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Friday, 17 January 2014

I've moved...

Dear Lovely Visitor to my blog

I have a new website at - please do come and find me there...I'll be so happy to see you!


Friday, 1 November 2013

You'll Never Know...

In my next life, I am going to be someone who plays my cards so close to my chest that you’ll be able to see the imprint of the seven of spades on my right boob.  No one is even going to know what I had for breakfast, let alone where I went for dinner and with whom. Not for me a line of dirty laundry flapping in the wind, greying bloomers for all to see. No one is ever going to raise their eyebrows at me and say, ‘Really?’ again, or suddenly scurry off in the middle of a convivial conversation because I’ve revealed some unappealing gem about the Fisher family.
I’ve noticed the nosiest people are those who hang onto every whisper of information about themselves. They feel quite free to ask ‘How much did you pay for your curtains?’, ‘Why didn’t you send your children to the same school as my child?’, ‘What did you vote?’, while blocking simple enquiries about where they went on holiday with an obfuscation worthy of a politician.
You'll never know I had Shreddies for breakfast
Image courtesy of marin at
I’m going to keep secrets about things that I didn’t know were supposed to be secrets, like which maths set my son is in and his stunning failure in the art exam. I’ll become a match for the parents whose offspring regularly provide a sweep of A*s across the board but seal themselves up like a thermos flask the second a B-minus in embroidery darkens their door.
When I go to the doctor, the optician or the hairdresser, I’m going to be all mysterious with my friends and talk darkly about arriving a bit late to meet them because I have ‘an appointment’. God forbid anyone should know that I sit in a hairdresser’s chair and have all that grey dyed brown. Will they like me less if they know? So far they don’t seem to.
Other people trap stories about spousal disagreement, children’s misdemeanours and family skeletons like wasps under a glass. I manage, barely, to draw the line at things that might make people start looking at their watches and back away with their hands in the air, possibly retching as they go.
Maybe it’s just a lack of filter, allowing words out into the air before I’ve weighed up whether the audience really needs to know the gory details of my family life.
Or maybe when I’m actually saying the words, I don’t care what people think, though I do seem to mind more at four in the morning. By seven o’clock though, I’ve usually convinced myself that I’m not as important as I think I am, and if I provide everyone with a topic of conversation for ten minutes, I’ve done them all a favour.
Even if I could rein myself in, turn myself into one of those tight-lipped people whose children apparently clap their hands with glee when asked to empty the dishwasher, whose husband has to be torn away from the dusting, who have their Christmas presents wrapped by Hallowe’en, with sprinkles and bows and bells…would I be able to gag the rest of the family?
It’s not looking hopeful. When my daughter was asked to write an essay about her family as part of her entrance exam, she wrote ‘My mum is so naughty that I simply daren’t write any examples here.’
You decide…

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Hopeless Mothering Moments

Oh yes, madam, those flip-flops
will be perfect for the marathon
Image courtesy of Ambro at
The son is heading off on a 20km trek. Three weeks ago, we got a letter with the essential kit, which didn’t come to the top of my volcano of priorities until the end of last week, leaving a mere five days to find the compromise between the ‘nooooooo’ trainers which will enable the son to walk 20km without his feet rubbing up a storm and the must-have plimsolls with all the foot support factor of a Ryvita. This resulted in an Addams Family ding-dong in the shop in front of a bored assistant who would rather have been texting ‘KK’ to her friends or pulling blowfish faces on FaceTime than trying to help the mother with nine and half minutes left on the parking ticket corral the ‘whatever’ son into a suitable pair of shoes. Six more precious minutes tick by while the son carries on arguing that he won’t get anything, he’ll wear his ‘pastries’, which, in turn, inflames me further as I have no idea what ‘pastries’ are and can only imagine that something with lard as an ingredient is not going to be the pinnacle of sporting support.

