Over at The Hive we’ve been sharing ’12 random things about me’, so I thought I’d join in :o)

1. I’ve lived in 7 countries in 3 different continents (I’d done the 3 continents by the time I was 2 1/2!).  I’ve set foot in 20 countries in 5 different continents.  In North American alone I’ve been in 23 US States, plus DC, and 5 Canadian provinces.  I’ve also been in 14 European countries.

2. When I was little my mum worked out I knew over 100 nursery rhymes, and could sing them all.  Now I don’t think I could even recite 10, never mind sing them!

3. When I was 16 I left home and went to live in Canada for a year as a high school exchange student in Saskatchewan.  I got to graduate from high school there, although I had 2 years of school left to do back here!

4. I’m a trained harpist and singer.  I started playing the clarsach harp when I was 8, and moved onto a full sized concert harp a few years later.  I began singing lessons when I was 12, and have sung in choirs all over, including Liverpool Cathedral, the opening of Symphony Hall in Birmingham, under Niagra Falls and the Royal Albert Hall.  I have been approached by several orchestras to play the harp with them, but have always refused – orchestral harp music is BORING!  I should confess that the harp is sitting unused in the corner of my room for a couple of years now.

5. I’m a fidgit.  My entire childhood I can remember my mum and dad saying ‘will you just sit at peace?!’  I like to think of it as multitasking as I can now eat my dinner, chat online, read forums and facebook and watch TV all at the same time lol  If I’m not chatting I quite often make bear bits too.  There have been ADHD suggestions by many, can’t think why ;o)

6.  My first unpaid job was as a street urchin at Blists Hill Open Air Museum in Ironbridge, Telford, a model town based in Victorian times – if I remember rightly, the paper we used to sell every day had Oscar Wilde’s death as a headline.  I used to play games on the street with the tourists, and sell little Victorian nicknacks.  I can skip with multiple people, including running in and out, do double rope skipping, use a stick and hoop, whip a top and walk on stilts.  Well I used to be able to anyway!

7. My first paid job was as a care assistant at a nursing home when I was 17 and trying to raise money to go back to visit my friends in Canada after I finished school.  On my very first day I had to wash an old guy that had just died and dress him in clean jammies!  I met many fascinating people, most of whom were sadly no longer in command of all their faculties.

8. I have signed the Official Secrets Act 3 times because of different jobs with different government departments/agencies.  I’ve never yet learned anything worth sharing lol

9. I have hypermobility syndrome, which means I’m very double jointed, and my joints will wander off without very much provocation.  Alas the muscles and tendons attached are never too impressed by the wandering joints, and I have spent over 5 years of my life in plaster, slings, splints, crutches, and even longer in physio.  I have dislocated both knees, one 3 times in 2 week, and I am in a medical textbook courtesy of a consultant at Glasgow Royal Infirmary who used me as a case study because I managed to tear both sets of muscles in my hip – it turns out that ‘normal’ people only tear one set at a time, who knew? lol 

10. I am really accident prone!  My mum taught me how to clean up all my own cuts when I was about 5, and left me to it after that lol  Also, I broke all my toes when I was 3 after a 7-year-old with psychological issues took me on her pedal car down a hill, standing on the back and told me to stand on the wheels to stop it at the bottom.  As my grasp of physics wasn’t the best, I didn’t forsee my feet and the wheels going over together…  We were living in Philadelphia, it was the 4th of July, and it was really difficult to find anywhere open to get dressings etc (my parents didn’t realise they were all broken, they just thought they were cut) but I got given some home made ice cream by an Amish family at the next picnic table for being brave.  A doctor confirmed they were broken years later when I was getting my feet x-rayed to check on a newly broken toe!  Said they were the weirdest toes she’d ever seen.  Did I mention that my mother accused me for years of curling my toes up inside my shoes and making them wonky?!  I have also broken fingers playing hockey, and broken my collar bone falling downstairs.

11. I rowed for years, coxed and coached when I was at uni, drove the bus complete with boat trailer (which makes you longer than an artic lorry), umpired at head of the river races (including the 4s Head in London), 2 lane and multi-lane regattas, have been on the executive of the Scottish Amateur Rowing Association, was the entries secretary for the 2 largest regattas in Scotland for 10 years, was the safety officer for rowing in Scotland for a number of years from the age of 21, and if you googled my name I used to be entirely on the front page for rowing related things!  I gave up the last of my commitments (umpiring and entries secretary) last year when I broke my collar bone at the start of the regatta season.  I realised I wasn’t enjoying it any more, and was getting absolutely no thanks for all the completely free time I was putting into it.

12. I am now a qualified climber for indoor walls, and enjoy getting to go along for an evening of scrambling around the walls of the old church where our local climbing centre is, work and injuries permitting!