Call me Sir
I have today received the exciting news that I am now an advanced member of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP). I had to find a couple of referees, explain how I'd been trained, and tot up a huge number of editing hours on respectable jobs to attain these giddy heights. Or so they say. In fact, I think it's all in the form-filling. If you can manage to fill the 'advanced membership' form in under three days without the use of Tippex, you probably deserve instant advanced membership. Of course, just last week SfEP put the upgrade form, much simplified, up online, and the manual form-filling has gone the way of all things. Typical. But at least I can say 'Well, I became an advanced member when advanced membership meant advanced membership. It wasn't so easy in those days. Why, I remember back in '07 - or was it '08 ...' I bet my children are already thinking up excuses not to visit for a few months, until the excitement has died down.
Halloween at Grammar Primary
When I went to Dylan's school at two o' clock today I was faced by a horde of ghouls, vampires, ghosts and other creatures I didn't even know the names of. So what did I do? I told them a story. It worked. I escaped with my life and got back home just in time to get out of the car and be drenched by a downpour. Last year I read Halloween Stories. This year I gave the class a choice between Wheelybins (a slightly spooky but mainly funny story), and The House At The End Of Witch Street, which is undeniably scary. You can guess which one they chose. Oh well, Wheelybins, maybe next year. I think everyone enjoyed the story, especially the bits where nobody listened to the headteacher, and where Jonathon James was wondering if the monster in the story would eat up teachers. I certainly enjoyed reading it aloud, particularly as this story contains one of my favourite lines from all the As They Grow Older stories: "Do you know, child, that Mr Fuller hasn't been eating his breakfasts?"
Mind your words
While we were walking up the High Street the other day, my other half told me she was cracked. I felt I could scarcely comment, but I summoned up my courage and asked: 'Oh yes? In what way?' 'Not enough sleep,' she told me. 'I'm shattered.' Ah - cracked as in shattered. Nice one. I shouldn't have been surprised. A little while ago she came back from London with Dylan and her Chinese family and I unwisely asked how they had got around London - not by taxi, I hoped (taxi fares in China are much lower than in the UK). 'Oh no,' she told me. 'We all got lobster cards.' Well, at least I didn't have to work that one out. Dylan is not immune to unexpected interpretations. We were watching Federer play Murray and the commentators all considered that Federer was favourite to win the match. There ensued a complex conversation in which Dylan asked me why Federer was favourite, and I said he was probably the better player, and he said yes, but he wanted Murray to win, and I said sure, but he's not favourite to, and he said well, he's my favourite. And at last I understood. He'd interpreted 'favourite' as in 'we all want Federer to win' not as in 'Federer is most likely to win'. Lesson learned. All this brought to mind something that happened more than twenty years ago. It was the run up to Halloween, and my sisters-in-law had decided to make a costume for my oldest son, so they arranged to come over to take his measurements. Cue floods of tears from oldest son, who must then have been about six or seven. When we got him calmed down, he told us, still hiccoughing and on the verge of more tears, that he didn't want anyone to take his measurements - he wanted to keep them.