Why, you may be asking, do I have a photo of former British Prime Minister John Major on my blog?
I've never done one of these "meme" things on Shameless Words before, but I thought this theme could be fun. I also thought I would list 11 things! Why is it always 10?
1. In my very first week in France, back in 1997, I had a gun held to my stomach in a supermarket robbery. With terrible French, there was much suffering trying to explain everything to the police and my landlady afterwards. That week the same gang is supposed to have shot dead a shopkeeper in Cannes. I almost fled back to Britain!
2. It was only at the age of eight that I realised that one is supposed to put money in the collection plate at church and not take money out. I really innocently believed the church was being generous and sharing out its wealth!
3. At a dinner party, with mostly strangers, I raved about how someone I worked with was a royal pain in the butt. A very quiet woman opposite later introduced herself as my colleague's WIFE! She said, "That's funny, he's only ever said good things about you." I don't think she ever told him though; he didn't change towards me.
4. Not long after arriving in the UK I got lost and drove the wrong way down a motorway, in a car with no insurance! Coming in the other direction was a police van full of officers. I was sent on my way with friendly waves after a passionate discussion about rugby and New Zealand; a brother of one of the officers had just moved there! (I'm actually not a rugby fan but can be if my life depends on it!)
5. When I was a boy I walked into a bathroom where a rather large, naked nun was about to climb into a hot bath. She screamed, dived in, caused a flood - and slapped me afterwards for good measure. I never made eye contact with her again!
6. I caused a stir when I joined the BBC in 1994 by wearing an earring to work, a small ring that I hadn't worn to the job interview. I ended up agreeing to take it out when doing interviews with the likes of war veterans and police officers!
7. I had a stutter and stammer as a child and teenager, but I was pleased to discover it went away when I spoke in front of crowds (school speeches, debates). I slowly adopted this new way of talking and went on to have a career in broadcasting.
8. While competing at the age of 10 in a school swimming competition, my togs came off while diving in for a race. With much laughter from the crowd, I had to climb out of the pool with one hand, the students AND teachers refusing to give me a towel!
9. I once went down on my knees in front of John Major when he was the British Prime Minister! I was a reporter at a media scrum and had to quickly duck out of the TV cameras' field of vision. I even got to ask a question from my odd position!
10. In a restaurant where I worked when I was 18, my boss's tirade of anger turned to stunned silence when I managed to drop a large tray of desserts FOUR times in a row. The customers applauded when the desserts finally arrived, and they left me big tips.
11. During a trip to Athens I chose a nice quiet place to take a midnight pee: into a hedge that surrounded a fenced-in palace. I relieved myself with great abandon, taking my time. It was only when I was doing up my fly that I realised a soldier with a machine gun was standing still just off to my left in the hedge, in camouflage, his face blackened! I said a very quick good night!
Yes, I have had some colourful moments ... and this is only just to mention a few! I may write about some of these incidents in more detail at a later date.