skunkee and ren33
As your handle implies, you have spent some time in Spain. Why were you in Spain and what did you like about it? Please tell us about the area(s) of Spain you lived in. What was the best part of living there?
I originally went to Spain for a month's holiday, with a chap I had met on a trip to the WWI battlefields in France. I stayed 19 years...
I lived in a place called Mojacar, in Andalucia, on the Mediterranean coast. The village was up on a hill, but I lived on the playa (beach) with the Med just across the street from my apartment. That was one of the things I liked.
I also liked the people and the laid back lifestyle. The latter could also be one of the worst things, though, if you wanted something done in a hurry.
When I first arrived not too many tourists had discovered Mojacar, most of the foreigners either lived there full time or for a large part of the year. When that started to change, it was time for me to leave. I didn't want to live in another Benidorm. ren33
Did you learn to speak Spanish?
Yes, after a fashion. I had taken some Spanish courses in university, so I had some vocabulary and basic grammar when I arrived. I didn't take any lessons whilst in Spain, but found watching Spanish TV to be very helpful, as well as reading local papers and magazines. I knew I was doing OK when I could carry on a telephone conversation, because that meant I couldn't use my hands or draw pictures. I read better than I write and write better than I speak, but I can get by. So many people spoke English that I found myself seeking out Spaniards to speak Spanish with. ren33
Another question about your travels. Besides Spain, where have you been in your life and where is your favourite?
I have spent many, many holidays in England, where I have many relatives. I lived in Surrey and West Sussex for 18 months, right before moving to Spain. One of my favourite areas, though, is the Cotswolds in Gloucestershire. The first time I visited them, when I was 21, I felt like I was coming home.
I also liked Scotland, which I have visited only once, and where my ancestors on my Dad's side came from. In Europe I have visited the battlefields of the Somme in France and around Ypres in Belgium, which was something I had always wanted to do; Paris, which I found to be over-rated; Heidelburg in Germany, with an afternoon on the Rhine, which I liked; Brugge (Bruges) in Belgium, which I loved (been there twice); Granada in Spain (twice) and likely some other places.
I took the train to Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2008 and loved the city. Stopped at Quebec City on the way back and liked it too.
The only place in the US I have visited is Pittsburgh, but you'd be surprised, I liked it very much. I was with friends, so that may explain that, eh. LeoDaVinci
How different was it to return to Canada after all the time abroad?
I was surprised at how easily I fell back into the rhythm of life here. I can't walk across the road to the beach, but I didn't do that often anyway. There isn't a restaurant right outside my door any longer, but I save money this way. I do miss hearing Spanish spoken, but have been surprised at how many Spanish-speaking people I have met in Belleville! Even winters didn't knock me for a loop the way I was afraid they would. My first year back was a pretty gentle winter (2005-06) so I was able to ease into the cold again.Nannanut
If you could teleport anywhere else, what part of the world would you most like to visit?
Oh, Nanna, you know it has to be Australia! I'd love to come down there and meet the FT gang in Oz! Whilst there I'd go to New Zealand, too, as I have always wanted to visit there, and one of my dearest friends in Spain comes from the South Island.
I'm claustrophobic, so teleporting would be the best option for me for such a long journey.ren33
You seem to love animals as much as I do! I would love to hear about some of them and how they came to own you.
Yes, I do love animals. Mostly I have been owned by cats, starting with Frisky, who had kittens when I was very little. Smoky, who was gray, adopted me, but ran away when I brought the guinea pigs home from school. Domino was black and white (of course) and came from neighbours who gave him a bath before sending him home with us!
Sandy was a sandy-coloured barn cat, and my sister brought him home and dumped him in bed with me when I was about 12. He was scrawny and ill, but my Mum nursed him to health and he was with us until my last year of university.
Wellington, who was black with white boots, moved in through a broken basement window. He was my "attack cat" - you daren't sit in a rocking chair if he was near. He moved from Peterborough to Toronto to England with me.
In Spain came Winston, my first dog, an Andalucian terrier (which isn't really a breed, but is what we called him and his family, rather like a Spanish Jack Russell). He was the son of Dino and Tica, who were already my friends, via my friendship with their humans. His sister Dimity often came to stay with us when they were away.
Katt, whose picture you may have seen in the photo a day threads (as well as Winston's), was living behind a rock by a parking lot and came to be Winston's friend. They both came to Canada with me, and both left me last year at advanced ages.
The girls at the Animal Hospital knew I would be lonely, and already had Precious lined up to take over my house. She is very comfy here, methinks. ren33
What is/was your work? Was it fulfilling? What did you gain from it?
The job I loved most was working in university archives, first at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario (where I studied history) and briefly at the University of Toronto Archives. The latter was a six month contract that I hoped would turn into something permanent, and didn't. After that I did a variety of office jobs, which paid the rent. In Spain I didn't work, as the chap I went there with was not well, so I was kept busy looking after him. When he passed away he left me well enough off to retire, if I'm frugal.
I volunteered at the English-language library in Spain, which was fun and a way of meeting people.Pagiedamon
You've been a FunTrivia member since the early days. How did you find this site?
I used to instant message with an ex-Marine who lived in Minnesota, and we were talking about trivia sites. He suggested several, one of them was FunTrivia, and the rest is history, as they say. I can't even recall what any of the others were. Pagiedamon
When did you become an editor on FunTrivia? What's the best part of the "job"?
