feminism, letters and postcards

A letter to Santa

Brainstorming my entry to the competition on the train

It’s the first day of Christmas! Well, it’s the first of December, so following my lovely friend R’s request, I’m publishing ‘The Letter I Wish I’d Written’, which was my entry to the ELLE writing competition and is Christmas-themed. It’s official, now that the mag’s out, that I didn’t win or run up, but I enjoyed writing it and coming up with lots of different ideas for letters I could compose. It was a bit tough because – as those who read some of my earlier blogs will know – I’m a serial letter writer (with a specialism in letters of complaint): I don’t tend to wish I’d written letters, I tend to just write them. But I’m proud of what I came up with following extensive consultation with T, C, S and my mum, and here it is as an advent post.


I wrote to Santa Claus embarrassingly late into my teens and, worse still, would usually ask for ‘world peace’ in the same paragraph as ‘a top from Morgan’. I wish that I’d written this letter half a lifetime ago asking for gifts I would go on to discover much later – they would have been useful then.


24th December 1999.

Dear Santa,

Tidings! I hope you’re as jolly as ever. You’ll be pleased to know that I’m not writing to request the usual: world peace, bigger boobs and a boyfriend. I have drafted a separate letter to Kofi Annan on the subject of w.p., as after attending a ‘Model UN’ conference (I wore a trouser suit!) I know that’s his bag, not yours. And my boobs seem to have BALLOONED this year, which Mum says happens if you eat a lot of chicken. I haven’t, but a bowl of pasta every day between school and dinner may explain going up two cup sizes from a paltry ‘A’. Or maybe it WAS you, in which case I much appre-C-iate it! Boom boom. Rather, boom BOOB! (I’ve had some Bailey’s.)

Thanks for indulging my goth phase last year. I wore the glittery dog collar you gave me a lot, and listened to Without You I’m Nothing for six months solid. We can officially call it a ‘phase’ now: it’s over. Although I’m past Placebo, I’m glad I experienced a subculture. I learnt you can’t judge a book by its cover: goths are REALLY friendly beneath the black PVC and studs, which I loved wearing. It was fun to shock people by looking ‘alternative’. Speaking of sartorial scandal, a brilliant thing happened on the last day of term, which was mufti day. A prefect in Year 12 (so in assembly she sits at the front of the hall facing the entire school) came in wearing a t-shirt that said, in massive letters, ‘NOBODY KNOWS I’M A LESBIAN.’

Onto my Christmas list:

#1. I considered I might be a lesbian, but don’t think I am really. Even so, I don’t want a boyfriend (but thanks for the ‘grow your own boyfriend’ kit last Christmas!). I am now a FEMINIST and would like a book about that, because I don’t totally get it. At Claire’s house we surfed the internet and found out about The Female Eunuch and The Second Sex, which I got from the library. They’re gathering dust and incurring fines. Could you source something more readable (maybe even funny?!) about Feminism, please?

#2. RUBY WOO. ‘Who’s that?’ I hear you ask ‘and will she fit in your chimney?’ (Ho ho ho.) Ruby Woo is a lipstick shade from a place called MAC. It’s bright red, but matte, and makes you look like a 50’s screen siren. It’ll match the stupid red swimming cap I’m forced to wear – rather than white, like everyone else – because I’m a ‘less able swimmer’. We’re not meant to wear make-up ever, let alone in the pool, but I’ve decided I DON’T CARE.

#3. This might be hard: I need you to track down a letter. We’re choosing our A Levels, so had to have a careers discussion with Mrs Shale. She liked the UN idea (I didn’t mention trouser suits), but said there are other jobs I might not know exist, like dot com boom ones or fundraising for charity, or art therapy, that might suit me. Apparently you can even make a living window dressing at Selfridges and ‘trend forecasting’! Anyway, Mrs S read a letter from Hunteress Thompson (nice Feminist name!) which made her realise teaching was what she should do and it changed her life! I want to read that letter. Maybe there are loads of jobs where I can wear trouser suits in Paris.

Excited that we’re getting a computer with internet in the January sale – next year’s letter will be typed, or maybe even E-mailed!

Merry Christmas!


Fifteen years later, I’m a happy ‘Bad Feminist’; Ruby Woo is a reliable friend; and Hunter S Thompson’s compelling letter to Hume Logan convinced me to change career, having come to feel like I’d been swimming against the tide in a red cap.


