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Thursday 23 December 2010

The Red Baron, A Christmas Party and Merry Christmas To You All

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

It's the day of the party at our 'Dial-a-Ride'
We're treating the old folk this Christmastide
Three minibuses, including this one
Ferried passengers to HQ to have fun.

The weather was bitter, the wind blew and blew
But we soldiered on as the numbers just grew
On roads we skidded and round corners we did slide
But we managed our pick ups where 'ere they reside.

Yer can see Eddie wrapped up in a Bobble Hatter
With scarf  and warm coat as his teeth started to chatter.
The Red Baron bus started with loud engine noise
To pick up the old ladies and a few elderly boys.

Along icy roads just covered with snow
We had to be careful and allow time to slow.
Each bus had been skidding and sliding all week
Not the place to be if you're kind of meek!

Down one of the roads Eddie's bus became stuck
"Hell's teeth!" muttered Eddie, "just my luck!
I've got nine old ladies - I must get to the top
If I cannot do this they will all have a strop!"

"We'll jump up and down", said one, "try again!"
"Nay, please stay seated and with such notions refrain!"
"I'm 94!" was a lady's reaction
"You must think of how you can get some more traction!"

Said another, "Come on lad! we'll get out and push!
There's no other way to the top in this slush!"
Said another, "This is all exciting to me!
I've not had such fun since I was three!"

Eddie reversed down the hill in his little red bus
And charged from a car park without further fuss.
"Come on!" they all all shouted as they neared the top,
"The wheels are spinning and we think bus will stop!"

But Eddie put his right foot hard on the floor
As the engine revved faster and the noise was a roar.
Inch by inch they progressed climbing higher and higher
Until they got grip on the road with each tyre.

"Well done, Eddie!" the old ladies screamed
With delight on their faces and a smile to him beamed.
"One more to collect . . . a fellow called Eddie!"
"Not another!" laughed a lady, "for two we're not ready!"

We reached the pick up and had a surprise
A lady was waiting . . . was she in disguise?
"I'm a little confused I was expecting a man
My run sheet says Eddie . . . maybe a fault with the plan!"

"I've been called Eddie since ONE NINE FORTY FOUR
It's entirely true you have the correct score!
Now tell me my good man, what is your name?"
Said Eddie laughing, "It is exactly the same!"

"My name too is Eddie and since I was born
In ONE NINE FOUR FOUR that name I have worn!"
The two of them laughed as her seat belt was secured
And so to the party the bus load endured.

A good time was had with lots of mince pies
Good conversation and presents surprise.
The time went by quickly and the party was ended
So time to board buses and home journeys wended.

But on the way home we saw some of the sights
Of local houses adorned with bright Christmas lights.
There seems many people who like decorations
With seasonal flavour with their creations!

This was my last day at the Dial-a-Ride and many of my passenger friends are a little upset because we have grown to know and like one another. It was a pleasure to drive them, assist them onto and off the bus, carry their shopping and make their lives a little happier. They enjoyed having a little laugh on ocassions and to have someone there to whom they could have a little rant now and then.  I remember having trouble sometimes trying to get their seat belts fastened - some ladies were a little large and fortunately I had an extension seatbelt for such ocassions which caused a few laughs.  I am continuing on a voluntary basis for a while for two days a week.

Well I promised a new ending to Macbeth - I'm still working on it - the projects I give myself! LOL

I am very conscious I have not visited many of my blogging friends for a long time - I am a very busy dude these days and I do apologise for my absence - not sure whether I really do have sufficient time for blogging - real life does get in the way unfortunately.

I'll get the Sunday Roasts going again in the new year.

During my bus travels I found this little pony in a farm along a Lane called World's End Lane. LOL. The farm was at the end of the road and I had difficulty turning the bus round LOL

All together, "Ahhhhhh! . . . .isn't she lovely!"

"Cheers folks . . . . . down the hatch"
Like the graphic? - A little birdie sent it to me LOL . . . . Thanks.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year

Finally, I'm feeling a little pleased today because one of my poems has been published in a magazine, New Forest NCT News for their Winter edition. The piece, a little naughty, is about the Cerne Abbas Giant
Some may remember it.

Friday 10 December 2010

The Worst Macbeth and an imminent New Ending - watch this space!!

This post is inspired by an article I read in Stephen Pile's humorous book entitled "The Book Of Heroic Failures". This wonderful book, every toilet should have one, scorns success and promotes failures; the worst the better.  The book is compiled from a collection of glorious flops from a group of wonderful failures in "The Official Handbook Of The Not Terribly Good Club Of Great Britain".
In particular I was amused by the account of The Worst Macbeth ever when actor William McGonagall appeared for the first time on stage . . . . as Macbeth. He was an extremely popular choice and received tumultuous applause and a standing ovation from his many admiring friends in the audience upon uttering his first line, "So foul and fair a day I have not seen".  Whenever he spoke cheers and roars of approval abounded all through the play. The highlight came in the final scene, making the other actors playing main parts furious. Macduff is supposed to kill Macbeth in a sword fight and then hold his head aloft to celebrate his victory over the evil tyrant. Unwisely the actor playing Macduff, still seething, told McGonagall to 'cut it short'. Suspecting this actor was jealous of the acclaim he was receiving, McGonagall refused to die and fought on. A new ending to Macbeth seemed imminent.  The protracted fight had the audience spellbound and screaming encouragement and one old gentleman shouted out, "Well done McGonagall! Walk into him!  And so he did until Macduff, gasping for breath, cried out, "Fool! why don't you fall . . . . die, man, die?" Eventually McGonagall reluctantly succumbed to a roar of boos and the unanimous cry was, "McGonagall! McGonagall! Bring him out!" Before the play had ended McGonagall duly obliged and rose from the dead, walked out to the audience to screams of laughter and received yet another standing ovation with people yelling, "Encore! Encore!". He then asked if they wished to see him die again. The performance was hailed as a glorious failure, never again to be equalled.

