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.

St Pancras


St PancrasOriginally uploaded by nilexuk.

21092006(001).jpgDelighted to see, on passing through St Pancras, that so much progress has been made on the channel tunnel rail link project. In 2007, St Pancras will become the Eurostar terminus, which means that there have been works and improvements in the station for years now. Midland Mainline passengers for stations to Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield have in the mean time been moved onto a rather spiffing interim platform 200 yards down (up?) the line.

An outward sign that work is progressing is that a new ticket office has been opened under the banner “Domestic Tickets.”

A further sign is that the canopy over the station is gleaming new.

MPfight

MPfight: Looks like it might be interesting, but for me, the text version just crashes after the first input.  Will have a longer experiment when I’m not relying on battery. (via)

I’m a *bad* Lib Dem

I’m really sorry, but I simply cannot be bothered to go to the Leader’s Speech this morning.

I will listen to what he has to say later on the radio, or I will download his speech, but this morning it’s not important to me to go and sit in the conference hall and listen.

Two factors influence my decision:

  1. The conference appeal
  2. My bags

Shortly before the Leader speaks, they pass buckets around and get delegates representatives to dig into their pockets, fill in credit card slips and donate, donate, donate.  If the leader is late, they keep on doing this for a long time.

I’m sorry, but I’m skint.  I have spent a considerable amount of money to be here, as will have most people here.  Anyone staying in the conference hotel will have forked out the best part of £1000 for their accommodation alone, without thinking of the expense of getting here or eating here, or provisioning oneself with the empty calories that make conference so convivial.  But the appeal is a big, big money spinner for the party, so they are not about to stop it any time soon.
And the issue of bags.  You can’t take suitcases into the conference hall.  I’ve been here a week with a lot of luggage (even my daily kit has been extensive: laptop, recorder, mobile, camera, paperwork…).  In order to go to the leader’s speech, I would have to leave my pricey gadgets with my hotel, walk the miles along the seafront to the conference centre, sit in the hall being bullied into clapping, then walk the miles back to my hotel, then walk the further miles from there to the station.

Instead, I’ve chosen to take a leisurely stroll through the lanes (with my bags) find a wifi hotspot, and sit out the length of my battery.  (This means relying on books for my train journey home)

Anyway, I interviewed Sir Menzies earlier in the week for the LDV podcasat.  Well, almost.