Humor Life Writing

Talking To Strangers About Penguins

3rd October 2018

I’ve been waiting to post this post to replace that scary cat puzzle. It’s still in my house, by the way. But at least it’s no longer the first thing you see when you visit my blog. It was funny at the time, but moving on.

Have I mentioned my house is a mess?

Someone hid my grabber and true story, I can’t pick stuff up off the floor with without my Inspector Gadget gadget.

Also, Isla’s been sick and she just went back to school yesterday.

I could tell she wasn’t feeling well. On Monday, we were hanging out and she goes, ‘let’s cuddle and watch Gilmore Girls.’

My kid suggested togetherness and feel-good TV.


I raced into the bedroom before she could change her mind. She didn’t. Our mother-daughter bonding time included her barfing on my bed, but y’know.

Moving on, again.

And so, I’m sitting in a cafe with Isla last week (it happens sometimes) and an embarrassing moment happened.

In recounting this story, I just now realized that this was also last time I actually left the house. That’s also weird, but back to the embarrassing moment numero uno.

Now. Let me preface this with the compounded weird confession that I sometimes take on the accents of people I’m talking to or overhear.

And of course the people at the next table were from London.

Before I know it, I’m taking to Isla like I just got back from Albert Square on Eastenders.

Neil thinks my fake London accent is passable, of course he’d say that.


  1. It’s in the small print of the marriage certificate that he must think I’m good at everything, up to and including fake accents.
  2. He’s from Edinburgh. What does he know about London?

So, my voice carries. And these strangers at the table next to me last week, with their maps and thermoses, are looking at me, confused.

But at least it lead to conversation, awkward start or not.

‘It’s just this thing, never mind,’ I said to them. As they looked at me over their glasses, I kinda felt like I was back at school.

It would seem I was saved by the penguins. Isla carries her giant blue penguin everywhere. Occasionally, Victoria is a welcome talking-point, and um, ice-breaker.

Victoria not pictured.

‘What your penguin’s name?’

‘Victoria,’ said Isla. ‘I take her everywhere.’

Nice old couple looked at me again.

‘Yes, I’ve tried to downsize for about four years. It’s not working. Would you like a travel mascot?’

They went on their way, and the goodbyes were slightly less awkward than how we started.

And that, my friends, is my contribution to this week’s people-watching prompt. Except I spoke to the people, too. Is that extra points?

Also on deck this week is:

Carol’s Watching and Waiting 

Ritu’s The Coffee Shop

Ellen’s Playing Like Children

Sarah’s Beachwalkers

Susanne’s yet more Watching and Waiting

Anindya’s Busyness

Deb’s celeb-spotting 

Since Wednesday isn’t over yet, if anyone would like to add their words this week, add your link in the comments and I’ll get you on the list.

Here are some pointers on how to use writing prompts, if you are stuck.

The writing prompt for next week is: puzzle.

And I know I keep changing the day for the roundups, but the one for puzzle will be posted Thursday, October 11th.


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Also published on Medium.

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  • Reply ellenbest24 3rd October 2018 at 8:14 pm

    I think you missed this one. Lorna.
    He may not know how to ping back?

    • Reply Lorna 3rd October 2018 at 8:29 pm

      Fixed now.

  • Reply ellenbest24 3rd October 2018 at 8:17 pm

    Thank you for the opportunity now for the fun. I will read and comment on them all. I believe comments are our wages by way of thanks for writing. A good way to say thank you follow and connect.

    • Reply Lorna 3rd October 2018 at 8:32 pm

      At least it’s not a thankless job.

      • Reply ellenbest24 3rd October 2018 at 8:37 pm

        And lots of good reading.😊

  • Reply Miriam Joy 3rd October 2018 at 8:39 pm

    I accidentally pick up accents, too. I have a south London accent, which isn’t THAT dissimilar to an Australian accent, just… milder. But right before I started uni, I watched two seasons of Dance Academy, an Australian show. As a result, I got asked multiple times whether I was Australian / had previously lived in Australia / where I was from because they couldn’t place my accent at all.

  • Reply rachaelstray 3rd October 2018 at 8:55 pm

    I sometimes do this too with accents! How big is Victoria?

  • Reply Ritu 3rd October 2018 at 10:06 pm

    Oh Lorna, I am an accent picker-upper too! I had to apologise in advance when staying in a shared dorm at a US university, because I knew I’d pick up their twang and I didn’t want them to think I was taking the P!!!
    Great entries too!
    I’ll be thinking of this week’s one !

  • Reply Debbie Harris 3rd October 2018 at 10:16 pm

    A great collection of stories again Lorna, i enjoyed them all. Love the penguin. I’ll include my link soon if that’s ok.

  • Reply rivergirl1211 3rd October 2018 at 10:21 pm

    I think we should all carry giant blue penguins. Office cocktail parties would be so much more interesting….

    • Reply Lorna 3rd October 2018 at 10:25 pm

      Victoria is open to guest appearances. Free postage.

  • Reply CarolCooks2 4th October 2018 at 2:01 am

    A lovely roundup…Lorna all of which I thoroughly enjoyed..I love prompts as it makes you realise how different everyone’s take is on a word or a phrase and I love it..No two alike 🙂

  • Reply Ritu 4th October 2018 at 4:31 pm

    Here you are Lorna!

  • Reply loristory 4th October 2018 at 5:30 pm

    Loved reading this, including the caption, which made me take a closer look at that adorable baby penguin!

  • Reply Anindya 7th October 2018 at 8:44 am

    Hi Lorna, here’s what I have tried towards the current writing prompt Puzzle…..

  • Reply Martha Kennedy 8th October 2018 at 5:00 pm

    For a while in the early 80s I worked as a temp at Atlantic Richfield Oil Company (ARCO). My job was dispatching trucks from all over the country. Most of my phone calls were naturally to and from Texas. I learned if I wanted help and cooperation, well, I tell you whut. I learned to talk Texan. 🙂

    • Reply Lorna 9th October 2018 at 10:34 pm

      Bless your heart. I was born in Dallas, but not raised there, and my parents are from New York. But I did leave Texas with an otherwise inexplicable love of country music.

  • Reply fancypaperblog 10th October 2018 at 6:25 pm

    Sorry I missed our here and I love penguins! As you know. ☺

    • Reply Lorna 10th October 2018 at 6:34 pm

      But you haven’t. Open til tomorrow!

  • Reply lsgaitan23 31st October 2018 at 8:20 pm

    I do the same thing. I’ve lived in many parts of the US and I teach ESL to students from around the globe–my accent is a mish-mash mess!

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