Saturday, 29 January 2011

The Girl Who Went Bing, Part Five

Shortcut to: Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four

Zena soon arrived at the shop and set excitedly about filling a trolley with the items on the shopping list, which looked like this:
Microwave Cottage Pie
Microwave Lasagna
Microwave Eggs
Microwave Sushi
Microwave Toast
Microwave Chips
Microwave Turnips
Microwave Steamed Pudding
Microwave Treacle Tart
Microwave Ice Cream
Microwave Custard
Zena pushed the trolley all around the shop, picking up the milk and the bread and the lasagna and the custard and all of the other products as she went along.

The man at the till ran the milk over the barcode reader.

"Blip!" said the cash register.

"Bing!" giggled Zena.

The cashier ran through the bread.

"Blip!" said the cash register again.

"Bing!" giggled Zena once more, and the man began to look slightly annoyed. He ran through the potatoes, the cottage pie and the lasagna.

"Blip!" said the cash register each time.

"Bing!" giggled Zena in reply.

"For heaven's sake, child!" shouted the man, slamming the eggs down in his hand. "Will you not keep quiet?!"

Zena felt very small indeed (and was already very small as it was). She had not meant to misbehave, and she had certainly not intended to make anyone so angry.

"Bing," she mumbled by way of apology. She could not help herself. She didn't seem to be able to say anything else. Inside she could feel her stomach tying itself up in knots, expecting the man to lose his rag completely. He didn't. Instead he looked very confused all of a sudden.

Zena quickly paid and left, forgetting her change. She knew her father would not be happy about that and, worse still, how was she going to explain it using just one word?

The sun was out and the birds were singing, however, so by the time she arrived home she had decided that there were worse words to be stuck with.


Link of the Day: Clever Girl


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Monday, 24 January 2011

The Girl Who Went Bing, Part Four

Sorry this one's a couple of day's late.  Far too busy at the weekend having fun for Laura's birthday.

Shortcut to: Part One | Part Two | Part Three

She felt a surge of pride in her present as her father opened its door, waved
back the thick smoke and removed the blackened lump of charcoal from within.

illustration by Spotty Dog Rosie

When Zena came back downstairs her parents were in the kitchen discussing her present.

"Can't you get the damn thing to work?" demanded her mother of her father.

"Of course I can!  There must be something wrong with it, that's all.  Yes, that's it.  It's faulty.   I'll call the repair man right away."

Faulty? thought Zena.  What rubbish!  There's nothing wrong with it.  She smiled at her new possession and, although it had no mouth with which to do so, she knew it was smiling back at her.

Her father suddenly noticed her standing there.  "Here's the shopping list," he said irritably, shoving a piece of paper and some money into Zena's hand.  "And don't forget the change!"

Zena skipped down the road, greeting passers-by as she went.

"Bing!" she said to her neighbour, Mrs Buckley.

"Oh!" replied Mrs Buckley. "I'm sorry dear, what did you say?"

"Bing!" she said to old Mr Reynolds.

"Pardon, child?" replied Mr Reynolds, cupping his hand around his ear.

"Bing!" she said to a policeman.

"Morning, Miss!" replied the policeman whilst handcuffing a suspected bicycle thief.

"Bing!" she said to the bicycle thief.

But the bicycle thief didn't hear her. He was too busy comtemplating the consequences that his life of crime had brought down upon him.

To be continued...


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Thursday, 20 January 2011


(image via)

I just got out of the new shower I never thought my landlord would actually get installed. So in the interests of believing in the impossible...


Ask yourself:
Is it possible?
Is it probable?
Is it pull-it-off-able?

And if in answer
"No," you say
then try to do it


I also found this image:

It's now (one of) my ambitions to own an office building just so 
I can rename all the floors things like "success", "victory", etc. (via)

And my personal favourite...

(image via)


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Saturday, 15 January 2011

The Girl Who Went Bing, Part Three

Oh, I forgot to say. I found the notebook that contains the rest of the story. You're going to get the whole thing...

Shortcut to: Part One | Part Two

Illustration by Spotty Dog Rosie

Zena looked on in awe and wonder as the shining white kitchen appliance rose out of the box. She barely noticed that her parents looked as excited as she was.

She watched as her father carefully turned every delicate page of the instruction manual, poring over its contents; comparing diagrams with the device, and the device with the diagrams.

And then...

He took the microwave and placed it on a spare work surface. He found the plug and eased it gently into the wall socket. He reached out tentatively, and flicked the switch as if tending to an injured tiger.