Well you all know me by now - this is all like a red rag to a bull. This got me wondering what might have happened if Macbeth indeed refused to die and so I have penned a new ending to this famous tragedy, making it into a Shakespearean comedy LOL. I shall publish next week - and . . . . . . there is a surprise ghost appearing. Watch this space.


I am taking a short break from The Sunday Roast because there are so many in progress and I require some more completed ones.
Also it is Mrs Bluelights' 60th birthday and we are organising and celebrating - so I am eating a roast myself instead of posting one.

Sunday 5 December 2010

The Sunday Roast

Watch Out Folks!  There's An Unleashed Creative Beast About!

   Well here's a 'song and dance' gal wearing a cocktail hat she designed and made.  Beneath her blog name she adds, "a place where creativity is unleashed and celebrated."
This week I am introducing a young lady with a truly great sense of humour. I think you all know I love a gal who laughs at my jokes!! LOL. Now with a Blogname like The Creative Beast I was half expecting a logo something like this:
But forget my vivid imagination - time to stick to the facts, Eddie!
I am sure many will recognise this lady's commenting logo of a crafty girl:

 Yes, this week's interview is with Monica
who writes the blog, The Creative Beast
Thank you for the interview, Monica

A very warm welcome to you and your followers

Says Monica, "I love creating! costumes, knitting, collage, sewing, jewelry, and dolls...not to mention dancing, writing and performance art...creating brings joy into my life and to others when they receive my hand-crafted goods or watch my performance art/storytelling."  In this photograph Monica is modelling some of her original knitted goods (pink scarf and mitts).
And so to the roast interview.

Here's the first of the standard questions. Why do you blog?

That is a really good question Eddie! I know when I began I was just eager to jump into the pool of all the amazing bloggers that abound in the Blogsphere and not just sit on the sidelines watching all the fun. I had been reading blogs for nearly two years before I jumped in! Now I see my blog as many things, so I have many reasons for blogging:

  • It's a way to connect with other creative beasts =-)
  • It's a way to lend support and encouragement to folks just starting their creative journey and I LOVE to encourage others!
  • Most especially, its a way to document the artistic aspect of my life...
I always wanted to be one of those people who write in journals but I just couldn't get into it! The idea of writing into a journal book didn't really work for me. I see now that it's best for me to be able to share my experience with others - maybe it's that performance part of me that plays to the audience! (I'm a dancer and performance artist when time allows) Also, I think blogs are better than journals since you can add images of all kinds, of work in progress or moments in life, in a way you can't always document in a book journal - it seems like a living, breathing thing, a 3-dimensional journal, in a way...

Also, my blog is a way for me to hone my storytelling skills and I've shared one of my favorite stories on my blog about my Wise Woman, the doll she inspired and the stranger who came looking for me when she received one of my handmade Wise Woman dolls. I hope to share more stories like that as they unfold...

(You can find the four "chapters" of the Wise Woman Doll story in the sidebar of my blog)

(A multitude of reasons for blogging if ever I saw them)
What's the story behind your blog name?

One day, many years ago, I was speaking with a co-worker and telling him about all my creative projects I was working on. I'm sure I was still studying fashion design and pattern drafting, in addition to making myself a costume for our local Renaissance Faire, making a gift for someone, sewing some new clothes, knitting a doll sweater or making some jewelry, rehearsing for a dance performance and he stopped me in my tracks when he said:

"You are just a Creative Beast, aren't you?!"

I knew in that moment that I really WAS a Creative Beast and I would use the name for a future business of my creations. Little did I know it would be the name of a blog first...You know, I'm actually surprised he wasn't exhausted after my list of creativity - I know I would be!! ;)

I think the name fits for me in many ways because some days being creative can be beastly when your materials are not cooperating with your ideas; also, being an artist in a society that does not really value artists is pretty beastly as well...but mostly, I think it fits because there is a LOT of unleashed creativity in my home and it looks it! LOL!

(Unleashed creativity shortly to abound folks!  Loved the reasons Monica)

What is the best thing about being a blogger?

Hands down, the community of art bloggers and the support that has come from that community. There is a LOT of amazing work being created in so many ways and I am REALLY glad to be a part of that...If I didn't have that, I don't know what I'd be doing now, probably losing my marbles and roaming around homeless in LA talking to myself, hee, hee!
What key advice would you give to a newbie blogger?

Seriously, don't worry about being perfect in the beginning because you and your blog will evolve as you learn and grow...besides, perfection is BORING!! ;)

(Yes, there are no hard and fast rules - just dive in LOL)
What is the most significant blog post you've ever read?

It took me awhile to think about this question because there are SO MANY meaningful blog posts I've read in the many years of reading blogs, but I have to say the one post that has had a huge impact on me is written by Patti Digh titled "Forever hold your penguin dear - In memory of Meta" and it was incredibly powerful the first time I read it and it still affects me when I read it again. She re-posts it every year on the anniversary of the death of a young woman named Meta...The post was amazing in the way the family took care of Meta to help her pass from this life into the next one and I remember thinking: "Yes, this is exactly how it should be, but often isn't, sadly"...

I know that many people don't like to think about Death, but I was born under the sign of Scorpio and it's something we tend to ponder OFTEN, along with what the afterlife looks like...Patti's post about the passing of Meta and the courage of her family facing every step of preparing her for the transition is moving and powerful beyond words.

may I say right now that I REALLY love Patti's writing and I'm SO lucky to have my artwork published in her TWO recent books of this year!!)

You know Eddie, I think many of us are curious about what happens to us after we pass away and lately I've been reading the blog of a friend who began to write about her experiences with messages she receives from her boyfriend who died in a car accident - it's very thoughtful and rather comforting to know that loved ones are nearby watching over us, though we may not always see them...

(BTW, if you want to see a profile of a Scorpio figure in action, I highly recommend watching "All That Jazz" by Bob Fosse, who was fascinated by the aspect of Death, and of Sex, two favorite Scorpion topics...and there's fabulous dancing!!)

What is the most significant blog post you've ever written?

I'm not sure I've written it yet, Eddie!!

