Just one day after we were nominated on the Annual Bloggers Bash in the Best Pal category, we have been nominated for the Really Neat Award too! Two very good reasons for this delighted look on our faces…
We thank Stevie Turner for nominating us for this honour, and the rules are as follows:
Just one day after we were nominated for the Annual Bloggers Bash in the Best Pal category, we have been nominated for the Really Neat Award too! Two very good reasons for this delighted look on our faces…
We thank Stevie Turner for nominating us for this honour, and the rules are as follows:
Whom do you admire?
This is an easy question, for we are surrounded by the achievements of several family members at the moment. One by one, our offspring have surpassed expectations and gone over and beyond the call of duty, causing much puffing up of chests and proud smiley faces. There are times when being a parent is the best job in the world!
Are You a Cat or Dog person?
This is harder to answer, for we are all animal lovers in our family. We have Merlin, a black and white cat who is 14 years old this year, and regularly dog sit a pair of young sausage dog puppies. But my favourite animals are horses…
Do you like city or countryside living?
Definitely the countryside or better yet, countryside by the sea!
Are you an outside or an inside person?
Always an outside person, I even write out of doors, weather permitting…
Do you still see people from your childhood?
I don’t think there were any people in my childhood, I am an orphan and remember being a bit lonely most of the time…
Facebook heaven or hell?
Neither, it is just an online social club, to meet and communicate with other writers/bloggers…
Do you like your holidays hot or cold?
I prefer action, adventurous holidays, so like the weather to be clement. My idea of hell is to sunbathe in a hot climate…
So, now it is our turn to nominate some people for ‘The Real Neat Blog Award’ and ask them seven questions.
Here are the eight people we have nominated:
Here are your questions everybody!
Through my window, I watch the three hazelnut trees across the road from my house. In the autumn, the leaves change colour and fall and the old bird’s nest comes into view. In the spring, the pigeons fight over it, bringing new twigs. Soon the green leaves will cover it over, but I can still see the pigeons sitting on the nest waiting for their young.
Magpies love to walk along the wall behind them and sparrows cling to the wall, searching for insects. Starlings dance in the sky in front of my window in a murmuration of joy.
Along the road to my right are two almond trees. I cannot see them from my window until the blossoms begin to fall, blowing past my window. Nature’s own wedding confetti.
It is peaceful until school starts again and hundreds of children pass by, laughing and playing, pushing each other into the bush by my tree.
I watch the planes and helicopters on their way to mysterious places, along with the ducks that fly over on their way to the pond.
I watch neighbours awaiting the birth of a child, seen the new pram, watched the child toddling, and then wearing a school uniform for the first time.
The postman who always waves to me on his way past… all life lives outside my window…
© Anita Dawes 2018
This is my third week of suffering the effects of the flu and I can honestly say I haven’t known anything like it before in my life. I have had some spectacular medical incidents in my time, heart attack, cancer and other delights. I even had something called Asian flu, which nearly saw me off when I was a child, but I don’t remember ever feeling as bad as this before.
I was the last one to fall foul of this virus in our house, smugly watching everyone else as they coughed and sneezed their way through hell and back, confident that I was made of sterner stuff and not likely to catch it.
But I did.
It has been nearly four weeks now, and I don’t think it has quite finished with me yet. The violent headaches and the coughing have eased a lot, but the nausea shows no sign of abating. Everything still tastes foul, even the water from the tap.
I don’t remember much of the last few weeks as I have slept so much. I have lost weight too, in a way I wouldn’t recommend and still have no appetite. I have tried to keep up with the emails and comments, but anything-resembling blogging just hasn’t been happening. At first, I didn’t argue, not being anywhere near well enough for that, but gradually I have begun to feel guilty. I supposed this could be a sign of recovery, but no matter how bad this guilt feels, I haven’t been able to get the brain to cooperate and come up with anything interesting to blog about. I haven’t been able to read either and that wasn’t best received either.
So, feeling just a tiny bit better, I thought I would try to write something. However, even as I sit here, my fingers caressing the keys, my eyes want to close and my brain slowly begins to slide into semi-consciousness.
But wait a minute, what is that strange feeling stirring in my head? It seems to be an idea for a blog post…
Maybe normal service will be resuming after all…
I have never once thought that blogging could be detrimental to your health, but just lately, I have come to think that it could be.
Surely not, I hear you say, and I will admit it doesn’t seem likely, not on the surface, anyway.
I was nervous when I first started writing/blogging. Could I get to grips with the technology involved? Would I be any good at it? Would anyone ever talk to me?
I had a million questions, which are all very natural when you embark on a new adventure, and although at times it has been a frustrating and difficult journey, overall I have enjoyed every single minute of it.
So what on earth am I on about?
Just lately, a strange feeling has been creeping in, insidiously, like wisps of smoke. The blogosphere is like a mirror, reflecting everything we bloggers do. As a good proportion of bloggers are writers, you get to see what their lives and careers are like and it can be very reassuring if they are struggling just like you, facing the same problems and difficulties, but the more successful ones are an inspiration, showing you what you can accomplish if you work hard.
We have been blogging for nearly five years now, and have met some amazing people, helpful, considerate people, generous with their advice and friendship. You gradually become part of their world, a world where anything is possible and you can afford the luxury of dreaming.
I can hear some of you tapping your fingernails, wondering where all of this is going, so I will try to explain.
Everyone says that with patience and hard work you can achieve your goals. But I have been patient and worked as hard as I can, but no nearer to anything even remotely like my goals.
And this was my epiphany… maybe my goals are wrong?
Something has to be wrong with me, for on a bad day my enthusiasm wanes. All that wonderful optimism seems to leave the building.
I have been thinking about this year and it is clear that I must come up with some resolutions that work before the men in white coats come to take me away!
Not that this year can be the same as before for so many things are different now, starting with my number one symbol of a New Year, Big Ben…
Big Ben has always been a very special symbol in my life. I grew up in London hearing the deep resonant tones of the bell. The imposing majesty of the building is one of my most enduring memories of my time there.
London has many such landmarks and I love them all, but that tall clock tower on the river Thames embankment is by far my favourite. By rights, my favourite should be the river itself, feeling as I do about water, but no. Very close though.
‘Big Ben’ is really just a nickname for the great bell itself, inside the famous clock tower at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London. Built in 1858 and 96 metres high, it is the largest four-faced chiming clock in the world. But the big bell itself is not the biggest. St Pauls Cathedral has a slightly bigger one, weighing in at 17 tonnes.
Scarily, the tower leans slightly to the North West, apparently caused by the tunnelling for the Jubilee Line Underground train.
I came across this picture of Big Ben a few weeks ago, and I was instantly transported me back to another New Year’s Eve so many years ago.
That particular year, my friends and I had decided to celebrate the coming of the New Year in style. We would attempt some kind of pub crawl, visiting as many bars and public houses that we could manage, in spite of the volume of people all doing the same thing; ending up at the embankment for the fireworks and Big Ben’s majestic chimes.
We had such fun that night even though I knew I would not contemplate doing it again, as the number of people all seriously intent on having as much fun as possible, created more madness and chaos than I ever thought possible and a lot of the time I was scared to death.
You see all the crowds on television, but could you imagine being there?
Of course, there could have been so much more trouble that there actually was, that many people, most of them hysterical with excitement and booze could have deteriorated into a riot. But it never seems to. No matter how squashed, drunk or freezing cold you happened to be, there is some kind of reverence going on, as if it would be a sin to ruin that night in any way.
Our journey around London that night was exciting, but I was glad when we found ourselves by the river just before midnight. We had left most of the throng behind and it was almost eerily quiet by the water. The fireworks were further up river and we seemed to have Big Ben all to ourselves.
It was very cold that night, but at least it wasn’t raining. I was one of the few people in our group that didn’t have a partner, something I knew I wanted to change in the New Year. I had no idea of the direction my life would be taking, no plans and not many dreams either, for I had already learned that dreaming was futile.
So that evening ended up on quite a solemn note, and as the hands of the clock above us moved closer to the 12, the tears were not far away.
I had never been that close to Big Ben before and was not prepared for how loud the chimes would be. First came the melody and the vibrations seemed to travel up my legs until my whole body seemed to be humming. When the big bell started to chime the hour, the vibrations became longer and deeper and it felt as though my heart would break.
More than fifty years later, the sound of that bell has the same effect, instantly transforming me back to that lonely young woman who had already taught herself not to believe in dreams.
I obviously knew a thing or two back then, for my life has not been full of the stuff that dreams are made of, rather the opposite. But I am still here, not quite ready to give up. So is Big Ben, although undergoing major refurbishment along with the Houses of Parliament. Seeing all that scaffolding around the tower was worrying. If anything went wrong, we could lose Big Ben forever…