Share Your World: 2015 – Week 31

It’s been quite a while since I joined in with Share Your World, so here goes:-

Would you rather take pictures or be in pictures?

Take pictures, definitely – but I’m trying to learn to be a bit more easy-going about being photographed, because I need to learn to accept myself as I am, whether I like it or not. I even posted a self-portrait last week, which I’m really pleased about – pleased that I posted it, I mean, not necessarily pleased with how I look in it.

Where do you like to vacation?

My family live in the North of Scotland, my husband’s in Louisiana’s Deep South, and we live together in London, so one way or another our holidays are mainly spent visiting family. But when we do occasionally get away for a few days here and there, we either like to take a city break in Brussels or Paris, because taking the Eurostar is so easy, or visit Brighton on the South Coast, because we love spending time by the sea.

If you had to describe your day as a traffic sign, what would it be?

sign-post-no-entryHmmm… I frequently feel like this particular set of traffic signs I pass every day on my way to work represent the story of my life – they tell me no entry straight ahead (even though that’s the way that makes most sense to me), because the rules say I have to go this way instead, following the rest of the crowd, fitting in with the recognised system, basically doing what I am told and not making a fuss… sigh!

List at least five favourite first names?

Actually I find this question surprisingly difficult, because you’d think I’d go straight away for the names of my children – although to be fair, because both parents (where applicable) tend to have a say in naming a child, the final choice of name for each baby is often a compromise in that it is a name you both like, but not necessarily a favourite of either. Anyway, personally I’ve always liked Rachel, Ruby, Rose, Elinor, and Erin for girls, and Noah, Marcus, Finn, Joshua and Ewan for boys.

What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m historically good at avoiding this same bonus question every week, because much of what I’m grateful for or looking forward to revolves around family-centred issues, which I tend to keep away from discussing on such a public blog.

But right now I’m very grateful for the continued progress of my youngest daughter’s third pregnancy, now nearing full-term but not without a few complications along the way, and so am looking forward hopefully to the safe delivery of my fifth beloved grandchild at some point in the not-too-distant future… πŸ™‚

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Share Your World: 2014 – Week 45

What is your favourite colour?

In the past I would have said blue, but nowadays I like all the colours of the rainbow, in muted rather than bright shades, but in general pastels don’t really do it for me…

In what do you find the simplest of joys?

Spending time with my precious grandchildren, whether reading or playing or just having a chatty conversation together πŸ™‚

Would you prefer a reading nook or an art-craft, photography studio?

I’d have a studio, but then I’d create a little reading nook within it, with lots of hand-crafted cushions to lounge about on…

What is at least one of your favourite quotes?

‘Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel’ – Socrates

Share Your World

Share Your World: 2014 – Week 44

What is your most vivid memory of the kitchen in your childhood?

Laundry – before we had a washing machine laundry was a big weekly chore, and took a lot of time and effort – I even wrote about it in a creative writing class once…

I am standing at the sink, hand-washing something delicate and daydreaming. Swirling the warm water around with my hands, the pure soap flakes melt into opaque slimy softness, thick and rich and cloying. It smells of my childhood, fresh and comforting and clean.

Mum is standing at the big kitchen sink, washing sheets. I know it’s sheets because from where I’m playing on the floor I can just see them poking their heads out as mum pulls them in and out, in and out, scrubbing them hard on the sparkly glass washboard. Mum looks a bit like she is cross, but I know she always looks like that when it’s sheets. The world smells of hot wet things, soap suds, and mum. It is a nice smell, and I breathe in deep, just smelling and smelling.

The back door is open and the smell of fresh air and sunshine and wind dances across the floor, joining in the fun. Mum starts to wind the clean sheets through the mangle, but they fight and slip and slop and grumble and groan as they go through its thin tight mouth. I watch them as they sulk all flat and folded into the little sink on the other side. When they are all done mum puts them in the plastic basin and we take them outside to hang them up on the washing line. They stretch out and puff themselves up and snap and slap and whip about, playing chase with the wind until they are dry, all fresh-airy and crisp. I stay and play chase too, in and out and round and round, until mum tells me to watch what I’m doing, she doesn’t want to have to wash them again…

I must be no more than three years old, as in my mind’s eye my brother is not yet born, and it was his birth not long after that prompted the arrival of the twin-tub washing machine to lighten the load on wash-days. The mangle may have been retired that year, but the mingling smell of soap flakes and bracing country air has happily stayed with me ever since.

