Category Archives: Creative Writing and Short Stories

Zombies on a Ship

Priti was excited as she looked around the departure lounge. She smiled as she saw the excited faces of families and couples, all checking and then double checking their passports and documentation.  Priti looked at her husband, her husband of 24 hours, this time yesterday they were standing in the church exchanging their wedding vows, with their families watching.

Arin hadn’t wanted to go on a cruise for their honeymoon, he wanted to go to The Maldives, in an all -inclusive hotel with the rooms nestling in the ocean’s water. But Priti had convinced him to stray further into the ocean and so they had booked this cruise, sailing from Southampton to the Mediterranean.

They boarded the ship and Arin had to admit he was impressed with the elegance of the atrium and before heading down to their stateroom, they decided to buy a cocktail. After a quick look at the drink’s menu, Priti decided on a Zombie: white and dark rum with lime juice, pineapple juice and a splash of grenadine, garnished with cherries and mint. Arin chose a Pina Colada, also with rum, coconut cream and pineapple juice.

“Wow, this is the life,” said Priti as she sipped her cocktail, “I can feel the stress of the wedding leaving me with every sip of my cocktail.”  Arin agreed, his cocktail was hitting the spot and he unbuttoned his jacket.

“What’s going on over there?” Priti asked Arin, “It looks like that lady has had too much to drink already.”  They looked over at the woman, who was doubled over and being sick, a waiter was helping her, leading her towards the ladies restroom and a cleaner appeared from nowhere and proceeded to clean up the vomit on the floor.

“Some people just can’t handle their drink,” mused Priti and as the smell of the vomit was quite strong, they decided to go down to their stateroom and get unpacked.

Their stateroom was on deck 10 and had a balcony, Priti walked out to see the view, not much to look at, just the docks, but it was full of activity, people seemed to be rushing around, she couldn’t make out what was happening as they were up quite high, but she did see that the walkways had been taken up, so she assumed they would be sailing soon.

“Shall we get ready for dinner? We’ve a reservation for six o’clock, and it’s already five,” she said to Arin, “Yeah, good idea,” he agreed.

An hour later, they were walking towards the restaurant, Priti had her new dress on, she was hungry and she was looking forward to her meal.  “I think I’ll have a steak tonight,” she thought and asked Arin what he was going to have? “A steak I think,” he said and Priti laughed, they were very well matched.

When they arrived at the restaurant, it was deserted, just a couple of waiters were hovering, waiting for the guests to arrive. “Table for two,” requested Arin and they were led to a table. “Where is everybody, I thought it would be busier than this,” Arin asked the waiter, whose badge said his name was Enrique, “There seems to be a bug going round the ship, a lot of passengers and crew have been feeling sick,” Enrique replied as he handed them the menus.

They were both pleased to see that steak was on the menu and so that’s what they ordered with a bottle of Malbec red wine to go with it. The wine was poured by Enrique and as they drank it while waiting for their steak, they noticed their waiter was doubled up in pain, he was groaning and clutching his stomach. Priti went over to him, his face was contorted and he was foaming at the mouth.  “I think you’d better go to your cabin,” she said concerned for him, “You must have caught what everybody else has got.” He made a noise, a sort of groan and walked towards the exit of the restaurant.

Priti looked around, there was nobody else to serve them, so she went to the kitchen to see if their steak was in there ready for collection. As she walked through the swing door to the kitchen, there were a couple of chefs leaning over somebody who had seemingly fainted. “I think this bug is worse than people are saying to us,” she thought and went over to see if she could help in any way.

When she approached the chefs, they turned to look at her, Priti couldn’t believe what she was seeing, they weren’t helping the person laying on the ground, THEY WERE EATING HER!

She screamed, they were covered in blood and the poor woman was motionless on the ground, her intestines strewn around her and her heart was on show, pumping blood onto the floor. Priti was paralysed, they were moving closer to her, making blood chilling noises from their throats, gurgling and reaching out to grab Priti.

She stepped back and ran back towards the swing doors, but Enrique was there in the way, she knew that he wasn’t there to serve the steak to her, he was moaning and lurched at her, she jumped out of the way and managed to go through the swing door without him reaching her. She ran over to Arin, he was still sat at the table drinking his wine, “Hadn’t he heard what was going on in the kitchen?” she asked herself, “Arin,” she shrieked, “We have to leave, I’m not sure what’s going on, but people are eating other people in there!” She was sure that would cause some sort of reaction, but no, nothing.

She walked up to him and he turned round startled, he had put his earplugs in and was listening to music, oblivious to anything happening around him. Priti heard the sound of the swing doors and saw the two chefs and the waiter entering the restaurant, their hands were outstretched, and they were heading directly towards them. She pulled out Arin’s earplugs, “Ow,” he complained, “That hurt, what did you do that for?”

