I have to say that this kind of thing is generally met with confusion from me. I’ve received a couple of nominations before now and once I get over the beffudlement, I tend to make plans to respond before yet another silly idea for a blog leads me away from being focused. I haven’t much idea why anyone would nominate me for such a thing. And that’s not false modesty – I believe in my writing, but most of the time I’m writing to amuse myself, really. And that’s especially true with poems, where over the past couple of months I’ve written poems about my neighbour’s shed, animal sightings in lockdown. competitive parents and most recently on the blog, how frantic lockdown must have made bucket listers.
That said, I’d like to say a massive thank you to liveparentteachrepeat.com/ for my nomination. You’re too kind. No, genuinely, you’re too kind!
The Liebster Award is by bloggers for bloggers. The award is a great way to “pay it forward” in the blogging community, encouraging us bloggers to keep discovering others in the wide world of the interwebs.
The rules: the nominee thanks (and links to) the bloggers who nominated them, answers their 11 questions, and then nominates other bloggers to answer a new set of questions!
The Liebster Award is by bloggers for bloggers. The award is a great way to ‘pay it forward’ in the blogging community, encouraging us bloggers to keep discovering others in the wide world of the internet.
Apparently, I have to thank and link to the blogger who nominated me – I’ve managed that above, hopefully – before answering their 11 questions. Then I’ll nominate some other bloggers with a new set of questions. (I’ll apologise for my most likely brainless questions in advance).
Here are my answers then.
Do you still have an item from your childhood?
If they count as an itme, I still have the same hands I had as a boy of about 8, I think. Donald Trump’s got nothing on my tiny hands! Elsewhere, I have my childhood teddy bear, but only because my mother kept it. I genuinely couldn’t tell you what I named it. Other than that, I don’t think I have anything from early childhood. I do have numerous teen items – records, old magazines, football programmes and memorabilia; lots of stuff like that.
Which word of the English language annoys you?
I used to loathe the word ‘guys’. If I heard people referring to others as ‘guys’ I would shudder. It still strikes me as the kind of label that only children’s TV presenters should use. And even then, they should try not to. Nowadays I don’t really mind it. I use it sarcastically at work all the time and only my close colleagues know that I’m being cynical. I’ve still never stood in front of a class and called them ‘guys’ though, however mellow I might have become about the word. Otherwise, words don’t offend me. Words are fantastic, valuable, powerful. But at the end of the day, they’re only words. Sticks and stones are far worse, in my opinion.
Have you ever switched allegiances?
Certainly not that I’m aware of. I really value loyalty. I’m a Newcastle United fan and have been for over 40 years. If you can still loyal to that football club, you can stay loyal to anything.
Do you dislike something which is extremely popular with everyone else?
Oh, how long have you got? It’s not a cool kind of thing; I’m just very sure of what I like. Maybe the most well known one is the band Queen. I’ve never understood the attraction. I have close friends and family who love them, but they’re not for me (Queen that is, not the friends and family). There are a multitude of reasons as to why. The songs are far too overblown and complicated for me. Too much going on. And that stuff where Freddie Mercury just makes noises? I don’t care if the whole of Wembley would sing it all back at him. He’s wrong and they’re wrong. It’s just nonsense for me. Apples and strawberries for me, as well. I’ve rarely disliked anything as much! Over the years I’ve watched people bite into both, heard their noises, listened as they declare how delicious they are and watched what can only be described as their sex face. All for some fruit! Give me a banana any day!
Did you learn a new skill during lockdown?
Unusually for me, I did. Well, sort of. I’ve been learning Spanish, but only via Duolingo. My wife thinks I’ll be able to chat away to the locals when we eventually get back to Majorca, but I won’t. I’m great on the App, but as a quite forgetful person, I imagine if someone starts talking to me in actual Spanish, I’ll just crumble. I’ll have to ask them to do multiple choice drawings or word banks that I can pair up instead. I’ve also learnt lots of new exercises too. So thanks to lockdown I can squat and plank with the best of them! And the final thing I’ve learnt is that if you find a podcast on Google and click play, you can finally listen to podcasts. A revelation to this particular luddite!
Who is the most famous person you have ever met?
