A Good Man Died Today

A good man died today, and like it always does, death has a tendency to make us think about life. So here I am, thinking about life. My life in particular. We’re all selfish when it comes to these things. He was a good man, this man who died today, and he raised good people and loved a good woman.

He died happy with almost a century of his own life’s memories to keep him company in those moments, and that good woman I just mentioned, well, she was right there by his side when he got called up. That’s the kind of death that you can sleep with at night. It’s a just death, a righteous death and, in a solemn way, it’s comforting. That with all the blood and pain and confusion, someone good died a good death in a sleepy little hospital comfortable and calm with the woman who gave him the majority of the life of he had and who was there, like she’d always been, when a muggy grey Wednesday in August became the last day they ever heard each others voice.

So I’m sitting here in a t-shirt that that man’s son gave to me once upon a time, listening to a band that neither of those men would like, with a candle burning like my grandmother taught me and a pit in my stomach. What that pit is, I don’t know, but somewhere in between going to sleep last night and sitting down at my desk right now, something has lodged itself there and refuses to leave. It feels nervous, watery and bitter but most of all, it just feels sad.

I may never have known this man and I may never have found myself sitting on the floor with a cold cup of coffee in one hand and a hand rolled cigarette shaking in the other, crying amongst the broken glass on the floor listening to Nothing Lasts Forever by Echo and the Bunnymen without a hint of irony. The man that introduced me to the man would have found the irony in it. He finds the irony in everything, that man.

I may never have known the woman that the man has left behind or felt the softness of her hands on mine or enjoyed her sharp, sometimes shocking, sense of humour. And to the rest of them, these people who today mourn the loss of a good man who died a good death and relish the memories of his idiosyncratic life, I feel my heart bend and bow for them too. He always hated my hair. He had that in common with his son. That and his laugh. I miss them both. Horribly.

And even more so today because like we said – death has a way of making us think about life and what it is and what it means to us and what we are going to make of it.

There are two ways that this train of thought can go I think.

One train of thought is to sit here and be thankful for the people I have, for the health I have, for the day I was given today that was taken from someone else. To be thankful that I have a job and that I have a home and that when I come home I am safe and warm and fed. To be thankful that at various times in my life I have laid in bed beside people who at various times in my life loved me, irrevocably and absolutely. To be thankful that I live in a country where I can do and say what I wish regardless of my age or gender or sexual orientation. To be thankful that I have a voice. To be thankful that I have a future, however tenuous and transient it may be. To be thankful that the people I hurt moved on and that some of them, I hope, forgave me my disgraces. To be thankful that I am sitting here now with the literacy and intent to write these words and publish them to strangers who may take comfort or reflection in some of the absurdities I ponder.

To be thankful to be alive and here and ready for tomorrow whatever it may bring.

Another train of thought is to be filled with remorse for the people I lost, for the health I destroy, for the day I wasted when someone else had it ripped from them. To complain about how tired I am and how much I hate my job and about how small my home is and how when I come home I am alone because the people I love aren’t here because I’m difficult to love and even harder to live with. To feel my chest cave in when I think about the people that at various times in my life I laid beside in bed that used to love me, irrevocably and absolutely that eventually got over those feelings the way someone gets over a flu that leaves you delirious. To shake my fist at a government that has given everything I’ve always wanted to someone else at every turn and torn my family apart and taken my best friend away from me because I refused to kneel. To loathe myself for the things I did a million years ago and to mourn the hearts I broke, some unintentionally and some more forcefully. To hope that they never forgive me because that would mean forgiving myself. To think of all the potential these hands and this mind had and the tools that they were given that I destroyed and where I could have been had I chosen to be a different person. To wonder whether all of this, these words, this endeavour is pointless and fruitless because who the fuck would ever read this shit?

To feel like it’s not worth waking up in the morning.

Because all of those things are true – two sides of the same treacherous coin that betrays us all.

And now sitting here the sun has broken through the clouds and it feels like summer is whispering into autumns ear. This is the first sunset he will never see and the first sunset that his son has ever seen without him. And it’s beautiful. Looking at that sunset, levelling that coin before it, there is only one side I can see. It’s beautiful. It’s not sad or hateful or intrusive. It’s beautiful.

And that’s how I know that that man was a good man.

Because he raised a son that taught me how to love myself and how to keep going. Even when I don’t want to and even when he’s not here, I hear him. You can do it and even if you can’t, well, honey you’re going to have to figure out a way to do it.

