I want you back.

I haven’t written to you in a long time, Sarah, but I’ve got some very important news. Banarama have reformed in their original line-up. Can you believe it? Now, I know you weren’t their biggest fan. In fact, when we saw them play, as a duo in 2008, we both agreed they sounded like two little girls singing into hairbrushes, but that’s beside the point. They’ve come back to save us all, raising their tiny voices and mediocre talent up for us to take comfort in. That is the state of the world now, Sarah. Honestly, you wouldn’t recognise the place.

Since you left, the whole world has become a frightened, cowering mess, hiding behind bullying bullshitters and making the most stupid decisions on a daily basis. Everything is crumbling and human decency is severely on the decline. I won’t get political, but trust me on this; everything is totally f@*%ed. I actually stopped watching the news, because I don’t believe anything anymore, and the stuff I see, I don’t want to believe. Apparently, North Korea is threatening Australia with a nuclear strike because of its ties to the US. Isn’t that lovely? All the movies have Australia as the last place that people survive after the nukes have been deployed, but I guess they don’t watch those movies in North Korea. The ballsacks.

Over the last four and half years, not a single day has gone by where I haven’t thought of you. In fact, as time goes by, I need you more, and you aren’t here. I know I’m not the only one who feels like that. Talking to you would give me something of an antidote to the continual bullshit that’s flying around. Whatever the opposite of bullshit is, is what you were. I wish I could write that more eloquently, but you’ll have to make do with that rough sentiment. I didn’t wake up feeling terribly clever or profound. Life is making me very blunt and direct, and flowery descriptions were never my strength. I leave the poetry to others these days.  The frustrating thing is, I know exactly what I need right now: A five-hour chat with you, with a million cups of tea and the thought that there would always be a million more.  I need your boot up my backside, and your relentless cackle in my ears. I can’t count the times you set me back on my feet without seeming to even try. Remember that time we went to Majorca when I was fifteen? All that ice-cream, schnapps and dodgy Geordies? We had rum soaked conversations on the hotel balcony that inform my decisions still. We were so daft back then. One night we thought there was a body in the pool. Turned out to be a big leaf.

So, you ain’t here, and I still am. I’m still an idiot with big feet, trying to work out what the hell I’m meant to be doing. The road I’m on right now is dusty, lonely and isn’t heading to anywhere I want to be. I know it’s a road I shouldn’t have ever have followed in the first place, but like Dorothy you sometimes have to realise that before you can come home. (And while I know they make ruby slippers in my size, I’ve never been that keen on wearing drag queen shoes.)

So that’s this morning. Talking at you is never going to be the same as actually talking with you. I cannot summon your ghost. I must admit it is weird, that at least three times now, when I have been feeling particularly low, your friends have found pictures of Egham Station and tagged me in them. I’d give vital organs away to be able to go back there for a day, and be five; bothering you in your bedroom and spraying your Impulse Gold in my face. For the longest time I accepted your death as ‘that’s about fucking right’, but last night I was angry. Why did that have to happen to you? Maybe being in Australia makes me feel the stages of grief in reverse, just like the water swirls down the sink the wrong way. I dunno.

Anyway, this is now. Being lost and angry in a selfish world. If there is some way you can hear me, please send me a little grace to survive it. A little grace, and a million cups of tea, should do it.






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Feeling stupid

I can’t remember this photo being taken, but by the looks on my face I’d just realised something quite terrible. Something that no amount of cake could ever resolve. Looking back through my pictures, I stopped at this one and decided it summed up my life with more accuracy than any other, so here it is.
10400397_1034371319999_6909961_nThe thing is, the only time I don’t feel stupid, is when I know I am. Nothing is more crushing than labouring under the illusion that you are getting somewhere, only to have it become clear that you are still the ugly girl, covered in cake, who doesn’t fit in.

I know this is probably a mixture of things. Loneliness, grief and isolation have chased me into a dark corner and I just don’t know what to say to them anymore. The only question I have to ask them is the one I really, really don’t want a truthful answer to. Is it me?





