For the avoidance of doubt, though, here is how I voted:
- Emergency Motions Ballot: can't actually remember, except that I put the second Scottish referendum motion bottom (we can't mandate our MPs how to vote so it was utterly pointless, AND it's not up to English MPs to tell Scotland what to do anyway IMHO) and the Trump one next to bottom (he's not coming till October. Put a (better drafted) motion in for Autumn conference, when it will be a live and salient issue). The others I was happy to see a debate on.
- A Rational Approach to Harm Reduction (aka the Sex Work Motion): I voted against the (mildly wrecking) amendment and for the unamended motion
- Tackling Overcrowding in the Prison System: I voted for the amendment and the motion.
- Britain in the EU: I went for lunch during this motion as hell would freeze over before anyone voted against it, and during the scheduled lunch break I would be prepping to aide in the health and social care debate.
- Crisis in health and social care: I voted for the amendment, and then for the motion as amended, from my shiny shiny "seat reserved for FCC Hall Aide" seat.
- The Biennial Trident Fudge: I Paired with Alisdair and went to the pub since we would have voted exactly oppositely on both the motion and amendment and thus cancelled each other out. The England/Ireland match was nailbiting.
- Emergency motion: Unaccompanied Child Asylum Seekers: I voted in favour of us taking in more of them.
- Faith Schools: We had to vote between three options, then for the amendment, then for the motion as amended or not with whichever option we voted for. I'm going to use Andrew's characterisations here: I voted against "YAY faith schools" & for "Faith schools should be restricted as much as humanly possible without actually banning them". Then I voted for "Faith schools should be restricted as much as humanly possible without actually banning them" and against the horrible and nonsensical fudge which tried to split the difference between the first two. Then I voted for the "ban all faith schools" amendment, but not enough other people did, so it fell. Then I voted for the motion unamended with the option "Faith schools should be restricted as much as humanly possible without actually banning them" being the winning option. And I am not ashamed to admit to shedding a tear during Sarah Brown (Cambridge)'s very moving speech. I am glad Julian and Zoe were there to give her hugs when she had finished.
As you can tell, this was quite a complicated vote. Small FCC note: I am glad Geoff Payne was chairing it. Although I have had my disagreements with him, he has just the right sort of forensic, nitpicky, legal mind for this kind of thing, and is a very clear and non-waffly chair. He's one of only about four people I would trust with such a contentious debate with so many options, and two of them are no longer on FCC.
- Associated Membership of the EU: I voted in favour.
( I also recognise that many of you will NOT be interested in this in the slightest, so am putting it behind a cut )
And then of course, we had Not The Leader's Speech. The tradition of Not The Leader's Speech started when Cleggy was Our Glorious Leader. I went to a couple of his leader's speeches and found them excruciating. In the pub after, a Bad Influence who must perforce remain nameless asked me why I hadn't just walked out and gone to the pub, because that's what he had done. The next conference, I walked out (after 7 minutes, as I recall) and found this same person in the pub. The conference after that... well, we just cut out the middle man and went straight to the pub, downloaded the text of the speech, and worked out at which point we would have walked out had we bothered to go in. At the height of coalition the record occurred: we both agreed we would have walked out in the second sentence of the speech. By that point, though, word had got around somewhat and there were a reasonable number of us in the pub for Not The Leader's Speech.
When Farron was first elected Glorious Leader he was fully aware that this had become a tradition. I made him a personal promise that I'd go to his first leader's speech, but with the proviso that if there was anything I didn't like I would walk out. There wasn't, and I didn't. In fact it was a really really good speech. The thing is, I still don't like leader's speeches (or for that matter, The Rally, which I always feel has a silent Nuremburg in between The and Rally). I don't like sitting there being spoonfed and not participating. I don't like the enforced conformity of the expectation to applaud in the right places (and in some cases standingly ovate). IMHO it's Just Not Liberal. So the only one of Farron's leader's speeches I have been to, and probably ever will go to, remains his first. I no longer feel the need to read the text and work out at which point I would have walked out, because I don't have that sort of fractious relationship with his leadership, but it's still nice to find a good pub, claim a room in it, and have beer and food instead of listening and clapping.
The problem this time was that the group of people going to Not The Leader's Speech has grown to more than 30. And we hadn't booked. Admittedly there were only six of us queueing outside the door waiting for the pub to open, but the rest had DMed or texted me asking for a venue and turned up in short order after. As a former barmaid, I felt really bad about doing this to the pub. I think that next time I will have to at least warn the selected pub in advance... And as Zoe said in the comments to the previous entry, now I am on FCC this is in danger of becoming an officially unofficial event... If it gets any bigger it may have to be in the Fringe guide... You can tell how uncomfortable I am with that idea by the number of ellipsis LOL.
This conference we were biefly joined by a not-Lib-Dem friend and segued off into a discussion about cricket for a while, which was lovely I don't think we terrified her too much.
Anyway, I hope you have enjoyed my officially unofficial reports from conference: next FCC news will probably be from the Shadowy General Purposes And Resources Sub Committee, which I suspect will be quite vague and heavily redacted, so I apologise for that in advance. I will, obviously, explain exactly why I'm having to be vauge and heavily redacted if and when I am.
Attended lots of FCC meetings and training; co-hosted Glee for the second time; hall-aided my first debate as a member of FCC; "organised" Not The Leader's Speech.
( click here for more detail on the first three )
Coming soon: What I Did At Lib Dem Conference part two: structuring an actual debate: this time it's personal PLUS Not The Leader's Speech.