I can think of one post that got people thinking:

"Some family history and a giveaway" - I wrote about a family ancestor that I take after and I had folks comment about their family members that they received a legacy from - it got many of them thinking and sharing some really wonderful stories of family histories of creativity!

I do have topics in mind to write about in the future and I hope that my readers will find them helpful - I'll let you know how they go when they've been written, Eddie!

Which two blogs would you recommend for roasting?

ONLY TWO??!?!?

(Oh sorry! I know you ladies have great difficulty counting to two LOL. Oh go on then as many as you like LOL)

But I read so many blogs I can't just narrow it down to TWO!!! But since you ask, here are a few of my favorite blogs:

Tinniegirl - I met her through the group site for the Artful Journey Retreat I attended last year and she hosts the awesome Blogtoberfest for the last three years; she's got great art and a great way with sharing the story of her journey as an artist
I Speak Melsh - I met her through Blogland during last years Blogtoberfest - she has a great eye for color and layout (in scrapbooking), great foodie photos and  a wonderful sense of humor!
Cul*ti*vate - an Artful Journey sister with fabulous photography and a sweet spirit
I Saw You Dancing - she is a great writer, as she begins to explore her artistry and the in's and out's of motherhood
Do What You Love - another Artful Journey sister who has had an abundance of travel in her life and amazing stories from all that traveling to foreign lands
Her Painted Word - yet another Artful Journey sister who has been writing an amazing book about her family and is working toward her first solo art exhibit coming next year...

This list could go on forever Eddie!!

(Thanks for those recommendations, Monica)
That concludes the formal aspect of the interview but it would be nice to get to know you a little better while you are slowly turning on the roasting spit.  So while you are screaming in agony above the open fire here are a few more questions for you.

Pick three things you can't live without.

1) My dear boyfriend - he gives great backrubs and has a wonderful sense of humor
2) My girlfriends - because sometimes my sweetie can drive me nuts!! And my girlfriends always remind me of who I am when I forget myself ;)
3) My art supplies!

If we were to make a movie about BlogLand, what would it be and who would you cast in the leading roles?
YAY! After living in LA, so close to Hollywood and Movie-land I have the opportunity to write up a movie I'd LOVE to see that features amazing women...

It would definitely be about women artists, many of them finding their voices and a few matriarchs that have always been artists and they will all converge at a fabulous retreat to make art for a special fundraiser to help more women find their voices. It would star Nina Bagley and Patti Digh as two of the matriarchs, and the women I listed on my list of blogs to read as the younger artists.

I would include a fun scene to have a group of the women put on a 'show number' using the song "That's What Friends Are For" from The Jungle Book - it's definitely a movie about friendship and community!
(Oh! . . . . no starring role for me then!)

If you could live your life again who would you be, and why?

Hmmm, could I go back in time and be somebody else??!? There are so many amazing women in history I would love to live as - Nellie Bly for instance. She is the grandmother of investigative journalism - she posed as an insane patient to get into an asylum and managed to get more funding on their behalf when she reported the appalling conditions they were living in...she really put her own life in danger to get a story and she used the story to help others.

(Aww . . . . I think you are very nice as you are)

You have been given a wonderful talent from above.  This causes you to make your mark on humanity and be world famous. In which area would prefer: a best selling novelist, a brilliant artist, a gifted musician, a fantastic singer, a charismatic leader, anything you choose, and why?

I'd be just what I am now - A Creative Beast encouraging others in their own creativity by producing brilliant art!!

Though it might be cool to be a gifted musician - music is amazing and powerful and I love listening and dancing to so many types of it =-)
If you were an ice cream cone, which flavour would you prefer and who would you most want to lick you?

LOL!! You are a naughty boy Eddie!! I HAVE to let the Scorpio in me answer this one!!

If I was an ice cream it would be coffee flavor with chocolate syrup and toffee chunks (I think there is already an ice cream like this!) and I would be happy with ANY of these fellows licking an ice cream of course! ;)

Gael Garcia Bernal (actor)
Hugh Dancy (actor)
Colin Firth (actor)

I don't know if my dear boyfriend is reading this but since I know who his celebrity hottie is, it's fair for me to admit to some of mine!! hee, hee!

(Oh in that case you'd better add to your list . . . . Eddie Bluelights (ex ambulance man/blogger/roast host) LOL)

Describe in one sentence your perfect day.
I'm not sure I can do this in ONE sentence, but I'll try!

(None of you gals can LOL)

A perfect day would include making art, spending time with friends either making more art or shopping for great ideas; it would include some form of movement such as a long walk among trees, a bicycle ride or a dance class and end with one of my favorite meals either made by my dear boyfriend (who likes to cook!) or at one of our favorite restaurants. That would be a perfect day indeed!

If you were a fiction writer which one would you be and why?

I love Patti Digh but she already exists and there can't be TWO Patti's in the world...Or can there?!? ;)
I think I'd like to be Louisa May Alcott - I wonder what it was like to live as a female in a household with progressive parents during a time when women's roles in society were constricted. I know it must have shaped who she became immensely...not to mention the fact that she was writing juvenile literature while also writing what she called her "blood and thunder" stories, now known as Gothic romances - talk about living (writing?!) a double life!
What was your most embarrassing moment?

Back in high school, our dance teacher had us choreograph a dance to a song of our choice and while I was performing for my classmates, I got so excited with the music, I overshot a move, slipped and landed right on my arse!! I did jump right back up and keep going, but for a dancer falling flat on the floor is really embarrassing! I've since learned that "the floor is your friend" and I often incorporate dance moves that consist of me 'falling' to the floor =-)

(Was it a hard or soft landing, I wonder?)

. . . . and if you are really brave . . . . 

If you awoke to find you had changed gender what would be the first and second things you would do?
Hmmm, I know my first reaction would be to scream but then again, it might be refreshing to have really short hair for awhile or maybe even a buzz cut!! And to wear nice shirts without having to worry about buttons pulling and popping off due to large breasts...having a body-type like Brad Pitt would be great - he has a figure that can wear just about anything! I don't need his face, just his body type ;)

Not shaving the legs could be a time-saver, though I'd probably have to shave the face...WOW! I'd be able to make more money compared to women! That would be AWESOME!!!