Priti gestured behind her and Arin looked behind her, he saw the chefs and Enrique approaching them, only the day before he had promised to look after her till death do us part and looking at these…. zombies approaching, he hoped that wasn’t sooner rather than later.

Arin took her hand and they ran towards the exit. The atrium which only hours earlier was an excited hub of expectation of a wonderful holiday, was now filled with screams of pain, horrible groaning and glass smashing. A barman was smashing bottles of drinks over a zombie’s head, which had no effect until the barman seized a shard of glass and stabbed it in the zombie’s skull.

Arin wished that he had watched The Walking Dead, he could have picked up some tips on how to survive an apocalypse. As they ran along the atrium, a zombie guest dressed in an Hawaiian shirt made a grab for his legs, he was a portly man who was now hungry for his human buffet, but Priti was determined Arin wasn’t gonna be his first course. She aimed a kick at his stomach, which floored him and whilst he was writhing on the floor, she grabbed a steak knife that was on the floor and plunged it into his skull. Arin looked in amazement at his new wife, he didn’t know she was capable of these types of moves. Priti looked at him and winked, “I’ve seen The Walking Dead,” she told him.

Their cabin was three floors below the restaurant, they both knew their best chance of survival was to get there as quickly as possible. They reached the lifts and pressed the button, most of the lifts were on floor 14, but one was making its way down. They stood outside and willed the lift to go quicker, a few zombies had seen them standing there and were making their way towards them, the lift number hung tantalizingly at the floor above them.

Arin looked around for a weapon, Priti had removed the steak knife from Hawaiian zombie’s head and was brandishing it like an apocalypse warrior, all he could find was an abandoned walking stick with a duck head sculpted at the top. He joined Priti alongside her, waiting in anticipation for the advancing zombies.  

The ding of the lift sounded like a chime from heaven, the lift door opened and out shot a couple of zombie cleaners, this took Arin by surprise and he was attacked from behind. He managed to flip the zombie over his shoulder and strike him several times with the walking stick, in the meantime, Priti was in the lift and fervently pressing the lift button for their floor after having quickly disposed of the second zombie cleaner.

Arin stepped into the lift and the doors shut with a satisfying clunk. The silence was deafening and they both looked at each other in disbelief, what exactly had just happened? They assumed their positions as the lift doors opened and were pleasantly surprised when they weren’t met by any zombies.

They turned into the narrow corridor which led to their cabin, to be confronted by a zombie housekeeper, she wasn’t very tall but she was snapping and snarling at them.  “I’ll deal with this,” Arin told Priti, “Stay back,” and he rushed at the zombie, picked her up and dumped her in the housekeeping trolley along with the towels and dressing gowns. Her arms and legs flailed as she tried to get out, but to no avail. As they rushed past, Priti took a handful of toiletries, you never know when they’re gonna come in handy.

They entered their cabin and quickly shut the door, “What on earth is going on?” Priti said, not really expecting an answer from Arin, “What are we gonna do? We’re trapped on this cruise ship.” She caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror, her dress was torn and it was covered in blood, she looked at Arin, his shirt was covered in blood and his jacket was ripped at the seams, he had never looked sexier!

She changed into her leisure suit and Arin put on some jeans and a t-shirt, this was much better zombie fighting gear. Priti opened the sliding doors onto the balcony and stepped out, she took a look over and could see passengers running along the deck screaming, being chased by zombie crew members and passengers, it was like a scene out of The Living Dead. The ship was still sailing though, heading out towards the ocean, breaking through the waves without a care in the world.

Then they heard the communication system fire up, it was a little crackly, but a voice resounded through their cabin, “This is your Captain speaking, as you are probably aware we are experiencing a few problems on board today, so we have made the decision to abandon ship. We are going to load up the lifeboats on deck 7 in 20 minutes, so those who are living can you please try and make your way to them. Godspeed and be safe.”

So, they had to make it down to deck 7 in 20 minutes, could they manage that? Well, it was their only chance, they had no choice, they had to do it.

“I think we should go down the stairs,” suggested Arin, “We can’t afford the time to wait for the lifts, they might not even be working now.” Priti agreed, it was only three decks to the lifeboats, surely they could do this. A quick drink from the mini bar, well, they don’t have to pay for it now and they were ready for the fight of their lives.

Arin opened the cabin door and peered outside, he could see that the housekeeping zombie was still in the trolley with her legs flailing up in the air, but apart from her, all was quiet. He turned round and quietly signalled to Priti that all was clear. She nodded and they both left the sanctity of their cabin.

The corridors were long and narrow, not ideal if you meet a crowd of zombies stumbling in the opposite direction, so they made their way quickly to the opening where the lifts and stairs were and immediately heard a commotion on the floor below. Priti stooped down and tried to see what was going on, there were zombies, of course, but she could also make out another couple who were fighting the zombies and were fighting a losing battle.

