Why The Word ‘Commit’ Makes Me Yawn

When people talk of commitment they’re usually referring to an attachment to a person, goal or foodstuff. All well and good but incredibly predictable. So what you can commit to your job, guess what? The rest of the employed world already does that. If not, they’re committed to finding a better job or they’re on the streets. You’re committed to your partner? I should darn well hope so! Get my point? When you say you’re committed to the obvious you get an obvious reaction.

On the flipside I often feel the word “commit” can also come off as a bit strong, for me it casts images of stone handcuffs imprisoning you forever to an assertion. So you say you’re committed to a food brand? Uh huh, lets see what happens when I double its price and half that of its rival. I even chuck in a tube of Pringles for good measure. What if I told you your country had banned that foodstuff from sale? Would your whole world implode and you’d never recover? I’m quite sure you’d get over it.

Take this hypothetical example…

Me: “I want to eat a banana.”

Internal Devil Voice: “NO! You must eat chocolate. You said you’re committed to it!”

Me: “But that was one time when was single and having a binge day.”

Devil: “You can’t just drop a commitment because it suits you. You said it then, deal with the consequences of your actions.”

Me: “But…but…”

Devil: “No buts, now eat fatty, eat!”

And this is why I can only eat chocolate. Damn you Devil voice, you and your forcing me to eat unhealthily and skip fitness classes! *shakes fist in the air*

In short I’m not a big fan of dropping the term commitment into everyday vocabulary. You shouldn’t need to tell me you’re committed to something, if it’s that special and important to you I should know it, feel it, without having you having to shove it down my throat constantly.

However to clear things up and prove that I’m not some kind of free spirited hippie that can’t bind herself to anything more than breathing, here is a list of things I can at least half-commit to (without lying or making you want to throw up into your Lucky Charms).

These things are:

  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • Spilling both on frequent occasion
  • Vintage-style dresses
  • The memory of Heath Ledger in Ten Things I Hate About You
  • Mika’s first album
  • Chocolate (see above conversation)
  • New pillows
  • Phil Collins…just Phil Collins
  • The 2016/17 TV adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale (thou shalt not talk about the 1990 film)
  • My writing

There you go, all the things I can reasonably commit to and make me happy. You now know a lot more about compared to a post writing a soppy love story about how committed I am to my family. I bet as a reader you preferred it too. Please feel free to send me any combination of these things to my door, although FYI chocolate covered Phil Collins is a definite no. Lets get that idea nipped in the bud.

 

Oddly enough this post was written in response to the word prompt of the day Commit

Is This What Becomes of Love?

Picture a young couple sat on a romantic table for two in the prized window location. Outside, the hum of life acts out its natural course whilst inside the firmly fixed table presents an array of steaming dishes all the colours of the rainbow. But the beautiful pair remain silent. The buzz of life is not as loud as the buzz of technology. Eyes locked on laps the lovers sit in silence, unable to exchange more than a grunt towards each other.

Is this what becomes of love?

Now imagine on the ground below a family. A gathering stood in unity on the very streets which not a week ago cradled their darling as she drifted into a long, deep, sleep. The cracked cement barely clean, the group scroll through comments of condolence and pixelated shouts. The invisible vocals scream for the head of a man they do not know in repayment for a corpse they do not know. Unable to change fate and human emotion, the huddled unit desperately make a plea to the man in the cloud. They beg him to remove their daughter from public memory, but the man says he can’t. What he giveth he cannot taketh away.

Is this what becomes of death?

Take a snapshot of the young woman tottering past the stained tiles in high heels. She joins a group of friends at the town’s third classiest bar on a table laden with overpriced toxic juice. Talk is cheap but photos might equal fame, so they ignore deep conversation in favour of recording every second of this meeting in pictorial form. Every angle in a multitude of colours and effects, it is no wonder that their untouched beverages overflow with melted ice. Who said the world is in a constant state of movement when it can be fixed and recorded in a hundred sepia selfies.

Is this what becomes of life?

