Sunday 31 May 2020

Conversation Starters - Part 2

Day 69 of lockdown and the sun is shining on what is a beautiful day here in South Manchester UK. I’ve already been for a five mile walk with Mrs PM down by the River Mersey, trying to avoid other walkers, joggers and cyclists.
There are already measures being taken to ease the lockdown slowly. From tomorrow we can meet up to six people either in a public place or somebody’s garden as long as we social distance and don’t go into the house. The exception is to use the toilet of course but we are meant to thoroughly clean it afterwards. I could use this to my advantage and invite friends around on the proviso that they clean my lavatory when they have finished to save me the job of doing it myself. 
Also, great news! Football will be back in a couple of weeks so we get to see the Premiership played in empty stadiums to finish off the season. Mrs PM is not very enthusiastic about that at all. I wonder why?
Anyway – time to answer some sill question from Sunday Stealing
Let’s dive in, shall we?

1. What do you think is the greatest television show of all time?
That’s a tricky one. Here are ten shows that I have really enjoyed over the course of my life. There are others at the edge of my memory but these are the ones that immediately leapt to mind. If I thought about it more, I would have a different list.

Babylon 5
Game of Thrones
Stranger Things
Sons of Anarchy
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
The Walking Dead
Breaking Bad
Dr Who
Peaky Blinders

2. Would you rather win a Nobel Prize or an Academy Award?
I would like to think that I made a difference to the world and basically, being an actor isn’t going to solve anything. So definitely a Nobel Prize.

3. What one food would you banish from this earth if you could?
 It is the only food that makes me feel physically sick with the thought of putting it past my lips. I had to endure it as a child and to avoid eating it I actually hid it under the table at school. 
We used to have a teacher who forced you to eat food – a real nasty Irish teacher with a voice so shrill that it could shatter reinforced glass. I managed to palm it off on one of my weirder friends who loved rhubarb. And allowed the Irish harpy from force feeding it to me. 
I am feeling quite queasy at the moment just thinking about it.

4. What’s the scariest story you’ve ever heard?
Top 3:

Boris Johnson becoming the UK Prime Minister
The United Kingdom shooting itself in the balls and leaving the European Union
Donald Trump becoming President of the United States of America.

The world has gone mad.

5. Who is the most famous person you have ever met?
I met Thunder back stage in 2005. They are a British rock band responsible for hits like this.

Here is proof.

I also had the chance to meet another of my favourite female rock singers, Anneke van Giersbergen,  but before I knew who she was. I stood by, about three feet away, as my mate got her autograph. I took a photo of the two of them. 
I am so gutted now because she was just a support act, and I didn’t know who she was and that she had worked a lot with another musical hero of mine, Devin Townsend. If I had known, I would have insisted on a photo with her and gushed like a tiny schoolboy. Here she is, singing with Devin Townsend – what an amazing voice she has:

6. What’s something you’ve done that most people wouldn’t know or guess about you?
I’ve had a disagreement with a Russian Kremlin guard while queuing up to get into the Kremlin itself in Moscow.
I’m terrified of heights but I have climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge. 
I am a bloody idiot.

7. You’re strapped in a rocket ship about to go to the moon. Are you thrilled? Or terrified?
I am absolutely terrified. My brain is not wired to cope with taking a rocket to the moon.

8. What is the correct way for toilet paper to sit on the roll?
Like this:

And it must be within easy reach of the person perched on the toilet of course. 

9. Talk about a mistake you made, or something you regret.
I wish that I had continued learning languages after school. I studied French for five years and German for three years and when I started my A-levels I could actually speak them quite well, certainly well enough to have a simple conversation with a native when I travelled to Europe for two month long trips during the summer while I was at university. I was fine in Germany and France and really should have kept it up. It is a source of constant frustration when travelling that I can’t converse with people in their own language very well.

10. What would be the best gift I could give you?
Enough money to be able to retire tomorrow.

11. What makes you feel better when you’re sad or stressed?
Listening to music, going for a walk or escaping into a good book or TV drama.