Zena saw the machine flicker into life, its digital display flashing up the wrong time. She gazed longingly at the oven while her father attempted to set the clock correctly without activating a half-hour cooking schedule.

She absorbed the sense of occasion as he cradled a large potato, gently set it down on the heatproof plate and shut the door.

She closed her eyes and listened to its barely audible hum, meditating upon it for many minutes until -


The noise made her jump, yet she was overcome with joy upon hearing it. She felt a surge of pride in her present as her father opened its door, waved back the thick smoke and removed the blackened lump of charcoal from within.

It spoke! It had spoken to her, to tell her that it had completed its task, and she had understood it.

"Bing!" repeated Zena, giggling to herself.

"What did you say?!" Replied her father angrily.

"Bing," she said again, unable to help herself.

"This doesn't concern you! It's none of your business! Get out of my sight! GO ON, GO TO YOUR ROOM!"

Zena was astonished. She'd never seen her father's face turn that colour before. She quickly ran upstairs, giggling uncontrollably and muttering the word "Bing" under her breath, again and again and again.

She threw herself onto her bed and wrapped her coarse itchy blanket around herself.

"Bing," she said again, and laughed. Not giggled; laughed. She was happy. She'd never been happy before. Modestly content, yes. Never happy, never even sad.

She heard some noises from downstairs, and wondered dreamily why her father seemed to be doing everything slightly louder than was absolutely necessary.

To be continued...

Link of the Day: First Name


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Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Tramstop Poetry

I wrote this one on the way home from work last week.  I'd been quite productive over the New Year period and I wanted to keep the momentum going.

Tramstop Poetry

Standing at the tramstop
after dark
trying to think of poems
I might write
about the night

Or some childish adventure,
One as good as the one
my girlfriend
wrote about the denture
(well, dentist actually
but that wouldn't
have rhymed)

While all the time
all I can think of
is how I'm struggling
to think of a poem
to write
and end up juggling
the thoughts in my head
and write a poem
about that instead.

How Terribly Post-Modern Of Me.

Link of the Day: Misconceptions


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Saturday, 8 January 2011

The Girl Who Went Bing, Part Two

On her third birthday, she received a new winter coat for her mother.
[Illustration by Rosie from Spotty Dog]

Shortcut to: Part One

It was a strange sensation. At first Zena did not know what was happening to her. It started in the pit of her stomach, but soon spread up her arms and down her legs, until she was tingling from her toes to the tips of the hairs on her head.

In a frenzy she ripped the re-used Christmas wrapping paper from her present, and didn't hear her parents' protests against such wilful wastefulness.

"Don't tear the wrapping paper!" started her father.

"That could have gone back in the drawer for next year!" cried her mother.


But Zena wasn't listening, and even if she was, she wouldn't have cared. Next year's wrapping paper would be a small price to pay for this. Besides, her parents never gave her any pocket money for it to come out of anyway.

Now, they didn't know what to do. Zena had always been such a well behaved little girl, and now she had disobeyed them for the first time ever. They didn't know how to begin punishing her.

She had taken a step back to admire her present in all its glory, and gazed wistfully at it. It was a very plain-looking brown box, and had the words "MICROWAVE OVEN" printed in big bold letters across the side.

Not being a very bright girl, Zena didn't know what a microwave oven actually was, but that just made it all the more exciting. She was sure that she would very much enjoy finding out.

After a good two minutes of speechlessness, her parents sprang into action. The snatched and yanked the box out of arm's reach of Zena and positioned themselves so as to guard between it and her. Slowly and carefully, they eased open the lid.

To be continued...


Link of the Day: Mammatus Clouds


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Thursday, 6 January 2011

Career Dog

The other day Laura and I went for a walk in Greenwich Park, and it wasn't long before we saw a dog sniffing round the bottom of a tree.

"Curious dog!" I shouted (as you might expect).

Laura assumed I must have meant there was a dog in the window of the police car that drove past at the same time, because she heard me say, "Career dog!"  So this is my poem about a Career Dog.

Career Dog

You've changed.
You come home after dark
Not a wag nor a bark
and Wordlessly
You eat your supper
that I have prepared for you
My Hands
on the tin opener
My Hands
scraping with the fork
You give not a thought
for little old me.

You've changed.
It's all take take take
Where has this fake
you come from?
We used to have so much fun
You and I.
I know not why
we don't walk in the park anymore
don't throw sticks anymore
play dead anymore.
What's more important
than us?