And he instilled in me a desire to make him proud.

And I still want to.

A good man died today and I lit a candle for him like my grandmother taught me to do.

A good man died today and left behind a good man that changed my life.

And for that, I’ll keep him in my heart and savour this sadness while the flame still burns.

Because I never got to thank him for the man he made.

So I’m thanking him now.

The only way I know how.

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Other People’s Battles – Why They’re Not Worth It.

Out of all of the fights that I have had the pleasure of being in during my life, I can count on one hand the amount of times I landed a punch on someone’s jaw because of something they did directly to me, and though, in my old age some would say, I have become a docile creature more likely to cry when confronted now than start cracking her knuckles, I, and more than I would care to count, could assure you that I was not always like this.

I broke a boy’s nose when I was fifteen because he threw a rock at my best friends head and called her a lesbian. The rock barely scraped her, but the door handle I smashed his face into made up for the former lack of blood. Needless to say, he had nothing to say after that. I pushed another fifteen year old girl down a flight of stairs because her little sister made my friends little sister cry. I punched a girl in the face within the first three minutes of my becoming a prefect (my only three minutes of being a prefect) because she started rumours that I was using heroin…yeah, I was that kid. I head butted a boy for telling everyone he slept with one of my friends which would have been less retarded if my friend hadn’t actually had slept with him. Twice. I once again head butted a boy for pushing my little brother over, placed another upside down in an outside bin for being a general dick to him and slapped, smacked and stared down countless others, all in the name of defending my own.

But I wasn’t just some underappreciated teenage hero in the game of fighting for the underdog – I was a genuine nut bar and in the great grand scheme of hindsight, I hurt a lot more people who did nothing wrong than those that did. And there’s a whole heap of ‘em out there right now rocking scars that they didn’t deserve to get because they were foolish enough to be a witness to my uncontrollable rage. And if I never I apologised then, I apologise now.

Because as I said, I’m not that person anymore. I was lost for a long time. I was scared for a long time. And I spent my whole life feeling like there was not one motherfucker out there in this big wide world who would ever understand my warped brain or my fragile heart. Then, a little short of six years ago to the day, I gave birth to my best friend and slowly, but surely, she proved me wrong and loved me right, whitewashing all that rage and I can’t remember the last time I threw something across the room or screamed myself hoarse, let alone the last time I put my hands on someone in anger. But this blog isn’t about the fights I walked away from – it’s about the fights that left blood on my hands.

My violent outbursts and seemingly endless disregard for any convention whatsoever landed me up in the office of my head teacher with my mother on one side of me and a police officer opposite us, accompanied by a slight, balding man who ran my school and had little time for my sarcasm or sincerity. This dude didn’t like me on sight, and as an adult now, I can kind of see why…I wasn’t just a poster child of teenage angst, I was like a walking talking H-Bomb of what you hope your kid doesn’t turn into but on the flip side of that I was one of the most intelligent (and I fucking knew it, man) kids in that place and as such I commanded much more patience with the staff than other more retarded nut bars did. I abused this intelligence more than I used it and I got away with a hell of a lot as a result of my wayward genius (my English teachers words, not mine). In short – the school was going to kick me out permanently a few weeks before my final exams and my mother made a deal with them, a deal which turned out to be a rather breaking one for this particular psychopath’s soul.

My mother’s deal? Let Veronika come into school at a time when there are no kids around for her to punch in the face, like maybe, after school has ended? Yes. They loved that idea. What they loved even more than the idea of my only being around for a few hours was the notion of laying claim to my grades and flaunting them to the local press who hung around the car park on exam day at that particular school just waiting to proclaim how hard these poor, disadvantaged students had failed. So the school got to keep my statistical smartness and I got to…well, I don’t know what I got out of it save for the ability to sleep until one in the afternoon and watch Diagnosis Murder before I slipped off to school at sunset to smoke cigarettes with my English teacher and eat peanut brittle for three hours with my art teacher.

Sounds like a pretty good deal for a kid that was seconds away from getting arrested doesn’t it? Well, it wasn’t like that. Not at the time. And not now with the added pepper of ten years hindsight. You see the issue was, that all those kids, all my friends, that I had stuck up for and defended, all those people that had used me like a rabid Rottweiler on a long leash for their defence and kept me tucked away like a loaded gun for their own peace of mind – well, they all kind of disappeared when I did.

