Sunday Write Up – Join in…

Sunday Write Up Header


Welcome to another ‘writing sprint’ – feel free to join in, take a week to write your piece (no more than a couple of hours worth of writing effort required 🙂 and then share here in the Comments, or on your own blog and drop us a link here, so that we can come and check it out!) Don’t be bored, give it a go.

This week’s five words are:

Trying      Fast    Trapped      Smidge     Lamp


I also saw another Tweeted writing prompt this week and so I’ve used this to influence the piece this week:

“I’ve been trying to do it right, I’ve been living a lonely life…”


So, this piece links to last week’s sprint and is another snippet from a book I’ve been playing around with for a few years – quite enjoying adding to these little episode-style chapters.


Thursday 5th July 2007

Age: What does it matter when you’re looking at moving back in with your parents?

Life Lesson: When looking for a housemate think Friends, not Single White Female


   It was warm in the lunchtime sun, and the outdoor tables at The Alchemy Lounge were packed full of office workers trying to grab an hour’s worth of vitamin D, before they headed back to their max-packed, air conditioned offices. Suit jackets were discarded and there were plenty of legs and tanned arms on show. 

   “Kate. Over here!”

   I looked around, searching for a familiar face and owner of the shouting voice. Then, at the far side of the outdoor booths I spotted Becca, her dark blonde head visible above the shorter people around her. Moving in that direction, I saw her gesturing with animated hands, to let me know there was a glass of wine waiting for me. 

   At least one thing was going right today then.

   “Hey! How’re you doing?” Bec greeted me as I arrived. I plopped down into the only other vacant chair, amid the throng of bodies. She was already sat down after waving me over, and she didn’t stand up to give me a hug or kiss, like some of my friends would have. Becca wasn’t really a hugger, and a lot of the time, neither was I, so that worked out well for us. Becca was all about practical help and sarcasm – and I definitely needed a lot of the first right now. 

   “Urgh,” I said, flopping back in the chair to take a long drink of the cool, pink wine. 

   “Wow. That good, eh?” 

   “Oh yes,” I agreed. “It’s that good.”

   Becca sipped at her own glass. “What’s going on?”

   “Well, it’s official. I either need to move – and the housing market has just decided to fall off a cliff – or I need to find a housemate.”

   We’d talked about this already, when I was having a post-break-up freak out and decided I was going to abandon the house and go back to live with my parents. Becca had been wise enough to talk me out of that plan, and talk me out fast. 

   “The money?” She guessed. 

   “Yeah,” I sighed. 

   “Bankers screwed you on your job and now they’ve cocked up the housing market too?”

   “Exactly right – I took quite a pay cut when I finished at Ingham & Moore… wasn’t even on half what I was getting at the bank. It wasn’t a problem when there were two of us paying in to the house, and I thought I could manage everything once Matt had gone, but it’s more than you think once the utilities and stuff come in. And now I’m kind of trapped – nothing is selling unless you do it at a loss, or I find someone to move in.“

   “Don’t you get some reductions on costs?”

   I shrugged. “It’s a smidge,” I said, demonstrating just how small an amount it was between my finger and thumb. “They give you twenty-five per cent reduction on Council Tax. But, everything else costs the same for one as it does for two – you just have no one else paying in.”

   “Yeah, that sucks.” 

   I nodded. “Staying in the house seemed like a good idea at the time…”

   “It was a good idea. You were just too nice to him: paying him out half and letting him take most of the furniture. You didn’t need to feel guilty and let him have so much, he screwed you over, remember?”

   I wasn’t having this conversation again. I remembered being a pushover well enough on my own. “You know I just wanted him out and everything finished. Being super reasonable seemed the best way to do it.” 

   “Yeah, well – I still think you could have torched his shit on the front lawn instead of giving him the big TV – I reckon most people would have considered that reasonable.” 

   “Not sure the police would have. Or the neighbours… Anyway, too late for getting my revenge on pyro style – there’s nothing left of his in the house.”

   Becca rolled her eyes at me. “That’s because there’s bugger all left in the house, full stop. Except for that awful lamp you love. Do you even have a sofa yet?”

   I ignored the lamp jibe, I loved my lava lamp and didn’t care if anyone else didn’t. ”I have the Buddah Bag.”

