Tag Archives: blogging

Blogging and Eating !

I’ve put on weight since I started blogging. There aren’t enough hours in the day, so that instead of going for a walk I catch up on reading blogs – for as we all know – writing a blog is the quickest part.

But even walking doesn’t wear off the pounds gained by sitting still, gazing at the seductive screen, tripping the light fantastic across the blogs, there a ‘comment’, here a ‘ like’, there a ‘follow’.

This morning I read a story about a massively obese young man going on the Paleo diet when he was refused life insurance. He sat in front of a computer all day, and snacked. Eating like a caveman, he lost kilos almost immediately. Aha, I thought. The Paleo diet consists of meat, fish, nuts, seeds, fruit and vegetables and oils. No-no’s are dairy, grains and carbohydrates, salt, sugar.

But this morning I also got up early to go the Saturday morning food market in the next village, to visit one stall for a delicious round artisan wholemeal loaf, and then the cheese truck, where I bought two generous hunks of Brie and Havarti for half the price I’d pay in the delicatessen. So Brie for lunch with a nice glass of chilled Pinot Gris.

And this is the dilemma. I eat because I enjoy food and savour the infinite variety that modern man has access to, unlike cavemen. It seems to me that cavemen – or Paleos, if I want to sound up to date- ate a vegan diet if you leave out the meat. I’d be happy to leave out the meat, but that doesn’t leave much nourishment for the likes of me…

I have friends who’ve become dedicated vegans recently, or vegetable strong, I think it’s called – but I don’t like the beans you need to eat in order to get enough protein. I also find the food rather bland, and I love my flat white coffee and my hot cups of freshly brewed lapsang souchong tea with milk.  Sometimes my flat white or my lapsang are the only things that keep me going! Paleo food with no salt, would be hard to stomach – p’raps that’s why people do lose weight on it!

But I’d hate to live without the occasional delicious pasta supper, or a tasty risotto, and what are potatoes without a little butter? No heavenly aoli, or the odd pancake when I can think of nothing else… no scrumptious rhubarb crumble, or soothing crème caramel, no lovely kedgeree or curry… no boiled egg and toast fingers for breakfast, no tomato omelette when there’s nothing in the larder? No hot buttered toast when all else fails? No,no, Paleo is out.

So how am I to combine blogging with a diet that doesn’t put on weight? Organise my time better, and get a pedometer is one solution. But that still leaves a self – indulgent diet which isn’t doing me any favours. My thoughts go back to my war-time childhood, when no-one ever got fat, and dentists had no patients, while rickets and crossed eyes from malnutrition disappeared from poverty-stricken slums. All teenagers earned the description lanky, no-one even had puppy-fat.

We all ate the same food because that was all there was. Being rich was no advantage. Go shopping without your ration books, or lose them, and you could buy no food. Ration books were stamped when you bought the necessities of life, while coupons which allowed you luxuries like jam or a tin of salmon, bully beef and the like if there were any available, were cut out. When you’d spent your coupons for the month – no more luxuries – if you could call jam, or cocoa a luxury.

We had five ounces of meat per person per week, four ounces of butter, two ounces of cheese, one egg per week. So little sugar that we had golden syrup on our porridge. Tea was rationed, there was no coffee, no chocolate – an orange at Christmas.We also had a small allowance of dried fruit in December, so as to cook a Christmas cake – they thought of everything!

If the butcher made some sausages, word would go round, and there would be a long queue until they ran out, and many times we went home empty handed. Bread went on the ration during the hardships after the war, so you couldn’t even splash out on toast then. Orange juice was supplied for small children. Milk was plentiful, and free for under-fives, so we had milk puddings galore. I know about this, because when I was old enough to go shopping, I was sent out with the ration books. This went on until the end of the forties, and I remember the day sweets came off ration in 1953, when I was fourteen, and I gorged on Maltesers.