I remember one particular instance when I had broken my foot by kicking a wooden chair six feet in the air in a fit of hulk like rage and then staggered, stoned and seething to my school for whatever faux lessons my teachers had planned for me. I made my way through the dining hall, dressed in a Bob Dylan t-shirt and ripped jean shorts, my faithful shitkickers screaming on my broken foot – in short I was a mess. A group of my friends stood in the space between me and the doors that led to my classroom. On their backs they wore white school shirts signed with Sharpie. They were laughing and drinking cans of Coke and taking the piss out of each other and generally enjoying their last days as a school kid. And they looked straight through me.

I wasn’t in uniform, because I wasn’t technically at school. I wasn’t laughing, because I wasn’t anywhere near happy in any capacity. I wasn’t drinking Coke, I was…well, coke meant something different to the teenage me. I had become invisible to the people that I had once been invincible too. And it stung more than my pride. I felt my eyes begin to brim with hot, frustrated tears and as I limped in agony past them, slamming my hands into the double doors and sending them crashing into the walls of the staff room, I let the tears fall as I crumpled into a heap at the bottom of a stair case. Within moments my English teacher (and general Veronika-wrangler) had been alerted and swept me up the stairs into the sanctuary of his classroom where I screamed my eyes dry and ate bourbons for an hour or two listening to his new album…yeah, he was that teacher.

I faded away on the brink of burning out and it’s a thought that still creeps into my mind all these years later when the sun hits my face in the dead summer or when I bump into someone from school who remembers me fondly as “fucking mental”. But if there is something that I have learned as an adult that I never knew as a teenager (aside from drugs being bad, M’Kay) is that it doesn’t matter whether you burn out or fade away – the moment you’re gone, everyone moves on.

So, needless to say, I never got my shirt signed and I spent my prom with my foot in a cast, eating Dorito’s, reading Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption waiting for the Season 2 finale of House to start. The day was balmy and I was perilously close to overdosing on tramadol and self loathing. I found out as an adult that my head of year had actually called my mother on the night of the prom and given me permission to go. My mother told me that when she came to tell me the news and found me lying on the grass in the sunshine with my headphones on, book in hand and baby rabbit friend asleep on my chest – she already knew what my answer would be.

And for all the fights I ever fought, and for all the punches I ever threw, I had nothing to show for it. No tight knit group of amigos who had my back when I needed them like I did when they needed me, no band of merry men hell bent on defending the weak and pathetic, no one to harass the teachers and the tyrants that took me from them…because in reality, I hadn’t been fighting for them or because of them. Every single time I lost my shit and did something ridiculously impulsive and violent, I did it because I wanted to do it. I wanted people to need me in a way that no one else could ever be needed. And yeah I could make them laugh and they could copy my work and we could share CDs and I was always a one stop shop for smokes, but no one else was willing to physically knock somebody out for them – which meant I loved them more, right?

Wrong. It meant that I was an incredibly manipulative and volatile kid, with an immensity of anger issues that are all but resolved as I write these words. I still get angry. I still want to smash the place up. I still feel my hands go cold with rage. I still bite my lip just before I’m about to lose my shit. The only difference between now and then is that there aren’t a whole lot of battles that seem worth it anymore. So I take a deep breath. Or I go for a walk. Or I call someone and cry for a moment down the phone to them. Then I mentally slap myself round the face and carry on with my day.

Because no one remembers the battles you fought and lost.

But they do remember the battles you fought and won.

And something I learned from all of this?

The only person worth fighting for is the one that looks back at you from the frozen puddles on the forgotten streets you walk each and every day. Alone and alive. Whether you like them or not, they’re the only one that’s got your back. And they’re enough. Most of the time.

101 Things That You Never Knew You Always Wanted to Know About – Me.

So on every other blog I’ve ever had I’ve written a piece called “Me” in which I detail strange facts about myself in one long (very, very long) uninterrupted rambling sprawl. Sitting on the train this afternoon, I thought of a few of these posts that I had made and realised how much I have changed from “Me” to “Me”, so much so, that I don’t want to write another “Me” here on what I hope to be my last blog (because, damn, I’m tired of starting again).

