The blog of photographer Kim Ayres

The Rambling Beard Awards 2007

This being the time for reflection on the year past, I recoiled somewhat when I began to reflect on some of the crap we’ve had to deal with over the previous 12 months. Maybe one day, when I’m rich and famous and write my autobiography, you can find out all the things I haven’t blogged about this year. But not today.

Today, instead, I have decided to honour those bloggers who I feel have gone above and beyond the call of duty in brightening up these Ramblings, or causing me to reflect in ways that caught me by surprise.

So without further ado, in a moment of ego and self-indulgence (and what is a blog, if it isn’t a massive dose of ego and self-indulgence?) I am handing out the 2007 Rambling Beard Awards.

Recipients, please place this banner on your site with pride and feel free to link it back to this post. If you have any problems with it, don't hesitate to send me an email and I'll send you instructions

Rambling Beard Award 2007

Dr Maroon
Well I have to start with the Doc, or he’ll sulk, or write a story with me wearing some ridiculous costume or some such thing. But that’s why he’s so deserving of this award – he stops me from taking myself too seriously. When I blog about feeling tired, exhausted and low, he’s the only one who tells me no one cares, or just to shut up and drink my Ovaltine. But before he begins to get smug, I’ll just remind him he owes me a lunch.

Sam, Problem Child Bride
Sam is mad. She’s madder than Mad Jack McMad, the winner of this year's Mr Madman competition (to paraphrase Blackadder). Well she is on her own blog, with writings that draw you into a world that kicks the legs of expectation off the stool of conventionality. But over on this blog, nothing but her deep warmth and understanding flows through her comments. No matter where my unpredictable emotions take me, with Sam I always get the feeling, she’s been there, done that, and made a seagull trap out of the t-shirt.

Tom was one of the great finds for me in the 2nd half of this year. I was directed to his site by a fellow blogger who told me Tom had recently become a father to a baby with Down’s Syndrome and might appreciate a bit of support from dads who would understand. But quite apart from finding a guy whose son has an extra chromosome, what I discovered is someone a similar age as me with a background in philosophy, is self employed, has an understanding of what happens when depression hits and is very open in expressing how life impacts on him. In short, it’s great having someone I can share notes so closely with.

Jeff doesn’t write huge amounts but he has a presence like an older brother watching out for me: ready to give me a bear hug, ruffle my hair and scare off the bullies in the playground. And although he lives thousands of miles away, so can’t actually do any of these things, he still lends me that sense of reassurance.

Restaurant Gal
I’ve handed out awards to Restaurant Gal before now for the quality of her writing, but as this one is about contributions to me and this blog, RG was my first guest blogger on this site, back in May. She was also the first blogger to allow me to guest post on another site, so a nice bit of mutual backslapping there. In addition to her blogside warmth, I also want to thank RG for her supportive emails behind the scenes.

Mary only began her blog back in January, but it’s been wonderful to see her growing in confidence and readership. But over and above her damn fine writing, I’ve gotten to meet Mary and her family in person several times this year, and she has fuelled me up with coffee on more than one occasion as I’ve been heading home from the Central Belt of Scotland.

Another philosopher with a fondness for Nietzsche, Eryl is also the cofounder of The Storytellers Blog. We met at a Storytelling workshop just over a year ago and have been busy commenting and encouraging each other since.

When Carole first started commenting on my blog, she didn’t just leave one or two on the latest posts, rather she went back through the archives and started leaving comments all over the place - sometimes challenging; always interesting. I was delighted when Carole started her own blog and have been an avid reader ever since. The highlight has to be, however, when she mentioned she could stand on her head and I made a comment that she should prove it by posting a photo – and she did :)

When I came across Kanani, I had the distinct impression that I was in the presence of a real writer, who knew other real writers and for a brief moment I felt slightly intimidated by that. But then I got over it and she never made me feel in any way patronised or inferior. In fact she even awarded me a Quality Time Wasting Prolific Blogger Award, so it would be seriously remiss of me not to return the favour with an award of my own.

Pat would deserve an award for brightening up this place, if for no other reason than she is my most prolific commenter. But far more than that, there is a constant empathy, warmth and twinkle in her eye. And she flirts so subtly she always makes me grin broadly. When I re-shuffled my side bar, I had to create a new category especially for Pat. She is indeed like a luxury hot chocolate, to be savoured and enjoyed.

Hangar Queen
An Irish-American male to female transsexual who, as of yesterday is now an ex-cop. Every time I try and think about what she has had to go through to get as far as she has my brain climbs out my ears, plugs itself into the electric socket, bungee jumps into a vat of vodka then climbs back in through my nose. Hers is not a decision you take on a whim, and it makes any life changes that I’ve had to make pale into insignificance. My respect for Devin cannot be overstated.

