More than words

Aren’t words brilliant? You can use them for everything.  You can take them and combine them and shape them into whatever you want, however you want.  They can give you power, they can give you humility, they can give you insight, explanation, beauty.

I was reading over a book that I want to read to my class – The Wee Free Men  by Terry Pratchett – and early on, Tiffany, our 9 year old heroine is thinking about the word sussuration and how much she likes it.  It’s the sound of wind through leaves or grass and it alerts Tiffany to something odd that’s about to happen.  I love that sussuration is included in a children’s book.  Would you get a word like that in the rainbow fairy series of books?  Would you get a word like that in one of Katie Price’s children’s books?  In Beast Quest? Or even in Harry Potter?

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So lay away your livery, forsake and cut them down

I moved up to Sheffield carrying with me one large suitcase of general stuff, my travelling backpack, my tent, ready for Towersey Festival, and a big Ikea blue bag filled with things to make stuff from.  When thinking about what I’d need to move to a new city with, I packed clothes, a few items for the start of school, and I knew that travelling up on a train would be a pain, but I couldn’t bear to leave behind my felt, embroidery threads, needles, bits of ribbon and other odds and ends for making bits and pieces.

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Tony Benn and Roy Bailey

A kind, thoughtful, intelligent man who stood up for what he thought was right. 88 is a good age and being with family is a good way to go but I’m afraid we don’t have many people left who are actually looking out for what’s best for the people rather than themselves.

And also, take a look at this:

Dreams of breathing underwater

The first film I remember seeing at the cinema was when I was 5 years old. It was Disney’s The Little Mermaid.  I was amazed by it, immediately decided I wanted red hair like Ariel.  We went to McDonalds and I got an Ursula toy with my Happy Meal. It was 1989.

Some time not long after I was amazed to see the video in Ritz (as it was then, don’t think it had become a Blockbusters, or indeed a cafe at that point) and begged Mum to buy it for me so that I could re-live that magical underwater world at home.  Mum said no.  It wasn’t the film.  I disagreed, it had Ariel on the front and I could definitely read the words ‘Under the Sea’ there too.  Mum said it wasn’t, it was just in the cinema. I disagreed and must have pestered er for ages because somehow I acquired that video.  Of course it wasn’t The Little Mermaid, it was ‘Sing-a-long Songs Under the Sea‘ which did feature some of the Little Mermaid soundtrack, but also other vaguely water related Disney songs including one from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in which Kirk Douglas seems to be telling his shipmates about some sort of dalliance with a fish or two.  Mr Jim Causley has been known to do an amusing cover of this if you ever get the chance to see/hear it.  Ask him nicely.

My obsession with TLM grew and I was exceptionally jealous of my cousin Rebecca because she had an Ariel doll.  I even used to pretend to be Ariel when swimming at Brackley Pool – the pool has two sets of steps in the shallow end, if you swam around underwater, legs together because you are a mermaid with a tail, singing ‘Part of your world‘ to yourself and timed it right you could push yourself up the steps, breaking out of the water at just the right point to recreate the iconic waves/big stone moment.  To me, I was definitely a ginger mermaid, to everyone else I must have looked mental.

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The Tent Next Door

A song written whilst waiting for the train back from the excellent Warwick Folk Festival in July.  I’ve packed a few notebooks to take away with me and managed to find this in one of them. 


You have to imagine a vaguely bluesy tune to go along with it. 


The Tent Next Door


Babe, babe whatcha doin’ babe? 

Don’t throw my things all over the floor!

There’s a really awful row been going on for hours now

And I’m sleeping in the tent next door. 


She says ‘I’m in a mood and I’m really not being rude, 

But your attitude is bothering me now.’

His head is in a spin, ‘cos he’s only just got in 

To the khaki tent they’re sharing next door.


She says she’s in a huff and very soon she’s thrown his stuff

Out of the hastily opened zip in the door

So he’s scrabbling on the floor, even though it’s half past four

And I’m sleeping in the tent next door. 


Babe, babe, whatcha doin’ babe?

Don’t throw my stuff all over the floor!

There’s a really awful row been going on for hours now

And I’m sleeping in the tent next door. 


So they’re keeping me awake and my neck it starts to ache

It’s no fun sleeping here on the floor

And now I think I might throw up, because the sounds of making up

Are loudly screeching from the tent next door.


Now the morning’s not much better, ‘cos the weather’s getting wetter

And I’m lying in a puddle on the floor

But I might get some soggy peace, as there’s no sounds of gas release

Coming from the khaki tent next door.


