Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Crabbit and dyslexia

There is an aspect of my past work that many of you don't know about, because I had to let it slide when my writing took over. I used to be an expert in specific learning difficulties, specifically dyslexia. Very recently, I have decided to become involved again, and I'd like to tell you why.

In 1982, I became an English teacher. The tiny school where I taught in London had a high proportion of children with reading difficulties, and I became fascinated. When I left full-time teaching to have a family, I took a postgraduate RSA Diploma in Teaching Children and Adults with Specific Learning Difficulties (which, by the way, is how I first became interested in the brain - hence my books, Blame My Brain and Know Your Brain.)

One of the things I discovered was how some of my own relatively minor but irritating learning niggles could very easily have become full-blown dyslexia. On tests, I come out as moderately dyslexic, though in practice I clearly am not. (Though you should see me trying to lay the table, learn automated sequences, play music, recite times-tables, learn things by heart, remember series and do anything in a mirror... You should also see the typos and reversals that litter my blog posts before (and sometimes after)  they go out, though this is more dyspraxia than dyslexia, as it's my fingers that get confused, not my eyes.) I know my weaknesses.

Anyway, I spent the next ten years working in and becoming expert in literacy acquisition. In about 1996, I set up Magic Readers, which took groups of pre-school children and fostered a love of books and all the various sub-skills that underpin literacy, with the aim that when they arrived at school they would be raring to read. (In fact, many of them could read by then, though that was not the specific aim. The main aims were fun and fearlessness.)

When I had to stop Magic Readers because my own writing was taking over, I turned it into The Child Literacy Centre, a website which I ran and funded single-handedly until I also ran out of time for that, and closed it a few years ago. The CLC was a resource for parents worried about their child's reading or writing at school, and I helped hundreds of parents who contacted me with all sorts of worries.

My first published books - the I Can Learn home learning books - were implicitly and sometimes explicitly based on the multi-sensory principles used in teaching children with reading difficulties, principles which are the best for teaching ALL children to read. I was actually using synthetic phonics long before Synthetic Phonics became the rage.

As I say, I had to stop all this literacy work a few years ago, because my own writing was taking over and going in different directions. I discovered that there are only so many hours in the day!

So, why am I back again? Because Dyslexia Scotland has asked me to be one of its first Ambassadors. I recently attended a small (in numbers of guests, not quantity of food) dinner, hosted by Sir Jackie Stewart, perhaps Scotland's most high-profile dyslexic. I sat next to him and we all listened to his empassioned description of what it's like to be severely dyslexic, undiagnosed and unhelped. In fact the other Ambassadors are themselves dyslexic, and know very well what it's like.

I have a confession: I went to that dinner fully intending to say that I really really didn't have time to help. But I rapidly felt that I must and that I wanted to.

The fact that Sir Jackie admired my tartan boots possibly had an effect!

Tomorrow, I will be telling you a very tiny thing you can do to help dyslexics. It is genuinely tiny, will take and few seconds and costs NO money! Please look out on my other blog and on Twitter. We really really need your help and it's going to be a load of fun!

Friday, 25 May 2012

The Crabbit Hutch in pics

As you know, unless you naughtily haven't been listening to me at all, I now have a shed. No, I have a garden office. It's far too glorious to be called a shed. I was going to have a competition to name it but Mike Jarman christened it the Crabbit Hutch and that's what's stuck. I have to say it's nothing like a hutch but never mind!

Anyway, here is the journey from nothing to Splendiferous Garden Office, aka Crabbit Hutch.

First, there was this:

Then, it rained, and the men from Booths Garden Studios arrived. They didn't complain even once, but got on and constructed a huge tent, under which to build. I was mildly amused at the thought that my neighbours would be thinking THIS was going to be the size of the shed.

Things began to look, frankly, unprepossessing:

But soon the Crabbit Hutch was standing forlornly in a sea of mud:

And the lovely men from Booths were looking well-pleased with their job. 

An electrician came and used a HUGE drill bit to drill through my kitchen wall. His comment afterwards: "That was epic."

I began to put some shelves up and bring the stuff up from the flat to the hutch, box by box by box.

And I had my first cup of coffee, in a very appropriate mug.

Soon, things were beginning to look both homely and businesslike, because, of course, 
much crabbit business must be done in the Crabbit Hutch. Behind my desk, you can even see the board on which I'm plotting a novel, so that's good.

At first, Mr M and I were concerned that the hutch wrecked the view up the garden and that the neighbours would be cross about the in-your-faceness, though we had got planning permission. 

