Question and Annas iii: The Annas Strike Back

Well, Krissa does it sometimes, and Mike has been known to indulge, and Ive done it myself once or twice so I am in good company with them. And, You know, myself.

Ask me a question!
(You can ask me more than one, but Ill proabably only answer one, depending on how many there are)

I have to go out shopping because I need a pretty dress for something next week. But as soon as I come back, in a couple of hours, I will start answering them in a little thing saying Read more.

And then I will carry on answering them until my fingers get tired and then I will close the comment box sometime this evening, or just shout STOP!!! and everyone will ignore me, as usual.

So. Any questions? I have Annas for all your questions. Bring them on. I will try and answer all. When I have bought a pretty dress. Which I am going to do right now.

3pm There is only one question!!! I have no readers! Or they are all doing bank holiday things because it is a bank holiday. Still, I will start. Oh! There are suddenly two more. Three more. Bollocks, better get on with this. Anyway, I have got a dress, now, so everything is ok. Apart from the fact I had to go shopping, and I fucking hate shopping. Sorry, that wasnt a question. I will proceed with the questions.

Running county thing: I have answered ALL the questions! Now I am not answering any more!

(Oh, and before you even think of clicking that read more thing, I warn you – its VEH long.

3.39pm: H-Factor asked: OK. What are your favourite type of muffins? As you know, I am something of an afficionado of the muffin. Hence my needing to know.

Hm. My favourite muffin I think is a Blueberry Yoghurt muffin. Though lemon and poppy seed is good. Anything quite moist.

I was going to have a go at those rasberry ones you sent me the recipe for later, so we shall see how I get on.

The ones I am best at making are orangey bran ones. Booo, healthy muffins.

3.50:Debs asked the strangest thing Ive ever eaten for breakfast?

Hm. Well, cold pizza is always an option, as long as it is in the house. But it is not weird, is it? Hm. I had toast with marmalade and cheddar this morning? Is that strange? Probably not.

I do not know. Nachos? With extra jalapenos?

4pm:Harry asked both How Many Roads Must a Man Walk Down? and Why?

Well, Harry, it depends where he is starting from, but lets say he is starting from here, then I would say he must walk down five roads. And why? Because that is the correct way to get to the supermarket, and that is the only place to buy spiced tomato juice, and that is what he wants, because that is what everyone wants.

So Five roads. He must go down five.

4.35:Sorry, I got led off searching for late hotel rooms again William T asked: Do you have any clever techniques for dealing with people who you have to work with who are really irritating?

No, but God, how I wish I did. Not that the people I work with are annoying – on the contrary, they are quite, quite lovely. But I am easily annoyed, and no matter how hard I try, I cannot not be annoyed.

By stupid things, little things which other people are not doing to be annoying, they are simply doing because they are normal and reasonable things to do. Eating apples, for example. Chewing satsumas with their mouths open. Tapping pens repetitively against their desk, breathing loudly.

These are not annoying things in themselves, they are just the things that happen to annoy me. Therefore I cannot blame the perpetrators of this act, they know not what they do, and they have every right to do it. It is my problem.

Therefore, I mainly deal with it by putting on headphones and listening to something that I have to listen to anyway, or going for a little walk to speak to someone about something else on my to do list until I can be sure that they have stopped.

It is either that or kill them with the plastic fork I keep on my desk for such occasions.

Other annoying things – such as people being rude in email or on the phone, I have traditionally dealt with this by being So Very Very Nice to them that they are left with an overriding guilt for having shouted at me and a nasty sugary feeling in their ears for hours afterward.

[Oh, and your other question? My old walkman? She is in a box somewhere. With all my tapes. Neither she nor they get any play anymore. Which is sad.]

4.56pm: Andy Rambling asked a: what is the something next week?
and b: why is the weather always site on bank holiday Monday?

a) Im not telling you. Seriously, I would, but I am not sure if I am supposed to be keeping it a secret or not. I am keeping it a very bad secret, if I am supposed to be keeping it a secret, this is true, having mentioned all the constituent parts in the last three posts alone. Still. I will tell toward the end of the week. Or something.

b) It is natures way of telling you to stop trying to have fun and clean your house. That is what it is natures way of telling ME, anyway. Accordingly, I have cleaned the stair carpet, hoovered everything else and washed all my underwear. It has all been terribly productive. If it had been a lovely sunny day, this productivity would have made me both grumpy and feel enormously cheated. As it is, it is a good thing.

You also asked how to make shortbread. I do not know, which makes me feel quite inadequate. But I do know that if you followed the same five roads that other man must be walking down to get his tomato juice, you could probably pick some up for quite cheap. You could also get some milk chocolate Hobnobs, which would be great, thanks.

