Return to the Joy of Blogging

Bloggers return – some of the balls I was juggling have now rolled down-hill metaphorically, others I’m still tossing in the air, and catching.

In spite of the wonderful messages received when I bowed out, I had begun to sink into a little pit of my own making in which it seemed arrogant to expect other bloggers to read my writings… in fact, I suddenly lost confidence in myself.

But as time has passed, to my amazement, people are still reading my blog, and clicking on likes and follows, and some blogger friends have sent messages of support and comfort, so I’ve taken the plunge again, and am returning to the joy of blogging.

I’ve comfortable now with the fact that this will only ever be a little boutique blog, as it were, and I will never again (I think) become hooked on the ups and downs of stats! So back to the joy of writing for its own sake and the fellowship of bloggers … who I’ve continued to read.

I’m sitting at my desk which is just by the French doors onto the veranda. When I look up, I see the turquoise sea framed by the red blossoms of the pohutakawa tree at this time of the year, and watch the fishing boats chug out to sea. The veranda itself is fringed with the fresh green leaves of white wisteria which grows around the outside. In spring the long white racemes perfume the veranda, and now, the scent of a datura at the bottom of the wilderness part of the garden, reaches my desk.

This long room stretches the width of the house, so that when I go to the other side of the house, and open the French doors at that end, the ravishing smell of the queen of the night pervades the front garden. Especially when it rains.

As I write, a shining cuckoo is singing its piercingly sweet song, and a thrush, now relieved of the cares of parenthood, and forsaking the empty nest in the honeysuckle by the garage door, is warbling joyfully somewhere near the oak tree. And the sound of water is the background to their song as waves break on the rocks below.

It’s that peaceful lull after all the hustle and business leading up to Christmas. The tail end of a cyclone has passed through, leaving us with drenched gardens – but clear bright skies and sparkling blue sea. The orcas I had seen came back and a pod of six, including two babies, took over the next bay, chasing a swimming dog, and going “ viral” as they say, all over the internet.

In the lead-up to Christmas, everyone gets their lawns mowed, the wide grass verges by the road trimmed, and their gardens manicured. Then the tents and canopies start going up, and families arrive from all over the country, and camp on front lawns for Christmas.

Christmas – time in this country is hedgerows festooned with billowing banks of climbing pink roses which I think must be Dorothy Perkins. They grow wherever settlers farmed over a hundred years ago, and have scrambled along dusty lanes and country roads ever since.

Christmas here is also blue and white agapanthus which too, have spread along road sides, and gracefully adorn banks and garden entrances, even though this spectacular flower is now condemned as a noxious weed! They bloom at the same time as the pink roses and the red and orange flax flowers, from which the turquoise and black tuis suck nectar with their long beaks.

The red blossom of the pohutukawa tree, the New Zealand Christmas tree, and flaming orange cannas spreading alongside the blue agapanthus, are also part of the brightness and exuberance that is part of an Antipodean Christmas. No spare leafless trees, pale skies and frosty hillsides here. Instead it’s the peak of summer before the flowers wilt and the hills go brown in the blazing sunshine which always seems to arrive with Christmas.

On Christmas Eve, I drove through pouring rain to our nearest big village in search of a half bottle of rum, to make a coffee and rum sauce for the walnut- coffee meringue gateau. Through the wind-screen wipers I saw a dead bird on the road ahead. I picked out the speckled wing feathers and coral- red head of the bird, and recognised a banded rail. These are rare flightless native birds which live on an island sanctuary out to sea.

I had found a baby corpse on the road some years ago, and put it in the deep freeze, before contacting the Department of Conservation. They were rapt, came rushing out and dashed off with the pathetic little frozen body to put it on their map. They knew the birds had reached a spot on the mainland quite a way from here, but had no idea they might have spread to the mangrove swamps where I had found it.

