Monday, 6 June 2011

Number 20: listography

This might take a couple of days to put together so it might move down the lists. But I'm nothing if not committed (and lagging behind in my 52) so here I go...
There is a blog called Kate Takes 5 which is a mix of lovely bloggishness and weekly challenges to write 'a list of 5'. The list of challenges varies widely, but most recently has included top 5 albums by a band and top 5 products you can't live without. This week it is 'top 5 decisions you are glad you have made'. So here goes.

1 - buying a Mini
I always classify this as the most expensive flirting I have ever done. The order of events went something like this: decide to buy new car, ask people for recommendations, get introduced to a friend-of-a-friend who has a Mini, flirt outrageously, find myself committed to buying a car, get together with aforementioned friend-of-a-friend, move in together (achieving a 2 Mini household), get married, the end. Expensive, but effective!
Postscript - we still have a Mini. We love 'em.

2 - present my research at a conference
Having managed to get through school and sixth form with the minimum level of commitment and correspondingly tragic level of pass rate, I found myself somewhat bemused to be actually good at higher education. More than that, I actually enjoyed it.
At the end of my first degree I was offered the opportunity to present my work at an academic conference. The entire experience was so extremely terrifying that I have blanked most of it out. I just have one clear memory of someone asking me a question no human being in the world knew the answer to and stammering that I would do my best to find out. Cue polite laughter. Yet not as catastrophic as it might sound.
The transcript went on to be published in an actual real book. Furthermore, I was offered a place at Cambridge to continue the research, which I never took up as I had to go to the States to look at primary research. I got a job to save the money to make the trip and never went back to uni. One day, I just might start again.
I could have said no to that conference as too much like hard work, but I am really pleased that I didn't.

3 - lig about for a year in Wales
When my academic career was looking its most shaky, I chose (was forced) to take a year off to recoup my losses (retake my exams). I did the minimum necessary, then looked about for something to do to fill the remaining 11 months.
I saw an advert for kitchen staff in a childrens activity centre in Wales, applied, got the job and caught a train to nowhere. Followed by another train, a couple of buses, a bit of walking, a mini-bus and a paddle through a flooded field to my caravan.
The year that followed was unike any before or since. I spent all day and every day outside, rain or shine, walked every hill in sight, made some amazing friends, drank, ate, chatted and learned tons, not least how to go orienteering using a blind horse as a landmark. I might have smelled a bit (mainly because I stopped washing my hair) but I had a ball.

4 - bring home the Muppet
With no disloyalty intended to Jester, the bestest cat in catland, I have to chalk up the decision to take the little scrap that was Muppet home as one that's right up at the top of the list.
He was the only one of a litter of kittens that could be caught, which turned out to be because he was so ill. The litter was from a very troubled home with animals everywhere, so pretty much all of them had injuries, pests and diseases. Mups had a sizable dose of the lot.
I took him straight to the vet who told me to keep him in isolation from Jester until he was two weeks free of symptoms and I almost decided to find another home for him, to keep Jester safe. I didn't, and took him home armed with a truck load of medicines.
I am pretty sure the first dose of wormer nearly killed him. However he battled through and slowly but surely grew up to become the stupidest, fattest, scardiest, most lovable cat ever. He could only process one thought at a time and all of them were in capital letters.
He was our best friend and we were very very sad when he fell ill and died six years later.

5 - getting my other ear pierced.
There was no reason just to have one done at all. But once one was done, I stubbornly refused to have the other done. For TEN YEARS. What was that all about?
Now I have both and can wear a whole pair of earrings at a one time.

And that's my five. I quite enjoyed it and might pay Kate a visit again :-)


  1. This was a very entertaining post, it's nice to read snippets of your life!

    I've been having a nosey at your blog for the first time! I've been trying to watch more films too this year and have watched several off your empire top 20 list - I can steal from inspiration from it now!!

  2. Ha - totally love your list! The Mini story is fab. My gran used to have a mini that was so old that you started it by pressing a rubber button on the floor. I'm not kidding. Hope yours is in better nick!