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“Children See The Magic Because They Look For It”

16 Oct

Magic comes to those who make it, and I strongly believe in the sorcery of believing everything as a child. Children have an alarming clarity at times, and the ability to be able to see the world from a different point of view; a stance so far unaffected by politics and sadness and life events that willshape their future and colour their perception.

When I was a kid, my parents and grandparents revelled in the theatre of the Tooth Fairy and Father Christmas, with mince pies bitten and carrots carefully nibbled when we came bouncing through on Christmas morning. My dad still wildly claims that one year he REALLY DID hear Santa on the roof (although that was the year he got drunk and also claimed he had been abducted by aliens when we found him asleep round the toilet the following morning), and I believed in the tooth fairy for far longer than I should thanks to a timer switch in my Gran’s house and a set of grandparents with vivid imaginations.

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And I do the same for my Goddaughters. You won’t catch me debating the truth in the elves or if Rudolph’s nose really shines; if you can’t believe in the magic of children and the awe of the way they see everything then your world will be a smaller place. Every year I write them a letter from Father Christmas in response to their Christmas lists, alluding to being good and nice to Mummy, and ‘find’ it on the doorstep on my way in. Lilly loves to announce to everyone she knows that Father Christmas answers her, and that she absolutely has to be good to be in with a chance of getting “a dolly what poos” for Christmas this year. The mind boggles.

I love to lie on the grass in the summer with my little dumplings and play the cloud game – seeing if we can spot the different layers of clouds shaping dragons and princesses, cars and trains, for the wind to blow and the picture to change again. I play this all the time and often get laughed at for being dreamy and whimsical, but when I have two chubby little hands in mine, fingers entwined and a captive audience, I just know I can see a princess in a castle waiting for her prince, or a dog with a bone looking for the sun. And I love to hear the excitement in their voices when it comes to counting down to the visit from the big man himself; will he eat the mince pie? Will he not be too full after eating all the other mince pies from the other children? What if Rudolph is too tired to fly?

As JM Barrie once said, “On these magic shores children at play are for ever beaching their coracles. We too have been there; we can still hear the sound of the surf, though we shall land no more.”

As much as I moan about mince pies in the shops in August and people carolling way too early, I’m super excited about their little faces when the tree is decorated and the Christmas pjs are out :)

What do you love most about the season?

I’ve written about magic and children before, if you enjoyed this you might enjoy these posts:

Mary: The Truth about the Toothfairy

Those Who Don’t Believe In Magic Will Never Find It

Tell Me Sweet Little Lies

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Here To Lend A Hand

16 Dec

Two decades ago I was a Brownie. I don’t know how widespread this is, but in the UK the Brownies are pretty popular and little girls from 5 – 10 dress up in mustard yellow and cowpat brown and trudge off once a week to a chilly church hall somewhere to do good. It wasn’t really a choice but something that everyone did.  To not be one you were missing out on quite a social event every Friday night, so both me and Little Bean went off to slowly freeze in the hall.

“We’re Brownie Guides, we’re Brownie Guides we’re here to lend a hand. To love our God and serve our Queen and help our homes and land. We’ve Brownie friends, we’ve Brownie friends in North, South East and West. We’re joined together in our wish, to try to do our best!”

The reason I got thinking about the Brownies is I sat in traffic on my way to work this morning and I stopped outside a lovely old house. It cast my mind back to knocking on the door with my Mum a good twenty years ago, all excited to earn my reading badge. I had to visit this little old lady once a week and read to her, and after a certain amount of hours I got my badge, for my Mum to sew on my sash with all my other shiny ones. It made me a little sad as there was a shiny Audi on the drive, and she was frail twenty years ago so probably isn’t there anymore. She was such a nice old lady.