But this sparing diet meant no obesity and healthy people… should I be looking at eating like I did when I was a child? Would it be possible to turn back the clock? Could I ration myself to strong cheddar instead of imported camembert? Sausages, instead of smoked salmon? Water instead of wine? Would such a diet be conducive to my blogging lifestyle? You had to cook back then – no pasta for a quickie,  and no ready- made meals or frozen suppers to whip into the oven when blogging has got the better of me.

(I lost another frying pan two days ago, mushrooms bubbling gently away in cream and garlic with fresh chopped sage and rosemary, to have on toast for a light lunch. When I remembered it, the mushrooms were just charred relics, and the pan was crusted with burnt everything else, and being non- stick incapable of being scoured – c’est la vie for this blogger – at the screen I’m oblivious to the real world)

So it looks like a pedometer and some plodding, plus self discipline, of which I have very little these days. But at least blogging takes my mind off the problem!

Food for Threadbare Gourmets

I’ve just perfected a recipe for sea-food risotto after enjoying it in my favourite riverside restaurant. In fact, I think I’ve improved on it by adding the herbs which give it depths… and it’s still a cheap meal. The one extravagance is making sure you have a few ounces of moist, melting smoked salmon – not the thin bright orange slices, but the smoked hunks. I keep it in the deep freeze. I always have a packet of frozen shrimps and prawns in the deep freeze too.

So chop an onion finely and fry in a little oil and butter until soft. Add a cup of Arborio rice or similar, and fry for a few minutes.Pour in half a glass or so of good white wine, and let it bubble away. Then start adding hot vegetable stock in small amounts. Chop very finely a few leaves of fresh sage and a small spring of rosemary and add to the rice.

While the rice is absorbing the stock, get  half a cup of frozen shrimps or prawns or both from the deep freeze. Let them thaw. (I’ve also used a tin of shrimps if I have no others) Chop the smoked salmon. A small piece is enough for flavour. When the rice is cooked, pour in half a cup of cream, gently fork in the sea-food, and cover for about five minutes. Serve with freshly ground Parmesan and a glass of chilled white wine. Paleos stay in your cave, rub your sticks together and roast your dinosaur.

Food for Thought

The first pre-requisite for education is a willingness to sacrifice your prejudice on the altar of your spiritual growth.

Luisah Teish, African-American writer, teacher and priestess. She is an Oshun chief of the Yoruba-Lucumi tradition




Filed under bloggers, cookery/recipes, great days, life/style, spiritual, The Sound of Water, Thoughts on writing and life, Uncategorized

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.’


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

A Blogger’s Farewell

This is a sad goodbye. Before I drop one of many balls in the air, I have to make a decision.

I’m in the middle of self –publishing a collection of my earlier blogs for family and friends who don’t have a computer or don’t read blogs… a little Christmas stocking filler….

Self-publishing is quite time- consuming, especially when you live an hour away from the printer, and want to discuss spacing, type-faces, size of headings, capitals, design the page lay-out, whether to up or change the italics, design the cover, edit and proof read and lots of other details .

I do my own editing and proof-reading since it’s been part of my work experience (my proudest boast is that knowing nothing of rugby, I edited a gold plated edition of the World Book of Rugby, and picked up when the rugby writer himself  had muddled James Small with Jason Little!). Editing takes time – tightening up sentence construction, and grammar, weeding out unnecessary words, especially adverbs, making sure all the verbs are active and not passive apart from the obvious spelling and punctuation. And then the proof-reading.

I’ve been doing this, as well as spending one day a week with clients who come for counselling, and am also in the midst of writing another book, and have to revise the completed manuscript of another book. I also write articles for a parenting magazine, and do proof reading. And I’m selling my recent book ‘The Sound of Water’ – packing it up to send to libraries and to post to people. I didn’t put it into bookshops, as they take most of the profit on a book. But by doing radio interviews, local newspaper interviews and talking to groups – I’m speaking at another book club next week – the book sells.

