Questions, Questions…

One of my regular readers and commenters, Ania, wrote this blog post yesterday and asked me if I would answer some of her questions. I’m sorry to say I don’t have time to answer them all, but I’ll do my best to answer some of them in today’s post. I’m going to take a random sample of the questions and try to answer in as much detail as possible.

So, hold onto your hollyhocks, people. Get ready to find out what I keep in my handbag!

What is your zodiac sign? Do you match its description?

My zodiac sign is Scorpio, as I was born one long-ago November. It’s apparently a Sun sign, which is a strange thought considering I was born during the winter! Scorpios are, as far as I know, supposed to be secretive, passionate, jealous, possessive and (ahem) rather amorous in their outlook on life. I’m not sure about the amorous part, but I know I have exhibited most of the other traits at various points in my history on planet Earth so far.

It looks just like me!Image:

It looks just like me!

What song(s) would you choose as a soundtrack to your life?

Well, this is a tough question for me, because I love music so much. Choosing one song would be impossible, and even choosing a top 10 would be hard. But the first ones that come to mind are:

‘Immigrant Song’ – Led Zeppelin : This song makes me appreciate the Viking heritage which I’m sure I have. It’s a lot of fun, and it also has a killer beat. But then, I pretty much love all Led Zeppelin’s songs!

‘Unknown Legend’ – Neil Young: This song is one of many that reminds me of my dad, which is another reason to love it. But truly, I love every single Neil Young song I’ve ever heard, and he’s my all-time favourite artist.

‘Time Has Told Me’ – Nick Drake: This song kept me going during a very hard period in my life. I love it because it reminds me that things will get better and never to give up hope, but that’s just personal to me. The lyrics don’t really reflect that message! Again, I love all of Nick Drake’s tragically small output. He’s wonderful.

‘A Case of You’ – Joni Mitchell: I can’t explain the effect that ‘A Case of You’ has on me. Every note and every word of it makes my skin tingle. I love the song, and the entire album ‘Blue’, and most of what I’ve heard of Joni Mitchell. She’s a legend.

‘Who Knows Where the Time Goes’ – Sandy Denny: Sandy Denny was the best singer in the world. Ever. End of story. This song changed my life, and I adore every note of it.

‘May You Never’ – John Martyn: Just a gorgeous song from a wonderful singer/songwriter, sadly also gone from the world too soon.

If I answered this question every day, I’m sure I’d come up with entirely different songs, every day. Truly, I love so many thousands of songs that I’d never be finished answering this question!

Who are the most important people in your life?

Well, this one is easy. My husband, my parents, my brother, my parents-in-law, my brother-in-law, and my ‘sisters-in-law’. Then, I have about ten million aunts, uncles and cousins, as we’re a good Irish family. And then, of course, I have a huge helping of friends, none of whom I could live without. So, a lot of people are important to me, and I love them all. I’m a lucky girl.

What’s your favourite book/writer?

This is like the question about music. Every day, my top 5 favourite books changes! So, today’s favourites are:

Neverwhere – Neil Gaiman (or, anything by Neil Gaiman)

Lords and Ladies – Terry Pratchett (or, anything by Terry Pratchett. I’m seeing a pattern here.)

The Earthsea Quartet – Ursula K. Le Guin (okay, so technically four books, but you’ll have to allow me that indulgence. It’s Le Guin!)

The Once and Future King – T.H. White

The Passion – Jeanette Winterson (or, indeed, surprise surprise, anything by Jeanette Winterson.)

I’m also going to include The Canterbury Tales by my hero, Geoffrey Chaucer, even though it’s technically a poem, not a book. But I love it. Only in the original Middle English, of course.

What do you carry in your bag?

Well, it varies, but normally I carry a rucksack-type bag, as I’m not very girly. So, I usually have at least three paperback books, my purse, a hairbrush, a bus timetable, an assortment of tissues, lots of receipts, some hand-cream for my eczema, a pen (usually not working), a notebook, and a plastic bag to put everything into if (or, rather, when) it rains. The glamour of my life is just overwhelming, isn’t it? I should have my own style magazine.

What countries would you like to visit?

So many I can’t remember them all. I haven’t been to very many places so far! My dream destinations would include: Iceland, Scandinavia (anywhere – ideally all the Scandinavian countries), Belgium (to visit my friend Tine), Spain, Italy, Hungary (I’d love to see Budapest), Canada, and Antarctica. If Antarctica counts as a country.

If you compare yourself five years ago to yourself now, what has changed?

I’m not working as an English tutor any more, and I’ve had another job in that period too; I’m married now, but I hadn’t met my husband five years ago (though I was about to meet him, which is a happy thought); I’m following my dream in life now (i.e. I’m writing), whereas five years ago I wouldn’t have had the confidence or support network in place to help me to achieve this dream. So, a lot of positive changes have happened.

So, I hope that’s good enough for Ania, and that I haven’t bored the pants off the rest of you. I’ll try to be a little less self-absorbed in tomorrow’s blog post!




5 thoughts on “Questions, Questions…

  1. anna3101

    I’m actually afraid of scorpios 🙂 I’ve met some and I always had an impression that if you really pissed them off, they’d kill without a second thought (but I’m hoping you’re not like that ;))

    I’m sorry to say I haven’t heard any of your songs but I’m looking forward to checking all of them out because it’s always nice to find something to add to your own personal collection of favourites. And sometimes that comes from other people’s collection, besides, listening to the songs sometime thinks are important is like looking into their eyes. Personal and exciting.

    I also like Terry Pratchett, yay! Although his books are not easy to read in the original. And I certainly would never manage to read Chaucer – it still gives me the shivers to think about my classes of old English. Let’s just say – I was no the best student when it came to that particular subject 🙂

    Oh, I like it that your bag can carry that much stuff! Mine is the same. It looks all sweet and pink on the outside but it’s huge inside, and there’s always a big mess because of all the things I always need with me. A question though: why do you carry paper books? Does that mean to say you don’t have some e-book device? 😦 I’m sorry about your hands, I have the same problem only with legs, so most of the year no one notices and when it’s summer… well, I don’t really look like a top model then 🙂 Do you have any tried and tested recipes of balms or anything that works? I haven’t found anything so far…

    We want to visit the same countries. Nice 🙂 Please add Poland to the list – you are officially invited 🙂

    I’m glad about all the positive changes you’ve had in the recent years. Did you really work as an English tutor? How was it?

    I’m looking forward to learning more about you 🙂
    Best regards from your own personal stalker, Ania 😉 By the way, I’m turning 30 today, so I’m really glad so many people made me a present and replied my questionnaire! I’ll reciprocate and reply it too as soon as I can.

    1. SJ O'Hart Post author

      Oh, happy birthday! I hope you have a lovely day.

      Some brief answers to your new questions: I don’t have an e-reader (and I don’t really want one, though it might become a necessity in the future); I certainly wouldn’t kill anyone, despite being a Scorpio – I’m a vegetarian; I use La Roche-Posay’s ‘Lipikar Baume AP’ cream on my eczema and it works a charm for me, except it’s extremely oily and greasy; yes, I really worked as an English tutor, for several years, and I loved it – though I taught Old and Middle English, so maybe you wouldn’t have liked to be in my class! – and thanks for the invitation to Poland. That’s another country I’d love to see. I’d love to visit all of Europe, actually.

      Anyway. I have to go and do some writing now! 🙂

      1. anna3101

        An e-reader is a great thing. Well, I don’t have one (technically) but I have a multimedia player so I have the whole package: films, music and ebooks in one. I prefer to read paper books at home – they can be quite heavy otherwise!

        I’m glad to meet a fellow vegetarian. Let’s shake hands 🙂

        It’s good that Roche-Posay works for you. I would never buy it though as it belongs to L’Oreal and L’Oreal tests on animals. I’m a big animal lover and I hate the idea of millions of rabbits, rats, cats, dogs and monkeys dying in agony so that someone could curl their lashes with a new mascara 😦 I don’t mean the life-saving products, like it is in your case, there are people who really need to have particular products, but I really don’t understand those using stuff like using soap, lipstick or face masks tested on animals just because they like the brand or are too lazy to look for a replacement 😦 Isn’t that sad?

      2. SJ O'Hart Post author

        Oh, no. I didn’t realise La Roche-Posay was part of L’Oreal. I stopped buying products from The Body Shop because they were bought by L’Oreal a few years ago. I’m totally with you on the animal testing thing, I hate it too. I hope it’s eventually stopped entirely, certainly for cosmetic products at least. I have to say I’m glad I don’t suffer as much as I used to with my eczema (and I wouldn’t want to go back to the ‘bad days’), but I hate the thought of causing suffering to animals.

        Thanks for letting me know, though.

      3. anna3101

        Sanoflore was also bought by L’Oreal. They would be glad to buy all the good companies out there… If you want to have a reliable source of companies testing on animals, Uncaged is a pretty good one.

        They say there will be a complete ban on testing in EU starting from 11.03 but I’m convinced dirty businesses like L’Oreal and P&G will find their way around it 😦

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