12. What is the most romantic movie you’ve ever seen?
I don’t like romantic films, as a rule, because the plots are all identical and ludicrously so in most cases. The only one I have watched more than once and genuinely laughed at is Notting Hill. I still think it’s not that great but it is the best of a bad bunch.

13. What is the worst date you’ve ever been on?
Funnily enough, I was talking about this yesterday. I had decided to go to the cinema to see the first Superman movie. Nobody else wanted to see it so I was happy to go on my own. My sister’s friend heard about this and invited herself to go with me. 
I remember when she turned up at my house to go, she was dressed up like she was going on a proper date, with excessive make-up and high heels and instantly alarm bells began to ring. I realised with horror that she had a crush on me. I also remember my dad chuckling at me and winking as we left the house. I didn’t have the same feelings for her and she kept trying to chat to me all the way through the film, which was bloody annoying. 
On the way back she insisted that her feet were hurting because of the shoes and needed support, so I walked back through the town centre with her clinging to me like I was her boyfriend. I had to let her down gently when we got back. We were both about 17 years old.

14. What is the glue that keeps couples together?
Humour and silliness helps – particularly in my case. I can be quite a funny guy when I want to be and I always try to make Mrs PM laugh. She is also very funny. We always have fun.

15.  What was your first crush.
I only ever had crushes on famous actresses like Linda Carter or Jaclyn Smith so it was one of those two.

16. When did your parents talk to you about the birds and the bees?
They never did. I heard by word of mouth and from friends. I remember hearing about the deed at the age of about seven or eight and being totally repulsed by the thought of what had to be done to produce children. I think my old man knew that I knew so he didn’t bother telling me.

17. What is your greatest achievement?
I would say it’s probably creating two wonderful kids. 

18. Were you close to your parents growing up?
Yes, I would say so. I was closer to my dad then my mum but generally we were fine as a family.

19. What was the most life-changing event you’ve ever experienced?
Going to university. I left Walsall as a naïve, spotty and scared young man and left university as an adult.

20. Have you ever had a falling out with a friend? What happened?
I wouldn’t say that I fell out with my friend Oswald (not his real name - obviously); we just lost touch and drifted apart because of circumstance. 
For many years as a child, Oswald was my best mate. He was almost exactly the same age as me (within a couple of weeks) and we were inseparable as friends. Things started to change when he left school at 16 to become a builder with his dad, while I carried on at school with A-Levels. For those couple of years we were still best mates but he had money, a second-hand car while I was still studying and broke. I think that’s when we started to drift apart. 
The final straw was when I went to university. I came back to Walsall at the end of my first year and my experiences and his were diverging. I was a different person and so was he. We went out for a few beers and ended up having a huge argument. I remember waking up the next morning thinking that something had broken between us and that the argument was the result of built up frustration. 
I went back to university and basically that killed our close friendship. I spent the remaining summers visiting friends from university and travelling in Europe and then I moved to Manchester.
I did see him on a return trip to Walsall to visit my mum a year later and discovered that he had managed to get a girl pregnant and had to marry her. I hadn’t been invited to the wedding. We had a quick chat and a laugh about the old times but it was clear that we had both moved on. 
The last I heard, was about twenty years ago when, again visiting my mum, I bumped into his mother. She told me that Oswald would love to see me again, so I gave her my phone number to give to him.
He has never called. If he did though, I would definitely go for a couple of beers with him.