Still, I think that effortlessly honest blog posts are hard to come by. Some are worried they’d be judged (and some should be worried about being judged) and some just don’t see the point. I get this overall impression from a lot of bloggers, similar to the vloggers on YouTube that put on a full face of make up and dress the top half of their bodies (because y’all know they be wearing pyjama trousers!) just to give an impression that is conducive to the image that they want to portray of themselves on the internet. I have no time for this. To paraphrase Twain – if you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.

I don’t try to be any weirder than I am, because, well…you’ll see.


So, 101, because that’s “the number” (and it sounds good, right?) facts, quirks, touches, about this blogger. 

Let’s go! 


1. I am very aware of my organs and when my heart beats too fast I feel genuine fear.

2. I suck my thumb pretty much all the time but especially when I’m tired.

3. I got married when I was eighteen.

4. I got divorced when I was twenty one.

5. I name plants that I own and read to them often.

6. I have a fear of being the first person to the train door and having the responsibility of pushing the button with people waiting behind me, watching o_O

7. I always (and I mean always) have headphones on when I am in public. Call it a safety mechanism.

8. I have voted every year of my life that I have been able to but I have always defaced my ballot paper, so, in essence – I have never made a vote that has been counted.

9. When I was a kid E.T. was the most terrifying creature I had ever seen. I regularly had nightmares about him.

10. My family have developed an umbrella term for all the messed up B and D movies we watched as kids that no one else on earth ever saw – we call them “Harper Films.”

11. I don’t like horses. I find them intimidating and unnecessarily large. Ponies are fine. In fact, ponies are awesome.

12. I have a five year old daughter named Molly.

13. In 2014, I legally changed my last named to Roland, after Roland Deschain from the Dark Tower books by Stephen King. I also entertained “Burgundy” which would have made my name…wait for it…Ron Burgundy. Say wha?!

14. I have intensely lucid dreams that I can remember with stunning clarity upon waking. Nightmarish erotica is my favourite genre of my dreamscape.

15. I am allergic to nutmeg. Lame, right?

16. I cut the sleeves off of almost all of my t-shirts, and off of all of my band shirts. I always wanted to be a Metallica roadie I guess.

17. My first real kiss was with a girl when I was fourteen and it was perfect.

18. I scream (and I mean horror-movie-the-dude-with-the-chainsaws-gonna-get-me scream) almost constantly. People find it hilarious, I remind them that I am (contrary to appearance) a lady and am therefore, entitled to scream at everything.

19. I loved pickled food. In the trinity of pickled goods roll mop herrings are god, gherkins the son and beetroot the holy spirit. Ahh, pickle juice. Damn, that shit’s tasty.

20. My birthday is the 20th August.

21. My middle name is Kyriaky, which is the female version of my grandfathers name Kyriakou, and also Greek for “Sunday” which was all well and good until I was seventeen and realised that I was actually born ten minutes into a Monday and not in fact, a Sunday. My Ma maintains that she did all the work on the Sunday and sticks by her decision to give me the wrong day of the week as my middle name.

22. When I was kid I went everywhere on roller blades. It was the 90’s and I was cool.

23. I have a tendency to veer right when I am walking due to an old injury to the leg on that side.

24. My favourite animal is an alligator.

25. I never do up my shoes and contrary to what my parents, teachers and peers have always said, to this day I have never once fallen or tripped as a result of this strange habit.

26. I wait for my toast to go cold before I butter it. No one likes soggy toast.

27. If I need to be somewhere and it’s less than ten miles away, I walk. People find it odd, my Ma thinks it’s dangerous and I think…most of the time, I think about dragons. With laser eyes! 😀

28. Peanut butter forms one of the sides of a magnificent food triangle in my life. The other two sides are marshmallows and Oreos. *drool*

29. I have cried five times when celebrities have died. The celebrities that elicited these tears were none other than Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Williams, Patrick Swayze, Keith Floyd and Ronnie Barker. The last one was particularly difficult as, as a child, my mother told me that Ronnie Barker was already dead. In essence – I had to mourn him twice. It still sucks to think about it.

30. I have an extensive knowledge of 70’s and 80’s power ballads. And I’m not ashamed.

31. I met the first boy I ever really liked (like, that) in an adolescent mental health unit. Ah, young love ❤

32. Withnail and I is the only movie that makes me feel better when I’m deathly ill.

33.  I hum or sing out loud when I have my headphones on in public. Some people like it, others think its weird and the man sitting opposite me on the train today apparently thought it was infuriating. Douchebag.

