The blog of photographer Kim Ayres

The Rambling Beard Awards 2010

What better way to end the old year and bring in the new than to hand out a bright shiny award?

The last time I did The Rambling Beard Awards was 3 years ago. After stumbling across them recently, I was surprised to find many of the previous recipients no longer blog regularly, if at all. Time then for an update.

This award is an entirely self-induglent affair. It's my award to give to whom I wish and no one else gets a say in the matter. It is purely in recognition of those who have gone beyond the call of duty in brightening up my blog across the past year, or causing me to reflect in ways I wouldn’t otherwise have considered.

So in no particular order, I shall present The Rambling Beard Awards for 2010 (drum roll please...)

Conny Wenk
Conny is an amazing photographer. You cannot help but smile warmly when looking at the portraits she takes. She also takes a lot of photos of children, young adults and families of people with Down’s Syndrome. But the fact they have DS becomes completely irrelevant. We just enjoy looking at photos of smiling, happy people, whose laughter is infectious. She has done more towards ridding the world of the sense of “other” about people with DS by her photography, than 10,000 worthy papers, articles and blog posts. Away from the blog, she has also been a great help and supporter of my own photography, never failing to make me feel better about my abilities or remind me not to undervalue myself.

Erika – The Flight of our Hummingbird
Quite simply, Erika astounds me. She lives in a world of snot, mucus and unbelievable stress due to the physical condition of her beautiful daughter, Izzy. And yet, her blog is so beautifully written. It is not one depressing post after another, rather is a testament to life, love and finding pleasures in the face of adversity. So impressed with her writing was I, that earlier this year I asked her to guest post on my blog.

Ron – Retired in Delaware
Retired and living with his lifelong partner (or “significant other”), Bill, Ron is a prolific writer. Whereas I usually struggle to post twice a week, Ron posts pretty much daily, and sometimes even twice a day. Everything from his daily routine to gay rights to whatever is crossing his mind that moment. Inevitably his writing is improving too. A year ago, sometimes it felt a bit like wading through a shopping list, but these days all his posts are well constructed and thought through. A regular commenter here, Ron never fails to massage my ego when it comes to my photography.

Debra – From Skilled Hands
Debra lives and works in the town of Peninsula, population 602. For such a small population, there is always some kind of carnival, festival or event going on. Debra is a potter and ceramicist and creates the most beautiful things. Earlier this year I was fortunate to win one of her mugs, which now takes pride of place in our kitchen. A blog award is the least I can do in return.

Adila – Tales and Typos
Adila is a superb, although erratic, writer. I really wish she would blog more often. She has great warmth and always looks beyond the surface layers. I look forward to discovering more of the way her mind works.

Hope – The Road Less Travelled
Hope is one of my most prolific commenters and, rather like the moniker she uses, her messages are invariably positive and always welcome.

V - Learning to be Selfish
Her blog is a place to write about her frustrations and life's difficulties, but behind the scenes she was a wonderful help back when I was trying to get press releases sorted out for my Staring Back Exhibition.

Allen – Allen’s Zoo
Allen is an extraordinary artist. I’ve never been absolutely clear on what it is he does, but I think he comes up with conceptual sketches of characters and creatures that are then developed by other people. Perhaps if he reads this post he’ll confirm or correct my understandings.

Jayne – In Jayne’s World
Bold, brash, unapologetic, energetic, challenging. Jayne takes no prisoners. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if she was constantly called into the headmaster’s office when at school, for being caught smoking behind the bike sheds, or getting into fights with anyone wearing a Republican badge. Always a good read.

Mapstew is a pal, a mate, a bloke who will laugh at your stupidity while leaping to your defence the moment you are in trouble. A proud father and family man, he oozes natural charm, decency and friendship. The world feels slightly safer when he’s around.

Savannah – Savannah Marsh Mama
Sweet Southern Charm personified. Always a warm word of support and encouragement, she’s like the mad aunt the rest of the family faintly disapproved of but was forever your favourite.

Restaurant Gal
RG and I have been blogging pals for many years. She was the first person to ask me to guest post on her blog, and the first to guest post on mine. Some technical hitch prevents her from figuring out how to comment on my blog at the moment, but she still reads and comments in private emails. She is a superb writer and well worth a visit.

Carole – Dry Bones
Carole and I are at different ends of the spectrum in terms of politics, sport and religion – any one of which would cause most relationships to irreparably break down. And yet we seem to connect at a level outside these things, and I greatly value her friendship.

