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Why a staycation is better than going abroad (sometimes)

Deep in one of the world's most dangerous rainforests, I cast my eyes to the Colombian skies as my ass sagged into a river from ...

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A single girl's guide to Amsterdam's NEMO Science Museum

Check it out - a building that looks just like my love life. A giant, sinking ship. (Sigh). Yes, yes, the dating game's a drag ...

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View from Dubrovnik city wall

Croatia: Getting around in Dubrovnik, Split and Hvar

So, if you're here, you're probably looking for information on travelling to and around Croatia? You're in luck' because I just got back. I can only ...

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Remembering Yemen...

I never did make it to Syria unfortunately, but I did visit Yemen in 2008, which I'm thinking about now in the midst of this ...

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Christmas in Prague...

I just got back from Prague - another new city for me. I love nothing more than heading off to a new place and just ...

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Tinder Diaries: Getting my Groupon...

Shamus's profile shots scrolled like some kind of Action Man calendar. In one photo the 39-year-old Irish-Canadian was hugging a goat on what looked like ...

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Tinder Diaries: Tempur-Pedic promises...

And another Tinder Diary for you, this one's also from last year in Vancouver.  Tempur-Pedic promises... 'I got you a drink!!!' the text message yelled at me. ...

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Tinder Diaries: The Burner In The Park

In trawling through folders on my laptop for some old work I've just come across some diaries I wrote about Tinder dating last year in ...

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I go to the gym a lot. And other things I never thought I'd say...

Once in Sydney I joined a yoga studio for $350 a year and went once. In New York I spent close to $600 and went to ...

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Things you should probably know before going to Burning Man

So, Burning Man. Hmm. How was it, you ask? Honestly. I can't even really tell you yet, and it's been three weeks. But I'll try. As a ...

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11 things you only ever say on WhatsApp when you're going to Burning Man...

I LEAVE TOMORROW!! Am I ready? Probably not.  I'm what's known as a Virgin, (this will be my first time at Burning Man) and in ...

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Thoughts about rainbows...

I cycled home tonight right under a rainbow - the kind of rainbow that smiles across the sky in every colour, and then more colours ...

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How to tell when you travel too much (and when you should stop)

Yup. That's how. That's a screenshot my friend just sent me, when I told her to add my new phone number in Amsterdam. "Another one?!" "Yeah, but I'm ...

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…Best Of...

It started with a boy called Matt: why I'm going to Burning Man (in 2 weeks!!!)

Going to Burning Man has been pretty high on the bucket list for years... ever since I started chatting to an American guy online back in 2003, who ...

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The Royal's idea of 'Indian street kids' is not quite right

I know I shouldn't read the Daily Mail because it always annoys me... but today THIS was ridiculous. Honestly. Been to India? Yeah, so have I. Met ...

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How to write a novel: 25 rules

This post is so inspiring, just had to share! Thanks to Matt Haig, who posted it originally. Sometimes us writers really need to read cool stuff ...

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Amsterdam, I love you! See you again soon.

I've decided to move to Amsterdam. Maybe not forever but definitely for a little bit, because, well.... this. And this: And this:  OK maybe not the last one... ...

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Free tsunami romance for Valentine's Day...

Winner of the TBC (The Book Club) award for best non-fiction, 2016.  Hey guys, I'm giving away The Day Of The Wave over Valentine's weekend in ...

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How to Create Titles to Hook Your Readers

This post is written BY JUDITH BRILES posted on February 10, 2016 on The Book Designer Are you sometimes stuck when it comes to adding a title to ...

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Yay, I won an award!

It's a super duper awesome start to the new year, because after a long hiatus during which I've been working reeeeeeally hard and not blogging ...

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Who's the Mills and Boon Man Of The Year 2016? Get your face on a book cover!

Here ye, all you amazing men - and women who know amazing men! Thought I'd spread the word about this. Mills & Boon are launching ...

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Pills that make you poop glitter...

Oh my! We should give these to ALL the pigeons in London until the whole city is a sparkly rainbow! Granted we'd be covered in shit, ...

