Once upon a time an amiable, rum-drinking blogger called Kateonthinice was commanded to answer eleven personal questions, publicly, in the middle of the blogosphere. This she did with deftness and dignity. At the very same time time, a long way off, Melksham Mum was grappling a more fiendish task. She was required to disclose twelve 'fun' facts about herself, then answer twelve set questions, while remaining all the while witty and entertaining. This she too did with deftness and dignity. But there is a sting in the tail. Both were then obliged to devise questions of their own and swivel the spotlight onto a dozen blameless bloggers. And both have pounced on me. I am honoured and I am excited, but I am also alarmed for journalists are not accustomed to providing answers and readers are probably not very interested in wading through them.
Eleven fun facts about Me
1. I love violent rain. When the heavens open I dash out and prance round the garden until I am exhilaratingly soaked.
2. I once leapt up from a punt as it approached a footbridge, hauled myself up and over the rails and dropped back into the punt as it passed out the other side. Only I landed on the head of a young stranger and I was wearing a floaty summer dress at the time and he was friendless and grateful and for the next two days he...no, actually, that memory is not very fun.
4. I can't think of any more fun facts about me. Everything I know about myself I've revealed before here.
Now for Kate's questions:
1. If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing about mums' lives today, what would it be and why?
Tricky one. We are all miracles of creation, but I feel God slipped up on two things: teeth and patience. As one toils through the fifth decade, one gets a bit short on both so I should wish for unlimited reserves the latter (with a few of the former thrown in).
2. How many hours or minutes of housework do you do per day?
I do spend several minutes a day thinking about it. Does that count? And since I've discovered hygiene wipes I swab the loo when I've cleaned my teeth.
3. If you could change careers, what would you change to?
4. What is your favourite cocktail?
Don't rate cocktails. Is gin and tonic one? That's fine when there's no beer about, but why would anyone be anywhere without beer?
5. What is your claim to fame?
Never made any claim to fame. I modelled for a Cadburys Chocolate Buttons ad when I was three and The Telegraph once ran a big picture of me when I mastered the rudiments of cat language from a 200-page primer.
6. What is the quirkiest object in your home?
My father, when he comes to stay. He owns a Vicky Pollard costume.
7. Charity Shop Or Designer Boutique?
Charity shop. 'Labels' annoy me. My winter coat was £8 from Help the Aged, bought in anticipation of funerals, and I picked up The Hits of George Formby cheap while I was at it.
8. How many hours of the day are you away from your own house?
Never. Just about never. Apart from trudging to and from school four times a day and manning the church tea urn on Fridays. My commute to work is up the stairs, over recumbent cats and toys-in-transit, to the vicarage guest room, except on Tuesdays when I drink lattes in a glass office.
9. What is your guilty pleasure?
Blogging and Tweeting. Officially I am Against technology. I haven't even learnt the number of the brick-like mobile phone my mother made me buy eight years ago. But blogging and tweeting have both unexpectedly ensnared me and are ruining my reputation so, like an addict, I tend to do both on the sly up in said guest room, while pretending urgent household chores to my family
10. Retro or Modern?
See answer to Question 9. What do you reckon?
11. What is the one challenge you are most proud of overcoming?
Vanquishing, with my pickaxe, an obdurate swathe of clay where my new pond was to be.
Next up, for any stragglers still with me, the inquisition from Melksham Mum.
1. Who is your celebrity crush?
Always liked the look of Jeremy Northam and I'd swallow my own cooking for Doris Day, but crushes, no. I fantasise more about John Innes.
2. What is your tipple of choice?
3. Who was the first musical act you saw live?
Michael Jackson in Romania. For a newspaper article. Not that I actually saw him. He was an occasional pinprick figure on a virulent horizon. Mostly it was people gyrating in cut-off bin liners.
4. What was the first car you owned?
A Skoda Felicia. When I was 32. It was a felicitous choice. Even when I once left the keys hanging in the driver's door overnight noone tried to make off with it.
5. Where were you born and do you still live anywhere near there?
I was born (and lived out my first year) in Richmond, Surrey and now, after a brief tour of the Home Counties, live at the other end of the capital. Near enough in miles but, when you're wedged in a snarl of Eddie Stobarts on the M25, very very far.
6. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
7. Can you speak any foreign languages fluently?
I'm supposed to speak German fluently and French with competence but, like the teeth, bits keep dropping off with age.
8. What fictional book would you recommend I read?
Tom's Midnight Garden.
9. What is your best skill?
Like many expensively-educated people I find myself ill-quipped for most things in life. But I've carved a living from writing...
10. Facial hair (on a man!) - Yes or No?
No. But my husband is pretty tolerant of the stray bristles that are upsettingly sprouting on me.
11. Marmite - love or hate?
12. Brandon Flowers - Hot or Not?
Never heard of him.
Nearly done now. Just have to pass on the challenge to eleven bloggers to please Kate and twelve for Melksham Mum. I don't know that many bloggers. So I'll just try to tempt a few favourites who have probably suffered the imposition already.
Here come the Girls
The Voice of Sarah Miles
Random Pearls of Wisdom
These are the 11 questions I should like them to answer:
If you could have an audience with any British monarch which would it be?
What is the most frightening thing that has ever happened to you?
If you appeared on Desert Island Disc what would your luxury be?
What kind of museum or gallery exhibition would you cross a city to see?
What would you choose as your last meal?
If you became leader of a political party what would your slogan be?
What piece of music makes your pulse race?
What human quality to do value most highly?
What is your greatest regret?
Can you do a forward roll (if yes, photographic evidence is required)
What would you like your epitaph to be?
What ingredients do you rate in a blog?