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Grandma


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My Grandma passed away just over a year ago. It really affected me, actually. It surprised me at the time just how much it knocked me sideways. She wasn’t the first family member I’ve lost and my family isn’t a particularly close unit – everyone lives really far away from each other and we don’t talk that much. My Grandma was special to me though. I think I’ve inherited a lot of qualities from her. She had a ferociously sharp wit and was her whole life fiercely independent. She was always active, and had a pony until she was 76. When I was little (maybe 7?) I went to stay with her in the school holidays and I got to look after her pony Timmy (pictured below). She wrote me a letter afterwards, with a little certificate giving me part ownership of him and, honestly, it meant the world to me. She was creative and could paint a mean watercolour landscape. She was always worrying my Dad with her adventures, including the time she bought a narrowboat and lived on it for a couple of years. She said later that living on the boat was her one of her favourite times in her life.

Her funeral was on Halloween; I remember so clearly the autumn colours of the trees and the cold, bright morning. On my way home this evening, two owls were hooting to each other in the dark and the moon was obscured by fog – it was the perfect all hallows eve and I found that reassuring somehow, as I thought about my favourite Grandma and how the time passes you by so quickly.

Photo Sacn 1

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October Horoscope


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It’s been a really, really long time since I wrote some horoscopes. Too long, some would say. Not long enough, would say others.

Aquarius
Around the 2nd of the month you’ll develop a ringing in the ears which, by the 8th, will turn into a full cacophony of ear-splitting white noise and screeching that nothing can relieve. Driven to insanity, you cut off your own ears in a Van Gough-inspired stunt but then discover a gentle and soothing passion for blobby landscape oil paintings.

Pisces
Avoid honey, cartography, bridges, cotton wool, good intentions and radio 4 this month. A scabby, incurable rash will engulf your body if you don’t.

Aries
You accidentally join a satanic cult by entering the wrong room at the local university and being too polite to leave once the meeting has begun. Three hours later, you’re a fully initiated member and leave worried that this may damage your chances of getting into heaven. I can assure you that it does. Have fun in hell.

Taurus
Every day this month will be a Monday.

Gemini
This month, while walking in the forest, you’ll discover that unicorns are real. But, despite photographic evidence, no one will believe you and as you become increasingly fanatical, one by one your friends and family leave you. You’ll be forced to live alone in a tent in the woods as all you have left is your… “unicorns”.

Cancer
You happen upon a small Irishman lost near a rainbow and, convinced he is a leprechaun, you try to sell him on eBay. Big mistake.

Leo
Remarkably, you solve the mystery of why there is only ever one shoe at the side of the road. Well done you.

Virgo
Virgo, virgo, virgo. On the 1st of this month it will dawn on you that everything you do is worthless and nobody loves you. The rest of the month will follow suit.

Libra
There will be an alarming incident around the 15th that will leave your co-workers unable to look you in the eye ever again.

Scorpio
Nothing can prepare you for the level of tedious monotony that will consume every waking second of this month. Honestly, October will make the M6 motorway seem exotic and invigorating.

Sagittarius
I know I’m usually pretty hard on you, sagittarius, so you’ll be pleased to know you’re off the hook this month. However, don’t park your car under any trees because, well, you’ve upset the bird kingdom.

Capricorn
You come up with the idea of a septuple-decker cookie-doughnut-waffle-ice cream-marshmallow-whipped cream-chocolate coated sandwich of joy. The early prototypes are good and you decide it’s the best idea you’ve ever had. You taste test the final sugary monstrosity in front of a substantial internet audience but this grand unveiling reveals, to your bitter disappointment, that the end result is inedible and disgusting and it leaves you wondering what on earth you were thinking. The whole endeavour finally tips you over the edge into diabetes.

