Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Wierd facts meme

DJ Kirkby has tagged me to do this meme:
Here are the rules: Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog. Share seven random and/or weird facts about yourself. Tag seven random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a notification on their blog.

February 14th, 2007 I submitted a Valentine poem to BBC Radio 3 and later that day was amazed to hear it read out live. I didn’t win the competition, but hey!

The slipper comfort of pensioner passion

Still needs the teetering lunacy

Of bright pink high heels,

And fortunately, Valentine,

You’re both!

2. In 1987 Jenny and I took part in an Anglo-Danish expedition to collect fossils in northeast Greenland. 2 people from Copenhagen and 3 from Cambridge. We camped (yes, camped!) about 300 km inside the Arctic Circle for 7 weeks and collected about a tonne of rocks. Jenny’s subsequent career was shaped by this expedition and the material we collected.

3. In
1986 Jenny and I went to Stockholm with her PhD student, Per Ahlberg. He taught me the only Swedish I know: “Min svävere ar ful med ǻl”, which, if I’ve remembered it right means “My hovercraft is full of eels.” Yes, Monty Python.

4. I was born and spent my early years in South Africa. In the summer it was common for us to run around barefoot, and I still love to do so today. Wife and friends think I'm distinctly strange as, wearing a caftan and bare feet, I stride across the rain-soaked street to Lorna and Richard's house of a November night.

5. In the mid-1990s I caught a nasty throat infection while working away from home. The only way I could find to control the pain was to suck soluble aspirin tablets. Even the doctor who eventually gave me antibiotics didn't warn me I was being very stupid. The infection subsided, but the pain got worse, so I could barely sip water. I eventually twigged - saliva is alkaline, but aspirin is salicylic acid. So for a fortnight I'd been keeping my mouth permanently acid. Smart. It took another fortnight to return to normal. Later, I found my gums seemed to have receded more than you'd expect, and the exposed dentine is prone to staining. Almost certainly, I dissolved away a certain amount of tooth material during that fortnight.

6. Having drunk gallons of coffee all my life, starting 10 years or so ago I found myself drinking less and less coffee, particularly because I really didn't like machine coffee. Some years ago it reached it's nadir, when I would drink one coffee a day, and that only because Jenny has coffee after dinner. Fortunately these days I can tolerate it better. I have even had coffee I liked!

7. Although I'm not in the least afraid of flying, I get very stressed out as the time approaches for me to leave home and go to the airport, with an awful knot in my stomach, occasionally feeling physically ill. It eases as soon as I'm in the car and we actually set off, but doesn't go until we're at the check-in. It's not the flying, it's the deadline for leaving in time to actually get there.

8. Added later. Growing up in Cape Town, my friends at school had distinctly Seth Efrican accents, while my parents spoke something much closer to Received Pronunciation. I employed the local accent at school, but was told to "speak properly" at home. This kept me listening closely to the sound of what was being said around me, and when we came to England I quickly picked up a thick Midlands accent, which I used at school, while continuing to speak RP at home. These days I speak a fairly standard RP (I think!) but slide easily into a pastiche (probably not the right word) of the accent of whomever I'm talking to. So when we lived in the north-east of England, I spoke a sort of Geordie, but talking to my late father-in-law it was a pseudo-Lancastrian. The reason this is weird is that most people's accents tend to stabilise around the age of 10 give or take a bit, and not change after that. Mine varies. Or maybe I'm just easily influenced ;-)

Ah, and now I have to tag 7
random people. Does that really mean random? I don't think I'll take it literally, but I'll go in search of some folks more on the periphery of my personal blogosphere. So with apologies in advance, I'm going to tag
1. Trousers whom I normally visit via But Why's blog.
2. Prada Pixie who I found on Trousers' blogroll. On PP's blogroll, I found
3. WakeUpAndSmellTheCoffee who's comments I've seen many times, but whose blog I've not previously visited.
4. Lady MacLoud who seems to live a wonderful and exotic life.
5. Mutterings and Meanderings who is already on my blogroll, so that forms a loop.

Actually, this is hard, not to say time consuming, so I'm going to stop at 5.


wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

Hello Rob. We seem to have several blog buddies in common. Thank you for the tag. I shall do it once my head clears from my birthday celebrations last night.

Pixie said...

ah found it!
I'll have to think about this for a bit as I've done it twice before and I'm not sure there isn't anything I haven't confessed already LOL
thanks for tagging me though.

A Mother's Place is in the Wrong said...

Gosh Rob, those weird and wonderful facts were just that. Very nice to read - gives me a much more three dimensional view of you and your life and times, which I guess might be the purpose of such a strange request?
Best, Margot.

DJ Kirkby said...

Hi Rob,
your facts were so interesting. I love going barefoot too but liked the imagery you added of you going barefoot over the bridge to your friend's house. Also the bits about going on expedition with Jenny, what an amazing life you two have had and that poem...wow!

But Why? said...

What a great set of facts! I also love being barefoot, particularly on muddy ground.

And thanks for by-passing me on the tagging - I look forward to reading the fruits of your tagees!

Rob Clack said...

Hope you're head's better, Wakeup!

Px: don't do it unless you want to. This is one of the hazards of tagging people who's blogs you only visit occasionally. But of course, one of the benefits is you get to know those people better, too.

Margot: I think you nailed it in one!

DJK: Thank you. I was so pleased with myself for getting a poem read out on the radio I was boring people to death with it!

ButWhy: yes, the squidge of soft mud up between the toes is good. As long as it really is mud! Thinks: was that too gross?

Rob Clack said...

Oh, I forgot. Greenland was fan-bloody-tastic, DJK. Spectacularly beautiful, and unutterably remote. There was a Danish expedition of about 20 people in the area, so we utilised their logistics, but the 25 of us were the only people for 100 miles in any direction. Now that's remote! If I can work out how to do it properly, I'll stick some photos up on flickr. The difficulty is finding the time to do it, of course.

lady macleod said...

I shall be glad to participate but uh... it's Lady Macleod, not "loud". hmm....?

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

I've done the tag, Rob.

Dhor said...

Rob you're so COOL! Ok, interesting is the better word but COOOOLL pops in my head :)

To have camped in the arctic circle! WOW!! :)

And you have another kindred spirit in the world of barefoot. My hippie mom only wore shoes when there was snow on the ground and I of course followed suit like a good lil hippie child. :)

Of course NOW days she harps at me to wear "good support shoes" even in the house because all those years of barefoot left her with bad feet. :) Ah well she's still a happy hippie, just one in shoes. :P

Rob Clack said...

Thanks WakeUp. I love reading these little snippets of other people's lives.

Dhor I'm not cool at all. Well, apart from when we were camping in Greenland. That was bloody freezing early in the season (mid-July), though it warmed up in August.

Rob Clack said...

Oh crikey, Lady M, I'm sorry. My mother went out with a Macleod for years. How very stupid of me to get that wrong.

Kaycie said...

I've seen your comments on the blogs of some of my buddies, so thought I'd come visit.

I love to go barefoot, too. I've done it since I was a child. My husband is always telling me to go put shoes on because I make him cold walking outside in December and January with bare feet.

You're a very interesting guy. Love the poem.

Rob Clack said...

Hi Kaycie and thanks for dropping by. I love your cats, and plan to make the time to read some of your blog. I just had time to take a quick squint and recognised the photos of Notre Dame.