The bird which I now wrapped in several plastic bags (thank you, maligned plastic bags!) was full grown, and heartbreakingly beautiful with its long pointed beak for digging into mud for food, delicate markings and elegant little legs and clawed feet. It spent Christmas Day and Boxing Day in the deep freeze, amongst frozen bread rolls and my husband’s emergency steak pies, and today I rang the department. Out they came again, and even remembered the last one I had delivered into their hands. Very satisfying to know that a rare breed seems to be multiplying nearby.

And now the New Year looms… I was rather sorry we survived the end of the world. I’d been looking forward to annihilation in a split second, and no more wars, no more cruelty to animals, children, women, men, or the planet! I had thought it would be great to have a fresh start somewhere down the track, and do it right next time – peace on earth – goodwill to all life, animal, vegetable and mineral, and all people whatever their colour, race, religion or sexual orientation.

It would also have been great in that distant future to acknowledge that there is only One Creator, whatever we choose to call him/her or it, Dieu, Yahweh, Allah, Lord Vishnu, Great Spirit, Gott, Divine Source, and therefore no need for religious wars, hostility, judgement or condemnation….  but it seems that we have to clean up our own act now, before we can have that peaceful future!

Maybe one way to start would be to take fourteen year old Minnie Haskin’s advice. George the Sixth, the Queen’s father, used these words to hearten the nation in his Christmas broadcast in 1940, when the islands of Britain stood alone against the terrifying brutality of Nazism.

“And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than a light and safer than a known way.”

Food for Threadbare Gourmets

Our plum tree is bowed under the weight of a lavish harvest of dark purple plums which are only so-so for eating raw, but delicious when cooked. Every-one who receives a basket of these fruits also gets the recipe I use – borrowed from Nigella Lawson.

To a kilo of plums – more or less, use 300 ml of red wine – more rather than less! Nigella says stone them – I don’t bother, the stones come out quite easily when cooked.

Put the plums in an oven proof dish. In a saucepan boil the wine with two bay leaves, half a teasp of ground cinnamon, two cloves, one star anise, and 200g of honey. Pour over the plums, seal with foil or a lid, and bake for an hour or longer at 160 degrees, until they’re tender. You can keep them in the fridge for three days, and you can freeze them.

Serve with crème fraiche, ice-cream, or custard. I also think they’d be good with rice pudding on a cold day.

The aromatic scent while they are cooking is so delectable that I’d love to catch it in a bottle and spray it regularly around the kitchen.

Food for Thought

A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.

Mark Twain   1835 – 1910  Great American writer, humorist, publisher of Ulysses Grant’s memoirs, friend of Helen Keller. Abolitionist and anti- segregationist, anti- vivisectionist, anti- imperialist, pro women’s rights.

Born when Halley’s Comet was closest to the earth, and died the day after its return seventy five years later..

He also said; ‘Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.’

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94 Comments

Filed under birds, bloggers, cookery/recipes, environment, food, great days, life/style, peace, philosophy, spiritual, The Sound of Water, Thoughts on writing and life, Uncategorized, village life

94 responses to “Return to the Joy of Blogging

  1. WELCOME BACK! Whoo-hoo! I could so easily envision your world as you wrote so descriptively! And the bird! So sad for it to die but look what you did in preservation perhaps of others in the same species. What compassion, Val Hope your Christmas was wonderfully blessed and wishing you the very best in the New Year! Looking forward to many, many visitations in 2013!

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    • Dear Sharla, what a joy to read your lovely message – you are really something with your unquenchable enthusiasm and vitality. Thank you thank you for your encouragement, and I hope you too have a really satisfying and fulfilling New Year

      Like

  2. Always delighted to read one of your posts again, Valerie. Wish I had some fresh plums as you had my mouth watering there!

    Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday season!