 

Blog, Philosophy

Desert Eel


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You know what I’m completely sick of? Seeing those ‘inspirational’ quote posters, but when you read the quote it quickly becomes apparent how utterly meaningless and hollow it is, like the soul of a career politician. They’re complete rubbish; an eel in the desert makes more sense.
People go mad for them at the moment. They’re littering social media like rubbish on a hot day at the beach. But here’s the thing: I’m convinced that people are pretending to understand them in order to make themselves seem cool and inspirational. Those people share them on their social media, thinking “Ah, yes, everyone will see how cool and deep I am when they see this intellectual, philosophical shit” not realising (or caring?) that the words are empty and the quote makes no sense.
Alarmingly, though, the act of people sharing the quote legitimises the poster’s meaning as something does makes sense: if loads of people claim to understand it, then it becomes something that can be understood. Even if the quote is still meaningless, and those people are probably lying.
It reminds me of when people use long words because they want to show how clever they are but in reality they don’t fully understand the words and so end up using them in the wrong context and essentially looking like a complete knob.
Even more annoying is when the quotes are from people that no one’s heard of (again, I’m sure they’re made-up people) but the fact that they’re being quoted makes it seem like their nonsensical opinion matters and you should care. You shouldn’t care. Don’t even think about caring.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a sucker for a cool font and a bit of bokeh nature photography but, I mean, shit, will people write literally anything just to get a few likes on Instagram?
To be fair to inspirational posters, there are many out there that contain quotes that are indeed uplifting but, unfortunately, as is the case with so many good things in life, the idiots have capitalised on the idea and filled the pot with rubbish.

I realise that I’m probably swimming upstream here and should perhaps just get over myself. The internet has become a place where anyone’s ridiculous, ill-informed opinion is accepted (including mine!) and that’s just how it is in the 21st century. So, I made my own inspirational poster:

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Some July-ing


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Gandalf’s beard! It’s the 31st July and I haven’t written anything on my cherished blog. I managed to get a few photos this month, so I’ll lazily share those with you instead. I managed to do some brush pen practice this month (something that I never do and hence I’m terrible at using the brush pen) and I even managed to make it fun by doing it outside on a warm summer’s evening. Many of my photos seem to be me encroaching on the personal space of various flowers, which explains three of the photos, and, lastly, I liked the pattern of the wisteria leaves in the sunshine one sunny day.

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That’ll Keep ‘Em Out


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Well the good news is that I won’t be having problems with rabbits eating the vegetables in the garden any more, thanks to my firm but fair method of pest control (see below).

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The bad news is that I don’t think it’ll work for the squirrels because they’re crafty little buggers and I think they’re politically motivated because they systematically targeted all of the strawberries last year. Ate them all, before they were even ripe (have I complained about this before? I complain about this on a regular basis). They know that strawberries are my favourite fruit, you see; they’ve seen what joy I gain from growing and picking them. I think the squirrels are upset due to the time I chased little Jimmy around the garden (I don’t know if the squirrel’s name was Jimmy) and the fiasco with the bird seed. That’s when things turned sour, but, see, I don’t think it’s possible to reach a truce with squirrels like I have with, say, the spiders that live in my window or the little vole who resides in the flower bed. Squirrels are bastards, and they’re smart. While I think my friend’s suggestion of land mines might be a little counter-productive, I’ve got to start putting up anti-squirrel propaganda around the garden or spread some rumours about them to the other animals or something because that strawberry shit was too far. Squirrels are devil sympathisers, after all. No, really, they are, I’ve seen it.

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Snakes


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It’s April Fool’s day tomorrow, so now seems like a good time to tell you about the running joke I’ve been playing on my Mum for the last couple of years. Like any sensible grown-up she writes food shopping lists and leaves them in the kitchen, adding to them whenever food inspiration strikes and eventually taking the list to the shop so as to remember what to buy. It’s a good idea. However, if you leave your shopping list lying around you leave it vulnerable to other people adding things to the list without you noticing. Like ‘snakes’. Other than the fact that writing ‘snakes’ on someone’s shopping list is hilarious, the funny thing was that the first time I did it she couldn’t read what it said and she thought it said ‘snacks’. The other funny thing was how, displeased, she would always cross it out as if, if she didn’t cross it out, she’d accidentally buy snakes in Sainsbury’s. Hopefully one day she’ll forget to cross it out, black out and unintentionally buy some snakes, which would be fun (until they get loose in the house, and then there’d be trouble).

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It became a running joke in the house to the point that other people started joining in. And then it evolved from snakes to, well, anything. One time my partner Max and I added ‘crocodiles’ and ‘lemons’ to a list.

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Eventually, though, my joke backfired and someone got one of my shopping lists. Touché.

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Does anyone play pranks on April Fool’s day any more? I find the unnecessary number of rules confusing (you have to prank before noon, while wearing golf shoes and waving your left arm?) and most pranks are just mean. Don’t do mean pranks, folks, because if you like doing mean things to other people you SUCK.