Skills I don’t list on my CV

My CV is full (overstatement alert) of qualifications, achievements and skills that a potential employer might want to see. However,  I have some skills and achievements that I quite proud of, and would like to include on a sort of alternative CV. Here’s a taster:

  • I am an expert at deciphering cry-talking. I know exactly what people are saying when crying hysterically – a skill perfected by having a highly-strung little sister. The skill is transferable to other people and can be utilised on phone calls.
  • I have the ability to deploy ‘the look’. People talk about ‘the look’ in hushed tones. The recipient of ‘the look’ usually immediately reassesses their behaviour. Occasionally also works on cats.
  • I can identify most of the first generation of Pokemon from their silhouettes and don’t usually have to look up type weaknesses on Bulbapedia. This is a consequence of being a 90s child who was denied a Game Boy and made up for it in later life.
  • I have an extremely high hit rate of knowing exactly when meals are ready just by the smell. This skill has been developed because I’m a ridiculous glutton and food is my happiness.

Cats are also masters of ‘the look’.

There are more. I might develop this further.

A few reasons why having a cold is worse than you remember

WARNING: this post contains descriptions that are a bit icky. And self-pity.

I think colds trigger a form of amnesia when they are over because I never remember just how awful my last one was until I get a new one. I’ve contracted a “summer cold” which is dreadful and I need to have a little whinge about it. I’m sure you are thinking “oh Ellory, it’s just a cold” but you aren’t currently dealing with the following:

Loo roll

This is a roll of pure misery.

  • The trauma of brushing your teeth twice a day while battling a runny nose. You can’t tell what is snot and what is toothpaste, and you have to breathe awkwardly through your mouth while you do it. It gets even better when you try to floss between sneezes.
  • The inability to sleep properly. The sneezing won’t stop until you have been lying there for what seems like centuries and then when you do sleep, you can’t breathe through your nose. Breathing through your mouth makes your sore throat worse and gives you a mouth that feels like sandpaper. You wake up because you are thirsty, and then start sneezing again.
  • There are snotty tissues seemingly everywhere and you lose track of where you have left them. The box of tissues is soon empty and you find yourself using loo roll instead because you can’t face the supermarket. The loo roll is fine for its normal purposes but it isn’t nose-friendly. Your already sore nose gets worse.
  • A nose that runs as soon as you attempt to do anything. This is particularly inconvenient when picking up dog poo or putting the washing out. You have to wash your hands every 5 seconds for fear of spreading your horrible germs to others.
  • The annoyance of sneezing. Other people start to get annoyed because you keep sneezing all the time, but there is nothing more annoying than being the person who is doing the sneezing. Your stomach muscles start to hurt, and you spill hot tea down yourself during a particularly violent sudden sneeze.
  • Well-meaning relatives or friends suggest you drink whatever their version of a hot toddy is. If you are really unlucky and they really love you, they will make it for you and then sit with you as you drink it. You will attempt not to look as stricken as you feel. If you are really really unlucky, you will be given a lemsip.
  • The inability to do anything without feeling sorry for yourself and whining about it like a small child. I’ve developed a whiny sort of self-pitying laugh that occasionally drifts into a mucusy cough.

Next week I will be back in the ranks of those who have forgotten just how miserable a cold is and I can’t wait.

I left my cat at the vets this morning

He should be coming home this evening, but it isn’t all good news.


This isn’t my cat but he looks a lot like this.

My mum woke me up this early morning by coming into my room and almost yelling at me that something was wrong with my cat. He has diabetes so my first thought was that he was hypoglycemic. I have nightmares about him being hypoglycemic. It’s my job to regulate his blood levels and if I don’t do a good enough job, then he could die.

I couldn’t sleep last night and I saw him at 4 o’clock. He’d been out all night in a thunder storm – he looked like a drowned rat. I dried him and he did his usual happy purring and then bumped his head against me repeatedly. He was bolshie, sturdy and sparky, but staying out in the rain is not like him at all.

By 06:30, he was wobbling about all over the place, unable to stand up properly, and determined to pace round and round in circles. If you have ever seen an animal after they have had a stroke (unfortunately I have) they look and behave just as he did. I rubbed a solution of sugar and water onto his gums (which was difficult because he has a tiny mouth for a big cat) and then phoned the vet. They were able to see him straight away; they have always been excellent with all of our animals and it is such a reassurance to know we have them nearby.

The vet was brilliant with him and said they would do some tests to see if it was a stroke because his diabetes was so well managed.

