If you had to be stuck in a lift with someone, who would it be and why?

I’d like to be stuck in a lift with someone to help me make the most of it. The Dalai Lama would be ideal because I would have the opportunity to explore his world view, his politics and his motivation.

What is your biggest fear?

I have a mortal fear of tedium. I cannot bear inaction or repetition. I am virtually allergic to doing the same thing every day and refuse to adhere to routine.

Do you have any superstitions?

Absolutely none - apart from walking under ladders, breaking mirrors or crossing the path of a black cat.

I also sleep under a garland of garlic flowers to avoid vampires, keep a wooden stake close by the bed and an array of church bells on the roof to drive away demons.

If you could have only one song on our iPod, what would it be and why?

Chopin’s Nocturne op 9 No 2 in E flat major, played by Arthur Rubenstein, because it is the most beautiful piece of music I’ve heard.

What’s the most expensive thing you’ve bought, not including property?

My sturdy British-made car. A fine investment ten years old and still cutting a dash (in a slightly battered kind of way).

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

‘Don’t raise your voice, improve your argument.’ As said by Zachariah Tutu to his son Desmond.

Unfortunately I did not discover this fine piece of wisdom until relatively recently, but to make up for lost time I pass it around as much as I can.

What’s your indulgence?

Cornish clotted cream with homemade strawberry jam on a warm, freshly made scone.

What item could you not live without?

As my mind is constantly full of thoughts, I need a pencil and paper close to hand to jot them down. Not having the means to do this would drive me mad as I would be constantly filling my head with ideas which I would be afraid of forgetting.

Without pencil and paper I would be a jibbering wreck.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be and why?

When I was 13 I would have given anything for a nose job, but I learned to live with it.

However, I do have high expectations of myself, and maybe I should learn to cut myself a little slack.