Fat Lazy Guy
He’s young, artistic, a talented guitarist, a superb cook and an excellent communicator. He’s also a little over 480lbs, and one of the few cross-posters from my other blog, Losing a Hundredweight

Jupiter’s Girl
Janine doesn’t post on her site that often, but she keeps me in a steady supply of jokes. I was also delighted when, after I’d expressed a slight scepticism about her ability to perform cartwheels, she got her husband to film her doing one and uploaded it to her blog. Like Carole’s headstand, it had me grinning for hours.

Brave Astronaut
He spends much of his time posting about archivist things and sports, which are largely an unknown language to me, however Brave Astronaut blew me away when he conspired with a couple of friends to send me some Peanut Butter M&Ms from the States before Christmas, after I’d made a passing comment about how much I’d enjoyed them when I was in Canada, but couldn’t buy them in the UK.

Did I mention I love the new Aston Martin DBS... just in passing, you know, in case anyone is looking to spend a few dollars they have lying around not doing much?

And last, but by no means least, I also want to hand this award to Savannah. Every time she comments and calls me sugar, I’m washed over with a warmth and friendliness that makes me feel I’ve just been cooked pancakes with maple syrup for breakfast

With thanks to everyone who has visited, commented and even lurked across 2007. I wish you all the very best for 2008.

OK, ok, I should have included Charlie.
I've known Charlie for a couple of years and through at least a couple of blogging incarnations. Although I've never met him in person, my image of him is a wild haired, unshaven guy wearing an old dressing gown, sitting on a doorstep smoking a fag while winking at any women walking past. Periodically the resident of the house, a tall man in a black cloak carrying a scythe, stops to ask if he's ready to come in yet. Charlie thinks for a moment, glances through the door then says, "Maybe in a minute," before lighting another fag off the stub of the one he's just finishing.

While he only occasionally posts comments here, and in fact only occassionally posts entries on his own blog, in email exchanges behind the scenes he's been an incredible counsellor in times of extreme... er, extremeness I haven't blogged about.

However, he despises sentimentality, so I wasn't going to mention anything. But now the bastard has given me an award that I have to write a post about, so f*** him - he gets a Rambling Beard Award whether he wants it or not.


Anonymous said...

Ooooh you lovely, lovely man! What a nice way to end 2007.

I shall drink most heartily to you tonight, dear sweet Kim. Thanks for the fun and all the thought-provoking posts this year. I hope 2008 sees you returning to full health and getting the fatigue thing sorted out for good. Joy and happiness to Maggie, Rogan, Meg and yourself this coming year. Slainte mhor!

Anonymous said...

Death to the seagulls!

Charlie said...

The "Rambling Beard" award—that's a good one. Some advice for 2008: Unplug your paper shredder before attempting to repair it.

Pat said...

Many thanks hon! Me flirt? You must be mixing me up with someone else. When things have quietened down I will be back for instruction as I have another award waiting to be pinned to my chest.

stinkypaw said...

All the best to you and yours and may 2008 be the best year of your life!

Restaurant Gal said...

Happy 2008 to you Kim. I will proudly post the Rambling Beard Award Icon on my site--if I can but figure out how to get it there! Cheers to you and yours, and all of us.

savannah said...

what a lovely and delish honor, sugar! thank you for this and for all of your kind and good words! happy new year to you and yours!

we are all so going to rock 2008!

Tom said...

Thanks, Kim, for the kind words. I feel quite the same for having discovered another father a little farther down the road on this new journey of mine with my son.

Hoping for all the best for 2008 and for many more good conversations.

Brave Astronaut said...

I would like to thank the members of the Academy, the makers of M&M candies, C in DC, Stitch Bitch, and everyone who made this award possible. Of course the best and greatest thanks go to The Bearded One himself! Kim, my friend, all the best for a happy, healthy 2008.

But would be remiss if I didn't also thank the Aston Martin Car Company . . . [orchestra begins to play] . . . Oh, well, thank you for this and good night!


Mary Witzl said...

This is great, Kim, and I thank you for it! I've often woken up certain that I had a full beard and mustache, only to find my face inexplicably clean-shaven -- in fact, unshaven: a woman's! So having my own beard award is quite an honor, and I will even be in danger of actually believing that I can write if I don't get hold of myself pretty soon. Or failing that, maybe I should just open up some of those rejections and have a good, long look at them. Yep, that ought to do it.

Happy New Year to you, Kim, and I wish your fatigue a speedy exit from your life. And stop by for coffee any time!

Jupiter's Girl said...

I wanted to post a new and improved cartwheel, but when practicing - pulled something in my left leg. (We must remember our age.)

Thanks for the award. I have all the little people to thank for that. They bring out my best.

