Monday, 31 December 2007

MeMe 2007

As I was saying:

8 things I wish for 2008:
  1. Good health with no health scares for me, my spouse, my family and friends
  2. Improved fitness levels (I intend to return to walking more)
  3. A year free from anxiety and stress
  4. A year full of laughter and funfilled activities
  5. A year free from builders
  6. That the Govt improve the state pension in readiness for my claim in 2009
  7. The Govt bring in zero income tax and place all taxes on as a purchase tax
  8. That we in the SW are able to find out exactly how much our new unelected , secret SW Regional Assembley is costing us on our local Council Tax and why exactly we need yet another layer of beaurocracy.

Last Meme for 2007

Mark Wadsworth posted me a tag a few days ago. I had to go and collect it from his place. It wasn't too onerous a task as I've been having a lazy few days. I wasn't sure what I had to do on this Meme and had to track back to Simon Clark to find out what it was all about. imagine then how exciting it was to find I was in some 'loose way' connected with Iain Dale's blog. I did try to track back via the links to confirm that I was only x links away from Iain's blog but didn't get beyond the Norfolk Blogger, Nich. This wasn't due to not having an interest in the blogs along the way - more that I'm in the middle of cooking a beef curry and have already had a few requests as to 'when exactly will it be ready?'.

Therefore the tag will have to wait until later.

Sunday, 30 December 2007

Blogs As A Memorial

I found a lively interesting and diverse blog a few days ago. But I was so sad to see from the final entry the blogger had died. I'm grateful that her daughter had taken the time to post a final entry informing all her mother's blog readers what had happened to 'Daisy'. I'm still trawling through reading some of her earlier entries. She was a very prolific imaginative poster. Beautiful photographs, stories, country and personal facts. Well worth a visit.

There are so many abandoned blogs out there. I can't help wondering what happened to their once keen creators. Hopefully bloggers will think about leave some way of allowing thier exectors to post a final notice when that day does come.

And also thanks to the bloggers such as MerryDaze who leave a postnote if they suddenly stop posting. One final message saves all your readers or friends on the blogosphere from wondering what happened to you.

Saturday, 29 December 2007

What a Muddle - a Modern Tall Story

This has all the elements of a tall story, a mystery. I was just wondering why Alistair Darwin became a cross dresser and went out to Panama City to live as Anne Darling with 'her' dead husband, John Darwin, an ex canoeist from the Seaton Crew. Some people will try anything for some extra money.

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Queens Speech

Well fellow bloggers and blurkers welcome this festive day. I've found a Queens Speech for you to read if you want an alternative to listening Queen Elizabeth 2 address the nation this afternoon.

Save the £1 Coin

A few months ago I nominated the £ coin as an Iconic Image of England. I don't know how many votes it has received but I see only 2 comments have been made- if you would like to add it to the list of Icons a Portrait of England then vote for it here.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

A Merry Christmas to all

A Merry Christmas to all who call in here over the seasonal holiday. I would like to send you all greetings of the season and to wish you a happy New Year. All I can do by way of sending you a card is to ask you to have a peer inside here and imagine it was sent to you direct to collect. But if you are a non dog lover and prefer the traditional Christmas tunes then this rendition of the 12 days of Christmas may suit you. You will need Flash Player to view the animated cards and the sound turned on.

If you are interested in finding out more about the designer of these cards then Jacquie Lawson is the lady you need to meet.

Friday, 14 December 2007

The History of the Guest Blog Spot

Teeni recently asked me about the origins of my 'Guest Blog Spot'. Well, it started with a wish to celebrate on reaching my 2000 visitor. Now I know from looking at the stats and the referrals that some of this blog's visitors are transitory fleeting migrants landing briefly after a Google search. They don't even stop long enough for the site to register any amount of time. All that is left on sitemeter is a nano of a second footprint. On the other side of the coin there are visitors who stop and read for 2 to 30+ minutes. Many of them do not leave a comment. They just quietly leave. A few make return visits - silent visits.

I came up with the idea I'd offer a prize of a 'Guest Blog Spot' for the first NEW commenter on the site meter hitting the 2000 visitor. Once I realised some people leave comments as a means of self promotion I then assumed that every reader would be a blogger and would have a site to 'promote'. I've since found there are what is known as 'blurkers' - they only read blogs. Now I only started to read blogs after I'd started one. In fact originally, I'm rather embarrassed to say, that I didn't even know how to leave a comment. I assumed the purpose of comments was to let the blogger know their entry had been read. I admit I would only choose to leave a comment if I found the blog of interest. If it didn't attract me in any way then I would leave silently. I would not return.

My first virginal comment was actually emailed to the blogger. I thought I'd made a mistake by clicking on the little white envelope and not on the comments link. But now looking back at my archived emails I think I may actually have sent her a 'link' to her post. (Blush) Everything was by trial and error. I slowly realised that when leaving a comment the blogger often visited my blog and finally someone left me a comment. An exciting moment. Until that point I had made one or two comments anonymously on my own blog. And persuaded a close friend to visit and leave a short sharp remark. I wanted it to look as if I had readers. I can't quite remember when I found sitemeter and installed it.

I've mostly found out how to blog by the sink or swim method. I've enjoyed jumping into the deep end and finding my way around the system. I sometimes sneak off to use a friends PC or one at the library so that I can check how my blog looks on other page set ups. I've recently read this book which has introduced to me some other ideas on blogging and some blog slang terms such as blurker. There's much to improve on in the future.

