Posts Tagged ‘blogging’

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Time for a bit of a milestone celebration, I think – WordPress have just let me know, by way of a trophy style icon on my dashboard, that this blog is now one year old. Hurrah! Crack open the champagne, pass around the canapés and let’s party like it’s 1999.

On second thoughts, let’s not: I fell asleep then, before the fireworks. I’m not a fan of big parties where the music is so loud you have to shout to make yourself heard; where there is a sparseness of food which, when you finally get offered some, is usually bits of unrecognisable stuff slathered in runny sauce, mounted on flaky pastry that is impossible to eat while standing up, sans napkin, balancing a plate and glass precariously while already well oiled guests brush past with an abandoned lack of respect for your personal space.

Or maybe I’ve just been going to the wrong parties.

A Grayson Pot

A Grayson Pot

So, I got to thinking about dinner parties instead.

Perhaps I could have a fantasy one. Lots of people have listed their fantasy guest list – who would I choose? Hmm. Regular followers won’t be surprised to learn that Grayson Perry would be on my list. Eccentric, cross dressing British winner of the 2003 Turner Prize, Royal Academician Grayson was appointed a CBE in the 2013 Birthday Honours list for his services to contemporary art. Perhaps he’d bring me one of his ceramic pots as a thank you. It could be a rejected one, or even a chipped one, Grayson, I wouldn’t mind.

Next up, I’d invite Janet Street-Porter. Whatever you think of her (and I don’t think she’d care, either way), there is no denying her contribution to journalism and broadcasting. I’ve been a fan ever since she worked on the long defunct ‘Petticoat’ which was the first trendy teenage magazine I ever read and I was delighted to see her reach the final recently of British Celebrity Masterchef. The girl has many strings.

Jo Brand, English comedienne and regular panel show guest has me crying with laughter with her dry wit and deadpan delivery, would make a great dinner party guest, as would, I think Bill Turnbull, presenter of BBC’s Breakfast News. Bill makes quietly observed asides as he presents the news. He is informed, amusing and keeps bees. Perhaps he’d bring a jar of honey. That would be nice. I could put it in Grayson’s pot.

As my guest list begin to take shape my thoughts are turning to what I am going to feed them which is where this dinner party idea falls down, fantasy or otherwise. I might be creative in other areas but not in anything culinary. Spending hours over a complicated recipe holds no interest or satisfaction for me, to have it scoffed down in a matter of minutes. It makes me think that Michael Landy, the British artist who became famous for creating an art work called Break Down, (in which he destroyed all his possessions), should have been a chef – then he wouldn’t have had to reapply for a passport when he realised that while courting huge publicity for himself, it actually turned out to be rather inconvenient.

I manage to provide adequate and wholesome meals on a regular basis for my family who spend much of their time longingly watching the plethora of baking and cookery shows available at every waking moment, knowing that unless they have a bash themselves, the only way to experience food like that is to take me to a Michelin starred restaurant.

So I’ve decided to scrap the dinner party idea. Somebody somewhere said that we should never meet our heroes and I think there’s a lot of good sense in that. People in the public eye have a public persona that they hide behind and maybe as themselves, they’d be far less interesting than we are led to believe, although I’ll make an exception in Grayson’s case.

But I’ve just had a much better idea: because where would this blog be without its readers? I’d like to raise a glass to all of you, who have dropped in, who have followed, and most of all, who have commented and traded ideas, stories, jokes and banter. You’ve encouraged, informed and motivated me. It’s been great to meet you all and to dip into your worlds. I’ve travelled to far flung places from the comfort of my armchair, seen fabulous photographs and art works, been entertained and educated because of you all. So thanks to you all, very much.

Here’s to another blogging year – cheers!

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You know that phrase – ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?’  Well, take heed, because I didn’t and there has been much gnashing of teeth and frustration here this week, I can tell you. Like a teenager with troublesome spots, I couldn’t leave it alone and the more I picked at it, the worse it got. (Excuse the simile but I’ve been surrounded by them this week. Teenagers, that is, not spots).