Sunday 24 May 2020


We are in Day 62 of the lockdown and in the UK we have a bit of a lockdown scandal. The chief aide to Boris the Clown is a guy called Dominic Cummings who is partly responsible for the rules and regulations that have been inflicted upon us for the past nine weeks. He has basically flouted the lockdown rules himself by driving over 250 miles to take his child to his parent’s house to look after him because his wife had symptoms of Covid-19. 
The rules are that if you or any member of your household show the symptoms you must self-isolate for 14 days. Cummings didn’t do this and drove 260 miles away. 
Here is the man in question.
If weasels were to evolve into humanoids, they would look exactly like him.
Anyway, enough of that. Let’s answer some sill questions from Sunday Stealing

1. Would you kiss the last person you kissed again?
Of course I would. Given that we are in lockdown that person is of course Mrs PM so I would do that again repeatedly even if we weren’t stuck at home.
2. What’s the closest thing to you that’s red?
 I am wearing a red shirt. You can’t get closer than that.
3. Did you meet someone new today?
Not today – it is too early. However, we have friends in Abu Dhabi and yesterday we were invited to join in their family quiz. It was amazing fun and we met many of their family members for the first time. We finished third by the way.
4. What are you craving right now?
Mrs PM is currently in the kitchen cooking a full English breakfast. The smell of bacon and sausage is driving me wild so I am definitely craving that at the moment.
5. What comes to mind when I say “cabbage.”
Sunday lunch.
6. What does your last text say?
“Cheers Steve”.
7. Do you bite into your ice cream, or just lick it?
If it is an ice cream cornet then I am a licker. If it is ice cream contained in a lolly, like a Magnum, then I am a biter.
8. Do you like your hair?
Absolutely not. One of the recurring themes in the inane drivel I write on this blog is my hatred for my own hair. I am convinced that it is sentient. It is mostly uncontrollable and the rest of the time totally annoying. As you can imagine, I can’t even get it cut at the moment due to the lockdown, so it is rampant. I am considering buying some hair clippers and Mrs PM has bravely volunteered to have a go at taming it if she can. 
I am almost tempted to shave it all off and become bald. 
Last weekend, I tried an experiment. I washed it and brushed it back while it was wet. My hair is so thick that it tends to stay in the last position I inflict upon it – or when I go to bed – the most absurd position it can ever find itself in. I walked around with my hair brushed back all day. 
Mrs PM said “I love your hair curly – it looks terrible brushed back”. 
Later in the day, I attempted to comb it forward again just to make Mrs PM happier and it refused to do so, mutating into a horrific hybrid mess. 
I went to bed. 
The following morning, I got up to go for a walk and my hair was horrendous - absolutely bloody horrendous. 
Every single hair decided to go its own way spiking up in places, laying flat in others, curling like a demented corkscrew in yet other places. 
And I had to face the public who were going through their daily exercise. I looked like a mad alien that had been tasered in the hair. 
Mrs PM didn’t think I looked too bad. I did – my hair was terrible – as it is right now.
I think I can sum this question up nicely. 
9. Do you like yourself?
As I get older I actually like myself more and more. Liking yourself is the first step to a happy life, I find. 
I watched a TED talk that touched on this recently, the gist of it being that when we are all kids we are happy but as we get older and reach middle age, we become much less happy. The good news is that after that dip, the older we get, we suddenly rediscover that happiness and by the time we reach old age we are generally more content than we have ever been. 
I am definitely on that upward curve.
10. Do you like cottage cheese?
I love cottage cheese and I don’t buy it often enough. I will have to rectify that situation.
11. What are you listening to right now?
I am listening to “Left Out” by one of my favourite bands called Riverside, a progressive group from Poland. I love this band and will take every opportunity to promote their brilliance to the world at large.
Here it is:

12. Is there anything sparkly in the room where you are?
Yes a sparkly face mask similar to this:

Last night we had a video call with our friends and were supposed to put on something silly. The mask was Mrs PM’s choice, from a Christmas Ball we went to a couple of years ago. I wore a silly wig that actually made me look better than my horrible hair does.
13. How many countries have you visited?
I have been to 35 countries and around 375 cities. 
Here is a map of my travels. 
I once worked out that I had travelled over 300,000 miles and seen about 25% of the world.
Some of the more interesting countries I have been to include China, Canada, Vietnam, Russia, Australia, United States of America, Japan, Brazil, South Africa, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Oman. One day I will try to write some kind of travelogue about my adventures.
14. Are you sarcastic?
Sarcastic? Me? NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!
Of course I am sarcastic. I am British – we are ALL sarcastic.
15. Have you ever crawled through a window? 
Yes. When I was about 15 years old my parents were out and I was tasked with looking after the house and my two younger sisters. Some friends called around and I went out to the front garden to chat to them. My curious sisters also came out, my youngest sister at the age of 10, walked out and slammed the door shut behind her, locking us all out of the house.
I didn’t want to get into trouble, so I frantically ran the back door hoping that was open. It wasn’t. Thankfully, I spotted that there was a window open – a small window where I had to climb up and slide down into the room beyond. I managed somehow to squeeze through, although I almost broke some items on the other side. 
And did my parents find out? No – until about two weeks later when my youngest sister, the one who had locked us all out, grassed me up (and herself) by innocently telling my mum about it.
And yes – I was in trouble.

Sunday 17 May 2020

Ty and Logan

Day 55 of the lockdown and things are moving slightly. There is a rough timetable to easing the lockdown over the coming weeks and months but, as you can probably guess, Boris the Clown has been suitably vague and actually started to confuse people in the UK about what we can do at the moment. 
I won’t elaborate but suffice it to say his usual blustering buffoonery is still evident in what should be a clear message. It’s not. 
But, hey, we are talking about Boris Johnson so I didn’t expect it to be. For me, nothing has changed and I shall maintain the same level of lockdown at least for the next couple of weeks.
For now, let’s answer some silly questions from Sunday Stealing

1. Where did your name come from?

My forenames are David George and I have to thank my mother for that. My dad’s fornames were George William as was his father and, apparently, his father before him. My mum put her foot down and told him that she didn’t like the name George. The compromise was to have George as my middle name. My mum liked David and so that became my name. I am glad for that. I love the name Dave.

2. Where were you born?

I was born in a rather large town called Walsall that is about ten miles north of England’s second city, Birmingham and about 75 miles south of where I live now.

Here is where it is. 

3. What as your house like, growing up.

I lived in a small three bedroomed terrace house until the age of about 8 and then we moved to a small three-bedroomed detached house next to a park. It was a small house but, being the oldest of three kids, with two younger sisters, I was the only person in the house to have a room of my own. It was a nice enough little house and the proximity to the park meant that I spent a lot of time outdoors with friends running around, playing football etc etc.

4. What was your childhood bedroom like?

It was small but had enough room for a big cupboard and a wardrobe. On top of the cupboard I had my dad’s old music centre, so I could play records and tapes and listen to the radio, something which my dad in particular wasn’t keen on. When I discovered heavy metal, he used to come up and tell me off for playing it too loudly. It was the only thing that he couldn’t change about me.

5. Did you travel as a child? Where?

Not really. We went for holidays in England to places like Brighton, Minehead, Skegness and Blackpool but, sadly, we didn’t venture abroad.

6. Write about your grandparents.

All four grandparents were amazing people. On my mum’s side, my grandad was a retired bus mechanic, a very intelligent man who loved books. They lived next door so I spent a lot of time there, talking to him, reading his books and helping him with odd jobs. Although he had retired, he simply couldn’t keep still and had part time jobs from home just to keep his mind active. My grandmother was the sweetest woman you would ever meet and I never saw her without a smile. They were both strict Catholics and used to take me to church as a youngster. They both sadly died within a couple of years of each other, my grandmother the last one when I was about 11. 

On my dad’s side, my grandad fought in World War 2 and was captured and held prisoner in Germany until the war ended. My grandmother thought he had been killed and when, in 1946, he turned up on the doorstep and said “I’m back”, she apparently fainted. My grandad was a very interesting and sweet man who rarely spoke about his ordeal in the war and was the last of all of my grandparents to go. My grandmother was lovely but quite strict with us. Sadly we lost her when I was about 20. My grandad lived on for another couple of years and died of lung cancer at the age of 84 when I was about 24 years old. 