I guess I'd cry though because I do love being a woman, even if I only make .75 to every dollar earned by a man =-\

(Can't have you crying, can we? . . . . so I'm afraid it's back to 0.75 to every dollar, er . . . large assets and no Brad Pitt body!)

This was a fun interview Eddie!! Thank you so much for inviting me to be 'roasted' - I feel quite toasty and warm now! ;)

Your turn to ask me a question if you wish.

Well Eddie, as you may or may not know, I do believe that EVERYONE is creative though it may not always take the form of art. So my question for you is "How do YOU express your creative life?" Aside from blogging that is!

The short answer is, Monica, I don't  . . . . . for have not yet found an avenue.  Within the blogging world I do a lot of creative writing, as many will know, and this allows me to let loose my weird imagination. There are various examples like a Blogger's Horse Race, A skit on Pride and Prejudice, Mickey the Budgie stories etc.  So this has led me to embark on a Comprehensive Writing Course which I had hoped to start when I retired from ambulance duties.  Ultimately I would like to write short stories for magazines, radio and television.  Perhaps some day I might turn into a creative beast! I have lots of ideas but time to do it remains a problem, what with endless do lists from Mrs Bluelights and driving the minibus for a while and doing other things.  Why are there just 24 hours in a day?

Well. we have reached the end of a very enjoyable roast. Thank you for your interview, Monica, and keep creating!! Mrs Bluelights for one does LOL


Today's Sunday Roast with The Creative Beast is the 144th
in a weekly 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

Monday 29 November 2010

How To Remove Your Underpants Without Removing Your Trousers

I apologise for my recent lack of posts, other than Sunday Roasts of course. I have been extremely busy driving a red mini bus, nicknamed The Red Baron, three days a week for Dial-a-Ride at the local council. You may call me Eddie von Richthofen Bluelights.  My passengers are mainly little old ladies, picked up from home to the shops, Health Centres, Hairdressers etc. . . . . and to return them safely home, helping them with their shopping and on and off the bus etc.  Love the work but alas I shall soon finish because the council has run out of money - a common occurrence these days with cuts in government spending.  Shame for little old ladies who all love me of course and for me too because I love them and doing the work and helping them.

Anyway, I have an unusual post for you today - I feel it is something you just cannot wait to discover and try yourselves (joking of course!).  It is designed principally for the menfolk but you ladies too can join in if you pinch a pair of hubby's underpants and trousers whilst he is not looking!! Shhh! whilst he is asleep in his chair, pretending to be watching the TV, have a quiet practice and then when you have perfected the craft say, "Oi! bet you can't do this!"


"Take underpants off without trousers being removed!"

"Yer joking! . . . Golly! . . . . go on then  . . . . . thought it was impossible . . . . show me!"

If yer haven't got a hubby or he is out at the 'boozer' you'll just have to use your charm or beg, steal or borrow some underpants and trousers LOL.

Unfortunately, regarding this miraculous trick, this particular pleasure in life has been denied to me because now I am the proud owner of an artificial hip joint and there is no way I could do this without dislocating my entire left leg, which might fall off.  I don't like cheating because if my entire left leg did fall off then I could do this easily. So I'll abstain - that's my story and I'm sticking to it LOL.

This trick may not be quite as dazzling an escape as from a straight jacket, suspended by a flaming rope over a lion's den, but it's a lot safer and, with practice, can be an excellent party feature.  The key to success is elasticity, so stretchy pants are best.  The cotton shorts type are hopeless and my own laboratory experiments reveal that those with a Y at the front are the ones to go for.

You are allowed to bend your body and to stretch or twist your underpants. But tearing holes in any of your clothes is strictly forbidden. You can increase your chances of success by wearing loose trousers and pants but only one size up from normal - otherwise you shall be disqualified as a cheat.

1.  Begin by standing upright with legs slightly apart in the military Stand At Ease position.
2.  Placing the index and second fingers of the right hand inside the seam of the left inside leg , drag the trouser leg up with the help of the left hand, as far as it will go, exposing your bare thigh.
3.  Reach up inside the trouser leg until you can pinch the material of your underpants between your index and second fingers.  If you're struggling here, be of good cheer, for by pushing your left arm down the waistband of your trousers you can help things along.
4.  Grasping the underpants with the first two fingers of your right hand, pull firmly on the material until the waistband slips over your left hip (under your trousers) and the left leg hole of your pants appears outside the trouser leg. If you hear a nasty tearing noise, you break wind or lose your balance and fall over at this stage I am sorry. Also please refrain from answering the front door if the bell rings at this crucial stage - not a pretty sight!
5.  Pull the leg hole and waistband down over the bent left knee and secure your pants there for a moment while you take a breather.  If you are 'panting' then you are not very fit.
6.  Keeping the left leg bent, pull the pants over your foot and slip it out of the left leg hole and waistband.  Release the material so that the pants spring back up inside your trousers.  Be careful that the tense elastic does not cause your pants to fly up so fast that your 'pride and joy' is injured (if you are a male of course - I should hate to be the indirect cause of ruining anyone's marital prospects).
7.  It should be plain sailing from here.  By reaching up inside the right trouser leg, you should be able to grasp the material of your pants and simply slide them down your leg and off your foot with a flourish.  Job done! If the front door bell rings in all probability it is the men in white coats calling to take you away.

It is possible to put your underpants back on by reversing the sequence of moves.  Or you could just do it in the normal way, like an ordinary human being.

So now you know. It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, "Getting one's knickers in a twist".

When I finally get some more time I am planning to do some more Freddie Bluelights analyses on why men's and women's brains work differently and the consequences.  These will be as sequels to those studies already done.

I must do the conclusion of the Eddie's feet saga - remember the Grim Reaper was threatening a hostile takeover of Eddie.  How did Eddie deal with that?  . . . . watch this space!

Plus, one fine day I will revive The Wizard Of Oz . . . . a big ask at the moment.

