Tag Archives: blogging

BLOGGER’S LAMENT  (JAP)*


 

My friend Elaine lent me a delightful collection of poetry titled The Last to Leave by Margaret Clough. It’s her second collection of poetry, engaging with the issues of aging and mortality, but in a light, warm-hearted tone which makes the collection a pleasure to read.  The Cape Times said “Joyful and plump with life”, and I couldn’t agree more. Ageing doesn’t have to be  gloomy! I loved the following poem and I’m sharing it with you, because I’m pretty sure many of us have undergone the same awful experience:

BLOGSPOT BLUES – by Margaret Clough

I’ve lost my blog. Where can it be?

I think it has unfriended me.

It disappeared into the cloud

I shake my fist. I cry aloud.

I punch the keys, but all in vain.

It doesn’t like my user-name.

 

*(Just a Paragraph:  when I’m short of time and/or inspiration, I keep my blog ticking over with ‘just a paragraph’; random thoughts, reflections, comments, ideas … little snippets)

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MY BLOGOVERSARY – 100th POST


English: Caravan approaching Timbuktu in 1853 ...

English: Caravan approaching Timbuktu in 1853 (from Travels and Discoveries in Northern and Central Africa by Prof. Dr. Heinrich Barth, vol. iv, London 1858) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recently a friend asked why I’d chosen Despatches from Timbuktu as my blog title?

I explained that I’d dreamed up and discarded lists of prospective blog titles. Somehow The Foxed Page, Lexical Kedgeree, or From Vellum to Paperback  weren’t right. None of them blew my hair back. And then, from who knows where, in floated Despatches from Timbuktu. I liked it. It was unusual, without being twee or crazy. It reflected the fact that I’m writing from the African continent (let’s not get picky about the fact that Timbuktu is 6000  kilometres from Cape Town; I did say Africa  remember?)

For as long as I can remember the name Timbuktu has had the aura of a place very far distant, immeasurably far away, an exotic foreign destination. In fact, as a child, I thought Timbuktu was a mythical place name that denoted beyond the back of beyond, if not the ends of the earth itself. It wasn’t until much later in my life when I realised that Timbuktu  genuinely existed  – what would we do without National Geographic? Thanks to DSTV’s Travel channel I was able to see its spiky towers, low mud houses, the dusty palms, the white robed turbanned figures, the whole North African thing … but it was still distant and exotic. Tick that box.

The more I rolled the name around in my head, the better it felt.  I wanted to write  about travel, about the unknown, about books,  about life, about anything and everything. I liked the word ‘despatches’. It speaks of  bulletins from bands of explorers –  urgent communications from  brave warriors sending news home from the battlefront – carrier pigeons, Morse code, crackly radio messages, sand-scoured bottles containing tightly curled parchment, rolling up onto the beach to be read by incredulous beachcombers …people and events  strange and distant, mirages hovering on the edges of history and dreams.

Lately I’ve noticed in an upswing on hits to my blog, particularly from unusual places like Egypt, I suspect it’s all to do with the troubles in Mali, the Islamist insurgents roaring around that part of Africa. Sorry guys – nothing in this blog about historic/scholarly/religious topics. Just book reviews, travel pieces, opinion pieces, a sprinkling of short-short fiction, and (no doubt, baffling to earnest political types) the exploits of my four-legged companion, the inimitable Chocolat.

My blog name will remain as is, unless I have another flash of inspiration and choose to change it. Chocolat suggests we change the name to Cat’s Chronicles, or Paws for Thought, but I’m ignoring her. So the religious zealots, the political plotters, the poli-sci students, the bearded weirdos,  will all have to continue grinding their teeth in frustration as they troll through my blog, hunting for the elusive nugget of information they’d hoped to find. Perhaps, en route, they might even enjoy a little of what they’ve read in their searches. I hope so.

That takes care of the casual searchers.  And now to my Regular Readers: thank you for following my myriad posts, for slogging through my travels, enduring my rants, reading my stories, mulling over my reviews.  I hope to continue entertaining and amusing you for many years to come.

Viva, the 100th Blog Post!

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Filed under CHOCOLAT: MY CAT, HUMOUR, WRITING

THANKS – An Award !


To Fethiye and Beyond …     recently awarded me theirSunshine award

 

Thank you so much to The Smidge – I’m honoured .  Of course, as with every award it is now my duty to pass it on along with a set of rules which are:

  • Include the award’s logo in      a post or on your blog.
  • Answer 10 questions about      yourself.
  • Nominate up to 10 other      fabulous bloggers.
  • Link your nominees to this      post and comment on their blogs, letting them know they have been      nominated.
  • Share the love and link the      person who nominated you.

So, here goes:

What inspired you to start blogging?   Probably a combination of  wanting to have a platform (& on occasion a soapbox) for my writing, and just because I could …. you know, if not, why not ? 

How did you come up with the name for your blog?   After a great deal of effort, after making a list of possible names all of which were awful, suddenly despatches from timbuktu just fell into my head! I liked the fact that it referred to Africa, to faraway places, and the word despatches  had the ring of  bulletins from battlefields, or progress of daring explorers.

What is your favourite blog that you like to read?  Difficult to answer but probably another wordpress blog : life to reset, which has marvellous pics & accounts of Japan, and sometimes Taiwan.

Tell us about your dream job:  The thought of having to work again after 12 years of retirement does not appeal, but … hmmm … owning my very own small, quirky bookstore crammed with all the books that I like (not to worry about prospective customers!). There’d be shelves of cookery books, travel books, poetry books, futuristic/speculative fiction/SF novels, comic novels, and art books. So if business was slow, I could just park off & read. Now that couldn’t be bad, could it? I might even make some money, if I wasn’t careful …

Is your glass half full or half empty?   Neither – it is absolutely overflowing. I love my life. That’s right, LOVE it. And when you love your life setbacks are merely little hiccups that can be easily overcome. As Terri Guillemets said ‘How can something bother you if you won’t let it?’  (Thanks to the Smidge for this response – I couldn’t have phrased it better)

If you could go anywhere for a week’s holiday where would it be?   Oh the agonies of choice.  Just a week? Venice, I think. But mid-Autumn. I don’t want to be fighting off hordes of tourists.

What food can you absolutely not eat?  Tripe –  a horrendous experience at boarding school, which I won’t go into.

Dark chocolate or milk chocolate?   Dark, laced with orange, please. Alas: strictly on the forbidden list now … sigh.  

How much time do you spend blogging?   Not that much – it depends. I spend more time writing my blog posts, I think.

Do you watch TV – if so what are some of your favourite TV shows?   Yes, I watch TV. Sherlock – both the British & American versions; Big Bang Theory;  Northern Exposure; Blue Bloods; Master Chef Australia. Pretty much anything on Travel Channel.

My Sunshine Awards go to…

  1. Life to Reset
  2. Soulshine Traveller
  3. The Fantastical Voyages of Flat Kathy
  4. Dharmagiri
  5. Travelling Mudskippers

Yes I know there are only 5 but I felt it made it all the more special to award just a handful of the wonderful bloggers I follow rather than just award them all – although I enjoy  each and every blog I read, these 5 are  that I read regularly and enjoy the most.

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