This Door is Alarmed was nominated for this award by my cherished friend Novus Lectio . She is a very well read writer, with a curious mind for investigation. She presents a nimbly versatile blog, which includes a tranquil nemesis of enquiry through her ‘inspiring’ snapshots, her pictures, which demonstrate her unique style as an artist, and her wonderful real-life stories. I recommend a perusal when you are passing through!
Rules: On this site, rules do not exist. Instead of the R word, we have the easy-going and eternally more satisfying G word: ‘guidelines’. Where the R word ensnares your footsteps, spilling your smiles sideways to cruelly evoke our strict shirt and tie schooldays, guidelines comfort and caress, making compromises alongside necessity.
-Thank the blogger who nominated you.
-Use the “Sunshine Blogger Award” logo on your post.
-Answer the 11 questions the selector asks of you.
-Nominate 5-11 bloggers you want to give the award to.
-Ask the following bloggers that you selected 11 questions of your own.
If you could travel in a time machine, where and when would you travel to?
Quite possibly, a time machine would be the most dangerous device ever created by mankind, and the use of it would be highly irresponsible.
..and just like a well-greased Politician, I have side-tracked the entire question! My answer: I wouldn’t go back in time, even though it would be tempting, I would stay right where I am in the unpredictable present, learning from the beautiful wealth of knowledge we often call ‘mistakes’.
Which extinct animal would you love to bring back to life?
The Woolly Mammoth, obviously! His name would be Stumpy.
Who needs combustion engines when you have a Woolly Mammoth—a quadrupedal prehistoric woolly mountain!
Just like people dress up their dogs, I would make Stumpy a giant, yellow rain jacket and booties to splash around in the puddles, and I would take him walking around the local fields at the weekend for exercise, and throw a giant ball for him to chase off the leash. Unfortunately, I would need to borrow an Olympic-sized swimming pool to bathe him, and follow him in a bulldozer to collect the poop, as I do not think anywhere makes poop scoop bags large enough—or not yet anyway.
Yes, I can definitely see this Woolly Mammoth thing catching on. Perhaps Woolly Mammoths never went extinct at all, but future people-kind read this message, saw the instant potential of the mammoth-mobile, and used that darned time machine to remove them from the past and place them in their own present, where they dress them up in giant yellow raincoats and booties and call them Stumpy.
Would you rather be Rich but without friends (money can’t buy you friends but they can buy you acquaintances) or have lots of lovely friends but very little money?
I avoid complex social situations, even though, according to some people, I am good at interacting and socialising. Little do they know, behind the well-practiced smile, most often I am a thumping hot knot of a mess, tossing and tearing to crawl out of my own skin.
BUT, I am not a materialistic person either and do not hanker after lots of money to buy lots of possessions. Too many possessions make me feel queasy—I cannot stand clutter and my house tends to be more minimalist than materialistic. I have always valued experiences over possessions. Is it not said somewhere by someone that moderation is the greatest virtue—can I not apply this logic to the question, and have a little of both?
What is your favourite meal to have in a restaurant?
I have been lucky enough to sample food from a lot of countries, and in my experience, whether it is New York or New Delhi, the local food is always superior to the fancy restaurants. It is an experience, and you usually get a lot more for your money, in both meal and memories.
Of all eateries, one stands out in particular—a Dahl Bhat (a lentil and rice dish) I found while trekking the foothills of the Himalayas in Nepal. When it came to Dahl Bhat, the more out in the sticks you are, the tastier they are and the fresher the ingredients. This restaurant was not a restaurant in the typical sense of the word—it was a mud hut with some wooden benches under straw roofs, where a rough but brightly painted sign on a wooden plaque indicated to Sherpas that they could get a warm meal. Everything in Nepal is bright, as though India was bleeding colour over the border; clothes are colourful, buildings are colourful, prayer flags are colourful—everything is colourful. I had walked three full days through the leach-infested mud-swamped jungle to get there and I was ravenous!
The cook was a current bun sort of a woman, and was the busty, rotund and warm-hearted mother of a small traditional Nepalese family. She was clad in a painfully bright dress of floral design, neatly pinched in at her ample waist, her hair was thoughtfully pinned back to emphasise the lines of love and age that time had drawn upon her face.
Everything was made from scratch, using ingredients out of her garden or purchased from locals living in nearby villages—it was over a two day walk to get to the nearest town and there were no roads or cars in this area. She brought out steaming pot after steaming pot, piling our plates high. A moment later, she would waddle back out again, filling our plates with second and third helpings of everything from the lentil dahl to the curried vegetables. There seemed to be infinite refills of everything. As I sat, hungrily gorging myself with much-needed food, I reflected on where I was, in the middle of absolute nowhere, half the world away from home. It was beautiful—beautiful food, the beautiful company of my Sherpa and guide, and a view of infinite snow-capped mountains, their foothills crossed by a rainbow of prayer flags, swaying gently in the breeze.
As my Sherpa slurped the last pieces of rice from his dirty finger tips, he smiled up at me and spoke in his broken English “Dahl Bhat power, twenty-four hour”.
That is one of my most memorable, and therefore favourite meals. I know I stretched the question like Plasticine, but I am not a big eater and am not particularly bothered by food, so this felt to be a more appropriate answer 🙂
Do you prefer Savoury or Sweet?
