Share Your World: 14 December 2020

What news event do you vividly remember hearing about as a child, and where were you?

‘That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind’

Neil Armstrong, July 1969

I was five and a half when man first walked on the moon, and I remember mum calling me through to the living room to watch the live footage on our standard black and white TV. The thing is, I had absolutely no idea of the enormity of what was going on, or that it was reality not just fantasy – it was just a grown-up TV programme that didn’t interest me at all. The picture was too fuzzy and I thought it was a really rubbish-looking spaceman, not nearly as good as some others I’d seen on TV. So I remember it most clearly from a perspective of childhood bewilderment – it’s only in retrospect I can truly appreciate exactly what I saw happening in front of my eyes 🙂

What is a Christmas song that makes you cringe?

When it comes to modern popular songs, all of them and none of them – at any other time of year they all sound naff, but there’s something about listening to them all at Chistmas time that makes them sound OK, giving me the warm and fuzzies. Traditionally, even though I’m not religious at all, I love hearing all the old Christmas carols and can happily sing along with the best of them – and yes, I can still remember the words 🙂

What is one place you shop(ped) prior to Covid that might have surprised people?

Um… not sure… can’t really think of anywhere… But as a non-religious person I really love spending time in old churches, which some people may find odd. I love the impressive architecture, and the hushed feeling of height and space and peace and calm. And I love the amazing accoustics when hearing all those old hymns sung a cappella – see above answer 🙂

What is your least favourite holiday side dish?

Brussels sprouts… Yuk! 😦

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Junk Food, Thank You Very Much

What would you enjoy if you could do so without someone getting annoyed with you for enjoying it? It MUST be something you aren’t supposed to enjoy because it is ‘bad for you’…

Junk food, I would be happy to openly enjoy junk food… McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, Pizza, Chinese, Indian… you name it I LOVE it! Mmmm… I do know it’s bad for my health – full of fat, sugar, salt, a veritable heart-attack-on-a-plate (or perferably eaten out of its own throwaway wrappings, no plate required). So I only eat it occasionally, indulging almost furtively and shamefully because my husband with familial heart problems and a healthy diet does NOT approve, but I know it’s only cos he loves me ❤

Is it OK for men to wear the colour pink?

As long as it suits their skin/ hair colouring, I like men in pink as much as any other colour – for example my husband has a couple of lovely pink shirts 🙂

Can you curl your tongue?

Yes! Woo-hoo!

What, in your opinion, is the best room to put a fireplace?

Living room, but that’s probably cos I’ve always known fireplaces to be in living rooms…

How do you show your gratitude?

In person I smile, I say thanks, I give a hug, or a kiss – or I’ll write a thank you note if that’s more appropriate. And online I’ll ‘like’ something, or comment, or if I’ve bought something and had good service maybe even give a Google review 🙂

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Share Your World: 23 Nov 2020

What is worse than a dentist with bad breath?

A gynaecologist with dirty hands and filthy fingernails…

Have you ever been rejected by someone that you liked, or been told that you were not good enough for someone else?

Yes and yes… Unrequited love always hurts. And my first husband (father of my three children) told me when I left him that no-one else would ever want me as I was second hand damaged goods… nice!

Did you ever want to have toast for breakfast, only to find that all your bread was covered in green mould?

Upsettingly yes, and I have to be really careful with that because I’m allergic to green mould, including penicillin…

Did you ever sneeze so hard that your whole body hurt?

Nope, but when I had pleurisy in my mid-twenties even breathing hurt so much I thought I might die…

Did you ever buy clothing on the internet that didn’t fit, but you wore them anyway because you didn’t want to spend the shipping charge to send them back?

I’m not a great one for internet shopping, and will usually only buy something online if I get free delivery and free returns, so probably not. But if I did I’d be more likely to give it away than send it back, either to someone else or donate it to a charity shop… 🙂

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Share Your World: Oddball Questions

Is cereal soup? Why or why not?

Um… no of coure not – cereal is cereal and soup is soup! And anyway, who ever heard of having soup for breakfast… I rest my case.

What are some interesting ways to answer everyday questions like ‘How’s it going?’ or ‘What do you do?’

For ‘How’s it going?’ a good answer might be ‘It’s gone so far it’s almost disappeared’ and for ‘What do you do?’ a fun answer might be ‘As little as possible, as often as I can get away with it’ 🙂

What was your favourite toy growing up?

For sheer versatility and persistance of play across the entirety of childhood, and then well into adulthood with my own kids and now my grandkids, it probably has to be Lego

If you have a pet, and you could ask it three questions, what would you ask?

I don’t have a pet at the moment, but I would like to have a cat. And if I had a cat, I would ask it what purring feels like, do whiskers tickle, and do cats have such noisy sex because it’s painful or because they just like making that blood-curdling noise!

And to answer the last optional question, What’s one simple thing society at large could do to improve our world? the answer has to be to stop being so damned selfish – about the environment, about society, about everything.

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Share Your World: 27 July 2020

Are you a clean or a messy person?

