1. What time did you get up this morning? 6.15: I had to be out by 7 to catch a train.
2. How do you like your steak? From a local supplier, cooked medium rare with garlic butter.
3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? Not sure. I don’t think it can have been the Avengers, but I did see that three times.
4. What is your favorite TV show? At the moment, In The Thick Of It, or Justified.
5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? I would move Scotland to the Caribbean and live there.
6. What did you have for breakfast? A skinny latte and a croissant.
7. What is your favorite cuisine? Thai, maybe. Or Scottish, done very simply with local produce.
8. What foods do you dislike? I have a well documented aversion to, and occasionally revulsion of, Asparagus.
9. Favorite place to eat? The Kilberry Inn.
10. Favorite dressing? Glamorous, with a hint of naughtiness.
11.What kind of vehicle do you drive? Subaru Impreza, with over 100,000 mainly blameless miles on the clock.
12. What are your favorite clothes? Probably the new Ted Baker coat I bought last week.
13. Where would you visit, this weekend, if you had the chance? It’s not my turn to visit.
14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full? Are you thirsty? Here, I’ve got plenty.
15. Where would you want to retire? I’ve never given it a moment’s thought.
16. Favorite time of day? Just before the dawn, when I’ve been awake all night. Obviously this is a lot easier in summer.
17. Where were you born? The Redland’s Hospital, Great Western Road, Glasgow.
18. What is your favorite sport to watch? Football if it’s a team I support playing, badminton if not.
19. How many siblings? Three – Angela, Paul and Mari (in chronological order).
20. Favorite pastime/hobby? Writing. Closely followed by reading.
21. Who are you most curious about their responses to this? Dan’s – he’s always good value.
22. Bird watcher? “What kind of bird is that, children?” “It’s a dead bird, Mr D.R.”.
23. Are you a morning person or a night person? Both – though I’ve had a bad case of the Velcro pyjamas lately.
24. Do you have any pets? Anastasia, who likes to bite.
25. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share? I’m doing the novel writing thing in November.
26. What did you want to be when you were little? A lawyer, an astronaut or a writer. I’ve tried two out of the three.
27. What is your best childhood memory? Setting up my train set so that it went under my parents’ bed, and I could see the light on front of the train in the darkness.
28. Are you a cat or dog person? Both, though at the moment I only have a cat.
29. Are you married? No, I got better.
30. Always wear your seat belt? Yes.
31. Been in a car accident? A couple of near misses, but nothing I noticed.
32. Any pet peeves? I had a pet peeve once, but it got too big and I flushed it down the toilet. I still wonder what happened to it.
33. Favorite pizza toppings? All the meats are belong to me.
34. Favorite flower? The cherry blossoms on the tree at my cottage.
35. Favorite ice cream? Salted caramel.
36. Favorite fast food restaurant? A really good chippy
37. How many times did you fail your driver's test? Passed first time.
38. From whom did you get your last email? Unity Automotive. They want to give me a loan.
39. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card? Probably Paul Smith.
40. Do anything spontaneous lately? I like to think so.
41. Like your job? Not hugely, but I’m trying to do something about that.
42. Broccoli? Baby trees. The vegetable version of veal.
43. What was your favorite vacation? Either the month I spent crossing America or the month I spent in India.
44. Last person you went out to dinner with? Kay and James at the Kilberry Inn.
45. What are you listening to right now? Latter Days, by The Middle Eight.
46. What is your favorite colour? Blue.
47. How many tattoos do you have? None, though I’m still considering a Ganesha, or an Ohm symbol at my tail bone.
48. How many people will fill this out? Some..
49. What time did you finish this quiz? at 18.37. It's now 22.59.
50. Coffee drinker? Not as much as I used to. More than I should.
1. What time did you get up this morning? 6.15: I had to be out by 7 to catch a train.
1. If not Scotland, then where else would you want to live in the UK (presuming work considerations aren't an issue)?
I've always said I like living in London, but what I mean is that I like living in reasonably appointed hotels in Mayfair. What I love about London is the diversity and opportunity to participate in a thrilling cultural life. What I hate about it is that everyone ends up living in their own little villages, and trying to summon up the energy after a day spent struggling too and from work on overcrowded and sweaty public transport to make their way into the middle for some of that there culture. So if I could live here, London.
