Thursday, 28 February 2013

A Sweet Briar and a Google.

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.     


Heather said...

So glad your tumble did no damage Pat. Like you, I love to read other people's blogs but I'm afraid I am not as good as you at keeping mine an almost daily routine, neither is it as interesting or informative as yours. However, it does give me great pleasure and I met one of my bloggy friends recently, which was a great treat.
I have found that old age has arrived quite suddenly. I was aware of birthdays with ever increasing numbers but not what went with them until fairly recently. Maybe some spring sunshine and a good summer will help to delay further deterioration!

Thickethouse.wordpress said...

Your blog is a wonderful gift to many people, dear Weaver. I have it on my toolbar and check it every day. I blog myself (though not at all as frequently as you do) and do find myself considering things in this new light of "could I blog about this? How?. What I really need to do is drag my camera along with me more often. And learn how to use it more effectively. Meanwhile, I am having fun with it.

rachel said...

I remember that piano piece from boarding school!

A great article on blogging - it should be encouraged!

Loren said...

You might add something about gaining new perspectives, something I've certainly gained by hearing from readers of different ages and, especially, from different countries.

Personally, I think it's far too easy to narrow our views as we age particularly if we don't get out as much as we used to.

Em Parkinson said...

Beautifully put Pat. I will have been blogging for a year at the end of March and I have to say it's vastly improved my life, especially in the face of losing riding as a solitary passion. Odd that something I loved to do alone has been replaced by something that has brought me into contact with so many. I love your writing style!

John Going Gently said...

I too have been blogging for year now pat... My daily entry is never a chore.... It's just something " I do"

Hildred said...

A great post, Pat, - very insightful in your comments on old age and diminishing accomplishments - what's to replace that lovely old energy we used to have!!!! I have found blogging (since 2006) a great boost to my enthusiasm, and treasure the friends I have made over my posting years. At the moment my mind is occupied with other things but I look forward to spring coming and time bringing back my old enthusiasms.

By the way, Pat, although we are very close to the US border the Similkameen Valley I live in is on the Canadian side, and although the Similkameen river slides over the border into WashingtonI have never heard the country there referred to as the Similkameen Valley.

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

And we get to scoot round to England for wonderful tours and stories and fabulous pictures. I realized as I am writing this comment that you asked for comments or advice on your story about blogging. I got so caught up in it that I simply forgot it was not your regular posting - which is to say - it came out so naturally and so clearly "you" that I read it with great interest and it just pulled me along quite easily - which is the very best kind of writing.

I'm glad you weren't hurt in your fall - those can be so scary.

Penny said...

A great post Pat, I too am finding I am slowing and blogging is a part of me now, so many people to visit and places to see, all on my computer.

MorningAJ said...

Unlike you, I feel old age creeping up behind me. It seems like every year brings me some new little problem to deal with. And they're starting to add up now! But I still get around and do things and have plenty of online friends. And reading your blog is one of the cheerier parts of my day.

On the writing .... It's great, and you've taken care not to repeat words, so it's a lovely, flowing read.

The only thing I would say (and I'm quoting an old sub editor here...) is don't use etc. "If there's more to say, say it. If not, put a full stop in." (I can still hear her voice, though it's 35 years ago!)

Acornmoon said...

You must be more careful Pat, I hope you are fully recovered. Round these parts they would say that you measured your length. My mother-in-law would have said that you went arse over tip!

jill said...

Hi Pat,glad you didnt hurt yourself when you slipped hope its still the same this morning and your not feeling it now.I have to admit I dont always get the time to blog or sometimes dont have anything to really blog about that would interest others.Your posts are always interesting and beautifully written that I always read them ever if I dont always comment.What is your weather like today? it is a nice morning here but cold Love Jill xx

Rachel Phillips said...

Hope you are feeling all right this morning.

I blogged everyday for three years and got one follower!

it's me said...

Glad that you suffered no damage from your fall. It's one of my big fears as I get older. However, I think staying active makes our bones stronger.

In my part of rural America, there are no quaint villages or poetry discussion groups so I am fascinated and a bit envious.

I really enjoy my visits into your world.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Back to normal today after the tumble - thanks for the enquiries.
Thanks also for all your comments.

Gerry Snape said...

I know what you mean by not being prepared for the fact that you have grown old....I'm fighting it tooth and nail..thankyou Dylan Thomas...I love your blog ...all about everyday life on and in the farm etc...keep posting!!

Robin Mac said...

I'm a day late in replying to this, but I did so enjoy reading your story on blogging yesterday - I don't seem to find as many interesting things about which to blog as you do, but I love hearing from blogging friends from all over the world.
I am glad you did not hurt yourself in your fall, you obviously have strong bones. Cheers

ArtPropelled said...

What a lovely surprise! Waving enthusiastically from South Africa. I don't blog as often as you do Pat, but I certainly can't imagine life without blogging.Glad you will be driving again shortly.

Lisa said...

I am one of those who reads but doesn't blog, and I so much enjoy reading yours! If I do decide to blog one day, I will count you as a mentor. Hope you've recovered from your fall.
Take care,