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.
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