Yesterday evening around 1830 my phone went. It was someone from the BBC in London wondering if I could do a short interview on my thoughts on Norway's place at the top of the UN's list of best countries in the world to live in. I was really caught on the hop which was a good strategy on their side as I didn't have a chance to come up with an excuse to say why I couldn't possibly do it; the only reason being pure fear of making an ass of myself. I'm happy to do that here but not on BBC Radio 4.
So they called me back after a few minutes during which I charged the phone just in case. I then got to listen in to what was happening in the studio; there was an interview going on with one of the winners of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Medicine. All I could think of was please, please don't let one of the children burst into the room while I'm doing this.
The interview pronounced my name right which I was very impressed by. Even the priest back in St Patrick's Parish in Kilkenny used to have trouble with it from the pulpit. Not my name exactly but my surname, shared by my dead relatives who the priest used to ask us to pray for, prompted by some money in an envelope from my mother. Praying for the dead always seemed to me as a bit like putting the the horse after the cart, but I digress.
So I told the BBC man how wonderful Norway is. I wasn't lying. It is a great place- I didn't bore them with tales of winter weather, mind you. I reserve that for you guys. The radio presenter also cunningly asked me if I thought Norwegians realized how fortunate they are. A great question. I said that my experience is that Norwegians who have never lived abroad take the lifestyle they have here for granted; I referred specifically to the example of year-long paid maternity leave on this. But there are lots of other things too. He also asked if I was ever going to leave Norway. Er maybe, but I'll be very sad to do so and think if we do move one that it will be hard not to compare a place to here. Although if I'm blogging by a pool, beside a vineyard, in Australia (no. 2 on the UN's list) that may not be the case.
Anyway, I didn't seize up, mix any names up, or forget any words which happens on a daily basis when just talking about what's for dinner. I did however guess very wrongly on UK's position on the UN list - I guessed 7th, he said 22nd I think. Ah well, I still love the UK. It's definitely got the best radio shows in the world ;)
The programme was called PM on Radio 4. I don't know if you can download it; I certainly won't be doing so. I'd die of mortification to hear my own voice.
p.s. Only a few minutes after I finished the interview, my phone rang again. It was my friend Elizabeth, who lives in Vienna, who hasn't called me in almost three years. She was listening to the radio in her kitchen, heard my voice and then rang me to congratulate me. She says that she reads my blog too. It was lovely to speak to you Elizabeth and very kind of you to call. Thank you.