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#499998 - Tue Oct 20 2009 08:27 AM Interview with Ren33
BxBarracuda Offline
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Registered: Wed Sep 05 2007
Posts: 5117
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Sue and Bx
You have been a member of the forums since day one. What were the forums like when they originally began? Where the forums the first part of the site, or was there something before them? Finally, how did you find the site and what kept you coming back?

I have always loved the forums best, in early days there was only one side of the site.. I originally found FT when searching for Trivia Quizzes, which I adore, but meeting the nicest set of people ever has been the high point. It was nothing like the huge site it is now, and we used to have long threads when it was someone's birthday, lots of jokes, photos etc. There was a really awful section of corny jokes and one with terribly badly drawn cartoons. I was brave and told Terry I thought they were ugly and he replied and said he thought so too, and removed them. Quite honestly though, what makes the place is the people, and they were as special then as they are now, it is just that there are now so many more of them!



BX
How did you become a Hong Kong resident and what is it like living in Hong Kong?

I left UK in 1977 having decided to try Hong Kong out for a few months! Things in UK had got quite difficult, with VAT etc and our business had failed. I was quite fed up with teaching huge classes in Outer London and needed a change. I was here for 7 years before they granted me Permanent Citizenship. I really do think of it as home now, and am very proud of Hong Kong's achievements. As for what it is like to live here you must come here and see! I am very biased, but I am sure you would love it, warts and all.


Copago, Jane Marple
As a teacher what is the most important things you can pass of to kids and what the most rewarding thing is, being a teacher?

One of the most rewarding things with teaching young children is the moment when they realise that all the sounds and wiggly things on a page reveal themselves as reading matter, and they read. It is a real rush for them, for me and for the parents. I am quite proud to say that in all the (many) years of teaching 4-7's there wasn't one who didn't read in the end of the year in my class. I think it is the most important of all the skills we pass on.


Santana
If you didnt teach, what job would you like to have tackled, and why?

I just loved working in hotels and restaurants in my college and school holidays, and I think I would have enjoyed a permanent job in the service industry, although "the customer is always right" would be difficult for me with my intolerant attitude to fools.


Copago & Purplefan
An English Rose living in Asia. Would you ever go back to live in England? Also, "If you had a chance to travel anywhere in the world where would it be and would you live there?

I would need an awful lot of money to live life in England again! That sounds really mercenary but I find it so expensive whenever I go back. I love visiting, the countryside remains the most beautiful in the world to me, but housing, food and commodities cost so much. I do love to travel and have been lucky enough to go all over. More important than places to me are the people who are there. So , lovely as Australia and Canada are, the high spots for me are the memories of meeting dear friends from FT, especially. However, I want to live here, but would like the chance to go back to some of the wonderful places like Bali, Hainan, Cyprus, Greek Islands that I have been to (notice the penchant for Islands?)


Sue & Bx
I heard you have met a lot of the FT members in person, perhaps more than anyone else.
Which members have you met during your globetrotting travels, which was the most memorable for you and were you nervous about any of the meetings before they happened?

Well yes I have met lots of them, and as I think I said to Sue, not one dodgy one yet! First was Purple Fan in Canada. I felt I knew her well already, and had formed judgements which turned out to be perfect (of course!). She made me so welcome and we had such fun that I went back again. Next was Sue, and I have been there 3-4 times (There may be the thought "what the hell for?" but although we banter a lot in here, we are very close and she , also is a terrific hostess and great fun (if a little bossy- sorry I can't seem to resist the digs! I don't really mean it, its the familiarity with the dear old bat). I met Sypher when he came through from OZ many years ago and last year he came here again with his sweet parents. I also met him in London. They must be great people if they are prepared to meet ME more than once! One of the greatest times was my trip to Australia, those meets up are legendary and I met and loved all the usual suspects who were so much fun, I met George, Ozzz, Jill, Blinky Bill, Exit, Nananut and was delighted to meet the famed Conor Copago himself, who is a gorgeous lad and so bright(what do you expect?)
I also met Roger (Mochyn) and his wife when they were living here. More nice people indeed. Ooops I nearly forgot Tellywellies and Lynda who visited Jersey, Delightful and great fun too. I wonder if I missed anyone out? I hope not. We did have chats to various people like Spanish Liz on George's phone, also talked to Chelseabelle in NY and the wonderful GATSBY on the phone. Whew!


