Thursday’s Top 5 Good Reads

For reasons that will soon become clear, I’ve not been posting very much recently (don’t worry – all is well – just busy!).

So in lieu of one of my rambles, here’s a rundown of some other blogs that I’ve been enjoying recently, some of which you might want to check out. If nothing else, it gives you an idea of how eclectic my interests are!

1. From the Dakar Side of The Toon

My old university friend Steve is now living in Senegal and working for an NGO. It doesn’t always make for the cheeriest reading – his post about being on a plane with someone who was being forcibly deported made me sit at my computer and weep – but he’s written some brilliant stuff, and even when he’s dealing with really difficult issues, some of that inimitable Morpeth humour shines through.

2.  Dummy Mummy

I think I have a bit of a blogger crush on Dummy Mummy. I’ve never met the woman; don’t know what she looks like, or any details of her life, other than what’s shared on her site. But more than any other parenting blog I’ve yet found, her posts often touch a real nerve with me. I also love the fact that she just keeps her head down and writes, and doesn’t seemed to be involved in the crazy cliques or jostling for a high position in the rankings. If you haven’t found her yet, then check it out.

3. Some, Some and Some

Becky is a friend who I met at High School. I was lucky enough to attend her lovely wedding just after I’d started uni, and then we lost touch for several years before finding each other on Facebook again. This is her blog about baking and God… and while I’m neither a great cook nor terribly religious, I still love reading it. She may be one of the nicest people on earth, and it shows in her writing.

 4. It’s the Party Line and I’ll Cry If I Want To

I don’t think I can tell you who writes this, because she’s all grown up now, having left behind boozing and swearing (ahem) to become a teacher, and she might not want her pupils to find it… She doesn’t post often, but for insightful and intelligent rants about politics, Scotland, and the state of society, this is the place to go. I wish my modern studies teacher had been this feisty.

 5. 12 Books In 12 Months

As the name suggests, Ali is trying to write 12 books in 12 months, and this blog charts her progress. It also features guest posts and lots of good chat about the Edinburgh poetry and literature scene. This week she is testing a Kindle and posting her thoughts… well worth a read.

Although I’m not doing as many proper posts just now, I’m still putting the occasional snippet up on the DorkyMum Facebook page. Please head over and like it if you haven’t already. Thank you so much! 

Life with A Poet at the Edinburgh Fringe

This originally featured as a guest post on the excellent blog 12 Books in 12 Months. Thanks to lovely Ali for the opportunity to post there. As well as checking out her blog, you should become a fan on Facebook.

It was also, rather excitingly, published on Huffington Post UK.

It’s not always easy being married to a poet. Young and I use up a significant number of babysitting credits, not on romantic dinners, but on evenings in dingy pubs, where I sit and watch him reading to half a dozen people. He is always shouting ‘that’s a poem’ in the middle of our conversations, and rushing off to scribble down a phrase or idea. And we spend hours trekking around stationery shops looking for just the right notebooks, because no others will do (yellow Levenger – A4 – lined).

I have always consoled myself with the thought that maybe, one day, Young would write a lovely poem about what a wonderful and supportive wife I am.

In some moment of madness, earlier this year, Young agreed to do a solo show as part of the PBH Free Fringe. He may have still been on some crazy, slam-induced adrenaline high after his time at the Poetry World Cup in Paris, or he may have genuinely thought it was a good idea… I will never know.

All I know is that it has taken over our lives for the last couple of months. We had no idea what was involved (and I use ‘we’ intentionally – this has certainly been a joint venture). Doing a ten minutes slot at someone else’s show is one thing; doing a whole hour by yourself is quite another.

There is the constant emailing about organisation, the Fringe registration, and the flyers… there are Tweets, texts, and Facebook event pages… there are press releases to send, photos to resize, programme entries to write, and blog posts to pimp…there is deciding what to wear, and how to stand, and whether it’s okay to read off the page… there is showing up to every other spoken word show, in the hope that the favour is returned… there is flyering in the rain, a preview in London that you really don’t want to do… and then that awful feeling of performing to two people, one of whom is your mother-in-law.

Oh yeah, and then there’s that hour-long show to write.

So why does he do it? What makes it worthwhile? I can’t speak for Young, but I think it’s probably for the small moment of satisfaction you get; from that one person who comes up at the end of a show and says that one of your poems has touched their heart; from that one stranger who takes the time to write something nice on your Facebook page; and from that one short but sweet review (she says, hopefully) that you can cut out and stick in your son’s scrapbook.

I do not grudge a minute of the time that Young and I have spent working on his show. Putting all bias aside, I think it is wonderful, and I am incredibly proud of him. I don’t even mind that in order to hear the one poem that he finally wrote about me, I have to sit and listen to fifty minutes of poetry about the other women in his life. I just hope that after all that effort someone (other than my Mum) shows up.

Young Dawkins performs What I Know About Women So Far at The Royal Oak on the following dates:

8th-11th and 15th August at 2pm

22nd-25th August at 3.15pm

You can visit his website at

He is also compering the first BBC Slam Poetry Competition at the Fringe, details of which can be found here, here, and here.