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50 Words for Gonad

Over the past few years living in a country that isn’t England has made me appreciate the English language more and more. The richness of the English vocabulary is unrivalled and something to be proud of, justly. Nothing makes me miss England more than hearing someone use the word ‘blethering‘. It’s right up there with HP Sauce and pink custard in the eye moistening department. The other day I was watching Victoria Wood’s ‘Pat and Margaret‘ and a character kept calling her friend, ‘Mrs. Woman.’

Mrs. Woman.‘ I hadn’t heard that phrase for eons. Every utterance hit me like some kind of bittersweet, heat-seeking missile.

The thing is, with modern communication being what it is, the English vocabulary is finding fresh ears to assault in new and insidious ways. I often see interactions on Twitter in which an English tweet is explained to the curious, usually to the delight of all parties. Communication of culture will always humanise the ‘other’. It’s the only way the world will stop blowing itself up in the end.  It’s how the UK  could stay relevant in these times of turbulence. In the great scheme of things we can rest in the knowledge that we will always have a vast wealth of delightful euphemisms for private parts. One that will last longer than any fossil fuel reserve.

When I first started talking to my American husband I told him that I’d lived on a council estate. He naturally assumed I meant something like Downtown Abbey. Whoever said that Yanks and Brits were divided by a common language had almost certainly tried to discuss the concept of’pudding‘ with an American. When I explained what a council estate actually was, he was like, ‘Oh, you lived in The Projects’.

Projects,  indeed. Projects are something you do in primary school;  with sellotape and a papier mâché  volcano.

In the process of our lengthy discourse, throughout our digital courtship, I have taken great joy in his delight at learning new words. Particularly the ones that pertain to the balls/ballbag region. It’s often amusing, but sometimes things that get confusing. A final word to the wise, might I suggest that the word ‘fanny’ only ever be used with clear, unequivocal clarification. It doesn’t take too much imagination to understand how this could lead to disaster, especially in an intimate setting.









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Reader, I married him.


Nineteen days ago I flew halfway across the planet to see the man who makes life make sense for me. The poor man sitting next to me on the long flight from Sydney to Dallas had to endure my unceasing flatulence, and did so with good grace. During that flight I noticed he was reading Jane Eyre,  and not just reading it either. He was making little notes in the margins. I was intrigued, but stopped short of striking up a conversation. I felt it would be hard to have a serious conversation about classic literature with a person who had already endured my unsuccessful attempts to conceal ten dozen or so farts.

Anyway, twenty-six hours later, after travelling on three planes and getting searched at every bloody security check point, we arrived in a cold and icy Milwaukee. I was travelling with my son (a quirky, good-natured, fifteen year old) who was keen to explore somewhere new, maybe see some snow and eat burgers. This wasn’t going to be any typical tourist bullcrap though. We were going to be part of something very, very real. We were greeted at the airport by my burly, bearded man, clad all in black, marching purposely towards us, holding aloft two down jackets. I think my initial greeting was, ‘Coats!‘, which may not go down in history as the most romantic of hellos, but our southern hemispheric acclimated bodies were freaking out about the thirty degree drop in temperature.

After a rib crunching bear hug, I finally managed to unclench the invisible fist that had been squeezing my heart for the last eight months. The constant dread of never seeing him again, no matter how hard I planned or worked things out, had been eating me alive for so long, that when finally face to face, I didn’t know what to do except shout, ‘Coats!’, and tell him about how much I’d farted on the plane. He told me he was proud of me. (If there actually is a test for true love it might just be this). He then took us straight to Taco Bell and managed to intimidate the man at the drive thru into giving us thirty packets of hot sauce. 15894925_10154729959675056_1326556755895913061_n

Three days later I married him. Then we had just two weeks to be together before saying goodbye again, until the next time. Then it was hello again to the that familiar grip upon my heart, and the hollowness in my stomach. Next time, hopefully, there will be no more goodbyes for quite some time. Next time we see each other, we can ignore the ticking clock, and the counting down of days that seem to melt away like snowflakes in your hand. This is what I have to hold onto now.

I know on the surface we might not seem like the most romantic of people. He kind of looks like a retired wrestler and I kind of look like a middle-aged woman wearing her son’s t-shirts, but  I think if people only knew how we felt, and how determined we are to make this work, then they might feel differently. Our story might even give those old romantic novels a run for their money.