   Becca shook her head. “Yeah, that doesn’t count. If you have to roll out of a seat, rather than stand up normally, it doesn’t count as a sofa. Also, just to clarify, if you’re still sleeping on the Buddah Bag on a regular basis, that doesn’t make it a bed either.”

   “I know. But it is more comfortable than the air mattress thing and it was the best I could get. My sister gave it me and you wouldn’t believe how heavy that thing is. It filled the entire car once we squashed it inside.” 

   My Fiesta had looked like a giant poop had been crammed inside the back seats – that was the downside of the Buddah Bag being a dark brown colour. The upside was that it didn’t show up Millie’s black dog hairs too much, so you know, there was a bright side. 

   “I know how heavy it is,” Becca pointed an accusatory finger towards my face. “I helped you move it from the dining room to the lounge if you remember? I nearly died.” 

   “You’re being a bit dramatic,” I told her. “It was a mild aneurism if anything, you were a long way from death.” 

   “Whatever,” she retorted, “I still can’t believe you and your sister actually managed to carry it to the car on your own – it’s like manoeuvring a whale that’s been roofied.”

   I smiled. “Her husband laughed at us and said we’d never be able to do it. Scorn and stubbornness can make a girl pretty strong.”  

   Bec nodded in complete agreement. “That would do it for me too. Rage + Mockery = Motivation, in girl world.”

   “That sounds almost like a real psychological theory when you put it like that.” 

   “I’m pretty sure it is!”

   It was warm in the sun and I shrugged out of the light linen jacket I’d thrown on that morning, knowing that the office would be freezing with AC running full blast. “Summer when you’re working is so weird,” I observed. “You add layers to go inside, strip them off to come out.” I took another sip of cool wine and leaned back into the hard, water-proof chair.

   “Only if you work in posh offices with air con, like you do. I was on a shit works in a south-facing, pre-fab cabin all day yesterday. It was not my best day ever, I’ll be honest.”

   “Ooh, sounds lovely,” my nose screwed up, just imagining the smell. 

   “Well, that’s the exotic life I lead as a Health and Safety Auditor, isn’t it?”

   “You do get to the best places,” I agreed. 

   Flicking her sunglasses down from the top of her head, Becca settled back too, holding her wine glass by the stem. “So, anyway, the house thing… You’re seriously thinking about getting a lodger?”

   “I have to.”

   “I don’t think I could stand having a housemate now. Uni was bad enough – to do it again…” She shuddered as if it was a fate worse than death. 

   “I know, I know.” My mind immediately flashed back to a memory of my squeaky-voiced flatmate complaining about my inability to keep the place tidy, whilst we stood in the living room that looked a brothel’s laundry with her animal print and multi-coloured pants hanging everywhere. “But, we’re grown ups now: we have jobs and are sensible and everything. It will be better.”

   “Really? You believe that…?”

   I nodded, hoping I looked sure. 

   “OK – tell me the worse girl you lived with and why. Maybe that will help jog your memory.”

   Easy. “Carrie Monk – her of the ultra-sonic voice fame – who used to wait until someone got into the shower, to get whatever random guy she’d brought back with her the night before, to hump her against the adjoining wall.”

   “Nice!” Becca laughed. 

   “Nice? I suffered several shampoo bottle related injuries due to her rampant antics knocking things off the shower shelves.”

   “And your revenge?”

   “Moi? Revenge?” I was all wide-eyed innocence, before laughing. “It was very tame really. Carrie always had nice posh shampoo – her student loan was for fun and shoes, not food and rent like most of us – so I became well acquainted Charles Worthington and Frederic Fekkai, whilst she acquainted herself with half of Leeds.”

   “Sounds like a truly lovely young lady,” Becca agreed. “I think I remember her from when I came to yours – the blonde one that dressed as a cow girl when we went to that crap fancy dress night on the party bus thing?” 

   I cast my mind back, it took a little while. Uni felt like a million years ago… “Was it the one where I was a pirate?” 

   “That’s the one – you kept slapping poor little student boys on the arse with your plastic sword, if that helps jog the memory?”

   I chuckled. It did. “You came as Betty Rubble and had a club, I recall?”

   “I did – and I took over from you with anyone who looked robust enough to graduate from sword play to a proper spanking.” 

   “Yeah, you made that big rugby guy cry I think?”