Santana
I know you have a taste for Cornish pasties, (who could blame you? theyre delicious!). What makes a great cornish pastie, in your book? The pastry? the flavouring/spiciness? The filling? Texture? Colour? Have you any fail-safe recipe to share with us? Also, when are you coming to France? Im pretty sure I can organise some garlic prawns specially for the occasion

Wow anyone who invites me to France is my best friend already. I lived 6 months in Antibes at 16 and wowee... but thats another tale...
Hmm, the pasties. Yes a good one is heavenly, I agree. Some of the stuff that they pass off as Cornish pasties are ghastly as you must know. I do not have a family recipe as my Gran just made them without thinking about once or twice a week all her life. Her Grandfather worked in the tin mines and he took one every day to work, every day of his life. Meat one end and apple the other and a huge white cloth to wrap it in, then I big tin box, which I remember seeing as a child. To me they have to have perfect melt in your mouth pastry, lots of juicy meat, white veg (potatoes, turnip onions) and masses of pepper. The best recipe I have found was at the official Cornwall site, I forget the URL I will look for it. Don't get me started on my favourite subject, food! I have memories of my gran's saffron buns too. Oh Yum!


Santana
Which FT member(s) has(ve) most influenced you, on and offline? Which (if any) of us have brought something extra to your life, be that intellectually, academically or simply from a human point of view? Who has touched your mind or your spirit in a way which you didnt expect from an online forum?

Without a doubt the first one is Gatsby. When I am down and fed up and one of his posts appears, or I am lucky enough to get a pm, my life perks up like magic. His life is not always the easiest, but you don't hear about that, you just get lifted up by his wit, his use of words and his little anecdotes, You go, boy! There are lots of stalwarts here (what a funny word that is!) I learn so much from so many, like TW and his ever readiness to help with my PC problems I am such a klutz. There is Jill, I learn all about how hard life can be and how to make the best of it when there's no rain, dust storms and sheep for miles. What lessons!. I learn from Denni whose life is not easy either, and who would know her first language is not English? I am proud to know you. David, Satguru, in spite of myself I am really interested in your roadsigns, and I love your pictures of London and environs. Lovely memories, Thanks. Thanks to everyone for being so real, so approachable. I am so glad to know you.


Gatsby
Miss Sara! Imagine it? All of a sudden, Eric Clapton shows up at your house! After you get over your speechlessness and such, he wants to go out on the town in Hong Kong. Where would you take him, and why? And what song would you ask him to play for you, once the night out is over?

Arghh!! I went all weak at the knees at the very thought! But you KNEW I would, you norty lad! I would leave taking him out on the town to the others. Guidebooks all show that, and if he wants clubs and shops and restaurants well they are legendary here.
No I would take him wandering in the mountains and to the thousands of lovely islands and the little untouched beaches here. Not the concrete jungle at all. I am sure he would be so grateful at a lovely dinner at the Lamma Island fish stalls he would sing "Wonderful Tonight , just for me.... Omigosh.... ooooh yes.


PurpleFan
If you could be anyone in History who would it be and why?

I think I would have liked to have been any one of the Great Explorers who found new territories, seeing beautiful landscapes for the first time. Difficult to say where, but imagine landing on a beach and walking a short distance inland and seeing some lovely valley for the first time? Not as wonderful as Cornwall, of course, but a start.


Jane Marple
I'd like to know which famous person she has met, or who she would like to meet.

I have been lucky enough to know quite a few actors, as my husband was at RADA in the 60s. Among these, that stand out in my mind are, John Thaw (he was our best man, and a sweet person and highly gifted as you know). Some well known theatre actors, like Albert Finney, Tom Courteney, Derek Jacobi, were all around at that time. John Hurt slept on our sofa many times, after some lively parties! At college I met and went out with Corin Redgrave, the affair lasted just a few months, but I had fun, and met his dad and sisters. Finally Mr Ron Biggs was a friend, very early days. I liked him very much, a wickedly dry sense of humour. There are more. As I say I was lucky to be around when Britain was turning out the best actors. It was such fun. We lived near to RADA and everyone seemed to crash in our place. Parties most weekends and not a lot of worries. I remember John Hurt being wheeled home to our place in the end of my daughters pram, she was sound asleep at the other end, we tipped him out onto the sofa at home.


Purple Fan
You are giving a dinner party. You have 6 people living or dead that you can invite from any area of society. Who would thay be and what would you serve them?

