Sunday, 21 February 2016


Fourteen or fifteen I went with my school to a career's show , I cannot remember where it was probably Earls Court.

Anyway I remember only one thing from that day and it was this I went to a stand for British airways and I think it had part of an aircraft which you entered and there inside were seats and air hostesses giving out leaflets about a career in that industry.

However any thought I had of boarding a plane and inviting people to take their seats was cured that day by a glamorous  lady in full uniform who when I asked for a leaflet for her job  and my request came out as Hair Hostess ( the problem of a south London accent and an inability not to swap or add H's to words that start with an A ) , she repeated what I had said  loudly and mockingly to the merriment of all the other girls from various schools present.

Mortified I took the proffered leaflet and turned and left, I have no idea if I added it to my bundle of others or threw it in the bin,probably bin!  the only thing I remember is her and the others. But although she had caused me to feel embarrassed for a while , my inner self soon surfaced to realise that it was not I who should feel in the wrong but the person who chose to score some cheap laugh by correcting a young girl in front of others. Her behavour showed me that it was not a place I'd want to work not because of my accent but because of her behavour, if there was one there would be others.
God forbid you should be called Hannah Anderson and I be required to tell it to another.. it's fifty fifty if you'll be Anna Handerson / Hannah Handerson or Hannah Anderson it's not much better with Ellen and Alan...

Amazingly there are still people who have felt the need over the years to point out when this sort of thing  happened again, my adding or leaving that H ! Or to repeat a sentence I may have said that's been full South London , thinking it's funny and okay to want others to join in the laughter !
I have even had cause to point out that I do not find it funny I find it rude but they will brush it off because they think it's fine ! and they cannot be in the wrong ! I have yet to have anyone apologise for their behavour in believing that they have a right to correct a grown woman on how shes just said something! It's no different to  someone from Newcastle or Birmingham's accent but for some reason but they are seen as accents, where as a South London accent is seen as poor speech or common !

 If it will make someone feel superior, that's fine if they need it to help them lift themselves up so be it, but I know it to be rude and unacceptable in whatever manner they use.

No doubt the grammar and spelling on this blog leaves a lot to be desired , spell check is a marvel but not quite so good due to it being the American way of spelling, So I use Paul who will read something after I have posted it ,usually, before if I'm lucky, then point out either if the spellings wrong or I have used the wrong word that's is spelt two ways and I have chosen the incorrect one.

It's very frustrating to be in full flow of writing only to want to use a word that you have no idea how to spell or even how to start it off ! Yes spell check is a marvel but only if you know how to start the word off ! And sometimes I will sit here repeating a word trying to work out what letters it starts with!

Up in my bedroom is a book I wrote many years ago when my children were young on a typewriter and by hand, no computers back then ! My eldest daughter offered once to type it up onto the computer and she did type some of it but she'd come across a space, where I had paused in full flow trying desperately to spell the word in my head, so in the end I'd leave a gap planning to return and fill in the space but sometimes once returned I could not remember the word! I think it was my eldest daughter who bought me a small hand sized recorder telling me to tell the story into it and she'd type it later  ( she is a fabulous speller, you could open a dictionary at any page when she was ten and ask her to spell a word and she'd be right! obviously does not take after her mum for that!) but I had to explain that for me the story comes from the writing down /typing of the flows from me to my hands and then onto the paper then, screen now.

For me I can sit at this computer with a selection of photos that could have just been meant to be for a photo shoot, start typing and placing the photo's in and finding a fully fledged story by the time I have finished.
Over the years my spelling and grammar has? as ? :) improved or maybe not!

But I do appreciate those teachers amongst you who have not printed up my posts, corrected them with red ink , marked then C- must do better and put them to me in the post !

Oh and It may be worth mentioning that I seem to type faster with one hand than the other and will therefore hit a letter that will appear in front of one it should be after !

Well I may go search out that book and try typing it up, problem I found when I tried before is that I change is as I type... but then being so much older maybe it will turn into a masterpiece.. or not...



  1. What a mean and unprofessional way to behave towards you - if she was an air hostess she certainly wasn't showing her profession in a good light if she ridiculed you in front of others just because you pronounced your 'haitches' and added an 'H' to a word because of your accent. I cannot imagine that air hostesses today would treat potential candidates in that way in such a public manner - they will be trained to represent their company in a good light and laughing at passengers or potential recruits in public would not go down well with company managers.

