Tag Archives: Ted Nield

The Geology interview

Do you have time to read 6000 words on Geology? (No is not the correct answer to this question, btw.) You can divide them up over several coffee breaks, if necessary.

Ted Nield

They are good words, although there are a lot of them. I sat in on this interview and found it fascinating from beginning to end. As some of you will vaguely recall, Daughter got so carried away with this interviewing lark of mine, that she decided to have a go herself.

Very sensibly she picked someone in a subject she knows a bit about, and here he is – ‘Geology’s answer to Brian Cox’ – Dr Ted Nield.

I was most impressed, because he knows about films, too. Unless he’s one of these people who can instantly talk knowledgeably about almost anything. (I’m related to someone like that.)

I had been concerned that coming up with questions would be a problem. The only problem here is that I don’t always know what they are about. But I can nod and pretend with the best of you. Chicxulub, anyone?

Ted Nield

(And the upside of her work on this is that Daughter now recognises interviewing as work. Not all fun. Though it is fun.)

Terror and meteorites

Thursday last week was meteorite day in Edinburgh. First there was ‘our’ interview with Ted Nield, featuring plenty of the stuff coming down.

And then it was Chris Priestley who brought us to the cliff top and scared the h*ll out of us. He likes terror, rather than horror. Terror is when you go over the cliff top. Horror is what it’s like when you reach the bottom.

Chris Priestley

I had almost finished my first short story collection by Chris, and despite reading it in public on the train, I was thoroughly spooked. My sense of unease didn’t go away when Chris talked about his writing, and just thinking back to his event and his stories makes me feel a bit… (Window is open. It’s dark. I’m home alone.)

Anyway, Chris read us his first success, which was a short story that was runner up in a Gibraltar newspaper competition in 1966, when Chris was a mere eight years old. It was quite good, and featured the previously mentioned meteorites as well as comets and the moon. The young Chris’s idea of travelling to the moon wasn’t terribly accurate, but pretty good. Considering.

He ‘burbled away about himself,’ and told us about his early favourites like A Christmas Carol, The Ancient Mariner and the Greek Myths. Chris reckons you write what you’ve read, and he likes the dark, supernatural, strange, weird stuff. He’s a bit squeamish, and his career plans was train driver, astronaut or writer.

From that first trip to the moon in 1966 Chris became an author after first working as an illustrator and cartoonist. He makes notes all the time, and these later become scary stories. He’s very pleased when his wife reads his stories and screams. And his innocent teenage son who had to read while ill in bed told him he’s a ‘sick man.’

That’s why we didn’t tell Chris our fears when he asked the audience what they are scared of. Others were braver about their fears and shared thirst, buttons, burglars and dogs. And he told us about an early fishing memory… I almost thought I’d end up on the floor, again. What is it with these writers?

Chris likes scaring children for a job. Traumatising people for life.


What’s normal is the most scary. Don’t know if that’s why Chris has some skull button thing where his tie should be? Scary cufflinks. This isn’t terribly normal, if you ask me.

Chris Priestley

Someone asked if Chris has ever been in a real fight with anyone. He claimed he hasn’t. But then he started fantasising about fighting with Philip Ardagh and pulling his beard off.

Not normal at all.

Rock stars

Btw, we are all doomed. And that’s not only because roles were reversed and I took the photos today while my photographer interviewed. (That is so not right, wouldn’t you say?)

Ted Nield

Where was I? Doom. Either we humans destroy the Earth or Earth gets us. Neither is nice. Ted Nield seems quite nice, however. It was he who mentioned our poor future prospects. He did an event last night, which I missed most of, but that’s OK because this morning I had a whole hour listening to him in private while photographer interviewed this geologist on stones and stuff.

So, first I was the mother who dragged Offspring to interviews. Now Offspring drags the mother. Very topsy turvy, and that’s also geology.

Door Pig

We were in the pig room. At least I assume we were. The room at Ted’s hotel had pigs in it. Stone piggies. That’s geology, too. So much is, when you think about it.

Unlike some of my victims, Ted will need very little pruning or editing. I’ve rarely heard anyone speak so fluently about rocks.

Ted Nield

He’s got a rock collection. Or at least, he had one. Most of it has now found new homes.

We strayed very briefly on to the subject of Brian Cox. Then Ted mentioned rock stars. And that’s what we are. He is well known, if not exactly publishing in Rowlings, and to do with rocks. While Daughter and I pondered this deep thought further, we worked out that the astronomy/geology interest has moved from the witchlet to her. And that’s both stars and rocks, innit?

Ted Nield