“We have to help them,” she said to Arin, “They need our help.” Arin wasn’t too keen, why should they risk their lives to help people they don’t even know? Priti could see him hesitating, “If we were in that position, we would be very grateful is someone helped us out.” Arin had to agree, so on the count of three, they raced down the stairs and started attacking the zombies.

They were outnumbered two to one, but between them they eventually put down all the zombies, it looked like a bloodbath, all the zombies were strewn over each other. The woman looked at Priti, “Thanks so much for that, I’m Kate and this is Paul.” They greeted each other and decided to go to the lifeboats as a group and proceeded to descend the staircase, quietly and stealthily.

The next floor down looked quiet, they couldn’t see any zombies, but then they heard the ping of the lift, the lift doors opened and a lift full of zombies stumbled out. The survivors carried on down the staircase, zombies can’t do stairs, right? The zombies all turned towards them and as they reached the stairs, they started to fall down them, falling all around, one of them landing on Paul. Kate screamed, “Get them off him, quickly,” and Arin sprang over and dragged the zombie of of him, finishing the zombie off with a blow to the head.

“Thanks dude,” said Paul, “No problem,” replied Arin, “Let’s get going, we’ve only got one more floor to go.”

They arrived at deck 7 and looked for the door to go out onto the deck. “There it is,” Kate shouted, but between them and this door was what seemed like hundreds of zombies. “How on earth are we gonna get past them?” asked Priti, looking around for an alternative route. They all stood there, contemplating their next course of action when Arin suddenly had an idea…

“We could distract them somehow, make them move towards the other side of the ship, so we could then get to the doors,” he suggested, “How about getting some bottles of alcohol from the bar, put a rag in it, then set it alight and throw it over there,” said Priti. “Yes, that’s a great idea, come on, we can get to the bar over there,” Kate replied.

They made their way behind the bar and began plugging the bottles with serviettes. “Where can we get matches from?” whispered Paul, “There’s an office there, have a look in the drawers,” Arin said, “I’ll keep a watch out for you.”

They watched as Paul made his way to the office, one zombie had strayed over in that direction, but Paul took care of him and proceeded to search the drawers.  He stood up smiling with a box of matches in his hand, the others heaved a big sigh of relief and beckoned him to come back to them as quickly as possible.

They lit up some of the serviettes and starting throwing the bottles over in the opposite direction of the lifeboats, the explosions they made was enough to wake the dead, only they were dead! The zombies immediately stopping milling around and started shuffling towards the explosions.

“Come on, now’s our chance,” Arin shouted and they ran out towards the deck and towards the salvation of the lifeboats.

They saw the Captain and some of the crew, who were standing next to the lifeboat and fending off zombies, the group helped despatch the zombies, but by now, the ones they had distracted were walking through the door which they had left open to the deck, “Come on, it’s time to go,” the Captain told them, and they all agreed it was time.

They jumped into the lifeboat and a member of the crew pressed the button for the lifeboat to automatically lower. They all sank into the seats, not quite knowing how they had survived, “I’m sorry to have to do this,” the Captain said, “But I need to check you all for bites.”

Paul was reluctant to comply, which immediately made the Captain suspicious. “Come on, I need to see,” he insisted, but Paul just sat in the lifeboat staring into space. “Paul, have you been bitten?” asked Kate, “Please tell me the truth.” “No, no, I haven’t,” he replied, “But I know that you have been.”

Kate took a sharp intake of breath and looked around at the others, it was true, she had been bitten whilst she was fighting a zombie. She pulled up her shirt, there were teeth marks on her stomach and the wound was pulsating. “I’m sorry,” she apologised, “But I love Paul and I wanted to be with him.”

“You need to get off the lifeboat,” the Captain told her and signalled for the crew member to stop the lifeboat lowering, “Yes, I understand,” she replied, “Goodbye Paul, I will love you forever.” “Yeah, whatever,” Paul said without any emotion and Kate alighted from the lifeboat which was next to deck five by now. She was immediately engulfed by zombies, but she didn’t utter a sound.

“I’m so sorry, Paul,” Priti said, “How long had you been married?”  “Married?” questioned Paul, “We’re not married, I’d only just met her a couple of hours ago at the bar, I hardly knew her.”

Priti, Arin, Paul and the Captain and his crew members were the only survivors of the ship and as the lifeboat floated on the sea, the ship carried on towards the open ocean, probably only stopping either if it runs out of fuel or runs aground.

“Right, where are we going?” asked the Captain, “Straight on or are we turning back?” “Straight on,” they all said as one, “Maybe this virus is only here, maybe the rest of the world is okay?” said Priti hopefully.

And maybe it’s not…

Collective Names For Animals

During Lockdown 2020, I have taken part in numerous online quizzes with friends and family, (take a look at my previous post, Lockdown 2020) and a question that has always interested me is the one where they ask the collective name for animal groups. Some of them are straightforward like a pack of wolves, but some of them are genuninely inspiring.  Here is ten of my favourite ones:

A Tower of Giraffes

This is self-explanatory, obviously eluding to the giraffe’s long neck.