4.20: Krissa asked: Do you remember any particular moment when you realize, in retrospect, that you were no longer really a child, that your own childhood made way to adolescence? It’s kind of a weird question, but as an example, mine was, I think, either the day I understood Cluedo halfway through a game or when I stopped being able to read in the car without tossing my cookies.


Short answer: No.

Longer answer: I dont remember *anything*. I have the memory of a particularly disorganised guppy. I remember small things, silly things – I remember what I wore on charity-non-uniform day in 1989, for example. But important things, transitional things? Not so much.

I remember an argument that I had with my mum which sticks in the memory because its the first time I remember having to take responsibility for hurtful things I said in a way other than a childish way – maybe thats one of the moments you speak of, although its not a pleasant one. I was going through the worst of my Teenage Bitchchild period, and I remember I said something utterly unrecognisable and unrepeatable about my parents divorce.

And the look on her face, and her reaction, told me that she wasnt prepared to dismiss it as the words of a stupid, angry child, but that I had known what I was doing when I said it, and that on that basis, she was really upset by it. I dont think Ive ever said anything that bad again. To anyone. Or I hope not. Im still very ashamed, even thinking about it now.

On a more positive and related note, not that I think I have been an adolescent all these years, but its very recently that I have decided that I am almost fully formed as an adult. That my personality has stopped shifting about so much, that Im more conscious of who I am and what I want and knowing my own needs and stating them than ever before. Im still far from confident, but I am at least settled, mentally.

I think that was maybe too much to say, here.
I think that its sad that I now think like that. That never used to be a consideration.

All of that said, I still have a teddy bear (two, in fact), so maybe Im still a child.
Im still a child in many ways. Mainly jelly and ice cream ways.

5.23pm:William T also asked What radio stations/programmes do you listen to?

Five Live in the mornings, because it is the thing that wakes My Beloved up, and because it now doesnt feel like Ive completed my morning routine if I havent had the opportunity to shout Nicky Campbell, right? Hes an IDIOT at least twice. My Beloved (and probably the neighbours) can attest to the veracity of this.

At the gym, if there is nothing good on the telly – they have four televisions at the front of the room, and one of the early morning staff seems to think that what grown up women want to watch while exercising is Thomas the Tank Engine or Other programming for the under fives on Five – then I will occasionally settle for Radio One, because it is pretty much all they have on the thingie. While cooking, XFM or, more likely 6 music. BBC 7 if I need to zone out for a while, and Late Junction on Radio 3 to drift off to at night. Ill use the Listen Again facility on Radio 4 for comedy, mainly, The Consultants, Mitchell and Webb, Just a Minute being perrenial favourites, and the afternoon play when I can.

Which is not that often nowadays. Which is annoying.

I am a bit of a radio tart, I think.

6.25: Yeah, it is very slow, this. I choose to believe that everybody is away from their computers rather than the more obvious no one reads this site any more explanation. Anyway, I went quite because I went for a little nap.

Tasha asked How is the whole Being 30 thing working out for you?

Rather good, actually. Really very good. Ive never been scared of getting older – well, not this-point older, anyway. Ask me how I feel about turning 80 if and when I do – but this is great. I have so far in my thirties been to Lisbon, proved to myself that Im fitter than I was for almost all of my twenties, next weekend Im visting a place I have always, always wanted to go, I have won a prize, I have bought myself my first ever real grown up Little Black Dress, and on my birthday itself, I found out that I won the lottery (£10, yes, but, you know)

Its only been a few weeks, though, so, you know, plenty of time for it to get worse.

6.50: Im hungry. Boooo.

Eloise asked If you were starting all over again with the whole blogging lark, would you be anonymous?.

Hm, I dont know. I really dont. Quite a lot of me thinks yes, because it would be so much easier, and open many more doors and all of those sorts of things – but then, I was never any good at sustaining an untruth, and to people I know who have gone the anonymity route, there always seems to be more pain-in-the-bottom than there is reward, really.

But for the good reasons, the things I could still talk about, the liberties I could have taken, yes, sometimes I wish I had been anonymous. Or at the very least, not quite so horrendously and perilously UNanonymous as I have always been. Maybe a little.

But lets face it, I would have been anonymous, and it would have lasted about two weeks. Because Im over-excitable, unable to be anything less than my whole self, and frankly just crap at secrets.
And I mean Really Rubbish.
Did I mention Im going to New York next week for the Webby awards?

(You SEE?! Rubbish!)