Talking of rattling - my teeth are!!  It's so cold here in UK and I am told in Scotland temperatures are forecast to drop to -20 degrees C.  Not nearly as bad as that here in Southern England around Bristol. I sympathise with the animals that hibernate and if I could I would. I feel I should put on some long Johns, a pullover, a night cap, some socks and go to bed with only my nose showing above the duvet. Good night!  . . . . . . "Zzzzzzzzzzz"

Sunday 28 November 2010

The Sunday Roast

She May Be Bored But She Packs A Real Mean Blog!

 Ah I see you are a cat lover and one of you likes red wine.

. . . . and I am sure people will recognise the donkey.

This week's interview is with Wendy
who writes the blog, Very Bored In Catalunya

Thank you for the interview, Wendy

A very warm welcome to you and your followers

Here's the first of the standard questions. Why do you blog?

Boring answer I’m afraid – for the creative output mainly but I do enjoy the social aspect side of it as well. I first started out with the intention of it being an ex-pat blog but it’s sort of morphed into a Mummy/ex-pat/observational blog about anything and everything. It’s mostly trivial and frivolous with a bit of serious chucked in every now and again to mix it up.

(A sort of BlogLand casserole, then)

What's the story behind your blog name?

It’s exactly what it says on the tin… I have far too much time on my hands and no money to be a lady who lunches or shops, and I live in Catalonia so therefore I am ‘very bored in Catalunya’.

(A good job you have your blogging mates!)

What is the best thing about being a blogger?

Having someone laugh at your posts, well the ones that are intentionally funny anyway. Starting a discussion with your views, generally having your ego massaged by people reading and enjoying your work. The social side of it, twitter, reading and commenting on other people’s blogs is a great added plus, I feel like I have made some genuine friends from blogging and ‘met’ lots of really interesting and diverse people from all over the world, simply by sitting around in my house.

(Inter-reaction in BlogLand can be very interesting and rewarding)

What key advice would you give to a newbie blogger?

Don’t take yourself too seriously, expect it to take a while before you become established in your blogging field and try to stay out of all the nasty/bitchy side of things.

What is the most significant blog post you've ever read?

Wow, that’s a tough question. There have been posts that have really made me think, posts that have touched me and ones that have educated me, but I am a sucker for humour and love posts that detail the mundane but have you in tears of laughter. Far too many to narrow it down to just one.

What is the most significant blog post you've ever written?

Not sure that I could really call anything I write ‘significant’ but the post I’d written that got the most response was one entitled ‘I’m a Shit Mum’, I wrote it in frustration and exasperation at the sheer number of posts and articles out there that pit women against each other and try and make giving
birth and parenting a competition.

Which two blogs would you recommend for roasting?

Mommy Has a Headache – a fellow expat Brit based in Baltimore. From Christmas sweaters to
oversized penises, this lady will blog about it all.

The Life and Times of a Househusband – he’s quite a lazy blogger and hardly ever knuckles down and writes anything but when he does it’s comedy gold.

(Thanks Wendy - I will write to them, both new to me)

That concludes the formal aspect of the interview but it would be nice to get to know you a little better while you are slowly turning on the roasting spit. So while you are screaming in agony above the open fire here are a few more questions for you.

Pick three things you can't live without.

Wine, Coriander (leaf, the seed I could live without) and the Internet

If we were to make a movie about BlogLand, what would it be and who would you cast in the
leading roles?

It would be a modern day remake of the Dickens classic Great Expectations, I would play Miss Havisham, rattling around an old boarded-up council house with just my laptop for company. I would take out a sized 8 mini skirt from a cobwebbed wardrobe and stroke it affectionately, whilst bedecked in a fading, holey sized 14 tracksuit. With my greasy hair scraped back I would fire off scathing blog posts about my skin’s lack of elasticity and bemoan the youth of today in between ordering bulk loads of stilton online and swigging gin straight from the bottle. The film would flashback on me in happier times (played by Jessica Alba), wearing the size 8 skirt and embroiled in a passionate embrace with Compeyson (played by Jake Gyllenhaal), before he jilts me at the altar having cleared out my Barclays current account after running up massive debts playing online Bingo.
Or something like that.

If you could live your life again who would you be, and why?

Oooh gosh maybe Nelson Mandela without the Robben Island bit, or maybe Brian Clough without the Derby County bit or the Leeds United bit, or maybe just me with longer limbs and a smaller arse?
Actually, yeah I like the last one best.

(LOL, last bit!!  But I do rate Brian Clough very highly and agree with him he should have been The England Manager)

You have been given a wonderful talent from above. This causes you to make your mark on
humanity and be world famous. In which area would prefer: a best-selling novelist, a brilliant
artist, a gifted musician, a fantastic singer, a charismatic leader, anything you choose, and why?

Not even in my warped and weird imagination could I pretend to be a gifted musician, I blush at myself when I sing in the car so that rules out the singer, my four year old draws better than I do and I’m only charismatic when I’m pissed which might prove problematic whilst leading a country, although Yeltsin managed perfectly fine (when I say fine, I don’t really mean fine… I’m just saying he ran his country whilst arseholed).

So by default it would have to be the best-selling novelist. I would pen something brilliantly witty but with a gritty northern working class underbelly. A bit of an Irvine Welsh, minus the heroin and with an East Midlands accent.

If you were an ice cream cone, which flavour would you prefer and who would you most want to lick you?

I’d be a double cone because I’m greedy, mint choc chip and cherry chocolate ice cream from my favourite ice cream shop in the next village. And because I am two flavours I get two people to lick me, hmmm let’s see… Jake Gyllenhaal and Scarlett Johansson.


Describe in one sentence your perfect day

Wake up to a full English breakfast and tea in bed in a swanky hotel room in New York. T’husband takes the boy off somewhere but leaves me his credit cards and tells me to go shopping and meet some girlfriends for lunch. Later that night a babysitter will miraculously appear from nowhere and we’ll go to a Michelin starred restaurant and have wonderful food and wine. We’ll finish up the night at a club watching a cool up and coming band. Sadly ‘tea in bed’ would be the only part likely to happen in real life.

