Seeing My Cornwall Home

I peered through the taxi window as we drove into the street. There it was. A detached bungalow in a quiet cul-de-sac. The house I saw once last year, briefly, and a few times during my childhood. The house that’s going to be my home for a year.

‘Let’s go in slowly,’ I whispered to my brother, Jonny. ‘I want to remember every second.’

The taxi driver said, ‘Okay, that’s £9.90…Let’s call it £9.50.’

I gave him Continue reading

Train Hilarity

I sat opposite my brother, Jonny, at first, before moving to my reserved seat at the table across the aisle. There was a mother and her grownup daughter, off for a day out in Chester. The retired lady opposite me was going to visit her daughter in London.

We had only been chatting for a few minutes when a man walked up.

‘Excuse me,’ he said. ‘I can hear you at the back of the carriage. I booked a seat in the quiet carriage because I wanted it quiet.’


We would have been Continue reading

The Day I Stopped Going Swimming

I haven’t been swimming for seven or eight years.

That’s my thought as I step into the changing room of Bodysgallen Hall swimming pool, a big green towel hooked over one arm and the yellow locker-key wristband in my hand.

My next thought is whether I’m going to fit into my swimming costume – I bought it two years ago, in a moment of optimism. I’d got as far as removing the tag, but no further. Marks & Spencer, navy blue with white dots – it comes down a couple of centimetres further than most costumes. Very 1950s.

My previous swimming costume was Continue reading

Note to Self: Exercise!

It’s been a month since I ran and probably longer since I went to Crossfit, although I have been for walks. I always forget how good it makes me feel when I exercise and how bad I feel when I don’t.

The truth is, though, I haven’t felt up to it. I’m not sure if this ‘feel’ is a physical or mental issue (why do we even differentiate?), but I suspect it’s due to me being in a transitional period. I’ve finished conducting and teaching and am yet to start a new life in Cornwall, which is bound to have a strong emotional effect. I decided not to give myself a hard time about it.

However, Continue reading

Dear Me: A Letter to the Teenager

Dear 14-year-old Hannah,

Someone just told you, ‘Relax, enjoy yourself: these are the best years of your life!’

Don’t believe a word of it. These are not the best years of your life; they are the worst.

You don’t need to feel guilty that you’re not experiencing what some people think you should. You have a wonderful family, a wonderful education, and many things to be grateful for – it’s just that you fixate on the things that get you down. Your body is going through difficult changes, and your health isn’t good right now, is it? You have regular migraines and headaches, and little energy, so I don’t blame you for feeling sad.

Let me tell you: Continue reading

Headed to Hospital

I went to The Walton Centre for tests yesterday evening. The neurologist hadn’t seemed too concerned about my symptoms, but he thought it would be worth checking for any abnormalities (har har).

Firstly, the EEG. I was called in fifteen minutes early, which was a great relief. There was a cold scratching sensation as the young man glued sensors to my scalp.

‘Wow, that’s a lot of hair to fish through,’ he said.

Tell me about it…

Once the sensors covered my head, I felt as if I’d been Continue reading