A Parliament of Owls

Owls are normally solitary creatures but when seen together are known as a Parliament, which is because they are considered to be of a wise disposition.

A Lounge of Lizards


Maybe the image above is what springs to mind when you hear the term Lounge of Lizards, this is not to be confused with the noun, lounge lizard which is a man who frequents bars, cafes, hotel lounges with or in search of women….

A Flutter of Butterflies

There are several terms to describe a group of butterflies: a kaleidoscope, flight, swarm or wing, but I think a Flutter of Butterflies is by far the nicest!

An Intrusion of Cockroaches

This is probably a very apt name for a group of cockroaches as they are normally intruders and not welcome wherever they turn up.

A Murder of Crows

This is probably one of the first ones that I found out about and it is very useful to know for quizzes as it usually pops up as a question!


Geese have different names:

Geeese (General) – Flock
Geese (Flight) – Skein
Geese (Ground) – Gaggle, Herd, Corps

A Loveliness of Ladybirds

Probably one of my favourites, plus it is an alliteration which I literally love!

A Bite of Midges

Self explanatory me thinks!

A Pandemonium of Parrots

This reflects the noise a wild flock of parrots can make, the definition of pandemonium is wild uproar or noise.

So there you go, my ten favourite collective nouns for groups of animals, I hope that your favourite is in there and that you have learned something new today and who knows, it may even help you in your online virtual quiz during this Lockdown!






Top three words that people don’t like to hear…

blur book business data

I was listening to the weather forecast the other day and the weatherman said the word, “Moist” and I thought to myself, “That’s an unusual word to use, I know a lot of people don’t actually like that word,” and that got me to thinking – “What are the words that people really don’t like at all?”

Number one: “Moist”

Meaning: slightly wet.

blueberries cake chocolate chocolate cake

I have to say that the word moist doesn’t seem so bad when it is describing a cake, but I am fully aware that this word, when used in relation to sexual words, can take on a whole another meaning.  So maybe it’s more to do with the meaning behind the word than the word itself? Though there was a study done about this word, (yes, really!) and 39 percent didn’t actually like the sound of the word, the ‘oi’ combination not sounding appealing. But whatever the reason, this word has topped the “Worst Sounding Words” in lots of research.  You will note that I have included a picture of a moist cake, rather than anything to do with the other meaning of this word.!

Number two: “Slither”

Meaning: move smoothly over a surface with a twisting or oscillating motion.

I never thought about this word until my sister asked me if I wanted some cake and i said, “Just a slither for me, please,” and I saw her shoulders shudder as I said that word. “Please don’t say that,” she begged me, “I hate that word.”

It may be because it has connotations to a snake as it describes the way a snake moves or maybe it just sounds creepy.


J. K. Rowling used this word to describe one of the Houses in Hogwarts School – with its emblem of a snake. The characteristics of this House include cunning, resourcefulness and ambition (similar to a snake) and it produced more than its share of dark wizards, Lord Voldemort being the most notorious one.

So the next time someone offers you a slice of cake, say to them, “Yes please, just a slither,” and look at their reaction!

Number three: “Phlegm”

Meaning: the thick viscous substance secreted by the mucous membranes

Phlegm is a perfect example of “word aversion.” Simply, this means that the act of just saying the word makes someone feel uncomfortable.

It’s probably the image that this word conjures up, of someone thick with a cold and coughing it up. No, not nice at all and it is spelt weirdly…

Note: I couldn’t find a picture that I could upload without retching!

More words on this list include:

  • Bulbous
  • Curd
  • Fester
  • Lugubrious
  • Mucus
  • Queasy
  • Vomit
  • Yolk

Looking at this list, there seems to be a few that are connected with bodily functions, so perhaps it is the association with this rather than the actual word that causes offense.

I’m beginning to feel a little queasy myself after reading about these words, time to think of happy words….








Nine Perfect Strangers – Liane Moriarty

Published by Penguin Books – 7th March, 2019

Available from Amazon

The Synopsis:

Could ten days at a health resort really change you forever?

Nine people gather at a remote health resort. Some are here to lose weight, some are here to get a reboot on life, some are here for reasons they can’t even admit to themselves. Amidst all of the luxury and pampering, the mindfulness and meditation, they know these ten days might involve some real work. But none of them could imagine just how challenging the next ten days are going to be.

Frances Welty, the formerly best-selling romantic novelist, arrives at Tranquillum House nursing a bad back, a broken heart, and an exquisitely painful paper cut. She’s immediately intrigued by her fellow guests. Most of them don’t look to be in need of a health resort at all. But the person that intrigues her most is the strange and charismatic owner/director of Tranquillum House. Could this person really have the answers Frances didn’t even know she was seeking? Should Frances put aside her doubts and immerse herself in everything Tranquillum House has to offer – or should she run while she still can?