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Homesick for another time.

I honestly thought she had already passed on, so I couldn’t even imagine why she was trending on Twitter. Then I read about it, it turned out that the actress, Jean Alexander, had just died, aged 90. Another one for the 2016 club. (Kirk Douglas still clinging on? Right?)

Now, this made me feel weird. Not exactly sad, but just missing something. A certain kind of British culture that we can only be nostalgic about. Irreplaceable, vintage tea cups being smashed and replaced by something rather less precious. Cultural icons we’ve forgotten how to make. It’s something I know I can no longer really find out there, not still living and breathing. Not in a million Google searches. Not even if I flew back home and searched under every rock in the South East of England. It’s gone. Time has happened and performed it’s turdy magic. All we have left are relics that we have the option to ‘reboot’ (ruin), or make one of those ‘based on true events’ bio movies about. Tedious. We can miss her all we want, but the big, old media machine isn’t going to be making another Hilda Ogden ever again.

Now that’s a homesickness horse of an entirely different colour.

It’s not just the celebrities passing away, it’s just we are only just realising that we have nothing to replace them. Popular culture is now being produced with the emphasis on low risk investment and maximum profit. This doesn’t tend to produce magic, just large events that are almost instantly forgettable. The hype itself becomes part of the experience. The actual movie/book/show, almost insignificant in comparison to the excitement derived from sharing in the media mass hysteria. Being outraged, addicted and distracted is the ultimate goal, outweighing story, character and charm.

So, I’m homesick for the past. This is nothing new. Old people have been complaining about things changing for the worse for untold millennia, I imagine. The main difference for me, is that I live on the opposite side of the planet, and my perception of cultural change is further skewed by this.

There comes a time when you’ve been away from your home so long, you know that the things you are missing have probably changed. People have changed. Wagon Wheels will definitely be smaller and Mars Bars will taste all wrong. Time and distance combined tend to make your brain remember things weirdly too, and it’s very easy to bowdlerise you own memories to suit yourself. To invent a mythical past: a golden era to miss and mourn.

I watched four hours of old British TV ads a few weekends ago. Look them up on Youtube. FOUR HOURS. Adverts from the seventies, when every male voice-over  man was older, sophisticated; with tones of golden  dripping honey. Nothing edgy, nothing ‘try hard’. We just wanted to be clean, tidy and safe back then, and we all thought the future would be something better. Brighter and happier. It was nice to lose myself in that innocence.

It’s never coming back is it?



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9904 Miles.

Or 15,939 km. Either way, it’s quite a distance. Any farther away and you start getting closer. I sometimes sit and imagine all the things that are in between us. Every farm, every giant plastic replica dinosaur; every meat rendering plant.

Night for me, is day for him. We can’t wish on the same bright star because we don’t even see them at the same time. We often get confused about what day of the week it is when we talk. I live in the future, while he lags a day behind. One of us is always tired; having just awoken bleary eyed, or knackered out after a long day at work. We talk when we’d rather just be quiet and close, because talking is all we have, until we can eradicate those 9904 miles.

Now, as  I bask in the delicious beginnings of Spring, he is feeling the first chill of Autumn. He has to shovel for freedom from deluges of snow in winter, whilst I block windows with cardboard against a blazing, unforgiving sun. Seeing each other in real life takes time and a horrifying amount of money. Saying goodbye feels like having a body part amputated. Crying at airports and on aeroplanes has now become embarrassingly unavoidable. Sappy pop songs make us sad. Short of either of us habitually turning into a hawk or a wolf, I can’t think how much less convenient this relationship could actually be. Yet it survives and grows stronger with each passing day. Our plans becoming concrete, our future forming in front of us, tantalisingly out of reach for the moment. It’s enough to drive a person more than just a little wacky.

So, if you should find yourself falling in love with a mysterious stranger from a different shore, here are the top 10 things that you need to survive.

10. The internet. Electricity. A device with a camera and a microphone. An app that lets you talk for FREE. (I know that’s a lot of things to have as one entry, but if you want a proper list, go to BuzzFeed or some other click bait shyster site.)

