Sunday 30 September 2012

Behind the radiator and what I found there

We have two desks in this house. There is the one in the living room where the PC lives which once upon a time was a time share. Then I got a laptop, and I got sick and needed to work from home sometimes. So I got my own desk. It lives in the bedroom. It sits by the radiator and there used to be a shelf of the radiator; but then we decided the bedroom got too cold and we should use the radiator, so the shelf went. Now what happens is stuff gets knocked down the back of the radiator by small-black-and-purry (AKA Casper), stuff falls off the wall (because blue tack dries out in the heat) or stuff falls out of over-stuffed radiators.

Today my iPad movie card fell out of the filing tray and I decided to go fishing as my Yankee mini-penant was also down there.

Mostly I found wall paper, but I did get what I was looking for (after two broken hangers and use of the long measure and a pair of pliers!).

The back of the radiator
Mostly I found wallpaper
Nothing ever falls down this bit!
Tools used to 'fish' down the back of the radiator
The back of the radiator and what I found there

Sunday Social (17)

Linking up with Ashley and Neely for the Sunday Social

  •  What do you miss most about being a kid?
    Imagination. I am old enough that there were three TV channels, limited VCR and no video games or computers. We had whole worlds populated with imaginary casts and worlds which we played in - and they were as real to us as any video game! We were also lucky that we were allowed to roam the countryside playing - you'd never let your kids do that these days!
  • Did you have a nickname growing up? What was it? 
    My unusual name led to many nicknames - not least because my brother and I couldn't quite manage 'Natasha' as tots. My parents used to call me 'Pootle' after a character from the kids TV show 'The Flumps' (even though he was a boy!). At school I got called Gnasher after Dennis the Menace's cat (it rhymes with Tasha) or Mac (at private school they have a whole last name thing going). Mostly I was Tasha short for Natasha... which I hated and got people to call me Nat when I was older.

    The Flumps
    Dennis the Menace (just a paper cartoon when I was a kid!)

  • What was your favorite thing to do at recess?
    I think we used to play jump-rope and hopscotch. Always the precocious child I liked to talk to the Dinner Ladies supervising too!

  • What did you want to be when you grew up?
    Shall we start a list?! I wanted to be a ballerina (as does any girl who saw the 'Red Shoes') until I discovered I couldn't dance. I wanted to be an actress and a singer (none of which accounted for my terrible shyness). I spent a long time wanting to do something with horses (we did a lot of horse riding)! Finally I wanted to work with my Dad who had his own company... and I have ended up in the same profession although my Dad and I never got a chance to work together.
    Me about to ride Blackie
    Early attempts at stage-craft; second from left as 'King Louis'
  • What was your favorite toy?
    My soft toy I couldn't live without was a flat dog called 'Bart' (not after the LA subway!). As he fell apart he was patched up. His felt mouth was repaired with band aids and his failing body held together with a nylon stocking!

    I did have quite a lot of dolls, some inherited from my Mum but most given as gifts. I didn't mind Sindy too much (we weren't allowed Barbie, she was a bad role model!) - but most of the other dolls scared me a little. The exception was my 'baby doll' I got for my 9th birthday - so realistic my mother thought one she saw on a train was a real baby. She was called Julie as I got her in July and I was very attached to her!

    Me and Julie (dress by Granny Nita!)
    To play with I loved 'My Little Pony'... my cousin and I had quite the collection between us. I was also fond of StarWars (that is what happens when you have a brother).
    Some of the My Little Ponies
  • What is the funniest thing you did as a kid that your parents still remind you about.
    Oh dear. I was a frightful precocious show off from a young age. Apparently when I was about three my mother had a 'Mother and Toddler' Group at our house, and I came in from the garden to inform the adults having tea that it was 'absolute pandemonium' in the garden. There were also the numerous example of wandering off in John Lewis at Brent Cross Shopping Center (at the time the biggest in England) and bending the ear of check-out staff whilst my poor mother searched high and low. Another of my favourites is when I first started kindergarten and as many tots are I was horribly jealous of my baby brother, but I didn't want to go to kindergarten either, so I told everyone I wanted to stay at home to play with my baby brother. The last is another horrid precocious child tale (there is that word again) my kindergarten was attached to some developmental study and I remember (vaguely) going to some test thing where I was asked if I could count to 20; which I did so, in French. I'd hate me if I met me as a small child now!