Right readers. You know I haven’t necessarily changed career but I fully intended that I would if I won the competition! I was going to see it as a SIGN, you see. But even though I haven’t won, I am convinced, and much clearer about what that career should be since writing the letter in September. No signs needed. More on that in coming posts!

And the lesbian t-shirt really did happen, and was brilliant.



books, call out for comments, feminism, list, not navel-gazing, thrillseeking, travel

Resuscitate – I can still spell

Hello again!

I was planning to start a brand new blog. I had all sorts of ideas and grand plans, which included:

– The Full Welsh – a blog about Wales (where I now live).

– Local tips for global trips. Name later changed to ‘More corners’ – a travel blog by locals in Paris, New York, Rome, Berlin, Sydney, London… and Swansea.

– BOOKWOMEN (sure that name could have been improved). Reviews of books by/for/about women.

– TGIF: Thank God I’m Freelance? A blog about going freelance (when I thought I would do that).

– One I was too flustered to find a name for, about having a quarter life crisis. (Very bad idea. And also, if it was a quarter life crisis, I’m living to 120, which I don’t necessarily want. Anyway, it wasn’t a QLC, it was good old-fashioned PMT!)

– What Do You Do? About careers, with interviews.

– and more.

But instead of any of these, I decided to change the name of this blog from 30 things to ‘More things’ and write whatever I please. This will include much of the above: women and feminism, careers and callings, books, travel (reigniting my postcards to cities) and more besides. I will try not to navel gaze and come out with fluff though. Leave a comment – simply typing ‘FLUFF WATCH’ in the box – if you think that is what’s happening.

Having re-read my penultimate post from the 30 things blog (which is everything below this one), I realised I have now achieved some formerly unfulfilled ’30 things’ since I smacking 30 round the face and shouting ‘CAN YOU HEAR ME! I’M THE OFFICE FIRST AIDER!’ and I thought some follow up would be nice for this welcome back post.

Things I have done in the last 5 months since turning 30 (that I said I would do before my birthday, but didn’t quite manage):

Have a proper night out in Newcastle

YES! It was ‘champion’. I’m going to write a postcard to Newcastle thanking it for the warm welcome (so warm we wore Geordie Shorts). Watch this space for that.

Do a first aid course

YES! Haven’t had to use it yet, fortunately. I’m glad I did it.

Go to Glyndebourne under 30s

YES! We saw Rinaldo and I wore a bustier. It was a lovely time. (Rinaldo, the opera, not Ronaldo, the football player.)

Realise my calling

I may have done that on Wednesday night on the train.

What I haven’t done, that I said I would do before turning 30:

Get a tattoo. Still want to.

Get something published with my name on it. Well, I entered the ELLE writing competition, and don’t think I’ve won, but will know for sure next month. The theme was ‘The letter I wish I’d written.’ I enjoyed entering. I might publish my entry here.

Deliver a lecture. I said I’d try and do this in my second post, and then failed to address it in any subsequent. I will do this.

Things I said I didn’t think I could do before my birthday – but can do now! Before I’m 31! Before I’m 40! Before I’m 120!

Have a baby 

Win the Man Booker Prize

Something I said I was extremely unlikely to do before 30, and indeed didn’t, but now can and will:

Learn to drive

Coming up, I’ll write my postcard to Newcastle and what happened after I went on a course called How To Find A Job You Love – did it help me realise my calling?


Last thoughts on thirty

A confession, now that the blog is entering its glorious finale. This is like the number at the end of a musical that everyone claps along to, and if it’s The Bodyguard, people stand up and shake their booties in the aisles. The MEDLEY. My confession is: every time I post a blog, I get ‘Jammin’ by Bob Marley in my head, but instead of ‘We’re jammin’, it’s ‘we’re bloggin’ (bloggin’, bloggin’, bloggin’ and we hope you like bloggin’ too).

I just realised it’s the 27th of May, this is the 27th post, and that what I had planned to write about was how much being 27 mattered, more, potentially, than 30. AND IT’S 27 MINUTES PAST 9.

For some reason, just before my 27th birthday I got really scared about letting go of 26 and becoming 27. It seemed like a strange age, 27. I was so much enjoying 26, living it up in Rome. Get this – spoilt brat alert – I was pissed off that I had to go to Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast that weekend for work,  as I wanted to celebrate my birthday in Rome. I mean, really. That’s so silly. Which a wise woman, T, who’s a dear reader of this blog, pointed out. She spent her 30th in Sorrento, she said, and it was riotous. Sorrento is a good place to celebrate your birthday, she told me – and she was right.

