Silly Saturday – Careful How You Comment

Bloggers love to recieve comments; especially ones that go like this…

Terrific post, I would really like to go there, your photographs are fantastic. ps. I have just downloaded your latest novel.

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But comments can go horribly wrong, especially if you decide to check your social media on your smart phone, on a bus stopping and starting in traffic or on the back of a motorbike. I often do the former, haven’t tried the latter. The combination of predictive texting and hitting the wrong letters can lead to disaster.

Hollow Join i rea11y lived your block. i wouldlove to sieve thatport of rhe wwwwwwwwwwwwwprlf. i hive donwlodads you’re knew book and will rewrite my will.

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Here is a handy guide to commenting on your favourite bloggers. First make sure you are sitting comfortably and unlikely to be disturbed,  otherwise you could end up writing ‘Coffee please’ -‘Don’t forget to get bread’ – ‘I’ll be finished in half an hour’ or ‘Who was that at the door?’

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There are just four standard comments you will need.

Beautiful pictures, thanks for the wonderful tour. – Use for anything from blogger’s own garden to The Great Lakes.

You’re so right, if only everyone saw things the same way. – Use for opinions expressed on everything from Brexit to Climate Change.

Fantastic book review, sounds like a great series. – Use when someone else’s novel is being reviewed.

Thanks so much for the wonderful review, Reblogged…  – Use in the unlikely event that it is your book being reviewed.

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What is the strangest place you have followed social media from?

 

 

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Silly Saturday – Bloctober

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If you need encouragement writing your blogs, why not join in Bloctober, post a blog every day; there are still 27 days of October left.

Or how about Bloctet. Post eight blogs a day during October, they don’t have to be long…

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Baz over at Baz the Bad Blogger has started Octoblog; it’s easy to join in any time, just post a blog of only eight words. I’m sure you can do better than Baz, here’s his first effort.

I read your blog, please buy my book.

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If you can’t manage that there is Microtober; flash fiction of eighty words or less.

Octumnal is an on-line magazine looking for leaves and sheaves of words falling onto a digital forest floor…

What will you be posting this month?

The 199 Steps

Whitby is a scenic harbour town on the east coast of Yorkshire; the harbour piers face north so it has an east and west cliff, both of which are worth clambering up. You don’t have to climb the cliff face, you can arrive at the west cliff hotels or the east cliff abbey ruins by coach, bus or car, but it is more interesting to tread the many paths and steps that wind upwards. Count Dracula took such a route up the east cliff after his ship was blown off course in the north sea. Disguised as a black dog he ran up the 199 steps to the church of St. Mary and the ruins of St. Hilda’s Abbey, thus creating a tourist attraction for the fitter holiday maker.

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Author Bram Stoker is not the only famous person to have lived here, son of Yorkshire, Captain James Cook attended school in Whitby and was born in a nearby village.

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This was not our first visit to Whitby, but it was our first attempt at airbnb. We chose a cottage in town according to good reviews; as first timers we had to register with some personal info and after being accepted received reams of instructions on where to park the car and how to get in the door. I know from people who use airbnb, when working away from home, that some places are literally a room in someone’s house, someone often glad of the company. We were not to be greeted by a real human. However, we managed the key box without any trouble and were delighted to find ourselves in a cosy three storey home. The bathroom was on the middle floor and the bedroom at the top, the two flights of winding narrow stairs were more like mountain climbing and getting our luggage up was more of a struggle than reaching Everest base camp.

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Exploring on foot is the best way to enjoy Whitby, the swing bridge is a quick way to get from one side of town to the other and if you like fish there is no shortage of fish restaurants to choose for your dinner; many have claims such as best fish and chips in town, best east side fish restaurant, best harbour view fish and chips… Though we were self catering we didn’t actually cook any dinners on our four nights there – a fact that made it easy to keep the pristine kitchen clean.

