Seen at The Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden - Chinese proverb

Friday, 4 December 2009

VP Does the Garden Media Guild Awards

Yesterday this country mouse found herself in the heart of the big city to attend the Garden Media Guild Awards ceremony at the [very swanky - Ed] Brewery. This is the annual bash for the great and the good from the garden writing, photography and broadcasting worlds. There was no red carpet rolled out for us, oh no. Instead there was a most appropriate green one flanked by topiary balls with a very nice man at the end doffing his hat and issuing cheery greetings to all attendees.

Of course I personally knew hardly anyone there, though pretty well everyone was a familiar face. However, I had an instant result as the first person I bumped into was Cleve 'most snoggable male' West. The magic words 'Psssst I'm VP' was sufficient to generate a satisfying hug and pecks on both cheeks and the invitation to 'come and meet some people'. I'm most grateful to Cleve for making me feel welcome instantly. After that it was a mad whirl of introductions with a fair number of smiles of recognition as soon as the real name on my badge was translated into that of my alter ego. Martyn was also there, sporting a very thin moustache and award winning hair, who made sure I met Lia, whose sparkly hat I have to say would have made Arabella (literally) green with envy.


Then at last, some people who actually know me arrived! The first was Jekka McVicar, who greeted me with 'Oooooh it's you' and allowed me to photograph her escort, the controversial gnome Borage. You may remember his presence at Chelsea earlier this year ended in uproar and Jekka confided that the subsequent publicity and his appearance (at around 4mins 45secs in the link) on Have I Got News For You has gone to his head rather and as you see from the photo, he's turning to the demon drink. Then Victoria greeted me with a massive hug and 'At last, someone I know', which was a surprise as I thought she'd know everyone. We had a chance for a lightning catch up, interspersed with me meeting Nigel (yay, at last) plus Valerie McBride-Munro, the Guild's chairwoman.

We were then called into lunch, where I found myself seated at the Marshalls table, who were also the main sponsors of Chelsea this year. I was sandwiched between Mark Gregory and Graham Clarke. It was great to talk to them about my trip to Chelsea in May and to get the insiders' view of what goes on there: I'll tell you much more in a later post. Lunch was lovely - full details over at Victoria's - then just as things were threatening to degenerate into a post lunch snooze, we were awakened suddenly by the PA system bursting into life to welcome us to the awards part of the ceremony.

Thankfully this was briskly handled and helped by very few people choosing to make an acceptance speech. I had a massive OMG moment when the names for the best blog award went up as Veg Plotting was on there. James won of course and rightly so, but I was really chuffed when he urged everyone in the room to read my blog during his acceptance speech. That merited an enormous hug afterwards. James' table was a most successful one, as the double award winning Mark Diacono was there, as well as Martyn, who picked up a fair few shortlisted mentions for his sins. Whilst there, I also bumped into Matthew Wilson, who told me he'd just put the finishing touches to his eagerly awaited TV programme, Landscape Man, now due to be aired early next year.

Then it was back to the reception area for afternoon tea, plus more meeting people, thanks to Victoria. I also managed to track down Emmat, whom I'm sure you'd like to know is looking very well - there's hardly any evidence of her bump, yet. Victoria and I decided not to go to the post awards party (nor the alternative pub venue), but to decamp to the nearest Starbucks instead for a really good gossip and catch up.

I had a brilliant time and I haven't told you half of it. However, that would entail lots more name dropping [yes, you've done enough of that for one day - Ed] and lots of compliments that were made about my blog. I'd rather stay up here on cloud nine and hug them to myself for now, if you don't mind :D

Update: As well as Victoria, Cleve, Jane, Mark, Nigel and James have now posted their versions of last week's event. Each gives a fresh perspective which in my view serves to highlight one of the strengths of blogging :)

Update 2: And in 2010, we did it all over again, only this time the bloggers surreptitiously snaffled lots of the other awards ;)

25 comments:

  1. How exciting! More name dropping please. Congratulations on being shortlisted - you put a huge amount of work into your blog and you deserve the recognition.

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  2. OMG I have regular coffee with a Mega star!!!!!!!!
    Congrats on the honourable mention of your blog at the awards. It is very well deserved.Go VP.

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  3. Hi VP, it was really good to meet you in person. And well done on getting short listed - I was convinced you were going to bag that award. You did well to avoid the after show pub venue - my head is sore and my arm aches from arm wrestling.

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  4. Well done you - and well deserved for being shortlisted - your blog is one of my "must reads" and you put so much energy into it. Glad it is getting the recognition that you deserve.

    :)
    K
    xxx

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  5. Arabella - your Christmas garb is most wonderful, you would have been the belle of the ball yesterday. Another OMG moment for me was when John Craven went up to receive an award for Countryfile's piece on bees. It's not often you see childhood heroes close up. BTW I didn't know I was going until Tuesday afternoon, just in case you were confused by our talk over at Martyn's about doing a blog crawl whilst everyone was out partying.

    The list of people is really far too long, so I've kept it mainly to the blogosphere re mentions. Let's just say I went round saying 'I've got your book/ read your magazine articles/ got your DVD' rather a lot.