In the end, it was an amazing way to spend a birthday – it involved ferry rides in the sun, even receiving a beautiful dress on one of the ferries, and I went from Naples to Sorrento to Capri and then Amalfi all in one day. Then 27 proved to be a very nice age to be, which another wise T who lived in Rome at the time had promised, and was proven right.

For some reason, 27 felt like a milestone. I wasn’t thinking of the so-called 27 club at the time, which, by the way, is the first thing that comes up if you type ’27’ into the internet. I’m not a musician. Interestingly, my dear friend B who is a big fan of Jimi Hendrix, thought about the 27 club when he too was 27, just wondering about it. He took it one step further, and looked up exactly how old Jimi Hendrix had been when he died – and realised that on that very day he had randomly thought to look it up, he was the same age as Jimi was when it all ended for him. The same friend, who is very nice like this, had a celebratory dinner with his mum when he became the same age as she was when she gave birth to him.

I don’t know why 27 felt like a milestone, or why 19 was one of my favourite ages; it was one of the best birthday parties too, I think for the reason that it wasn’t meant to be anything too out of the ordinary. Went for dinner with my friends and to a cheesy club, where everyone gathered around and shouted ‘GONNA PARTY LIKE IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY’ when 50 cent came on, which it did every time we went there that year.

From the interviews and research I’ve done into this topic, my answer to the question: Is 30 a milestone that matters? Is: no. Unless it ends up being so for you. But in general, my view is that it’s another round number. You’ll probably look back and remember what you were doing at 30, unless you’re like my dad, who recounted an entire scene: newly married, sitting in a garden in swimming trunks on his birthday, he was surprised when lots of people turned up for a surprise party. But then halfway through recounting the story he realised it had been when he was 31.

My mum feels hard done by that I haven’t interviewed her, when I promised I would, saying sulkily ‘I was thirty once, you know.’ So I just offered her a final chance to impart some wisdom and she took it:

‘There’s nothing to be afraid of being 30. You’re still very beautiful, energetic and you can still pull.’ Then she winked. When I asked her to explain the word ‘pull’ – one I didn’t realise she knew in that sense, she said: ‘You’ve still got the pulling power – with the men. I’m not talking about you, I’m talking generally.’

So there we go. It’s all fine, or better than that, it’s all splendidly fine. I think that’s all I have to say. Except – I have really enjoyed writing this blog, and might do another soon.

Until then, it’s bye for now, from this 29 year old!



Before you’re 30: accept failure and get on with your life

I have written 25 blog posts. This is the 26th.

I’m very good at working late to meet a deadline, but a birthday is not a deadline and I am in the company of a mother who demands attention – responses to some ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ inspired by looking at a recipe book aimed at children – and shortly a father who will herald the start of the evening and pave the way for dinner.

My deadline – to write 30 blog posts before my 30th – will likely not be reached. And even though there was not a prize at the end of it, monetary rewards, no feeling of having burned any calories and given my muscles something to complain about (as with a marathon) I am BUMMED at not reaching my ‘goal’. And anyone who read the post about exercise will know I don’t even like the term ‘goal’, as it’s reminiscent of team sports, and therefore makes me feel very scared about a potential ball coming towards me.

But if there’s anything I’ve taken 30 years to learn, it’s how to deal with failure quite cheerfully. And I’ve decided it’s about dealing with it and moving on – in this case, to a nice dinner and the promise of fun the rest of the week and beyond into the weekend, when we have plans to see a seal and some puffins.

I was going to harp on about my experiences of failure, which were experienced at a fairly late age in life blah blah blah – but I remember my vow not to navel gaze, because we all know what we’ll find in our navel! FLUFF.

Instead, a quick recap of the blog and what it’s been about – with the ultimate aim of deciding whether 30 is anything to be remotely interested in. This will inevitably involve some recognition of failure, since most of the goals I set were not reached, though I think the important ones were.

Read on to find out what I did and didn’t do, then read the conclusion to find out whether 30 IS indeed a milestone worth caring about.

The pre-30 challenges or to-do’s

– Write 30 blog posts (a post twice a week) before 30.

