Sunday, December 30, 2007

Farewell 2007

I know, I am a day early. But tomorrow will be taken up with packing and travelling back to London and preparing for our party. S0 today it is.

The New Year. A chance to look backwards, a chance to look forwards. January, Janus, the keeper of doors and gates, one face looking forwards and the other looking backwards. The symbol of change, from one state to another. January, the first month of the calendar year and the first month of my year. I was born in the middle of a snow storm in the morning of the fifth day of January 1982. My Daddy was the only Daddy to visit his baby; walking boots, a bicycle and a duvet jacket being far more effective than a car at running through deep snow. For me, the New Year and my own new year have always been a time to reflect and plan and this year is no different.

This Christmas was my 26th Christmas. It was the first Christmas M and I have spent together at my parents house; it was the first Christmas since I was at school that both maternal and paternal Grandparents have celebrated with us. It was the first Christmas spent at my own house where both sisters were not present. We split our week off, M and I. 3 days at my parents and then 3 days at his. Life is less busy at his parents. Whilst M played golf yesterday his mother took me shopping and out for lunch. 2007 has been the first year where I have identified my budget and my gaps in my wardrobe and only bought what I needed (with a couple of bargain-ous exceptions which it would have been churlish to resist).

So, 2007 was my quarter century. I started the year entering the new age box 25-34 and felt rather adrift. It was the first time I felt older on my birthday, that the years were drifting away. That I hadn't really achieved what I thought I might have done by 25. And then, suddenly, things started happening. M and I moved to a new house where we have really been able to set up our home together, rather than a mutually convenient roosting place. Where we have enjoyed spending time together and where we have enjoyed entertaining our friends. We went on a trip of a lifetime to Morocco to celebrate our 5th anniversary and I had an interview for a Training Contract before we went and came home to a job offer: I am now a much longed for trainee solicitor and qualify in year and four months. 2007 has also been the year that my writing took off - articles published in several on-line magazines as well as the traditional format North Africa Times - and perhaps my happiest year since I was 17 in 1999. I wonder if it is coincidence that both summers involved prolonged sailing adventures?

The Prime Minister of my formative years (15-25) stood down in 2007 and in his place is his successor, Mr Brown. He will take the politics of my late twenties forward, although how far remains to be seen. The years where I have become interested, informed, with an opinion to air and a willingness to discuss. 2007 has also been a global focussed year for me personally as well, with one sister travelling and the other sister studying in the USA. 2008 looks to be more so, with the travelling sister off again once more, this time to Australia for a year or more.

2008 will be here in 32 hours, give or take 20 minutes. 2007 has been a good year, for me at least, although I am not sad that it is drawing to a close, that the finale is underway and the curtain shall at last soon fall. A life long pessimist, I actually feel rather optimistic about 2008. I know that there will be disappointments (both sisters out of the country and so on) but I feel older, more mature, more in control. I have started to grow into the 25-34 age group and I think am more ready to face the things which it will contain. I am exicited about returning to London, to our friends, even to work. I think I am looking forward to 2008.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Quote of the day...

Overheard my Grandmother discussing music with a much younger male member of the family. I could have sworn she said "now, how about those Arthritic Monkeys". She maintains not.

Friday, December 21, 2007


Thanks to James at The Ink for his instructions as to how to take a screen shot of my desktop. Obviously in my version the two people have faces but I think they should remain anonymous.

Apparently this is something of a meme and should be accompanied with some discussion of computer history. My relationship with computers goes back a good long way - as a child we had various mac computers and have had the Internet for as long as I can remember. I was bought my first own laptop when I went to university (an i-mac clam shell in turquoise) which I still use at home now for writing articles and on which I have written every essay and dissertation. It is rather old now (my version of i-tunes will not recognise the old i-pod shuffle that my sister donated to me when she upgraded, it is that old) so I use M's laptop for accessing the Internet.

Working life forced me to get to grips with PCs which were previously uncharted territory. After macs which seem to work so obviously and so straightforwardly, I found it quite a task to become PC literate. Although some things still fox me (screen printing and so on!) I can drive it satisfactorily although I cannot do anything flashy. Blogging has forced me to master some html knowledge (I know I could update to the version which does this for me, but I am afraid I will lose some of my blog). I know I should also back up my blog but I just don't know how to. Any ideas?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Bad Taste?

Another evening, another Christmas party. This time hosted by friends we made in Morocco. This meant that apart from our friend, obviously, we would know no other of the guests. The invitation suggested that we should come in fancy dress; the theme? 'Bad taste'. I went to a 'bad-taste' themed Christmas party whilst at university once. Wine Soc Christmas Social I believe. I have absolutely no recollection of what I wore. My friends M and T wore matching vests saying 'f***ing common' with bad trousers. I recall a man in a jumpsuit with a baby handcuffed to his arm. Many people took the opportunity to either wear as little as possible or cross-dress. My only other two memories of the night (other than the theme) was surfing on a table during a game of 21s and vomiting into a urinal in the men's loos whilst another friend stood beside me telling all and sundry that "she's not my girlfriend". A good party? Anyway, last night's party was an altogether more sober and much less student-y affair. I decided to wear my most sparkly Christmas-style outfit - sequined shoes, black rah-rah skirt (v.small and courtesy of a sister's wardrobe clear out in the summer whereon I thought at some point there will be an occasion when I need a skirt of the variety that my cousin calls 'one up from a hairband' and at least I will not have to go out and buy one) and a gold and black glittery stripey top with 80's style sleeves (which I already owned having bought it last year for a work party), teamed with my Vegas Ball extra large gold and black earrings and a large black ribbon bow around my waist. I looked like one of Girls Aloud had got lost and somehow found herself at a house party in Battersea. It was a good party; despite us not knowing any of the guests other than the host, she must have told them all about our Moroccan adventure as they all knew our names and occupations. It was rather an odd feeling, notoriety. Several people told me they liked my outfit. One person told me they loved my top. I wondered whether they thought it was a good take on 'bad-taste' or whether they indeed just had bad taste. I attempted to work out which people had dressed up and which just looked like that anyway. It was hard to tell.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

And for his next trick...

