Anthony tagged me with this old meme. Here are the 'rules':
- Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
- People who are tagged need to write a post on their own blog (about their eight things) and post these rules.
- At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
- Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.
So here are 8 little known things about me:
- World traveller
My Dad's work always took him around the world. That led to my family living in New Zealand, the USA, Canada, the UK and back home in Australia. By the time I was 10 years old I had travelled around the world roughly 5 times (and I've done it another 4 times since then).
In 1986 I did the Sydney to Hobart yacht race. As one of the few Category One ocean races in the world it was a challenge, especially as I was just a teenager. I sailed with my Dad on his boat Dreamtime, and he made sure I trained properly. So it was a half mile swim every morning before school that year, a training sail midweek and then weekend ocean races, with me completing the mandatory two overnight races in the lead up to Boxing Day.
It was a tumultuous 4 days with gale force winds, rough seas, a crew that was only half experienced and cold, wet conditions. As my Dad had intended it was a watershed moment for me - I ran the mainsheet and at one stage we were in a death roll whilst skimming down the Tasmanian coastline, and I had to ignore panicked commands from my fellow crew (men in their 40s!) and just listen to what my skipper (Dad) was telling me to do.
I survived that race (and the return sail), but it was quite a few more years before I could be convinced to start ocean racing again. However, I helped my Dad move his new boat, One Step Ahead, from Pittwater to Sydney Harbour a few weekends ago, and you know what? It felt pretty good being out on the water again, and it's not many guys who can say they've "sailed with my father, man and boy, these twenty years".
- Bent middle fingers
The last joint on each of my middle fingers is bent outwards slightly. It's something to do with the angle of the joint because they seem to straighten up when they bend. Weird, huh?
- Hate sandals
Sorry but closed shoes are what I prefer - even on hot days. Having said that, living closer to the beach has caused me to actually buy a pair of thongs.
- Love to cook
It seems to be something about the physicality of cooking, along with the appreciation for good results, that makes me love cooking. I'm not a fast cook, but there is nothing more relaxing after a hard day's work than taking an hour or two to turn out a nice meal. Of course you sometimes have to knock up something edible out of minimal ingredients with 20 minutes notice - that's definitely less fun.
- Chlorine blind
One family holiday in Spain when I was very young my Dad tried to help me learn to swim with my eyes open underwater. It was a pretty successful day, with me triumphantly announcing I could now swim underwater. However I woke up the next morning unable to open my eyes due to an allergic reaction to the (massive) amounts of chlorine the hotel had dumped in their pool. I've been a firm believer in swimming goggles ever since!
- Skiing a white Christmas
I spent the bulk of my childhood living in the UK, and one of the (few) nice side-effects of that was my family being able to take holidays in Europe very affordably. The best ever holidays turned out to be ones we had around Christmas when my Dad took us to Lech, Austria for skiing trips (it wasn't quite so exclusive then). We would go for two weeks at a time, and spend the first week re-acquainting ourselves with the sport and the second week revelling in the fantastic snowfields of the region.
My fondest memory is of getting woken up just before midnight on Christmas Eve to gather at the local church, sing Carols and watch the midnight torch run, local ski instructors snaking down the mountain in lines, carrying burning torches to light up the dark. There's something spectacularly appropriate about all that fatty Christmas food that suits cold, snowy places - somehow 35 degree Centigrade sweaty Christmas days in Oz better suit cold seafood and salads.
Back in my university days I hung out with a bunch of friends who were all into roleplaying games, and hence swords, armour and pretty much all sorts of historical military goodies. We were also into martial arts, especially Japanese ones (I did Judo). One of the guys had a book on Japanese swordsmithing, which we pored over. I had topped my year at school when it came to Design & Technology, and I fondly remembered standing over the forge bashing out some metal.
I remember dreaming what I would like to do in the future and imagining the perfect blend of natural environment, zen-simple lifestyle and heady success. For me that seemed to be an Austrian chalet on a mountain in New Zealand, with a fully kitted out forge in the back and international customers waiting for one of my original katanas ... since then I've had a friend actually take up blacksmithing, specialising in historical reproductions of weapons (spears, swords, etc). As is often the case the reality turned out to be far more prosaic and boring than you imagine.
So there's 8 (reasonably) useless facts about me. In the spirit of this whole meme I'm going to tag eight other bloggers to follow on: