Thursday 6th November

Good morning. It's wonderful to see so many of you making this a daily committment - congratulations... and keep going! Ready for another prompt?


Janet & John taught me the essentials of English. Madeleine & Pierre took over in French. My life would have been so much easier if I’d been Susan & Someone.


  1. If I remember it was Susan and Sagramour: she was a tall blonde, he had a luxuriant beard. An odd choice seeing as their purpose was to teach us algebra.

  2. Emblazoned across my left arm, temporarily, are: I am a rottweiler – so BE MY PAL

    Until one summer, a nozzle smooched against my leg and then attempted the mating act.

    coll @

  3. Every now and again I see a lady about town and it could be her. Every time, I try to imagine myself being nine and I can't believe that she was ever that small. Maybe it's not her. This woman has a matching small husband. She's not as rotund as the one I remember but then of course my perspective on girth has changed. Thinking about it, she must have been short; her pinched eyes and mouth belonged to someone squashed down by an cast iron mountain. The other thing that has me doubting whether it's her is whether she could still be alive; someone who turns beetroot with fury so often is unlikely to make it into old age. This woman looks reasonably content. She holds hands with her husband and someone of that temperament could not possibly sustain a relationship with another human. She was always 'Miss Baldwin', not 'Mrs' but then I'm not sure that we knew the difference. She certainly wasn't out to attract males with her home-made, flowery, nylon dresses which rode up when she bent over which, on one occasion, caused intense embarrassment to the vicar attending our assembly.

    I remember a whole year of feeling sick, frightened but little of academic note except French. Aujourd'hui, il fait beau a Paris. Over and over. As if the English obsession with talking about the weather rather than what matters was translatable. Il pleut. An understatement. Anyone who couldn't discuss the weather in Paris would be shaken furiously by the shoulders repeatedly.

    At secondary school, I went on to get an A in my O'Level but never took it further because I was too scared of actually speaking it to real French people. And so life went on in French in my head. Il repleut.

  4. Je suis; nous sommes. Two can become one, it’s written in the marriage ceremony. But can one every truly be two? Janet and John? I preferred Spot. See Spot run.

  5. You want to be Someone, John? Be erudite, ĂȘtre cool, quote Sartre and swivel the wine?
    Bask In ego's soleil: bite Babylonia's apple and slay the dames like lizard tails.

  6. A cheap plastic travelling chess set, labelled “To Patience and Mark, from Mark and Patience”. After he died, a neighbour said: “Everyone could tell how much you loved each other”.

  7. “Just keep playing with Spot’s balls,” said Janet. “However you feel.”
    “And forgive him when he strays from home,” said Madeleine.
    But Someone would have handed me the vet’s number.

  8. My German-speaking parents spoke to me in English. My daughter’s mother tongue is French but I’m not. She speaks to her father in argot while I just reminisce in strine.

  9. Chatting up French girls wasn't easy with only the benefit of chunks of Flaubert and the ability to explain in great detail precisely what my parents did for a living.

  10. Janet spoke eight languages fluently and used them daily in her role as an interpreter at the Foreign Office.

    But to her husband John, she was always speaking in tongues.

  11. For a while
    I was that special someone
    that other half that complements
    that one - of one plus one
    makes two
    or one of two halves
    that make it whole.

  12. In English, you have ‘me’ and ‘us’, never just the two of us. Romantic dates must be quite crowded with that ghost of a third person always present in ‘we’.

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. Janet & John.
    Hide and seek.
    Innocence and experience.

    Hue and cry.
    Shock and awe.
    Tears and recriminations.
    Fear and loathing.

    Time and space.
    Accident and design.
    Mills and Boon.

  15. Gilbert and George taught me the rudiments of performance art. In the hotel after their 1984 show opened at the Tate, they taught me the rude bits of being gay.

  16. One morning Someone looked in the mirror and met Nobody. Nobody recognized Someone and smiled. Someone didn’t like the look of Nobody so he adjusted his tie and walked away.