Hmmm… If the question is are you clean or dirty, then the answer is most definitely clean-ish, but I believe a little bit of dust here and there now and again never hurt anyone.And if the question is are you tidy or untidy, then I probably sit comfortably about the middle of the continuum. I’m certainly not a minimalist when it comes to personal possessions so I like to have my things around me with a place for everything and everything in its place, and being surrounded by such clutter doesn’t necessarily count as ‘tidy’ to minimalist neat-freaks 🙂

If I asked you to describe yourself in five words, what would they be?

Daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, me. I remember years ago taking part in a small personal development training session as part of a management team where coincidentally I was the only woman present, at that time a young single parent working mother of three small children. We each had to write down ten words describing who we were, and these were discussed in the group afterwards. Almost all of the men had included at least eight out of ten words that were individually descriptive of specific traits or characteristics they valued whereas about seven out of ten of mine were linked directly to naming my relationships with others. I remember the significance of the gender difference being remarked on by everyone, but for me it was an honest response. I was born and brought up at a time when women were legally second-class citizens, long before the Sex Discrimination Act of 1975, which has inevitably shaped my early identity and in many ways still shapes how I think of myself today.

Do you enjoy being out in nature?

I love being out in nature, walking by water or through woods or spending time in my garden, and just generally being outside in the fresh air and warm sunshine. But I like being indoors at night, tucked up safe and sound in my own comfy bed.

What could you spend all day talking about?

Nothing. I’m an introvert at heart, and much as I love being in company at times I also enjoy having some extended periods of solitude and silence in my day. Even the thought of talking all day exhausts me.

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Share Your World: 1st June 2020

Is it ever OK to commit a crime? Please explain.

Sigh! This is me answering, so as usual for these kinds of question expect a convoluted ‘it depends’ response! If we agree that committing a crime is breaking a law, then the assumption is that the law being broken will be fair and just for all. And yet the world over, countries have laws that are anything but fair and just for all.

One hundred years ago Suffragettes broke the law here in the UK when protesting against women being denied the vote. Right up until 1967 otherwise perfectly innocent gay men in the UK were saddled with criminal records simply by loving people in a way the law said was wrong. Girls and women here had millions of back street abortions before the law changed, also legalising abortion in 1967.

So to get to my answer – if the law in question protects one set of people over another, is deliberately set out in a particular way in order to frustrate, discriminate and disenfranchise and to maintain a particular status quo that reeks of social inequality throughout the entire societal structure and hierarchy, then in my book, in absolutely extreme situations where all else fails, damn right it’s OK to commit a crime if that’s what it takes to highlight and try to change said social inequality once and for all.

Do you deal with change well?

Yes and no… I like to have routine and ritual in my life, but then I also like to shake things up a bit from time to time when stuff starts to feel a bit stagant.

Do you like birds? The sound of birdsong in the morning, taking pictures of them, as food?

Birdsong – absolutely. Bird pictures, not so much – but if I ever got myself a good telephoto lens that might change. Food – yum! Chicken is my absolute go-to favourite, duck and goose not so much, Game birds – no thanks, the meat is just too strong for me.

What’s the least-used item of clothing you own?

I have a beautiful long black bias cut velvet dress I bought in a sale once for really silly money (ie genuinely an absolute bargain!).

I know everyone is supposed to have a Little Black Dress that sees them through every eventuality, and although I’m not a very smart-dress person I actually own three black dresses along three different levels of formality, for different occasions. One is an above the knee black lace skater-style party dress, one is a below the knee plain ‘interview and funeral’ dress, and the other is the more formal floor-length velvet number.

The party dress gets worn very occasionally – I’m really not a party animal – and the interview and funeral dress gets worn as necessary, but to date the beautiful velvet dress has never yet been worn. But it hangs dutifully in my wardrobe just incase I ever need it… 🙂

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Share Your World: 18 May 2020

What’s something you really resent paying for?

Honestly, I really resent that we have to pay through the nose every year for a US-tax-qualified accountant here in the UK to prepare my husband’s US tax return for the IRS just because he is an American Citizen by birth.

My husband has lived continuously in the UK since he was 11 years old, has been educated here in the UK, has only ever worked here in the UK, pays into the tax system here in the UK, owns property here in the UK, got married here in the UK, and intends to retire here in the UK. But because America has the most antiquated system of taxation based on citizenship rather than residency, my husband is required by law to file a ridiculous amount of complex and convoluted tax paperwork each year only to show that because we are fully compliant with UK tax requirements, he does not actually owe any tax to the US Government.

And by the way this is not just a ‘simple’ tax return, the same as that filed by US citizens who live and work in the country – it costs us such a lot of money each year to have each tax return completed properly and professionally by our accountant, to ensure we correctly meet the legal federal requirement to file. And then to add insult to injury, we also have to upload all our bank account information every year to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Agency to prove that our so-called ‘Foreign Bank Accounts’ are free from any suspicious money-laundering activities.

What was the most unsettling film you’ve seen?

