This is a bit of a catch up post - a few things I've been meaning to do for a while.
First, Mrs Black, who has a lovely blog (check it out here) recently awarded me the Kreative Blogger Award. I was very honoured!
Recipients have to share 10 things which their readers may not have previously known about them. We also also have to recommend 10 blogs which are worthy of the Kreative Award.
I am going to pass on recommending blogs, because last time I won an award, I felt very bad about recommending a few blogs above others. After all, I only follow blogs I like, And so if you want to find my recommended blogs, look at my blog roll - I can recommend them all!.
But I can tell you ten things about me that you probably don't know. Not true ones admittedly. But well, if you insist on them being true, I can probably think of five things right this very minute. So here they are.
1. I want to go and see ex-PM John Major at a literary festival, but I may be out of town on that day. Bummer. I have always had a soft spot for Ol' Grey Man, the only human being alive who is known to have run away from the circus to become an accountant.
I might buy a ticket anyhow and try and get back in time.
2. I have been invited to Rotterdam, Holland, for the launch of the exhibition 'Louis Kahn - The Power of Architecture" Kahn is an interesting international architect . Not always comfortable, sometimes a little intimidating, he's probably best known for his fortress-like parliament building in Dacca, Bangladesh, but he has also done a lot of work for Yale. .
He was creative, original and noteworthy. But to my dismay, this invite also clashes with something else and I don't think I'll be able to reschedule, although I am going to try. Bummer No. 2 .
3. I went to 16 schools. My family moved around a lot .. Some schools I liked, some I didn't. One of the schools I liked the best was this one (link) , Kendrick School in Reading. Here's the school crest. It is the coat of arms of the 17th century founder, John Kendrick. Our school song was all about our Founders, (his wife was also keen on the idea of the school). I am sorry to say I made up a naughty version of the school song. This caught on among the other kids and I was both thrilled and horrified when so many people sang it in assembly one day, that you could clearly hear the words.
Arguably my first creative success, at the expense of poor John Kendrick, who was only trying to do the right thing by a load of ungrateful brats.
Another of my schools was Sullivan Upper School in Northern Ireland. The school crest had a motto in Irish, which I could neither read nor pronounce.
I am grateful that I had the chance to go to these and other good schools, even though they probably did more for me than I did for them. (By the way, I was NOT expelled from any of them - as a couple of commenters have assumed! On the whole they seemed quite pleased with me, although I think I must have been a handful).
4. I am feeling depressed at my lack of gardening skills. Two years ago I bought a "Harry Wheatcroft" rose and have nurtured it like a newborn lamb. But it doesn't seem happy, its leaves are going yellow, and it produces pale blooms, nothing like the beautiful stripes I was hoping for. This is what it should look like. But it doesn't.
5. Our first car was a Jowett Javelin,,known by everyone else as "a wonderful classic car."
Sure, they were wonderful in their day (1953) or so we were told, but by the time we got ours, it was very much past its prime. T quickly discovered that he DIDN'T want to spend all of his spare time maintaining a classic car, but by then it was too late. The Jowett had a genuinely malevolent personality. It wasn't stupid enough to crash itself, oh no. But it sat in the garage, and it waited, and it thought, and it planned ways to cause the most trouble in the most creative way, at EXACTLY the most inconvenient time for us.
Our hate-hate relationship with the Jowett ended when it needed an MOT test (for non-UK readers, this is a test that old cars have to take in Britain, to check they're roadworthy). . We had missed the correct date by one day, so the Jowett's papers were out of date. "We'll drive really carefully to the testing station. It's just a short trip, and nobody will have any reason to ask for our papers." we told each other.
But the Jowett was one step ahead. Halfway to the testing station, it blew a hole in its exhaust. And immediately it started to make an ear splitting noise, guaranteed to deafen anyone in the vicinity and certain to attract the attention of any passing policeman .
We abandoned it on the side of the road. Just couldn't risk driving a car making that amount of noise with out-of-date papers, even if they were just one day out and even though we were on the way to the testing station.
"I'll never drive you again!" T snarled to the Jowett, kicking it as hard as he could. The Jowett was built like a tank, so it showed no sign of having been kicked at all. I would say it just sat and smirked. But T damaged his foot and was limping for the next few weeks.
My Dad, a car nut, took pity on us. He organised a pickup for the Jowett and brought it to his house. He organised the MOT and then sold it for a good price to someone who liked classic cars.
"And then" said my Dad, "I made the sign of the cross, barred our front door, and didn't answer the phone for a week - just in case he returned for his money back!"
I still remember the Jowett's registration number. It was FHH 438. If you have it, beware - it really is alive.
The other bit of catching up is to announce the winners of the giveaway for the super book Inter-Rail. The winners are two good writers, Jo Carroll and Teresa Ashby. Check out and enjoy their brilliant blogs, and I hope they enjoy their books!