Before I go further, I know that this isn’t a real, proper, stick-it-on-LinkedIn, glass trophy award. But what it is is both very flattering and also a great excuse to write about me. As a big narcissist really I’m never going to pass up that opportunity, so thanks a million times over to the ace She Was Set Free for the nomination!
If you’ve not read it yet, drop me like Obama drops a mic and head over to there now to follow away. Posts are always really well written with brilliant tales of dating, non-dating, growth and recovery after heartbreak. I’m not just saying that thanks to the nomination either – I’ve followed for a while. You know, before it was cool. Yeah, I’m a hipster blogger, what of it?
Anyway, it looks like there are two parts to this chain-letter-come-award:
- Share seven interesting things about myself
- Nominate a load of other bloggers
I appreciate how self-indulgent this is of me to do, and also that there are certain really cool things that I can’t share as it would totally make me easily identifiable, but I’m going to dive in and see where it gets me. And if you do manage to track me down with your Google-fu skills, don’t be shy of saying hi!
1. I’ve done a fair bit of travelling.
What’s that, you say? Not interesting? Everyone has travelled, so what’s new? Well, yes, but I refer you to the fact that I have four kids, the eldest of whom is a teenager, and it does become a little more surprising that I’ve managed to fit as much in as I have.
Holland, France, Belgium, Spain, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Hungary, Egypt, Ethiopia, South Africa, India, Australia, Nepal, Iceland, USA (San Fran, LA, Austin, Miami, DC, New York) and Brazil. I’m adding a couple more to the list this year I hope, and have been to some of those several times. I’ve done every style, from backpacking up Mount Everest to five-star luxury and everything in between. Not satisfied, though. Never satisfied.
2. I’ve dined at two royal palaces
I was invited to a weird society once where we spent the best part of a week sequestered away in Windsor Castle, debating things that started with the letter ‘E’. I shit you not. Apparently it was for some report that was being written about philosophy, but I think it was actually to work out who of the group would be invited to be in the royal bunker when the bombs dropped.
The other times have been at Buckingham Palace – whether it’s been at garden parties or once for dinner, the food is always pretty good. On that occasion Princess Anne asked me to do the after-dinner speech for one of David Dimbley’s leaving do’s when he retired from much of charity life, so I did one based on the seven stages of man by Shakespeare.
3. Craig David snuck me into a celeb party once
Yes, THE Craig David. I got chatting to him on a red carpet thing and convinced him to get me and a friend in on his ticket. I met Elvis Costello, Richard Branson (who nearly dropped Courtney Love on me), Ross Kemp and Sting amongst others.
Late in the night Kevin Spacey approached me, shook my hand (he’s got the softest of hands) and asked both if I was enjoying myself and whether I should actually be there. I fessed up, expecting to be kicked out, but instead he grabbed me some champagne and told Tara Palmer-Tompkinson to have a dance with me. So I did. Surreal.
4. I’m a trained SCUBA diver
I love it. Haven’t dived for years, but learned on a trip to the Red Sea. I also canoe (having canoed the Thames twice), used to go rock climbing and love hiking. I was a qualified football coach too. Maybe one of these days I might do a qualification that actually helps me in my job rather than just because I find it interesting!
5. This isn’t my first anonymous blog
I used to write another blog about the industry I worked in at the time. Started off with me joking about the organisation I worked for, and after I got another friend involved it grew a little. Before we knew it we had tens of thousands of readers a week, were named as one of the most influential organisations in our sector (people thought there were far more of us, and that we were far more senior, than we actually were), were writing for the Guardian and were having what I wrote used by the BBC as they questioned certain ministers on the radio.
We stopped writing when my blogging colleague had a child and for the first time appreciated how hard it was for me to help produce daily content for several years, but I still loved it. Whether it was writing, speaking at events or podcasting, knowing that what we did shaped thoughts and ideas was humbling and awesome to be part of.
6. Last year I filmed for an episode of First Dates
Yeah, you know, the UK Channel Four show thing. I’ve no idea if they’ll show it (they said perhaps at some point this year), but I did the full thing from interviews to the date itself. It was a lot of fun, I was most excited about meeting Merlin but they were all great! And I can tell why Sam gets so much attention – even being a straight guy, I couldn’t help but admire the sheer beauty of the man.
As for my date, well, I’m still single. Says it all, really.
7. I was a local councillor for a while
Brexit pissed me off. To my core. While I didn’t support everything the EU did, I also believed and still believe that the UK is better off influencing from within rather than being a bit-part player from the outside. I also hated the wave of xenophobia, Islamophobia and general hate that it normalised in society. So I decided to do something about it.
I got involved in my local political scene and before I knew it I was part of my local council. I was also in discussions with the regional bodies with the potential to stand as an MP. I had no chance of winning as where I live is firmly of a different colour rosette, but the process would’ve been fascinating and I’d have been doing my bit.
Alas, this was cited as one of the reasons my ex decided we wanted different things from life (she didn’t want me spending time anywhere other than on the sofa next to her as we watched tv) and which she used to justify her actions, and as a single dad of four young kids it’s impossible to maintain any form of public life, so I had to step down and step away from local politics. It’s a long life, though, so who know where it’s going to lead?!
So there you have it! Seven things about me that you didn’t know before! I didn’t even mention the time I was in a production of Les Mis, or when I nearly got arrested in Manhatten, or when I headed up a national sports organisation, or when I got so drunk on tequila I woke up on the coast (I don’t live on the coast), or when, well, you get the idea.
So, who next? I’m fairly new to all this so a) don’t know who’s already done this and b) have little by way of relationship with these people to convince them to do it, but here is a list of blogs/bloggers that I genuinely would love to learn more about. Hopefully at least one will take up the offer!
- The Mingling Momma
- Cinnamon and Sparkles
- Alice in Wanderlust
- Tinderella Anna
- Heartbreak and hope
- Solo Mama Saga
- Single Daddy Daycare
- Barbara Brazen
- Debatebly Dateable
- Leeds Dad
Honestly, I’d love to read more blogs, especially those looking at parenting, dating or being a single dad and doubly so if they are funny as well as interesting. I’m open to suggestions!