Sunday, February 04, 2007

Five things you may not know about me

Ooh! Ooh! Zef tagged me! Sorry it's taken a while Zef - I didn't realise I was "it". So here goes - Five Things You May Not Know About Me.

[1] I could read and write before I went to school

I guess my mum must have taught me, and she also instilled in me a life-long love of reading and writing.

The first word I ever wrote was "dog", in purple crayon on a piece of wood I'd been playing with. I have no idea why I chose to use a piece of wood instead of a piece of paper. There was a picture of a dog next to it that I drew in brown crayon. I may have got my d's and b's mixed up - it's possible that my first written word was actually "bog" or maybe even "god". Or "gob".

I was so good at reading by the time I started infant school at four-and-a-half, that our teacher had to tell me to keep quiet during Flash Card sessions 'cos I wasn't letting anyone else get a word in edgeways. By the end of my second year at school I'd raced through every single reading scheme book they possessed, so they let me loose in the school library instead. Wonderful!

Later, mum would take us to the local library every Friday after school, where we were allowed to choose 3 books to take home for the week. By the time we got home, I'd be halfway through the first book.

[2] I was the last girl in my class to wear a bra

...and also the last to get my period. My headteacher took my mum aside and told her she thought I was a "late developer", and not to worry. I have to say it was somewhat annoying, having to wear a stoopid vest when all my friends were prancing around showing off their training bras in the gym changing rooms.

Mind you, I quite like being a "late developer" these days. It means most people have no idea how old I actually am - they usually guess around 10 years younger. Ha!Ha! Long may it last!

[3] My first taste of "fame" was when I was 12 years old

I entered a competition in our local newspaper, which involved tracking down historical and geographical information about our city, in order to answer a dozen local knowledge questions. Today I could probably Google the answers in 10 minutes, but back then (before the internets were invented) it involved hours of research in the library, and journeys to various places around town to find all the answers.

I slipped up and gave the name of the first Mayor of Birmingham instead of the first Lord Mayor, but because I was only a kid and I'd got all the other answers right they sent a photographer over to our house to take my picture, and they put a little article about me in the paper. Woohoo!

[4] I have an honours degree (BSc) in Biological Sciences

...and a Post-Graduate Certificate of Education, specialising in infant teaching.

My final year dissertation was on The effects of Sulphur dioxide (SO2) pollution on the metabolism, physiology, growth and yield of green plants.

My final year project was entitled The predatory behaviour of wild passerines: The adoption of a Specific Searching Image for artificial prey exhibiting both colour and shape polymorphism. I know you really wanted to know that.

I loved doing my degree. It was absolutely fascinating. Plus being a student was the best fun ever. Initially I wanted to be a marine biologist like my hero, Jacques Cousteau. Then I decided I wanted to do population research with my project supervisor Professor Brian Clarke, 'cos I had a bit of an academic crush on him. He offered me a PhD place if my degree was good enough, but alas the lazy webweaver genes kicked in and I didn't start revising for my finals until two weeks before they began.

I got 20 hours sleep in a week of exams, filled my short-term memory with screeds of facts every night, which I regurgitated onto paper and instantly forgot the following day - and ended up with a 2:2 instead of the expected 2:1. My own stupid fault, and it put paid to my academic career. Never mind! I went travelling the world with Andy Brown instead!

[5] The last boy I kissed was David Long, former guitarist with The Mutton Birds

He was my boyfriend for a while, and I thought he was pretty wonderful. We met at the after-party for a play I'd helped my mate Bruce do the scenery for, when we were introduced by a mutual friend. We got chatting, discovered mutual interests (I was organising The Gathering at the time and he, of course, was a musician) and for a couple of hours the world around us disappeared as we talked, and talked, and talked.

I was sure he'd get in touch again (and if he hadn't done so I'd planned to ask our friend to invite us both to dinner), and sure enough he did, with a careful invitation to meet another friend of his for whom I might be interested in doing some work. We got together soon after, and for a while things seemed to be going really well.

But I frightened him away by unguardedly talking too soon about The Future and my dreams of having a little house together. Such a shame, he was a really lovely guy (even though it was a little weird having our meals sometimes interrupted by Mutton Birds fans wanting to talk to him when we went out to dinner!)

So there you go, and now you know....

Okay - I'm tagging Rose, Bronya, and MissD. Go for it, guys! It's your turn! And make sure you let me know when it's up, 'kay???

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