... he will perform the same one that a friend of his did at a wedding which caused a Bishop to have a heart-attack and be wheeled out of the reception. Last night I went to a friends house for a pre-Christmas meal. One of the other guests is a magician. Over a glass of mulled wine in the kitchen he mentioned the Bishop story and I asked him which trick the friend had done. Actually, he said, the trick was part of his routine and would I like to see it. Of course I said yes. So, after the meal (beautiful shepherds pie, just in case you were wondering) Magician Friend began his routine. He asked me to pick a card and he made it appear from various places. He then asked me to sign it and made it jump around all over the place, including appearing from inside a zipped compartment of his wallet, which was inside his coat pocket. Finally, he got me to hold the entire deck of cards between my hands, extracted my signed card from between my closed hands, showed it to me and then casually remarked that actually, he'd turned all the cards into a block of glass. No really, he had. Would I like to open my hands. With a distinct sense of dread and adrenaline, I opened my hands. No cards but a block of perspex. No wonder the Bishop had a heart-attack. I almost had one myself. Amazing. I was filled with a mix of wonder (apparently I watched the whole routine looking like a small child) and humiliation that I had sat in front of a room full of people and allowed myself to be tricked. Magician Friend gave me my signed six of clubs and I have pinned it to the notice board to remind myself of the day I went out for supper and someone managed to swap a deck of cards for a block of glass within my closed hands under my very nose and I didn't even notice.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas Preparations (Part 2)

A fleeting visit to Shropshire this weekend. Returned to London late last night having spent the weekend looking after M's Grannie. His parents are away on the other side of the world visiting relatives so it was decided that buying them a Christmas tree would be a good use of the afternoon and that it would be a nice thing for them to come home to. We got into the car and drove towards Shrewsbury, hoping to come across somewhere selling trees. With surprising ease we found somewhere and helped M's Grannie across the rather uneven ground. If she had started gesturing with her stick I wouldn't have been surprised. We were after one which wouldn't shed it's needles but it was hard to spot them among the motley collection of spruces which were already showing signs of going brown and dry at the bottoms. We sized up a fair few before we settled on the one we bought. The polar opposite to the tree which we chose for our own house - where ours is a deep green fir, bushy and rotund the tree we bought yesterday was a much paler greeny green, tall with dense but sparse branches which will make decorating it much easier. At over 7 foot high it just managed to be persuaded into the car; in situ it looks rather fine, reminiscent somehow of a desert plant.

Friday, December 14, 2007

London - Thursday 13 December

Things which made me smile today and realise that there are decent people around me:

1. The kind receptionist at the doctor's surgery who held an appointment booking for me whilst I ran home to get my passport (to prove who I was) and then who made me a doctor's appointment immediately after the nurse's appointment so that I could be seen as quickly as possible, even though one is supposed to see the nurse first who will then book the follow up doctor's appointment.

2. The teenager with the bright red and black hair, black sunglasses, harsh expression and punky clothes, who, when an old lady used her knee as a handrest on the bus to stop herself falling over whilst trying to get to the seat, smiled sweetly, extended her hand and helped the old lady into the seat. And then helped her up when the old lady reached her stop.

3. The taxi driver who kept up a constant stream of chatter and told me that he was Joe Cole's grandfather and who insisted on driving us to the end of our road despite the fact that we had run out of money to pay the bill, saying that he would rather we got home than he made an extra £2.

Things which made me fear for the well-being of Londoners.

1. When buying a sandwich for my boss at her chosen sandwich shop watching the girl behind the counter blowing her nose, apologising and then proceeding to make the sandwich without washing her hands or putting on any gloves and then taking the money and moving onto the next sandwich. The transaction happened so fast that I was unable to comment before I had been given the sandwich and she was serving the next person.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Christmas Preparations

We bought our Christmas tree yesterday, from a Christmas Tree 'forest' near Highbury. We went there on the off-chance, the tail end of a busy 24 hours. We had a meal with friends on Saturday night, complete with crackers and silly hats. B made the roast, M provided the wine and I brought some home made mince pies (mince meat and all). We drank wine and talked and played poker and ended up sitting round drinking vodka and coke from pint glasses and watching the Hatton fight. About 7 hours later I ate 'breakfast' in the Hummingbird Bakery in South Kensington before going to the Golden Age of Couture exhibition at the V&A. After meeting M after he finished work we passed the Christmas trees on the way home and went in. We wandered up and down the rows of trees wondering which one was the one for us. A teeny tiny one? Not much value for money. An enormous one for our enormously high ceilings? No, too heavy for M to carry home. We ummed and ahhed over sizes, varieties, stands and the overall costs. Should we have the one that looked rejected. Should we have a living one? In the end we chose a medium sized one with bushy branches which M was able to carry home with (relative) ease. We managed to screw the base on and clear a space by the end of the sofa and I even managed to plug the lights in before the tree was in situ. Once the lights were on and the 5 decorations which we own were hanging on the tree I felt positively Christmassy and even heated up some mulled wine.

Tonight I plan to make some more decorations for the tree by drying slices of orange and hanging them with red ribbon. I will be doing this just as soon as I have bought a punch bag.

Friday, December 07, 2007

First and Second laws of Thermodynamics...

... according to Michael Flanders and Donald Swann. This never fails to make me laugh.

"Snow says that nobody can consider themselves educated who doesn't know at least the basic language of Science. I mean, things like Sir Edward Boyle's Law, for example: the greater the external pressure, the greater the volume of hot air. Or the Second Law of Thermodynamics - this is very important. I was somewhat shocked the other day to discover that my partner not only doesn't know the Second Law, he doesn't even know the First Law of Thermodynamics.

Going back to first principles, very briefly, thermodynamics is of course derived from two Greek words: thermos, meaning hot, if you don't drop it, and dinamiks, meaning dynamic, work; and thermodynamics is simply the science of heat and work and the relationships between the two, as laid down in the Laws of Thermodynamics, which may be expressed in the following simple terms...

After me...

The First Law of Thermodymamics:
Heat is work and work is heat
Heat is work and work is heat
Very good!

The Second Law of Thermodymamics:
Heat cannot of itself pass from one body to a hotter body
(scat music starts)
Heat cannot of itself pass from one body to a hotter body
Heat won't pass from a cooler to a hotter
Heat won't pass from a cooler to a hotter
You can try it if you like but you far better notter
You can try it if you like but you far better notter
'Cos the cold in the cooler with get hotter as a ruler
'Cos the cold in the cooler with get hotter as a ruler
'Cos the hotter body's heat will pass to the cooler
'Cos the hotter body's heat will pass to the cooler

First Law:
Heat is work and work is heat and work is heat and heat is work
Heat will pass by conduction
Heat will pass by conduction
Heat will pass by convection
Heat will pass by convection
Heat will pass by radiation
Heat will pass by radiation
And that's a physical law
Heat is work and work's a curse
And all the heat in the Universe
Is gonna cooool down 'cos it can't increase
Then there'll be no more work and there'll be perfect peace
Yeah - that's entropy, man!

And all because of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which lays down:
That you can't pass heat from the cooler to the hotter
Try it if you like but you far better notter
'Cos the cold in the cooler will get hotter as a ruler
'Cos the hotter body's heat will pass to the cooler
Oh, you can't pass heat from the cooler to the hotter
You can try it if you like but you'll only look a fooler
'Cos the cold in the cooler will get hotter as a ruler
That's a physical Law!

Oh, I'm hot!
Hot? That's because you've been working!

Oh, Beatles - nothing!
That's the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics!"

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

WI Ball

Ok, am officially exhausted. The ball is over for another year and hopefully I might be able to make it through the entire night without dreaming in lists and waking up wondering what I had forgotten to do.