But I went out and bought some VERY tall bamboo plants and I think you'll agree it is now very discreet. In fact, we could play Where's the Crabbit Hutch?! And yes, really, it is in this picture:

Only one family member is not looking too happy. She refuses to come in because she hates walkiing on bark. Stupid dog: we taught her not to bark, not to not go ON bark.

And there you have it! I've had one day working in it and it was just wonderful. With the door open, I could hear nothing but birdsong and see nothing but flowering rhodies, azalea, pieris, and a castor oil palm. I've planted dwarf lilac outside and the breeze wafts the smell in. With the door shut it's entirely soundproof so I can listen to loud music and sing at the top of my voice. It is incredibly well insulated so it's cosy and comfortable. I have installed wifi, so I can still use Twitter and be distracted. And I can walk to work with a briefcase.
I love it!

If you're interested in doing the same, Booths Garden Studios are just fab.

And look what Mr M bought me:


Wednesday, 23 May 2012

This was a bit of a surprise to me, too...

Should we have a caption competition?

Click on the picture to read the words, if you wish.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

A present for the Crabbit Hutch

Look what a very, very kind friend sent me! She wanted to thank me for something, though I really hadn't done anything. It has pride of place in the Crabbit Hutch.

Crabbit cushion, made by @Burn2Write

I'll be bringing you more Crabbit Hutch pics on Friday. I'm loving working there. Sunshine, birdsong, fabulous shrubs in bloom, and I get to walk to work!

Friday, 18 May 2012

Teenage bedrooms - all in the brain

I'm in London, because I'm speaking about the teenage brain again at a thing tomorrow called the Youthwork Summit. This summit is run by some very enthusiastic Christians, which is a little bit worrying for me, as I'm a very enthusiastic atheist. The charming-sounding organiser knows this, because, obviously, I confessed, and he did seem to absolve me. So I think it will be all right, as long as no one tries to do what Billy Graham tried to do to me in 1981.

Anyway, this is entirely irrelevant. What is relevant is that I'm evangelical about the wonders of the teenage brain. I love love love the stuff I've learnt about the the neuroscience of adolescence in ten years of studying it. I did a talk on it last week to a mixed audience of young people and adults and I loved loved loved seeing the nodding heads among the adults and then loved times a hundred that it was a teenager who asked the first question.

It is without doubt my favourite topic.


Tomorrow is a different one.

I will attempt, for the first time in the history of the universe, to explain scientifically the fascinating reasons for the horror that is the stereotypical (apologies) teenage bedroom. I will attempt to show, in a ten-minute TED talk, that the teenage bedroom is a metaphor for and an illustration of everything that's going on in their brains and lives, linking it to psychology, neuroscience and evolution.

I blame Simon Mayo. He invited me on his show a few weeks ago to talk about teenage bedrooms and explain them. My first thought was, a) I have no explanation and b) I don't care about teenage bedrooms. But it's amazing what the chance to be evangelical about my favourite topic on national radio can do to my brain. And within the half hour I was given in which to prepare, I had a theory.

And tomorrow, the theory gets its first full airing, complete with photos provided by Photowitch, aka Helen Giles, who is still technically a teenager herself and therefore a very suitable illustration of the fact that teenagers are worth listening to and respecting and generally treating a whole load better than society often does.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

In which I destroy (part of) London Book Fair

I feel I should apologise to the company at the London Book Fair whose display I destroyed twenty minutes into the first day. Trouble is, in my stress I also completely forgot their name.

It was the beginning of a day during which I came to feel I really would have been better not being there. And if there's anything positive to take out of my experience, it's a reassuring message to all those writers who think they should go to LBF: you don't need to. Please do go if you want to, and many enjoy it and get something out of it, but it's really a trade fair, for publishers and agents. Not people like me. (OK, well, not me then.)

Anyway, back to my confession.

I arrived nice and early, an hour before I was meeting fellow authors/friends for coffee - the highlight of the day, definitely. Anyway, while wandering round aimlessly, I suddenly realised that I'd been incredibly useless and forgotten my pen. And notebook. Also, I'm utterly ashamed to say, my Crabbit bag. I mean, FGS, an author at a trade fair with NO PROMO MATERIAL? What was I thinking?

Now, clearly, no one was going to be selling Crabbit bags so I had to forget about that. But surely someone would be selling notebooks and pens? I had not realised at this stage that actually you aren't allowed to sell (or, therefore, buy) things at LBF. Things are for looking at only. Coveting and drooling over and doing foreign deals over, but not actually taking away and using. Even for ready money, and my money was ready.