I give you the Jupiter's Girl award for managing to make us all smile even when you didn't feel like it yourself. Happy New Year to you and yours.

Unknown said...

Wishing you peace and health in 2008.

Jeff said...


Happy New year to you and the entire Ayres Klan.

I am honored to be chosen for "The Rambling Beard Awards 2007" being in the company of so many writers is an honor as my blog is more rants then writing.

May 2008 bring the full realization to each one of your goals and dreams.

Peace Dude!

Casdok said...

Very generous!!
Happy new year!

Kim Ayres said...

Sam - you also deserve an award for services to mankind against seagulls, but that will have to wait for another post

Charlie - I really appreciate your behind the scenes support too. I wasn't sure whether to include you here as I'm never sure that you're not dead yet and I didn't want to commit some kind of blogging faux pas.

Thanks for the tip about the paper shredder

Pat - and if ever there was a chest that deserved awards pinned to it...

Stinkypaw - thank you! Hope 2008 is good to you :)

RG - if you want I can email you the code to slot on your sidebar - hope you had a good Hogmanay :)

Savannah - LET'S ROCK!!! Then find somewhere to have a quiet nap...

Tom - we have lots to learn from each other :)

Brave Astronaut - BA has left the building...

Mary - I'm sure Mr Witzl is more than relieved you haven't woken up with a beard too.

I look forward to many more coffees in 2008 :)

Jupiter's Girl - you pulled something? Now I feel guilty. But it won't stop me going back and watching again :)

C in DC - and to you - and congratulations on starting up your own blog :)

Jeff - Ayres "Klan"? Is that what that parcel of pillowcases was for...?

Casdok - and all the best to you for 2008 :)

apprentice said...

Nice post mister!

Have you read Sunbathing in the Rain: A Cheerful Book on Depression by Gwenyth Lewis?

It is a really good book, she suffers from really debilating depression, but she has managed to put the experience into this really helpful and enlightening book.

I got given it when putting myself back together after the cancer treatment.

All the best for 2008

Kanani said...

*looks both ways*
What? You mean I don't have to make this one up and award it to ...myself?
*digs through closet*
Hey, can I wear this frock? *holds something up at least ten years old*

Thanks you, thank you. Very, very generous. Of course, I hope that I haven't intimidated anyone with my writerly prowess --also known as gross procrastinations! Thank you everyone for adding to my day!

Bock the Robber said...

Happy New Year to you, Mr Ayres.

Eryl Shields said...

Oh no, I'm lost for words, a terrible situation at such a time! All I can think of is thank you, thank you, thank you. So, thank you sweet-pea.

I'll ask Bob to help me with the award's display.

Shannon @ Gabi's World said...

Love your award creation. I hope you have a great 2008!

Archivalist said...

Congrats to the winners, and a great name for an award. As a blogger, sometime poster, and fellow member of the bearded fraternity, I consider this a challenge to up my game.

Amy said...

My new years resolution is to land a Rambling Beard award for 2008. Do I need to send m&ms? I don't think I can still do a cart wheel. I'll have to think of something....hmmm.. 12 months to go!

Happy New Year.

Kim Ayres said...

Apprentice - thank you :) I'll keep a look out for the book :)

Kanani - you spend ages waiting for one, then 2 turn up at the same time!

A ten year old frock will be quite futuristic, as I'm still stuck in the 80s

Bock - and a Happy one to you too :)

Eryl - you're more than welcome :)

Shannon - thank you :) Hope 2008 is good to you

Archivalist and Amy - you mean there's a desire to compete for this award?

Hmmm... maybe I need to create a new one that is dependent on the size of bribes given to me by potential award winners...

Stella said...

Happy New Year Kim. Will have to check out those blogs I haven't yet read.

LindyK said...

Thanks for the good wishes, Kim, and a happy new year to you, also! I hope yours is a great one!

Kim Ayres said...

Stella - there are some great wee finds in there

Lindy - thank you :) Hope 2008 is good to you!

Charlie said...

My image of him is a wild haired, unshaven guy wearing an old dressing gown . . .

You people CAN see me through this computer, can't you. Either that, or you've been reading too much Dickens.

I'll make it a point during 2008 to learn how to comment on this blog after thirty people have been here afore me.

And I'll take your stupid hairy award—after all, it didn't cost you anything. A begrudging thank you.

Anonymous said...

I dunno how to display me thingie!

Me award thingie!

Apex Zombie said...

Haha, sorry to drag you back to an old post. I just noticed that I never said thanks in here for the award. So thanks mate. It really does mean a lot to me. I didn't have it on my blog for a while because I thought it would be boastful, but then I thought I am actually really proud of this, so it's up on the Log now (as you may have already noticed).

Cheers :)

Kim Ayres said...

FLG - I'm pleased you accepted it - it's deserved :)

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