Becky says things about … reasons to be cheerful

Oh, brave Listener. We’ve all had a bit of a rough time recently.

There are several reasons why we are all feeling a bit peeved, irked, and somewhat vexed:

1) It is February. February is an obnoxiously depressing month, it knows it, and it doesn’t care. February is insufferable.

2) We are still paying off our Christmas credit card bills. This is intolerable.

3) Our New Year’s resolution diet and exercise regimes have failed miserably and we are eating more doughnuts, peanut butter, and full fat milk than ever before to cope with the depression of February and Christmas credit card bills.

cheerful5

4) The couples amongst us have had a relationship-busting argument on Valentine’s Day, and the singletons amongst us have just been reminded that they are SINGLE and ALONE and destined to remain that way for the rest of their sorry lives.

5) There is nothing to look forward to. Sorry, Easter, no one looks forward to you. You are not exciting. You are a legitimate reason to consume biologically harmful amounts of chocolate, and therefore you are a beastly contribution to our self-loathing about our failed diet and exercise regime, and also the reason we are alone.

6). THE WEATHER. Oh, the weather, Listener. We in Englandland have had the shit beaten out of us by the weather. For the last 3 months, this has happened on a daily basis:

cheerful3

Some of us are underwater. Some of us have no roofs. Some of us have lost everything. The print journalists amongst us are fed up with trying to find synonyms for ‘wet’ and ‘flooded’ and ‘catastrophic’, and never want to see or write the word ‘deluged’ again. Several of our politicians have spent a considerable amount of time in Wellington boots pointing at floods. 

cheerful4

And over in the US of A, you have had a POLAR VORTEX.

A POLAR VORTEX.

A POLAR VORTEX, Listener??? What is this, The Day After Tomorrow??? Polar vortexes happen in disaster films, in comics, and in the dark nubs of my brain when someone asks me to do Maths, but SURELY NOT IN ACTUAL REAL LIFE???

cheerful6

Unfortunately, the only explanation for this deluge of catastrophic shitness is that we are finally entering the Apocalypse and will very soon all be dead, and because of this irrefutable fact, I would like to try and cheer you all up. I can’t make it stop raining, or thaw out Lake Michigan, but I can give you some reasons to be cheerful.

Becky’s Reasons to be Cheerful

1) You weren’t presented with this cake for your birthday:

20140216_130135

My mum was. She was presented with this cake for her birthday this weekend. My cake-baking skills are normally phenomenal. This time they weren’t. I failed. My mum had a failed cake, presented to her by a failed daughter.

Fortunately, once we stuck a candle in it, it looked MUCH better.

20140216_131052

2) Life is full of small joys that make you realise how ridiculous it all is; the brief and unexpected moments of such tom-foolery and slapstickery that happen to everyone: that little trip up the kerb that you have to turn into a jog, or the poorly-judged lunge of your foot into your knickers that gets your toe caught in the elastic and sends you hopping across the room and eventually colliding with the wall, or the premature opening of the dishwasher while it’s still on.

cheerful1

Yes these moments initially make us want to kill ourselves, but next time they happen just imagine you’re the person next to you watching the whole ridiculous scene unfold, and remember that your idiocy is extremely amusing.

3) This joke exists in the world:

What’s grey and can’t climb trees?

A car park.

Thanks to my cousin’s 4 year-old son Oscar for the greatest contribution to the world of comedy EVER.

4) You did not arrive at work this morning and realise that your securely-fastened Tupperware box had spilt a lot of homemade soup into the bottom of your recently-purchased bag, and consequently your worldly goods, including your make-up, phone, and wallet, were smothered in pureed beans, spinach, and peas.

cheerful2

5)  If you just had a relationship-busting argument on Valentine’s Day, or are a lonely singleton, or are generally friendless, isolated and alone, and have no one to talk to but the voices in your head that tell you to make questionable advances towards badgers, HAVE NO FEAR!! Talk to yourself! Talking to yourself, out loud, is one of the many joys of life. I have spent most of this evening talking to myself in a Northern Irish accent. No reason. I just fancied it. I made a beef stew whilst enjoying the lyrical twang of my verbal commentary. I once had an entire conversation with myself in a supermarket that went thus:

cheerful7

cheerful8

cheerful9

cheerful10

cheerful11

cheerful12

cheerful13

See? How fun is that? Talk away! Ignore the strange looks and harsh judgement of society, and cheer yourself up with the wittiest, most intelligent banter around!*

*Actual attempts at talking to oneself may not be as successful, profound, or as imaginative as mine. I accept no liability for attempts at talking to oneself that result in boredom, anger, sexual arousal, or mental illness. 

