Saturday 28 October 2023

Fall Pals

Welcome to a bright but slightly grey South Manchester. Autumn has really kicked in now and there are leaves everywhere. It was chilly on my walk today but some of the trees look lovely. The photo above is from earlier this morning. 

Shall we dive in with some silly questions from Sunday Stealing

1. Do you decorate for Autumn?

Not at all. We only decorate for Christmas usually. I did notice a couple of houses nearby that are trying to embrace the American Hallowe’en culture by adding spooks, black cats, pumpkins, etc. to the outside of their houses. We don’t need to do that as we have two black cats roaming around our house all the time.

2. How often do you clean out your closets?

Before the summer of this year, not a lot. Since then we have been planning the back room redecoration and have decided to have a massive sort out of every nook and cranny in the house. Our house is an Edwardian terrace with high ceilings that was built in 1903 and has three double bedrooms. 

The problem is that I have a lot of junk and stuff that I have kept for years and Mrs PM has been moaning about the lack of space for that junk. If I had a pound for every time she has called me a hoarder, I would be quite well off. 

We took a decision to convert the loft – not as a living space but as a storage space instead. Previously it was just a dusty black mess with no flooring and lots of spiders. Now, it is a great storage space with a membrane to protect everything up there from crap that falls down from the roof. It is weather proof and easily accessible now. 

And I have spent the last few months sorting stuff out and storing it in the loft, and, yes, even throwing some stuff out. There’s still a lot to do but hopefully by Christmas it will all be over.

3. When is the last time you planned a surprise for someone?

Probably Mrs PM’s last birthday.

4. Are there foods you really don’t like?

Yes. I am not a fan of figs, dates, damsons, pears, artichokes, lemon grass, prunes, apricots, liver and parsnips. 

There are more but the king of foods that disgust me is rhubarb. I hate rhubarb. The taste of it makes me feel physically sick and the last time I had it I actually threw up. It should not be consumed by human beings.

5. What is something you recently learned?

I have been trying out Italian on Duolingo so I have learned some very basic Italian phrases like:

Io ho due gatti negri.

6. Items you’re most likely to buy at a convenience store

Usually things that we have run out of like basic groceries, such as milk, bread, butter, cheese etc.

7. Do you believe in the paranormal?

No – but I really hope that ghosts do exist. I thought I saw one once but I could have been mistaken. The problem is that anything paranormal has been exploited by charlatans whose sole aim it to make money out of people’s gullibility.

Like this guy:

8. How would you describe your spirituality?

I find the whole concept of “spirituality” a little bit bogus and whenever people have told me they are “spiritual”, I have asked them what they mean. Nobody has ever given me a satisfactory answer. 

I looked up a quick definition of “spirituality”. Here it is:

Spirituality is a broad concept with room for many perspectives. In general, it includes a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves, and it typically involves a search for meaning in life. As such, it is a universal human experience—something that touches us all. People may describe a spiritual experience as sacred or transcendent or simply a deep sense of aliveness and interconnectedness.

The implication from that is that we are all spiritual in our own way, and maybe when I start looking into the vastness of the universe, from a scientific perspective, that is me being spiritual. Personally, I don’t think so; I think I am just trying my satisfy my curiosity about things I don’t understand. The universe is certainly bigger than I am and in that universe of trillions of galaxies, each with billions of stars and planets, there must be one planet similar to ours, statistically speaking. 

So – am I spiritual? I don’t think so. I am sceptical about a lot of things and my scientific mind demands truth for me to believe it. 

I’ve said on this blog before that I would like to have a chat with God but only to ask him why he doesn’t come down to people to prove his existence. It would be fun, I imagine. 

Actually, having just written that down, as a Roman Catholic, there is a voice inside saying “now you are in trouble, Dave!”

Maybe I am – but he could dispel my scepticism by having a chat. I don’t think that is disrespectful because apparently he is supposed to have done it many times over the centuries. And I am a nice guy.

That said, many Christians have faith and I am delighted for them if it makes them happy and content. That’s all I want for people. If a person claims to be spiritual, I will be delighted for them if it also makes them happy.

Why would I not be?

