All posts by Jojo Debrazza

Jojo Debrazza is a writer of young adult and children’s fiction. The Charm is her debut YA novella. Jojo has a vivid imagination and likes to make up stories. Her friends call it lying but she calls it writing. She lives mainly in a dream world with her partner and a house full of small furry animals. It’s a carefree happy place where everything is bright and fluffy. Jojo’s other passion is football (soccer). As well as playing and helping to run a club she works as a football development officer in Cambridgeshire, England.

Witches’ Night Off

Check out ‘Witches’ Night Off’ by Jo Bull on Etherbooks! http://ethr.me/p3026

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A Day in the Life of Merlin Moon-dancer

This morning, after the moonlight was replaced with a blindingly bright light, one of my humans asked me what I had been up to. So here is how I spent my last 24 hours:

6.00am: I had been running in my wheel all night. I was going really fast but starting to get tired when one of my humans came in and the bright light suddenly appeared.

6.15am:  My humans were rushing around and making a noise. I could smell food so I ran around in my cage to get their attention. I ran to my empty food bowl and then up to the side of the cage. I pulled my best adorable yet hungry face. My human passed a slice of banana through the bars…nom nom nom!

6.45am: The bright light went out and my humans left. The moon had gone by now so I went into my house and fell asleep.

5.00pm:  My humans returned so I came out of my house to see if they had any more food for me. They didn’t, so I went back to sleep.

8.00pm: I woke up and left my house to stretch my legs. One of my human’s giant hands came into the cage and picked me up. She took me to the big red thing where the other human was sitting. I tried to get in the gap at the edge of the big red thing but the human grabbed me and pulled me out. I climbed over the human to try to get to the other gaps but was distracted when I saw the human’s tasty fingers. I ran to try and take a bite but it moved out of the way.

8.15pm: My human picked me up, put me in the green ball and closed the lid. It was zorbing time! I ran across the room, faster, faster and faster until I smashed into the wall. Then I turned round and ran the other way until I hit the wall again. It was so much fun that I did it over and over again.

8.30pm: I stopped for a break and pooed through the cracks in the ball.

9.30pm: My ball suddenly rose into the air. The lid opened and I was at the gate of my cage.  I could smell there was food in my bowl so I climbed out of my ball and into my cage. I shoved all the food into my pouches and moved it into my house, well hidden from my humans.

9.35pm: The humans picked up my poo while I checked out my cage. I’m not sure what they do with the poo but they must like it as they had put some treats in my cage.

9.45pm: I went back to my wheel and ran some more. The bright light went out and was replaced by the moonlight. The humans said goodnight and left. I danced and ran in the moonlight all night until the bright light reappeared and the human asked me what I had been up to.

So that was my day. I have a feeling today will be similar, and probably the day after too.

A Whole Bunch of Fun Times

It’s the small things that make you laugh. Here are some of the small things that made us laugh on our trip to see the lovely Colleen in Germany.

The fun started at the airport. We watched people going through the security scanners with their hands in the air and terrified expressions of ‘please don’t shoot’ on their faces. We laughed nervously, hoping we would not join the unlucky ‘frisked’ ones.

We made it through safely and I bought a small, overpriced, notepad. I forgot to take my boarding card to the till so the lady asked my destination. I told her Stuttgart, to which she replied, “Is that in Europe?”

We sat in the bar while we waited for our gate to be announced. Knoxie read a health and fitness magazine and ordered chips and a pint of cider. A lady on a nearby table ordered a large salad – with a side of salad and a man gave the bar staff his table number of, “That table over there with the blonde lady on.”

We overheard someone describing the sandwiches in Pret a Manger as gay.

An air hostess sat next to Knoxie on the plane and fell asleep. Apparently she was just a normal passenger who was dressed as an air hostess.

Colleen met us at Stuttgart airport and we were surprised to hear her use the phrase ‘Flipping flapjacks’ as an alternative to her old catchphrase, ‘f***ing f***sticks’.

The next morning we made an early start and grabbed some breakfast on the road. Knoxie attempted to speak German in a bakery. She pointed at the croissants and said, “Drei.” The baker looked confused and replied, “One?”