   “I did, but in fairness I did let him spank me back, if he wasn’t going to fully commit he shouldn’t have stepped into the ring.” 

   “Yeah, what’s the point in having those big arms if they’re not going to use them, eh?”

   Becca grinned at me and clinked her glass against mine. “Exactly!”

   I leaned back again and closed my eyes, tilting my face up to the sun. 

   “Well, I’ll help you write an ad if you want?”

   I frowned. “Really? I could come up with Intolerant and emotionally battered lady seeks female housemate to help pay the bills by myself, I think.” 

   Becca shook her head. “Yeah, that’s why you need help. You can’t be honest on these things. You’re going to have to project just the fun-loving, great to be around Kate into this – not the depressing cow you’ve grown into.” 

   “Wow, tough love AND a glass of wine. You should think about charging people for your company, I think you’d make more money than the health and safety gig.” 

   “I would give it some serious thought if you didn’t have to have safe words and crap like that – where’s the fun if you can’t push things too far?” 

   The faraway glint in Becca’s eye actually scared me; I had no doubt she was serious. 

   “Jeez, Mistress Whiplash calm down. Remind me how long you’ve been dating your latest victim?”

   She smiled at me, softening a bit for once. “Two months now, and you know what, it’s actually going really well. He doesn’t irritate me much at all.” 

   “Well, I’m sure he’d be pleased to know that, you old romantic you!” 

   “He knows, you don’t need to worry about that.” 

   Oh my. Yeah, I definitely didn’t need to worry OR know any more about that…

   “So,” I sipped from my glass again. “The housemate thing. What do you think?”

   Becca pulled out her phone and flicked through onto a website. “There’s this one called – one of the guys from work found his place on here, it’s supposed to be quite good. I think the guy that launched the site was from Manchester…” She flipped the phone around and pointed it in my direction. 

   A clean, simple and neat website greeted me.

   “You can look for specific people to share, or you can post your place and people will come to you,” Becca explained this as she managed to type my postcode in – upside down – into the bar in the middle of the screen. It brought up a surprising number of profiles of people apparently looking for rooms in my area. 

   “And I just create a profile and include pictures of the house?”

   “Looks like it. Probably worth creating a better profile than the one we did for you on those dating sites.”

   “Ha ha. I actually quite liked that in the end – I could tell you’d really taken control of the narrative for my ideal date being in a public place, well lit and with a high number of CCTV cameras…” 

   “Cheers dude,” Becca grinned at me. “I had your back, I think sarcasm and comedy in your profile will keep away most of the dull ones and anyone too dumb to see through it, as well as any psychos.” 

   “Well, judging by the dates I went on, I’d say you had maybe a ten per cent success rate from that point of view, but you definitely must have thinned the herd a bit.” I chewed my lip a little, pondering. “You know, I really don’t think internet dating is for me anyway. It’s too much pressure: do you like them, do they like you, do you like them enough to be on an actual date with them, why were they funnier on email, are they wondering how many filters I used on my profile pictures…?” 

   “It sounds pressurised when you put it like that,” she agreed. “But, knowing you, I can see why you wouldn’t like it. You are an all or nothing person when it comes to things like this – you will put in so much effort, passion and loyalty when you really want to do something; but if you don’t feel like it, no amount of pushing, pain or coaxing will get you there.” 

   I smiled at her, knowing that my long-standing friend really did get me. As much as I got her for these parts of us that were very similar. She was my only friend that really understood how I felt about this stuff. “That’s all true. Very true,” I told her. 

   Suddenly serious, Becca leaned forward and took my hand in hers. “You will feel like falling in love again, you know? It probably won’t happen when or where you expect it to, but it will happen – and from what I know of you, you’ll be ready to put that effort and passion into making it amazing when it does.” 

   I squeezed her fingers and let go, properly touched by her words but unable to actually say so. “How many wines have you had lady? It’s lunchtime for goodness sake.” 

   Becca smiled at me, knowing exactly what I had just done. “I’ve just had the one. And I’m done with the deep now, you’ve had your bi-annual compliment from me, so back to sorting out the shit-show that is your finances.” She flicked her thick hair over her shoulder, we were obviously now moving into serious mode. 

   “OK,” I flicked my own dark hair (that needed a decent cut, if we were completely honest) over my shoulder, and leaned forward putting my glass down so that I was fully concentrating. “So, where do we start?” 

