A Not Uneventful Day

The trouble with not posting on a blog for while is that I have too much to say, too much to record, and sometimes, make that often, it's easier to draw a line under the passed days and start from wherever I am now.

I have always failed at keeping a paper diary for the same reason. Somehow a blog feels more forgiving. If this survives beyond me, and future family historians try to understand what great-to-the-power-of n Aunt Isobel's life was like, they may well suspect that the silent days were ones where I had nothing more to say than that I got up, had breakfast, fed the cat and frittered away the hours. If so, they will be wrong. In my head, walking along, on the bus, queuing in shops, I compose posts that are never written; posts where I muse on life's beauties and inequities, posts where I opine that the NHS could probably save a small fortune in anti depression medication if only IDS and Michael Gove were barred from speaking in public, or preferably at all, posts where I rail against cruelty to all animals, human and otherwise, posts when I realise that true happiness lies in the perfect poached egg.

Also posts about the Daily Mail, a paper I would go a long way not to read, but whose outrages are often reported elsewhere. A paper from which one might catch something nasty ending in ism. Does it have a purpose in the grand scheme of thing? Perhaps just to remind us of what hell might be like. I suppose Paul Dacre must have his uses, but so far I have not devined what they are. Apparently his staff have suggested his shoes never wear out as he goes from carpeted office to chauffeured car to home with barely any contact with the pavement, or reality. I'd like to think he pays enormous taxes that go towards funding the NHS, but I have a hunch he will have his money stashed in some offshore enterprise that means the exchequer sees little of what he is paid.

The Tory party has not learned from the Strong and Stable backlash, and is still in love with repeating alliterative phrases. The current fave seems to be stability and certainty, though for variety they are happy to use the words singly, then join them like cymbals for effect. I don't know how this goes down with other listeners, but I find I cannot remember a single word of what they have said other than the alliterative pairings, and those I translate as blah blah blah, a cover up for not really knowing what they are talking about. If they can't be bothered to make proper arguments why on earth should the electorate be bothered to listen to them, far less take them seriously?

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A Thank-You to Readers of This Blog

I know; I don't blog for days then suddenly you can't stop me. Tonight I am at das Boot. I'll stay until Tuesday, maybe Wednesday if I have enough clean clothes. I've checked the number of contact lenses I have but not my socks.

Tonight when I stood watching the swans and geese in the adjoining field and MasterB sniffing at a lavender bush, content ed and relaxed until another boater called out to a friend and he slunk back to the pontoon and on board, I thought it was our little bit of heaven. Then a moment ago, Himself came and climbed on me, touched my nose with his, purred and then settle to look at the night and things I cannot see, and I realised that much as I love das Boot, it is just a boat unless MasterB is here; then we are captain and mate, happy in our little floating home for home.

I met up with Sophie Scott in London a few days ago. She's a fellow blogger who has rather fallen by the wayside. She first commented on my blog several years ago, maybe six or seven years, at this time of year, my birthday, and I read her words sitting where I am now, in the fore cabin of das Boot. She is one of several bloggers I have met, and probably the one who is most intimately acquainted with the tough time I was having for several years. Years when blogging took on a greater personal significance. Years when blogging and photography were means to achieve balance in my life. Continue reading

The Lovely Neighbour Joins the Blogosphere

Do you remember my Lovely Neighbour? The one MasterB loved. The one who grew plants on the landing and a cucumber on her bedroom window sill.

I was very sorry when she and her partner moved away a year ago.

Now she has moved again, having been made redundant and left questioning what work she might look for next.

Her partner, also made redundant, was offered work in Lincoln, so off they went. Continue reading

Successful Blogging

What does success in blogging mean to you?

It’s a question that I ponder every now again, usually as a result of some missive from WordPress that suggests something that I should do to increase my traffic.

Is successful blogging really just about numbers? When I join in with the photo challenges the number of hits my blog gets rises. Is that success – random people looking at a picture I have posted? Some just paste a link to their own blog. That counts as a hit and a comment but hardly suggests they have lingered to see and appreciate what I have written or photographed.

I notice that some people visit and like my blog after I have visited and liked theirs. Politeness? Quid pro quo? Hardly an endorsement of my writing. If I like a hundred posts and those hundred like mine back because the bloggers think that is what they should do, it doesn’t make my post better.

Pictures of my cat also bring in the likes. Now, I agree that MasterB is the most beautiful cat alive, and my heart swells with pride every time someone says something nice about him, but cutting edge, it ain’t.

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This 365 Project Business

Now that Post A Day 2011 has come to an end for fairly obvious reasons, I am really hoping that WordPress is going to continue with the weekly photo challenges. I only joined in when the year was more than half over, and I really enjoyed them.

They introduced me to hitherto unknown bloggers via their entries, and, even more excitingly, to the joys of browsing pix posted with a photography tag, which then made me experiment with putting various words in the search box and seeing if any interesting posts came to light. They did. Fun. My network widened. One of the things I enjoyed with the photography challenges was seeing familiar names week after week. It felt like meeting old friends. Continue reading

A Funny Thing Happened After the Carol Service

I have TBM to thank for my recent spate of posts about London.
You see, shortly after I started following her blog, http://50yearproject.wordpress.com she announced she was moving to London with her partner, dog and cat.
Being a bit of a Londonoholic, I was hoping she would celebrate the capital in words and photos as she had Boston, her former domicile, and the many other places in the world she has visited.
The pride of London was at stake. It’s a big place and can be, as I know all too well, overwhelming. I was keen to share some of the wondrous secrets it has to offer.
I asked where she was going to spend Christmas, and learning it was London, launched into a range of churches where Christmas music is sublime, and out of the way places like St Peter-ad-Vincula in the Tower of London where anyone can go to celebrate midnight communion.
For myself, the Nine Lessons and Carols at St Bartholomew-the-Great is the way I usually really get into the Christmas mood. It has become a tradition over the years, and I generally attend with a group of friends. I have written about it before here: http://wo.me/pMKim-mT
I know many people spend Christmas Eve listening to the Nine Lessons and Carols broadcast from Kings College Cambridge. If home, I do myself. It is beautiful, and theirs is a professional choir of the highest quality, but the setting of St Barts the Great is so wonderfully atmospheric, the choir is semi-professional, that I should happily recommend it to anyone and be confident of their enjoyment. Continue reading

Spam-U-Like

My favourite comment ever in spam was the one that said that my posts had Pullitzer Prize winning qualities. I don’t recall what merchandising site it was linked to, but it made me laugh and laugh.
I got six spam comments today. A high number always makes me look. These are all sites where they have posted a link to my page and want me to comment, I think the purpose is to increase my readership. I’m not sure as my Polish is very limited.
Checking my spam also led me to find that I had been given a blogging award, or maybe it’s just a nomination and there’ll be a vote, and I’ll have to put on that brave smiley face that shows I don’t mind losing.
I didn’t even know there were blogging awards until the other day, now every page I look at seems to be festooned with them.
So I am thanking Aurora publicly now, http://auroramorealist.wordpress.com/2011/09/20/blog-nominations/ and when I’ve read the small print I’ll see if it’s just the smile or if I have to do something else.