We stopped in Munich and Colleen announced, “I just peed.” It turned out she just needed to go again, rather than she had just wet herself. Colleen was an excellent tour guide, pointing out things like ‘more buildings’ and explaining that nearby there is a ‘whole bunch of stuff’. We stumbled across two shrines; one to Michael Jackson and one to a monkey.

We headed onto our destination which the satellite navigation system pronounced as, “Gaaaaarmish Paaaarten Kiiiiiirschen.” Knoxie pointed at a sign saying ‘Einfahrt’ and said, “Just the one fart for me please.”

In the evening we explored the town. We passed many statues of Jesus and overheard someone say, “Good morning Mr Jesus. Say hello to your family, loved ones, and the ghost.”

Knoxie, who has a first degree in zoology, pointed at a kitten and said, “It’s a baby cat.”

I was asked for ID in a bar causing Colleen to say, “Flipping flapjacks!”

We visited Neuschwanstein Castle. I crouched down to take a photo of Knoxie and Colleen with the pretty castle in the background. Colleen crouched down too – for no apparent reason.

Knoxie’s monkey hat caused much amusement to many passers by.

Colleen asked a woman what breed of dog she was walking and reported back, “It’s a blah blah blah blah blah, otherwise known as an Italian truffle-sniffing dog.”

We took a bus up a big hill in Innsbruck. Colleen bought the tickets and was asked if it was for one adult and two children – more flipping flapjacks. As we got off the bus, an Austrian man looked at my trainers and laughed, “Shoe, hahaha. Shoe, hahaha.”

Colleen forgot to flip her flapjacks on the cable car down the mountain and cursed in front of a little old lady. Knoxie attempted to speak German again but this time did it veeery slooowly.

Back at Stuttgart airport, Knoxie remarked that the security woman was not very friendly. Knoxie was promptly and thoroughly frisked. Her airport humiliation continued after she had discreetly placed a tampon in her pocket but then sent it flying across the terminal floor when removing her phone from the same pocket.

Knoxie’s travel woes continued when her plane seat neighbour leaned over and scratched her head into Knoxie’s lap. Oh how we laughed.

So those were just some of the things that made us chuckle. Maybe you had to be there but for us they created happy memories of Germany and Austria. Good times.

Which Hogwarts House Do You Belong In?

Have you ever wondered which Hogwarts house the Sorting Hat would put you in? Well this quiz is here to help. Just grab a quill and some parchment, pull on your wizard robes and answer the following questions.

What is your dream holiday?

a)      A city break, learning about a different culture.
b)      Sharing a villa with friends.
c)      An adventurous activity holiday.
d)      A luxury holiday being waited on hand and foot.

Your friend falls into a river. What do you do?

a)      Calculate the depth and work out whether your friend can
stand up in the water.
b)      Help them out and walk them home to get changed.
c)      Dive in after them.
d)      Laugh.

Which animal are you most like?

a)      An owl.
b)      A dog.
c)      A cat.
d)      A shark.

Where would you rather live?

a)      In a tower lined with bookshelves.
b)      In a basement.
c)      In a tower with comfy armchairs.
d)      In a dungeon.

You are playing football but your team is losing. What do you do?

a)      Analyse the opposition’s tactics and calculate how to outwit
them.
b)      Work harder.
c)      Push forward and go for the win.
d)      Cheat.

You buy a stripy hat. What colour is it?

a)      Blue and bronze.
b)      Yellow and black.
c)      Scarlet and gold.
d)      Green and silver.

Where would you choose to stand at a firework display?

a)      In some space on a hill.
b)      In the thick of it on the grass.
c)      By the fire.
d)      By the lake.

What is most important to you?

a)      Knowledge.
b)      Loyalty.
c)      Courage.
d)      Success.

You are out cycling when you get a puncture in your front tyre. What do you do?

a)      Google how to fix it, and do the repair yourself.
b)      Push your bike all the way home.
c)      Ride your bike all the way home while pulling a wheelie.
d)      Find someone else’s bike and swap the wheels over.

What do you look for in a new job?

a)      A job that will use and increase your knowledge.
b)      A job where you can meet new friends.
c)      A job to challenge you.
d)      A job to increase you bank balance.

You have enjoyed a nice meal with friends but your group does not have enough money for the bill. What do you do?

a)      Google the nearest cash-point.
b)      Wash up.
c)      Leave your phone and wrist watch as a deposit and
promise to come back with the cash.
d)      Tell the restaurant manager the food was awful and refuse
to pay the bill.

