Before gin-time: how it all began

Many moons ago before new things were fangled, there was a young girl living in a small grey house on the leylines between an insignificant dusty city whose chimneys smelled of eggs, and an incredible sparkling sea. Her Daddy was a quiet engineer with black fingernails and a comforting scent of diesel. He drew shaky pictures of cats and fireworks and flowers for the young girl with his thin HH engineer’s pencil and made up stories about them. He peeled her oranges, and always let her share the yolk of his egg…

Her Mummy, who looked like Big Bird from Sesame Street, walked a lot, and the young girl walked with her, to the eggy scented city, or sometimes along the bright footpaths between the sea and the morning sky. Mummy’s big, capable hands unfolded stiffly from around the handles of heavy shopping bags. They darned Daddy’s socks and cooked his kippers. Always, she sang to herself though sometimes the songs were sad.

The young girl liked playing in mud, hiding up trees, finding the universe in rock pools and dancing around the giant mushroom in Brownies. She liked to read chunky books about posh children and toys that talk, but mostly she liked to write words.

One day, Mummy bought the little girl a Platignum Fountain Pen from WH Smith. And as soon as her marmalade smeared hand closed around this, it began to suck her childish soul through its messy nib and onto the page, and she was helpless under its powerful spell. And from that day forwards the young girls fingernails were Forever Blue, and often her face as well, as she watched the contents of her head extracted in an uncontrollable stream of Quink Ink, and she brought the words out to play.

Her teachers gave her gold stars, but they said she was Very Messy.

Time passed, and the little girl grew bigger, and one February day at four o’clock a mean cloud of boringness settled over the entire universe, and the little girl who was now bigger knew it would go on forever. Simultaneously her parents suffered a terrible affliction which made them truly the most embarrassing people in that miserable universe. Even worse, the little girl grew unevenly, bigger bits sprouting here and there until she wasn’t like herself at all.

Daytimes, she prowled shady corners with an army of friends listening for the hormonal howls of Boys and railing collectively against the Unfairness of Everything. Night-times, she covered her face in porridge to avoid spots and, using a Bic Rollerball as a conduit, emptied her anguish onto the pink pages of a five-year diary, sometimes spraying the pages with Charlie for added romantic effect. The words mated and mutated and, thriving on a rich diet of hormones and resentment, grew muscles and sharp teeth, spawned new words and tore the world apart. Sometimes she tamed them. Sometimes , she made them dance and sing, rhyme and play tricks.

Her teachers gave her good marks, but they said that she was ruthless. Her parents would kill her if they knew what she wrote.

Soon she was grown up. Grown-up enough to see the glimmer of the sun again rising from behind the Great Wall of her growing-up years. Grown up enough to find her own joy in new horizons, to make foolish choices and live with regrets. Grown up enough to create – to hone her words into neat, obedient professional communicators, or to abandon all constraints and simply create the sound of her singing, sobbing heart.

Children. She never intended to create those. She had thought about the parenting thing, and just didn’t fancy the menu:

Set Menu

Entree : Jumbo Eggperson-freakburger

First Course: Spontaneous Milk-Fountain resting on lashings of Marshmallow Arse.

Main : haggard Mumsypop served with Triple-Fried Brain.

Dessert: Pride Pie, drizzled with Salted Emptynest Tears


(Fortune Cookie: Soon, you will be afflicted by a Hideous Plague which will transform you into truly the most Embarrassing Person in your child’s universe.)

But they became created , and were life beyond her own life, love beyond anything. She always let them share the yolk of her egg.

She gave them words and songs and pictures and life ; they gave her joyful things and many many happenings. And she wrote out all the laughing and learning and screaming frustrations, that were never really funny or remarkable at all until the words got hold of them. And the world blossomed into a vast collage of things to think about, to learn, to seal into white envelopes stained with chocolate biscuits and love, and send to her warmest friends.

Excuse us, they replied, ( not always politely..) have you been on the gin again??

She was midway through the the final course of the parenting banquet, beyond exam time. She was replete with parental pride and on the verge of sampling the emptynest tears, when the lights suddenly dimmed. As her own life burst vibrantly into blossom, her diesel-scented Daddy and Big warm Bird Mummy with her creased and capable hands had quietly faded and withered and were gone, soft grey petals in the cold seaside wind. The world spiralled into a black tornado and, recoiled inside her.

She rested awhile in a dark tunnel. When she emerged, squinting into the daylight, ready to think again, the world had changed.Turning to her words like a long-deserted lover she found them lazy and recalcitrant. She tried to put them in a diary, but they became sulky and high-minded and for some time would only comply if they could be used in professional reports. Eventually, they struck a deal: telling her that they would be prepared to emerge on holiday, or if fed wine of appropriate quality. Otherwise, they told her, they would not get out of her head for less than a great ride into cyberspace. Preferably late at night.

So, ( as she judged herself to have Bad Hair anyway, and was seriously concerned this may become even more mega-bad , should the words actually explode their way out ) she capitulated, because there were things to be shared. And, usually whilst the world slumbered, the words came tumbling out , dancing into the peaceful bedrooms of friends at 2am, and jubilantly crying “Ping!Ping!Ping” as they delivered her observations on such essential events as the Horror Frog in the Tumble Drier, The Descent of the Hotel Curtains and the Quagmire of Doom.

One morning, following a particularly somebody told her kindly about a thing called ‘blog’. Not being digitally native she had no idea of how to enter this new universe, but from the very beginning found the way to be fraught with signposts in codes she had never encountered, leading her to destinations that she didn’t know existed. She quickly armed herself with a hip flask of gin, dusted down her prehistoric bloomers and resolved to give it a go.

This blog, thegintimechronicles, is an experiment in non-ping able sharing. It is intended as an act of merciful kindness to all those whose moonlit boudoirs have resounded with the warbling, pinging, honking and squawking of whatever godawful newfangled devices they choose to take to bed with them. It is the work of a prehistoric brain grappling with a new way to let the words out to play, and as such, will be technically rubbish.

The content is real, however, and near to home. Or at least, nearer than Narnia.