Oh Gosh! Right. The aforementioned John Thaw, (for the fun of him), Lawrence Olivier for, again the really funny stories (sheer camp but very funny), Noel Coward (ditto), Eric(he IS God) Clapton,(reasons obvious), Michael Caine would liven it up too, and Alec Guinness I think.(Women? Who needs women?)
For this you would have to provide the most incredibly wonderful food I guess, so I would have Gordon Ramsey to cook (OK?)


BX
Eric Clapton came up earlier, what styles of music are your favorites, have their been any other singers/bands which you were gaga over in the past and what is your favorite venue you have seen a concert at?

I go from blues to pop to classical and have favourites in all areas. Of course I loved Cream, but the Beatles were not too bad(!), I love the Stones too, and so many of the musicians from the 60s. I also adore Big Bands. Benny Goodman was (and is) a fave, as I love the clarinet. I was lucky enough to go to see Duke Ellington in the 70s at the Festival Hall, with Tony Bennett in the second half. Oh wow! Here in HK recently we have had EC himself, I just drooled throughout. We do get good music here occasionally and a Santana concert stands out too. As for Classics I love Mozarts Clarinet Quintet, Beethoven and Brahms to name but a few.


Purple Fan
What do you see for the future of Education and do you think Teachers will become obsoulete?

I dont think things will change much, as all the teachers I know are dedicated to going forward in Education, keeping learning interesting is a huge challenge, but if you are a teacher you are up to that. You keep up with new ideas and methods and are constantly alert to the needs of your class. No, they will not be obsolete as everyone needs someone who really knows them and computers cannot do that.


Copago
What would be your favourite books or authors for young readers?

I love Alan Ahlberg (Burglar Bill etc), and all the similar authors who never talk down, assume children have the ability to laugh at adults etc. I am very fond of Paul Jennings, he is one who really knows what entertains children. My favourite book is Wind in the Willows, but that is pure self indulgence. I do not expect others to love it. It is a fatal mistake to say Oh you must read____ I loved it! Very off-putting for children I know.
I love the Hairy McLary books by Lynley Dodd, So obviously based on true happenings! I love The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson, children do too! I like Dick King Smith, as his animals behave in a real way.I LOVE
The Keep Fit Canaries by Jonathan Allen ( such a hoot!). I love a lot more. It makes for good discussions in the Books Forum. So often books that adults like, children don't.
To finish, what I do not like is someone like Roger Hargreaves who started the Mister Men and found he was on to a good money spinner and they really are not good stories at all.

Purple Fan
I know you love to read. Who are some of your favorite authors and if you could write a novel what would it be about?

My favourite authors list is highly predictable, I think. Jane Austen, the Brontes, Wilde, Hardy, and Dickens. Sorry, but its true!
I believe that if you write you should start with what you know, or have experience of. So I guess it would be an autobiographical novel. It might be a bit racy!


Copago
What language differences are there for you in HK and how do you deal with them?

There are very few people who cant get by in English here. I have tried quite hard to learn Cantonese, but I think I have failed, 1) because most people laugh and speak back at you in English, 2) I started too late. I learned French from age three and German, Latin in school and picked up Italian and Spanish from various boy friends, (even some Hungarian!) but Cantonese is beyond me. I will say, however, that I can shop, ask directions and pass the time of day (weather etc) in Cantonese, but not much more. Mainland Chinese people in particular are very keen to practice English with you, on trains etc, and I laud their efforts.


BX
How is Hong Kong different from how most people may have seen it in movies or on the news and is there any movie that best represents what walking the streets of Hong Kong is really like?

Hong Kong IS very different from in the movies. We dont all break into Kung Fu fights in the middle of opium dens, there are vast green areas, it is not all concrete jungle, and nobody wears Cheong Sams, except the ladies who show you to a table in restaurants and clubs. The majority of local people are very law abiding, very polite and shy and they work terribly hard. Money does tend to be all important to many, and we gambol a lot (well I only do a little bit). We have a lot less crime than other places I know, the streets are much cleaner than London for instance (our underground railway remains spotless after about 25 years, no graffiti). I know that I could walk down Nathan Road(the equivalent of Oxford St) at 2 am, alone, and be perfectly safe. Nobody has made a movie to show the ordinary Hong Kong yet. Maybe we are not sensational enough in our everyday lives, too busy earning our living, as we have no dole, and very small government pensions, to show life in a movie. I must add that we live in a remote village in the New territories with mountains all around. It is very lovely, as are the remote beaches and small islands here.


BX
Are you dressing up for Halloween this year?
If not, what was the last Halloween costume you wore?
If you've never worn a Halloween costume, have you ever dressed up in costume and what was your favorite one?

