I was delighted to see that Lazarus had nominated me for a Liebster Award, not only because I really enjoy his blog and find him a voice of common sense and sanity on the blogosphere, but because it gives me an opportunity to unashamedly prattle on about myself. Which probably tells you all you need to know. I also saw I’d been nominated by Rhoslyn Thomas and was tempted to naughtily pick and choose on questions, but Lazarus got there first. I’ll give Rhos a plug anyway because she deserves one. Young, pro-life, Welsh traddie. What’s not to like?
The point of the award is to encourage blogs to link to each other and so boost their profiles and traffic.
Here’s what you do:
1) Post the Liebster award graphic on your site. (Google to find it if needed)
2) Thank the blogger who nominated the blog for a Liebster Award and link back to their blog.
3) The blogger then writes 11 facts about themselves so people who discover their blog through the Liebster post will learn more about them.
4) In addition to posting 11 fun facts about themselves, nominated bloggers should also answer the 11 questions from the post of the person who nominated them.
5) The nominated blogger will in turn, nominate 9 other blogs with 200 or less followers (We’re guessing for our nominees) for a Liebster award by posting a comment on their blog and linking back to the Liebster post.
6) The nominated blogger will create 11 questions for their nominated blogs to answer in their Liebster post.
So, done the first two tasks. Here’s the eleven facts about me. (I go on a bit, I didn’t include that brevity or conciseness is not my forte).
- One of the most surreal things I’ve ever done is approach Paul O’Grady of Lily Savage fame, in the Telephone Bar in Bangkok and throw water at him. He didn’t mind, it was Thai New Year which is celebrated by sprinkling water over other people as a sign of good luck. In recent times it has degenerated into a giant 3 day city-wide water fight, where gangs of adolescents prowl the city on the backs of jeeps and motorbikes, with industrial water tanks strapped to their backs connected to elaborate water pistols, in order to drench passers-by. Probably something of a mating ritual, but if you ever go to Bangkok around the time of Thai New Year, be sure to wear either a swimming cossie or plastic overalls.
- My skills of prophecy are summarised by the occasion I looked at a battered old orange 737 sitting on the tarmac at Gatwick airport in 1997 and opined “No Frills airlines. That’ll never work”
- Fr John Glynn of I watch the Sunrise, fame, was the priest in charge of my school. He used to stalk the Alyosius Corridor, singing and smiling and leant his guitar against the altar. I used to confuse him with Ralph McTell.
- My favourite book of the Aeneid is Book VI. It evokes memories of GCSE Latin and moments of Billy Bunter-esque stupidity in class. Virgil describes an eclectic mix of characters including “The hundred armed Gyles Brandreth” and, much to the amusement of privileged Essex boarding school pupils, with terribly middle-class names, a ferryman called “Sharon”.
- I’ve always wanted to give Cathy and Heathcliffe a hearty slap.
- I can’t touch vodka following an unfortunate incident involving Highlander II, popcorn on an empty stomach, a litre of Blue label Smirnoff, a chincilla and a poodle who resembled Roly in Eastenders.
- If I had to chose a final meal it would be infinite oysters, with a dipping sauce made out of shallots and red-wine vinegar, a dash of lemon and tabasco, washed down with Veuve Cliquot served the temperature of liquid nitrogen.
- I have to work a lot harder on the asceticism and Evangelical Poverty thing.
- I will forever harbour an unashamed crush on the young
Stiff PilchardCliff Richard in his heyday. Cor.
- I’d like to have the sublime Faure’s Requiem at my funeral and wangle a way of getting in the Cantique de Jean Racine also.
- Compline is my favourite part of the Divine Office. It hands everything over to God at the end of the day.
So here are the questions I had to answer:
What inspired the title of your blog?
