Monday, December 20, 2010

A meme with a difference

Even if it were a meme without a difference, I haven't seen or done one of these for ages and right at this very moment am grateful for the displacement activity. So:

'Ten Things I've Done That You Probably Haven't'

1. Sat next to Hilary Mantel and opposite Dorothy Dunnett at dinner.

2. Rolled and wrecked a brand-new car and came within micro-metres of breaking my neck.

3. Lost my wallet at Santa Maria Novella railway station in Florence and then didn't realise at first that someone had picked it up and handed it in because the announcement on the PA was of course in Italian and the pronunciation rendered my name unrecognisable, though much improved.

4. Collected eggs laid by semi-feral chooks in and under stacks of hay bales, leaky sheds full of shed stuff, old farm machinery and new farm machinery in 40+ degree heat.

5. Negotiated the tram-infested Royal Parade / Flemington Road / Elizabeth Street roundabout at 5 pm on a Friday afternoon in the middle of a thunderstorm, including lightning and downpour, with Elizabeth Jolley in the passenger seat.

6. Fell off a cantering horse onto some rocks. It hurt.

7. Sang in opera.

8. Got a divorce and an Honours degree in the same week.

9. Found the long-lost grave of my great-grandparents and great-aunt Jessie inside a ruined church in Aberfoyle, Scotland, though strictly speaking it was the intrepid Dan Smith who found it, not me.

10. Gave a talk about Australia to a classroom full of terrifyingly sophisticated multilingual Austrian 15-year-olds.

25 comments:

Sue said...

Oh wow. Some of them leave me subject to the green-eyed monster, (Eliazabeth Jolley, Dorothy Dunnet) and others grateful to have escaped. And grateful that you have also survived, because your blog brightens my life. Thank you.

Red Horse said...

Love your list, Ms Cat (or may I call you Pav?). I'll limit mine to five.

1) Gough Whitlam stood aside for me (albeit at a crowded gallery opening night).
2) I gave birth to my son just in time for him to be recorded as the 20 millionth Australian (and I have a certificate from the ABS to prove it).
3) I helped to draft a piece of federal legislation (and received an award for doing so). But I value neither the award nor the legislation - both were placebo efforts.
4) I've been to Transylvania (but I've never been to me...)
5) I've fallen off a horse so many times I've lost count. It always hurts. More so if you look up to see the horse quietly sniggering.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

Yes, the sniggering of the horse was a bit hard to take. Especially since it then tried to throw me again, but I was ready for it the second time.

Producing the 20 millionth Australian is very impressive. That really is something that nobody else has ever done, by definition.

Sue, thank you for those kind words. Glad that you are enjoying the blog!

Anonymous said...

Fantastic list.

I'll limit mine to five too.

1. Sat across from Gough Whitlam at a Labor Party lunch in Port Douglas many years ago and was scared to be asked graciously by him how I liked Australia (I was ten at the time and a recent migrant).

2. Walked around Uluru at night and into Kantju Gorge by moonlight.

3. Made myself sick with laughter on a boat in Fiji going on a snorkelling trip with Sir Edmund HIlary's delightful teenage grandson.

4. Discovered the glory of Asterix comics aged 9 in a Chinese restaurant in Varanasi/Benares.

5. Given birth underwater. In a pool in a hospital but it really was underwater.

Oh, yeah I went over my horse's head onto some rocks and then he galloped over the top of me. I was a pretty timid rider for awhile after that.

Fine said...

Mmm, this is a fun game to play. A couple of mine might be quite embarrassing.

1. Had drinks with Francis Ford Coppola and Dennis Hopper at the Venice Film Festival.

2. Went horse-riding with some nomads in Mongolia.

3. Was fallen on and rolled on by a horse and didn't hurt myself at all (It was my fault completely).

4. Spent the night in a police lock-up for public drunkenness, and this when I was middle-aged. (It wasn't the night I was out with Francis and Dennis).

5. Visited a person in gaol the day before he was executed. (It was just so weird).

6. Been nominated for a couple of AFI Awards. ( I have to boast about something).

7. Was at a party the night the Boys Next Door (precursor to the Birthday Party and the Bad Seeds) was born. (Bloody private school boys.)

8. Sat with Agnes Varda whilst she was editing a film and offered her gratuitous advice (well, she asked).

9. Was a mascot for the South Melbourne Football Club when such an entity existed.

10. Sat with my Mum whilst she cried when the Sydney Swans, aka South Melbourne, won their first premiership since 1935, and hoped she didn't end up in hospital with another heart attack, such was the emotion.

Fine said...

So many of us have had spectacular horse-riding accidents, I don't think it's qualifying for the meme anymore. Ah, horses and girls.

Marshall Stacks said...

dear KG - great commiserations re the stack at #2, and Bravo re #5 the roundabout from hell.
Although Fine's list is scary I can top you both on amazing horse scares.

genevieve said...

They're both impressive!!
I take my hat off to KG on that roundabout with precious cargo though. It's a bitch of a spot.

Anonymous said...

I dearly hope no other readers have been through this.

First anniversary of my precious, beautiful, bubbly 30 year old daughter's Memorial Celebration today, after she died tragically and suddenly a year ago last Wednesday. Reliving it all has been heartbreaking again. But her friends and colleagues told me that some clauses of the Cancun Climate Change agreement have her 'fingerprints' all over them.

All your lists inspire me...
Thank you.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

Anon, I am so sorry to hear that. Congratulations on a daughter who made a difference.

Bernice said...

Shared a stage with Richard E Grant. Which he insisted I tell everyone. So I am.

Collected bantam eggs in a blooming marvellous wild organic garden deposited by the feral hens numbering among a flock approaching 70 and growing.

Jumped a gate whilst ungainly blobbing on a trotter. It wasn't pretty.

