Tag: comedy

The Great Escape of Snap, Crackle and Pop

In the name of confidentiality, and my own amusement, I will rename the characters in this story Snap, Crackle and Pop. This is the story of the most successful escape I witnessed in my time on *Heron psychiatric unit.

Snap is seventeen, likes smoking and being right about things. She had been in the unit for the longest and during her time there her hatred had only increased for the way things were run. Known for her rebellious streak; she was the classic escapee.

Crackle is younger. She likes a bit of mischief but is generally cool headed. She was not thought to be the escaping kind.

Pop is new to the unit. She had already been in hospital once before and on her first night in Heron ward managed to climb the garden fence. She was very determined.

It was a normal October night and the day shift was drawing to a close. Well I say a ‘normal October night’ but for some reason Heron ward is always shrouded in either an icy veil or Saharan heat- alternating at oxymorons to the rest of the world. The night staff were in the handover meeting and the day staff were packing up for home. In the unit there was a slight tension in the air, like a precursor of what was about to happen. Most of the patients could be found whispering to each other: “what’s going on?!”

Go back to lunchtime. Snap is up to mischief. As the rest of the ward sits around the table scrapbooking she has snuck into the office. She has been doing similar all day, keeping the staff well on their toes. Most around the table don’t even realise she is in the office, a place forbidden to patients. When a nurse enters to find Snap pretending to type notes she bursts out laughing and merrily tells her to get out.

I have moved from the table in the communal area to the lounge with fellow patient D.
“What’s going on?” I ask after observing the tension in the air surrounding us. Mentioning it feels uncomfortable, itchy.
“I don’t know…” She replied. “But Snap, Crackle and Pop have jumpers on.”
“Jumpers?!” I ask as I rearrange my pyjama vest top. No one gets dressed on the unit. Pyjamas are our dress code and any layer of clothing of a thermal variety instantly attracts suspicion within the Saharan heat.
“Yeah…” She mumbles, miming taking a puff on a fag.
“Ah… Must be” I reply knowingly. The three had been known to sneak in cigarettes and lighters to smoke beneath the bathroom fans. The jumpers must have been so they had a removable layer that didn’t smell of smoke.

“Why have I not got a key on my belt?” Asked a member of night staff as they tried and failed to let a visiting parent out.
“Has anyone seen Snap, Crackle and Pop?” Asks another looking worriedly at the observation folder.
“Shit.” We say simultaneously. “They’ve got a key.”

After telling staff the ward was alive with an excited buzz. How long would it be before they were brought back? We took bets. Snap appeared to have used her time in the office well and had taken the key fob for the main doors from one of the staff’s key chains. We later found out that a lighter and cigarettes had gone for the ride too.

Police came in and out examining the mugshots of the three patients, taken from the front of the observation book. As I let Noodle out in the garden for her final wee we could hear a police helicopter circling above.

“I noticed Snap had jeans on. I thought it was odd!” A member of day staff exclaimed to the group, having stayed three hours after her home time.

At around half past eleven Snap and Crackle appeared looking quite morose. The rest of the patients were sent to bed early so that all staff could help in conducting strip searches. “That was the worst bit of the night.” Snap recalled days later.

Concerns were rising for Pop, sectioned under the mental health act and out in the dark alone. The helicopter circled and circled until eventually in the early hours of the morning I heard her bedroom door close and her returning to bed.

The key, which the three had claimed to have thrown as soon as they got out, was handed in by an anonymous source where it then spent some time in the office in a cup labelled “Do Not Use”. I’ll leave it to you to imagine where it was inserted in order to go unnoticed in a strip search. Management wanted it to be disinfected and put back on the key chain. Staff wanted it incinerated. Staff won and an automatic closer was put on the office door.


To My French Teacher’s Daughter

This week’s ‘Thursday Cuppa’ is brought to you in a green mug with the help of a nameless pink elephant.

To My French Teacher’s Daughter,

Hi there. You’ve never met me before but I have gathered a fair bit of information about you. I know you are smart and like asking big questions and that you really enjoyed seeing Matilda on the west-end. I am seventeen years old, have never grown out of asking big questions and your Mum spends five hours a week trying to teach me french.

I just wanted to say thank you so much for the loan of your lovely pink elephant. He has been to all of my exams and we have had some fun too. It was on the way out of the first exam that the elephant told me that he was a bit bored, it was four hours long after all, so I promised him a cup of hot chocolate after the next one. My word. I have never seen such a mess. He said he was trying to dip his toast in his hot chocolate ‘the french way’. He didn’t however want to clean up the kitchen… Other than this incident he has generally been very good in making sure all my exams went ok and he didn’t snore too badly at night either.

The elephant has told me that he isn’t sure he can promise that I will do well in my exams, but said that he has done his best. I felt a lot better to see his pink smiley face looking up at me! But he packed his case last night and said he had to get home to someone who loves him- that’s you!

So thank you for letting him be my lucky charm.



a cartoon of a pink elephant dipping bread in a hot chocolate cup, hot chocolate is flying everywhere.


Music: Un éléphant, ça trompe énormément

How to Leave the Internet (For a Bit)

By the time you read this I shall be doing one of two things: deep breathing and sitting on the (very uncomfortable) stairs by the exam hall, or sitting in a corner curled in a ball sobbing into a box of kleenex. I am going to aim for the prior. Today is my AS sociology exam, one I am not overly looking forward to, but today is also *technically* the day of my AS French exam. However, being the habitually awkward soul that I am, I cannot sit two exams in one day for medical reasons. Which means French has to wait until Friday and I have to go into solitary confinement with only college support staff for company. This isn’t too bad, but I will also have no internet or phone access. My heart just sunk a little writing that statement. It just sunk slightly more with the shame of writing that one.