 I thought it might be fun to change the appearance of my blog pages – and while I was at it, to try and rid my Community pictures of a few prospectors who appeared a while ago and whose presence was beginning to irritate me. You know the type – ‘professional’ bloggers who click once expecting you to think they are your new best friend. You never see them again.

 Now, whether it’s my inherited chunk of healthy cynicism or the fact that I used to work in publicity and know the value of its free worth, I soon cottoned onto the fact that by clicking back on their site out of curiosity, earns them payment for no effort on their part other than to sit in front of a screen all day, clicking ‘likes’ on every conceivable category in the WordPress reader. Well call me downright mean, but I’m not about to help some lazy slob earn money.  Go and get a proper job.

 (Phew – I think I’ve made myself clear: I feel better for that).

 So, wanting to refresh my page I started fiddling around with the widgets. For any non-bloggers reading this, widgets are the little devices provided by WordPress so that us bloggers can personalise our pages, have pictures down the side, a category box, social media links – that kind of thing.

 When I first started blogging I was fascinated to see from the stats provided just how far flung this World Wide Web thing is. Tim Berners Lee was onto something with this, wasn’t he? However, I realised, for similar reasons to the ones above that the number of followers recorded is in no way commensurate with the number of actual followers, so I removed that statistic from my page. Easy!

I then experimented with the word cloud but couldn’t get it to look as I wanted, so binned it; I juggled around with several picture gallery ideas – didn’t like them – and then I altered my Community widget. Everyone disappeared. That wasn’t supposed to happen – and when I frantically tried to retrieve them, they had gone.

 I panicked a bit and then got really cross; then shut the computer down for the night in the hope they would miraculously reappear. They didn’t. More fiddling ensued the next day, and the day after that when a few familiar faces began to pop up. Because I wasn’t approaching this with a methodical plan, I couldn’t remember what I had done to get the few back in the first place.

 However, as you can now see – doggedness paid off: everyone who should be there hopefully is and any cheapskate random clicker has been banished for good.

 At least, that’s the plan.

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It’s official. Apparently I‘m a spammer, which is why I’ve been having trouble with posting comments on the blogs I follow.

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Thanks to everyone who left suggestions on my last post – all of which I tried. My computer has never been so tuned up and efficient and I have learned how to do things on the techno front that I’d never have dreamed possible.

However, I am indebted to Gav Young, who discovered me languishing in the depths of his spam box and alerted me to this peculiar turn of events. Gav writes insightful and funny observations about his life as a publican living on the east coast. I read all his musings and his rants and usually agree with his sentiments. Thanks, Gav.

Now, how to resolve the issue? I feel like I’ve been given an unjustified detention for giggling at the back of the classroom – probably with BarbTaub – a very funny blogger, who, horrors of horrors, I found at the bottom of my spam box, along with EAM Harris, who writes interesting book reviews.

What is going on?

I trawled the WordPress site, left questions on their forum and I searched the Askimet site for clues as to the reversal of my predicament.  This is what I found:

How to Know if your Comment was Detected as Spam

If your comment was marked as spam by Akismet, then you will not see the Awaiting Moderation notice like you normally would. If you submit a comment on a site, and you do not see your comment text along with a notice saying awaiting moderation, then you should immediately contact the site administrator. They can help pull your comment out of the spam box, and overtime Akismet will learn from its mistakes.

So in light of this, last night I sent e mails to Rod, at Reflections in Puddles and Terry (the Pick Man) who kindly searched their dashboards for any evidence of a comment from me. Thanks, guys – I really appreciate your help and apologise for disturbing your peace on a Sunday evening.

This morning, Roughseas let me know that she had found several messages from me in her spam box and has reinstated them on her blog post. Thanks, R-S.

Now, will that be enough to stop Askimet thinking I’m up to no good, I wonder? I guess I shall just have to wait patiently and see.

In the meantime, could I ask for your help: if you do post something and you usually find a comment from me – would you all be so wonderful as to check your spam boxes occasionally in case I still need to be rescued?

Thank you all very much. Happy Blogging!

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