Crashed a car which I wasn't actually driving. And which I didn't own. Not one of my better moments.

But one of my favourite moments was being warmly praised by Fay Zwicky for smoking when at a Poets Union conf as I apologised when sneaking out for a puff. Bless her.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

I too have been warmly praised by Fay Zwicky, for falling for an unsuitable man. What a woman.

Alexandra said...

Wow! Dorothy Dunnett, really? How was she like? What did you talk about?

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

Alexandra -- Adelaide Writers' Week holds a retreat for its visiting writers over the few days before WW starts and that year there was a dinner at one of the flash Southern Vales restaurants (d'Arry's Verandah) as part of the retreat. I was on the WW committee, which was why I was there, and I pushed and shoved quite shamelessly to get to sit across from DD, of whom I was (and remain) a huge fan. She was adorable, not unlike Sybilla Crawford in fact -- blonde, petite, friendly, charming, beautifully dressed etc etc. We mainly talked about her books and her characters, and how she'd used her namesake Dorothy L. Sayers' character Lord Peter Wimsey and (especially) his mother as models, in lots of ways, for Francis Crawford and Sybylla. We also talked about the travelling she'd done.

She was just a dream guest -- she'd met up with Fay Weldon and the Irish novelist Jennifer Johnston on the domestic Qantas leg from Melb-Adelaide -- these three formidable septugenarians had never met but had nutted out who the others were when they saw each other all still on the plane after Melbourne, so they all sat together and drank champagne and got off the plane quite merrily.

All week DD was charming to everyone, looked lovely, got up after lunch at the retreat to put on her big hat and go for a brisk walk in the 38 degree heat (at 76, with the skin of a well-preserved Australian 45-year-old), was flawlessly polite about the incredibly disappointing opera that was supposed to be that year's showpiece, had prepared her WW talk and delivered it with great charm, was lovely to the audience ... etc etc etc. I was devastated when I heard she'd died, and I still have her card, which simply says 'Lady Dunnett, Edinburgh'.

Anonymous said...

I have loved your lists and have been awed and amazed. I have a small list of my own.
1) devised a fool proof way to murder my mother (long story) AND escape detection;
2) told everyone so I was not tempted to put it into play.
3) swam (sans wetsuit) in Paradise Harbour, Antarctica,. A truly magical place.

Di said...

I once had to entertain Julia Gillard when she came to our town as a dinner speaker. This was before she became PM. We had a good laugh swapping stories about dogs.

I've never read Dorothy Dunnet. Which are her best books?

Anonymous said...

Loving the lists - but do tell about Hilary Mantel! Such intelligent prose full of presence - does she talk as she writes?

Ann O'Dyne said...

I acknowledge the amazing moments of above commentors, especially Dr.Cat getting back on that horse.
Some of them scream for more detail - Fine!, and if Anon at 1pm would email me with that foolproof method please.
I have
1. danced with Sir Robert Helpmann
2. saved a family from their burning terrace house
3. swung from one terrace balcony to the next (to save a puppy imprisoned there all day and night)
4. been raped (Swedish events this week making me very aware of it too)
5. been viciously interrogated by Sydney CIB and this is my favourite experience because I am recorded there with an 'alias'.
all the above is totally true.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

Ms O'Dyne, that is one amazing list.

I got back on the horse because as I lay on the rocks wondering when the little stars would stop whirling round my head or indeed if I would ever walk again, I heard my mother's voice as clear as clear from 750 ks away, saying YOU GET BACK ON THAT HORSE!

And then we went for a gallop, which I had to join or get left behind in unfamiliar hills, and anyway the horse paid no attention to me at all, just went with all the others.

Anon, Hilary Mantel seemed in no mood to talk, or at least not to talk to me. I know her health is very bad, so she may have been feeling frightful, or maybe she just doesn't like talking to strangers, or perhaps she simply thought I was a prat. She was much less well-known then than she is now, but I'd read Fludd and A Place of Greater Safety (another historical blockbuster), both of which I'd thought were brilliant.

Fine said...

Anne O'Dyne, I saw want you covering my back when I'm in trouble, you can obviously handle anything.

Marshall Stacks said...

Dear Fine - AOD thanks you and has handled the police more than once in regard to that band you mention.
KG -
re Lady Dunnett and " -- she'd met up with Fay Weldon and the Irish novelist Jennifer Johnston on the domestic Qantas leg from Melb-Adelaide -- these three formidable septugenarians had never met but had nutted out who the others were when they saw each other all still on the plane after Melbourne, so they all sat together and drank champagne and got off the plane quite merrily" ... that is a play.
Scene 1. jet interior, day.
etc etc

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

Dear Stax, yes it is indeed a play. You should have seen them as they got off the plane on that filthy-hot day: jet-lagged, tiddly on champagne and howling with laughter.

Anonymous said...

Interesting meme. I can't quite play along fairly b/c too many of the things to list would be too, as it were, precise; but here's a one-off sub-meme reply...

"Things I've Done Not Once, Oddly Enough, But *Twice*, That etc etc"...

1. Talked a murderous psychopath out of killing a bunch of people.

Actually, to be fully accurate, the first psycho wanted to kill a whole room full of people, and the second one only wanted to kill his ex. So if you average it out...

p.s. I'm not a cop, just seem to have bad luck in these matters...

#'s 2 thru 10 we'll just leave be.

-- j_p_z

Tony said...

I trust you were duly respectful and addressed Hilary Mantel by her correct title: Queen Colon.

David Irving (no relation) said...

The only thing I can think of that I've done but you haven't (unless you're my mate Michael who was with me at the time) is squirt Gough Whitlam in the crutch with a water pistol during an anti-war march down Rundle St. (The Psychedelic Left regarded the ALP as blow-ins.)

The look on his face was priceless.