Friday, 23 December 2016

Things I Have in Common With This Christmas Bear

We are very alike, You probably can't even tell
which one of us this is a photo of.

We both love Christmas  

We both have killer fashion sense (We go to the same hat shop)

We are both essentially enthusiasts in an age of cynics.

Nobody knows where either of us came from, we both just appeared as if by magic after a fan fair played.

We both simply could stay with Dean Martin in 'Baby it's Cold Outside'

We both spend most of the year asleep in a box in my mum's attic.

We are both made of the same constituent parts (Mystery and ribbons), although they are arranged into different formations.

We pull the exact same face when we are waiting for you to react to our jokes.

Neither of us believes that rugby union even exists (where’s the proof? We’d both like proof)

Neither of us is any good at wrapping presents (he’s worse than me in fairness, he has no fingers)

We are both chronic exaggerators, but if you point it out in company we will both cut you.

We are both exhausted by the constant effort it takes not to point out our own fabulousness. We’d both appreciate it if you could point it out on our behalf.

Our walk is so similar it’s uncanny, although I obviously have a longer stride on account of me being like 12 feet taller.

Neither of us really understand maths or measurements, but honestly, we don’t really need to – we can both get by on our good looks and sparkling personalities.

We were both clearly born to head up a huge parade, with a marching band and elephants and everything but no-one ever asks us and we both think it’s starting to get beyond a joke. Honestly you’ve had 25 years and we’ve just been sitting here, ready and waiting. 

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Am I a Grown Up Yet?

When I started my MA I had a conversation with another student who was in her early 30’s. I was complaining that I didn’t feel like a grown up yet, and I was starting to wonder if I ever really would. Worse still I suspected everyone else could tell I wasn’t a real grown up, like I was wandering around with a neon sign over my head advertising it. “Oh Letty” the other student said trying to reassure me “The world doesn’t neatly divide into who’s grown up and who’s not.” And I thought “Obviously you would say that you are firmly entrenched on the right side of the dividing line.” It’s been the best part of three years since I had that conversation and I’m still not sure which side of the line I’d come down on. Let’s consider the evidence.

Could a not grown up grow such an impressive girl beard?
I think not.
Grown Up:

When I was staying on a residential course in July I stayed in the Halls of Residence on a University campus. One night a bonafide student came to the door selling wristbands to get three vodka shots for a pound at a local club. I sure felt like a grown up when I opened the door already in my pyjamas and said: “No thank you, children, I do not want to come drinking vodka with you on a Tuesday night.”

Not Grown Up:

Recently I found out that Super-Hero Barbie exists and there is no part of me that doesn’t want one. Her cape turns into a dress and her eye mask turns into a crown and she is just the coolest thing in all time history.

Grown Up:

As mentioned in this post I have recently turned round my gardening fortunes and have been successfully rearing plants. What’s more adult than keeping something alive when its existence depends on you?

Looking good, cactus at the back.
Not Grown Up:

Full Disclosure – I did kill one of my cacti last week. I came into my studio after an absence and my mini cactus had gone brown and imploded. To compound the issue, I went on this cacti forum to see if anything could be done to save it and the expert said that my cactus was the worst potted plant she had ever seen. The cactus was too far down in the pot and had slowly suffocated which seems like an awful way to go.

Grown Up:

I have spent a lot of the last year on the phone to the NHS and as a result, I’m now mastering the art of making official phone calls. I have my details to hand, I tell people I want to speak to someone who CAN help me, in short, I make things happen and it’s glorious.

You'd probably be better off talking to my brother about this.

Not Grown Up:

I am the youngest of three children and as such I will always be playing catch up in the grown up stakes. Also, I’m not sure if I’ll ever shake off that Pavlovian part of me that thinks, “Last time I counted I had two older brothers who would be better equipped to deal with this situation than me.” In my heart I will always and forever be the smallest Billy-Goat-Gruff.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Olympic Sports That I Could Win a Medal in if Only They Were Real Olympic Sports

The Summer Olympics are over for another year and I’m left wondering how I filled my days before I dedicated them entirely to watching obscure sports. What did I do before I knew the rules of canoe slalom and modern pentathlon? Work? Sounds boring. I also can’t help but notice that another Olympics has come and gone without me getting a medal. Which seems unfair given how badly I want one and how little I do in order to get one. I’m determined to come home from Tokyo 2020 with a gold medal in something, so between now and then I’ll be petitioning The IOC to make these things into sports.