I don’t ever do modern scary movies or any kind of gratuitous horror stuff, so ‘unsettling’ in any other way is difficult to put my finger on… probably psychological thrillers unsettle me most, and watching the original ‘Psycho’ in my teens is still probably high up there on the freaked-out scale for me.

Do you judge people?

I think we all tend to judge people, however hard we try not to, and it seems like the older I grow, the more judgier I get, but also the more aware of it I am so wherever possible can try to minimise my judgement accordingly.

Finish this sentence ‘Back in my day, we…’?

Back in my day, when we weren’t at school we played outside all day without supervision, climbed trees, made dens, got filthy, coped with countless nettle-stings and grazed knees without too much fuss, and generally learned to amuse ourselves independently of our parents without there being an electronic gadget in sight… 🙂

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Share Your World: 27 Jan 2020

What age would you like to live to?

I’m kind of working towards assuming an age of somewhere around my mid-eighties, giving me another 30 years.

What mystery do you wish you knew the answer to?

Whatever happened to Renee MacRae? In 1976 a 36-year-old woman disappeared from Inverness with her three year old son Andrew. I remember the case, and remember that after her blood-stained car was found burnt out, the common assumption was that her body was buried somewhere under the new A9, which was under construction at the time, and that we would never know for sure. However last year after new evidence was found a man (her former lover) was finally charged with her murder, and I believe the case is due to be heard in the High Court sometime this year. So we might actually find out, 43 years later, what actually happened to Renee Macrae.

Does absolute power corrupt absolutely?

Mostly? Can’t think of a case when it hasn’t…

What outdoor activity haven’t you tried, but would like to?

Can I choose gardening? It’s not technically something I haven’t tried before ever, but it is something I haven’t been able to do in nearly 20 years. And when I did have a garden before, I was a working single mum so my gardening was necessarily kept to a minimal effort basis. But now here we are with fully functioning flower beds front and back, and with a real glass greenhouse too, which I’ve never had before! So I’m looking forward to learning to be a ‘proper’ gardener into the future, so that once I retire I can be a contented old lady pottering around in my beautiful garden forever 🙂

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Share Your World: 20 January 2020

Where do you get your news?

Mainly TV news channels, occasionally online (proper news channel websites, never social media)

What ‘old person’ thing do you do?

I often moan and groan a bit when getting up off the sofa, due to stiffening joints 😦

When was the coldest you’ve ever been? The warmest?

Where at all possible I don’t do extremes of temperature, either way – I’m definitely a temperate climate kind of girl. But if push comes to shove I prefer dry heat and crisp, fresh coldness to high humidity and miserable wet coldness.

Do you eat food that’s past its expiration date if it still smells and looks fine?

Yep, I’ll generally make my own judgement on the safety or otherwise of stuff I’ll put in my mouth – but I won’t be stupid about it.

What are you grateful for this week?

My new reading glasses – I was struggling to colour in the smallest of shapes with my old ones so realised it was time they were replaced. The very middle of this design was far too small for me to focus on clearly before, but now it’s finally done – hooray! 🙂

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Share Your World: 13 Jan 2020

What’s something your brain tries to make you do, which you have to will yourself NOT to do?

When I’m waiting to cross the road at a Pelican crossing, I always feel the urge to hit the button several times in quick succession, even if has already been pressed by someone else, and what’s more I keep on pressing it over and over again, in order to try to make the lights change quicker. I know the number of presses is irrelevant, but for some stupid reason I feel compelled to do it anyway!

When someone finds out what you do, or where you are from, what questions do they always ask you?

Having recently returned ‘home’ to Scotland after 18 years of living in England, I’m delighted that no-one hearing me speak has to ask me where I’m from anymore, because I sound just like everyone else again. I have quite a soft Scottish accent – not the strong Glaswegian or Aberdonian accent that many English people tend to associate with Scottishness – so I was forever being asked what part of Ireland I came from? 🙂

What’s something terrifying that we’ve all come to accept as a fact of life?

That due to selfish personal greed and valuing rampant individualism over greater social and environmental concerns we’re actively destroying the beautiful planet we live on, and cumulatively as a species we just don’t yet give enough of a damn to do what’s needed to stop being destructive into oblivion. Like Mr Spock in Star Trek, we need to learn that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few – or the one. That’s you I’m talking to Trump, Putin, Kim, et al. Learn to be a bigger man by giving more to others with humility, not taking more and more of whatever you want with your hyped-up sense of self just because you can. Otherwise how are we ever going to live long and prosper? Our denial-based behaviour in the face of a world crisis is illogical – in fact, I vote Mr Spock for World Leader, let’s get some rational Vulcan considerations to counter the puffed-up vanities of all these pathetic Alpha-male autocrats out there.

Should governments make laws to protect people from harming themselves?

Health and Safety-wise yes – keeping workplace environments fit to work in is fine, as are driving regulations (seat-belts, speed restrictions, MOT testing, maximum alcohol levels etc). But on a truly personal level, no. My life, my choice, end of.

Please share your gratitude for this past week in the form of a photo, a quote, or a thought 🙂

‘Gratitude turns what we have into enough’


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