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  3. WELCOME BACK! I was so sad when you told us you would not be blogging any longer – although your reasons were very valid.
    Your descriptive writing transports me to the other end of the island on which I live and which is so very, very different to my wee patch, our climate, wildlife and gardens. All of which I thoroughly enjoy learning about and imagining ( Orcas!, a fully laden plum tree).
    Your spiritual writing offers me fresh stimulation which helps sustain me and I love quotes and you offer some true gems.
    I look forward to reading more as and when you can manage to write. Thank you:-)

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    • Thank you for your lovely welcome, I really valued your words and insights… I see from your blog you’re in the middle of the North island – does it feel so different to our little coastal village?
      I love your knitting! Would love to pick up my needles again, but arthritis interferes….happy knitting and a happy New year

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      • Hi Valerie,
        Thanks for finding my knitting blog…..I’ve just realised that I can add my other blog on my gravatar profile. There is always something new to learn about in the blogosphere:-)
        I live in Porirua, 30kms north of Wellington city on the west coast. Our climate and plants etc are different to yours up in the more tropical north.
        Happy 2013 to you too!

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  4. Valerie welcome back. I LOVE your blog and kept coming back hoping to see a change of mind.

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    • Tersia, thank you for your lovely welcome, and finding the time to read … I really appreciate that, and honour you for your astounding blog which sometimes knocks me off my feet, and I can’t find any words to comment. I’ve been keeping up with you, and after reading/listening to Turn turn turn, found I’d spent hours on Youtube listening to everything else as well!!!.

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  5. Welcome back Valerie!

    And a happy 2013 to you, the people around you, and the readers of your blog!

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  6. So great to have you back! I have missed your wonderful stories. Do not let blogging weigh on your shoulders. Embrace it and have fun. You are a great blogger!

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    • Oh Kate- lovely to have your welcome, and read your encouragement. Yes, I shall take your advice and not take it all too seriously ( including the awards which always worry me!)
      Happy new year, and I’ve taken on board your advice about unwanted presents!

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  7. Dear Valerie, what a joy to have you back! And what a joy to read of your bright, colourful, vibrant New Zealand Christmas. I was feeling a bit down, here in grey old Britain on a stormy night, but your blog cheered me up. Thank you, and God bless!

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    • Dear Dorothy, what a lovely welcoming comment. Thank you so much for your encouragement. I can imagine how challenging the weather is at the moment, I do so sympathise, and hope you’re not too badly affected by all the flooding and mayhem…. As my ten year old grandson once said to me – everything passes!!! Blessings to you

      Like

  8. I too was a wee bit sad when the 22nd of December came ’round as usual. And for many of the same reasons you have listed.

    I am so glad you are back! I find your blog a delight and vibrant and thought provoking…which is always good!

    Happy New Year,

    Linda
    http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com
    http://deltacountyhistoricalsociety.wordpress.com

    ¸.•*¨*•♪♫♫♪HAPPY NEW YEAR ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥

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    • Hello Linda – great minds think alike then!
      Thank you so much for your lovely words of encouragement. As you probably know, I haven’t missed a single post from Fuzzy and Boomer!!!
      Happy New year to them, to you, and those you love, Valerie

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  9. Thank you for coming back. Stats can be alluring, but take comfort that quality is more important than quantity for both posts and readers!

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  10. Hi, Valerie, and welcome back into our lives. Perhaps your return here is a sign that better days are ahead for 2013! With hopes that this is true, Happy New Year to you and your family, which includes all of your blogging family.

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    • Hello Ronnie – what a lovely welcome. thank you so much for your encouragement – it’s really lovely to be back in my blogging family…
      Loved your post on aging… I’m still trying to get used to it after all these years and white hairs! And best wishes for 2013, and your blogging family, may we all stay as young as we feel!

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  11. Good to see you back! Happy New Year!

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  12. Wonderful to see you again and to sit in your Veranda with you!! Beautiful.