Nothing daunted, I found a stationery company, and its beautiful display with lots of notebooks and lots of pens. And I picked up a notebook, to the excitement (I thought) of the man manning the stall. "How much are these?" I asked.

"Well, varying prices," he said, mysteriously.

"How much is this one?" I asked, and then started babbling about how I was so silly and had forgotten my notebook and had important coffee meetings to attend and this notebook was just perfect.

"£6.99," he said as I got out my purse. (Do you mind if we skip the bit where I dropped my money?)

"Ooh, and a pen," I said, as I waited for him to get change out of his wallet. (Change out of his wallet? Did the guy not have a TILL?) I picked up a pen from a pot of lovely pens and scribbled on the paper beside it, as you do.

"Um, we can't sell those ones," said a young woman coming to the rescue. "But we can sell one of these, if you like?" So I put down the forbidden pen and picked up one of the allowed ones, which looked very similar to me, and started scribbling on the paper again.

I was somewhat, but belatedly, aware that she was saying, "Um, that's not really for writing on - let me get you..."

"Oh, sorry, I thought it was the test pad. Look - someone else has already scribbled on it!"

"Yes," she said. At which point I realised that I was the someone else who'd scribbled on it. A few moments before. With the forbidden pen.

"It's just that I thought it was there for customers to test the pens on, you know, like in a shop." I realise that my intonation did imply that I meant to say proper shop.

"Well, it's just that this is our promotional material."

At which point, I was mortified. I'd ruined their only promotional material, with their beautiful logo. And the Fair had only been going twenty minutes. Subconsciously, clearly, I was so consumed with jealousy that they actually had any promo material that I felt the subliminal need to destroy it. I am a bad, bad person.

Reader, I ran. I am not meant to be at the London Book Fair, I can see that now. And I can't bring myself to use the notebook or pen.

Friday, 11 May 2012

How my brain caused an airport security incident

Some people ask why there is a picture of an artificial brain to the side of my blog. Well, I travel with it when I do school talks about the brain. And once, that got me into a great deal of trouble. I wrote about this trauma on a previous blog which I let go dormant. I have pasted the story below. Every word of it is true.

In which my brain causes a security alert at Belfast International Airport

I was coming back from Belfast, where I'd had a lovely day speaking to excellent audiences at County Antrim Grammar School. Ironically, this very day, when I'd shown my life-size, almost life-colour, life-weight model brain to one audience, I'd said, "One day, this will get me into trouble at an airport." And they'd all politely laughed. Later that day ...

So, coming through security in a very long queue, and I'm waiting for my bag to emerge from the weird bit where everything seems to disappear for longer than it should. And I'm standing in my pink socks (because I'd forgotten that I'd have to take my boots off and reveal that I was wearing more than black tights. Obviously, I was wearing more than black tights but you know what I mean.) And I'm wondering why four security people are leaning over the computer screen and pointing and turning their heads sideways and Looking Concerned and calling more people over. Then a man comes up to me, pleasantly enough, and says:

"Is this your bag, madam?"
Me: Yes.
Man: Do you have anything unusually dense in your bag? (I am not joking. His exact words.)
Me: (immediately guessing the source of the problem and not realising that this is not the time for jokes) Ah yes, that'll be my brain.
Man: Sorry?
Me: (realising belatedly that this is still not the time for jokes): A model brain. I carry a model brain because I'm an author.
Man: How does that explain it?
Me: Well, I write about the brain sometimes and I've been doing school talks in County Antrim Grammar School (hoping that the detail will make me sound authentic, which I am, and trying to look really relaxed and possibly even flirtatious, which is not something I really do unless pushed, which I was being) and well, this is one of my props.
Man: (perfectly pleasantly and nicely) I'm afraid we'll have to search your bag.

When security people say they're going to search your bag, they have a different meaning of the word "search" from the one my husband uses when he says he's going to search for the correct place to put the kitchen sieve. Very different. Their version of search involves them taking everything out of my bag, and then everything out of everything that's in my bag. Now I, being a bit of a control freak and an ex-girl guide, tend to have some weird things in my bag when I'm away doing school talks. Even weirder than plastic brains. To be honest I'd prefer not to say some of the things that I had in my bag but if you were one of my fellow passengers, you would know. And you would be laughing. As they were.