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Know your strengths...

I'm sitting in the cafe. It's just me, two loud ladies who sound like they're from Essex, and a blonde with her boyfriend. An Essex ...

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Humans of Iceland...

This is Sverrir and the replica of his great grandfather, who was once the pastor of the pretty and remote herring fishing town, Siglufjörður. He was ...

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Adventures in Iceland (in brief because I'm VERY remote right now and WIFI is scarce)...

It started when we flew Fokker. Yes, Fokker. Oh come on, tell me I'm not the only child who finds this funny? It wasn't long before ...

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NOW FREE ON AMAZON: The Day Of The Wave

A moving, emotional romance based on real-life events. NOW FREE ON AMAZON! The Day Of The Wave follows Isla and Ben in the wake of surviving ...

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***FREELANCE PHOTO - POSTMEDIA NETWORK USE ONLY*** VANCOUVER, BC.:JUNE 24, 2014-- Pedestrian traffic in front of Canna Clinic on Commercial Drive, in Vancouver, BC, June 24, 2014.  Canna Clinic at 2223 Commercial Drive, has a doctor from 5 to 8 p.m. every day. Locals can get certified by an in-house  naturopath, and pick up some pot.  (PHOTOS by Don MacKinnon)

Comedy night at the Canna Clinic...

Today I learnt two things. The first is that penguins have knees inside their bodies. Yes. Knees. Inside. I'm not even kidding. The second is that ...

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Spalding School Reunion is Imminent...

I got a message today about a school reunion for the class of 96. My first thought was JEEEEESUS, did I really leave school 19 ...

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Best things to see on Commercial Drive in Vancouver. OK, maybe not the best...

I was just eating my sushi on a restaurant patio last night when a man seemingly dressed as a Mario Brother climbed a nearby tree ...

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Oh Canada, how I LOVE being in you...

And I think these photos prove why! I'm so inspired the more time I spend here, which is Vancouver right now, in case you were ...

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Fun on the Natchez Trace - recreating scenes from a novel in real life!

Yesterday a friend and I drove from Nashville, out past the famous Loveless Cafe (where we stopped to pick up some Peach Preserve) and onto ...

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Read and review 'Before He Was Gone' and get a FREE copy!

The New Adult Book Club on Goodreads are reading Before He Was Gone to review. Sign up if you want your free copy to review! "Sometimes, ...

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RIP Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran (an excerpt featuring their great work, from Balilicious)

How fuggin AWFUL to hear about the executions of these two men, and the others who were wiped out needlessly today in Indonesia. Don't people ...

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Boxing Day Tsunami book trailer (The Day of the Wave)

I made this today! One day I will give up trying to be a filmmaker (maybe), but it's SO satisfying when it uploads and I'm ...

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The Day of the Wave - Playlist

This is probably the most fun I’ve ever had putting a playlist together for a book. There were just so many great artists who inspired ...

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Aliens in the White House...

Just got a newsflash on my phone: 'Small one-person helicopter lands at White House West Lawn. Pilot in custody.' I know I should click on it ...

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Boxing Day Tsunami romance excerpt: (The Day of The Wave)

This is an excerpt from my latest new adult romance, coming May 2015. In brief... "Isla and Ben were just sixteen when the Boxing Day ...

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Uber in Nashville is interesting...

Me: 'So, what's the craziest thing that's happened to you since you started driving for Uber?' Him: 'Are you a shy girl?' Me: 'Er, I don't think ...

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Have I mentioned the Family Dollar Store yet?

Have I mentioned the Family Dollar store yet? It's my new favorite place here in Nashville. Contrary to the name, not everything inside costs a dollar, ...

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Lavenders, motorcycles and a feeling of deep uncool at Nashville's Barista Parlor...

There are some places in this world that will just serve to make you feel deeply uncool, no matter how young and awesome you previously ...

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Why Craigslist in Nashville is killing me...

Here's what this guy just wrote in reply to my post about looking for a room to rent in Nashville: "We are seeking a FEMALE caring nanny/care giver. ...

