Showing off the Family Silver

28 03 2013

Today I was most honoured when kalyrical offered me a blogging award. The Sunshine Award, no less. And here it is, all shiny and freshly polished.

The Sunshine Award

The Sunshine Award

I’d be interested to trace where this one originated. Looks like a marigold (not the rubber gloves).

When I first began blogging back in 2011, I was a bit non-plussed when I started to get these things. To the point where I actually stopped displaying them on my blog. It’s not why I wrote my pieces and lobbed them into the ether. Not for “rewards” or recognition. I’m not even sure now why I do it.

Certainly to begin with it was to get things off my chest. Occasionally it still serves that purpose. More often though it’s simply to share cool stuff I’ve stumbled across one way or another. I do like to share things I’ve learned though, so it’s a particular pleasure when I get comments indicating that a reader has found something of interest to them on these pages, or has perhaps even been inpired (presumably by stimulation of the “I could do better than that rubbish” gene). It’s also fun writing inflammatory things occasionally, just to see if anyone’s awake and paying enough attention to notice. ūüėÄ

So – thanks kalyrical, and what do I have to do to keep this lovely trinket? Ah – the usual “10 questions” plus “pass it on”.

Here goes then…

1. Who is your favourite philosopher?

Hm – start with the easy ones then, I see!

I did consider Lennon. He’s definitely up there with the deep thinkers: “Woman, I know you understand the little child inside your man.” A little more tangible I think you’d agree than “I am the eggman, they are the eggmen.¬†I am the walrus, goo goo g’joob“.

In the end though, I settled on Charles M. Schulz. If you don’t know who he is… all I can say is “good grief”.

2. What is your favourite number?

Oo – now this one is more fun. I almost said ŌÄ, but in the end I settled on¬†Avogadro’s¬†number. He didn’t seem to mind sharing it though, so it’s not really just his any more. I remember learning about it in Chemistry class when I was about 14. I loved the way his name ran over the tongue (leaving tyre tracks if you weren’t careful).¬†6.022√ó1023. The number of¬†something-or-others in a thingy. Very important stuff at the time, I can tell you! I didn’t get where I am today¬†by not knowing how many thingies in a doodah.

I also vaguely remember it had something to do with moles…Talpa europaea MHNT.jpg

3. What is your favourite animal?

Obviously human beings! They’re so much fun to watch rushing around their little cages trying to get somewhere.

4. What are your Facebook and Twitter  identities?

Don’t have Facebook, and I’m not telling you my Twitter. So there! ūüėõ

5. What is your favourite time of day?

Now. It is informed by all the times before it, and the ones to come might not. Come that is. (It’s a more common problem than you think.)

6. What is your favourite holiday?

Public holiday? None of them really. I do like Pancake Day, but it’s not a holiday really.

7. What is your favourite physical activity?

I was going to say “sex”, but that’s more of a mental activity these days. Recently, I’d have to say snowshoeing, though hiking generally is lots of fun.

8. What is your favourite non-alcoholic drink?

Tea of course. I’m from Yorkshire!

9. What is your favourite flower?

The White Rose of Yorkshire. These questions are getting too easy. Actually, I’m quite fond of the heady scent from freesias and daffodils. I find them very intoxicating.

10. What is your passion?

Depends. I’m a very obsessive person, so I tend to have a passion du jour. There are a few constants/frequent returns though.

Scouting is one. Reading is another. Making people laugh. Correcting English people who say sked-yule instead of shed-u-al for schedule. Americans may be excused – as a country they’re still in short pants at a mere 400+ years old – but English people have no valid reason to be so lazy… ¬†ūüėČ

It’s almost as bad as cutting your food with a knife and fork, putting the knife down and swapping your fork into the other hand to eat it. I mean… come on! How can that make sense in anyone’s book?!

OK then, that wasn’t too bad. I’m supposed to “pass it on” now. Like an STD or something, I suppose. So – who have I been reading a lot recently?

  1. Sheriji, of course, at Just Sayin’¬†and more recently at¬†A Day in the Life of Really Not a Guru¬†Always supportive and with a sly humour that comes out occasionally. She also turns a blind eye to my many gentle digs at Americania.
  2. samferdafolk Some amazing sketches from the Maritimes and Iceland.
  3. the zero vector A newcomer to the blogosphere. lea im netz is from Spain and/or Germany via Norway to study in Vancouver. Nothing unusual there really.
  4. Questionable Evolution Erin Zimmerman is studying in Montréal and tells us about some of the weirder results of evolution. weirder than us, even!
  5. Lance’s Travels¬†Ah, now I always enjoy reading about Lance’s travels. He’s been around the block, and tells a good yarn about the journey to-boot.

