You know I'm a sucker for a meme - and I got this one from Life of a Doctor's Wife. Although many of my answers are pathetic and woe-is-me-ish, I'm not actively looking for sympathy or anything resembling commiseration; I'm merely stating fact!
1. Who was your first prom date?
In my last two years of school, we had "school dances" which were about as similar to a prom as my stuffy all-girl British private school could manage. Most of my friends had dates, but I was totally invisible and socially inept so I was asked to invite a guy I barely knew but who was friends with my friends' dates. We were in a group, but I was still hideously aware of the fact that I didn't have a real date. (At university, the residences had "dances" too. I was never invited to one, and for my own, I invited a friend (nothing romantic between us AT ALL) and he got so drunk he became violent. So yeah, that was fun. For my university grad ball, I still didn't have a date and invited my former roommate (a girl) just so she could attend and see all our friends. My love life (ha!) has been a total disaster - I must be a freak of some kind.)
2. Who was your first roommate?
In my first year at university, I shared a room with a petite, dark-haired beauty with amazing clothes and shoes. Every guy at the university fancied her. We became great friends, shared a flat after that room, went on holidays together and only lost touch when she married a mega-rich Pakistani business man and converted to Islam (oh yeah - her then only son was a spoiled brat and we had an argument about him trying to bite C).
3. What was your first alcoholic beverage?
Family legend has it that a "wee drop" of whisky was put in my bottle of milk when I was 3 months old - my grandfather had just died and my parents and I had had to travel to the north of England (from London) overnight. I apparently wouldn't sleep and wouldn't stop squawking, so my grandmother suggested the whisky. It worked, so I've been told, but I've never drunk whisky since - even the smell of it makes me want to barf!
4. What was your first job?
I worked as a waitress in a winebar the summer I was 19. It was hard work, and put me off restaurants (the owner had one essential rule: any food you drop goes back on the plate. Except lasagna, which cannot be picked up. I often order lasagna now...).
5. What was your first car?
I passed my driving test when I was 21 (half my life ago!) and have essentially never driven since (perhaps 3 hours' driving since, in total, all before 1995). With my now ex, I did buy a car in 2001 - a Hyundai Accent, but obviously I never drove it, my ex did.
6. When did you go to your first funeral?
Although many members of my family died all through my childhood, I think the first funeral I actually attended was my grandmother's, in 1988. I spent the night before travelling to it on the beach in St Andrews, watching the sun come up over the North Sea with friends and felt remarkable peace at the beauty of the spectacle.
7. How old were you when you first moved away from your hometown?
18 - I left my parents' home in the south of England to go to university in St Andrews (about 900 miles away) in Scotland and never really went back, apart from the odd holiday now and then.
8. Who was your first grade teacher?
No idea, but it was a man. That year, I was the only girl in a strict, old-fashioned boys' school in southern Scotland that had just decided to take girls. It felt like something from Dickens - no heating ("to toughen you up"), corporal punishment (6 year olds! getting our palms whacked with a metal ruler!), very strict teachers... I've blanked out much of that year, to be honest.
9. Where did you go on your first airplane ride?
I think it was probably when I was 14 and my parents booked our first ever holiday abroad (they used to go abroad in the 1960s, but never after I was born), in Spain one half term. We flew from Gatwick to Girona.
10. When you sneaked out of your house for the first time, who was it with?
My parents always lived miles away from a) school b) my friends and c) civilisation, so I never sneaked out to be with someone or go somewhere. I did, however, sneak out and go up into the garden to dance around in the moonlight (you have to remember that the TV series "Fame!" was a big thing when I was young teen...!)
11. Who was your first Best Friend and are you still friends with them?
My first real best friend was a girl called Sara, whom I met when I was 11, in our first year at middle school. We met in September 1980. I haven't seen her since 1997, I don't think, but we are still in touch - we send Christmas and birthday cards - but I suspect we don't have much in common any more.
12. Where did you live the first time you moved out of your parents’ house?
See #2 and #7 - I lived in an all-girl university hall of residence (not by choice, I applied too late for the mixed halls) in St Andrews in Scotland, about an hour north of Edinburgh.
13. Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day?
No one. I hate the phone and never call anyone if I can help it. If I'm having a bad day, I tend to curl up in bed with my cat, or write on this blog or FaceBook. I would talk to my best friends if they were nearby, but I'm in the south of France and they're all in England, so I just hold it all in, write it all down, try and get by on my own.
14. Whose wedding were you in the first time you were a bridesmaid or a groomsman?
My grandmother rented out one of her bedrooms when I was very young. The girl in question, Jane, asked me to be her only bridesmaid when she got married. I was 6. It was a magical day for me, though apparently the bride's mother deeply resented my (and my family's) presence because we weren't posh enough. My mother spent the day furious, but I had a great time, and a pretty dress and SILVER shoes that I loved with all my heart. I've never been a bridesmaid since (haven't actually been to that many weddings to be honest).
15. What is the first thing you do in the morning?
Either feed the cat or open the shutters.
16. What was the first concert you attended?
I'm not a huge fan of concerts - when I was a teenager, smoking was allowed and I loathe cigarette smoke and react badly to it (red, streaming eyes, I lose my voice, I cough...) so I rarely went to concerts. I did see Level 42 when I was about 17 I think.
17. First tattoo or piercing?
No tattoos, no piercings. Not now, not ever most likely.
18. First celebrity crush?
John Travolta, after I saw Grease at the cinema in 1978. Easy.
19. First crush?
Probably a boy called Kit at the boys' school I mentioned in #8. He was older - probably 11 or so - but left the school the same time I did (half way through the year, we were the only two leaving). At our last school assembly, the headmaster announced that we were leaving and we had to go up on stage to shake hands with the teaching staff. As we walked forward, one of the assistants told him to hold my hand (I was 7), which he did, rather grudgingly, though obviously I was absolutely delighted! He was blond and athletic and I thought he was wonderful!
20. First real love?
I thought it was my ex. We were together for 14 years, I'd never had anything resembling a relationship before him (just the occasional "fling", usually involving some kind of humiliation for me) and really thought he was "the one". I imagined us growing old together. But that all went pear-shaped last year, so maybe I've never really been in love, never actually found my "first real love"... And at 42, it seems unlikely that I ever will now...