I think it was a success. Certainly on the part of the organisers and the smooth running side of things the night evolved without too many noticable disasters. I didn't get much chance to relax but I did enjoy the night and I have been told by many people how much they enjoyed it. We are still going through our final takings and paying all of our bills but it looks like we made some money for the charity as well as covering our costs. A good job all round I feel.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Teddy Bear Scandal

I can't help but feel that Helena Frith Powell has misjudged this incident somewhat. She starts by referring to Ms Gibbons as "a rather nice lady"; a nice sentiment but given the likelihood of Ms Frith Powell knowing this as a fact, it is perhaps biased. I hope it is true but it is an example of bad reporting. She then compares the issue of the teddy bear's name to Winnie-the-Pooh or Paddington. A rather insensitive comparison to my mind, regardless of the outcome and reaction, we are still discussing religious beliefs. This is not about teddy bear names – it is about perceived intolerance for another religion and ensuing political debate.

There is perhaps a case to be made regarding the right to name your bear what you wish but it should, in my opinion, be saved for another occasion. As for her husband Rupert naming his 45 year old but yet un-named bear Muhammad then that is up to him, but perhaps not something the world needs to know about on her blog which also accompanies serious writing for a variety of daily and weekly newspapers.

The issue here is that Muslims do not allow the name of their prophet Muhammad to be given to inanimate objects or represented in any fashion (hence the outcry over the cartoons and the current outcry over the name of this bear). Part of the Koran is taken by Muslims to mean that Allah cannot be captured in an image by human hand and to attempt such a thing is seen as an insult to Allah. The same belief is applied to the Prophet Muhammad. Children, however, are allowed to be named after Muhammad.

It appears that an English teacher in charge of a class of 7 year olds in Sudan allowed the class teddy bear to be called Muhammad. In this instance it has been argued that she allowed the children to vote on a name; children being children named the bear after themselves, of which Muhammad was clearly a popular name and the bear was henceforth referred to by the moniker 'Muhammad'. How the police and government came to be involved is a little unclear, especially it is said that neither the children nor their parents found the name insulting, although it has been reported that it was the school secretary who chose, instead of taking Ms Gibbons aside and saying something along the lines of "I know you might not be aware of this but wouldn't it be better to re-name the bear as that name can cause offence" decided to report Ms Gibbons to the police.

She has, as I'm sure you're aware, been sentenced to 15 days in prison and immediate deportation from Sudan on her release. Some say that she has been treated lightly (given that the other options ranged from a flogging to 6 months in prison); others are appalled at her treatment. There are currently riots and demonstrations in Sudan calling for Ms Gibbons to be, amongst many punishments, shot by firing squad. All over a (presumed) innocent lapse in judgement in a foreign country.

Now, as a Christian, I am happy with images and inanimate objects being given the name 'Jesus' even if it is usually a temporary measure – i.e . the doll or baby who stands in for the baby Jesus in a nativity play. Just as long as the intention is good and not insulting I do not mind. If someone called their stuff toy devil 'Jesus' as a offensive gesture I might be concerned but I would still hope that the person was misguided and would like to think that as a Christian it is more important to practise forgiveness than it is to dole out punishments. As for imprisoning someone, flogging someone or calling for their execution – those are reactions which befit an actual crime. Ignorance of the law is not an accepted defence but I do think in cases such as this one there does need to be some sort of proven intent. I think Ms Gibbons could perhaps of been more culturally and socially aware but I do not think that she should be punished by imprisonment over what boils down to a cultural misunderstanding. Actually, I don't agree with flogging, execution or corporal punishment in general but I do accept that, rightly or wrongly to my mind, there are countries where these punishments are accepted by society for serious crimes and the people of the society are aware that if they commit a crime then they may be punished in such a fashion. I just don't think that the an offence where no-one else has suffered (and no-one else could even potentially suffer) is a serious crime.

So why have the Sudanese reacted with such virulence to such an incident. I don't think it is simply, as I have read on the BBC forums and other places, that Islam is an old-fashioned style religion where simple misdemeanors are potentially punished by what British citizens would deem barbaric. There is more to it than that I am sure. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I am convinced that this has little do with theology and far more to do with politics.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Heat Magazine

On Tuesday I saw that Heat magazine had included an sticker in the latest edition of their magazine which featured the face of a child: Harvey Price, Katie Price's disabled son, accompanied by the words "Harvey wants to eat me".

I was appalled that a magazine should even feature a child, let alone appear to mock said individual for his disability (Harvey Price suffers from a genetic disorder which causes him to gain weight) so I e-mailed the editors at Heat magazine the following:

"Dear Sir

I was appalled to find that Heat magazine has been offering stickers which feature the faces of children. I was further appalled to find that at least one of these children are disabled and that the stickers have a mocking/deriding tone to the words which accompany them.

Obviously your magazine would not exist without so called celebrities and to remain famous they need you as much as you need them. To feature pictures of consenting adult 'celebrities', whilst distasteful, is also to be expected.

Children however, especially those offspring of a 'celebrity' do not choose a way of life which includes recognition. It is important that they are protected from the public eye until they are old enough to make decisions for themselves. This protection should include publishers such as yourself refraining from publishing their photographs unless they are accompanying their parents to public events such as film premiers where there will be an expectation of publicity. Protection should certainly involve refraining from mocking, poking fun at or generally publishing photographs for no other reason than entertainment.

The sticker I am referring to in particular involves Katie Price's son. While I agree that she does appear to invite cameras into her life (and I am pleased that she does not exclude her son from this simply by virtue of being disabled) I am sure that she would never wish to extend this invitation to allowing her son to be deliberately mocked for the characteristics of his disability.

I very rarely purchase your magazine as I do not wish to perpetuate this cycle of fame for fame's sake. Rest assured that following this distasteful incident I will never be purchasing your magazine ever again and I shall be imploring my friends and colleagues to also boycott your magazine themselves.

I trust that Heat magazine will be issuing an apology for the offence they have caused to both the individuals immediately concerned, those people with disabilities or with disabled members of their families and so on who have worked tirelessly for disabled people to be fully integrated into society and to never be mocked or jeered or bullied in the name of entertainment or anything else as well as the wider public and perhaps also making a donation of profits to a charity which seeks to address this issue.

I look forward to your response in this matter. "

I received the following response:

Thank you for contacting us. No offence was intended by the Harvey sticker but I would like to unreservedly apologise for any offence caused as a result. I have spoken to The Andre's management team and have written a private letter to Katie and Peter to apologise personally.Mark Frith, Editor-in-Chief, heat"

Personally, I did not find such a generic response fulfilled my complaint. I would have liked them to explain what was intended by such a sticker and indeed why they though publishing a picture of a child was acceptable. Thankfully, it seems that Heat Magazine have been forced to publish an apology on their website. Sandwiched in amongst articles about I'm a Celebrity and Kelly Brook leaving Strictly was this which includes this extract:

"We now accept that that the decision to include this sticker was a mistake and we recognise that it has caused offence, not only to Katie and Peter Andre, but to a number of readers"

They 'now' accept? What did they think before? Perhaps in future they will think before publishing.