Widen the lens and tucked away you find my lone figure in the shadows. The painted ladies momentarily glance in my direction before carrying on as before. Averting my gaze, I shuffle past to an attractive window display at the end of the street, but instead of venturing in I choose to remain external. I photo the object of my desires and walk on before I’m caught in the act. Later I will enable a computer to put another man on the streets from the comfort of my living room sofa. I see you and feel moved to take a secondary snap to share with strangers in Vancouver, Paris and Jerusalem. No model release form needed, I will happily take your pain and use it to claim one second of fame. Anything to get a virtual gratification hit.

Is this what becomes of me?

There’s a Reason Why I Unfriended You

If very recent events have taught me anything, it’s this shocking revelation: Not everyone in the world wants to know me.

Facebook in all its wonderfully pointless nature drives us to want lots of ‘friends’, but everyone from CEO Mark Zuckerberg to ‘it’s a waste of time’ Mumma Bennett knows that’s the concept of friends on social media is a load of baloney.

Putting one’s metaphoric geek chic glasses on, Google search (because I invest that much time into blog research), defines ‘friend’ as…

“A person with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically one exclusive of sexual or family relations.”

Bear with me, just trying to read between the lines here. Does it say “someone who posts ‘happy birthday’ on your profile”? Or, “the cute guy in class whose photos you stalk in an affectionate, totally not creepy, way”? No, no it certainly does not. I mean, who seriously wants even fifty friends nowadays? Imagine all the birthday cards to send, you’d never stop! Therefore around 95% of the people you, I and the butcher’s dog have on Facebook are, within reason, no more than acquaintances. They could be either on the cusp of friendship or a guy you met once in Freshman year. If any of this so far is an utter shock to you then you need to undergo the same experiment/evening wasting activity I conducted a short while ago.

Because I’m a shameless sell out, I’ve been trying to promote my writing/the blog through means of a Facebook page. (Oh, what was that? You didn’t quite catch the link? Here you go: https://www.facebook.com/MyHousematesAMermaid/) In the process I openly went out and messaged every single one of the contacts on my Facebook friend list. For each message I carefully thought about what to write, racking my brains for a shared connection or memory that brought us together in the first place.

Was it a cheap ploy to up likes? Yes. Was I curious to hear what people were up to? Yes, very much so. In a world of enhanced imagery and like-baiting statuses, I’ll take what comes from the horse’s mouth.

Most of the people I messaged did respond positively. I was dead chuffed at that. A fair few commented that they liked my work and they liked the page in turn (thanks guys, big up to your love and support). I got reacquainted with old ties, I told them about my life, they told me about theirs, it was great. Admittedly with 100 odd people messaging me at the same time (for one evening I felt like Beyoncé) most of the conversations tailed off after a couple of exchanges, but nonetheless they were pleasant and interesting. It’s funny to hear what the girl sat three seats down in Year Nine Science is up to now, and amazing to hear tales of Chemistry flatmates saving the world with new research in California.

On the flipside there were those who didn’t respond. Some of which were the people I thought I’d hear back from, even if it was just a quick “sure, done!” Or “no thanks”. A sizeable chunk of the no responders I expected, but for some there was no rhyme or reason. Other than they hate my work, that’s very much possible (and accepted – you can’t please everyone).

The whole experience has lead me to undergo a Facebook ‘friend’ clear out. Man, it feels good to do a social media cull every so often. So, if you’re wondering why I’ve unfriended you, here is a comprehensive list of reasons why:

 

  • We met once and haven’t spoken since
  • You were unpleasant to me at school but 16 year old me felt obliged to have you there
  • I genuinely don’t know who you are
  • You’re my friend’s ex (and we barely spoke when you two were a thing)
  • I don’t like you
  • You don’t like me
  • We wrote a group essay together. That’s not friendship, that’s me wanting to chase you for references at 2am
  • Too many statuses
  • I don’t want you near my holiday snaps
  • I don’t want you near me when I become a super, mega, sensation
  • You won’t even realise that I’ve unfriended you
  • You would have unfriended me yourself if I didn’t do it first
  • When I look at your profile, your photos, job, statuses, partner etc. only three words spring to mind: I don’t care