6) There is dancing in the world. And there is plenty of space to do it in. Do you think a crowded station platform prevents me from performing an incredibly small jig that is invisible to the naked eye, yet gives me insurmountable glee? NO!

cheerful14

cheerful15

cheerful16

cheerful17

cheerful18

cheerful19

cheerful20

cheerful21

cheerful22

There is no reason to be peeved, irked, or vexed when there is dancing in the world.

And finally…

7) There is love.

Yes, there is love. There are people in the world who will give you a huge, enormous, squashy hug when you feel a bit low, when you are depressed about your credit card bills and your lack of exercise and your heinous doughnut consumption and the fact that your house is underwater or your local supermarket it totally out of beans because people are panic-buying due to the impending Apocalypse, but throughout all that, there is LOVE. And yes, I may be saying this predominantly for my American listeners, because you LOVE a bit of mushy talk about love and emotion and whatnot, and my English listeners will be sitting in front of their computers thinking ‘Blimey, Becky’s gone a bit overboard with the slushy love stuff. I feel a trifle nauseous’ – but, Listeners of all nations and values, there is a whole heap of love in this world, and no one loves you more than my friend Stickman.

cheerful0

So cheer up, my courageous listeners. The weather cannot continue to be this crap, your credit card bill will eventually be paid off, you will make up with your other half after your horrendous Valentine’s Day bust-up (unless it was over food, in which case that will take a lot of healing), and you can tell the excellent car park joke to all your friends and family and spread the general glee and merriment.

Hurrah!

Becky says things about … the British people VS a heatwave

Firstly, on behalf of the British people I must say to all my overseas Listeners a most magnificent

sun1

because just two weeks ago, I made a desperate plea for summer and asked all you sunny countries to send us a bit of sunshine after our weather people told us we were doomed to be rained on for the next ten years.

And, my sweetest, most generous overseas Listeners, LOOK AT THIS:

sun5

Whatever trickery or witchcraft you used to convey your sunshine over to us, KEEP IT COMING!! We are thrilled. Thrilled, bemused, befuddled, a little frightened, rather suspicious, and generally a bit all over the place.

You see, whilst we British spend 100% of our time moaning about the weather and praying for a heatwave, when it eventually turns up it becomes THE ONLY THING HAPPENING IN OUR LIVES RIGHT NOW, and it sets into motion a complex behavioural process.

The first thing we do is get sunburnt. Instantly. Our fragile complexions are so unaccustomed to direct sunlight that the slightest exposure leads us to receive, without fail, strips of burning, peeling, crusty crimson in the following places:

sun6

The second thing we do is talk about it. Endlessly. We can’t buy a newspaper without saying ‘Thanks very much. Hot enough for you?’ We can’t peruse a menu without saying ‘Oh, it’s too hot for potatoes’. We can’t greet a chum in the street without asking ‘Off to enjoy the sun, are you?’