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  13. Anonymous

    I knew it was only a matter of time and giving yourself permission to follow your enjoyment of connecting with like-minded people

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  14. Valerie! How wonderful to see you here again and read your thought-filled words! I feel the world as we’ve known it did end on Dec 21, as it does every single day. And every single day we have the opportunity, the responsibility, and the duty to make that change within ourselves which will bring us closer to the world you describe. We are all One. When we actually remember that, all of us, all the time, we will demonstrate that Oneness as one joyful outpouring of Love and Light. Until then, all individual outpourings of Love and Light are needed to help show the way!

    We’re having our first snow storm of the season here in New York City. It’s quite windy and the icy snow is sticking to the pavements, making them treacherous in the darkness. I’m so glad I got home timely and am now enjoying my evening with my family!

    All the very best to you, my much-missed friend! xoxoM

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    • Oh Margarita, what wonderful words which I shall read and re-read to remind me of the truth of what you say. beautiful , thank you so much. And thank you for your lovely words of welcome. It feels so good to be back!

      I can visualise you safely tucked up at home on a cold winter’s night,” the snow lay round about
      crisp and deep and even”…
      A happy new year XXXX

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  15. So glad you are back, Valerie, and that ‘things’ are not overwhelming you. You were sadly missed. I had to laugh at your comment re stats… I too was obsessed with stats in the early months. Then I ‘got over it’ and really began to enjoy my blogging as something I was doing because I wanted to – not because others would ‘like’ or comment on. Writing became a discipline and a pleasure again. Happy New Year and all the best for 2013. DJ

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    • Hello DJ, great to hear from you, really appreciate your message. I shall remember your wisdom about blogging, and enjoy the pleasure of being in touch with all the like minds who gather together!
      Happy 2013 to you and yours, valerie

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  16. So delighted to see that you have jumped back into the blogging pool! It’s wonderful to see you again. 🙂

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  17. Amy

    Hi Valerie, So thrill to see you! I thought about you the other day and wondered if I should say “Merry Christmas” to you via your post…

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  18. Lovely to have you back Valerie x

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  19. I belief I never talk to you before (so shy to say that)!
    But I’m so happy to see you back!
    I hope I got more chance to see you Blogging, have a great year ahead!
    Cheers, Valerie!

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  20. Interesting analogy with the end of world prediction and your own temporary escape from the blog, and good that neither have come to full fruition, for all its faults, this world, we do need good hearts sharing their thoughts and experiences, so welcome back Valerie, fitting in a blog on the roller coast of life is a forgiving thing, it can be put to one side but I don’t believe it is ever neglected, as long as we continue to think and be and occasionally share. 🙂

    Thank you for the wonderful walk through images of a kiwi summer, I have a lovely pair of ceramic earrings with a pohutukawa flower that I always wear at this time of the year and I can hear the sound of the shining cuckoo as I read your words,and the lovely smell of the Christmas pine tree that we would always walk up the hill behind our house and choose for Dad to cut down.

    Joyeuses fêtes!

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    • Claire, lovely to read your typically thoughtful and thought-provoking message, and I loved what you said about blogging. I’d forgotten that you have a New Zealand past… Christmas here is so different to the Northern hemisphere isn’t it… I have to admit to feeling very nostalgic for bells ringing, dark nights, cold mornings, frost, snow, and lovely winter clothes, as well as Christrmas pudding!!!

      Like

  21. Welcome back! It’s nice to read your new posts again 🙂 Many wishes for success further

    Like

  22. I’ve nominated you for the “Blog of the Year” Award. To see the nomination, visit the post: anotherlovelyday.wordpress.com/2012/12/26/thank-you/. I wish you a wonderful new year!

    Like

  23. Alice

    Oh, hooray for your return–I look for ward to reading many new posts. Welcome, welcome, welcome back!

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    • Dear Alice,
      What a lovely welcome back into our lovely blogging family. I really appreciate it, and find it wonderful that old friends should return like this.
      warmesr wishes and a very happy new year to you

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  24. Welcome back! Boy was I happy to see you in my inbox tonight! I have missed your posts. I really enjoyed your article tonight although sad at the thought of the poor bird. You describe everything so vividly. Blessings for the New Year.

