Looking back in wonder …

We all know the years fly by.

Back in the 80’s I was wondering what the year 2000 might be like.

We are now 20 years past that.

I have been keeping a personal blog (DayOne) since May 2014.

I never believed I would keep it going.

I have.

Every day without fail.

Maybe because it is on my phone.

And I’m always on my phone.

It allows me a search facility to pin down certain events, places, people that are vague, until it brings up the detailed journal page.

It is my retrievable, detailed memory.

Stored in the cloud as backup to my brain.

It offers a peek at what I’d written 1 year back, 2 years back etc on the same day as I may be writing today.

“Can it really be 2 years ago?” I sigh ….

Memories captured, neatly and clearly (well to the best of my ability).

It is, essentially, a book of my recent life.

Well since May 2014.

And when I read it, at random, complete with photos I have attached to the relevant journal entry, I marvel at what I have experienced.

I smile often and sometimes cry just a little.

But I remain grateful that I am blessed with being able to keep on writing my book …

And still looking back in wonder at an incredible journey ….

6 months a blogger …

At school I used to dread the annual reports on my progress.

The teachers told it how it was.

No holds barred.

“If he put as much energy into his school work as he does into his chatting to his mates he might do well”

My father would smile.

My mother would frown.

So I approach this half year report into my new experience of being a blogger with an objective and reflective stance.

I’ve realised that I just love writing.

I also enjoy reading what others have written.

I get a kick out of following other bloggers and commenting when I feel the urge.

And that’s often.

Quite simply it’s been both educational and amazing.

My e mail in box is full of notifications of new posts … and I don’t mind at all.

I love it, in fact.

I feel I’m building up a connection with lots of new people, continuously.

It’s been a really supportive and friendly community.

Yes, I know I am still chatting to mates – to quote my teachers.

But I think I’m doing quite well and enjoying the experience immensely.

Thank you blogging community – all of you! 😎

The trip into town …

I’d booked the exhibition tickets a month back.

I meet my friend Brian regularly to keep in touch and a “trip into town” normally takes us back to our days in business when we both worked together in the City of London.

We rarely talk about business.

We talk about our lives after business.

We talk about family, current events, we stray into politics, we share funny stories, we talk about writing (he’s a great writer).

It doesn’t really matter what exhibition/event we book.

It’s just another great opportunity to meet.

However he does his homework and reads up, in advance, on the exhibition background, history, future events.

It keeps me on my toes – I’d better read up too.

Time flies over the day as we chat and chat.

Topics at random.

Highs and lows.

Laughter and the occasional difficult moment where unexpected emotion might kick in.

And takes us both by surprise.

Another great exchange.

Another delightful, supportive, trip into town ….

Blog Extraordinary …

My Australian friends, Mark and Louise, are coming to the end of their amazing adventure holiday which covered parts of the USA and South America.

Mark’s private daily blog, shared with a few select friends, started steadily in the early days.

Just a few lines.

Just a few photos.

I’ve used one of his photos on this blog.

Then something happened.

I think Mark discovered he really loved writing.

He also realised he was really good at it.

He included more and more amazing photos to support his expanding blog posts.

Every blog post delved into more detail, expressing more and more of their personal emotions and experiences.

It became essential reading.

He supplemented it every now and again with video calls to me when words sometimes could not cover how he felt.

He also called me when my own public blog prompted him to check I was ok.

I was, but that was nice.

Wow, who thought this adventure would be more than just places?

It would be a lasting record of their experience shared with a lucky few.

I’m realising blogs, even private ones, are more than just nice diversions.

More than just views and perspectives expressed.

They have a power and presence that can stay in the cloud for ever for others to enjoy and learn.

Well done Mark and Louise, you have made your own personal history ….

And shared the journey, the places, the feelings, the experience in a very powerful way…. thank you.

Little things matter …

I’ve been thinking.

A dangerous pastime.

My mind has been buzzing.

No particular order of topics or thoughts – just a background of noise making me drift off and then focus back for a while.

When I analyse it there are one or two issues I’m wrestling with.

All manageable.

No real showstoppers.

But it’s the little things that either make me feel good or low.

An accumulation of little things that make a big difference.

Some words of encouragement, some humour, some sharing of stories, some help you have given and received.

Then you face those outstanding tasks that keep on slipping, some unbudgeted events that keep throwing your plans out of gear, some unreasonable remarks or responses.

They all add up.

They can tip the balance on my mood.

You need to seek out the good little things.

You need friends who make you feel great.

Consistently and predictably great.

You need blog exchanges that make you smile or think differently.

I’ve been grateful for these!

The negatives will always flow in.

But you can offset them if you work out how important they really are and, of course, keep on collecting those positive vibes.

This is an unusual blog from me.

From where did this surface?

I just feel so much better writing it down …😎

I didn’t know Marjorie …

I’ve been resting on this bench seat for the last 20 years at the end of my bike ride to Writtle.

I have never ever noticed the plaque on the back of the seat.

