Bad Day Good Story: The Bristol Shubunkin

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Bad Day Good Story, Entertainment

“Life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man can invent” – Arthur Conan Doyle

My sister’s first love was a Bristol Shubunkin called Squiggle, named for the black wiggly line on his nose (which he grew up he grew out of but renaming him Squiggless, my very witty 7-year-old suggestion, was deemed out of the question!)  It was the first pet that was just hers, no one elses.

A Bristol Shubunkin is basically a fancy goldfish.  Very low maintenance and therefore perfect for a kid at primary school.  It was fed morning and night with that horrible, dried, multi-coloured fish food. Side Note: I was very rarely allowed to feed Squiggle as I was guilty of overfeeding. It was therefore assumed by everyone that I would be me that would be responsible for his death.

We had been on holiday for a week.  I don’t remember where, most likely Cornwall, but I do recall there was a massive heatwave!  The kind where shorts and a vest are too many layers and cars become uncomfortably sticky saunas.  The kind of hot cars dogs die in.  We had been in such a car for hours.  In short, we were boiling, angry and miserable, and in my parents’ case, forgetful.

When we finally made it back home we all peeled ourselves off our seats keen to get out of the car as quickly as possible.  My sister of course was very eager to be reunited with her beloved Squiggle.  She ran into the kitchen where she let out an almighty high-pitched scream before sprinting upstairs, floods of tears streaming down her face, where she promptly entered her bedroom and slammed the door.

Well, my curiosity got the better of me and I bolted straight for Squiggles’ tank.  Immediately I observed the same awful sight that had terrified my sister.  A pitch-black, uber fish with pug eyes bulging out the top of its head was floating upside-down just below the surface of the water.  Not only was Squiggle clearly dead… he had gone to the dark side!

I stared, fascinated!  So many questions!  I wanted to Sherlock Holmes the hell out of this mysterious case:

  • How did he die?
  • How long ago?
  • How quickly did it take for him to change colour?
  • Why did he go off?
  • Why are his eyes popping out his head?
  • Was this a murder?

Super Sleuth Ruth would get to the truth.

Step One: Question the parents.


“RUTH! SHUT UP!  Just go and see if your sister is ok!”

Step Two:  Question the parents… later.

After what felt like hours of comforting my hysterical sibling who kept asking me why I wasn’t sad (Er, a previously gold fish had turned Black in death, this wasn’t upsetting, it was bloody brilliant).  Mum and Dad entered, faces sufficiently forlorn and explained everything.

* * *

Squiggle had been left in the allegedly capable hands of our long-time family friend Jane.  Unfortunately, the first evening Jane had come to feed Squiggle he was found dead floating on the surface of the water like his sinister doppelgänger!  Jane spent the next week desperately seeking a replacement but alas Bristol Shubunkins were hard to come by.

Now, this is where, even to this day, I struggle to connect the dots.  Unable to find a Bristol Shubunkin (a fish that so closely resembles a goldfish that you may as well spend a lot less money and just buy a goldfish) she apparently found the next best thing:  A Black Moor Goldfish.  The best way to describe this fish is as a cross between a piranha and Sloth from the Goonies.  Unfortunately, this fish didn’t even last out the week, hence this bizarre reality we were confronted with upon our return.

Mystery solved, with very little effort…

And it’s safe to say we never got another fish.

Illustration by Kirstie Notman – Illustrator & Artist


Posted Leave a commentPosted in Bad Day Good Story, Creative Industries, Mental Health

‘A Good Day is a Good Day, A Bad Day is a Good Story’ – Glennon Melton.

I’ve had many a bad day in my life.

You know the ones I mean.  Those days where everything starts bad and gets worse.

You wake up to discover your alarm hasn’t gone off.

You groggily stumble into the bathroom to find you have run out of toothpaste and in your haste, smack your head off the door mirror.

You struggle to get dressed realising when you pull up your trousers you’ve put them on the wrong way… again.

You speed walk up the road in beautiful sunshine when all of a sudden, black clouds gather overhead, bringing with it a weathery apocalypse.

You have no coat, or umbrella, or sleeves.

You cross the road and step in a puddle the size of Brazil and deeper than the Pacific and completely ruin your (massively inappropriate for the rain) suede shoes.

You watch your bus pull up at your stop from 100 metres away, although it may as well be 100 miles, and despite deep down knowing that however fast you run you will never make it, you peg it towards your goal.

Your bus pulls away so you try to style it out but then you trip.

You ladder your tights and graze your knee.

You get up thoroughly embarrassed only to realise your bag has also flown to the ground, contents sprawled across the pavement and tampons gracefully rolling down the hill for the whole world to see.

You think to yourself ‘Stupid Gravity’.  You glance down at your watch, thinking how could this day get any worse, to realise the screen has cracked, and it’s not even 8.30 in the morning!

Alright, so maybe this is a bit cheesy music video and you’re probably expecting Daniel Powter to wheel past playing a grand piano but you get the gist.

We’ve all had them.  You work yourself up and then spend the rest of the day brooding about everything that happens however big (i.e. ‘AHHHHHHHHHHHHH a meteor is headed for earth.  FML.  This is the worst thing ever in the history of the world.  Stupid fucking meteor. I never even liked earth anyway way.  You rock-y bastard’) or small (i.e. ‘AHHHHHHHHHHHHH I dropped my pen. FML. This is the worst thing that’s ever happened in the history of the world. Stupid fucking pen. I never even liked you anyway.  You pen-y bastard.’).  Everything simply gets worse and worse, and worse and worse, until your vision is covered in a mist of black.

I think everyone can agree that on these shit days there is little to smile about, right?  WRONG!

Now, with my new life philosophy, I look back on these days in a whole new light!

Don’t worry! And don’t stop reading!

I’m not about to preach to you some mindfulness preaching like how all I eat is Kale now which is feeding my brain so much that I know closely resemble Megamind or that this new yogarobics spin class I discovered releases so many endorphins that it is better than taking ecstasy or even that I found God on the backseat of my car next to a 2-month-old bag of Haribo (which to anyone who knows me could actually be feasibly true, my car is full of crap, loads of places for Jesus to hide). No, no no!

My Mantra is simple:

       ‘A Good Day is a Good Day,

       A Bad Day is a Good Story’

That’s it.  Simple.

They may be happy or sad memories.  They may be filled with laughter or tears.  They may be jam-packed days or a singular moment, but they are all stories waiting to be told.

So, roll up to witness the astonishingly absurd situations and ridiculous scenarios I seem to end up in, from bad dates to worse job interviews, sucky employees and crappy people.

Join me on a whirlwind adventure of my bad days that I have turned into good stories.  And most of all, enjoy.

Illustration by Kirstie Notman – Illustrator & Artist