Because it’s my birthday in the middle of March, I have just over 2 weeks left of being 53. Here then are 53 facts about me – in no particular order.
1.I was born in Sydney and have spent most of my adult life there but moved around country NSW as a kid, living in Merriwa (Hunter Valley), Bombala (near the Victorian border), and Springwood and Faulconbridge (in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney). I’ve also lived in Canberra – where I met my husband. We moved to the Sunshine Coast of South East Queensland 4 years ago. Even though my birth family is still in Sydney, this is home.
2. My husband and I have been together for 32 years and married for nearly 27. He’s still my favourite person to travel with. We have 1 daughter – she’s nearly 23 and has recently moved out of home and up to Hervey Bay.
3. We have 1 dog – a 12 year old cocker spaniel who is my fur baby and constant companion.
4. The only sport I’ve ever been any good at has been swimming – when I’m in the water I’m in my element. On land I feel clumsy and ungrounded.
5. I can’t swim without getting my hair wet – I’m either all in or out – and I swim most days between September and March.
6. I have long, thick curly hair and get dreadlocks in the summer. I like my curls and hardly ever straighten my hair. I get my hair dyed every 4 weeks – I’m still too vain to go grey.
7. I need glasses for long-distance but only wear them when I’m driving or to watch TV – this means I spend most of my life in a blur. This really doesn’t worry me. I don’t need glasses to read. Yet.
8. I dislike shopping (especially in malls) and only buy clothes when things are falling apart. This means I slop around the house in dresses I bought in Bali for $5 in the summer and jogging/track pants in the winter.
9. I have a collection of thongs (the ones you wear on your feet) for all occasions. You probably call them flip flops or jandals.
10. I never wear shoes at home or in the yard – unless I’m gardening.
11. I swear too much.
12. I should wear make-up more often.
13. The only bone I’ve broken is one in my back – in a fall from a horse when I was a teenager. I got straight back on and didn’t know it had been broken until an x-ray years later. I rode a lot and fell off a lot in those days.
14. I have a severe scoliosis in my spine so need to stay active and see a chiropractor regularly.
15. Growing up, I always wanted to be a writer. When I grow up, I want to be a full-time author.
16. My (not so) secret ambition is to be an extra on Midsomer Murders.
17. I have a degree from Sydney University in Economics, majoring in political science and agricultural economics.
18. I can’t stand “ists” or “ism’s”. There’s always a middle ground and another side to the story.
19. I have a scar just above my left knee from a cow’s horn.
20. My first job was in an ice cream shop.
21. My first real job was as a graduate trainee at Westpac in Canberra. I lasted 12 years and met my husband at work.
22. At 18, in 1985, I was a rugby league referee – apparently, the first woman actually using her ticket. The old guard was not impressed and my exam – where I had to sit in front of the referee’s board and answer questions – took 3 times as long as that of the men. They were trying to trip me up, which only made me more determined.
23. The first album I bought was Bay City Roller’s Once Upon A Star in 1975. I still have it.
24. I truly believe there’s an ABBA song for all of life’s situations.
25. I was in the flute band in Merriwa and reckon I could still play Scotland The Brave. I learnt the piano when I was a teenager and used to smash out the old Boomtown Rats song “I Don’t Like Mondays.”
26. The first concert I went to was Wham – it must have been 1984 or 1985. I remember Andrew Ridgley wore this amazing long tartan coat on stage. I even made myself some tartan pants.
27. Politically I’m pink, ie left of centre, and environmentally I’m lime green – but love my air-conditioning too much to be completely green.
28. I’m ridiculously trusting and forgive easily – but if you hurt anyone I love it’s a different story.
29. My ears are pierced, and I have 1 tattoo – a koru – on my hip. It was my 40th birthday present to myself. I used this greenstone pendant as the template for it. It’s a Kiwi symbol for growth, harmony and new beginnings.
30. My first overseas trip was to Singapore – I was 22. My first overseas trip with Grant was also to Singapore. In fact, I had my 25th birthday there. Yes, that is my natural hair colour in the pic below.
31. I’ve travelled extensively in South-East Asia, have done a 21-day Trafalgar bus tour through Europe (lowering the average age on the bus by 20 years), a cruise of the South Pacific, road trips through the UK and France, but have only been to the US once – visiting New York in February 2010.
32. If I had to live anywhere else in the world it would be New Zealand. My bestie lives in New Zealand and up until the pandemic I’d travel there at least once a year.
33. I’ve done 2 long-distance hikes in NZ – both out of Queenstown: The Routeburn Track and The Milford Track.
34. My favourite Australian city is Melbourne and the only Australian state (or territory) I haven’t travelled to is Northern Territory. One day I’ll get there.
35. Travel inspires my writing – and my cooking
36. I write in my journal every day – they’re very boring journals.
37. I’ve been in a hot air ballooning (Hunter Valley), zip-lining (Queenstown), jet-boating, snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef, been in a helicopter across Mt Cook (NZ), and on a joy flight in a vintage tiger moth.
38. I’ve never jumped out of a plane and have no inclination to do so. nor do I want to run a marathon…or, indeed, run.
39. I have terrible trouble maintaining focus and have to write everything down in order to stay on track.
40. I’m a much better starter than I am finisher – finishing leaves a vacuum that requires a new project to fill.
41. I firmly believe song lyrics are saved in a separate part of the brain that isn’t used for anything else.
42. My mantras are:
- How hard can it be? and
- It is what it is…
43. I think the first thing I ever learnt to cook would have been scones. The other dish I cooked a lot as a kid was self-saucing chocolate pudding.
44. My favourite comfort food sandwich (and guilty pleasure) is vegemite and (plastic-wrapped sliced) cheese on white bread with proper butter. Butter makes everything better. It’s pretty much the only time I eat either processed cheese or white bread.
45. The dish that reminds me most of childhood is my mother’s goulash.
46. Baking is my stress release but I don’t eat sugar. I don’t even like birthday cake. I do, however, enjoy a square or two of really dark chocolate – and get the sweet stuff via wine. (Because it’s fermented does that mean it’s kombucha? No?)
47. I’m a sucker for good bread and cheese – even though as I get older my tummy is less tolerant of both. Sadly, that doesn’t stop me.
48. I’ve tried lots of different foods – some really weird and some just eeeeuw. Like offal, that’s eeeeuw. Because my husband is Scottish, I’ve prepared haggis for him – what can I say? It was the early days. As an aside, I have this theory that whisky was invented to get rid of the taste of haggis. The weirdest thing I’ve eaten was deep-fried rice paddy eels in a market in Gianyar, Bali. The guide said they tasted like bacon. They didn’t.
49. I prefer black tea to coffee. I don’t drink soft drinks (or sodas), but I do love wine – and whisky, which I drink neat.
50. My desert island dish would be Babi Guling – that wonderful pork dish from Bali. Hainanese Chicken rice and Mooloolaba prawns would be close behind. And dumplings. Especially xiao long bao.
51. Other than for my scones when I was 13 or 14 at Bombala Show and swimming races at about the same age, I’ve never won anything – whether it be a contest of skill or chance.
52. If I was on Mastermind, my special subject would be Midsomer Murders: The Tom Barnaby years.
53. I’m an eternal optimist and love nothing more than the possibility of possibility. My glass isn’t half full or half empty – I’ve enjoyed what I’ve had and now there’s room for more.