scribbles tagged ‘conversation’


Tuesday, August 30th, 2011 | tags: , , ,  |

Someone said ennui in a real conversation

  • as-if it might be a real word
  • as-if I might know what it means!

what a tease!

It sounded like “ahn-wee, setting-off my sensitively calibrated toilet-word-radar alarm. Wee?!

Sandwiches, Scones, Clotted cream and cakesGiggling ensued, then I checked the spelling and looked up the meaning

This was not a tease. This was a real word and the utterer had used it in a sentence that made total sense

A celebratory tea party is in order

Bring on the cakes!

PS 82 word post before the PS
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Eeny, meeny, miny, moe

Saturday, July 9th, 2011 | tags: , , , , ,  |

White phone boxMaking sure you got your phone calls was a complicated affair in the days before cell phones and answer machines. Especially for a teenager. This is just one of the problems I encountered – after coming home from a long, fun night practicing with the marching band:

Mumzie: Graham called while you were out

Wendy: Graham! Which Graham? What did he say?

Darn, now mum knows there are several Grahams in my life and he might have told her something personal.

Mumzie: there’s more than one Graham? He didn’t say what it was about dear, just said to let you know he’d called

Double darn

Clearly this is a discreat Graham. Can’t pick one out from the rest based on that description. So now I have to work out in which order to phone them back. Then how to start the conversation without giving away that I don’t know if I’m returning a call, or calling them for the first time? Then I have to work out how to advise mumzie on taking future calls from Grahams, to help her work out which one called without saying “which Graham are you?” which would make each of them feel insignificant, and they’re not. They’re all special in different ways

Life’s so complicated!



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2 bits of fabulous banter »

trading life times

Sunday, June 26th, 2011 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Window & wrought metal workAs we walk through the underground to the main Paddington station an announcers loudly fills the tube with a mumbled message. Jan covers her ears. The announcers voice was too painful to listen to

wendy: all trains to Reading are delayed

Concourse displays specify Delay, Delay, Delay….  Hundreds of people stand with their eyes held by the display. Murmurring rises. Jan pulls out her HTC Desire

Jan: Delays until 6.30pm, why don’t they tell me that at the station, why do I have to go to the web to find out

Wendy: can you send me that link for my phone

Jan: Um, err, probably, I’ll try

Our shoulders drop. What shall we do with this time at Paddington? Vicky looks near to tears

Vicky: I’ve got a softball game at 6.45pm

Jan notices  a slow, stops everytwhere, train to Banbury, a 90 mins rather than 25mins journey to Reading. We run, weaving through bewildered would-be passsengers, to platform 11.  Crushed against the train waiting for the doors to open, carried by the crowd onto the train. Midsummer heat, commuter sweat crammed into a carriage designed for half this load. People wearing black and grey.  I manage to climb onto the luggage rack, a seat! Jan and Vicky are swept apart into the standing-only isles. Two ladies near me don’t look like commuters, one wearing a cheerful pink dress, another wearing a jade outfit. Pinky bends down and peers into the lower level luggage rack

Pinky: there’s a child under there…

Jade: It’s a BOY

Synchronised smiling, the childs boyness explains his desire to climb into the luggage rack.  I ask the colourful duo

wendy: does anyone know what caused the delays?

pinky: A suicide on the line

wendy: how do you know?

Clock on Paddington StationPinky waves her Blackberry phone, She uses the Blackberry for the whole 2hr journey, raising her eyes only to answer my occassional question then say goodbye as she leaves the train. There are few conversations on the train. Most people appear deeply engrossed in bright phone screens. From my perch I can see 4 i-phone  screens – text conversations, games, reading the news

I make several attempts to start conversations with the people near me. They moan about how inconsiderate the suicide was, interrupting rush hour travel. Then they sink back into their hypnotic phones. Suicide on the line, one person traded the life they had left to give todays commuters some unanticipated travel time

I feel the need to use this precious time, someone-elses life time, wisely

trading life times
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2 bits of fabulous banter »

before printing invitations

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011 | tags: ,  |

Charles: We’d like to invite you to our son’s wedding on April 29th.

