A Victory and A New Venture

I tried to blog, but other writing got in the way.

I tried to do NaNo, but life got in the way.

So it seems I must attend to life for the present, since it demands such.


I’ve had another pitch idea. ‘She’d rather sabotage the family restaurant than tell her parents she doesn’t like food.’ How’s that sound? YA Contemporary, I suppose. Any preconceptions of such a story to help me craft the plot?

Life? I arrived home to an empty house one evening to discover that my parents were in hospital eighty miles away. (They were okay, I just missed a memo.)



On Tuesday my school won a team maths challenge—the regional final, so we beat all our local rivals, to the immense satisfaction of the head teacher team, and got in the local paper (misquoted, of course. Watching the reporters write in shorthand, despite appealing to my inner linguist, rather explained why). I’d post the picture were it not so horrendously fish-eyed.

The first round, the group round, consists of ten questions to be answered in forty minutes. We work together well; we got full marks.

The second round is the crossnumber, basically a crossword with numbers instead of letters. Two of each team take the across clues and two the down, and we’re not permitted to communicate for the forty-minute duration of the round. A killer pair of simultaneous equations rather messed it up, but fortunately no one else did that well either.

Finally the relay, whereby the first question answered by one pair produces an answer T which is then passed on to the other pair in order to answer the second, then third, then fourth. There are four of these relays, and bonuses are attained by answering right first time or within a certain time. The other pair in my team missed ‘T is the sum of the digits of (a+b)‘ and read only ‘(a+b)‘, which cost us nine marks, but since we still won, and bought cake afterwards, it made no difference.

We get to go to the capital next year for the national final (we being myself and three boys superior to me in all appropriate respects, but oh well). When we won the junior version in Year 8 we got several days off school, watched a somewhat gruesome film in a decent-sized cinema (our local one has six screens, and the smallest only thirty seats), and stayed in a four-star hotel.

Besides the maths, of course. Which is obviously the best part. We’ve been practicing in all our maths lessons and free periods. No more practice till New Year now, so I Have Time.



I am learning bridge. I’ve wanted to learn since I was twelve, when I read Louis Sachar’s The Cardturner. A game of pure logic, maths, cunning, impassivity—in short, skill. It exactly appealed to me. After many failed attempts to join clubs, my old Chemistry teacher started one at school. I found it completely by accident.

Bid hearts?

Bid hearts?

Let’s just say I was having a ‘bored’ day. I balanced a pile of folders on my head in the corridor, which put the Geography staff in fits of laughter (and made me blush scarlet for the first time in a while), had a disgusting cold, et cetera et cetera, till it got to my free period and I lost control…smashed a plastic water bottle against a wall. Someone tried to restrain me, I slapped him, then completely zoned out for the next half hour, and ended up in the place called ‘games club’ by nerdy social pariahs in the lower forms. And there my old Chemistry teacher was teaching a bunch of boys in Year 9 and 10 the game of contract bridge. I thank God.

So on Thursdays these boys are my friends—surprisingly mature, most of the time, all very bright and banterous, and fun to observe.


I’ve been mooting. To those of you who’ve never seen that word before (I hadn’t), it’s basically presenting a legal argument to a judge on behalf of a client, competing against an opposition.

And since it’s December, carol services and concerts are at the forefront of my mind. My brother’s bass trombone, ‘Mr Rusty’, features predominantly—at my command! 🙂

I don’t think I’ve talked about my Sixth Form subject choices before. And I ought. In-depth post to follow.

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