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Observation of the day...

Ubud cafes were full of middle aged women writing books on macs. Nashville cafes are full of cute young guys making music on macs. I know where ...

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Before He Was A Secret (Starstruck #3) Playlist...

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Musings on a Nashville snow day...

No one told me flying south for the winter would take me somewhere colder than England. Then again, there's something so peaceful about walking alone down ...

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Fight your way through! A message to writers like me…

Fight your way through! A message to writers like me...

...and other creative souls no doubt! Someone sent me this video today by the amazingly inspiring Ira Glass, which I found very interesting. I can relate ...

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The difference a motorised bike makes...

I miss my bike in Bali so much that today I actually hovered outside someone's house in South Harrow contemplating whether I could justify spending ...

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Proving my roots: The nonsense that is taking the IELTS test in London...

"PUT YOUR PENCILS DOWN! PENCILS DOWN, NOW!!!" Dumbledore boomed. I almost jumped out of my plastic chair, nerves shot to sh*t. I have a problem ...

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There's nothing more sexist than The Sun pulling Page 3 Girls...

Yes... SEXIST. If only for what's being said around the decision to drop this whole thing! "Instead of bare breasts, the pictures will now show scantily-clad ...

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I SURVIVED: The Freak British Tornado (and the suspect still running loose)

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It's cover reveal day for Before He Was A Secret. Exclusive excerpt here...

Today's the day, whoo hoooooo! I can finally reveal another amazing cover by designer Jeanine Henning, for the third standalone romance in my Starstruck Series, ...

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The night Emma Watson stole my toothbrush...

WARNING!!! I feel like I should say something. I've been quiet for way too long... almost an hour actually, but about an hour ago I ...

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Vaginal smoking and the benefits of yoni egg insertions (note: there are many)...

I have recently become quite fascinated with vaginal treatments. The fascination began when I saw this tempting advertisement on a board outside a spa in ...

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The truth about 'Ecstatic Dancing' at The Yoga Barn in Ubud, Bali... (warning, this post may smell)

Everyone in Ubud knows the Yoga Barn. It's a sort of second home for eager expats, all of whom are quite happy to spend an ...

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Go to Bali for less than a quid! Balilicious is 99p, starting today.

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2002 Flashback: What we did in very boring jobs before Facebook…

life-before-facebook_designI found this on an old hard drive today. Luckily I saved it because I consider it a fine relic from a time B.F (before Facebook). Behold, the random e-mailings between my mate Colin and myself, with a dash of genius from a certain Miss Nicola and Mr Subrata. We wrote these back and forth when we all had office jobs in New York City back in 2002. I forgot how ridiculous those days were!!!

March 18th, 2002

Becky

Don’t know if I’ll come to the poetry reading tonight, feeling a bit tired.

 

Becky

Don’t know if I’ll come to the poetry reading tonight, feeling a bit tired.

 

Colin

That email seems strangely familiar to the last one you sent me. Why did you send it twice?

 

Becky

Sorry, don’t know why I did that. Guess I just like emailing you. I have copies of every note I’ve sent you actually, dating all the way back to 1209 B.C when we were stumbling cavemen, wandering through the hills. Those were the days,.. we didn’t have much luck with the alcohol then though did we, kept wondering why the grape juice had no effect. Remember?

 

Colin

I do remember. I remember that you used to wander off into that other valley every now and then and procreate with that Neanderthal guy Dennis. You brazen hussy!!

 

Becky

Aaaaah Dennis, he was a lovely man. But you’re wrong, we endured an extremely flirtatious yet strictly platonic relationship. The fact that he was my brother stopped us from going too far on those long, lonely nights before the television was invented. And anyway, what about that pet dinosaur you had sleeping in your bed every night,.. I often heard strange sounds when you thought I wasn’t home, and he always looked sheepish in the mornings……..

 

Colin

The dinosaur was to protect me, how many times do I have to tell you?! And don’t give me any of that crap about your relationship with Dennis being platonic…”our” son Geoff had a noticebly sloping forehead, an overhang and arms down to the ground. Coincidence? I think not!!

