I was tagged a while ago by the highly-talented Laura of Eat, Drink, Live with the ‘four things’ meme that’s going around. So, here are my highly scintillating answers…
Door-to-door sales person: I lasted precisely one day at this – and only because I was being dragged around in a car with a training group and couldn’t get away more quickly. It made me sick to the stomach to watch the oily team leader go to work on persuading vulnerable grannies that they really wanted restaurant vouchers that they couldn’t afford. Yuk.
Shopgirl on the Royal Mile, Edinburgh: I worked for a couple of student summers in a shop selling vastly overpriced (but suprisingly nice) knitwear to tourists. Because this put us in the heart of Festival territory, we spent a bit of time gawping at any famous people walking by, who were trying to be ‘normal’. Like Christopher Lloyd – looking very grumpy and lost – or Terry Gilliam, who came into the shop and bought a jumper for his wife. We were all very unreasonably overexcited and star-struck. But no one did a silly walk or quoted Python at him, so I think we carried ourselves through the occasion with some measure of dignity.
Scotland: it’s where we used to go on holidays when I was a kid and I loved it to pieces. May explain why I ended up going to uni there too.
Paris: went with an ex-boyfriend. Should have gone on my own.
Australia: I travelled for a month around Oz when I was 25 and just wish that I’d stayed for longer. Have grand plans to go back one day…
Dingle: this one’s special as it was during my first trip to Dingle with Mr B that we decided to get married. No big sweeping proposal (sorry to any romance fans out there), just a mutual decision and then celebration with a couple of pints of Guinness and some Murphy’s icecream. But not at the same time (although nearly).
4 favourite foods… (this one is subject to change on a whim at any given moment)
Mikado biscuits: this is a recent discovery, since moving to Ireland, and one that can do no favours for the waistline. If you’ve never encountered a Mikado before, it’s a biscuit composed of marshmallow, jam and coconut. So the nutritional value is absolute zero. Complete crud. And, in the run-up to Christmas, I’ve discovered that you can buy big variety boxes of them and that they have a close cousin in chocolate form. The outlook for my figure isn’t good.
Pickled cucumber: it’s a family thing. My maternal grandad used to make jars of the stuff, which we’d greedily consume every time we went round to visit. Better than anything you can buy in the shops. Unfortunately, Grandad was never the type to write down recipes and, now that he’s passed on, no one knows how to replicate the master formula. I’ve tried and failed miserably.
Bread: I went on one of those detox diets once – you know the kind I’m talking about: you give up everything that offers any kind of pleasure in the hope of losing a couple of grams. This particular version (lets call it the Varol Corderman diet) included sacrificing bread. I lasted for two exceedingly grumpy days before I cracked and stuffed my face after passing a bakery.
Apples: or, more precisely, apples with cinnamon. What a perfect combination. Apple pie, apple cake, apple pancakes, apple muffins… Oh the possibilities.
4 places I’d rather be…
In a second-hand bookshop – nothing like a good rummage through the stacks looking for hidden gems. And the smell of books gently mouldering has a magical appeal that makes me all giddy and child-like.
In The Manna House Bakery in Edinburgh – rosemary and rocksalt-spiked fougasse that will make your jaw ache with its chewyness (in a good way, of course), apple brioche with a suprise custardy centre and many other wonderful bakery gems to boot. Why did I ever think I could do a detox that involved giving up bread? Madness.
Back in Italy with Mr B – we went there for our honeymoon last year. I managed to badly hurt my leg by falling down some stairs during the first few days, which put a serious limit on our sight-seeing etc (especially in Florence, where there was a beautifully-timed taxi strike). It didn’t ruin our holiday, just constrained it a bit. So it would be wonderful to go back and explore everywhere properly. And next time I’ll look where I’m going before wandering down some slippery stairs.
Sitting on the Dingle Peninsula, eating sandwiches on a sunny day, admiring the nearby Blasket Islands before heading back to town for some more Murphy’s icecream.