My name. Original huh?! Actually, it was originally called asnailinmypocket, which was a favourite phrase of mine back in the day, being an equivalent to Monty Python’s hovercraft full of eels. Very often in my days as a flight attendent, we’d operate domestic European flights for a non-English airline, between cities such as Cologne and Dresden. I once told an unsuspecting German with no command of English, that I had ‘a snail in my pocket and I think I’m about to use my vest’, instead of telling him to stow his hand luggage under the seat in front of him, much to the hilarity of my colleague. He seemed to get the gist. Perhaps it was the hand gestures? Anyway the phrase stuck and it was the first thing that came to mind when setting up the blog and summed me up. Random, surreal and probably quite juvenile.
What is your personal favourite post on your blog?
No idea, although I’d like to think that I’ve done some very solid investigative pro-life writing. BPAS are regular readers. *waves* 🙂
What has been the most popular (most viewed) post on your blog?
Oh lawks, not sure we should go there. It was the Babyworld post of DOOM. To cut a long story short, I used to be a member of a Mumsnet type website called Babyworld, which had a ‘Discus, Debate and Deliberate’ forum. In the run up to the Papal Visit, things got extremely heated and being the only practicing Catholic in a forum predominated by liberal mummies was something of a recipe for disaster. They simply didn’t get it and I should have realised that it was always going to be a waste of time.
There were threads upon threads of the usual old cliches and every single time, I tried to bust the myths or engage in any sort of apologetics – KAPOW, they’d all go nutty. I remember one member who indignantly C&Ped huge chucks of the Catechism, in order to heap her scorn and vitriol upon this disgusting religion and its doctrine.
Others just couldn’t work me out. On the one hand I seemed this perfectly nice, reasonable, quite fun woman, who didn’t walk about dressed like a member of the Amish, but there I was espousing hateful bigotry and homophobia. At one point it was suggested that I was brainwashed or had cognitive dissonance “I don’t think Caroline hates gay people, she obviously doesn’t, she seems a nice person, but her attitude is homophobic and that causes her problems, which is why she tries to explain it away”.
Finally, my patience blew during yet another homophobic Catholic church debate (I think people decided to deliberately start inflammatory threads) during which posters posted the most inane and theologically illiterate statements I’d ever seen, which were as hilarious as they were offensive. “Face it, you can’t tell me whether or not Jesus was a breast or a bum man with any certainty”, said one, and in my frustration and amusement, I C&Ped some of the choicest comments onto here for the delectation of my gentle readers, along with the Bad Vicar sketch from Mitchell and Webb. Well, it was funny, a bunch of women screeching about how terrible Catholicism was, how they had spent some time in Rome and decided that I had read too many books and therefore wasn’t ‘spiritual’, reminded me of the classic line about “hastily assembled internet philosophies”.
Anyway, they didn’t like it much, linked the blog to Babyworld and the stats went stratospheric. Much silliness ensued about petitioning WordPress to get the site taken down for breaching copyright (despite the fact I’d done nothing illegal and hadn’t mentioned identities) and a huge amount of cross comments, for taking their comments about Christ’s alleged sexual preferences out of context!
I left shortly afterwards, it all got a bit much and I lost patience with the “oh no, my child’s Christian school is teaching them that God exists and about the crucifixion and Resurrection, how very dare they”, but they still link to here from time to time, bless them.Christian mummies, stay away from mainstream mummy forums, no good can come of it, unless you are married to Giles Fraser.
Which post on your blog has attracted most comments?
This one. About finding out I was pregnant, the week that Robin left the Anglican Church.
What other hobbies or interests (beyond blogging) are you prepared to admit to?
Not that much time, with the children, so it’s mainly reading and playing the piano. Beethoven Sonatas with their crashing chords can be most Cathartic, but tend to wake the children. I also love Bach prelude and fuges as well as Mozart sonatas. I adore ragtime, probably not very PC, but I’d like to be able to play Debussy’s Golliwog’s Cakewalk without making any mistakes before I shuffle off this mortal coil. It’s fiendishly difficult.
What’s your favourite song?
Cemetry Gates by The Smiths. Timeless and with puns worthy of Philip Sidney. Perhaps the wittiest and cleverest pop song there is. It is a deliberate paradox, being the embodiment of the traits that it knocks- pretentious and pseudo-intellectual and reminding us that all writers and fans of literature and the arts are self-conscious, angst-ridden inadvertent plagiarists at heart.