Every line of conversation can be related to the weather, no matter how irrelevant or inappropriate.

sun3

The third thing we do is read and write about it. When Britain gets hot and sunny for an extended period of time, there is no other news. Distant conflicts, deadly pandemics and impending natural disasters pale in comparison to the weather. We want no part of world news. Why? We want to experience this heatwave in our own way, then read about how other parts of the country experienced it to make sure we didn’t imagine it. A heatwave in England is news.

sun7

The fourth thing we do is arrange outdoor activities. We enter a frantic race of Man VS Nature to organise picnics, BBQs, boat trips, afternoons in pub gardens, walks, hikes, festivals, small gatherings on the patio with Pimms and nibbles, before our tremendous good luck ends and the rain returns.

sun4

The fifth thing we do is carry out arranged outdoor activities. No bit of pavement, no patch of wasteland, no stretch of motorway is unsuitable in our quest for alfresco pursuits.

sun8

The sixth thing we do is become terribly dramatic about it. Within an hour of a heatwave commencing, we Brits are panting, blowing out our cheeks and gasping ‘Phew, it’s a scorcher’, we’re wiping the sweat from our reddened brows, we’re peering deliriously through the haze in search of refreshment, and we’re starting to worry about drought and burning to death. Rail services are cancelled for fear of melting tracks, cars are abandoned, people are fainting all over the place, and the Government have issued a hosepipe ban and declared a national state of emergency.

sun9

The seventh thing we do is complain about it. This occurs on approximately the third day of a heatwave. We’ve spent two days frantically attending BBQs and picnics, we’re burnt to buggery, we’ve run out of clothes due to changing outfits at the first sign of sweat during the dramatic stage, our water bill has gone through the roof because we’re showering 12 times a day, none of us have slept since this wretched heatwave began because ‘there’s just no air in my bedroom’, and none of us are enjoying ourselves.

sun10

And when the heatwave finally ends, which will be approximately four days sooner than the weather people predicted, and the clouds, wind and rain returns, we all breathe a sigh of relief and get on with our lives.

sun11

So thanks very much for sending us some sun, but … just no more, okay?

Becky says things about … a plea for summer

Dear The Rest of the World

Hello. My name is Becky. I live in England.

Someone’s got to.

I am writing on behalf of my country. This is not a begging letter as such; it’s more of polite request from one nation to another at a time of crisis.

You see, we in England – you know, that poor sod of a country that looks like a toddler has been sick on the world – have just been informed by our Weather Lords (otherwise known as the Met Office) that we, to put it bluntly, can shove our summers up our flabby English arses.

summer1

Apparently, due to the fact that the Atlantic is going through a ‘warm spell’, we are going to get rained on. For a decade. Possibly two. One of our wonderful newspapers – ironically called The Sun (oh, such vicious irony) – reports it here.

Now, clearly we are not thrilled by this news. We love summer. We haven’t had a proper one since 2006. There are 5, 6, 7 year-olds in this country who don’t know what summer is. In fact, if we were to suddenly have a summer, it may cause them psychological damage.

summer2

To understand our plight, here are some useful statistics:

  • English families own an average of 49.6 umbrellas per household.
  • More English people die on the one sunny day of the year in the stampede for BBQ coals and sausages than in the rest of the 364 days of the year put together.
  • In England, yearly sales of an expensive perfume made from scrapings of goat’s bladder and guinea pig mucus are higher than sales of sun cream.
  • The average 6 year-old thinks a ‘bucket and spade’ is the name of a level on Mario Kart.
  • The average English person cannot watch an episode of Baywatch without crying. Not at David Hasselhoff’s beauty, but at the weather.

(Statistics provided by beckymakesupstatistics.com.)

But we are a nation of triers. We stoically stand around in mud at our music festivals (curative trench foot measures really have improved). We like to keep our gardens looking nice even though we can only spend three days a year sitting in them. We love a BBQ. Boy, we just love a BBQ.

summer3

But you know what?

It’s rubbish.

We have lived in a damp, dark cave for too long. And it’s only going to get worse.

So please. This is a plea to the rest of the world to HELP US. For the love of God.

HELP US.

Australia: you have heaps of sun. I mean, do you really need it all? Don’t you get tired of it? Constantly feeling sweaty, always having to take cool-down showers? It must be really, really irritating. And you don’t even have enough people to appreciate it! 23 million people! In a country  31 times the size of England.

