Tom Is In The Hot Seat

Discussion in 'Personal Diaries' started by Terry Page, Mar 21, 2016.

  1. Terry Page

    Terry Page Supreme Member
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    fin.jpg

    Tom is ready to answer your questions till Wednesday morning
     
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  2. Terry Page

    Terry Page Supreme Member
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    Tom I know you have had several jobs and been on a spell of VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas) plus your more recent pursuit as an author.. Which of these occupations do you feel influenced you most in arriving at your current view of life and the world.

    Secondly when did you first become interested in birds, and are you an active bird watcher (Twitcher) or is it just a general interest.
     
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  3. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Veteran Member
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    I suppose that I've had a good chance to see things from all kinds of perspective. I've worked in the public, private and charity sectors and all the years I've spent in the public sector have confirmed my belief in the absolute need for public services. Privatisation of public services appals me.

    I've actually done three stints as a VSO volunteer. I spent two years in Eritrea and did short-term assignments in Ghana and Ethiopia. The Eritrean experience was the subject of my first book, so that period had an unexpected spin-off in terms of what I do now. My time as a volunteer gave me all sorts of experiences. While I'd like to think that there was a certain amount of altruism in my motives, I also got to see places that I wouldn't have seen otherwise - a very different view to that of a tourist. Living without luxuries (no TV, no fridge, that sort of thing) makes one realise that a lot of the things we take for granted in the west are simply not a consideration for many people on this planet.

    My real satisfaction from the Eritrea job was seeing people who'd never touched a computer becoming competent users. A couple of my 'trainees' were even writing programs by the time I'd finished. Clearly, that was testament to their own ability and dedication, but it was nice to think I'd helped in a small way.

    Birds: I'd describe myself as a birder rather than a twitcher. I'm not one of those people who will travel 300 miles just to see a rare warbler. Whenever I go away, I always take my binoculars and if I'm going somewhere that I know has a lot of birdlife, I'll usually take a bird book relevant to that area. I always liked birds - I can remember having the Observer's Book of Birds when I was a child.

    The mallard in my avatar is my alter ego, Duck Holiday. He needs a more detailed explanation than I can give right now, but I'm happy to explain if anyone's interested!
     
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  4. Holly Saunders

    Holly Saunders Supreme Member
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    OK...so I'm asking Tom...why the play on words (Doc Holiday)...? :D


    BTW Terry that's a fab opening picture... :D
     
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  5. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Veteran Member
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    Duck Holiday came about from a trip to Romania a few years ago. While walking by the Dâmbovița river, we spotted some mallards. As we were in Romania, we conjectured that one of them must be Count Duckula (a cartoon character from British television in the late 80s/early 90s). After that, it became a kind of tradition to find and photograph at least one mallard wherever we happened to be, so when I set up my blog about Eastern Europe, the duck plus holiday theme led to Duck Holiday.

    Count_Duckula.jpg
     
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  6. Ruby Begonia

    Ruby Begonia Supreme Member
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    Hi Tom, I must say that I have great admiration for you, due to your amazing charity work. I am curious about your family. What would you like to tell us about your family life?

    Do you have any pets?
     
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  7. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Veteran Member
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    This will be a short answer because there's not much to say. No pets and just the two of us in this abode, me and my partner Catherine (aka Katusha).

    The Russian diminutive dates from slightly bizarre circumstances. On no less than three successive holidays, she was asked by people we met whether she was Russian. She is, in fact, Irish, but after the apparently overwhelming evidence otherwise, I started calling her Katusha. She liked the name (she hates Cath, Cathy, Kate or anything like that) and our little private joke continues.
     
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    Last edited: Mar 21, 2016
  8. Ina I. Wonder

    Ina I. Wonder Supreme Member
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    @Tom Locke , As a child, did you write small stories to entertain yourself, or siblings if you had them?
     
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  9. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Veteran Member
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    No is the simple answer. I only wrote stories when I had to, for school purposes. Starting was always the problem for me; if we had a 45-minute period in which to write an essay, I'd sit there for about 20 minutes and not write anything, just thinking about it. Once I'd started, it was a frantic 20-25 minutes of writing as it all came flooding out. I'm still a bit like that now.
     
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  10. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Supreme Member
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    Tom, after having visited Hungary, would you agree that it has some of the best looking women? :)
     
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  11. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Veteran Member
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    Hmm, I fear that this is one of those damned-if-I-do, damned-if-I-don't options.

    I've been to quite a lot of places in eastern Europe and it seems to have more than its fair share of attractive women. Judging by the time I spent in Vilnius, plus the evidence of the cabin crew on Lithuanian Airlines, Lithuania seems to score pretty well!

    Veering neatly away from the theme, one of the many things I liked about Budapest was the metro. It's not one of the biggest in Europe, but I loved the yellow line with its dinky little trains.

    We also spent a couple of weeks around Lake Balaton, staying in Keszthely. That has to be one of the most beautiful areas anywhere in Europe. The wine isn't bad, either.
     
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  12. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Supreme Member
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    Okay, I'll accept your answer and yes, I've been to Lake Balaton many times. The drive out there on a weekend is torture though.
     
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  13. Ruby Begonia

    Ruby Begonia Supreme Member
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    Tom, have you ever been to the U.S.? If so, where. If not, would you ever plan a visit and again, where?
     
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  14. Babs Hunt

    Babs Hunt Supreme Member
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    @Tom Locke. When did you start writing and why? And what do still want to accomplish in your life?
     
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  15. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Veteran Member
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    I've made it to 46 countries, but the US is not one of them. We've tended to avoid English speaking places and the only countries I've been to across the Atlantic are Cuba, Trinidad and Antigua.

    I'm not sure I'd want to spend much time in cities. I think it would be good to see some of the National Parks, though.
     
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