It’s not long before every guest at Tranquillum House is asking exactly the same question.

As the weather has been so gorgeous lately, one of our book club members offered her back garden as a meeting place, so armed with a bottle of cider and a packet of popcorn, I headed over to her house. When I arrived, several others were already there and to my relief they had all brought some alcohol too (I didn’t want to be the only one) and so it felt like a proper book club!

From the start, I was a little worried about the number of characters and my ability to remember each one, there is obviously the nine in the title, but also three other main characters; the author introduced a new one after you had gotten used to previous characters, so it wasn’t difficult to remember them, each chapter was written from the perspective of a different character.

I have to say that I was looking forward to reading this book, I thought Big Little Lies was excellent, but halfway through Nine Perfect Strangers, I  became weary of the characters and their back stories and the story became a little far-fetched.  It was a little drawn out as well, the book could have done with being a bit shorter, I found myself looking at the page numbers to see how much I had left to read.

The thing that shone through for me was Moriaty’s humour in the book, I had plenty of chuckles as I read it and Frances, the failing romantic author was my favourite character, maybe because we found out more about her than the others?

The book was described as a pyschological thriller, which I beg to differ, perhaps more a dark comedy but overall I enjoyed it, would I recommend it to friends? No, I don’t think so.

A few comments from the Book Club members:

“A lame ending.”

“It was like Masha was the leader of a cult and Yao was her second in command, whom she had completely brainwashed.”

“I felt so sorry for Napolean, Heather and Zoe, it made me realise that I should listen to my children…”

Our Book Club rating:


Next book:

Available from Amazon

This is our next book, written by M.C. Beaton. The books have been made into a TV series starring Ashley Jensen – I’ve been wanting to read these books for some time, so am definitely looking forward to this one!

Beneath A Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan


Available from Amazon

The Synopsis:

Based on the true story of a forgotten hero, Beneath a Scarlet Sky is the triumphant, epic tale of one young man’s incredible courage and resilience during one of history’s darkest hours.

Pino Lella wants nothing to do with the war or the Nazis. He’s a normal Italian teenager—obsessed with music, food, and girls—but his days of innocence are numbered. When his family home in Milan is destroyed by Allied bombs, Pino joins an underground railroad helping Jews escape over the Alps, and falls for Anna, a beautiful widow six years his senior.

In an attempt to protect him, Pino’s parents force him to enlist as a German soldier—a move they think will keep him out of combat. But after Pino is injured, he is recruited at the tender age of eighteen to become the personal driver for Adolf Hitler’s left hand in Italy, General Hans Leyers, one of the Third Reich’s most mysterious and powerful commanders.

Now, with the opportunity to spy for the Allies inside the German High Command, Pino endures the horrors of the war and the Nazi occupation by fighting in secret, his courage bolstered by his love for Anna and for the life he dreams they will one day share.

Last night was our second meeting of the book club and everyone who turned up early couldn’t wait to get started talking about the book.

I enjoyed this book, it wouldn’t be one that I would pick up in a library or book shop and would want to read, I normally go more for the light romantic books. I loved the fact that it took place in Italy, which is not usually the setting for war films and books. The love story element that ran through the book, it didn’t really convince me, I didn’t feel their love and was sure that Anna was going to betray Pino at one point. At 17, Pino was truly gifted, he was an expert skier, mountaineer, car driver, translator and pianist.

I liked the historical aspect to it and feel like I’ve learned something about the war in Italy, about the Jews and the slavery that was prevalent.  I thought the writing was quite plain, it didn’t evoke any emotions in me and I thought that the delivery would have been better from Pino’s point of view.

There is soon to be a major film with Tom Howard (Spiderman) as Pino, which I will watch with great interest.

A few comments from the Book Club members:

“I was disappointed with the ending, I wanted to know more about Pino’s two marriages and how he met his two wives.”

“I felt connected with the story, as I had relatives who were in World War II and it educated me on the impact of war in Italy.”

“When I started reading this book, I couldn’t put it down.”

Our Book Club rating: stars


Next book:  

Available from Amazon


This is our next book, written by Liane Moriaty of Big Little Lies fame.






The Book Club



About six weeks ago, I was asked by a friend if I would consider running a book club. I wasn’t too sure about this, as I don’t seem to have the time to read a book nowadays, although I have written one, but I thought, “It’s about time I made the time to read a book,” and so our book club was formed.

Our first meeting was a month ago, we met at a local café, who kindly kept the doors open for us to purchase coffee etc., there were ten of us, all like minded people, who shared a love of books.

For a gentle ice-breaker I asked everyone to share which genre of books they all liked and the diversity was astonishing. The one that most people seemed to like was historical fiction with fantasy adventure coming in last.

