My Week In Happy: Why I interviewed Helen Arney

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Well, “Why wouldn’t you want to interview Helen Arney?”, you might ask?

Helen Arney (Photo: Vera de Kok)

Of course she is super-smart, funny and chic, that’s undeniable. Which is why, when I was booking my tickets for Festival of the Spoken Nerd at The Lowry, I was struck by the fact that she did not have a Wikipedia page dedicated to her.

Almost a year before the gig, I’d been to a Wiki Edit workshop run for Manchester Girl Geeks by Wikimedia UK.

From this experience I learned two things:

  1. Editing Wikipedia is really pretty easy
  2. More than 80% of Wikipedia editors are male (according to some research)

What did I do with this knowledge? Pretty much nothing until I noticed that Helen Arney didn’t have a Wikipedia page.

Then I remembered something.

Fellow Manchester Girl Geek Karen Pudner (@kpudner) had created a Wikipedia page for code-breaker Joan Clarke, who worked alongside Alan Turing on the Enigma Project at Bletchley Park.

Karen started the Wikipedia page in 2013 having attended a previous Manchester Girl Geeks Wiki Edit Day.

This was the year before Joan’s contribution to the team at Bletchley Park was recognised in The Imitation Game. Since then the page has been added to and edited by dozens of other users.

If another girl geek could write a woman into Wikipedia then maybe I could give it a shot?

I was so excited by the prospect that it was with some abandon that I launched into writing my first lines of words on Wikipedia.

So I’ve made a start on Helen Arney’s page, which is currently a described as a ‘Singer stub’. If you would like to add an edit of your own I’d be extremely happy.

So, why did you interview Helen Arney?

As well as her obvious fabness (see above), I thought it would be lovely to have something that I had written to be linked to from the Wikipedia page. And reciprocal linked (of course!).

You can read what Helen had to say on physics, funnyness and frocks right here.

My Week In Happy: Feeling grateful for good friends

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I’ve lived in a quite few cities. Childhood in Coventry, teenage years in Norwich, university in Southampton, then back to Norwich before a 10 year stint in London, before finally landing here in Manchester.

In each stage of my life I’ve made new friends and do my best to stay in touch them even if sometimes months or even years have elapsed since we were last in contact.

This week, seeing some dear friends has make me extremely happy and grateful.

Mike

I met Mike when we worked at a small offshoot of a publishing house in Norwich in the mid-nineties. He’s always made a really big effort to keep in touch no matter what’s going on in either of our lives. Mike has sharp wit which is reflected in some of the greeting cards he has created for me over the years. Take a look at this gallery.

Some of the Mike's greeting card designs. Broccoli = Brockley.

Some of the Mike’s greeting card designs.

Lynsey

I have known Lynsey since we were about 14 years old. Contact may have ebbed and flowed over the years as we moved to different cities and did different things with our lives, but when we chat (usually online and about pretty much anything) it feels like no time has passed at all.

Lynsey is working on her first novel and blogging about it – the blog itself is a work of art in my eyes.

Birthday buddies

My friend Karen shares a birthday month with me. We love to celebrate and it’s been a month full of hiding cards and collections and eating several kilos of cake.

On Friday it was Karen’s birthday, an occasion that we marked at Chaophraya, a top Thai place in Manchester. To give you a flavour of what we got up to, here’s a gallery.

Erinma

I’ve got to know Erinma over the last couple of years through mutual friends and various geeky activities. We hooked up for the #HookedOnMusic late event on Saturday night at Manchester’s Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI).

Erinma has had a long involvement with the museum, developing and delivering fantastic citizen science projects including Turing’s Sunflowers and Hooked On Music. She is also one of the most generous and kind-hearted people you could ever hope to meet.

Cosmo update

icu-twitterMy cat, Cosmo, is an old boy who’s led an amazingly good and pampered life.

He’s not been too well for the last couple of months and has lost a lot of weight since the beginning of the year.

He’s at home being cared for in the Intensive Cuddle Unit and we’re going to back to the vets on Thursday to see how he’s doing.