Mary – Resident Alien
The only person in the whole of Scotland who loves the excessively wet weather we have here. Mary’s writing is wonderful. Every blog post is a self-contained world - she never assumes her readers know the back-story, so anyone can dip into her writings at any time and not be left wondering what’s going on. In the space of a few hundred words she draws us in, fills us up and leaves us satisfied, again and again and again.

Eryl – The Kitchen Bitch Ponders
I love the way Eryl’s mind works, the way she sees the world, the angles at which she extracts information. She is a philosopher – nothing is to be seen or dealt with in the way it appears on the surface. She is also a brilliant writer, a lot of fun, and one of my favourite people to photograph.

Pat – Past Imperfect
Every time I think of Pat, I feel warm inside and I smile. On the outside she is the image of propriety – a kindly, well turned out, octogenarian grandmother. But what so many people miss is you don’t get to be an octogenarian grandmother without experiencing an awful lot of life. There are great depths to Pat, and under it all you know she cares. She has commented on more of my posts than any other blogger and with Pat, I feel loved.

Charlie – Professor B. Worm
Well, I couldn’t miss out Charlie, now could I? I recently dedicated an entire blog post to the old codger…

If anyone needs instructions on how to stick their award on their blog, then just send me an email.

In the meantime, I wish every reader, commenter and lurker the very best for 2011.

May your gods be good to you.



Anonymous said...

Kim, thank you so so much! I feel so very honored!!! You have been such a wonderful companion in the last - I don't know how many - years, and we have so many things in common. I am still thrilled by the idea that we would have been class mates, if we would have lived in the same town. Lucky you, we didn't, haha!
Here's to a fabulous 2011 - may all your wishes come true! I feel so very priviledged to know you! You deserve the biggest award out there!!!!! You are one of the most talented people I know!!!

savannah said...

i am humbled by the company i've been placed in, sugar and honored to have been chosen. thank you again for all your kindness and support during a less than stellar year. all the best to you, maggie, rogan and meg! happy new year, sugar!

angryparsnip said...

What a post...
How fabulous that you and us are able to meet and get to know all these wonderful people because of the internet.
I guess Al Gore did something right ?

Sounds like you are off to a great start to the New Year.

cheers, parsnip

hope said...

Wow! Savannah summed it up and I second her emotion. :) Thank you!

What a perfect way to start a new year.

Now you'll NEVER get rid of me. ;)

AA said...


You cheeky chap!
Shucks, I am stoked. Really stoked.

I never knew how much I wanted a beard until I got it. It does wonders for my self image. :P

Thanks ever so much. xx

Jayne Martin said...

Thank you, my bearded friend. I've so enjoyed our encounters.

And you totally nailed me. I was always in trouble in school. One teacher even said that I was a "natural leader." She just wished I'd lead the kids in the right direction. ;)

Wishing you a 2011 that's blessed with all the good things you so richly deserve.

Eryl said...

What can I say? To be given my own little slot amongst such people! Some of whom I haven't yet met, so there's already something to look forward to in 2011.

Happy New Year to you and the Ayres Clan, X

Pat said...

Thank you Kim:) It is so kind of you to include me in this terrific bunch and I shall take good care of it this time.
Tomorrow - when I'm comparatively fresh, I'll attempt to put it on my side bar but may well take advantage of your help for dummies.
Night night!

Susan Carpenter Sims said...

I am not familiar with most of the blogs here (although I may become so now), but I do read Eryl's blog, and you have perfectly articulated what is so wonderful about her. Hear, hear!

mapstew said...

WHAT a start to my new year!

Kim my friend, it might have been the few Mojitos, or the fact that this was the first new year's eve since 2000 that I have not been working, hence spending a most wonderful evening with my family, but I got a little bit emotional when I read what you wrote about me. I am, my pal, most honoured to have the pleasure of your company and friendship every day. And even though you are younger than me, I look on you as the older and wiser 'brother'!

I hope Hogmanay was as good for you, Maggie, Rogan & Meg as it was for us here, though I know what a sad time you have all had of late.

Go raibh míle maith agat mo cairde!

Ron said...

Thank you very much Kim for the Rambling Beard Award! I can honestly say that I am thrilled. I have to give you much of the credit for my improved writing skills, I continue to learn from the!

You have made my day and year with your recognition of my humble blog. Thank you again my friend.

I wish you and your family the best in the new year!

debra said...

I am honored, dear Kim, to be included among these fine folks. You did forget one person---Kim Ayres, who shares his view of life and the world, crafted in image and word. And who had his own day---and international one, at that. To Kim and the rest of us who call this beautiful blue orb home, I raise my glass, and say, "Thank you."

erika said...