I think it was July or August of 2002 that I joined the editing crew. That was the year, anyway. The people I've met are what I like most about editing, both other editors and authors. I have only met a few face to face, but would love to be able to meet some more of the FunTrivia family. Pagiedamon
What do you like to do apart from trivia in your spare time?
Well, I take Pilates classes twice a week, try to walk every day and I have a bicycle that I plan to ride this summer. My sister introduced me to scrapbooking and card making and we do that together whenever we can. I take lots of photographs, so the scrapbooking fits with that. I read, watch TV and movies, play with my kitten, look after my lawn and flower garden, send and receive post cards all over the world, go to my sister's for dinner frequently. That's about it, I guess. skunkee and LeoDaVinci
What many players may not know about you is your love of history, specifically your passion for Victoria Cross winners (of which your knowledge is encyclopaedic). How did you first become interested in the subject?
I have to ask, do you really want me to start on about VCs? You both know how I can ramble on - and on - and on - about them.
History, specifically military history, has been a passion of mine since I could read, I think, or watch a war movie. When I was about 12 I had a book (still have it, in fact) that listed all of the US Medal of Honor recipients up until then, and as a Canadian with an English mother, I wondered why I didn't have a complete list of Victoria Cross recipients. At that point I set out to compile such a list, starting with Guy Gibson of Dam Busters fame, and continuing gathering names, information, newspaper clippings etc. until ... well, I still do. In 1982 my handwritten list became redundant when "This England" magazine published the book I had wanted several years earlier. I still have my list, of course, and two editions of the book. skunkee and LeoDaVinci
You also have a passion for baseball caps (in fact I have almost never seen you without one). How did this interest start and what is your most exotic (for the want of a better word) cap? How many do you have?
The very earliest photos of me show me in caps or hats of some sort, so I don't really remember how it all started. I do know that when I first went to Niagara Falls, aged 11, I chose to wear my "yachting cap". I still have the uniform cap from the softball team I played on when I was a teenager, so that might be when ball caps took over. I have fedoras and berets and tweed flat caps too, I just don't wear them as often. The cap that came the greatest distance to reach me is my Aussie cap from Nannanut
so it is pretty exotic. I haven't counted them recently, but I must have 50 or 60, at least. Some I keep for "good", others are "everyday" or even "exercise" caps.Nannanut
Set a dinner table for six including yourself - who are the other five guests? What's on the menu?
This question has kept me hopping, I have always avoided trying to pick an ideal dinner party. Well, assuming that we're talking people from history, I'll make a stab at this. The one person who absolutely has to be there, without question, is Winston Churchill. He was my first hero, and so he remains. He is allowed to smoke his cigars after dinner, otherwise he'll be grumpy and we don't want that!
Now I'm stuck. I thought of Leni Riefenstahl, because her work fascinates me, so I'll stick with her. Picasso, so I can speak a bit of Spanish, and pick his brain about Guernica and some of his other works. I need an actor, so Dirk Bogarde, who also was an author so he can fill two roles. I've read most of his books, so we should have something to talk about. For the sixth seat, I think I want a Formula 1 driver, so I guess it will be Gilles Villeneuve, who I remember at Mosport before he graduated to F1. Could be a strange dinner.
For food let's keep it simple, steak and eggs with spuds of some sort maybe. Vegetarian quiche for anyone who wants it. Coffee. Wine if anybody wants some. I'm not much of a foodie. Nannanut
What are your 5 favourite movies of all time? What's the absolute worst?
his is another of those questions that I always try to avoid answering. Three spring to mind immediately as favourites that I can practically recite: "Casablanca", "The Great Escape" and "The Dam Busters". After that I find myself unable to narrow it down. I love certain parts of many movies (musicals in particular: "Shall We Dance" in "The King and I", "Cool" from "West Side Story", "The Sound of Music" for example), and keep thinking "Ah, but what about...?" Some films that I used to love have lost their lustre upon viewing as an adult, so can't be included. I could throw in "Zulu" for its portrayal of all 11 Rorke's Drift VCs, but I'm not sure it belongs in the top five any more than "In Which We Serve" or "The African Queen" or, perhaps, "Harvey". See what I mean?
As to the worst, it is probably one that I have forgotten the title of, though "Rasputin - The Mad Monk" with Christopher Lee stands out as being pretty horrible, probably because I expected more of Lee. LeoDaVinci
You've quit smoking, an amazing feat! How did you manage to do this?
There's a yearly contest called Driven to Quit, with a car as a prize, but more important, good online support, that I signed up for, to give me a concrete deadline for quitting. My sister was my non-smoking "buddy" who I could call if I was craving a smoke. She saved me one day by bringing me oranges. I was really ready to quit too, which made a difference. Over two years now. LeoDaVinci
I know you remember the Blue Jays when they were not such a terrible team. What was the most memorable game you've ever attended?
Ha! My glory years as a spectator (1977-84) were the first time they were a terrible team. I moved to Europe just when they were starting to get it together!
I'll always remember the first game I went to at the Ex. Fergie Jenkins and the Red Sox walloped the Jays 9-0, but I got to see Fergie, and Yaz, and Freddy Lynn and Jim Rice...Magic!
The really memorable game, though, for pure baseball tension, was Jim Clancy's almost-perfect game in September 1982 against the Twins. I can still see that little looping single just falling in to spoil the night. The Jays still won, but perfection would have been amazing.Pagiedamon
Finally, how would your friends describe you?
Verbose? Manic, when I get going about something I really care about. I have been told in the past that I'm a good listener, so maybe that. I'd like to think loyal and trustworthy would be there somewhere. Not sure what else.Thanks to all who took part.