The Brownies seem to me to be one of these cons for young girls. The concept is quite competitive and therefore gets everyone interested; the more badges you get on your sash, the better than the next girl you become. The kids are divided into tribes (I was an elf with visions of being a pixie. No such luck) and therefore more competition is added, with prizes to winning teams in ‘fun’ games. Parents think it’s like church, when actually it’s more like dodgeball. Vicious. The con is that really you are just acting as unpaid help all over the place (I know, helping people out!) but the amount of cups of tea I had to make and ironing that I had to do for my Mum to earn one particular badge makes me think that actually I was doing a maid a disservice, as I was taking away valuable work! Not that we would ever have had a maid. My friend’s family had a cleaner once a week when I was a child, and her mum was always hilarious with it. The girls would have to clean their rooms and she would run the hoover round the morning before the maid came, so that she didn’t think they were messy. I think all the maid had to do was put some bleach down the loo, spray polish in the air so that it was fragrantly clean and then put her feet up on the coffee table and watch morning tv while dunking biscuits in her coffee. For ten pounds an hour.

Once a year, we went off to brownie camp. We were divided into different tribes and given different duties (cooking, cleaning, bed making etc). We went to a tiny village hall, in the little village where The Holiday was filmed, and for three nights we lived in a little community, trekking round the woods and building things in a wholesome and helpful fashion.

I don’t remember liking it very much.

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On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me:

Five Gold Rings! And Dazzle Rebel. His voice is so cool. Go forth, and listen!

My four calling birds favourite was: Go Guilty Pleasures.

My three french hens fav was: The Byronic Man

My two turtle doves were: Brooke and McKenzie

My partridge in a pear tree was: The Redneck Princess

The five gold rings post of mine is: Wanderlust and Itchy Feet ; a post on how my inbox tempts me with travel goodies!

Happy Friday!

‘Belle xxx

A Passion For Flashin’

14 Dec

When I was fifteen, my Mum bought me a Polaroid camera. I loved it. Suddenly I went from this shy little wall flower to a girl who was constantly in your face trying to get you from the best angle so a square little disk of history would come shooting out of the mouth of my machine. I was never allowed to touch my Dad’s SLR camera as a little girl (even though Little Bean was the accident prone one and not me) so I used to just lovingly stroke the strap which I still remember as being green and grey, and dream of all the creations I could make. I’ve always been a bit like that you see. They say that you either use the right or left side of your brain (I forget which way round it is) and that one is creative and the other is analytical; well I use the creative side a bit much. In fact, I think that the analytical side withered and died a long time ago, due to my neglect. Saying that though, one of the guys at work gave up a long time trying to show me how to do a clever excel graph that ports information from all sorts of places and then puts it in a dynamic chart with a drop down menu.  I had a look at it again the other day and nearly gave him a heart attack when I presented him with my fantastic graph, that I had finally understood after literally hours of peering at my computer and uttering.. “eh??”.

But back to the camera. Once I was in possession of this, I was delighted. I took photos of everything I could find, popping up from nowhere and photographing my family. I still have a selection of eight photos that I took of my first boyfriend looking perplexed at what I was doing, and they still make me laugh. My favourite thing was waiting to watch the inky shapes appear out of nowhere, forming silhouettes out of the darkness of the shot like evolution. I loved it.

This is potentially what made me choose to study photography at A level. I was enthralled by the entire process and would spend hours with my friend Jo in the darkroom watching the shapes develop from white to through grey to black; pulling them out of the chemicals at just the right moment or risking losing the shots forever into a murky grey grave.

Nowadays you can’t get cheap Polaroid films but I still have that massive old camera in its box, gathering dust as a reminder of something that brought me endless happiness.

Was there something that drove your passion? Do you still have it?

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me, three French hens, two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree.

The Byronic Man is my metaphorical three French hens. His dry wit never fails to put a grin on my face and I am often found uttering “right? RIGHT!” at some of his posts. He is truly one great writer. Go read!

My two calling birds were:Brooke & McKenzie

And my partridge in a pear tree was: The Redneck Princess

The post I think you should revisit of mine today is: The Squirrel all about the day that I saved the squirrel from my Dad.

Hope you have all made a dent in your Christmas shopping!

Belle xx

Guest Post – The Old Christmas Ruse

7 Dec

There are some days when I feel like offering you guys a chance to read something that’s not my ranting for a change (and not, as Rob points out, that I ‘cant be arsed’!), and today I wanted to offer you lovely readers the chance to get festive with the writer of I’m On The Bandwagon. He is an amazing writer, and someone who brings much hilarity to my life, so over to him!