No, I truly loathe Hallowee n! I find the idea of scaring little kids half to death with macabre pictures of bloody corpses and skeletons hard to get. I also do not like the idea of knocking on doors and demanding sweets a bit rude too. Why are we not teaching children to give, not take?
So, no, I didnt ever have a costume for that. However I did go to a fancy dress party as Big Bird once. It looked great, feathers made from yellow tissue, threaded through chicken wire. A plastic beak and huge webbed feet, stripy tights looked wonderful, but I did not enjoy trying to drink (had to use a straw to drink my scotch), or going to the loo, or even sitting down! That was in the 60s too. Sorry if I dwell too much on that time, but we truly had such fun.

Much thanks to Ren and all those who took part in the interviewing.

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#499999 - Tue Oct 20 2009 08:39 AM Re: Interview with Ren33
Santana2002 Offline
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Registered: Mon Apr 14 2003
Posts: 8740
Loc: France
Quote:

Roger Hargreaves who started the Mister Men and found he was on to a good money spinner and they really are not good stories at all.





Oh boy, am I glad to finally find someone else who feels that way! I have found one or two of the Mr Men stories good for/with my kids, but the majority of them? No way!

Then again, I actually don't even like Noddy very much! I find him quite rude and self-centred - hmmm, just like a child I guess ...
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#500000 - Tue Oct 20 2009 10:04 AM Re: Interview with Ren33
JaneMarple Offline
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I haven't thought of the Mr Men for years - I used to love them, though Dad hated reading them to me. I agree, they're not all that educational. I really do envy you Ren. for leading such a exciting live. Great interview!
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#500001 - Tue Oct 20 2009 12:47 PM Re: Interview with Ren33
Copago Offline
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Posts: 14384
Loc: Australia
Quote:

Among these, that stand out in my mind are, John Thaw (he was our best man, and a sweet person and highly gifted as you know).




Hoe is it that I have known you for about eight years and you've never managed to slip that into conversations?? LOL

I have really enjoyed your interview - thanks for sharing it with us!

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#500002 - Tue Oct 20 2009 04:49 PM Re: Interview with Ren33
ren33 Online   FT-cool
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Registered: Thu Sep 30 1999
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Quote:

Then again, I actually don't even like Noddy very much!



I said as much to my daughter and she told her teacher who asked her why.
"Mummy says he is a cretin" she replied!
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#500003 - Tue Oct 20 2009 06:18 PM Re: Interview with Ren33
MadMags Offline
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I really enjoyed reading about your action-filled life, ren. Thanks for sharing it with us.
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#500004 - Tue Oct 20 2009 07:21 PM Re: Interview with Ren33
satguru Offline
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Registered: Thu Feb 17 2000
Posts: 7664
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Thanks for the mention, I grow more rooted to London with the years and have many people now across the world seeing their old haunts on my photos. One lived two doors away before I was even born, and for the first time since he left in 1967 came back to visit from Australia. It also turned out we were both into the supernatural, the same meditation group (it's worldwide) and Jewish. Go figure. And those old signs are the last thing that connects the London I know now with the London I grew up in, and if they get rid of them then that'll remove the link many people have with their own past lives. And I currently appear to have the biggest personal collection online. That's the way I collect anything!
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#500005 - Wed Oct 21 2009 07:54 AM Re: Interview with Ren33
Gatsby722 Offline
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Registered: Fri May 18 2001
Posts: 123698
Loc: Canton
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What a lovely, interesting interview, Ren ! And (sigh) thank you for the kind words in my direction. Clearly, though, I think you have somebody else mixed up with my marginal self .
I still am, and will always be, in total awe that you hung out with a Redgrave! Awesome. Just awesome!
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#500006 - Wed Oct 21 2009 08:24 AM Re: Interview with Ren33
ren33 Online   FT-cool
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Registered: Thu Sep 30 1999
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It stands out with me, and I wish I had kept the postcard! "It said I am off to Stratford for a few days, My sister is acting there this season" He meant Vanessa!
I had a memorable trip on the river Cam when his dad came up to visit him.(He was at King's) Imagine sitting in a punt while Michael Redgrave wielded the pole! That IS a memory I cherish!
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#500007 - Wed Oct 21 2009 09:15 AM Re: Interview with Ren33
Snowman Offline
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Reading that interview begs but one question from me. Did you ever share a flat in Cambridge with a woman called Sheila? My mum used to share with someone who went out, briefly, with Corin Redgrave and, I admit with some embarrassment now, went on from there to edit the Mr. Men books!

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#500008 - Wed Oct 21 2009 11:24 AM Re: Interview with Ren33
romeomikegolf Offline
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Registered: Wed Apr 07 2004
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Ren, you were born, I believe, in Oxford and lived in Cambridge. Which do you prefer and why?
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#500009 - Wed Oct 21 2009 05:14 PM Re: Interview with Ren33
Quiz_Beagle Offline
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Registered: Thu Jan 04 2007
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What a super interview, Ren! Please put me down for a copy of your autobiography (the racier, the better!) And I simply adored this typo...

Quote:

and we gambol a lot (well I only do a little bit).




May you gambol around Hong Kong with joy!
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#500010 - Wed Oct 21 2009 06:41 PM Re: Interview with Ren33
BxBarracuda Offline
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Registered: Wed Sep 05 2007
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The posting of the "gambol" is my err.

I had been requested to fix it before posting, but I goofed. I can't even use the "I thought it was a spelling variation between countries" excuse either.

My apologies Ren.

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#500011 - Wed Oct 21 2009 07:43 PM Re: Interview with Ren33
ren33 Online   FT-cool
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Registered: Thu Sep 30 1999
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Quote:

My mum used to share with someone who went out, briefly, with Corin Redgrave and, I admit with some embarrassment now, went on from there to edit the Mr. Men books!




Oh my goodness, well he DID get around, then! No I did not know a Sheila. I lived in college and never shared a flat. That would have been a bit of a liability! Sorry about being disparaging about the Mr Mens, but it does seem a bit like "Oh let's think what can we jump on the band wagon with now? How about Mr Predictable? Mr Boring?, Mr Lets make some more Money?
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#500012 - Wed Oct 21 2009 07:48 PM Re: Interview with Ren33
ren33 Online   FT-cool
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Registered: Thu Sep 30 1999
Posts: 12431
Loc: Kowloon Tong HongKong
Bob, I know you love Oxford, but I hardly know it. My mum was evacuated there just before I was born, and she stayed with a friend. I was born in a Nursing Home on the Banbury Road. My Dad worked for the BBC and was shortly after posted to Cambridge where I lived for about 10 years. So I know Cambridge better. I really love it. I could still take a group of visitors around and show them the colleges. It is a truly beautiful town.
As for "gambolling", Min, I think those days are gone. But I do have the odd "gamble"on the HK Lottery. The typo reminds me of another I made, when writing to my mum from college to tell her I was in the "throws" of packing!!(very apt in my case!)


Edited by ren33 (Wed Oct 21 2009 07:52 PM)

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#500013 - Thu Oct 22 2009 02:24 AM Re: Interview with Ren33
Snowman Offline
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Registered: Wed Oct 31 2007
Posts: 1613
Loc: London EnglandUK
Quote:

Quote:

My mum used to share with someone who went out, briefly, with Corin Redgrave and, I admit with some embarrassment now, went on from there to edit the Mr. Men books!




Oh my goodness, well he DID get around, then! No I did not know a Sheila. I lived in college and never shared a flat. That would have been a bit of a liability! Sorry about being disparaging about the Mr Mens, but it does seem a bit like "Oh let's think what can we jump on the band wagon with now? How about Mr Predictable? Mr Boring?, Mr Lets make some more Money?




No need to apologise. Everyone is entitled to an opinion and, whilst I have an understandable affection for the books, having read them again recently, I was surprised by how weak many of the stories were.

The Mr Men Cookbook, however, is a masterpiece

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#500014 - Tue Oct 27 2009 11:10 AM Re: Interview with Ren33
szabs Offline
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Registered: Mon Aug 13 2007
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What a marvelous and interesting life you have had Ren, thank you for sharing it with us, a most enjoyable read.

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#500015 - Mon Nov 02 2009 11:27 AM Re: Interview with Ren33
triviapaul Offline
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Registered: Thu May 22 2008
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Quote:

Quote:

Then again, I actually don't even like Noddy very much!



I said as much to my daughter and she told her teacher who asked her why.
"Mummy says he is a cretin" she replied!




That made me laugh out loud

Thanks for a most excellent interview.
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#500016 - Thu Nov 05 2009 05:44 PM Re: Interview with Ren33
PurpleFan Offline
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Registered: Fri Oct 22 1999
Posts: 2249
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I had such fun participating in this interview.

I will be the First person in line for the personaly signed copy of the Autobiography.

Can't wait to see the photo's that might get published in the book.
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