We all agreed that we needed to read different genres, in an effort to broaden our minds and not stick to the same genre each time we choose a book.

scarlet-skyThen came the hard task of choosing a first book, something that wasn’t too heavy going and not too many pages. Amidst much debate, and a lot of going off topic, we decided on Beneath A Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan.

One of the ladies had already read it and she was sure it would be an ideal first read for all of us.

We already have a Facebook Group, but we also started a WhatsApp Group, just so that we could keep in contact and see how everyone is getting on.

I finished my book in three weeks, I still haven’t got much time, but I set aside a couple of nights each week to read it and judging by the WhatsApp comments, everyone was doing well with some finishing within a week of starting the book!

So at our next meeting, which is again being held at the local café, unfortunately it doesn’t have a drinks licence, so it’s coffee and tea all round, with maybe a slice of cake, we are going to discuss this book and share everyone’s thoughts about it.

We are each going to bring in the title of the next book we would like to read on a slip of paper and draw it out of a hat, in great, “And the winner is,” style. So after our next meeting, I will do a follow up blog which will contain the reviews from our book club and the next book we will be reading.

See you then!


Where do sayings originate from?

books stack old antique

We say lots of sayings in our every day language, without even thinking, but let’s just take a minute to look at some of them a bit closer and you may just be shocked to find out their original meaning….

Saved by the Bell

MEANING: Rescued from an unwanted situation.

Safety Coffin

ORIGIN: The oldest notion for this phrase related to the fear that people had of being buried alive. So they requested to be put in a safety coffin and if the worst did happen and they weren’t actually dead, maybe comatosed or just having a really good nap, then they could ring the bell that was placed inside the coffin and alert any passerby that they were in fact, still very much alive!

There were famous people who were said to be scared of being buried alive and who made requests on their death bed:

“Have me decently buried, but do not let my body be put into a vault in less than two days after I am dead.” George Washington

“Swear to make them cut me open, so that I won’t be buried alive.” Frederic Chopin

The other popular theory is that the saying originated from the boxing ring: a boxer who is in danger of losing a bout can be ‘saved’ from defeat by the respite signalled by bell that marks the end of a round.

The earliest reference to this is in the Massachusetts newspaper The Fitchburg Daily Sentinel, February 1893: (Source: The Phrase Finder).

“Martin Flaherty defeated Bobby Burns in 32 rounds by a complete knockout. Half a dozen times Flaherty was saved by the bell in the earlier rounds.”


Waking up on the Wrong Side of the Bed

Screenshot 2019-05-24 at 13.56.27MEANING: Waking up in a bad mood.

ORIGIN: Anything having to do with the left was often associated with something sinister. To ward off evil, innkeepers used to make sure the left side of the bed was pushed against a wall, so guests had to get up on the right side of the bed.


Bite the Bullet

MEANING: Accepting something difficult or unpleasant.

ORIGIN: During battle, sometimes there was no time to administer anaesthesia before emergency surgery and the surgeon made patients bite down on a bullet in an attempt to distract them from the pain. I suppose they weren’t really worried about lead poisoning in those days…

To Turn a Blind Eye

horatio-nelsonMEANING: To disregard or pretend not to notice something of which one disapproves

ORIGIN: This is attributed to an incident of Admiral Horatio Nelson (pictured left).  He was blinded in one eye early in his life. During the Battle of Copenhagen in 1801, Admiral Sir Hyde Parker who was in command of the British forces, sent a signal to Nelson ordering him to discontinue the action.

Naval orders were transmitted via a system of signal flags at that time and when this order was brought to Nelson’s attention, he lifted his telescope up to his blind eye, saying, “I have a right to be blind sometimes. I really do not see the signal,” and his forces continued to press home the attack. The attack forced the French to surrender and was a major victory for England.

It is thought that this is the shortened version of “To turn the deaf ear and the blind eye.”

To Give Someone the Cold Shoulder

MEANING: A way of telling someone that you don’t like them

ORIGIN: It was usual for the host to serve hot meat for the guests to welcome them. After a feast, the host would let his guests know it was time to leave by giving them a cold piece of meat from the shoulder of beef, mutton, or pork.

And on that note – I will take a hint and take my leave too, until next time, bye.
























That’s not my…



I hadn’t heard of this range of books until my daughter bought them for her son, Harry, who’s 4 months old.  They are suitable for babies from birth and as I am a firm believer in reading to children as early as possible, these are ideal first time books. I particularly liked the box set of That’s Not My Zoo… a bumper set of five books.


harry-bookThis series of books have bright pictures and different textures to stroke, which help develop sensory and language awareness, as you can see from the above pages from That’s Not My Monkey…  and there is a little white mouse on each page for the child to find.

The author is Fiona Watt who is an Editorial Director and writer at Usborne Publishing (who are the publishers). She is the sixth biggest selling UK children’s author with over 10 million of her books sold in the UK.

As you can see from the picture, Harry loves his That’s Not My Monkey book, but as he can’t speak or write, I asked his mother, Amy, to write a review on these books:

“Every night after bath time Harry and I sit down and I read a book to him. I noticed a couple of weeks ago that he was reaching out and trying to feel the books and this got me wondering, “Is there any sensory books I can get for him?” He loves sensory items for example bubbles, lights and textured items. We go to classes throughout the week where sensory is a huge part of his lesson.
So I did what we all do, I Googled sensory books and the top hit was: ‘That’s not my….’ series. I read some reviews on Mumsnet and lots of parents where raving about this series of books, so I thought I would give it a go!
I went on to Amazon and searched for the books, I don’t normally look at the ‘used’ section, but I thought might as well see how much they where and I was amazed that several of the books were selling for 1p, 2p and 50p. So the crazy shopaholic person in me bought 4 of them!
They arrived within 2 days and the condition of the books were amazing, one looked brand new, the others just had dents on the back – but they were only a couple of pennies, so I am not complaining!
So, as per usual, I gave Harry his bath, got him ready for bed took him downstairs and started to read That’s Not My Monkey… he loved it, every page has a different type of fabric and each page is lovely and colourful and the writing is really clear and big. The illustrations are really bright with bold colours to keep him entertained!
The Verdict: 100% I will be going back and ordering some more for him!”


And if Amy is wanting to order some more, there are 65 titles in this series, ranging from That’s Not My Dinosaur and That’s Not My Car to That’s Not My Fairy, so lots of choice for everyone!




Also, for the adult reader, there is a special edition for you to read…


I’ll just leave that with you…









Scrabble – new words, more points?

view of a row

Today (1st May 2019) – it has been announced that new words can be used in the popular board game of Scrabble – these are words that have become common in our modern world.

I don’t know about you, but I do love a game of scrabble, even though I’m not exactly Stephen Fry when it comes to long intelligent words, I can put together a few letters to make something resembling a word.

I used to play Scrabble with my mum, but she used to get a bit impatient when I took a long time to choose my word and she would say helpfully, “Do you want me to have a look at your letters?” in a way that meant, “For god’s sake, hurry up and put your word down,” and as soon as I did, she would lay hers down, so we would then be back to square one with me staring at my rack of letters again…

Did you know that there are over a million Scrabble tiles missing in the world? They have been lost down the sides of sofas, underneath rugs and carpets or even eaten by children and pets!

So here is a sample of the new words which have been allowed, with the points that you would get (not including double word scores, etc):

  • Agender – of a person who does not identify with a gender (9 points)
  • Antivaxxer – person opposed to vaccination (19 points)
  • Burquini – swimming costume covering the whole body apart from the face, hands and feet (19 points)
  • Fatberg – large mass of fat in a sewer (13 points)
  • Hench – fit and muscular (13 points)
  • Manspreading – when a male passenger spreads his legs into the seats beside him (18 points)
  • Remainer – a person who remains (10 points)
  • Upskirting – taking photographs under a woman’s skirt or dress without consent (17 points)
  • Yowza – used to express enthusiasm or excitement (20 points)


The highest score ever recorded for a single word was 1782 points and that word was, wait for it….  Oxyphenbutazone – this was used in a competition and gained those points by playing it across the top of a board and hitting three triple word scores, whilst also making seven new words vertically – clever so and so!

So, just remember these new words when you’re sat staring at your rack of letters – my tip would be Yowza, especially on a triple word score which would score 60 points and that would allow you to shout out, “Yowza,” when they read out your score!!










A Priceless Mistake

Thomas is reading his newspaper, he is on his way home from work, he is sat in his same seat, with the bus following the same route, but something has happened tonight, tonight the bus is diverted and caught up in a traffic jam. He looks out of the window, wiping the condensation away with his arm, so he can see clearly. He glances at the driver, he is sighing and talking frantically on his radio and Thomas decides that he’s going to get off the bus and walk through the nearby park in the hope of getting home quicker.

Having bailed from the bus, as some of the other passengers had done, Thomas is walking through the park, it is busy, probably due to the chaos of the streets, he quickens his pace, there’s a bite in the wind so he pulls his collar up and heads towards the exit gate.

Now he is walking down a street, it’s a street that he doesn’t recognise.  There are big houses either side of the tree lined street. Thomas’ interest is peaked; there’s something we don’t know about Thomas, he’s not what he seems, he’s a burglar.

Oh yes, he has a job in town, which earns good money, but not enough to buy the sort of things his wife loves. She doesn’t know about his extracurricular activities, of course, she thinks that he’s going to the gym when he picks up his black holdall and heads out. Instead of a clean towel, change of clothes and shower gel, it is full of equipment to break into homes, sheds or cars, to enter silently and stealthily, take whatever looks valuable and then quietly leave.

