Well, this is a new one on me but as they say there's a first time for everything. Katia over at Velvet & Old Laces has "tagged" me and invited me to answer the following 19 questions in some curious little blogdom activity called Smash and Pass. So without further ado, in we plunge!
(i) If you have pets, do you see them as merely animals, or are they members of your family?
I don't have any pets myself - living in a small flat makes that impractical. When I was living with my parents we had many different pets over the years including a dog, guinea pigs, rabbits, fish, a budgerigar and a cat but by far and away my favourite was... our tortoise. Yes, until about 7 years ago we had a tortoise called Ollie (for many years he was actually called Holly, until we discovered our mistake!). As I type this I can hear my family saying "he was just a tortoise, for heaven's sake! You're weird, man.", but he was to me by far and away the closest any of our pets got to being a family member. Probably because up until the time he left us (for a sanctuary, because our situations changed and it wasn't practical or fair to keep him) he had been in the family longer than I had, having been bought as a present for my sister in 1973.
(ii) If you can have a dream to come true, what would it be?
Good health for one and all.
(iii) What is the one thing most hated by you?
(iv) What would you do with a billion dollars?
Firstly, I would determine whether it is 1 billion short scale or 1 billion long scale. I would prefer it to be the latter, partly because it is the traditional British methodology but mainly because it is a larger amount(!). (Up until 1974 Britain quite rightly used traditional nomenclature in which a billion was 1,000,000,000,000 (a million million). Then for some reason best forgotten we switched to the American naming system, so the old British billion became a trillion and what was once known here as a thousand million - 1,000,000,000 - became a billion instead. Confused/bored yet?). Anyway, once that was established (and presuming the more modern number) I would convert it into pounds sterling which at the current rate of exchange would give me £621,195,810.17 (presuming US$, rather than AUS$ or NZ$). I would promptly buy my dream home, distribute an agreed-upon amount between my family, donate some to charities of my choice and invest the remainder.
(v) What helps to pull you out of a bad mood?
A Laurel & Hardy or Harold Lloyd film.
(vi) Which is more blessed, loving someone or being loved by someone?
Crikey, deep stuff! I suppose I would have to say being loved by someone.
(vii) What is your bedtime routine?
I go round making sure everything is switched off, lock up, then once I am abed I read for a little while and/or listen to some music. It used to be that I would spend about half an hour thus, but sadly I've let things get to a point of late where I'm lucky if I get 15 minutes... :-(
(viii) If you are currently in a relationship, how did you meet your partner?
I'm not currently in a relationship.
(ix) If you could watch a creative person in the act of the creative process, who would it be?
I'm very musical, yet have never been to a live [professional] concert. I'd love to have front row seats to one of my favourite modern artists, Bruce Hornsby, and watch him at work.
(x) What kinds of books do you read?
Non-fiction: autobiographies, vintage lifestyle/history books, military history/memoirs, motoring encyclopædias.
Fiction: crime stories, pulp fiction, P.G. Wodehouse, Oscar Wilde, and yes, still enjoy reading the Biggles stories.
(xi) How would you see yourself in ten years' time?
This is the kind of question beloved by job interviewers and I hate it with a passion. So much so, in fact, that it was very nearly my answer to question 3(!). I don't know how I see myself in ten minutes' time, let alone ten years! I could be in a pine box, married with children, or sleeping under a bridge. To try and answer this type of question is to me an exercise in futility, for it requires a massive and unreal assumption that disregards all possible (and unknown) contributing factors to one's life simply for the sake of coming up with an arbitrary goal. I don't think about the future; it hasn't happened yet. I've been accused of living in the past but the past is at least known, it is comforting, you can place yourself in it. I would much rather live in the past than hopelessly speculate about my future.
(xii) What’s your fear?
To lose everything I have learned, that I know; to become unintelligent, worthless.
(xiii) Would you give up all junk food for the rest of your life for the opportunity to visit outer space?
I gave up "fast" food a few years ago upon my immersion in vintage but if junk food includes frozen package meals, sweets and the like then yes, I would certainly give them up for the chance to go into space.
(xiv) Would you rather be single and rich or married but poor?
This is one of those trick questions where a good and bad thing are paired together, isn't it? Purely by the fact that I only have experience of being single, and wouldn't mind being rich, I'll say single and rich.
(xv) What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
I lay awake listening to Classic FM for a few minutes.
(xvi) If you could change one thing about your spouse/partner what would it be?
As I've said I'm unattached so this question isn't really applicable, but if I were in a relationship I wouldn't want to change anything, because then she wouldn't be the same person I fell in love with.
(xvii) If you could pick a new name for yourself what would it be?
Technically I've picked a new name for myself in creating this blog, but it's a Sherlockian non-de-plume to protect the innocent so probably doesn't really count. My dad wanted to call me Steve, my mum wanted to call me John (actually my real middle name). In the end my name was picked out of a hat! You grow into the name you're given, I think, and bar my alter ego on here I really couldn't see myself under any other name. I sometimes try and think of a name to use if I were to travel back in time and wanted to avoid running into my ancestors (à la Back To The Future!) and usually settle on a combination from the novels I read such as, say, "James Lacey", "Clive Watson", or "Arthur Sinclair" - something literary, English, yet nondescript.
(xviii) Would you forgive and forget no matter how horrible a thing that special someone has done?
I'd certainly forgive and although I have a great memory for events, the horrible ones I tend to wipe from my mind so forget is a possibility too.
(xix) If you could only eat one thing for the next 6 months, what would it be?
Chicken. My favourite meat; full of protein, can be cooked in many different ways and tastes delicious. Besides which most things taste like chicken, don't they? ;-)
Well, that's more than enough about yours truly to be going on with; now I am supposed to pass these questions on to 4 more blogs. But, if you'll forgive me, I shall refrain from doing so as I can well understand that some bloggers do not care to be put on the spot in such a fashion. If any of my followers feel like answering any or all of these questions, you are welcome to leave them in the comments, or post them yourself if you so wish.
Now, as they say, back to the news!
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