Sunday, 6 March 2011

It's official - I'm stylish

OK, I admit it's only the opinion of my friend Rosemary Gemmell, who nominated me for a Stylish Blogger Award on her website here. As usual, there's a catch, and part of the deal is that, if I accept, I have to say 7 things about myself. It doesn't stipulate whether they have to be true or not so it occurs to me that it might be fun to mix a few possibles in with the probables and see how many of the people I can fool for how much of the time. And, of course, I can justify 'lying' in this context because, as a writer, most of what I write is fictitious anyway, and yet I've thought it, so it's true. (And, to any philosophers reading this who think they can see flaws in my reasoning here, I simply say 'GO AWAY'.)

So, 7 things about me. Hmmmm, now let me see ...

1. I once did a parachute jump for a TV programme. During the 2 hours training I had before the jump/shoot, I thought it was a waste of time telling me about how to align or adjust my body shape if I found I was coming down amongst trees or near power lines. After all, I’d only be making one jump – over rolling Perthshire farmland. The landing area was marked with a big white cross in the middle of a huge field. One cameraman jumped out with me but the main camera crew were clustered around the cross. I landed on the other side of a wood, 2 fields away amongst a herd of Highland cattle.

2. I won the 6th form English prize at school. When the teacher announced it to the class he did so as if he were telling us all that a 3-toed sloth had just beaten Usain Bolt over 200 metres.

3. I once built a Mirror sailing dinghy in my study. I measured the doors and corridor very carefully several times to make sure we’d be able to carry it out when it was finished. When the time came, it looked huge. But my son and I had no trouble getting it onto the grass outside.

4. In a children’s novel of mine that’ll be out later this year, I use several sailing-related experiences of my own (including the boatbuilding one) for the story. Another one is when I was sailing a dinghy in beautiful Loch Ewe with a friend. We were beating upwind in the middle of the loch when a nasty squall came over. My friend, who hadn’t done much sailing, started singing hymns. They obviously didn’t work because we were dismasted and just blown all the way back to where we’d started from.

5. As a student, I spent a year in the Franco-British college in the Cité Universitaire in Paris. One night we were playing cards when there was a terrifying explosion. A terrorist had detonated a bomb at the entrance to the US college on the opposite side of the single track road. The confusion after an event like that is indescribable. So is the depression you feel at the fact that people are capable of doing such things.

6. My first published work was a parody of John Masefield’s poem Cargoes. His was about ships, mine was about dogs.

7. All of the above are true.

Part of the deal is to pass the award on. Rosemary’s already nominated some of the ones I’d have chosen, so I’ll just add, in no particular order:

Scary Azeri

Murderous musings

Montana for real

Linda Faulkner

Marley Delarose

Sandie procrastinates

Mysterious writers


  1. Thank you! Was fun reading 7 things about you.

  2. Stylish, witty, erudite... the list goes on and on and on and on.

  3. All enlightening and believable except for No.1
    That you threw yourself out of a perfectly good airplane I find very hard to believe, Bill.

  4. Bill, Thank you for passing on the award.

    I enjoyed learning more about you and commend you for the parachute jump. It's NOT something I'd do under any circumstances (I'm afraid of heights).

    My youngest daughter (who is also afraid of heights) will be jumping out of an airplane on April 30thm for the second year in a row, to raise awareness and funds for the organization SOAR (Speaking Out About Rape). While her fundraising efforts are commendable and somewhat understandable as a motive to jump out of a plane, I simply can't fathom your reasoning.

  5. Thanks all.

    Michael, you obviously want something. Whatever it is, you can have it.

    Janice and Linda, I too am terrified of heights. The strange thing was that the small plane we went up in was so noisy and wobbly that I was glad to jump out - seriously. Because then you're just floating down enjoying the view. (Except that I had to do a commentary as I was doing it.)

  6. But of course that's all true, including the stylish bit! I used to want to parachute until my sense of self-preservation took over from my adventurous side.

  7. Thanks for the vote, Bill - much appreciated!

    Seven things, eh? Rightie ho... shall put on my thinking cap.

    Congratulations on the parachute jump - my vertigo is so bad I'd need to be drugged and pushed... there's something psychotic, I think, about anyone who *chooses* to fling themselves out of a plane - parachute or not, it's the same madness to me.

  8. Strange how it's the parachute that's united you all. And yet I won't believe any of you is more scared of heights than I am. Somehow, that didn't enter the equation. No idea why.

  9. Thanks, Bill. I'm flatttered and happy to accept the Stylish Blogger Award. I can just imagine you jumping out of an airplane. I'm terribly acrophobic and would probably die of fright before I hit the ground.

  10. I have to admit to being intrigued by the parachute jump as well. We must crave adventure and admire people who actually step out and pursue it. And you've made this fun, tossing in the lies. I'll work on it!

  11. You're welcome, Jean. I'm glad your interviews are continuing.

    In the end, Marley, there weren't any lies. It's amazing what you remember when you have to come up with answers to things like this.