Wildlife on wheels

Bit of a dearth of blogging lately I know, my only excuse is starting work and spending all my spare time trying to stop the big fat pigeon from eating all the food we put out in about thirty seconds. There will be more on that and my new job in another post soon.

In the mean time I have been guest blogging for the Wildlife Trust junior web pages on the joys of combining cycle touring with watching wildlife. The result is over here: http://wildlifewatch.org.uk/wildlife-cycling I hope you like it.

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Seven days, seven blogs. What have I started?

If you have been reading the blog again this week then you can skip this post. It’s a bit of a repeat of the first one of the year but I’ve had a change of heart and my confidence is returning, mostly thanks to some of you readers, so here is another attempt at explaining where I am.

I was really disappointed with myself for letting the blog fall by the wayside in 2015 so I thought I would start this year off with a bit of a challenge and try and get back into the swing of it. I decided not to do the #dryjanuary challenge that I did last year but it’s always nice to start things off with a bit of a test so I have promised myself I will try and write every day and actually publish what I write. The hardest part about the challenge by far is thinking up topics to write about and then being brave enough to hit the publish button. For this reason I have kept a bit of a low profile for the first week and only people that have either kept their subscription to the blog or stumbled on it by accident will have been aware of the first seven posts. I am very relieved and incredibly grateful to have received some lovely encouraging comments over the last few days though, so I’m afraid you’re stuck with me now. I’ll try and keep a daily post going throughout January and see if it becomes a habit.

As it happens it’s been quite an eventful week to start the year and I haven’t actually found it too difficult to find things to write about. From the prospect of possibly going blind in one eye to a death in the family and a visit from my sister I have ended up with a kind of pick ‘n mix counter of subject material which has been great. I haven’t even touched on learning to fly a drone yet. Well, when I say fly, it’s more a case of launching the thing into the air and then seeing which piece of furniture or potted plant it will destroy next. (The spider plant is looking very neat at the moment.) It’s great having interesting or amusing subjects to cover but what I would really like to crack is making the writing speak for itself rather than relying on the story. That’s the challenge that really fires me up. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than reading something and realising that it is actually the writing that I am enjoying as much as or even more than the subject matter.

I am conscious of the fact that this blog started life as an account of a cycle adventure and I know lots of people who followed that story have got bored and gone away now but I make no apologies for that. I’m sure I will touch on cycling again once we get back on the bikes but for now this blog is my play thing. It’s a chance to play with words and phrases and to try and be creative. To try to turn jumbled thoughts into understandable ideas, to paint pictures that convey feelings and emotions or just to tell a story in a way that might amuse the reader. I would like to be able to promise that everything I write will be funny, incisive, entertaining and meaningful but it’s very unlikely to be a promise I could keep. What I can promise is that I will enjoy the writing and if a few people enjoy the reading then I’ll be happy.

Here’s a nice picture just to say thanks for sticking with me this far.

You can't beat a rainbow over the sea

You can’t beat a rainbow over the sea

Blogging a dead cause

You will tell me if I become a boring blogger won’t you? It’s something that’s been on my mind today. I have just been back and read my very first virgin blog post because it touched on the potential entertainment value of a personal diary versus a public blog. Way back then, last October in fact, I was making the decision to blog rather than simply keeping a private log of our days on the road. The latter is useful and interesting only to those on the actual journey and maybe one or two close friends and family members. The public blog on the other hand has to be so much more than a daily, blow by blow record of weather, distance, gradients and time keeping. You know what I mean; “We woke to blue/grey/black skies and were packed and away by 8/9/10am. The road was surprisingly easy/difficult/steep/flat” …….. and so on, and so on until, “we pitched the tent at 4/5/6pm ………” Nobody wants to read that kind of thing but I am a little worried that I might drift into it once we are on the road.

It was definitely a wise choice to start the blog so long before our departure because it has enabled me to practice writing and, more importantly, forced me to write about subjects other than the preparations for the trip. After all, there is only so much entertainment to be squeezed out of packing lists and self storage units. And it’s been a tough squeeze at times I can tell you. I do worry though, that having had so much time to contemplate the meaning of life, once on the road my writing will become consumed by daily routines to the exclusion of the magic that comes from cycle touring and travelling in general. Which is why I am genuinely asking you to tell me if that starts happening. There is no necessity for you to be excessively rude or mean. Just a gentle reminder that I made a promise to try to be interesting. Something along the lines of, “that last post was a bit boring” will do fine thank you.

Boring

On a lighter note, I had an interesting interview with a careers advisor yesterday. It was very productive and has given me something to think about in terms of work in the future. If, in the unlikely event that the blog isn’t serialised by Radio 4 before being turned into a Hollywood Blockbuster starring Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt cycling around Britain, at least I’ll have something to fall back on.

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