   “We need to work out how much you need to charge someone to cover what you need to stay in the house; then make a list of all the good features about living at your place, and then about you.” 

   I nodded, that sounded simple enough. “What about Millie?” 

   “I think people will see it as a plus point – at least someone in the house will be friendly.” 

   “Thanks mate,” I snorted quietly. “Anyway, I can be friendly,” I muttered to myself. 

   “Do you know what kind of person you’d like to share with?”
   After a traumatic flashback again to Carrie and her leopard-print underwear, coupled with the memory of her high-pitched fake passion squeals, I took a deep breath and focused. “Professional job, so that we’re probably in and out around the same times? Maybe someone quieter, who likes similar stuff to me?”

   “Work obsessed hermit?” Becca checked off on her finger. “Bothered about male or female?”

   I sat back. I had automatically figured I’d be looking for a female housemate. But then when I thought about it, hadn’t I generally had more male friends than female? And weren’t things a bit simpler then…?

   “I suppose I don’t mind actually. I’d rather have someone that fits into being quite relaxed and easy, than being a boy or a girl.” 

   “OK, well, I think that will help open up the field a little – there seem to be more guys looking in your area than girls.” 

   “It’s fine. There’s two bathrooms – I can live with someone taking over that one and I’ll stick to the en suite. But no one good looking,” I told her. 

   “Why – do you think it’s not a good idea to be tempted at home?” 

   “It’s not me I’m worried about – Ally would be on him before I even got a rent deposit in my bank account – I honestly can’t face sharing a wall with that.” 

   “Good point,” Becca noted that down. “You sound like the opposite of Joey in Friends asking for a female roommate, non-smoker, non-ugly.” 

   “All applications considered – gender not important – must be non-smoker and non-handsome-slash-pretty… sounds good to me.” I drained the last of my wine and looked around us, hating to make a move from the lovely outside and go back to the office, but it had to be done. “Do you think you have everything?” I asked Becca, looking at the list she had jotted down into a small notebook she’d produced from goodness knows where. She was totally organised. 

   “I think so,” she checked the list. “Do you fancy grabbing dinner later and we can get it finalised and set up a profile on the site?” 

   “Dinner sounds great,” I agreed. “Somewhere reasonable though, I’m so broke,” I reminded her. 

   “No problem,” she finished the wine and gathered her stuff together, both of us standing up. “We can do somewhere quick and then we’ll find you a housemate and hopefully get you back on track.” 

   “That’s the plan – and you know I could end up with someone great, you know, like in Friends.”

   “Sure, sure, like Friends. Just not that crazy guy Eddie that lived with Chandler.” 

   Oh dear God. That’s what I was going to end up with wasn’t it? Either that, or I was Eddie… 

Sunday Write Up – Join in…

Sunday Write Up Header

Welcome to another ‘writing sprint’ – feel free to join in, take a week to write your piece (no more than a couple of hours worth of writing effort required 🙂 and then share here in the Comments, or on your own blog and drop us a link here, so that we can come and check it out!) Don’t be bored, give it a go.

This week’s five words are:

sequestered       pool      lemon     ablaze      trot

This piece links to last week’s sprint and is another snippet from a book I’ve been playing around with for a few years – not sure if it will go anywhere, but a bit of a different style for me…


Friday 25th May 2007 

Age: Two months away from lifelong spinsterhood (according to pretty much everyone I know)

Life Lesson: A few months on and boozy friends actually come into their own

“I don’t want to get back out there,” I groaned, leaning forward to top up my glass of wine, from the bottle on the coffee table. “I’ve been crapped on massively by Cupid and right now, I’d rather have vino and girls, than be searching for a guy.”

Becca grinned. “There are websites for that you know, if that’s how you’re feeling.”

“Thanks – sarcasm noted – but I’m not contemplating girls as a lifestyle choice. I meant you lot.”I waved my hand in their general direction.

Three sets of eyebrows raised at me.

“Ha, ha – don’t flatter yourselves, none of you are my type. You know what I meant: I just want to be on my own right now.”

“That’s all well and good,” Carolyn nodded, “but according to The Rules Revisited website, you only have a few more years of your twenties, when the love market is easy pickings. If you hit thirty and are still single, then you’ve got to really raise your game.”

