Now she has asked me to take part in a meme. I don't normally do these because I have been blogging for so long that I can't believe there are five things that you might not know about me, if you have been determined enough to stick with me for a bit. This one is a bit different,however, as Caroline herself has come up with the questions and they are different to the ones she answered herself. I am touched to be asked so here goes:
1. Where is the one place you have lived that you remember most fondly and why?
From the age of eleven until I was nearly eighteen we lived in the South Island of New Zealand, having emigrated from a grimy Lancashire mill town. I am pretty sure that the impact it had on me was heightened by my age but that period is very vivid in my mind. The colours were bright, the sea and sky were singing blue and green and we did all sorts of things (camping, climbing, sailing) that had simply not been on my horizon in cold and grey Rochdale. I would absolutely love to go back to see it with adult eyes. I even feel that I need to look at it again as part of making sense of myself. Not going to happen this year!
2. Is there anything you don't/won't cook? (I, for example, loathe liver and just don't cook it. Ever.)
Ah, small bone of contention here. I don't cook Bird's custard (horrible pallid instant imitation custard, for non UK people who have been fortunate enough not to come across it). Ian likes it and so does his dad so he makes some pretty much every time I am away, which is a good outcome as far as I am concerned!
3. Have you heard the song, "Let it Go" from the movie 'Frozen' and, if so, do you like it?
The short answer is no, I hadn't heard it or even heard of the film. I think this is a reflection of a stage in my life when I don't have to do Disney so I never do. The longer answer is that I listened to it following your question and I am slightly puzzled to find that I don't know if I like it. I am a decisive type generally. There things about it that I like and I would expect to like something which encourages you to be yourself but there is just a touch of smug entitlement about it somehow which gets under my skin. It's like all those L'Oreal "because you're worth it" campaigns. Perhaps the world would be a better place if the West were less obsessed with individual self fulfilment and had a stronger sense of the importance of other people. That's an oddly sober and probably completely off the wall response to a Disney song. Must be turning into a grumpy old woman.
4. What is one political or social issue that drives you crazy when people talk about it? (you don't have to give your opinion, just tell what the issue is.)
In the UK we are currently being encouraged by our media and politicians to be obsessed with the supposed threats to our jobs and way of life posed by immigration from other European Union countries. Much of the press peddles a fine line in xenophobia with a complete absence of fact or analysis. Drives me nuts. Whoops, might have inadvertently given away my personal opinion there!
5. Have you ever made a friend first through blogging/online and only afterwards met her(him) in person? If so, how did you finally meet?
I have made quite a few friends from blogging and met lots of them. Mostly they are connected either with a website now sadly defunct called purplecoo which was basically a chat place for rurally based women. There are also friends who are connected by an interest in gardening who I met in person at the Malvern Spring Show a few years ago when there was a garden bloggers' meet up. I can't imagine my life without my blogging friends now and there is not a single one that I have met in person who wasn't just as I expected them to be from their writing. In fact reading someone's writing is an excellent way to get to know a person. You reveal yourself in your writing, even if you try not to! Once you get over the inevitable initial surprise that some are taller or shorter or older or younger or more beautiful than you expected, you can't imagine them being any different.
6. Do you speak more than one language fluently? If so, how did you learn it?
Fluently, sadly, no. I speak French in a hesitant way, read it better, understand it ok. I learnt it at school eons ago and have never really used it enough to get fluent. I speak Welsh a bit and again understand more than I speak. I learnt Welsh as an adult, starting about five years ago. I felt that it was not OK to live in a country with a language of its own and not engage at least a little bit with that language. Without at least a bit of the language so much of Welsh history and literature would be a closed book to me. I really need to do something like a Welsh bootcamp week to give my spoken Welsh a kick. I don't use it enough in every day life and find that even with my local friends who are Welsh speaking we are inclined to spend a few minutes talking Welsh and then turn with relief to English. My Welsh simply isn't good enough for really interesting conversation. This is the only language I have ever tried to learn where everyone who speaks it also speaks English so you never have to throw yourself in as the only way of communicating. It would probably be better for me to go to Patagonia and speak Welsh with people whose other language is Spanish!
7. If you grew up in a religious household, do you still practice the same religion you grew up with? If not, do you practice a different religion, or no religion at all?
I am not sure my family household was religious but I certainly had a Christian,church going upbringing. We went to a Methodist chapel most Sundays although when I married for the first time I married in a Church of England church. These days I would say that I feel culturally Christian. I love the language of the King James Bible and catch its references in literature and life. Do I practice any religion in terms of attendance at a place of worship? No. Am I a Dawkins type atheist? No.
8. Do you get regular mani/pedis? If not, do you: a)get them occasionally; b) do your own or c) settle for keeping your nails neat and clean without worrying about painting them.
For a very long time I would have been firmly in the "neat and clean" camp but I have recently discovered the joy of pedicures. This is partly because when you do yoga you need bare feet and I found myself envying those with lovely toes. Now I have a pedicure done every six weeks or so. If I did it myself I would not expect it to last six minutes.
9. Where was the most awful vacation/holiday you have ever taken? What made it so awful - the location, or the circumstances? Would you go back and try it again under different circumstances?
I haven't had any really awful holidays. On my first honeymoon we went to Tunisia and the food in the hotel was awful but we escaped to local towns and ate out instead, and it was a honeymoon so the food wasn't of the first importance. When the children were in their early teens we had a holiday in a campervan in France where the van, which was both accommodation and transport, broke down and we had to live in the awning and a series of pup tents until it was fixed. Even that I remember quite fondly for the kindness of the campsite owners who took pity on this stranded English family and kept finding things for us to do that didn't require a car!
10. Have you been watching the Olympics? If so, which events do you enjoy watching the most?
Not really. I did watch Lizzie Yarnold win gold in the skeleton bob and found it absolutely terrifying. How anyone has the bottle to hurl themselves downhill at eighty miles an hour on a teatray I shall never understand.
11. Where is one place you haven't yet visited but would absolutely love to go someday?
I have been to all sorts of places through work and would mainly love to go back to places (see New Zealand above!) but the place I haven't been to at all even though it is not that far away is Scandinavia. I would love to go to any of the Scandinavian countries but Stockholm would be my city of first choice, all that water, the Venice of the North. I would also love to go to Denmark and see if I can understand why the Danish are apparently the happiest nation in the world!
Thank you Caroline. That was quite fun to do and of course it meant that I didn't have to come up with an idea of my own for a blog. I think I perhaps won't pass it on as my brain fails me just now. The chances of coming up with interesting new questions are slim. What would be really fascinating is if you fancied taking just one of the questions and letting me know your answer in the comments. It would be interesting in itself to see what questions people chose and also to find out more about you!