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Tink can’t be arsed to write her own post, so I am here to save her neglected blog while she is knee-deep in dough and shit (What he so eloquently means is while we are Tinkering in the Kitchen!).

 Okay then, it’s nearly Christmas time so I thought I would just take a look at certain aspects of it that we don’t really think about.

When you were little, Christmas was a bit like watching ‘Lost’. You stuck with it because you wanted to believe that it was real, you were massively confused on how it all worked and thought it was going somewhere, maybe even lying to yourself in the process, but in the end it all turned out to be rubbish.  Well when we were little, Santa Claus was real. We could wait for Christmas because we knew Santa would be coming to visit, via chimney or front door, to deliver presents. We know this because it’s what our parents told us and we believed it. I may just be speaking for myself but I never questioned it, because I loved the idea of it. My parents did their best for as long as possible to keep the pack of lies, which was Santa Claus, going. But as the years went by, I started seeing cracks in their fibs.

Now I’m not just on about the obvious ones, like flying Reindeer and delivering presents to every child in one night, no, it was little things that didn’t add up. Firstly I couldn’t understand why my mum and dad weren’t blown away by the whole idea of it, as I was! I mean I would marvel at the idea of Santa’s operation and my dad would say “Yeah….good isn’t he!”……..good!? GOOD!? You have to give the bloke a bit more credit! Every Christmas morning I would wake up and think “He’s only gone and done it AGAIN!” But my parents were not bothered. AND I thought, my rough-looking mate, Tim, wasn’t allowed in the house, but a bloke they have never met is given licence to break in and roam around our house!? Santa’s Dad could have been banged up too, Mum!

Another factor was that I wasn’t allowed to send off my own Christmas list. Why? I know where he lives, what’s the problem? Nope, I had to give it to my Mum and Dad. One year I put something on that list that I KNEW my parents wouldn’t let me have. They would say it was ‘Not suitable’, so I thought I would bypass them, cut out the middleman and send the letter to the fat man myself. That way, Santa wouldn’t know any better. When the time came around to giving the list to my Mum I thought “Pfft no chance, I’m not a mug! This is going straight to the North Pole!” I never got that unsuitable present…..which was a goat for an Africa family if they are reading this.

Eventually I came to the realisation that it was a web of lies. Everyone does. And you get on with it like adults, which means, almost despising it. With Christmas songs being played in NOVEMBER! Snow and shopping for presents, it just takes years off your life.

Secret Santa is a weird one. Not if you do it with your mates, but if you have to take part in it at work, you always have to end up buying presents for someone you have probably spoke to twice. Nobody wants this. Where did this idea even come from anyway? I don’t want to point fingers but….Santa’s name IS in the title.

SANTA: Right! I have rounded everyone up! It’s that time of year again! SECRET ME! (Smiles and nudges an elf).  So who wants to go first?

RUDOLF: I will! I love this! Such a great idea!

COMET: (Out the side of his mouth to Prancer) doesn’t help himself does he? Up his arse!

For the record, I don’t completely hate Christmas now. As a result of all this, I Just will make sure my children are lied too as well. I’m going to take it out on them because the only bit of magic I can shatter for my parents is revealing how Sky Plus works. Rubbish.

If I Was A Child………..

3 Dec

There are a lot of things that children have to put up with until they are of an age where they start to have a say, and I think if I was a child at the moment I would be pretty peeved.

Top 5 Child Irritants

5) Nativity Plays.

Yes, we all think it is so adorable when we dress kids as sheep and angels and get them to learn a load of songs, but it can’t be much fun for the children. I used to have the video of my nativity (until Little Bean recorded over it with American teen drama, the OC. Still not impressed) which showed me, aged four, sucking my thumb the whole way through and not being remotely interested in Mary, Jesus or any of the farm animals. One of the shepherds twirled his dressing gown string like a helicopter blade for the duration of the recording, and an angel a few down from me (possibly Gabriel) picked her nose for the entirety.

