When I started blogging I wondered about a few things: would I have anything to say and would I just be talking to myself? As it turns out, I have keyboard diarrhoea (although whether it’s anything worth saying remains to be seen) and surprisingly there are people willing to read what I write (which surprises me entirely and makes my day every day). What I didn’t realise is how the blogosphere works as such an amazing global community. So many voices with different approaches, different styles, different things to say and different ways of saying it. The joy of following breadcrumbs to a world of joy and inspiration. I’m sure Husband thinks I’m having an affair as I’m permanently attached to my phone, checking out the latest posts as soon as I wake up, grabbing the chance to post myself once the kids are in bed.
There are a number of awards floating around the ether too. Not proper awards with ceremonies and fancy frocks (I’m wearing Tu for Sainsbury’s if you do happen to be Ryan Seacrest, but I’m not sure my pjs are red carpet worthy). But what they are about is passing some recognition on, helping others build their audience by scattering more breadcrumb trails.
The delightful Arthur Didymus has generously nominated me for a couple of awards: the Liebster Award and the Versatile Blogger Award. Thank you, Arthur. A.PROMPTreply has also very kindly nominated me for a Liebster award. And Lydia Devadason has also nominated me for the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award. I shall use this page to answer the questions set by these awards and to share the blogs I love and adore, for those who wish to follow the breadcrumbs and fall further down the rabbit hole of the blogosphere (to mix my tales).
If you don’t wish to learn any random facts about me or to know how many of my nine lives I’ve used up, fair enough. But please check out the names at the bottom as they are all marvellous bloggers.
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#1 I was born 7 weeks prematurely after my mum developed eclampsia. At one point my dad had to choose whether he’d prefer to save my life or my mum’s. Luckily we both survived although I weighed as much as a bag of sugar and had a weird cone-head due to the forceps delivery.
#2 At about the age of 7 my mum nearly ran me over. I’d been cycling up and down the street but had fallen off as I turned into my drive. I’d hurt my leg and was feeling sorry for myself when my mum came out and climbed into the car. Without realising I was on the ground (and without checking her rear view mirrors) she started to reverse down the drive and only stopped when the bike crunched under the wheels. I got into trouble for wreckless cycling.
#3 Born in 1975 I grew up in an age before risk-assessments. Which is how come, on a school trip, myself and others on the trip ended up in a high-speed race around the country roads of Calabria in Southern Italy, crammed into cars being driven by the local Mafia. We had no idea where we were going, but recognised when we sped past the hotel complex we were staying at. The teachers in charge had to set up a roadblock with their minibus and we were duly marched back to the hotel (even though the teachers were the ones who arranged the rather ‘specialist’ chauffeurs in the first case). We were told not to mention events of that night to anyone. Needless to say, we told everyone. I’ve no idea what happened to the Italian teacher who arranged the trip, but she didn’t come back the following term.
#4 On the same trip some of us got swept out to sea on a pedalo and had to be rescued by lifeguards. When we complained to the pedalo-owners that the conditions were inappropriate for leasing the pedalos they refused to give us a refund, but instead compensated us with Pernod.
#5 My first job was working in a music store. One afternoon my friend and colleague, Amanda Wagg, was stabbed to death by her ex-boyfriend. As the events were broadcast in the local news before any names were released my parents were inundated by calls from friends and family expressing concern as my then-boyfriend had a reputation for having a temper.
According to Women’s Aid, two women a week are killed by a current or former male partner. It was enough to make me think that I needed to get out of my relationship.
#6 On honeymoon Husband and I were confronted by a 6′ 7″ black transvestite who had followed us through to a secluded area of Central Park after he (she?) thought I was going to take his photo without permission. (We were actually looking for someone to take our picture.) Husband started to give it his best Mockney tough guy. I kept quiet and wondered how I would get Husband’s body back to the UK.
#7 With this one I just wished I could have died.
I was working as a teaching assistant at a primary school and the head teacher had recommended that we all go for a night at his local, which happened to do the very best steak. Before we hit the pub we stopped at his for a glass of Rioja. I don’t normally drink red wine, but it was delicious. His house was gorgeous too. Immaculate. Pristine cream carpets everywhere.
