the everyday things

Last year I went on a Social Media course with Beth to learn about using social media effectively in her business. In one of the breaks, a group of us were discussing how Instagram could be used to capture the “behind the scenes” aspect of a business, which sounded a good idea to me. I suppose it’s like a peek into the kitchen of a restaurant or looking through a craftsperson’s sketchbook seeing the progression from initial doodle to finished article.

Perhaps more often, Instagram users record the everyday occurrences. The mundane and the ordinary. But of course your everyday and ordinary may not be the same as mine. Your glut of fruit may be an exotic and expensive import that I use sparingly. I take clouds for granted but to you they’re a rare delight.

I had a brief fling with Instagram but it seems to be fizzling out, mainly because my phone takes such mediocre photographs and I lack the inclination to keep checking to see what everyone else has snapped. As they said on the course, it’s better to do one thing well, than everything badly.

So, instead of posting the everyday and the ordinary on Instagram, maybe I’ll put it here instead. I suppose it’s a bit like the “About” page on a blog; we write it at the beginning and never think to update it because it we’re too busy writing about something more interesting.

in the snow 2012

in the snow 2012

What could be more everyday than where we live? I’ve never thought to tell you about it before yet it’s possibly not at all like yours. No cute thatched roof or beams and plaster but a solid, brick house probably built in the early 1800s, though it sits on the site of a much earlier farmstead. In England we take for granted the history that surrounds us every day; excavations have unearthed the remains of Iron Age settlements nearby and we’re next to the route of Stane Street, an important Roman road. It’s strange to think that Roman centurions may have tramped past only metres from where I sit now.

bread

And for something a little different but still typical Instagram fodder – today’s loaf of bread that I managed to catch on the side of the oven as I slid it in.

Do you use Instagram? Are you a Social Media junkie or are blogs enough for you?

this week

This week I’ve been …

spartan apple

Eating apples. This Spartan apple is one of my favourites – a real Snow White apple – that’s crisp and juicy.

soaking fruit for Christmas cake

Soaking fruit in a mixture of light sugar syrup and Sloe Gin in preparation for Christmas cake making. Topping up the Sloe Gin as it gets absorbed to make the fruit plump and luscious. Who wants a Christmas cake with hard little currants, gritty between their teeth? Not me.

punting on River Cam

Playing the tourist in Cambridge. Punting on the River Cam, wrapped up in a rug like an old granny. Walking across Parkers Piece before breakfast on a bright Sunday morning. Visiting museums and standing in awe at the majesty of King’s College Chapel. Wandering through ancient colleges and down narrow streets.

striped rhubarb jelly

Having a wobble about blogging. There are days when I feel that it’s all been done before and I have nothing new to add. I lack direction and inspiration. Doing is more important and fun than writing about it. Honestly, do you really care if I’ve been eating apples or sloshing gin into some dried fruit? Some of the blogs I read are shifting and changing too. Adverts fill the side bar and sponsored posts are written in praise of products that don’t interest me (or at least they might do if it wasn’t such a blatant product promotion). Other blogs have been abandoned, their writers departed to Instagram or Facebook, leaving words unwritten and the door banging in the wind.

When the power came back on, did I rush to my computer to catch up with my blog reading? There was a time when that may have been the case, but not this time. I checked the important blogs, but there were so many other unread posts that I deleted all the blog feeds that I didn’t care about and the list of “Blogs I Follow” in my Reader has been whittled down. So, now that the excess is gone, perhaps I’ll wobble less!

a cabinet of curiosities

Ever since I read about John Tradescant’s collection of all things strange and rare that he housed in “The Ark” in London, I’ve longed for a little Cabinet of Curiosities. Not a houseful like Tradescant or even a room as the original Cabinets were, but just a little display cupboard.

 

collection

 

For a while I used a small glass topped box to display a few tiny treasures but Beth decided it would be an excellent display box filled with miniature bottles of Raspberry Gin and other little objects and she took it way to use on drink stall so now my collections live mainly in my coat pockets (collections being baler twine, penknife, funny shaped stones, Christmas tree labels …). Occasionally I make a small arrangement on a shelf or table but for some reason these don’t resemble the tasteful vignettes beloved by pinners on Pinterest  but attract spare change, pens and bits of paper until the whole thing turns into a dust covered heap of rubbish that I sweep away into the bin.

 

beethams bottle

 

So, what will I put in my Cabinet of Curiosities? Some old coins and a rumbler bell that have been unearthed in the fields, an old bottle that we found under the floorboards, pretty shells and stones picked up on walks. A fossil or two would be good or perhaps like Tradescant I might find the hand of a mermaid.

Until I have a cabinet, I shall make do with a virtual one.

 

nature study

 

On the nature shelf – a collection of the transition from winter to spring with an over wintered rose hip and poppy seedhead, feathers and snowdrops.

 

elephant skull from kenya

 

On the shelf from abroad – an enormous elephant skull in Kenya that will have to stay in my virtual cabinet as it will be far too big for a real one.

On the blogging shelf – a curiosity about comments because everyone seems to be writing about it at the moment so I may as well join in. I love getting comments here and enjoy reading comments on other people’s blogs unless there’s too many or they’re unnecessarily obsequious. Sometimes the comments change my mind about the post or just make me laugh and I love it when they take a flight of fancy and go off at a complete tangent.  I hate it when they get cliquey as when a group of bloggers meet up (in real life), each blog about how wonderful it was and then use the comments section to publicly thank each other for the presents they exchanged and remind each other about their fabulous day. Ooh, bit of a rant.

If I’ve got something constructive to say then I add my comment to the list or tweet the author but otherwise, I hit the “like” button just to say I was here and enjoyed reading your words or on rare occasions I slink away mystified. I don’t expect a reply so rarely return to sites to check, though I’m always delighted when my notifications box shows I’ve had a reply to a comment on another WordPress blog. Whilst I admire bloggers who reply to every comment or always make a reciprocal visit, I’m not that diligent and any effort to do so is never long lasting though I do answer any questions asked.

My maxim when commenting is that dissent is fine but rudeness is never acceptable; that I always give my name and never hide behind an “anonymous” identity; that I try to remain calm and have another go whenever I type in the wrong number and letters for that wretched word verification thing that some people insist on using.

I’m curious to hear your view. Go on, leave a comment.