Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Eight Interesting Things

Eight interesting things? Well, most of them are already in my blog or will be - now I shall have no secrets left.

The oldest house I have ever lived in was built in the 1380s. It was very, very difficult to clean. There was a mouse nesting in an ancient sofa in my bedroom when we moved in and it would scuttle about the room at night, but refused to be caught, although we trapped it in the end. The bedroom floor sloped dramatically so you had to get your sea legs upstairs, and the bed had to be propped up at the head to even things out. The house overlooked the marsh and was very atmospheric.

I have moved house more times than I care to remember and now have it down to a fine art. Removal men congratulate me on the quality and efficiency of my packing.

When I turned 50 (am I prepared to admit that?) I decided to grow my hair again, get my ears pierced and buy a bikini. Now I need to lose a few pounds so I can wear the bikini in public and I have a serious earring habit.

Neither of my parents were born in this country, but I consider myself to be quintessentially English. My mother was born on a Prairie Farm in Saskatuan and my father's family came over from Ireland during the troubles in the 1920s, following death threats which they took very seriously indeed.

I have never learned to ride a bike, nor a horse, nor have I ever sailed, but I am hoping to try sailing this summer. I think I will probably give the other two a miss now.

I have used up at least four of my nine lives, but am enjoying the five I have left.

I can speak to babies and small children in French, having worked as an au pair in Brussels when I was very young. I developed a strong attachment to Belgian chocolate while I was there. It was the only thing that kept me sane.

I once drove straight on to the roundabout on the A2, near Blackheath and stopped there. It was entirely my ex-husband's fault. He was supposed to be teaching me to drive and I hadn't done roundabouts yet. I was still on traffic lights. Lots of people were very surprised to see us sitting there as I waited for instructions on how to come off roundabouts and rejoin the busy weekend traffic on the A2.


  1. mouse in the bedroom, yuk. I've had that too! lovely post, particularly liked the detour onto the roundabout!

  2. I think your slope-floored house sounds fab!

  3. How many facts was that Marianne? I was fascinated, and lost count.

    I especially enjoyed the roundabout story - just the sort of thing that I might have done, had I ever had the courage to go on driving, once I passed my test.

    I didn't though, and still cycle everywhere. Quite a phenomenon, at my age - I'm wondering when it will no longer seem quite appropriate for someone of my years!

  4. That house was particularly plagued by mice PITK, despite my three cats. It was quite hard to deal with them, what with small children and animals in the house.
    But give me mice over rats any day. They really do freak me out.

    It was idyllic M&M. It was the house to which we fled after my then husband lost his job and we had to sell our own house and move into the rental sector, where I have stayed ever since.

  5. It was only my second time out in the car, Beatrice. Our passenger was pretty taken aback too. Still I dined out on that one for years.

    Carry on with your bike. Think how healthy and virtuous you are being!

  6. "It was entirely my ex-husband's fault" must be a very useful phrase!

  7. I liked the roundabout story, too. It does strike a chord. Very nice facts. Thank you.

  8. Yes indeed SAHD, and very versatile too. In fact married women can easily adapt it by crossing out the ex bit should they so wish.

    Well, yes, I don't think many people actually drive onto roundabouts to get out of heavy traffic OM, but it was an interesting way of dealing with a rather stressful situation.

  9. I liked the roundabout revelation too Marianne. I once drove the wrong way along a six lane highway in the States. (In mitigation it had been split into 2 but still v. hairy.)

    Thanks for the tag - I'm honoured! I'm still considering Pig's nominated tag (& I turned down DJ's) - it's the nominating 5 others that bothers me a bit. If I said yes to both I wouldn't have to do it twice would I? Or p'rhaps I could leave off the nominations??

    What do you think?

  10. Marianne I am getting to know so much about you, you now feel like an old, and favourite, friend!

  11. Love the roundabout. Have just done my eight today too,

  12. such a good list - the only thing I know about Belgium is the chocolates (and a couple of famous painters). Am I wrong, or is that really all there is to know?

  13. A great list. (Fascinating parentage - a few poems tucked away there, surely.)

    I've actually done this one, but I can't remember when. It must have been for my Salon blog before I moved to Typepad. I've looked for it in my archives but I can't find it. I'll persevere.

  14. You know I'm ever so glad you survived the roundabout, the telegraph pole and whatever else it was that took away another of your nine lives, so that alive and blogging today!