 

Becky

You told me over and over that Geoff was the most beautiful boy you had ever seen, even if he did look “different” to the other kids. And why wait 2 million years and nineteen life spans to bring this up, Dennis was punished for his advances,… I heard he came back once as a dung beetle and again as a Skoda. I was well aware of the fact that you were jealous and I was careful to keep the lovemaking well out of the family tree. Geoff’s “looks”or lack thereof must have come from your side, what with all your dino-mating rituals!

 

Colin

Oh, so you were sleeping with people outside of the family as well then were you?? Who was it? Tell me now. If it was Steve then I’ll kill you. I hated Steve so much, the way he would brag about his club all the time. My club was much bigger anyhow and had more nobbly bits. And he used to think that his cave paintings were sooo great. Well, I’ll tell you something….they weren’t even all that!! His rendering of a bison was mediocre at best and his warthog was shoddily coloured in.

 

Becky

Well Steve’s colourings may well have been shoddy, but he sure knew how to paint by MY numbers (if you know what I mean)… there wasn’t a spot he used to miss,… unlike YOU. And anyway, I rather liked the bison, the way it’s red eyes covered the blood stains on the wall from when he got angry and murdered his mother that day, remember? Aaaah Steve was a wild one, we had some good times. But look at us my love, we are the ones who have stood the test of time. Nineteen life spans later and we are still linked. Last I heard Steve’s artwork was rejected by Tony Hart’s Gallery and he took it rather badly. He was only 7 but stopped eating and grew so thin that he was sucked underneath an escalator at Heathrow Terminal 2 and was never seen again. Tragic, to think he survived all those dinosaur attacks…..

 

Colin

So Steve made your Bedrock did he? Well then, I’ve something to tell you….he entered my cave quite a lot too!! Yes, I’ve said it now, we were the first gay men on Earth!! That is why I hated him so, cos I loved him so and he rejected me cos he was too confused by his feelings. But just think of what this world would be like if we hadn’t started it all off….no Graham Norton, no disco, no single-sex Catholic boarding schools, no Bohemian Rhapsody, no Rishi, no Sub. I have great “pride” in what we did and am not embarrassed to tell the world….I INVENTED HOMOSEXUALITY!!

 

Becky

Oh well that’s just great isn’t it. Now you tell me. All those nights I crept back in, chucked the dinosaur out, snuggled up beside you out of guilt, when all the time you were sowing your damn wild oats with every boy in the valley. Hmph. Well, they did say that God created Adam and Eve,.. .thought about it, and came up with Adam and Steve. Guess the bible got it wrong, it was actually “Colin” and Steve. We’ll have to re-write the books now. I always wondered why our garden was the prettiest in the valley, and why you died your loin cloth pink….

 

Colin

Well maybe if you’d been more faithful to me and more attentive to my needs in bed, then I wouldn’t have had to have “turned to the dark force”…as Sub puts it. You don’t have to be the inventor of the wheel – Graham – to realise that you weren’t satisfying me….you can’t just lie back and think of Cave 22 you know, you have to put some effort into our monkey-loving…..and frankly even Dino could give better head!

 

Becky

No reply

 

March 19th 2002

Colin

Good morning wife, I’m afraid that your inattentiveness in our past lives has had a rather adverse side effect for you in this life. Over the past few weeks I have been growing very fond of Nicola and your admission yesterday that you slept with Steve made me realise your lack of commitment to me. So this morning I proposed to the lovely Nicola, and am proud and delighted to tell you that she accepted my offer. I will be contacting my attorneys and filing for divorce within the next couple of days.

Goodbye,

Caveman Colin

 

Becky

Well I suppose you and Nicola will now be very happy together,… since the new laws stated that it’s ok for cousins to marry I suppose a non-relation like me never stood a chance. And as for neglect, in our past lives I have always been there for you, not only as a faithful (most of the time) cave-woman, but again as a monk-fish, again as a blue-bottle, and if I remember rightly, again as a chocolate bar wrapper. So if you’re choosing to let your love for cousin interrupt our course of destiny just because I have a slightly busier schedule than in the past, then I’m afraid I must grant you your wings. I am letting you fly.

 

Colin

I thought that as a fellow Lincolnshire Yellowbelly you would understand my desire to procreate with my relatives? As for “being there for me” and your faithfulness, that was hardly a challenge when we were bluebottles was it – we were only alive for just over a day, even you could restrain your wandering eye for that long! However I have a compromise. Due to your busy schedule why don’t we split me – Nicola has me on weekdays and you have me on weekends and public holidays? What do you both say to that?

 

Becky

Well, I spent a while pondering your suggestion,… at first I was angry, then a little confused, and then quite frankly, amused. Some might say “well, you only live once”, but Colin, you and I both know that this is not true. Playing around as a fly or a fish, or a neanderthal may have been acceptable but things are different now, we have matured. I know that you must make your own decisions however, and I must not attempt to blur your vision with thoughts of the past, now that we are looking to the future. So it is with some regret, but also hope, that I agree to your suggestion. Nicola and I will share you. After all, our lives are forever entwined and in order to continue on this path, I must be open to change.

Forever yours.

Becky xxxx

 

Colin

It’s an old story – boy meets girl, girl meets another boy, boy shags other boy and invents homosexuality, the boy and girl get reincarnated as mudfish and renew their romance…… But where will it all end? Will we spend eternity entwined in a everlasting link of love, or will we eventually part company – torn from each other by the incredible electricity between me and a Kentish law student? Who knows, but I think that we should give this more thought so that we don’t rashly break the cycle and perpetually regret it. Maybe we should consult the wise one – the Sage Dwarf Subrata?

 

Becky

Well, obviously you saw through my strong facade to the tears that drown my shivering soul,… I have indeed been crying on the inside at the thought of sharing. I know we have wronged each other in the past, well, ever since Before Christ, but like I said before, we have matured and I’m so glad that you too are having second thoughts about putting all nineteen lifetimes on the line. I do indeed think that we should consult the wise Sage Subrata on this matter. It’s very difficult knowing which way to turn,… we know that we are a part of each other’s destiny, so breaking away may well have disasterous consequences on the world as we know it. Terrible things might occur,… oh wise Sage, what should we do? Are Colin and I destined to be with other people in this life, or should we stick together as before?

 

Colin

Don’t bring that Christ character into it again? What was all that bollocks when I was Joseph and you were Mary and you claimed that you had “immaculately conceived”??!! Were you really that embarrassed that you had slept with me that you had to come up with that cock and bull story?? Yeah okay, so I was a mere carpenter, but you were hardly Miss Lah-di-dah yourself. And the way you accepted all those gifts from the Three Kings without a trace of guilt about the misconception you had put them under was despicable. Virgin Mary my arse!!

 

Subrata

“Sleep around, it will make you feel better” – Jim Carey (Cable Guy) Experimentation and ‘practical’ research are the key to success – A.Boffin You are both welcome to come to my abode together for some karma tantric self-realization and soul searching for the answers to your questions..and of course some English tea!!!!

 

Becky

The three Kings did me some huge favours that you never knew about,.. a miraculous birth it was not, rather the creation of a very exciting love triangle. Back in your carpenter days, the one thing I actually wanted to be wooden, never was, hence my three and foursomes with our royal friends. Wherever our special son came from, I had the time of my life!!! Sorry to inform you now, but if we are to accept the wise Sage Sub’s advice, loving freely is fine and we should discuss our feelings if we are to thrive in the modern day. By the way, shall we accept his invitation this evening?

 

Colin

Surely it would have been more of a “love quadrilateral” than a triangle? As for my “sleeping policeman” I’ll have you know that I was under a lot of pressure at the time – I’d just got that contract to make all those crucifixes remember? If you are referring to Sub’s invitation of Tantric sex and tea, then, as you will see from my other email, I will not be attending.

