I've wanted a tattoo for, ooh, about ten years.
Not just any old tattoo, though - one that means something to me, that commemorates a specific event.
Initially, I decided that I'd get one when I got my PhD. But then, what with the rush to make corrections, get the thesis bound, sort out my Canadian work permit, move to a new country, get set up in a new lab, find a place to live, get a bank account, make friends, etc etc etc, it was suddenly a whole year since my viva, and it was no longer a current event.
Plus, although I didn't know anyone in the UK who'd got a double helix tattoo upon finishing their PhD, it turned out to be quite common in Canada. And I wanted something unique.
A couple of years later, as I applied for Canadian permanent residence, a new idea started to form in my mind. I knew I'd be shooting for citizenship as soon as I was eligible, so why not get a tattoo to commemorate that? The bringing together of two cultures - that's meaningful enough for me!
Given my family's Irish and Scottish roots, and my memories of the very happy few years I spent in Glasgow, I decided that I wanted a design that incorporated Celtic design into a Canadian maple leaf. I Googled all kinds of combinations of those words, but never found anything. So it would be both meaningful and unique!
The problem with unique was that I would have to find someone to design the tattoo for me. My initial attempts to sketch a Celtic style outline for the leaf looked Celtic enough, but not even the most patriotic Canadian in the world would have recognised the key component of their national flag in my work. And placing a regular maple leaf inside a Celtic circle looked cool, but from a distance, too much like the Air Canada logo.
"I'll do it", said Mr E Man
"Erm... OK...?" I said. I figured I'd let him take a shot at it, and at least use it as the basis for the final design.
But look what he came up with!
Mr E Man's initial sketch: