Gay fête


Gay fête

Originally uploaded by nilexuk.

Well, the gay fête, sorry homo homemakers’ Autumn Fayre was rather lovely, and very competetitely priced. Lots of stalls, including Tupperware, homemade jam, allotment produce, a knitting group called Stitch and Bitch, and a rather pretty young man demonstrating cookery: “make your own mayonnaise, gaspacho and bloody mary.” Lovely.

There was also a BFI archive film about Women’s Institutes, filmed in the 1940s, that was rather twee. But did you know WI was a Canadian import? I’d assumed it was a quintessentially English institution.

I stayed about an hour, then started to feel my provincial weight in a crowd of city guys with 26″ waists. Lots of perfect tans and expensive shoes slumming it with the homespun produce.

Awful lot of pretty young men with beards. Don’t tell me face fungus is fashionable. It looks better on them than me.

Testing the smoke alarm

No need to waste valuable daylight hours in the pointless pursuit of smoke-alarm testing.

Just come home late from the office after your partner is in bed and decide to sneak a few rounds of toast.  Those day-old curled crusts will interact entertainingly with the elements of the toaster and send your smoke alarm into a frenzy of shrill complaint.

Grrr.

Anyway, now I’m definitely awake despite having to get up to catch a train in six hours, look at this – award winning blogger Stephen Tall watching Question Time.  And Pastichio Nuts, who I don’t think has won any awards, watching Stephen watching telly.

It doesn’t get any more cutting edge than this, ladies and gentlemen.

Off t’smoke tomorrow

Off to London for a flying visit tomorrow, to go to this rather unusual sounding event, see Titus Andronicus at the Globe and get a chance to look at my brother’s new flat.

I’ve wanted to see Titus Andronicus live, ooh, ever since seeing Theatre of Blood. I have a dim recollection of seeing a great film version at the Broadway, but I can’t wait to see how they do this on stage:

“Enter the empress’ sons with Lavinia, her hands cut off, and her tongue cut out, and ravished.”

Last summer, during my sabatical at St Paul’s, I popped over the river to see Pericles at the Globe, a very interesting staging with the actors swinging together on ropes for the sea voyages, and using the whole building. I took photos while I was there, which you can see here, but it looks like I was mostly just concentrating on snapping cute people in the audience.

This time the weather is set to be terrible. Although I enjoyed being a groundling last time (using a cheap ticket where you stand throughout the performance) I did find it knackering, particularly on a day when I’d already been standing or walking around London a lot, so I have secured us actual seats. How will the groundlings cope with being rained on? Will we stay dry even in a covered seat?

Off t'smoke tomorrow

Off to London for a flying visit tomorrow, to go to this rather unusual sounding event, see Titus Andronicus at the Globe and get a chance to look at my brother’s new flat.

I’ve wanted to see Titus Andronicus live, ooh, ever since seeing Theatre of Blood. I have a dim recollection of seeing a great film version at the Broadway, but I can’t wait to see how they do this on stage:

“Enter the empress’ sons with Lavinia, her hands cut off, and her tongue cut out, and ravished.”

Last summer, during my sabatical at St Paul’s, I popped over the river to see Pericles at the Globe, a very interesting staging with the actors swinging together on ropes for the sea voyages, and using the whole building. I took photos while I was there, which you can see here, but it looks like I was mostly just concentrating on snapping cute people in the audience.

This time the weather is set to be terrible. Although I enjoyed being a groundling last time (using a cheap ticket where you stand throughout the performance) I did find it knackering, particularly on a day when I’d already been standing or walking around London a lot, so I have secured us actual seats. How will the groundlings cope with being rained on? Will we stay dry even in a covered seat?

The latest

…from his Lordship, always an entertaining read, with full details of the new budget airline Air Lembit, and a rather exciting Time Team discovery.

Lord Bonker’s Archives are also available.

Would anyone like to lend me a hand on the Wikipedia entries for Lord Bonkers and Jonathan Calder?

EDIT: Oh dear – it seems Lord Bonkers didn’t meet the criteria for inclusion, and Jonathon may not be long for this world either.

I’m on the list

I'm on Iain Dale's ListI’ve been getting a lot of publicity recently, and I’m in two minds about it.

