Share Your World: 22 May 2023

Growing up, were you closer to your mother or your father, or was it a balance of both depending on the circumstances?

I’ve always felt closer to my dad, and still do… I’m a quiet introvert, like my dad, whereas my mum is one of life’s gregarious extraverts and I suppose we don’t really understand each other 🙂

What was your favourite toy as a child, and do you still have it?

How do you choose one toy across a whole childhood? Um… for outdoors I’d probably say my bike, or rather the constant succession of bikes that changed as I grew older. To us bikes meant freedom. We lived in the countryside so when we went to play with friends it was either by bike or by walking. And because we were all local kids we all generally cycled to and from primary school, as it was very rare to be ferried around by parental car. And for indoors, I’d probably choose Lego for unending imaginative play and its sheer indestructible staying power over the years.

Did you have any secrets?

My biggest secret was feeling not good enough for being such a disappointment to my mum, who has spent my entire life joking to everyone else that she always wanted to have five boys, but Ruth came along first and spoiled it…

What did you want to be when you grew up, and are you anywhere close?

I remember always just saying whatever was expected of me at any given time when asked by anyone what I wanted to be when I grew up, as the usual options to choose from were pretty gender-restricted. So boys generally wanted to be footballers or astronauts and girls wanted to be nurses or ballerinas. But in all honesty I’ve never had any real career aspirations – I suppose all I’ve ever consistently wanted was to be happy, and that still feels like a big mountain to climb, even at 59… Still hoping to get there one day! 🙂

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Share Your World: 27 Feb 2023

Did you attend Sunday School at your local church as a child?

Nope, we really weren’t a very religious family at all – my maternal grandmother (born in 1914) was brought up in an orphanage run by the Catholic Church, and alongside her younger brother and sisters had an absolutely horrendous time under the apparent care of Godly but cruel people, so we didn’t even attend church regularly never mind Sunday School, other than every now and again for special occasions…

Did you attend after school classes i.e. drama, sports as a teenager?

No, but I went first to Brownies at the age of seven and then on to Guides after that, from the age ten… I did lots of proficiency badges and eventually achieved my Queen’s Guide award… And I occasionally went to church with both Brownies and Guides along with everyone else for whatever the reasons were…

I can still recite my Brownie Promise after all this time, which I understand is a bit different today. In my day it went

I promise that I’ll do my best
To do my duty to God
To serve the Queen
And help other people
And keep the Brownie Guide Law

Did you go to evening classes after you had left school?

In my 40s I did both a six-week Creative Writing (Poetry) once-a-week evening class, and also a six-week once-a-week Buddhist Meditation course while I lived in London – but before that I’d became a full-time mature student for three years, gaining my BA in Psychosocial Studies just after I turned 40…

Do you now belong to any groups/ meetings (i.e. WI, young mums, slimming, hobbies, etc.)

No, not at the moment… Other than WordPress, that’s a kind of belonging group, albeit virtual, isn’t it? But I never say never, life often brings surprises when you expect them least… 🙂

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Share Your World: 9 Jan 2023

How long did it take you to get back into your normal routine after the holidays?

As the particular retail store I worked in finally closed its doors to customers on Christmas Eve, after the Christmas period between 27th December and 6th January we spent our final two working weeks packing up the remainder of the stock and removable fixtures and equipment to be picked up by the company, then cleaning the empty store. Last Friday (6th Jan) was our last working day and we have all been made redundant, so sadly for me since Christmas Eve there really has been no ‘normal’ routine to return to.

Which makes you feel more relaxed, putting your feet up in front of the fire with a good book or socialising with your friends?

As an introvert I always need to relax by being alone.

What is your favourite hot drink?

A nice cup of tea – just ordinary black tea with milk and no sugar.

If you are feeling poorly, do you prefer to be pampered, or left alone?

I don’t enjoy being pampered even when I’m feeling fine, so definitely leave me alone when I’m not well. Of course, it is perfectly acceptable for you to bring me regular cups of tea to keep me hydrated… 🙂

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Share Your World: 2 Jan 2023

Did you stay up to see the New Year in?

Yes, my husband and I watched Jools Holland’s Annual Hootenanny on TV to see in the new year as is usual for us.

Are there any special occasions or events coming up in 2023 for you or your family?

It has been fifty years this year since my husband first moved from the US to the UK as an 11-year-old – he’s lived here ever since – and when it comes to milestone birthdays my eldest daughter will turn 40, and I will turn 60… eek!

Do you keep a diary?

