There’s a meme going around the Indonesian blogosphere whereby we get tagged and then expose ourselves. Jakartass was set up to keep family and friends in touch with me; I now have about 200 regular readers, including subscribers, so folk who can be bothered will already know a lot about me .
1. I was adopted at the same time as my sister, who’s not biologically related and fifteen months younger. I’m told that my hands and feet were tied to the sides of my cot in the kid’s sanctuary, which may explain my height and my nail-biting habit. It is also the defining factor in my psychological make up.
2. Given my birthday, I think I was conceived on the night of Victory in Europe Day, so I was an accident waiting to happen.
3. (Sir) Richard Branson of Virgin fame was delivered by the same doctor as my sister and me. He may have been Dr. Pink who my mother worked for and who, ahead of his time, advocated Bircher Muesli which became our breakfast for too many years.
4. I was raised as a vegetarian, a legacy of food rationing in the post-war years, and my mother was an amazing cook. I still salivate at the thought of her nut roast, bean casseroles and, oh frabjous joy, her fruit cake. Above all, every afternoon when we got back from school my sister and I could have a wodge of bread pudding which used up the previous week’s left over bread – and bread pudding.
5. We lived in Shooter’s Hill Road, which now features in the early stages of the London Marathon. So every year I summon ‘Er Indoors and Our Kid and say, look, there’s my childhood home.
6. In 1970 I was secretary of our local (borough) union strike committee when teachers in London became the first to selectively withdraw labour. We wanted an interim pay award of £132 p.a. We got £125, and I nearly got sued for libel for quoting the leader of the London’s Education Committee as saying that we were lucky to earn more than we would have got on the dole.
7. I’ve been arrested twice, once for ‘obstruction of a footpath’, which was already blocked off by the police. The other time our street of squats, described as a “hippy stronghold” on the front page of the Times, was raided by the bomb squad. Traffic violations, visa overstays and possession of a ‘quid deal’ were the charges brought as a result of the sledgehammers through our doors. Our houses now feature as the locale for a film due out around now called Somers Town.
8. I’ve known a lot of musicians, have built up three collections of LPs, then cassettes, and now CDs and MP3s, but I can’t play a musical instrument.
9. I used to smoke a pipe. I carried a tobacco tin labelled Baby’s Bottom (None Smoother than …. ). It probably contained substances from war zones, and I don’t mean from Aranmore Island off the coast of Donegal, Ireland in 1969.
10. When I came to Indonesia, Son.No.1 was 11, I told him that I would be where he could find me until he was 18. I dreamed of then over going over the Andes and down the Amazon. He’s now 32 and has been here a dozen (?) times whilst I’ve been back to the UK just once but generally not been further than Singapore.
Lovely Rima in Belgium has agreed to join this thread. She says she can find others within our mutual blog world who can follow suit.