Friday 28 September 2012

My bits of London (5)

Parliament Square is seen by most of London as a large, rather inconvenient roundabout at the junction of Whitehall and Westminster Bridge. There aren't really any pedestrian crossings to help you get to the garden in the middle; and for many years a lot of the garden was fenced off due tot he variety of protesters (now prohibited by bye-law) who would try to set up camp there.

There are, dotted around the square, 10 statues - mostly of famous politicans; including Winston Churchill, David Lloyd George, Abraham Lincoln and Nelson Mandela.

At the bottom of the square is the Palace of Westminster; home of the British Parliament; with the iconic clock tower (now named the Elizabeth Tower in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee) housing the great bell Big Ben which chimes the hour. On the west Westminster Abbey takes up one side. To the north the former Middlesex Guildhall (now home to the UK's Supreme Court) takes up most of the side and off to the east are Government buildings leading into Whitehall.

A busy area day or night, with plenty to see. You can join the Occasional Tourist on a trip around Westminster.

A big man and a big clock

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Thursday 27 September 2012

My bits of London (4)

The statue of The Four Bronze Horses of Helios is located on the corner of Haymarket and Piccadilly Circus. It is a popular spot to sit and take a photo (as long as you don't mind getting a little wet!).

According to Greek legebd the horses - Pyrois, Eos, Aethon and Phlegon - draw the chariot of Helios (Greek god of the sun) across the sky from dawn to dusk.

piccadilly cicus2

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Wednesday 26 September 2012

Poems I love (3)

Well it isn't quite Waterhouse
There are many reasons that I love 'The Lady of Shalott' by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

I first met it at a tender age watching the TV adaptation of 'Anne of Green Gables' (it was a different Tennyson poem in the book). Back at that age my friends and I loved the book and the story in the poem. 

Starting at a young age meant I learnt quite a lot of it by heart.

The next time I met the poem was the drama festival at school. We'd fallen behind in preparations and alighted on a dramatic reading of the poem somewhat by chance. Again though the time spent on the tale meant that I learnt pretty much the whole poem. At 19 stanzas it's quite a lot to remember - you can find the whole poem here.

I love the motion and the rhythm of the poem; as well as the beautiful story; beginning from
On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And thro' the field the road runs by
To many-tower'd Camelot
Through to;
She left the web, she left the loom;
She made three paces thro' the room,
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror crack'd from side to side; 
And finally
He said, "She has a lovely face;
God in his mercy lend her grace,
The Lady of Shalott". 

My bits of London (3)

Working in Mayfair for heading fast up to a decade I sometimes stop noticing the world famous landmarks around me.

Probably some of the most famous advertising in the world (certainly up there with Times Square) are the wall of lights in Piccadilly Circus. Vary over time in number, advertisers, and type the lights date back to the beginning of the 20th Century. they occupy a building owned by Land Securities; and now even have their own website!

Although most impressive after dark I find that they have a certain charm at dawn as London comes alive.

The famous lights

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Tuesday 25 September 2012

My bits of London (2)

"Well the South Side of Chicago is the Baddest part of town" sang Jim Croce in 'Bad Bad Leroy Brown'. Bits of South London sometimes feel like that, neglected and in need of regeneration. This building is just off the approach to Westminster Bridge after you emerge from the gloom under the railway tracks leading into Waterloo station. In the middle of the roundabout is the Park Plaza hotel, just up from that the old London County Hall... now surrounded by hoardings I think this one will be coming down soon - but something about the graffiti always made me think of Eastern Block countries and the cold war...


Monday 24 September 2012

Armchair Activist

...needs you!
There are a lot of things in the world that I don't care about. There are a few things in the world that I care about deeply. The things I care about I want to share, I want other people to care; I want to help however I can.

For me this is sitting here with my laptop and typing away. Whether I'm blogging myself, signing petitions, writing to my MP, spreading the word on Twitter or Facebook or a half dozen other ways.

You can be part of any movement, and help anyway that you can - right from the comfort of your own sofa!

The UK Government has it's own ePetition site:

The Care2 Petition site is also full of ePetitions:

Avaaz is a campaigning network, you can like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter or get email updates from them:

You can help feed shelter cats and dogs by answering trivia questions:

The Greater Good Network has shops that support worthwhile causes and 'click a day' initiatives; everything from animal rescue to breast cancer:

Try out Microvolunteering site Help from Home, which positively invites you to participate in your pyjamas:

Odds are whatever charity or cause is close to you they will have some way you can help from the comfort or your own sofa... so why not Google and see what you can do?!

