tchernabyelo tagged me a couple of weeks back to do a list of eight things about myself. If I restrict this to stuff I haven't already blogged about here, it's quite difficult to get up to eight things that I want to share with the rest of the world. Anyway, here is an attempt:
- My favourite sandwich filling is salmon and mozzarella. Maybe with a little dill.
- I have recently decided to drink tea without milk in future. I gave up sugar in my tea for Lent in 1986 and realised it tasted much better without. Recent experiences in places where milk was not available with my tea brought me from irritation that I couldn't have it with milk in to the realisation that it tastes much better that way as well. I may indulge in lemon from time to time.
- I used to hitch-hike a lot in my late teens and early twenties, the longest stretch being a two-day trip from Brussels to Bologna immediately after my finals. It seems to be a lot less common now, I guess because of perceptions about crime.
- I set up the first political party website in Northern Ireland, for the Alliance Party in 1994. (There was a Sinn Féin website set up a few weeks earlier, but a) they are an all-Ireland party and more crucially b) it wasn't an official site.)
- This won't be news to anyone who knew me before then, but 1994 was also the year I shaved off my moustache for good. I grew it in 1985 after leaving school, and briefly augmented it with a beard in 1986 before going to university. It was never a hugely successful enterprise, especially given my habit of chewing it in the middle when lost in thought.
- I wanted to be an astronomer when I grew up. I changed my mind during a summer working at the Royal Greenwich Observatory in 1988, just before it moved from Herstmonceux to Cambridge; I found myself drawn to the history of science sections of its library, and also repelled by the lifestyle of the real astronomers I saw in action. I decided that people were more interesting to study than stars.
- Having said that, I then expected that I would end up as an academic historian with a side interest in political activity, rather than as an international affairs professional with a side interest in history. Life is very strange.
- Thammy Evans, in the second edition of Macedonia: The Bradt Travel Guide; Nancy Soderberg, in The Superpower Myth; Marc Houben, in International Crisis Management: The Approach of European States; David Boothroyd, in The Politico's Guide to the History of British Political Parties; and Charles Stross, in The Jennifer Morgue are all kind enough to give me a mention in their introductory acknowledgements - which is a pleasingly diverse group.