7. Who taught you how to drive?

I learned to drive when I was in my early twenties and passed my test first time. The guy who taught me was the next door neighbour of a work colleague and was in his late sixties and a retired driving instructor who still gave a few lessons for friends of friends to keep himself busy but charged a cheaper rate. I am very grateful to him and the patience he had.

8. When did you first leave home?

I left home at the age of 18 to go to university in Liverpool.

9. What did your parents do for work?

My dad worked in a factory making bolts and nuts and my mum really only looked after the kids. We were a working class family really.

10. Who inspired you as you matured?

My dad. He was a very intelligent guy but a war child who never really had the chance to finish his education and improve his life. He saw something in me and drove me to do well in school. I managed to get a place in the grammar school in Walsall and that made him so proud because it opened up more opportunities for me, resulting in me becoming thee first person in my family to go to university. Thankfully he knew about it before his untimely death in the early 1980’s. I owe him everything.

11. What was the best part of your 20s?

I loved being in my 20’s and if I could go back to that time, I would do it in a heartbeat. What was the best part? There are too many to choose from; being at university, moving to Manchester where I bought my first house, travelling abroad for the first time. Take your pick.

12. What as the best part of your 30s?

I would say the birth of my two boys.

13. Where is the most fascinating place you’ve visited?

I have travelled to many places all over the world, but by far the most fascinating place is Japan. It is an incredible country full of amazing people, strange customs and a unique outlook on life. I desperately want to go back there and plan to do so within the next few years.

14. What is your favourite family story?

That’s a really tough question. The holidays in Brighton were quite memorable with my dad urging us to spend one day on a long walk along the cliffs and through the Sussex countryside for the whole day rather than going to the funfair and the beach. These days I would much rather go for the walk but back then we loved the beach and the fairground. Sadly, my dad always got his way (he was very persuasive) and we would have to go for a ten mile hike despite the fact that nobody else wanted to do it. It was only one day though so we did it just to shut him up.

15. What was your most memorable birthday?

My thirtieth birthday was quite memorable because I had a surprise party. My ex-wife took me for a meal on Saturday night and then complained that she was felling ill, so we had the main course and went home. I was disappointed but if she was ill, what could I do? It was a ruse and when I opened the door to my house, I was confronted with “SURPRISE!” and bombarded with a barrage of cuddly toys hurled at me by my mates. I have never been so shocked. We had a great party that went on until the early hours of morning.

16. What was your favourite food as a child?

I have to say it was my dad’s Sunday dinner. My dad was a very good cook and he and my mum shared the responsibility but on Sunday he completely took over the kitchen and cooked what was always an amazing family meal. You can imagine what Christmas dinner was like too. Incredible.

Sunday 10 May 2020

Black Feathers

Day 48 of the lockdown and apparently the clown that has somehow fooled people into believing that he is a worthy Prime Minister of my country is going to demonstrate his “wisdom” in a declaration of how we are going to ease lockdown measures over the coming weeks and months in a speech this evening.

I can’t say I’m anticipating any immediate relaxation of the lockdown to be honest and rumour has it that he may allow a few more shops to open as an opening gambit. Hopefully this is the case because, as much as I hate the lockdown and given the statistics, we are not ready to ease anything just yet.

Some people are praising Boris Johnson but when you look at the statistics, we, as a country, have handled the whole thing very very badly. We now have the most deaths in Europe and the second most deaths for a country in the world behind the United States.

It’s all very depressing so I think I will cheer myself up with some silly questions from Sunday Stealing.

1. Do you prefer writing with black or blue pen?

I haven’t really thought about that to be honest. I tend to alternate but I sometimes use different coloured pens at work to highlight different things or the importance of things I have to do. I will say blue because at school we used to have to use fountain pens and my favourite ink was a lovely blue colour called Royal Blue.