Right, just go and find me some string
Image courtesy of Worakit Sirijinda at
With approximately thirty seconds to go until the traffic warden appears, the son - with the most hard done by face in the world - agrees to the most expensive trainers in the world in such a sulky manner that it is tempting to enjoy my own tiny moment of tantrum by refusing to buy anything at all and make him spend the day doing Latin translation, rather than walking with his friends. Manage to be marginally more grown up than the thirteen-year-old. Until we get to the till. Which isn’t working. 
The manager slumps out from the stock room, prods a couple of buttons and disappears off to count insoles without bothering to wait to see if the till has actually come back to life. Which it hasn’t. Car park ticket overdue. Calculate the cost of car parking fine, plus the cost of trainers that the son doesn’t even want, versus the hideousness of walking out and having to go through the whole thing again. Leave, resolving that if this sports shop is the last sports shop on the planet, we will trek on bits of old tyres tied on with string rather than darken its door again. Hiss at son. (Still feel a bit hissy by the time we have to repeat the performance a couple of days later but owing to the shop assistant being young, trendy and interested, all is accomplished with minimal teeth marks.)

In the meantime, we need to make Saturn. With guilt in my heart, I decide that sports day (all day affair), plus end of term concert (last time my ability to turf children out with polished shoes will come under scrutiny – hurrah!), plus French Day (let me just grow some garlic, paint some stripes on a T-shirt and find a beret) equals no time for papier mache and just enough seconds to order a polystyrene ball from Amazon that we can paint. Except the polystyrene ball didn’t arrive until the day after it was required so we had to do papier mache in a big rush the night before, but without any of the things we needed…

So if any mother out there is reading this and feeling smug…please don’t leave a comment. On the other hand, if you need to knock up Mars or Jupiter…I’ve got a pristine polystyrene ball looking for a new home…

And if you’re reading this on Wednesday 3 July or Thursday 4 July, you can download the perfect holiday read, The Class Ceiling - school gate snobbery, quirky romance and plenty of hopeless mothering moments - for FREE…

Thursday, 6 June 2013

One word can say so much...

As some of you know and lots of you don’t if you haven’t read my blog bio, I’m a bit of language fanatic. I can become quite fascinated by an unexpected use of a subjunctive, the rule for making a comparative – more happy or happier? - and quite the pedant about when to use ‘fewer’ and when to use ‘less’. Which, on re-reading, doesn’t make me look like the ideal person to invite for dinner unless you’re having a gathering of English teachers or other people who like to disappear into a place where the sun doesn’t shine.
I avoided a split infinitive!
Image courtesy of Stockimages at
 Anyway, my little language antennae were twitching like a badger’s whiskers on Saturday when The Times ran a feature on the importance of keeping alive minority languages, such as Cornish, Guernésiais and Manx. (It’s a fascinating article to which I’d love to be able to post a link but you have to subscribe to The Times to read).
One of the brilliant points that the article made was that there are words that perhaps occur in only one language in the world but encompass a thought or a feeling that we would all like to articulate occasionally. Having lived in Spain, Italy and Corsica in my distant youth, there are still words that I have never managed to translate into a perfect English equivalent.
In The Class Ceiling, my Basque heroine uses verguenza ajena, a gorgeous Spanish expression meaning ‘embarrassment at other people’s actions’, a kind of blushing on behalf of someone else, who isn't even aware they've made an excruciating social gaffe. The other thing the Spaniards do well when they bump into someone they know in the street is say, ‘Hola’ if they are going to chat and ‘Hasta luego’ (See you later) if they are acknowledging you but not intending to halt their march forwards, thus avoiding the weird 'Will they/won't they stop to speak' dance.
In Italy, leaving aside their lovely swear words, (as unlike my imperfect real life, I’ve made this blog a curse-free zone), my favourite is ‘fare brutta figura’ – literally to ‘make a bad figure’ – make a fool of yourself or make a bad impression. Although I’m wondering if I should revisit my self-imposed politesse because I am laughing at the fabulous Italian phrases for helping unwanted guests on their way (‘Go and poo!’ - or maybe slightly more vulgar in translation). I’m intrigued that Catholic countries tend to have swear words linked to religion, pigs and dogs where as British profanities usually refer to sex/parts of the body. I think that will have to be the subject of another blog…