My bits of London (1)

The first in our occasional series on London corners; Channel 4's Headquarters on Horseferry Road. The 50 foot high '4' in front of the building is often 'dressed up' (right now it is done out in honour of the 2012 Olympics) but pass by every few months and you'll see something different!

Channel 4

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Sunday 23 September 2012

Movie Night - Avengers

Once upon a time I used to write quite a bit about the movies I'd been watching. Since the advent of GetGlue in my life and the general rise in social media I've become a bit remiss. Part of the problem is that it is very rare these days we watch a movie that makes me go 'wow'. 

Yes, I want to be a comic book artist!
Last night we watched 'Avengers Assemble'. As an older sister of a very sporty totally non-geek younger brother I missed out on the whole comic book scene; definitely missed out. My youthful acquaintances with comics were mostly the DC world (Superman and Batman) as those were the movies of my generation. My Marvel experience was limited to the Spiderman cartoons on Saturday mornings as a student - although I was an enthusiastic consumer!

So the whole Marvel-verse movie scene has been fantastic for me. I've loved 'Iron Man', really enjoyed 'Captain America' and 'Thor' and then last night they all came together in 'Avengers Assemble'.

Little niggle that it wasn't available to rent on BluRay but as I have a feeling the Better-half will someday end up owning it so that will be OK.

Movies based on comic books are excellent Saturday night movie fare. Action, adventure, ordinary people doing extraordinary things, and some superb comedy lines. Samuel L Jackson, Robert Downey Jr, what's not to like?! And for geek-verse friends who wondered where Joss Wheedon had got to after the lamented Buffy, Angel and Firefly (and not lamented in this house Dollhouse); he was writing and directing this film.

I don't want to say to much and give anything away; but there is some bad language that only passes because it is said by a Norse demi-god in Shakespearean style, things blow up (a lot), there are fights... and some truly great lines. I chose a couple of my favourites; but pretty much every time Tony Stark speaks it is good:

Agent Maria Hill: Sir, evacuation maybe futile.
Nick Fury:
We should tell them to go back to sleep?
Agent Maria Hill:
If we can't control the Tesseract's energy, there may not be a minimum safe distance.
Nick Fury:
I need you to make sure that phase 2 prototypes are shipped out.
Agent Maria Hill:
Sir, is that really a priority right now?
Nick Fury:
Until such time as the world ends, we will act as though it intends to spin on. Clear out the tech below. Every piece of phase 2 on a truck and gone.
Agent Maria Hill:
Yes, sir.

Fury: Bring the carrier about to a one-eight-zero heading south. Take us to the water.
Navigation: We're flying blind. The navigation's recalibrating after the engine failure.
Fury: Is the sun coming up?
Navigation: Yes, sir.
Fury: Then put it on the left

Poems I love (2)

Another in the occasional series of poems that I love. This one is from my mother who I think had a first edition illustrated book of Stevie Smith poems; my image is an inferior tribute to the beautiful 'Creepy' by Matta.

Not Waving but Drowning

Nobody heard him, the dead man, 
But still he lay moaning: 
I was much further out than you thought 
And not waving but drowning. 

Poor chap, he always loved larking 
And now he's dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way, 
They said. 

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always 
(Still the dead one lay moaning) 
I was much too far out all my life 
And not waving but drowning.

Sunday Social (16)

Linking up with Ashley and Neely for the Sunday Social
  • What is something you have wanted to do but are afraid of?
    Climb a mountain. It is odd; I've no problem with going up tall buildings, but mountains are a different story. I know how a building is built so I don't feel so afraid of the height; but I'd love to stand at the top of a snowy peak at the roof of the world... I'm making do with a trip up The Shard of Glass next February.
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
    Given my rapid race towards another big birthday (life begins at 40 my mother often said; although I don't recall which side of it she was at the time!) I'm pretty sure my life won't be much different than it is now. Ferris Bueller might have thought life moved pretty fast, but it kind of slows down once you get into you 30s.
  • What are you looking forward to before the end of 2012?
    We've got our annual trip to Wembley when the NFL plays the International Series; so that is quite a big one. We make a big day out of it so it is more than just the game. Other than drinking over-priced beer and participating in the Mexican Wave we always enjoy a game of 'team bingo' when we try and spot people wearing apparel of all the teams in the League. Of course, there is also all the great things that Autumn brings; Halloween and pumpkins, Thanksgiving and the triple football games, and of course Christmas!
  • What are your hopes for your blog?
    I hope that it goes out and makes friends for itself. I hope that people enjoy my slice of life in London, and the occasional glimpses (there are going to be more) of little bits of London.
  • Do you always see yourself living in your current town/city?
    Yes. I was born in North London, I my parents moved to the countryside when I was seven years old. Even at that tender age I was most convinced that 'when I grew up' I'd live back in London again. Here I am, the other side of the River, but back in London.
  • What is your morning routine?
    On an average workday, fairly tortuous. When MS gives you balance problems and useless hands it is a team effort! I get up at 5:50 to leave the house at 7:00.