1.     Slow Blogging

I looked up the manifesto of the slow Blogging Movement the other week on the off chance I would finally find my people. Turns out I’m already slower than all the slow bloggers. The manifesto I found recommended slowing to once a week, so with my loose schedule of once a month I already have the competition beat. I could go slower if I thought there was a gold in it. Once a year? Once a decade? How slow could a blog be without being technically abandoned? I guess that’s the sort of thing the IOC iron out.

This is a drawing of a lion I did on the beach
I probably wouldn't get a medal for drawing on the beach. 

2.     Leaving Hesitant Answer Phone Messages.

I don’t mean to brag but I think I easily leave the most hesitant answer phone messages. This is because I’m always surprised by the beep and I’ve never put any thought into what I’m saying.
“Umm… Hello… this is Letty McHugh… I uhhh… I’m leaving a message for…Umm… Dr …Smith? It’s about the MS that I have?... So… yeah if they could ring me back on….Umm… Yeah on my number I guess… Thanks.

3.     Bedroom Dancing

If bedroom dancing were an Olympic  sport I already have a routine to Abba’s Fernando that I would be confident on qualifying with. My dilemma would be whether to put in the one to accompany Boney M’s Ra Ra Rasputin, where I lay on the bed and pretend to be a Cossack dancer. It would have a high difficulty value, but I’d worry that I’d lose marks on execution. Still, I’ve got 4 years to practise right?

Medal table of the future
I'm coming for you, Phelps.

4.     Fork Throwing

Since I had that relapse in January that caused involuntary movement in my hands I have thrown many a fork across many a room and I have to say I can get some impressive distance on those things. I think this would be my weakest event because accuracy has always been an issue. Also, I’m pretty much recovered from that relapse now so my fork throwing days may be behind me.

If any of these events are approved for 2020 I’m pretty sure I’ll come home with an impressive medal haul, and if not my one-woman campaign to have fork throwing recognised as a sport will at least keep me busy until the Paralympics starts. 

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Times I've Been Wrong

Oh hey post-Brexit people, what are we all up to? If like me you were an IN voter you’ve probably been crying, listening to Abba and waiting for the end times. I thought it was an awful idea for Britain to leave the EU, but (and the next part of this sentence might shock you) I’ve been wrong about things before. In an effort to make us all feel better I've assembled a handy list of some of those times. 

1. When I was in my third year of Uni and I thought we had mice.

I’ve looked at nature book since then and I’m now 90% sure that the small furry creatures that infested our house were, in fact, rats. Okay so that was a time when I was wrong but the reality was worse. MY BAD. Let me try again.

Oh, sorry were you expecting an illustration related to the topic of the blog?
Well, it was E.U. regulations that said I had to draw things on topic and we're post Brexit now.

2.     When I was in third year of Uni and I thought I had a trapped nerve

One cold day in February 2012 I woke up and I had lost all feeling in my left leg. ‘That’s weird’ I thought ‘I must have a trapped nerve’. A week later I went into hospital for a brain scan and (this is the funny thing) it turned out I had Multiple Sclerosis. Yeah, sorry, that’s probably also a bad example. I promise this next one will be good.


3.     When I thought only male goats have beards.

As it turns out, all goats have beards. I don’t know who told me that lady goats don’t have beards, or why I believed them until I was twenty-one. Most likely it was the patriarchy pushing limiting gender roles like always. Those guys are the worst. 

Looking good in that imaginary necklace imaginary me.

4. That time I thought I’d discovered the world's most brilliant necklace.

About a year ago I thought I had discovered this brilliant necklace. I saw it on the Tatty Devine site and fell completely in love because it was stylish and a little bit ironic and I wanted it so badly. The necklace I loved was made up of chunky pink letters that read ‘Your Name Here’. Only it obviously wasn’t real, it was the sample image from the customised name necklace page. I did think about just making one that said ‘Your Text Here’, but it just didn’t feel the same somehow.   