(One can but dream, I suppose)

If you were a fiction writer which one would you be and why?

One of my favourite books is Saturday Night, Sunday Morning so I would have to say Alan Sillitoe. Gritty working class novel (we’ve been here before haven’t we?) and set in my hometown of Nottingham.

What was your most embarrassing moment?

I think I embarrass myself on such a regular occurrence that no one thing stands out. I am naturally clumsy, completely forgetful and have a tendency to get too drunk quickly – a recipe for multiple embarrassing moments. I can’t think of anything excruciating off the top of my head though.

(The average is right though, Wendy LOL)

. . . . and if you are really brave . . . .

If you awoke to find you had changed gender what would be the first and second things you would do?

Obviously I’d have to test the new equipment, it’d be rude not too, and then I’d dress in some scutty underpants and sit around all day playing on the PS3 scratching my testicles. (Seems to work for my husband).

(Hilarious!! . . . you know all you ladies think we do that! LOL)

Your turn to ask me a question if you wish.

I have two really important life questions…

1. Cheese or Chocolate?
2. As the great Brandon Flowers once asked ‘are you human or are you dancer?’

OK Here we go:
1. Definitely cheese - I am a total addict to cheese and crackers with Branston Pickle - lovely grub.
I like mature Cheddar best.  With chocolate I can take them or leave them.

2. I know some great dancers but I am not much good at that myself which I guess makes me human, but having said that the dancers I know are very human, particularly when they stop dancing LOL.

Thank you Wendy for your interview. We'll just have a look at your blog screen.

Today's Sunday Roast with Wendy is the 143rd in a
weekly 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

Sunday 21 November 2010

The Sunday Roast

Magpies, Magpies Everywhere But A Quintessential One Was Not In Sight! . . . . . until now!
Ah! . . . . shh! . . . she's just landed!  I know both David and I have been trying to entice this very popular lady onto the show for quite some time.  Now at last Mrs Magpie has landed on my roast post . . . that elusive Magpie was very diffficult to catch for my roasting spit. Just as I got very close, brandishing my bird net . . . . she chattered, "Can't catch me! Can't catch me! . . . . and whoosh! - she was off again!

This little fledging Magpie in the making told me, "I am, of course, reading here which has always been a big part of my life.  Thanks to my parents, particularly my father, my love affair with books began at a very young age. :-) 

. . . and here is her familiar calling card . . . . yes I think now we all know who she is:

This week's interview is with Mrs Magpie
o writes the blog, The Quintessential Magpie
Thank you for the interview - we have been looking forward to this.

Thank you, for having me, Eddie.  I'm very honored! :-)
A very warm welcome to you and your followers

Here are the standard questions. Why do you blog?

I blog because I enjoy having a creative outlet to express myself, and it's not fattening, illegal, or deadly. But the main reason I blog is because it allows me to point to other bloggers who have more china than I do when my friends and family accuse me of being a one-woman relief act for Wedgwood and Mottahedeh! ;-)

(Very nicely put!)

What's the story behind your blog name?

The story behind my blog name involves my husband.  You see, when I shop for things I love, my eyes light up like Christmas trees.  My husband, who thankfully has a marvelous sense of humor (particularly when I'm raiding his wallet), once quipped, "So little time, so many shiny objects for a magpie!" At the time, I was hyperventilating over the booty to be had in one particular antique shop with only a few paltry minutes before the shop closed. And from that moment on, he started calling me "Mrs. Magpie."  Then before I had my own blog, I'd been reading design blogs and wanting to comment.  So I thought about a screen name. We played around with the name Magpie, and me being the quintessential lover of all things "shiny" (be they animal, vegetable, or mineral),  we thought The Quintessential Magpie would work well.

(And it works very well, Mrs Magpie . . . . . . Listen everyone, put all your shiny things away or she'll swoop from the sky and nick 'em)

What is the best thing about being a blogger?

Oh, by far the best thing about being a blogger is all of the interesting people I've met and friends I've made.   The Blog world is a microcosm of the world at large, and in a single day, you can entertain people from all over the world in your living room or be entertained in theirs'.

(Those who don't blog don't know what they are missing . . . . are you listening, Mrs Bluelights? LOL)

What key advice would you give to a newbie blogger?

It depends on why you're blogging, but if you are blogging for enjoyment and to meet people you enjoy, an excellent way to do that is to participate in the memes.  I participate off and on in several memes and have made some wonderful friends that way. Some friends have actually come to visit us in Florida from other countries (Claudie and Julie) and from other states (Jeanne and Teresa).  While other blogging friends have come to visit from other towns in Florida (Becky, Deborah and David), and a few have actually moved to this area of Florida (Rhonda, Lisa and BG).  I know one Kim and have met another, and Smiling Sally and I met half way for lunch!  It's delightful knowing them both off and on the blog circuit. To that end, I would tell newbie bloggers that they need to visit other people's blogs, take the time to get to know them, and respond on their posts.   The best way to make a friend is to be one and to treat others as you want to be treated.  Blogging is a reciprocal process, and it's that give and take, as in all of life, that is key to it being a rewarding experience. So go out of your way and visit others, particularly the people who are kind enough to visit you, and you should always leave a shiny comment.  You never know whose day you just may brighten or vice versa.

(Excellent advice and I wish I could devote more time to this myself)

What is the most significant blog post you've ever read?

There are SO many, and I have a hard time limiting this.  However, one comes to mind immediately. The post is by my beautiful young friend Carrie of The Vintage Wren who wrote a very personal post about her battle with clinical depression called The Sad Truth . She did this in an effort to help other people who are battling depression to know that there is help available.  This post was significant to me because one of my favorite friends took her own life when she was struggling to get a handle on clinical depression. I felt Carrie's post was important enough to post a link on my sidebar.

(A very real problem is clinical depression - my blogging friends will know that my Great Grandfather took his own life because of depression, alas)

What is the most significant blog post you've ever written?

