Thursday, August 21, 2008


Tagging behind

It's such a long time since I posted that I'm going for an easy re-entry into blogland, with the meme that Cliff tagged everyone with. Of course, everyone else has already done it, so I'm not only lazy, but late as well.

1. My uncle once: was sent to prison for bigamy. It was sad really because he was nice and he and his ‘wife’ really loved each other and had a child together. He begged her to wait for him, but her mother considered his crime unforgiveable and persuaded her to abandon him and later, to marry a ‘respectable’ man whom she didn’t love.

2. Never in my life: have I come face to face with a lion, but I dream about them often – the last time, one crept silently into the room and bit a chunk out of my loved one's knee.

3. When I was five: I walked the mile to school on my own and nobody thought it odd.

4. High school was: non-existent, but my English equivalent was a vale of tears.

5. I will never forget: being found lost and bawling on holiday in London when I was about nine and taken to Hammersmith Police Station, where, because I didn’t know the address where I was staying, had to wait to be claimed hours and hours later by my uncle and the whole family laughed at me when he brought me back.

6. Once I met: Bill Clinton and, sleezeball though I knew he was, when he shook my hand and beamed that smile right into my eyes, I just couldn’t help myself – I was dazzled, (but I’d recovered by the next day).

7. There’s this girl I know: who thinks she has to meet a wealthy man to achieve her ambition of being rich, but doesn’t realise she has the ability to do it on her own.

8. Once, at a bar: I seriously questioned the sanity of my first (and only) date with a man who told me about his new sewing machine and his project to turn his long-sleeved shirts into short-sleeved ones.

9. By noon, I’m usually: wondering where the morning’s gone.

10. Last night: I broke my rule not to drink during the week because I thought it would be nice to watch the England match with a nice glass of wine - wrong.

11. If only I had: been more assertive and decisive. Oh yes, and learned to dance.

12. Next time I go to church: it will probably be to look at the architecture.

13. What worries me most: If I got my atheist genes from my grandmother and mother, am I also destined to do as they both did and change my mind on my death bed and start praying. I’m leaving instructions that I be bound and gagged the moment someone spots my hands moving together.

14. When I turn my head left I see: stars, because my neck hurts like hell when I turn left.

15. When I turn my head right I see: that I was right to keep looking right.

16. You know I’m lying when: I protest my innocence in the death of the person lying at my feet and I’ve forgotten to put down the knife.

17. What I miss most about the Eighties is: the clothes with the big shoulders – a godsend for women with none of their own.

18. If I were a character in Shakespeare I’d be: Ophelia.

19. By this time next year: I’ll be pounds and pounds lighter, will have thrown away all my comfortable i.e. shapeless clothes, and be speaking French like a native.

20. A better name for me would be: Jezebel, Cunégonde, anything other than Joan, which I hate, despite Joan of Arc being one of my heroines.

21. I have a hard time understanding: why people nag. Since they usually preface it with ‘how many times do I have to tell you to/not to’ you'd think they might have noticed that it's not working. (When the men on Captain Cook’s ship refused to eat the pickled cabbage he’d brought on board to prevent scurvy, he didn’t resort to nagging with tongue or whip, but, together with his fellow officers, ate the cabbage with gusto in front of them, thus persuading the contrary little b’stards that it must be good if the top brass were eating it.)

22. If I ever go back to school, I’ll: be pleasantly surprised if the days still go on and on and on.

23. You know I like you if: you make me laugh, occasionally ask me what I think and remember the stories you’ve already told me, except sometimes, when you’re forgiven.

24. If I ever won an award, the first person I would thank would be: my loved one, because he’s bound to have been responsible in some way, directly or indirectly.

25. Take my advice, never: leave a box of things destined for the charity shop in the middle of your bedroom floor on a hot night, because when you leap up to fetch a cool drink, you'll forget it's there and fall over it, cracking a bone and tearing the ligaments of your left elbow in the process.

26. My ideal breakfast is: a taste of absolutely everything – fresh fruit, bacon, eggs, sausage, baked beans, hash browns, mushrooms, tomatoes, fresh bread, butter, Danish pastry and almond cake.

27. A song I love but do not have is: any from the album Trio with Emmy-lou Harris, Dolly Parton and Linda Rondstadt. I used to have it but it got lost in a move.

28. If you visit my hometown, I suggest you: don’t go between the ages of 13 and 18 or you’ll die of boredom.

29. Why won’t people: even try to see the other person’s point of view when they have a dispute?

30. If you spend a night at my house: Virginia Woolf’s comment may pop into my head: ‘like it when they come, love it when they go’. No, seriously, you’d have to stay more than a week for me to think that.

31. I’d stop my wedding for: someone who asked me very nicely for a very good reason – nah on second thoughts no-one.

32. The world could do without: dinosaurs and dodos, obviously.

33. I’d rather lick the belly of a cockroach than: watch Big Brother.

34. My favourite blonde(s) is/are: can't think of any - at the moment all my favourites are brunette.

35. Paper clips are more useful than: Frank Lampard and most of the English football squad.

36. If I do anything well it’s: say sorry.

37. I can’t help but: brood over lost: loved ones, opportunities and spectacles.

38. I usually cry: at the drop of a hat and when I read or see stories about the First World War.

39. My advice to my child/nephew/niece: would be pointless. By the time they’re ready to listen to it, they’ll be adults.

40. And by the way: I am not accident prone.


I have a New Best Friend. We met for the first time last week and I hope we’ll stay friends for a long time. She’s called the Edinburgh Festival and now I’m like a small child with um… a new best friend – you know, always desperate to tell anyone who’ll listen what a character she is, how she shares everything with you, and how much more fun she is than any of her other friends. If they’re unkind enough to point out her faults, well naturally I declare I hadn’t noticed them and in any case they’re of no importance whatever. Who cares if she comes with rain, pricey hotels and food that’s not great, she’s still the best friend I could have and furthermore, I’d rather be friends with her than the Great Barrier Reef, London or even the Great Wall of China.

I can’t imagine how long it will take to get to know her properly because she's huge - hundreds and hundreds of venues dotted all over the city from church halls, public buildings, pubs, clubs and cellars. You could spend an entire day with your head in the inch thick programme choosing what to see, so after we'd spent a quarter of the day with our heads in the programme choosing what to see, we settled for the shows we’d been handed leaflets on and of the five shows we saw, all were totally memorable. And then there's Edinburgh’s Golden Mile - a vibrant, noisy, musician–strewn parade of free street entertainment with original and funny performers.

We use the Scots in general as our stereotype for miserliness, so it was funny to hear a man in a clock and watch repair shop in Edinburgh make it a regional thing when talking about a customer who had just left the shop. We commented that he seemed to be trying to talk himself out of a sale by advising his customer to go back to the watch manufacturer and offering him the number. "well", he said, "he's from Aberdeen and they're no fond of parting with their money there."

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