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Saturday, 13 November 2010

The Sunday Roast

She'll Keep A Welcome In The Hillside . . . and The Vale
(What a fabulous piece of artwork - I've blown it up for us large as I can)

It gives me great pleasure to introduce a lady whom I have known ever since I started blogging. She lives in Wales and comments regularly on the political scene of the day.  I know also she is a very warm lady and has a good sense of humour.  She has chosen to give us a Traditional Roast today with a straight bat and without my additional questions - but she does raise a very interesting one of her own in her conclusion.

Hey! Just heard - VM wants the other questions - Eddie causes chaos again - I'll give a link to Part 2 at the end of this post - sorry folks

(Love the little motto on the top of your blog)
This week's interview is with Valleys Mam, known as VM
who writes the blog,  Valleys Mam

Thank you for the interview, VM
A very warm welcome to you and your followers

Here's the first of the standard questions. Why do you blog?
It gives me an opportunity to comment on the issues and politics of the day. I think it is so important that ordinary people comment and its not just left to professionals. I also think its good to set the example to family; politics is about people and we have a generation or even may be two that are not interested in voting. Democracy is important and we need to keep it on the agenda.
I started, having been inspired by a young blogger called Blammerbell. My daughter who now also blogs encouraged me to have ago –“you are as good as him mam, go for it”. I have always written but not in a journalistic sense, so it’s been an interesting journey, culminating I guess in Iain Dale asking me to write for his Total Politics book on blogging.
I think the question for me now is do I carry on?  Do I have the same impetus?  I also like the more personal and socially focused blogs, the ones that are more like a diary. But then some politician says something or some organisation raises an issue and off I go again.
I enjoy writing, reading other blogs and posting comments - but it can be very time consuming. Comments can be a blessing and a curse. I guess we have all had our nasty trolls. It has been amusing to me when people think they know who I am and where my bias lies. I have been called everything from Tory Mam to Red Commie Mam. I've been accused of being the wife of an AM, actually an AM and I guess nearest the mark, they think I am one of my closest friends, she isn’t amused lol.

(I suppose in politics, or even writing about it, one is in someone's sights - such a wide range of opinions out there, with strong feelings sometimes)

What is the story behind your blog name?
I needed to blog anonymously because of what I do in the real world. Having been born in Wales and still having my roots there, I did think of a Welsh name, but then that belied my birth place in the Valleys, which isn’t a first language Welsh area. I have always loved the theory of the Welsh Mam in history and literature and do have a Grog of a welsh mam, a present from my daughters. So I combined the two, Valleys Mam or VM as I am often called

(It's always fascinating to see how these blog names originated)
What is the best thing about being a blogger?
It gives me a vent to my frustration with society . It actually makes me disciplined to read wider than the daily news, to follow through on issues and philosophies. It has made me more rounded in my approach in my work as well.
It has opened up opportunities to write for other sites and for journals. I just wish I had known I enjoyed this before. Who knows I may have chosen a different career path.
Being a political blogger doesn’t really open up for a community of friends in the same way I guess many of your blog friends do. It’s a different animal. I am also one of the few women political bloggers and as such especially in Wales, not one of the boys club. Neither am I party aligned so don’t have the strength of a machine behind me like some. But that also gives me plenty of space to comment. 
What key advice would you give to a newbie blogger?
Be true to why you are blogging and have faith in what you write; its yours and not what other people want you to make it.
1.  Don’t make posts too long.
2.  Be sure to accredit when you use other people ideas thought s quotes etc.
3.  Don’t be afraid to be controversial.
4.  Humour is good when appropriate.
5.  A catchy title draws people in.
6.  Illustrations are good.
  7.  Do not be obsessed with numbers of comments, quality is the key  and just because
people don’t comment doesn’t mean they haven't read.
8.  Do not be obsessed by visits either.
9. Don’t respond to personal jibes, it fans the flames and often that’s what these
idiots are after.
10. Watch the typos they can turn something serious into a joke.
(Great advice, VM)

What is the most significant post you have ever read?
That changes every week as I always find inspiration and significance.  I have favourites that make smile, some that inform me, others that irritate me. Some that I no longer bother to read as they have dumbed down. Eddie I could not choose one.
I have women bloggers that  I really respect – like Maggie May, MOBA Change of Personnel, Wife in the North , NBNAD Woman , Welshcakes Lim√≥ncello, Aims.  I could go on and sometimes what they say touches my soul and I have been known to cry with them.

