Thursday 17 June

Today I signed on, stood on my cat and got rejected from Perfect Wedding.
Today is going to be a great day.

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This much I know

This much I know: Alyson Lammie
The professional ice skater, 24, in her own words

Alyson Lammie

When I was little, they used to call me Mountain Goat. I was so small that I always used to climb onto things to be as high up as possible. I’m still small. I still do it now.

I walk everywhere on my tip toes. Even when I wear trainers I walk on my tip toes. I can’t put my heels down, well I can, but it is so uncomfortable. My tendon is really short so when I put my feet down, I kinda slap my feet. I walk really weirdly.

The other girls at the ice rink didn’t like me arriving at such a late age to win all of the trophies. The average age to start for professionals my standard, is about 4 or 5. I started skating when I was eleven-years-old. I came from nowhere and won a lot of medals which is never popular with girls.

I haven’t had a Christmas at home for five years.

The last time I saw my grandma I got her really drunk. We were laughing so much. She died at New Year’s, aged 91. It was really shit because I couldn’t get back from tour, so it hit me really hard. One day she had a chest infection and the next, she was gone.

I have been to every city in France you could ever name, even the tiny towns.

I can’t wait to go away again. I am going back on tour in just under two weeks. I wish I was going now. I got an email this morning to tell me that they have changed it as we were meant to be going to Slovakia for Christmas, but now it looks like we are off to Athens.

I spend half my year in Utrecht, Holland. Utrecht is about 10 minutes out of Amsterdam. Holiday on Ice’s base is there, so we always start the tour off in Utrecht. It is one of the nicest cities I have ever been to and I would love to live there. Everything is much cleaner and prettier than Amsterdam, and homey. It is the Dutch people’s Amsterdam. There is a lot more culture there, whereas Amsterdam is just for people who want to smoke dope and sleep with people.

You don’t see chavs in Holland. Holland is exactly like the United Kingdom, but that little bit nicer.  Less windy, a bit flatter and everyone speaks English.

I popped a spot in a lift mirror on tour once. Lift mirrors are always the best. There is never ever anyone in this particular hotel, so I thought that’s a wicked light. Unfortunately, some guy from my hotel walked straight in.

I love cheese. The smellier the better. Blue cheese, Stilton, odd cheeses, you know, the weird stuff.

I didn’t ever imagine that I would be a skating coach. My mum thought it would be a good idea to have something to fall back on. At the moment I have one pupil and he is so inspiring. Before I started to coach him he was really bored of skating and about to quit, but now he loves it. Enthusiasm breeds enthusiasm right? So, I go into each lesson really excited about what we are going to do and he feeds off it. He’s my little protege. Being 13 and gorgeous has nothing to do with it.

I hate Radiohead. I can’t stand them, they bore me inside out. I need excitement in my music. I need it loud.

I have nearly died four times. Columbia was so dangerous. There were gunshots in the street. Even in the supermarkets.

I am pretty indifferent to John and Edward.  I admire that they are getting successful for doing absolutely nothing but being hated.  People just hate watching them so much that they kind of like how bad they are.

I am terrified of pigeons. I have to cross the road if one ever comes directly into my path. It all started when one slapped me in the face with its wings. And now, even the sound freaks me out.  I try and prepare myself for when I see one on the ground and I know it is going to flap, but when it happens, I grab anyone that is around me and scream. In order to save embarrassment, I have learnt to get out of their way first.

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this blog, re:newed

It has been over a month since I last wrote. But I can promise you I have been busy. Since my last post, the course has stepped up a notch or two and I am even feeling slightly guilty for taking the time to write this short post.

After successfully pitching our magazine to the group, Angharad and I are co-editors of one of the magazines we are creating in Cardiff University. The magazine is called re:new and is a forward-looking, active-focused magazine aimed at the recently retired. After some careful market research and some help from the editor of Trail Magazine we thought there was a spot in the market for a new, less passive magazine for people who had just transitioned into retirement. I would love it if you could take a quick look at the magazine blog to offer your thoughts or comments.