2. Do you prefer living in the country or the city?

I prefer the city but I do like escaping to the country. I am lucky where I live because I am five miles from the centre of Manchester with great transport links to get there easily, but equally, I am about twenty minutes drive from Cheshire, a lovely county full of small towns and villages with loads of great places to walk in the countryside and breathe the fresh country air. Also, nearby is the Peak District national park and North Wales. Plenty of scope for exploration of our beautiful countryside.

Here is a map which includes Manchester, Cheshire, the Peaks and North Wales. If you look closely you can see me - a kind of British Where's Wally.

3. How do you drink your tea or coffee?

I suck all of my drinks through my left nostril with a straw –or sometimes my right one (I like to live dangerously).

Of course I don’t. I drink it through my mouth like everybody.

Ah – okay. You mean how do I take it? I like my tea strong with just a small amount of milk and no sugar. I drink coffee black with no sugar. In both cases the beverage has to be piping hot.

Cold tea and coffee are abominations that are not meant to be.

4. Do you prefer bath or shower?

I haven’t had a bath for several years.

No – that doesn’t mean I am a dirty old man. I much prefer showers and I have one every morning.

5. Do you prefer reading paper or electronic books?

For the convenience, I prefer using a Kindle because in those reckless days when I could go travelling, I could stash several books on the small device to enjoy for the duration, rather than having to carry loads of books and weigh down my luggage.

However, for reference books, paper is so much better.

6. Would you ever want to be famous?

Not really. I like my privacy and I fear that if I were famous, my entire life would be subject to public scrutiny and I would be forever paranoid about being a target for prying paparazzi and unscrupulous reporters.

I’d quite like the money though, so if fame is going to come my way, it would have to be anonymously like an author using a pen name such as Theo Plastique or something like that.

7. Are you a restless sleeper?

Rarely. I actually had a nightmare about a month ago and I have no idea why. I won’t go into details but suffice it to say, I sat up in bed, in pitch black darkness with a pounding heart and heavy breathing. Mrs PM was snoring gently next to me, oblivious to my trauma. I then found myself smiling and slightly excited that I had had a dream that had caused me some distress. I lay down again and stayed awake for about half an hour trying to work out what caused the dream.  But then I dozed off and, like every other night, slept through until morning in blissful slumber.

8. What is the strangest thing you have ever eaten?

I have been to China and Japan so the list is endless. I am a fussy eater and I have to know what the food is before I will agree to try it and then I have to be slightly adventurous.

I would say that the strangest things are jellyfish, which I had in China and Japan, and Kangaroo steak which I had in Australia.

9. Do you like cereal crunchy or soggy?

Definitely crunchy. Soggy cereal is disgusting.

10. Do you like ice in your drinks?

Only if it is really hot outside.

11. Do you prefer swimming in pools or the ocean?

Swimming in the sea is more exciting but I hate the sand on my feet and the bits of seaweed floating about (I have a fear of seaweed after an episode of Dr Who I saw as a child).

I guess I would have to say a swimming pool because it is cleaner and there is no sand.

12. What can you hear right now?

The clacking of my keyboard, the washing machine and a progressive metal masterpiece from Sons of Apollo called Fall to Ascend:

13. Where do you feel the safest?

I would probably say at home. I haven’t really thought about it to be honest.

14. What would you like your legacy to be?

I’d like to think that I made a positive difference to somebody’s life.

15. Do you like spicy food?

I love spicy food – but not too spicy. I like to enjoy the meal and the moment it becomes painful to eat, it ceases to be enjoyable.

Sunday 3 May 2020

Conversation Starters

So here we are in the UK currently languishing in day 41 of the lockdown. The news this week is encouraging in that the number of deaths per day is stabilising and falling and the trend for new cases is also dropping slightly. The government are talking about the potential of easing the lockdown and a strategy for doing so. I don’t want to discuss the politics of the situation but the news is encouraging, even though we will feel the effects for months in my opinion.

Let’s start a conversation from Sunday Stealing.

