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Frequently asked questions

1. What’s with the name? Why is this site called little red boat?
The name little red boat is a reference to one of my favourite childhood toys.
You can read the full story here.

2. Can you help me with sailing tips or information on boat building services in my local area?
Sadly not. I wish I could, because I get asked this an awful lot, but sadly, I can’t.
Perhaps the ‘Boats in Berkshire’ section of Yell.com will be of more use to you? Possibly less so if you’re not in Berkshire. Sorry.

3. Is this a blog? I don’t see very many links…
Well, you’re right there – I don’t link very much from this site, but mostly because this is more of one of those ‘personal journal’ flavour blogs. Some people may call it a ‘Blurnal’, but then, they’re probably the kind people who shouldn’t handle the English language without supervision.

4. Yes, but what’s this blog ABOUT?
Ah. Now you’ve got me. It’s about the minutiae of a life – obsessions, amusements, observations. It’s about buses and break-ups, punchlines and poor poetry; memories, mammories and melencholy.
Most often when asked I’ll say it’s about ‘beans’.
Beans, in this instance, in the sense of ‘not really that much, but terribly filling all the same’.

5. Who writes this? Who ARE you?
My name is all over the site – I’ve never seen the point in being anonymous, but just in case you’ve missed it…
I’m Anna Pickard, female, pudgy, mid-thirties. I mainly trained in drama and script-editing things, but now work by day as a web producer and by night I try to squeeze in as much freelance writing and blogging as I can without exploding. I live in Brighton. At the moment. But have a tendency to move. That’s all, really.

6. Why do you do this, then? Why did you start?
How did I start? My sister, who was one of the first and most popular British bloggers, set me up with a site, and encouraged me to get going. At the time I was an art and craft teacher in the Inner Hebrides, and while I enjoyed working with my hands, I missed writing. So I started, and it very soon became a discipline, then an addiction. The more people I realised were reading and the more friends I made through blogging, the more I loved it – and the more impossible the idea of stopping became. It’s still a discipline, it’s still an addiction, I still love it, so I still do it.

7. Are you a professional writer?
Well, I suppose it depends what you call professional. Being a writer is not yet my full-time job, although I do get paid to write. You can find an index of my professional work, and contact details if you happen to want to commission me, on my portfolio site: annapickard.co.uk

8. Is this site available in book format?
Nope.

9. Why not?
Are you crazy? It’s all available here! For free!
The longer it goes on and the more the archives stretch away into the distance, the more I wish I had a nice little pocket version of the best bits. That way I could highlight them with a pen, and carry it around and make people read it at bad parties. But something tells me it’s a good idea that that doesn’t happen.
Anyway, if there’s going to be a book of anything, it has to be new stuff, surely – else what’s the point?

10. How long have you been doing this? Why?
I’ve been doing this since 2001. While it’s still something I enjoy and other people enjoy, I will carry on doing it, as above.

11. How often is this thing updated?
This ‘thing’ (thank you), is updated several times a week. At the moment, due to a moronic New Year’s Resolution, it’s being updated every day. That will never last. Still, it’s always two or three times a week.

12. Will you write about (X) if I ask you?
I’ll write an ode to your genitals if you’re paying me enough, sweetheart.
Well, possibly not.

If you mean “can I ask you to write about your product/service and get me to promote it on the site?” – no.
I don’t (or haven’t yet) do advertising, and I’m not a fan of personal blogs as marketing tools. So if that’s the sense you’re talking about – the answer is no. Please don’t email and ask, I can get quite brusque in my replies, because it’s a good way to release stress, but it’s not a very nice thing to do.

But I do pride myself at being able to write to order – in fact, I get my best inspiration when riffing off a given theme, word or topic.
So yeah, if you actually want me to do some writing for you – I certainly may. If you ARE a commissioning editor, though, yes, I will; whatever you like – I refer you again to the examples and contact details on my porfolio site. And I meant it about the ode.