This & That

Hopefully I will have some more time next week. The Fulham WI Ball which I have been mentioning all year is this Saturday evening - the past week or so has been manic trying to tie up all the loose ends but I think we are winning and it should be a good night and raise lots of money for our chosen charity at the same time.

Also this week I have been writing for ETPMagazine where my article about ethical jewellers Ingle & Rhode was published on Monday. My second article for the current affairs section should be published on 12 December.

Oh, and if you are looking for a beautiful Christmas present or simply a chic treat for yourself, have a look at Eric Bompard cashmere, cashmere all the way from Mongolia, styled in Paris. They are, apparently, the number one cashmere supplier/designer in France and will deliver items free to the UK. And, if you order before the 1 December they will deduct 20% off your bill. I have a beautiful pumpkin coloured set of hat and gloves which are very soft - even on the tube my head did not itch - and just right for an English winter (warm and cheerful). Something to smile about on a rather dull London Friday.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Chutney Making and other tales

I am running out of spare weekends before Christmas. On Sunday I started my preparations. Chutney making. In an effort to be more ethical (both in terms of costs and avoidance of purchasing presents which people do not really want or use and to give people my time rather than my money) I decided that I would make chutney for my presents this year. I can mention this because my mother already knows (having provided the apples from their garden) and I don't think any one else reads my writing on a regular basis.

So on Sunday I chopped and softened and chopped and added ingredients and watched with alarm as my pan looked rather full. I added sugar and vinegar (pints of the stuff) and started to wonder quite how much chutney I had made. An entire pressure cooker full? Somehow I thought it would reduce further than it did. I washed and sterilised the dozen jars which I had bought and still the chutney remained. I washed and sterilised some old jam jars and finally in desperation emptied the spaghetti out of the litre kilner jar and sterilised that too. I have lots of jars and an entire litre for myself. We are going to be eating chutney every meal for weeks.

Friday night saw my first attempt at Urban Golf. For the uninitiated this is akin to bowling but using a computer simulator and a real golf club and ball. You stand on a mat and use a golf club of your choice to smack (or roll) the golf ball into a screen which takes the path and speed of the ball and maps where it would have gone into a computer game. It is harder than it sounds. There are hordes of people watching. High heels are not conducive to golf swings. Neither is mild inebriation. The screen needs to be hit with a certain speed to register your turn. That too can be difficult to achieve, especially when putting. An enjoyable evening none the less. And no, obviously I didn't win.

Monday, November 19, 2007


Arrived back in London last night on the 11.58pm train into Euston from Yorkshire. We drove the first part of the journey, winding across the Yorkshire Dales along narrow one laned roads, white metal fencing along some of the fields just visible in the glow of the headlights. There was that same safe feeling which I had as a child, cosied into the back of our trusty Volvo with my two sisters, Mum and Dad in the front, Dad driving, Mum navigating and handing out cups of tea and sandwiches, when we were all together and could have been going anywhere, a voyage, an adventure. Last night was much the same, only now, still eldest but now smallest, I have to sit in the middle seat and the third occupant of the back seat was M rather than my other sister. As we drove, the snow started, softly at first, as if it hardly meant it. Sleet turned into snow and as we left the Dales behind and headed down the motorway it started to strengthen and settle. Annie's friend in the RAF had left behind his GPS navigator in her care whilst he was posted overseas and so 'Brucie' attempted to guide us southwards. He was persistant and adamant that we should use the M6, despite the warnings that there was slow moving traffic and an accident further south. "in three hundred yards, turn right" he directed. "Turn right". Pausing only to recalculate he started up again as Mum tried to direct us via another road and Annie desperately tried to work out which buttons to press to avoid motorway junctions, all the while Brucie insisting that we should "turn right". Once we decided to rejoin the motorway we were surprised he didn't applaud when we finally chose to follow his directions but there was a final test for him, when Dad wanted to drive past the slip road, over the bridge to check the traffic was flowing and was then going to turn round. We all looked over the bridge and saw that the traffic was flowing albeit reasonably slowly and there was a moments silence. "What shall I do?" asked Dad. "Turn round" replied Brucie, followed by gales of laughter which embraced the car and carried us along the slow moving traffic to Stafford as we raced against snow and time to reach the last train which would take M and I to London, which we caught in the nick of time, jumping on board just as the train was ready to depart, brushing what felt like unseasonal snowflakes off our hair as we walked the length of the train to find solace in the quiet carriage.

The snow stopped somewhere round Milton Keynes and the rain started, lashing against the side of the train. I drank tea and read my book and London rushed closer and closer. The occupants of the carriage seemed resigned to the baby crying and after a while even he fell asleep under his mother's coat, lying on a table, perhaps lulled by the rain and the gentle rocking of the rail carriage. I sat there watching his face and hands in the reflection in the window, thinking of the reasons for the sudden trip northwards and the illustration of the cycle of life which had been so bluntly laid out for us: my aunt lost her father on the first day, her husband lost his mother on the second and his daughter gave birth on the third.

London seemed very light last night when we arrived. Despite the light by our door not coming on as usual I could see almost as well as in the daylight. The sky did not even seem to be dark, more an odd yellow hue and even at 12.30am there were sirens in the distance. There were no stars. How different to the night-time air in Yorkshire where accompanying my uncle on his nightly check on the animals at his farm I had not even been able to see a foot in front of me nor see my own feet. Pausing for a moment in the garden last night the air even smelt different - I could almost taste the pollution, could feeling it replacing the clean sweet air which I had greedily drunk in whilst climbing and walking on the fells only that morning. There may be a lot of things which London does better than Yorkshire but clean and dark night air is not one of them.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

BBC London Radio - Fulham WI

It's been a busy week so apologies for the lack of posts.

The week has been taken up with more ball committee meetings (only 3 weeks left to go and what a lot left to do), an appearance on BBC London Radio which you could listen to here if you were so inclined (fast forward about an hour and a half and you can hear 3 Fulham WI girls discussing WI issues and our response to the Hampshire WI Federation's proposal that the WI back the legalisation of prostitution).

This week has also seen the publication of two further articles in The first of which can be read here and is a response to the Madeleine McCann story; the second is a look at another on-line ethical boutique called Fisher Garcia and my article can be found here.

If and when I get a chance I will try and explore further the issues we discussed in relation to the suggestion that women should back the legalisation of prostitution. I do however have a family funeral to attend on Friday and will be spending much needed time with my family at the weekend, so it could well be at least another week before I post anything further.

Monday, November 05, 2007


So, as promised, a bit more about the articles which I have written for new on-line ethical focused ETPMagazine. I am writing for both the fashion section and the current affairs section.

The press release for ETPMagazine states that

"ETPmagazine exists to work towards a celebration of who women really are and not who the media want them to be. We stand for the empowerment of secure, self-confident women and, fundamentally, for a conscientious, ethical, and greener approach to living. We don’t believe in making women feel bad about themselves for our own profit – in fact, we want to do the opposite. As a carbon neutral site with a continual spotlight on the environment, we’re encouraging women to feel good about themselves and the world in which they live.

