On a rest and relaxation visit to my sister Susanne in London, I have been fascinated by the world of blogging. I must confess I am amazed that so many busy people do have the time to write a blog, whether politics or daily doings- something I don't have time for in Devon. In fact, though the college where I work as a lecturer does have a joint college blog, vainly started a few years ago by some intrepid spirit, no one seems to have the time to add to it. Does that mean we are all more busy in Devon? I don't thinks so. However, I do believe we probably have a less frantic pace of life so maybe get more 'stuff' into our day; therefore we may have no time to blog. Bloggers in Plymouth and the rest of Devon please comment!
Life in Plymouth and the rest of Devon is much easier to deal with than London. In the 70's, for two years, I did live in the depth of Hackney, so I did do my bit of struggling with my small children in rush hours, the tube, crowds and noisy places. That is really what is so different. In the towns in Devon obviously there is some noise (traffic people etc - normal stuff) but just 15 minutes drive away or a very short bus ride away and you are breathing in fresh air and can see cows, sheep, horses, donkeys etc in green fields or can take a walk on the beach with your dog. And there is space! (grammatically incorrect sentence here as you never start a sentence with and except by poetic licence, which I am claiming here - college lecturer's hat on - it's never far away!!)
What was I blogging about? Oh yes the space. Now that doesn't mean that all you guys should pack up your bags and head over my way to Devon. Then it would be too crowded in Devon and London would be so empty that I would have to come down here. However, we do welcome you all as visitors. Then you will be called 'grockles' by the locals.
I do like what my sister Susanne has done with the garden at the back of her flat in London. It is a lovely green space - a normal garden. In fact the view from her kitchen window shows how many of her neighbours value their green space, as most gardens are beautiful with grass and flowers and trees. As a keen gardener myself, (we are from a line of keen gardeners), I always like to look at and admire people's gardens. I believe that a garden tells you much about a family's ethos.
As I live on the edge of Plymouth (yet only ten minutes drive from my big and busy college and from the centre of Plymouth), I have the best of estuary views and a huge corner plot. I grow vegetables and salad stuff- some of which plucked straight from my garden on Monday am, Susanne and I enjoyed in our stir fry last night. Can't get fresher than that! I also grow fruit - apples, pears, damsons, plums, blueberries, gooseberries, raspberries and strawberries. I have a wildlife garden with hedgehogs, slow worms and other wiggly creatures and my darling husband's pride of place, as well as his beloved bamboo on the other side of the garden, is the pond, built on a slope with a waterfall, fish, frogs and newts. In fact the garden does take up quite a lot of my time - hence in truth I cannot ever have the time to become a real blogger.
Other bits of my time are spent with my German shepherd dog called Shadow, who is now almost nine. She's quite a girl and very protective! Bob and I often go to the nearby beach or the local river walks where Shadow loves to dive into the water and then, when she gets out, come and shake all over us. I generally hide behind my Bob, who is over six foot, so he gets the shower.
As most of my friends have similar gardens etc, this is really life in Plymouth, if you chose it. However, what London does have, that we don't have is all the shops. I am not talking about Oxford Street touristy stuff. I am talking about the local high streets in each area, which are filled with such a diversity of shops; I really love them. Sure we do have shops in Plymouth but most are a bit basic in what they sell, whilst the local out of town ones are very basic and boring. I went into two fantastic 'health' food shops the other day in Kentish town. So big and such a variety. I could have spent hours in each one looking at all the things I had not come across before, enjoying the smells of all the spices and organics. However, Suz was in a hurry as we were on our way somewhere so I couldn't browse as much as I would like!
In terms of shops in Devon, what we do have in some of the villages are little quirky shops with the unexpected. Last week, Suz phoned me and asked me to buy a magnetic notice board for her newly 'refurbed' kitchen. Apparently she couldn't find one in London or the Internet (which is the whole world) that was interesting enough. I was in Kingsbridge, a small South Ham's town in Devon, where Bob and I are soon moving to, and found just the thing in one of the 'quirky' 'Aladdin cave' type shops that exist there. It is tasteful, unusual and was the only one of it's kind there. I have never seen one like it before and the price was right. Excellent! Now in case all you London blog readers don't know, that where the saying comes from 'if you can't get what you want anywhere in the world, you will find it in Kingsbridge' :))
I will be blogging more about Kingsbridge before I go....
However, though I could write a book that might be interesting to me and mine, it probably is not interesting to others.
That brings me to my final comment for now about blogging. The thing that really amazes me about blogging is how people respond to what others write. It appears that 'total strangers' get annoyed, or nasty about what my sister writes- yes very nasty and write really abusive stuff - then monitor her blog to write some more. Susanne showed me how she logs the URL locations of the nasty ones and they do all seem to come from the same sources. My thoughts on this are 1. This is Internet bullying/harassment and 2. If you don't like what a blogger is writing then you must be either a sad or a sadistic person to keep reading the blog. Having read the most disgusting ones sent to my sister, I do have a little trick up my sleeve to deal with them. When I get back to Plymouth, some of my very 'tecky' friends have the software and knowledge to be able to pinpoint the actual street locations of the nasty replies. That will be interesting!!