It all started with the Usborne Spy's Guidebook, in which smiling little men and women in coloured raincoats and hats followed each other around, donned disguises and composed coded messages. I wanted to be a part of this world.
When I was eleven, Channel Four put on Get Smart in the post-school slot and I was hooked. This was the stuff of my fantasies: espionage hi-jinks, ridiculous gadgets and goofy gags. As a bonus, I fell in love with the hero, Maxwell Smart.
I started watching Bond films and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. to further my espionage fix. I read Ian Fleming and Len Deighton and a host of other spy writers, most of them deliciously appalling. More than twenty years later, my love affair with espionage has not ended.
I'm still not certain whether my fetish for men in trenchcoats and fedoras grew out of this obsession or caused it.
In fact, the plane that sparked my love of First World War machines was a triplane: a replica Fokker DrI flown at Bournemouth Air Show. Displaying after a bunch of fast jets indistinguishable to someone who was not (yet) a massive aviation geek, its bright red colouring, distinctive shape and the fact that you could see the pilot waving endeared it to me enormously.
At a subsequent air show I saw my first reenactment of a WWI dogfight, and I was well and truly smitten.
Although my great love is Great War aviation, anything with more than one set of wings is likely to be a hit with me; favourites are the De Havilland Dragon Rapide, the Antonov AN-2 and of course the Saab Viggen (technically, technically), as flown by my character in silverwindblade's RPG.
I've always preferred the convenience and looks of scooters to geared bikes, and the modern maxi-scooter has ensured I can go long distances without resorting to a 'proper' bike. Big scoots are lovely for touring, with their comfortable riding position and ample storage space.
The pleasure of a motorcycle tour is that the journey is just as much fun as the destination - often more so. Holidays are planned around 'what roads shall we ride?' rather than 'what place shall we visit?'
I've loved Tintin ever since I was old enough to choose library books. The first adventure I owned myself was The Crab with the Golden Claws - I can still remember being bought it before a holiday to Cornwall. My grandma very often brought me a new one when she visited.
When I was little and couldn't read very well I liked the stories with bold imagery and simple plotlines, like The Shooting Star (still my favourite). I liked the action and the jokes, the larger-than-life characters, Snowy's inner monologue and his running battle with Captain Haddock's Siamese cat. I also envied Tintin's lifestyle: his apartment, his freedom to drop everything and follow a clue, his terrier.
A few years ago I toured the gin distillery at Plymouth. Prior to this, vodka was my usual spirit of choice, but the experience, and the knowledge gained of stills and botanicals, turned me into a massive gin fan and also gin snob. I can be heard holding forth about the merits of the fruitier Plymouth gin over the drier London style, and how anything below 40% isn't worth bothering with.
Actually, however, if I were presented with Hendricks and Tesco Value in a blind taste test, I probably wouldn't be able to say which was superior.
My dad introduced me to gin's Dutch cousin, jenever, on a family holiday (I was twenty, I should point out) and I'm a big fan of that too, as well as the Belgian and French versions.
Want five things to write about? Leave a comment. I may not be able to think of five things I associate with you, though - I have much less imagination than everyone credits me with.