Marjorie Jessie Hill

1900 – 1997

This is a worry.

Is the plaque new?

Unlikely, it looks quite weather worn.

Do I only look forwards when I take a seat facing the pond and the ducks?

How could I have missed it?

Today I am sitting on this seat reading Greta Thunberg’s short book on climate change.

She’s the Swedish girl born in 2003 causing quite a stir of late.

The book “No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference” is a collection of her recent speeches around the world telling everyone to wake up about climate change and take it seriously.

Marjorie, 97 when she died in 1997, missed all of this.

No climate change awareness in those days.

Perhaps it wasn’t changing then.

Greta’s point is that nobody is paying attention now.

And they should be.

Now.

Not for us but certainly for future generations.

Like me with the plaque, it’s there but not registering.

The link between my plaque incident and the book was poignant and was not lost on me.

The hairs on the back of my neck bristled as I read the book.

I’m missing the big picture and the small ones too it seems.

I need to keep my eyes open in future.

About the future.

We all do….

Let the music in – part 2

I wasn’t expecting for there to be a part 2.

After last week’s delightful experience selling my old guitar amplifier to Clive (I’ll always remember him) I had completely forgotten about our band rehearsal scheduled for this afternoon.

We meet up every fortnight or so to rehearse for a gig we don’t have until April 2020!

We like to be prepared because I find it reduces the nerves on the night if we know what we are doing.

The interesting aspect here is that we are normally a 3 piece band but have added an extra friend of mine to play additional guitar and keyboard in the band to enhance the sound plus my brother in law who is our excellent sound-man.

The chemistry is pretty amazing.

We laugh, we joke, we play, we revise, we challenge, we just love playing.

We are very lucky to be able to do this and we do not take it for granted.

Music is a hobby – we will not be pop stars.

But that is not the point.

The point is that we write our own stuff (not sure where this comes from), play cover songs and just enjoy the music.

We see each other a lot.

Individually we are not bad musicians at all even if I do say so myself.

As a group however we are just so much better than the sum of our parts 😎

The story of life in my experience …

I never thought …

I’m not normally totally surprised.

I’ve always enjoyed writing so the prospect of trying out some real blogging seemed both an unexpected and adventurous decision.

Just over 2 months in I am sitting here just marvelling at the experience.

I’ve written nearly 40 posts (I never know when they might surface!) and have now read probably 100’s of fellow bloggers thoughts, ideas, humour, perspective, reflections and advice.

Wow!

A live, constantly updated database of global thoughts.

Ready for me to dive into and enjoy.

To see where they randomly lead me.

I’ve been commenting on others’ posts (I’ve never been one to not give positive feedback when the writing is so inspiring) and I’ve been receiving some supportive comments back too.

Global in scope (I am so surprised at the geographical reach of the blogs readership) and updates of likes and comments just come in at all hours of the day and night.

Just thought I’d put down how enjoyable and exciting it has been so far.

A virtual world I guess.

But much to my surprise and absolute delight , not virtual at all …

Thanks to you all 😎

Renewing my past …

Calling in, on impulse, to my local library was only a test to see what it offered.

I used to be a member of my local library years back.

When there used to be library tickets and date stamps in the front of the books.

When the keen borrowed 4 books at a time over a 4 week loan period.

When you got embroiled in the first book and the others were neglected.

And either renewed with optimism or handed back defeated.

This time, some 20 years after my membership probably expired due to lack of use, I gingerly crept up to the help desk and asked if I could rejoin.

A friendly chap, not condescending, just a helpful guy, issues me with a new card (with a bar code) and a small version for my key ring lest I forget the large one.

Three months later I am having the time of my life.

A few reference books on loan, a reserved one nicely notified as being available, a spell or two on the computers (linked to the internet – where was that 20+ years ago?).

An enrolment in an online free course, a link to the local library page on my Facebook page (I’m not that old!) giving me daily news (well library related stuff).

Oh how I’ve missed you dear library.

It’s like getting a part of my life back, but updated.

It’s a positive treat just finding out how much resource is available, ably assisted by some really helpful library assistants who can help a past library member get bang up to date and positively energised.

I love it, me.

Unexpected journeys …

I have just finished reading a science fiction trilogy.

Over about 2 years I’m afraid – I’ve never been one to rush.

I often get diverted by other books that just wing their way into my life.

Gifts, recommendations, bargain prices.

The issues for me are often continuity and memory.

Can I remember, as I continue through the trilogy, what happened in the previous book?

I cheat, of course, and scan read the last few chapters of the previous book I read often a few months back. This helps retrieve the story, the characters.

That science fiction trilogy was simply awesome.

Full of great characters, full of nasty pieces of work, full of concepts and ideas that make me continually sit back and wonder.

How can anybody write this stuff with such imagination, flair and purpose?

How gifted are those that can deliver those gripping words and paragraphs with such skill and consistency?

Thank you science fiction trilogy author.

You have taken me somewhere I never expected to go.

And I am so delighted you did.

Simply incredible ….