Myself when youngChallenged by the receipt of the Versatile Blogger Award (see previous post) to tell people seven things about myself, I came to a grinding halt. This is because I read it as “seven things people don’t know about you”, which struck me as a logical impossibility. Having reread it, I realise that it doesn’t say anything about things that people don’t know, so having slept on the matter, I shall attempt to address the question.

For inspiration, I decided to look at some lists of seven things (of which there are many).

Thing 1: Seven Dwarfs


Sleepy and Dopey? Probably. Happy? Probably not, but I would settle for being contented a lot of the time. Not Bashful, but reserved (or as my mother would say “a bit backward at coming forward”). Grumpy? Guilty.

 Thing 2: Seven Wonders of the World


A 16th century depiction of the Hanging Garden...

  1. Great Pyramid of Giza
  2. Hanging Gardens of Babylon
  3. Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
  4. Statue of Zeus at Olympia
  5. Mausoleum of Halicarnassus
  6. Colossus of Rhodes
  7. Lighthouse of Alexandria

 I quite like the idea of being a lighthouse. Firmly rooted, solitary, vigilant, useful, impartial, reliable. (Although I wouldn’t mind hanging out in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon).

Thing 3: Seven Deadly Sins




  1. Lust
  2. Gluttony
  3. Greed
  4. Acedia
  5. Wrath
  6. Envy
  7. Pride


Oh dear. Guilty on all counts, but with acedia (a kind of melancholy that brings you to a grinding halt, not the same as sloth) definitely at the top of the list.

Thing 4: Seven Heavenly Virtues


I found two lists for these and opted for this one, as it encompasses the idea that these are things that you have to strive towards (in contrast to the things in the previous list, which, in my experience, require no effort whatsoever).

  1. Valour : Pursuit of Knowledge
  2. Generosity : Pursuit of Charity
  3. Liberality : Pursuit of Will
  4. Diligence : Pursuit of Ethics
  5. Patience : Pursuit of Peace
  6. Kindness :  Pursuit of Love
  7. Humility : Pursuit of Modesty

Which ones best describe some aspect of my character? I would like to say all, but modesty forbids: so I’ll say “the pursuit of knowledge”, both for its own sake and to inform the others.

Thing 4: Seven Kingdoms (aka The Heptarchy)

  1. East Anglia
  2. Mercia
  3. Northumbria
  4. Kent
  5. Essex
  6. Sussex
  7. Wessex

I’ve chosen this list to represent the many things that I value about England and Englishness: the rootedness (that word again); the richness of its history and language; the famous English sense of humour (see Thing 7).

I live on the edge of Wessex (King Alfred, the great lawgiver was born in nearby Wantage), but my heart and soul are in Northumbria. Nothing moves me quite like the empty salt-scrubbed coasts of Northumberland or the muted wildness of Yorkshire Moors. These are the landscapes that spoke to Bede and the Brontes.

Yorkshire moors

Yorkshire moors

York Minster– York Minster

York is my favourite city. “Wapentake” (literally, “a meeting to which you take weapons” is my favourite word.  Must be my inner Viking (or too many years working for the Council).

Thing 5: Seven Up


I’m a great fan of documentaries. My favourite is The Deep (part of  the Blue Planet series), which is about life in the deepest parts of the ocean  and which still has the capacity to leave me open-mouthed with amazement.

Seven Up began as a film about a group of children who were seven in 1964 and was followed up by a new film about the same group every seven years. As this is (approximately) my generation, each film has been a fascinating reflection on some of the changes that I’ve seen over my lifetime.


Thing 6: Seven Liberal Arts


  1. grammar
  2. logic
  3. rhetoric
  4. arithmetic
  5. geometry
  6. music
  7. astronomy


Logic: love it. Rhetoric: love a good argument (as long as it’s logical). Arithmetic: whenever I see numbers, I want to do something with them. Geometry: love order; hate chaos (although you wouldn’t necessarily believe it if you could see the state of my house). Astronomy: not my strong point, but let it stand for a fascination with the way the universe works. Music: something I can easily live without.

Thing 7: The Seven Wonders of Swindon

  1. The Tower of Brunel
  2. The Hanging Baskets of Babbington
  3. The Double Helix of Carfax
  4. The Lighthouse on Alexandra Road
  5. The Statue of Vavoom at the Bus Station
  6. The Cathedral of St Zvlkx (site of)
  7. The Elgin Llamas

 Let this represent a self-deprecating sense of humour.

Images: Hanging Gardens of Babylon via Wikipedia Commons