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Activities

Aiming for sax appeal

I still do many of the things I did as a student, but I like to do new things as well. I retain an interest in calligraphy and occasionally take out my pens to practise renaissance scripts. I’m still absorbed by mosaics, and think it’s maybe time I finally visited Ravenna to see the Justinian mosaics, and perhaps go on a course in Cambridgeshire to brush up my practical skills.

Hot air ballooning captivated me over 20 years ago, and I still do it occasionally. It is very satisfying to cast your fate to the winds and fly wherever they take you. I do it most often over the Berkshire countryside. I tried gliding, in the safe hands of an experienced pilot, in the Florida Keys. I never (yet) learned to fly, especially helicopters, but I do enjoy flying as a passenger in them. I flew all over Vietnam (on a fact finding trip for the US Congress) during the war there. I have flown in them into an extinct volcano on Hawaii, and out to Heron Island on Australia’s Great Barrier reef.

I took up Tae Kwon-do in my 40s, and practised it for seven years, training 2-3 nights a week, and going through the stretching exercises every day during that time. I like to try some activities just for the experience, even though I am not going to take them up regularly. I recently took lessons in scuba, archery and fencing to find out what it felt like to engage in them.

I go to the gym 6 days a week, but only to spend about 38 minutes in various exercises – cycling, treadmill, stepping, etc. I am not athletic, though, and just do it to keep fit.

Cooking is an activity I have increasingly enjoyed. I did basic stuff like pies and pastas when I was a student, but since I wrote a food blog with friends for 5 years my standards rose to quite elaborate dishes. I enjoy cooking for guests, and surprising them with novel dishes I have thought up, as well as with my take on more traditional favourites. I enjoy eating out, too, and regard meeting friends over dinner as time well spent.

Since boyhood I’ve liked movies, and enjoy seeing how their directors have made them. I’m quite a keen photographer, too, and of course I read many books.

Although I was Secretary of Mensa for 13 years, I never shared the fascination its members have with puzzles, except the occasional crossword. I do derive pleasure from solving problems (real life situations), however.

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