How’s it going?
Busy, but great. Last year I set up Elementary V Watson Proofreading & Copywriting Services. I also run three writing groups a week. Oh, and I’m just starting my second year of teacher training.
You’re writing for this site because your primary goal in life didn’t work out. What was it?
Funny you should say that. I always wanted to be a journalist and three years ago, I went on a journalism course, funded by my local newspaper with the promise of a job at the end of it. I got four weeks into the classes and realised I didn’t have a thick enough skin to be a journo. Luckily, I was already doing a Masters in Creative Writing and, actually, I fare better with fiction.
Before I became a grown-up, I wanted to be a WAG – so glad I grew out of that phase.
What were you like at school?
A complete and utter swot. I was the geek who cared only about the opinions of teachers and my parents and didn’t succumb to peer pressure which is admirable but didn’t make life easy for me. I loved the learning part of school (well, apart from stuff I was crap at like Maths and Science) but the social side of it wasn’t great for me. I had a few friends but we certainly weren’t popular!
What is your all time favourite
a) Album? I can’t pick one but I’d say a collection of Bon Jovi albums.
b) Film? It really depends on my mood so either ‘Kill Bill Vol. 1’ or ‘The History Boys’.
c) Book? It has to be ‘Tales of the Unexpected’ by Roald Dahl. Sometimes I say it’s ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. Both of those books are totally amazing for different reasons.
d) Sitcom? ’30 Rock’. I am Liz Lemon and I don’t care that it makes me seem like a dork.
What’s your most treasured material possession?
I have a crucifix given to me by my late Nana when I was a teenager although I’m not religious in the slightest, it means a great deal to me. And a close second, my Kindle.
What is the single best item of clothing you’ve ever owned?
When I was 16, and ridiculously thin, I bought myself a pair of leather pants. I thought I was the bee’s knees. It maybe wasn’t my finest hour but, at the time, I loved them. Ha, just the very thought of them makes me laugh and cringe inwardly.
Who is your favourite sportsperson ever?
When I was a kid, I was a city swimmer and my hero was a local girl called Susan Rolph. They used to have her give talks at our sessions sometimes and she once got into a relay team in the Commonwealth Games. In a way, Susan was the reason I quit swimming when I was twelve. I hit the standard where I could progress to a higher squad, train twice a day and hopefully swim towards Olympic victory (I have always had delusions of grandeur) but, after reading a newspaper article about Susan having no backup plan if her swimming career wasn’t successful. I did not want to have no backup plan.
Other than property, what is the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought?
I’m guessing you mean other than my car, too? I guess the most expensive thing I ever bought was my first laptop. I went to university when I was 21 but had saved up for a year before to buy myself a laptop – this was before the days of everyone having a laptop and years before anyone had even dreamed of a tablet – and it cost me about £800.
What’s your poison?
I’m not a big drinker these days but back in the day I was a V&C (vodka and coke) girl. Now, I’m just addicted to pop!
Who is the funniest person you’ve ever met?
My dad. He is awesome. One of his favourite pastimes, throughout my life, has been telling me lies just because he can. It’s terrible that, at the age of 29, I’m still finding out things he’s been lying to me about. Nothing serious but here are a couple of his tall tales: the Falklands War was started over corned beef, eating raw mushrooms can kill you. My dad and I share a very similar sense of humour – he introduced me to Reeves and Mortimer as a kid and I’ve never looked back.
Pick five words to describe yourself.
Neurotic, pedantic, sarcastic, self-critical.
Has there ever been a period in your life that you look back on and think “What the hell was I doing?”
I’m pretty sure I ask myself that question every day to some extent. I’m quite the analyst.
What’s in your pockets right now?
The only thing you will ever find in my pockets are tissues. An absolute nightmare when they get put in the washing machine.
Can you dance?
I like to think so. Ever since I was a kid, I’d make up dance moves to pop songs and as an adult I’ve used concert dvds as work-outs. I probably look like some sort of deranged maniac.
Vinyl, Tape, CD or MP3?
MP3s are really handy.
What are you most likely to complain about in a hotel?
Lack of cleanliness. I’ve always been a homebird but even now, if I’m in a hotel where the bathroom isn’t clean, I feel ridiculously homesick. And if it’s not a nice hotel, I cry before bed every night.
What characteristics do you think you’ve inherited from your parents?
Dad’s humour (and giant forehead). Mam’s sensitivity and inherent need to please people. This may sound like a lovely quality but it can be exhausting.
What’s your most unpleasant characteristic?
What’s your culinary speciality?
Cheese on toast.
What single non-political thing winds you up the most?
Bad manners; “please” and “thank you” cost absolutely nothing so I don’t care who you are, you can be polite. I also hate how old people complain about “the youth of today” but some old people are actually the rudest, most inconsiderate people I have ever met. That can be said of any age group so it winds me up that anyone gets a bad rap just because they’re in a certain age bracket.
What’s your greatest fear?
I really want to say something profound here like “dying unfulfilled” or something but my biggest fear is cockroaches. Sorry to be so literal there.
What music would you have played at your funeral?
‘What a Wonderful World’ by Louis Armstrong. My boyfriend says that’s weird, I think it’s lovely. I’m one of these evil people that want people to always think of my funeral when they hear that song. I’ve had plenty of songs spoilt for me because they remind me of funerals so I want to get my own back which is stupid really because the ones I want to punish are already dead.
What do you see when you look in the mirror?
A moon-faced person who looks vaguely like me.
Recite a line of the greatest lyric ever written.
“I ain’t gonna be just a face in the crowd, you’re gonna hear my voice when I shout it out loud.” It’s My Life by Bon Jovi.
Lying in the sunshine, beside (or in) a swimming pool, reading a book.
What are your plans for this weekend?
I work every Saturday at my paid job (insurance, don’t ask) then I run a writing group in a local library 3-5pm. On Sunday, I like a lazy day filled with reading, writing and catching up on TV. I tend not to venture out on Sundays (and remain in my PJs all day where possible) but if the weather’s nice I can be persuaded to go for a pub lunch or visit the local market.