34. I randomly drop into what my Ma calls my “Forrest Gump” voice which is a mixture of Forrest Gump’s accent and Sweet Brown (the “ain’t-nobody-got-time-for-that lady). My mother in particular loves this voice and often makes me quote phrases from the movie to her when she’s feeling down. Her favourite remains “I guess sometimes, there just aren’t enough rocks.” A phrase that I plan on getting tattooed on me as an homage to the lady what birthed me 🙂

35. I am the fifth of six children including three brothers and two sisters that vary in age from 40 to 22.

36. My grandmother is the only Anastasia that I have ever met. It made reading the Fifty Shades of Grey books awkward, let me tell you that…

37. When picking out names for our daughter, my ex-husband and I entertained Sugar Magnolia, Lucy-Louise (after my aunt, Lucy, and my mother, Louise) or Lulu for short. In the end, we decided not to scar the child any more than she would already be with us as her parents and settled on Molly. I think she’ll thank us in the end.

38. I have never had any interest in learning to drive and cars, more often than not, terrify me.

39. I drink my coffee black with no sugar, my tea black with one sugar and my water at room temperature.

40. My toenails are always painted.

41. My daughter calls me Dragon more than she calls me Mum because I wrote her a book when she was three that explained how she came to be with me – a princess sent to live with a dragon to protect her from an evil wizard. The characters in said book were all based on her family members and friends, with the place names being plays off of the real places she has lived and been to. It took me a little over a year to write and illustrate the book, having to add characters when people had children etc. To this day Molly still calls me Dragon and argues passionately with anyone (including her teachers) who dares defy the book. The book was written as my rebuttal to creationism as a result of my kid telling me that dragons weren’t real because God didn’t make them in the Bible. Now, Molly swears by my book. Dragon – 1. God – 0.

42. I have the cover illustration of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak tattooed on my right forearm. It is my favourite book and is footed by the quote “I am haunted by humans.” the last words of the narrator, Death, in the book. The tattoo depicts the Grim Reaper dancing hand in hand with a little girl. Well, at least it’s not an anchor or a dream catcher right?

43. When I was fifteen I wrote an manuscript that came in at about 2,500 pages of absolute bollocks. It was about a teenage pot head called Dylan (yes, really) who ran away from home to explore the world. It was my first and last attempt at being Jack Kerouac and I have never written a story like it or as long as it again. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

44. When I was in school I wrote a paper comparing three film adaptations of novels to their original stories. The subjects in question were One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey, Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh and A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. My English teacher gave me an A. My headteacher called my Ma in to ask her just what in the fuck she was letting me watch and read at home. I was fourteen at the time.

45. Fast Car by Tracy Chapman and Redemption Song by Bob Marley were the first two songs I learned how to play without music on a guitar. I tested this the other day and yep, I can still play them! (If nothing else…)

46. Allen Ginsberg is my favourite poet. And possibly my favouirte human being…

47. I always wear a watch and have a hard time dealing with, well, time and it’s terrifyingly transient nature.

48. The first vlog I ever did on YouTube was reviewing the horror movie A Serbian Film. Last time I checked it had 11,000 views. I learned many things from that vlog, mainly, never to mention the title of that movie on the internet…

49. I wanted to be an architect when I was a kid until my father, an engineer and graphic designer, explained to me how much maths was involved. That revelation shot that horse in the face and ever since, I’ve wanted to be a teacher.

50. I love the sound of trumpets, harmonicas and banjos.

51. When we were kids, my Ma would take my little brother and I to the Thames to swim because it was free and we were, well, we weren’t all that well off. I used to swim in the river with my steel toe cap boots (or “shitkickers” as my Ma called them) on my feet because I was convinced that I was going to tread on the face of a corpse thrown at the bottom of the river. My little brother (who swam barefoot because bitches be crazy!) maintains that he did step on the face of a corpse and thus, the little nook of the River Thames that we used to swim in, was named “Dead Man’s Croogy”.

52. My longest serving ringtones have been Pencil Full of Lead by Paolo Nutini, Hard Candy by Counting Crows and Lookin’ Out My Back Door by CCR. My ring tone at present is the theme to Rescue Rangers. Chip and Dale are also deities to me.

53. I shaved my head two and a half years ago when I randomly cut off my dreadlocks one surprisingly sober night. I could have had a full head of hair again by now but I genuinely loved having hair this short. Shaving your head, ladies, if it’s not on your bucket list – it freakin’ should be. Shit be liberating.

