Terence Jagger was born in Hampshire and now lives and works in London, but he has worked in Australia, Italy and Afghanistan. He reads everything and anything, but has a particular passion for Austen, Eliot, Powell, Borges, Kipling and Homer. He writes all the time, too, but his only publication so far is a very boring MA thesis. As well as about books, he blogs on trees and wildlife and his extensive if not especially challenging travels at Books Do Furnish A Room under the name Lindsay Bagshaw.
Why do you blog? > I labour under the illusion that my views might be of interest to someone, and I love the catharsis of writing and the joy of - just occasionally - finding the right word or phrase.
What has been your best blogging experience? > Hearing about readers who've only tried something because I recommended it - but the author takes the credit, not me.
What are your favourite blogs? > Cornflower got me started, and is a friend of long standing; Harriet Devine is always interesting, too, and I like the space instantly available on Musings From A Muddy Island.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Thomas More, Gregor Mendel, Adam Smith.
What are you reading at the moment? > A book on the Taj Mahal, Wolf Solent by Powys, a thriller by Michael Gilbert - The Long Journey Home, Tristram Shandy, and several other things of varying seriousness.
Who are your cultural heroes? > C.P. Snow: he wrote underrated novels, created the phrase 'corridors of power' while working in them, and first identified the 'two cultures' and mastered both. Read the Strangers and Brothers sequence and be amazed - it's a portrait of every aspect of England from the 1930s to the 1960s.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > Probably Mann's Doctor Faustus, though Anna Karenin runs it close.
What is your favourite poem? > T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land, the seminal poem of dislocation, despair and hope for our times and all times.
Who is your favourite composer? > Mahler; for me, he sings the universe.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > Yes, I used to favour capital punishment and oppose proportional representation. Now reversed (as long as no chads are hanged).
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > 'I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.'
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > Creationism, which is perverse, destructive, intolerant, unscientific, and a total intellectual dead end.
What is your favourite piece of political wisdom? > 'Events, dear boy.'
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > As a civil servant, I'm probably barred from answering this one!
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > Intolerance, and I include those in the West in that.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > How could you live if you thought the best was over?
What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > Take a few risks, and love someone.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Trustworthiness.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > Yes, but I'm fighting them, and they are definitely diminishing with age.
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Football, computer games.
What, if anything, do you worry about? > Failure.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > There is one thing, but I'm afraid I don't propose to share it with the world; and I don't know if I'd have the courage even if I had the opportunity.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > On the north-west coast of Scotland, in May and June; somewhere else for the rest of the year.
What would your ideal holiday be? > A long walk, a bag of books, birds in the sky, and a firm bed at the end of the day, with friends and time to loiter.
What do you like doing in your spare time? > What's spare time? Time I spend reading, writing, walking in the woods, is core time, not spare.
What talent would you most like to have? > Nice to be able to learn languages - or even to sing in tune.
What would be your ideal choice of alternative profession or job? > Something with words or trees - novelist or gardener, perhaps? Perhaps I can still be both? Perhaps I am?
If you could have one (more or less realistic) wish come true, what would you wish for? > The regrowth of the great forests of Britain, and reintroduction of the top predators such as wolf and lynx to Scotland. Or another six Austen novels?
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > Jane Austen, T.S. Eliot, and Edmund Burke. I hope Jane would get a word in edgeways! And Richard Feynman if there was a spare seat.
What animal would you most like to be? > Undoubtedly a powerful bird, perhaps a peregrine.
[The normblog profile is a weekly Friday morning feature. A list of all the profiles to date, and the links to them, can be found here.]