… which in ‘Spill land means of course that it’s Wednesday and time for another EOTW quiz. I’ve been planning one of these for a while now so I hope it’s up to ‘Spill standard. Unfortunately my planned greatest personal sporting achievement question was shamelessly nicked by gordonimmel last week (I was a bit suspicious when that photographer started snapping away as I was leaving Toffee Hall last Tuesday evening and I realise now that my draft list of questions was partially visible through the transparent folder) – anyway I’ve had to do a bit of serious thinking but I think I’ve got some that you’ll enjoy.
1. Back in about 1987 or ’88 I lent a Gray Nichols cricket bat to a friend of a friend and have seen hide nor hair of it since (not that it had either). It wasn’t a particularly expensive item and I don’t think I got into double figures with it more than once, but I liked it and I’ve often thought that if I still had it, I’d probably be a top international cricketer by now. So, the first question is: What special item have you lent to someone and never got back?
2. Last week I went on a school trip to the British Museum and found myself face-to-face with the Rosetta Stone. I’ve know about it for years, and I’ve been interested in its significance and I’ve probably seen it many times before, but there was something about seeing it close up, in real life, as it were, that just blew me away. Question two is: What historically significant artefact has done the same for you? What is your personal Rosetta Stone?
3. I’ll come clean – I’m a bird watcher. I enjoy looking at small feathery things in my garden and, on occasion, I have been known to leave the confines of my own green space and venture forth into fields and farmland, binoculars and field book in hand. And I have to admit that I’m slightly embarrassed about it. It’s not cool – it’s certainly not rock’n'roll, never mind, punk, heavy metal or free jazz. But I bet you’ve all got some dark secret that you’re dying to get off your chest (no, tincanman, not that dark). So question three is: What’s your slightly embarrassing hobby?
4. There’s been a lot of discussion over on the Mother Ship this week about books – science fiction in particular – and it’s made me want to revisit some of those books that I read in the early/mid-70s. I know some people feel that once they’ve read a book, that’s it – they can’t or don’t want ever to go back. But not me – there’s nothing I like more than re-reading old familiar books (well, perhaps one or two things) and there’s one book in particular that I keep coming back to: and that book is Ridley Walker by Russell Hoban. It’s at the top of my desert island book list and if I was anal enough to have such a thing [What's that behind your back? Ed.] it would also be top of my most read books list. Question four is therefore: Which book have you read the most – and why should the rest of us read it?
5. About twenty years ago, I was driving back to Watford from Edinburgh with my dad, and we’d reached somewhere around junction 15 on the M1. Or rather he was driving and I was sitting in the passenger seat, making idle conversation. I asked him a question (no idea what) and he didn’t answer immediately – assuming that he was pondering (it was, naturally, a deep and perceptive question, of that I’m sure) I waited patiently for his answer. Only to find out that he wasn’t pondering – he was sleeping. Doing about eighty miles per hour in the fast lane – or rather the fast asleep lane. Deciding not to opt for the gentle tap on the shoulder, I instead went for the banshee-like wail – which probably saved us. Anyway, we both lived to tell the tale but it was one harrowing moment and that’s for sure! The final question (which in a way, I suppose that very nearly was) is this: What’s the closest you’ve ever come to meeting your maker?
Over to you …