In The Times’ selection of words we can’t live without, my favourites are Iktsuarpok from the Inuit language, which means going outside to check if anyone is coming to your party and Hygge (Danish) for the genial, intimate feeling of sitting round a fire with friends.
Oh darling, it's so lovely and peaceful here
Image courtesy of Graeme Weatherston at

The ideas I’d like to be encapsulated in one simple word are:

  • The moment you realise the dog is going to eat the picnic belonging to the woman with the proper hamper and pristine tartan rug.
  • The instant you flip from annoyance at the mistake your child has made to a desire to comfort them in their distress.
  • The realisation that even though certain friends always accept your invitations, they don’t actually like you very much.
  • The momentary not recognising yourself in the mirror because, in your mind, you are much younger.
  • That nervous patting of the face you do when you’re talking to someone and you are not quite sure whether you’ve got toothpaste round your mouth, or worse, something hanging out of your nose.
  • The feeling you get when someone comes out to fix the fridge and before they get through the door, you can hear the sound of nails rasping across a chin, preceding the immortal words, ‘It’s gonna cost ya.’
  • The mortification you feel when a workman moves a sofa, washing machine or bed and discovers something unsavoury beneath it.

And if you’re reading this blog on Thursday 6 June…you can enjoy lots of language put together in a funny way to make a tale of school gate snobbery and romance. THE CLASS CEILING…for FREE…one day only…download at or at if you are one of my lovely readers in the US. Tell your friends!

Friday, 24 May 2013

Exams are a punishment for the parents

In my view, a brain can only have so much capacity, a bit like my camera’s memory card that blinks up full the second the dog is so hilarious that £250 from You’ve been Framed is just a ten second video away.
Rex? King? I thought
      you meant the dog.
Image courtesy of Gualberto107
This week has been the brain equivalent of force feeding. I have been helping the son revise so much that I don’t think I can claim to be a non-pushy parent. A juggernaut of ambition more like, if the alacrity with which I seized the Latin vocab sheets is anything to go by. If anyone ever needs me to decline dominus or rex, I’m your woman. The son, of course, still thinks rex is the name of next door’s dog and dominus is something to do with Fifty Shades of Grey. While I was there suggesting little notes, rhymes and visual prompts to jog his memory, he was seeing how many yawns he could do in one minute.
What's this brush for? Should
never have learnt about enzymes.
Image courtesy of imagerymajestic
So filled is my poor aching brain with guff about methyl orange, the equation for hydrochloric acid and yeast (unicellular!) that if I don’t get a bit selective about what I remember next, there’s every chance the useful brain cells will get pushed out and I’ll know that litmus paper plus ethanoic acid gives us red but I will have forgotten how to do my bra up. Or perhaps I’ll know the equation for photosynthesis but have to be reminded how to clean my teeth. The son, on the other hand, won’t know what colour the litmus paper will be, but will know the exact shape of every stain on the ceiling. He’ll still be bumbling through a shaky combination of water, sunlight, oxygen and carbon dioxide, but will have an encyclopaedic knowledge of the moves needed to move up a level on FIFA 13.
So what’s the answer? Not help at all? Trolley off to the sitting room to snuggle with the dog oblivious to the son’s wails of ‘I don’t get this!’. Shrug shoulders and let him sink into the depths of despair? I wish I could.
Maybe my mother had the right idea after all. Reverse psychology though I didn’t realise it at the time: ‘Put your books away and come and watch telly.’
I never did.

Happy Bank Holiday weekend to you...if you need a funny book to read, check out The Class Ceiling - school gate snobbery and plenty of pushy alpha mothers!

Friday, 17 May 2013

THE CLASS CEILING - contemporary romance - IS FREE!

Friday 17 May...THE CLASS CEILING is FREE...Downton Abbey in a contemporary school setting

Praise for The Class Ceiling:

'I read this book in one sitting, plied with tea and various whingeing noises from husband, son and dog.'

'This is a cracking debut from Kerry Fisher who manages to distill drama from the everyday lives of ordinary, flawed people.'

'The plot draws you in from the word go with some laugh out loud moments up front, and then keeps you turning the pages all the way to the end - with more than one twist thrown in!'

'Excellent first novel, Funny, entertaining and sometimes sad.'