I'm not the only one, I know, who tenses up when they hear those words above because you just know you will mind, but now can't, because you're going to be told something that's in your 'best interest' to know. But actually I was more interested than hurt to hear from an anonymous emailer that my blog would, apparently, be must better if I was more personal, and told you a little more about me. Heavens, and there I was thinking I was revealing more than enough by putting up all the strange things that obsess me, but in the true spirit of not-minding and because Karen challenged me at the very end of last year to reveal six strange things about myself, here goes...
1. I nearly killed Alan Titchmarsh. Yes, really. My mother used to write for a gardening magazine he edited long, long before he became famous and he came to lunch with her on the day I passed my driving test. So my first real drive was to take him to the station. Big mistake. And nearly a big tragedy for housewives everywhere who would have lost their heart-throb as I took a panicky right hand turn into the path of on-coming traffic. Luckily we survived, although when I met him again at Chelsea Flower Show about two years later, it was clear from his white face and shaking hands that he remembered. Hopefully, he's forgotten now though, because I don't like it when nice men blanch when they look at me!
2. I have five pairs of slippers - all of different colours, textures and styles, and I spend some time each morning wondering which to wear to write in. Actually my slippers are such a big part of my life I think they deserve their own later post.
3. The house I live in was supposed to have been the illegal gaming rooms of Beau Nash in the 17th century. Before we moved in, I had great hopes of being haunted with sure-thing racing tips but it just feels like a happy house - one of the happiest I've ever lived in so I don't think too many people lost more than their shirts here. When we had recent building works, though, the builders developed a real phobia about ghosts, and refused to ever be on their own in the house. How we laughed, particularly when this meant the works were delayed...
4. When I was seven, I was so sure I was going to be a writer I started a novel-writing club with my friend Heidi. We were going to write a whole library between the two of us, but somehow we got distracted by life and I don't think we managed to even complete one short story and then she moved away. I still look for her on writing websites though. Heidi, are you out there?
5. I cry at nearly everything - even advertisements, and even to the annoyance of my kids, things they are watching on TV and that I just catch a glimpse of in passing. I regularly have to stop the car on the side of the road because I'm crying at something I've heard on the radio. It's a family thing. Once in a restaurant in Edinburgh, I made my brother cry so much from telling him the plot of the saddest film I've ever seen that my daughter moved to another table and the waiters left us alone for hours. I blame my father. When we were kids, we would regularly make him cry by singing the lyrics of Honey by Bobby Goldsborough everytime we could do with a giggle. We were sadistic little kids, that's for sure.
6. Karen started this, so here's one for her. She and I are born on the same day, the 11th September. Obviously, it's a bad day to have been born on now, but I'm rather proud of how many writers I've met who share the same birthday, and those I've not met for obvious reasons - D H Lawrence and O Henry, for example. I keep talking about organising a shared writerly birthday - any other 11th September's out there who want to help blow out the candles!
Hey, that was fun. I could get hooked on this personal lark.