Sunday, June 21, 2009

Peter Cushing, Whitstable, the awesome Jennie Rigg, a plea for a geek, and a meme

The brilliant Ms Rigg has started novel way of doing a blog round up feature. Jennie is one of my favourite bloggers - I recently described her as "brimming with imagination, irreverence, the right amount of darkness and a tiny little sprinkling of evil in its purest form." I wonder if she'll consider that a quote

Part of her new "The Blood is the Life" feature incorporates a meme, with a self-tagging mechanism which I will repeat here. If you wish to take part, comment to this, include the words "Peter Cushing lives in Whitstable" in your comment and I will then ask you five questions which you must answer truthfully and then make a similar offer on your own blog. I was actually going to change the words, but when I understood where she'd got the phrase from, Ithought I'd keep it and share with you. It's very funny.

Anyway, here are the questions she asked me and their answers:

1, What made you get into Formula 1?

Hot, red, sexy Ferraris, especially driven by Jean Alesi who was so passionate and aggressive on the track. But generally, the scream of the engine, the skill of the drivers, who earn every single penny of their exorbitant salaries, the genius of watching the teams work together to find n extra tenth of a second. It's sexy and dramatic and amazing and I could go on about it forever but I won't.

I think what completely held my interest was the symbiotic relationship between lovely genius Ross and maybe not so lovely but absolutely compellingly brilliant Michael Schumacher. One built fabulous cars, the other took them to within a thousandth of a millimetre of destruction to achieve unprecedented success.

Oh, and if any geek has any idea why I can't get on to the Brawn GP website on my laptop, please help me. The creaky old wind up computer upstairs can get on it but it takes forever to crank up and I'd love to be able access it from here. It's very strange.

2, Describe your oldest cuddly toy.

It's a Yorkshire Terrier puppy that I saw in a shop in Waverly Market in Edinburgh in 1991 when we were in Scotland for 3 weeks looking after my teenage sister (who was going through one of her obnoxious phases) while my parents were off on a Caribbean Cruise to celebrate their Silver Wedding. I managed to resist it once, but when we were back in town the next week, I had to have it. It loved on my bed for years and now Anna has requisitioned it in the way children do. She's never been one for dolls - but we will soon have to get a bigger house to accommodate all her stuffed animals. Her daddy took her to the school fete a few weeks ago and I thought he might have shown some restraint - but he came back with five more. Honestly!

I adore Yorkies. Some evil people call them horrid names, like rats on strings, but these dogs may be small but they are full of personality. Our family's first one was called Lucy and she completely ruled the roost. She arrived in her house, the size of tuppence, after a very long journey back to Caithness and sat in front of my dad's chair and let out this very insistent, but tiny bark. From that moment, he was smittten with her.

Several years later, my folks were, shall we say, less than impressed when I jacked in university to go and live with a divorced man twice my age. Eventually, they agreed to meet him. Almost the minute we arrived in the house, Lucy came and sat on his knee which led to his acceptance into the family. Given that he might no longer be twice my age, but we've now been together for one week short of 22 years, I'd say the dog showed immaculate judgment.

A year after Lucy, Jamie came along - he was a very gentle dog in all matters apart from his libido, which was legendary. My sister used to dress him in her doll's clothes and push him around in her pram and he just let her. He spent his days being bullied mercilessly by Lucy, but he was a great big soppy loving bundle of fur.

3, What is your favourite radio show?

I thought this would be easy to answer - but when it came to it, there were a few nominations. Special mention has to be given to the BBC's F1 coverage on 5 Live. I love Anthony Davidson's informed and easy to listen to commentary. He describes things in a way that's easy to understand if, like me, you haven't got a degree in aerodynamics and engineering. In fact, I don't even have a Primary school understanding of these things. Then there's Women's Hour -I found out about Harry Potter on that programme, when they interviewed JK Rowling in the very early days. I've gone through phases of the Archers, too but I'm off them at the moment. Then if I'm feeling bloodthirsty, I can listen to Mr H take people apart on the Today programme, although in the mornings I will most often opt for the television, and the bee-keeping sex god that is Bill Turnbull on BBC Breakfast.

Any Questions is sometimes even better than Question Time and Jonathan is definitely less annoying than his brother.

I think it would have to be Just a Minute that takes it, though - it's so funny and a real test of humour and mental agility. It has never failed to make me laugh out loud. I'm listening to last week's on the iPlayer as I type this - it's one with Clement Freud, Peter Jones, Derek Nimmo and Paul Merton which I actually remember from laughing at it at the time and it's still hilarious. If you want to listen to it on iPlayer do so before the end of today.

4, What is your favourite sweet and why?

Does anyone remember the Bubbly? I wasn't allowed bubble gum, but my lovely Granny bought it for me anyway. We used to call into Freddie's on the corner of Innes Street in Inverness on the way home from town and she'd buy me one which I'd savour and make last as long as I could.

5, Why did you join the Lib Dems?

Watching Roots when I was 8 or 9 filled me with a huge sense of anger that human beings could so brutally enslave other human beings so my passion for equality started there. I might have been taken in by Mrs Thatcher in 1979, but it didn't take me long to realise that the Tories were (and still are, don't be fooled) only bothered about protecting the interests of the rich. I abhorred the Labour collectivist approach. This party is an ideal home for someone with a social conscience who respects that people are individuals and celebrates difference and diversity.

I'd like to be able to say that all that was my motivation for getting involved in the SDP in 1983 when I was 15. I'd been impressed with the fact that the Alliance wasn't either Labour or the Tories and went in to their Wick office to ask for a copy of their manifesto. I left with a bundle of leaflets and the rest is history.

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