About me

Children: Two, Big F and Little L, who have about as much in common as an orangutan and a butterfly. One adopted, one home-made.   
Home: I’m originally from Gatwick airport (or near as dammit) but after leapfrogging all over the UK, I have somehow ended up living in a small town in the middlish of England that is a strong contender for Least Quirky Place in Britain. Whoops.   

Home from home: I also lived in Japan for a few years, long enough to know how to say things like, “Can I have extra sauce on my octopus balls, please”.

Early life: I spent a feisty childhood and teenagedom doing things like: trying to walk across town in a straight line (even if it meant going climbing over people’s garden walls) * collecting jumble for non-existent jumble sales just so I could rummage through the stuff  * having horse-riding lessons on a tiny, fat Shetland pony called Pepsi that wouldn’t do more than a lazy trot * giving my little sister Princess Diana makeovers * making obstacle courses for my hamster with bits of wood from a building site sneaking into the big hotels near the airport to nick mini chocolate bars from chambermaids’ trolleys * working as the little chef at the Little Chef * seeing if I could ride the London to Brighton train in a first class compartment without getting caught (I couldn't).

Secret talent: I was once a champion baton twirler and can still do a pretty mean Double Elbow Roll or Fancy Strut (if pushed).

Favourite city: Istanbul for atmosphere, Osaka for fun.

Favourite food: Roast dinner, cooked by someone else.

Favourite drink: Sherry. I call it “shmerry”. (I blame my dad for letting me dip my finger in his pre-Sunday lunch sherry when I was a child.)

Favourite books: The Roads to Sata: A 2000-mile Walk Through Japan by Alan Booth, Nothing to Envy: Real Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick, Experimental Travel by Rachael Antony and Joel Henry.

Favourite films: Lost in Translation, Nuts in May.

Favourite books as a child: The Magic Faraway Tree, Harriet the Spy, Anne of Green Gables (especially the bit where she gets Diana accidentally drunk on redcurrant wine).

Favourite smell: Roses, sumo wrestlers’ hair (it’s the oil they use).

Favourite sound: Husband pouring my tea in the morning. I can’t/won’t get out of bed without it. (If he’s going out really early, he leaves me a flask.)

Favourite animal: Seahorses, elephants.

Favourite possession: My home-made kotatsu (a low Japanese table for winter, with a heater underneath and a duvet on top). Feels like getting into a warm bath without getting wet.

Favourite moment: Arriving in a foreign country and sniffing the differences in the air.

Favourite motto: Feel the fear and do it anyway.

Favourite quote: While I may not know how to live a great life, I can (usually) create a good day, 
and if I can just put a few thousand good days back-to-back, that may come close enough to a great life." 
(Philip Humbert)

Song I’d like at my funeral: Tonight we fly by Divine Comedy.