That’s it. Now just tot up how many times you answered a, b, c or d.

Your results:

Mostly a. The Sorting Hat says, “You belong in wise old Ravenclaw, if you’ve a steady mind, where those of wit and learning, will always find their kind.”

Mostly b. The Sorting Hat says, “You belong in Hufflepuff, where they are just and loyal, those patient Hufflepuffs are true and unafraid of toil.”

Mostly c. The Sorting Hat says, “You belong in Gryffindor, where dwell the brave at heart, their daring, nerve and chivalry set Gryffindors apart.

Mostly d. The Sorting Hat says, “In Slytherin you’ll make your real friends, those cunning folk use any means to achieve their ends.”

Please remember this quiz is just for fun and, if you don’t like the result, you probably came out as Slytherin!

But as J.K. Rowling once said “If it matters to you, you’ll be able to choose Gryffindor over Slytherin. The Sorting Hat takes your choice into account.”

A Guide for Aliens

Are you a visiting alien? Perhaps you are here on holiday, looking to relocate, or thinking about invading. Whatever your reason, welcome to planet Earth. This guide aims to provide you with useful information to make your stay as enjoyable as possible.

Social Media – While you are here, make sure you record your stay and share your experiences with the world, and possibly beyond. Check in on facebook wherever you go and send tweets of all random thoughts throughout the day. This is important as some people will judge your worth by the number of Twitter followers you have. Don’t worry though, not everyone is so fickle to worry about social media clout. Others will judge you by the car that you drive instead.

Highway Code – Talking of cars. If you wish to drive your space vehicle through the streets you will need to take a driving test first. With your superior intelligence this will be easy, there are plenty of idiots on the roads who have somehow managed to pass. Before your test you will need to learn the highway code. This is a set of rules and guidelines that drivers obey to ensure road safety. Please note: Drivers of BMWs appear to be exempt.

TV – Watching soap operas is a good way to learn about our culture. However, please be aware that not everyone has enough spare cash to spend all day in pubs or cafes and if you think everyone in Eastenders is rude, that is nothing, wait until you visit London for real.

Sports – Why not make friends by trying one of our popular team sports? Many games such as hockey and football are played on a similar looking pitch. It is important to study the rules and make sure you are playing the right game. While it is fine for hockey players to whack each other’s ankles with a big stick this is not acceptable in football.

Weather – In the UK, weather is never just weather. It is always too hot, too cold, too wet or too dry and people like to talk about this problem a lot. It is likely that during your stay you will experience cold water being poured on you from the sky. Do not take offence, it will be poured on everyone and it is called rain. Rain occurs when the clouds become full and burst. Please note: For health and safety reasons, please do not climb on the clouds.

I hope you have found this guide useful and that you enjoy your time here on planet Earth.

 

Six Reasons to Buy this Apartment

If you are looking for an apartment to buy in Cambridgeshire then look no further.  Here are six reasons why this apartment could be the answer to all your dreams:

Ideal for entertaining – The open plan lounge/kitchen means the conversation need never stop. Your guests can be sat chatting on the sofa and you won’t miss any gossip while you make that brew or cook up a fantastic feast. Open plan living has many benefits, even if you are dining alone. You can cook your dinner and watch your favourite TV show at the same time.

Small is beautiful – Don’t let the size put you off. Have you ever heard the expression, ‘You don’t own your possessions, your possessions own you.’? Well it is true but this flat encourages you to be ruthless. Rid yourself of those useless bits of tat, live a minimalist lifestyle and travel through life lightly.  And, for those things you just can’t live without; just make use of the clever storage solutions. Also, fewer rooms mean less cleaning and it costs virtually nothing to heat!

No hassle from neighbours – The front door is accessed from the street meaning you don’t have to deal with dodgy unlit stairwells or make awkward small talk while passing neighbours on the stairs. Also, the building is old and built to last and the walls are thick. So, if the neighbours, or you, are noisy, who cares? You won’t hear them and they won’t hear you!