Did I do it? NO. I may have done 27 when all is said and done, which is 3 short, unless I randomly stick some pictures from my phone up, but they’re mainly pointless. The twice a week plan was scuppered by being in Australia for 3.5 weeks mainly without a computer, and I would argue that TOO MUCH FUN excuses me from those missed posts

– Get a tattoo

Did I do it? NO! Shit. I really wanted to. Want to. I know where – both on my body, and which tattoo parlour – I would go for, but it’s just the bloody WHAT. Shall I just get a big THIRTY tattooed on my face. Maybe I will.

– Get something published with my name on it

Did I do it? NO! The only thing with my name on it is my dinner reservation for tomorrow night.

– Have a proper night out in Newcastle

Did I do it? I’m not doing very well. This is being planned. C is on board.

– A first aid course

Did I do it? Not yet, but it’s in the pipeline with work.

– Be able to spell resuscitate without spell check

Did I do it? Let me at least try and excel on one of these. I’ll try spelling it WITH MY EYES CLOSED – in real time – here goes! resuscitate. AMAZING! I did it.

– Articulate my views on how I am a feminist, even though I’m taking my husband’s name (for some things)

Did I do it? I tried.

– Realise my calling

Did I do it? Ha ha hahahhaha.

I also added to the list, three things you can only do before you’re 30:

– Go to Glyndebourne for £30

Did I? Not yet, but I will be donning my gladrags and taking three other just-past-it friends in August

– Join the Antony Nolan register

Did I?  Yes.

– Go on a Club 18-30 holiday

Did I? You would have heard about it if I had.

RIGHT. Said father is now HOME and ready for the pre-birthday evening to commence.

There will be ONE MORE BLOG POST I think. Yes – because it will have the answer to my original question!


30 years on from Operation Blue Star and dark days in India

photo (2)

In 1984 the then Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi, ordered the storming of the Golden Temple in Amritsar to remove Sikh separatists who wanted to create an independent Sikh state. the operation, named Blue Star, went wrong and hundreds of people died – separatists, soldiers who had been ordered to attack, and people visiting or praying at the temple.

A few months after the siege, Indira Gandhi’s two Sikh bodyguards killed her. Terrible, sickening riots followed, in which thousands of Sikhs were killed in revenge for her assassination.

As the 30th anniversary of these events approaches, it’s a good time to listen to Gunfire over the Golden Temple, which was made for the BBC World Service and produced by a friend of our family. The first part was broadcast yesterday and in it Mark Tully, the BBC’s foreign correspondent who covered the siege and riots 30 years ago, looks back at the events and interviews some of those who were there. It’s really interesting, and of course very sad; I really recommend listening – Part 1 is 25 minutes, and Part 2 will be on next Monday. Listen again here.


A friend of mine, the oft-mentioned C, is going to India later this year, and yesterday I tried to persuade her to go to Amritsar. It’s my favourite place in India, and the spiritual homeland of Sikhs. When I wrote my letter to Glasgow, I said I’d write other such letters, including missives to places I want to visit. With only today left to write any blog posts before I weep on 30’s shoulder, I am going to have to make it snappy. So here’s a postcard to Amritsar.


Dear Amritsar,

Here’s a picture of rainy London, and Westminster Abbey, just because it’s round the corner from me (and a blog needs some pictures).

I was just thinking of when we were last together, just over a year ago, the third time I visited you. I hope this year there are some excellent colours being sported – I loved seeing all the men with matching ties and turbans (and complementary-coloured shirts and hankies) riding motorbikes around. Men here are not usually as well coordinated! Although in London they have really taken to facial hair in a big way, but it’s nothing like when I visited the Golden Temple in 2007 and felt a prod on my arm as I shuffled to the altar, and turned to see it was a gentleman with moustaches lacquered outwards at a right angle, that were so long they extended past his face, at least a foot from the follicle, and poked me.

I bet people have been enjoying langar at the the Temple today*. What a production that is to make! Did you know langar was featured in the Guardian, and a film has been made about how 100,000 people are served it every day in the Golden Temple? Some Belgians made it and it’s called Himself He Cooks.

Anyway, thanks again for the beautiful wedding chura/bangles. All my family put them on me in preparation for the event – and I wore them for 40 days, like I was supposed to! Looking forward to wearing them in a few months at another wedding. But I think you were wrong to let me buy slippers with pink pom poms on the toes. I mean, really. They’ve never been worn, but if I go to a party where I have to dress as a clown, they might come in handy.