If we fast forward a few years the answer will be my daughter, who is forever telling me that nothing really matters because she’s going to be incredibly famous. I blame YouTube. I’ve met two icons in David Dickinson and Declan Donnelly (off of Ant and Dec). I say met, I actually just walked past them both, seperately. In all seriousness, I’ve met Paul Gasgoine, who if you’re into football, is massively famous. He started my school’s 75th anniversary cross country race and played football with a few of us beforehand. Ignoring his personal life, he’s the single most talented individual I’ve ever witnessed in the flesh. An absolute magician with a football at his feet. While I remember, I also work with the wonderful Gemma Sinclair, who as we all know is famous for Episode 3 of Educating Yorkshire, the popular Channel 4 documentary. She’s mega-talented and will ‘grapevine’ for you on request if you ever have the good fortune to meet her.
Have you ever been mistaken for somebody else?
I have and nearly all of the somebody elses have all been in some way well known. One is actually mega famous. I can’t remember who I was mistaken for that wasn’t famous. It was just some local scrote. It was also a local scrote that mistook me for a local scrote. Anyway, turns out one didn’t like the other and so when they saw me they threw a snowball in my face, grabbed me by the throat, punched me in the face and told me, “No one messes with the army’s snowballs.” True story. I was probably a good five years younger than my attacker. He was an army cadet. I bet he was cataclysmically disappointed when he later realised that the army didn’t even use snowballs in combat situations. Later in life, mistaken identity was a lot more fun. I was mistaken for a footballer called Paul Kitson at Old Trafford once when I went to see Newcastle play. Kitson played for Newcastle. He was injured at the time. So when I turned up in the bar beforehand the stars aligned and someone thought I had to be Paul Kitson. I was then serenaded with a chorus of ‘There’s only one Paul Kitson’ before people gradually realised that while this was actually true, the one Paul Kitson wasn’t standing in front of them having a pint. Finally, when I lived in Stoke I was mistaken for Robbie Williams at the height of his Take That fame. This one has been a fairly regular part of my life for a number of years and even now someone will tell me that I look just like him. I don’t. He’s chunkier than me and I don’t have any tattoos.
Would you consider plastic surgery?
No. I’m reasonably happy with how I look. I don’t look too weathered for my age and I think there’s a danger of ending up looking ridiculous at the hands of a surgeon.
What has been your most extravagant purchase to date?
I don’t really do extravagant. I bought an expensive diamond ring for my wife when I was going to propose, if that counts. That was when I finally realised I was a proper adult! I also bought myself quite an expensive watch a year or so ago, but to be fair it’s not extravagant. A few months ago I bought 5 packets of Black Jack sweets in Asda because I love them and they were reduced. High rollin’ stuff, no? When it was cutting edge technology we bought a Nintendo Wii simply because we fancied playing on it that afternoon. We were years away from having kids and had a bit of money to throw around! I also bought not one, but two sheds at the same time once. That was probably my Sultan of Brunei moment!
Which law would you repeal?
I’d get rid of the one that says cars can’t use bus lanes. It’s not because I regularly want to use them, but I did once receive an £80 fine for driving in one. I was actually going to give a lift to one of the players for my team and his dad as their car was out of action. The sign that said ‘Bus Lane’ was way above eye level and I actually cut across the bus lane to get on to another street at a junction. I didn’t even drive down the lane! I now have an irrational hatred of bus lanes. In all seriousness, I think I’d repeal the law that sends children to school at four years old. Let them play and just enjoy life for at least another couple of years.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Have more confidence in yourself. Stop thinking you’re adopted; you’re not. Become a teacher as soon as you finish university. Write more. Stay in touch with people properly, especially your sister. Don’t go out with that girl in your first year at university. You’ll know which one. She’s mental. Stop daydreaming.
Here are my questions. Sorry!
- What’s your favourite cheese?
- What is your greatest regret in life?
- What three things would you take if you were to be marooned on a desert island for a year?
- Who, in your opinion, is the greatest living human?
- What’s your go to karaoke song?
- Have you ever heard a ridiculous rumour about yourself?
- What are your worst habits?
- You have to have a song to announce you into any situation. What’s your walk on music?
- What do you miss most about being a kid?
- What’s the best thing about being an adult?
- Do you have any hidden talents?
Here are my nominees.