So here it is, how to leave the internet in seven simple stages…

  1. Think of thoughtful last words to leave on twitter.
  2. Make clear to followers that these are only your last words for the next couple of hours, and thank them for the Samaritans helpline number which they sent you.
  3. Be sure to be up to date on all your friends’ pointless statements about life, and statements about their friends’ pointless statements about life, before you go. Oh and the selfies of course.
  4. Work out whether you are going to use these technology deprived hours for academic enrichment or for self pity. Note- the latter may be difficult without Twitter.
  5. Realise that most of the technology you own has internet capability and you therefore have no technical capability to do anything but stare mindlessly into space.
  6. Choose a (physical) book featuring your favourite hero/heroine and delve into their lives to escape your own miserable (internetless) existence.
  7. Make a cup of tea, then another and then another.

Congratulations- you have officially left the internet.

Here is your reintegration plan for your return:

  1. Approach internet connected device with great caution, having a cup of tea in hand is recommendable.
  2. Tentatively press the ‘on’ button.
  3. Be prepared for the fact that everything may well be very different from how you left it. People may have broken up, fallen out, and if you are particularly unlucky Facebook has changed its layout again.
  4. Trawl back to the point of your departure on all social networks.
  5. Post obligatory statements saying how pleased you are to be back and connected with ‘humanity’.

I’m not quite this bad… but wish me luck all the same!

Today’s Thursday Cuppa comes from a Miss Piggy mug and a pile of revision.

A picture of a giant mug of tea with Miss Piggy of the muppets on it next to a pile of textbooks.


P.S – I found some brilliant sexual health posters in the office!

A poster which reads 'I'm not sure but I think I may have genital warts' accompanied by a picture of a very warty frog's body with a boy's face on it.

Then My Trousers Illuminated Themselves…

Last saturday I went on what I believe to be my longest independent rail journey so far. But don’t worry this post isn’t going to be about the triumph of independence or anything as grand as that…

On days of long journeys or out of the ordinary activity I tend to wake up very early in the morning in order to give myself plenty of time. I am one of those people who needs time to pack and unpack their bag at least three times to check they definitely have everything, who will need time to change outfits at least twice and also requires a small allowance of time to run and collect forgotten items. Not to mention I also need to get my dog, AKA furry child, ready. Thinking on this I set my alarm for 5:50am and promptly fell asleep knowing that I had plenty –if not too much- time to get to the station.

At 2am I woke up. In the brief moment of consciousness that followed I assured myself that I could go back to sleep, safe in the knowledge that I had so much time ahead of me. In hindsight I now know that those few waking moments at witching hour were a warning from my sub-conscience of things to come.

My alarm went off as expected with its usual cacophony of deafening pre-installed jingles, and after I had silenced it I checked my twitter feed as I have become accustomed to doing in the past months. I was feeling pretty relaxed and a bit tired, but when I swiped up to the top of my screen my head imploded. 6:50am. That can’t be right? After confirming the time with my iPad and laptop I realised, with a sinking heart, that I had made a terrible error. Rushing about I quickly did a triple check of my bag, grabbed my lunch from the kitchen and rushed Lai to the pen. My taxi arrived promptly at 7:15 as planned. My hour and twenty minutes preparation time had been banished to just twenty minutes. In my rushing I hadn’t had time to get changed out of my pyjamas but had somehow managed to stuff a set of clothes and face wipes into my oversized bag. Officially dishevelled and panting slightly I ran up the path to the waiting taxi.

On the short ride from the college to the station my mind was dancing about on the, rather prominent, issue of how I was going to get changed and also avoid public humiliation. I paid the driver and he very kindly guided me from the taxi to the ticket office where I was then met by passenger assistance, who took me onto the dark platform. It was still early and the sun hadn’t risen properly yet. I was self conscious of my choice of attire but I was for once grateful that it was so dark and hoped no one would notice.

If only. If only I had chosen any other pyjamas the night before. The assistance man gave me a surprised look as we stepped into the darkness and I felt his arm shake slightly as if he was holding back a laugh. That was when I saw it. Out of the bottom of my eye I could just see a greeny yellow glow rising up my leg. My heart sunk for the second time that morning. I was wearing my glow in the dark pyjama bottoms, the ones I had bought in town years ago because I thought that the novelty of them was rather endearing. They had been a talking point at sleepovers for a year or so, and then they had began to get a bit short around the ankles and were subsequently demoted to ‘it’ll do’ sleepwear. The taxi driver who had guided me around the front of the taxi in the bright headlights had unknowingly charged my trousers to the max. On further inspection I had never seen them glow so bright. Now here I was, on a train station platform at 7am wearing alarmingly luminous trousers.

I asked quickly if I could be shown to the toilets and once in there, still ashen faced with the stupidity of my actions, I quickly pulled on my leggings. From the other side of the door I could hear the guide whistling in a very up tempo we-have-to-go manner. Alas, I pulled my bag back onto my shoulders and hurried out, now painfully aware that I was still wearing a top which said ‘sweet dreams’ in big letters across the chest.

Once on the train I wiped my face with some of the wipes I had shoved into my bag and ate some mints in place of brushing my teeth. I was clutching my coat to myself in an attempt to conceal my embarrassing pyjama top from the teenage couple opposite me. There was no toilet on this train and no way of actually swapping tops. In the end I resorted to a layering technique of subtly covering up my pyjama top with it’s more acceptable substitute. It must have looked quite bizarre to the other passengers, but I think I got away with it by pretending it was a jumper and someone had stolen its sleeves…

It could have been a lot worse because I could have forgotten to set my alarm entirely and missed my train. Though the moral of this story is always make sure you change the hour of your alarm and as well as the minutes.

… And when planning on being publicly pyjama-ed always make sure they are not brighter than most traffic lights…

A pair of glow in the dark trousers