54. I have thirteen piercings, twelve of which have been done by my mother or brother.

55. I have brief dalliances with Freeganism when the mood takes me and go a couple of weeks living off of what I can salvage from bins and dumpsters behind shops. It’s definitely something that you should look into if you don’t care for labels that lie about the life of your food.

56. I love swimming but am terrified of water, especially the ocean.

57. If I don’t have my backpack with me at any given time, something has or is about to go terribly, terribly wrong…it’s like another limb to me.

58. I disconnected my internet for a year, deleted my Facebook (that I haven’t brought back from the dead since) and threw out my television for a year just to see if I would miss it. Truth is, I didn’t.

59. I am a total sun slut and regularly smother myself with olive oil in an attempt to cook my still living flesh right on the bone. On the flip side of that, I never wear a coat in the winter and am almost constantly too hot.

60. I sometimes go three or four minutes without blinking and don’t notice until either someone tells me or I feel my eyes drying out.

61. I have been single for two and a half solid years and have been surprisingly content with my alone time.

62. I have broken many bones including my wrists, arms, collar bone, leg, fingers, toes and ribs.

63. I feel intensely uncomfortable when I am near anything riddled with holes – honeycombe, ant hills, old stone – *shudder* it’s making me feel sick just thinking about it.

64. My name at birth was Veronika Kyriaky Harper. My parents didn’t like me.

65. I cannot stand twilight (the lighting, but the franchise is…let’s not get me started aye?) Either turn your lights up or down, what is this perpetual dimness?! Are you trying to seduce me sir?! Turn the light up or turn it off! Ffs.

66. Poorly maintained notice boards irritate me.

67. I am a quote hound (I even have a blog dedicated to just book quotes) and always have a notebook in my bag that I write these quotes in on the go. Last time I checked, I own seventy one of these quotenotebooks. I also like inventing words like quotenotebook.

68. I am almost always speaking in metaphor when speaking with meaning.

69. I do not believe that family is forever, more than I believe that family is something you can and should choose. Abandon those that weigh you down and replace them with those that set you free, whether or not their spume made you or their womb cradled you. Run free, dammit! Forge your own future with those who love you now, as they did then and will forever.

70. I cannot sing. In theory I can, so I should really say that I cannot sing well. A close friend came to the conclusion that this is why I listen to people like Tom Waits and Bob Dylan, theorising that when I sing to them I cannot sing badly because they already sing horrifically to begin with. I couldn’t fault his logic, but to me, those men sound like nirvana ❤ (the state of being rather than the band.) In

71. I have always wanted to visit Moscow, Maine and Madagascar. That fact that all these places begin with “M” is coincidence and has nothing to do with the illuminati…wait a second – is that an inverted triangle in the letter M?! :O

72. I am not-so-secretly in love with the YouTuber, Rob Dyke. My post “When I Dream of Buttermilk” was actually a direct retelling of a dream I had about him. I dream about him a lot…it’s creepy, but I can’t help it. He makes me feel, well, something. I’m not sure what but it’s nice. And that’s enough.

73. Depending on what catastrophe has befallen me depends on who I call to shout at. If I’m crying or worried it’s my Ma, if I have some hilarious or horrific gossip to share, it’s my sister and if I want to shout and rant and rave, it’s one of my two best friends. And when I am scared or down, it’s my kid. She always knows what to say. Lately she’s been telling me to “upload Skype” a lot. I don’t know what that means but she when she says “munch bunch” it damn near breaks my heart.

74. I used to use Facebook like Twitter so I now I use Twitter like I used to use Facebook which is apparently how Twitter is supposed to be used.

75. My favourite font is Times New Roman. I’m a purist.

76. I have a recurring nightmare that I have had since I was a kid that I am in a canoe on a Indian river and I fall to the bottom of the river and look up to see the universe in the water above me. I always wake up petrified and confused. Sometimes there is a whale, sometimes there is a shark. But always the same boat, the same river, the same universe. I can feel the fish swimming against me as I write this and it makes me want to scream.

77. Many people have accused me of listening to the most depressing music they’ve ever heard. I don’t know how to feel about this accusation….

78. I genuinely enjoy doing laundry. No, really, I do.

79. The first thing my mother ever taught me how to make was a white cheese  sauce and I still make it the same to this day, much to the appreciation and delight of those that request it.

