Friday, 13 February 2009

My 25 things


   I thought I'd avoided it, but I've been tagged by Tara on Facebook, and asked by Jo in one of her recent comments and on her blog, to share 25 random things.  So here they are (the first 22 anyway):

1. I met my wife, Sandra at a Christmas party in 1994, we were engaged on Valentines Day in 1995 and we married that Summer.

2. We live in what used to be a village but is now really just part of Bracknell, and will soon be part of Greater Reading. But my local train stop is Martins Heron – famous for being the home of the Dursleys in the Harry Potter films.

3. I’ve read the first six of the books, but then gave up. In fact, I don’t read anything like as much fiction as I used to do. Although now and again, I get gripped by something and finish it off in a couple of days (like just a couple of weeks ago, Elizabeth Kostova ‘s ‘The Historian’).

4. I also used to be very active, going ice climbing, kayaking etc, but these days I find my kids (two girls, 6 and 3,) take up pretty much all of my non-work time, and I’m very happy with the trade-off. Although I am a regular visitor to be local gym – The Royal Berks Health & Fitness Club.

5. I also spend a lot of time on the internet, particularly with social media. A couple of years ago, while writing a case study for my book, I was embarrassed by my lack of understanding of web 2.0, and committed to catching up. I’m not there yet, but I’m a lot happier with my level of understanding than I was.

6. Although I’m still not very active on Facebook. So for example, I'm actually not sure how I would post this there!  Another thing I need to do is to get some informal pictures taken and replace my professional photo shot that I’ve currently got up here (February 2009), and on some of my other social media places. But when I’m out with my family, I am the one who takes the pictures – so I don’t have many of me.

7. Most of my Facebook contacts seem to date back to the mid 1990s when I was employed at West London TEC. In some ways, this was the best job I’ve ever had – certainly the most fun. I can’t remember the name of the pub over the road (not The Moon, the other one) but I can see myself in it very clearly.

8. The most intellectually challenging job I’ve ever had was at Ernst & Young in the UK. But as yet, I’ve got no Facebook contacts at all from my time there (I guess there’s a link between these points).

9. The most horrid job I’ve ever had was at E&Y in Russia – it was just a really, really badly led firm. But Sandra and I loved our time out there. We lived 5 minutes from the Bolshoi and often went a couple of times a week. Absolutely great.

10. And I loved visiting the other countries in Central & Eastern Europe and the CIS. My favourite memory in many ways is the Spring meadows just outside Almaty, Kazakstan (being such a change from the Russian city landscapes).

11. Our final night in Russia, after having packed up all our boxes, we had to throw some things out. Sandra and I stood on the balcony, watching some tramps sifting out the stuff they liked, and drinking champanskoe (us not the tramps).

12. Sorry to go on about Russia, but it was a fairly key point in our lives. Our two daughters were born there and still have joint Russian citizenship (they keep their Russian passports until they’re 18).

13. I think my overall favourite job was with Penna – the early days, while based at the Manor House in Stoke Poges (by Stoke Park golf club). Just a truly wonderful place to go to work.

14. Sitting here watching the snow, I’m slightly depressed that apart from a few short projects, including a few months in Italy and the couple of years in Russia, I’ve spent all the rest of my working life in the UK – there’s been some good reasons for this – but I’m determined not to stay here till I retire.

15. I still need to convince Sandra of this.

16. We do at least own a flat on the Med near Perpignan, and we go there very frequently (one of the benefits of self-employment)

17. And I do get to travel a fair bit with my work – I’ve got trips coming up to Dubai, Phoenix - Arizona, Bulva - Montenegro, Bucharest…

18. However, I sometimes get rather frustrated that it seems so easy for people from other countries to come and work here, but these countries make it very hard to work there. I don’t personally feel there’s any special relationship between the UK and US while we can’t even apply for the green card lottery.

19. OK, it doesn’t help that I’ve never been very good with languages, although I have at various times spoken passable French, German, Italian and Russian. I plan to start learning some Arabic too.

20. And actually, I love England in the Summer. And although I refuse to stand during the National Anthem, I particularly enjoy waving my Union Flag around during the Summer Last Night of the Proms (the outdoor events, not the Albert Hall)

21. In the Winter I tend to retreat indoors, and watch more TV than I should. News, documentaries and science fiction. My favourite show of all time is Buffy and the best things on recently have been Survivors and Battlestar Galactica.  My favourite more serious programmes are the Andrew Marr Show and This Week.

22. I’m struggling now, and will have to come back to this later on…


I'm not tagging anyone else because I don't really like the chain mail side of this, and I think everybody's probably already been done anyway.  But if you're reading this, you're interested in reading it, and haven't been asked so far, then TAG...



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