We hit the pub and he was right – the steak was marvellous. So was the house red. (I’d had a hectic day at work and hadn’t eaten much, so I figured that even though the house red was described as ‘lethal’ it was wise not to mix my drinks.) My friends all disappeared to play pool, but the locals, including my boss’ son, were incredibly hospitable and I didn’t have to get up to get a drink all night.
In fact, it was only when I stood up that the trouble started. Suddenly someone had made the floor into a funhouse, the sort that you get at the fair. It wasn’t particularly fun. I vaguely remember taking a tumble over the doorstep as I left. I definitely had the bruising to show for it the next day.
The decision was taken for us to go back to the head’s house so
we I could have a coffee to sober up. Obviously, proper ground coffee, not instant stuff. Which is unfortunate, as proper coffee takes a while to make. As I sat in the pristine, cream lounge, waiting for the caffeine hit, I started to feel clammy. A rising feeling in my stomach – I was going to throw up.
I managed to ascertain directions to the downstairs loo and legged it, bile rising the whole time. I flung open the door and erupted, in a scene that wouldn’t have looked out of place in The Exorcist! I’d aimed for the toilet bowl, but unfortunately everything had been so forceful that the splatter radiated from the central nucleus. Red wine and steak, all a bloody shade of deep red, had covered the bathroom. I desperately surveyed my surroundings for anything that might mop up the mess. Which is when I realised that the cream carpet extended into the bathroom. Cream carpet covered in my red vomit.
A knock at the door. ‘Are you all right?’ At that point I wanted to die rather than open the door for everyone to see the devastation.
‘Nooooo. Not really. Do you have any carpet cleaner?’
My brain has blanked the rest of the evening, but I know it was hideous. So was going into work the following Monday, with a massive bunch of flowers and letter of apology. I offered to replace the carpet. My boss declined. He said they’d had a rethink and decided to tile the bathroom anyway. He said that the stain looked exactly like Australia. Fortunately he never followed through on his promise/threat to frame the offending cut and give it to me as my leaving present.
Important lessons were learnt that night. I learnt that Rioja is not my friend, over-working isn’t good and eating lunch is a very good thing. My boss learnt that cream decor and bathrooms don’t mix. And don’t invite your minions round socially. And the locals at the pub in Gt Massingham learnt that I’m great when I’m drunk. It’s a shame I haven’t drunk in there since.
So, there you are. Seven random reasons why it’s amazing I’m alive.
(Edit: Since originally posting, I’ve remembered another incident that involved a roller disco, my sister and a hammer. I’m sure I can shoehorn it into a blog post at some point. Keep your eyes peeled; it’s beyond embarrassing.)
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A.PROMPTreply has asked me the following questions as part of my acceptance:
Do you have any phobias?
Dentists. *shudder* I don’t think it helped that as a child my best friend’s dad was also my dentist. Or that I would get picked on for my goofy teeth. Or that it involves discomfort and expense. So many shades of ‘reasons to avoid at all costs.’
What is something that you always have in your refrigerator?
I’d say milk but 1) Husband tends to leave it on the side after making a cuppa, or 2) Eve and her boyfriend will use it all up in the night like lactose-devouring vampires. So milk isn’t always in there.
The top shelf is always full of condiments though. I can never tell what’s been open for too long either, so a lot of them are duplicates and whatever’s at the back probably isn’t fit for human consumption.
What’s the biggest personal change you’ve ever made?
Probably letting Husband move in. I like my space and still struggle with having him here. I’m not great at sharing.
How many times have you moved?
Twice as a child. I then moved to Surrey at 19, but it wasn’t long until I was back home again. So four times in all.
What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
Having to write an acceptance speech for the disastrous school trip to Italy (see The Versatile Blogger Award above) that I had to give in Italian to the entire faculty of the college we were staying with during the week, after a night of constant glass-filling. The start is embedded on my brain forever:
‘A nome degli studenti touristico, desiolero ringraziovivi per tutti durante l’optima tre settemane.’