ETPmagazine is about promoting a more positive, healthy and empowering image of women in the public eye. We may not be size zeros but we have character, integrity, passion and energy. We would challenge anyone to show us a single women’s magazine which is aimed at the intellectual woman; one that has hard-hitting interviews and current affairs articles that really stretch and challenge expectations, combined with news and local reviews of all things cultural, fashionable and beautiful."

I have written two articles for this week's fashion section. The House of Tammam article features Fairtrade High End Label House of Tammam; the second covers the Islington Contemporary Art & Design Fair Ethical Fashion Show (which I mentioned the other day). I have also written one article for the 'What's On' Section about Fairtrade Fairs.

Other than the excitment of seeing my articles this morning, the weekend has been fairly normal. Dinner party for friends on Friday night, tasted the food for the WI ball on Saturday morning and then went to another dinner party with different friends on Saturday evening in the Barbican. A lazy Sunday morning followed by an afternoon and evening in the pub with some other friends in St John's Wood playing Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit. Uneventful but very relaxing.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Silence at the Song's End

“What we were, we will become
As we give our heat to the desert sun”
These are the words which Nicholas Heiney used to describe death; in the summer of 2006 he committed suicide following a long but hidden battle with mental illness. The son of Libby Purves (one of my favourite authors and columnists and for whom I have had great respect since my early teens) Nicholas Heiney first came to my attention in Purves account of a family sailing round England in her book One Summer's Grace. Nicholas was 5 and his sister Rose 3. In reality, Nicholas was the same age as me. I was deeply saddened to read of his death last year.
Yesterday, Purves wrote a column in The Times entitled A Testament of Youth describing her son, his writing and the book that she and Nicholas' professor at his Oxford college have compiled from Nicholas' lifetime of writing. Called The Silence at the Song's End the book attempts to fulfill Nicholas' goal which was "to write something I could show to people". I have not yet had a chance to read this book but I have no doubt that Nicholas achieved this goal many times over.
This poem is one which has been featured in extracts from the book and is so moving it makes my heart hurt, for him, for the sea, for the Nicholas of One Summer's Grace, the family and with hope that wherever Nicholas is now he is able to be singing and sailing through eternity. (Read Frieda Hughes' response to this poem in Monday's Times here)
"The morning runs
on, a springtime secret
through the avenues
and avenues which lure
all sound away

I sing, as I was taught
inside myself.
I sing inside myself
when wild moments
slice some tender evening
like a breeze
that rattles gravel
and digs in the dirt

I sing, as I was told,
inside myself.
I sing inside myself
the one wild song, song that whirls
my words around
until a world unfurls

my ship’s new sail
I catch the dew
and set a course amongst the ocean curls

The silence at the song’s end
Before the next
Is the world"

Nicholas Heiney (1982-2006)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Post in pink in honour of the blog from which this orginated.

1. Name one person who made you laugh last night.

M. It certainly wasn't either of the so called Carr comedians whose joint show at Hammersmith I somehow managed to catch the beginning of last night.

2. What were you doing at 0800?


3. What were you doing 30 minutes ago?


4. What happened to you in 2006?

Not much of note. 2006 was, personally, a rather staid year.

5. What was the last thing you said out loud?

I asked my boss if I could leave on time tomorrow. (5.30pm) He laughed.

6. How many beverages did you have today?

several cups of tea, one cup of coffee, hopefully some wine when I get home

7. What color is your hairbrush?

Hairbrush? Do I look like I use a hairbrush? (Ok. I do have a pale brown wooden handled one left over from my school days, and I think a round one for blowdrying my fringe)

8. What was the last thing you paid for?

Satsumas and biscuits from Sainsbury's at lunchtime.

9. Where were you last night?

At work and then at home, having supper and watching Panorama whilst I ate a beautiful supper which M cooked for me.

10. What color is your front door?


11. Where do you keep your change?

In my purse or handbag if I can't be bothered to open my purse

12. What’s the weather like today?

raining. just like it has been for days

13. What’s the best ice-cream flavor?

mint choc chip I suppose, but I'm not a big ice-cream fan

14. What excites you?

many things which I am not going to list here. holidays and celebrations

15. Do you want to cut your hair?

what, right now. No, I am at work. Ever, yes.

16. Are you over the age of 25?


17. Do you talk a lot?


18. Do you watch the O.C.?

I have been known to borrow the box sets from a friend

19. Do you know anyone named Steven?


20. Do you make up your own words?


21. Are you a jealous person?

I think we all are, it is how we deal with the jealousy that divides us

22. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘A’.

Alexandra, Annie

23. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘K’.


24. Who’s the first person on your received call list?

The bank (calling to refund all my bank charges)

25. What does the last text message you received say?

It was from my sister reporting on the snow that she was stuck in

26. Do you chew on your straw?


27. Do you have curly hair?


28. Where’s the next place you’re going to?

Marks & Spencers and then a Ball committee meeting

29. Who’s the rudest person in your life?

myself I expect

30. What was the last thing you ate?

2 satsumas

31. Will you get married in the future?

yes, if someone asks me

32. What’s the best movie you’ve seen in the past 2 weeks?

I am ashamed to say that I don't think I have watched a film in the past 2 weeks

33. Is there anyone you like right now?

yes. no, I'm not telling you, even if I'm sure you can guess the answer

34. When was the last time you did the dishes?


35. Are you currently depressed?


36. Did you cry today?


37. Why did you answer and post this?

For no apparent rhyme or reason

38. Tag 5 people who would do this survey.

No. But people can do it if they want to.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Clear out

On Sunday afternoon I went for a walk on Hampstead Heath. The sun was clear and still warm and the light was beautifully autumnal. Some of the trees had begun to lose their leaves and as I walked I scuffed them out of the way. Looking at my feet I did not see my own 25 year old feet in their Ugg boots, rather my 9 year old feet in their blue start-rite T-barred school shoes, scuffing through the leaves on the way to school.

My 25 year old self still has much in common with that 9 year old school girl. I am still always late, bad tempered when hungry and a terrible horder of possessions. That 9 year old lived in a small bedroom where her father had built her a ‘ships bunk’ in the wall with cupboards underneath and a ladder to reach the bunk. This gap quickly became full of possessions and then the room followed suit.

That 9 year old did eventually learn to keep things relatively tidy but she never perfected the art of de-cluttering. Take for example, the art of shoe purchasing. Most people would buy the shoes, take them out of the box and throw away or recycle the box and the carrier bag. Not me. I keep shoes in their boxes and if the bag is plastic it joins its sisters and brothers in the kitchen, if it is paper it is folded up and allowed to join the vast collection of other paper bags.

