Hope: A Field Practitioner's Guide by Lady Sketch

Hope Springs A Turtle.

Hope: A Field Practitioner's Guide by Lady Sketch

Hope Rainbows We Created During Our Time Of Who Gives A Rock.

So I haven’t written in a while. Those who know me personally will understand why.  If I’m lucky enough yet to have accrued any non family readers (I can but hope), the many complicated occurences in my life recently have diverted my eye from the ball, work-wise.

Putting that into context, in the last 6 months Sketch and I have experienced the following:

  • Al and little PJ beaten up by local thug-life
  • Sketch and I violently assaulted by parents of thug-life
  • Our brand new car tyres slashed
  • An attempt to set said car on fire
  • Threats of violence whilst holding a sobbing PJ in my arms
  • Intimidation tactics designed to scare us out of our home
  • A breeze block through our window
  • A notable absence of Police protection/justice
  • A midnight flit to a place of refuge
  • A new school for PJ
  • Al living in a different place to the rest us for 5 nights a week
  • Attempting to handle some complex behaviours from my traumatised little boy
  • Descent into the deepest depression of my life
  • Lady Sketch hitting the bottle pretty hard
  • And finally, a nasty car accident (not our fault) that I have no idea how we all managed to walk away from.

But before you hit the back button, this post will not be depressing, despite  the catalogue of catastrophe listed above.

Yet another year has nearly passed, and people sympathetically intone that it wasn’t ‘my year,’ (including me, to myself on more than one occasion). But there came a point last week when I had a re-think. Because if I’ve just experienced another 351 days that nobody expected me to have, then exactly whose year was it if not mine?

When we were pebbles deep in our community project Who Gives A Rock (if you haven’t seen it yet, do check it out as it’s guaranteed to raise a smile, especially at Christmas), I had a particular fondness for painting rainbows. These remain the most popular of all our designs and were accompanied by a positive message, which involved us thinking up many different phrases to express the concept of hope. And I feel that now is an especially good time to revisit that strategy.

So I present to you, (friends, family and the people my Dad has persuaded to read my ramblings), Hope: A Field Practitioner’s Guide.

Let Your Hopes Not Your Hurts Shape Your Future

I’m fairly sure that ‘The Sketches’ are not alone in experiencing those runs of bad luck where you are left wondering what the f*ck is headed your way next. I had an interesting discussion with The Mister about luck the other day, which is actually what inspired me to write this post.

Wenna – 12 Dec 2017 at 10:24 – Via Facebook

Sketch and I discussing the concept of luck this morn. I say how lucky we were the crash wasn’t fatal (as reinforced by docs & solicitor) and he says if we were that lucky it wouldn’t have happened in the first place. Neither would the cancer etc…

The uncharacteristically grumpy bugger then goes on to say he thinks some ppl are born unlucky. I dispute this wholeheartedly: ‘I won a brand new Sony Discman in a competition back in 1992, what you chatting about?!’ ‘Hmph’, he says, ‘That’s your good luck quotient used up right there. And I bet you didn’t have any CDs to play on it!!’

Au contraire… how else does he think I know the cheesy old tunes on SingStar so well? I played my Precious Moments CD (free with Dad’s Sunday paper) back to back on that bad boy for a year!! #OurTimeWillCome #MakeYourOwnLuck

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Hope: A Field Practitioner's Guide by Lady Sketch

The Accident Scene

See, that’s the thing about luck – it is so very subjective. Most people would consider luck to have left the building right about the time that a rock comes flying through the window (thug-life could even be arsed to paint it first!!) but the ensuing chain of events has left one little boy feeling incredibly lucky to have been relocated to somewhere pretty fricking special (no location spoilers please, just in case said thug-life can read and has found its way to my blog).

Feeling unlucky to have your entire family crammed into a 2 bedroom house with scant possessions, few work prospects and no idea what the future holds? Speak to the refugees who’ve been relocated from a camp in Lebanon and cannot believe their luck at having a safe place to sleep and fresh running water.

Obviously there are a shit ton of examples I could spout about, but the point is, you really do make your own luck in life, and hope is an essential ingredient in this elusive recipe.

Keep Hope In Your Heart (And Your Toolkit)

Rock Bottom. There’s not much to recommend it really is there?

You wouldn’t give Rock Bottom the full 5 stars on TripAdvisor, yet so many of us find ourselves checking in there on more than one occasion throughout our lifetimes. It’s a dark and lonely place, despite the constant stream of new arrivals, mainly because dwelling on our own misfortune to the exclusion of all others seems to be the order of the day.

But this is exactly when it really does pay to look around and assess the lay of the land, because it is hope that will be your SatNav out of there.