Prime location – There is a pub right across the road, a pharmacy, doctor’s surgery, nursery and community centre just around the corner, and two supermarkets within a 100 meter radius. If that is not enough, there are many more quaint shops and pubs in the town centre which is just a five minute walk down the road. Peterborough, St Ives and Huntingdon are just a 20 minute drive away and, if you hate sitting in traffic jams, a big bonus of rural towns is that the roads are empty!

Ghost free good vibes – Old buildings are full of character and quirks. But what if it is haunted? There is no need to worry about that here. This apartment has nothing but good vibes and happy memories, well for the eight years I have been living here anyway!

Investment – So we all know that property prices have dropped and are told they will one day rise again. Right now, this apartment is dirt cheap! I’m no mathematician but with similar local flats fetching around £400 per month in rent, this could be a nice little earner for any aspiring landlord or property mogul.

‘If the apartment is that good, why sell it?’ I hear you ask. It is a fair question. I love this apartment and have enjoyed my time here. The only trouble is, it is too far from my work. If I could pick it up and plonk it closer to work I would. So, if you are interested, what are you waiting for? Put in an offer and you could be the proud owner of this wonderful property soon.

Another Real Women’s Football Match Report

As I was busy keeping a clean sheet in goal, the note-pad once again found it’s way into Laura Melling’s hands. The following report, taken from Lemming’s notes, sums up the match and other observations from today’s Huntingdon Town Ladies football match.

The match as Lemming saw it:

The game got off to a good start when Tash touched the ball with her new hairdo. Tash also surprised the spectators by getting her leg surprisingly high in a tackle.

Sian scored by cutting inside and placing the ball in the bottom corner and Lemming made all the substitutes and spectators jealous by showing them a picture of her breakfast.

Knoxie beat the left back and did an amazing cross. Everyone missed it but a corner was won. From the corner, the ball fell to Jenner. Jenner swerved and scooped the ball over the keeper, who looked like a tiger in her orange and black kit.

Sophie, aka Bale, curled a free kick into the goal. Hollie had a chance to score but decided not to as it would not have been a wonder goal.

Radders had a shot on target but the attempted headed clearance resulted in a goal. Both teams will await the decision of the Dubious Goals Committee to hear whether the goal will be awarded to Radders or go down as an own goal.

An opposition player went down injured just before half time and was receiving treatment throughout the break. Sian suggested moving to a different pitch so the game could continue.

The player recovered and the game continued on the same pitch. Stef appeared near the opposition goal, causing the spectators to worry she hadn’t realised we had swapped ends. Hollie dummied a cross from Jenner, leaving Emma a tap in at the far post.

Sophie collected the ball from a rebound and shot at goal but a defender appeared in a puff of smoke to clear the ball from the goal-line. The ball fell to Knoxie’s left foot but she missed as her left foot can only be used for standing on.

Town managed to hit the post and the cross-bar before Emma tapped in another goal at the far post. The referee deemed the goal was offside and disallowed it. The crowd could be heard calling for TV replays.

Bale scored from another free kick, Hollie scored with a cool finish and Radders did a Hazard by kicking a player who was lying on the ball. Megan then got on the score sheet after a lay back from Georgie.

One of the frustrated opposition defenders launched into an angry tirade of loud profanities, causing Jenner to reply with a ‘Good God!’

Emma scored another to end the game nine nil. Boom!

The official match report can be found here.

Gig Goers

Live music gigs are popular for many reasons. People enjoy the music, the atmosphere, the venues, the dancing and the crowds. Personally, I enjoy the people watching. Most gig crowds will be made up of many different people of all shapes, sizes and creeds but there are certain types of people you can guarantee will be found at EVERY music gig:

The Randy Couple – Impersonating a dog on heat, the man is usually embracing the woman from behind. Hands clasped around her waist, he swings her around in time to the music while nuzzling into her neck. A space always clears around this couple as people attempt to offer them some privacy.

The Photographer – This person wants to capture every moment and wastes gig time looking at the small screen of their smart-phone as they hold it above their heads and snap away.

The Giant – There is no escaping the giant. Whatever gig and wherever you stand, the giant will always be standing in front of you.

The Restrained Dancer – This person really wants to bust some moves. They feel the rhythm. It is in their bones. But some strange force stops them from letting rip. They make short sharp movements to the beat and jerk their head violently from side to side.