  17. Someone once said that the English language was the most difficult to learn. I disagree. The language of love is the most complex. Love is the hardest word to comprehend.

    Jamieson Wolf

  18. Over the years I learned to read classic novels in English, French, German, Italian and Dutch. Luckily for me, the Russian Literature course was in translation. War and Peace, anyone?

  19. I scan the faces of the bustling crowd. Searching, hoping and possibly expecting things beyond reason. I am going to meet my daughter for the first time in thirty years. The coffee bar at the station is our chosen neutral ground.

    I hope she’ll meet a professional woman who has finally got her life together. That’s me. I’ve papered over the drug addict child. That stupid girl was pregnant at sixteen by a married man chasing his dream. I have another daughter, the fruit of a fling with another married man unhappy with his life. Would this daughter resent the one I’d kept?

    She’s there! Pictures hadn’t prepared me. She’s wearing my dead sister’s eyes and smile. Joy, hope, fear and pain tumble like a kaleidoscope, emerging, merging and submerging as I look at her. I long to reach out, hug and kiss my lost child, instead, tears forming, I hold out my hand for a genteel handshake praying that it is firm enough to say welcome.

    The tannoy drowns all speech and we smile awkwardly, wondering where to start. Had a nice life?

    Amidst the coffee aroma we sit. She pats her tummy and tells me that I am going to be a Grandmother. I should shut up, but I have to ask about the father. She says he’s married, but he loves her and he wants to stay involved. No, his wife doesn’t know yet.

    I want to scream and shake her. Hadn’t she learnt anything? How could she follow my path? If I’d been there would it have been different? I think of my other daughter. She’s staying with a friend from school. What has she learned from Mum? Not a lot. I didn’t.

    I smile and say “That’s nice,” but deep inside, I know her fear.

  20. The delivery boy scanned the names next to the buzzers looking for... what was it? Susan, somebody. Susan anybody. He shrugged, picked up the box of mustard pots and left.

  21. To earn her bread, English classics,
    a masters in the subject paved the way,
    but she realized, to be somebody special, something else is required,
    She being in identity crisis.

  22. So what you meant was:
    most of all
    you like my smile
    when it hides what I feel?

    Love gets lost
    in different languages -
    I thought it was

  23. Susan and Sadie, for one Summer. Her mouth on mine, wordless lessons. She stayed silent but made perfect vowel shapes. I held her name on the tip of my tongue.

  24. Look at me I am Janet; Look at him he is John. He is a boy; I am a girl. Here comes Mummy. She is big. I can read now!

    Mary Rose.

  25. Beware staying with your married friends. They will not stomach your decision to stay single. I’m always checking to see if I have “Blind Date Needed” stamped on my forehead.

  26. But Susan had Marcel and so they were ideally named to teach S & M.

    It’s strange to think that I learned about the “English Vice” from a French couple

  27. I always learned in pairs: two tutors,
    one male one female, to invigorate
    right and left brain—
    two languages at once—
    English and French.
    Then he left.
    His name disappeared.

  28. Why didn't anyone tell me my school years were going to be the best years of my life? It doesn't seems fair to discover something like that after the fact.

  29. Janet and John. Tufty and Badger. Bill and Ben. Kruschov and Kennedy. Mods and Rockers. Beatles and Stones. Drugs and alcohol. Binges and purges. Marriage and divorce. Patient and therapist.

  30. I -- we -- could have done anything. Gone to the park, the beach, the racecourse. We would have been unstoppable running to the tree, throwing the ball or doping the horse.

  31. I was still waiting for Someone. I knew he was out there for me – they say there’s Someone for Everyone. I changed my name to Everyone, just to make sure.

  32. The pair seems to be king. It does take two to tango, buy one get one free. Never get one half price, which for me, a singleton, would be better.



Add Your Own Message Here
If you want to take part - great. All you need to do is add your response to our message here as a comment, but remember it has to be exactly 30 or 300 words, and it needs to be posted before 8am GMT the morning after the original post for each day. Please also remember to add your Name and Email Address to the end of your message, so that we can get in touch if your work is selected.