9. Do you make plans far in advance

We usually plan for holidays up to a year in advance and I have been planning my retirement for a few years. So, I guess the answer is yes. 

10. Do you like being scared for fun?

Not particularly. I hate rollercoasters now and, as a follow up to question to 7 about paranormal activity, I would be too scared to go to a haunted house. That wouldn’t be fun. 

11. What has been difficult for you lately?

Having the house turned upside down. It’s largely finished now and I am happy once more. 

12. Have you ever written or read fanfiction?

This is really sad. I started a novel based on Star Trek that included the cast of The Next Generation, Deep Space 9 and Voyager. It got into about ten chapters before I gave up. 

13. What type of wall art do you have in your home?

We have just brought some pictures for the back room. There are two of Hong Kong and two black cats, one made up as David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane and the other with the Kiss makeup that Mrs PM used on me for her photography project that effectively turned me into the Plastic Mancunian. 

Here they are. 

Here I am as Gene Simmons (from 2008):

14. Are you more likely to be private or overshare?

I have a tendency to wear my heart on my sleeve but I am very private about certain things. 

15. What have you recently learned to live without?

Listening to CDs.

I joined Spotify while on holiday because my IPod died on me, leaving me without music. Mrs PM was already a member so we now have a family membership. 

Sadly I now have getting on for 600 CDs that are gathering dust and in my efforts to sort my stuff out, I have had to find a place for them. I still use them occasionally and I want to keep them (even though Mrs PM wants me to rid myself of them). 

In fact this morning I have just bought a bunch of CD boxes to store them all in and they will take pride of place, organised of course, in a new cupboard from Ikea that I spent yesterday building. 

I will never get rid of them even though I will rarely use them.

But I have to say, Spotify has been amazing. I’ll leave you with a new song I discovered by a French band called Klone. The song is called “Yonder” and it is amazing.

Sunday 22 October 2023

Storms and Extraordinary Pals


Welcome to a South Manchester on a sunny autumn day, the day after a storm hit the UK. Over here, we get named storms and this one was called Babet. Why? I don’t know. But apparently it used to be a hurricane and by the time it had reached our shores it just brought wind and rain, causing major floods in Scotland. 

I had to drive down to Walsall yesterday and it wasa  most unpleasant. The worst motorway in the world (the M6) combined with a torrential downpour all the way caused a delay and made the journey there and back take twice as long.

It wasn’t fun.

Silly questions anyone? Here are some from Sunday Stealing

1. October reading & writing goals and plans

Reading? I'm currently reading a space adventure about assassins. At the same time I'm reading a book about the history of Britain. It's slightly out of my comfirt zone but you don't grow unless you do things like that. I'm actually enjoying it.

Writing? The same as ever. I try to write some form of garbage every day under the guise of freewriting. 

I also try to write the odd blog post but I really need to rekindle the more prolific nature I had when I started. I might combine freewriting with bloggery and start to post my rubbish more often. 

I have two back projects – a novel that is slowly evolving and a memoir of sorts. They are both very embryonic and may develop more when I retire. 

2. Something I did that totally paid off

Going part time. I only reduced by one day but it has given me a new lease of life. I take work far less seriously now and any work related stress has all but disappeared. I have actually been very busy on the Friday’s I have off sorting out personal stuff and reorganising things. And also just having a bit of fun. It is a good practice for retirement. 

3. I want to see this make a comeback

There are lots of things I want to see make a comeback. When I was younger I heard a lot of older people say “it was so much better when I was younger” and to be honest, I think I am becoming like those old people. 

The one thing that I have embraced is technology but that is a double edged sword. I want the art of conversation to return. I often see people who are more preoccupied with their phones that their friends and family. In the old days, people would go and sit in a cafĂ© or pub with their friends and actually talk to each other. These days people just sit playing with their phones and not chatting. 

When Mrs PM and I go to the pub, my phone stays in my pocket and Mrs PM’s in her handbag unless we have to get another drink or go to the loo. And as soon as the person returns they are put away again. 

When I’m out with mates it’s the same story. 

