As a sporadic blogger, I was surprised to be nominated for a Liebster by the lovely Sarah. After a quick google, a Liebster is apparently an award given by other bloggers to give a shout out to blogs that don’t have massive amounts of followers. It also provides readers with a whole raft of new blogs to peruse that they may not have stumbled upon otherwise. It’s also a brilliant way to get to know the person behind the blog. I’m all for that, so here we go.
The rules, I gather, are
1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog and link back to the blogger who presented this award to you.
2. Answer the 11 questions from the nominator, list 11 random facts about yourself and create 11 questions for your nominees.
3. Present the Liebster Blog Award to 11 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed and leave a comment on their blog letting them know they have been chosen. (No tag backs)
4. Copy and Paste the blog award on your blog .
So first off, thank you Sarah! For those of you who don’t follow the blog, please do. It is always well written, thoughtful and extensively researched. It’s also regularly updated and well organised and puts my messy blog to shame.
Sarah has provided me with 11 questions to answer:
What is your favourite book, of all time?
Do I have to choose one? Books are a bit of an ongoing joke in my family. I currently own over 900, stashed in various crannies around my tiny house.
My current book of choice is the London Journals of James Boswell. I’m researching him for a new tour I’m launching in the summer about his London adventures and society in the mid 1700s. The more I read, the more I fall head-over-heels in love with the man.
Which five historical figures would you invite to your fantasy dinner party?
Definitely Boswell to start with! Also Charles II, Messalina, Ramses II and Mozart. I can imagine the subsequent hangover as I type.
Do you have any bad habits?
Swearing. I swear all the time, my mother despairs.
Facebook or twitter?
Twitter. Facebook is full of people I have met, and they may be very nice, most are. But Twitter is where the people who really share my passions are. Even though I’ve never met some of them, I consider them to be good friends and kindred spirits. I’ve never met a Twitter friend I’ve been disappointed in when I’ve met them face to face.
Do you have a pet hate?
I’m finding it too hard to think of just one. Spiders, coffee and housework are pretty strong contenders.
Has there been a book, song or movie that changed your life? How?
Blame It On My Youth had a pretty profound effect on me when I was younger and thought I was madly in love with someone. The lyrics helped me through the horrors of teenage infatuation. My favourite recordings are by Jamie Cullum and Jane Monheit:
This kind of jazz is one of my favourite types of music and the type I perform most myself.
Are there any historical fiction ‘crimes’ that really get on your nerves?
WHY ALTER FACTS??? If the period/person/event is interesting enough to write about now, I’m willing to bet that it is not necessary to change anything to make it more dramatic? It’s ALREADY DRAMATIC.
What is your greatest achievement to date?
Surviving my latest bout of depression. It was bloody hard work but I’m nearly there.
Can you tell us about one of your goals for the future?
Well, most of you have seen that I’m launching a new company this summer called Tourbauchery. I’ll be leading walking tours around London telling the same kind of funny/shocking/bawdy historical stories that I share on Twitter. My goal is to make it a success, to continue writing original tours and share my love of London with as many people as possible!
What is your favourite thing about blogging?
Having more than 140 characters to play with!
And finally, have I annoyed you by nominating you for the Liebster?
Absolutely not, I’m flattered to be considered seeing I am so terrible at updating!
So here are the 11 facts about myself that may surprise you/confirm your suspicions:
- History was never supposed to be my profession. I was all set to be a professional musician. I started playing piano aged 5 and soon added clarinet a saxophones of various sizes to the list. I also sing, mainly jazz. I spent 12 years as a member of the Royal Naval Volunteer Band Association being trained by the Bands of the Royal Marines and performing similar kinds of gigs, as well as joining various choirs, ensembles and amateur dramatics groups. I’ve been lucky enough to perform across the globe including the Falkland Islands and in front of audiences as large as 1.6 million. I was in a band that performed at the Queen’s 80th birthday and even performed at the last ever Royal Tournament. Eventually I decided that music would make me happier as a hobby and history won the day. I’ve worked in museums ever since.
- Once, on a day trip to Brighton, someone threw a dead shark at me. I was walking along the beach and the shark was either thrown from the promenade above or dropped by a pterodactyl sized bird. It fell at my feet, millimetres from smashing into my head. It was about 2 feet long.
- I’m a proud Army wife. My hubby serves in the Band of the Life Guards and has performed at the Diamond Jubilee river pageant, the 2012 London Olympics, the wedding of the Duke ad Duchess of Cambridge as well as countless other State visits and events.
- At the age of 16 I lost the use of my hands for a year. I couldn’t pick up anything heavier than a fork. Someone had to cut all my food for me and I had to dictate every single one of my GCSE exams. My grades suffered as a result. Eventually the strength came back and I was able to function normally. No doctor was able to diagnose it and it remains a mystery.
- You can convince me to do just about anything, possibly even minor felonies, if you promise me a jar of Nutella and a teaspoon.
- Speaking of crime, I have an uncurable addiction to police procedural and forensics dramas. I can’t get enough of them and treasure my DVD box sets with a sad, nerdy devotion. CSI, NCIS, Criminal Minds, Bones etc etc. I’m pretty sure I could solve crimes and perform autopsies now, I’ve seen so many of these programmes. I’m a bit of a pathology nut and perhaps it was a missed vocation.
- My list of ideal holiday locations is determined by how many ancient sites there are. No temples or citadels? Then I’m not going.
- When I worked as a tour guide at Fort Nelson one of my favourite daily duties was demonstrating how artillery works. I got paid to load and fire huge guns, in other words. The regular gun was a gorgeous 25 pounder gun/howitzer used in WW2, but special occasions included being part of a team firing a restored naval cannon used at Trafalgar and being the member of staff chosen to fire the 18 pounder WW1 gun on Armistice Day. To this day I get ridiculously gleeful/wistful when looking at heavy artillery and I miss the smell of gunpowder that lingers in my hair and clothes after a firing.
- Even now I am disappointed that Stegosaurus was Jurassic and Triceratops was Cretaceous because they look like they would have been best friends.
- I take olive oils and nut oils as seriously as other people take wine varieties or tea blends. My favourite olive oil, since you are no doubt wondering, is a really sweet fruity one produced on Zakynthos. I could drink it from a glass.
- My ambition is to visit the site of every single ancient wonder before I die. Babylon is going to be tricky, admittedly. So far I have only managed Olympia and Bodrum (Halicarnassus.) Five to go! I have a plan to knock a further 3 off of the list in one trip but need some serious cash! Calling all millionaires with too much money to burn….
So now you know a bit more about me. Some of it you hopefully found interesting, some of it may have you backing away slowly.
Now I am supposed to think of 11 questions to ask MY favourite bloggers. So…
- If you could live in any period of history, what would it be?
- Who is your historical hero?
- What would you put on the school curriculum that you think is overlooked?
- Where is your favourite place in the world?
- What would you do with a £50m lottery win?
- Is there any fictional character from literature or film that you wish actually existed?
- If you could write one book, what would you write?
- What would your death row meal be?
- You get the chance to adapt a book into a movie. Which one do you choose, who do you cast and how would you portray it?
- Where do you dream of living?
- Is there a new skill you’d love to learn?
Now I’m supposed to nominate blogs I love that have 200 followers or less. I have no idea how many followers these have, but they all deserve more. I’m not even really sure how to calculate how many I have myself! Some won’t want to do a post like this but I hope everyone is flattered by the mention. So here are some of my favourite blogs including ones I’ve read for years and some recent discoveries.
He Has A Wife You Know (ancient history)
Georgian Bawdyhouse (Long 18th social history)
Illustrate(her) (Wonderful illustrations)
Battlefront Exploration (Brilliant battlefield tour company)
Understanding Rome (a tour guide in Rome with an encyclopaedic knowledge and my ideal job)
Jack’s Adventures in Museumland (witty reviews of museums you never knew you were desperate to visit)
Medieval Bex (for all your medieval needs)
Mathew Lyons (London based historian and lovely tweeter)
Stand on the Right (Hidden gems of London)
Historical Trinkets (er…Trinkets of history!?)
Mark Simner’s Military History Blog (A must read for military history buffs)
There are many more blogs I could mention and no doubt I will. But for now do give these guys a read! If you like the questions I’ve been asked or asked my nominees, do give them a go yourself in the comments section, I love a good interview!