 

Reasons why you’re still my friend on Facebook:

  • You’re a decent person
  • I could engage in semi-awkward small talk with you (think the conversations you have in hairdressers)
  • You’re family
  • You’re my amazing friends
  • The stuff you post is interesting and/or informative
  • I’m scared for my own safety if I unfriend you
  • I’m on the fence and don’t want to have to awkwardly add you as a friend later on

 

There you have it. I may add to this after a bit more friend culling, wherein I may accidentally delete family members, close friends or quite possibly even unfriend myself in my frenzied state to clear out the baggage.

“I went to get Coffee but Came Back With Cava”: Lanzarote, Canary Islands

“…Right, so how are you going to get the Jammy Dodgers out of the country?”

“Well you’ll have made friends with a gigolo in the airport flying out.”

“When would you do that?”

“At check in. You get talking to her and strike up a friendship at that point. Then you find a way to damage her case at the airport on the other side, you apologise and offer to replace the damaged case. She accepts and then you supply her with a case with the goods stitched in on the inside.”

“You got a Roman chariot style attack planned? You’re going to attach spikes to the wheels of your case? And when are you going to get the Jammy Dodgers sewn in?”

“Alice, you know Jammy Dodgers is a euphemism for something else? We’re not talking about smuggling biscuits into Britain.”

“Is Lanzarote even the best place for smuggling drugs? I’d have gone for Latin America.”

“No, other than Alice’s smuggling of apricots I don’t think this island has much going for it. You’d do this in Mexico or the like.”

“What if the woman you befriend has a bright pink case? She’s not going to accept your scrotty old substitute.”

“Come to think about it, how are you planning on making friends in check-in? ‘Hello, nice case. You could stuff a lot of Jammy Dodgers in there’? No offense Dad, but I would hardly rush to exchange numbers if you randomly approached me with that opener.”

“I have a better idea. Why don’t you just pay her to bring the drugs in whilst you’re abroad and then murder her in the car park?”

“Well yes, but in doing so you’ve committed a worse crime than the one you were trying to cover up.”

“Remind me again how we ended up on this topic?”

***

“Pull over here! I need to post something!”

“You’re not posting your local election ballot are you?”

“No comment!”

It was 3:30am, the car was filled with baggage and the village post box was one letter fuller. I hopped back into the Volvo and we sped on towards the airport.

The Bennett holiday had begun.

This Easter the destination of choice was the Canary Island of Lanzarote. Spanish by nationality but located just off the coast of the African continent, the Canary Islands are uniquely blessed to have pleasantly hot temperatures early in the year while maintaining a laid-back Mediterranean culture. The warm climate was far from an automatic pleaser for everyone. As we stood waiting for our bags at Arrecife airport, a fellow passenger could be heard complaining down the phone over the amount of cloud cover outside. Trust a British tourist to moan about the weather thirty minutes after landing.

This wasn’t the first bemusing thing to happen on the holiday. That award would go to the poor directional signage that resulted in the entire plane accidently bypassing Spanish boarder control. As we walked down the ramp parallel to the booths, the border guards watched the heard of pale faced Brits with a mixture of confusion and disinterest.

 

“I wonder if they’ll be so lax once we’re out of the EU.” I muttered to India.

Bags collected, the reps verbally directed us to the buses. We hopped onto our coach and listened to the mumblings of a secondary rep (“what’s she saying?” “I don’t know, I think something about Pablo Paella’s Casa or the welcome meetings. To be honest I’m barely listening.”) The young lady leapt off, the coach doors closed and we departed.

This time around we were headed to the resort of Costa Teguise on the South-Western side of the island. Because we’re middle class this was to be the fourth time at the resort, although this time around the holiday planner (alias Mumma Bennett) had booked the hotel Teguise Grand Playa which was considerably closer to the pretty town of Teguise compared to the one we’d been to four years ago. After the terrible sun burns of 2013 when we badly misinterpreted the strength of the UV rays, we learnt several valuable lessons. A) always pack sun cream b) remember the pastiness of one’s skin and c) town is never a “fifteen-minute walk away”.

