Five minute interview: Sarah Foxall, Microsoft

Sarah Foxall, Microsoft skills manager

Sarah Foxall, Microsoft skills manager

What have you got in your pockets?
Phone, iPaq, purse, cheque book, Filofax, lipsalve, keys, dummy, business cards, security pass, Microsoft name badge, film to be developed, pen, hairbrush, hairclip, inhaler and party invites.

Who would you most like to have a date with?
My husband Jim. Since the arrival of our baby, going on a date together has become a distant memory but, as I recall, I used to really enjoy his company.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
An Olympic gymnast first, then an Audi Quattro rally driver.

How did you get into the IT industry?
Via a friend who worked for a small software house called LSD. They wrote financial software and were looking for a support person. I was working in the city, knew a bit about stocks and shares and had experience with computers.

What's your favourite chat-up line?
Grab your coat love, you've pulled!

What do you do to relax?
Many different things - a walk on Clapham Common, a good meal with friends, pottering about my garden, a soak in the bath with a glass of wine, or an early night in with my husband!

What's your favourite song and why?
I think it's impossible to have one favorite song because what you want to hear is so dependent on how you're feeling. English Rose by The Jam is special - friends performed it at our wedding. And I'd definitely take Mozart's Requiem and ACDC Highway to Hell on to my desert island.

What's the most embarrassing thing that's ever happened to you?
Breaking wind mid-performance in a gymnastics competition when I was about 11. It's the nerves you know!

What's your favourite place and why?
In a big luxurious bed with my husband. I think you can work out why.

If you had a dinner party and could invite anyone, dead or alive, who would you invite and why?
Ayrton Senna because he's one of the few people I really wanted to meet and now I won't have the chance. Julie Burchill because she's intelligent and opinionated, so would be great conversation value. Likewise, Carl Hiassen the author because he has a very bizarre and funny wit mixed with great intelligence. Eddie Irvine because he's extremely sexy and sounds like he knows how to have a good time. And my closest friends, because I don't see enough of them.

If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?
Spend it of course! I'd blow £5m on being an F1 team owner for a year. With the rest, I'd buy a fabulous home in Tuscany or the Cote d'Azur and a ski chalet in the Alps. I guess some would go on my family. If there's anything left, I fancy getting a share in a beach called Le Pinguin Bleu near St Tropez.

If you could make a voodoo doll of someone, who would it be?
Not really my style, but if you held a gun to my head I'd stick pins in John Prescott until he sorted out the transport infrastructure of this country.

Is there life after death?
I've no idea at all. I recommend a hedge position -- treat everything around you as if there is life after death, while having a go at life as if it's the only one you'll get.

What's the most daring thing you've ever done?
I used to think it was having a baby - I'm not good at pain, so signing up for childbirth was very brave for me. With hindsight though, it's the mindblowing responsibility of having a child that's the most daring and I don't think that's easy to comprehend before you have one.

What's your best quality?
I'm very patient with people. Other people find my gullibility good fun!

What's your most annoying habit?
I talk too much and listen too little.

Favourite joke?
I can never remember jokes for any length of time, so here's the latest one I heard, from my father
Three engineering students were gathered together discussing the possible designers of the human body.
One said: "It was a mechanical engineer. Just look at all the joints."
Another said: "No, it was an electrical engineer. The nervous system has many thousands of electrical connections."
The last said: "Actually, it was a civil engineer. Who else would run a toxic wastepipe through a recreational area?"

What most annoys you?
Rudeness, unfairness and incompetence really bug me. The most frequent though is bad traffic and poor driving.

Who is your biggest hero/heroine?
My husband of course.

How would you like to die and what would you choose as your epitaph?
Spectacularly, quickly, painlessly and with all my faculties intact. I'd hope to have "treasured wife, mother and grandmother. She worked hard, loved devotedly and thoroughly enjoyed her time here."

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