ETIQUETTE by ANGELA

Angela Lansbury The Writer 


Rentawriter angelalansbury@hotmail.com Restaurant Reviews

Click on underlined words for links to other pages

Autobiography of author Angela Lansbury

 Dotty Comedy Angela Lansbury Gives Humorous Speeches and does Stand-up Comedy & Trains Others 

 English Tutorials: Spelling; Grammar; Passing Exams

 ETIQUETTE by ANGELA

 Historical Novels: Second Marriage, Second Chance

Humour: Stand-up Comedy

 Jewish Travel Guide and Quotations

Obituary of Brian The Boss  Editor & Journalist Brian Charig 

Obituary Eugene Mullan

Obituary The Deaf Musician Arthur Gerard

 Organising Your Life

Poetry: E-males

 Psychology and Dating

 Restaurant Reviews by Angela Lansbury

  Short Stories: Jewish Fairy Tales Chapter One Cinderella Cohen

 Singapore Encyclopaedia

 Travel: Trips and Tips - Shanghai
 Links

http://harrowwriters.org.uk

 

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1. Poetry



E-males

by Angela Lansbury

 

I wandered lonely as a cloud

Poor Wordsworth liked to say

He wrote his famous poem

Cos he had no friends that day

 

I’ve always thought the countryside

Was lonely as a cloud

But I’m a city person

And I much prefer a crowd

 

A place with laughing people

Toilets, food and drink

Where distant groups are laughing loud

With witty friends who make you think.

 

I’m never lonely as a cloud

I just send out jolly e-mails.

I tap away and laugh at loud

My friends chat back; it never fails.

 

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2. Historical Novels

 

Second Marriage, Second Chance

by Angela Lansbury

Chapter One: Marriage Proposals

 

Ten great hopes inspire one’s life, first, one’s intense desire to survive dangers against all odds, second, to obtain love and happiness, matched, of course, by ten great disappointments – at seemingly insuperable setbacks when your aspirations are not achieved. Charles thought about this as he wondered how to propose marriage to Nettie for the second time. He had a big white bandage across his nose so it was not the best time to propose marriage.

  

   What a pity he had not succeeded the first time, when he was in his prime. He sighed, recalling the happy day when he had first met the love of his life and instantly proposed to her.

   

   The first great hope is that you will find the love of your life in early childhood and spend the rest of your happy lives together. All children’s fairy tales mislead you into believing that every little prince gets a princess, or she gets him.

 

   Gradually revelation dawns, that everybody, good or bad, has told you lies. Firstly, you are not a prince or princess. You are not living in a palace. If you were a prince or princess you would have smarter taps and softer toilet paper. You would never suffer the indignity of losing a button. And you would never have to endure the embarrassment of getting a hole in your sock. Far from being able to solve impossible riddles, the average person cannot find their spectacles and their door keys.

  

   Then comes the dreadful discovery that after marriage one does not live happily ever after. One does not live for ever. Not in this life.

  

   And most people don’t want to live forever, because they aren’t living happily. Life is miserable and frustrating and costs too much money.

  

   Finally you realise that those who are living contentedly have no idea how stupid they are. They are, as Nettie’s mother sighed, ‘Soppy but happy’.

  

   The first realistic great disappointment is that the rest of the world is not as keen on your eternal happiness as you are when you try to marry whoever you deem to be Mr or Miss Right. Sometimes your parents are the only ones who want to help, but they can’t. Sometimes your parents, or your beloved’s parents, unaccountably, aspire to interfere, in every possible way, with your worthy aim.

  

   Tragically this is what happened to earnest little Charles when he joyfully proposed marriage to darling Nettie. She had called at his house, not expecting the marriage proposal, but to accompany her superior but bad-tempered mother who was collecting the rent.

   

   Ominously, Nettie’s mother Esther was wearing her formidable, crisp, high-buttoned white blouse. Its numerous buttons showed she had infinite patience, great determination, and would tolerate no nonsense.

  

   The landlord’s daughter Nettie was bright and witty, with such delightful big brown eyes and long, lustrous, thick black hair, that no man of any age could resist her charms, unless her mother stood in front, arms akimbo. Charles was so overcome with delight that he could not wait for a romantic setting, since none was nearby in the dusty East End, so he simply secretly proposed marriage to Nettie in the basement kitchen which had newspapers on the floor next to the whistling kettle.

