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:
Montana for real