As a child, who was your favourite relative?

Probably my grandparents, all four of them – I think when you’re a child (and you have a happy childhood) you take your parents and all they do for you for granted, but your grandparents feel ‘special’, somehow? I was lucky to have had all four of my grandparents living right up until after my own children were born – and my maternal grandmother lived long enough to see my first grandchild born, so she probably has the biggest place in my memory simply because she was around for more of my life.

What did you or did you not like about the first apartment you ever rented?

Hmmm… I’ve never actually rented an apartment – I grew up in tied houses (as in the house was tied to the job) until my parents bought the house they still live in today. When I first got married we lived on several different farms, also in tied cottages, and when that marriage broke up my children and I lived in a rented house while they were growing up. I’ve since remarried, and here in London where affordable space is severely limited we now live in an apartment that we own, not rent. But in general, living much of my early life in homes where continued occupation was conditional on continued employment in a particular job has left me with a strong sense of creating my own space by surrounding myself with those little things of sentimental value, favourite soft furnishings and personal possessions that have moved from place to place with me, wherever I am, regardless of the particular bricks and mortar all around me at any given time.

What kind of TV commercial would you like to make? Describe it.

I tend not to watch (or listen to) TV commercials these days – I’ll mute the sound while the programme break is on and do something else for a couple of minutes. I’m not interested any more in being a passive audience for who-knows-what, and I find the worst adverts to be those Emperor’s-new-clothes, artistic types of ‘clever’ ad that have absolutely no bearing on whatever-it-is they are advertising. However, I still remember (and can sing along with) many of the fun jingles from the TV ads of my childhood in the 1960s and 1970s – I wonder how many of the ads of today will be remembered with a smile in the future? πŸ™‚

For other Share Your World responses to this week’s questions, please see here.

Share Your World: 2014 Week 43

What is your favourite time of day?

Early morning, especially when I’m the only one up πŸ™‚

What’s your favourite charitable cause and why?

Amnesty International – we live in a country with a relatively good human rights record, but not everyone is so lucky…

How do you like to spend a rainy day?

Curled up on the sofa with a book πŸ™‚

When writing by hand do you prefer to use a pencil or pen?

I tend to use a pen, because as I tend to lean on my work, with a pencil things can get pretty grubby..

Share Your World

Share Your World – 2014 Week 42

What would be your preference – awake before dawn, or awake before noon?

Awake before dawn, every time – I’ve always been an early bird rather than a night owl.

If you could choose between wisdom and luck, which one would you pick?

Wisdom, I think – I like people to take responsibility for their actions, good and bad, and luck allows for fate to take the blame when things go wrong.

If you were given the opportunity for free skydiving lessons would you take them? Why or why not?

My initial reponse would be to say a flat ‘no’, but since I turned 50 I’ve been challenging myself to take on new challenges, so I might just consider it…

Is the glass half empty or half full? What is in the glass?

I think it doesn’t really matter whether the glass is half full or half empty – clearly there is plenty of room for more cider πŸ™‚

Share Your World Challenge

Share Your World: 2014 – Week 40

Fun questions for Cee’s Share Your World Challenge this week…

You’re given $500,000 tax free (any currency), what do you spend it on?

A house with a garden and plenty of fresh air, well away from London’s cramped streets πŸ™‚

What’s the finest education?

Everything that life has to offer – whether gaining knowledge through reading, listening, watching, experiencing, formally and informally. Being constantly curious, taking nothing at face value but making your own mind up about everything.

What kind of art is your favourite? Why?

I love any art that expresses something of the artist – art that shows us the unique way they look at the world, allows us to see things differently – but that I can also relate to myself. I’m not so keen on the totally abstract kind of art that requires explanation to make any sense – I prefer something that piques my curiosity, opens my mind, touches my soul, in whatever medium that may be.

Is there something that you memorised long ago and still remember?

Off the top of my head, I still remember my Brownie Guide Promise, 43 years after I first learned it… ‘I promise that I’ll do my best, to do my duty to God. To serve the Queen, and help other people, and to keep the Brownie Guide Law.’

Oh, and Pythagoras’ Theorem, for some bizarre reason… ‘The square on the hypotenuse of a right-angled triangle is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides’ πŸ™‚

Share Your World – 2014 week 38

If you could be a tree or a plant, what would you be?