I know letters are romantic, but no-one is going to wait a week to hear what you ate for dinner last Thursday. Phone calls are another option, but they cost MONEY. Talking everyday and knowing you aren’t going to have to sell a kidney to pay your phone bill make long distance relationships MUCH easier. Plus video is helpful.

9. Always resolve an argument. (No sulking.)

I’m not saying you can’t get a bit feisty now and again, but don’t let it linger. Emotional manipulation sucks at the best of times, but being on opposing sides of the planet just amplifies the effects. If you want the person you love to get through the day or night, without feeling like their soul is leaking out of a hole in their abdomen, just try and leave each conversation on a good and loving note. (Even if they did laugh at your inability to pronounce their state name.)

8. Make time.

I know, times differences suck. You have to go to work and do normal life stuff, but you have to put the hours into your relationship. Someone might have to get up early, or stay up late. Make sure it’s fair, and make that time worth something.

7. Make a note of daylight savings time changes.

No-one likes hanging around waiting for that annoying Skype ring tone. Daylight savings happens at different times for different time zones, and it selfishly messes up your set routine completely. If you forget to tell your partner, then you could have some poor bugger waking up at 6.30am for no reason. Which is annoying.

6. Selfies. (See above)

You might think they are a bit silly. The obsession of insecure teens? Something vain people do at the gym? Well, yes they are, but you’re going to have to bite the bullet here. Sending a selfie to someone who loves you, and misses you, can make such a difference to a shit storm of a day. Sometimes we need to see that face, just to remember why we are working so hard.

5. Have a plan.

Even if it’s only this side of impossible. Have something you can work towards. The next time you’ll be together, or the last time you ever have to say goodbye. That shared goal is your future. You’re not pissing around here.

4. Share everyday.

Talk about your different lives. Listen and talk. Make plans. Involve your families. Make videos. Take pictures of your life. Send cookies. Be intimate. You don’t have to be separate in any other respect, other than physical.

3. Be real.

Let them see the real you. It’s so easy to edit and self censor. To only show what you want them to see. But this person LOVES you, right? They want everything. Give it to them. NO filters. They give zero fucks about your double chin, or that zit. They want you.

2. Take it seriously.

Other people can be less than helpful here. You might have people who think this is something you are doing whilst you look for someone ‘real’. You might have people tell you it’s doomed to failure because they know someone who tried it and failed. They may make you feel like you are being foolish. Fuck them. They know shit about you.

1. Be unafraid.

It might seem impossible. Completely insurmountable. So many hoops to jump through. Flaming hoops held by serial killers and creepy clowns. Some days it will just dawn on you how difficult, long and drawn out your journey is going to be. Don’t buckle under the fear. Just remind yourself that nothing good ever came easy, and you have the heart and the courage to make it.

I believe in you guys.
















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Homemade Who: My Doctor Who Script Part 2



 Scene 3

Esmerelda Kogarth is sitting behind a lavish desk, in a large, intimidating office, decorated in a variety of styles, mainly favoured by tyrants and dictators. She herself looks just as upholstered as the inevitable red velvet chaise longue that sits smugly and predictably in the corner of the room. Esmerelda is dressed in a knee length skirt, a deep shade of green, her jacket so nipped in at the waist she could pass for a giant wasp, if wasps wore horn-rims and lipstick.

Through the ornate windows of her office we can see that she is operating some kind of intergalactic pet shop, specialising in cats that have human-like personalities. There are scores of gilded cages, containing sad looking cats, hanging suspended from the ceiling. The gilt encrusted slogan on her advertising billboards screeches ‘Cats are people too‘. We can infer that her clientèle are the obscenely wealthy, the outrageously cruel, and the plainly ridiculous.

Her exquisite pet boutique also contains a powerful time and space portal, sequestered in the corner, just next to the velvet chaise and a display case full of gold plated litter trays. Collectively the cats are mewing pitifully, and quite disconcertingly they appear to be crying the same word, ‘Help!’

Esmerelda is in the middle of an important conversation on an old fashioned Art Deco telephone. By her tone we can tell that she is having to pull out all the stops to impress this particular customer.


(Soothingly) That’s right Mr. President Goolwahaxzoz. I deal in much, much more than anthropomorphised feline companions. (Girlish giggle) I thought you knew that, silly.

