Archive for September 29th, 2008

Flying the rainbow flag

Rainbow flag

Rainbow flag

Hurrah, yet another gay MP has done the deed and “married” * their partner at a Civil Partnership ceremony. This time it’s the turn of Parliament’s only openly gay woman, the Treasury Minister Angela Eagle and her partner Maria Exall. I have met them both (no, I’m not name dropping, there’s a silly and childish story involved) so I think it’s ok to say congratulations and mean it.

So, that silly and childish story. Three years ago, I was a delegate at Labour Party conference. I went to the reception they have at the start of conference and I don’t know how, but I ended up chatting to a group of people that included Angela and Maria. Then they announced that Blair was due to arrive at any minute. “Oh bloody hell”, said one of the group. “I can’t, I really can’t.” So we headed outside for a cigarette instead. I was in the middle of the group, ahead of Angela and Maria. “Faster, he’s coming”, hissed a woman’s voice and I was pushed through the doorway…

I came within about an inch of head-butting the PM, who was a lot closer than anyone realised. Apart from me. I knew exactly how close he was.

With a startled expression on his face, he looked over me at Angela and Maria. “Leaving so soon, Angela?” he quipped and pretended to be deaf as we skittered off, giggling like naughty schoolgirls. I pinched a cigarette, smoked it and then wandered off to find another party to crash, lest I be duped into beating up other world leaders.

Hat tip to NightHawk.

* Let’s not kid ourselves that it’s the same thing. Close, but no pie. No, I don’t know why I said that either.

The blogroll

The blogroll on my old blog used to be huge. Bloglines bulged all day, each day. As a result, I skimmed the majority of posts and clicked the ‘mark as read’ option as a matter of routine. I hated being away from my computer for a day because it would take me the rest of the week to catch up.

This time around, I’m being a lot more selective and am only linking to and reading the blogs that really interest me, the ones I genuinely look at every time they post, the ones where I read the comments, sometimes contribute, and often return to see what other people have written. There are others I visit sporadically, but if I’m not going to read them every day, why pretend I do by linking to them?

So, for now, this is an introduction to the blogs I enjoy reading. They might not be updated everyday but when they are, it’s worth it, whether for the humorous nature of the posts, the witty observations, the common-sense approach or the glorious photos or just because they’re about people’s real lives.

Let’s start with the real life blogs. First up is Jennieworld Today, written by my very bestest and greatest friend (and my Chief of Staff), Jennie, who as well as being one of life’s Good Guys, is a fantastic cook with a special talent when it comes to cakes and cookies. But that’s not the reason we’re friends, it’s just an added bonus 🙂

Then there’s wongaBlog, Skuds and Rullsenberg Rules, who routinely blog about the things that not only get my inner geek excited, but also the TV I enjoy and the kind of politics that I happily endorse. A winning combination 🙂

Storyteller’s World, Sightlines and Welshpurpletree’s Weblog are all blogs about our daily lives that have two things in common. Firstly, they’re all written by creative souls and secondly, because they’re all people known by people I know. Jane used to work with Antonia. The Storyteller is Martha’s dad. And Welshpurpletree is Jennie’s friend. I like that.

Geek Mum and Moose in the Kitchen are blogs I’ve only just started reading but enjoy so much that they’ve graduated from my “new blogs” folder in Bloglines. Ironically, Geek Mum hasn’t posted anything since I subscribed a month ago, but Moose has made me laugh several times, including her recent description of why she’s a “moose in the kitchen”.

I love taking photos but they’re never as good as I want them to be so it gives me huge satisfaction to enjoy other people’s photographs. Which is why I subscribe to a few photoblogs, whose photos say more than most bloggers do in words. I’ve been a huge fan of Blue Ridge blog for years and Daily Walks and Leena’s Photoblog are recent discoveries. All are wonderful.

My political list is deliberately short at the moment. There’s a couple of blogs on probation, but I now find most political blogs, no matter what colour flag they’re flying, to be extremely dull and monotonous. Bitching, back-stabbing and willy-waggling. Or far too earnest and wiling to overlook the negatives just to present a “united front”. Or the opposite, all criticism, no praise. Or simply dull! That’s my current (and cynical, I wil admit) perspective of the state of political blogging and while I’m happy to be part of the Bloggers4Labour network, supporting Labour but willing to criticise when I damn well feel like it, that’s about as far as it goes. For now.

Having said all that, I love politics when it’s done well – and I also enjoy reading a well-executed piece of political commentary. That’s why I like these two blogs, though that’s probably because I know them both in real life so know exactly what they stand for and why. Which helps – judge not by the blog!

The only two political bloggers on my blogroll are Antonia and donpaskini. Go read and learn.

Finally, we’ve got the blogs about smallholdings and self-sufficiency. There are loads of these out there, but these are ones I’ve discovered who appeal to my sense of humour and my way of looking at the world, probably because each and every one of these bloggers cares deeply about their way of life and puts that above everything else.

Friends of Woodmill Farm have Kune Kune pigs and Houdini ponies. LittleFfarm Dairy does a bit of everything, including some yummy looking food, but their main thing is goats. Maternal Gardens describes herself as “a transplant to Maine, I’m originally from Philadelphia, PA. Maine has been a place to live self sufficiently, organically, a little slowed down and “back woods”. And then there’s the blog where I’ve learnt so much, it simply isn’t true. Musings from a Stonehead is an excellent read as well as a seemingly never-ending fountain of knowledge, but watch out for his dry wit…

So, that’s my currently blogroll. New reads will be introduced as and when I discover them, so all suggestions will be gratefully received.