There is an international removal company emptying a van outside one particular house, there are lots of boxes, but the ones that interest Thomas are marked ‘Fragile’. He slows down in order to have a good look at the house. It is overgrown in the front, with ivy growing up the walls, an overgrown bush and a large tree in the front garden. Thomas thinks this house has the potential to be his next target and overhearing one of the removal men saying that they had until the day after tomorrow to finish unpacking as the owners wouldn’t be moving in until then, he knows that he has hit the jackpot.

Thomas finds a small cut way at the back of the houses and he discovers the back entrance to the house. With a low back gate and a glass panelled back door, Thomas knows that this house is definitely his next target.

As he walks home, he makes his plans, he needs to do it tonight, to be sure that no-one is around. After having tea with his wife, Shona, discussing their days, Thomas picks up his black holdall, shouts to his wife that he’s heading to the gym and walks out of the house.

It doesn’t take him long to get to the house, and, under the cover of darkness, he steals his way up to the back door. There’s no sign of an alarm, so Thomas smashes a small glass panel in the kitchen door and reaches in to find the key in the lock of the door. As he unlocks the back door and enters the kitchen, Thomas cannot believe his luck, this job is going so smoothly. He enters the living room, he is grateful for the large tree and overgrown ivy hiding him from prying neighbours. There are packing crates left all over the floor and Thomas shines his torch around the living room until the beam rests on what he has been searching for.

Thomas retrieves his crow bar from his holdall and forcibly opens the crate. When he sees what is inside, he is amazed, never in all his years has he come across anything like this, it looks like a native man wearing some sort of mask. Deciding that it must be valuable, Thomas puts it in his holdall and not wanting to get caught, he quickly leaves by the back door.

On arriving home, Thomas puts the black holdall in the cupboard under the stairs, he knows that this needs a specialist to take a look at it, but he’s not quite sure where to go, this will take some research. This will buy Shona an unbelievable gift, perhaps even that new car she has been hinting at. He carefully closes the cupboard door, so the squeaky hinge doesn’t wake up Shona.

The next evening, Shona has a surprise for him, his twin brother, Dominic is returning from Peru, where he had been staying with his wife for the past five years and better still, he’s moving to the same town. They are having a housewarming party tomorrow night and of course, Thomas and Shona are invited.

As he’s getting ready for the party, Thomas remembers when they were young, growing up as twins, Dom and Tom, the terrible twins, their teachers used to call them. Dom was the intellect of the two, having gone to University to study archaeology, while Tom enjoyed making things with blocks and bricks and had gone on to become an architect. He smiles as he remembers the fun they had confusing the teachers and even sometimes their friends, it was fun to be somebody else now and again. They had each married within months of each other and Dominic had moved overseas, Thomas had moved into the next town to where they had grown up, to Shona, who was a hairdresser. He had found a job in an architect’s office, which had provided a good wage for them both, but then Shona’s demands for bigger and better things escalated to where Thomas’ wages weren’t enough.

His first foray into the world of crime wasn’t planned, he was shopping in a big department store and saw a diamond bracelet, it was left on the counter top whilst the assistant had gone to answer the phone, he was sure that Shona would love it and there was no way he could afford it, so he simply took it, slipped it into his pocket and walked out of the shop.

When he gave it to Shona, her face lit up and he loved the feeling that it gave him, that he could spoil his wife and from there it simply escalated, stealing from cars, breaking into sheds and then houses.

They arrive at the address that Dominic had emailed Shona, and park in the street, near a lighted lamppost as it is dark. Whilst walking up to the front door, Thomas thinks how tidy the front garden is, like it has just had a makeover. He rings the doorbell and his brother answers, it is good to see him after all these years and they spend time catching up.

As they sit on the settee, Thomas looks around him, there is something about this room that makes him feel uneasy, he can’t quite place what it is, but it is definitely making him feel unnerved. After the laughs and jokes, Dominic informs Thomas and Shona that the day before they moved in, their house was burgled and an ancient artefact was stolen. The statue was from Peru, it was an Inca artefact and was priceless, it was what Dominic and his wife had been searching for, for five years in Peru.

Suddenly the penny drops, Thomas realises that this is the very house he burgled two nights ago, he remembers seeing the settee that night, how the front garden is now tidied up, that’s why he didn’t recognise it. Dominic asks him if he is all right and Thomas stutters a reply that he just needs a glass of water, he goes into the now familiar kitchen, with the small pane of glass boarded up in the back door, he needs to leave.

When they return home, the dog has knocked over a houseplant, there is dirt surrounding the fallen pot plant. They discuss the burglary, Shona questions what sort of lowlife would steal an artefact and she asks Thomas why he wanted to leave so quickly, he mutters that he isn’t feeling very well. Thomas goes up the stairs to clean his teeth, he hears the squeak of the hinges of the understairs cupboard as Shona opens it to retrieve the hoover. He freezes as he hears her shout to him, that she will empty his black holdall to wash his gym clothes…