Growing up in California, Key Lime Pies were one of those unappealing slime green insta-desserts involving Cool Whip and Jello, that were so popular during the 80's. I never got the appeal, until I took a trip to the Florida Keys in the summer of 2009. It was there, at a nondescript shack along the Oversea Highway, that I had my first taste of a real Key Lime Pie. I was there for the fried conch, but the pie in the case is what drew my appetite and I was soon devouring my first slice of many delicious Key Lime...
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Hope that clears everything up for now! Let us know if it doesn't...
For those not familiar with the BoxPark concept, it consists of filling an area of otherwise-unused ground with a construction of black-painted shipping containers, which are converted into some form of retail opportunity. The original London BoxPark is a painfully cool "pop-up" lifestyle and fashion mall in Shoreditch, where each container serves to sell trainers, t-shirts, or other artistic designs, with a couple of food stalls and a bar stacked on top.
Croydon's BoxPark, next to East Croydon station, is a slightly different concept, specialising as a food court - rather than the stores opening onto the street, the containers are stacked to open onto an almost-square central roofed-over area, which is then filled with tables with benches, accompanied by gas patio heaters. One 'short' end has doors opening to the street, while the other has a bar area. Each 'long' side is lined with the narrow ends of the containers, with each retailer having one or two seven-foot-ish wide doorway to the seating area. Some have seating inside their area, but most simply provide food-service, using the seating in the main area - which also means that you can apply a 'portfolio menu' approach to your food selection.
(There are a couple of other eateries on the upper level, balconies that run along the long sides (and are also the primary street entrance), including the renowned Meat Liquor - but we headed straight to the main area this time.)
I opted for a baked potato from The Potato Project - filled with mushrooms and spinach and topped with blue cheese and truffle oil. Which was delicious. Although in my pre-choice wander around the stalls, I'd also found myself rather tempted by the offerings at Arancina, so, for a second course, I ordered a ricotta-and-spinach arancine (and, during the brief wait for it, I found myself ordering a slice of pizza, too). The excellent pizza slice turned out to be a good idea, as eating it gave time for the arancine to cool slightly - not much holds heat like an insulating layer of risotto. All washed down with a nice pint of Henry Weston's cider.
Meanwhile, L had opted for a tasty dish from Feed Me Primal, and then followed that with a couple of tapas items from Donde Tapas - tasty smooth Jamon Croquettes and some delicious Honey Glazed Chorizo (dripping in honey, and mild enough for my lightweight tastebuds).
So, overall, good food, and a location that with drifting smoke, and some holes in the roof for constant heavy rain to pour through, would make a good Bladerunner location.
No photos this time - I forgot to take my camera, but L took a snap. (And we'll probably be back again at some point.)
If there’s a type of teacake that at home we never tire of–outside anything involving chunks of chocolate as both my children are strong chocolate lovers–it has the name F.I.N.A.N.C.I.E.R written all over it.
Financiers are a favorite. Not only are these French teacakes extremely easy to prepare and bake, but the aroma of butter browning always makes the kitchen smell exquisite, as Lulu proudly likes to notice.
Tonight, I baked a batch of the brown butter pistachio and poppy seed financiers I wrote the recipe for in my first book (the second book has another recipe using fresh apricot and olive oil with pistachio).
I just remembered that incidentally this first recipe was also one of a few Martha Stewart herself chose for the feature I was lucky to be part of in her show a few years back. I even got a blast watching the video again despite the fact I cannot help but wince when I hear myself speak (click on the first link that includes the recipe to see the video on the Martha Stewart Show page if you feel like it).
I baked these delicious treats because tomorrow is St Patrick’s day and I was strongly encouraged by my sweet half Irish daughter to find in the house, and make, anything we could green. And also because I am preparing a yummy dinner for Philip’s Irish cousins who are visiting from Cork. We intend to spend a good chunk of time cooking and having fun together. We miss them a lot.
Happy St Patrick’s day for those of you who have a reason to celebrate. I miss Ireland!
Onto the cakes now…..and a bunch of other green foods ahead for us all.
PIctured above is Midwest Camera President Moishe Appelbaum. He wandered into a lighting class I was teaching at Midwest last fall, so we pulled him aside and shot him. He's lit by a single LP180 speedlight, fired through a white bed sheet.
(Pro tip: A speedlight fired through a bed sheet will rival the light of the most expensive octabanks in the world—in quality if not in quantity. It all comes down to square inches in the light source. And a bed sheet has a crap ton of square inches.)
After our previous lesson, you might think that this photo is an ideal candidate for a warming gel: caucasian skin, warm background, warm-colored clothing. Why not unify this with a little added warmth?Read more »
(The main bar of the venue is rather good, too - friendly staff, comfortable seats, and the option of rather good pizza - and walking distance from the Tube.)
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The rest of the gallery is here
(The hotel staff seemed to cope pretty admirably with the assorted costumed folk roaming their bar, reception, and other areas. Some of the guests were slightly perplexed, though, but the staff managed to handle that confusion.)
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Rest of gallery here
Although we're rapidly approaching the first day of spring, there have been a spate of drizzly near-zero days over here. It's the kind of damp penetrating cold that makes old injuries ache and it's on days like this that I crave a steaming bowl of hearty chili. I know a lot of people have firm beliefs on what "chili" is or isn't, but for me, chili isn't so much a specific dish, as much as a class of dishes, like curry or stew. That's why I have a repertoire of red chilies, white chilies, and green chilies, each one with...