Sunday, 28 February 2010

Before I spontaneously combust...

As I might have mentioned once or twice before, I am going take a some time off blogging starting tomorrow. I need to break out of the post-a-day routine to prove that I am NOT addicted (and prove that blogging is not the thing preventing my spontaneous combustion - ha - preposterous idea!). I might take a few weeks off, I might blog on Tuesday....who knows....I'll just have to wait and see.

So then I wondered what I would leave you with before I go on virtual leave to risk spontaneous combustion.

Then my head did it's usual, whizz, whirr, tick tick, fuzz, whallop and said, 'Fact File'. I thought I would 'tag' myself in a slightly self-obsessed way. The file will have to be a slightly unusual one though because there's not much I haven't given away already.


Worst journeys:
•The 40 hour train ride from Vienna to Athens wasn't great but the people we met made it 'interesting' - especially the Austrian knife wielding pig farmer.

•Driving through central London on Boxing day, without a map, with a dodgy car that would only move off if I revved the engine massively (and then not every time - I watched some traffic lights go green and then red again and we hadn't managed to move which did not impress other drivers at all) with a brother sat next to me reading the Tao of Pooh and telling me it was all in the journey, not the arrival man. He was lucky to live (especially as later when we were nearly home we did discover a map in the car, he just had not looked hard enough). I remember stopping and asking someone where the M11 was (after having driven for hours - past Piccadilly, up Oxford Street and near Liverpool Street Station in this ridiculous clown car) and his reply being, 'You wanna be north of the river for a start love.' Brighton to Norwich in nine hours.

•The million hour coach journey from Dorset to Aberdeen to see my sister - particularly the time I was sat next to a hugely overweight man that kept squashing and sneezing on me.

•The ferry trip to Brittany where my chap, my son and daughter all threw up - mostly on me.

•A coach trip from Marrakesh to Essouira in an afternoon during Ramadan. The coach driver's irritability was quite obvious - shall we say!

•I once went on the train with a friend (Jem) from Crawley to Brighton for a night out. I was a student on the Xmas break at the time and it was midweek. We had a fun night out but failed to catch the 1.30 a.m. return train home, so tried to hitch up the A23. We were with a friend of a friend that suddenly turned on Jem (started thumping him!), so we ran away. We decided we would just have to get the 4.30 a.m. train back. We made it onto the train and promptly fell asleep. We awoke in London Victoria - having overshot to the end of the line. We were woken up by unimpressed staff. Jem had had enough by this point (a bit tired and emotional). We got off this train and straight onto a train back to Crawley. I remember the ticket man trying to stop Jem but he wasn't having any of it. He just metaphorically brushed the ticket man away and I simply followed in his wake. Jem must have looked so angry, people didn't dare challenge him. So we didn't pay anything. By now we were amongst commuting passengers. Jem was so worried we would fall asleep again, he kept patting me on the head as if I were a drum. We must have looked like people to avoid by this point! We did make it back just to say bye to Jem's mum leaving for work.

Favourite small food:
•the pea

Party Pieces from the Past
•Being able to do the splits as a child won me some kudos.
•A rendition of 'I will survive' in a broad Norwich accent - with subtitles and actions.
•Hava Nagila sung to the accompaniment of guitar played by extra arms provided from behind by chap used to go down well for some reason.
•Button pressing to divide any group into those that warm to me, and those I repel! (Actually I have toned this one down considerably, improved my social skills and can mingle reasonably well now).

Things I learnt at school that I can still remember.
•The significance of the surface area to volume ration and how it means an amoeba does not need an internal 'system' like larger animals and can rely on diffusion alone.
•'The period of over confidence'. When you first learn something, your performance improves gradually until you become cocky and then there's a decline in competence!
•The equation for solving quadratic equations: minus B plus or minus the square root of B squared minus four AC all over 2A.
•How to throw a pot on a Potter's Wheel and centralise the clay (I think I could still do it after a bit of practice - I was once quite good and still have the first pot I threw.)
•I'm still pretty hot on the past perfect in French! Not overly useful in France to always be in the past tense! I missed a year of French - when they did the present.
•How Oxbow lakes are formed, what an erratic is (strange rock brought by glacier that is out of sorts with surrounding rocks)
•You didn't have to be able to read very well to be good at English Literature.
•Newton's Three Laws of motion (and I liked them!!!!)
•impulse equals change in momentum FXT= MV1-MV2
•You put potassium in water it crackles and sparks. The further down that group of metals on the periodic table you go, the more reactive they become.
•Cellulose is pretty insoluble and in the lab only dissolves in a blue liquid that I cannot remember the name of.
•Lactic acid is produced during anaerobic exercise because the oxygen can't arrive quickly enough to oxidise the glucose and that's what causes the pain in muscles.
•Actually, I keep remembering more facts so I'll stop here! I thought there wouldn't be much at all. I surprised myself.

Favourite swear word
•Bugger (for warmly comical moments)
•All of them in fast succession when only serious bout will do.

Worst experiences at customs:
•When I was travelling back from Thailand I swapped rucksacks with my then chap because my rucksack was so much heavier than his. He was stopped and had to stomach them searching a bag full of not just women's underwear, but women's underwear that hadn't been washed for the last two weeks of a six week holiday!!! I laughed a bit between cringes.

•When I must have looked anxious because I was trying to get on the plane before my sister to get the window seat but they picked up on my facial expression and stopped and searched me and she got the window seat. Boo

•Going into the states for the first humour was actually stifled!