Babe, babe whatcha doin’ babe? 

Don’t throw my things all over the floor!

There’s a really awful row been going on for hours now

And I’m sleeping in the tent next door. 


He says ‘Make me some tea, babe, I think I hurt my knee

In the ceilidh as I slid through the crowd.’

She replies ‘The water’s boiled, get up, your knee’s well oiled!’

And he whispers that she’s talking too loud. 


As she headed out the tent, she said ‘The money’s nearly spent

You’ve got pot noodle ‘less you get some more.’

He doesn’t follow after, but I hear some muffled laughter

As I’m creeping past the tent next door. 


Babe, babe whatcha doin’ babe? 

Don’t throw my things all over the floor!

There’s a really awful row been going on for hours now

And I’m sleeping in the tent next door. 


I head back for a snooze, but I’m soon woken by the news that:

‘Well if you don’t know what’s wrong then that’s half the problem!!’

I just have to bang my head on the floor

I can’t help yell ‘Shut up!’ and ‘Why don’t you just break up?’

There are cheers from other tents all around.


So when you’re at a festival and you think that it is best of all

To put your tent up here next to mine

Won’t you have consideration for the campers of the nation

Just trying to sleep here in the tents down the line. 


Babe, babe whatcha doin’ babe? 

Don’t throw my things all over the floor!

There’s a really awful row been going on for hours now

And I’m sleeping in the tent next door. 


E. Skinner 2013


Beverley East Riding Festival ages ago. I have no pictures of me at Warwick, but at least this one is at a festival and includes tents.


Read on…

Thought I may as well take an opportunity to let you know about some other blogs written by people I know, all about different things, so hopefully something for everyone.   And this is almost exactly a year after the last blog promotion post… – A new blog, just beginning about moving to New Zealand.  – Stories of parenthood and life from Emma.   – life in Tanzania – A friend who found she had a bad smear, but it’s all worked out alright now… – Sarah’s got some news!! – A blog about planning a wedding.
Let me know what you think!

The Top 75 ‘Pictures of the Day’ for 2013

I love photographs, I have loved pouring over pictures of my childhood, trying to remember when they were taken and what the world felt like then, looking at pictures of long dead relatives to see if I could spot any resemblance, looking through a book that Dad bought which has photos of the Paris Exhibition and of Egypt at the turn of the 20th century. I began to love photographs even more when I watched the Steven Poliakoff film ‘Shooting the Past’ in 1999. Shooting the Past delves into a world quite separate from modern life, and demonstrates that the preservation of the past, in order to tell the extraordinary stories of the lives of ordinary people, can be astonishingly powerful and revealing. Each time I re-watch it I see something else.

Perhaps that’s why I take so many photos wherever I go. I want to use them to tell stories one day and I want my relatives to be able to look through them and wonder about where they came from.

Today I was looking through this post from Twisted Sifter and some of the pictures nearly made me cry. They are amazing and I wish I had the skill or opportunity to take them.

Maybe I’ll have an opportunity to add to them one day.





At the end of every quarter the Sifter highlights the top 25 ‘Pictures of the Day‘, culminating in an epic Top 100 at the end of the year (check out the ‘Top 100 POTDs for 2012‘).

It’s hard to believe we’re already in the last quarter of 2013. Below you will find the third installment of this quarterly compilation. All credit goes to the individual photographers and their inspiring visions of our beautiful planet.

For more information on any individual photograph, click the title or image to be taken to the original post.

*Please note the photographs themselves were not necessarily taken in 2013, they just happened to be featured as a POTD on TwistedSifter. The pictures are also listed in reverse chronological order. There…

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Anybody can teach!

Secret Teacher

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I wish I could say this was some kind of practical joke; that this had appeared on a whimsical website poking fun at government policy. However this is no joke, and nobody is laughing.

The South Leeds Academy are in need of two maths teachers, but not just any maths teachers. Those with any sort of qualifications to teach are deemed surplus to requirements. Indeed those who have the experience and expertise to assist pupils adequately are going to be immediately overlooked. They needn’t apply. The South Leeds Academy epitomize a worrying transformation in the education system in recent years.

When Michael Gove removed the requirement for QTS in academies, the rhetoric was of professionals such as scientists, engineers, musicians and linguists teaching pupils. I doubt anybody could argue that the above advert isn’t looking for professionals, for professionals are almost always qualified. There isn’t even a mention of a…

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