Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Virtual friends

I don't believe I had an imaginary friend as a child. I had an imaginary chimp. OK, he only materialised on train journeys, and was due entirely to Southern Railway posters advertising Chessington Zoo. He always slid down the handrail (holding my hand) when we got back to Haywards Heath and disappeared at the bottom of the steps; forgotten by the time we got to the ticket collector and back to the real world. I can't recall that he even had a name. He was always waiting at the bottom of the steps next time though, ready for another trip. Oh dear, it's all coming back to me now. He had to have the seat by the window, and I'd sit next to him. Perhaps that's why I still like an aisle seat. Or perhaps that's just in case a chimp (or city equivalent) comes and sits next to me.

Virtual friends are not quite the same as imaginary ones, although it might be quite imaginary that they are one's friends. Most virtual friends really exist, although not necessarily in the form that one knows them. Some of mine are people I interact with on Canalworld (I have a number of virtual enemies there too. Most of them though are blissfully unaware that they have made of me an implacable foe by their sanctimonious attitudes and/or bad spelling).

Mainly though I'm thinking of other bloggers I find simpatico. First port of call is always Granny Buttons, mainly because he posts so often and interestingly that there's usually something new to read. Also, his was the first narrowboat blog I ever heard of, recommended to me by Mike of the splendid but sadly defunct (the blog, not the boat) Globetrotter. I don't have a long blogroll because I reckon a link to Granny's is enough. He lists over 65 - some of which are fairly or utterly inactive, but lots, I'm sure, are great, but I haven't read them. Two I do pop into fairly frequently are Cosmos and Mortimer Bones; I think I could be friends with them. Bones of course is a fellow academic (but one of those scary scientist types) and Jaytee of Cosmos appears to be something in the pedagogical line from what I can tell. Anyway, I like the cut of their jib(s).

The first blog I ever read regularly was Pharyngula; a strange choice for a sciencephobe, but I read it for the atheism. (British atheists - you don't know you're born till you read what it's like in the US). But the science blogging community has annual awards for science blogs, and there are others for political ones. Wouldn't it be nice to have some prizes for narrowboat blogs? For example, best writing, best picture, best new blog, best travelogue, best build/restoration blog ... We could call them 'Grannies' in honour of the doyen...


JT said...

If narrowboats had jibs, I'm sure I'd like the cut of yours too!

According to my Myspace site (god I hate myself for supporting Murdock, but life well mine anyway, is a tangle of contradictions)The Kings of Leon are my best friends. It's a funny old world.

All the best!

Anonymous said...

Narrowboat Grannies? Yes! You'd be in with a shout, Sarah.

I just pinched myself, and, yes, I am real.

S said...

Jaytee - Myspace? Dear god, Blogger is about as much as I can manage. But are you one of them pedagogues?

John - yes, you're real - but who are you?

JT said...

Yes but not a proper one like you or Bones - F.E. Sociology, Politics etc.

I'm called an 'Associate Lecturer' which sounds posh but means I don't work for the college but am an hourly paid agency worker, (teaching hours only- not for marking, prep, reports, paperwork and so on). So I'm maxed-out on all my credit cards at this time of year.

I could talk about the proletarianisation of the professions but that would be talking shop.

Anonymous said...

Sarah - I'm a picture editor for the BBC; I own part of a 12-year-old 58' narrowboat; and I'm looking forward to retirement in a decade's time so I can own a boat outright. But you and MortimerBones and others are proof that maybe I don't actually have to wait until retirement. I live in Norwich, which I thought was too far from the "connected system" to be able to look after a boat properly - it has to be canals and it has to ba a narrowboat, so no Norfolk Broads for me - but if you can do it from Newhaven perhaps I can from here. Reading the various narrowboat blogs makes me more impatient! Oh, I have a wife of 25 years - er, no, that doesn't sound right - I mean we've been married for 25 years, and she's (fortunately!) tolerant of my boating passion.

Now you know!

MortimerBones said...

Woo HOoo! I get a mention... what a treat!

I love the idea of an imaginary chimp, I just had a family of tiny tiny tiny crocodiles that lives in the local churchyard. They were very sweet :)

Great to hear who John h is too!!!

S said...

JUST a family of tiny tiny crocodiles that lived in a graveyard? I think that beats a railway chimp hands down. Fantastic to hear from John ... and Jaytee - been there (been in my first permanent post just on a year now) ... it has its drawbacks, but it beats working in Tescos. Cool. I've got friends!