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  25. In the midst of all my “busy-ness”, I sadly read your “A Blogger’s Farewell” with an ache in my heart, and blamed myself for quite a few days for not writing a note to you… Yesterday, I read a blog post from you, and am so glad I did NOT say “farewell” to you, but now I am just saying another “hello”!!! I so enjoy your posts and your recipes and perspectives in life in general. I laugh, I imbibe, I vicariously live life through your experiences. I have been in quite a hibernation for a few weeks myself… I just had to get myself to sit down and write to you and say how much I really appreciate your writing, and so glad you’re back!

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    • What a lovely lovely message, thank you. I hope your hibernation was a life-style choice and not a problem!!!!
      I really appreciate you taking the time to write , and value your words of encouragement, they mean a lot. They remind me once again of the amazingly loving and supportive world our family of blogging is, and it’s so good to be back in it. I do hope all is well with you and yours, and wish you a very happy new year..

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  26. Valerie,

    How I have missed your beautiful words, weaving such a picture for all of us of all the beauty around you.

    It makes me want to jump on a plane for your area of the world.

    Welcome back. We all missed you,
    Sunni

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    • Dear Sunni,
      What a joy to hear from you, my friend. I have been keeping up with you and the kitty-kats, but often when I tried to leave a message I got one of those stern slaps over the wrist from the God of Technology saying ‘ In- correct characters. this is not your user -name’! No good wailing at it, but it is my name – It was implacable!!!!
      Thank you for your lovely words, and what a shame that you can’t jump on a plane for New Zealand! But at least I can read you, and keep up…happy new year to you and your loved ones including the kitty-kats.

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  27. Welcome back, my dear friend! You were missed. I am so glad that we are entering a new year…together!

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    • Rebecca, lovely to hear from you… it does feel so good to be back with my old friends, I’m so touched that they didn’t all disappear!
      I’ve been quietly keeping up with your blog, and understanding why you were called Clanmother – you are such a supportive and encouraging mother to our blogging clan!
      And so, hey -ho, hey-ho, and off we go into another year of virtual adventures!!! happy new year to you and yours…

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  28. Hi dear Valerie. You are a full blown blog addict……bye bye, then hello I’m back. Take two likes and a comment as many times of the day that you need the dosage. Have a wonderful New Year. Love and hugs. Ralph x

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    • Hello Ralph,
      yes, blogging Is addictive… especially when you think you’ve signed off, but people keep signing on! As you would know one has a responsibililty to one’s followers and their emotional well-being!!!.
      And one’s own – so I shall take your prescription seriously, and take all those likes and comments as often as needed!
      Hope all is well in your neck of the Spanish woods, and a happy new year to you and all your assorted followers and blogging family, love Valerie

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  29. Great to see you back, dear Valerie!

    I enjoyed your description of Christmas time in New Zealand! It’s so different from how we experience it in the northern hemisphere – yet, the smell of cinnamon and bay leaves is also floating through my kitchen, these days.

    As for the fact that we are still here: I’m glad that we have the chance to clean up our own stuff. I have a feeling that this is the way for us to really see our mistakes and how to do it better from now on. 😉

    Much love from the other side of the earth!

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    • Dear Stephanie, thank you for your warm words of welcome, it’s lovely to be back in my lovely blogging family.
      Yes, I miss the northern Christmas, with bells ringing, carol singing, frost and snow, dark winter afternoons, and all those wonderful spicy, stodgy Christmas treats!!!
      As for still being here… yes, I’m busily cleaning up my stuff, but what makes my heart ache is all the suffering in the world, particularly to animals children women and the planet. There is a band known as the suicide belt stretching from the near east right round to China where female suicides are horribly higher than the rest of the world.
      And yes, I know there is a bigger picture, but it does tug my heart to know of so much suffering when I have such a good life – (even though clearing up one’s stuff sometimes seems painful when one is in stuff!!!).

