2010 ended on a high. Not only was I ‘freshly pressed’ on the front page of WordPress over New Year which was a real buzz, I was also interviewed by Spanish newspaper ABC Canarias.
I was particularly proud of that because it came about partly because of recognition by a journalist on the paper that my articles captured the idiosyncracies of the ‘real’ Tenerife. That was a special compliment as far as I was concerned.
It felt quite rewarding to see the only decent photograph of me that exists appear in a Spanish paper. Hopefully I didn’t come across as too much of a geek; although as it was in Spanish, few Brits will ever know it existed.
It also got me thinking about other ‘cool’ moments in my life.
Here’s my top five.
1: Helping a Sheep Give Birth
My aunt had a farm in the Scottish borders that we visited every year. One time during lambing season when I was about 8 we came across a sheep that was having trouble giving birth. The lamb had turned around inside the womb and someone had to put their hand inside, find the lambs head and turn it around. My farm veteran 13 year old cousin’s hands were too big and my sister and female cousin were having none of it. I was ‘advised’ by my cruel elders that if I didn’t do it the lamb would die and it would be my fault.
With tears blinding me I boldly stuck my hand where I really didn’t want to. When that little lamb popped out and started bleating it was the proudest and messiest moment of my life.
2: Becoming Immortal in a Ghost City
Okay, it’s a bit cheesy, but becoming immortal in the ghost city of Fengdu in China has to be right up there. In truth it didn’t involve an awful lot – running up a long staircase without taking a breath – but it was a feat beyond most of the aged 70+ other people on the steps whose doddering nearly prevented Andy and I from becoming immortal. I’m not proud, but I had to I barge some of them out of the way in my quest to become immortal (add loud evil laugh).
3: Being Complimented in Sex and the City land.
Being in Times Square for the Millennium was pretty mind blowing in itself, but a seriously stylish guy and gal approaching me in a record store in Manhattan to compliment my shoes and ask where I’d bought them was just the bee’s knees. Giving out fashion advice in the heart of Sex and the City land was just the ultimate. Of course it was just the shoes. Nothing else about me was remotely fashionable – it was winter in NY and I was dressed for practicality. Apart from the über cool shoes, I looked more like an itinerant bank robber.
The shoes, by the way, were bought in Schuh in The Trafford Centre and I’ve still got them. Needless to say they don’t look quite as good these days, but they’re still the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn.
4: Yes Prime Minister
In a previous life I wrote reports and briefings about various things for government ministers. A lot of the time I never knew what happened to them after I hit the send button and mostly they were quite dry factual, analytical pieces. On one occasion I had to supply a brief for a politician giving a speech to the Chamber of Commerce in Manchester. I can’t remember why or even what it was, but I added a witticism to the brief and bugger me, the politician kept it in. I was pretty chuffed a couple of days later when the MEN included the line when they reported Gordon Brown’s address to Manchester’s business community.
5: You’re a Better Man Than I am…
A quarter of a century ago there was a girl at work that I had the serious hots for. But she was way out of my league and her circle of friends were smart, witty and interesting whereas I was a hick with an appalling taste in music not long arrived from a small Scottish island. One day she mentioned that she’d heard Hawkeye in MASH use a quote from Gunga Din and that she’d love to know the whole poem. So at the first opportunity I headed to Waterstones, bought a copy of Barrack-Room Ballads, learned the poem by heart and recited it to her in the office canteen during lunch hour. But was she impressed?
It was by far the most rewarding thing that I’ve ever done…as she’s sitting with her back to me typing away as I write.