Lou showed me Lilly’s nativity from last year a few weeks ago, where the lady organising it is clearly heard shouting in a distressed manner “MARY!!! Stop eating the chocolate coins!!! They are for Jesus!!” Mary paid no attention, quite possibly because she was three, and her name wasnt actually Mary. And who gives a three-year old a chocolate coin and expects them to save it for their pretend baby, Son of God or not?

4) Joke outfits.

I have bought Poppy a joke outfit for Christmas. So has her nanny. I went for a Christmas Pudding, complete with hat with berries on, while Di went for Mrs Christmas. As much as I love her I thought this was really funny (although I did draw the line at the elf outfit: stripey tights, green baby grow, elf hat and ears) as I don’t want her to actually HATE me when she gets to eighteen.

3) Bedtime

I can’t think of anything worse than having to go to bed at an allotted time, just because my Mum told me to. At twenty-five I am Lord of My Own Manor (well, joint lord) and the thought of going back twenty years and having to have a bath at a certain time, put the set out pair of jammies on and go to bed when I was told would make me apoplectic with rage. The only saving grace would be that M*A*S*H would still be showing on Sky.

2) PE

At school I was the most imaginative little terror, thinking of reasons that I simply vcouldnt do PE or Sports Day. It usually featured around my ankle, but I might have a sore throat, chesty cough or sprained wrist if it meant I didnt have to do sport. I would also come down with the most terrible (and terribly fake) migraines, and I probably should have gone into a career on stage.

1) Jamie Oliver.

If I was a child, Jamie Oliver would be my top pet hate. Not because he has a face that always irritates you, or that his voice makes me automatically flip the channel (he doesn’t pronounce his ‘T’s for one; and if he says ‘butter’ or ‘Scottish’ I go into a rage), but for his purge of turkey twizzlers. I know he thinks he is trying to do the under tens a favour, but I loved them at school (along with chicken dinosaurs, potato smilies and waffles) and can’t think of anything worse than being a child and not having this to look forward to come lunch time. I mean come on! All that would be left would be pink custard!

What would be in your top 5?

Reach for the Moon – Even if You Miss You Land Among the Stars.

14 Nov

I read a post that Jules wrote this week that said thank you to the people she was grateful for and it inspired me to do the same. There is something to be said about giving thanks to the people who make you and shape you, and although I give you some information on who made me me on ‘The Cast’ page, I sometimes need to take the time to talk about the people I need to give thanks to.

I think sometimes about how time flies and how I suddenly find myself at twenty five, still not having a clue what I’m doing, but ageing all the same. And as my life dances by like it’s on fast forward, so do the lives of the people around me which often causes me concern. As I reach thirty my grandparents will be reaching eighty, and the thought flits through my mind more and more regularly that they aren’t as robust as they used to be, and they won’t live forever. But this post isn’t supposed to be miserable or maudlin, but more to celebrate one of the most influential people in my life, and give me a chance to say thank you to someone that is quite possibly not aware of the impact he has had on my life.

“Grandparents make the world…a little softer, a little kinder, a little warmer.” Unknown

As a little girl, my paternal grandfather used to rub me up the wrong way all the time.  To a volatile teenager he was the most irritating person I knew, commenting on whether I had put on weight, or why I didn’t have a boyfriend, or just generally being full of glee as he wound me up. I was pretty tightly coiled, and one little thing could send me off in a huff. I remember one Christmas him making some comment designed to annoy and me flouncing off in a huff, slamming the lounge room door. The problem was that I have never been the most elegant, and I got the long string of my cardigan caught in the door, so ruined my dramatic exit somewhat by having to open said door, extract cardi and slouch off to my room.

“If wrinkles must be written upon our brow, let them not be written upon the heart; the spirit should never grow old.”James Garfield

But as I grow, I find him more and more fascinating and he has become one of the strongest male figures in my life. My Daddy is there on a day to day basis to impart his wisdom and even just listen if I need someone level headed, but I often find myself thinking about the advice my grandfather would give me should I ask him.

