Saturday, May 19, 2007

Lillie interviews me

Pauline has started a round of interviews between bloggers. She sent her questions to Lillie, who answered them, and then invited others to be interviewed by her. I was one of those who agreed, and she has now sent me her questions. So here goes…..

1. So far, what decade of life (in general) do you think is the best? Why?

I find it difficult to answer this ‘in general’, as I think it may be so different for each individual. For me, I would say firstly my teens, when I was happy at home and in my co-educational boarding school, conscious of learning and growing physically, emotionally and intellectually, but still without real responsibilities. But then I would say also my 20s, full of experimentation, adventure, drama, falling in and out of love, and eventually getting married. Then my 30s were pretty good, as I produced four beautiful sons one after another. Maybe the 40s and 50s slipped by less remarkably, but my 60s and 70s perked up again as I got my second wind and discovered new roles to fulfil.

So, trying to return to ‘the general’, perhaps I would suggest that the best decade(s) are those in which we feel we have been most ourselves, most interested in and stimulated by life and most achieving - and who can say which decades those will be for any person?

2. What is the favourite thing of each of your senses?

Sound: the sea or running water; morning birdsong;

Sight: green growth; country landscapes;

Smell: it’s a tossup between freshly baked bread and roasting meat;

Taste: halva; anything nutty, but it is halva which gets me eating
compulsively, in the way that I understand many people eat chocolate.

Touch: a man’s naked body against mine – at least I think so, but it’s been a long time!

3. Name five people, fictional or historical, you would like to invite
to a dinner party and tell us why.

Jesus of Nazareth
:: because I would like to hear the Christian story from the source.

Richard Dawkins :: because I would like to hear him argue the case against God with Jesus.

Jane Austen :: to have the benefit of her woman’s observation and wit on the social scene of today.

Rameses II, Egyptian Pharaoh 1304-1237 B.C. :: for insights into a fascinating civilisation from the past. (If I knew who were the principal recorders of those times, I might invite one of them instead.)

And breaking from the prescribed terms for this question, a living person from the UK TV programme “Have I got news for you?” – a satirical quiz on current events:

Paul Merton :: British comedian, for his sharp, off-the-cuff, instantaneous humour.

[PLEASE NOTE: I could offer no guarantees as to the success of the party!]

4. What activity do you wish you had either done or done more of? Explain.

Dancing :: I was embarrassed as a child when asked to ‘perform’ at a children’s party, feeling clumsy and uninspired. As a teenager I began to enjoy ballroom dancing, but had few opportunities as an adult for enjoying it. Then suddenly, in my 50s, after my children had left home, I began attending classes in Ballroom, Latin American, Disco and Scottish Country Dancing, and at the same time began to watch every possible kind of dancing which could be found on TV.

I soon felt a terrible restlessness within me, as though I had all these moves in my body, locked up and trying to beat their way out. I sensed that dancing could free me physically, emotionally and spiritually. But it was already too late to begin any sort of serious training in any of the disciplines, and although I continued to attend classes and gain medals in the beginners’ grades, I had no regular partner, which made the whole exercise rather sad. Maybe I just imagine that “I could have been a dancer”, but my body still yearns when I hear any music with a danceable beat. I even created a workshop for fellow ‘oldies’ called “Dancing Sitting Down”.

5. Of what are you most proud?

I have no higher education qualification or professional training, and the jobs I took after leaving school were marking time until – I hoped – I should marry and start a family. I am proud therefore of the ‘career’ I eventually made for myself over a period of about 10 years in my 50s, based on my voluntary position as a school governor.

I got involved at local and national level in organisations dedicated to governor support and training, and along with governor colleagues, worked closely in these areas with our County Council’s Education Department, implementing new government legislation. Despite, or perhaps because, I maintained a sturdy political independence, I gained the trust and respect of both county councillors and education officers, and was eventually co-opted on to the Education Committee, as the first governor representative to hold this seat, newly-created by our Council for the purpose. I don’t often blow my own trumpet, but a friend once said of me that I was ‘completely straight’, and that is certainly what I always try to be, going for the best outcome with no secondary political or personal agendas.

The story was told about me that on one occasion when the representatives of the political parties at County Hall met with the Education Officer to appoint school governors, my name came forward. The representative of one party asked: “She’s not one of ours is she?” The member for another party replied: “Well, she’s not one of ours”, and the education officer said: “No, she’s not anybody’s”. He didn’t like me, and I didn’t like him, but I reckoned he couldn’t have paid me a better compliment!

Bonus :: What luxury is the very last you’d be willing to give up?

On the assumption that family and friends are not luxuries, my choice would be :: My hairdresser, with my computer coming a close second.

Directions for the Interview Meme:
1. Leave me a comment saying "Interview Me."
2. I will respond by asking you 5 questions. (I get to pick the questions.)
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them 5 questions.


Pauline said...

This was a delightful read, Judith, and you are a remarkable woman.

Lee said...

I second Pauline's comment. I can just see Richard Dawkins passing the water to JC saying 'Fancy a little more chardonnay?'.

Marty: said...

I'm reading your blog regularly. I liked learning more about you.

Helen said...

Hear, hear, truly remarkable.

Lillie said...

Thank you, Judith! Oh, to be a fly on the wall at that party!

Judith said...

It might be a complete frost, of course. Who can say whether there would be a real discussion between JC and RD? They might be so baffled by each other that both fell silent with frustration! It really wasn't a well-matched party either. Rameses would have needed an interpreter for a start. I think I would have taken refuge in the kitchen and been as long as possible bringing in the next course.

Judith said...

Forgot to say, I liked your comment Lee. Perhaps I could have relied on JC to 'cater' the whole meal for me.

J Cosmo Newbery said...

Yes, I suspect the party may not run smoothly but should be a great event to watch.