Hannah has been having fun giving out letters upon which we must base our blog posts. My letter is P. It’s very straightforward: this post is about ten things that I like beginning with the letter P.
1. Poetry. I love poetry, whether it’s beautiful love poetry or clever wordplay and silly rhymes. I love to read it, recite it, and write it. My favourite poem is The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe – I love hearing it read aloud, with its wonderfully musical rhythm and pace. I’m a fan of Robert Burns, particularly the funny ones like To A Louse. And I enjoy the lyrical poetry of Wordsworth, and the sonnets of Shakespeare, and this love poem by Yeats. Sadly, when it comes to writing poetry, I’m not particularly gifted and have to stick to silly rewrites and amusing observations rather than anything serious.
2. Peter MacNicol. This is John Cage or “The Little Biscuit” from Ally McBeal, and I love him. Always have, always will. I grant you, it’s probably the character rather than the actor, but I definitely wouldn’t like him so much if they got someone else to play him. Peter MacNicol is a perfect choice – he’s got one of those very expressive faces, a cute little high-pitched voice, and great comic timing. And he’s sweet. Who didn’t laugh till they cried when he did his Barry White dance in front of the mirrors in the unisex, or when he played bagpipes at his frog’s funeral service, or when he practised his “dismount” from the toilet? Let’s take a moment and appreciate Peter.
3. Purring. There’s something about a cat’s purr that makes me feel all snuggly and happy and warm. When a cat cuddles into you and starts pressing its head against you, purring loudly, you feel very loved and wanted, all of a sudden. To be able to make another living creature make such noises of utter contentment, you’ve got to be doing something right. Unless I’m mistaking the cat’s intent, of course. Crap… I’m becoming Crazy Cat Lady anyway, despite being separated from Kat the Cat…
4. Peace. I would be a hippie if personal hygiene wasn’t so important to me. I’ve been to the anti-war rallies, I’ve had the ban the bomb symbol tattooed on my shoulder, I’ve scrawled lyrics from Imagine in chalk on the pavement and sat in a large crowd of people singing Give Peace A Chance. I do not like war. I do not like hatred. I do not like fighting – whether in terms of politics or personal lives. Confrontation makes me nervous; shouting makes me miserable; bullying and aggression terrify me. I am one of those dippy creatures that intelligent people like you look at scornfully – one of the ones who just wants everyone to co-exist happily and peacefully, without fighting, without hurting each other, without arguing about every little detail. I want peace in the world, peace in relationships, peace of mind. I don’t think it really exists as a permanent possibility, but it makes me blissfully happy when I do catch a glimpse of it.
5. Pasta and Pizza. Italian food is a joy. Pasta and pizza are the ultimate comfort foods for a night in front of the TV, and yet can also become a really luxurious treat in a nice restaurant. I love spaghetti bolognese and creamy carbonara, not to mention the explosive vodka-chilli pasta that I learned to make in my student days. I’m a big fan of Da Vinci’s in Tallinn – gorgeous starters, delicious pastas, good wine, and a really nice place to eat. As for pizza, the best I’ve ever had was in Grimaldi’s, underneath the Brooklyn Bridge. Loved it!
6. Parks. I’m very much a city person, but that’s not to say that I don’t like to be surrounded by nature. That’s why I love parks – a perfect way of bringing some green space into a bustling city! One of my favourite places in the world has got to be Central Park – but I also adored Riga’s selection of much smaller parks, scattered along the sides of the river that separates the Old Town from the New Town. I like kicking through leaves in the autumn, crunching through snow in winter, breathing in the fresh air and new life of spring, and having picnics in the summer. Parks are great for all of these.
7. Photos. Photos are memories that don’t fade away to nothing. I love to look at pictures of my friends and family, of good times we’ve had together, of places I’ve been and events I’ve enjoyed, of funny things that I’ve seen. And I like looking at other people’s photographs, too.
8. Pastry products. I have a serious weakness for savoury pastries, particularly sausage rolls from Irons Bakery just down the road from The Parents’ house. When I lived in Glasgow and anyone came to visit, they always arrived with a box of Irons’ sausage rolls. This was as essential as the multipack of Tayto Cheese and Onion. The sausage rolls would be frozen and carefully rationed until someone next came to top up the supplies. However, it’s not just sausage rolls that I love, in terms of pastries. When I was in second year at university, I got a summer job in the Glasgow Tourist Information Office on George Square, right next to Greggs Bakery. Ah, Greggs. I put on so much weight that summer. The smell would waft into my little cubicle and taunt me mercilessly until I went in and purchased a bridie, or a cheese and onion pastry, or a steak-filled slice… fabulous. Here in Tallinn, I am equally enthusiastic about the savoury pastry products available in Kaubamaja, the M&S of Estonia. I am trying to curb my enthusiasm before my jeans burst. I shall forever be a slave to savoury pastries.
9. Puzzles. I am a geeky sort of soul, and I enjoy doing things that stimulate my mind rather than just watching TV all the time. Not that I don’t enjoy the occasional Lost, Friends, 24 or Ally McBeal marathon. I’ve become fond of logic puzzles, although my lack of any logic whatsoever prior to starting these means that occasionally they do lead me to throw things and scream. I also love crosswords and arrowwords – I was addicted to the latter when I worked in the tourist office. (I was stuck in a tiny bureau de change cubicle all day, and there was really very little to do in between customers. Arrowwords saved my brain.) Lately, I’ve been loving doing jigsaw puzzles from this collection with Riho. I get a sense of tremendous satisfaction when we complete a 1000-piece masterpiece, but he forbids me from keeping it, framing it, and putting it up on the wall. We are not going to be those people, he said firmly when I pleaded. I have to look away when he tears them apart to make room on the table for the next one. It distresses me.
10. Paris. I can’t believe it took me so long to finally go there. It is a beautiful, chic, lively, friendly (no matter what people tell you!), buzzing, culture-rich city. Good food, good wine, good people, famous sights, lovely scenery, sexy language. J’adore Paris.
So there you have it. Ten things I love, starting with P. Feel free to add your own preferences in the comments, or indeed to ask for a letter if you want to do your own post! Today’s post was brought to you by the letter P and the number 10.