Lots of love,

B Burns x

* the food served every day in a Sikh temple, by volunteers, to anyone who wants it


Not a Singh-le lady

I wrote the below as ‘notes’ in my phone on Friday, just as I was on my way to meet my husband. When I set my pre-30 challenges, one was to explain how you can take your husband’s surname and still be a feminist.

 I’m just on my way to meet my husband. Writing this on the train in a slight frenzy. This is the blog post I was dreading a bit, because I was scared of the feminists.

My friend S and I made a new year’s resolution to learn about things and think about them, and have discussions rather than talking mainly about clothes and watching gossip girl. We made a list of topics and feminism was on it, but we never actually got around to having any of our intellectural chats. I think I put it off because feminism felt like homework. I knew I had to address it, but it felt like a bit of a beast. When I started this blog, I was scared of feminism.

It scared me because I thought I wouldn’t be approved of by feminists. I’ve never read the literature, I haven’t spent my life being wolf whistled at and thinking I had things to tweet to @everydaysexism. I know that’s not the extent of it, and I should point out I cared about ‘women’s issues’, but wouldn’t have considered myself a feminist as I imagined ‘they’ were.

I did, however, then sort of ‘wake up’ to feminism.  I realised I do care about feminist issues (not just ‘women’s issues’), and through getting opinionated about certain of them, I really embraced feminism and found out more about it. I started to read more about feminist topics in what was around – magazines and the internet – finding the feminists I read about interesting, even if I didn’t always totally agree, though mostly I did and felt quite excited at learning and thinking about new things.  I now consider myself one; it’s not like homework, and I don’t feel a fraud saying I am a feminist.

Changing my name/ being a feminist

I decided I would change my surname when I got married quite a while before that event – and if you add two and two together, you’ll realise that was before my wake-up to feminism, but I still want to do it. I can’t really tell you why exactly – it’s mainly an instinct, gut feeling. I want to be a Burns woman (my married name). I admire all the Burns women, and the ones who’ve married into the family – like my mother in law and aunts in law – are beautiful, brilliant women and role models. I’ve loved being a Singh (my non married name), and actually still am, technically – at work, on Twitter(!). Though married for nearly half a year, I haven’t actually changed it yet, except on my library card – which readers of the blog will know is an important passport to me. My mum’s a bit of an example here, since in her case it took 37 years of marriage to change her passport from maiden to married name, but she used Singh at work and her maiden name when it suited her. Call it having your cake and eating it, but I don’t really see the problem in taking a similar approach. And in any case, everyone knows that expression is silly because who wouldn’t want to eat cake if they had it?

I’m quite lucky, I think, that my first name is unique and I don’t think shared by anyone else and if the argument against changing your name is that you are altering your identity for this man, I’m not. My first name is my identity. Singhs and Burnses are numerous, people with my first name are singular (no pun intended there). It’s important to note that my husband expressed no desire for me to change my name, so no, I’m not ‘changing my identity for a man’. And neither do I subscribe I the view that being a Burns makes me his property. Follow that train of thought, and being a Singh made me my fathers property – I never had my mothers maiden name – and the idea of that is pretty ludicrous in the society I was brought up in. And actually taking of trains (of thought), it leads me to wedding dresses and aisles. This might not be a point that supports my argument, but I do think it’s something for feminists who disapprove of name-changing to think about : if you got married, did a father figure walk you up the aisle, or would he if you did marry? I’d say my friends show that there isn’t a norm – some don’t want to marry anyway, one married in New York City hall with her and her wife there, no ‘giving away’ of anyone, and I think very romantic. Someone else I know walked up with her husband to be, the much more old fashioned English way of doing it; others have gone for the father-down-the aisle route. I did. And that used to be symbolic of your father literally giving you to a new protector – your new owner if you will. It’s not brought up as a feminist issue though, and my suspicion is that there are a lot more women nowadays being given away in the traditional fashion than there are changing their names – which is fine, because it’s all about choice. That is actually the wonderful thing about feminism – I think its goal is freedom for womenL to be the woman you want to be, surely.

Something I have realised about feminism – bit slow on the uptake maybe – is there is no one feminist argument. It’s not like you’re a feminist if you believe x, y and z, and not if you don’t think 1, 2 or 3. You can be a feminist and take a husband’s surname just like you can live in Croydon and be cool. It’s not mutually exclusive, and the feminists who think you should explain yourselves for a choice you made as a sensible, free woman are – I think –  narrow-minded. As long as it’s your choice, you can call yourself what you like ; feminist, Burns or other.