My grandfather is the cleverest person I know. He designed his own website at the ripe old age of seventy-ish (something that most twenty somethings would have an issue with) and when my sister had an issue with her maths he made her an excel spread sheet that would calculate all the problems for her, making her life a lot easier. He is fluent in a few languages and recently taught himself Portuguese to GCSE, just because he wanted to. His capacity to learn astounds me and he always has a twinkle in his eye when he tells a story (mainly because he doesn’t let the truth get in the way of a good tale, although we have now figured out his ‘tell’: he rubs his hands together when lying). He has traced both his and my grandmother’s family trees back for generations, and he is the best cook that I know. If it wasn’t for his staunch belief in me and my ability I may not have pursued half of my dreams; he has always given me self-confidence and the ability to be able to reach for the stars. He would do anything for his four granddaughters, and he truly is one of the most interesting people I know.

(My Granddad, a man who gave me my love of cooking and wine, (see above :)) and also my mental eyebrows)

So Granddad, it might not be your birthday, or a special day, but I want to say thank you for everything you have encouraged me to be.

“Do it flower, I think you’re super” My Granddad.

Little Miss Bump

1 Nov

When I was younger I was fairly accident free, and therefore trusted to play out in the street without my parents fearing that I might come back missing a limb. As I have got older my spatial awareness has diminished, and I now walk into things and bruise like a peach at the merest of brushes.

My sister, on the other hand has been accident prone since she learnt to walk, and it’s got no better as she has aged. At the start of the year she went to stay with our family in California. On her second or third morning my auntie said to her that she was going out and if she needed anything to pop next door. Half an hour later, while slicing a bagel, my darling sister managed to slice through her hand and had to go next door covered in blood to get the neighbours to help her out. Great introduction.

She has always been this way though, so at least she is consistent. Through my childhood I used to either love her or resent her depending on the outcome of the injury. For example, the time when she waved at me from the top of the swing, fell backwards and winded herself, I resented her with dramatic aplomb as not only did we have to leave the other kids at the park early to take her home, I then had to spend the evening with my great-grandmother while my mum took her to casualty. Not the biggest idea of fun for a child on their summer holidays! But the time when she got her thumb stuck in the loo door at school and practically severed it off, I loved her as I got to play at a friend’s house far later than I normally would. There was also the time when she skated down the hill on her forehead; I loved her then too as my mum child-minded a six month old baby, and I was NEVER allowed to push the buggy home from school. Apart from this one time, when my sister was hemorrhaging from the forehead and my mum didn’t have enough hands.

At one point, I seem to remember my mum being asked some serious questions by child protection, such were my sister’s frequent visits to the A&E department at our local hospital. She scraped all the skin off her arm on the Astroturf and had to have x-rays and a sling, she fell into a rose bush and got covered in thorns, and a few weeks later while in my charge she fell out of a low tree and into a patch of stinging nettles; I got into trouble for that one.

But the most significant ones happened within a week of each other, in our old house. On the first occasion she was doing me a favour; I was trying to study on the computer and there was a tarantula above the door frame, very close to where I was sitting. My knight(ess) in shining armour got up on a chair to remove the beast, and smacked her head on the door frame, causing her to get a migraine and a bad back for a while. Not helped by the occurrences of the following week.

My mum had a biscuit tin. My sister liked biscuits. My mum felt that my sister should not just eat biscuits as her staple diet, so put the tin on top of the cupboards out of reach and went out. She would be back in a few hours, and I was to watch my sister, while trying to study. I sat at the computer, and suddenly heard a bang and a scream. My sister, wanting biscuits, had climbed onto the work surface, slipped in some water spilt by the kettle and fallen off, hitting her head on the granite tiled flooring. I was furious. I sat her on the sofa to watch TV and she kept calling that she was tired, I would scream back “DON’T YOU DARE GO TO SLEEP TILL MUM GETS HOME OR I’LL KILL YOU!”

Mum got home, took her to the casualty department, where she was treated for concussion. Turns out me threatening to kill her potentially saved her life. Who’d have thought it?

Just Keep Swimming…

30 Oct

When I am stressed there is nothing I like more than to go for a swim. I like the way that the lapping water calms me, and I love walking along the beach for the same reason.

