Islandmomma

Exploring the Stories of the Islands and the Freedoms of Third Age


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To Blog or Not to Blog, That is the Question

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A year and three months since my last post. “Have I lost interest in blogging?”  The answer is no, or not exactly. The question has been, “What sort of blog do I want to be running?” That, plus some health issues which had me yoyo-ing between anger, frustration and lethargy, and family problems, have occupied me, and now it’s autumn, and the world is beginning to look a little different on several, different counts.

Autumn always makes me perk up. Perhaps it’s the back-to-school vibe (though goodness knows I hated school enough, so why would that be?); perhaps it’s the relative quiet which returns to this small, seaside town in which I am living; or perhaps because it usually heralds a trip to “foreign.” I’d like to be able to say that the dazzling hedonism of sunny days sapped my mojo, but that wouldn’t be true, not this year, nor last. Searing desert winds, calima, and more crowds than ever marked the last two summer seasons, and I muddled through it, cursing that I couldn’t honor my vow to never spend another summer here. A certain amount of sulking on that score took place.

If you’re bothering to read this, you deserve an explanation, but I’m not ready to go there yet, so let me just say that circumstances conspired to make me rethink a lot of “stuff,” and let’s get back to the subject of blogging.

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My 7 Links

I’m always taken by surprise when I get recognition of any kind whatsoever for this blog, so when Barbara Weibel of Hole in the Donut invited me to participate in the 7 Links exercise initiated by Tripbase  my first reaction, after seeing the list of other participants, was sheer panic.  Some of these names are legendary in travel blogging circles, and I know I’m just an amateur in comparison!  However, either I’m a blogger or I’m not, and I do keep harping on about taking this blog to the next level, so maybe this will give me a push!  The aim, after all, to quote Tripbase, is  “To unite bloggers (from all sectors) in a joint endeavor to share lessons learned and create a bank of long but not forgotten blog posts that deserve to see the light of day again.”  So here is my two centsworth:

1.  My Most Beautiful Post

This was by far the easiest.  My favorite time of year on Tenerife is almond blossom time.  I think, even in the last 6 months since I posted this, I have learned more about photography and presenting photos, but this was this year’s almond blossom post.

2.  My Most Popular Post

This one was easy too, that’s because I was lucky enough to be Freshly Pressed by WordPress, so I didn’t have to go count stats to find out!  I wrote Subtropical Snow after a visit to the mountains in March.

3. My Most Controversial Post

This one took most researching back on, and I found that I haven’t really had any negative feedback when I’ve said critical things, although I know that some Canarian people read my blog.  In one way it’s a shame.  The thing I am most critical of is the accumulation of rubbish in various places around the this beautiful island.  In this post about a tour of historical sites, including the place where Horatio Nelson lost his arm,  I deliberately courted a reaction, but got none, so I can only say that I attempted to be controversial!

4.  My Most Helpful Post

I’ve yet to finish a series of posts about my steps in becoming an expat, this one was the first, about things you should consider before upping and leaving, and although there are only two comments on the post itself I got lots of feedback from Facebook and Twitter.

5. The Post Whose Success Surprised Me Most…..

…..was this one.  It’s quite personal.  At this stage I was really still writing at people I knew, albeit they were spread throughout the world, and in another sense it is my first “real” blog post.  It was “…the fork stuck in the road,” and re-reading it makes me realize how far I have come in life’s proper journey.

6.  The Most Which Didn’t Get the Attention I Thought it Deserved

A post I did for World Environment Day.  About rubbish – again.  Why does nobody care about how we are messing up the planet?  You know, just for the sake of having something nice to look at instead of a beach full of cans and plastic bags?

7.  The Post of which I am Most Proud

I chose this one because for once I was happy with my writing and because it’s about my sons as well as about the island.

A big thank you to Barbara and to Tripbase because it was interesting going back over posts, and realizing how I and my life has changed over the time I began blogging.

Now to figure out who to nominate because so many blogs I follow are already on the list!

Cathy of Travelling with Sweeney                                                                                             Zoe of The Quirky Traveller                                                                                                       Andy and Jack of Buzztrips                                                                                                       Talon Windwalker of 1 Dad 1 Kid


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Trying to Live up to Expectations

Wow, but it was a thrill seeing my blog on the Freshly Pressed, front page of WordPress, but, after the happy dance was over, I got to fretting – what should I write next? How could I “live up to” the post which earned that distinction? So is it true that numbers of random strangers read my ramblings? Do I have a responsibility to them now to produce something similar to that post, or can I meander off chunnering on about the events in the Middle East or the state of Canarian education?

As you can see, I wimped out, and posted photos.  I would probably have done that anyway.  The weekend’s full moon was spectacular and a global event and a test (failed, clearly, in execution if not in composition) of my newly-acquired photographic skills.

The thing is, I’m not entirely sure where this blog is going, it’s a bit of a runaway train, and of course, I don’t want it to end up being a wreck.  It’s evolved, and it’s taken on a life of its own to some extent.  I often find myself sitting down to write one thing and ending up posting something entirely different – like now.

My life is, like Shirley Valentine’s, very ordinary at the moment, though I appreciate that its setting is extra-ordinary to many people. So I sit and wonder, having started up this train, what on earth I can write about.  It certainly doesn’t snow here every day, and I don’t go up into the mountains every day either, and yet I can see where the mundane for me might be something different for someone else, and so I ramble on.

I’m lucky that this ordinariness includes moments like today’s lunch of tapas including a salpicón de marisco (a mixture of prawns, mussels, crabsticks, peppers and onions in a light vinaigrette dressing), pimientos de padrón (small, green peppers, fried in olive oil until they are about to crisp and liberally sprinkled with salt) and churros de pescado (battered and fried chunks of white fish) washed down with chilled white wine, followed by the coffee I have christened the super barraquito, and all consumed under a sky and next to an ocean so blue that they defy description.

I’m lucky that a trip to sort out car taxes led to a breakfast of milky coffee and a slice of moist tortilla española under shady trees in a street cafe where the early morning breeze was balmy enough to be wearing only cotton cargoes and a T-shirt.

I’m lucky that driving to a class yesterday the road wound me through hills and vineyards for a while.

And I’m lucky that most days I can forget the frazzled traffic on the autopista and take the long way home, just so I can take in this view.

I’m fond of saying that everywhere is interesting, that you can find the interest and the beauty even in the midst of the ugly, and I firmly believe that. I also would prefer to be in any number of places rather than here, places I know and love more, and places I have yet to see that are calling me, sometimes so strongly I want to stamp my feet like a child and sulk that I can’t go right now.  Yet, if I have to be stuck somewhere I have to admit that this ain’t half bad.  The climate is nigh perfect; the landscapes, which range from lush to spectacular are unequalled; there are historical towns and cities, and there are modern resorts; there are fresh foods including “mango and papaya you can pick right off the tree”. (Okaaaaay hands up if you know which song in which musical that came from!); and there are wines, there are fruity reds and there are chilled,  floral whites which slide down so easily on a warm day like today.

In short, I suppose, I am counting my blessings, or some of them………for now.


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Blogging the World Project

http://www.transglobeblog.com/

As anyone who knows me is aware, I’m passionately in favor of anything which brings people together and promotes better understanding around the world.  A fellow blogger here in the Canary Islands (whom I know only online) has begun this project, which seems worthwhile to me.  Maybe there is someone in a region he doesn’t have covered yet who might be interested in joining it?