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mid-afternoon people judging, sorry, watching.

Anyway, to get back on topic, the Costa Teguise Playa is a lovely hotel, situated right on the beach (it is quite literally a stone’s throw away). This location suited me very nicely. During the day the beach was a hubbub of activity in the form of sunbathers, scuba divers and swimmers, but at dawn the little piece of man-made coast was completely empty of all human-shaped life. Granted it took me about five days to get into the practice of early starts, but for those few mornings where I ventured down to the beach at 7am the views were wonderful. I could listen to the sea, yoga a little and relax.

Within the walls of the hotel I learnt a couple of new things. Firstly, this man has a very high voice:

And secondly I discovered that Leo Sayer is still as relevant a figure today as he’s ever been. At least four times Papa Bennett got mistaken for the 70s pop star/icon/legend. For anyone not in the know, here’s Sayer’s music/photo next to Papa Bennett’s…

Don’t get me wrong, at first it was utterly hilarious seeing drunk British tourists rush up to Papa Bennett and ask him to sing You make Me Feel Like Dancing, or say “my wife absolutely loves you!” But in time it got bit much. When you’re put on edge because someone stumbling towards you way want an autograph, or ask what it’s like being Leo Sayer’s daughter on tour you start to wish Leo Sayer had been a one-hit wonder.

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Photo with Leo Sayer. Moral of the story: never meet your idols.

As well a large consumption of sparkling Cava wine which was served from breakfast to midnight free of charge (this post’s title being a choice quote by yours truly), our merry quartet also partook on an island tour whilst visiting Lanzarote. We’d already done the volcano tours some years ago, so this time around we went on a voyage of discovery to learn about the famous contemporary artist César Manrique who lived on the island. The tour stopped off at a number of the sculptures, paintings and buildings Manrique designed. Here is a summary of that tour in the form of a collage:

We saw some really beautiful things and all took away something different from the trip. Mumma Bennett was overwhelmed by art:

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I meanwhile struggled to comprehend why anyone would have a semi-transparent (external) bathroom wall.
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India on the other hand had her perceptions on nature and art transformed by a Cactus Garden, from this…
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…to this:
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(Coming soon to MHAM, a post dedicated to the Jardin de Cactus. The transformation will be explained!)
And as for Papa Bennett, well he felt compelled to do this:
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(And we still don’t know why.)
Other than that we all took pleasure in having a very laid back holiday. In the daytime we’d explore the local area and sit on the beach/by the pool and at night we’d drink cocktails and sip on spirits and chat away the hours. Some would probably look at this as mundane and very predictable but in fact it was anything but. Only after a few rounds of seemingly harmless drinks would the most random conversations come up. The opening of this post is one such example, another was a theoretical debate over how one would go about committing suicide with a Christmas Tree. Admittedly these were not conversations which one walks into at 10am on a Monday, nor are they discussions which anyone walking past, English or not, would be able to jump straight into. They are odd, random and sometimes a bit wrong but they are so the conversational glue of the Bennett family unit.
The local shops near to the hotel were filled with the standard tourist tat and other random items including mug clocks and washing machine covers.
I also think it says a lot about us as a family when we gather as one to admire this:
As we got to the end of the holiday I felt it was time to leave Lanzarote and return to normal life in the UK.  I had obtained my fill of sun, sea and endless sangria and was ready for a cup of tea and a bowl of Weetabix. I’d also a) taken a good couple of kilos of apricots and tea from the hotel to bring back home and b) broken our tour operator’s information board.
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To stay any longer would be putting me, my family and Brexit negotiations in danger.
Overall, it was a great holiday in a fabulous location (as per usual, thanks to Mumma Bennett). And it shall always be remembered as the Lanzarote holiday where three of us worshipped the sun and art while Leo Sayer worshipped the sparkling wine.
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“You know, when I was younger I thought I’d be a lot cooler by now” Miss Alice E. Bennett

“I’ve got this Lynx for women shower gel, but I don’t like it. It makes me smell like a teenage boy on heat.”