80. I cannot stand jelly or any thing that is set with gelatine. No thank you, sir! right

81. I write with my right hand but do almost everything else – including brushing my teeth and texting – with my left hand.

82. When I was eleven my parents had a real life shouting argument about which language I should learn at the new school I was attending. My mother fought for Spanish saying that it was the most commonly spoken language in the world and would be most useful in everyday life, my father vouched for Latin, maintaining it was the root of all language even if my mother damned it as a dead language. In the end I learned Latin, because dad won, but as the adult I am now, I know more Spanish than Latin so I guess mum won eventually.

83. I am very particular about the way I use condiments and only use ketchup on three things (and I mean ever) – scrambled eggs, sandwiches and chips from the Fish and Chip shop. No exceptions.

84. Every Christmas I bake for the neighbours in an attempt to distract myself from the panic attacks I have annually during this particular festivity. Last year one particular neighbour weighed the gingerbread cookies I made her and well, six kilograms of biscuits in a week would be weird but it was Christmas for chrissakes! (Is that a pun? I hope it’s a pun!)

85. I am useless at playing video games myself but have spent hours (possibly years) watching my brothers and in more recent years, random men and women on YouTube, play them. I am actually, rather infatuated with many games that I have never played myself but know inside and out such as the Fable, Prince of Persia and Assassins Creed games.

86. I don’t like people touching my ears. So don’t.

87. My drink of choice is a bottle of Budweiser and a short double of Jamesons. Yeah, I thought I was a cowboy for so long it never really left me and now *sob* it’s too late.

88. It takes me a really long time tell someone that I love them, so much so that my last boyfriend actually confronted me about it after six months of dating and no L-Bombs. I find the word itself a precious thing and do not throw it around in regards to true face to face feelings. It’s something strange that only those who know me intimately know about me.

89. I was a vegetarian for six years not because I gave a hoot about animals or was on a health kick, rather than that I convinced myself, as a result of the messed up shit I’d read and seen, that whenever I bit into meat that it was human meat. It took me years to get over this strange eating disorder and still to this day if I find a vein or piece of cartilage in my mouth or on my plate, I instantly lose my appetite. Weird, but true.

90. Due to the almost incessant stimulation I require to function as a regular human being the rest of the time, when it comes to sleep, I need absolute darkness and absolute silence to drift off. Even a blinking light on a laptop or the sound of the boiler can make me toss and turn.

91. I can touch type and don’t really know how that happened, but it happened nevertheless and people find it impressive. I find it more productive than impressive but nevertheless I have actually won awards for the keyboard karate. No, really, I have. Three to be exact.

92. I have accidentally dedicated much of my life to becoming a walking thesaurus, with some friends and family members calling me instead of just right clicking the word and hitting the synonyms tab. I like that they do it, it makes me feel awesome, I just don’t understand why they do it.

93. My immediate family, and immediate friends of the family, have never (and I mean never) called me Veronika. I have been known as Flump or Flumpy for longer than I have actually had my given name with my mother calling me Flumpy from birth and taking well over a month to come up my actual name. My nephew and niece have been taught to call me Aunty Flump. Yes. That’s actually true. Other variations of my name have been Purple (Purple Ronnie), Ronseal (the varnish, yes, that’s actually what my sister calls me a lot of the time) Burgs or Burgundy (Ron Burgundy) and Do-Do-Ron-Ron (my Ma finds this hilarious). But Flump has never fallen out of fashion, much to the amusement of my siblings and the devastation of my grandmother who insists on calling me Veronika to prove a point. You go, Nan!

94. I wear crocs and I am awesome.

95. I have to have sunglasses on when the sun is out or my eyes pour with water and I get immense headaches. I am almost one hundred percent sure this is because I am part Mogwai.

96. I very rarely use my debit card when paying for something in a shop because I have an unreasonable anxiousness about using money that I cannot see. I am also extremely nervous when paying for something with change as money, as I have mentioned, makes me nervous in general. It’s probably why I’m okay with not having any…

97. When I was a kid I used to make my older and younger brother dress up as the other two members of The Kinks, whilst I donned my fathers waistcoat and took the lead making them perform the song Lola over and over again in our living room until I was satisfied. It was one of many of the first “dafuq?!” moments in my parents experience with me as their child. In hindsight – dafuq they doing letting a seven year old belt out a song about a man accidentally shagging a tranny whilst she herself is dressed as a dude?! These people. Honestly.

