Tuesday, 24 November 2009

And the odd one out was...

...number 2. Here are the details for all the true or false statements from the last post:

1.My Mum was born and brought up in Scotland so even though I don't feel very Scottish (especially now I live here) you probably could say that I am at least a tiny bit that way.

This is true. My Mum's parents eloped from England in the 1920s. I think it would be fair to say that my beautiful redheaded Grandma was not considered a suitable match for the Grandad I never met – she was a young shop girl from the Wiltshire countryside and he was older and from a much more middle class background, quite well-off. They settled in Edinburgh, he got a sales job and they had three children but then he died and another whole chapter started for my Grandma and those bairns (they were evicted and then forgotten by his family...but that's a story for another time). My Mum did stay in Edinburgh her whole childhood but I don't think she's ever considered herself Scottish (though she does sometimes call herself an 'Edinburgh girrrl'). I suppose that's one the reason I don't feel at all Scottish – that and being born and brought up in England myself.
Mark is more conventionally half Scottish (his Mum was born and grew up in Glasgow and is most definitely Scottish) and all that does mean our daughter is...well...how Scottish exactly? She sounds the most English in her class but looks the most Scottish!
p.s. Hope, you were nearly right...my Mum would call herself English and she does go to quaker meeting but she's not technically a quaker (it is a society and, these days particularly, you have to join). It's my Dad's family that has the quaker background (you can't get more quaker than Fox...even though we're not descended from George Fox, in fact). Most of us in the family went to quaker school at some point.

2.I loved the high jump at school – it was my favourite athletic event in P.E.

This is the falsehood. I was pretty sporty at primary school – competitive and quite able – but I can remember quite clearly the first few times we did the high jump because it horrified me. That whole thing of flinging yourself into the air and believing you can fly...I've never been one much for that (in practise anyway...not bad at theory). I did OK at high jump in school (the competitive urge got me through) but I really didn't like it and I stopped doing it as soon as I could. Once I got to high school I became far more interested in the old extra-curriculars (drinking, smoking, lazing about and misbehaving...) and I did as little of any conventional P.E. as possible. The high jump thing stuck with me because I was a fairly confident child and I think it was the first time I ever thought 'I can't do that' ( though I've thought it a lot since). This change and realisation even made it into a poem but it's not one I'll ever make public, I don't think, as it is full of very, very personal details (the high jump bit is one of the cleaner sections). The poem is called 'If only I was a catholic (I have so much to confess)'.

3.Though I don't drive very much now I passed my driving test first time.

Amazingly this is true. Mark says all the best drivers pass second time.

4.I do know the way to San José.

True because I've been there. In 1987 I went to Central America with a group of people from university. We were heading for Nicaragua (and got there) but we flew to Costa Rica (and its capital San José) and then took a bus north. I remember some of the others singing the 'Do you know the way...' song at the airport. Hilarious for the cabin crew I'm sure.

5.I was once an extra in an episode of the TV soap opera 'Emmerdale'.

True. In the mid '90s I was living in Leeds and working in nightclubs – particularly ones with a fairly hefty gay (or at least experimenting with gay) clientele. Anyway a character in the TV soap 'Emmerdale' (that's filmed in and around Leeds) was coming out as a lesbian and she (Zoe, a pretty vet in the story) was meant to be going to a lesbian & gay club in the city. A friend of mine was given the job of peopling this club with extras that looked the part and so, hey, I was an 'Emmerdale' lesbian!

6.I have worked as a tour guide in Moscow.

True. Whilst at uni I had a holiday job accompanying groups of high school kids from the USA on their (very cheap) trips to the USSR (it was the late '80s). I had to greet the kids and their teachers at Heathrow and then fly with them all on to the USSR (via Paris...whistle-stop tour and all). I stayed with them for the whole tour (Moscow and Leningrad and then back to Heathrow) and looked after their every pesky need ('gee, my hairdryer doesn't work and the food here is disgusting'...actually that's unfair the kids were great). Whilst in the USSR we did have a Soviet guide with us too (every step of the way) but technically I was a tour guide in Moscow. It was very long hours and very badly paid work but the scenery was lovely.