It turns out they can’t tell if he had had a small stroke, but he was definitely hypoglycemic. I feel so guilty. I don’t know how it could have happened. I measure his food and I’m really careful about doing his injections. The vet said they are doing further tests to see if his insulin dosage is too high.

The other bad news is that the tests have revealed that his kidneys are starting to fail. He is over 18 years old and he has done so well so far. We are going to discuss diet options when I pick him up this evening.

The vet told me she had started him on specialist food already, and that he was stuffing his face happily. I hope we can get the diabetes back under control and the kidneys can be helped. He’s such a happy cat, even when he is pretending to be in a grump, that it wouldn’t be right to lose him just yet.

Why do we worry?

I have been listening to this song:

I like it; I do a little shoulder-dance and everything. And I get its message: why worry if it doesn’t help?

But I have long realised that worrying does help sometimes. Not to the extent that it makes me ill or stops me from doing positive things. But a little bit of worry is a really good motivator. It goes along with what I used to call ‘the fear’.

The fear is what used to make me do my homework, my research and my revision. It is the fear of living the moment in which I realise I haven’t done something I should have. The fear of living a horrible moment I had it in my power to avoid.

I worry a little now so that I don’t feel disappointment, pain or shame later. But that’s useful worrying and not a never-ending hole in the stomach.

I wrote a(nother) letter

When I was young, I used to write letters quite often. I usually wrote to my great aunt, but I also had a pen pal for a short time. I wrote a letter to include with a present I sent a few months ago to a friend I wasn’t able to visit for her birthday. It seems to have rekindled my interest in letter writing.

I have only one school friend left that I am close to, but she moved away because of work. It takes 9 hours to drive to see her and my bank account can’t take that sort of punishment at the moment. (Not to mention I don’t think my hands can grip a steering wheel for that long any more.) She has been struggling with a chronic illness and she is the sort of person who finds it difficult to talk about just how hard things are for her. It’s very easy to forget about people when you don’t see them regularly, but I wanted her to know that I haven’t forgotten her.

LettersShe contacted me via text a few months ago but didn’t respond when I asked after her health (she had asked after mine). So after some thought, I decided to write her a letter. It’s more personal than a text – I sound more like me; I can express myself more authentically. I also hope it might be easier for her to talk about how she is by letter. I wrote that I hoped to hear from her soon, after I had written about events in my life I thought she would be interested in and asked about hers, but I didn’t lay down the expectation that she should write back. I just wanted to give her that option if she wished to take it up. It’s a difficult line to tread: to let someone know you care about them and are there for them if they need you, but not to make them feel pressured to discuss things they may not wish to.

I sent the letter earlier this week. Now I can only wait and see.

I still live with my parents

I feel like this is something I need to get out of the way. I have spent some time thinking about whether I am ashamed of it or not, but I don’t think I am.

I’m in my mid-20s and I live with my parents.

I moved out to go to university. I am a capable human being. I do my own washing; I make my own food; I do most of the housework. I am not a twenty-something child.

My 16 year old self would be disappointed I had to go back home when I graduated, but I have a different perspective on it now. Returning home was supposed to be temporary; I got a job that paid relatively well and I started saving up so I could re-fledge the nest.

And then I got made redundant. And then I got ill.

HomeSo, I’m still here a few years later. Here’s the thing: I love my parents. I don’t think we have ever been as close as we currently are. And it’s frigging wonderful.

My grandfather passed away over a year ago, and it brought it all home to me. Parents don’t last forever. We would like to think they do (if you are fortunate enough to still have them), but they don’t.

I’m still independent – I have and pay for my own things, including a car and a poorly cat, and I run my own business. I’m building up a deposit for a house (I spent a lot of my savings on retraining after my redundancy).

I’ve got one eye on the future, but I’m going to make the most of life as it currently is. And I’m not ashamed of that.



This is my first post on


I plan to write a little bit about whatever I fancy at least once a week. My posts will probably be about my thoughts and experiences, events I go to, books I read, and films and television programmes I watch.

Stories are an important part of my life and I hope one day I will send one of my own creation out into the world. I have started writing many stories, but I have only finished one. It’s fairly awful and no one will ever see it. I haven’t deleted it though; it is still sat on my hard drive, serving as a reminder that it is possible. I can write something that looks a bit like a novel. The next one will be better.

Loch Lomond

     I believe this to be Loch Lomond. It is stunning in real life but my own photography was poor.

Aside from being the writer of a terrible novel, I am a voracious food-eater, keen walker of hilly landscapes, exasperated cat-wrangler, reluctant driver and enthusiastic penny-pincher.

I really sold myself there. Job done I reckon.