    I fall (sometimes literally) out of bed and go downstairs for a little computer time with breakfast and whatever tablets are the side dish. Then back upstairs again.

    I have to do most of my getting ready in my pyjamas so that I don't ruin the clothes for the day. First I clean my teeth (toothpaste will ruin an outfit). Next I go back to the Pink Room. If I'm wearing contacts (which I hardly ever do to work) that's the first task. Next I'll put up my hair (hardly ever wear it loose for work). Then it's make-up and perhaps jewellery (although the Better-half sometimes has to do the clasps for me). Deodorant and perfume follow - finally ready to get dressed. Move cat from inconvenient 'helpful' place he is now occupying. Sit to put on trousers and socks (otherwise falling over and pain may happen). Shirt last as I usually have to get the Better-half to do the buttons. Back downstairs, hopefully having not forgotten everything. Shoes on last (Better-half does up my laces). By this time my car has arrived and it is time to rush off!

Saturday 22 September 2012

Poems I love (1)

My recent post 'Whatever happened to the Dead Poets?' reminded me of my quiet love of poetry. Misplaced somewhere in the frequent house moving of the late-twentieth/early-twenty-first centuries is my copy of Palgrave's Golden Treasury. I want it back. It has to be that edition, published many times there are different poems in different editions; and I want back my original hard-backed gold/orange copy (that I think belonged to one of my Grandparents). Failing that I'd settle for the inferior navy-blue replacement also MIA.

A lot of my poetry (happily) is stored from early youth (and apparently can't be destroyed along with the myelin). Even more odd, my father never struck me as a big reader, but a few of the poems came from him!

Most of the poems I can recite are either short, or only a few verses; nearly all of them have rhyme and meter. I did start studying English A-level but came to a parting of the ways when my critical analysis of one of the modern English poets received a response from my teacher eleven words longer than the submission I counted.

Here's one from my Dad. Written in 1895 by Gelett Burgess; 'The Purple Cow':
I never saw a purple cow.
I never hope to see one.
But I can tell you anyhow
I'd rather see than be one
 Easy to remember, easy to quote, and amusing for all ages poor old Burgess came to detest somewhat the verse and a couple of years later published the equally memorable follow up; 'Confession: and a Portrait Too, Upon a Background that I Rue':
Ah, yes, I wrote the "Purple Cow"—
I'm Sorry, now, I wrote it;
But I can tell you Anyhow
I'll Kill you if you Quote it!

Friday 21 September 2012

The iOS6 experience

Just prior to the (?anticipated) release of Apple's new iPhone 5 it was time for the rest of the iOS-verse to get a system upgrade to iOS6.

I'd forgotten that it was happening, and the first I knew was when the Better-half mentioned something from the internet at the same time the iPad (happy in its WiFi-verse) asked me if I wanted to update the software. So I did. The phone refused to play WiFi so got plugged into iTunes and left to get on with it whilst I went off to work.

When I arrived at the office I opened up my iPad to check my task-list etc. No WiFi. Never mind I thought, the router is having a bad day - or maybe the update wiped the network settings. Re-booted the router 'unable to join' - tried the local Openzone 'unable to join'. I couldn't check the phone as it was left at home, so a quick straw-poll of colleagues (both with iPhones) one has WiFi one doesn't. Did anyone do the iOS6 update. Person with WiFi "no", person with WiFi "yes". Final test, colleague with Nokia phone. He has WiFi. Has iOS6 broken our WiFi. A cursory Google search confirms many angry people with no WiFi, and no working solutions.

At lunch I speak to the lovely Apple Support (they really are very good). Turns out that there have been troubles but they are mostly fixed; but to get things working again I will need to uninstall and reinstall the update on the iPad using iTunes (because wirelessly sometimes bits get lost!).