5.     Every time I’ve ever measured anything.

The time I measured the space for some drawers in inches and the site I ordered them from measured them in centimetres and I insisted they delivered them to my house. The shop was only round the corner, the drawers were 41 centimetres high and I still tried to fit a pair of jeans in them. The time I was going to silversmithing classes and I needed 30 centimetres of silver but I somehow ordered 0.30 centimetres of silver. I tried to style it out by claiming I had ‘Wanted to test the quality’ and never went back to the class. The time I ordered my mum an A5 safari colouring book to go in her stocking at Christmas but it turned out to be an A0 colouring poster. I wasn’t even tipped off by the fact I’d ordered it from The Really Giant Poster Company.  


6.     Every time I tried to spell any words.

‘Isn’t it weird’ I proclaim to a room full of people, drunk on the brilliance of the observation I’m about to make ‘That the word Colonel has a G in it?’

‘Isn’t it weird’ I say later that same night, undeterred by the failure of my earlier observation ‘that you spell cogs with only one g but clogs has two?’   

That poor bear, all he wanted was to be my friend. 

7.     That time I thought I was being attacked by a tiny bear.

One night I was walking to my evening class in Bath when my bag brushed the wall at the same moment that the shadow from a passing car moved over me and I jumped into the air shouting ‘A Bear’. This was obviously a huge mistake on my part because, as everyone knows, the correct way to greet a tiny bear is with a hearty handshake. If only my reaction had been less over the top, me and him could be partaking in hilarious high jinks now.   

Monday, 30 May 2016

The Brontë Sisters Come To Modern Haworth

The Brontës and I have so much in common. We all grew up in Brontë country, although when they were growing up it was just called Haworth and the surrounding area. We are all women. We are all sisters, although admittedly they were sisters to each other and I am a sister to entirely unrelated people 200 years later. We are all writers, them of ground-breaking literature, me of a blog post about a dolphin winning the Chelsea Flower Show. I know this isn’t a long list. But I figure since we are the same in all ways that matter, it’s enough for me to know exactly what the Brontë sisters would think about everything in modern Haworth.

'Where were you 200 years ago when I needed you?' Cried Charlotte.  

Brontë Taxis:

I recently got stranded in Manchester, when the last train was cancelled. This is a problem because I don’t have Uber and Brontë Taxis is the only taxi number I know. But would you believe they came all the way to Manchester to pick me up? Obviously you believe that, they are a taxi company who were charging me money, it would be weird if they said no. The point I am trying to make is: the Brontë sisters would have gone bananas for Brontë taxis. Especially considering the fuss every Brontë  biography I’ve ever read has made them moving to Haworth from Thornton. You can literally see parts of Haworth from Thornton, I guarantee you could get there in a taxi for under a tenner.

It's hard to draw steampunk Emily without her just looking like regular Emily.
I think this says more about her steampunk credentials than my ability to draw cogs. 

Haworth Steam Punk Weekend:

Okay, let’s collectively take a second to imagine that Bertha Rochester didn’t set fire to Thornfield, but instead destroyed it using a steam-powered ray gun. Obviously the Brontë sisters would have been all over the Steam Punk Weekend, it’s the Gothic Romance Weekend of our era.

The Brontë Balti:

When I wrote about Haworth for a uni assignment my tutor thought that I made the Brontë Balti up. But it’s totally real and if you are going to order from there I’d recommend Brontë Naga Balti. I wouldn’t recommend that for the sisters though, because everything I’ve read about them says they only liked plain food. So I guess they’d get a korma if they were getting anything at all. To be honest I’m not sure if the Brontë Balti would be the sisters’ scene. I imagine Branwell would go mad for it though. We all know that a curry is the perfect end to a hard night of drinking.

Anne Brontë rides again. 

Brontë Vintage Vehicle Weekend:

Admittedly the vehicles of this weekend didn’t exist until ages after the sisters were alive, so they may find the vintage tag a little confusing. I still reckon Anne would at least have been into it. This weekend is mostly about tractors and she did make a farmer the romantic lead in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall Imagine how much more time for romance Gilbert Markham would have had in a world of mechanised farm equipment.