What’s your favourite novel?
I’m going to cheat, because I can’t possibly chose. Three of Maupassant’s short-stories, Boule de Suif, La Parure and En Famille. All tragi-comic, demonstrating his immense ability as an original story-teller, who describes his subjects and their physical and mental flaws with affectionate, painstaking and earthy detail. Maupassant holds up an uncomfortable and discomforting mirror to human nature. Though none of these stories have an aspect of redemption, they demonstrate the nature of sin. When I recently re-read them, the compelling subtext for me, was how they highlighted the necessity of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.
Actually upon re-reading that, I should say, Brideshead Revisited because it sparked my return back to the Catholic Church. When my eldest was born, I spent hours sat nursing her with a book in hand. One of them was Brideshead which I had never previously got around to. As I turned the back cover, tears were streaming down my face and I thought to myself, “well it’s too late for me, but I am going to make darned sure that my daughter is saved” and resolved to have her baptised. I then attended the local baptism course and things progressed from there.
Complete this sentence: ‘I think religion is….’
I’ll go with St Augustine’s definition. I think religion is the thing that binds us to God in voluntary subjugation.
How good a dancer are you?
Dreadful. I don’t do dancing, unless it’s of the Gay Gordons, or the basic ballroom variety that we had to learn at school. I am hopelessly uncoordinated, more embarrassing that your grandad and don’t enjoy it at all. I never know what to ‘do’.
Which do you prefer: tea or coffee?
Tea. Coffee is the devil’s own brew.
Have you ever been a smoker? (Of tobacco…!)
Yes. I used to smoke an unhealthy amount of Marlboro Reds. I still crave a cigarette whenever I have a gin and tonic in my hand, but on those occasions where I’ve grabbed a crafty puff of someone else’s, have wanted to throw up. I gave up in 1998, following the smoking ban on long-haul flights. My smoking habit was never curbed by the cost of cigarettes, seeing as I used to be able to buy them very cheaply in various destinations. At one stage I had a stash of about 2,000 in my room, for personal use, and never had to husband or ration cigarettes due to spiralling costs, unlike British smokers. It was easy-come, easy-go. I figured that if I could manage on a flight to Sidney without a puff, then, it was just a matter of gradually extending the period of time.
So now I have to nominate 9 other blogs with under 200 readers. That’s the hard part. I don’t tend to do compare and contrast on stats, so really I’ve no idea whether that’s readers or subscribers or what? I’d love to ask some of the priests such as Fr Ray Blake, whether or not he used to practice playing and pretending he was celebrating Mass as a little boy, or whether Joseph Shaw is secretly scared of spiders, but I guess that would be disrespectful and they have well over two hundred readers, so my list is a little random. I’m struggling, because most of those whom I would nominate, have already participated
- MyBattlementofRubies – my absolute heroine of all time. Clare, Catholic Homeschooling mother of six who has the most fabulous turn of phrase along with buckets of wit and common sense.
- Abudance of Rainbows – Lovely, lovely Lucy
- Laurence England – who doesn’t need the plug, but has written some outstanding stuff of late, and hasn’t yet participated
- James Preece – Oi James, put down your Latin books, forget the gerundives and answer some inane questions. Your public demands it
- Five feet above sea level – this is swiftly becoming a must-read, the wonderful and inspirational Katherine Rickards.
- A Miscellany of Musings – ‘The Idle Rambler’
And erm, I give up. Feel free to join in by all accounts, if questions inspire.
- Do you have a favourite Evangelist?
- What are the best and worst aspects of blogging?
- If you were able to choose your final meal, or God forbid you were on Death Row, what would it be?
- Favourite Saint?
- What book do you have on your bedside cabinet?
- What has been the most popular post on your blog?
- Which blogpost has attracted the most comments?
- What did you want to be when you were a small child?
- If you had a Harry Potter invisibility cloak for one day, what would you do?
- What inspired the title of your blog
- Favourite prayer or novena?
And that’s me done.