Writing more

One of the places the wedding news arrived at was UMRA, the Archers newsgroup, via an old friend who gave a link to tweets.

In the way that discussion does on UMRA, conversation digressed and included remarks to the effect that this place is less readable now it is cluttered up with tweets.

That’s an entirely true criticism and one I have heard before. The long pages of bulletted tweets, often only half of a conversation it is nearly impossible to follow, do change the nature of this place. And including them here is a short cut, because I don’t find time often enough to write more substantive posts.

And even when I do write more stuff here, I often get halfway through and think, “This would make more sense / reach a wider audience on LDV” so pack up tools here and post the piece over at LibDemVoice.org.

If you are bothered by the tweets, I’ve made two new links available over on the side bar – a link to the site without the tweet posts, and a link to the feed for the site without tweets. You’re more than welcome to use those if you like, and I shan’t be the least offended!

These are possible thanks to the magic of wordpress. The tweet category on this site is cat 19, so adding &cat=-19 into an url suppresses posts in that category. The url does however get a little bit lost if you keep pressing “older posts” and gets completely broken by page 3,

The magic of wordpress is also helping to bring more content to these pages. I’ve also installed a WordPress plugin called FeedWordPress which will automatically copy across the posts I write for LDV onto these pages. This may be a little weird. The posts will be in a category called “First appeared on LDV” and you won’t be able to comment on them. There should always be a link back to the main website, so do comment over there. Some of the posts may make little sense here – not least the Weekly Catchup… But we’ll see how it goes and make changes if necessary.

Getting married

Hopefully all those of you who read this blog will have read the news of our engagement from a tweet sent on Monday.

This has proven a pretty effective way of getting the news out – an awful lot of people have subsequently contacted us to say they’re happy, to offer congratulations and to enquire about dates.

We won’t be setting a date yet, and we are trying to avoid spending too much time thinking about it whilst one of us still has serious academic obligations that are supposed to be filling much of his time. That said, we’ll probably be trying to get along to a Wedding Fayre on Palm Sunday to see how the land lies. (“If they spell it with a Y, more people will come”)

This blog won’t transform into a wedding angst blog, rest assured. It’s almost impossible to write about within my personal blogging rule, which is not to talk about too much people who are not themselves living their lives online or in public. It’s one thing to decide to talk about the things I do and to talk about politics in public, but it’s unfair to drag other people into the public domain without their permission. (This is the reason, incidentally, that I do not use my fiancé’s name in full anywhere on the blog.)

So, some general thoughts on weddings and marriages in particular. Clearly as two men, we’re not getting married in a church. Bizarrely, I learned last year, that the Civil Partnerships Act is so framed as to prohibit even those faiths that were happy to marry gay couples from doing it. For example, the British Quakers were more than happy to recognise lasting gay unions, but are not allowed to get involved in civil partnerships.

I’m quite sad that this means we won’t be able to use any of those lovely hymns I spent my childhood as a choirboy singing. It might mean we end up having a singalong at the reception as a way of circumventing the rules!

Such little preliminary planning as we have done has consisted of browsing various websites of the hotels and other places near Nottingham that do weddings. And some things spring to mind: few of them mention any prices at all. Few of them refer to civil partnerships as an option as well as civil marriage. None of them is big enough to house our entire combined friends and families (although when we finally get hold of the prices, we may well have to viciously prune the guestlists and hope not everyone invited can make it!)

Hmm. Awfully big adventure, this.

Tweets on 2009-03-28

  • @FemmedeR what ‘appened with you story yesterday? #
  • @miketd can only see half your conversation, but le roux / la rousse is redhead; le/la russe = Russian; le roux also as in sauce. #
  • @miketd Larousse, however is a dictionary named after this guy… http://tr.im/hTh9 #
  • @miketd les roustons, however are… erm… things that come in pairs that only men have… is any of this helping? 🙂 #
  • Get excited and make things: http://tr.im/hTob #
  • @lfeatherstone pesky squirrels #
  • @madamemish Grey’s Anatomy here. This is living indeed. #
  • @madamemish Weird how George is back, no? Massive Chrichton homage? #

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Tweets on 2009-03-27

  • @femmeder Nottm City Council has renegotiated some 106 agreements to keep building and make more social provision. #
  • At a training session about commissioning for senior cllrs and management. Only Lib Dem. #
  • “Commissioning” is needlessly pompous local government speak for “doing stuff” #
  • Coffee break. Corridor full of people on mobiles proving their departments can’t run without them. #
  • @FemmedeR search Notm Eve Post for cllr Alan Clarke, there’s stories there about it for starters. #
  • @dr_nick 😦 how long ban? #
  • @FemmedeR or try Notm city council press office? #
  • What a weird avo. Wonder if anyone else in this room has twittered a story to the FT during the workshop. #
  • @jamesgraham don’t listen to her! Farron is much more bog-eyed than Simm. #
  • @iaindale Dan Hannon now on PM #
  • Hah! Caroline Quinn: “So, John Pugh MP, are you in the bonkers camp?” YMTTICPC. #
  • Hosting a meeting tonight. Trying to make house look like the post of place which is routinely cleaned. #
  • Wedding’s off! P just wandered into room as I was watching Derek Draper on Politics show and said “Is that you?” Grrrr! #
  • Typing up minutes the same evening as the meeting. A good habit to get into, but not making any promises! #
  • @having olives, mushrooms, onion, melon, grapes, banana #5aday #
  • JoeMyGod on the difference between Dubya and Obama: http://tr.im/hRpt #

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Tweets on 2009-03-26

  • @kayray Ya gets what ya pays for 🙂 #
  • Hearing that Notts Police have a presence on Facebook, mainly to talk to local students. #
  • @kayray heh – I meant twitter not gmail, but same applies! #
  • Wondering how reporting crime through Facebook works: “halp! Bein BRUGLED! Lol.” #
  • @austinrathe we have senior police in front of us at committee and they certainly sound impressive. #
  • Going out to dinner with my fiancé. #
  • Home to a rousing chorus of Feed us, Heavenly Father, Feed us, from the cats. #
  • Ooh, the goslings are hatching. http://tr.im/hO2e #
  • Spelling “surprisingly” correctly on the fourth attempt. After looking it up. #
  • 12seconds – Not leafleting in that! http://tiny12.tv/AQMPA #

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Tweets on 2009-03-25

  • @meryl_f ouch – it’s not like you missed years of checkups, though is it? #
  • @libdemvoice http://twitpic.com/2eh3y – Ooh. Nice wallpaper. #
  • Hmmm – a penis almost as big as @warrenellis’s http://tr.im/hK8i #
  • @alanfleming Nice new version of that poster we like http://tr.im/hKbc #
  • @iaindale http://twitpic.com/2es1d – Cluttered?? That’s not cluttered! #
  • Hmmm. Apparently elopement is out of the question. Very much want to *be* married, but not sure I want to *get* married. #
  • PS Anyone know any good free online project management tools? #
  • @richardbooth 91 Followers? pfff! Noob! #
  • @adamrio fingerless gloves are very helpful when leafleting. #
  • @richardbooth – @s used to be iwantsandy.com but she’s dead now. #
  • @richardbooth do you use a feed reader at all? if so, search @richardbooth and plug feed into reader. Voilà, replies function don’t matter #
  • Oh boy. Sorry for crazy things that TwitTools did whilst I was upgrading my blog 😦 #

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O Fleur d’Écosse!

Last night, I popped into Cix with the intention of asking a question about touristy things to do in and around Quimper on the Brest peninsular.  (Anyone got any suggestions?)

Unfortunately, someone on the Francophile group had posted a request for a translation of O Flower of Scotland – with the very specific proviso that the French version had to fit the music so that French people could sing along with Scots.

Now, on French Wikipedia, there’s a literal translation which is rather nice, but is no way singable.  I particularly liked:

The Hills are bare now
And Autumn leaves lie thick and still

Les collines sont désertes à présent
Et gisent les feuilles d’automne en un manteau épais et silencieux

So, I settled down to work and produced something that more or less occasionally scans – and even uses the past historic tense, as I think a song like this would probably benefit from some literary class.

It’s by no means a perfect translation, and could certainly do with professional and/or native speaker help to knock it into shape. For starters, I got lost with whether the Flower of Scotland was singular or plural, so my translation moves on from verse to verse – with flower being tu in the first verse, “those who so dearly held” being plural, and moving onto Nous resisting proud Edward’s army by the final verse.

Oh, and it definitely gets lost in the middle of the second verse and doesn’t entirely make sense.

But see what you think. All improvements welcomed.

O Flower of Scotland,
When will we see
Your like again,
That fought and died for,
Your wee bit Hill and Glen,
And stood against him,
Proud Edward’s Army,
And sent him homeward,
Tae think again.

O Fleur d’Écosse
Quand est-ce que nous
te reverrions?
Qui te battas et mourus
Pour ta colline et vallon.
Tu résistas
L’armée d’Edouarde
Et l’envoyas
Pour repenser

The Hills are bare now,
And Autumn leaves
lie thick and still,
O’er land that is lost now,
Which those so dearly held,      
That stood against him,
Proud Edward’s Army,
And sent him homeward,
Tae think again.

Les collines sont nues
Les feuilles d’Autonne
S’amassent tranquilles
Sur un terroir perdu.
Ceux qui l’ont aimé
Qui résistèrent
L’armée d’Edouarde
Et l’envoyèrent
Pour repenser

Those days are past now,
And in the past
they must remain,
But we can still rise now,
And be the nation again,
That stood against him,
Proud Edward’s Army,
And sent him homeward,
Tae think again.

Ces jours sont passés
Et resteront
dans le passé.
Mais nous nous leverons
Pour le patrimoine.
Nous resisterâmes
L’armée d’Edouarde
Nous l’enverâmes
Pour repenser.