Back in January 2013 I fell rather spectacularly out of remission and was given a 10% chance of survival (you can read about it here) which is pretty sobering news by anyone’s standards. I then spent a truly depressing weekend contemplating the end of days and trying in vain to square it with myself. It was my wonderful Mum who changed my state of mind with one simple sentence.

‘If there’s a 10% chance you will survive, then why shouldn’t you be in that 10%?’

It was like being given permission to hope again. Why the f*ck shouldn’t I? The hope brought with it a swift change in attitude and a happy return to my usual M.O. with the glass in my hand remaining firmly half full. It was hope that fuelled the beacon when I needed it the most, and suffice to say,  I’ve remained in that 10% for the last 4 years and counting…

Without Hope

John Lennon implored us to imagine a world without possessions, but not once did he speak of a world without hope.  And it is a hard concept to grasp, especially when you consider that the fundamental, beating heart of our existence is firmly rooted in just that. Hope.

Hopeless is a word that gets bandied about with little thought for the deeper meaning contained within it, and has therefore developed a flippant context to it. My eldest is always losing things and will forget instructions within 3 seconds flat – ‘You are hopeless,’ we say, ruffling his hair affectionately. I’ve spent 38 years on this planet and can still barely add up. ‘God, I’m hopeless at maths,’ I grin, as I’m counting on my fingers in the supermarket aisle.

But the true meaning of hopeless? Being utterly without hope in any shape or form? Now we’re talking the end of days.

Absent hope, would babies be made? Would boundaries be pushed? Would limits be exceeded? Remove hope from the equation and would any of us really feel inclined to leave our own little patch that we call home?

Hope is a fundamental part of our existence. It drives us to continue, to progress and evolve, even in the face of the greatest adversity, even when others may think all hope has gone.  Hope is the fixed point on the horizon, it fuels our aspirations and enables us to pick ourselves up and carry on. Hope is the air we breathe, the food we eat, the life we live.

Hope Springs A Turtle

Al must have been just 5 years old when he asked to be taken to Hope Springs. I was confused as to where this might be, but loved the idea of an undiscovered part of Cornwall, and was well up for making the trip, if only my little fella could communicate its whereabouts to me.

Al didn’t know how to get there. It was a place he’d heard talked about at nursery and all he really knew was that he wanted to go there and visit the turtle. He looked at me full of excitement as he described this place, and begged me to take him to Hope Springs. Hope Springs A Turtle.

And I’m not sure I can put it any more beautifully than that. I like to think we’ve established base camp close enough to Hope Springs to feel the benefit. Yes I’ve designed a range of carefully hand lettered products and only sold one tiny card (with a commission of 28p), but it is hope that keeps me putting chalk to board regardless. As told by thug-life, we haven’t got ‘a pot to piss in,’ but it’s hope that prevents us from giving in. It’s hope that drags my aching bones (car crashes HURT!!) from my pit each morning, hope for a better day, a brighter future, a happy life for my little family. And it was hope that pulled me from my darkest hour and kicked me up the arse to fight for what we have.

Hope: A Field Practitioner's Guide by Lady Sketch Oh Holy Nightie Card

One of a Selection of my Cards Available To Buy Via Redbubble.


When all else fails, hope whispers ‘Give it one more try.’ So keep your ears open.


This post is dedicated to the memory of the Penlee Lifeboat in West Cornwall, and the eight-strong crew of volunteers who lost their lives in the ultimate act of selfless heroism.

36 years ago this evening, the Solomon Browne put to sea in horrific gale force conditions, in a determined attempt to rescue 8 people including a pregnant woman and her children, from   stricken vessel The Union Star. Within an hour of the lifeboat launching, she went down with all hands lost, in what has been recorded as the worst maritime tragedy in Cornish history.

The famous christmas lights of Mousehole Harbour will be dimmed for an hour tonight, in remembrance of those brave souls who never came home.







Lady Sketch 32 Cheeky Cornish Patron Saints

32 Cheeky Cornish Patron Saints You Never Knew Existed: Lady Sketch’s Guide To The Lesser Known Martyrs of The Motherland.

Lady Sketch Cornish Patron Saints

Ahhhhh Cornwall.

Birthplace of the steam engine, the telegram, the correctly loaded scone – that is, none of your cream on first rummage – and home to many cheeky Cornish Patron Saints.

Us Cornish have our own identity, our own language and have happily been granted minority status. It might sound daft, but I am one of many who are proud to tick the box that recognises us as ever so slightly separate from the rest of England.

Land Of Pasties, Cream and Stupid People Apparently…

Cornwall is known for so many things, not least our beautiful beaches, stunning sunsets and psychotic sea gulls. Irritatingly, Cornwall’s indigenous people are also known, but not always in such glowing terms. Yes, we find ourselves the butt of many derogatory jokes, the majority of which are aimed at our collective IQ, presumed as it is to be somewhat below par.