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      • PS. My last sentence got lost – here it is! Hope this makes sense . I love your words of wisdom in your blog and know that every blog like yours is making a difference, Love, Valerie

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      • I hear you, Valerie!

        You are cleaning up because you are aware and compassionate. Because you are aware you see all those things that make your heart ache. Yet, your awareness is also what contributes most to a change of those situations of suffering. If we all were aware we would respect and love each other – like ourselves – instead of restraining ourselves and thereby hurting others (by ignoring, surpressing and abusing them).

        Until that time comes we may respect the choices of those who remain unaware as well as the generosity of the souls who give themselves for the experience of suffering from the consequences – although it hurts to watch.

        We maybe cannot change all imbalance in the world at once – but we can do our part in maintaining balance for ourselves and by that providing a light in the darkness.

        Be blessed for your beautiful heart! – Much love!

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      • P.S.: Now I know why my comment got lost, at first, when I wrote it from my dashboard. If it hadn’t been for that to make me come over to your blog for a reply I would not have seen your “last scentense”!

        Thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement. It truly means a lot to me coming from a dedicated writer like yourself!

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  30. Valerie, I am so glad to see you back! I have missed your peaceful and wonderful place. You beautifully written words and joyful slices of life. Welcome back!

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  31. Val, great to hear from you, it is just amazing to see old friends and feel their welcome. Thank you so much for your lovely words about my blog – so encouraging, and much appreciated.
    As you know I rarely miss your blog and am usually awed by your piercing intelligence and grasp of arcane detail that matters, as well as your sound common sense!.( that means I agree with you!)
    A happy new year to you and yours..

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  32. Hi Valerie

    So glad to see you back blogging. You seemed to be leaving as I was just starting and I was sorry about that. From the little I had read I felt that I had found a kindred spirit, only to lose you so soon. I love the expression, “a boutique blog”. I think that’s what mine will be too, and it’s a relief to stop looking at those stats and wondering if it’s all worthwhile. Better far to write for the joy of it, especially if it helps yourself, which it does me, and occasionally touches out to reach another soul.

    I love the quote from George V1. The last time I read it was on a lovely little silkscreen banner hanging in my lovely late mother’s hall. It reminded me of her. I still miss her many years on, but it’s lovely when we get these unexpected little reminders which bring our loved ones back to life in our memories.

    Keep blogging. I look forward to meeting up with you often.
    Corinne

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    • Hello Corinne,
      Lovely to hear from you… it’s that reaching out to other souls which is the joy of blogging, as well as the writing, isn’t it.
      Yes, I thought English readers would recognise the quote, but I thought I’d introduce it to the rest of the world!!! So good to connect again, Valerie

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  33. mottledthrush

    A big welcome back from me. Yes, blogging and life in general can at times be a struggle – there is so much to juggle, and so much to assimilate. It is sometimes difficult to find that balance, and sometimes we just need that break to find ourselves and refresh our perspectives. Your garden sounds wonderful, and your eloquent writing summoned up a vision of it which allowed me to ‘visit & wander’ for a while – thankyou, it brings solace to the soul, a much needed break in this harsh world. I feel sure many others will and have benefited from your blog. Much peace to you and yours – Mottledthrush 🙂

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  34. Thank you so much for taking the time to write, so good to hear from you. And thank you for your encouraging words – very much appreciated…
    As you know I’ve been keeping up with your valuable blog, and really respect what you are doing. Warm wishes, Valerie

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  35. As 2013 is about to kick off I am glad to be a new follower! Let’s start the year with wonderful posts and friendship! Cheers 🙂

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  36. Thank you for joining this little world of bloggers, and popping up here on my blog, Yes indeed – lets hope for the wonderful posts, and the friendship is in our hands! So a happy and productive New Year, and I shall enjoy keeping up with you…

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  37. Well, this is quite a confidence boost, isn’t it? So many readers, happy to see you changed your mind. Me included. That is better than stats! Nice post, Valerie.

