Other stuff

Musical preferences

For me there is only one truly consistently good classical composer and that is Ralph Vaughan Williams, the whole of whose published works (I think) I have in my collection of records and CDs. Particular favourites are The Shepherds of the Delectable Mountain, the whole of Pilgrim's Progress, The London Symphony (#2), and, of course The Lark Ascending. However I like a range of music [except, obviously, jazz and all of Mozart except the D Clarinet concerto], ranging from folk songs/music from all sorts of countries (esp. England, Ireland and Russia) to film scores (esp. American Beauty) to Eric Clapton, and Mark Knopfler.

Hobbies and interests

I always look up unknown words and very often check known words in the dictionary and am generally intrigued by: words and etymology generally, local English accents, old names for common objects [especially in Yorkshire, whence the Duck family originated in Viking times - "Duck" means "hunchback" in Old Norse], and everyday conversation, for which I find the occasional trip to The Little Angel pub, in Whitby, Yorkshire an invaluable resource. I frequently and routinely enjoy driving my VW-GTI/VR6 from zero to speed limit in 10 seconds, do The Guardian Crossword whenever I can get hold of a copy, attempt the odd chess problem, and do family history and my own personal genealogy (back to 1725 on my mother's side and about 1699 on my father's side so far). I often go to see new films and I occasionally do birdwatching, reread Virgil's Aeneid [with the Latin on one side of the page and translation into English on the other], and mend things, or at least buy new tools in case they come in handy. I eat Mexican food as infrequently as possible, and have never been to either Africa or Antarctica.

I have attempted and failed at learning the piano, the clarinet, and the classical guitar, but for some reason inexplicable to everyone can still play the recorder by ear. But who cares?