Now to return to the initial point I had a great deal of fun choosing the Guest Blogger. I was reluctant to close the slot at the end of the month. I also liked the idea of promoting blogs that I might not have found very easily by just surfing the blogosphere. It also encouraged bloggers who may have been shy of leaving a remark previously. I'm aware of a couple of regular readers who did eventually rise to the bait and leave a comment. I don't want to promote every guest to my blogroll as it would just grow and grow. But if I become a regular reader they do attain that sort sought after position. Lucky people.

The guest bloggers will always be there in the archives. Anyone who is interested in finding out previous guests will only have to click on the tag 'GUEST slot' to see all the previous posts. I hope to figure out if it will be possible to eventually link the tag to the monthly slot in the sidebar. But that will be for the quieter days of the New Year.

Finally, on writing this I have had confirmation of what I long suspected. Regular readers who read an entry via a feed RSS or Atom may not appear in the stats. So to all of my fellow bloggers who allow site feed - you may have more readers than your stat counter shows.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Famous Flowerpot on West Country TV

While I was away I found out that Flowerpot had been on a local television programme. I was sorry to have missed it as I feel that fellow bloggers are rather like PenPals and I'm always curious as what they look like. So when I found out I could watch the TV programme on the web I did so. Flowerpot is the lady who speaks out on SEX and Mary Wesley.

Thanks Flower - it's been good to meet you.

Update: to get it to load properly you must allow cookies other wise it tells you rather rudely that cookies are not enabled and then refuses to load.

Kate & Gerry McCann

Am I being overly suspicious about the McCanns meeting up secretly with their friends at a hotel to talk about the night the child Madeleine went missing? I still feel that the parents are very much to blame for leaving all the children each night in the way they did. I also question the wisdom of the making of such a public display of the Find Madeleine posters with particular attention being drawn to her very distinctive eye. If I had snatched a child that was so easily recognisable then I would fear the consequences even more of holding on to her - alive.

I really don't understand why it is that Kate McCann is the one who is regularly seen as maybe being responsible for causing harm to her child. Kate was the one who raised the alarm at finding Madeleine 'missing'. But according to the reports I read Gerry was the one who had been checking on their children, several times, through most of the evening. Why has no-one wondered whether he had something to do with her disappearance but allowed his wife to discover the loss later in the evening? I know the Portuguese police have come in for a great deal of criticism about their handling of the case but maybe the fact that the McCanns were insistent she had been snatched rather than she had wandered away raised their suspicions in the first place?

Whatever the truth behind it all the sad fact is that Madeleine is still missing with none of us any the wiser as to what happened to her. If she didn't just wander off into the night then one person at least does know.

Monday, 10 December 2007

A Change is as Good as a Rest

They say a Change is as Good as a Rest and 'they' are so right. The change of scene has given my eyes a rest and home now looks twice as beautiful. Memories from this trip will be:

  1. Lil sister and me giggling like teens over a glass [or three] of red wine.
  2. Tasting a Krispy Kreme doughnut for the first time - they are good - nearest stockist from Devon is 96 miles, therefore unlikely to become a regular treat.
  3. The friendliness of Croydonians. So many people made friendly comments as I explored the Croydon shops with wonder. It was all so big and bewildering I didn't have time or energy left to actually spend money. So I now have an excuse to head into Exeter for a spending spree.
  4. Staying with my sister in the Surrey green belt, with no internet access due to the falling trees interfering with the BT lines in the gales the previous weekend, I found I can survive the withdrawal symptoms of a blog free week.
  5. Complete change of routine - staying up till 2.00 a.m. and still rising at 7.00 a.m for a week means I am now trying to play catch up on lost sleep.

Home Sweet Home

Yes - after just a few short days away it feels good to be back. 'Home Sweet Home' it is. London and Surrey were crowded, grey, polluted, noisy, with graffiti everywhere and was full of 'buzz'. It was exciting for a while. I goggled bug eyed at all the goodies in the stores, like the country yokel I am. I smiled at every foreigner I saw in the hope that if they were a terroist they would choose not to explode while standing next to me. I bought a copy of the Big Issue at £1.50. Last time I did that it cost a £1. We don't get many Big Issue sellers in east Devon. On Saturday I drove through crowds of Christmas shoppers to get home before the threatend gales forecast for Sunday. The rain was so heavy I rarely managed more than 50 mph. I started to enjoy the drive after Stonehenge. The traffic was less dense the more I drove west. The journey took 2 hours longer than usual, 6 hours on the road. I drove through gusting winds and floods, the roads were like rivers. The biggest deepest flood to ford was on the brow of a hill! But oh the greenery and the wide open spaces. I could feel the fresh air and my eyes widened at the sight of so much 'well kept' green space. In the south east the green spaces appear ungrazed and unkempt. Scrub land. Give me farmland anytime. It's good to be back.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Normal Service Will Be Disrupted ......

Normal Service Will Be Disrupted for a week as I am about to head 'ooop North'. Well, not quite the north. But north east from here. I'm intending to travel up to the big city again to visit my 'lil sister'. I'll be away till 10th December. Unless I get to find an internet cafe I'll not be posting for a week. You all take care now and I'll look forward to reading all your posts on my return.