Yes, I keep a private journal-style diary, which I use as a means of dealing with the difficult stuff in life – I find writing things down the easiest way to express myself. Then after a while I ritually destroy them, when I no longer need to be reminded of where I’ve been emotionally in the past.

How did yesterday differ from January 1st 2022 or was there no difference?

My husband was working yesterday so we ate our New Year’s Day dinner in the evening instead of in the middle of the afternoon as we did last year.

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Share Your World: 14 Nov 2022

Does the weather affect your mood?

It can do, but not necessarily. If I’m feeling a bit down anyway (like just now), bad weather doesn’t always make me feel any worse and sunshine doesn’t always make me feel any better. But if I’m feeling OK in general, then the changeable weather does tend to affect my mood more.

If a stranger smiles at you or says ‘Good morning’ when they pass you in the street, do you return it?

On most occasions – it would usually be an odd or extreme situation for me not to do so, and in general I’m often the one to instigate such a simple everyday exchange in the first place. Although me completely avoiding such an interaction and not even catching their eye on approach has sometimes happened in the past, depending on the general weirdness vibes emanating from the person concerned. Some people (and I do mean complete strangers here) can sometimes take the basic cultural politeness of you smiling and acknowledging their existence as an open invitation to make further acquaintance as if by smiling so brazenly you are asking for far more than the common courtesy would suggest. As an introvert, I tend to find that difficult so will usually avoid risking that if potentially being accosted in that way seems to be a likely outcome. I far prefer it when both parties restrict their reactions/ comments to the accepted level of response and simply pass on by as expected, social etiquette met satisfactorily…

If you had a choice of just one of these things to eat, what would it be and why? Chocolate, a sweet pastry, a plate of chips/ fries? (This is not a forever choice, just one instance)

Right now it would be chocolate, because overall I’m feeling a bit sad and vulnerable and in need of emotional comfort, and chocolate can sometimes help sweeten my feelings of dismay and disappointment in life…

If you could go back to a specific age, what would that be, and why?

No thanks, it’s bad enough having gone through it all once already without having to go through any or all of it again…

What are you grateful for today?

I had a steroid injection into my hip joint on Monday (to treat osteoarthritis), and to my delight it seems to have worked in reducing my pain levels by quite a bit, so that’s a huge thing to feel grateful for. My pain hasn’t gone completely, and of course my range of movement and overall mobility is still very much compromised, but I do feel thankful for small mercies…

I’m trying not to celebrate with too much excitement for now in case the current anti-inflammatory effect doesn’t last long and I end up disappointed sooner than expected, so am still being very cautious about the results so far… But so far, so good! 🙂

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Share Your World: 03 Oct 2022

Favourite horror or Halloween themed song?

For me it has to be Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’, complete with visuals… the wicked zombie make-up, the iconic dance moves, the whole cleverly-choreographed extravaganza…

Do you ever see figures in your peripheral vision?

Actually over the last few weeks I keep seeing shadowy figures flitting across my peripheral vision that simply aren’t there! It’s happened enough times to make me wonder what the hell is going on with my eyes… or is it my brain? The other day I clearly ‘saw’ out of the corner of my eye a shadowy someone walk past the living room window on the way to the front door, so I actually went to the door to see who it was and no-one was there at all – no-one at the door, no-one in the garden, no-one even close by in the street… just weird!

Which urban legend scares you the most?

Any or all of them – I can have an extremely over-active imagination at times, even without the help of scary stories intended to set me on edge…

You’re home alone but you hear footsteps in your house – what do you do?

Freak the f**k out, and hide under a blanket…

What is your favourite season?

To be honest I like them all in their different ways, because to me seasonal changes are all a reassuring and healthy part of the natural order of things. But in general, in a Goldilocks kind of way I’d say both spring and autumn are my joint favourites, because it’s neither too hot (like summer can be) or too cold (like winter can be) so the ambient temperature is often ‘just right’ in those changing-from-one-to-the-other months… 🙂

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Share Your World: 19 Sept 2022

Are you an early riser or a late starter to the day?

I’m definitely an early bird, always have been…

Do you adopt ‘Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dine like a pauper’?

Nope, sadly I tend to adopt comfort eating at all hours…

Do you have a sweet or savoury tooth?

Both – see above answer 🙂

Would you prefer a hot relaxing bath or a massage?

Hot bath every time…

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Share Your World: 15 Aug 2022

Do you prefer to live in a single-storey property like a bungalow, a high rise apartment, or a house?