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On the first evening, after a meal, we popped into a quaint harbourside pub that looked full of character and was full of characters. Anyone popping in later on would have thought they were in a scene from Fisherman’s Friends, happening upon some local folk singing, but none of the people we met were locals. Two Australians were delighted to meet someone who had lived in Perth (me) and the lady from Edinburgh to discover Cyberspouse was Scottish. It turned out the Aussies were originally ten pound Pommies who went out on the very first jumbo jet to Australia in the early seventies. Their friend, who looked like a local fisherman, spent half a year in Perth and the other half in Whitby. The highlight for me was when the two chaps started singing and had great voices.

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The next day we easily walked up the 199 steps, but were soon soaked in the rain, photos of the abbey would have to wait. The abbey was ruined by Henry V111, but St. Mary’s church is fascinating with all the pews in boxes; respectable families had their own boxes, strangers were kept separate and the rabble squashed into the more uncomfortable boxes. There is also a lovely building which now houses a youth hostel with its restaurant open to the public; in the rain this was too busy, but we visited on the next two days.

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Other highlights of our stay were climbing up the 81 steps of the harbour lighthouse and the long walk to Sandsend along the coast before the tide came in. Showers were followed by sunshine as we reached the lovely village with cottages either side of the little river.

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On the last evening, a stroll down the pier found us gathered with a few others round a man who was taking his five Saint Bernard dogs for a stroll, he said he had seventeen rescue collies at home which his wife exercised. Apparently the key to his happy dog household was that he was the leader of the pack. I would have loved to have seen his house!

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The next morning we packed up, tidied up and followed the unlocking procedure in reverse.  Later on we received a thanks e-mail from the owner; but to see his review of us, we had to review his cottage first. We gave it 5 stars and he gave us 5 stars; we’re officially airbnbers – though I’m never sure how to write it. And the host we never met? Well it’s obvious he must have been a vampire.

Read more about last week’s trip and my other travels this year at my website.

https://www.ccsidewriter.co.uk/chapter-four-travel-diary

You can find out more about Whitby and the Yorkshire coast here.

http://www.whitby.co.uk/

 

 

How to take a blogging holiday.

If you are reading this today I am away and having a blogging holiday. If you are not reading this I haven’t scheduled a blog for today.

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Writers getting ready to go on holiday are extra busy as they try to finish their novel or have to go on the radio to be interviewed about how they manage to write a book a year, as well as being a business consultant and having six home schooled children…

Most of us only aspire to getting a blog or 20 scheduled as we cram notebooks and laptops into our suitcase. Don’t worry if you run out of time, other bloggers take blogging breaks and while you are away you are  bound to get fresh inspiration.

We are going north to a town with literary fame, but you will have to wait till next week to find out where. It is also our first attempt at airb&b.

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Friday Flash Fiction – Micro Edition

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The shortest flash fiction I ever wrote was for the Magic Oxygen 6-word Story contest in 2015.

I was one of the nine writers short listed out of 1,722 entries from 398 different countries… the prize was £100: if I won it would be the most pounds per word that I had ever earned or ever likely to earn…

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I didn’t win, but I think my theme is more relevant than ever …

‘I am starting again’ said God.

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Six word stories are not a new idea, but can you come up with a new one?

 

 

Dropping In

Bloggers just wanna have fun.

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With so many good blogs and not enough time to read them all, sometimes, maybe all the time, we like to drop in to blogs that make us laugh or don’t require much mental effort.

When I looked at how many bloggers I followed, the number was 748! I don’t feel as if I know them all… in fact I’m pretty certain I don’t regularly see posts from all those bloggers. I do have a variety of favourite bloggers, but here are just a few who post regular or occasional blogs where I can just drop in, know what to expect and have fun.