If you had to pick a book title in print right now to sum up your life, what would it be?
‘Five Minutes’ Peace’ by Jill Murphy.
If you could rename yourself, what would you pick?
My mum wanted to call me Alexandria, but my dad vetoed it. But I’m sure I’d have been cooler if I’d been called Alex…until that first day at high school where the teacher calls everyone by their proper names and I’d have been teased for Alexandria.
Who is the person you would most like to emulate in life?
I once met Princess Marie-Chantal, princess of Greece and Denmark. Boo was on a photoshoot at her (stunningly amazing) house. I didn’t know she was a princess at the time, but I did think it was odd that the Queen was in her wedding pictures. Her life seemed beyond perfect, but she was so friendly and her home was so warm. I’d like to be her.
If someone asked you for a random piece of advice, what would you tell them?
Don’t date anyone within a 100 mile radius. That way, once it’s over you’re not likely to bump into them again. If you do, it’s good evidence that they’re stalking you.
What is the best joke you’ve ever played on someone?
I once got Eve to doubt her identity whilst queuing at a theme park by telling her that I couldn’t tell her apart from Indy when they were babies as they looked the same – I might have muddled them up. (I didn’t. Luckily Eve had a birthmark on her bottom. I’m sure she’ll appreciate me haring that.)
I also got a class of children to believe that I was heiress to the Russell Hobbs fortune as my surname was Hobbs. Oh, if only!
What is something you’ve tried, but would never try again?
Venison. Weird aftertaste and the smell makes me feel nauseous. I’m more than happy never to eat Bambi again.
My recommended blogs are at the end of the page. If any of them fancy a(nother) Liebster, these are the questions I’d like answered:
1) What’s your earliest memory?
2) What makes you happy?
3) What scares you?
4) Who inspires you?
5) What do you dream of?
6) Which Disney character would you like to be?
7) If you could travel back in time when/where would you go?
8) What are you most proud of?
9) If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money? (Imagine it’s about £10million.)
10) Tell us a secret.
11) Tell us a joke.
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The Wonderful Team Member Readership Award
Lydia Devadason has been kind enough to name me in her list for this one. Thank you, Lydia.
14 names to follow are required for this one. Please see below.
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The following blogs are ones I’ve fallen in love with on WordPress. I expect I’m merely jumping on a bandwagon by mentioning them, but if they wish to pick up either award and pass it on, that would be great.
The list is by no means definitive and will be added to over time. I’m only a newbie and I’m sure I’ve merely tickled the surfaces of brilliant blogging. The gold I’ve discovered thus far though includes:
Little Miss Menopause, who never passes up an opportunity for clever wordplay and comedy gold. Make sure you read her Fast Food Fiction too.
Liam Todd’s Mommy, for her sweet, funny perspective on parenthood.
Lydia Devadason’s parenting blog also has me smiling along in recognition.
Nat Andrea for her amazing artwork. The butterflies knocked my socks off.
Sass and Balderdash, whom I wish I could go drinking with. This girl knows how to tell a tale.
Aussa, whose blog you must read from the very beginning before it gets made into a courtroom drama.
Penny Patteson for her beautiful photography. I adore her shot of the magnolia blossom and of the doorways at Blickling Hall.
The Doodle Mum, for such tender drawings of family life.
Katie Morningstar who knows how to make a girl drool.
Phie, aka my very own Indy, whose decided to blog herself. I like it a lot (as she hasn’t said anything horrible about me – yet!).
And Eve too. It’s rather interesting to see a different spin on the same family events. I can’t get away with any blatant lying/massive exaggeration now.
A.PROMPTreply who writes in such a lovely way in so many topics. http://apromptreply.wordpress.com/
West517 on The World We Know for absolutely amazing photography. I’m completely jealous of her eye for a great photo, her skill in capturing it…and for having a friend whose a pastry chef. http://west517.wordpress.com/
And don’t forget Arthur Didymus for starting this whole page. Tender, sweet and witty. Not every 14-year-old boy is an ASBO-in-waiting.
To each and every one: ***THANK YOU!***