    TS - No, it's still me here. I thought of you at afternoon tea, because that's when we should have been having our squishy cake!

    Martyn - it was lovely to meet you too. If I'd come to the pub, it's a certainty I'd have missed my train. I know how I get distracted by good beer.

    Karen - thank you :D

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  6. Petoskystone - it certainly was :D

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  7. Hiya!

    Congratulations on receiving so much fabulous recognition. A most deserved nomination for a great blog written by a wonderful lady! I'm so pleased for you!

    I am also incredibly envious that you got to meet so many great people and not forgetting Borage!

    I have a sneaky feeling that this wont go away and I'll wait to see your name in the nominations next year! Keep up the good work hun and congratulations again!

    Ryan

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  8. whoo hoo!!!
    well done you! glad you got nominated, your blog is fab. and nice namedropping - tasty morsels in there!
    I hear the after show pub was, ahem, eventful, so you probably did better to stay on the t-total side of things...

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  9. OMG ans Eeekk! A bona fide celebrity!! It sounds so wonderful to be part of the swanky set and get to meet all those fab people that we feel we know already. Lucky you getting love from Cleve! Congrats on your own blog mention! Wow, always thought Veg Plotting was great. x

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  10. What a great event - full of the great and the good, including you of course! I always feel the measure of a really good blog is that it is one of the ones you read when you are pushed for time and just pick a couple, yours always makes the cut!

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  11. I had no idea about whom you were speaking, but this was a very entertaining post, well presented.

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  12. Wow VP!! Congrats... very well deserved... about time :-D

    What a brilliant time you must have had. Look forward to hearing more about it... name drop as much as you like :-D

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  13. It sounds like you had a very exciting day!

    Must admit this is the first I've ever heard of any such awards, well actually I read about the day over at victoria's garden...

    Lol, I never realised they'd have something like this... But you learn something new every day!

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  14. What a fun time for you, VP, loved the green carpet. Well deserved recognition for you and James. Fun with Victoria sound like the best of the best. Distracted by beer, that's a good one! :-)
    Frances

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  15. What fun and I finally recognized a few dropped names! gail

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  16. Great to meet you VP! How modest of you not to mention that you were up for an award. Tip for next year... It's worth going to the pub afterwards and, like me and James, staying sober just to have a pocketful of stories to blackmail people with later.

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  17. very very great pleasure to meet you VP! It was the first thing I heard on entering the hall 'VPs here, I just met VP - her real name's *&^%$£$^'

    Huge congrtulations on the shortlisting

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  18. Congrats on the shortlisting. I was very envious when it was mentioned on twitter that you were at the event. Had to satisfy myself with he various photos posted by JAS

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  19. Many congratulations! What an honor to be on that list--and to have James mention your blog in his speech.

    Your blog is one of my all-time faves, and I'd put it on any short list for best blog!

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  20. Massive congrats - you really deserve it. And how cool to be rubbing shoulders with all those 'names'. V. jealous! Dx

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  21. Wow, VP, that is fantastic. what a great day you had! Make no apologies for name dropping - some things just have to be done! Make no mistake you deserve all the recognition you can get.!

    I've been a bit absent for a while, not sure why , but sometimes it happens but now I'm back and will hopefully get more blogging done. I'm made the big decision and have decided to give up the day job at Christmas. So here's to more days out. Cheers! x

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  22. Congratulations on the shortlisting, VP. Sounds like a good time was had by all. I agree with Elizabeth about the measure of a really good blog - and yours is one of the ones I pick out if I'm in too much of a rush to read very many as well.

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  23. Well done VP and thoroughly deserved. Your blog is of a consistently high standard and always entertaining. Sounds like it was a great day,

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  24. Ryan - thank you. It was a thrill to meet a lot of my gardening heroes :)

    Claire - thank you and now I feel really bad because I haven't been over to congratulate you on your Green Apple. Now that was hobnobbing in spades!

    Carrie - a snog from the most snoggable! It doesn't get any better than that :)

    Elizabethm - that's so good to know, thank you :)

    Nell Jean - it's the same for us when people report back from the GWA meetings etc. I've kept to mainly bloggers here and linked to them so that you can find out more if you want to.

    Shirl - one of the others shortlisted was the Gardeners' World wildlife blog. Yours is much better!

    Liz - I found out about them last year when James won. I never even dreamed I'd be featured this year!

    Frances - yes, beer has often been my downfall, though it did help me bag a husband as we were in rival branches of the Campaign for Real Ale when we met :)

    Gail - yippee!

    cw - welcome! What a good idea, must join you next year :)

    MarkD - hello, that's made me laugh! Next time I'll bring Veg Patch with me, so I can get you to sign it

    PG - those pictures are hilarious! I think Twitter gave a good feel of what was going on.

    Susan - thank you :)

    Dawn - I'm still pinching myself to make sure it wasn't all a dream!

    Maggi - you're on my list to email, I must find out more about what you've been up to :)

    Juliet and Anna - thanks, it was a fab day!

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