Thank you so much, Kim! I feel very honored to receive your super-awesome Rambling Beard Award and to be included in such talented company. Also, thank you for all your comments and support on my blog, they mean a lot to me. I'm so happy that we have inter-met, your writing has really enriched my life. I wish you and your family a wonderful new year!

Hindsfeet said...

*This* was *Delightful*!!! *You* are *Delightful*, Kim....I hope you know (as much as your "gruff exterior self" most likely balks at such an adjective being affixed to your armor ; ) )...

....Thanks for a wonderful year of your writing, of the life's little gifts coming here, for me anyway..... go ahead and stick one o' dose awards of yours next to the "Delightful" tag.....(and know that I'm insanely jealous of all your recipients ; ) )

Happiest New Year, Kim....wishing you and yours everything wonderful.....


Kim Ayres said...

Conny - the honour is all mine - you deserve far more than a 120 pixel wide award, but it's a gesture of thanks for all your support and awesomeness :)

Savannah - thank you for all your support this year. And you don't have to be humbled - I'm just glad you're still blogging regularly, unlike more than half of the previous recipients :)

Parsnip - did Al Gore invent the Inernet?

Hope - and why would I want to get rid of such a wonderful commenter?

Adila - do enjoy the beard - especially when the cold eather returns :)

Jayne - you've always struck me as someone who started their teenage rebellion when they were 18 months old, and hasn't stopped :)

Eryl - I tihnk you'll find most of them are impressed to be given a slot in your company :)

Pat - hope the instructions I sent make sense :)

Pollinatrix - if you have time to visit them, they are all worth getting to know :)

Mapstew - this year we'll have to start working on how we can get to meet up in person. You're only about 300 miles away, which is a lot closer than most bloggers. It's just that slice of water between us that's the awkward bit

Ron - I appreciate your kind words and friendship :)

Debra - I can't very well give myself an award. Besides, I had the very best kind when you organised the Kim Ayres International Day. I can't express just how wonderful that made me feel :)

Erika - the honour is mine, truly :)

Hindsfeet - thank you for your warm words - wishing you and your loved ones all the best this coming year :)

Mary Witzl said...

Thank you, Kim!! I'm going to visit all of my fellow award recipients the minute I finish the paying work I've (gulp) taken on.

Happy 2011!

angryparsnip said...

It is a running joke that pops up, in America that Al gore invented the internet because he said he did in a speech ...

Kim Ayres said...

Mary - I'm sure you know most of them :)

Parsnip - ah! Sorry, didn't get the reference :)

Charlie said...

I'm truly honored, Kim, to be chosen for a Rambling Beard amid so many wonderful bloggers, many of whom are mutual friends of ours.

I quote a couple of those friends:

"...thank you again for all your kindness and support during a less than stellar year. —Savannah

You did forget one person---Kim Ayres,... —debra

Pat said...

The instructions were perfect and I now have two. Na na ne na na!
I can't actually click and drag them
but they'll do where they are.
The 'Che' isn't an award. It just appeared when I lost all my other awards. Weird!

Attila the Mom said...

Happy New Year, my friend---hope 2011 is wonderful for you and your family!

V said...

Thank you Kim. Much appreciated. Your comments leave me with two things to do.
1. Have a wander round the blogs I haven't already visited on the list above
2. Figure out how to perhaps bring a bit more gratitude to my scribblings.....a bit of balance for those frustrations. Interesting to know how others perceive what's out there. Thanks again and very, very happy new year you and yours, Vx

Unknown said...

Wow, what a wonderful gift. I am blessed to have you in my life. Thank you so much. May 2011 be all the Ayres family could hope for and more.

Anonymous said...

I'm taken aback. Coming from a talented artist as yourself I consider the award an honor. Also, upon reading your definition of what I do you do have have a clear understanding of it. Essentially I "flesh out" character design ideas. My apologies for receiving the award late..I've been away.

Kim Ayres said...

Charlie - as I said to Debra, I can hardly award one to myself. However, if you want to put together an "I ain't dead yet" award, I'll happily accept it :)

Pat - go back to the "Add and arrange page elements" area, and click & drag your "About Me" bit back up to the top on the right. Once you see how that works, you can drag and drop any of the sidebar elements into any order you want :)

Attila - thank you, and I hope you and your loved ones have a great 2011 too :)

V - your blog is your blog to do with as you wish. Some seek to entertain, some to educate, some to rant. Yours is very often a place to put your pain. We all need a space like that. You can easily create a 2nd blog called "V's Happy Space" for constant positive messages :)

Carole - I'm glad you like it :)

Allen - hope your time away was a positive experience :)

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