Which emotion(s) — joy, envy, rage, pity, or something else — do you find to be the hardest to contain?
I’ve never been very good at emoting all over the place. Perhaps it’s my grandmother’s Victorian soul zipping my lips unto the third and fourth generation. But on the other hand, I seem to have a dash of my father as well: a Look than can curdle blood.
For many years, I was blissfully unaware of this. I mean, I knew my father had it. We used to demand he trot it out as a deliciously scary Saturday night party trick, secure in the knowledge that he reserved it for professional use.
But I, apparently, was less discriminating. My children told me years later that I had skewered their most vulnerable innards, from time to time: occasions that stuck in their minds as moments of childhood horror too dire to fade. Their partners were warned of it. If Mum gives you The Look, they’d say, run!
It’s disconcerting to know I give so much away. In my retail days, my colleagues were well aware when I was ready to murder a customer, however much I smiled and nodded. In fact it probably went in inverse proportion: when I looked like Noddy on speed, I had strangulation in mind.
But never mind. I haven’t actually done my lolly since I tried to beat Jenny Bassett up outside the school gates when I was eight, so I’m probably doing OK.