Posted by Tania Kindersley.
Ill in bed. Feel most doleful. It’s only a stupid Christmas bug; I have been reading about it on Twitter and hoping it would not reach the north east. I missed a high, windy, sunny day. The Lovely Stepfather came and brought medicines from the chemist, and took The Pigeon out for a walk.
‘Was she good?’ I called, wanly, from my bed.
‘She’s always good,’ he said, sternly. ‘She is a good dog.’
She came and lay down next to me, her coat cool and smelling of the outdoors.
Then I slept until tea-time, when I stumped down in my pyjamas to heat up some watercress soup.
I have decided, in my swimmy, not well mind, that I am going to do the women of the year after all. That BBC thing is still making me quite grumpy. Not the panda, I really don’t care about the panda, but the woman who married Prince Albert is sticking pins into my poor, seared, feminist eyes.
Since I am not feeling at all butch, I’m going to do them in gentle stages, three or four a day until we get to the New Year.
And, according to the woman rule which cannot be broken, we start with:
Aung San Suu Kyi – she is my woman of every year. She covers all the finest qualities in a human: courage, grace, fortitude, intelligence, wisdom. Now that she is released from house arrest and the generals appear to be thawing a bit, there is a glitter of hope for Burma.
Hillary Clinton – this is slightly surprising. I used to have a visceral dislike of Hillary Clinton. I remember when she was campaigning against Barack Obama in the primary for the Democratic nomination, watching her and thinking she was a phony. She seemed brittle, and inauthentic. Now, as Secretary of State, she has come into her own. She does not have to showboat about in front the cameras, she can just get on with a serious job.
It turns out she is very, very good at it. Her formidable intellect is being stretched at last. She would go on this list alone for the speech she made about gay rights. She made one very simple, very profound declarative sentence, and you know how I love a declarative sentence. She said: gay rights are human rights.
Rachel Maddow – I said I would put her on my list, and I do, with bells on. Her show is consistently informative, fascinating, funny, and often shocking. She has a lovely habit of digging down into the news and finding the nugget that the received wisdom has missed. I also like the fact that in a rather feverish climate, where the people who hate The Gay, as Maddow calls it, really do seem to hate and fear it, she quite naturally refers to ‘my girlfriend Susan.’ (Susan should probably go on the list too.)
Most impressive of all, in a political atmosphere of unprecedented partisanship, she routinely invites Republicans onto her programme, where she questions them firmly, but with unbelievable good manners. She may be the politest political host I have ever seen. And above all, she has a really delightful black dog, not unlike The Pigeon.
Clare Balding – There has been a big fuss this year about women in sport being overlooked, especially when the Sports Personality of the Year shortlist was exclusively male. Quietly, without fanfare or fuss, Balding goes on being one of the finest sports presenters in the business. She heads the BBC racing commentary team for The Grand National and The Royal Meeting at Ascot, and she never puts a foot wrong. She is impeccably well-informed, always humorous, and really loves the horses that she commentates about. I think she should quite soon be made a Dame.
Now my head has gone quite swimmy, so I am stopping. More excellent females tomorrow, including The Military Wives, and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Obviously no pictures today, but here are a few lovelies from the last two weeks: