Wednesday, June 02, 2010

happy birthday and beautiful blogger

Current work: admin and finalising outline for Venice book
Listening to: Sheryl Crow
Reading: Lindsey Davis, Alexandria (enjoying)

First of all, happy birthday to lovely India Grey. It’s a special birthday, so do go over to her blog and say hello and wish her a wonderful celebration.

She is also the one who asked me (as one of the Three Kates – I’m the middle one, short and round) to do the Beautiful Blogger thing. So here are the five questions (with five answers to each – and I apologise for fiddling with some of the headings. I used to be a copyeditor. When I see something that grates, I have to fix it. The kids hate it when I look over their homework because I make them redo it!)

1. Where were you five years ago?

  • In June 2005, we were living in this house; daughter was about to finish her last year at nursery and son his last year at First School. Oh, and daughter was recovering from chickenpox.
  • We were still a two-dog house (only for a few more days, but still – and I do miss Sally, even though she could be a bit grumpy).
  • I was writing the third of my Posh Docs trilogy (His Honourable Surgeon, aka my 17th M&B – hmm, currently on #46), thinking about my second Modern Heat (aka Strictly Legal/Mistress On Trial), and working on two (possibly three) nonfic books. I was also still working as a copyeditor and writing articles. (And I was PTA chair and a school governor – how on EARTH did I fit all that in? Oh, yeah – I was five years younger and had more energy, back then.)
  • We were about to celebrate DH’s 40th birthday – and I managed to surprise him with a personalised signed photo of Deep Purple (Ian Gillan, you are a TOP bloke) and a guitar-shaped cake. (Oh, and a new guitar. Get the theme?)
  • We were about to remodel the house.

2. What was on your things to do list?

Given all the above:

  • Declutter house, garage and shed, ready for the building work
  • Shop for family birthday party and pick up special birthday cake
  • Deadlines for books, articles etc
  • Sort out school uniform – in September, daughter would be starting First School and son starting Middle School
  • Planning school fireworks extravaganza for November (well, hey, do you know how much organising these things take? Lots of H&S regulations. And I spent £1250 on fireworks… Luckily I had a really good team: my treasurer and vice-chair were utterly superb. And I’m going out to lunch with them in a couple of weeks, yay – even though we’re no longer on the committee and they have day jobs now, we’re still friends and see each other)

This year – well, the house needs a tidy (my office certainly does as it’s in a post-book mess); party has been done; deadlines are still ongoing; school uniform will be done when we’re back from Sorrento; and the only extravaganza I have to organise is whether we go to the beach later this week or the cinema, depending on the weather.

3. Name 5 snacks that you enjoy
I’m limited to just five? Really? How can you do that to a foodie? Just five...

  • Gianduja (this is a mix of cocoa butter and ground hazelnuts – Italian, obviously, and utterly gorgeous – and it’s very, VERY rich so you can only eat a little at a time)
  • Fresh strawberries (preferably just picked from the field and still warm from the sun – and JUST strawberries, not adulterated with anything)
  • Ice cream (preferably my home made, but any proper Italian ice cream other than chocolate. Doesn’t matter if it’s snowing outside. Any day is an ice cream day)
  • Oatcakes with dolcelatte (or a good cheddar with home-made chutney will do. Or brie. Actually, I’m trying to think of a cheese I don’t like… and failing. Perhaps that should just read ‘cheese and crackers’)
  • Shortbread (especially if it comes next to a pot of crème brûlée)

4. Name 5 places in which you have lived

  • The haunted 19th-century cottage in which I grew up (see ‘How to Research Your House’ for more details… I had great fun researching it and discovered it was older than I thought it was)
  • The rather glamorous Edwardian house (?? mansion) in Leicester that was my hall of residence in my first year as a student
  • The little 100-year-old terraced house that DH and I bought when I left uni – it was tiny and damp, and the garden was so small that we couldn’t have a dog
  • The 1980s house that we bought because it overlooked fields and had a garden (meaning that we could at last have a dog – enter Ben the Springer spaniel – and it also had a full-size wishing well in the front garden that we had to partially dismantle before turning it into a rose bed)
  • This house (the only house in which our children have lived – scary to think we’ve been here for 16 years, this year!)

5. What 5 things would you do if you were a billionaire?

  • Play fairy godmother and put some sparkle into people’s lives (actually, most of the money would go elsewhere, because in my view if you have enough money to buy a comfortable house for your family and friends, and a little bit put aside for a rainy day, you don’t need squillions. Why do you need yachts or a Lamborghini for each day of the week? (Unless of course you’re a Presents hero *g*) I’d rather spend the money quietly making the world a better place and making a real difference to people)
  • Fund a cure for cancer (personal – lost my mum to it)
  • Ditto dementia (my dad, and believe me that’s a very long and painful goodbye)
  • Travel more widely (top of wish-list being to see the Northern Lights as part of a Norwegian odyssey taking in Oslo and Trondheim, but close after that would be Luxor, Rome, Florence and Paris. And I’d like to go on the Trans-Siberian railway. And the Orient Express. And visit New England in the fall. And… actually, I’d probably need to be a billionaire to do all this, especially as I have a taste for posh hotels since Venezia (and that would be back on my list, too, along with visiting Jersualem again and Constantinople and several Greek Islands)
  • Live in a really old house with an orchard, a ruined castle in the grounds, and possibly a moat (though that might not be practical with a Springer spaniel around… I’d spend all my time mopping the kitchen floor) (and, yes, I do have a house in mind – it comes on the market every so often, but sadly the asking price is a million pounds more than my house is worth, so it ain’t gonna happen – very, very few authors are that rich, and I’m not one of them!)

And now it's a matter of passing it on. Given that most of the bloggers I know are pretty much struggling with deadlines at the moment... if you read this and fancy doing it, go for it! And please let me know in the comments below (with a link to your blog) so I can come and be nosey... :o)

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