Right now we live in a lovely 1930s bungalow – our personal choice, this is hopefully our forever home so we wanted to be sure to buy somewhere without stairs we could safely grow old in. But over the years I’ve lived variously in houses, bungalows, farm cottages, and a first floor flat – never in a high-rise though.

If you won a large amount of money on the lottery, would you want publicity or keep things quiet and low key?

I’ve often wondered that myself? I’m not generally someone who likes a fuss made about things so quiet and low-key sounds more like me, but if it was a particularly large amount of money that would alter the rest of my life completely, I’m not so sure… Maybe then I’d want to share the news of my good fortune with the whole world, who knows?

How do you like your eggs?

Ha! I’ve shared this one before, so some of you may have heard it already – but honestly, it is a true story!

Back in my younger single days, on one occasion I was invited over to spend the evening with a man I was quite keen on at the time. I told him that sounded fun, but asked how late was he expecting me to stay? He smiled a knowing smile and said ‘Well put it this way, how do you like your eggs in the morning?’ to which I replied, dead-pan, without missing a beat, ‘Preferably unfertilised…’ 🙂

If cars were no longer available, what would be your choice of transport?

Taking the question literally, we don’t own a car now, so how we travel depends mainly on distance – for short distances we walk, for medium distance trips we take a bus, or for longer journeys a train. Or for going to America to visit my in-laws, we take an airplane. But if the question relates to a future world with no engines using up precious energy at all, I’d walk, or own a horse, or sail away into the sunset using wind power, just like everyone did in the past…

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Share Your World: 4 July 2022

What do you think it means to be healthy?

Honestly, I have no idea. I’ve never been healthy, I was a sickly baby and a sickly child and I’m still not healthy now so I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like to have good health…

Is being obsessive about someone or something a good thing?

If you’re a crazy stalker obsessed with someone who wants nothing to do with you, then nope, it’s never a good thing. If you’re a scientist obsessed with finding a cure for cancer or whatever other terminal disease is out there, then maybe your obsession can be a good thing…

After a disagreement with your S.O. do you initiate the make-up conversation or wait for your S.O. to do it?

It depends who feels more at fault at the direction of travel of the disagreement in each specific situation – so it’s sometimes me, and sometimes my husband who says sorry first…

Have you ever done something incredibly embarrassing in front of a huge crowd?

Huge crowd? Me? Eek! The sheer panic of being in front of so many people would probably render me so embarrassed I’d want the ground in to open up and just swallow me whole…

What’s your sweetest memory from childhood?

Being held up high by my grandfather to look in through the window of the maternity hospital, and seeing my smiling dad inside holding up a tiny bundle in a blue baby blanket, showing me my new baby brother… I was three years old… 🙂

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Share Your World: 6 June 2022

When you were a kid, did you eat the crusts on your sandwich or not?

Yes of course – we were quite poor growing up, so wasting good food was seriously frowned on… and I still eat my crusts today…

Are you a fan of musicals – why or why not?

I’ve always loved musicals – I love the way the singing seamlessly helps to tell the story, in such a memorable way. My favourite musicals over the years have probably been Jesus Christ Superstar (I particularly love the 1973 movie version), Grease (The 1978 movie), Chicago (The 2002 movie version as well as the live West End stage production my daughter and I saw in London’s Seven Dials in the mid-2000s…) and more recently I’d choose both Mamma Mia and Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, the 2008 and 2018 movie versions… I mean, Abba songs and a fun crazy storyline to follow, what’s not to love?

Is it difficult to do what you do? (For a living, hobby, etc.)

I currently work part time in retail, so there is absolutely nothing intellectually difficult in what I do for a living – emotionally it can sometimes be difficult dealing politely with awkward customers, and right now physically I’m struggling a bit because of my arthritic hip, but overall I really enjoy my job so hopefully I can continue to work on for a bit longer before I eventually have to give it up due to increasing mobility problems…

What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to? (Doesn’t have to be a rock concert, either)

Um… I saw D’Angelo live at the Brixton Academy in London in the summer of 2000 I think? His Voodoo Tour… Oooh, that was such a wonderful concert, great vibe, great voice, great songs, great album… It was one of those nights out where everything just came together perfectly, which really helped make it such a special evening for me… it was just brilliant!

Looking back over your life, what is one thing you’re grateful for? One thing you really regret?

Grateful for my three wonderful children (now three wonderful adults), regret that fear of looking stupid in other’s eyes has stopped me from doing (or even trying) so many potential things in the past…

Share Your World: 6 June 2022