“Why don’t you bin it then?”

“Yeah, but I got it as a Christmas present, so it’s free and all…”

Welcome to my world. A world where the golden rule is to always save money by any means possible. You are reading the words of a girl who never ate fancy during her uni days, instead always had a stash of £1.99 McDonalds vouchers to hand, a bottle of 19p water from Savers in her bag and a impressive knowledge of the shops which gave out free food (praise the Lord for the Hotel Chocolat samples!) A person who still cuts cost corners where possible, and if it’s free is all over it. For example, some of you may/may not be familiar with the Galaxy men and women, attractive people hired to give out free bars of chocolate to promote the brand…

Galaxy Gift For You Activity

(I couldn’t find any pictures of the men but trust me, in their Galaxy suits they were looking sweet as chocolate – yes, pun intended)

Right here is a girl that constantly walked past the beautiful men not because they were beautiful men, but because they were giving away free chocolate and vouchers. It was a good Christmas that year, I had enough chocolate to see me though to Easter and enough free vouchers to palm off to my friends in far flung locations in place of actual gifts. One card even went missing en route to my friend studying in Japan. To this day I firmly believe the Japanese stole the voucher inside.

Fads

Like every human being, I’ve had my fair share of fashion fads in my life so far. There was the waist belt phase, where I wore wide waist belts with everything, even though looking back a lot of the time they really didn’t suit me. There were the teen years where I genuinely convinced myself I was incapable of smiling and/or looking good in photos so I just looked forever grumpy:

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Of course there were the selfie photos, back in the day where a ‘selfie’ was a photo taken with this newfangled ball thing called a webcam:

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(I thought I was so cool when I took that one)

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(no make up selfie, accompanied by: By the rules of social media (which you must never break, like the laws of jinx or tag) here is my no make up selfie. I’ve had no make up on all day, but I’ve taken it now fresh out of the shower to show I genuinely have nada on. If you like this you may be interested in checking out many of my other profile pictures or me most days of the week. People should love you, not your face paint. A belief I’ve stuck by for 20 years, and still do.) – sickening, eh? After a few gentle nudges I did actually donate money to charity.

And then there was the ‘rebellious’ year at university when I grew a side fringe.

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That was a very questionable style choice. Never again will I take the advice from someone who says after a drink “you know, you’d look really good with a side fringe”. Never. Again.

Thankfully I had my fringe reinstated April 2013 and it made me so much happier…

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As mumma Bennett is forever reminding me, “when we drove away from Southampton that Easter after you’d had it done, I remember telling your father how much better you looked. I mean it looked ok on occasion, but most of the time that side fringe really didn’t suit you at all.” Thanks mum.

Of course uni also brought the dressing up fad as standard:

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(An alien, before you ask)

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(Above I’m representing the Italian Mafia for Eurovision. Back then it was fancy dress, nowadays it’s called office wear)

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(For this one I was so chuffed I fitted into an age 12 gothic bride dress I literally refused to take it off all night. It freaked the hell out of my housemates, who thought Miss Havishman was patrolling the hallways when they saw my darkened figure at 1am)

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Oh wait, that was a couple of months ago…

Anyway, you get the picture.

Hats, hats and more hats!

A fad I’m currently riding now is hats (although I hope I never look back on these with regret). I mean hats go with everything!

Days out

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With snow

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At winter birthdays…

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…Or in summer selfies

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In the Disney store with friends

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Or with fancy dress

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Every so often there’s a mask…

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…Or we get the lines really blurred with a full on mask

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But then we return to the safety of hats

10849885_10152430434651050_823509812820915638_nTeam hat selfie!

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Even though I was in the Parisian sewers I was still happy. You know why? Probably because I was wearing a hat.

In short, hats are cool. End of.