I’d be a Scottish thistle, proud and prickly – I think last week’s Independence Referendum has prompted a fit of national pride πŸ™‚

If you could have a servant come to your house every day for one hour, what would you have them do?

Dusting – it always seems to be an interminable and futile task 😦

If you could have an endles supply of any food, what would you get?

Hmmm… I’m a real foodie, but the thought of having an interminable supply of anything would probably put me off it for good – except perhaps bread. Like a lot of Brits I eat a lot of bread – toast or croissant for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch. But we do get a lovely choice of different breads here in the UK, which helps ring the changes.bread-market

What was one of your first moneymaking jobs (other than babysitting or newspaper delivery)?

I worked as a Saturday Sales Assistant in a shoe shop when I was 15, then worked part time in a kilt shop during my last year at school, and continuing for the first few months after leaving school πŸ™‚

For other’s answers to this week’s questions, please see here πŸ™‚

Share Your World – 2014 Week 36

Do you prefer reading coffee-table books (picture), biographies, fiction, non-fiction, educational?

All of the above – I’m an avid reader of just about anything, depending on my mood πŸ™‚

What is your biggest fear or phobia?

Not being able to breathe – I had asthma as a child, and I’ve been known to have panic attacks in enclosed spaces. When I first moved to London it took me ages to be able to travel on the tube (underground train network) in rush hour 😦

What is your favourite cheese?

I love cheese, so picking a favourite is difficult. I love soft creamy cheeses, and hard sharp cheddars, and smoked cheeses – but I’m not keen on homogenised, rubbery, processed cheeses.

What is your favourite month of the year?

I don’t have one – I think every month has its benefits and drawbacks – and I don’t really have a favourite season either…

See Share Your World for other answers πŸ™‚

Share Your World – 2014 Week 35

Have your blogging goals changed?

Most definitely – I initially started blogging in February this year, on Quietcalliope, with the idea (promted by Time to Change) of sharing my debilitating experiences of depression and charting my recovery, for myself as much as for others, but it soon became too intense and emotionally heavy to continue in that vein, so I decided to start again, completely changing tack. I’ve been blogging here on Mad Meandering Me since June, and I’m finding this blog to be far more fun and organic. The intention with this blog is for it to change as life changes, to meander along with me through my life πŸ™‚

If you were to perform in the circus, what would you do?

I’d be a lithe, pretty ballerina in a frothy pale pink tutu dancing on the back of a dappled grey mare – it’s an old image from my childhood, I have no idea where it first came from but its clarity has stuck with me through the decades, so I must have seen it somewhere, once upon a tme!

If you could go back and talk to yourself at the age of 18, what advice would you give to yourself?

I’d tell myself not to wish my life away, to learn to trust in the present and enjoy whatever was in front of me at the time, however difficult it may seem, because all things pass, good and bad, and we never truly appreciate what we have until it has gone…

What is your favourite comfort snack food?

Chocolate, caramel, cookies, Danish pastries, crisps, fries… I have an ongoing and longstanding emotional eating problem, and I’ve struggled with that throughout my life 😦

Written in response to Cee’s Share Your World Challenge πŸ™‚

Share Your World – 2014 Week 34

What is your favourite smell? What memory does it remind you of?

My favourite smell is probably the smell of babies’ heads – the warm smell of delicate scalp skin and baby shampoo in their feathery downy hair. It reminds me of my own precious babies, and now my beautiful grandbabies…

Name a song or two which are included on the soundtrack of your life?

Meatloaf – the entire original ‘Bat out of Hell album’, in sequence – we were definitely an album generation, and I just adored this one from start to finish. It still gives me goosebumps today…

Do you play video/ computer games? Which ones or most recent?

My kids used to have a Sega Megadrive, with cartridge games that had to be loaded each time you wanted to play anything – we spent many happy hours as a family playing ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’, and for that reason alone it will always hold a special place in my heart ❀

Which of Snow White’s Seven Dwarfs describes you best? Plus, what would the 8th dwarf’s name be?

I asked my husband – he said I’d be Bashful, and I have to agree… But as for the 8th dwarf, I have no idea – I’d probably rename them all!

Click here for more answers to Cee’s Share Your World for this week πŸ™‚