 

   It is not usual to give or receive a marriage proposal before 9.30 in the morning. Unfortunately Nettie did not realise the necessity of keeping this stunning news a secret. Instead she ran up the steep stairs and excitedly told her mother, “Charles wants to marry me and sleep in a big double bed.”

  

   But her mother frowned in horror. She rudely told Charles, “You can’t possibly marry Nettie. Your family are poor tailors. I want Nettie to marry a doctor and have a position in life. Don’t you agree that will be better for her? Nettie, wouldn’t you like to marry a doctor?”

  

   This dilemma confused naïve Nettie.

  

   The suggestion seemed totally unfair to poor Charles. He went quite pink with frustration.

  

   Nettie’s mother cruelly told him, “The idea is ridiculous. It’s impossible to get married when you are only five years old! You will have to wait at least ten years.”

 

   His blue eyes filled with tears. He was a big boy. He knew that a year was longer than a week. And a week was longer than a day. Ten years was a long time.

    

     He had no choice. He waited. Impatiently. It was a long wait.

 

 When he was fifteen his disappointment at the hurtful memory had not diminished. The urge to marry his beloved Nettie was just as great. If he could not have her, he would not have anybody else. Therefore he planned to spend the rest of his life doing whatever it took to obtain her. 

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3. Short Stories

 

Jewish Fairy Tales

by Angela Lansbury

 

 

  Dedication: To William Brougham who told me that my humorous historical novel Second Chance sounded like a Jewish fairy tale and recommended that I write Jewish fairy tales.

 

Chapter One: Cinderella Cohen

     Do you want to hear an adult fairy story? A naughty story? You do? Sorry, you’ll have to tell yourself a story. I can’t do adult stories because there are children about. And I’m taking my laptop to a Toastmaster’s meeting.

 

    Besides I’m a teacher. I can’t even say sex because kids parrot everything. But I’ve said the three-letter word now. So I’ll have to pretend I’m from New Zealand and put on a New Zealand accent: "One two three four five sex."

 

    Let’s have a Jewish story. There’s already a book of Jewish fairy stories. What do I think of my rivals? Good for them. It doesn’t matter. My book will create publicity for them and theirs will do publicity for me. In the old days if somebody opened a shop next door selling the same product you didn’t get annoyed, you were pleased that it attracted more customers for the sort of thing you were selling.

 

    So there’s already another book of Jewish fairy stories. But mine is different. Even if I tried to copy their story out word for word, which I wouldn’t, my story would be different. Firstly, because I’ve lost my reading glasses. Secondly, I’d get the paragraphs muddled up.

 

    Thirdly I’d keep changing everything. I can never follow a recipe. If it says walnut cake, I use almonds. I add coconut. And chocolate sprinkles on top. Everybody looks puzzled. They can’t make out what it is. They’ve never eaten anything like it. At least it looks like I’ve tried.

 

   I’m no good at cooking, but I can spell. It’s computers that cause me trouble.

 

   My story is not even the same as the first version I wrote. Which I’ve lost. I’m likely to lose this story on my computer because I’m not very technical. I end up saving twice under different names. Everything on my computer disappears and comes back with half missing, like odd socks. When I write it out again, then discover the first version, the second version of my very own work which I thought I’d remembered, is totally different from the original.

 

   You should see how just using spellcheck can change your story. E.g. turns into egg. And go. Ego. 

 

   A) b) c) (look at that – it started with a capital) run a spellcheck and b) turns into be.  To be or not to be. That is the question. Did you know that the original version was 'To exist or not to exist. That is the point.' Even Shakespeare wasn't born Shakespeare.

 

   Spellcheck turns c into co. It won't even recognise the word spellcheck. It turns it into spell, as if I'm casting spells. 

 

   My worst disaster was when I wrote a book of short stories and got it ready to email to the publisher. I decided to get all the chapter headings the same font, and I thought it would sort itself out if I clicked on an icon called A-Z autosort. My whole story vanished.

 

    Two days later I opened the file again. I scrolled down and what did I find? A page of full stops. Then a page of commas. Every kind of punctuation including several pages of commas. I was hopeful. Something was there. Something could be recovered. Wrong.

 

   After that, ominously, I found a page of the word AND. I went through until I found five pages of the word THE. Then I knew my book was doomed. My whole work was sorted with every word in alphabetical order. Maybe God could understand it. But not me.

 

   And not you. I know you can read. I’m sure you are very bright for your age, for any age, especially our age, as the standard is going down. By our age, I don’t mean amongst pensioners, retirees the Americans say, I mean 21st century. They’ve made O levels easier and labelled them GCSE because passing an exam with four letters sounds more difficult than passing an exam with one.

