I’m jumping on the bandwagon which Smelly jumped on by writing an A to Z of me for the few readers who aren’t my friends and don’t actually know me. Here is Smelly Sock’s A to Z of Me which inspired me to do my own.
A Abigail. This will cause ructions in the Stevenson house (actually, it won’t because none of the buggers read my blog) because she appears first on the list, but I’m not responsible for the bloody alphabet! Anyhow, my third born and only girl. I decided when I was around 7 that I would call my daughter Abigail. I flirted with other names over the years, but always returned to Abigail, like some errant, womanising husband. And I’m absolutely determined she will never be Abbie.
B Billy Joel. 1983 was the year I became aware of the Piano Man. A strange little mechanic dancing along in a garage with some stunning supermodel. The song was, of course, Uptown Girl, and I was hooked.
C Cumbrian. Born and bred. The county other English people can’t quite place. The accent other English people can’t quite place. No matter where I am in the world or no matter who I’m talking to, if I’ve forgotten the name of someone, I’ll refer to them as laddo or lasso.
D Dog. Never really wanted a dog, as a child or as an adult, but we have Frankie. A crazy Springer Spaniel who doesn’t understand ‘leave’, who runs away when you arrive home and would happily roll over for a burglar if they scratched his bum.
E Edinburgh. Birthplace of my dad and my university city. I just love the place. I even entered myself for a half marathon just as an excuse to go up for a visit. I was most vexed when the route involved running out of Edinburgh towards Musselburgh. I would have recorded a much better time if I’d been able to visit old haunts such as George Square, Pollock Halls, Cowgate and the Meadows. Well, that’s what I like to tell myself.
F French, as in the language, not the people. I fell in love with the subject aged 11. Something just clicked. I clearly like language full stop; I tolerated German up to A-Level but there was just something about French. My ears automatically prick up if I hear any Gallic words. I probably don’t understand much anymore but neither does anyone else in my company so I can just make it up!
G Grenoble. Where I was supposed to go and live for a year and return fluent in French. I met lots of English people and returned home quite a competent skier instead.
H Hubby. He’s a Jameater (from Workington), I’m from Whitehaven. He supports Liverpool, I remember every now and then to check the Everton score. I can read, he refuses. He’s sporty, I once got picked for the B team at netball in primary school. But as Paula Abdul sang….
I Irish. I’m a quarter thanks to my paternal grandmother. And, thanks to that quarter (not fourth as my class like to call them!), I’m going to get me an Irish passport and I’m going to wave sarcastically as Ian is stuck with the kids in the queue for British passports and head to the nearest bar.
J Joel. Joel. What can I say? He had middle child syndrome even before he was a middle child. The perfect baby who turned into Chucky at 14 months. Entertaining, enraging, exasperating and exhausting me since 2005. Now also known as Schmoopaloo.
K Kelly. My maiden name. Hated it as a child because I was always “sitting in a welly, with a big fat belly, eating jelly” according to horrible boys at my primary school. Now it’s my hubby’s nickname for me and I like it again.
L Lindsay. Not Hilary as my mam wanted to call me. When I was born, Lindsay was spelt Lindsay. Then along came all the inferior versions, setting me up for a childhood of never being able to buy personalised things and a lifetime of having to spell my name out to strangers. But I like how it’s spelt.
M Mockingbird. As in killing one. I could read the book and watch the film over and over again. It was a book I studied at GCSE and it was brought to life by my favourite ever teacher, the lovely Mrs Routledge.
N Nine. My age the first time I travelled abroad. My age the first time I flew on an aeroplane. My age the first time I got sunstroke. And probably the age when I realised I didn’t quite like not being able to understand the language of the country I was visiting.
O Oran. A port in Algeria. I read a book for A-Level about a young boy who leaves for a new life in France because of the war. And so began a random interest in the Algerian War of Independence which resulted in my history dissertation on the subject 4 years later.
P Procrastination What I spend my days fighting against. I used to be super-organised, but I’m now super at doing anything to avoid what I’m supposed to be doing. Lists don’t work. Alarms don’t work. Threats make me dig my heels in even deeper. I’m no longer a doer.
Q Quick. The French version of Wimpy. I discovered it in 1994 and would easily bypass McDonalds for the mouth-watering Giant burger. I can still taste it now. Except I can’t now because I’m pescatarian.
R Roller Boots My favourite ever birthday present in 1983. Roaming the roads at speed, feeling like the bees’ knees. Quite ironic as I crashed wearing them two weeks later, scraping my knees along tarmac for what felt like five metres and I still have the scars to prove it.
S Samuel. My first born. The baby who introduced me to new words such as meconium, episiotomy, perineum, colostrum and enema (I squeezed one out when threatened with one).
T Teaching. Or Twining about teaching. It was always on the cards. I loved school and I loved learning. I toyed with journalism and translating but that would have involved a different level of effort and dedication! I’ll be able to tell the grandkids that I taught through a pandemic, but I guess from the grey hairs and wrinkles that they’ll be able to work that out for themselves.
U University. I suppose I can say I’ve studied at three. Edinburgh, Stendhal 2 Grenoble (or was it 3 – I didn’t go much!) and Lancaster/Carlisle. But, in my heart, I’m a graduate of the University of Edinburgh and no other.
V Violin cello. Basically a cello but I needed a ‘v’ word. The petite me somehow found herself playing one in primary school when I could have opted for the violin. It was pretty much the same size as me. I persevered for two or three years. I was rubbish. Although, when the time came playing for the school orchestra, I was damn good at miming. Oh, I forgot vodka! V for vodka!
W Writing. I loved writing as a child but it never occurred to me to write a blog. I was told I should so thought I would give it a go. And here I am, a couple of years down the line. It’s quite a nice hobby. And a good way to hone my procrastination skills.
X X-ray. Only ever had one. Obviously involved Joel. He was sat on my knee and reached for something unreachable. I obviously saved him but hurt my hand in the process. Cue only visit to hospital for an X-Ray, while Joel carried on running round, causing havoc, completely oblivious.
Y Yourself. What I’ve learnt to be. Stopped trying to be what people wanted me to be years ago. And feel much better for it.
Z zzzzzz. If I’m not procrastinating, I’m probably sleeping. I haven’t seen an entire film at the cinema for years. I can now fall asleep during the adverts. I blame the chairs.
Ahhh love it! Didn’t know you’d lived in Grenoble, never been but it’s meant to be beautiful.
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It is lovely, but very claustrophobic in summer with all those mountains and hot days!
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Hey stranger! I just met you and this is crazy, but I just found your blog and actually read this entire blog post. My name is Hilary (spelled with one l). I much prefer your name over mine. I also have a hard time staying awake while watching movies, so I seldom watch them. Cheers, from Canada 🇨🇦
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Please to meet you too!
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