S on the cusp of 40

I love S. She actually just presented me with THIS, from my team at work, which was so sweet of them and kicks off the birthday WEEK I traditionally enforced as a child.

bday presents

It was chosen by S  with care (she knows I only wear ‘NEW trend shade’ nail polishes and that I usually cover my face with a wooly hat or scarf while sleeping on the train at 5.30am. Eye mask is much more classy.)

S and I sit next to each other at work, and even though there are 10 years and a sea of crumbs between us (from our, mainly my, lunch and regular snacks) it doesn’t usually seem like we’re on different planets because of that decade. I don’t think people in the office would be shocked to discover we were both described as ‘talkative’ or ‘easily distracted’ at school and thanks to a mutual delight in the absurd, we get on famously. There are definitely differences between us too, and S will frequently say ‘Oh you’re too young to know [insert musician/band/TV programme from the 90s here]’, which is usually very true, but I might just be unaware of who Morten Harket is because one of us is uncool (me, S or him, I don’t know).

S has been planning her 40th birthday ‘bash’ for a while and attending those of various friends – much as my cohort are having ‘big birthdays’ now too, so I thought she’d be a good person to ask about age, and the importance of milestones.

We went out for some wine and our interview last week. I didn’t really learn my lesson from the previous interviews with C and H the 30 year olds, because although I took a pen this time, I hadn’t banked on quite how much S would have to say (and how fast), and though she’s blessed with the gift of shorthand, I’m not. So this is a snippet of our conversation.

So, S, you’re turning 40 soon. Does it feel like you’re starting something or saying goodbye to something?

Saying goodbye. At 40 you’re halfway through your life, if you’re lucky. When you’re 20 or 30 you feel you’ve got your whole life ahead of you, but for me, it seems like 40 is my parents‘ age. I don’t know how my thirties went so quickly. And then I think: my mum got a dishwasher for her 40th birthday.

But that’s not what you’re getting…

I want a nice handbag.

It’s different now – life maybe used to begin when you were 40, but with kids in primary school, I don’t feel like it will begin for 10 years. Nearing 40 has made me think about mortality quite a bit. When I was 36 I had a cholesterol test, and they said to come back when I was 40 to see about my risk of stroke and heart disease – and now, when you’re at the doctors, they ask about bladder control. (S shrieked with hysterical laughter and swigged some beer at this point)

And I’m like, but I feel 21! I don’t want to have to rein it in. (I don’t think she was referring to bladder control anymore).

Do you feel like you have to rein it in?

When you’re in your 20s and 30s you can do stupid things, and make mistakes, like if you’re drunk or something, and everyone understands – but if you do that when you’re 40, people disapprove, you’re not supposed to do it anymore. But what I do like is that you’re in between people being 30 and people being 50 – you can have fun with both.

What is your ideal age?

28 to 30. We talked about quite a lot here that I didn’t write down and the wine erased it from my mind.

Have your friends celebrated their 40ths, if so how?

Lots of people didn’t want to do anything – one friend was thrown a surprise party at The Savoy, but she hadn’t wanted to do anything. For another’s we went to a house in Wales, which was really nice. Another one had it at the ballet. But I’ve yet to go to a 40th party where people have gone NUTS.

There’s still yours!


We continued talking and reflecting, and when I asked, S said there was no advice she could give to a soon-to-be thirty year old because you can’t predict how what you’d have thought you wanted now might change in the future. She did suggest that it’s a good idea to get a grip on mortgages and things like that though, when it all comes up. The overriding feeling I got, not just from S but others who then arrived at the pub, was that they felt time went very quickly after 30.

I think S’s party sounds like it will be really fun and that she’s a fantastic forty-year-old-to-be. S: you’ve had your ‘dirty thirties’, now enjoy those ‘NAUGHTY FORTIES’! Hopefully S can hear the joking voice in which that should be uttered (the same as when we share a pearl of geeky knowledge from the Heritage guide).

With only 7 days and 7 more blog posts to go until my deadline/birthday, you can expect a post a day from me from now on! Think of it as an APPLE! It’ll keep the doctor away – at least until you’re 36, and have to go for a cholesterol test because you spent too much time reading blogs while eating pickled onion monster munch, and not enough time outside enjoying the BANK HOLIDAY!