When I get home I do this. Do I want to back-up iTunes asks... yes I answer. iTunes then does it's thing and reinstalls the new system - helpfully wiping every app off my iPad and ignoring the whole 'yes I want to back-up' bit. Several hours of pain (after the Better-half and Twitter friends pointed out I could at least find my apps under 'purchased' in the iStore). Happily once reinstalled the back-up bit did seem to have worked and nothing was lost.
So after all that - is iOS6 worth it? Here are a few highlights (and lowlights).

1) Apple hates Google (part 1)
We knew it was in the pipeline and now it has happened. Google maps have been dumped in favour of a proprietary (and frankly rubbish) solution. The good people at Mashable have collected some of the best examples. These are funny - but bottom line it isn't fit for purpose. I looked up my own address and it put my house at the wrong end of the street. You can still get Google Maps (in fact they positively encourage you) so I've put a link back on my home screen.

Melting buildings in London
Google Maps: add me!
Apple Maps or Google Maps?!|

2) Apple hates Google (part 2)

Can't keep YouTube down!
The YouTube App has also gone (because you know who owns YouTube) - quietly and without much notice, vanished. Again you can but a link back on your own page. I don't really need it - just because I can!

3) Photostream gets a facelift

Now there is more to Albums
Now Photostream has its own tab and you can make and share photostreams online. This is a godsend for the many people with PCs who don't seem to be able to get their photostreams to work any more (despite restarting all the involved devices, uninstalling the iCloud, etc.).

4) Panoramic photos

Choose from 'options' to start
Lets face it, for a cellphone and a tablet Apple have given their products pretty good cameras. Now you can take a panoramic shot. OK so my camera does the same thing with a better quality, but if I forget my camera and need to take a group shot...

Steady hand required!

5) Passbook

The choices, the choices!
I'm not seeing the joy in this one. Firstly the horse has come before the cart. The App is there,the storefront is there... but there is nothing to put in it. I also have a sneaking suspicion that it will be a while before it usefully hits the UK (happy to be proved wrong though!).

6) Extra bits and pieces
Do not disturb!
There are some pretty cool new features to play with. I like 'Do Not Disturb' which will silence incoming calls on schedule without turning the sound on the phone off (I always forget to turn it back on again!). It works too as I had it on last night (I have a friend who often pocket dials me, so this will be invaluable).

Well you can't all be VIPs now.
VIP mail is another good one. This syncs across devices, so having told the iPhone the iPad has the same settings. You can mark email addresses as 'VIP' and they are copied to a different inbox with a different notification sound. Now I know when the Better-half mails me!

What's the time in...
A few standards from the iPhone have appeared on the iPad. A clock (or was that always there and I never noticed, it wasn't in an App group which makes me think it is new). Set up a few world clocks... I like to know the time in our overseas offices and on the coasts of America (for baseball/NFL purposes).

The Weather
Torturing Siri
Siri has come to the iPad. I get to torture Siri all over again... because it was so much fun the first time round. To quote 'My Fair Lady' - limit yourself to the weather and everybody's health.

Good to share
Generally the sharing interfaces are improved and easier to use - superb for Social Network Butterflies like me.

iOS6 - we'll get there in the end!
Of course, for the full low down, as Siri told me when I asked "What's new in iOS6" you can always go and ask Apple.

What happened to the Dead Poets?

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In 1989, when I was in my mid-teens (and at a rather impressionable age) a friend and I saw the film 'Dead Poets Society'. If you've never seen it, the plot centres around a boys prep school (I imagine in New England) and a new English teacher and his class. The teacher departs from the traditional forms of learning of the school and instead inspires his students to 'seize the day' and instils in them a love of poetry.

I loved the film, the poems and the inspiration it gave me similar to that which it gave the young students.

This is not about the actors in the film and what happened to them (great actors though they were), but more about how life changes in those 20 years between your inspired teens and your mid-thirties.

The theme of the film (which appeals to the young everywhere) was Carpe Diem (seize the day). This is most memorably encapsulated when the first line of the poem "To the Virgins" by Robert Herrick is quoted "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may". That is the inspiring line; the rest of the poem is less uplifting - but is pretty much how you get from 14 to 37:-

GATHER ye rosebuds while ye may,   
  Old Time is still a-flying:   
And this same flower that smiles to-day   
  To-morrow will be dying.   