I’ve managed to juggle these balls with the time spent on blogging, which as we all know isn’t just writing a blog, but is also a very time-consuming activity!

The ball that I can’t drop, is my 83 year old husband, whose health has taken a dive, and we are into a round of regular hospital visits and side-trips to doctor, x-ray departments, and all the paraphernalia of modern medicine. (As an alternative treatment addict myself, this is all anathema to me.) And I also have family and friends who need me at different levels of engagement.

So I’ve decided that blogging, which has been an amazing distraction from everyday problems, and an enjoyment of unsuspected depths, is the thing that for now has to go on the back burner. The thing that really twists my heart is saying good-bye to the wonderful, loving friends I’ve made.

Reading people’s blogs means that you also read their soul, for blogging is not just creative but a very deep emotional engagement with bloggers who are living lives of challenge and emotional depths. Bloggers share their self doubts, their pain, their heart-aches, and their interests, their joys, their spiritual search. And it’s been very precious to experience that depth of tenderness and vulnerability from the beautiful men who blog. With women we are not surprised to experience their emotional open-ness, but to have that same experience with men, feels very rare and beautiful.

The people – men and women – I’m talking about, will all know who they are, and they are beloved.

I shall miss the animals too, Fuzzy and Boomer, Zoey the Cool cat, fat piggie Charlotte and Ton-ton in his smart blue coat, Sunni’s mischievous little darlings, and Sharla’s kitty-kats who enjoy sitting on the dashboard on long journeys and watching the road ahead. Buckminster and Amber, what will I do without you? How will you manage in Sweden? I shall still follow silently the stories of your lives and quietly click the ‘likes’. But for now, I have to cope with my life.

I’ve learned and discovered so much from reading other’s blogs… blogging has been an education for me. And thank you, wonderful friends who’ve encouraged me, given me the confidence to become more direct and honest in my own writing, and showed me that we can all be accepted for who we are, and not for what we do. It’s been such a privilege to enter this world, and to be accepted, and to make such deep and loving connections. I can’t bear to say goodbye to you, so will continue to read you and to love you.

P.S. If you’re interested in my next book, it’s called ‘Chasing The Dragon – an addiction to life.’ It’s 195 pages.

The ebook version is out now and it will be available free for a limited time on:

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/254812

and on some platforms Smashwords distributes to (Apple, Barnes and Noble, etc);

and on Amazon Kindle here: http://www.amazon.com/Chasing-Dragon-addiction-living-ebook/dp/B00A99RERO/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1353492963&sr=1-3&keywords=chasing+the+dragon

for 99 cents (that is currently their minimum price).

It will also be available as a paperback on Amazon for US$12. 99 plus postage.

To order the printed in New Zealand book (with flaps and deckle edges, printed on Munken Cream paper) which is available now at NZ $30, US $24, and 15 UK pounds, contact Valerie Davies at:


Or  Merlincourt Press,

P.O. Box 161

Leigh 0947, Rodney

New Zealand


Filed under bloggers, books, Forthcoming books, great days, happiness, love, The Sound of Water, Thoughts on writing and life, Uncategorized

Bloggers Bloopers and Expletives

Blogging has many unsuspected pitfalls, especially if typing is not up to scratch. I’m thinking I may have to get a new keyboard, as the five vowels have worn away and a number of the consonants too. I know that real typists don’t have to look at the letters but since I’ve never learned to type, I need to know where the letters are, and I often have to offer myself alternatives as I move blindly from one blank key to the next.

I pressed the send button too late the other day to stop a reply going out starting:” Hell Liz”. I’m onto it now, but fear there may have been other unfriendly bloopers emanating from this e-mail. What surprises me is how many words become insulting or obscene, with just one little misprint, or a key mis-hit.

