The Joke

It’s like being told a joke where the punchline passes over your head. A lifetime of “it’s funny, you just had to be there”.

The joke doesn’t make sense. You don’t understand it, or why people are laughing.

And everyone is laughing. Some more quietly than others, some in loud whooping chuckles which threaten to deafen you but still laughing. To them the joke is funny. To you, it’s just words.

You take it apart. You look at the mechanics. You try and work out what it is that you need to understand the joke. To make it funny.

It is still just words on a page.

You can tell the joke perfectly. Delivering the punchline with comedic precision and a bright smile. People laugh. People don’t notice that your laughter is a little bit more hollow than theirs, a little more forced.

Other people don’t find it funny. They stand there patiently while a friend, wiping away tears of mirth, explains why they should be laughing. They meet your gaze in shared bewilderment.

It is not as though the joke it important, you reason. You don’t need to understand it to life your life. But it is everywhere. From music to billboards to television, they tell this joke over and over again. And still people laugh.

Sometimes you tell people that you don’t get it. That to you, it’s not funny. They sigh and say “well, maybe you’ve just not heard it right” and maybe, maybe they’re right. Maybe if you wait long enough someone will come along and tell the joke properly, make it funny in a way you can understand.

No one comes.

Occasionally though you find yourself smiling. Not at the joke, but the person telling it. The lips behind the words, the sparkling eyes behind the humour. They know other jokes, other stories and those…the quieter stories, the softer jokes…some of them are funny to you. Some of them make sense.

They don’t niggle at you in a pervading sense of confusion. You listen and you smile.

And occasionally…

You laugh.


Environmental Inheritance

Do you ever sit and watch your parents carefully store what is essentially worthless junk, because of its great sentimental value? And as you sit there and watch them you know that fifty years later, once you have accumulated the detritus of your own life, that “priceless” object, under the new pressure of different eyes, will be thrown out?

That’s a bit like conservation management.

We are bubble wrapping our natural environment so it is protected against the bull-in-a-china-shop presence of humanity. The thought is that we are holding the natural world in our clumsy hands for our grandchildren, who will, smiling happily, thank us for our great efforts at safeguarding.

Will our children thank us for holding these sites in stasis? For protecting and preserving against the tide of outside influence? It’s possible that like us and our parents, they may have different properties. Already we can see the pressures our grandchildren will face. We are running out of space every year as the demand for housing overrules the so-called protection of green belts. The global demand for food and energy is steadily increasing and our children may prioritise farmland over peat bogs.

Surely it’s better to focus on integrating our high-pressure modern world with our natural environment? To create cities with green streets and buildings rather than the juxtaposition of a concrete sprawl blurring into a thin ribbon of green.

The answer to the future lies in sustainable development. We can’t save everything and we shouldn’t try to. Our children, when it comes down to it, will choose to save themselves.




No, I’m not over reacting, you’re overacting.

Acting I’m not reacting at all, I’m down with a cold so the only major emotion I can manage right now is resigned sleepiness.

I’m waiting for my team mates, a global team of women who are all Supernatural fans to wake up (they’re mostly in America) and then we’re going to wait for the list of items to be posted.



I slept till 10

I slept till ten this morning, a rare luxury. I also had my first hot shower in 31 days, for which I am eternally grateful.

I’ve finished that stint at the summer camp in Edinburgh. The work was largely illegal, and the pay criminal, but there were some high points.

I met a group of people. It’s extremely strange to be thrust into a group of strangers and then have to spend your every waking moment with them for the next month. I imagine it is similar to what people living on oil rigs go through. So there we were, all of us exhausted and fed up and reliant on each other for human contact and compassion. I adored sharing meals with twelve other people, everyone having sixteen different conversations on top of each other, joking and fighting and simply existing in the same space as each other.

And I met B. Who I, by all reason and sense, should not have gotten on with. By first glance, he’s a sport obsessed, fitness nut of a lad, essentially my anthesis. But somehow I developed a (mutual, I’m relieved to say) attraction for him. Romantic, not physical. And, he made shit days significantly better, he made me laugh, he made me happy. And he kissed me. (Just once.) And I will probably never see him again.

And I signed on to do it again. In two weeks, after I’ve done GISHWHES, I’m heading down to London to do the whole thing all over again.


………it’s entirely possible I’ve lost my mind.