A lot is left unsaid in the English language. As a native speaker, I know that Novus is asking me about food, but perhaps if my English was as good as my Japanese, I might misinterpret and think you were actually talking about bedspreads or clothing, and my answer would be very different: I do not recommend sleeping under anything savoury—sweet I cannot vouch for—I know I would opt for a sheet of icing over Marmite or pickled onions—and I do not recommend trying to wear them either—although the icing may still take the biscuit there. If I did have pickled onion clothing, I do wonder how long they would last before I ate them—as anyone who knew me as a child will know how very fond I was of my Nan’s homemade pickled onions—and that really would leave me in more than a bit of a pickle—or more accurately, the complete lack of pickle!
Pickled or lack of pickle, and despite not usually being bothered by food, I am certainly more bothered by my savoury tooth than my sweet tooth.
Name one of your favourite Flowers
Teachers used to call certain children flower or petal. I was one of these children—I was not certain whether this was a form of endearment, whether the teacher had forgotten my name, or whether they were implying that I needed more light on my ivory skin.
My favourite flower is a daisy, because of my beautiful childhood memories making daisy chains with friends over the never-ending summer. It was my Grandad who taught me to do this. We were sitting on a bench at the end of my parents’ garden. I had seen the older girls at school making chains out of these delicate little many-petalled plants, but had not seen how to do it myself. Grandad showed me how easy it was, making a necklace of daisies he lay around my head. We worked on making the longest daisy chain ever made—I would fetch the daisies, and my Grandad would chain them—we were a daisy-chain-making-machine.
I did not stop making daisy chains for years after that—it was a well-stuck summer petally pastime. Every summer I would scour the ground for those little white petals with yellow centers, and idle my thumbs making necklaces. Throughout primary school, I used what Grandad had taught me to teach other younger girls how to make daisy chains too.
I made my last one a just few years ago—the summer my Grandad passed away. Now every time I see that summer yellow core and many white petals, I think of him.
Which is your favourite place in your country?
In my mind’s eye, I see ruby red slippers, heels clicking together and the words “There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.”
I feel very privileged to have grown up in an old black and white quirky country cottage. The place oozes charm and character, in the wacky antiques placed in every nook and cranny, in the infuriatingly low ceilings that even I bump my head on occasionally, in the stairs made for mice and the brass candlestick holders that look to have walked out of the Victorian era—there is a story in every trinket, every wooden beam and every crevice. There is a plaque over the fireplace reading 1601, although I am not sure how accurate this is. The bedroom I called mine for so many years had a window so low that you had to kneel down to be at eye level, and there are curious little steps in and out of almost every room. One day, my Dad decided to excavate the curiously wide wall between the living room and the kitchen. We found an old fashioned brick bread oven, beautifully made with a curved roof. Why had such a pretty feature been bricked up and plastered over? How many years had it been there hidden behind the wall? It is now a liquor cabinet to which my dad fixed a little glass door—a little glass door that the pretty Birman cat would tinker open late at night time. A little glass door that the pretty Birman cat would sneak through, and come to wake me or my brother up with affectionate head butts, purring mischievously. I wonder what other secrets there are to be found.
The home we experience our most pleasant childhood memories in seems to stick with us as adults in a feint cloud of nostalgia. Perhaps this is our favourite place, perhaps it is where we always think of as home, no matter how many homes we may live in afterwards.
What’s the best name for a pet?
Stumpy the Woolly Mammoth.
What type of blogs and posts do you most enjoy reading?
Carefully crafted or comical ones; I delight in the tuning and turning of cogs and the spillage of giggles.
If you won a holiday, what type would you prefer? A sightseeing holiday taking in lots of scenery? A beach holiday with lots of relaxing? An Adventure holiday with lots of activities? None of the above?
Occasionally, I wonder whether there are some people in life where the flip of a coin lands head up just a little more often, or a little less often than for most others, I am neither of these people. I am not lucky, I am not unlucky, I am a hard worker. I have worked carefully towards everything I have achieved. I am an inbetweener when it comes to luck, and winning a holiday never happens to inbetweeners. Feeling chuffed, I would pat the lucky heads-up winner on the back, and proceed to book myself a holiday in the usual fashion. It would be a cultural experience spent learning about locals in their everyday life.
Do you prefer to be extremely busy or extremely bored?
Boredom is a privilege. I have forgotten how to be bored, it is an art form perfected in childhood, a pleasure that no longer raises its head. As an adult, the mind is so busy defragging thought that it would be impossible for me to bore myself. Even on an 11 hour plane flight, I am happy just being with my thoughts and nothing else. When every other passenger is absorbed in films or other nonsense on the back of the seat in front, I am the only one who sits for hours with my eyes open and TV turned off—just thinking.
My Questions for Nominees:
- In your opinion, what is the happiest food, and why?
- What would you think I was referring to if I told you to ‘put it down’?
- Who is the most interesting person you have met, and what made them so memorable?
- Would you be a superhero or a sidekick, and what would your name be?
- If you could remove one letter from the English alphabet, what would it be, and what consequences do you see coming from it?
- What was the last thing you lost and never found? What do you imagine has happened to it?
- What significance does the number seven have to you? What memories do you associate with it?
- Young and completely broke or old and disgustingly rich?
- If a giant squirrel had commandeered your mode of transportation, whether car, moped, bike etc., and seemed to know how to make it work, what would you do to stop him?
- If you had your own coat of arms, what would I expect to find on them to describe you/ your family?
- How straight is straight?