4. Generational traits I really value

I am a baby boomer – but only just. I was born in 1962 and the range is 1946 to 1964. I share a lot of traits of my fellow boomers but I also share some traits with Generation X, the next one. Mrs PM is Generation X. 

I looked up the traits of my generation and of the ones listed, I value the following:

Independence – I like to think I am self-reliant and over the years have had to be in some ways. 

Resourcefulness – I have had to dig deep into my own psyche to overcome problems that I have encountered over the years.

Goal-oriented – I really think it helps to have goals. You can change them and adapt but if you don’t have goals you are slightly directionless. 

5. Changes I’d like to see in my daily environment

There are a lot of potential changes coming over the next couple of years with my daily environment as I near retirement. What I don’t want is for me to become a couch potato. I want to be able to wake up in the morning with a plan that involves doing something constructive every day. 

6. Favourite soup dishes

I love most soups. I think my favourites are probably:

Chicken and mushroom

Leek and potato

Broccoli and Stilton

7. Start with the best part, or save the best for last

Save the best for last – every time. That way whatever experience you have just gets better and better.

8. The most chaotic part of my daily life

Work – without a doubt. It’s been fine working from home but now the management of the company are insisting that we have to go into the office at least two days a week. Whenever I go into the office I get less work done because of constant interruptions, interruptions that I can ignore when beavering away at home. They keep coming up with terms like “collaboration” but I am a person who likes to get things done in good time. If I am constantly disturbed for whatever reason it jeopardises my goals. 

Going to the office also nukes my normal daily work routine. SInce I am so close to retirement anyway, I may just say to hell with it and disobey their stupid rule. They can't hurt me so why not? The naarchist in me is starting to venture out again.

Mini-rant there but I am at odds with the management view of things. Good job I haven’t got long left, eh?

9. If I could only eat 10 things, I’d pick




Granny Smith apples

British sausages




A variety of vegetables

Bread and butter

10. What Autumn feels like where I live

At the moment it is sunny, chilly, slightly windy and there are leaves everywhere, the trees currently relinquishing them at a rate of knots, mostly over my garden. There is usually rain (we have just had storm Babet as I said above) but at least there isn’t snow – yet!

11. The teacher who would be most proud of me

I had a massive crush on the junior school teacher who taught me in my final year there. She was young and had long dark hair. I was one of the most intelligent kids in her class and as such I spent a lot of time talking to her (because I really liked her). She did nothing but encourage me to be the best I could be – and I think she would be proud. I would imagine she is still alive; I was about 10 years old and I estimated that she was probably about 25, making her mid-70’s now. 

12. My go to Halloween snacks & treats 

Nothing. I hate Hallowe’en (see moans and rants in previous posts). 

13. 10 ways my life is great right now

I am back travelling. The next one will sadly be in 2024 but we have plans for heading over to the Far East again as well as Europe.

The back room is almost finished so I have my man cave/office/second lounge back again. And Mrs PM has promised me that there will be no home improvements for at least three years. Result!

In my head I feel like I am a teenager. Embrace that inner child.

Football is back and I am enjoying the new season.

My piano playing is improving. 

I am close to retirement.

I am actually quite content despite the things that life is currently hurling in my direction.

I don’t have a mortgage. That is a big thing.

I live in a wonderful suburb of an amazing city so it is virtually impossible to get bored. Even when I feel bored, I can find stuff to relieve the boredom that satisfies the introvert within – learning Spanish, writing, listening to music, playing stupid video games, reading, watching TV, etc. 

Mrs PM.

14. A perfect day indoors looks like…

Today has been a day indoors but to be honest it wasn’t perfect because I have been battling with a cupboard from IKEA and losing. 

Normally, it would involve a lovely breakfast, do the necessary chores as soon as possible, write something, listen to music, read, play with the cats, watch a bit of TV, watch a bit of sport, chat to Mrs PM. 

15. Pumpkin spice…

Never tried it. Probably never will.

Friday 13 October 2023

Swap Another Bot

Welcome to a rainy South Manchester where autumn weather has finally kicked in, erasing all traces of summer until 2024. I am working from my kitchen today, waiting for the delivery of my new desk and a cupboard for the backroom, which is now almost complete. We have had a couple of weeks of upheaval but we now have a new floor, new sofas and a freshly painted and wallpapered room. 