Hello with the O left off is one thing, but I was shocked to re-read a comment and find I’d misspelt ‘friend’, and with the R left out it had become ‘fiend’. Since I was referring to a friend’s boy friend which had also come out with a typo reading ‘bog’, a ‘bog-fiend’  could have meant trouble. I was also commenting to this friend on ‘coping’ with her sick horse, which came out as ‘doping.’  And a comment was just saved in the nick of time, when I discovered that instead of writing ‘bigger’, I had typed U instead, while in another comment, I thought I’d written I was ‘touched’, but it came out as ‘toughed’.

One of the problems is that the writing for comments is so small I can hardly see it, and when trying to correct my inaccurate typing, too often I make a mess worse. It takes me hours to compose a properly spelt, polite comment with all typos and un-intentional expletives deleted and then to dare to press the ‘Reply’ button.

When it comes to expletives, I am actually a world expert, having read the un-expurgated copies of President Nixon’s tapes. I was back in England staying with a school friend, and her husband who was a lawyer, had paid an enormous amount of money to buy the un-expurgated tapes when they came on the market. My eyes started out of my head when I tried to read them. We’d become used to newspaper reports of the infamous tapes, saying things like: “Send the expletive deleted – expletive deleted – another -expletive deleted instruction, then he’ll -expletive deleted- know what the – expletive deleted- it’s all about…

Until I read President Nixon’s prose, or rather conversation, I had no idea it was possible to swear in so many ways and in so many words. To misquote Winston Churchill: never in human history has one man used so many swear words, in so many ways, so frequently. However, I try to avoid this myself, in my blogs and comments.

But even the word ‘blog’ gets away from me, and I find myself correcting ‘glob’. Today’s variation was ‘blogal’ instead of ‘global’. However, when I want to cheer myself up I go to Spam, and reading the comments there makes me feel I’m a master both of English prose and of the keyboard.

How about this one, taken at random from a bulging spam file.  The writer had read my post ‘Gaia Knows Us’ and this was his mind boggling response:

“I precisely wanted to appreciate you all over again. I’m not certain the things I would have worked on in the absence of these information discussed by you regarding this concern. It absolutely was a horrifying setting in my opinion, however, taking a look at this specialised mode you solved the issue forced me to jump for delight. Extremely happier for the service and in addition have high hopes you are aware of a great job you were putting in educating people today through your web site. I am sure you have never got to know any of us.”

Since the post ‘Blogging is The New Black’ came out, the spam file has been deluged with offers to sell jerseys, sweaters, Denver Bronco sweaters, jumpers with stitching that will not chafe or itch small children, Redskin jerseys, every sort of jersey, jumper, sweater, pullover,  hoodie, from places all over the US. Fashionistas who require jerseys also seem to need many brands of makeup and also Ugg boots.

I’ve had hundreds of these jersey offers, including one which tells me that:  “as soon as you arrive on campus report promptly to the office accountable for assisting international students and scholars and Billy Cunliffe Jerseys can be offered  to eligible students who apply”…  Presumably all these jerseys are black…as are the Ugg boots, judging by a message which read: ‘The things you need to understand about black Uggs!’ ( and who is BIlly Cunliffe?)

These jersey offers are considerably less disturbing to my peace of mind and self-esteem than the ones which tell me, a propos of ‘Writing for Survival’ – “this is kinda boring”. And advise me to go to Yahoo for some good headline ideas. Or after the story on the Sixties, some bright young thing asked:  “What would you think of writing about interesting things?”

It feels like reading school reports when I see “Try to improve your posts so they can be more detailed”, written a propos of ‘A Soldiers Life’, and another comment on the post about the Sixties:  “I’m trying to understand more about this. Can you explain it clearer?” On the other hand I had that timid glow that faint praise from the head-mistress invoked in the past, when I read: “I really believe you will do much better in the future.”