“Thanks for the advice.” My eyes rolled towards the ceiling. “It’s very inspiring when it comes from my friend who’s been with her husband forever, met him in high school and is like, the sweetest person in the world.”

“Yeah,” Becca chimed in. “Kate can be a bit of a bitch and is sarcastic and bossy. This is not going to be an easy sell, even in her twenties.”

“Hey! I’m sat right here, you know?”

“Ha, ha. Add overly sensitive to the list as well.” Ally added with a smirk. 

“Don’t you start on me, too! Call yourselves friends?”

“We are your friends, it would just be nice to see an indication of you doing something more than being sequestered here, festering at home with the dog or going out to work.” Carolyn looked to the other two for support.

I bristled. “I see you guys all the time, that’s not festering.”

“Yep,” Becca agreed. “But, unless you are actually planning on dating one of us, then…” 

I smiled. “Look Bec, no means no, OK – none of you are setting my loins ablaze, I’ll be honest.”  

She flicked a peanut at me, narrowly missing my glass but managing to hit the bowl of lemon and mint olives when it rebounded off my left boob.

“Who is your type, then? You’ll never meet anyone between work and home if you don’t get out there. You do want to move on, don’t you?”

I shrugged off Carolyn’s question, not wanting my Friday wine o’clock night to get so heavy so early. “I have moved on. That’s not what I need to do.”

“You’ve only moved on, when you’ve moved under someone else…You’ve not done that, have you?”

“No Ally, you dirtbag, I haven’t done that,” I told her. It’s not the only way to move on, you know.” 

Carolyn nodded at me in agreement. It helped to have a nice girl in the mix. 

Ally shrugged and finished her wine in a very un-ladylike slug. “Whatever. It’s the best way I know of.”

“That’s because you have the emotional depth of a puddle,” Becca pointed out.

“I have depth,” Ally said, frowning as she unscrewed the lid on a fresh bottle of rose. “My perspective is just a bit different to yours, that’s all.” 

“Yeah sure – it’s just a different perspective.” I shook my head.

“Whatever,” Ally said again, as if that one word explained everything perfectly. “We’re not talking about me, are we? We’re talking about you not getting on with your life.” She waved her hand, like she was shooing away a fly. “So, Matt turned out to be a cheating dick head – that doesn’t mean it has to stop you living your life.”

“No, it doesn’t,” I agreed. “But, between the dick head and the slutbag – that’s what I’m calling her by the way – they’ve taken away the life I thought I was going to have. I should have been wedding planning and cake ordering around now, not getting drunk with you bunch.”

“Well, when you put it like that, it looks like everything worked out for the best!” Becca grinned. 

“Too right. And I don’t even think it’s about Matt – I mean dick head – anymore… It’s just me: I’m quite happy doing what I’m doing and can’t be bothered with the trauma of blokes and dating.”

“Aw, I almost believed you then. But, no one can be that logical. Tell us something that proves you’re over Matt.” Ally said.

I chewed my lip, thinking for a minute. All of his things were gone from the house – along with some things that had been ours but that I couldn’t stand having around, like the bed. He’d also got the big TV and the sofa, which in hindsight, was probably not the best deal for me.  

Not the best evidence, was it?

I’d also deleted all his numbers and contact information from my phone and laptop. Surely that would count?

Wait! “I changed my Facebook status – so everyone knows we’re not together any more!”

Becca shook her head. “Technically, you cheated – you deleted the status altogether – so you’re just nothing now, hovering in a relationship limbo where you’re not admitting to being with someone or single…just blank.”

“Damn you Becs! Why do you have a perfect memory when it comes to stuff like this?”

She shrugged. “It’s a gift. Now, give us something else – the Facebook thing doesn’t count.”

I drank some wine and thought hard. Then drank a bit more. And then just a little bit more. Finally it came to me. I looked around the small group with a triumphant gaze. 

“I deleted Matt’s mini-me off the Wii.” Blank faces, shot through with a dash of sympathy, stared back at me. Except maybe Becca: she was gazing at me with a pitying ‘you’re not a full shilling’ look. I pressed on. “You know what I mean: it’s the little guy that you build to go in the games for you. The Matt one kept popping up when I went on it to do that fitness workout thingy, and I hated seeing him looking all smug, walking around the white room. So, I deleted him.”