Not so much as a child. My mother, like any mother, wanted the best for me. Over the years she bought me various “first 1000 words in… (insert language)” books, signed me up for ballet classes and competitions and tried to give me a rounded childhood. She also tried to get me to learn to swim.

To give you some background, I had a bit of an aversion to water. As a small child the bath was fine, splash splash splash, beard made out of bath bubbles, squirting water out of a fish…. All fun and games. Hair washing was another matter, and if water made contact with my head I would scream and scream and get myself so worked up that I might be sick. How my Mum looked forward to hair washing nights!

As I got older, I used to ask if I could do swimming lessons in the summer. The first year Mum enthusiastically booked me in, and the time came when I was to get in the water. Brand new swimming costume, very excited at the thought of being able to swim…. Wouldn’t get in the water. There were tears and tantrums and princess strops, and eventually my Mum could see that there was no way I was getting in the water. We went home in frosty silence.

The next year I requested the lessons again. I assured my Mum that I was indeed ready to learn, and she relented and booked them in. We got to the pool, I wouldn’t get in and my sister got the privilege of a week’s lessons. You can see where this is going.

The next year, the same thing happened. My sister was the best in the class, mainly for the fact that she had done swimming lessons every year when I wouldn’t do them. For the shame! My Mum also refused to talk to me for a bit as I had ruined her day. Just so happened it was her birthday.

Then one year we went to Italy. My cousins came too, along with my grandparents and mum and dad. I remember being horribly embarrassed that the other girls were playing in the pool for the majority of the holiday, and it was too deep in the shallow end for me to even play. I watched them for a few days, and then one day when my granny was in charge of watching us I climbed down the ladder and into the deep end of the pool. Understandable, my grandmother panicked, and rushed to the side of the pool to watch me swim breast stroke to the ladder at the shallow end and get out of the water.

“You can swim?!” everyone asked. It wasn’t that I could swim, but it seemed that I had watched everyone else do it for such a long time that I understood the theory of the task and was able to just get in and get on with it.

And I’ve loved the water ever since. I’m nothing if not stubborn!

Have you ever surprised yourself by being able to do something?

The Sinister Side of the Nursery Rhyme

16 Sep

As a child, I was the same as all the rest, lining up and singing nursery rhymes with the other kids in my class. We never thought anything of it, but isn’t it strange how songs designed to be performed by little rug-rats are actually pretty sinister?

Take Ring of Roses (or whatever they call it) for example.
Ring a ring a roses,
A pocket full of posies,
A tissue! A tissue!
We all fall down!

Yes kids, and never get up again. That particular gem was about the bubonic plague! Sneezing and coughing was a symptom, and once you had it, you were pretty much screwed. There was nothing a tissue could have done for you.

London’s burning? That one is pretty self-explanatory, as in 1666 London was indeed burning after an oversight by a baker. Seeing as the city was pretty much wholly built of wood, up went the flames and no amount of ‘pouring on water’ could stop the capital from being razed to the ground. Here’s a tip, check the ovens off before going to bed.

There was an old lady that swallowed a fly, perhaps she’ll die? Not really the sort of message we want to be conveying to the next generation of innocents, is it really? The list goes on.

It makes me think that maybe the people who thought the nursery rhymes up were not dissimilar to the character of Mrs Trunchbull, the head teacher in Matilda. The sort of person that has a job where they influence children, but actually really hates them and wants to inhibit their development.

But the one that strikes me as the weirdest (even as a child I was suspicious) is London Bells. I think that the only explanation for this is that people in the olden days survived mostly on crack.

