Hang on a mo, is that gas I can smell? No?….Ok the smell has passed now, I think it might have been someone stoking up the BBQ on this lovely Summer’s evening. Now that has passed I can begin on this.
India Bennett, my little sister three years my junior, is, well, she’s urm, well let’s stick at her being my little sister. Like all siblings it is a near impossible task to define her or our relationship in a few words. Take the the featured image of this blog post…
…This picture was taken in Suffolk when India decided to put Spandau Ballet’s ‘Gold’ on for no reason. I was incredibly hyper (I was dancing with salad servers) and India had had a sip of wine. We were crazy! This photo sums up the next three and a half minutes very well, just pure dementedness.
Welcome to my relationship with India. A world where these photos are a frequent occurrence:
A relationship where photo in-jokes are frequent, but rarely understood by the outside world:
(The above, shot in the New Forest, being one of the very few people get)
And where mum has to accept that for every 10 normal photos we demand one light-hearted one.
A pub called Beerwolf! Did I also tell you it sells Books? We had to have a photo with it. (Bennett sister’s top place to visit in Falmouth).
Can you role your eyes? Good, then you can define our relationship. Mumma B does it all the time so it must be a good, endearing, way to sum us up.
Over the years I’ve assigned many nicknames to my beloved little sister. These include (deep breath):
Sister of the Sea
My little crustation
Lobster (used when quoting Friends)
(Can you see some patterns emerging here?)
Turnip (in the context of ‘oh you little turnip’)
Turd/poop (as the above, but in stronger circumstances)
Mum and dad bonus names: Pumpkin, pickle pants
Basically any noun or random noise I assign her. There are interchangeable, e.g.:
‘Sister of the Sea, dinner is ready!’
5 minutes later… ‘can you pass me the salt bubbakins?’
‘Please stop calling me bubbakins, you’re making me feel like a little fat kid’
‘What was that lil bub? I was too busy eating my fruits de la mer’
‘It’s fish and chips’
‘Fruits de la mer!’
In short, whether she likes them or not, India has many ‘Alice-given’ nicknames.
As well as goodness knows how many in-jokes and giggling fits we have over nothing at all (“Barry! There’s a frog in the shower!” – guarantee she’ll be laughing now), we both have a special place in our hearts for the Sandra Bullock classic that is Miss Congeniality. Why I hear you ask? Well as well as it being a classic chick flick, we particularly admire the legend that is Michael Caine. The amazing actor that has performed in some amazing films over the years found himself in 2001 playing a pageant coach. Surprisingly the Oscar nominations didn’t pour in.
From the film we took two life lessons: 1) Our favourite date is April 25th (because it’s not too hot or too cold) and 2) we are the crown:
At one point in the film Bullock realises (spoilers) that the pageant crown is a bomb. She tries to tell Caine this while being pushed on stage. Misinterpreting her warning as her showing determination to win, Caine says “that’s right, you wear the crown, be the crown, you are the crown.”
Ever since India and myself have used this as our inspirational quote. If ever in doubt, or you need perking up, just utter the above quote and you’re bound to find the strength to continue. At the very least you can think to yourself “if Michael Caine can bring himself to say that on film then I can do anything”.
If you want to be accepted by the pair of us you need to watch this film and appreciate the pure 00’s cheesiness of it (without wine).
In an uncanny resemblance to Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, India will seek out a spot she can call home and set up base there. This tends to be in a corner behind a sofa, where she can sneak in and out of a room without anyone noticing. The frustration really ensues when you’re trying to have a conversation with her, and you’re found trying to work out if she’s there, not listening/aware of the conversation or actually left the room ages ago.
It’s time to play the Bennett family fun game of:
Is India actually in the room?
Question 1: Which of the below is India least likely to engage in or with no matter if she’s in the room or not?
b) Clothing she’s put in the charity bag that actually belongs to someone else
c) Anything related to herself (education, what she’s up to, her friends etc)
Answer: C (“why do you keep talking about me?” “actually, we thought if we talked about you for long enough and you’d get the hint. That was 15 minutes ago.”
Question 2: How do you know India is definitely in the room?
a) She’ll be laughing like a drain at a youtube video on her phone, while you’re watching a serious documentary on TV
b) She’ll be hitting the keyboard so hard playing Skyrim the noise will drive you insane
c) Silly question, she’ll be sat on the sofa chatting to you!
Answer: A (“India! Seriously! Someone is dying here!” “What? What? Sorry…….hehehehehe” “INDIA!”)
Question 3: In a dining room setting, how will India get away from conversation?
a) she’ll stand up and walk out
b) she’ll pull out her phone and plug her headphones in, to try and convince us she’s listening
c) she’ll make two trips to the dishwasher and never return
Answer: C (“I don’t see why some people should do more trips with dirty plates than others. If everyone made two trips to the dishwasher then we’d all have the same amount of work to do and everything would get done quicker. I did my trips, so I went to my room.” First we had Karl Marx, now we have India Bennett. Prepare yourselves for the revolution).
Finally, Question 4: How many times do you say ‘India’ before assuming she’s not in the room?
c) three or more until someone checks behind the sofa or she responds
d) She’s never in the room
e) Throw a random comment that would make any normal person react (e.g. “India smells” or “I’m sure India would love to help clear the garage out”)
(Some of India’s photography, an evolving fish escaping the bathroom. Deep.)
Answer: C (it’s as close as you’ll get to having something in writing should you later require proof she had no opinion on a matter.
Like all of my family, it is very difficult to sum up my sister in one blog post. To sum up my crazy and messed up relationship with her is impossible. That’s something for the Psychologists of the future to discuss over many heated debates and research journals. No, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to decipher why India says and does the things she says and does, but I love her thisssssssss much and I would never replace her. And if anyone says or does anything to upset her, well, may I refer you again to our favourite guilty pleasure:
She’s a nutcase, but she’s my nutcase