Oh, that's a good question. I'm not sure I've written it yet.  My blog is basically very light-hearted because I feel that people need a place where they can escape and celebrate their inner child. I also think some of the comments I've received outstrip anything I've ever written.  But if I must pick one post, I once wrote about a photograph I took of a star and it reminded me of two scripture verses about the star of my own life, the Lord.  One thing lead to another, and I mentioned that the photograph also reminded me of a song my sister and I sang to our mother as she lay dying and included links to the song as found on You-Tube. This inspired me to write the post, Sunday Solace: The Light Of The World which was posted on a Sunday (usually a slow blog day), and I was surprised at all of the comments I received on that post.  David McMahon of Authorblog also gave it an Honorable Mention as a Post of The Day.  Later on, a friend of mine told me how much the post meant to her during her daughter's brush with death and how she had sung to her daughter as well.  You just never know whose heart you've touched and how you've touched it through blogging.

(A must read if ever I saw one - I remember it and commenting! . . . . but I intend reading it again)

If you were to suggest two people for roasting who would they be and why?

Oh, I am unable to pick between my friends.  I simply cannot.  I think everyone in the world has a story to tell, and everyone's story is worth hearing (or in this case, reading). So, please feel free to ask anyone that you find on my blog list.

(Yes this is a difficult question - I'll have a look at your blog list - thanks)

That concludes the formal aspect of the interview but it would be nice to get to know you a little better while you are slowly turning on the roasting spit.  So while you are screaming in agony above the open fire here are a few more questions for you.

Pick three things you can't live without.

Only three?  Okay. First, I cannot live without the Lord and wouldn't even want to try.  I can't imagine my days without His companionship and the assurance of His grace. Second, I cannot live without family and friends, and if my family were gone, I would want to make sure I had loads of friends and vice versa.  Third, I cannot live without living near water, preferably in Florida which, to me, is paradise.  I find such comfort in the beauty of the ocean, lakes, and rivers. 

Now, on a lighter note (and I know this is four), I cannot live without china.  A girl can NEVER have too much china.  I fancy myself the Imelda Marcos of china patterns.  The difference is that china is meant to be shared, and shoes aren't! That's exactly how I justify my obsession, oops, I mean my passion for china. ;-)

(Now we know your secret!)

If we were to make a movie about BlogLand, what would it be and who would you cast in the leading roles?

Since I love comedies, the movie would be Blog Land's version of "Nine To Five."  I would cast Debbie of Confessions of A Plate Addict in the part of Lily Tomlin because Debbie can deliver a one-liner like nobody's business and is an absolute scream. Then Gloria of The Little Red House With The White Door would fill the Jane Fonda role because Gloria has a sweet, wide-eyed innocent demeanor, but she, too, has Jane Fonda's underlying great sense of humor and loves to laugh. Plus Gloria has a teenage son, and something tells me she could hogtie a boss! Dolly Parton's role would have to be played by Lou Cinda of Tattered Hydrangeas because not only is Lou Cinda a blonde, she is one of the funniest people I've ever known and could carry off the Southern accent and the entire part without batting an eyelash! And just for fun, I would cast you, Eddie, in the Dabney Coleman role, and the rest would be history. No one would remember the previous version! ;-)

Here are the links to their blogs:

Confessions of A Plate Addict

The Little Red House With The White Door

Tattered Hydrangeas

(I am very flattered to be included in this star studded production)

If you could live your life again who would you be, and why?

I would be myself, and I would have all the knowledge and all the life experience (minus the loss of certain loved ones) I have now.  I would have the body of a professional dancer, the mind of Einstein (love that man!), and the sense of humor of my father (love that man even more).  I would be as engaging a speaker as Maya Angelou, would write like Eudora Welty, would sing like Norah Jones or Eva Cassidy, would have a speaking voice as enchanting as Shelby Foote's (only in female form... maybe Vivian Leigh's) and a grasp of history as solid as his, too.  I would finish my doctorate and be a college professor at Flagler College in St. Augustine because it has the most amazing campus I've ever seen.  I would teach history and communications courses and make them come alive for my students, and I would take my dog (the greyhound I've always wanted and haven't had yet) with me to work every single day.  He would sit around, looking beautiful and bored, hopefully unlike the students. ;-) AND I would be married to Mr. Magpie because I have already married him three times - see my post, True Confessions: I Married The Same Man Three Times . Why do I want to do this? Because you asked! ;-)

(Cracked me up to see the huge shopping list of attributes you would require in your ideal existence. And . . . married to the same man three times!!!! - must read this!!  I think you must love him LOL)

You have been given a wonderful talent from above.  This causes you to make your mark on humanity and be world famous. In which area would you prefer: a best selling novelist, a brilliant artist, a gifted musician, a fantastic singer, a charismatic leader, anything you choose, and why?

I would be an evangelist, and I would be an evangelist in the form of a Billy Graham because I think his ministry has done more to change the world for good and to spread the Good News of Christ than any other single person outside of the Lord himself.  Billy Graham has consistently lived a good and righteous life, and I have never, ever heard him condemn another person.  He is a walking, breathing example of what it is to be a good Christian, and he is so sweet and so humble and so kind that he makes me want to be a better person.  Plus, what better thing to do in life than to hand people the key for the transformation of their lives and for their assurance of eternal life?  I cannot imagine anything finer or better. You'd have a front row seat to see other people receiving the best present, the shiniest object, in the world! Talk about Christmas!

(Fantastic answer - Billy Graham is one of my all time favourite human beings and I admire him for the same reasons.  You may be interested to know I have just joined a group of Christians and we are starting a Healing Ministry - very exciting to be an instrument for The Lord)

If you were an ice cream cone, which flavour would you prefer and who would you most want to lick you?

Oh, hands down I would want to be a chocolate ice cream cone (double chocolate or triple chocolate... the good rich kind, preferably with nuts, the kind that makes your eyes roll into the back of your head), and I would want my late dogs (an incorrigible pair of terriers/terrorists) to lick me. Why? Because those two silly dogs loved treats more than anything on earth.  I know that chocolate isn't good for dogs, but I would be sure that I wouldn't poison them. As a matter of fact, I am certain they are eating chocolate ice cream out of golden bowls every day in Heaven!  Wouldn't you?