The photos you really want to see – lets bring out the baby pics

Ok, lets get a couple of these out:

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Yep, I used to be blonde

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Keenly eyed readers will notice I match the curtains almost perfectly

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When you don’t have curtains to hand there are always bin bags (in fairness, I used to love dressing up as a witch. My parents should have seen the warning signs then)

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Bonus points if you can guess which one is me. Think you’ve spotted me? Here’s a close up:

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I was quite literally shaking with excitement at having my photo taken. According to my family I still shake to this day when I’m excited or uber smug.

So…

I think that’s enough about me for now. Enough to give an insight into the warped life and mind of Miss Alice E. Bennett, a taster if you will. If you really want to get to know me you only need only give five minutes of your undivided attention. Within seven I’ll be telling you why Tom Hanks’ character in The Polar Express doesn’t make me comfortable…

“Look, all I’m saying is that when I was watching The Polar Express the only things I kept thinking were a) where is this guy’s CRB check certificate? And b) where are all the other kids on the train?”

“Of course Alice enjoys pottery, it’s making mud pies but socially acceptable” India, lil-bub, Bennett

Hang on a mo, is that gas I can smell? No?….Ok the smell has passed now, I think it might have been someone stoking up the BBQ on this lovely Summer’s evening. Now that has passed I can begin on this.

India Bennett, my little sister three years my junior, is, well, she’s urm, well let’s stick at her being my little sister. Like all siblings it is a near impossible task to define her or our relationship in a few words. Take the the featured image of this blog post…

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…This picture was taken in Suffolk when India decided to put Spandau Ballet’s ‘Gold’ on for no reason. I was incredibly hyper (I was dancing with salad servers) and India had had a sip of wine. We were crazy! This photo sums up the next three and a half minutes very well, just pure dementedness.

Welcome to my relationship with India. A world where these photos are a frequent occurrence:

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A relationship where photo in-jokes are frequent, but rarely understood by the outside world:

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(The above, shot in the New Forest, being one of the very few people get)

And where mum has to accept that for every 10 normal photos we demand one light-hearted one.

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A pub called Beerwolf! Did I also tell you it sells Books? We had to have a photo with it. (Bennett sister’s top place to visit in Falmouth).

Can you role your eyes? Good, then you can define our relationship. Mumma B does it all the time so it must be a good, endearing, way to sum us up.

Nicknames

Over the years I’ve assigned many nicknames to my beloved little sister. These include (deep breath):

Lil bub

Bub

Bubbakins

Sister of the Sea

My little crustation

Squidly

Lobster (used when quoting Friends)

(Can you see some patterns emerging here?)

India

Ind

Innnndddddiiiiiaaaaaa

Indiana Jones

Sis

Chick

Chick-a-dee

Smelly

Turnip (in the context of ‘oh you little turnip’)

Turd/poop (as the above, but in stronger circumstances)

Mum and dad bonus names: Pumpkin, pickle pants

Basically any noun or random noise I assign her. There are interchangeable, e.g.:

‘Sister of the Sea, dinner is ready!’

5 minutes later… ‘can you pass me the salt bubbakins?’

‘Please stop calling me bubbakins, you’re making me feel like a little fat kid’

‘What was that lil bub? I was too busy eating my fruits de la mer’

‘It’s fish and chips’

‘Fruits de la mer!’

In short, whether she likes them or not, India has many ‘Alice-given’ nicknames.

Miss Congeniality

As well as goodness knows how many in-jokes and giggling fits we have over nothing at all (“Barry! There’s a frog in the shower!” – guarantee she’ll be laughing now), we both have a special place in our hearts for the Sandra Bullock classic that is Miss Congeniality. Why I hear you ask? Well as well as it being a classic chick flick, we particularly admire the legend that is Michael Caine. The amazing actor that has performed in some amazing films over the years found himself in 2001 playing a pageant coach. Surprisingly the Oscar nominations didn’t pour in.

From the film we took two life lessons: 1) Our favourite date is April 25th (because it’s not too hot or too cold) and 2) we are the crown:

At one point in the film Bullock realises (spoilers) that the pageant crown is a bomb. She tries to tell Caine this while being pushed on stage. Misinterpreting her warning as her showing determination to win, Caine says “that’s right, you wear the crown, be the crown, you are the crown.”

