Tuesday 28 May 2013

Clumsy Oaf Award ... would be more apt

Three cups of tea, a handful of mixed almonds, a banana and a 5am start and I *think* I may have my grateful response to the lovely, Amanda Saint’s Liebster Award. It’s taken me a short while to ponder the important things in life – milk, white or dark chocolate, she asks, is it acceptable to answer, ‘all’? - and wince at old memories but I’ve had fun. Thanks so much Amanda!

Amanda isn’t just a great fiction and copywriter but she also runs writers’ retreats, principally in the South of England. And… I think we’ve managed to persuade her to venture up to the Yorkshire Dales in 2014 – I’ll keep you posted. You can find out more about Amanda and her work here Amanda Saint  

The Liebster award asks for the answer to eleven questions, a list of eleven random facts and eleven bloggers whom I’d fervently recommend.
So, let’s go:

What do you do to relax when you suffer from insomnia?
Well, insomnia isn’t really something I know. Give me a flat surface and permission to shut my eyes and sleep will generally follow within a nanosecond or two. However, if it takes any longer than that, I deduce that I’m simply not tired enough, get up, run a bath and read a book. It’s as if someone’s given me a spare hour in the day so I have no problem with it. I do realise that this might be a bit galling for the insomniacs I know and love out there and you have my utter sympathy. Falling asleep is one of life’s simple pleasures and I cannot begin to imagine how awful it must be not to be able to sleep on demand.

What’s the worst holiday you ever had?
Hmm, I’ve had a few which could have been better in parts – usually weather and canvas related - but none that I’d like to erase from memory. The worst couple of days on holiday, however? That’s simple.  May I refer you to Plant Pots and Holiday Nightmares and the screaming two year old on a campsite with an undiagnosed dislocated elbow. Can you imagine? Not a soul got any sleep that night.

Oh, and that screaming toddler was ours.

I spent the night worrying about the reason for the screaming and worrying about being lynched by sleep-deprived holiday-makers and the next day worrying about unhappy campers realising that we were the parents of the child at the root of the sleep carnage induced the night before.

Where’s your favourite place to write?
This is simple. It’s ‘in my feet’ and I’d like to refer you to A writing Place  where I, hopefully, explain it better.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
Tofino in Canada. But I’d pick up the whole of Canada, and its wonderful people, and plop it right next to Britain because leaving friends and family is the only thing which stops me moving there tomorrow. That and a visa.

White , dark or milk chocolate?

What’s your favourite thing to have on toast?
Bananas and honey.

Which book do you wish you’d written and why?
Brave New World because the world and its obsession with technology with total disregard for human jobs (personal impact on a family aside for a moment, does anyone every think about the fact that machines can’t pay taxes?) upsets me on a daily basis. But whenever I think I should write a book about where we’re headed, I remember Mr Huxley’s beaten me to it. Meanwhile, I’m fighting my own crusade: I will not use automatic tills in shops. Nobody’s noticed, of course, but it makes me feel better.

Film adaptations of novels – love them or hate them?
Good question! I don’t rush to see a film of a book I’ve loved. In fact, I’m more likely to want to watch the adaptation of a book I haven’t enjoyed too much to see if I can find in the film version, what I missed in print. If the film is based on a favourite book of mine, I can watch but it’s with a bit of a squinty eye. Sebastian Faulks’ Bird Song is right up there in my top 10 reads, for example, but, and massive apologies to Eddie Redmayne whom I adore in other films, particularly Les Mis, was one TV adaptation I couldn’t bear. I found it turgid and one dimensional. However, The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay is my favourite book of all time and also one of my favourite films.

Do you think Al Pacino is overrated as an actor?
Overrated? Give the man a knighthood!

Coffee or tea?
Tea. Unless I’m out with friends and then it’s an extra-hot cappuccino, please.

Would you ever do a sky dive?
No! I like sport where either one foot or a wheel is touching the ground at any time. I think I’m far too accident prone to consider anything else.