 

   If only I had used the undo button immediately after losing the words, before turning for consolation to a dozen other tasks. The moral of the story is, never use autosort. And always try out new icons on a practice document. Sorry to digress. But I had to tell you that.  

 

   Back to the story. Cinderella Cohen set off, set off (sorry, I’ll turn my mobile off) to take a bag of bagels to her granny. Oops, this is the wrong fairy tale, that’s Red Riding Hood, never mind, I’ve started so I’ll continue.

 

    Her name was Cinderella because all the Jewish girls were called Cinderella so that nobody would guess they were Jewish. But by now everybody knew, so the fact that your name was Cinderella more or less guaranteed that you were Jewish.

 

    Since you asked, the bagels weren’t kosher; they came from the supermarket. But her family was liberal and didn’t care much so long as everything looked like the stuff granny used to give them.

 

     In fact, the only time they bought kosher bagels was at Cinderella’s bat hayal. That’s a 13-year-old Jewish girl’s birthday party, like a bar mitzvah, because what you do for your sons you have to do for the girls, too, especially if you’ve only one. Cinderella was an only child and the Cohens did not want to miss out. Is it twelve-years-old for girls because girls mature earlier? Did you know girls have had babies at twelve?

 

   Anyway, they had to have kosher bagels because one of her schoolfriends insisted on eating kosher. I mean halal, being a Moslem, not an extremist, except over food, especially bagels.

 

     I’m not making this up. At my son’s barmitzvah we ordered vegetarian for the Jewish boys but they all wanted pizza with ham and pineapple. The only boy who had the vegetarian pizza, he had to eat all of it, was the Moslem. Such a polite boy. His mother said thank you.

 

    Where was I? I really must remember to keep taking the pills. Is it four hours yet? Must set the timer. I’ve lost track of the story line. That’s the trouble when you make it up as you go along instead of reading it from a book.

 

    Where was I? Oh yes, Cinderella was taking granny to her little cottage in the woods. Sorry, Cinderella was taking bagels to her granny who lived in a little cottage in the woods.

 

   The cottage was in the woods to hide it from the taxman. The cottage wasn’t overseas, but it was in Cinderella’s name to avoid inheritance tax at 40%. Dreadful, isn’t it? Worse than the wolves!

 

   You know, writing books is harder than it looks. Even if you pinch all the characters from well-known stories, fairytales so they are not copyright, you still have to keep the plot logical.

 

   And you must check that Cinderella’s hair doesn’t change from Goldilocks blonde in chapter one, to red in chapter two, ending up black, with fuchsia streaks, in chapter three. Despite the fact that any real life Jewish girl nowadays, or any girl nowadays, even in China, would be changing her hair colour every week.

 

    Are you asleep yet? How come I’m more tired than you are?

 

    Your name isn’t Joanna, is it? I thought it wasn’t. Joanna’s the one I baby-sit on Monday night.

 

    Don’t worry, I know what to do. If anything goes wrong, like you or I turn blue, we dial 999. I forgot my reading glasses, so you’ll have to dial 999 for me.         

 

   Maybe I’m not babysitting you. Maybe you’re granny-sitting me. Maybe they’re all downstairs watching television, watching blue movies. You don’t even have to visit a video store or furtively send off for erotic videos, blue movies in brown Jiffy bags, subtly labelled E-movies. After 9 pm you get blue movies free on TV. So they’ve sent me up here to read you a bedtime story, to keep me away.

 

    Now you know, the truth, I’ve lost my reading glasses and that’s why I’m making up this story. 

 

   Go to sleep. It’s eleven thirty. In the morning. I’ve been talking to myself all night and nobody’s listening. I think I’ll go to sleep now. Godnight. Goednight. Goodnight.

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4. Humour

 

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5. Travel: Trips and Tips - Shanghai

 

 

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6. English Tutorials: Spelling, Grammar and Passing Exams 

 

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7. Biography

 

Angela Lansbury B A Hons (University College, London) is a teacher of English, a home tutor. She is the author of ten books including Wedding Speeches & Toasts. She is a member of Toastmasters International and has won prizes for public speaking in London, Singapore and China. Her current main interest is the course she is taking training her to perform stand-up comedy. 

Links will soon be provided to Harrow Writers Circle, Harrovians Toastmasters, Linked-in, Vistaprint, Swanwick Writers Summer School and Amazon.

She is writing ebooks. More news shortly.

 

 

 

 

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