(I know most - but not some yet - of course Maggie is my sister, as you probably know)

What is the most significant post you have written?
I think that’s for others to judge. I have had several write to tell me that I have inspired them to start blogging. I have also pushed and probed and made government here rethink some issues, that along with others, they I guess are significant in a way. Some of the most significant I have written and not posted as they would have no meaning to anyone but me.

(And here is an interesting question VM poses)
What irritates me about Blogging –?
The way names of my favourites seem to disappear.
Some great bloggers giving up and leaving a massive gap
Bad language I don’t see the need
Personal attacks by anonymous geeks and trolls, sad souls
Adverts on Blogs do my head in 

(I agree it is always a great loss when bloggers quit  and it does leave a huge gap.  No need whatsoever for bad language or personal attacks of any kind.  There is an unwritten Blogging Etiquette which everyone should follow)
Last word – thanks to Eddie for asking, thanks to you dear readers for reading. Feel free to drop by anytime for a cuppa and a welshcake in my gegin (kitchen).
Hwyl -VM

And thank you VM

For Part 2 please press HERE

Today's Sunday Roast with Valleys Mam is the 141st in a
series of interviews with bloggers from around the world

This interview will feature in The Roll of Honour
for all published Roasts. To view press  HERE

Please keep your recommendations for The Sunday Roast coming.

For those who would like to know a little more about it, how it started, the nuts and bolts of it etc, press HERE


  1. Hooray...... someone that I *know*! I think I have always had VM in my sidebar since the very beginning of my blogging days. Although I am not politically minded in a big way, there was something that attracted me to her blog.Sincerity, I think. Also her neck of the woods is not far from my area.

    I agree with so many of your answers. Long posts can be off putting if you don't have very long to spare and it IS quite upsetting when a Favourite blogger suddenly disappears from the scene with no explanation of where they are ..... This has happened to me so often.
    I would like to hear about life in Wales VM!
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  2. I will maybe do that Maggie,maybe a VM2 that isnt political
    Eddie what were the other questions -what did I miss ,,,oopps

  3. Oh, Eddie!! VM seems to be such a thoughtful, reflective and courageous lady!!! I will have to visit her soon!!! What a delightful roast!! And her art is absolutely intriguing!! Love that!

    And once again, a fine hosting!!! Your posting of the roasting is always done with impeccable taste!!! Hugs~ Janine

  4. Very interesting and intellectual writer. I would have thought that because we live in different countries I would not have much draw toward reading a political blog way over in Wales. But this proves me wrong. I can appreciate her spirit of independence to investigate real news and share her insights on her blog. Her advice to new bloggers is spot on.

  5. wow...what a neat painting! And Valleys Mam, it's great to meet you. Another great interview and roast, Eddie.

    'humour is good'...oh, yes I agree!

    Eddie...prayed for your wife this week. thinking of you both. :)

  6. Good stuff. I received a very stupid parking ticket in Wales last year. It put me off Wales. Then I realised, Welsh officials are crackers, ordinary Welsh people are great!

  7. What a fantastic piece of artwork! So glad you included this, Eddie. I'm not familiar with VM, but she seems like a thoughtful person, and I may have to re-think my staying away from political blogs.

    Your post on Remembrance Sunday (we celebrated Veterans' Day this past Thursday) was very touching. We can give thanks to those who sacrificed so much for us that we have the freedom to post our opinions in blogs today.

  8. This is quite an interesting roast and I'm intrigued about reading more from one of the few women political bloggers in Wales! It is true that blogging about politics is not one to garner many friends but it seems VM has some influence if it makes government rethink policies - good for her!!

    "Moran Taing"* Eddie for this roast =-)

    * - I'm told "moran taing" is Scots Gaelic for "many thanks"

  9. Loved reading what a political blogger has to say-- I like that it encourages her to read and educate herself more. I think that's terrific.

    Thanks for the introduction Eddie, I'm off to look around Valleys Mam's blog.

    Have a great week, jj


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