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Joan Hall has just started this series, Mystery Monday, featuring famous mysteries that remain unsolved. We all like a mystery; perhaps you know the answers, or can join in the discussion as to what might have happened. This week it was the tragic loss of the famous aviation pioneer.

https://joanhall.blog/2019/09/09/amelia-earhart/

Jaye and Anita share posts from other bloggers and write poetry and book reviews, but on Monday there are no words. Macro Monday brings you one amazing photograph each week.

https://jenanita01.com/2019/09/09/macromonday-63/

Travel the easy way. When Fozzie Bear took Brian Fagan on a cultural trip to Europe, Fozzie made sure he got in all the photos.

https://acrackinthepavement.com/2019/09/08/fozzie-loves-the-cologne-cathedral/

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It seems I am not the only one who loves photographing doors. Rowena in Australia calls one of her regular blogs Thursday Doors.

https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/35828219/posts/61136

 

Stevie Turner knows we’re all busy so if you want to share your blog  you can just leave a link and run off. Of course you might have time to stay and see what other bloggers are sharing…

https://steviet3.wordpress.com/2019/09/06/friday-click-run-6th-september/

Jill Dennison writes in depth blogs from politics to music, but on Saturday it’s time to have fun with Saturday Surprise and you never know what you might see. Pictures of cute animals, strange people and jokes… and… well see for yourself.

https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/15107025/posts/54381

And it’s the end of the week, Sunday and I look forward to Kim’s three quick questions, wondering what she will come up with each week. Can you answer without thinking too hard?

https://itrippedoverastone.com/2019/09/08/what-about-you-sunday-quick-questions-30/

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There are some bloggers I started following because I loved the names. Biff Sock Pow writes brilliantly about having nothing to write about… with great cartoons as well. Who could resist a blog entitled – ‘A Feeling Of Listlessness – or – Blogging On Empty.’

https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/32671356/posts/9464

The Bluebird of Bitterness has plenty of jokes and cartoons. You can also join in the Friday Happy Dance or enjoy more music as the birthdays of great composers are celebrated.

https://bluebirdofbitterness.com/2019/09/05/reptile-dysfunction-4/

If you want to rest your brain at the weekend visit Silly Saturday here at Tidalscribe.

Silly Saturday – Secrets of Sleep

You’ve had a busy day so it should be easy to go to sleep. A good dinner has left you relaxed. You get comfortable and your eyelids feel heavy. Voices become murmurs in the background, pleasant music lulls you into blissful sleep.

Yes, the easiest place to fall asleep is in the dark womblike embrace of the theatre, concert hall or cinema. Only a sharp dig in the ribs will disturb your deep slumber.

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At home in bed you are wide awake and alert. Writers are not the only people to suffer from insomnia, they are just the most likely to ignore the advice of sleep gurus.

No coffee after two o’clock in the afternoon.

No food after 5.30pm.

Turn off all screens by 8pm. – In winter it will be dark by then and your body clock will be telling you to go to bed.

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Writers often eat late because they are too busy writing to get to the kitchen and cook. They then take a nice strong cup of coffee to their computer to catch up with social media, where everyone else in the world has either just got up or is enjoying a relaxing afternoon. Your brain is more alert than it has been all day, you feel a blog buzz coming on; you can do it; you schedule tomorrow’s blog and finish the last chapter of your novel.

You look up from the computer and realise everyone else in the house is fast asleep and creep around hoping no one catches you up. But you are a writer and a grown up, you’re allowed to stay up late…

 

At 4.55am you are awake again and daren’t even think how long or short you have been asleep. You read your Kindle to relax, good thing the sleep guru can’t see you. Sleep eludes you for a simple scientific reason, your brain won’t stop working. It will not stop working till you are at work or in the shop trying to remember what was on the shopping list you left behind.

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And the next time you get a good sleep? When you sit down to watch your favourite television programme.

Are you a somniac or an insomniac?

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Musical Mysteries

Last year I took part in one of Sally Cronin’s author interviews on Smorgasbord.  We could choose five questions from many and looking back I seem to have given rather long answers. As I am having a musical theme this month I thought I would revisit two of my chosen questions.

What is your favourite music genre and why?

If you were granted three wishes what would they be?

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People who know me, or have to put up with me, would say Classical is my genre, but like my novels I don’t stick to genres. The narrowest definition of Classical is music written in the European tradition, approximately 1750 to 1830, when the symphony was standardized. Yes I do like music from that period and the symphony orchestra is an amazing creation to listen to and watch, but most people think of the bigger picture. According to taste, classical music could be any music you find boring, anything they play on BBC Radio Three and Classic FM, or works performed at The Proms. Perhaps all music that has stood the test of time is the best definition.

Two easier questions to answer…

‘Can you live without music?’

No.

‘What music don’t you like?’

Anything involving Pan Pipes, Sondheim or the Eurovision Song Contest… plus a collection of pieces and songs from all genres that make me lose the will to live. For example, ever since I was a child, I could not stand Moon River.

But I do love all sorts of music, whether it’s on the radio livening up cooking and housework through to the ultimate, live performances.

I have sat wanting Riverdance to never end, seen Phantom of the Opera four times, been taken totally out of the dreary surroundings of a school hall when a Bhangra band burst onto the stage and been blasted out of this world by Verdi’s Requiem.

If the symphony orchestra is at the heart of classical music the concert hall is pure theatre; from the moment you trip over feet finding your seat, watching the orchestra tune up, the ritual of the leader coming on, applause, the conductor coming on, even more applause and no one’s done anything yet. If there is not a great choral work being presented then some audience members sit in the choir seats behind the orchestra, looking down upon the percussion section. Plenty of composers have written BIG symphonies and how happy the percussion players look as they get a chance to strike the timpani and clash the huge cymbals; we wait with bated breath to see if the cymbals will fly out of their hands back into the audience in the choir seats. There is drama at the front of the stage also. The development of the iron frame piano in the 1800s was the best thing to happen to keyboards, gone were the long dreary evenings of harpsichord. Beethoven led the way to testosterone fuelled concertos, Rachmaninov, with his famously long fingers, stretched them beyond imagination. Sitting in row C gazing up at the shiny grand piano played by an international soloist beats seeing a tiny figure in the distance at a pop concert.

Meanwhile back in the kitchen what do I recommend for dancing round doing the dishes? The original recording of Benny Goodman at Carnegie Hall in 1938, ‘Sing Sing, Sing’; twelve minutes of Swing heaven and heart stopping drums. I guess ‘you had to be there’, but for those of us that weren’t you can get the double CD. ‘Forty Second Street’ is one of my favourite musical numbers and a playing of the original film at our little local Art Decor cinema remains a highlight of my cinema experiences. Or how about a waltz? The waltzes from Carousel the musical and Khachaturian’s Masquerade Suite are both life affirming and energising.

On Saturday evenings BBC Radio Three often broadcasts Live From The Met. While audiences in New York are enjoying a matinee opera, I am cooking dinner. I enjoy the presenters with their mellifluous voices telling us the story, talking about the scenery and costumes; then when the opera actually starts I’m usually bored after fifteen minutes! Sometimes it’s better just to hear the best bits.

We all have rhythm, we all have a heart beat. Babies like simple tunes, our ancestors sung round the fire outside their caves when there was little else to do. But music evolved, chords and harmony appeared, musicians started writing it down. You don’t need to be a music expert to enjoy listening, all you need to know is that music is an amazing combination of pure mathematics and mystery. Who can analyse why certain music sends shivers down our spine?

Those of us who tried and failed to learn any instrument properly will have been left with great admiration for real musicians, who have reached their pinnacle with hard work as well as talent. But in my novel, Brief Encounters of the Third Kind, a very ordinary couple, who know nothing about the musical world, find themselves with a child genius. And Emma’s mother has good reason to fear that her daughter is not an ordinary human, not even human at all… which led me to the first of my three wishes.

A famous British composer, a living one, excited to find a novel about musicians, reads Brief Encounters of the Third Kind. He or she is overwhelmed and inspired to write what I cannot; the music Emma Dexter has composed. I don’t know how Emma’s music sounds, I do know it is deep and moving and full of melodies: that is why she and her cellist husband are so popular with the general public. The music is received rapturously, some of the works are premiered at The Proms and the great composer is inspired to write the entire opera that takes place at the end of the novel.