Barak: I’d love to join the party but I’ve already got plans for that day.

Charles: We could move the wedding if you’d really like to come along.

Barak: I appreciate your flexibility, but I’ll be busy on the Wedding day, whatever day it is.

Barak: Oh, and Charles, don’t send me an official invitation because I want to keep media attention and speculation about my activity on that day to a minimum. Don’t invite me and dont talk about it.


before printing invitations
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just goes to show

Saturday, March 26th, 2011 | tags: , ,  |

In a corner shop, the assistant is out back in the stock room. I stand in line behind an elderly man. He looks at the racks of newspapers. The cover pages of every newspaper show pictures of Sian, a girl who’s body was recently found nearby. He turns around smiles at me

stupid women getting themselves killed

How do you reply to a statement that blames the victim, that blames the victims by virtue of their gender? I paused, thinking that even if this comment  was made in jest, I cannot find a way to make light of it’s mean perspective. The man watches me and starts pulling facial expressions that I cannot interpret. Facial expressions that feel agressive. There is nothing I can say to him, honestly, without giving away how mean I feel his statement was. He follows up with a loud, clipped comment


I didn’t say anything

I wish I’d never spoken to you

My silence appears to have redirected his meanness to me specifically, probably fulfilling what I think is a mysogenistic outlook. I wish he hadn’t spoken to me, I resisted the urge to agree with his unnecessarily nasty statement.  The shop assistant returned, the man settled up his bill and left. After I’d made my purchase I noticed the man had left his walking stick by the till. I picked it up, ran out of the shop found the man and silently gave him the stick.

thankyou, just goes to show…

Again, I didn’t understand his statement, there was nothing I could find to say. I suspect people with such mean spirits lead very lonely lives where people they talk to feel the need and right to reply to them with equally mean comments.

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our night in

Thursday, March 17th, 2011 | tags: ,  |


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bus station

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011 | tags: , , , ,  |

Wendyhome kitchenwendy: I live in a converted coach house

moben sales staff (MSS): you live in a bus station?

wendy: not that sort of coach, the victorian horse-drawn type of coach, it used to be a stable too

MSS: what size is the kitchen?

wendy: small, 87 x 111 inches with 2 doors and a low sloping roof with a skylight

MSS: shall we call it a square kitchen?

wendy: No, lets call it an oblong or a rectagular kitchen

MSS: approximately a square kitchen

wendy: No, its an oblong

MSS: approximately an oblong?

wendy:  87 x 111 inches

MSS: approximately an oblong then

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9 bits of fabulous banter »


Tuesday, December 7th, 2010 | tags: , ,  |

wendy: have you been watching the Ashes?

German: I’m waiting for them to start, at the moment they’re still playing tests

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anti social validation

Sunday, December 5th, 2010 | tags: ,  |

cloud rolling over Thira on the volcanic edge of Santorini in Greecewaiter: alone?

wendy: yes

waiter: ok

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6 bits of fabulous banter »

Bristolian hat-wearers unite

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

dance teacher: Wasabi makes you jedder
wendy: Jedder?
dance teacher: yes jedder (demonstrates by shaking her shoulders)
wendy: Oh (signifying realisation), Judder! Where do you come from?
dance teacher: Reading, why?
wendy: (decides not to mention her unusual accent)  I’ve never met anyone who actually came from Reading
dance teacher: where are you from?
wendy: Bristol
dance teacher: whereabouts in Bristol do you live?
wendy: I don’t live in Bristol, I live in Reading
dance teacher: Oh, whereabouts in Reading do you live
wendy: Cemetery Junction

mutually understanding silence

dance teacher: a lot of people wear hats like yours in Bristol
wendy: (pause of disbelief)… I got this little beauty from Jacksons
dance teacher: Jacksons?
wendy: Jacksons, at Jacksons corner in downtown Reading, the shop
dance teacher: Oh

During the evening I put more effort into keeping the conversation going by trying to find out more about the dance teacher. An interesting life; writing a novel, travelled to the US for research where she met some influential dancers. She was given the dance business after she met the previous owners at lessons, the work involved arranging themed hen-night evenings and many more interesting stories.

The teacher looked happy enough, the conversation flowed, while I focussed on her. For a brief moment she appeared to show a interest in me when I mentioned my admirations for the fabulous Josephine Baker. But the conversation almost always felt like hard work, mostly disappointing because of

  • incongruence with my experience of the world “people in their 50’s are too scared to leave the house or go anywhere on their own“. I mainly mix with fiesty fifties.
  • what seemed like an extreme lack of self confidence “I can’t dance“. Yet she teaches it.
  • naivity “I didn’t realise that running a dance business would involve a lot of hard work”
  • lack of an active interest in wendy!

She smiled as she talked, conversation liberally punctuated with self-deprecation and giggles. She was  interesting and some might find her self-deprecation charming.

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multifunctional interaction

Monday, November 8th, 2010 | tags: , ,  |

talking to a Microsoft customersoftware developer: do you interact with the customer?

wendy: I talk to people while I watch them use our stuff and give them tips on how to get the most out of using it

My ability to liberally apply single syllable words at work, when multisyllable jargon will do,  is outrageouss. In the photo you see me demostrating how to use the ‘hunt and peck’ keyboard technique. I also have a compulsion to think of people as people rather than income sources (customers)

Naughty me

multifunctional interaction
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6 bits of fabulous banter »

in the forest

Friday, October 1st, 2010 | tags: , , ,  |

masseur: you know how you associate places with people?

tree decorated with snowThere’s a moments silence while he’s pulling my arm, seemingly out of its socket, and I think of places and people. The gentle melancholly when I visit a place filled with happy memories, that is no longer the same place without the people that made it happy. The distracting sadness when I visit a place full of painful memories and the forgotten pains flood in.

masseur: I cycled through that village in the new forest that you mentioned, Lyndhurst, and the place reminded me of you

Thats a beautiful, peaceful, place to be associated with.

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stranger at a bus stop in southsea

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010 | tags: , ,  |

romatic couple watch the evening roll inwendy: excuse me, do you know if the bus drivers give change here?

Stranger: yes they do, it’s not like Reading

wendy: OH, MY! I’ve just come from Reading today, that’s where I live!

stranger: I used to live in Reading, I moved here 11 years ago, I’m visiting Reading tomorrow

wendy: oh, OH! I used to live in Southsea for 7 years, I’m just visiting, I’ll be back in Reading tomorrow, I’ll keep an eye out for you, nice to meet you and thank you!

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male to Wales

Saturday, September 18th, 2010 | tags: , ,  |

lady: does anyone know what Ludlow’s like?

wendy: its cute and its got a Castle, my dad was evacuated there as a child during World War 2. When we were children he took us to visit to see where he used to live and play.

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soft on the phone

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010 | tags: ,  |

…bring bring…   …bring bring…

Hello, wendy house speaking, how can I help you?

can I speak to wendy house please

yep, that’s me!

Wendy?! you sound so different on the phone, all soft, I thought someone else must have answered

even my parents don’t recognise me on the phone, don’t know what happens

you’ve got a nice phone voice

who am I talking to?

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making it so

Saturday, August 14th, 2010 | tags: , ,  |

tall colleague: it smells like electrical equipment burning in here

wendy: OH No! The last time someone smelt something that no-one-else could…

colleague:  …it happened just afterwards

wendy: everyone out of the building

tall colleague: which electrical equipment should I torch first?

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smells like rain

Friday, August 13th, 2010 | tags: , , , ,  |

wendy: smells like rain

my colleage looks outside the window at the blue sky, looks back at me, raises a single eyebrow slowly then  the edges of her mouth swing out while her lips furl from her teeth revealing the cheekiest of grins.

wendy: I know, it sounds a bit bonkers, but this room just does smell like rain to me, can you smell it?

colleague: no (laughs, then, about a minute later)  OH MY GOD. WENDY! Look out the window, its raining!