The Tip Toe Viewer – This person is usually shorter than average. They stand on their tip toes, peering over the giant’s shoulders, looking for a sight line through the crowd to the stage. They catch a glimpse of the guitarist’s hair and think they have found the right viewing spot. Unfortunately, someone will always move in the way forcing them to seek out another gap.

The Parents – These have been dragged along as a taxi service for their teenage son or daughter, and can usually be found in a less crowded space at the edge of the room or by the fire exit. There is no pressure on the parents to look cool. They appear quite happy leaning against the wall with their rucksack and munching on a pre-packed sandwich while the band plays.

The Awkward Toe Tappers – Not a natural dancer, this person would love to just stand and watch. But they are surrounded by fellow gig goers who move, clap and dance in time to the music with ease and confidence. The non dancer feels pressured into making some attempt at bodily movement. They hope their one legged toe tap is in time to the music and will be enough to blend them into the crowd.

Next time you are at a gig keep a look out for these people. You never know, one of them might be me!

Great Excuses to Get Out of Work

The weather is improving and temperatures are expected to rise to a balmy 10⁰ C this week. This means the snow and ice is melting, along with your chances of taking a weather related day off.

Managers across the country will be breathing a sigh of relief that they won’t hear the words ‘I’m snowed in’ this week, but they shouldn’t be too complacent; the nation has plenty of other great excuses to miss work:

Sick days

Pulling a sickie is always a popular choice for that last minute day off but the illness should be chosen carefully. There are some fail-safe options:

1. Illnesses that pass quickly – Migraines that can come on in a flash and can leave just as fast, or linger as long as suits your needs, are a good flexible option. That 24 hour bug that has been going around is another good choice, as is the allergic reaction which has caused your face to swell so much you can’t see. Use these and you can return to work as spritely as you like without arousing too much suspicion.

2. Highly contagious illnesses – Declare you have one of these and your boss will be begging you to stay away. No one wants an outbreak of swine flu, or whatever the latest epidemic is, to wipe out the entire workforce. Saying you have head lice is another perfect choice. Who wants head lice anywhere near them?

3. Embarrassing conditions – Mention you have diarrhoea or use the phrase ‘coming out both ends’ and no one will want any more details. If your boss is male, and you are female, you could always announce you have menstrual cramps or anything gynaecological to guarantee no further questions. Haemorrhoids are a good unisex option as is an emergency appointment with a therapist.

And of course, if you have kids, you are laughing. Just apply any illnesses to your children and you won’t even have to put on a sick voice.

Transport issues

The snow may have cleared but there are still plenty of other travel related problems to pull out of the bag when you fancy a lazy day:

1. Car problems – If your boss is not the mechanical type you could baffle them with a whole host of vehicle problems. Those sub hydro connectors can be a real pain in the damp, hot or cold weather. Or if they know a bit about cars, then state you have a problem with your brakes. No one will ask you to risk your life just to get to work.

2. Travel delays – If you have exhausted your car problems, do not despair. The roads could be blocked by a fallen tree or your keys could be locked in the car, or even locked in the house when you are locked outside. If you live close enough to get on your bike you can of course use the excuse that you have a puncture or that your bike has been stolen.

3. Public transport – If you use public transport it would be quite believable that the bus or train is late or the service has been suspended. If the service is generally good you could always claim to have fallen asleep and missed your stop or say you were too engrossed in reading up on some important notes that you went to the end of the line. Don’t forget to add that the buses and trains going back the other way are running late or cancelled.

Emergencies

There are many other emergencies which would require your absence from work:

1. You can’t leave the house – Maybe the water pipes have burst, the house is flooded and you have to wait in for the plumber. Your pet may be lost or escaped and you need to be there to let it in when it comes back. You could be locked in the house and the person with the key won’t be back until much later. You could climb out the window but that would be dangerous and the house would be unsecured.

2. You have an important duty to carry out – Perhaps your pet is ill and you need to make an emergency visit to the vets or you have just witnessed a horrible crime and must report it to the police right away. What if an elderly neighbour’s house has been burgled. She is terrified, doesn’t know what to do and has no one else to help her, shame on any boss who frowns on you for helping someone in need.

So whether you choose sickness, transport issues or household emergencies there are lots of great excuses to get out of work.

Happy duvet days!