Life’s big questions

A couple of weeks ago The Pixelated Parent sent me a Liebster Award. It’s a kind of blogger chain letter which, in a fun way, allows bloggers to draw attention to the work of other bloggers they like. Having already accepted a Liebster challenge earlier this year I was about to turn down The Pixelated Parent. But something prompted me to read the questions she posed. They made me smile and I couldn’t resist answering them, together with ten facts about myself. I’m not passing this on, but I want to say thank you to The Pixelated Parent for helping to pull me out of a recent writing slump. Here goes:

What is your ‘signature dish’?
Vegetable stir fry with noodles, refined and improved over many years and now, depending on what’s in the cupboard, served in lime or satay varieties. And, though not strictly a ‘dish’, I make a mean soda bread.

What initially inspired your blog?
Alun Anderson, former editor-in-chief of New Scientist magazine! I met him when I was an academic through our shared interest in the Arctic, and when I told him about my plans to buy a boat, he advised me to blog about it.

If you could go into Space, would you?
When I was a child one of my heroines was Valentina Tereshkova, Russian cosmonaut and first woman in space. I so wanted to be an astronaut. But, given the environmental footprint of each rocket launch and the insane amounts of money spent on space exploration when there is so much poverty here on planet Earth, space travel now seems morally and ethically questionable to me.

What is the most important thing you want to pass on to your children?
Kindness. Empathy. Wonder. Enthusiasm. Comfort in their own skin.

Where is the greatest place you have ever been?
Croke Park, late summer-early autumn when the GAA championship is at its height. More specifically, Croke Park, August 2nd 1998, when Kildare became Leinster Champions for the first time in 42 years. If I could relive one day in my life again, it would be that day.

What is the last book you read?
The Wild Places by Robert MacFarlane. Finished it last night. Beautiful, poetic, and helping me to re-imagine the meaning of wilderness.

If you could be anyone in The World for a month, who would it be?
I’d like to inhabit the body of Ellen Macarthur, so I could absorb her sailing knowledge and skill and return to Carina and my own sailing life more confident and experienced than I currently am.

Do you have any pets?
Sadly, no. I grew up with dogs and cats and I thought it would be impossible to bring up children of my own without having dogs in the family. I know a few live aboard dogs, and maybe one day we will add one to our family.

Do you have any weird and wonderful skills?
I can skin a caribou, flense a beluga whale and gut a fish.

In a dream universe, what would you be doing ten years from now?
Sailing in the South Pacific, flitting from one idyllic anchorage to the next with my husband and teenage (yikes!) daughters, and earning a comfortable living from writing.

Ten things about me:
1. I hate marmalade.
2. ‘You’re so vain’ is my karaoke song.
3. I played the taiko drum when I lived in Japan.
4. I have a humpback whale tattoo.
5. ‘Thunder Road’ and ‘Born to run’ are my all time favourite songs.
6. I am a devoted disciple of the Church of Wittertainment.
7. I’m scared of frogs.
8. Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy is my favourite book. I’ve read it four times.
9. I don’t get Star Wars.
10. I had a Sinead O’Connor-style shaved head for two years in my mid-20s.

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