The online team are currently working on setting up our website and I will be sure to let you know of any developments, as and when it happens.

Needless to say, I have been extremely busy. The role of co-editor has been quite tough and very demanding but I have learnt so much from it and I am proud that I have given something my all.

At the moment we are in the process of publishing our second issue of re:new, but here is our first issue. After the first post-mortem from Tim and Jane, we have managed to hone in on our reader and the second issue looks set to play on their hopes and fears much more.

I am finding that I have nothing other than the course to talk about and sometimes, I feel like I am turning into my reader. A lovely, stylish 60-year-old lady who has so much to give, despite retirement.

Do you think it says something that our idea for a magazine is about retiring from the world of work, even though we have not yet entered it? Perhaps.

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shorthand – done

Today is a momentous day for me. Now, together with being able to speak at a really high pitch if anything excites me, take unbelievably terrible photos that verge on being ghostly to making a clown mask look good, tie my shoes, drive a car, play the piano badly, sleep diagonally across a bed, I can make sense of squiggles and write down what you say, providing you speak at a pace of no more than 100wpm.

I passed my 100wpm @ shorthand! Another one to add to the ever-increasing skillset of a budding journalist. All that remains to be said, is –

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learning curve

I have been trying to write my article on whether good journalism will be the first casualty of the digital revolution, and I think I have reached the answer. No, I will be.

Just out of curiosity, I decided to post the question on the online community group, e-mint that Joanna Geary advised me to join. So, just before 10am this morning I popped this on there and set off for CJS. When I returned, I logged back on to see whether anyone had got back to me and I was surprised to find that there were quite a few replies.

I found that people disagreed with me, agreed with me, pointed me in the direction of Adam Tinworth’s blog, corrected me and posed me further questions.

As I read through all of the comments and began replying to them, I realised that it was the first time that something I had published had sparked that much conversation. I had brought up an issue and conversation had grown around it in an online community.

The humongous learning curve – roughly equated to the curvature of the earth – was about to come. If,  something I had written was to provoke that much intelligent response and conversation, why did I only take two minutes to write my thoughts? When I am in the process of writing a feature, it takes hours of research, fact checking and no less than two drafts, never mind the countless cups of coffee. Why should I have treated this any differently?

The curse of instantaneous publishing. I didn’t just fall into the massive black hole staring me in the face, but voluntarily plopped myself in there.

Silly girl.

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a photo published on Schmap!

This photo that I took of Bute Park in the Autumn has been chosen to be a part of an online guide to Cardiff. 

Not bad for a point and shoot…

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facebook vs twitter on a Butetown mission

I am not saying they can’t coexist peacfully in an online world, but I have been rather interested in the differing ways they can help me as I train to become a journalist.

Over the past couple of weeks I have been researching Butetown for a feature due in next week. My mission which I set myself, was to find a 72-year-old woman who still lives in Butetown.

This has proved to be rather difficult. Lazily, I posted a quick shout out on Twitter in the hope that someone might know someone, who in turn might know someone — and as if by magic, my work could be done — but I hit a dead end, very quickly. No replies and no voice could be heard from the Twitterverse. I was alone.

So, I retreated to some old, tried and tested methods, the telephone (I am a little bit distressed that I am now calling my new Blackberry, old, but yes, it probably is) and failed. No-one wanted to talk to me. I was starting to feel a little hurt.

But then, in a striking breakthrough and through some warranted stalking on Facebook — another thing I never thought I would say — I completed my mission, and with just under a week to spare. Success!

On Facebook, I was able to entwine myself into a group about the area and ask people directly whether they knew of anyone. People who were concerned enough about Butetown and ‘Tiger Bay’ to create a group about it, would surely be able to help.

My thanks go out to everyone who was willing to talk to a stranger on Facebook and help point me in the right direction.

I believe that’s 2-1 to Facebook. Keep up Twitter, you’re supposed to be the “new” social networking site.

I would really appreciate any other tips on how to find individuals on the world wide web and in the big wide world. Feel free to comment

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