98. I have very little left of what was my childhood home for reasons too long to go into here, but one thing I do have is my Womble, Orinoco, who is and always has been, my spirit guide. We’re connected. And I love him, dearly.

99. The first thing I did when I got home the day I got married was take my wedding dress off and put it in the bin. Shows you how happy I was with that arrangement I guess..

100. I freakin’ love roller coasters and anything else that makes me feel like my stomach is going to fall out of my arsehole.

101. I used to keep a picture of Jesus that a homeless man gave me when I was thirteen, in a snuff tin. I used to carry said tin with me for most of my adolescent years until, one cold December day when I was seventeen, drunk and angry, I threw that fucker in the Thames. I think about it often though. And more so, why the hell I carried the damn thing with me so long.


So there’s me in a rather large and splendid nutshell. 

It’s been lovely getting to know you.

I think we’re going to get along.


When I Dream of Fire

It was dark and the house had no windows. Whether day light prevailed beyond the mortar that surrounded me I have no idea, but in the back of my mind I hoped it did. There was a rectangular glass case in front of my on a platform. As I approached it, the tank filled with water. I took a few steps back and inch by inch the water evaporated from the tank. I took a few steps forward and it returned, not falling from the ceiling or rising from the tank, but materialising as if from nothing.

With my nose practically touching the cool moist glass a key manifested within the water. It was larger than a normal key but no more ornate. As I watched it, it seemed to stand up, lifting itself with the help of the weightless water, until it stood on its narrow tip, the dull head now level with my eyes. The glass of the tank began to bulge and break, the water remaining shapeless and still.

As I brought my hand up to touch the glass the door behind me opened with a creak. I didn’t turn to see who it was. I couldn’t turn. The key was looking at me, begging me with all its heart to take it with me and not leave it trapped in the tank. My fingers grazed the glass,

“I wouldn’t do that. Not if you value that hand” The sound of his voice broke me and I fell to my knees. My eyes trained on the wooden floor below me, my finger tips digging into the soft, untreated oak. Tears started to speckle my view. I pulled my tired eyes from the floor and the tank was gone. The door behind me was closed. I felt as though the blood had stopped moving in my veins and the rhythm of my heart had been knocked off tempo.

I rose slowly, my ankles clicking. How long had I been on the floor? When I turned the door was still closed, its silence mocking me in the dark, damp room. I placed my hand tentatively on the handle, wincing slightly as if it were to burn. It didn’t burn. It levered evenly with a squeak and opened onto more darkness. I have never been afraid of the dark, but ran my entire life from the light. I slunk into the safety of the shadows, letting the door click closed behind me.

I could sense him everywhere. I could smell his body, the sweet, stale aroma of his sweat. I could hear his laugh, the beautiful sound of utter desperation masked with the bitter honesty of his smile. I saw his eyes in every nook of the corridor, glimmers of green and gold danced along the surface of the otherwise dull walls. Footsteps echoed and they were not my own, but for what felt like miles only the dimly corridor spanned my eye line.

Then a break in the hostile nothingness. An arch, not a doorway, now stood before me and resonating from beyond that arch way, a calm orange glow. As I drew closer to the arch way a burden of warmth engulfed my chest and tears once again broke out on my cold face. If I had tried to stop them, which I didn’t, I am sure I would have felt physical pain.

With one hand placed on each side of the arch way I hung my head and breathed from knees. The tears stopped momentarily but my face was still damp with their ghost as I stepped through the arch way. This room had a window but it was covered with boards, the ancestral slices of light cutting through the hot room and casting shadows upon the shadows.

A fire crackled neatly in the centre of the back wall. He was sitting with his body facing me but his head hung down as mine had been at the arch. I could feel his heart beat radiating through the room, clawing its way from the floor boards and up into my feet, then my legs and resting in my gut. The entire room smelt of him and as I searched for his face in the waltzing silhouettes the fire cast upon his body, I now saw that the fire did not glow orange, red or yellow, as one would suspect – but the palest shade of olive green and silken gold.

His face glanced up from the floor and his eyes met mine. He smiled and the whiteness of his teeth broke the air. We both knew our search had been killing us and the look in his eyes suggested that he was rather proud of the fact that once we had finished our hunt, we were both still breathing. He uncrossed his legs and stood, his boots in the fire. He held out his hand as one lock of thick hair wafted in front of his face.