“Oh,oh! I know what you mean!” Carolyn exclaimed.

“See? It’s a real thing.” I said, pointing at Carolyn. 

Becca still looked unconvinced.

“It might be real, but does it prove you’re moving on?” Ally was also sceptical. 

“Well, I did make him fat first, then put him in a blue jumper and gave him stupid lips. Then I deleted him.”

Bec looked at the other two. “Does that count?”

“Well, it’s not as obvious as my way.” Ally pointed out.

Carolyn shook her head. “We’re not going to make Kate sleep with someone, just to prove she’s moved on!”

Ally huffed. “I’m just pointing out that it’s an easier way to tell, that’s all.” 

“I’m still here,” I reminded them.

“Hush, we know. You’re always here – that’s the problem we’re trying to sort out.” Becca grinned at her own joke, before adding. “Anyway, I have a question.”

“Ok. What?”

“What’s the thing with the blue jumper?”

I laughed. “He was a United fan, so would never wear blue. For anything. Ever.”

Ahhhh, right. I get it.” Becca nodded in understanding. “And you made him fat too?”

“Yes. Oh, and shorter!” I suddenly remembered. “He always made his mini-me much taller than he was really.” 

“Right, I’ve decided.” Becca announced. “Although unorthodox, I believe that using the mini-me as an effigy -”

“A what-a-gy?” Ally looked blank again.

“I’ll explain later.” I patted Ally’s hand. “It’s a good job you’re pretty.”

“Anyway, as I was saying,” Becca tried once more. “Using the effigy and doing mean things to it, sounds vaguely voodoo doll-ish.”

“It does?” It wasn’t the way I’d been expecting the conversation to go.

“Yes, it does,” Becca confirmed. “And on that basis, I vote that it counts: you made Matt – sorry, dickhead – short, fat and wear something he would hate – then deleted him from existence.”

Carolyn turned it over for a few seconds before nodding her agreement. “It counts.”

Ally looked from one to another, then back again. “I still don’t get it.”

“It’s a bit like a metaphor,” Carolyn suggested.

“A what?”

“Did you even go to school?” Becca’s eyes rolled skywards. 

I gave it a try. “I did mean things to something that looked like Matt, so it means I’m moving on.”

Ally shook her head.

I gave up. “Like I said, it’s a good job you’re pretty.”

“Fine. If they think it counts, I’ll agree with that. I just think that if you wanted to be mean to him, you should have kept the big TV and the sofa, then I wouldn’t be breaking my arse bone on this bloody bean bag!” 

“It’s a Buddha bag,” I automatically corrected.

“AND you should have shagged someone too.”

“One step at a time,” I told her with a wink. 

*   *   *

“Do we have to do this now?” 

I sounded whiney, but I didn’t care – my head was far too wine-fuzzy to be looking at rubbish on a laptop at this time on a Friday night. After dodging the bullets early in the evening about whether I was becoming a Bridget Jones-style spinster (which I probably was), I thought I’d escaped further relationship interrogation. 

Carolyn flipped open the computer and typed in a password to unlock it. “OK – ready – where should we start?”

Obviously I had not.

“What about” Becca suggested. 

Ally shook her head. “No, no – the uniform one!” 

“What about none of them?” I added, hoping they would take the hint. 

“Come on Kate, it’s just a bit of fun – you don’t have to do anything more than look.” Carolyn re-assured me. She was still clicking away on the computer, busy at work whether I wanted to be her new project or not. 


The three of them were now gathered around the laptop, their faces illuminated by the screen as they all eagerly began tapping on the keyboard and trying to navigate to their preferred dating website. Pushing each other’s hands away and heckling for their site of choice, they looked like a gaggle of witches brewing up an evil internet-dating potion. 

I shook my head and closed my eyes. “This is going to be depressing,” I told no one in particular. 

Ignoring the babble of the girls as they worked, I debated falling asleep: the dog was snuggled up on my stomach and I’d had a busy week at work. I didn’t even want to think about the number of unopened emails I’d closed my screen on tonight when I left the office – that would have to wait for Monday. Thinking of email mountains reminded me of something. “Oh, if you’re going to do anything awful to me whilst I try and enjoy my Friday night with friends, set up a fake email address first please – I don’t want loads of spam in my gmail account.”

