Sinead O’Hart, who is so brilliant she practically makes flourishes with a cape, has nominated me – yes, me! – for the Liebster Award. She has been nominated too, which means that she has rightly had her general marvelous-ness recognised. All I have to do is answer the questions she posted on her blog. I’ve taken the rollers out of my hair, wiped the yogurt off my face, sat up straight and am now ready to give it a go:
What is your favourite smell, and why?
My favourite smell is the smell of butter in a frying pan, melting away. My husband does all the cooking in our house and many the time I’ve popped my head out of the sitting room to brightly exclaim, “What’s that? It smells wonderful!” He would then turn, look at me blankly, and say, “Butter. In a pan. Are you alright?”
One of the offshoots of the baby was a very strong sense of smell, that meant I could pick up things other people didn’t even notice. It’s the same now, I can identify things much more quickly than others, it seems. To my nose the smell of butter on a pan is a perfect base note. It is neither sweet nor savory,neither cloying or sour, but instead is very much a smell from memory, and my own Mum cooking in the kitchen. There are very few chances to go back in time, but that smell almost allows it for me. Butter in a pan, melting, bubbles bursting with the heat and rush of a busy kitchen, dinner or dessert on the way- that is a smell of home for me.
What object in the world would you most like to own?
Right now, I would like to have a full drivers licence. I’ve taken the test three times, and the last time failed it on observation alone. Let that sink in; the reversing around a corner, the three point turn, all of it perfect, and he failed me because I didn’t look around enough. I was a big pregnant lady at the time, and the hormones when I failed meant I was trying not to cry, so I can add mortification to that memory as well. The test is now a huge deal in my mind. The year I failed, I had helped write and produce a musical based on my book, work on a masters and move house, as well as bring a healthy baby into the world. But every time I have a test, some lizard part of my brain makes me nervous with the thought YOU ARE GOING TO FAIL YOU FAILURE YOU! HOPE YOU’RE READY TO FAIL!!! OH LOOK YOU’RE FAILING WHAT A SURPRISE!! and I freeze. If they would let me buy one, I would be sorely tempted.
If you were a number, which number would you be – and why?
The number eight, or 8. It’s got curves, like me. It reminds me of the Infinity symbol. It also reminds me of the priestess in Tarot cards, it seems a feminine number. It also contains two and four, and it is the number of my family of origin. It can be a star – * – on the modern keyboard. So Number 8 for me.
What is your biggest regret (if it’s something you can share)?
I didn’t take my Mum to Rome. She loved Roman Holiday, she was the same build as Audrey Hepburn as well. Time got away on us and I think I was worried we wouldn’t get on. And she passed away before we could. So, shame on me for that one.
Plus, I tried very hard to be a solicitor at one stage of my life. I passed all the FE1 exams (very hard and very expensive exams) and worked for nine months in a very large solicitor’s office. But the workplace environment was so hostile I nearly became ill, and they just threw too much at me to take. So I had to admit I wasn’t good enough, a failure I will always feel, I suspect.
What are you most afraid of?
The mindless carelessness we all have as we go about our day will one day see me not take due care of my son and he will end up hurt or worse. By turning to lock a door, being too late to the creche, not looking as he goes, I will not see danger and he’ll end up hurt or worse with only a useless mother to blame.
Added to that, having success placed upon me (i.e. a book deal, for example) and with that exposure being revealed to be a huge fraud with zero talent or character. Your basic nightmare, really.
What is your favourite piece of visual art (i.e. not music, literature, theatre), and why?
It is Ginevra de’Benci, and the portrait was painted to commemorate her wedding at 16. She was regarded as an intellectual, and the painting shows a young woman, in fact a teenager, who is a stark beauty. She is intelligent, but not fawning, and the distinction is refreshing. Plus she has hair the same colour as my own, so I feel an affinity towards her on that basis alone.
Tell me about the best dream you ever had.
Once, I had a dream that revealed to me the cause and purpose of life. It showed me the reason we are all here, and explained to me what I needed to do to have eternal, rather than a corruptible, life. It has led me to certain conclusions and it has created an internal mythology for me. And I’m tell you nothing further about it, mwahhahahhhahahah!
If you could be anyone, from any historical period, who would you be – and why?
This is such a interesting question. I’ve written a novel, call The Stone, all about an historical figure. Her name was Alice Kyteler, and she lived through a rather horrible time in history. The sheer violence of that time is hard to convey, but suffice to say I think I will let her lie in the arms of History for now.
People in power rarely live lives of peace and joy, and the person who lived the happiest life on earth was probably some ignored wife of a functionary who earned just enough to never worry about money, but not enough to have her dreams grow to egotistical heights. (That sounds like Anna Karenina, so lets move on!) My own wish would be to live in luxury, living a life of the mind, and to have accolades aplenty to keep me going – lying on a chaise lounge, dictating to some cardiganed young woman, while nibbling on macaroons. I think I want to be Barbara Cartland (boggle).
I have managed to complete this blog over two days, and right now the little man is in a high chair yelling his head off and throwing things at my head, so I had best get on. Hope you’ve all enjoyed this blog, and if you have any other questions for me do let me know.