Come on. Does that sound fair? I’m sure all that dirt and rock is really making the best of your endlessly sunny days.

summer4

And Greece. Your weather is lovely. I was on your sunny shores just recently, and I got more Vitamin D in 10 days than I’ve had in the last 10 years. Yeah, I know you’re a bit strapped for cash at the moment, and things aren’t great, so why not ship over some of your sun to us! Think what you’d save on the air conditioning!  The woolly jumper industry would go through the roof!

summer5

Our chums in America. Or buddies, if you will. Hi there. You remember us. We’re like you’re cute little sister who keeps falling over and hurting her knee. You like us. Will you help us out? I know you’ve got loads of sun because I’ve been to lots of your states. It took me a mere 20 minutes to get sunstroke in Death Valley. Is that necessary? Can’t you turn the heat down a bit? Give us a few degrees? And what about Utah? I saw nothing but blue skies in Utah, and there is a lot of empty space in that state. Florida? Fed up with us pasty English folk descending on you every month of the year and eating all your doughnuts and talking loudly about how nice the weather is in the queues at Disneyworld? Well give us some sun to take home with us and we’ll stay in our country a bit more and won’t bother you. 

summer6

I don’t know how you’re going to do it. I don’t know which airline offers the best rates on transporting sun. I don’t know whether you can take it as hand luggage or whether you’d have to check it in. I just don’t know. I’m just asking you to help us. Please. Send us some sun. Don’t keep it all to yourselves. Share and share alike.

And as I wrote that sentence, the sun came out. Whoever sent that over: THANK YOU.

summer7

It’s gone back in again. STOP PLAYING MIND GAMES WITH US. WE ARE FRAGILE AND PRONE TO WEATHER-INDUCED HYSTERIA.

Thank you for listening

Kind regards

Becky (on behalf of England) xx

Becky says things about … the strange appearance of the sun

Once upon a time there was an island. This island was a dark, gloomy place; the sky was forever filled with black clouds that showered the land with rain, day after day, week after week, month after month; the wind forever blew, the air was forever chilled, and the sun never shone.

On this island lived a strange population of people. They were sad people, pale people; people who lacked vital vitamins and who had forgotten what it was like to feel the sun’s rays on their ashen faces. These people were sad.

The grown-ups amongst these sad people were particularly anxious: a time was fast approaching when their children and their children’s children would be released from their places of learning for many weeks, and would expect to be entertained by outdoor pursuits. The grown-ups were fearful that there weren’t enough indoor play areas, or National Trust properties, or leisure centres that might provide suitable diversion for their restless offspring.

The island’s leaders were distressed, too, for the island was playing host to a sizeable sporting event that required being outside in the air and under the dark clouds, and they were concerned that these dark clouds and incessant inclemency would create some problems.

Distressed, too, were the island’s farmers, who were trying to provide food for the people of the island, but the dark clouds and driving rain made this quite difficult.

So the people of the island were in a very bad state indeed. They were sad, pale, and ailing, because the darkness and moisture had consumed their souls, their hearts, and their minds. In fact, some of them had shrunk to half their size due to being in a constant state of dampness.

But then something strange happened. One Friday evening, the dark clouds parted to reveal a blueness that was so blue, a lot of people didn’t know what to do about it, and started reconsidering their previous knowledge of what it means to be blue. Then, as if that wasn’t peculiar enough, a very bright orb appeared in the blue, which was so bright that those people who looked directly at it were irretrievably blinded and spent the rest of their days in blackness; but for the majority of the people who didn’t look directly at the bright orb, it was a time of tremendous celebration: it meant that the days of darkness were, for now, over.

And the little men and women who told the people of the island what the outside was going to be like, no longer predicted this:

And instead predicted this:

Which made everyone on the little island very happy indeed, and they went about with springs in their steps, smiles on their faces, and nothing bad ever happened again.

The End.

Becky says things about … the Great British summertime

Imagine if you can, dear reader, the following situations:

1) Your pal rings you up one morning and says ‘Hey there chum, do you fancy going to the seaside for the day? We can sunbathe on the beach, build sandcastles, lark around on the pier and eat ice cream until we feel dizzy.’ And you reply ‘That sounds brilliant! Let me just find my bucket and spade and it’s game on!’

