The Good Woman thegoodwoman.blogspot.com has tagged me. I love tags because, let’s face it, being tagged is flattering, it’s evidence that somebody’s actually reading what you write. I also love them because some days it’s hard to know what to write about and answering a few questions is a good way to prompt inspiration. And I love reading other writers’ blogs when they’ve been tagged because you get the essence of the person in bite-sized pieces … here goes …
What were you doing ten years ago?Ten years ago … um … Oh, I had a six month old; Hattie, my youngest, was born in February 1997. She arrived with the cord around her neck twice and looked like she’d had a few rounds in a box ring; her little face was black and blue. We spent several days in Special Care and then, when she was a week and a half old, we flew back to Africa: myself, Ben (5), Amelia (3) and Hattie (10 days). Everybody boarding the same flight watched in horror, all willing themselves to be as far from me and brood as possible. The nine months or so that followed were some of the happiest in my life. I completely succumbed to motherhood, I stopped worrying that I was ‘just a mum’ and got on with it. I wrote a(nother) unpublished book at odd hours whilst nudging Hat’s rocker with my foot every time she threatened to erupt into wailing. And I ate jam sandwiches and drank Guinness at 11 at night. Happy days.
What were you doing one year ago?
One year ago new shareholders threw the farm a lifeline and persuaded husband, who had resigned, to stay on. He said he would if they promised to fund the place properly. We were stupid enough, when they swore blind to manage responsibly, to believe them. Because we couldn’t bear to leave a place we’d grown to love. Just goes to show that you ought always to go with your gut; six months later and the place had crumbled, we were on our way out anyway, significantly poorer and hugely disillusioned.
Five snacks you enjoy
Olives, crackers, grapes, handfuls of dry breakfast cereal and bits of biscuits, I kid myself that if I break the corner off a biscuit I’m not actually eating a whole one. The fact I break the corner of several dozen and practically empty the tin doesn’t count.
Five songs to which you know all the lyrics Still, sadly or happily depending on your point of view, the songs I used to sing, really, really badly, to my kids when they were wee. Now, when I sing, they put their hands over their ears and groan loudly so I don’t anymore, except when in the car on my own with (my choice of) music up loud and can sing away as tunelessly as I like, getting all the lyrics wrong because I don’t get enough practice.Five things you would do if you were a millionaire
I am, sometimes, and briefly, at the beginning of the month in Tanzania (where a million Tanzanian shillings equates to about 400 quid) and then I use my million to fill shopping trolley.
What you’d do with a million pounds is a frequent topic of conversation around the dinner table en famille. My children haven’t yet grasped just how far a million pounds would go: Hat would buy me a new laptop, for example, Amelia a chateau in France with swimming pool and vineyard.
I’m not sure what I’d do? But presumably I wouldn’t have to grovel to schools for assisted places for my kids.
I think it’d buy me peace of mind?
Five bad habits
Too much time on the computer kidding myself I’m working when in fact I’m obsessively checking emails
Too much wine too probably, but I tell myself life’s too short not to transform every evening into an occasion, even if just me, hubby and scrambled egg. And a glass of Pinotage, of course.
I am reticent and sensitive and wish that I weren’t
I’m impatient which makes me swear (which makes a sixth I think?)
Five things you like doing
Walking, Swimming, Being in the bush, Trawling book shops because I like the company of books; their feel and their scent, Making marmalade and chutney, I don’t do it often but it inspires a feeling of tremendous achievement and wholesomeness when I do: ranks of jars lined and filled with piping hot preserve, evidence that there’s a domestic goddess lurking in there somewhere.
Five things you would never wear again
Nowadays I wear jeans, t’shirts, shorts and flip flops (not all at once, obviously) and always a lot of very loud silver jewellery (my youngest knows I’m coming by the jangle of bangles; I think she means that in a good way?) Which I suppose means that the things I no longer wear are those I once did (when I was young and stupid and worked in London in the late eighties) and include high heels, very short skirts, tights (yay, African living means tights aren’t necessary), too much makeup and a constricting little suits.
Five favorite toys
Conventional toys don’t really do it for me. I’m seriously technologically challenged (I’m the sort of person who loses posts on her own blog and spends days trying to find the story she wrote last week and misplaced before uploading it, you can imagine what happens when I try to post comments on other bloggers sites; perhaps they’re floating aimlessly around cyberspace trying to find a home?). If toys are things you enjoy, then that’d be my family, my dogs, my cats, my books, my little bit of Africa …
I need to tag somebody, but I need to think about that and I need an excuse to trawl a few blogs before I do … it’s called Research, rather like incessant email checking is called Working.