She nods severely to an underling, who has entered with a tray containing an elegant cup of tea, complete with saucer and a miniature Devonshire cream scone . The underling backs away, terrified, with her head bowed, and clumsily exits the door backwards. Esmerelda frowns but her her voice doesn’t betray any irritation,  remaining consistently unctuous throughout.


I’m still extremely well connected, Mr. President. (High-pitched affected laugh).

We hear Mr. President’s muffled exclamations We get the sense he’s getting a bit fresh.


Oh, you are such a tease Mr. President. But you must understand I like my men like I take my coffee. (Firmly) Freeze dried, vacuum packed and in suppository form.

Esmerelda pauses. Silence from the other end of the phone line. Satisfied, she pushes forward with the deal.


(Voice deepens) But seriously, I can find you anything. You just need to give me a teensy clue as to what…

She starts to take the delicate china tea cup, but then stops, eyes wide. We can see that her nails are like talons, varnished the deepest shade of aubergine.


(Soothing) Of course you need these weapons. I understand completely. The world is just so chock full of those annoying little ants who would have us all following the intergalactic conventions, and giving all manner of peculiar creatures rights and liberties.

Esmerelda winces and holds the phone away from her ear as she is subjected to a blast of whiny indignation through the receiver.


Oh dear. Yes, you poor thing. Well, Esmerelda is here to make it better for you. Now, what ‘items’ were you going to plump for?

She listens tentatively, holding the phone an inch or two away, and receives another loud blast of Presidential bluster for her trouble.


(Suddenly very business-like) Mmmhmm. OK. What grade and quantity are you talking about?

Esmerelda pauses, and little surprised.


Well, yes, that is a little unusual, but I think I can find a source for the kind of technology you’re after. It’s been a while since I’ve worked with him, but I’m pretty sure he’s still reliable. And alive. Hopefully.

She nods, happily, eager to finish up the conversation.


Well, Mr. President, I’ll contact you when I’ve made all of the necessary arrangements. I’m sure you’ll have your ‘items’ in good time, at least before you get overthrown by those dreadful, simmering dissidents. Au revoir.

The President unleashes a final flurry of muffled outrage as Esmerelda calmly replaces the handset of the telephone, her wide crimson smile violently contrasting with her powdered, alabaster white face. She casually calls out to the underling.


Clone 5, can you be an absolute dear, and fetch me the telepathic subliminal sticky notes. I need to insert something very important into the subconscious of a very old friend of mine.

End of scene 3

 Scene 4

The Doctor and Clara are running through a dank, dark market place. Bizarre looking aliens are wandering around with shopping carts, and the market stall holders are yelling out in strange languages. The Doctor is clutching an eclectic collection of objects to his chest, and swirling around making a bit of a show of himself. Clara is pushing a shopping trolley which has what looks to be an old vacuum cleaner and a small rodent like creature in it. She’s struggling to keep up, with dodgy trolley wheels causing a great deal of impediment.

She wearing a cute cream blouse with camel coloured shorts. We can tell she’s regretting this choice more and more with every passing moment. Even though the aliens are talking in indecipherable languages she’s absolutely convinced they are all making ‘camel toe’ jokes at her expense.


(Exasperatedly) Doctor! Wait for me! This trolley is absolutely impossible to push in a straight line.

The Doctor:

You’re not meant to push them in a straight line. This entire planet outlawed travelling in straight lines 250 years ago. Have you not noticed that I have been swirling around in circular motions?


You do that most of the time, actually.

The Doctor:

Do I?


(Softly) Yes.

Awkward moment. The Doctor recovers after a beat with a typical swirly flourish, rushing ahead of her again.

The Doctor:

(Calling back over his shoulder) Remember to take that trolley back, Clara. I had to use a tetradrachm in the coin deposit slot because I didn’t have any other coins on me.

The Doctor disappears around a corner, then pops his head back.

The Doctor:

I like to keep some ancient coinage on me in case I ever feel like popping back in time for a decent kebab.

Clara glances down, and sure enough there’s an ancient coin wedged into the trolley’s coin slot. She struggles on with the trolley, adorably, and manages to coax it into a vaguely correct direction without bashing her shins too much. As she turns the corner she spots The Doctor in the crowd and calls after him.