Describe in one sentence your perfect day:

One Sentence: I laughed.

(Mission impossible - eh!)

One Faulknerian Run-On Sentence:

My perfect day would be to wake up early on a bright summer morning after a late night at the theatre in London as well as a previous day of touring the British Museum, spend time with the Lord, have a fabulous breakfast with kippers and the works at the Russell Hotel (we stayed there years ago, and the breakfast was out of this world!), catch the train to Scotland where my husband and I would meet some friends at the station in Edinburgh who would then drive us to St. Andrews to have an early dinner in a delightful restaurant (whose name I can't recall) that serves the most incredible barley soup and trout I have EVER eaten, and attend a classical concert at the University of St. Andrews before strolling to the flat we've leased for the summer where we play a rousing game of Pictionary (of which we reign supreme and which is fun no matter who wins), say my evening prayers of thanks, and sleep tight, hopefully without bedbugs biting!

(Sounds good to me!)

If you were a fictional writer which one would you be and why?

I would be Eudora Welty (or I wouldn't BE her, but I would write like her) because she had the most amazingly witty way of looking at life and seeing the humor and the pathos all around her and expressing that on paper.  Her humorous stories are funny without the least bit of vulgarity, and she was as eloquent and as literary as any writer who ever lived.  Her short stories are unsurpassed, and I prefer them to her novels.

What was your most embarrassing moment?

I have two, and fortunately, I can laugh about both!  The first one occurred when I was a small child in a Christmas pageant at church and forgot my lines. You can read about it HERE  as I did a blog post about it.

As an adult, the moment of moments would have to be when I went to city hall for an important meeting. I overslept and was rushing, and fortunately I got there and saw some friends who were having cigars on the front steps.  One of them looked at me rather oddly, and I jokingly said, "What's wrong?  Do I have my clothes on inside out or something?"  And he replied, "Yes, unless those are supposed to be there!"  With that he pointed to my shoulder pads, and they were sitting on top of my shoulders like epaulettes! I had my sweater on inside out, and it was in the days of "Dynasty" and Joan Collins' shoulder pads! We got quite a chuckle out of it. 

If you woke up and found you had changed gender what would be the first thing you would do, and the second thing.

Well, the first thing I would do is see if Mr. Magpie had changed into a woman, and if he hadn't, I would go straight to the nearest monastery and sign up!

(It's about all you could do LOL)

Your turn to ask me a question if you wish.

Of course I want to ask you a question!  Magpies are very curious creatures, you know.
"So, Eddie, if you could perform any death-defying feat that you knew you could safely do, what would it be?"

(I've performed a few non safe death-defying feats trying to catch the Quintessential Magpie for this show.  I've climbed ladders, walked the plank, climbed trees and goodness knows what!!!

But a little more seriously . . . . . . if it was guaranteed safe it would not have the same the same charisma because I would know I would be OK and there would be no sense of danger. So here I go without a safety net!  I would have a go at walking the tight rope across the Grand Canyon  without a parachute or a First Aid kit!  Do you think I should write my will now?
  If I couldn't do that I would jump into a lions' den and say, "Boo!".  Do you think they would be scared of me?

But to be really serious . . . . I would say I have already done the ultimate death-defying feat.  I have given my heart to The Lord and He has promised me Eternal Life.  All I had to do was to walk from the world of darkness into His world of light)

Well, we have come to the end of this delightful interview - thank you Mrs Magpie


Today's Sunday Roast with The Quintessential Magpie is the 142nd in a weekly
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

Tuesday 16 November 2010

Valley's Roast Continued

Well, well, well . . . . look what arrived in the post today all the way from Wales.

It is the missing part to Valleys Mam's Sunday Roast
It must have been held up at that famous railway station:


Seriously, there was a misunderstanding and so I am posting Part 2 of the roast today! Sorry Valleys for the confusion - Eddie strikes chaos yet again LOL. 

 I'm surprised there is any left from the weekend and my cooking has not turned into my usual lump of charcoal.

Which two blogs would you recommend for roasting?

Change of Personnel and Dylan Jones Evans

That concludes the formal aspect of the interview but it would be nice to get to know you a little better while you are slowly turning on the roasting spit.  So while you are screaming in agony above the open fire here are a few more questions for you.

Pick three things you can't live without. 

Books, aero mint chocolate and Spooks

(Glad someone else is addicted to Spooks!  What a finale to the series just finished)

If you could live your life again who would you be, and why? 

Cleopatra, loved the eyemakeup

You have been given a wonderful talent from above.  This causes you to make your mark on humanity and be world famous. In which area would prefer: a best selling novelist, a brilliant artist, a gifted musician, a fantastic singer, a charismatic leader, anything you choose, and why?

A fantastic singer ,well I am Welsh lol

(I think all Welsh people are great singers - must be the lyrical way you all speak)

If you were an ice cream cone, which flavour would you prefer and who would you most want to lick you? 

Vanilla and Alan Rickman

(So now we know LOL)

Describe in one sentence your perfect day.

With my family by the sea in West Wales, lunch in the Harbourmaster's, leisurely stroll after then settle down to read and a snooze before going home for a family dinner.

If you were a fiction writer which one would you be and why? 

Lynda La Plant - I just think she is funny happy lady with a great story telling ability.

What was your most embarrassing moment?

One New Years day staying with my cousin in London , going shopping up West and realising when I got out of the car I had my slippers on.

. . . . and if you are really brave . . . .
If you awoke to find you had changed gender what would be the first and second things you would do?

Buy a motorbike and shave off my chest hair.

(You seem to be able to accept dramatic changes with ease VM - LOL.  I seem to remember from a comment of yours about my Shakespearean Harley Davidson you once owned a Kawasaki I think!
Yes, just looked up your comment,
"We have a kawasaki zzr 1100.sigh that will soon be sold")

Thank you again Valleys Mam for your interview - I'll combine it all soon I promise.
To see Part 1 Press HERE

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 Limóncello, 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