“Do you want a fake name as well?” Ally asked. 

“I think I’d like some new fake friends at this point. Can you get me some of those on the internet?”

“I’ll check Ebay for you, once we’ve looked at this stuff.” Becca replied. 

“Thanks. Maybe I’ll keep you around, just for a regular dose of sarcasm and wit.”

“Cheers mate!” Becca seemed genuinely pleased by this, like being sarcastic was a desirable personality feature and it elevated her position in the group. 

“OK, here we go, here we go!” 

Ally sounded excited, so I guessed that had won out. 

“Put Leeds in there for a location.” Becca told Carolyn – she had obviously won control of the keyboard, if nothing else. 

“Maybe we should put north?” Ally suggested. 

“Wow, I’m already feeling better about this – that you feel I need a region full of men to give me a chance, when a lone city would not do”

“It just gives you more to look through.” Ally replied, sounding like she knew what she was talking about. In fact, dating via the internet was probably one of the tamest things Ally would have used her wifi for… It didn’t bear thinking about. 

I didn’t bother answering back. I was considering starting a long term relationship with the dark inside my eyelids…or maybe just an extended one night stand… A finger poke to my thigh rudely interrupted my daydreaming.  

“Are you going to help or not?” 

Carolyn sounded cross. I could take a little look, I supposed. “Give me a second,” I muttered. 

“Don’t rush yourself,” Becca replied. “You’re not really missing much.”

“What do you mean?” Ally sounded mildly scandalised by Becca’s less than enthusiastic tone. “Look there – he’s alright…ish.” 

“Well – an alright-ish from you Ally, surely that’s like a Prince Charming seal of approval!” 

Becca and Ally were already bristling with each other and I realised that I would have to intervene. I sat up and swung my legs onto the floor, moving an unimpressed Millie from my lap, at least she could trot away and escape this. “Ladies, ladies – there will be enough perfectly strange men for all of you to choose from.” The last few mouthfuls of wine were sat in the nearest bottle, so I emptied it into my glass and took a sip. 

“Great!” Carolyn clapped her hands and turned the laptop so that I could see the screen.

My eyes ran across the page, taking in the logo emblazoned across the top with a happy looking cartoon soldier and policeman linking arms with a faceless cartoon lady. Beneath the usual options for logging into your own account, chat rooms and forum pages were rows of profiles, most with pictures, although some still had the faceless, generic ‘male’ image issued by the site where no photograph had been uploaded. 

“Where are the uniforms?” I asked, actually finding that I was mildly disappointed. Surely, on a site like this, your best profile picture would be of you in your uniform?

Becca leaned forward, squinting at the slightly grainy pictures. “Is that a paramedic?” She pointed to an image in the middle of the page. 

We all leaned forwards (I was the fourth witch and had joined the others around the cauldron – I was obviously easily swayed by the smallest amount of peer pressure). 

“Erm. I think it’s just a dark green jumper.” Carolyn spoke slowly, obviously giving this a great deal of consideration. 

“What about that one?” Ally flicked a finger towards a blonde guy on the top row. 

“He looks like he’s topless in the picture.” I shook my head. “What kind of uniform is that?”

“Maybe a swimmer?” She suggested. 

“Not usually a profession,” Becca immediately chipped in. 

“Oh! I know!” Ally grinned – triumphant. “He could be a pool life guard.”

I looked closely. “Well, underneath it says ‘Mark – Gardener – Manchester’ – so maybe not a lifeguard.” 

“Part time?” She tried again. 

I shook my head. “Probably not.”

“You know, most of these guys aren’t even in professions where you’d wear a uniform.” Carolyn was scanning all the pictures, reading the brief descriptions beneath each. “What’s the point in that?”

“Yeah,” I agreed. “Maybe we should do something else if the sites are no good.”

“Nice try,” Becca elbowed me and pulled the screen around to face her. “We should just try a different one. I vote for and then we can choose the perfect person for Kate.”

I flopped backwards and gave up, it didn’t bear thinking about what the three of them would agree on as a ‘perfect guy’… He’d be some kind of S&M, Disney Prince with the banter skills of Ryan Reynolds – I was going to be single forever. I drained the last of the wine from my glass and closed my eyes. Single. That didn’t sound too bad at all actually.