11 random facts? Some you may already know…
  1. I have an inability to watch TV, drink wine or eat chocolate on my own.
  2. I like rain (sorry!) - you can get all your jobs done and write a novel, without distraction.
  3. I was reprimanded for dropping a burger from the grill in a well-known fast food eatery where I was working because I went to put it in the bin.
  4. My hair only went curly when I was 14.
  5. My Eustachian tubes are too narrow.
  6. I have three sisters, a half-sister, half-brother, three step-sisters, six nephews, five nieces and one step-niece and two daughters who yes, get a lot of birthday presents.
  7. When I was ten I broke my arm twice in five minutes.
  8. I had the most horrendous hallucinations waking up from a general anaesthetic that had me clinging on to the arm of the anaesthetist until the poor man could finally convince me that they weren’t real.
  9. I told him (the anaesthetist) I loved him but then I always fall in love with the anaesthetist when I have a GA – with varying degrees of embarrassment.
  10. I have a massive phobia of swimming in the sea. The trouble is, I only tend to remember this when I’ve already swum out a little way…
  11. Utter Clumsy Carnage
  12. I am a clumsy oaf. This month I have managed to prang my car (for which I am deeply embarrassed), drop a weight on the glass hob and smash it (for which I am deeply sorry) and spill an entire cup of tea on our beige carpet (for which I am cross as I’m sick of scrubbing at it with ‘spot’ cleaner – try ‘flood’ cleaner and I might have more success). Even chanting the no crying over spilt milk mantra does wear a little thin when the amount of milk you’ve spilt could fill a small tanker.

If you look closely, you can see two people. Neither of these is me.

Now to find 11 original questions of my own. I apologise, this is more difficult than it looks…
  1. Cheese or chocolate?
  2. If you had to go on Britain’s Got Talent, what would you do? (Apart from run away …)
  3. What’s your best childhood memory?
  4. Favourite song lyric?
  5. If you could ask one question of your great-grandmother, what would it be?
  6. Have you ever lived abroad?
  7. What’s your dream job?
  8. What job couldn’t they pay you enough money to do?
  9. If you were prime minster, what would be your first priority?
  10. Twitter or Facebook?
  11. What would your perfect day look like?

My list of eleven. Difficult as ever but I’ve decided to go for five blogs I’ve discovered over the past few months and some old favourites. Please do go and take a look, they’re worth it!

Liebster Award Rules:
  • Thank the blogger who presented you with the Liebster Award, and link back to his or her blog. 
  • Answer the 11 questions from the nominator; list 11 random facts about yourself, and create 11 questions for your nominees. 
  • Present the Liebster Award to 11 bloggers, who have blogs with 200 followers or less, whom you feel deserve to be noticed.
  • Leave a comment on the blogs letting the owners know they have been chosen. (No tag backs.)
  • Upload the Liebster Award image to your blog. 


  1. How very kind, Jackie. Goodness, eleven questions ... right now I'm busy getting the ebook on Laos ready for Kindle but this will be fun to come back to once that's safely on Amazon.

    1. No stress Jo, but if you could find time to post, I'd love to see it.

  2. Jackie -that was amazing i feel i know you that little bit more now.....i laughed to myself as i too hate swimming in the see, sky diving etc!
    1.So Chocolate definitely please (do i qualify for some now?)
    2. Sorry there's absolutely nothing i could do in front of others on Britain's got talent
    3,4,5,.... can't do
    6 yes ! Still am- Switzerland in case you don't know me!
    7 Midwife!
    8 Food taster namely mayonaise- can't stand the stuff and often think if they wanted to pay me a million pounds for eating Mayo -still don't think i could!
    11 sunny and warm .....apologies must dash!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Thanks Antonia, I love your reply! And how lovely that your dream job is the one you do. I wonder how many people would answer this way. Food tasting, how funny, I'd never have thought of that. And I'm with you on the Mayo. Yuk, yuk, yuk.
      Sending some cyber chocolate your way. Thanks for popping over!

  3. I agree with Antonia, I feel I know you better!
    2. Do you want me to be laughed off the stage?
    3. I have so many..maybe walking through the Indonesian village I lived in during the cool of the morning.
    4.Don't know really.
    5. Do you consider life hard? (She was poor and I'm looking backwards at her, her life seemed like hell, but I wonder how she perceived it.)
    6. Almost all my life! Now the country of my birth is more like being overseas than being home!
    7.Church ministry...which makes me crazy.
    8. Human Resource manager...I don't ever want to have to make someone redundant!
    9.Child poverty
    11. By the beach, with a book and a computer, surrounded by my family.