7.14pm: Peter asked Are there more questions than answers? Or fewer? Or an exactly equal number?

What a good question. For which I will provide an answer. Or more than one answer, knowing me, so maybe there are fewer questions than answers, in this one circumstance, but usually I think there are more questions.

More questions, yes, definitely. I always have more questions.

Although mathmatically speaking, I suppose perhaps it is the latter. One question, one answer. Or then again is it? Because if the answer is 12, then the question could have been what is two multiplied by six? or what do people mean when they say a dozen? or What is half of 24? or What time was it seven and a half hours ago? So then there is one answer and lots and lots of questions.

In life there are always more questions than answers. It is the answers I find damnedly elusive. The questions usually start with But what if?, and they do not go away.

7.40pm: Now Im being slow because Im watching The Big Lebowski. Sorry.

Eloise felt sorry for me for lack of comments and came back and asked Why she suddenly unable is to resist bizarre grammar?

I dont know, Ive been getting that too. I blame Lolcats phenomenon, personally.

What was your bestest birthday present?

All my birthday presents were very lovely, and special, and I loved them all. However, two that were *very* special were from my Seeester, who spent lots of time and care putting together a book of my favourite pictures that I have taken, and My Beloved, spent fuck knows how long putting together a book of posts taken from this blog, which he had published through Lulu. It is a very special present. They both are.

Where is the Holy Grail? Will King Arthur ride again? (Actually that last one was rhetorical, of course he will)

I dont know. Is it in Rotherham?
No, I think he is dead, isnt he?

Does everyone have a novel inside them? How did it get there?

No. I know I dont. If they have one inside them, it is undoubtably because they have eaten one. I do not advise this behaviour.

There does seem to be some kind of train of thought that seems to strenuously believe that every blogger has a book inside them. I think this message is confused, although it does work fine works if you replace book with blog and inside them with on the internet

Why am I such an idiot?

You arent.

Poirot or Marple? Or are they both far too annoying for words? Fen or Wimsey? Or are they both basically the same person?

Poirot. Actually, no, youre right, theyre both just annoying, as is all Agatha Christie, Im sorry but its true.

And Fen. If he was real, and not approximately 147 years old by now, I would marry him.
And if he wouldnt have me Id let Sir Peter Wimsey talk it better.

Shall I shuttup now?

Anna* (*an American one) asked well, several things, the first of which was whats the deal with telletubbies?


Arent they dead? Didnt they all get discovered to be part of some plastic surgery and hallucinogens type party-hard crew and their show got axed, and they all were living out of a crack-brothel in Hackney?

No? Or am I thinking of the Tweenies?

Why is my (our?) name a palindrome? What (if any) significance does that have?

It means we are magic and can do magic things.
Although, having said that, my name is Joanna and thus unpalindromic. So I am only two thirds magic.

Why is grocery shopping so boring?

Is it? Is it REALLY? Nono, grocery shopping is fun. Grocery shopping is great, because it means you can buy wonderful ingredients with which you can later make incredible things and stuff and food. What is boring is clothes shopping. Now THAT is truly truly dll.

Why is there no entertaining way to fold laundry?

Wow, I think Im getting what youve been doing with your weekend.
There isnt a fun way to do it because if there was, people would spend all their time doing it, and never have sex.
The crucial art of procreation rests on the dullness of laundry folding.

Why do all people who make soap think I want to smell like a fruit salad?

I dont know, but they are wrong. Very wrong.
I just want to smell of clean – is that too much to ask.
Actually no, thats a lie, I would like to smell of jasmine and sandalwood, but the moment I discovered the Japanese Bathhouse range from the Body Shop was the very week they discontinued it, so I cant.

Then I discovered that I like the one that smells of honey and wood and things from Lush. Sadly, I cant breathe in that shop, so it has to be either a very very quiet day on the high street, or I have to have a serious cold to be able to go and get some.

Debs wanted to know about my marmalade and cheese on toast:
Was it brown bread or white? Or some other type of bread that my brain cannot manage to put a name to at this present time?

It was granary bread. Brown bread with lovely lovely bits in.
I know it is not as diety as brown bread WITHOUT bits in, but you have to get your kicks somewhere.

Come to think of it, marmalade and cheese arent that diety either.
Hm. This morning was not a good diety morning.

Meesha asked: Wheres the strangest place youve ever been to? Your favorite place?

I think possibly the most odd place I have been is Nuwara Eliya in Sri Lanka. Its very very high up in the mountains and where the British colonial types made their home. That in itself is odd, an incredible, beautiful hot country with gorgeous coastlines and all of these wonderous things, and the flee to the most inaccessible bit and make their home there because it is cold and it rains most of the time, and they could make themselves a Really fresh cup of tea should they wish to, and then they built weird out-of-character houses with fake Tudor beams and manicured lawns.

