Sunshine Award

WARNING:

This is a long and very self-indulgent piece that may well qualify as an entry in the “Bore for Britain” contest. I learnt the word pleonasm this week, from Judith at I choose how I will spend the rest of my life. Apt. 

 When I googled “Sunshine Award” I was taken aback to find that “The SUNSHINE Awards was founded in 1989 to recognize and pay tribute to the creators, performers and promoters of art, dance, music and poetry of the various Caribbean countries. Over the years, the SUNSHINE Awards Program has expanded in depth and breadth, from being a purely Caribbean cultural awards event to include countries in South and Central America and Africa.“  Now it would be a surprise if I had been nominated for that, wonderful as it sounds!

The Sunshine Award is also a way of recognising services to the Lancashire town of Morecombe, famous for its Bay and its Illuminations. Again, not something with which I have any connection. No, this is a Blogger’s Sunshine Award, and comes with a gorgeous big flower. My nominator provided the requirements for accepting it:

1) Include the award logo in a post or somewhere on your blog: 

2) Answer 10 questions about yourself:

1. What is a favourite childhood memory? My very first visit to London, when I was just seven. That was so exciting; nobody else I knew had ever been to the capital and I was at an age where everything made an impression. It was a trip to the BIF (British Industries Fair) at Olympia and Earl’s Court, organised by my father’s company, which was exhibiting its typewriters there, and open to employees and their families.  

Up until that time, British industry had been concentrating on producing essentials for the war and the immediate post-war economic situation had been bleak. Now, suddenly, marketing and advertising were back, together with giveaways. We looked at the BIF exhibits, including wonderful machines like teleprinters, and I acquired some erasers shaped like red beer barrels to put over the end of pencils. That truly was a novelty to my generation, unused to freebies, so I took a few for my friends.  I was also given some semi-processed cotton (roving), which I found utterly beautiful and treasured for years.

Then we did all the touristy things. We visited the Tower of London and I fell in love with our Beefeater guide, clinging to him like a limpet and hanging onto his every word. My parents always laughed about that, as apparently I embarrassed him by my devotion. We have a photo of me feeding the pigeons in Trafalgar Square, which is of course no longer allowed, looking rather apprehensive as the pigeon landing on my arm was flapping in my face.

We wandered down the Mall and got caught up in a surge towards Buckingham Palace as Princess Margaret arrived there, and in my eagerness to catch a glimpse of her (she seemed miles away and was very tiny anyway) I poked my head through the Palace railings, and became stuck. My dad joked about leaving me there but then took pity on my plight, put his hands over my ears, half-twisted my neck, and freed me. Somehow, I associated that with him having been a fireman at the beginning of the war, but on reflection I wonder how often firemen have to extract children’s heads stuck in railings?

I have snapshot memories of all the sights, and presumably we also had something to eat somewhere (possibly at Lyons’ Corner House as I have a vague recollection of a large art deco place), but food didn’t interest me much in those days. A ride in a big red bus, a rather scary journey on the Tube, and a trip in a big black London taxi in the evening led up to the great climax as we went to see Oklahoma! at Drury Lane. I was in heaven. It was a wonderful day, and the only disappointment was that there were no clowns or animals in Piccadilly Circus.

Piccadilly Circus, London, Great Britain

Piccadilly Circus, London, Great Britain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

.2. What is a real fear you have? – I have no fear of death, but I do fear suffering excruciating pain and becoming a burden to others at the end of my life. However, throughout my life so far all my fears have proved groundless and I am very strongly aware of being looked after spiritually: perfect love casts out fear, and facing one’s fears usually banishes them in my experience.

3. How would you describe yourself? – I was born at the summer solstice, on the Gemini-Cancer cusp, so that should be a clue if you are into astrology. I’ve been likened to Tigger, called a chatterbox, argumentative, feckless, thoughtless and impulsive. I am the Cat that keeps climbing up the tree and suddenly discovers she can’t get down unaided. My glass is never less than half full, and I agree that I provide a certain amount of “volume and bounce”. Nevertheless, I do have a more profound, reflective, intellectually curious aspect to my nature underneath the bubbly surface and I can be infuriatingly pedantic. When I’m active, I’m a whirlwind; when I relax, I’m totally torpid.

4. What states have you lived in? – One of those irritating questions that assumes there is nothing outside the USA! None of the United States of America, but in the UK I have lived in Staffordshire and Lancashire (now re-organised into West Midlands and Merseyside); in France, Provence and Brittany; in Germany, Bavaria and Rheinland-Pfalz; in Switzerland, Geneva, St Gallen and Ausser-Rhoden.

More or less what I aim at – must have achieved it at least once in 2011, otherwise this pic wouldn’t exist

5. What is your style?– Do I have one? I assume this is a sartorial question. Teeshirt and jeans when I’m hanging about at home, with a mad dash to put on something respectable when the doorbell rings. “The lady is a tramp” would fit, I think. I am just under 1.60 m (5 ft 3) and carrying far too many excess kilos, so  “casual-smart” is what I aim for when going out, insofar as a woman of my age, height and weight can manage that. Though my role model Judi Dench isn’t doing badly!

Hair at the moment is a big letdown (literally) as I haven’t been near a hairdresser for ages and if I were to don a black cloak I could pass for a High Court judge. However, it’s now long enough to put up in a bun, and then I can look the part of a cuddly granny. (But I do have some pretty sexy red lace underwear :-))

6. What is your favourite breakfast food? –  I can eat some kind of breakfast at any time, especially a full English in the evening; all-day breakfasts were invented for me! But first thing in the morning I need caffeine and carbs: you can spoil me with freshly ground coffee with hot milk and warm croissants, baguette just out of the oven with butter and honey, and a fresh fruit salad. However, laziness and fear of bursting out of my skin mean that I usually have a dish of fruit and fibre. And coffee. 

7. What are some of your hobbies? – I don’t really have any hobbies since I’ve been here in England looking after my mother: in a sense, she has become my hobby. I spend my leisure time reading, writing, talking, surfing the web, sorting out cupboards, rearranging furniture, trying to remember where I put things, and thinking about what I should be doing instead. When I’m home in Switzerland or France I enjoy walking, swimming, drawing and painting, taking photos, investigating the family tree (it can hardly be graced with the title of genealogy) and mentally meeting the ancestors. Rearranging the furniture is a constant.

8. If you could tell people anything  … what would be the most important thing to say? There should be some accumulated wisdom after all these years, but it sounds awfully arrogant to imagine anything I would have to say would be important. So I’ll quote the one sentence that would change the world if only people would follow it: DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD BE DONE BY.

9. What is one of your “passions”? – Apart from rearranging the furniture? I suppose I am passionate about my relationships: my spiritual relationship with God, my loving relationships with my family and friends. It sounds like a platitude: I could lose everything else, but with no loving bonds I don’t think I could survive.

10. What is one truth that you have learned? – Nobody is indispensable.

3) Nominate 10 to 12 other fabulous bloggers. Done, done, done!

4) Share the love and link the person who nominated you. Once again, the lovely S:  Thank you ever so much!

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