2) Your pal rings you up one afternoon and says ‘Hey there chum, do you fancy going for a stroll along the river in our shorts and sandals? Perhaps we can stop for a strawberry split and an ice cold lemonade along the way.’ And you reply ‘That sounds super! Let me just slap on a bit of suncream and I’m there!’

3) Your pal rings you up one evening and says ‘Hey there chum, do you fancy coming over for a BBQ? I’ve got sausages, burgers, kebabs, AND haloumi, I’ve covered our laurel bushes with fairy lights and I’ve got smooth jazz on.’ And you reply ‘That sounds marvellous! I’ll just pick up some champagne and some strawberries and I’ll be right over.’

4) Basically any situation that involves your pal ringing you up and suggesting doing outdoor things.

You can’t imagine it, can you? I mean, you literally cannot imagine a situation where any of those things would ever happen.

I shall tell you why that is, dear friend. It is because

it has rained for the past one thousand years.

It is July 2nd. The summer holidays are almost upon us. We are hosting the world’s greatest sporting spectacle. Our country is providing the roads on which the greatest cycling athletes known to Man will attempt to display their incredible Olympic-standard skills.

We are supposed to be showing off our green and pleasant land, shouting to the world that Britain isn’t this sad, gloomy place where everyone is miserable, pale and slightly unwell-looking, and where no one has even heard of Vitamin D.

Instead, we shall confirm to the world that all of the above are true, we will give hypothermia to important state members of foreign countries, we will kill off most of the world’s tourist population by providing healthy doses of trench foot as they stand watching the 100 meter sprint in three feet of mud, and still it will continue to rain.

Reader, I remember summers that were sunny. I remember frolicking on sunny Cornish beaches, I remember hot afternoons eating chicken drumsticks in National Trust gardens, I remember long, warm evenings where the air was filled with the smell of roasting meat, where lights twinkled in the blue dusk and I ate Kettle Chips until it was no longer safe to do so. I remember this. Was it all a dream? Have I gone mad? Have I been imagining a place that doesn’t exist?

We can only sit and wait. Wait until this disgusting, miserable, foul, revolting, repulsive, horrendous, shitty weather has a word with itself, the sun remembers it’s supposed to be working and gets off its lazy arse, and we all get that obligatory British strip of sunburn over one shoulder.

Becky says things about … people with umbrellas

Today has taught me two things: in general, people cannot be trusted with umbrellas, and eating Haribo late at night is not conducive to a good night’s sleep, but that last point is by the by.

People just cannot use umbrellas safely or sensibly. They think that the mere act of holding an umbrella provides them with an extra 12-foot radius of personal space that is not only impenetrable, but in which they are free to do what the hell they want, such as swing their umbrella in a wide sweeping motion every time they turn round, which they don’t think will wipe out the ten people standing near them – but here’s the thing –

IT WILL

– or that they can hold it away from themselves and shake it out like a wet dog, which they don’t imagine will drown the small child next to them – but, again –

IT WILL

– or that they can prod their umbrella in any direction whilst trying to close it, never thinking for one second that it will stab innocent bystanders through the heart – but, you know –

IT WILL.

People with umbrellas think that no one else is using an umbrella at the same time as them, and therefore think that the other person will clearly be able to see them barraging down the pavement using their umbrella as a shield, and that a terrible collision will not ensue. The thing is

IT WILL.

They also  think that if the other person isn’t holding an umbrella, they will gladly leap out of the way of the shield-wielding maniac to avoid being mowed down. Unfortunately, sometimes,

THEY DON’T.

People with umbrellas think that they can stop suddenly at the top of railway station steps, in shop doorways, in the middle of pavements, and fanny around with their umbrella for as long as they want and that it doesn’t cause a pile up behind them. But, sadly,

IT DOES.

Umbrellas turn ordinary people into liabilities. Today I have been prodded, poked, whacked, slapped, drenched, all by the reckless use of spherical pieces of taut material on the end of sticks. Just sort it out, please. If you can’t be trusted to use one properly, don’t use it at all. It’s only a bit of rain. Jeez.