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

Room 101: Putting Coins on Top of the Receipt

You’re standing at the checkout, waiting for your change. The cashier piles up the coins on top of a receipt and thrusts them into your hand. The coins slip and slide as you try to catch them with your other hand, whilst also grappling with your purse, your Bag for Life, your coffee cup, your tiredness, and all your hope for humanity.

Meanwhile, the cashier has turned to the next customer, preparing to destroy your already dented spirits with a deluge of groceries. What are you supposed to do?

There’s the dignified method of Continue reading

iHannah: The Evolution of a Technophobe

Big news! I have an iPhone. I don’t know how I’ve avoided it all these years. I’ve only owned two other phones and neither have been Smart, bless their hearts.

I was about sixteen when I bought my first – it had a slide-out keyboard which broke in the end. Unfixable. I only got that phone because I was scared to go to county orchestra without some means of ‘escape’. Despite the phone’s limitation, I was fond of it, and was surprised when people with much better and more expensive phones said they liked mine. I was gutted when it broke.

My next phone was inferior, not Continue reading

Maverick Soup-Making

I stand at the chopping board, eyes stinging from the two hacked onions. The recipe only calls for one small onion, but I like onion, so why not? Some recipes demand exactitude; soup doesn’t.

I place the big vine-ripened tomatoes on the scales, to weigh out 220g. Three tomatoes come to 278g. 278g it is. I chop them quickly, throwing them in with the onions that were meant to be sautéing – they’re vaguely warm, is that good enough?

Next, 300ml tomato juice. Oh, that must be about a mug and a bit, yes? I pour one mugful in, fill it a second time, add half of that to the pan, and then drink the rest. Wild.

Uh oh, Continue reading

Little Boy by the Waterfall

Saturday 7.7.18

The little boy kicked his feet, splashing the rock in front of us.

‘Please put water all over it,’ he said. He needed my extra long legs to complete the operation and was pleased when I obliged.

‘Look! Those ones are yellow.’ He pointed to stones submerged by the shallow water. They looked almost golden in the bright light.

We sat on a large rock, hot from the sun, near the hidden waterfall in Penllegare Valley Woods. There were several people at the rockpool – families and dogs. I wasn’t planning to paddle, but I couldn’t resist Continue reading