When I arrived home on Sunday afternoon having watched the Grand Prix, I realised that I could no longer function in the state I was in. We moved into the house in May yet many possessions were still in their boxes, I had not unpacked any of our pictures, ornaments, photographs or even some of our clothes. I had unpacked as I needed things rather than trying to create a new home.

I unpacked the winter clothes from their suitcase and then packed up all my summer ones. As I sorted through the clothes, despite having sorted them when I moved, I made more piles – clothes which I actually wear, clothes which I know M hates, clothes for washing, clothes that were clean and so on and filled two bags to be taken to the charity shop. I cleaned and dried all my summer shoes and packed them back into their boxes and managed to throw away a large number of boxes and bags. When I put the recycling out last night it appeared that not only had we had a massive party but that we had been on an enormous shopping trip.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Friday musings

It's been rather a quiet week in terms of going out although tonight I shall be attending
The Islington Contemporary Art & Design Ethical Fashion Show 2007. I am attending in the dual capacity of wanting to go myself and being asked to go on behalf of the new ethical fashion magazine for which I am doing some writing. Further details on the magazine when it is up and running, and I shall let you know when you can read my first piece.

Sadly, not all of the week has been as much fun as I hope tonight will be. London Underground are refusing to refund my ticket for the days when I couldn't use it due to the RMT strikes as it doesn't come under their 'customer charter'. It has annoyed me no end but I really can't see any way of making them pay up.

The house saga continues further into disarray - we've had boiler troubles, trouble with the boiler people, electricity issues and then just when I thought it couldn't get much worse, I saw a mouse. We have identified some potential holes underneath and behind a unit in the kitchen but are now locked in negotiation with the landlord as to how it should be sorted out. The (adopted) cat shows interest but when I try to persuade him to find the mouse he looks at me disdainfully.

Very little funds at present so I was pleased to receive a package of perfume and shower gel (with pearl extract) from Roxy last week. The perfume smells nice if a little young for me but I am sure that I will wear it come the summer as it smells of holidays and sunshine. The shower gel has cheered up a morning shower and has even been used by M. It's certainly far better than the Biotherm one which should be much nicer than I have found it to be.

And as for the weekend - some more chutney making, rugby watching and perhaps an autumnal work on Hampstead Heath.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

How to Feed your friends Supper

I have been reading a lot recently about the return of the dinner party. Perhaps not the dinner parties of the past of which I have never been but heard all too much about but instead simple supper parties amongst friends at the weekend. These articles all seem to express surprise at the 'return' of the meal enjoyed between friends, as if they somehow think that all 20 somethings are out wining and dining every evening.

Today, in the Times there was an article about Joanna Weinberg's latest book How to Feed your Friends With Relish. This is actually a book that I had considered buying (or asking for on my Christmas List) but now I'm not so sure.

Weinberg divides people into the following types of hosts:

Hostess with the mostest

You have time to take a bath and do your make-up
You keep a store of scented candles
You make playlists for all occasions
You have an account at the florist's
You label and stack everything neatly in the freezer
You hire extra help for the next day

Chaotic bachelor

You always have one chair too few
You overshop for food, not clear what will go with what
You often find yourself eating burnt or cold food
You feel pathetic gratitude for the invention of ready meals
You believe that most things are solved by crisps and ice-cream
You spend three times more on wine than on food

Hassled parent

You hide toys in the washing machine in a bid to tidy up
You serve puréed vegetables more often than you mean to
You find that Annabel Carmel's recipes are fine for grown-ups, too
You put candles out of harm's way
You gratefully down three glasses of wine without coming up for air
You wish that you'd had time to wash your hair

Natural host

You have an instinctive sense of when pasta is al dente
You know where to find unpasteurised cream
You don't give a fig for matching dinnerware
You remember when the farmer's market is on
You have dimmer switches on all your lights
You serve wine in huge glasses

I know that this is not something to be taken seriously but it did rather irritate me. Who fits into those sort of categories and where are the categories for 'normal' people? Why does everything have to be sanded down to such a level that we fit into boxes even in relation to our supper habits.

We have friends round all the time for supper. We occasionally prepare something in advance and we usually manage the shopping in advance but mostly M or I will cook with friends standing in the kitchen or outside with a cold beer or glass of wine and we will chat until the meal is cooked. The evening is not all about the food nor is the food the least important part. We cook fairly simple but healthy dishes (including portion size) all from scratch and usually sourced from the local shops – butchers, greengrocer, bakers etc- roasts, chilli, pasta and so on and usually followed by some kind of homemade pudding – crumble, pie, rice-pudding, chocolate mousse, profiteroles or cake. We drink lots of wine and sit around the table and chat. Sometimes there are only 4 of us, usually more like 6 or 8 but last weekend there were 14 (well, it was the rugby – and I didn't make any pudding). We always have enough chairs, we have beautiful matching but old turquoise dinnerware which we inherited from M's grandmother, the glass situation is occasionally hit and miss and we always spend far more on wine than food because good wine is expensive. Someone usually produces an i-pod and we have adequate speakers. Last weekend when the rugby was on was the first time that our television has been switched on when friends have been over. People pile in and out of the garden for occasional cigarettes and the gathering usually disperses in the early hours in taxis bound for various parts of London.

I do not consider myself a 'Shef' (Stay at Home and Entertain Friends according to the Times). It is simply what we have always done on the nights when we do not go out. And have done since the very start of university. I also found it irritating that Weinburg implies that being organised is the same thing as competitive or the same thing as striving for domestic perfection. She suggests a little less of this and it will seem more like a real home. She also suggests that few but the very organised have time to bake. That's the biggest load of rubbish I've heard – it hardly takes long to whip up a quick pudding and put it in the oven whilst people are eating the main course.

I think what I find so frustrating about this kind of 'lecturing' is that it is off putting. People don't fall into such obvious categories in reality. And if people are told that only the very organised bake then to someone who has never tried it before will think it is a lot of hard work. Yes, some puddings are time consuming but there are plenty are that are really easy. Scones take less than 30 minutes from start to finish which includes the cooking and the washing up. Perhaps not a traditional pudding but there are others which can be done just as easily.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Back soon

My apologies for the break in blogging. My time has been taken up with other things recently including scouts, ball organising, hen party planning, working, being ill, making chutney and entertaining friends.

Regular blogging to resume soon.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Book Meme

I read about this on Bub&Pie but since she didn't actually tag me I suppose that it should orginate from the open invitation on Mom-NOS's page.

Total Number of Books Owned:

This figure is rather high although I am not sure the exact number. I have collected books since I was a little girl and then went onto to read English at university followed by 2 years of law school. I have sold one of them. That leaves a lot of books.

They're not all at my present flat though. That would be silly. My long suffering parents allowed me to leave the majority of my childhood books at their house. I brought a few of them with me to London for those dark nights or winter afternoons which are only satisfied by an Arthur Ransome tale or something by Noel Streatfield. Occasionally I will crave a book from the Jinny series by Patricia Leitch and I have been known to re-read Drina Ballerina in bed having sneaked the book into my handbag on a visit home.

