I’ve been tagged by - oh dear, I've forgotten! I will find out! - for 7 random facts about myself. I had to take a class for an absent colleague this afternoon and had nothing else to do while they wrote, so didn’t allow myself time to think, thus making this more random, as specified. This is what I came up with.
1. I’m sitting looking at my engagement ring, which is an opal set in diamonds. Opals are supposed to be bad luck – presumably because they chip easily – but thirty-five years on, all seems to be reasonably well, at least as far as the engagement goes.
2. My lilies of the valley, with which I have a love/hate relationship, are going to need some serious attacking after they’ve flowered. I love love love the scent, but they spread as fast as I can dig them out – these nasty little tangly roots. They’re coming up in the lawn and between the paving slabs. Very bad.
3. Daughter 2 decided to cycle to work today for the first time. We live in Murrayfield, which is about three miles west of the city centre, and she works in Leith, which is about three miles out of the other side. There’s a cycle track most of the way, but Leith is by the sea – so at sea level, obviously – and while it’s downhill there, it’s uphill back again. And it’s unseasonably windy, and rather wet. (PS – She got home exhilarated but a bit exhausted. It’s now 10.03 pm and she’s just come into the study. “I’m going to bed,” she said. “An hour and fifteen minutes of exercise's made me feel 95.” She doesn’t look 95. See above. That was her in Seville a few weeks ago.)
4. I love baths and hate showers. I’m not very technically-minded and showers, to me, are machines. I’m not good at controlling them. Also I’m always cold in a shower – the bits of me under the water are warm, but not the bits that stick out. But lying in a nice, warm bath, with all my aching joints (which seem to be most of them, these days, alas) cooking nicely… bliss. And of course, you can’t read in a shower, can you?
5. I blog in our study. This is possibly rather an elevated name for the room, but it has two desks (my husband’s and mine) each with its computer; lots of bookshelves; various files and other stationery equipment; a chest of drawers containing all sorts of vital things such as programmes from school concerts that the children appeared in and drawings and letters they produced when they were little. There also tend to be little piles of… stuff… sitting around. We keep the rest of the house tidy by popping things into the study. This is not a good idea. Eventually it all gets moved on.
6. I have four names – three and then a surname. This is a bit much, in my opinion. My first name is also the title of what is usually considered to be the first novel written in English, though most people abbreviate it when addressing me. My second is my mother’s – she was named after the month in which she was born. My third is Isabelle, which I like quite a lot more than my first name. Both my grandmothers were called Isabella: one was always known as Isa (pronounced Eye-za) and the other as Ella. I hide behind “Isabelle” just in case - extremely unlikely - any of my students read this. But I do feel quite like an Isabelle.
7. I’m quite interested in science, but realised a few years ago that I’m really much more interested in lots of other things and that therefore the vague idea that I’d always harboured that I would become more scientifically literate wasn’t going to happen, not in the one lifetime. I have real enthusiasm for writing, reading, design of various sorts, gardening of course, and languages – not necessarily in any particular order. I speak reasonable French, bad German, very bad Spanish and Greek, absolutely terrible Japanese and Gaelic – but really enjoy going to language classes and allowing some of the grammar, vocabulary and culture of another language to sink in a bit. I can also claim Latin, I suppose – does that count? I did it for six years at school and it’s amazing how much has stuck, despite my having had the world’s most boring teacher. Nowadays, alas, things tend to slide through my ancient brain leaving little trace.
I'm sure most of you have already been tagged, so apologies if you have - I don't have time to check, since I must get up to my mum's for the night - but how about Rise out of Me, Fifi, Square One and Wifemomchocoholic revealing seven random things about themselves? Sorry that I don't know how to do the underlining thing. No wonder I drown in showers.
(Next day: have just read Fifi's suggestion that my name might be Arthur, Mallory or Morte. I love it! But no.)