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Inside/Out with Clare Douie, scientist, artist and optimist
May 24, 2010

Full interview with Clare Douie

Describe yourself in five words?
Happy, a bit messy, energetic, a push over, optimistic.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?
Play the cards you're dealt.

What's the most ridiculous thing you've ever done?
I once broke into a zoo and borrowed a goat. It hadn't tasted any proper vegetation and I wanted to let it be alive for a while. They don't travel well on motorbikes though.

What is your most treasured possession?
My family.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
To be alone and unloved, uncared for and considered worthless.

Do you have any strange hobbies?
What's a strange hobby? Apparently loads of things I do are strange.

What do you dislike most about your appearance?
I don't really know. I'm quite happy in myself. There's nothing I terribly mind or don't mind.

What is your greatest extravagance?
Books. I'm quite Catholic in my taste. I read anything as long as it's well written. Right now I'm reading Poisonwood Bible for the second time. It's a very good book for anyone living in Central Africa to read.

What have you got in your fridge?
Chocolate and vegetables.

What is your greatest fear?
Anything happening to my family.

What have you got in your pockets right now?
I've just emptied them but I'll tell you what was in them. I had a compass, a used tea bag, a rubber band, a sweet, a penknife and a small palette of paints.

What is your favourite journey?
Going somewhere I've never been before.

Who are your heroes in real life?
Desmond Tutu and Madiba. And not famous people. People who do something extraordinary with their lives, that doesn't revolve getting press coverage for it.

When and where were you happiest?
My whole life is pretty happy.

What's your biggest vice?
It either has to be chocolate or not saying no.

What were you like at school?
Very academic, but always in mischief. I was very social.

What are you doing next?
I'll still be painting and teaching music. I started writing a book! It's a Zimbabwean prehistory story. There are a lot of books that are written about things that I don't really relate to. A lot of books that you read don't relate to the way you've ever felt about anything, so I wanted to write a book that came from a different perspective and that explained why the ground smells like it does after the rain, why our trees have red leaves before they have green leaves.

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