Anyway, each item had to be swabbed. They even took my brain to pieces and swabbed every part. I now have the cleanest limbic system and brain stem in Scotland, possibly the world. I mean, who else can say they've just had their brain swabbed by security, or indeed by anyone else?

One item they found needed further explanation (and widespread derision). It was a foil-wrapped package, small, about the size of two flapjacks. The fact that it actually was two flapjacks was not enough for the security people: they had to ask me what it was. I said it was special brain food, my own recipe, a new variation on my world-famous Brain Cake (TM), called Brain Bars (TM). This is the literal truth but was not enough. They had to smell it. "Flapjacks," was the verdict. "With other stuff in. Bits, sort of."

"What do you do with that, then?" they asked.

"Er, well eat it. I plan to eat it on the plane."

"Yes, but how is it good for your brain?"

Well, they did ask for the lecture ...

Now, all this was done in the spirit of enormous hilarity. However, I would have been less hilarious-minded if I had realised that Easyjet (praise be to them for cheap flights and horrible uniforms and blamelessly egalitarian boarding systems, unless you are the last one to board) had in their wisdom decided to move the flight to an earlier time and not tell me. So, having endured fifty minutes of such hilarity and thinking I might have time for a quick coffee, I sauntered through to the departure lounge with my clean brain, only to discover that my flight had just issued a final call. And the gate was not exactly near.

Some of you may know that I do need to wear good boots for school talks but by "good boots" I mean "good boots for looking glamorous in", not "good boots for running through airports in".

Previously in airports, I have been the one who has rolled her eyeballs and frowned superciliously when some idiot is called by name to board the plane at the last minute. "Would passengers Stupid and Inebriated please proceed immediately to Gate 1078 for immediate boarding. Failure to arrive in the next five seconds will cause your luggage to be removed and you to be forcibly ejected from the airport to enduring public ridicule and ignominy."

I will never roll my eyeballs at such people again. I now realise that all they were doing was carrying perfectly innocent, though possibly weird, items through security. They are the mere victims in our sad mistrusting world. They are the ... Yes, well, anyway. They probably are sometimes stupid or inebriated but I honestly wasn't. But I was last onto the plane and people had to get out of their seats to let me in and it was very demeaning and I am just glad I'm not famous.

But what I'd like to know (granted that the security people were only doing their job and doing it brilliantly, and actually were very pleasant, and that I have every respect and sympathy for them) is this: having established that the offending item was only ("only") an artificial brain, why did they still think that every damned item in my bag needed swabbing and sniffing? Is it the case that someone carrying an artificial brain and some flapjacks is in any way more likely to be an international terrorist? And why did they also take my perfume away and subject it to chemical analysis? Because I was carrying a plastic brain? Is it written somewhere that someone carrying a plastic brain is statistically more likely also to be using Issy Miyake as a disguise for something dangerous? It's the rule book what's wrong, not the excellent staff. It's not well designed for catching people who really might cause damage, not flapjack-carrying unfortunates like moi.

And another thing: the security people said that next time, if I take the brain out of the box and send it through the x-ray uncovered (yeah right, I can really see me doing that - so, certain ridicule versus possible ridicule??) there'd be no problem. Apparently the problem is trying to hide a brain and to make it look like a thing that's trying not to look like a brain.

I do not pretend to understand such things. Maybe if I had a better brain ... Or maybe next time I'll just leave my brain at home.

But there is a happy outcome to this story. Prepare to be very, very jealous. You see, they called the head of Security Training - oh yes, the Head of Security Training - over and they have decided that my brain (not yours, MINE) is going to be used as part of their training manual. I said that I'd have to charge a fee for this. They actually for several moments looked as though they thought I was being serious, but I decided not to push my luck and I quit while I was not really ahead. But anyway, yes, I am proud to tell you that it is now the case that my brain is part of the training for airport security.

Not many people can say that.

PS - when I told my husband about this, adding that "I knew this would happen one day," his response was, "I told you so." How does that work as a useful response? Anyway, at least I know where the kitchen sieve lives. I have the right sort of brain.


Thursday, 10 May 2012

Thou Shalt Not Be Bad In The Shed

Today and tomorrow my much-anticipated garden office shed construction thing is being installed. Clearly, this is going to revolutionise my working life and turn me almost literally overnight into the rich and famous author I really ought to be by now.

However, for this to happen, there must be rules of behaviour in my shed-office. (Behaviour by me, I mean: no one else will be allowed in it, evah.) There must be things I may not do and things I must do and, obviously, times at which things may or may not happen. This is (*stern face*) to be a working environment and therefore certain restrictions on pleasure must be enforced. With suitable punishments on the breaking thereof.

