lidocafe gave me these ones (oh, Ms Lido, you know me well...)
I guess I never stopped reading the books I loved as a child, and find in many of them more of a sense of wonder, a more delicate and deep exploration of the world than in a lot of the so-called adult novels around. That's not to say that I could live now on a steady diet of Nancy Drew and Famous Five as I did as a child, or that I don't read "adult" novels, because I do, but it is that I've never "grown out of" the lovely works of Phillipa Pearce, Lucy M. Boston, Elizabeth Goudge and others, or the adventures of Arthur Ransome, or the wonderful fantasies of Diana Wynne Jones or Ursula Le Guin or Margaret Mahy or... there are so many. I wish I had some outlet - it was so great that my mum read all the same books and we could talk about them; sometimes I wish I had a child just so I could ply her (or him) with books... but then perhaps s/he wouldn't have the same taste and it would be a source of tension so maybe it's just as well. I have to restrain myself from piling books on lidocafe's daughter.
Ha ha ha. I actually drink less gin than I sometimes like to make out, although I do enjoy it a lot and I'm a real connoisseur. My favourite at the moment is "Victoria Gin" - distilled locally and somewhat similar in style but I think tastier than Hennessey. I also love one called "South" from New Zealand, which has a touch of lemon and comes in a beautiful bottle. I never see that one, though. It's funny that I still feel something slightly risque about drinking a lot of gin - maybe it's the thought of all those gin soaked women in Victorian melodramas - but I always feel a little bit naughty, a little bit Dorothy Parker, and that I should have a cigarette in a holder to go with my G&T.
This is interesting. I seem to have acquired a reputation as a good cook on the basis of I think one batch of homemade soup, one very easy curry and a bean and rice salad that I always take to department pot-lucks. I do like to cook, though, and I like good food, so I guess the two things go together. I like shopping for nice organic vegetables and beautiful fresh fish or eggs or chicken or any kind of lovely ingredient and then doing something fairly simple but nicely prepared with it. I also like making my own bread and soup when I have time. I keep promising that I'll have a dinner party - one day soon, I'll do it, and have everyone over!
Well, I love "the outdoors" and I love nature and flowers and growing things. I also love fresh vegetables. So I guess there's a natural progression that would take me out creating a little bit of beauty for myself. Gardening is relaxing, it's a way to connect with the seasons and with the earth; it also gives me something I can share with others. It's a private world, but it's a source of pleasure that I can give to people I like, too. Like cooking, in a way.
your (once) ambition to be an actress
This is perhaps the greatest regret of my life - that I didn't honestly have the courage to pursue my dream to act. It was what I wanted from about the age of ten to when I was about nineteen. Believe it or not, I rarely see a movie or go to the theatre without a little bit of a wish that I could have been in it. I don't know how far I could have gone. I know I was good, but I was afraid that I wasn't pretty enough to be able to "make it." A so-called friend in high school once said something very damning about my looks that completely undermined my confidence, and, at seventeen or eighteen, when I had very low self-esteem to start with, that was enough to put me off. And then a few disappointments when auditioning - it was something that made me happier than anything else, but if it didn't work out I was plunged into gloom. I was afraid that I wasn't tough enough for the competition. Also there was parental pressure to do something more "useful" or "suitable" or whatever. But perhaps there's an outlet in my teaching - I think there's a little bit of the actor or actress in all of us. You need it to be able to "appear" in front of 30 or 40 students every day and keep their interest. And perhaps I'm doing more good for the world with what I do now. But I wish I'd tried.