So… that’s it then. Job done. With a disturbing sound of the snap of rubber gloves, I get to keep the¬†coveted¬†marigold: The Sunshine Award.

Just for old times sake, I’ve dusted off the the other awards I’ve been offered over the last couple of years, just to remind myself…

The Versatile Blogger: offered by Sarah Alice on The Adventures of an English Student

Reader Appreciation Award: offered by sheriji

The HUG Award: offered by kianys who sadly seems to have left our giddy little party

The following were a bit more vague… I didn’t actually do anything to get them, since the rules had been lost in the mist of time. Or packets on the interwebs. Or soup. Or something.

7×7 Links Award: offered by Kianys

Kreativ Blogger: offered by Kianys

Tell me about yourself: offered by Kianys

ABC Award: offered by Kianys

Fonteyn of Youth

17 12 2011

Christmas is almost upon us, and the shopping frenzy is reaching its peak. It’s also a season where the great unwashed¬†dabble in culture. There’s music everywhere – from Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” (biggest selling single of all time apparently!) to Lennon’s deeply poignant “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” and McCartney’s equally banal “Wonderful Christmas Time“. It’s also a time when the ballet comes to town and The Nutcracker¬†is performed ¬†to various degrees of success. I have a vague recollection of seeing Swan Lake danced by an all male ballet company many moons ago, but I’m vague enough that it might only have been someone I know who told me about it. Either way, it wasn’t particularly memorable… despite the all male company part. Let’s just assume that, for all intents and purposes, I haven’t seen a ballet being performed. I have however seen a world class ballet dancer. Up close and personal. She even shook my hand and spoke my name. Dame Margot Fonteyn¬†was her name. A more elegant and poised person I have yet to meet. She was 66 at the time, and as delicate and willowy as… well a willow¬†I suppose. (Just as an aside – did you know the¬†Latin¬†name for willow is Salix, and Aspirin¬†(acetylsalicylic acid – ASA) was isolated from it? No, I didn’t either. Then I read it somewhere. And now you have too!)

Dame Margot wasn’t just a Prima Ballerina in her day. Oh no… the Queen made her a¬†Prima ballerina assoluta¬†– and there’s only been 11 of those in the last 110 years, the last being¬†Alessandra Ferri¬†in 1992 – at least according to Wikipedia, which has no obvious reason to lie. At the time, Dame Margot was the chancellor of Durham University¬†in the north of the UK. It was an interesting time and place in modern history, with Maggie (The Iron Lady (film)) setting about the dismantling of the power base of the miners’ union, with the Durham/Newcastle area being historically¬†dependent¬†on mining, and a bit of a stronghold (well, after Yorkshire, of course…). If you’re into dance and music, check out¬†Billy Elliot the Musical. The miners’ strike is the back story. Anyway, the other Maggie – Fonteyn – began her dancing career in the 1930s, but in 1962 she danced with a newly defected Russian dancer¬†Rudolf Nureyev, and began a magical partnership – both on and off stage that lasted their lifetimes. She was 42 at the time, he 24.


Wikipedia: Margot Fonteyn in the 1960s

She retired in 1979, and took up professional handshaking as Durham’s chancellor in 1981.

Illness cut both their lives short – cancer for her in 1991, AIDS for him shortly after in 1993. There’s controversey about whether they had a physical relationship but their¬†unwavering¬†loyalty to one another is beyond doubt.

Dame Margot was implicated and arrested in a Panamanian coup in 1964, so controversy wasn’t something she shied away from.

The year I graduated, 1985, I spent the summer at my girlfriend’s summer cottage in Kent. It was the year that Live Aid¬†launched the greatest music event the world has ever seen, to bring famine relief to Ethiopia. The Previous Christmas, Midge Ure and Bob Geldhof (who got most of the praise) penned “Feed the World” and got all their singer mates to lend a voice or two. How many faces do you recognise from the YouTube video?

So, as Christmas¬†approaches, I respectfully ask two things of you, honoured reader: (i) remember to buy lots of batteries ahead of time and (ii) be grateful for what you already have, rather than moan about what you didn’t get.

I like the quote at the end of the Lennon video too: “An eye for an eye will make us all blind” – Mahatma Ghandi.¬†True that.