1. What is your favourite song lyric? Why?

I have a few favourite song lyrics. To me they are like poetry if written well. The late great Neil Peart, drummer of my favourite band – Rush - wrote some amazing lyrics. Basically his lyrics tend to be deep, meaningful and thought-provoking, Here are a couple of examples that hopefully illustrates the point I am trying to make.

From the song Losing It. This is about artists, authors, dancers who were brilliant in their youth but now they are old, they are losing the skills that made them great.

Some are born to move the world
To live their fantasies
But most of us just dream about
The things we'd like to be
Sadder still to watch it die
Than never to have known it
For you, the blind who once could see
The bell tolls for thee

From the song Second Nature:

Folks have got to make choices
And choices got to have voices
Folks are basically decent
Conventional wisdom would say
Well, we read about
The exceptions
In the papers every day

2. Who was the worst teacher you ever had?

I attended a grammar school and all of the teachers were pretty adept at their subjects so I can’t really complain about any of them. If you twist my arm, however and force me to name the worst one, I will have to point the finger at my third year geography teacher (I was about 13 or 14 at the time). I won’t name him to protect the guilty – but let’s call him Mr Bogus.

Why has Mr Bogus won my prize as worst teacher? Because I was absolutely dreadful at geography – it was by far my worst subject at school. Mr Bogus was also my Form Master which meant that I had to deal with him all of the time. Mr Bogus did nothing to encourage me in the subject or in the classroom generally. Quite the opposite in fact. He often used me as an example of somebody who could possibly fail in life because I answered back when he tried to use me as an example. I didn’t really like him at all and during that year I was on the receiving end of several detentions for, well, just being a cheeky little git. I guess I deserved that so I can’t complain too much.

I gave up geography at the end of his year, thank goodness, and never had to deal with him again. In fact, if I were to see him now, I would say “Hi Mr Bogus! I think I’ve proved you wrong haven’t I?”

3. What were 3 things that scared you as a child?

I was both scared of, yet fascinated by, vampires. My dad taught me a lesson for mithering him about watching horror films – he let me watch Christopher Lee playing Dracula when I was about ten years old. It scared me half to death.

My dad was also partly culpable for my second fear. After watching a child friendly version of “A Christmas Carol” at the age of about eight, I asked about ghosts and whether they exist or not. My dad was a great story teller and he told me that ghosts were the spirits of people who were dead but didn’t know it, and lived their ghostly existence in anguish, trapped where they had died and wailing in self-pity for somebody to rescue them. I was convinced my house was haunted until my own rational mind told me it was a load of old codswallop. Ironically, the only time that I thought I saw a ghost, was when I was 19 – and that ghost was that of my own father. But that’s another story.

My third fear was insects and spiders. I still hate them to this very day.

4. What are 3 things that scare you now?

I am now, unbelievably scared of heights. I am also scared of public speaking, even though I have done it quite a lot. Finally, the shift in politics worldwide and the misinformation being passed around scares the hell out of me but I won’t go into that.

5. Would you rather have the power of time travel or the power to see the future?

Time travel definitely. I would go to the future to see how technology has developed over the next few hundred years. I might just pop back to the past for a laugh too.

6. Money, power, or good looks – which would you rather have an unlimited supply of?

I would go for money because with money comes power and if I had an unlimited supply of it, I could help out the needy. Even better it would allow me to build a fleet of spaceships that I could use to explore the galaxy but manned by the most odious people on the planet, like Boris Johnson, Donald Trump, Piers Morgan etc. etc.

7. Are you jealous of anything?

Not really. I love life so I want to experience it forever, so unless I am immortal already (or can find a way to become immortal), I would have to be young again. In that respect I am jealous of young people.

8. What makes you feel most loved?

A cuddle on the settee with Mrs PM. I am a man of simple tastes.

9. Do you believe in soulmates?

Yes – see the answer to the previous question.