The majority of my books from my degree are also at home. I've found my need for Beginning Theory or Seven types of Ambiguity rather more limited now I am working. Although as I write that I do remember that Beginning Theory was another book carried off in my handbag to fill a railway journey back into London. I would estimate that there are two 4 shelf bookcases full of books from my degree, one bookcase of childhood books (including an entire shelf of Sweet Valley High - all bought from jumblesales and second hand shops when 11&12) and another bookshelf of miscellaneous books from which I read when 'at home' and smuggle back to my London flat.

The books which are at my flat in London are in three main categories: law books which take up a bookcase all on their own, a bookcase comprised of 10 wooden wine crates which are arranged by colour and contain a mixture of novels and reference books and a large box under the dining room table which contains poetry and novels which did not fit into the wine crates. One day I may count them and if I do I will update this post.

Last book read:

There are three different interpretations of this question:

1. Book currently reading: At present I am reading Angela Huth's Land Girls and have read 67 pages on the tube on the way to work this morning. When work is particularly busy I crave satisfying but relatively easy reads. Sometimes I will re-read favoured novels to fill this. I am unsure as to whether I have read this book before as I removed it from my sister's bookcase two weekends ago and I have also seen the film.

Before long a link will become apparent - one of my favourite genres is stories about women (in various capacities) on the home front in the Second World War.

2. Book last read (including re-reads): The last book which I read was Nevil Shute's Pastoral. I was unsure as to whether this counted as I have read this book many times and never fail to love the story. It charts the story of a WAAF Signals Officer and a RAF pilot stationed together on an RAF base in Oxfordshire during, yes, the Second World War.

3. Book last read (for the first time): This comes down to three answers - a frivilous chick-lit book which a friend lent me last weekend and which I read in bed on the Sunday night. So meaningful was the storyline that I can only just remember the plotline and I cannot remember either the title or the author. The other two were JK Rowling's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Rachel North's Out of the Tunnel but I cannot remember in which order I read them. I think HP is probably the most recent book which I have read for the first time (and I have also re-read it too!)

Last Book Bought:

This would be either JK Rowling's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows or Rachel North's Out of the Tunnel as I already own or have 'borrowed' in various forms the other books I have read recently. I don't tend to buy a huge number of books and even less of those books are new as I own so many and am so short on funds. If I could have unlimited funds to buy books however I would have bought Esther Freud's Hideous Kinky and all the remaining Libby Purves books last time I was browsing in a book shop.

Five Meaningful Books:

Arthur Ransome's Pigeon Post is probably my favourite book of all time. It is not particularly meaningful in some ways but will always mean a huge amount to me.

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje was a book which I first read when I was 15 and captivated my imagination. I had never really read about love affairs outside of marriage in such a way before nor experienced the kind of love which Count Almaasy has for Katherine. I could really see in my mind's eye (and later the film) Katherine lying in the cave writing in Almaasy's copy of Herodotus that the light was becoming dimmer and soon it would be out, knowing that she was going to die there in that cave. I didn't want to die like that but I did want to know what that kind of love felt like.

Ok. That is two but lunchtime is over so I will return later to finish my list and tag some people!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

To tip or not to tip?

Damien Whitworth writes in the Times today about the etiquette of tipping.

My personal view is that I detest the very idea of tipping. Left by myself I will rarely offer a tip. I have been known to occasionally round up the fare in a taxi to the nearest pound and sometimes, if offered exceptional service in a café, will leave 10-15% of the bill if I have some spare change. Usually however, I don’t. If I am out for a meal with several people who do tip then I will do but only so as not to cause a scene or embarrass my friends, although if the service poor I will refuse.

My rationale for my behaviour is thus: why should I have to pay extra for something which should come as standard. And moreover, why should I be made to feel guilty for refusing to tip substandard service.

When one eats in a restaurant one pays for far more than the food. The bill covers the costs of employing the staff including the waitresses whose job is to serve the food. If the job is done adequately then I am satisfied but I am not going to tip someone for simply doing their job. If their performance was exceptional and it was not a restaurant where you would expect that level of service then I might tip, but they are already being paid to do their job. If their boss isn’t paying them enough and is making up the wages with their tips then I feel for them but that is their issue with their boss. I am not going to pay someone’s wages.

Similarly, at the hairdressers I am already paying for the stylist’s skill and expertise. I see no reason why I should have to pay extra. So I don’t. In the loo of a bar or nightclub I rarely leave any money either. I am grateful for them handing me a towel and I always thank them but I am capable of doing this myself and would generally rather do this myself. A night can get very expensive if expected to leave £1 on each visit to the loo. This actually annoys me greatly as a job has been created where there is really no need. And why should I have to pay for it when I have already paid an entrance fee? Should I also be giving a £1 to the bouncer each time he removes someone with a bottle from the dance floor? I am far more grateful to him than the lady manning the towel dispenser in the loo for he is actually helping me to have a safer night.

There is also disparity between who expects a tip and who doesn’t. Waitresses, taxi drivers, delivery boys all seem to expect tips. I don’t get a tip by a client for doing my job. No-one when leaving court when I have spent months working on their case says “thanks Rachel, here, have this £x for helping me win my case” or whatever. It doesn’t happen.

So, it is with some dread that I ponder a trip to Washington DC to visit my little sister. I am against tipping on principle but I am also pro fitting in with local behaviour and customs when in a foreign country and trying to respect their culture. Yet I just do not see how I can bring myself to tip someone who is just doing their job. This is a conundrum which may take some time to work out.

Monday, October 01, 2007

WI & Country Life Magazine

Some rather unreliable journalism here courtesy of Country Life Magazine and Melanie Cable-Alexandra (an editor of the magazine and, according to Wikipedia and other sources, the mother of Antony Armstrong-Jones's illigitimate son Jasper).

This article is about the 'new' face of the WI and mentions Fulham WI despite the fact that to the best of my knowledge the group had not been approached by the magazine and much of the content seems rather similiar to the article which followed an interview with the Sunday Telegraph.

I feel it also rather unfairly misrepresents the ladies of the Fulham WI as dismissive of the older and more established WI groups and portrays us as a bunch of career women shunning the traditional skills and hobbies enjoyed by women of an older generation. I hardly think this could be further from the truth; at Fulham WI we celebrate the traditional within the modern - how we can apply traditional skills, crafts and hobbies into our own busy lives and within the spectrum of living as a modern woman. We may meet in a pub and hear talks about nuclear power but there was also a queue for places on the chutney making day next week.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Plastic Bag Ban for London?

Please go here and give your opinions regarding a plastic bag ban (or levy) in London. There are only a few questions but the more people that respond to this survey the more likely the London Council is to see that this is an issue which Londoners care about and the more likely there are to introduce measures to ban or reduce plastic bag consumption in London.

Many thanks

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Bloggers - 'Public Service Announcement'

It seems I am rather late to this story (having been somewhat busy recently) but better late than never.