What should these rules be, my friends? I'd like to say "All suggestions welcome", but I admit that some will be more welcome than others.

I will eventually publish my chosen rules and display them in the office-shed-garden-thing.

When the shed is there in all its glory, I will also have a competition to name the shed. Don't give me any ideas now, please - you need to SEE the edifice first, to understand its soul, to breathe in its aura. [Edited to add: actually, I rather think that Mike Jarman has already named the shed, inadvertently, this morning on Twitter, when he called it the Crabbit Hutch. I think that could be unbeatable!]

Rules, please, now. And be as strict as you like.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Of younger daughters

My younger daughter is in South Africa. She did not go there to do very silly things but to start her career as a documentary film-maker. The first very silly thing she did was go surfing on a beach with the red flag up.

"What does the red flag mean?" I asked, in my foolishness.

"Well, it's not as bad as the black flag. The black flag means there's a shark in the water."

"OK, so it's not as bad as that. That's good. What does the red flag mean?"

"A shark has been seen recently and basically everyone should get out."

"So, why didn't you?"

"Because the instructor said it was OK and, anyway, lots of other people were in the water."

"Do you have your instructor's phone number??? I would quite like it."

The second very silly thing she did was jump out of a plane. Well, I say "plane". Judging from her description and some of the photos I've seen, it was more biscuit tin without lid. But wings. Well, I say "wings"...

"Weren't you worried about that crappy plane?" I asked, in my foolishness.

"No, I had a parachute on."


She's been fascinated by Africa for ages, and would love to end up making documentaries for a big charity there, perhaps an AIDS charity or focusing on women's health and education. She has been doing a work placement with a documentary film-making company in Cape Town, and learning masses. They asked her to stay a few more weeks, which she did, but last week she set off travelling, to soak up and learn more about Africa, taking in Mozambique, Malawi and Tanzania, including Zanzibar. On her own.

I don't think that's silly. I think it's brave. But I'm still worried.


In case you are wondering where the post I posted this morning disappeared to, I was not supposed to post it this morning but this evening. I am a bad author who should be working, and, I might point out, so should you...

Come back this evening, please, when you've kicked the day into touch with some excellent work.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

My Saturday

Today, I did all of these things except one. Any guesses?

Clear site for new garden shed office thing
Weed entire (50m x 10m) garden so shed installers will be impressed
Make entire patio area perfect for same reason
Sit in sun for at least 3 mins
Make collage of things and frame for new office
Sort through old paint & find some to paint office with
Randomly decide to paint bathroom door, at last
Write diary for last 10 days
Email lovely person who is coming to stay to warn re electricians and explain flat will be a tip
Plan teenage brain event, which totally, like, MUST be done today
Commit to going ahead with Virtual Crabbit - online events. Decide first 3
Reply to Glorious Publicist Louise's email
Clean sheets on bed
Two laundry loads
Hang picture, at bloody last
Water sage and parsley seedlings
Write ABBA blog post for May 11th
Post sister-in-law's birthday present 
Put all comments from last night's Crabbit At Home party through random generator. Worry that  winners are good friends. Realise that all blog readers are friends anyway.
Reply, sadly negatively, to lovely book launch invitation from Famous Author :(
Email D2 in SA and phone D1 in London
Sign books requested by George Watson's College
Walk dog
Do dog's ear-drops, making self highly unpopular
Make list
Fritter much time on FB and Twitter
Clear up shocking mess left from last night's party, including items on chandeliers
Drink wine (after 7.30pm, obvs)

Well? What did I not do??????

Friday, 4 May 2012

Blog-warming party for Crabbit At Home!

Come in, come in! Here: let me take your coats. Champagne? Delicious canap├ęs? Do come through to the conservatory and make yourself at home.

Just a few ground-rules.
  1. Please keep your fingers off my Macbook and do not open my Twitter account and pretend to be me. 
  2. If you wish to look at any books on my shelves, wipe the chocolate off your fingers first.
  3. Do not go searching for the keys to my cellar - you won't find them, anyway. I'm used to hiding them from certain "friends". Gillian Philip, I'm frowning at you.
  4. Please put your gifts on the hall table, or beneath it if your gift is particularly huge. Thank you in advance especially for the sparkly wine, chocolate (especially from Coco of Bruntsfield, or, at a pinch, Hotel Chocolat) and Landlord or Tops'l cake from Botham's of Whitby
  5. If you see Jane Smith, don't tell her my new address.
And, talking of chocolate, we need a prize. All commenters below will be entered into a random draw and two lucky winners will receive a delicious luxury bar of Coco chocolate. I know it's delicious because I'm eating some now. You'll be able to pick your chosen bar from their website. I will post prizes to any UK address and if you don't have one of those, I do :)

In your comment, just say anything appropriately partyish. Tell me what you like about my home. Admire my etchings. Tell me if you see Jane Smith nosing around.

