1. What will your next unfulfilled ambition in life be now you have seen Mayerling as a ballet?
Doing Vasaloppet. This is genuinely never going to happen unless I win the lottery, but if I should win the lottery, I would at least give thought to a programme of getting somewhere near the Birkebeiner. And it's good that ones unfillable ambitions should be really unfillable. Although at the moment there is a risk that this year’s skiing holiday may have to be an unfulfilled ambition, b***** work!
Closer to home, I still want someone to do a decent production of Turandot. And I would like to go to Glyndebourne, but am not sure that I could cope with the Surrey-ness of it.
Oh, and not forgetting ever writing The Ultimate Saga of Mary-Sue in four novels, two children's books, and obviously several films. She doesn't quite have violet eyes, but it's a close-run thing.
2. Peter, Bunter, Charles Parker or Impey Biggs?
Depends what for!
A silver-tongued barrister, Biggsy.
Someone to do the tedious and necessary detective work, Parker. However, were I to be a woman accused of anything at all, I’d be running a long way.
Someone to run my life in a firm but kindly manner, Bunter. Also, Bunter would be much more fun for a sing-song round the piano than Peter, who would constantly be correcting one’s ornamentation of “With my little wiggle-waggle in my hand”.
Peter will do for everything else. I don’t have any debts at present, but I’d be prepared to run some up if he’d pay off the credit card bill. Also, he can teach me his secret method of learning native-speaker levels of French and German.
If trapped in fandom’s “shag or die” universe, then Peter, obviously. I doubt Biggs is capable even under shag-or-die before the invention of Viagra. Parker would prefer martyrdom. Bunter, I’m sorry, you’re called Mervyn, I just can’t. So it’ll just have to be Peter.
Any one of them would be infinitely preferable to a chat with their creator, who I cannot but think would be too keen to Show Me Where I Was Wrong to be an enjoyable conversationalist.
3. What fictional home would you most like to live in, with or without its existing occupants?
I think that Freudesheim would be rather nice. It is huge, beautiful, and in a beautiful location. Anna and the triplets (and the house elves) can stay, but not the rest of the family. For when I’m not on holiday, I think that 111a Piccadilly would do nicely, definitely with Bunter. I wouldn't mind Miss Smilla's flat for holidays, without the occupant.
4. What are you reading?
The Bible. Still. It is very long. I am currently on Psalms, which in the KJV at least are rather disappointing. Maybe the poetry works better in Hebrew, but I find it very hard even with a bookmark to remember which one I finished on the bus this morning. I think that they probably need more additional reading that I am prepared to give them. I am beginning to think that “the KJV is great literature” is one of those things put about by people who have never read the whole thing. The KJV is culturally important literature, yes, but an awful lot of it is very dull and not great English. The best bit so far from a purely literary standpoint has been the Book of Job, which is great literature. Even if Job is not, in fact, patient. Otherwise, many of the stories are entertaining (Esther was great fun), and bits of the text are good, but an awful lot of it is a tedious (the Arc of the Covenant is a lot more exciting in Indiana Jones), and, well, let’s just say that the morality and social system is thoroughly of its time.
Novelwise, I am presently reading Riders of the Purple Sage, which contains Evil Mormons (do modern Westerns contain Evil Mormons), and like Georgette Heyer created a genre considerably its inferior with which it has been pigeon-holed ever since.
The books hanging around the house are Forgotten Voices of the Great War, which is fascinating and which I shall one day post about, the Oxford Companion to the Bible (obvious reasons), Faro’s Daughter, in which Heyer’s recourse to a road atlas is even more obvious than usual - one can even trace her turning the pages: Kennet, Grantham, Mablethorpe, Filey, Ravenscar, Ormskirk – and DLS’s Letters, vol. 3, which I can only read in very small quantities due to her being so absolutely infuriating and so keen to tell people that they are Doing It Wrong. I learnt this morning that I have been offending her memory through use of single quotes. Her correspondence with C.S.Lewis is fun, though - I bet he didn't get many women talking back to him like that in his later years.
5. What have you left undone that you ought to have done or done that you ought not to have done? (that you are willing to share with the world)
Too much! Oh, you mean outside the office. Lots of writing, efforts to take more exercise, and efforts to socialise more. All these definitely need work. Too much faffing about, and too great a tendency to put things off when they're a bit difficult until I end up not doing them by default.