1. Dream vacation? Home? Car?
I am a skiing nut and love going to Whistler in British Columbia but I also enjoy travel for the sake of it and am becoming keener to visit more exotic parts of the world. I am going to be greedy and suggest two possible dream vacations. One would be just for me (I usually travel alone) and would be a long vacation on New Zealands South Island. I would just love to walk the trail down to the fiord land, ski a mountain or two and then cap it off with a visit to the Cloudy Bay vineyard and sampling the merchandise. My other choice, if I can ever find a woman who will have me, would be a relaxed romantic vacation in some tropical paradise (e.g. Seychelles or Kauai). However, it would be the company that would make it for me rather than the vacation itself.
For a home I would like something with a bit of historic character on the outside but with modern, easy to clean decoration and fittings on the inside. More than one bathroom is a must; preferably every bedroom should be en suite. I would like a modestly sized, walled (for seclusion) garden but it would have to be laid out for ease of management (I am no gardener). Oh yes, two musts are a cellar (for my wine) and at least one room with an open hearth for a coal or log fire. Location is more a problem; I really can't decide because I have seen so many beautiful places.
When it comes to cars being a Brit I have always loved the sheer brutality of the original Aston Martin V8 Vantage but now MG have topped that dream; their new model will be available in either a standard 650bhp version or a 1000bhp tuned version with Nitrous, yearrrggghhh!! They cannot be serious! Oh yes they are!!! OK we Brits are totally nuts. In practice I would settle for the much more practical Skoda Octavia RS, boring! Then again I might not choose a car; a Ducatti 999R might be more the thing!
2. If you could have lived in another time, when would it be and what would you be doing?
I would have loved to live in Victorian Britain during the industrial revolution and worked with the great engineers like Brunel and Stephenson. It was a time of such great scientific discovery and much of the engineering shaped the way we live now.
3. Where are you originally from? What's it like?
I am from Carlisle in northwest England. The city suffers from a wet climate but has a lot of history and is situated just a few miles from the Solway Coast, Lake District and the Scottish Borders; all of which offer beautiful scenery in their own ways. Carlisle dates back to pre-Roman times and sits near one end of Hadrians Wall. During Roman times there was a fort here. Due to its location close to the Scottish border (there have been times when it was in Scotland) it has always been a place of fortification. There is a castle most of which is 13th and 14th century but the first parts of the Keep date back to around 1100 AD. There are also the remains of the city walls and a cathedral, the earliest parts of which again date back to Norman times but the majority of it is Tudor. Being such an old city it is NOT designed for the motorcar. Traffic jams can be terrible and quite honestly the best way to get around is on foot. As the city is compact that is not too much of a hardship. There is not much nightlife except for numerous pubs and a few discos. Some of these occasionally have live music but they are just local bands most of which lack real talent. There is a sports centre which doubles as a venue for concerts (classical and rock) and the odd theatrical production.
Despite its lack of entertainment outlets I choose still to live here because of the convenience of being able to walk to work in 20 minutes and the nearness of the countryside.
4. Tell us about your families/friends/pets?
My direct family is very small (just mother and brother still extant). Not too many other relatives either. Mother, brother and one aunt (fathers sister) still live in Carlisle but the rest of the family is scattered to the four winds. Well not quite, all but one is still in the UK. The only one with an interesting job, well it means he has lived in various places around the world, is my cousin Patrick who is currently working in the British Embassy in New York.
I have two close friends and a few colleagues from work with whom I go out drinking on occasions. My best friend, John, now lives at the other end of England in Kent but I go to visit him, his wife and two terrors (sorry that should be boys) at least twice each year. We both share a passion for wine and at least once a year we visit a wine tasting in London together. My other really good friend still lives in Carlisle and we catch up with each other for a drink now and then but really dont to too much else together since we have both given up Squash. My friendship with Alan dates back to our first day at school when we were both a couple of months shy of our fifth birthdays. Aaarrgh! Come April 2003 we will have known each other for 40 years! Although I still keep in touch through Christmas cards and postcards with other school and college friends I havent seen most of them for several years. Last, but most definitely far from least, is my very special friend in the US of A; you better know who you are!!
As for pets I have none now but once had a couple of stick insects. They didnt last long and were in any case not particularly interesting. My brother once had a hamster, to which we foolishly gave the run of the house. On the other hand he had a Houdini like ability to escape from his cage no matter how we secured it so letting him run lose didnt make much difference. Besides he always returned to his cage to sleep so obviously knew his place. Worst problem was his propensity for climbing up curtains only to get stuck at the top, front legs one side and back legs the other, and one of us would have to fetch him down; not easy in 14 foot high rooms.
5. What are your musical influences? Favorites?
This may sound really sad but when school friends in the 70s were into The Stones, Quo, Sweet, Floyd, Purple et al I was listening to Glen Miller. OK it didnt take long for me to catch up and my tastes now range from classical, through Folk, Jazz, Blues, Swing, Country (though not really Western) right up to Iron Maiden. However, forget most modern music from the mid-80s onward. It is difficult to say if I now have a particular favourite as my choices change with my moods. Sometime heavy metal will be what I crave whilst at others I will want to relax with a good wine and listen to Jazz. One singer I particularly like is Carol Kidd.
6. Ultimate indulgence?
The best wine I couldNT possibly afford!!!
7. First love?
Umm. Put me to the test why dont you. I guess I had the odd infatuation when I was younger but I never knew (still dont really) how to approach women so they remained unrequited lusts on which I never acted. Then I met an American girl and I am still in love with her. I guess it is more a friendship thing rather than passionate love but a man can dreamJ
8. What ALWAYS puts you in the mood?
Ambience. It isnt just one thing but a proper balance of good food, a glass of good red wine (with rich spicy fruit and soft warm tannins), subdued lighting, the right decoration and of course a beautiful woman. OK, forget everything but the final entry on the list.
9. Turn ons? (doesnt have to be THAT ya'll...just whatever makes you happyhappy)
Viagra (just kidding). A winning smile. A glint in the eye. Teasing/flirting. Hugging. Gentle kisses. Maybe that lot should be in the entry above. For general happiness I would go with wine, music, skiing and going for a blast on my motorbike.
10. Turn offs?
Well the obvious ones like bad breath and body odour have to be high on the list. Then come people without a shred of common sense. I dont mean people lacking education but those people who are just plain dorks however well educated. Then of course there is the ultimate turn off: WORK! Dont tell my employerJ.