The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,            
  The higher he 's a-getting,   
The sooner will his race be run,   
  And nearer he 's to setting.   

That age is best which is the first,   
  When youth and blood are warmer;   
But being spent, the worse, and worst   
  Times still succeed the former.   

Then be not coy, but use your time,   
  And while ye may, go marry:   
For having lost but once your prime,   
  You may for ever tarry.

And the last two verses; laying aside the marriage aspect; are what happens. The energy and enthusiasm of youth begin to dissipate as school and university vanish in the rear view mirror and the realities of jobs and responsibility come around.

Time is precious and it short demand (more so, I imagine if you have children) and plans and dreams have to be tailored to meet the physical, financial and temporal resources available.

There are ways to make your time go further (ask any self improvement blog) or indeed the turn of the century time management book I read - but the important thing, the most important thing, is to reconnect with the plans and the dreams. Find time for your hobbies and interests; and if you get time (just for kicks) read some poetry again.

Thursday 20 September 2012

My bits of London

London, as I've probably mentioned once or twice, is my favourite City in the world. I'm pretty lucky to live in my favourite City - and in this occasional series I'm going to share some of the little bits that maybe pass you by, or perhaps you take for granted. 

I always say; the tube might be a 'London Experience' but when travelling around stay above ground to see what's all around... and always remember - look up!

Vodafone London Taxi

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Skywatch (65)

Autumn - one minute the sun is shining and there's a gentle breeze... the next thing you know the clouds bring rain and the wind whips the leaves of the trees!

I love the blue skies and the pale golden sunshine though.

Sunday 16 September 2012

Sunday Social (15)

Linking up with Ashley and Neely for the Sunday Social
  • What are 3 items you can't live without on a daily basis (water, food, shelter, and clothes don't count!)
    I'm a tech-girl all the way. I have to have my iPhone and my iPad; they follow me to which-ever bag is 'bag of the day'. The other, not so exciting but just as crucial; crutches, the wheelie-walker or my wheelchair... without one of these guys I'm not going 20 feet!
  •  What is your all time favorite book? Why?
    I hate having to make choices like this! Your talking to the Goodreads girl who has nearly 900 books read (and that is just the ones that I remember the titles of to list!). Reading is like breathing to me. The rise of technology and 100s of TV channels mean I read less than I used to - as a youngster (and into my early 20s) you'd find me stretched out on a Sunday devouring the printed word.

    My off-the-cuff answer is Gone with the Wind. I first read it preciously at the age of nine, a battered old copy of my mother's held together by parcel tape. I read it a good few times after that, most memorably queueing for landmarks in my 1999 NYC holiday!

    A few honourable mentions must go to some other great books though; I'll read pretty much everything by Stephen Baxter (thanks to an ages old magazine article for introducing us); Robert Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke (yes, I'm a sci-fi geek). I also loved 'The Five People You Meet in Heaven' by Mitch Ablom (read on a trip to Kyiv) and Audrey Niffenegger's 'The Time Traveller's Wife' (read the book before you watch the movie!).

    Sometimes where and when you read a book is as much about why you love the book as the book itself; and for me, it is quite often having old friends I can pick up and dive into because I know them so well. When, as Abby Bartlett said to Jed in Aaron Sorkin's wonderful 'The West Wing': "
    Do you get that your immune system is shredding your brain?" that is a real compliment for a book. Here we find J.K. Rowling and the 'Harry Potter' books and my dwindling chick-lit collection.
  • What is something you'd like to accomplish before the end of 2012?
    I'm going to use that swimsuit I bought three months ago and start getting those muscles which are in danger of atrophy moving again!
  • If you could go back and relive any year of your life which year would it be?
    Tricky question. 2000 maybe because that is when I met my fiancé and Better-half.
    Without him my life wouldn't be what it is today and I wouldn't be who I am today. When he reads this he'll call me a suck-up for the rest of the day, but is is true!

    After that - the year that I spent living in University Halls (1994-1995) taught me a lot about myself. I'd never lived away from home before (or indeed stayed away for more than two weeks) so moving into my own little prison cell (it did look like that!) and meeting and living with a bunch of strangers was quite a leap. Such a leap I actually put it off for a year before I flew the nest!

  • What do you wish people knew about you without you having to tell them?
    That the reason for a lot of the weird things in my life is MS; and that people understood more about the disease that is MS.