Ever since India and myself have used this as our inspirational quote. If ever in doubt, or you need perking up, just utter the above quote and you’re bound to find the strength to continue. At the very least you can think to yourself “if Michael Caine can bring himself to say that on film then I can do anything”.

If you want to be accepted by the pair of us you need to watch this film and appreciate the pure 00’s cheesiness of it (without wine).

India’s Spot

In an uncanny resemblance to Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, India will seek out a spot she can call home and set up base there. This tends to be in a corner behind a sofa, where she can sneak in and out of a room without anyone noticing. The frustration really ensues when you’re trying to have a conversation with her, and you’re found trying to work out if she’s there, not listening/aware of the conversation or actually left the room ages ago.

It’s time to play the Bennett family fun game of:

Is India actually in the room?

Question 1: Which of the below is India least likely to engage in or with no matter if she’s in the room or not?

a) Cats

b) Clothing she’s put in the charity bag that actually belongs to someone else

c) Anything related to herself (education, what she’s up to, her friends etc)

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Answer: C (“why do you keep talking about me?” “actually, we thought if we talked about you for long enough and you’d get the hint. That was 15 minutes ago.”

Question 2: How do you know India is definitely in the room?

a) She’ll be laughing like a drain at a youtube video on her phone, while you’re watching a serious documentary on TV

b) She’ll be hitting the keyboard so hard playing Skyrim the noise will drive you insane

c) Silly question, she’ll be sat on the sofa chatting to you!

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Answer: A (“India! Seriously! Someone is dying here!” “What? What? Sorry…….hehehehehe” “INDIA!”)

Question 3: In a dining room setting, how will India get away from conversation?

a) she’ll stand up and walk out

b) she’ll pull out her phone and plug her headphones in, to try and convince us she’s listening

c) she’ll make two trips to the dishwasher and never return

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Answer: C (“I don’t see why some people should do more trips with dirty plates than others. If everyone made two trips to the dishwasher then we’d all have the same amount of work to do and everything would get done quicker. I did my trips, so I went to my room.” First we had Karl Marx, now we have India Bennett. Prepare yourselves for the revolution).

Finally, Question 4: How many times do you say ‘India’ before assuming she’s not in the room?

a) one

b) two

c) three or more until someone checks behind the sofa or she responds

d) She’s never in the room

e) Throw a random comment that would make any normal person react (e.g. “India smells” or “I’m sure India would love to help clear the garage out”)

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(Some of India’s photography, an evolving fish escaping the bathroom. Deep.)

Answer: C (it’s as close as you’ll get to having something in writing should you later require proof she had no opinion on a matter.

So…

Like all of my family, it is very difficult to sum up my sister in one blog post. To sum up my crazy and messed up relationship with her is impossible. That’s something for the Psychologists of the future to discuss over many heated debates and research journals. No, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to decipher why India says and does the things she says and does, but I love her thisssssssss much and I would never replace her. And if anyone says or does anything to upset her, well, may I refer you again to our favourite guilty pleasure:

She’s a nutcase, but she’s my nutcase

“Alice is going out for a meal tonight” “Neil? Who’s Neil?” “No, a meal!” “Yes, who is Neil?!” Father Bennett

So here we are, another Thursday evening. The sun is out, an assortment of children are playing outside, and there’s a ice cream van playing a God-awful, screeching tune every five minutes. Oh wait, it’s starting again (I DON’T WANT YOUR ICE CREAM! If I did, what are you going to do, scale three floors to get to my bedroom window? Work on that and your ice cream tune and we can talk).

So here I am, in a post traumatic state after viewing Season 5, episode 6 of Game of Thrones, where Ramsay Bolton has just married Stansa Stark. What better time than to start writing a blog post on my father!

