Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Liebster Award

First of all, many thanks to Doris at Inspired Follies for nominating me for this award. The award is made up of three parts: for the first I am to share eleven random facts about myself; for the second I answer the eleven questions Doris has set for all her nominees; thirdly I then nominate eleven other bloggers and ask them my eleven questions. I've done a bit of research into the Liebster Award and it seems that originally things weren't done in elevenses but threes or fours. So when I come to pass on the award I'll be nominating four bloggers and passing on four questions for them to answer. They will also be able to share four random facts about themselves (or more if they wish). I hope that's alright with everyone!

So here goes with my eleven random facts about myself.
  • I am like Paddington Bear; I come from darkest Peru and I love marmalade sandwiches. Well, probably not darkest Peru but a very remote part. As for marmalade sandwiches, I love them but don’t keep them under my hat. Marmalade is best when it is thick cut – the thicker the better.
  • I am a chartered engineer and member of the British Computer Society. My IT career as a software engineer (computer programmer) started in Harland & Wolff, the shipyard that built the Titanic.
  • Simply because there was no-one else who could do it, I have played the pipe organ at several weddings and other church services. I was also involved in leading a small choir.
  • My two sons and I spent three weeks travelling round Europe, camping in nine different countries, two or three nights in each. I didn’t have any sort of satellite navigation system and had to just rely on a map; my sense of direction is woeful never mind my navigational skills. Thankfully we discovered that my younger son has some sort of in-built satnav and was able to direct me without any bother.
  • I spent just over two weeks in Malawi as part of a team of 13 people who went to help at an orphanage. The men built a playground area and the girls played games with the children and painted the orphanage. At the end we had a special event for people from the neighbouring area to come and see what had been done. They were so happy with it all and so grateful.
  • Visiting a wool shop is a delight for me. I love seeing all the beautiful yarn colours and can’t help myself working out yet another combination for making a blanket.
  • I love really good coffee.
  • I don’t consider myself overly obsessed with doing housework though it’s nice when the house is clean and tidy. My sons think otherwise. When they were younger they used to call me Momica (a play on Monica of Friends who was obsessed with cleaning and tidying). Boys think if you ask them to remove their shoes from the middle of the living room floor it makes you a tidy freak. I reminded my older son of this recently and he found it extremely funny.
  • What neither of my sons realise is that I probably am obsessed with how I hang out washing. My behaviour is verging on OCD though I do try to make myself do it differently. The colour of peg should suit the garment and each garment has to have two pegs that are the same colour. Socks are hung in pairs, all socks and underwear for a person hung together on the same part of the line. I’m not sure what started this but I’ve been doing it for years now!
  • I know the sort code and account number for my current account and the number, dates and verification code of my credit card off by heart.
  • I have big feet but they are also narrow, making buying shoes that fit an ordeal. They're UK 9AA (depending on the style of shoe maybe 9B) - that's US 11AA.

Now to answer Doris's eleven questions.

When do you write your blog posts and how long does it take you?
It takes me hours to do a post, mainly because of loading the photos. I usually do a bit at a time during the day, check it and re-check it and then finally publish. I'm trying not to let it take over my life but am finding it very addictive!
Which television programme/s do you watch regularly?
None is the simple answer. Usually I just watch DVDs when I get the chance though these could be of programmes that were on TV at some time. I love period dramas. Some of my favourite DVDs are Bleak House, David Copperfield, Mansfield Park and North and South.
Describe the last meal you cooked.
Sirloin steak with potatoes, butter beans, onions and garlic from garden. We don't often get steak but we had visitors so I wanted to make something special.
What is your favourite item of clothing?
I suppose it would be a dress I bought in the Avoca shop at Rathcoole. I love the shop and I love the dress. The material is a heavy, silky jersey with a bold pattern and empire line shaping.
Your all time favourite book and why you have chosen it?
Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien. I love the names Tolkien uses for his characters, places and creatures. I also like the fact that the story has a much deeper meaning. It's the sort of book I could get really lost in.
Describe your usual sleep pattern.
I try to go to bed between 10 and 10:30 if I have to travel to work next day otherwise a bit later. Unfortunately I don't often get to bed as early as I intend! My work pattern is now two days in the office and two days at home. On the two days I work in the office (and therefore have to travel) I get up at 5:15 a.m.; on the days I'm working at home I get up at 6. The really annoying thing is that I always wake around 5 or 5:15 and only doze after this. I always have to get up at least once during the night and usually I'm able to sleep again but sometimes I can’t so end up lying awake for hours.
Which line from a poem/book/play or famous speech appeals to you most?
I like this quote from Lord of the Rings; Bilbo is addressing Frodo. 'It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.'
The city/town you have enjoyed visiting most?
This has got to be St. Petersburg. You can read about my recent trip to this magnificent city here.

