...someone I really admire, who really puts a great deal of effort into his daily blog posts, who is very talented and extremely humble.
As I read those words I puzzled over the person to whom Skip could be referring. I know he reads many of the same blogs that I look up every day - as well as a whole lot more that I don't. Could it be, I wondered, that there is another fantastic blog that has so far passed me by? Curious to see what I had missed, I checked out the link provided and almost fell off my chair when I discovered that the link led straight to my blog. Skip was describing me - ME! - as "very talented and extremely humble". Then I remembered the title of his blog (With His Tongue Planted Firmly in His Cheek) and my hubris was deflated like a pricked balloon. This was simply an example of Skip's Californian sense of humour: he was just teasing. But that's OK - I can take teasing from a person I admire as much as I admire and respect him.
The first think that passed through Skip's mind when he realised to what my title refers was probably that this is not a problem. It's a challenge, an opportunity. (Skip's one of those annoying people for whom the glass is always half full, never half empty.) (You will take all this in good part, won't you, Skip?)
But I have insulted him enough and it's high time I either put up or shut up, so I'll put up.
Thank you, Skip, for your kind words - and I accept the award with all due humility. While I'm on my feet, I must thank all those people who have made it possible for me to be here today, receiving this most excellent award. First, naturally, I must thank my mother and father because when you get right down to the basics, it's only because of them that I'm here at all. Then there is Miss Richards, although she is probably long gone to that great kindergarten in the sky. She ran a nursery school where, at the age of four, I learned joined-up writing - which I had to unlearn at the age of five when I went to "proper" school. Then there's my dental hygienist. I'm not quite sure why I should be thanking her, but I will do so anyway.
So that's that. No, wait a minute! In order to accept this award I'm supposed to do something else: ask myself some questions or something and give the answers. A sort of self-interview. Skip went for just a couple of questions but I have done some research into this and I find that some recipients have posed as many as ten questions (or simply stated ten facts) while others have completely overlooked this bit.
Who is my favourite author? I have long been an avid reader of fiction. It gives me the opportunity to escape from real life and live vicariously. But to describe any author as my favourite is taking things a bit too far. As a youngster, I enjoyed Enid Blyton's books such as the Magic Faraway Tree and, at a slightly older age, the Famous Five and Secret Seven series. Arthur Ransome's books such as Swallows and Amazons provided hours of entertainment, as did W F Johns' Biggles books (I owned every one of those). Now I'm more into Robert Goddard, Peter James, Elizabeth George and similar writers. I can't really describe any one author as my favourite, but two books that I can and have read many times and which would probably, on that score, count as my favourites are The Cruel Sea and HMS Ulysses. I have linked those titles to reviews on Amazon because others have written about them far more eloquently than I ever could.
And lastly, it is simply necessary for me to pass his award:
Number One Nana at Benchmark 60, and
that lady with the split personality who is ABroad with a View.
And just to prove that I'm not really misogynistic, It's coming your way as well, Buck!