Father (‘pappa’) Bennett

My dad is a clockmaker by trade, he owns a clock shop in a small Warwickshire town where he buys, repairs and/or sells clocks. He’s a popular guy in the area, he does the clocks for a variety of towns and local celebrities (“tell me, what’s John Nettles REALLY like?”). It’s also an off year when he doesn’t feature at least once in the regional newspaper and/or TV news under the headline “it’s not a wind up! Spare a thought for the man tasked with putting all the clocks forward/back an hour!” (or words to that effect). Heck, even when Shipston flooded people wanted to go to his shop:

(ok, maybe that’s a slight an overstatement…)

Dad’s Fads

Dad is a respected figure in the local community, however less can be said for his standing in the family household. Mr. Bennett in every sense of the word, he often retreats in his study (aka the Play/Games room) to ‘noodle’ about online. No one really knows what he noodles about on, until he comes out with information on a recent fad he’s into. We’ve had rotisseries, pigs, peacocks, chickens, flagpoles, wood stores, hot tubs, B&Bs, diet fads (anti dairy, anti sugar, anti-fat, porridge, muesli), the lot. His recent one which is still lingering is the unicycle phase. He had been wanting to try it for a while, but mum point blank refused to get him a one wheeled bike of death. Then one day, like something from a 90s sitcom, he came in with a unicycle that he’d found in a charity shop. I waited for the canned laugher and a comic jingle to play, but then I realised this was real life and all my 90s games show jingles were saved on my laptop in Southampton.

“Why would someone give such a thing away?”

“Oh, I can think of a few reasons” was the joyous reaction of mumma Bennett. “You’re going to hurt myself, break all your bones and then I’ll have to care for you while you moan.”

“But this is what I want to do, I’ve been watching videos. I just need a couple of ladders…”

“Ladders?!”

“Or two willing volunteers, whichever is easiest”

“This is ridiculous!”

“Why? I’ve always wanted t do this! I wouldn’t stop you if you wanted to do it!”

“(inaudible grumbles)”

*Awkward Silence*

“India! Play Barney, for God sake get Barney on now!”

(Barney is my fail safe for reliving tension, you try and stay mad at someone when this gets played randomly. Very difficult!)

Middle Aged Man

How to explain this. So, back in 2012 as a family we were in Suffolk when India and I looked up from the bottom of a castle to see dad standing on a mound, deep in thought. For some unknown reason we couldn’t stop laughing. We went to take a photo but he saw/heard us and struck this pose:

The First

Afterwards we made it our mission to subtly take photos of dad when he was in his own world. We simply called it “Middle Aged Man…” The rest is Bennett History. Cue art gallery photo reel!

For this next bit, please play the song below to help set the backdrop and tone:

Middle Aged Man having coffee at St Ives Art Gallery

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Middle Aged Man reads an interpretation board at Totnes Castle

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Middle Aged Man watches people go about their day

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Middle Aged Man takes in a Devonshire view

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Middle Aged Man takes in the same view but from a different angle

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Middle Aged Man on the beach

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Middle Aged Man takes time out to eat a croissant and read the Telegraph supplements

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Middle Aged Man goes boat watching

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Middle Aged Man with wife on an Autumn day

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Middle Aged Man on a boat

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Middle Aged Man takes time out to train India up on the art of aimlessly staring over a cruise ship

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(Middle Aged Man having less success in Falmouth with his other daughter, who can’t quite master the basics)

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Middle Aged Man in a Yurt

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Middle Aged Man: If a man sits in the New Forest and no one is around, does he exist?

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Middle Aged Man deep in thought

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And finally:

Middle Aged Man views classic art

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(Our thanks to mumma Bennett for catching this moment in Paris on film and lending it to the Middle Aged Man Collection)

I’m certain more will follow, this collection has only been in existence for a couple of years and there’s still many more family outings/holidays ahead. (Donations to keep this piece of Bennett and British Heritage alive are most welcome).

So..

That’s my dad in a nutshell. I could write loads more here, like how he is forever mishearing things (see title for an example), or how he has a nerf gun hidden in a top drawer ready to unleash whenever next door’s chickens come onto our lawn. However the night is still young, and I’ve got an episode of Game of Thrones to watch before I’m up to speed with this season. Finally I will be able to engage in office discussions without yelling ‘don’t tell me anything!!’.

Until the next time.