And - here's the nifty bit - you can even tell us any good news you've just received. Yes, a licence to boast, but nicely and BRIEFLY. (NB NO links to Amazon, please.) Or tell us about your own blog. And if you do it politely, elegantly and sparklily, they might even come and visit you when I kick them out. But you have to make it sound interesting, otherwise they won't. You're mostly writers so if you can't make your blog sound interesting, you can't... Oh, hang on: sorry, it's meant to be a party, isn't it? *stops haranguing and resumes smiling*

Meanwhile, let me refill your glass. The champagne is on me and I have immense amounts of it hidden in secret places, which only my butler knows.

Let the party commence and welcome to Crabbit At Home!

Thursday, 3 May 2012

A crabbit message to parents who boast

A serious thought for you this evening. A bit of crabbit thinking. (To offset the party tomorrow evening!)

Why do some people think it's ok to boast about their off-spring, including once they are grown-up? I mean really really boast? I mean, like telling us how much they paid for their house, what salary they are on, how many starred A grade A-levels or GCSEs they got, that they've just got a place at Cambridge (when they aren't friends, merely slight acquaintances)? Do people really think this is ok? Especially when they have no idea at all whether the person they are telling has a very different situation to deal with.

This thought is not theoretical or idle. It has been precipitated by a series of incidents in which slight acquaintances have regaled me or my husband or other members of my family with puffed-up boasts about offspring (including some in their forties!) whom we have never met, and never particularly wish to.

Mr M and I count ourselves lucky enough that our daughters are safe, healthy, and making their way through life bravely and independently. Touch wood. But we have two close sets of friends who have gone through and are going though hell, sheer hell, with unbelievably awful things happening to their children. One couple, close friends for many years, recently lost their gorgeous, talented nineteen-year-old daughter to spinal cancer. Last month we went to her memorial service. The other couple are in an ongoing hell of a different sort. None of them, the young people or the parents, did anything to deserve either of these things. It was horrible luck. And when kids have wonderful success and fortune in their lives, the parents don't necessarily deserve that either. We certainly don't deserve to boast to all and sundry. Share pleasure with close friends, perhaps, delicately, gently, just a little bit, being sensitive to friends' own situations. But not boast. Not talk salaries and figures and exam grades and prizes and Oxbridge places, without any sensitivity at all.

To parents who think it's ok to boast in this way: shut up and just be glad that your kids are alive, healthy, and can wake up each morning with every intention of hitting the day running. Just be glad and be quiet.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Big news for me

Mr M started a new job today. That is a very big statement for me because he has spent the last few years working for the Royal Bank of Scotland. *stressed face*

I simply will not say what I feel about the RBS after seeing my husband try to do the best damn job possible for the last few years.

I wanted him to resign a long time ago. He carried on because he's dedicated to his job, his clients, his colleagues, and because he thought he could make it better. I am still angry about what happened.

Anyway, today he begins a new job, starting a new business but within an existing company, and a very good one it is, too. I expect him to be tired but empowered, emboldened but not embattled. And the new company is not a bank.

Something to crack open some sparkly stuff, methinks.

Cheers, Mr M, and massive good luck!

PS You are all invited to the Great Big Purple Blog-Warming Party on Friday evening. Do add yourself to the permanent guest list on the right - all welcome! And as part of that party I have chocolate to be won AND a lovely chance for you to do something I know you'd love to do...


Nearly there... I've got several posts ready for the next couple of weeks, aiming to show the variety you can expect to see on Crabbit At Home. The first "proper" post goes out this evening. Another on Thursday and then the Great Big Purple Blog-Warming Party on Friday. Have you got a baby-sitter organised? Told your partner you'll be out all night? Wrapped up my present?

And remember: I will blog here in the evenings only. (Well, apart from this one. *cough*) The day is for working, you naughty writers and other self-employed people. I'm trying to instil some routine in my working life, with a bit of healthy relaxation in the evening. And far be it from me to tell you what to do, but... Do it, eh?