It seems that two bloggers, Craig Murray and Tim Ireland, made blog posts concerning Alisher Usmanov. Usmanov is a Russian billionaire and now major shareholder in Arsenal Football Club. These blog posts were objected to by Usmanov’s lawyers. The webhost pulled the server on their blogs and Boris Johnson, Bob Piper and Clive Summerfield all ended up losing their sites because they were hosted on the the same server. Chicken Yoghurt states that they (Boris, Bon and Clive) are NOT associated with the dispute with Alisher Usmanov in any way.

I have little interest in the politics of Arsenal Football club, even though I live practically next door. Now however, thanks to Usmanov's lawyers, I have found out more information about the dubious past of one of it's shareholders than I care to know.

The following posts all link to this story, many in much more detail than I could ever hope to manage:

Curious Hamster, Pickled Politics, Harry’s Place, Tim Worstall, Dizzy, Iain Dale, Ten Percent, Blairwatch, Davide Simonetti, Earthquake Cove, Turbulent Cleric (who suggests dropping a line to the FA about Mr Usmanov), Mike Power, Jailhouse Lawyer, Suesam, Devil’s Kitchen, The Cartoonist, Falco, Casualty Monitor, Forever Expat, Arseblog, Drink-soaked Trots (and another), Pitch Invasion, Wonko’s World, Roll A Monkey, Caroline Hunt, Westminster Wisdom, Chris K, Anorak, Mediawatchwatch, Norfolk Blogger, Chris Paul, Indymedia (with a list of Craig Murray’s articles that are currently unavailable), Obsolete, Tom Watson, Cynical Chatter, Reactionary Snob, Mr Eugenides, Matthew Sinclair, The Select Society, Liberal England, Davblog, Peter Gasston Pitch Perfect, Adelaide Green Porridge Cafe, Lunartalks, Tygerland, The Crossed Pond, Our Kingdom, Big Daddy Merk, Daily Mail Watch, Graeme’s, Random Thoughts, Nosemonkey, Matt Wardman, Politics in the Zeros, Love and Garbage, The Huntsman, Conservative Party Reptile, Ellee Seymour, Sabretache, Not A Sheep, Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion, The People’s Republic Of Newport, Life, the Universe & Everything, Arsenal Transfer Rumour Mill, The Green Ribbon, Blood & Treasure, The Last Ditch, Areopagitica, Football in Finland, An Englishman’s Castle, Freeborn John, Eursoc, The Back Four, Rebellion Suck!, Ministry of Truth, ModernityBlog, Beau Bo D’Or, Scots and Independent, The Splund, Bill Cameron, Podnosh, Dodgeblogium, Moving Target, Serious Golmal, Goonerholic, The Spine, Zero Point Nine, Lenin’s Tomb, The Durruti Column, The Bristol Blogger, ArseNews, David Lindsay, Quaequam Blog!, On A Quiet Day…, Kathz’s Blog, England Expects, Theo Spark, Duncan Borrowman, Senn’s Blog, Katykins, Jewcy, Kevin Maguire, Stumbling and Mumbling, Famous for 15 megapixels, Ordovicius, Tom Morris, AOL Fanhouse, Doctor Vee, The Curmudgeonly, The Poor Mouth, 1820, Hangbitch, Crooked Timber, ArseNole, Identity Unknown, Liberty Alone, Amused Cynicism, Clairwil, The Lone Voice, Tampon Teabag, Unoriginalname38, Special/Blown It, The Remittance Man, 18 Doughty Street, Laban Tall, Martin Bright, Spy Blog The Exile, poons, Jangliss, Who Knows Where Thoughts Come From?, Imagined Community, A Pint of Unionist Lite, Poldraw, Disillusioned And Bored, Error Gorilla, Indigo Jo, Swiss Metablog, Kate Garnwen Truemors, Asn14, D-Notice, The Judge, Political Penguin, Miserable Old Fart, Jottings, fridgemagnet, Blah Blah Flowers, J. Arthur MacNumpty, Tony Hatfield, Grendel, Charlie Whitaker, Matt Buck, The Waendel Journal, Marginalized Action Dinosaur, SoccerLens, Toblog, John Brissenden East Lower, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Peter Black AM, Boing Boing, BLTP, Gunnerblog, LFB UK, Liberal Revolution, Wombles, Focus on Sodbury…, Follow The Money, Freedom and Whisky, Melting Man, PoliticalHackUK, Simon Says…, Daily EM, From The Barrel of a Gun, The Fourth Place, The Armchair News Blog, Journalist und Optimist, Bristol Indymedia, Dave Weeden, Up North John, Gizmonaut, Spin and Spinners, Marginalia, Arnique, Heather Yaxley, The Whiskey Priest, On The Beat, Paul Canning, Martin Stabe, Mat Bowles, Pigdogfucker, Rachel North, B3TA board, Naqniq, Yorkshire Ranter, The Home Of Football, UFO Breakfast Recipients, Moninski , Kerching, e-clectig, Mediocracy, Sicily Scene, Samizdata, I blog, they blog, weblog, Colcam, Some Random Thoughts, Bel is thinking, Vino S, Simply Jews, Atlantic Free Press, Registan, Filasteen, Britblog Roundup #136, Scientific Misconduct Blog, Adam Bowie, Duncan at Abcol, Camera Anguish, A Very British Dude, Whatever, Central News, Green Gathering, Leighton Cooke (224), , Skuds’ Sister’s Brother, Contrast News, Poliblog Perspective, Parish Pump, El Gales, Noodle, Curly’s Corner Shop, Freunde der offenen Gesellschaft, otromundoesposible, Richard Stacy, Looking For A Voice, News Dissector, Kateshomeblog, Writes Like She Talks, Extra! Extra!, Committee To Protect Bloggers, Liberty’s Requiem, American Samizdat, The Thunder Dragon, Cybersoc, Achievable Life, Paperholic, Creative-i, Raedwald, Nobody’s Friend, Lobster Blogster, Panchromatica (251), Back off, man…, Dan Hardie, Krusenstern, Brendadada, Freace, Boriswatch, Fork Handles, Chris Applegate, Christopher Glamorgan, West Virginia Rebel’s Blog, Instapundit, Powerpymes, iDiligence Forum, Gizmotastic, Demos, Gary Andrews, Neweurasia , Never Trust a Hippy, sub specie aeternitatis, Bananas in the Falklands, The Sharpener, Virtual Light, Stu News, Scraps of Moscow, Danivon, As A Dodo, La Russophobe, PJC Journal, Mick Fealty’s Brassneck, dead brains don’t dance, A Comfortable Place, Bamblog, Robert Amsterdam, The Customer, No Longer at Ease, Rachel-Catherine, Humaniform, Mike Rouse, Chesus Yuste, anticapitalista, Aderyn Cân, Ulla’s Amazing Wee Blog (294), Ross200, Disruptive,, The Obscurer, A Lefty Down Under, Things I Learned or Made Up, Pickled Bushman, Persons Unknown (302).