10. What is something that made you laugh the most?

There are quite literally thousands upon thousands of things that have made me laugh throughout my life and to single out one of them is near to impossible. I love comedy so I will single out one of my favourite comedians – Mr Billy Connolly – as an example of somebody who has made me laugh a lot over the years.

11. What were 3 of the happiest days of your life?

Two of them were the birth of my two sons. The third? I’m not sure to be honest – probably the day I graduated from university. There have been some really good days in my life.

12. What is your biggest flaw

I think that my biggest flaw is possibly also a strength. I am quite risk averse so I will not try anything if I think it is too risky. For example, I would never hurl myself into a venture that I didn’t think I could cope with or that I had serious doubts about. People who like taking risks would argue that this is a flaw because sometimes risks can pay off and your life will improve as a result.

However, on the other side of the coin, in my mind at least, if the risk doesn’t pay off then you could potentially pay the price and never recover. In that way, I think the fact that I am risk averse has given me a life that I am quite content with.

13. Who would play you in a movie about your life?   

I would say somebody like Johnny Depp because he is a weird looking guy who could just about pull it off, I reckon.

14. What is something you experienced that you have no explanation for.

See my answer to question 3. I thought I saw the ghost of my father. Way back in 2010 I wrote a post about the experience and I still can’t explain it. Here is the post.

15. What is the saddest book you ever read?

Honestly? I don’t know. I tend to read science fiction, novels, thrillers, horror stories or anything that is weird – and because they are all so weird, they cannot really be described as sad. Sadness is one of the many conflicting elements of them all but not the dominant one. So I’m afraid I can’t answer this one.

16. What is your dream home like?

I would like one of those old English mansions with many rooms that can be converted to be the following:

(a) A pub
(b) A snooker room
(c) A home cinema
(d) An entertainment room
(e) A music room
(f) A gym
(g) A swimming pool

17. What creature/insect would most creep you out if you found it crawling on you?

Any insect in reality but in particular a huge spider would freak me out so much that I would be running around screaming blue murder.

18. What’s your preferred Monopoly piece?

Really? I don’t have one. Okay – if I had to choose it would be this one:

19. What was your most embarrassing moment?

Oh dear - there have been too many to mention. I will tell you one though. I was working in Amsterdam and in the evening, a work colleague and I was with him in an Ethiopian restaurant enjoying a nice meal.

I had run out of beer and I waved to a female waiter to bring me a new one. I shouted “Excuse me,” and waved to her repeatedly. She was a beautiful African woman with a white blouse and a black skirt and dressed like the other waiters. She stared at me as if I was insane and I stupidly thought this was because she was Dutch and couldn’t understand English (momentarily forgetting that everybody in Holland speaks perfect English). My colleague said “No Dave no!” I wondered what he was talking about so I waved again and shouted to her – “Can I have another beer please?”

She walked through the tables across the restaurant to me and as she was doing so, my colleague said “You bloody idiot! I’ve just seen her come out of the toilet – she’s a customer!”

I was mortified but she arrived at the table anyway. “Would you like me to ask at the bar for you?” She said with a smile. “I’m so sorry,” I said. “I thought you were a waiter.”

To rub salt into the wound, she walked away found a real waitress and directed her to my table. People were sniggering at me openly.

I am not a person to let something like that lie, so when we left I walked to her table and apologised again. She was with a friend and said “That’s quite alright. It was an easy mistake to make.”

I heard them laughing as I left. My colleague said rather too loudly I thought “That’s the last time I come to a restaurant with you.”

20. Could the earth be flat?

Of course it couldn’t. I come from a scientific background and the earth is 100% definitely a sphere. This is one of the most ridiculous conspiracy theories I have ever heard. There are so many scientific facts proving without any doubt whatsoever that our planet is a sphere. I won’t bore you with this topic again but if you are interested in my thoughts on this madness, please read a post I wrote in 2016.

Here it is. 

Here is a video about why people might fall for this bullshit:

For me, personally, the flat earth theory is just a load of old codswallop.