Friday, 27 November 2009

Reading Out Loud and Runny Noses

I sometimes read my stories out loud to myself and if you can get a rhythm going so much the better. Anything wrong jars and it’s easier to spot typos. I amuse myself by doing it in different accents and I have no idea where they come from because I certainly don’t write them with any accent in mind.

It’s been a strange, unhealthy and rather unhappy week what with one thing and another, but things could be a lot worse.

On the up side, it looks as if I’ll be able to see Lachlan in his Christmas play in two weeks time which I’m looking forward to so much. He’s got lines to learn and he’s a bit nervous.

And it’s got me thinking about the Carol services we used to have.

The first one I can remember was at infant school. I had to read a piece out. It included a line something like, “And they came with haste, and found Mary and Joseph and the baby lying in a manger.”

When I was reading it out to the headmistress beforehand she tapped the page and asked what was wrong with that line. I said I didn’t know. I was five and scared (she was a very scary woman).

After a lot of exasperated huffing and puffing and with eyes a-bulging she said it read as if they’d found the whole family in the manger. It was probably my first real English lesson and I have never forgotten it.

Nor can I ever think of the nativity without imagining the whole family stuffed in a straw filled feeding trough with silly grins on their faces.

Later, at primary school, we’d troop down to the church for our Carol service. One year I was in a pageant – I can’t remember what my costume was, but I think we had to dress up as people from different countries.

My mum made my outfit and at the church we were put into pairs and we were to walk down the aisle holding hands with our partners.

The boy I had been partnered with – I can’t even remember who it was – had a runny nose.

All I can say in my defence is that I was very young, seven at the most.

I said I didn’t want to do it. I couldn’t do it and I absolutely refused to hold his hand – I was terrified that dangly drip would fall and land on me. Everyone was very understanding about my apparent stage fright, but most understanding of all was the boy with the runny nose.

He was so sweet. I do remember his kindness and the concern in his eyes as much as his runny nose. He asked me why I didn’t want to do it. I have never forgotten how I felt when he asked me that question.

I just knew I couldn’t tell him the real reason and hurt his feelings, so I said I was scared. And so that year I didn’t take part in the pageant and just after I’d been sent to sit in a pew, the teacher asked him if he’d got a hanky and she got him to blow his nose.

Without the drip I saw him for what he was, a nice, kind boy and now he was holding someone else’s hand.

I could only watch miserably as the colourful parade went down the aisle without me.

And the moral of this story is . . . well there isn’t one. I was just waffling as usual.

The worst part about this week is that one of my daughter’s cats has gone missing. He hasn’t been home for three days and it’s not like him. He likes his home comforts and usually sleeps on her bed at night. All we can do is wait and hope.


  1. What a sad story about the boy with the drippy nose. I'm sure there is a moral in there somewhere.

    Hope the cat turns up. If not, it's definitely worth doing posters/leaflets with a photo on and putting them through people's doors and anywhere else you can think of. My friend's cat went missing for ages and we got him back when someone read one of the posters we'd made and came and told us where he was trapped.

  2. I can understand the runny nose thing. I wouldn't have been able to hold the boy's hand either, but good for you being able to see past that.

  3. I vote for a youtube video of you reading including all accents :D

  4. Thanks Helen.
    I did that when one of my cats went missing and two months later a guy saw my notice in the local shop window and rang to tell me he'd run my cat over the night he went missing. He said he'd taken his body to the tip. I still cry when I think about it.
    I never found out what happened to my first little cat that disappeared. I honestly don't know which is worse.

    Glad I'm not the only one, Lynne. I was very squeamish about that sort of thing!

  5. Not in a million years, Lacey - the only ones who ever hear me are my dogs ;-)

  6. I'd be subscribing to that video, Lacey!

    That's a lovely story about the boy with the runny nose, Teresa. I look forward to reading it again, in a few months time, in FF or WW!

    Hope the cat turns up.

  7. Geri, perhaps if I wore a disguise . . .

    Thank you, I hope he turns up too.

  8. Lovely nativity memories, Teresa!! I'm going to remember that, about Mary & Joseph and the baby in the manger - can't believe I never thought of it when my own children were going to Sunday school and doing all the nativity plays! Probably too busy worrying about the middle daughter dressed as a donkey and playing with her tail between her legs ....(she was only 4 and bored!).

    Runny nose boy? I was waiting with bated breath to see if you ended up marrying him! Must be because you're such a good story-teller - or because I'm so used to romantic stories!!

    I do hope the cat turns up. xx Have been through that one myself. x

  9. Oooh, yes, you should make a video of your readings.

    Hope your daughter's cat turns up safely soon. So sorry to hear about your own cats - my cat, Oliver, went missing about fifteen years ago and I still wonder what happened to him...

    I love the run up to Christmas - I know you'll have a great time (and a bit of a cry?) at Lachlan's play.


  10. I hope your daughter's cat turns up soon, Teresa!

    We could have a You Tube guess which author is reading their work out in disguise day!!

    I don't do snotty noses - it was worse though when I was a nurse and had to empty the suction bottles (blarp!) Less said about that the better I think!

    Julie xx

  11. Olivia, that's priceless - your daughter and the donkey's tail.

    Thanks Suzanne - I will have my pockets stuffed with tissues!

    That would be fun, Julie!
    Eewww, suction bottles.

    No news on the cat I'm afraid.

  12. I always read my work out aloud, it always used to be to the dog and now it's to the cats. It's one of the many uses of a writers' group cos you get feedback then too.

    As I'm still raw from my own cat going missing I know how you all feel. I hope it turns up. It's absolutely soul destroying not knowing.

  13. Don't give up on the cat. My niece's cat was missing 8 months - it finally turned up looking rather scruffy. Signs are a good idea

  14. And dogs and cats are always so attentive, Diane and they never say bad things.

    THe cat. Soul destroying - yes, it is, but you keep hoping don't you.

    Similar thing happened to my sister's cat, Glynis - she was gone for months and eventually turned up looking thin and bedraggled.

  15. Don’t despair about the missing cat just yet, Teresa. My mum’s cat disappeared and turned up just out of the blue one day six months later looking in fine fettle. He had a poke around and made friends again with mum before curling up at her feet for rest of afternoon. However, the visit was short-lived because come evening he was off again.

    Mum still missed him a lot but she felt he was quite happy in his new life and took comfort from the thought that he had just come back that day to make sure she was alright.

    Can I just say “Hello” Glynis? Lovely to see your name here again. Glynis.

  16. That's a lovely story, Rena. The cat coming back to let your mum know he was all right and make sure she was too.

    Doesn't always have to be an unhappy ending does it.