(Wearily) Have we got everything we need yet? This doesn’t seem like the ingredients to make a rocket. More like the contents of someone’s car-boot.

The Doctor stops abruptly, somewhat surprised.

 The Doctor:

You know someone that keeps a Saekulorian Sleeping Weasel in their car-boot?

Clara looks at the creature. as it slouches sleazily against a box. It winks at her.


(Uncomfortably) Why isn’t it asleep then? And why is it winking at me?

The Weasel nods, licks its lips and smiles, lecherously.

The Doctor:

Actually, it’s called the Saekulorian Sleeping Weasel because it doesn’t sleep very much at all. They’re kind of funny like that on Saekuloria.


(Irritated) I’m just not seeing how he or any other piece of junk we just collected could possibly make a rocket.  Not unless it’s for a planet where ‘rocket’ actually means ‘creepy rodent in a shopping trolley’.

The Doctor doesn’t even dignify that comment with a response. The weasel makes an indignant hurrumping noise.


(Increasingly irritated) And who are those random people who have been following us for the last ten minutes anyway?

Clara gestures behind her, and sure enough there are three rather strange looking companions they have appeared to have collected from absolutely nowhere. A young man with an eye patch, wearing discarded remnants of Gary Numan’s wardrobe. A young, female bi-pedal lizard creature with bright purple scales and incongruous breasts under her frilly blouse, and finally a gruff elderly man with a monocle and a large RAF style moustache. The randoms look a bit awkward at being pointed out like this and look down at their shoes and shuffle a bit on the spot. The Doctor ushers Clara to one side and whispers in her ear, so they can’t hear. They try to crane their necks without being too obvious about it.

The Doctor:

(Whisper) Well, I thought we might need some spares. You know, for when whatever predictably relentless threat starts to loom ominously behind us, picking us off one by one until I make a big song and dance of working out what to do.


(loudly) Relentless threat? Spares? What are you talking about?

The Doctor quickly puts a finger against Clara’s lips to hush her. He then smiles and nods to the randoms before pulling her nearer to him to speak privately again,

The Doctor:

(Quietly)You need to get a little bit more genre savvy, Clara. I mean, really. It happens almost every time we go anywhere or do anything, doesn’t it? We need some spares, and that’s that. Just keep it quiet. They think they are here because I can help them all find some elusive key that will unlock their destiny or save their species, Or something. I think eye patch boy has just lost his TV remote.

The Doctor waves at them jauntily, and they wave back, uncertainly.

 (Whisper) If there is to be an adventure there will be corridors, and if there are corridors there’ll definitely be a monster traipsing around with nothing else to do but feast on our souls or memories… or our life essence whatnot. You can bet your eyelash curlers on it, can’t you plumpty?

Clara kicks him with a dainty foot and misses. He darts away, continuing.

The Doctor:

(Forgetting to whisper and talking loudly) I mean, we can’t even go to Nandos without some kind of soul sucking, brain melting beastie following us to the toilets, can we now?

The Doctor realises his gaffe and attempts to just laugh it off. Clara looks endearingly irritated, like a grumpy Slow Loris in tailored, camel coloured shorts. The elderly male random is chortling with the Doctor, assuming this is just a joke, whilst Lizard lady is busily admiring Clara’s blouse, or her bottom. Whatever. Eye-patch boy looks slightly less amused because it’s probably dawning on him that he’ll be first to find out what The Doctor was whispering about. The Doctor gestures to them all, to get their attention with multiple finger clicks and a twirl or two, his eyebrows so animated they are in danger of leaving the planet’s atmosphere.

The Doctor:

(Theatrically) Now, we’ve got the weasel. All we need is half a pound of tu’penny rice, a tin of treacle and some plutonium. Let’s rush along to our nearest intergalactic pet shop, I need to see an Evil Lady about a dog.

The group step into the Tardis that appears have been attracting absolutely no attention in the busy market place. The trolley is a bit difficult to get into the door, but they manage with a bit of team work. The Tardis exits, in a typically Tardis-like fashion.

 End of Scene 4

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