Gay go up and gay go down
To Ring the Bells of London Town
“Oranges and Lemons” say the Bells of St. Clements
“Bullseyes and Targets” say the Bells of St. Margaret’s
“Brickbats and Tiles” say the Bells of St. Giles
“Halfpence and Farthings” say the Bells of St. Martin’s
“Pancakes and Fritters” say the Bells of St. Peter’s
“Two Sticks and an Apple” say the Bells of Whitechapel
“Maids in white aprons” say the Bells at St. Katherine’s
“Pokers and Tongs” say the Bells of St. John’s
“Kettles and Pans” say the Bells of St. Anne’s
“Old Father Baldpate” say the slow Bells of Aldgate
“You owe me Ten Shillings” say the Bells of St. Helen’s
“When will you Pay me?” say the Bells of Old Bailey
“When I grow Rich” say the Bells of Shoreditch
“Pray when will that be?” say the Bells of Stepney
“I do not know” say the Great Bell of Bow
Gay go up and gay go down
To Ring the Bells of London Town.

Seriously. I have nothing.

Whats the weirdest rhyme you can think of?

This Will Self Destruct In Ten Seconds

26 Aug

My sister has a naughty streak wider than mine. Being the younger one she learnt from my mistakes, and where I tiptoed sensibly around issues and trials, she went full steam ahead behind me, picking her battles by seeing where I went horribly wrong, and where she had room to try it out for herself.

When I was seventeen I had a New Years Eve party. My dad was aware of it but went out, and I had a few friends over for some drinks. Nothing wild, and not old enough to go to an actual pub, that sort of party.

My sister was allowed to stay with us rather than going out with my dad, so I think he was pleased he didn’t have to make arrangements for her. She was quite well behaved, playing Pictionary and Articulate with us and being in awe of all my friends. Unknown to me however, she was going round finishing off all the dregs left at the bottom of other peoples glasses and was steadily getting more and more merry.

It was only discovered quite how drunk she was when she went to hit my friend Iain with a pillow. She drunkenly swung and knocked off one of my Mum’s display plates which lived on the wall above the sofa and had survived there in relative peace for years. My mum absolutely loves these plates; she has a whole collection of them, all with different Japanese scenes on them. We think they are hideous, but each to their own. The plate came flying off the shelf and landed on the floor; there was a panicked look that went between me and the little Tinker like electricity, and silence descended. I tiptoed over and turned the plate, noticing a large piece had chipped off. Danielle went mad. Total panic crossed her face and she started gabbling about how dad was going to kill her etc etc.

I put her to bed.

The next morning she got up and took all the crockery out of the cupboard. When dad found her she had washed and dried all the items, and was putting them all back in the cupboards. She was still drunk.

The difference between the two of us is the consistency of the Tinker Trouble. My sister is on a slow burn; constantly troublesome and prone to do something naughty. When she does things we always try to placate her by saying “oh well, you learn from your experiences” and she always concedes that actually, she probably won’t learn at all.

My naughtiness is worse. Because it comes in waves. Something will make me push the big and shiny self destruct button and I turn into the Tasmanian devil, a whirling dervish of trouble and mischief. Normally sensible me becomes this little bundle of energy who will go out partying and not return till the morning, or dance on the bar and encourage a lock in. Past self destruct moments have included convincing an entire car load of friends to drive to Brighton at 4am because the chip shop was shut in Guildford, and sit and have fish and chips on the pebbles in the rain as the sun came up, or the time I accidently booked a holiday when drunk and ended up leaving for Greece two days later with my housemate. My first button push came at thirteen when me and a friend procured a box of Marlboro reds and snuck out and smoked all twenty in the middle of the night in about half an hour. Needless to say I have never touched a cigarette since as it made me so ill, and I don’t expect to ever do so! Tasmanian Tinker is a bit of a force to be reckoned with, and I secretly quite like her.

Are you constantly trouble, or do you have your moments where you can’t be contained?

As an aside, get well soon to my Northern friend, the mon-keh, who has done something traumatic to his knee while playing rugby and is feeling sorry for himself, sitting at home with too much time on his hands. It has been commented that I never mention in my blog how much I am head over heels in love with him (my blog, I might add which he has only just discovered!)  and so I wholeheartedly apologise for this oversight (this is obviously a joke!). Get well soon. This isn’t a radio station, I don’t do shout outs! I’ve also had a lot of comments recently from people I know about them reading my blog (bit scary. I feel safer being anonymous) which is lovely so thank you to everyone reading. If you like it, if something makes you laugh or you want to say your piece then please comment! It’s so nice to get feedback.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend.