The international blogging community's most prestigious awards are coordinated via this very blog. They are called "The Laughing Horse" Awards and just like the Golden Globes or the Hollywood Oscars, bloggers from around the world jostle to be recognised by "The Laughing Horse" judges. The awards are always presented at the very end of a calendar year. Blogging is a relatively new art form that has opened doors for numerous previously anonymous individuals who would otherwise be festering in the obscurity of their tiny humdrum lives. Blogging connects. Blogging inspires. Blogging gives a voice to the voiceless. And ":Laughing Horse" recognises achievement in the field of blogging.
This year the "Laughing Horse" winners' widget was designed by Yorkshire-based graphic designer Humphrey Blenkinsop - based in Grimesthorpe. Awards winners are specially entitled to copy the treasured widget and to paste it permanently into their sidebars or to simply use it to gloat in regular blogposts. Please note that use of the widget by envious non-award winners is a criminal offence. Here's the Blenkinsop design for 2013 in three different sizes. Winners can take their pick according to the design specifications of their own blogs:-
And so to this year's awards:-
TOP ITINERANT BLOGGER:- GB of "A Hebridean in New Zealand". This lucky fellow blogs from two hemispheres and also blogs with good manners and joyful appreciation of the world we share. He is a good role model for younger bloggers and has a nice beard called Keith.
TOP FELINE CARE BLOGGER:- Jan Blawat of "Cosumne Gal". This hard-nosed northern Californian lady blogger has a soft side to her as this year her heart has clearly melted and all because of a feral kitten called Wesley. She has told his story in interesting dribs and drabs, allowing Wesley into her house and into her life.
TOP PHOTOGRAPHIC BLOGGER Adrian of "Adrian's Images". This gipsy-like fellow cruises the British Isles in his love wagon, using his intimate knowledge of camera technology to bring superb and surprising images to his many followers. There is no truth in the rumour that he was also up for a special "Grumpy Old Blogger" award.
TOP QUEENSLAND BLOGGER Unusually, the judges simply couldn't split the two top nominated bloggers from Queensland, Australia and it was decided that the award would be shared between Helen of "Helsie's Happenings" and Carol of "The Week That Was in Aus". Both bloggers have displayed good humour, honesty and a lively interest in the very process of blogging for which they are to be equally commended.
TOP WELSH BLOGGER Well, could it really be anybody else but Earl John Gray from the mountain hamlet of Trelawnyd? (Sorry Jenny - not enough posts this year!). Earl Gray wears his heart on his sleeve and displays enormous warmth and humanity in his accounts of animal care, scotch egg addiction and village life.
TOP CATALONIAN BLOGGER:- Brian Cutts of "Tannu Tuva". Kidnapped by a lusty Catalonian maiden, Brian has reluctantly had to live in exile from his beloved Yorkshire homeland for many years. He loves music, history and life itself and the judges were pleased to see that his blogging efforts are gradually attracting more interest than they used to do.
TOP ART BLOGGER & TOP BAY OF PLENTY (NZ) BLOGGER - Katherine De Chevalle of "The Last Visible Dog". For a significant chunk of the year, Katherine was unfortunately incarcerated in the women's prison at Auckland but since her release has come back strong. She is at her best when blogging about the processes of creating art.
TOP AMERICAN BLOGGER The judging panel were split on this but after much deliberation plumped for the famous Georgian blogger Robert H. Brague of "Rhymes With Plague". This senior blogger has had several health problems in the past year but he battled through them all to bring a wide range of thoughtful blogposts to his loyal readership. Kindness, fairness, media, music and a healthy sense of humour colour his contributions to the world of blogging.
And finally, the overall Laughing Horse "BLOGGER OF THE YEAR" award goes to..... none other than Tom Gowans of "Hippo on the Lawn". Congratulations Tom! His Angola-based blog swims effortlessly between memories of childhood, military life and his current happy domestic life on the outskirts of Luanda with Marcia and his boys and the great bloody pond he dug in his back yard. This former army captain writes well and responds to his his fellow bloggers' posts with humanity, good humour and occasional mischief. His blog sometimes provides an outlet for creative use of language - exploring memories and ideas while breaking down some of the walls of convention. There's a novel in that chap so there is.