As I pick myself up after these blighting assessments, I decide I’m better off staying in my own narrow, boring little world rather than venturing into the big cruel world of Spam where obviously all the bright young people live, where they dress in black Ugg boots, and Redskin jerseys in black, wear lots of make-up, and speak in a secret language which only they can make sense of. (They also seem to need a lot of Viagra)

In the mean-time I’ll struggle on with my secret language which has no vowells and no T and no R and no H or D on the keyboard. And I hope you’ll understand when I make a comment saying “Hell Jan, a bog fiend has a bugger glob that is very toughing and going blogal, but is still doping”.

( translation: Hello Jan, a boy friend has a bigger blog that is very touching and going global, but is still coping)

Food for Threadbare Gourmets

My version of ratatouille was on the menu last night. Himself had it with a lamb chop, I had it as is. I love it! The classic recipe has aubergines and peppers in it as well as tomatoes, but since, on behalf of my arthritis, I avoid stuff from the nightshade family, rather than have three forbidden hits, I leave out the aubergines. I substitute courgettes and mushrooms

After heating some olive oil, I simply chop and saute an onion  untill soft, add some chopped mushrooms, chopped red and yellow peppers, followed by courgettes, and then lots of chopped tomatoes. I cook them all until soft, and remove the tomato skins as I go along. It usually needs topping up with more olive oil as it progresses. I might add a squeeze or so of tomato puree at the end, and of course, salt and black pepper. It’s all the better for sitting around, and can be eaten hot or cold. When I’m having it as a meal, I sprinkle freshly grated parmesan over it – lavishly – and mop up the juices with some warm crusty bread… a glass of wine also assists with the digestion of course!!!

Food for Thought

Beyond the night…

Somewhere afar, some

White tremendous daybreak…

Rupert Brooke 1887 – 1915 English poet


Filed under bloggers, cookery/recipes, great days, humour, politics, Thoughts on writing and life

Blogging is the New Black

I’m part of the class of 2012. Five months of writing and blogging, and someone called me a seasoned blogger. That surprised me, as I still think of myself as a beginner, but since the posts have now racked up to fifty plus, I suppose I am seasoned.

I still look with awe at archives that have the magic number 11 on them, and am even more impressed with archives that go back years. What commitment, what hard work, what character and persistence!

The longer I blog, the deeper my understanding of this extraordinary phenomena becomes. It’s a new world which is developing, and establishing its own conventions and customs inside WordPress’s intelligent frame work. Bloggers find their own communities of like minds, and at the same time we stray across the boundaries to visit other small villages in the blogosphere.

I now know who to go to for hilarious blogs, and sardonic wit and humour, who will soothe my soul with the sweetness of animal life and farmy rituals, who’ll give me the inside running on events that are shaking the world today, and who’ll remind me of historic events, past and recent, that I’d almost forgotten. I know where to go to find out about fashion, and there’s that refuge for dreamers, the blogs with beautiful interiors, and the glorious recipes for foodies like me. There’s music and art, history and travel.

I know who to go to for photos of beauty and extraordinary depth and soul, and likewise for poetry which plunges deep and stirs the heart. There are the moving stories of lives overcoming incredible odds, and the accounts from others of making a difference in various parts of the planet. I live vicariously in France, in Spain, in Cornwall and Hampshire, in Colorado and Florida, Hawaii and Mexico, Canada and Nova Scotia, Melbourne and New York.

This is the magic world that only those with the courage to enter it discover, unknowing of the challenges of time and commitment. In Joseph Campbell’s lingo, we are the heroes on the hero’s journey creating a new world, and we have no idea where this new concept of planetary connection and friendship is taking us.

Will we one day be able to look back and see that we were the pioneers for the new consciousness; the global village where we all care about each other, and know that when we pollute or exploit our corner of the globe, it will impact on everyone else, and our planet too. Will we be the first hundred monkeys to wash our potatoes?    (Everyone knows the hundred monkey story, don’t they, when a few monkeys start washing the sand off their potatoes, and when it reaches a hundred monkeys, suddenly everyone does?)