Favourite colour
Purple. Then green, then blue and if we have all three together, we need silver too.

Favourite saying
Be anything....anything....but mediocre.' Anita Roddick

You got any answers for me Blog Gang?


  1. Too much there for me to say much more than I like peas as well. As for Norwich accents, Mr FF can do a sterling one but for some reason his brother grew up with a strong regional accent whilst Mr FF's is RP. (I skipped all the science ones).

    Have a good blog break

  2. I will miss your posts while you're gone

  3. I have been gearing myself up into sleeping for longer during the daytime, to lessen the impact of not reading your daily blogs... fortunately I have some St. John's Wort on standby !!!
    As for you Enjoy yourself. Self combustion is hardly likely, although an implosion in some form a possibility - Not.

    Slán agus grá mór

  4. Hi Molly P
    You really should have been yourself with the big guy and told him you feel an attack coming on.
    The customs experience was so funny. I would have laughed all the way through the search and a week beyond.
    Your favourite saying is one of the best short quotes around and new to me. Was she the founder of Body Shop or Andy Roddick's little sister?

    I'm glad you are having a us speed-readers time to catch up.

  5. That is a very lovely picture of you.


    Love you xxx

  6. FF –fresh peas are something else aren’t they. Rather like frozen ones too..with roast tatties.

    Codgi – ah thank you!!! I will be back! Just you try shutting me up! (I am giggling because I just did a typo and had an I before those Ts instead of a U – glad I caught that one!!!)

    Heronster – you kidderererererester. If it gets too much find me on Facebook and demand a post!!! If you took drastic measures like St John’s Wort I’d never forgive myself!!!! Here’s hoping I make it to 2nd March without singeing.

    Ken D – Body shop (wonderful) woman. Catchup and revise...a recap exam will be set!!!!

    Claire – just a camera that doesn’t focus well – you really should try it. Touché!

  7. And just when I'm threatening to come out of hibernation too!

    I think a break is a good thing - we have periods of ability / creativity and they can't be sustained indefinitely.

  8. Ah mothers Co-op number recited at the age of four "Double one, six eight, double four, two" (but what is my car reg, or my mobile number?) and it doesn't cut any ice at the co-op now either.

  9. Welcome back Mark....I doubt I'll be gone for long...I counted 102 draft posts that need a bit of buffing up before publishing. I doubt I'll ever run out of things to say!!! I think it's just healthy (especially in spring) not to spend too much time sitting by a keyboard.

    Sandra - that just made me recite my first ever phone number Horley 5784. Strangely those useless neurones will be the last to fade!!!

  10. 1. Worst Journeys: usually some of the best too, involving hitching in my late teens and 20s, included, landing at Manchester due to fog, suffering from exhaustion, then having to get to Norwich with no money, involved police intervention (friendly)fantastic lift with a lorry driver who took me to his house in Watford for a Bacon sarny. Also of note being picked up by a sex toy salesman who as very gay, I've never laughed so much in my life. and getting a lift from Bournemouth with a sexually frustrated older woman, which was highly entertaining at the age of 20...

    2. Cockles, Biltong.

    3. Ox bow lakes, most glaciation stuff, chaucer (loved it), How to see when drawing/taking photos (disassociation from subject being the initial trick)

    4. F**k and C**t, although b*ll*cks and B*gg*r feature highly.

    5. Geting lifted out of a queue on teh way out of spain and heavily searched, while suffering from exhaustion and then being diverted to Manchester.

    6. all of them in various combinations. particularly black and white (see Flickr stream for proof)

    7. "Why join the navy when you can be a pirate" Steve Jobs.

  11. Hey I'm still only thirty seven degrees centigrade. I wrote a post and have not published it.

    Mr T - yes some of the worst journeys were the best and certainly most storyful - proving that it's not just in the arrival because when the arrival's easy, we don't tell the story of the journey. ooo multi purpose metaphor.

    Learn me the photo thing please. Is it looking with the right brain thing?

    Off to become a pirate....fine bit of persuasive writing there SJ.

  12. Interesting stuff there MP.

    Worst Journey
    When 16, drove my younger brother to a water park, the tube flipped over and I lost my car keys. I later thought they were locked in the car, paid for a locksmith to open the car, discovered they were not there, had to wait until the waterpark closed and they emptied out the drains to get my keys back. On the way back home, a large truck blocked a posted speed limit sign, promptly was written a citation.

    Favourite Small Food

    Party Pieces
    When three years old, I vividly remember peeing in an electrical socket causing a fire.
    I can still remember the awful burning plastic smell and my mom running in screaming 'What the hell did you do?' to which I replied, 'I stood way back'.

    Things I learnt in school still remembered
    I remember everything, really.

    Favourite swear word
    Monkey nuts

    Worst customs experience
    None yet, I'm very 'establishment'...

    Favourite colour

    Favourite saying
    'I'd rather have a bottle in front of me, than have a frontal labotomy'

  13. Hi Eric,
    A lot of your journey sounds like it didn't have much travelling in it. I guess a journey with little opportunity to travel is indeed not a very good journey!!!

    Your party piece had me giggling. Thank you for answering..I enjoyed.

  14. I forgot party pieces, and now can't think of any.

  15. Taking great photos of unsuspecting drunks with wilting bits and making them look good...great trick


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