There are only so many times you can be labelled a ‘pasty munching inbred’ before the need arises to clarify a few issues.

On the f*cking contrary, Pard!

lady sketch cornish patron saints

Don’t Be Fooled By The Exterior… These Guys Are Pasty Robbing Arseholes.

I was raised by Cornish parents and, as is often the way down here, my friends’ parents too. Old school Cornish matriarchs who took no shit but loved me like their own. Having grown up immersed in the very best of our culture, I can tell you that, contrary to popular opinion, we really are a canny bunch. Yes, we may play dumb when it suits us, but we are quite used to hiding our lights under bushels/down a mine shaft. To quote my Dad, who comes from a long line of proud Cornishmen:

'The wise men may well have come from the east, but 'tis the clever buggers who come from the west!' Lady Sketch's Dad Click To Tweet

Spend any amount of time with us, you’ll soon realise – we have a unique, quick and very sharp sense of humour.

I reckon it’s a Celtic thing. My very dear and very humorous uncle (may he rest in peace) was a Scot in Cornwall who endeared himself to so many of us with his particular brand of wit. I lived here for nigh on 16 years before hearing of the lesser known Cornish Patron Saints. In fact, I may never have come across them, were it not for Uncle A. He had paid particular attention to the plethora of saints names given to many towns and villages around the county. And, true to form, he had put an amusing spin on them.

The Lesser Known Cornish Patron Saints

The idea for this started with the village of St Teath. For anyone not familiar, the Cornish pronunciation for this rhymes with ‘death’ rather than ‘heath’. So phonetically, it’s pronounced St Teth. It was amid much mirth that Uncle A decreed her (and her lisp) ‘St Teath. Patron Thaint of the D’Urberville(s)th … and so the long standing joke was born.

The concept is simple, but oh so clever. You take the saint’s name, you say it out loud, you pay attention to how it sounds, and you find the relevant humour within.

As far as I can remember, the only other he created was St Issey – Patron Saint of Gossips:

‘Ere! You know that gait tuss up the road’s goin bleddy Butlins for ‘is ‘olidays…’ ‘Naw! Is ‘ee?’

The two were enough to amuse our family for years whenever we drove past the signs, and kept the game alive long after Uncle A’s untimely demise.

When Sketch and I were first together and making regular trips between Truro and Bude, he mentioned the high volume of saints names in Cornwall. A memory stirred and with a chuckle, I clued him in on the family joke.

Lady Sketch Cornish Patron Saints

The As Yet Un-Patronised St Germans.

It was at the start of my chemo in 2012 when we were making the journey even more often, that we resurrected the idea. Many a trip to RCH  passed in hysterical laughter as we patronised the Cornish saints along the way, according to the road signs.

(Check out my Chemo Diaries HERE.)

So, people of Cornwall, and readers of my Cornish witterings, below is draft 1 of the official list (always a work in progress).

Lady Sketch Cornish Patron Saints


Lady Sketch’s Guide To The Lesser Known Martyrs of The Motherland.

Some of the following take a bit of thinking about, and I encourage you to say them out loud, in a Cornish accent. (That’s CORNISH by the way, ie not how they speak on Doc Martin!!)

St Breward – Patron Saint of Poor Performance.

Outside Twilight in Redruth:

‘Any good was ee?’ ‘Naw, too much Betty Stoggs gave ‘im that breward’s droop…’

St Ruan – Patron Saint of Early Doors.

When you’ve had too much Rattler and you’re ruan-d for the rest of the night.

St Keverne – Patron Saint of Wheel Spins.

Named for the boy racers ‘Kev-ing’ it round Falmouth of an evening. Quarry Car Park to Pendennis Point so I’m told…

St Columb Major – Patron Saint of Landmarks.

Watches over Carn Brea Monument, Godrevy Lighthouse, Lanyon Quoit, Bude Light, the many mine stacks of Cornwall etc… those places that attract visitors by day and dealers by night.

St Columb Minor – Patron Saint of Spreadsheets.

Pretty much self explanatory.

St Juliot – Patron Saint of Star Crossed Lovers.

Named for that maid on the balcony in ‘Fair Verona.’ Not a patch on Gylly Beach Cafe’s balcony I’m willing to bet.

St Buryan – Patron Saint of Grave Diggers.

When your plot is getting a little crowded… ‘Bury-un ‘ere shall us, boy?’

St Kew – Patron Saint of The A30.

Anyone familiar with the Temple roadworks near Bodmin (are they completed yet?) will know. Also applies to the ‘Great Cormac Roundabout of Stratton,’ and St Ives Harbour in August. Petition St Kew when you’ve queued long enough and are starting to get teasy…

St Erme – Patron Saint of The Undecided.