A cloud above the building that we couldn’t see was dumnping its load with avengance, rain against blue skys. To me the smell was overwhelming and kinda sexy.  Apparantly the other people in the room couldn’t smell the rain through the building walls.

On planet wendy we not only smell the future coming we often hear then trip-over it too.

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10 bits of fabulous banter »

good company

Sunday, July 18th, 2010 | tags: , , , ,  |

wendy: 4 pints of Ringwood and a bottle of Chianti

bar staff: how many wine glasses would you like

I look at the smiling person next to me

smiler to bar staff: just one glass please

smiler to me: it’s cheaper to buy a bottle of wine and then leave some than it is to get 1 glass then refill it later.  They know me here, they’ll understand.I’m a sot

barstaff: are you sure you dont want a long straw instead of the glass? It will save us on the washing up

smiler: (sudden squeaky scream) I can’t believe he just said that!

wendy: what’s a sot? acronym, slang or real word?

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3 bits of fabulous banter »

synchronised plant ponderings

Saturday, May 1st, 2010 | tags: , ,  |

wendy: I was gardening every evening this week

julie: me too, I’ve planted potatoes and herbs, last night I spent 2 hours gardening, it feels so good afterwards.

wendy: Oh (signifying impressedness) um, I just really pull out weeds and think about doing other  stuff

julie: I pull out weeds too

wendy: mainly I stand with my mug of tea looking at my borders thinking things like ‘that Phlox looks good even though it’s pink, maybe I should plant some more’

julie: Yeah, I do that in the morning before I come to work too

wendy: me too

julie: you are not alone

Phlox, Bluebells and white armeria

Phlox, Bluebells and white armeria

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quaking all over the world

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010 | tags: ,  |

tree surgeon (TS): you’ve been causing earthquakes all over the world

ginger freckled goddess (GFG): should I cover my hair, would that help?

TS:I can still see your fore-arms, are you promiscuous?

GFG: I’m not sure

TS: Now look at wendy, she’s modest

wendy: I keep my hat on, even when I’m being promiscuous

TS:   are you married?


TS: do you have a boyfriend?

GFG: yes

TS: You’re promiscuous

wendy: When I’m promiscuous the earth does move,  though not on the scale of  quakes all over the world

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University education

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010 | tags: ,  |

They said:

46 yr, self-employed, parent:       where did you get that top?          
19 yr, university student, child: Primark      

They meant

parent: are you spending your  scarce supply of  money on clothes that you don’t need?   You have plenty of clothes.   You are so bad at managing your finances you really should not spend money on how you look.   When you started the course 2 months ago you  had a full student loan and money from us for your rent and text books.   Now you have nothing in your bank account, are in debt to your new  college friends  and to top it all you don’t have any text books at all.    For heavens sake, you are not stupid, pull yourself together, get your priorities right and start studying.

child: Just leave me alone. I have enough to worry about without you being on my back aswell,   there’s nothing good in my life,   I’m crap at college, I’m fat, I can’t cook, I’m being bullied and just for a moment I felt good, in a new top that didn’t cost much but for a moment it made me feel special, worthwhile.   Then you have to go and spoil that fragile moment by telling me that I can’t manage my money well.   Thanks.    Even my parents make me feel like shit.

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read my face

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009 | tags:  |

Greek: I have to watch Wendy

Wendy: ? (quizzical expression)

Greek: Yes, that’s it, your face is so expressive.   My PhD supervisor was very British, his face never moved,   it was very difficult to talk with him.   I can look ay Wendy and know whether she has something to say

Facial storytelling,   its a skill!   I can interrupt a conversation without saying a word if the participants, like this Greek,  know how to listen.

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ingenjör wendy

Sunday, November 1st, 2009 | tags: , , ,  |

Norwegian man in Reading pub: there’s not many girls that know about assessing political risk

Wendy: I’m an ingenjör

Norwegian: what type of engineer?