It looks good and I look forward to moving all my stuff back in over the course of the next week.

Let’s answer some sill questions from Sunday Stealing, shall we? 

1. Write about the best decision you ever made. How did you make it? Was it reasoning or gut instinct?

Probably the best decision I have made is to agree to continue my education and move away from my hometown of Walsall to Liverpool in order to attend university there. At the time, I was really a product of a working class background and people like me didn’t usually go into further education. My mum kind of expected me to leave school and get a job immediately but my dad encouraged me to improve and better myself. It’s a shame he never saw what became of me, though he was still alive when I gained a place at Liverpool University. 

I was the first person in my family to do this, but was followed closely by my youngest sister who also moved away to university five years later. The elder of my two sisters didn’t but eventually a few decades later, left her job to then go to university and completely change her career. 

For me, it was reasoning rather than gut instinct. It was clear that I was good enough to do it and I succeeded and ended up with a great job, a good life and more opportunities that I could throw a stick at. 

I’ve never looked back.

2. What ONE thing would you change about your life? How would your life be different?

I would retire because I am now ready to put my career behind me. The truth of the matter is that this will happen soon anyway (I am an old git) so it’s not really a surprise – it’s just a question of when.

Don’t get me wrong; I have enjoyed my job – I am just fed up of it now. And I think it’s almost time to wave it goodbye.

How would my life be different? I don’t know to be honest. I hope I will have time to pursue the interests that I have and find some new ones. I have a few ideas for new pursuits and I think the good thing about being retired is that I will be able to try things out and see how I feel about them. If I don’t like them I can ditch them with no real consequences. 

I’m looking forward to it. 

3. What is the hardest thing you have ever done? Why was it hard for you? What did you learn?

Moving to Manchester almost 40 years ago was tough. I had finished university and armed with a degree I had to decide what to do and where to go. I think my mum expected me to move back to Walsall but three years away from home changed me so I wasn’t going to go back there. It was hard because I think my mum was disappointed for me to be so far away. 

I got a job in Manchester and decided that it would be a good stepping stone to possibly move down to London. I didn’t really know what I was going to do but as I settled into my new city, I began to love the place and, in the end, despite a couple of temptations, I decided to stay.

I’ve been here ever since and I have absolutely no plans to move away – apart from travelling from time to time of course.

4. What is your greatest hope for your future? What steps can you take to make it happen?

I would love to be fluent in a different language. I am currently fluent in English, American, Canadian and Australian and a few other English dialects dotted around the globe. But it’s not enough. 

I get frustrated going to foreign countries where I can’t understand the language. 

I speak a little French, a fair amount of Spanish, a little German and, after my trip to Sicily, I have started teaching myself Italian. I don’t think I’ll ever be fluent in any of those languages but at least I will be able to express myself, understand what is going on and perhaps have a simple conversation. 

When I retire, I am planning to enrol in a Spanish class in Manchester city centre (there are a couple of places that immerse you in Spanish), so that will be good. I am currently using Duolingo for Spanish and Italian and plan to brush up on my French and German in due course.

5. If you can time travel, what will you tell your teenage self?

I would tell him to remove all doubts about further education and go to university. I would also advise him to take language lessons on the side – and embrace travelling sooner.

6. Write about the most glorious moment in your life so far.

There have been a few.

Getting a degree in Computational and Statistical Science

Seeing the birth of my two sons

Working in Hong Kong for three months (having already been there numerous times before).

My first four week trip to the US.

Visiting Australia, China, Thailand, Vietnam and Japan.

Meeting Mrs PM

Lots of others.

7. Write about a moment you feel brave.

I was stupidly brave the day that I climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I remember asking the lady who I paid for this terrifying experience about how easy it would be for a person who was scared of heights.

“Leave your fear on the ground, mate” she replied in that typical Aussie manner, rolling her eyes.

And I did it – but my arse went as soon as I saw the first ladder. 

What followed was about three hours of pure terror and I cursed myself as I endured it for that first stupid moment when I felt brave enough to do it. 

