So insulting and damming. ‘Replacement’ is not a term that fills one with optimism. To replace someone or something is to hope that their successor does an equally good job with an additional quality or characteristic that is more appealing. Failing that, one hopes that the replaceor can do the same job, at the same level, with no complaint. No one ever asks for a ‘lesser replacement’. I want the sun to come out, but yet my lifestyle won’t cease to continue if it remains grey for the next six months. I want a prettier storage unit, but I don’t want it to fall apart on day one. I want a new book but I don’t want it to be full of nursery rhymes.

I have heard people say “anything can be replaced if you look hard enough” and then witness these same people grumbling as they struggle to find a healthy, tasty, alternative for chocolate. If everything was replaceable then wouldn’t all food be the same, all objects identical, all creatures predictable? The uniqueness of life itself is what makes our planet as beautiful as it is and what makes each ‘thing’ unchangeable.

Nothing is truly replaceable.

(Written in response to the Daily Post Replacement)