7.I cannot understand the appeal of prawns (as a foodstuff).

True. Why would you eat prawns when there is anything (and I mean anything!) else on offer?

8.I was a member of the Fonzie Fan Club ('School of Coolmanship') when I was about 10.

So true. I loved the TV show 'Happy Days' (theme tune below) and joined this fan club in good faith. Members got certificates for 'coolness' (bronze, silver and gold) but my gold never arrived. Then one day we saw (on 'That's Life' on TV) that the whole thing was a con and nothing to do with Fonz or the show! I was very disillusioned. Still am.

9.Despite much evidence to the contrary I do in fact have an honours degree (of my own) from one of those and famous English universities with all the pretty buildings (no, not Essex...).

This is true. I went to Cambridge University (under my real name of course) and stayed the full 3 years (studied Modern Languages). I didn't like it very much and didn't work very hard and I probably should have gone somewhere else but you don't know that till you try do you? Plus my Mum was very, very proud.

10.I once read a Pablo Neruda poem to a room full of inmates in a men's prison in Cáceres (Spain).

True. When I lived in Madrid (1985-6) I shared a flat with a Chilean guy and this meant I pretty soon met every Chilean in the city (very exciting for a girl from Teesside I can tell you!). Two of my friends were really great musicians working as buskers (because of course like many Latin Americans in Spain at that time they were not officially there). These friends were invited to a weekend of Chilean cultural exchange (or some such) by the local council in Cáceres (a few hours west of Madrid) and it was all expenses paid (train tickets, hotels, food etc.). Somehow my musician friends Hugo and Leo got me invited too and off I went (at 19 you don't question you just go!). Because I was getting all the freebies I had to work though so when it was time for the prison visit part of the cultural tour they took me along and made me read a poem. It was very strange being the only female in the place (much noise and shouting as I walked through the courtyard...) but my friends were lovely and I trusted them to look after me. I've never been to Chile but I would like to go one day. I presume a lot of the people I knew went back there after Pinochet died...but I don't know for sure because I didn't stay in touch with anyone – shame really. Even then I wanted to be a writer (but was a bit lazy) and Hugo (who was very wise...a great guy) said to me 'if you want to be a writer you have to practise every day, every day!' I hear his voice in my head quite often (because now I do, Hugo, I do!).

So Susan at Stony River got the answer right first (and Liz got it too). Well done you two and thanks for playing everyone.



Liz said...

Woo-hoo!...Rachel, my own P.E. dread was the high jump so couldn't quite click with you loving it...; )

Rachel Fox said...

Yes...if I was a horse it would be 4 faults, 4 faults and then 4 more faults for me at the jumps!

Kat Mortensen said...

All very fascinating facts about you, Rachel. I think that's very funny that you played an Emmerdale Lesbian (good name for a band - The Emmerdale Lesbians).

We are absolutely of the same mind when it comes to the high-jump. I once hid under a school-desk to avoid that.

Of course, you know I am dying to read your "If only I was a Catholic" piece. Seriously.

Well done, Susan and Liz.

TFE, I guess we were both way off-track.

Rachel Fox said...

I have considered making the 'catholic' poem into a few other shorter poems (that were less obviously personal). Maybe some day...if it was a rainy day then that would be right now!

Anonymous said...

I missed your original posting - humungously busy - but I'd not have guessed the high jump thingy.

hope said...

Argh! I should've known...would've if I'd paid more attention because as I read, some of those details sounded vaguely familiar. :)

P.E....the bain of my childhood existence! I hated track: barely got started before the girls with long legs were through.

Good one!

Rachel Fox said...

I know, Colin, and me with this athletic physique...

And Hope...yes, our Girl feels that way about PE and dreads the days when it's her class's turn in the gym. Today she's being trained as a library assistant at school and she's much happier about that!


Alan Burnett said...

Oh dear, I got that wrong, and now I am for the high jump.

Susan at Stony River said...