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  38. Oh Valerie, I have missed your beautiful blog so much and I am so glad you are back. Your writing transports me to another world. Have a very happy 2013 and I look forward to reading more 🙂

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    • Dory, lovely to hear from you, and thank you so much for your beautiful words of welcome. I’m so fortunate to have such wonderful blogging friends. I’ve been looking for you, and haven’t found you recently – hope you haven’t been affected by these terrible floods I’ve been reading about…. I suppose it would have been a great opportunity to get on with knitting that jumper for you- know- who! Looking forward to seeing more churches and lovely landscapes this year, and happy 2013 to you, Valerie

      Like

  39. Dea Valerie,

    Boutique, Schmoutitique. What you have is a blog that gives others pleasure to read. Would that I had your gift for breathing life into writing. I was very happy to see this post spring to life on my ‘received e-mails’ list and read it straight away.

    (These sentence should to be deleted by you once you fix the “maths” problem posed by your Mark Twain paragraph. Or not, as you wish. Either way, please delete them. Thanks)

    Love your writing, whenever and however you decide to share it.

    Aloha,

    Doug

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    • I laughed as usual on reading your words, Doug – Fixed the maths problem – as you see, Miss Cummins had a point.

      You must be the only person who actually reads to the bottom of my blog, or maybe even more intriguing – the only person who can do maths!!!

      Thank you for your warm encouragement. I love you for it. You may feel less warm after reading my latest comment on your story abut Hong Kong, ..I do feel a bit guilty about dis-illusioning you….but still, love from me !!!!

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      • Dear Valerie,

        Quid pro quo? I have typo in the above couple of sentences in parentheses. Please, oh please delete them. [not the typo, but the sentences:]

        Of course I read to the bottom of your blog posts. Will not knowingly miss a single one.

        Aloha,

        Doug

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  40. Doug, I’ve wrestled with Word press and tried to delete the words you wish, but I’m not getting anywhere. I don’t suppose anyone will ever see them as it’s at the bottom of an old post..But i know how you feel..I writhe when I’ve pressed send, and discovered too late, it was too soon to press!!!
    Nil desperandum…. Valerie.

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  41. Valerie, a warm welcome back to the blogosphere! Your writing is beautiful and rich… you must never doubt your right to have an audience 🙂 Enjoy the journey, and my very best to you for the year ahead… Love, Alarna xx

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    • Hello Alarna, A happy New year to you…Hope the camping was great fun… and you didn ‘t have too pack up and run… I’ve been reading with such sadness the reports of the heat and the fires, and feel so sad too for the animals also suffering…
      It must be an awful time for you all.
      Thank you as ever for your welcome and loving support, and I’m looking forward to reading more of your sensitive thoughtful pieces.. you have such a unique and delicate ‘take ‘ on things,
      Love Valerie

      Like

  42. Welcome home Valerie! You covered so many things in your post. For me, any reference to Twain is a delight as he is a favourite of mine.

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  43. Hi Valerie! So pleased to see you here again! Yes…those stats! I understand completely! This is a lovely post and I can feel your peace and the calm of your enviroment. Welcome back…fellow boutique blog blogger!

    Like

  44. So good to see you back, Valerie. WordPress is a better place with you and your wonderful stories and insights in it. Wishing you abundant blessings for the coming year and looking forward enormously to resuming our friendship.

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    • Dear Lizziejoy, how lovely to hear from you, and thank you so much for your welcome back…
      I used to wonder why I never saw any of your blogs, and thought maybe you were ‘resting’ in the theatrical sense!
      But today I discovered that I hadn’t actually pressed ‘following’! So now I can enjoy your beautiful posts.
      Blessings to you for this year too

      Like

  45. Since we don’t get the easy way out, we do need your well-written, well-thought words for the times when there’s time to read.

    Like

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