Iain Dale likes my blog. Iain gets a lot of traffic, and Iain has written a pamphlet about blogging in which he ranks various blogs. I made it in at #2 out of the Lib Dem blogs (pipped to the post by upstart LDV) and #8 in his aggregated list of blogs of all persuasions. As a result of that, there have been links to me from the Today programme, amongst many others.

I also feature on slightly more evidence-based list on SpyBlog, which ranks bloggers in order of how many people subscribe to them through bloglines. I come in there at #68, which is probably a more likely place for me to be.

It’s quite an achievement to have been listed at all. I don’t write this for accolades, and I don’t do it for the politics. It’s supposed to be a personal blog, not a political one, but as a person very much involved in several levels of the political process, politics impinges on my personal life from time to time. But I never set out to write a political blog that looked personal.

Some of the unexpected consequences of this are that several people I do’t know very well have come up to me at conference and asked me how my cats are. Which is a little freaky.

I deliberately scaled back cat comments in case I was putting off the non-cat lovers who read this. Maybe the cats should feature more highly!

I'm on the list

I'm on Iain Dale's ListI’ve been getting a lot of publicity recently, and I’m in two minds about it.

Iain Dale likes my blog. Iain gets a lot of traffic, and Iain has written a pamphlet about blogging in which he ranks various blogs. I made it in at #2 out of the Lib Dem blogs (pipped to the post by upstart LDV) and #8 in his aggregated list of blogs of all persuasions. As a result of that, there have been links to me from the Today programme, amongst many others.

I also feature on slightly more evidence-based list on SpyBlog, which ranks bloggers in order of how many people subscribe to them through bloglines. I come in there at #68, which is probably a more likely place for me to be.

It’s quite an achievement to have been listed at all. I don’t write this for accolades, and I don’t do it for the politics. It’s supposed to be a personal blog, not a political one, but as a person very much involved in several levels of the political process, politics impinges on my personal life from time to time. But I never set out to write a political blog that looked personal.

Some of the unexpected consequences of this are that several people I do’t know very well have come up to me at conference and asked me how my cats are. Which is a little freaky.

I deliberately scaled back cat comments in case I was putting off the non-cat lovers who read this. Maybe the cats should feature more highly!

A weekend in Wales

I’m not sure, when I put it in my diary, that I realised that our scheduled weekend away camping with friends fell immediately after party conference in Brighton…

… but by golly am I glad it was. A weekend spent with close friends in the still of the Snowdonia National Park was just the tonic after a frenetic week spent with fahsands of Lib Dems in Brighton.

We drove out to Shrewsbury on Friday night, overnighted and continued on to Shell Island on Saturday morning.

Other people, for example, reviewers on this camping website, have patchy experiences of camping on Shell Island. I have come to the view that how good a time you have depends on two factors: what the weather does, and whether you end up, amongst the hundreds of acres of beautiful campsite, next to a group of people you judge to be behaving badly.

Thankfully at the end of September, the site was very quiet, and we managed to find a pitch a good distance from any other sign of humanity. By the evening, a slightly noisy group revealed themselves a couple of hundred metres away, but nothing too seriously annoying.

And the weather? Some of the best I have ever had on the island, in six years or more of visiting. Saturday it blew a gale (about Force 5), but was not otherwise too cold. Come Sunday morning, the gale dropped, and it started tipping down instead. But the rain didn’t last long beyond breakfast time (*my* breakfast time, anyway) and after that, the rain stayed away and we had baking sunshine – so much that it was at times too hot to sit in direct sun. I had not really envisaged sunshine, so my packing had been lots of jumpers etc., and I forgot both sunglasses and suncream. Rather foolhardily, I accidently left my anorak in the office, but being there for a whole weekend without any waterproof clothing at all wasn’t a problem this time.

It’s been over a year since I was last there, and during that time I have been recommending to other people to go. I started to doubt why I was such a keen advocate of the place, but this weekend reminded me. It’s beautiful. It’s a little remote, and therefore peaceful. The journey there through the Snowdon National Park either by rail or car is breathtaking. Standing on the 8-mile sandy beach that stretches all the way from Llanbedr to Barmouth, you are surrounded on three sides by mountains fading away, and sea wherever there’s no mountain.  Although I’ve taken many great pictures over the years, nothing quite does the scale justice.

This time, I made videos: new tent, dancing, waving.