2. What music genre can you absolutely find no redeeming feature in?
Tricky. There are many genres I'm not a huge fan of, (Jazz, Hip-Hop, German oompha-oompha music), but I'm having problems coming up with any I don't have some favourites in. Um. Light opera. Nope, I like some of G&S. Brass bands? Nope, picnics in the park wouldn't be the same without "The Dambuster's Theme" wafting from a bandstand. Hmm. Folk music, then, when it's too reverent.
3. Did you have a midlife crisis - or do you reckon that's still ahead?
I've certainly had a lot of stuff happen in the last two years - a marriage break up, moving 150 miles, a lot of commotion in my personal life, but it does occur to me that I had the same level of change happen when I was 29, (except it wasn't a marriage that time, it was a seven year relationship) so age may not have been a factor. So no, not a mid-life crisis, not yet.
4. Is there anyone you absolutely hate?
No. I think hating anyone is a result of a failure of imagination, in particular a failure in empathy. To hate someone you have to think that they are some sort of monster, and that you could never do what they've done. I think that's an abdication of personal responsibility, as bad in its way as the sort of thinking that lets someone do terrible things. Hate the sin, not the sinner. Having said which, "When they finally lay you in the ground/I'll stand on your grave and tramp the dirt down."
5. What was the best day of your life?
It's cliched and hackneyed, and given the way it all worked out kind of ironic, but, to date, they best day of my life was the day I got married.
Always had a problem with it. Partially being Catholic in a Protestant country, left wing in a conservative faculty, left handed in a right handed world, fascinated by women instead of shunning them.
I check myself from time to time for signs of creeping orthodoxy - the Billy Bragg song "From Red To Blue" helps. I've never seen a sacred cow I don't want to tilt at (which can become a bit boring for the spectators).
Hmm, yes, important. And getting more important as I get older. I was in a marriage which had a lot going for it, and all I had to surrender was my autonomy. Note the tense. I also walked out of my first job when my boss said "I don't care what you think, just do as you're told". The pattern has recurred.
Not my cup of tea. I wrote about it, briefly, in what was probably my most successful story, "John Knox Overlooking The Necropolis", where I said that it had never really taken hold in Glasgow, the way it did in much of Scotland. Too many Irish, too much of Burns. I do see it as one of Scotland's curses, though, and have never softened to its flinty beauty.
"Is only to be used to describe whisky or terriers", one of my old teachers used to say. "What about Scotch eggs?" we'd shout. "Scotch pies?" "The Scotch Defence?" and so on and so on. I don't think it's an insult, but it's not a term I tend to use for Scots. Or for whisky, come to that. Very few people called it Scotch when I was growing up. If I do think about it now, it's to describe a blend, not a malt. All scotches are blends, to me, and I'm not a great fan of blends, even the very expensive ones...
I was an incredibly conservative eater growing up - if it wasn't processed, I didn't want to know. Scallops have been a late discovery. Mostly, I suppose, because I can get very, very good ones locally. The first time I had scallops in a restaurant I was pretty disapointed - they seemed more like a garnish than a meal. It was years later before I started buying my own, and years later before I discovered hand dived scallops in Kintyre. The very best scallops are served from a green shed next to the Cal-Mac terminal in Oban.
1. Politically, I am of the left, and consider myself a social democrat. To elaborate for my American friends, that means you can start measuring me for the orange jumpsuit now. I believe in the ownership of the means of production by the workers, I believe in the nationalisation of utilities and education, and probably of the media. But we can talk about that one.
2. I'm left handed, but play sports right handed.
3. Until I was seven I supported Partick Thistle, then I was old enough to go to Parkhead and I've been a Celtic fan ever since.
4. My favourite whisky is Talisker.
5. I consider myself an agnostic, not an atheist. I can see no way to rule out the possibility that there is a god, just as I can't rule out the possibility that the jack of spades will jump out of a sealed deck of cards and squirt cider in my ear. But I'm not betting on either.
6. The god that I was brought up not to believe in is the Catholic god. The fine lines of gradation between him and the various other Christian gods is one of the main reasons I don't believe in religion. Although I see no reason to disrespect anyone else's, or treat any particular one with more respect than any other.
7. I have one cat and one dog. And one fantastic son.
8. I'm a reasonably good chess player.
9. I played badminton for years in leagues and I'm still an occasional player.
10. I graduated from Glasgow University in Law and snooker. I've found both useful over the years, although I've never practiced either professionally.
11. I have no conception of the relationship between the value of what I do and what I get paid to do it. This has more or less always been true, ever since my first job as a hospital cleaner.