Wendy: Social ingenjör

Norweigian: I find the English girls are very…..         errrrr….       how do you say ……’old fashioned’

Wendy:   Yeah,  I find the English girls are very old fashioned too,   that’s why my Finnish dad wanted to marry an English girl.                  But  look at these boots!      I’m not an old fashioned girl. I’m an ingenjör with SENSIBLE footwear.   Functionally well engineered,   good experience, easthetically funky    footwear   I blame Dad.

Norweigian: I’m sorry?.

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precision time memories

Saturday, October 31st, 2009 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Bros 1957: Wendy, do you remember what we were doing at this time on September 11th 1979?

Wendy: Errr……   …not really,   what were we doing Bros 1957?

Bros 1957:   Oh!   You don’t remember!

Bros can produce an ‘Oh’ packed with emotional messages.   It’s a family trait.   He was genuinely very suprised that I didn’t remember what we were doing at a specific time on a specific day nearly 10 years earlier

Wendy: Nope.   I can guess but it would be based on probablities that things I remeber happened at that time.   What were we doing then?

Bros 1957:  We were having a family sauna  at a ski resort in Inari, Finland  

Wendy:   I remember the Sauna.   How do you remember the exact date and time?

Bros 1957: because it  was exactly 10,000* days ago (huge smile)

Helsinki's Sibelius monumentBros 1957 has a fantastic ability to remember time and events together,  he’s published an eponymous  moon-based calendar.

* dates have been changed because I can’t remember them
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I’m sorry for…

Saturday, August 29th, 2009 | tags: , , ,  |

interrupting you,   BUT….

the interrupter took the conversation winding off into outer space until a silence when my the interesting,   passionate monologue came to its a gentle landing, end.

Beyond the words ‘I’m sorry’ my interrupter demonstrated no ‘sorriness’.   Quite the contrary.   Perhaps ‘sorry’ in this context actually means:

 ‘please don’t get angry with me for taking conversation to a monologue,   to another topic,  but I have a really interesting thought that I’m bursting to share and I’m sure everyonelse will find it as interesting as I do’

After the silence my interrupter turned to me acknowledging the end of the interruption and encouraging me to finish my original question.

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wasp shock

Thursday, August 27th, 2009 | tags: , , , ,  |

Person At Party In Garden (PAPIG): is [chap] coming to the party?

Wendy:   I don’t know,   I think he might be out of the country,   he was in Australia on Monday

PAPIG:   is he YOUR man?

Wendy: (calmly spills drink over wasp while gatheirng composure)…no, he’s not my man…

PAPIG: I thought that was strange…   …I mean,   your man being out of the country

Wendy: Oh (signifying a brain-stall prompted by the assumption that I possess a man that is averse to leaving  the country)

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hypnotistless regression

Saturday, June 27th, 2009 | tags: , , ,  |

After a few minutes silence a new conversation starts

male: I’ve got a new horn

female: Oh?

male: Yes,   it’s no longer ‘MOOOOOOO’   now it’s  ‘MOOOOOOEEEEW

female: that’s nice

male: do you want to see my horn?

Wendy: Teeeeheeeehheeeeheeee he wants to show you his horn

Returning to the UK has reinforced my ability to regress the age of 12 without the aid of a parachute or hypnotist.  

How cheap is that?   Bargain basement cheap!  

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2 bits of fabulous banter »

the new ‘no TV’

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009 | tags: , ,  |

Young Adult #1:   I have 3 friends that live together who don’t have a computer in their home, one is a librarian, one is a shoe-shop assistant and the other works for the council.     They don’t even  have facebook accounts.

Young Adult #2 : No FACEBOOK?!

Young Adult #1:  ‘No computer’ is the new ‘no TV’

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a spade is a spade

Friday, May 29th, 2009 | tags: , , ,  |

friend:   that’s a pretty top

Wendy: it goes all the way down to my knees

friend:   lets call it a dress

Wendy: yes, lets

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Sunday, May 17th, 2009 | tags: ,  |

friend:   she’s very Diesel

wendy: Diesel?

friend:   see how her girlfriend looks like a girl?

wendy: yes

friend:   it’s clear who wears the trousers in that relationship

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