This Could Be the Best Homemade Video Since Charlie Bit My Finger…*

(* – no promises made)

What does one get a family member who has everything? More to the point, what does one get a family member when one has no money, no time and has a terrible habit of writing in the ‘one’ tense? That’s right, she makes a truly amazing video featuring Phil Collins (obviously).

It seemed such a good idea to make a video for lil bub Bennett’s birthday, but then in truth I think I may have really just wanted to pay tribute to Phil Collins and feed my middle age condition (the one where people are born liking The Archers and consider staying up to watch the BBC News at 10 to be a ‘crazy’ one. Yeah, that one.) Anyway, I thought the video would be a nice thing to do for her.

20 hours later…

Brain dead, caffeine overdosed and fed up of seeing my sister’s face more than my own, I finally created a masterpiece. “She better love this” I thought, before dashing into Lush the next day to buy a back up present. Safe thing too, when I first presented her with the gift she seemed less than amused at the offering.

“Right. Ok, well that’s a very nice memory stick Ali, thank you.”

“No you donut, it’s what’s on the stick.”

“Oh right!”

“Did you seriously think I’d give you a cheap USB stick for your birthday?”

*Silence*

“Just play the video.”

Luckily, she loved it. And now, for your viewing pleasure, I have added that same video here. Enjoy! (Well as much as you can given you know nothing of my family and it’s in-jokes…if nothing else watch it for Phil.)

 

 

Written in response to the WordPress prompt Dancing

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“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 and India Take on Cardiff

Yesterday I went to visit my dear sister in her university city of Cardiff. Cardiff is the capital city of Wales, but it also happens to be the location Brad Pitt will fly to when the Zombie apocalypse comes:

(I think all Welsh persons will agree the post-crash footage isn’t really a fair visual representation of Cardiff. I’m sure Americans were equally up in arms about this, if not…)

Anyway, I visited Cardiff for the day. I’ve visited the city before, once to see India’s halls and silently weep over the fact I’m not a fresh-faced student any more, another time to go to the castle and a final time by myself to undergo some retail therapy. This time though I was able to pick up on more things about Wales and then put them to my 19 year old sister who has only been in the country for six months (because that’s enough time to make someone Welsh right? We are 25% welsh after all.) First of all, I asked her why every train I take towards Wales is late: WP_20150118_09_38_22_Pro

Admittedly this photo was from another train I took to Cardiff (delayed by 14 minutes), but the train yesterday was 19 minutes late. That day it was due to ‘a train fault’. I wonder if First Great Western do some sort of delayed train I Spy, because I’m certainly well on my way to having enough points to claim for my ‘delayed commuter’ badge. India had no idea, so I had to assume it was because they were coming from London (if in doubt, blame London).

I tend to voice my irritation at simple things when I’m with other people. For example, in John Lewis they had a Valentine’s Day section. Sis and I were playing a ‘what would we want if someone was buying for us’ game when I saw this product:

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It’s simply two separate keyrings saying ‘You complete me’ and ‘We fit together’. Aside from the cheesy lines written on the product, to all intents and purposes the product is useless. That heart is a lot bigger than the picture suggests (my opinion it’s clunky) and when taken apart the two pieces mean nothing (a heart with a massive hole and the line ‘you complete me’ sounds more like a break up gift than a Valentine’s present). I also spent a good deal of time trying to get the jigsaw piece to fit into the heart. Surprise, surprise it doesn’t (the keyring chain itself hasn’t been heavily factored into the design). India managed to force one in eventually, because forced love is the best kind.

To try and take away the irritation we then went swiftly over to the chocolate and sweet section. We both got surprisingly serious over our discussions of what our imaginary boyfriends are buying us. India was certain hers would be buying her Jelly Belly beans, most likely a couple of poles so they could have a jelly bean fight beforehand:

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I decided that I’d be getting a load of Hotel Chocolat chocolates (or as I called them, Hotel Chocolat chocolats, because I’m classy and annoying like that). In particular these (at £22):

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And these (at £16):

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I was then asked which chocolates I’d have and which ones my boyfriend will be eating.

“Oh no, you’ve got me wrong sis, I’ll be having all of them.”

“Then what is your boyfriend going to have?”

“These.”

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“But they’re only £2.50?”

“Look, I was having a very exhausting time in the office the day I got paid that £2.50, he should feel grateful I’m giving him any money from that particular day!”

It was at this point we realised people around us genuinely thought we were being serious, so we put the products down and slipped out of the John Lewis store.

We then went to Hollister for the first time where we quickly learnt what people are talking about when referring to the lack of light in stores.

“Are we in men’s or women’s?”

“I’ve no idea, these look like girls’ shirts…”

“Oh no wait, these are guys t-shirts, turn back, turn back!”

“This must be women’s. It still smells like aftershave, but a more feminine aftershave”

“Yep, you’re right. Look, there’s no upper half, but those legs are definitely too thin to be a man’s”.

Again, we were getting looks, but this time from people half our ages.

