The Evergreen Trees of HogswatchPosted: 4 December 2010
I have returned from the frosty south; from the glitter, homemade pork pies and unrestrained quacking which could only be Hogswatch in the Year of the Happy Goose. I wish I could go back and do it all again. Having spent a long weekend in the company of some* of the Roundworld’s most wonderfully kind and warm-hearted people, a family who welcomed me with open arms… could you blame me?
In his post-celebratory address to the masses, Bernard Pearson spoke about being a member of the Discworld family, saying, “when winter comes you know what trees are evergreen”. This distinguished gentleman is famous for his way with words, but this is perhaps the most inspired thing he’s ever said.
I haven’t had the happiest last few years. Not going too deeply into it, in 2007 I lost my dad, grandad and uncle, I was abandoned by my church, my degree went up the spout, my best friend left for Spain. I had nothing left. Since then I’ve struggled with depression and a lack of self-worth. I’ve been bitter and lonely. I’ve had few true friends. One of those (he knows who he is) introduced me to the Discworld books and then the stamps forum. Another (she does too) let me stay at her house so I could come to Hogswatch, and then spent the entire weekend looking after me above any call of duty. I owe these two in particular a debt that I will never be able to repay.
I don’t think I could express what this past weekend meant to me. Those little kindnesses meant the world to me. If you’re reading this and said hello to me, talked to me, did me a favour, entertained me, took a photo of me, bought me a drink, told me you liked my costume, made me laugh, included me, said goodbye to me, asked me when you’d see me again… be aware that you made someone’s life, my life, that little bit brighter. Part of me is still in shock that you would do this for a stranger, someone like me who doesn’t believe she deserved any of it. I really do feel like part of a family, and I’m grateful and honoured.
This new year that’s approaching feels like a new start. The Year of the Complicated Monkey, apparently. I can’t help thinking that my life is going in a suitably strange direction. A few years ago if you’d told me I’d be standing on the high street of a small town in Somerset in November, dressed as a witch and getting my photo taken with a barbarian with very few clothes on, I’d tell you you were crazy. Now I have a growing suspicion that I’m the crazy one. I reckon the world’s better for a few more loonies, don’t you?
* The rest couldn’t make it this year.