13. What’s your favourite entry ever ever ever?
Ooh, that’s a toughie.
Many of them can be found on this list here, and for some reason I have a soft spot for this one – no idea why – but my absolute favourite? I’m going to have to get back to you.

14. Which one post should I read if I wanted to get an idea of this site’s style and content?
Well, you can see the list of some of my favourite posts to get a more rounded idea of different aspects of this site – but I think for a single example of the mixture of the personal and humourist style that I’ve evolved on this site, you could try Invaliding for beginners, or the charmingly chaotic “I make a birthday tea!!!”, or the slightly more serious “You’ve got the loveliest skin (and so much of it…)”.

15. Can anyone comment?
Absolutely, and the more the merrier. I try and respond to comments as much as I can, but sometimes get busy and can’t. I do love to get comments, though, and read every single one.

16. Will you link to me?
At the moment, until I have the chance to reorganise my sidebar, I only link to people that are either real-life friends or relations, or those whom I’m slavishly in awe of/have a bit of a crush on.
I am planning on swapping things around to add more sites, though, so if you send me your url, link to me or leave a comment, I’ll come and have a good read.

17. Where are the feeds? What is your server configuration? What version of blog CMS do you use?
Um… Hang on, Let me pass the computer to my boyfriend technical adviser. Um. We’ll get back to you, please hold the line, your call IS important to us…

18. Can you give me some random statistics about this site?
For several years it was the number one google result for “smug git”. No more, sadly. No more.
If you want to know anything more specific – please email (see below).

19. How many readers do you have?
More than some – many, many less than others. It changes every day.

20. Gosh, you swear a lot, don’t you?
I do indeed. Partly because I have a personal thing about which words are and aren’t offensive (find out more here), partly because this is my personal blog, in which I try and write as much as possible in my natural voice, and, in my natural rhythm of speech, there happens to be a lot of swearing, and partly because, contrary to popular opinion and Tipper Gore, swearing is both big AND clever.

21. Why are there so many lists?
a) What is there in life that isn’t much improved by being put in list form?
ii) Honestly, there are often too many things in my brain at once. Lists help.
3) There is inherent comedy in the structure of a list.

22. Is this a rhetorical question?
Clearly not.

23. Are you exactly like the writing on this site makes you seem?
Mainly yes. I may come across more ditzy in writing than I do in real life – but perhaps that’s only something I want to think…

24. Is everything on this site real? I mean, did it all Really Happen?
Yes. Or mainly. If it didn’t, I’ll say it didn’t – having a very bad poker face, you’d know if I was lying anyway.
Seriously, for me, it has to be all true, or all fiction. I don’t see the point of mixing the two here. If people thought that some things might be fictional, they’d never trust a word I said the rest of the time, just in case. Trust is important in blogging.

25. How can I contact you?
You can leave a comment somewhere on site – it’ll be emailed to me, and I’ll read it – or more straight-forwardly, you can email me on annapickard at gmail dot com.

  1. 26. Is this how the ‘frequently asked questions’ list is compiled? if so how can we be sure the questions are sufficiently frequent to merit their place on the list? Should i have put those as seperate questions? Or not?

    Comment by Darren — 27 March, 2007 5:22 pm

  2. Hi Anna! This has been a rather random venture into the world of ‘little red boat’ but I must say that I have very much enjoyed it! I can’t say that I regularly visit sites about little red boats, shocking i know, but I came across a little section in last months issue of ‘Marie Claire’ and thought I would have a quick look on you site. The main reason was because your partner had said how you often let little offensive remarks left on this site by, in his words, ‘nutters’ (very accurate i must say!) make you insecure and begin to believe these nutters. And so as an official non-nutter (oh yes, we do exist) I must say I have huge amounts of respect for your writing and going by your pictures feel these nutters are very much so nutters and are not to be listened to! I really do wish you lots of luck and continued success on this site and hope you enjoy the lovely summer! :) x

    Comment by Harriet — 10 April, 2007 6:29 pm

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This is a little red boat. Little, red, and boaty.

I still post. Occasionally. Honest, I do.