I don’t regret it at all – it was a wonderful experience and I can add it to my list of achievements.

But I will never, ever, ever, EVER do anything that stupid again.

8.  What made you happy today?

The arrival of my new desk, new office chair and cupboard will make me very happy today (they haven’t arrived yet).

9. What do you dislike most about growing up?

Getting old is irritating for many reasons. My once young body is creaking more as every year passes and while I look young for my age, I know that my brain is 61 years old and that, really, I should be a sensible adult. 

My problem is that I have never been a sensible adult; there is a child in my head that is fighting to be released. I try to release that child as often as I can because that is when I feel happiest – the sweet innocence and stupidity of a child that just wants to play and have fun. 

You have to release your inner child as often as you can – and sometimes people (serious people) frown and look down on you when it happens. 

Once, a grumpy old woman asked me, “How old are you? Forty or fourteen?”. She was frowning at my silly antics with the kids.

“I wish I was fourteen,” I replied. “I’m not – but at least I’m happy!”

I don’t think she liked that answer.

10. Write about ten activities you love the most and why you love them.

(a) Exploring a foreign city (and getting lost). I love travelling to weird and wonderful places and getting to know them.

(b) Listening to music as often as I can. It helps me forget my woes and raises my spririts.

(c) Attempting to write anything, including this post. I may not be a very good writer but I find it cathartic and I love taking trips in the wonderful places in imagination.

(d) My daily walks. I walk at least four miles a day and it gives me time to think about things as well as just observing what is going on.

(e) Reading a good book. Again this is a form of escapism for me and helps me to forget any troubles by getting lost in the story.

(f) Going to live gigs. As you saw above, I love music but seeing some of my favourite artists in the flesh is always a great experience.

(g) Playing the piano. I am still learning this and it is far more difficult than I thought it would be. But I feel a sense of achievement and one day I hope to make music of my own – it’s a long way off but I am slowly, slowly, slowly improving.

(h) Meeting friends in a pub or a restaurant. There is nothing better than a good social occasion, chatting, eating, being silly and enjoying people’s company.

(i) Learning a new language. See my answer to (4). 

(j) Watching TV with Mrs PM and the cats. It is good just relaxing and escaping into a TV series or movie.

11. Do you have an embarrassing moment that still makes you cringe? Write about it in as much detail as you feel comfortable!

Oh dear – there are lots. Okay – this one leaps to mind immediately because it was particularly embarrassing for me. 

I was working in Amsterdam and in the evening, we went to an Ethiopian restaurant because neither of us had tried Ethiopian food before. We were chatting away as the waitresses bought food when I realised that I needed a beer. 

I saw a waitress walking towards me and I raised my hand to call her.

“Excuse me!” I said. 

My colleague said “No – Dave!”

“What’s up with you?” I asked. “I want a drink.”

“Don’t, Dave!” he said.

I ignored him and called out to the waitress again. She seemed to be ignoring me so I shouted louder, loud enough for her to hear me.

My colleague performed a classic facepalm and shook his head. 

I had no idea what was wrong with him, and to be honest, I was a little annoyed because it seemed like he didn’t want me to have a beer. I didn’t understand. 

The waitress came over and said. “What’s the matter?”

“Can I order a beer?” I said, still frowning at my facepalming colleague!

“Oh,” she said. “Do you want me to get a waiter for you?”

“What?” I said, puzzled. 

And then it dawned on me. This was not a waitress. This was a customer who was going to the toilet but who just happened to have a white blouse and black trousers on, similar to the waitresses but really obviously not the same. 

“Oh my God! I’m so sorry,” I said. “I thought you were a waitress.”

Somehow that compounded the issue. She frowned at me and had a slight look of surprise and then turned away and walked back, past her seat to grab a waitress. She pointed to me and the real waitress came over.

I was so embarrassed. The customer walked past me to go to the toilet as my colleague said,

“You absolute muppet!”

I blushed so much that my face was the same colour as the red tablecloth. I had to swallow my pride. When the customer sat down again, I walked up to her table.

”Again I am so, so sorry,” I squawked. “I mistook you for a waitress. I … I … I ….”