Also, I have added an illustration to the first part of The Girl Who Went Bing, which was kindly offered by Rosie of Spotty Dog fame.  I love it.  I hope she's going to do more.

Tube picture from here
Dog picture from here

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Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Sock Puppets

This year (or should I say last year?) we spent New Year's Eve mostly drinking and making bean burgers and sock puppets.  This was hampered only slightly by the fact that Laura only owns one sewing needle.


Sock Puppets

My name is Zorga
but my friends call me George
I really don't know what
they call me that for.

Perhaps it's because
I have such a big head
or the way that my stripes
include green but not red.

Or the Tesco Wheat Biscuits box
supporting my face;
my internal tubular
ad-hoc neck brace.

Or my singular eye
that only looks down;
my permanent unfortunate
condescending frown.

Or my lip that is sewn
to always stick out;
my cheerful and strangely
unsulking pout.

Perhaps I will find out
the reason in time.
I just hope it allows
this poem to rhyme.

The dribble on Zorga's chin is actually from where I tried to stick a tongue on him with glitter glue.  Laura's sock puppet didn't have a name, but at the same time, paradoxically, it was called Michael.  Or Socksy.  And he can only look up.

The Sock Puppet With No Name

Link of the Day: From the world of unnecessary design...

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Saturday, 1 January 2011

The Girl Who Went Bing, Part One

[Edit: Now with an illustration by Rosie from Spotty Dog!]

Once upon a time, I joined a cult.  It was a nice cult.  We did nice things for strangers, and mass suicides were generally frowned upon.  One of the people in this cult was known Joinee Bing.  Her real name was Zena, though, and she was very nice to me when I started this blog.  I'd even go so far to say that I might have given up on it quite early on without the enthusiasm of a very small number of people, of which she was one.

One day, Zena sent me a text message.  Unfortunately the Orange network was down all day in Exmouth, where I lived, and I didn't receive it until it woke me up at 3 o'clock in the morning.  It said:
I'm bored.  Tell me a story.  Please?
So as I drifted (slowly) back off to sleep, I started to think of a story to tell her.  I set off to work on it the very next day, and emailed her the unfinished story so far.  Those of you who know me well probably won't be all that surprised to find I got a teensy weensy bit carried away, and that this story went on for months and months and months.

I thought I'd lost my copies of it, but just after moving flat in November, I found my original notebook.  It's not the whole story, as I ran out of room and continued in another book (which I do seem to have lost), but I thought I'd record it here for posterity before I lose it again.  That and I don't have much to post here for a while...


The Girl Who Went Bing, Part One

Zena was the perfect little girl.  Her bedroom was always neat and tidy, she always behaved impeccably, and she never ever asked for anything.

Which was just as well, because her parents never gave her anything.  On each of her birthdays, they bought a present for themselves, and although there was always cake she was never allowed to eat any of it.  Her parents had decided that the only proper time to eat cake was at ten o'clock at night, long after Zena's bedtime.

On her first birthday, Zena received a new washer for the kitchen tap.

On her second birthday, she received a pair of tickets to the opera.

On her third birthday, she received a new winter coat for her mother.

On her fourth birthday, [see second birthday].

On her fifth birthday, she received a week's cottage break (for two) in the Cotswolds.  While her parents were away, Zena washed all their clothes (as usual), she cooked herself dinner (as usual), and she went to bed at the correct time.  As usual.  Her birthday cake remained in the cupboard and began to develop its own healthy layer of mould.
Zena's sixth birthday, however, changed everything.  All of her other presents had come in very small boxes indeed, but not this one.  On her sixth birthday, the box was bigger than Zena herself.

Something then happened that had never happened before: Zena began to become excited.  I didn't like to say, for I did not want to appear uncharitable, but I am sure you must have guessed already.  Zena really was a very boring little girl.  She never became excited about anything.

To be continued...


Links of the Day:
The book of the cult [Amazon | Play]

Zena's wonderful glass objects, what she makes herself (including stuff for my nephews!)


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A Spotter's Guide To Fowl (Happy New Year Everybody)

A Spotter's Guide To Fowl

Happy New Year!

I'll probably be a bit rubbish uploading to here for a little while again.  I don't have much of a backlog of doodles to clear, and I have other things that are distracting me and potentially much more exciting and important than this right now.

This cartoon up here ^^^ was on the front of the card I sent to my Grannie a couple of weeks ago.

Have a great 2011.  It's looking quite good from this end.

Link of the Day: Paddy's Day


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