I hope that the title is enough to tempt you into reading my blog today. First let's deal with the sweet briar, whatever that means.
When I was first learning the piano a giant milestone was reached when I came across a piece called - 'Sur la glace - a sweet briar on the ice.' When you could play that you felt like a virtuoso because you had to cross hands to play it.
Well, today I did what I shall henceforth call a 'sweet briar' on our sunny pasture while out walking with friend G and her two dogs and Tess. The ground had been hard with frost; the sun is shining and it is quite warm; put the two together and the ground is slippery. Down I went with a bang. No harm done as far as I can tell. It is now three hours later and apart from a bit of stiffness I seem to be intact - so sur la glace a sweet briar on the ice. Get it?
Now to Google. Next week is our writers' meeting and the subject is open manuscript. Once I have done my almost-daily blog I do find it hard to think of anything else to write. Then I hit upon the idea of writing about blogging (no-one else in our writers' group blogs). As usual, I like to air it in advance - so here for you to read is what I intend to present to Wensleydale Writers' Group next week as my open manuscript. Please feel free to criticise, add to, or make any comment about it. There is plenty of time for change.
Coping with the solitudes.
I didn't seem to age gradually - or shall we say I didn't notice the ageing. It is only when I look back to a decade ago and compare what I could do then with what I do now that I know I have grown older. That doesn't mean to say I feel in my dotage. I am still full of energy and pretty active but I can't walk as far, I can no longer run upstairs and I possibly tire more easily physically (although I never allow myself to sleep in the daytime under any circumstances).
But, like it or not, there comes a time when the solitudes begin to close in and you have to decide what to do with yourself when this becomes evident.
Some people are content with their own company, with reading, with watching television, or even sitting and looking out of the window. But this is not me I am afraid. I need people.
Being unable to drive at present and living in an isolated spot with no neighbours, this is not an easy option by any means, but I manage it very nicely with the help of three things.
First of all my large circle of friends who call for coffee, call to walk, call and take me out or even just call on the telephone for a chat.
Secondly a fantastic husband who ferries me from a to b at the drop of a hat, often being intuitive about where I want to go without me even asking. We tootle off to the supermarket, into our little market town, to call on friends, to the library, for a mooch round the shops with a collecting point an hour later or just out for a walk in the countryside with the dog.
Last, but not least, my computer plays such a great part in my life. Luckily I need it for the farming business of VAT returns, cattle movement and the like, but I also use it for e mails to far-flung friends, arranging meetings, inviting folk for meals etc. But my other great use of computer is for blogging. Can I recommend it to you if you recognise yourself in anything I have already said?
Set up a blog with Google, give yourself a name, write a profile of yourself and write an opening blog. Put your interests in your profile and you will find that one or two people will read your first blog and leave a reply. Then you go to their site and read theirs and leave a reply. Then, if you look at who blogs with them on their side bar you can quickly gather other names and before you know where you are you are up and away.
I have been blogging for over four years now, almost every day. I like the discipline of having to think of something to write about - life on the farm, happenings in the countryside and around my home, controversial topics in the news, travel - the list is as long as you want to make it.
I have built up a list of over three hundred followers, plus a whole lot of friends who don't themselves blog but who read mine. And, most important of all, I have built up a list of virtual friends. If it is a dark, wet Winter's day I can nip over to South Africa to look at some of Robyn's wonderful wood carvings and her choice of art work by her various friends; or to Penny in Australia, who posts almost daily photographs from her sketch book; or to Parsnip who lives on the edge of the desert in the US with her two Scottie dogs, or Pondside in Canada or Hildred, who lives in the Similkameen in Canada. There are a host of people in this country too.
I have met some of them physically - Elizabeth in New York, who took us round for a morning; AJ who met me when she was staying in a holiday cottage in the Lakes; Denise on the North Yorks Moors
(who sent me a lovely hare card yesterday and who has called a couple of times for coffee); Fiona who only lives fifteen miles away but who I would never have met had it not been for blogging.
I should shortly be able to drive again but in the meantime, believe me, it is impossible to be lonely with blogger there to carry me along. Try it sometime.