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Sunday, 19 August 2012

Blogger Award

At the beginning of August, the lovely Teresa Ashby gave me a really gorgeous blogger award. Thank you, Teresa, for thinking of me and my blog and here are the five fabulous things about my life.

1. I have never felt bored. If I'm in a boring situation, my mind switches to imagination mode and I think all sorts of ridiculous things that keep me entertained. When my headmistress gave the sixth-form a long speech for our leaving day, I recall imagining her dancing the can-can. It was a complete contrast to her stiff and starchy image and when she appeared to look straight at me, I was convinced she could read my thoughts. About four years ago, I adapted my tendency to live in a dream-world to writing fiction. I love it more than I can say. The disadvantages of an over-active mind are that I never see anyone wave to me and I have to ask what happened when we've finished watching a film.

2. My father bought me a paperback every Saturday morning. Our day began at the kitchen table, where I would read Bunty or Mandy while he scanned the racing pages of his newspaper. We drank lots of tea and I ate lots of  those iced biscuits (like Party Rings, only square and with iced pictures on them. I think they were called Playbox) for breakfast. Then he took me into the town and deposited me in the miniature branch of WH Smith to browse while he visited the turf accountant. When he collected me (hours later) he bought me whichever book I'd chosen. They cost two-and-six then. If I couldn't choose between two, he might agree to buy both, depending on how the horses were running. No Saturday could have been more perfect than that.

3. I developed a horrendous kidney disease when I was five. My parents were told it might be leukaemia. I was covered in bruises and in terrible pain. Driving me to hospital, my father screeched to a stop outside the toyshop, ran in and came out with a huge box for me. It was the Playdoh factory I'd wanted for ages.
I'd only just started school then, but was at home recovering for over a month, during which the entire class sent me pictures and paintings and cards. I remember the package being delivered and sitting on the stairs to read them all, wishing I could go back to school soon and get to know them all. I did recover fully, I'm glad to say, and caught up with school life. But I was always the shyest girl in the class.

4. After living in Germany for almost a year when I was twenty, I discovered I should have applied for some sort of visa and had my passport stamped. I lived in fear after that, especially when I was caught without the correct ticket on a bus in Hamburg. I was asked to produce my passport, but I didn't have it with me. The inspector was terrifying and issued me with a large fine. A lovely lady in the seat in front of me turned round to ask him to be lenient and to bear in mind that I was English and would get a dreadful impression of the German people if he wasn't prepared to let me off with a warning. But he went ahead and gave me the fine. I sat there with tears rolling down my face at the lady's kindness and at the humiliation. I couldn't eat anything except cheap bread for a week to pay the fine. And I drowned my sorrows with a bottle of very cheap wine, scraping out the cork with a fork, which took a whole afternoon, but is possible.

5. I have the best life ever and hope it goes on for a very long time.

Thank you, Teresa. x






22 comments:

  1. Congratulations on the Blogger award. Emily Benet who won such an award went on to have her book based on her blog published!

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    1. Thank you, Lindsay. Emily's success is definitely inspirational! I shall take a good look at her blog. And her book too! Many thanks!

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  2. Congratulations on the fabulous Awards.
    I really enjoyed your five fabulous things - what wonderful memories. I remember those biscuits and the comics you read, too.

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    1. Thank you, Pat. I'm glad you enjoyed it and so pleased you remember the biscuits and comics. They featured very strongly in my childhood! I felt very nostalgic after writing about them.

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  3. What fabulous memories! I am so glad you decided to start writing, you write so beautifully. Your dad sounds lovely, as do your Saturdays with him. I agree wholeheartedly with your number 5 x

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    1. Thank you so much, Teresa. They are very happy memories and he was indeed a lovely man, lots of fun, and much missed. He would have loved to know I was writing. He always encouraged creativity and was so proud of any achievements my brother and I had.
      Thank you, Teresa, for your lovely kind comment about my writing. I really appreciate that. x

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  4. Oh, your Saturday mornings do sound so perfect! I remember those Playdoh factories too. The smell of Playdoh is very evocative. Lovely memories.

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    1. Thank you, Joanne. I love the smell of Playdoh too. It brings me right back to childhood every time.
      Those Saturdays were truly perfect. I've only just realised how fortunate I was. At the time I probably thought all little girls spent Saturdays like that. Thinking about it has inspired me to write a story with a Dad like mine and it will hopefully be a small tribute to his memory. I think my Mum would love that.
      Many thanks, Joanne.x

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  5. You sound so positive and upbeat! I want some of that.... sulk! It's great you have such lovely memories of your childhood - especially your Dad and his encouragement of your reading. Many kids don't get that nowadays - it's all PC's and technology.

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    1. Thank you so much, Pat. I was really very lucky to have parents who encouraged reading. I don't think I was ever refused an opportunity to bury myself in a book. Even my teacher at nursery school let me stay in and read instead of going outside to play! (I didn't like 'outside'!)
      My daughters do read, but I think they'd read more if we didn't have all the distracting gadgets. My eldest has a Kindle and I think that encourages her to read a lot.
      Many thanks, Pat, for your lovely comments.

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  6. Oh, I love the memories you shared about your father. Beautiful! And I love how he stopped at the toy store on the way to the hospital to buy you the Playdoh toy. How wonderfully sweet.

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    1. Thank you so much, Melissa. I love thinking back to that time. It may be forty-six years ago, but I remember the details as if it happened yesterday. I recall how carefully he placed that big box on my lap, knowing that my legs were all bruised and in pain. And his lovely concerned smile that told me he understood how ill I felt, but that I would be all right. And I never doubted it. He was such a reassuring man. He never let me know how very worried they were for me.
      Thank you, Melissa, for your kind comments.

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  7. What a lovely post, Joanna, and a well deserved blog award. What a wonderful dad, to buy you books like that. I remember sitting reading Bunty every week adn being enthralled by the stories. Keep your positive attitude and imagination!

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    1. Thank you so much, Rosemary. I did enjoy writing this post. Bunty was brilliant. The stories were so good and I loved the cut-out Bunty and her clothes. Mind you, I was always very impatient with those little paper tabs. I always tore them!
      He was a really great Dad. I wish I'd told him that. He would have been really excited that I've started writing and would have slipped it into conversations with everyone he met. He was one of those people who talked to everyone and called all women, 'Darling' in a really nice, gentlemanly sort of way. Perhaps I'll put him in a story! My Mum would love that.
      Thank you, Rosemary, very much. x

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  8. This is a lovely post, Joanna. XX

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    1. Thank you so much, Suzanne. I'm really glad you liked it. x

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  9. Been away from blogger for a while so a bit late in visiting! Loved reading your answers-it's easy to see why you have become a writer as each of your answers was like a little story in itself!

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  10. Thank you so much, Vicky, that's very kind. I hope you're having a brilliant summer. x

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  11. Congrats on the well deserved award. Loved all the facts about you, too. Some of the best I've read!

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  12. Thank you so very much, Madeleine. I really enjoyed writing this post and some of the old memories gave me ideas for stories too, so it's a good way to feel inspired. I'm always thinking back over the past. Even when I was a child, I always wanted my mother to tell me her memories and tried to imagine what life was like back then. In fact, I rarely think ahead. Which is probably why my life is rather disorganised!
    Lovely comment, thank you, Madeleine.

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  13. This is so uncanny... I had a similar experience when living in Germany as a student. I didn't know I had to have a special work visa and have my passport stamped. I had an argument with a policeman about it all and stormed out. I was terrified! I left the country at Christmas and didn't go back to the same town the next term.

    I also had 2/6 to buy an Enid Blyton paperback every Saturday in the local Co-Op store. The children's bookstand was next to the fabric, for some reason. My grandad used to give me the 2/6 as pocket money when he came to visit.

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  14. That really is so uncanny, Jo. We have led parallel lives! It's so lovely to see how the things that shaped our childhoods have continued into adult life - the passion for books clearly, but also the love of languages taking us to live in another country at such a relatively young age.

    Sorry it's taken me a month to spot your comment and reply! x

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