Also we stayed in the worlds loudest hotel room, there, and were serenaded by the worlds least convincing Mariachi band who played Hotel California over and over and over again.

It would, of course, be on the long-list of my favourite places as well.

There are other weird places though. Las Vegas is weird. As is Blackpool.

And other favourite places? Well, my favourite favourite places are probably London and Manchester. And Brighton. And the Cal-Mac ferry from Oban to Craignure.

localfreak asked, as others, several questions in one. So: What book are you reading at the moment?

Louis Therouxs Call of the Weird.
And another self-helppy type book that shall not be named by name.

What was the last thing you read?

I always have about four things on the go at once and never actually do any of them justice or really take them in. Or, in fact, finish them. But for the sake of neatness, the last novel I actually read all of (and really enjoyed) was The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford.

What was your favourite childrens book? (I have to ask as Ive just bought several My Naughty Little Sister books and am feeling all nostalgic)

There were many many many. I liked Pippi Longstocking, I liked the Narnia books, I liked a book called The Ordinary Princess.

But of books for younger children, I loved Mr Meebles, by Jack Kent.

Ive been trying to get my hands on it for years and years and years, but cannot find it anywhere now. It is the story of a little boy with an imaginary friend, and they go on adventures together, and – oh, Ill explain it another time. Let us simply say that it raises important questions about the nature of existence.

Can you play a musical instrument?

In theory, yes. In theory I have learnt to play the piano, the cello, the flute, all at different times.
In theory no.
I mean, in theory I learnt French. And Spanish. And Maths. Can I speak ANY of those? No I cannot.

Should I make corned beef hash or scouse with my leftover corned beef tomorrow? (Decisions, decisions)

You should make a small Corned Beef Pattycake and offer it to the homeless and the hedgehogs. Under no circumstance should you eat it.

Corned beef? Bleurgh.

Lets Kill Saturday Night asked: How many meerkats would it take to build a replica Great Wall of China out of jelly?

Which is an important question, as I think you will all agree. At first I thought not so many meercats, maybe one or two, and even then only one if we discovered that mini-Great Wall Of China moulds were easily procured. But then I realised that that one, or even those two, were going to have a lot of trouble lifting the kettle. So I decided it would have to be made out of uncooked jelly squares, in which case the whole thing would be an awful lot bigger, and would probably utilise around 2400 meercats.

H asks, in a kind-of question: You are a busy person, but you still find/make the time to go to the gym. Please explain, preferably in words of one or simple syllables so the rest of us non gym goers can shout at ourselves and so go to the gym..maybe.

Ok. Simply: My gym is right next to the station. As I work on late shifts, I can get up, go to the gym, the trains are quiet enough when I leave to know that I can work without worrying about elbowing anyone repeatedly in the side or anyone noticing Im talking to myself.

The fact that it is Right Next To The Station means that if I go more than three days without going in, and have to walk past it constantly, I feel too, too bad. It is this hideous guilt that means I make sure I have my gym bag with me and drag my sorry arse out of bed the next morning.

Well, that and the fact that I discovered that expending more energy gave me more energy, which I had always thought was a fallacy created by the annoyingly fit and/or thin. Turns out its a bit true.

Also, time spent pounding the invisible streets or with my legs whirring round in little circles or gliding down imaginary rivers is zoning out time for me. I can think about a lot of things, and quite creatively at that, but there is nothing I can actually DO rather than the very thing I am at that moment doing. For a multi-tasking addict, this is actually very useful, and almost meditative.

Speaking of which, I should stop now. If I dont stop now, I will never get up in time to go tomorrow to the gym.

Thanks all. and good night and that

And, getting in under the wire as I could have betted she would, because she is wonderful for that Clare asked several questions she wouldnt have possibly dreamed I would answer properly

The awards ceremony? (One thing she asked) I havent won anything. Not an award. The people I work for won something, and each year we hold an internal competition to see who will get to go and pick the prize up. And then we do.

How i met Bobbie? You couldnt find it in four years of us being together – you couldnt find where Id written about it, so you thought it wasnt a secret and you would ask and I would just tell you?!

Oh alright then.
Through blogging.
The way all fortuitous things happen. To me.
Well, its a bit more complex than that, but thats all yall are getting.
Through blogging, and here we are almost exactly four years later.
So poo to anyone who says being a geek is a BAD thing.

And now I am stopping. And going to bed. Because it is a school night.