    My mother backed up all we learned at school in English language lessons with additional spelling tests and correcting our spoken grammar (in our family we pronounce an 'H' as 'aitch' rather than 'haitch' because she had been to an English public school and because 'haitch' wasn't used in SA English).

    Your story ideas are so good. I totally understand what you mean about how you compose your stories - speaking them doesn't work so well for me either - though I used to tell myself stories as I cycled to school, I found I couldn't capture them on paper in the same way afterwards so years later I use travelling to work time as thinking and planning time and time at the computer as writing time (I can touch type). If I know I'm going to write a long blog post I sometimes write it in Word first (which has a spell and grammar checker) then copy and paste it into the blog (that way I don't have to worry if the internet connection goes offline half way through writing). I always read through my blog posts before publishing them to catch most mistakes including punctuation. However this doesn't work if I do a photo story and use the captions for the story.

    So keep writing your stories - they're too good not to share. Using someone else as a proof reader is a good idea and doesn't need to destroy your creativity or the spark and flavour of a good story.

  2. Not being sure 'from whence this post cometh' and definitely not being able to even attempt to equal Dollmum's comment above, I think that I'll just quote these few words from one of Billy Joel's songs...
    'I'll take you just the way you are!'

  3. I'd much rather be creative and able to tell stories with great photos, than be able to spell perfectly. Actually, I can't do either, but as a new teacher back in 1980, I learned to use a dictionary very carefully after having to rewrite 32 reports by hand one evening!!

  4. Having spoken with you privately over this and at length, I will just say that I agree with all the comments above me....
    You are what you are, and I'm more than happy to be part of your world and you mine, so as Kendal started the song, I will add my bit..."Don't go changing to try to please me....(or anyone else for that matter!) ;)

  5. I'm one of those teachers who believe that creativity is the purpose of creative writing and that red brio should be banned from school stock cupboards and desks.

    One of the elements of the National Curriculum for Year 6 pupils used to be writing in dialect, the use of local accent or dialect in passages where the character speaks, i.e. in speech marks. The children always enjoy working on this, but it freaks out many parents and even inspectors when they see the teacher hasn't corrected the passages back to standard English. Parents often prefer to see red ink all over their child's work, every little error corrected, than to see creativity flowing from the child's mind. No wonder children want to write as little as they can get away with and their written work is so often dull.

    As to spoken language, imagine how dull a Shakespeare play would be if dear old Bill The Quill hadn't put in his less wealthy characters, with their distinctly different way of speaking. If the mighty bard could acknowledge the role of differing speech patterns, why can't we?
    Also, spelling was not standardised in his time, partly because dialects from different parts of the country were not considered " incorrect" and, if there's no one way a word is said, then it follows there is no one way of writing it. Standardizing spelling and grammar and giving one form of speech superior status came about because the education system was, from the late 18th century on, geared to turning most of us into clerks to serve the needs of the wealthy, so such vibrant dialects as that spoken in places such as Glasgow, Yorkshire, Tyneside or South London were to be eradicated.

    Now, why DOES the queen say the word "orphan," when she actually means "often?" How can that be acceptable if the South London tendency to add or take off the letter "h" before a vowel, or my Yorkshire sister-in-law calling a chimney by the local word "chimbley" is not? We are trained from the time we start school to look down on certain people because of the way they speak and that can include our own parents.

    I do tell children there is a place for using standard English and explain the need to know the difference and use it when required, but I also teach them to honour their own linguistic roots and be accepting of those of others. I take one or two spelling, punctuation of grammatical errors from a piece they have written and ask them to focus on learning about them. What I try to avoid is covering their work in my writing or correcting every other word they utter, making them wary of opening their mouths or setting pencil to paper. Arrogance is common in the teaching profession but, contrary to the beliefs of many, it is not in our job description.

    If someone is cheeky enough to feel entitled to comment to you or laugh at you over what you say or how you write, then their parents and teachers have failed them. They have been taught to conform to English norms designed to keep 90% or more of us in our"right place," serving the needs of wealthy business owners or the households requiring servants and they have not been taught to be well mannered, a basic life skill that we all need in order to enjoy a healthy relationship with our fellow human beings.

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