“It’s alright,” she smiled as her fellow diners sniggered at my expense.

I relived the moment for about a month as my colleague told the story again and again to my workmates.

12. What has been your best trip so far?

That’s so difficult to answer. 

Japan, the US, Australia, China, Vietnam, Russia, Canada, Brazil and loads of other ones are right up there. It’s too difficult to answer really.

 13. Write a list of 5 things (physical or personality-wise) you love about yourself, and why they make you unique.

That’s difficult because I am a strategically shaved baboon. But here goes …

(a) I’ve been told that my bum is very attractive by Mrs PM and a couple of other women.

(b) I can make people laugh (sometimes without meaning to). That’s always a good thing.

(c) I’m quite a clever guy .

(d) Apparently my eyes are quite nice (even though they are useless for actually seeing things without glasses).

(e) I hate upsetting anybody – even the people I am less keen on. I try to be nice to absolutely everyone – with the possible exception of Boris Johnson and Piers Morgan should I ever be unfortunate enough to meet either of them.

14. Discuss 5 things you wish others knew about you.

(a) Deep down I am shy. If you ever meet me and I seem aloof or I talk too fast, that’s the reason. Give me time to get used to you and I am absolutely fine.

(b) I have a fairly thick skin but sometimes I can be sensitive about things.

(c) I hate arguing. I mean I REALLY hate arguing. Please don’t argue with me.

(d) Sometimes, I just like to be alone. I am really an ambivert but the introvert within can be quite demanding sometimes.

(e) I am kind and helpful – but don’t take the piss.

15. Is social media a blessing or a curse?

At first I loved it but these days I don’t really engage with it that much. I am on Facebook and I have recently connected with two guys from school who I haven’t seen for well over forty years, which is amazing. However, it can be dreadful and it has ruined people’s lives. I can see a time when people start to abandon it in droves. 

The one thing that I simply don’t understand is the concept of an “influencer”. I find it strange and weird and it puzzles me that people will follow a person whose live simply consists of telling you about where they go, what they do and what clothes they wear. It’s just weird (and that is something coming from a weirdo like myself).

Sunday 8 October 2023

Autumn is Here!

Greetings from an unseasonably warm day here in South Manchester. It is my birthday today and I am going to just relax doing nothing apart from writing this blog post and watch some football later. 

My birthday is of course in Autumn and today from Sunday Stealing there are questions about Autumn or, as Americans call it, “Fall”.

I have to say that I don’t mind what Autumn is called by Americans, apart from in one case – and that case is Duolingo. I appreciate that Duolingo is an American company and I love it. It has helped improve my Spanish considerably and I have also dipped into Italian, after my trip to Sicily last week. However, the one criticism I have is that they have Americanised the English on there, which has led to mistakes on my part. 

One of the main culprits is “fall” because I have ended up mistranslating from Spanish to English and vice versa because of the word. And “football” too has tripped me up because in America “football” becomes “soccer”. 

It’s a minor complaint but I won’t rant about it; I am fluent in American and when I use Duolingo, I have to switch to becoming an American to minimise mistakes. 

It works.

Anyway, let’s answer the questions (for which I shall substitute “fall” for “autumn” for the benefit of any British readers who might stumble across the post). 

1. Are there any autumn-specific hobbies or crafts you enjoy pursuing?

Not really. For me, autumn is similar to summer in that it is pleasant outside usually (apart from the end of the season). I still walk every day if I can but the mornings are darker and I have to wear a slightly beefier coat. Otherwise I treat autumn just like the summer.

2. Do you have any favourite autumn-inspired recipes you like to cook or bake?

Not really. We tend to eat more casseroles and soups as the weather gets colder but that’s about it. 

3. Are you a fan of Hallowe’en? If so, what's been your favourite costume?

Absolutely not. 

I am glad that I don’t live in America when Hallowe’en comes along. We seem to be adopting it here more and more and usually there are a few kids knocking at the door asking for treats. We either stay in and ignore the door, or go out. 

I sound like the Hallowe'en version of Scrooge, don't I?