When I look back at my first posts, I can see how much blogging has helped me to improve my writing. This is mainly because the blogging world offers encouragement and acceptance. A study in Vienna in the thirties in which groups of children were either encouraged all the time, criticised all the time, or received the normal see-saw of encouragement and criticism that most people get, produced interesting results.

The work of the criticised group deteriorated and fell behind the level they had previously reached, they had become so discouraged. The half and half group made normal progress. The group who only received encouragement streaked ahead, enjoyed their work, and produced great results.

So the unstinting encouragement that we bloggers receive from each other has a powerful outcome. It gives us the confidence to write from our hearts directly and honestly without fearing we will be put down, criticised or rejected. I know that I’m writing much more spontaneously now because I have the confidence given to me by other bloggers.

‘Likes’ and ‘comments’ are the joy of a blogger’s life, especially when it’s the sort of remark or comment that pushes the blog a bit further. Writing is only the one half of blogging – the response, the understanding and the interpretation – completes the act of creation, rounds out the concepts, and the writer and the reader are a symbiotic partnership in a way that readers of a newspaper or even a book never experience.

And unlike a newspaper, our blogs stick around, people go on reading them when we’ve moved onto the next posts, while the joke in newspapers is that today’s  story will be wrapping the rubbish tomorrow. So blogs are a halfway house between the longevity of a book and the ephemeral life of a newspaper.

Bloggers enter the lives of their fellows with courtesy and sensitivity. There’s such good manners and kindness in all the comments I read – witty, pithy, but never any word that steps over the line. Rather, there’s a concern for the well-being of each other, and support for those who are facing challenges, however the challenges may come. So we are reaching deeper levels of respect and compassion, sensitivity and insight into other cultures and communities. I’m sure we all had these qualities already, but blogging seems to exercise them daily.

So I’m a blogger, and I feel a bit like a bodger. In another post I mentioned bodging… a bodger was a craftsman who carved the legs of chairs in the woods in England, a hundred years ago and more. He worked alone in the beechwood, perfecting his skills, and that’s how it feels for me, sitting in my remote little fishing village in the Antipodes, finding the right words to express as accurately and truly and beautifully as I can, what I want to say.

I feel I’m a bodger too, a craftsman working alone. But I don’t feel alone- for the craft of blogging reaches out into the lives of all those other kindred spirits and great hearts around our beautiful planet. Namaste – I honour you all.

Food for Threadbare Gourmets

Friends are dropping in mid-morning on their way north for the holiday weekend, so it’ll be hot scones and strawberry jam to have with their coffee. For four of us I use eight oz self raising flour and about three oz of butter rubbed in like pastry. Beat an egg into a few tablesps of milk, plus a pinch of salt, and use this to make the dough. If you need more milk, just add a little as you need it. Don’t bother to roll it out, just quickly drop the dough on the bread board, and with as little handling as possible shape it into a flattish round or square about an inch and a half thick.

I then simply cut it into squares, instead of bothering with a pastry cutter. Put the little blobs of scone mix onto a buttered floured baking tray, cover and leave in the fridge for half an hour. Just before the guests are due, I pop them in a hot oven, and they cook in about fifteen minutes. I take them out when they still have very little colour, because they are so light at that stage.

Eaten hot with butter, strawberry jam and whipped cream, they always disappear in double quick time. If there should happen to be any left over, I slice them in half and fry them with bacon for the old chap’s breakfast. You can add sugar, cheese, sultanas, herbs, whatever you fancy. But I don’t feel you can improve on the classic scone.

Food for Thought

Suddenly from behind the rim of the moon, in long, slow-motion moments of immense majesty, there emerges a sparkling blue and white jewel, a light, delicate sky-blue sphere laced with slowly swirling veils of white, rising gradually like a small pearl in a thick sea of black mystery.

It takes more than a moment to fully realise this is Earth … home.

Edgar Mitchell from ‘The Home Planet’,  Astronaut, born 1930


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