I *LOVE* the stories in this!

Had to LOL at the 'If only I was Catholic', and envy you the time in the USSR and Spain. What a wonderful list.

Meanwhile the win has put a big (very surprised) grin on my face, thanks!

Rachel Fox said...

Well, Alan, you were working on very little information!

Susan...those travels are a long time ago. Sometimes it feels like it was a completely different me that did those things and went to those places.

Totalfeckineejit said...

Ok, I was wrong but I think I wasa lot less wrong than Kat.interesting facts all round,Rachel! Might have a go myself.I went to Oxford myself.

Totalfeckineejit said...

Twas a lovely day out,all those spires and bicycles ;)

Rachel Fox said...

Ho ho.

It's weird the Oxbridge thing. It was probably the three years of my life when I did the least learning (is that my fault or somebody else's...I'll never know). It just wasn't for me really - at least not at that time. Maybe I'd like it more now because I wouldn't be so riled by all the annoying posh people. No, that's a lie...I'd be just as riled by them. Sometimes just a few hours in St Andrews is enough to make me want to form some kind of anti-Sloane guerrilla army. I'd make them turn all their bloody collars down for a start.


gleaner said...

I had no idea what I was reading as I didn't see yesterday's post and the gradually build-up to the totally unexpected no 8. gave me a great laugh...
High jump - that brings back memories too -

Rachel Fox said...

It's funny who finds what funny! I am still broken hearted about number 8. Well, a bit.


Andrea said...

Interesting to read you answers! I hated sport at school too. When we played volleyball it was more like dodgeball - I stepped out of the way! You've been to a lot of interesting places by the sound of it - I can't wait to travel.

Rachel Fox said...

We never got to volleyball...though we did have an American headmaster at one point who had us playing basketball (in the days before basketball was popular in the UK)...oh and softball (or sarftball, as he called it of course much to our semi-geordie amusement). More often we did hockey (which I loved - many opportunities for violence), running (quite enjoyed that), gymnastics (fairly rubbish...I was), netball (boring!) and then in the summer athletics (including the dreaded high jump).

As for travel...I had some busy travelling years and then some hardly-go-anywhere years and now I'm somewhere in between the two. I'm waiting for them to invent something better than the aeroplane too (so cramped, so wasteful).


Dominic Rivron said...

Shucks! I came over to have a go. Too late - you've announced the answer.

Right on with the prawns. Why anyone wants to eat a foodstuff that looks like bloated maggots (and that tastes like rubber, to boot) I don't know. I steel myself from time to time. After what I was made to eat at school, I'll eat anything. (Hint hint!)

Rachel Fox said...

Guess that means I got yours wrong, Dominic! I wonder which of mine you would have picked...


Dave King said...

Well, you had me fooled! Interesting.

A Cuban In London said...

Lovely post and so much information about your (Scottish) background. As for reciting that Neruda poem, wow, it made me proud as a Latin person. Unfortunately I grew up at the time when Neruda was being used in our favourite chat-up line: 'Puedo ecribir los versos mas tristes de esta noche...'

As for to which book Zadie was referring in the latest instalment of her series 'What Makes a Good Writer?', here's my twopence for you.

'Rachel, I think 'The Terrorist' by John Updike might be one. :-) Or any of Jackie Collins novels. Stephen King also comes to mind (by the way, I used to be a fan). Dean R Koontz's books are one original and many carbon copies of the same format. And I read many of his novels in uni.'

Greetings from London.

Rachel Fox said...

What is he talking about? This post over at Cuban's.

Dominic Rivron said...

I know it's easy to say it now I know, but I would have said No. 2.

Rachel Fox said...

You know me so well...but still no prize I'm afraid.
Susan's is in the post and I've thought of one for Liz too.

Golden West said...

You've covered some ground over the years! Russia must have been fascinating, and Spain, as well. My daughter lived in Barcelona in 2002 and loved it there. A great read, Rachel, thoroughly enjoying.

Rachel Fox said...

Thanks GW. Sharing stories is a big part of blogging, isn't it?