    1. Hey Barbara, great to see you here and I LOVE that you're all giving me your own answers to the questions :) I know you a bit better now as well. Laughed off stage? I don't believe it! I thought your answers to 8 and 9 were very poignant - alas you might have to do some sacking as PM. But I'd vote for you :)

  4. I love that you can sleep so easily. It is a dream of mine to be able to close my eyes and sleep like that. I just get annoyed at my OH when he lays down and immediately starts snoring!

    Oops with the hob! We're made up of a pretty clumsy family so spills and cracks are regular occurrences unfortunately!

    Great post.

    1. I do recognise that I'm very lucky on the sleep thing, Rebecca, almost feel apologetic! And I think my OH would be able to empathise with you on the snoring...
      Welcome to my clumsy club, we have some great members here. Thanks for popping over!

  5. Lovely to find out more about you, Jackie. I'm so jealous of your sleep - insomnia and I hang out together a lot. I dream of the day when I will turn into a napper! I always cry like the world is ending after a GA - I remember being in the back of a taxi on my way home from having my wisdom teeth removed and wailing all the way. The taxi driver was most alarmed!

    1. Awww Amanda, I'm sorry, I'm sending over some sleepy vibes. Nice to share the GA emotional response thing though, safety in numbers and all that :) Thanks for reading and THANKS for the award!

  6. Canada is a great place to be indeed, but not everyone is friendly lol

    1. La, la, la, I'm not listening, everyone is lovely in Canada, truly!! Seriously, I just have great memories of a lot of kindness and joie de vivre on the two amazing holidays we've had over there. One was travelling from East to West on standby flights for a month and people couldn't do enough for us. I guess there will be the odd rotten egg ... but general impression is that it's a great land, fantastic sport and a nice race of people - you're allowed to stereotype if it's positive - right?? Thanks for reading!

  7. Your answer to the film of the book question is similar to how I would answer. Mostly I bemoan the fact that people can't write original screenplays and leave the books alone!

    1. Good point, Annalisa! I wonder if there's an army of unpublished screen-writers though, just like the host of wonderful fiction writers I know who aren't yet published? Thanks for reading!

  8. Congratulations on this wonderful award. I enjoyed your answers even though dark chocolate is definitely better than milk. I don't always have time to leave a comment but I find your blog most enjoyable and always have a good time when I come here.

    1. Awww, what a lovely comment, Stephen, thanks so much. I do like to hear of happy readers!

  9. Tea, chocolate, and wine. Oh, and you love Canada. We should totally watch TV together, eh? Oh, and you're welcome to the rain. I like it hot! ;)

    Take care,
    Deb (cruising through via Celebrate the Small Things sign up)

    1. Hi Deb, thanks so much for popping in. I did smile to see your surname was Small, #celebratesmall and all that :) Yes, to watching tv with a glass of wine and chocolate, I'm wonderful at managing those three things with company... and I'll keep some of the sun, if that's ok?
      Going over to your blog now, thanks for reading!

  10. I'm glad I discovered your blog through reading other Liebster Award blogs.

    Great answers, and I have to agree with you about Birdsong, I also loved the book (read it a few times) but wasn't madly impressed with the tv version. I can't also ever imagine jumping out of a plane, not for any inducement at all!

    1. Hey Georgina, I think we were separated at birth :) Thanks for reading!

  11. Hi! Thanks so much for passing the award on to me :-) Good to know some more about you. 'A tanker of milk'... LOL! Great post. Will pass the award on as soon as I can :-)

    1. So pleased you're going to take part, Linda! Please let me know when your answers are up. Thanks for reading :)

  12. Thank you so much for the tag! I love reading things like this and your answers are brilliant. I'm glad I'm not the only one who appreciates the delights of banana and honey on toast, and your worst holiday experience made me smile and wince in recognition :)

    I'll go and get my thinking cap on...

    1. Thanks so much Karen :) And I'm very happy to have you along in the bananas and honey on toast group - it's a small group but perfectly formed. Looking forward to your answers!

  13. That Liebster is really out and about these days! Congratulations on getting it.

  14. Thanks so much!!

    I too am a clumsy oaf (this month I also pranged my car TWICE). And I am so, so, so glad it is not just me and anaesthetists. (You've made my day :-))

  15. Hey Sarsm! I've only just seen your comment! Thanks for popping by but how spooky that you also pranged your car twice that month - just realised, I'd written the blog before somebody ELSE drove into the HIRE CAR I had while mine was being repaired and DROVE OFF!!! Not happy...thanks for reading :)


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