Alison’s Brain Has Left The Building #TBSU

question-marks-around-man-shows-confusion-and-unsure-100142268[1]The past two days have been busy, busy, busy for me. By the evening I am shattered; but it’s the happy, satisfied tiredness that comes as a result of a productive day’s work. At the end of a busy day I do enjoy relaxing with the puzzles in the daily paper, and my favourite puzzle is called the ‘Word Workout’. This involves a grid similar to a crossword, but instead of clues there are numbers in each blank box on the grid. Each letter is allocated a number; three letters are already noted beside their relevant numbers, and the puzzle is to work out which numbers apply to all the other letters in the alphabet.

Last night I got stuck. Hopelessly stuck. I was puzzling for hours over a four letter word, the second letter of which I knew to be ‘D’. None of the letters was ‘O’ as that had already been allocated a number which didn’t feature in this word. ‘Idea’ didn’t work as the last letter of the word couldn’t possibly be a vowel. Eventually I decided it must be ‘ides’, but once I started filling in the letters elsewhere I discovered this didn’t work either. My gut feeling was that the first letter should be an ‘E’ and the third an ‘I’, but could I think of a four letter word spelt E-D-I-something? Edil? Edim? Edif?

I came back to the puzzle over breakfast this morning, refreshed after a good night’s sleep, and got it straight away. How embarrassing! How did I not get that word? How obvious do I want it to be? After all, what do I do for a living?

Could the word perhaps be … E-D-I-T?

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Daddy Was A Bank Robber

Something Silly for Sunday

A few years ago, my partner Andy and I were indulging in one of our favourite pastimes: a London pub crawl. After an increasingly merry exploration of the London Bridge area, we ended up in The Old Kings Head off Borough High Street.

The pub was rammed. Tottenham Hotspur were playing in a European competition that night (probably not the Champions’ League), and the football was being shown on big screens. Andy and I eased ourselves into a vantage point to watch the match – and acquired some company.

Or rather, I acquired some company!

‘Do you often drink here?’ said my new companion, wide eyed and unblinking.

‘Well, no…’

‘What are you here for?’

For God’s sake mate, blink!

‘A beer, and to watch the Tottenham match…’

‘You Tottenham are you? I’m a bank robber.’


By this time a suspicious looking line of powder was sliding from my companion’s nose, and he still hadn’t blinked.

Humour him, Alison!

‘Yes, I have a soft spot for Tottenham.’ Please don’t let him be an avid Arsenal fan…

‘Me too. Me too.’ Sniff.

‘Shall we watch the game then…’

‘I’m a bank robber. I’ve been inside eight times. Seven kids. I’ve got seven kids.’ Dribbly nose. Sniff.

‘Eight times? Seven kids? No need to ask what you get up to when you’re not  in prison!’

‘Yeah. I rob banks.’

‘And make babies by the sounds of it.’

‘Seven.’ Sniff. Stare.

By this time Andy was giggling like a schoolgirl. I ignored him. Resisting the temptation to whip out a tissue and encourage my companion to blow his nose (which may have fallen off had he tried), I did my best to look interested.

Ask him if he robbed banks to feed his coke habit!

Ask him if he’s got a hankie!

Ask him if he’ll flipping well blink!

Realising I couldn’t ignore Andy, the frivolous voices in my head, or the huge bubble of laughter that was threatening to burst out of me for much longer, I excused myself and headed for the Ladies’. By the time I returned, the bank robber had moved on to a couple of visitors with his tales of robbery and his wide staring eyes. I re-joined Andy, moaned at him for being no help whatsoever, and started watching the football.

‘’Ere!’ said a friendly looking bloke, nodding towards my former companion. ‘I bet he told you he’s a bank robber, didn’t he?’

‘Yes, as a matter of fact he did,’ I replied. The bloke laughed and nodded sagely.

‘He tells everyone that,’ the bloke said, his facial expression hinting that my bank robber companion was notorious for being the local joker. ‘Yeah, we’ve heard it all before. Been inside six times?’

‘Eight, actually.’

‘Oh, eight is it now? Don’t you worry about him, love. He’s harmless. Just a bit of a Jackanory.’

Laughing along with the bloke, I assured him that I’d got that impression. How nice, I thought, to have someone sensible to talk to after the bank robber…

‘Now,’ announced the ‘sensible’ bloke, ‘I really am a bank robber!’

There could only be one song to accompany this tale: ‘Daddy Was a Bank Robber’ by The Clash. Enjoy!

A Little Misunderstanding

I’m living exciting times at the moment. The response to my free editing offer, which ran throughout September, was excellent, and I’ve got plenty to keep me busy for the next couple of weeks. The down side is while I’ve been concentrating on editing, my blog has become a little neglected, and I intend to rectify that with immediate effect. I remember I promised an account of the Dory’s after-book-launch party (before it becomes nothing more than a dim distant memory), and that will happen; but today I’d like to share the following anecdote.

Editing really suits me, and I am planning to set up my own freelance fiction editing business. As I know absolutely nothing about running my own business, especially an online business, my first port of call was to be a meeting with my bank’s business advisor. I arrived at my bank dead on time for my 3 o’clock appointment, and a member of the counter staff nipped upstairs to the business counter to announce my arrival.

She returned a couple of minutes later looking a little perturbed.

‘Do you have a letter of confirmation?’ she asked.

‘Yes,’ I replied, handing it over and adding that I’d received a reminder text the previous day.

‘That’s odd,’ she said. ‘Our business advisor has no record of your appointment.’

After a second trip upstairs, she returned looking very sheepish.

‘I’m everso sorry,’ she said. ‘There’s been a bit of a mix up…’

My bank has two business advisors with exactly the same name. The confirmation letter stated that I had an appointment with – let’s call him Bobby Bobbins – on 2 October at 3 pm. So far, so good; but had I bothered to read my letter properly, I would have noticed the address at which my appointment was supposed to take place.

One Bobby Bobbins, business advisor, works in Cambridge – University town on the edge of the East Anglian fens.

The other works in Whitehaven, Cumbria – at the other end of the country.

Guess which Bobby Bobbins my appointment was with!


10 September 2013

It’s not often that I embrace an American word to my oh so British heart, but I will make an exception for the word ‘klutz’. It sounds like what it is – a clumsy person – and describes me to a tee.

This morning I started a new cleaning job, working for a very nice lady who lives less than five minutes’ walk from my home. An ideal job really, but within an hour of starting work I’d had my first disaster.

Plop! Over went a jar of peppercorns.

Pop! Off came the lid.

Scamper went the peppercorns, all over the kitchen floor.

Luckily my new employer wasn’t cross in the slightest. In fact, she found the sight of me chasing peppercorns around her kitchen with a dustpan and brush so hilariously funny that she’s probably still laughing as I write, many hours later.

Peppercorns are slippery little customers. As fast as I swept them into the dustpan they’d scoot out again at a zillion MPH, seeking refuge under the kitchen appliances and laughing in their peppercorn-ish way at their owner’s new klutz of a cleaner.