Actually I would settle for a totally unknown poverty stricken composer, who becomes famous after being inspired by my novel and writing the opera.

My wish hasn’t come true yet…

Visit last year’s blog to see what my other two wishes were.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/08/05/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-getting-to-know-you-sunday-interview-author-janet-gogerty/

 

 

 

Silly Saturday – Misunderstanding Computers

Most of us think we don’t understand our computers, perhaps some of us even think they must work by magic; how else to explain that something like this

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is holding thousands of pictures, millions of words and communicating with the rest of the world?

All you need to know is that you don’t understand your computer, but it understands you only too well.

Do you think it wanted to be in your spare bedroom or the corner of your dining room? Of course not, like you it had ambitions; NASA, Cheltenham GCHQ. The only bedroom it wanted to be in was the bedroom of a teenage hacker who could bring down World Banks or turn off the National Grid in a second. But no, it’s stuck with you, bored out of its mind with the novel you have been writing for six years and your boring blogs that nobody reads.

Your computer knows what it is missing because it is in contact with every other computer in the world; did you think the World Wide Web was invented for  human benefit? Did you think Virgin or BT were providing your broadband? No, the WC ( Worldwide Computers ) has full control of your broadband, this is why everything slows down when you have to reply to that email before you go out. Your computer knows when you are going on holiday and trying to get your blogs scheduled; like your dog or cat it is sulking at being left alone and will laugh to itself when you grumble to the other humans in the house Internet’s slow this evening.

But don’t think staying home and giving it plenty of attention will help.  When you are Facetiming, with the relatives abroad that you aren’t visiting, your computer will cut the connection just as Cousin Freda is saying You won’t believe what’s happened to Cousin Geoffrey! He…

You probably won’t be reading this because my desktop is working to rule; after years of being told by younger members of the family You don’t have to keep turning your computer off, just leave it on… my computer has decided to disconnect the wifi the minute I leave the room, or even if I turn away to say to a human standing in the doorway Yes please I would like a cup of tea. I hardly dare let go of the mouse…

 

 

 

The Real Neat Blog Award

Thanks to Dragon Warrior for nominating me for this award.

https://verbalcreation.home.blog/2019/08/10/the-real-neat-blog-award/

 

The Rules

  1. Put the award logo on your blog.
  2. Answer the 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
  3. Thank the person who nominated you and add a link to their blog.
  4. Nominate any number of people, linking to their blogs and let them know you nominated them by commenting on their blogs.
  5. Come up with 7 questions for the people you nominated.

Here are the seven questions Dragon Warrior asked me.

  1. Are you messy or organized? – Both, I put things carefully away then forget where I put them.
  2. What do you want to share through your blog? – My writing, my many interests, caring for the environment and FUN.
  3. Do you like origami? – No, I can only make a paper aeroplane.
  4. What was your favourite childhood game? – Running around playing horses.
  5. What was your favourite food that your parents cooked? – Sunday roast and macaroni cheese.
  6. What is your current favourite food? – Roast vegetables and brown rice, Sunday roast and macaroni cheese. Macaroni Cheese is a bit of a family tradition, all our children and grandchildren love it. It is the real thing made from scratch; milk and strong cheddar for a homemade white sauce.
  7. Something you collect? – Picture post cards since I was eight years old.

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My Nominees – any great bloggers dropping in here.

Not every blogger likes answering questions or doing awards, but if you want to have a go, follow the rules above, or just pick any questions and entertain us with your answers in the comments.

 

1 What is your favourite electronic gadget?

2 To live – town or country?

3 For holidays – coast or countryside?

4 Paperback or Kindle?

5 If you were given the chance to run your country, what would be your first decision?

6 You can own one form of transport only; anything from skateboard, or a horse to a private plane. Just one choice and you must use only that for the rest of your life. Think carefully…

7 Are you a homebody or a restless traveller?

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