Liebster Award reloaded

Liebster AwardIt was great to be nominated for the Liebster Award by Caroline of Beauty is a Sleeping Cat. Thanks, Caroline! In the spirit of her original post, I have taken the liberty of adapting the rules of the award a little. So I’m answering only seven of her original questions…

2. If you could stay in another city for a year, which one would it be?

Having spent most of my life in London and New York, I think I’d like to live outside cities for a while. But I think Stockholm would be nice for a year – I’ve heard it’s got a great quality of life, lots of culture, and I like cities with plenty of water around. Or what about Havana? Yes, what was I thinking? Make it Havana!

3. Which language would you like to speak and why?

Arabic. Well, mostly I’d like to write it – that script is just beautiful. But I also find the spoken language fascinating – picked up a few phrases while travelling in Morocco and Tunisia a few years ago, but of course it’s almost all gone now.

4. Which is your favourite book cover?

I loved this cover from a book I just read, Music for the Off-Key by Courttia Newland. It’s really vibrant and eye-catching, and I also love covers that aren’t cluttered up with too many words.

5. What craft would you like to be great at?

Woodworking. Don’t know why – and in fact I’m useless at anything resembling DIY. But the idea of making something out of wood, shaping it and planing it and fitting it all together, has always appealed.

6. Which is your favourite dish. Recipe included!

Tartiflette. The recipe I use is based on this one. Reblochon cheese, bacon, onions, potatoes, butter, wine – what’s not to love? I only make it about once a year, in an attempt to avoid immediate coronary arrest, but I always enjoy it. Speaking of coronary arrest, I also love a good British fry-up. But despite these answers, you’d be amazed at how healthy my day-to-day eating is. I’m almost vegan. Just like to go crazy sometimes.

7. If you could design a garden what would it look like?

It would have plants to attract lots of bees and butterflies, and also fruit trees and vegetables – I’ve always wanted to grow my own food. I’d want it to look nice, but don’t want a purely ornamental garden.

11. What book are you reading at the moment?

Capitalism & Slavery by Eric Williams, an examination of the role slavery played in financing the Industrial Revolution and developing British capitalism. Normally I read more fiction, so am enjoying this change.

So now I’m supposed to tag eleven other people, and ask them eleven new questions. Instead, again, I’m changing it to seven people, and seven questions. Here are my nominees:

I know some of you don’t generally participate in blogging awards and such, so please don’t feel pressured to answer, but I’d love to read your answers if you do. Here are the questions for you to answer:

  1. What’s your favourite memory?
  2. Why do you blog?
  3. What’s your most unrealistic ambition?
  4. What makes you angry?
  5. What’s your biggest regret?
  6. Why do you like reading?
  7. Write a mini school report for the human race. What grade would you give us, and what suggestions for improvement?

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There are 25 comments

  1. I liked your answers. I visited London once and was so taken by it I would love to try living there for a year. Your garden sounds a lot like mine except mine is never neat and tidy however much I intend it to be and my small urban yard doesn’t allow much room for all the trees I wish I could have and a big veggie garden. I love it anyway though. I will have to consider answers to your questions and post them up in a day or two!

    1. Thanks Stefanie, I look forward to seeing your answers! The garden is purely in my imagination – I’ve never lived anywhere that allowed for more than a window-box 🙁

      One day…

  2. Thanks for this, Andrew, I liked reading your answers. I started to learn Arabic once as well. I love the writing too. It’s beautiful.
    Your recipe made me laugh, paired with the comment that you’re vegan. I like to go crazy sometimes as well, so might try this out. I’m no vegan though. Just try to really not eat meat.

    1. Thanks for nominating me, Caroline! Interesting that you started to learn Arabic. How far did you get? It’s one of those things that I’m not sure I’ll ever do, because it would take so long and I have no practical reason for learning it. But maybe it’s good to do something just for the fun of it!

      As for tartiflette, do try it – it’s great! There’s something about really unhealthy food that is so comforting. I’m not vegan either – just avoid meat and dairy most of the time. Depends a lot on my mood and what food I have access to. I’m not absolutist about it.

  3. My niece is learning Arabic for her elective, I just learned today. Isn’t that nice. And the tartiflette! Haven’t tried that but want to now. Will pressure husband into making ha ha ha. I’ve been having mostly just nuts lately because the past couple of weeks he’s been working in the mornings and I in the evenings, so during the day after I’ve made the kids’ lunches then I’m too lazy to make something for myself.

    1. Wow, that’s great! Wish I could have learned Arabic when I was younger. I think it gets harder as you get older – I recently had to learn Spanish as part of the research for my next novel, and it was a real struggle!

      Yes, do get him to make the tartiflette – would be a big change from nuts!

  4. I have to agree about the script, it puts the Roman alphabet to shame. Your recipe (never heard of it) sounds wonderful, but all that cheese! Yes please to a kitchen garden, home-grown food best anything you can buy from a shop, even organic farm shops. I almost missed this post as I’m late reading today, so glad I didn’t as you’ve tagged me. I’ll aim to write answers for Wednesday 🙂

    1. Hi Charlie,
      Yes, all that cheese!! And bacon, and onions… Mmm, I’m salivating just writing this. But you’re right, you can’t beat home-grown veggies for a day-to-day diet. Look forward to reading your answers!