    And oh gosh, you've tagged me and I didn't know it til now. Did in fact finally get round to the 8 yesterday... but who knows, I may just rustle up eight more.

  15. I'm assuming that one shot at this is all you do, regardless of how many times you're tagged. Anyway, I want to keep some secrets.

    Don't worry about it Lizzie - do it if you want to or not if you don't. Your driving story sounds pretty hairy - like a bad dream. Glad you survived that. It must have been very confusing.

    Secretary, I hope I'm not giving too much away. But how kind of you to think of me as a friend!

    Dick sorry to do that to you - honestly, it's just a game, but an interesting exercise too. I would love to be able to write poetry and absolutely love yours, as you know. You have such a wonderful, spare way with words. Didn't someone way that poetry is the right words in the right order. A wonderful gift if you can do that.

    Livvy I shall come and look immediately. It is quite fascinating what people tell you about themselves. Don't worry about the eight more. I'm sure we've all got pretty much to the end of this game now.

    Debio, when you come back over this way, do visit Belgium. There are some absolutely beautiful small towns - Bruges, Ghent - Brussels is very cosmopolitan - it is definitely worth a visit and doesn't deserve it's boring label. The chocolate is to die for. I am going to link with you as we seem to keep visiting each other anyway.

    @themill. Will come round immediately and find out all about you! | didn't think I would do this - couldn't find anything to say, but then I found I could after all. Metaphor for my life I think.

  16. JUst found this and see I am tagggged.
    I shall be back with m'eight things.

  17. Great list. There is a book in there about your parents.

  18. 8 quick things:
    I am turning into my Mother. I have just noticed my head is the same shape.
    I have a masculinely orientated family. Husband, sons, brothers, grandsons.
    I have travelled widely in Europe and also SE Asia. However Cornwall out of season ( Feb, Nov) remains an alltime favourite.
    Laughter REALLY is the best medicine. Of course there are other things but this works every time for me.
    I appear to always choose books by women. Not a conscious choice, it just happens.
    My grandfather had a secret family and a 2nd household. As a teenager, I would visit his place near the Lakes. His " other woman" ( Kitty) was dignified and beautiful and I admired her hugely.There is a book waiting to be written here.
    I have kept a diary since I was 14.
    I live in the place where I was born. It constantly yields up new things, reinvents itself, so I am never bored.
    I love my family, my friends to bits but I am also happy being on my own. Unfortunately I do NOT look like Greta Garbo!

    I'm not sure if I should have put this on m'own blog ( or not) Marianne, so APLOPOGIES if I am not executing correct blog etiquette!

  19. Jan, I think you should put them in your own blog so everyone will read them - they are too good to be tucked away at the end of my comments box!

    But thank you for doing that and hope you don't mind being tagged.

  20. Yes, DM, I'm sure there is. Would you like to write it?

  21. Dear Sweet Marianne,

    Your command of the English language is far better than mine! Go on, I want to read it...

  22. Dear Marianne, such a lovely list of comments you have collected!

    I'm beginning to think that the Comment pages are becoming secondary blogs in themselves... Such fun.

    And how wonderful it would be if we could all meet up sometime? A kind of bloggers' reunion, bringing people together from all around the world.

    There'd be a few surprises there don't you think? And I almost certainly the grandma of you all!

  23. But DM you have such an original take on life. I adore your acerbic comments about alpha mums, having been surrounded by the breed for so long. And totally disillusioned with them!

    Beatrice you are, as always, absolutely right. You can spend hours in people's comment boxes and realise that you still have not even begun to blog yourself. But fascinating. If only there were more time.

  24. I have a love of belgian cholcolate too marianne, but without having ever lived in Belgium Oh dear, I feel a bit of a fraud now...

  25. Funny to think of you having passed your 50th year. You write in the style of a much younger person. Although logic said I was wrong (based upon your sons ages)I imagined you as late 30's. With a pink handbag you probably would pass for that age.

  26. You, a fraud, Rilly? Never. What I love about you is that you are always your lovely self. Do visit Belgium though and try the chocs in situ. I shall try and get back there soon, but I still need to crack Lille.

    Lovely to see you Isobel. I certainly don't feel 50ish and probably never will. The pink bags help to keep me young.

  27. marianne, marianne, where have you gone?

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