Monday, 23 February 2009

...or not untrue, and not unkind

I'm hopeless with these 'tag' things. I've now got three of them stacked up like planes at Luton airport, so I'd better bring the first one in to land. Actually, it's been circling so long that Definitely Stopping at Two has either flown off somewhere else or changed it's name, and I can't find an up-t-date link. I told you I was terrible at these. Anyway, the challenge is to list ten ‘honest and interesting things about yourself’. Ten! TEN? Honest? And interesting?
A quick survey of the family confirmed my worst fears – there just aren’t enough interesting things to go round. True, no problem; I can do 'true'. But interesting and true? Philip Larkin wrote in ‘Talking in Bed’ about the difficulty of finding words both ‘true and kind, or not untrue, and not unkind’ and I feel I'm in the same position (although I'm not in bed). It is true that I like being at home - I love seeing Charlie changing day-to-day, and being there for him - but is it interesting? Before I became a teacher I used to be a a chain-man; now that is interesting - but is it true? And then there's the fact (or is it fiction?) that I used to read out 'Tufty' stories on the radio (aged nine).
'May you live in interesting times' runs the Chinese curse. The problem is I feel I've just missed most of the interesting things to have happened in my lifetime, like The Beatles (too young, although I 'bounced' along to Yellow Submarine, according to my mum) and the first moon-landing (although my dad did wake me up to watch Apollo 17 splash-down). And if I had my time again, I think I'd like to be a singer. I came late to using my voice as an instrument (after trying the entire orchestra, almost!) and only started having lessons in my thirties. To be told you might, just possibly have earned a living at it at that stage is rather disappointing, although it is true that I sang once with Kiri Te Kanawa, Willard White and Sally Burgess. It's also true (or is it?) that I've performed before an entire palace full of royalty at different times, from the Queen (whom I mistook for her mother!) to Prince Charles (who was so deeply sun-tanned as to be rendered invisible when the auditorium lights were dimmed) and his erstwhile wife, Diana - who was a little piqued that Paul McCartney got a bigger cheer when taking his seat than she had done. Oh well. Two more to go. I'm distantly related to Sir Cuthbert Broderick (apparently) - the architect of Leeds Town Hall and Scarborough's Grand Hotel (among other things). That's true, as is the fact that - in his honour - I secretly wanted to call Charlie 'Cuthbert' but Sarah would have none of it. Perhaps it's for the best.


  1. That's one of the best list post I've read!

  2. Cor! A 'singist' - never too old to enjoy that...The sun was well over my yardarm when I joined a ladies barbershop chorus as a baritone - I'd duet with you in cyberspace, anytime! And that's true.

  3. Yes, the most interesting 10 I have ever read. I am most impressed that you can sing, perhaps you could post a little song for us sometime!

  4. There is a great pub in Leeds called the Cuthbert Broderick, just behind the town hall. I wondered where it had got its name from so there you go!

    Think of your boys future...Charlie is a much nicer name.

  5. Well, of course, I'm delighted you think so, S. What does 'S' stand for, by the way?

    Now that IS impressive, Jinksy. But is it true?

    I may get to post something sometime, AM. There are recordings, I'm afraid. Mind you, there are recordings of me reading road safety stories on Radio Humberside too!

    Well, I didn't know about the pub, Mary. Not quite sure what my teetotal great-aunt - who researched the family tree and found out about him - would have made of that!

  6. Very interesting facts. You could have given Charlie the middle name Broderick. That would have been almost a cunning plan to get round Sarah's objections to Cuthbert.

  7. Damn! I wish I'd thought of that, Troy.

  8. Charlie will always be grateful to Sarah...

  9. By the time Charlie is an adult Cuthbert might be the coolest name on the planet ("... Cuthbert Smith cuts through the defence and slots the ball into the back of the net to score his seventh goal and give England a 10-0 lead over Brazil in the World Cup Final with only seconds remaining...) You might rue the day!

  10. I will if Cuthbert really wins the World Cup for England, DD. But somehow I think Scarlett might be right!

  11. "Cuthbert" is a famous name around here but I can understand Sarah's reservations. My great Uncle was called "Thornley" after a famous? footballer. He hated the name and always preferred to be called Tom.

    A singer eh? (My husband has a good story about Nina Simone...not that I'm suggesting that you look like Nina Simone!?!) Sounds like a good ambition to me. I got your book for my birthday and it's on the top of my pile of books to read. Looking forward to it..... :)

  12. Cuthbert??? OMG, Charlies had a lucky escape! My husband wanted to call my daughter "Tara". Nothing wrong with it in the UK, but "tara" in Italian means "flaw" or "hereditary defect"!!!
    We listen to Radio Humberside, do you still do ant recording for them? Ciao. Antonella

  13. My son has mixed feelings about being named after his great-great-uncle (the Family Hero). I suspect my grandson, whose name appears quite normal, will want to keep its entirety a secret (it's not Sam/Samson, but it's along those lines). I rather like Cuthbert though, and I certainly like your not-quite list.

  14. I actually like the name Cuthbert!

    Any chance of a bloggy video performance of your vocal talent?

  15. No idea if they are true but they were interesting to read!

  16. I thought at first glance you said you used to be a 'chin man' and it set my mind a-wanderin'. Leg man, breast man and bum man - yes, I can understand it - but a chin man? When I realised my error, I also wondered about being a 'chain man'. Do explain.

    I know what you mean about these tags. they do weigh one down a bit - but yours was very good to read

  17. Great reading but what is a Chain man? And whats wrong with Cuthbert eh? Thats what i'd like to know.
    Philip Larkin eh? Nows there's a REAL man!

    Afraid you've been tagged again - sorry xxx

  18. Hee hee, fantastic. And I don't know what a chain man is either. Is that bad?

    And now we need to hear you sing.

  19. Yes, "Cuthbert" would have not served him in well in the playground. But then when I was a schoolboy Charlie might not have done either, whereas now it's probably as common as you like!

  20. Ah, of course Hadriana - the north's most famous Saint. Maybe calling Charlie after him would not have been a good idea, although he likes ducks!

    Not for... ooh, over thirty years, Antonella. I was nine when I did the last one. Radio Humberside's been in terminal decline ever since!

    It's such a good way of perpetuating these old family tales, Z. I'm all in favour of it. As it is, however, both of Charlie's first names are unique to him.

    Well, maybe a bloggy audio performance, some day, B&R. Honestly, you'd not know where to look if you saw me as well!

    Well, they were all true, DJK. Tease, aren't I?

    Actually, a chin-man would probably be more interesting than a chain-man, FF.

    A chain-man does exactly what the name suggests, Jenny - drags a chain. In my case along miles of East Yorkshire's roads, while surveyors and the like totted up the numbers. Next thing you knew, there'd be a motorway constructed through your back garden.

    I think 'need' is going a bit too far, Jo. But then, I know what it sounds like!

    Absolutely, Gadj. And we've probably got the Prince of Charles to thank for it.

    I wish, Daphne.

  21. A very interesting post! I think you have many a fine tale to tell dear Charlie and I'm sure he will be impressed at his dad's successes.

    CJ xx

  22. I am sure that all of us, if we had a choice, would have preferred to have been born earlier or later, than we actually were.

  23. Oh, and I can do a nice line in embellishment, CJ, too.

    Interesting point, SC. At the risk of becoming a Philip Larkin bore I do remember him saying how much he'd have missed had he died rather than being born in 1922. He was a jazz fanatic.

  24. What ever happened to Tufty?!


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