That said, I love the origins of Hallowe’en and the fact that you are meant to ward of evil spirits. Usually on Hallowe’en, the TV shows scary movies and programmes and I try to watch a couple of them. I love a bit of horror.

4.  Do you have any childhood memories related to the autumn season?

My dad was a keen gardener. He used to grow lots of vegetables, so many in fact that he used to end up giving a lot of it away. We used to live next to the entrance of a park, and next to the long garden we had was a dead end road where people used to park to use the park itself. There were lots of trees around and so the road was full of leaves from the trees as autumn progressed. My dad used to hand us huge bags and get us to collect the leaves so that he could use them to turn into compost for his garden. I had no idea whether this worked but he seemed to think so.

Of course, autumn also meant a return to school and a new year with new challenges. It was a mixture of excitement at being a year higher but also more challenging in terms of the subject matter becoming more difficult.

5.  What kind of outdoor activities do you enjoy during the autumn months?

Autumn marks the start of the football season (that’s the “soccer” season if you are American). It is also the start of the rugby season too. As a child, I would play football in the local park and be forced to play rugby at school.

As an adult, things haven’t changed so much by the time autumn comes. I tend to go out for walks in both summer and autumn but spend slightly less time outdoors than I do in summer. The activities are the same until it starts to get too cold.

6. Do you look forward to 'sweata weatha'? What is your favourite go-to outfit for autumn?

By “sweata weatha” I assume you mean wearing sweaters and pullovers. I do start to wear them in autumn, more so towards the end of the season. But really, I don’t really “look forward” to it; I just wear them when I am cold.

7. Are you a fan of pumpkin or apple flavoured treats or beverages?

I don’t really eat pumpkin to be honest. But I am a fan of apples and apple flavoured treats and beverages – with the exception of cider, which has a tendency to upset my stomach. I usually eat two apples a day (Granny Smith’s) and I drink apple juice too.

8. Which autumn scents do you find most appealing?

I like autumn and the local park here where I live has a nice musty autumn smell as the leaves fall from the trees. Apart from that, I don’t really notice the scent apart from the loss of newly cut grass and summer flowers, which is a shame.

9. Do you like to visit apple orchards or pumpkin patches or corn mazes?

It’s not something I have ever done, if I’m honest.

10. Have you ever participated in or attended an autumn festival or harvest fair?

I have been to a few shows in local National Trust historic estates like Tatton Park and Dunham Massey but it’s not something I do that often.

11. What's your favourite thing about autumn?

I like the fact that the trees change colour and when I walk or drive down a tree-lined avenue, it looks very pretty. The weather is usually still quite pleasant at the start of the season too so walking is very comfortable.

12. Are you more of a cider or hot chocolate person when it comes to autumn beverages?

Hot chocolate because as I said above, cider can upset my stomach.

13. What's your ideal way to spend a crisp autumn evening?

Go for a walk. Walking is best when there is a slight chill in the air because I walk quite quickly and work up a little bit of a sweat. 

14. Do you like to dress up for Halloween? What's your favourite costume or what costume do you plan for this year? Do you like to make your own costume?

No plans to dress up for Hallowe’en for the reasons I gave above. Actually, if the truth be known, I could walk around as normal and scare a lot of people.

15. Are you a football fan? What's your favourite team?

Yes I am a football fan (again that’s “soccer” for Americans). My favourite team is my hometown team – Walsall. They are terrible and are currently floundering in the fourth tier of the English football league. This season seems to have started like the previous ones. Yesterday we lost 4-0. You would have thought that they could have made an effort for my birthday. Sadly it wasn’t to be.

I will switch briefly to American mode now.

No – I am not a football fan. I find American Football a little hard to follow though I do know what a quarterback is. To me, it just seems like a crazy game where a load of men dressed in helmets and padding try to beat each other up. There are similarities between rugby and American football but only in the shape of the ball. For example, in rugby, the ball can only be passed backwards but in American Football it seems that this quarterback fellow can launch the ball forward for his colleagues to catch. 

I have watched part of one Super Bowl game but to be honest, I didn’t have a clue what was going on so I switched it off to go to bed (it was on really late in the UK).

That said, when it comes to American sports, I prefer baseball. At least I understand the game more.