What is the last film you went to the cinema to watch?
Philomena based on the book The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by journalist Martin Sixsmith and starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan. I found it very moving and the actors did an excellent job, dealing very sensitively with the subject.
If you paint your nails, what colour do you usually choose?
I haven’t painted my toe nails for about a year; I used to go for pink or pearly though sometimes I did them a very deep colour like turquoise or even black. There's no point in me painting my finger nails. They're awful so, the less obvious they are, the better.
If you could award your own Oscar or Bafta to an actor/TV performer, who would you choose and why?
James Nesbitt. I loved his role in The Hobbit recently as Bofur the dwarf. He also played pig farmer "Pig" Finn in Waking Ned in 1998, an absolutely hilarious film.
Well that just leaves me the task of passing on the Liebster Award to the following lovely blogs which I enjoy reading:
Marianne at Ladybird Diaries
Gill at Dosie Rosie
Jane at Plain Jane
And these are my four questions:
  • What would be your ideal holiday?
  • Are you an optimistic or a pessimistic person?
  • What kitchen gadget do you use most?
  • If you had an extra hour every day how would you use it?

I've enjoyed doing this as it brought back a lot of memories. In the end I had to cut out a lot of what I had in to start with as it was far too long! I hope Marianne, Gill, Amy and Jane will enjoy it too.

Thanks again Doris for nominating me.


  1. What a great read, Gillian. I would really like to see Philomena, but I think I'll wait until it comes out on DVD. Then I'll borrow it from Netflix. Thanks for sharing, it's nice to learn more about you.

  2. You are an interesting woman Gillian, I think I would enjoy your company! My teenager thinks I am an obsessive control freak because I ask him to get dressed every few days during the holidays. I am quite obsessive with hanging out the washing but in different ways. I like T-shirts to be pegged together with one peg (using three pegs for two T-shirts). Odd, I know. Well done for taking your boys on an adventurous camping trip. I am a nervous (but well travelled) traveller and taking my four two Switzerland to see family is about as adventurous I get these days.... It is nice to see where the Liebster travelled on from me! Cx

    1. Teenagers can be such a joy!! I remember my two sons back in their teenage years. They took 'dressing for dinner' to a new level - in other words, they didn't get dressed until dinner time. During school holidays of course. I use the three pegs for two items method as well but for face cloths. I would consider taking four on a trip to Switzerland quite adventurous enough!

    2. P.S. I meant to ask - how did you get the Liebster Award badge on your blog? Thanks, Gillian

  3. Lovely interesting post, and so happy to know another Monica who sorts & colour-coordinates washing on the line too! :-)
    And I also love Malawi, St Petersburg & James Nesbitt!

    1. So glad to know someone else with Monica tendencies!

  4. This is fascinating, Gillian. It's lovely to find out more about you and I totally approve of your decision to use four questions. I haven't seen Philomena either but it's on my Lovefilm wish list so hope to get it soon.

    1. You'll love Philomena - I can truly recommend it.

  5. Hello Gillian

    What a fabulous post and it's lovely to find out a little more about you (again, you are so brave LoL)


  6. Wow, you have lead a very interesting life. Well done for going to help in Malawi. That is a wonderful thing to do.I agree thick cut maramalade

    1. Malawi is a fantastic country. There is no reason why anyone should be as poor as the people living there but they are crippled by corruption. It's very sad.

  7. Another marmalade lover over here! I really enjoyed reading this, Gillian. What an adventurous person you are (camping all over Europe with your sons and your trip to Malawi), I really admire that xxx

    1. I never really thought about it as being adventurous! Just did it.

  8. What great random facts and answers to the questions Gillian!! It was lovely to read what you had to share. Thank you so much for your nomination, I am so very sorry that I am so late getting to this, I am very behind with blogging. I hope that you are having a good weekend. Off to catch up on your other new post now! xx

  9. Where is August going? Only catching up with this now. You certainly know how to pack lots of experiences into your life - would love to visit St Petersburg sometime but I don't envy you those early morning commutes. Our local council has sponsored a number of projects in Malawi.

    1. St. Petersburg is unforgettable.


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