Bragging Rights: Alison


We love bragging about you. That's why we have an interview series where we feature one of our biggest fans each month. We want everyone to get a peek at the amazing work they're doing and be inspired, because they're seriously some of the coolest people we've ever met.

This month we're bragging about: Alison (@britishkoalatea).

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

English born and bred, I immigrated to the US with my husband in 1998 and got US citizenship in 2009. I weave on a loom, carve wooden spoons, knit, and embroider. My day job is working for a software company with a crew of brilliant quality engineers. I drive a manual transmission hot hatch car like it's a stolen Ferrari and my day is not complete without a good cup of tea (you make the hot black tea in the mug first, then add milk, not the other way around).

What is your hidden talent?

I'm a black belt in karate, so I know a LOT of self-defense moves and I spar with my instructor every week. It's like a 90 second chess match trying to outwit your opponent so you can tag them and it is super fun! It took me 8 years to get to my black belt test and when I started, I never thought it was possible for me to get there.

What is the coolest (or weirdest) thing you have ever done?

Tandem skydive. I was screaming when we left the plane but I remember thinking on the way down that the worst possible thing had already happened, I just fell out of a plane, so I might as well enjoy the ride down. We went through a cloud, did some steering of the parachute, and landed safely.

The song that's currently in your head?

Pretty Waste by Bones UK. It was used in the trailer for the movie Anna (2019) about a model who's an assassin and a double agent spy. I love that whole album!

The book you share with all your friends?

Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett. It's the 8th Discworld novel but the first in the City Watch sub-series, all about what happens when a dragon attacks a city, seen through the eyes of the lacklustre Night Watch. I adore Pratchett books, but this is the one I give to people to get them hooked on the Discworld.

What superlative would you give yourself? (ie. mostly likely to become a crazy cat lady)

This is a tough one! Most likely to die under a stack of unread books, there are books in every room of the house, including the bathrooms. I read my way through the entire children's section at Ipswich Library before I left for university.

What embroidery project are you most proud of?

It's the Kraken! I hadn't done any embroidery since I was in elementary school. My mother taught me running stitch, back stitch, and chain stitch, but I'd forgotten how to do them. Once I started, I wanted to keep going, add some new colours, experiment with new stitches. I was hooked! Seeing it progress a bit each day was encouraging and it felt like coming back to an old friend.

Inspired by Alison's interview? You can follow her on Instagram (@britishkoalatea).

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