12. The things I enjoy about work and that I'm best at are very rarely written on my job description.
13. I have almost all the Everyman editions of P.G Wodehouse - given long enough, I'll have them all.
14. I read a lot. I can't imagine ever living in a house with no books.
15. My first live gig was Dire Straits at the Apollo in Glasgow.
16. My top five live gigs:
Crowded House at the Barrowland
Steve Earle at the Barrowland
Simple Minds at the Barrowland
American Music Club at King Tuts
Martin Stephenson at Cottiers
17. Most of my regrets are about things I didn't do, although -
18. I did someone a terrible wrong, once, and I regret it every day.
19. I have about 1,000 books being held hostage - every now and then I think about staging a rescue operation.
20. My son and I are in the early stages of planning a drive together. A long drive. A very, very long drive.
21. If I had to spend the rest of my life in a fifty mile radius of one spot, it would be Temple Wood in Argyll.
22. I'm a sociable person who would make a very good hermit.
23. I love Scotland, and its place in the world. Although it would be equally precious and a good deal warmer if it was 1,000 miles to the south.
24. "Manhattan" is probably my favourite movie.
25. I have been very, very lucky in the people I love. God, if you do decide to exist, bless them all, wherever they may be.
1. Do you wish someone was with you right now?
Yes, I can come up with a number of people I wish were here.
2. When was the last time you cried?
Probably at a movie. Or even a TV show. Oh, right, it was the last show of House season four…
3. Do you think you'll be married in 10 years?
Unless I get my arse in gear and get my divorce finalised.
4. Do you own big sunglasses?
Well the pair I got for my Ska outfit at Halloween are pretty big.
5. Would you go out in public looking like you do now?
I already did.
6. Can you handle the truth?
I think so. Others might disagree.
7. Are your nails painted?
8. Do you wear heels?
It’s never really been my look.
9. What is your current mood?
Easing gently into the working day.
10. Have you ever made someone so mad that they broke something?
Yes, but most of the time that was because I dodged or they had a lousy aim.
11. Has anyone ever told you they wanted to spend the rest of their life with you?
Yes. None of them have made it stick though.
12. This time last year, what was your love life like?
Complicated (actually, no – it had become very straight forward by now).
13. When will your next kiss be?
Tonight when I get home.
14. Can you touch your toes?
Why would I want to do something as stupid as that?
15. Is anything wrong?
Well yes, always.
16. Has anyone upset you in the last week?
Yes, but only over work stuff.
17. What's the weather like outside?
Clouding over, about 10 degrees C.
18. Name something great that happened today?
It’s early yet, but I am looking forward to fencing tonight.
19. Are you happy with your life at the moment?
I’m in the high 90s.
20. What is something you disliked about your day?
Being too lazy to get to the gym.
21. What are you listening to?
Office gossip, keyboard rattle.
22. Anyone you would like to get things straight with?
23. Are you sleepy?
Not yet – it’s just past 9.00 a.m!.
24. Did you wake up in the middle of the night last night?
25. Do you look at the keyboard when you type?
Some of the time.
26. Have you ever been stalked?
I don’t think so.
27. Is there anyone you wish you were still best friends with?
No, because if I wanted to be, I would be.
28. Do you watch a lot of tv?
I watch in bursts now – nothing for a week or so, then 4-8 hours over a couple of days.
29. Have you ever snuck out of your house?
30. Are you hungry?
Nope, just had porridge.
31. Is your current hair color your natural hair color?
32. How many hours of sleep did you get last night?
33. Did you kiss or hug anyone today?
34. What was the last reason you went to the doctor for?
A flu shot and my diabetes check-up.
35. Do you drink tea?
Yes, I prefer tea to coffee.
36. Is there a meaning behind your profile song?
This is a silly Live Space question, isn’t it?
37. Today, would you rather go back or forward a week?
Backward, since otherwise I’d miss Unblinkered’s mum coming to visit.
38. If you could go back in time and change something, would you?
I’m not sure. Um, no. I have to go with old Marcus Aurelius on this one: “Everything is unfolding as it must, and if you observe carefully, you will find this to be so.”.
39. Ever had a near death experience?
Once, as a child, when I ran out in front of a bus.
40. Are you angry at anyone?
No. I’ve never been able to waste energy that way.
41. Have you ever been to a tanning bed?
Yup, but not for more than ten years now.