“India, do you ever feel you’re 50 years older than you are?”

“Erm, yes, yes I do. How about you?”

“I didn’t before I entered this shop, but I do now.”

After all the looks and all the ranting, we were both ready for coffee and a sit down. We chatted about life, discussed gothic literature (“look, all I’m saying is that when I got to Heathcliff forcing Cathy to marry his son I did think ‘oh for goodness sake Heathcliff!'”).

There was also the compulsory “you’re so cool, with your freedom on weekends and money for fancy coffee. You could have fancy coffee all the time!”

“I could have fancy coffee India but I don’t live in Cardiff do I? I live in Swindon.”

“But you could have fancy coffee and cake if you wanted to.”

“Swin-don!”

Conversation cut (thankfully) short by mumma Bennett calling us to have a three-way conversation. This plan was dropped quickly when the speaker phone function resulted in sound echoing around for all to hear and mum being unable to hear anything. ‘I can’t hear you, who is that singing, why can I hear rustling, what are you doing?!’

India took control of the call and I decided to play about, writing stuff down for her to say to mum, or try to read and not laugh.

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India failed massively, laughing at all of them.

When I got given the phone I had a mother who was clearly fed up.

“Have you got anything sensible you want to say or ask?”

“Did India tell you she was running away with Antonio?”

“What?”

“I know, shocking isn’t it? And I hear she’s a woman as well!”

“(Long sigh) well at least you’re both having fun.”

Mumma Bennett has got all too used to us being big kids when we’re together. If anything it’s got worse over recent years. When I went off to University we were separated and the result has since meant a higher concentration of sheer stupidity whenever we’re together. I’m sure mum has been hitting the internet for solutions but short of ‘feed them less additives’ or ‘sit them on the naughty step’ there’s probably not a lot out there for curing grown adults of whatever it is we have.

The final leg of the day saw us hit Boots, where I asked India (the representative for all things Welsh) what the hell this was:

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All she could come up with was “no idea, but it’s very freaky”.

Quickly deciding there was nothing of value in Boots other than a Madame Tussauds death mask we headed into Primark. Primark in Cardiff has four floors, four! I always get lost in there, and I always find that on the weekend it’s the closest thing to experiencing London without being in London. People everywhere, narrow isles, security patrolling around, but because it’s not London I’m somehow more accepting of it. I also learnt some Welsh while I was there.

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Plant must mean child in Welsh. If the pronunciation is the same in Welsh as English that makes it all the more amusing. I can’t decide though if calling a child a plant is either cute or weird. On a separate note, I’ve discovered I have a tendency to wind-up my sister and Welsh citizens up by randomly reading Welsh words out loud (very badly, I’m sure). I’ll walk along and, for example, see customer services in Welsh. I’ll then randomly say “g-wasnelkjsdkfjsla c-wmeris-aid!” (i.e. absolute rubbish) and watch my sister as her eyes rolls right to the back of her skull. I think it’s hilarious, even though in doing this in a crowded space I know I’m risking my life.

The clothes in Primark though were something else entirely. First there was this:

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The bikini was reasonable enough, but why anyone would spend £8 on the fish net wrap/shawl had the pair of us baffled. As India said, ‘it doesn’t keep you warm or dry you off, and it doesn’t exactly cover you up. People can’t wonder what sort of costume you’re wearing because there’s nothing for the imagination!”

“I know, and imagine the burn lines”

“Oooh, the burn lines!”

On the same floor we also discovered these PJ bottoms with a rather busy cake/biscuit pattern:

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I had stronger views on this than India “what if you go to bed a little bit hungry? You’re just going to want to eat your own legs!” India, though fits of laughter, said “not the reaction most people would have to hunger, but I get your point”. My point still stands. Primark: supporting cannibalism since 2015.

That said, I did end up purchasing this amazing fashion piece for a bargain £5

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Yes, that is indeed a kitten onesie. Right, so before your judge me over my fashion sense I’ll have you know this is only my second onesie. My polar bear one still lives at the family home and actually saved my live while at university, keeping the violent shivering down to a minimum in January. However, unlike my polar bear one, this onesie has pockets to do pockety things with!

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(“Oh my god Ali, are you actually posing in that?” “Yes I am, now take the photo!”)

And the hood!

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In short, this piece was my buy of the day (only £5! Why on earth has this been reduced down to £5?!). Before you ask, I am indeed wearing it right now as I type. The only issue with this outfit is that it also has a bell attached to the zip. This means that while I’m wearing this onesie everyone will be aware of my movements, and it’ll also stop me from stalking birds and mice (a favourite pastime of mine).

Overall, a fun day out with my fabulous little sister. I’ve learnt that Primark sells a mixture of clothing, both awesome and awful, that Hollister needs to invest in more lighting and that when I enter a relationship I’ll know exactly where to direct my other half. In fact, perhaps I should start noting down products now? That actually might not a be a bad idea, that way on the first date I can produce this list. It will certainly save the time wasting later on. How could such a plan ever go wrong? Right, where are my notepads and pens…