With a plethora of ansum local beverages on offer, ’tis no wonder really:

‘What you avin’ then my bird? Rattler or Doombar?’ ‘Errrrrm…’

St Minver – Patron Saint of Abridgements.

Min-ver = Mini Version = An Abridgement.

Pray to St Minver when your Nan’s gone off on one about fortnightly bin collections again, and shows no sign of stopping this side of Friday… leads nicely into the next one:

St Mabyn – Patron Saint of Bin Day.

Every wednesday, sure as shit they come flocking. It’s like an all you can eat buffet for the bleddy seagulls. Bird-proof bags and bins are available from Cornwall Council at vast expense, but many favour the pellet gun approach:

‘Come near ma-bin again ya buggers an I’ll avee…’

St Ives – Patron Saint of The Materialisitic.

‘I’ve got this and I’ve got that…’ Also known as the PS of braggers and chuffers.

St Mawes  – Patron Saint of Developers.

‘Build MORE properties the locals haven’t a chance of affording and sell them to MORE second homeowners who visit twice a year at best thus eroding MORE communities and contributing to the biggest housing crisis since Shrek evicted the fairy folk from his swamp you say? Geddon…’

St Stephens – Patron Saint of Getting Your Own Back.

When you lob extra strong fisherman’s friends at the seagull who went for your ice cream… ‘Tis even-stevens now yer bugger!’

St Austell – Patron Saint of Those With No Fixed Abode/Those Awaiting Banding On Cornwall Home Choice.

When Cornwall ‘Ousing move you into an ‘Ostel while you wait for a suitable property… could be there a while ‘Pard…

St Neot – Patron Saint of The Pasty Tax.

ASDA hot food counter down Penryn:

”Enny ‘ot ones in there issa?’ ‘Naw… tis that bleddy pasty tax, see.’

St Blazey – Patron Saint of Arsonists.

Again, pretty self explanatory.

St Endellion – Patron Saint of ‘Ansum Cheese.

Home of the best Brie this side of France.

St Merryn – Patron Saint of Carnivores.

Home of Cornwall’s main abbatoir.

St Winnow – Patron Saint of the Well Informed.

‘Ell up! Some bleddy fool on the news said Bude’s in Devon!’ ‘Winnow already! Seen it on Cornwall Live, diddnus!’

St Levan – Patron Saint of Those Who Cannot Last Til Lunchtime.

When your belly rumbles for a saffron bun and you realise, ’tis time for ‘Levenzees.

St Nectan – Patron Saint of ‘Down In One.’

When you’re playing catch up on a night out. ‘Where’s your Rattler to?’ ‘Nect’un diddun I boy!’

St Piran – Patron Saint of Turning Shit To Your Advantage.

Word is, he got thrown off the coast of Ireland with a millstone around his neck. Not to be beaten, the mighty St Piran used said stone as a board, and surfed his way over to Cornwall. That’s some bleddy boy!

St Michael – Patron Saint of Piss Takers.

For those who like to take the Michael. Case in point, anyone who has directed confused tourists to the fabled Porth Emmet Beach – ‘straight up the A30 and just keep going…’ You know who you are.

St Enodoc – Patron Saint of Falmouth Park & Float.

‘Where’s that bleddy boat got to?’ ‘Er’s still inna dock…’

St Clements – Patron Saint of Designated Drivers.

When you’re bored rigid watching your mates piss it up down Sailors in Newquay and all you’re allowed to drink is OJ and lemonade…

St Erth – Patron Saint of ‘Lectrics.

‘Yer, watch out for that green and yellow wire…’

St Wenn – Patron Saint of Dreckly.

When you’ve recently moved to Cornwall and are still getting to grips with the different pace of life:

‘What time can I expect to receive my post/West Brit/Trago delivery?’ ‘Be there dreckly my ansum!’

St Pinnock – Patron Saint of The Silly Billy.

‘What kinda gait pinnock crimps their pasties up the top fercrissakes?’

St Genny – Patron Saint of ‘Foragers’.

‘Genny lead off that roof did ‘ee?’ ‘Naw… ‘ad some copper wire from sub-station, mind…’

St Mellion – Patron Saint of Gamblers.

‘Ere Met! ‘Erd bout that bloke up Trelander estate avee? ‘Ee only won lottery! My Gar! ‘Twas mellions I ‘eard…’

St Lawrence – Patron Saint of Local Radio.

Last, but by no means least. Named for the incomparable Lawrence Reed – undisputed king of the lunchtime phone in on Radio Cornwall. Cannot think of a better chap to put the world to rights with.

Can you think of any Saints we’ve missed? Comment below For A Chance To Appear on the official list!!