1. Where were you five years ago?
- In May 2005 we were still - just - living in our old house and I was feeling nostalgic and wistful about packing up to move here in mid-June. Daughter #3 was about to start Big School, so the packing inevitably involved getting rid of vast quantities of small pink items of clothing and baby toys.
- Hovering around the computer (ancient hunk of beige space junk that was finally consigned to the skip in the council tip in January) to check emails 58 times a day and see if an editor at Richmond had got back to me about my partial submission (the one that grew up to become The Italian’s Defiant Mistress a year later)
- Working, on a very part-time and reluctant basis, at Laura Ashley.Camping out in the new house while we ripped out the kitchen and knocked down walls.
Writing in bed on a laptop with Ruby the Airhead Cat while builders trooped in and out downstairs.
2. What is/was on your things to do list?
Back then my things to do list would have looked something like this…
- Finish packing
- Finish unpacking
- Finish decorating (just one room would be an achievement, but I don’t think I’ve ever managed it. When I decorate there’s always a length of skirting board or a bit of doorframe that retains its yellowing gloss paint as I always lose interest before the end.)
- Finish working at Laura Ashley
- Finish book
3. What 5 snacks do you enjoy?
- Toast and honey
- Tunnocks Tea cakes – not just because they’re utterly delicious and surely that marshmallowy stuff inside consists mainly of air and is therefore virtually calorie-free, but because their retro red and silver striped wrappers add a jaunty air to any teatime table. Although mainly I scoff them straight from the biscuit tin.
- Dark chocolate ginger biscuits.
- Chocolate-covered salted pretzels (Trenda, I love you)
- Carrot sticks*
(*one of these may not be strictly true, but has been added in the interests of promoting a healthy balanced diet to the readers of this blog.)
- This house
- The big Victorian house with the Minton tiled hallway and the collection of traffic cones in the front garden, at University in Manchester
- The studio flat He and I shared when we first got together that was so small you could make a cup of tea in the ‘kitchen’ without getting out of bed
- The 1930s house we bought because we loved its original period features, and could afford it because the estate agent called them ‘scope for modernization.’
- This house again.
5. What 5 things would you do if you were a billionaire?
I’d really love a little cottage in the middle of nowhere (as someone who is incapable of thinking far enough ahead to shop for an entire week I’m not cut out for life too far from civilization long term so a permanent move would be off the cards) but would find it impossible to choose between the wilds of Scotland, the Northumberland coast, or lush green Herefordshire cider-country, so this would be the ideal solution.
- Pay for Ruby the Airhead Cat to go into an expensive Rehabilitation Facility for Serial Bird Killers.
- Only ever wear cashmere socks.
- Still probably become an obsessive, paranoid recluse who would be convinced all my friends only like me for my money and would alienate everyone by forcing embarrassingly large amounts of cash on them all the time. My children would probably turn into despotic divas with unhealthy addictions to plastic surgery and online gambling and I’d end up living alone in my caravan with Ruby the Reformed Serial Bird Killer Cat and my collection of cashmere socks.
And that’s why I don’t bother with the lottery.