  5. Nice post, Andrew! Stockholm does look like a cool place. And Arabic script is really beautiful. I love listening to Arabic songs. Woodworking is definitely a beautiful art. A chap I knew once designed and made all the furniture in his home. We were all so amazed. Tartiflette is such an interesting name. The book you are reading is quite interesting. Will look forward to hearing your thoughts on it. And I love the book cover of ‘Music of the Off-Key’. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Vishy
      That’s what I would love to do – design and make all my own furniture. There would be something so satisfying about that. But I am a LONG way away from being able to do that! Glad you enjoyed the post!

  6. It was so nice to learn more about you! You occasionally crazy vegan, you. My parents visited Stockholm when I was a teenager and they loved it – so clean and well organised. And yes, Arabic script is gorgeous, but I know my limitations as far as language learning goes; a different alphabet would be a deal breaker for me! And yay! Thank you for the tag and the excellent questions. I can’t wait to give humanity a school report! 🙂

    1. Hi litlove
      Great – I can’t wait for you to give humanity a school report either! I don’t see much of this sort of thing on your blog, so wasn’t sure if you’d go for it, but I’m glad you will!

  7. Hi Andrew,

    It’s nice to read your answers to Caroline’s questions. About them:

    Question 2: Aren’t you already living outside cities by now? How does it feel? I’ve been to Stockholm this summer, it’s a beautiful city, but a bit too quiet for me. (Were were the cars? the crowd?) And I’m not so sure about the weather and the lack of light in winter.

    Question 6: Of course, I have a comment. Tartiflette, really? Do you know that in Savoie, they have “In tartiflette we trust” stickers for their cars? (The stickers are in English) You need one of those, don’t you?

    Question 7: A Medieval garden would agree with you then. Useful and pretty.

    Thank you for tagging me. I’m not going to continue the chain, I’m afraid, otherwise Guy will hate me for choosing him again for another blogging award. 🙂 So I’ll answer your questions here.

    What’s your favourite memory?

    Sorry, but I won’t answer this one. I’ve thought about it but it’s too private.

    Why do you blog?

    It’s probably best written on my About Page. I blog to share about books. I chose to write in English to be in contact with readers from other countries. I’ve been blogging for 2,5 years now and the result is beyond my expectations.
    I’ve “met” fantastic people through the blog and I enjoy chatting with like-minded readers. (as crazy about books as me, it’s a relief, I feel less alien than before)

    What’s your most unrealistic ambition?

    Do what you did 10 years ago. But I can’t and this is why I’m fond of Newland Archer as a character. I understand him better than I’d like to.

    What’s your biggest regret?

    I try not to have too many regrets. When I make a decision, I always think it’s the best one. When I make a mistake, then perhaps it just means that I wasn’t able to find the right solution at the time. I didn’t have the insight or the intelligence or the courage to make the right choice. So, no need to regret.

    Still, I really regret not applying for a year to study in London, especially since my school has a partnership with the LSE. I may not have gotten in but at least I would have tried.

    Why do you like reading?

    First, I don’t like reading, I LOVE reading.

    I love reading for the journey in time and place, for the peace it can bring, for the knowledge of mankind, for helping with all the thoughts I never dare to say, for oblivion and comfort when I need it, for entertainment.

    Write a mini school report for human race. What grade would you give us and what suggestions for improvement?

    I was never good at writing essays, sorry.

    It’s hard to give a grade since the human race is capable of the best and the worst. I’d suggest to change the school programs for human beings: emphasize less on economics, study more of philosophy and drop religion forever. Perhaps the average grade would improve.

    1. Hi Emma

      Yes, I’ve been living outside cities for almost a year now. It feels wonderful! I don’t really miss much about cities, apart from the convenience of being able to get around and buy things and visit restaurants etc easily. But I’m happy to trade that in for some peace and beauty and access to nature – real nature, not confined to a park!

      I didn’t know that about tartiflette! It’s just a recipe I found once online somewhere, and I knew it was French but didn’t know which region it was from. I definitely need one of those bumper stickers! (Probably need to get a car first, though!)

      No worries about not continuing the chain – I’m just happy you answered! Loved your answers, particularly the one about grading the human race. I couldn’t agree more! The grade would definitely improve. I also liked your answer to the ‘ambition’ question – I haven’t read The Age of Innocence for years now, but it had quite an effect on me too. I think it’s high time to reread it now.

      And you have a wonderful attitude to regrets. I agree with everything you say, and try to remember that I always make the best decisions I can make at the time, with the information and knowledge I have at that time. But, like you, I still have my regrets!

      Thanks so much for participating, Emma! Really enjoyed reading your answers.

      1. Oh, I thought you’d discovered tartiflette in the Alps, after skiing. It’s a winter dish. I prefer Raclette but I like Tartiflette too.

        Glad you enjoyed my answers. I realize I didn’t answer to “what makes you angry?” I’d say “myself when I’m don’t raise to my own expectations.”

        1. Ah, I thought you were dodging that one 🙂 Good answer. That makes sense about tartiflette – it definitely seems like a winter dish, and would be perfect after skiing. But no, my discovery was quite random I’m afraid!

  8. Congratulations Andrew!

    Tartiflette looks awesome! While my wife and I both cook, she is really the expert on French food and I will ask her to give it a try.

    1. Hi Delia

      Glad you liked it. I’d love to hear your answers, actually – was going to nominate you, but I’ve tagged you in a couple of these sorts of things before, and didn’t want to overdo it. But if the questions interest you, consider yourself tagged!

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