There’ll be none of that tantric-karma bollocks thank you very much – it’s all that Hindu shite that got us into this never ending chain of meaningless, tortuous reincarnations in the first place……I rue the day I started hanging around with that Vishnu character!! He was like “Yeah, it’s like sooo great having loads of lives – you like get to shag loads of fit birds and you can do whatever you want cos it doesn’t matter whether you die. Try it, you might like it”. Well, I’ll tell you, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. True, I was lucky enough to find my true eternal love in my first life, but after a while everything else seems insignificant – aestheticism no longer brings me joy, music is nothing to me and after the fourth or fifth time you come back as a dog you even get bored of being able to lick your own nuts. Will this agony never end???!!

 

Becky

Well, I quite liked being able to lick my nuts when I was a dog,… didn’t like the whole pouch thing when I was a kangaroo though. I searched for you for ages in that life, but you ended up coming back as my offspring and took great pleasure in filling mummy’s pouch with shit. No one in the animal kingdom would come near me, you little runt.

 

Colin

Yes, I found that whole being-your-son episode very disturbing, my love. You have to realise how confusing it was to be in love with my mother in such a way – I felt like Oedipus, or Jimmy Saville.

 

Becky

Yes indeed. I was expecting perhaps the lion who prayed on my sister to turn out to be you, some sort of sick joke you know. But when he went ahead and maimed her I knew even you wouldn’t go “that” far. Those were great days, on Noah’s Ark. Remember that annoying goldfish who said she used to be a dinosaur and could still run at 90 miles per hour,.. she wouldn’t shut up about “running through the valleys”. It was so funny when Noah dropped her on the land that time just so she could prove her point and then she died. Sad really. BUT OH HOW WE LAUGHED.

 

Colin

Yeah but then that goldfish came back as Hitler and we weren’t laughing then! Well, actually we were laughing weren’t we, coz we came back as evil Nazis didn’t we? I quite enjoyed being evil actually cos we could just say and do what we liked and no-one would care; they would just say “Oh, don’t mind that they just shot a couple of babies, that’s Heinz and Hilde – they’re evil, they can do what they want”. Aah, remember those carefree lazy summer afternoons we would spend gassing thousands of people to death….how I miss those blithe, happy days!

 

Becky

I know, life was so simple then. No morals meant no worries,.. if someone pissed us off, instead of letting it get to us and living with the stress, we’d just kill them. I’m kinda glad though, that we’re nice these days. It’s quite fun having people liking me,.. means they’ll never suspect me when I do the odd tiny evil thing, like pee on the loo seat or put tobasco sauce in the Krispy Kremes (they love those here!). I enjoyed my evil troll life too, standing on the drawbridge, sucking innocent horses into the quicksand. Oh the freedom! Oh the joy! Bit crap that you were the last horse I drowned,.. did I ever apologise for that, sweetie?

 

Colin

Don’t worry, I realised it was an accident as I knew that you would see the advantages of me coming back as a horse…..aye aye! Aah remember that time we were blue whales? I can still remember the glint in your eye every time I would unleash my mighty….ahem, sea cucumber!

 

Nicola

I have read all of this and i have to say it has brought tears to my eyes- the love between you is obviously so strong to have spanned so many lifetimes and will continue to last for eternity- I cannot come between you- it was selfish of me to even consider it!!! It was a whim i understand that now- the attraction between Colin and I was purely physical but i mistook it for something greater and i see now that it is you two who have the greater love which they will write songs about and will one day be the stuff of legends. Farewell Colin for i shall never see you again

Nx

 

Becky

What a lovely email Nicola,… you gave the situation time and thought and decided to let the path of love run smoothly. In your next life you shall surely be rewarded. You will come back as something truly remarkable and worthwhile, (not like in this one,… mua-ha-ha-ha-ha),…. erm, ahem,… sorry, that was my evil side shining through, go away spawn of satan, be GONE.

Colin, I think all this past life stuff is bringing to light all our demons.

 

Colin

Yes, but it’s good that we’re getting out into the open all our past kidnapping and ethnic cleansing so that we don’t repress the memories and become bitter and twisted in our later life and later lives.

 

Becky

Amen.

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