Inspired by a post by Yvonne Halling, the Bed & Breakfast Coach, on the About page of her new website launched recently, and in conjunction with my new blogging pals in the Better Blogging Project, and just for a bit of fun, here are five things you probably didn’t know about me:
1. During the Eighties I did a bit of spying. No, it wasn’t formal, I wasn’t 007 or anything. But I was asked to do something which now I regret and was so terrifying that I told everyone I knew about it. Since the first skill a spy must surely master is keeping secrets, this ruled me out pretty swiftly and I was stood down, thankfully. One day, face to face, remind me to tell you the whole story, but I’m not putting that in writing in the public domain. No Sir.
2. The Duke of Edinburgh has taken his clothes off in my bedroom. And no, I wasn’t there at the time. This story is from the Sixties when he visited my father’s regiment in Singapore to present colours and I was in the UK at boarding school. After doing their work in hot uniforms, they all went for a swim and the Duke used my room to change his kit.
3. Before my knees “went” about five years ago, one of my great passions was line dancing. Not only did I get 120 people doing it at my 50th birthday party, but I have also done it at the Wild Horse Saloon in Nashville, Texas. No, I don’t have cowboy boots. Yes, I do have a stetson; I bought it next door at Willy Nelson’s shop. Or I did own at stetson at least. It’s probably gone out in some overly zealous clutter-clearing session by now. I do love C & W music though line-dancing can be done to anything these days and all the better for it, frankly.
4. I’m also a singer. I am classically trained and have been in many different choirs over the decades singing all sorts of music; gospel, rock, a capella, sacred, choral – you name it, I can probably have a stab at it. I can sing in English, French, German, Latin and more. I read music and am not keen on the current trend of learning by ear. What I do love about that is that is encouraging and inclusive, everyone can join in and love singing. But for me, it slows me down terribly and I am impatient. Just give me the score please and let me sight-sing it and rehearse it. The best bit about my singing is that I have sung at every fabulous venue in London including The Royal Albert Hall, The Festival Hall (and all the smaller spaces at the South Bank), St John’s Smith Square and The Barbican. Some of the nights at the Albert Hall have been the best nights of my life. Sitting in a fabulously glamorous frock and sparkly earrings, amongst the orchestra, surrounded by live music, in that great space – well, that’ll reduce me to goosebumps and tears in a heartbeat. And you don’t want tears if you are singing, impairs vocal performance terribly.
5. I don’t drink tea or coffee. I’ve never liked tea, it smells awful to me. Like beer, I couldn’t pour something that smells that bad down my throat. And I was hypnotised out of drinking coffee during the second day of my NLP training in 2004. Recently I’ve gone back to drinking one cup of coffee a day thanks to my beautiful Nespresso machine, a cup of George as it’s known round here, and I’m fast becoming one of South London’s better baristas. But you know how people drink tea and coffee all day long? I don’t. When people say to me “let’s have a nice cup of tea!” or, when staying as a houseguest “I’ll bring you a nice cup of tea in bed in the morning”- oh no, yuk! Please don’t.