Christmas dog would like to talk to you about the joys of the season and goodwill to all dogs but he has some important food to attend to… this might take some time. He says to check back in the new year…
It is that time of year again, that time when I post a picture of a dog to celebrate some festival or other such as [please insert appropriate midwinter religious feast name here]. This is a time honoured tradition having been done for all of, oh, a couple of years now. That is serious tradition in terms of the internet.
So here is Eddie enjoying the pleasures of the snow that hit us early in the year and playing catch with snowballs using bullet-time in a very Matrix style manner… And in the background you can also see the snow dog/cat/Teddy Bear/whatever strange beast of nightmare aspect that we attempted to build in the garden.
And because it is [insert appropriate festival] I am feeling generous so here is another from the same day…
Of course, typically for Manchester at this time of the year, we have a wonderful example of rain, rain and possibly more rain later. Chances of snow this year incredibly minimal…
There, have a Merry [insert festival] and a Happy New Year and I will see you all when the madness of this insane period of the year is over with and we can all get back to being our usual selves…
Because I know for a fact that I could never persuade Eddie to wear a Santa hat without him ripping it to shreds as an affront to his dignity and masculinity, here is a sort of similar dog (well, same species and genus at least and vaguely similar colouring but a shorter nose) who is better at posing for the camera in a reasonably dignified manner.
I post this photo by way of saying:
HAPPY NEW YEAR
To each and every one of you out there…
I hope that you are all having a wonderful and relaxing day.
A while back I was asked to do a guest blog for the amwriting community. I put together an article comparing being a published writer for the first time to being a teacher for the first time. I enjoyed writing it, I assume some people enjoyed reading it (the comments were all good anyway) and it was clearly so successful that they asked me to come back and do another one… I agreed and was given a date when it was due to be posted.
Then I realised I did not have a blind thing I wanted to talk about.
Oh, I have ideas. A reasonable number of ideas. Every now and again I think of something and part of my brain pops up with a little note saying ‘You could do a blog post about that’. Recently, I have had thoughts about British Urban fantasy and what it means, the Christmas Number one phenomenon and how it seems to have turned into a battle between the X factor winner and whatever alternative and inappropriate tune we can think of (currently seems to be Nine Inch Nail’s Hurt), things I have noticed about Dr Who plots, things I have noticed about education and the teaching of history*, and many other subjects. Trouble is, the more I think about some of these ideas, the less interesting and novel they seem. I get less and less motivation to actually sit down and write about them.
So, yes, this is the ultimate irony – a blog post about how I cannot seem to write blog posts 🙂
Part of it is some form of quality control system in my brain which seems to be at work. Any idea is faced with a barrage of questions along the lines of ‘is this worthwhile?’ ‘Has anyone else ever written about this before?’ ‘Will anyone care enough to read?’ Now, for my own blog here these questions are often soon silenced. It’s my blog, I write what the hell I want, and if there are issues I am sure readers will let me know… However, when it is a guest blog for someone else, I often get greater angst about it. It is not my domain I am befouling with my stench, it is the domain of someone else. This adds a whole new level of concern about the relevance of what you are saying. The result is often me chickening out and posting another photo of a cute dog.
So, while I am still pondering the dilemma of what to write for #amwriting I would ask you, the readers of this, to answer me some questions:
– What subjects do you think I should talk about on this blog? Which posts have you liked the most?
– What current issues do you think face writers and/or readers which may be blog worthy for the #amwriting blog?
– If I were to post my PGCE essay on why History is an essential subject, would anyone bother to read it?
Answers on a comment form below, please 🙂
*That was one I had today, there was an article on Radio 4 about it and I once wrote an essay about how important History is as a subject. I may still blog about this one at some point… I may also still do a post on Nine Inch Nails and the Christmas number one at some point soon…
So, on the AW forums there is a blog chain and the idea is that you get a slot in the month and, during that slot, you post about the topic given. So, it is now my turn and this month’s topic is ‘Home for the Holidays’. Given the season and the American nature of many of the members of AW, one of course must assume that the ‘Holiday’ referred to is ‘Christmas’.
This is a strange one for me because we generally don’t go ‘home’ for the Christmas. Home is where I live now and if I go anywhere for Christmas it is usually away from home. Ever since I got married and we acquired a dog, Christmas for us has been spent with my in laws in a hotel in the Lake District. This hotel, on the shores of Ullswater, a few miles from Penrith in the village of Glenridding, is a wonderful place to spend Christmas for a number of reasons:
1) The food. There is a lot of it. Many, many courses and not a sign of the endless piles of washing up that are the usual karmic reward for eating too much. The hotel used to do a seven course feast on Christmas day but they scaled it back to a mere five courses recently after too many guests exploded following the consumption of a final ‘wafer thin mint’. No, I am not exaggerating. Well, maybe a bit…
2) The isolation. Look up at the photograph on the top of this blog. I took that shot from the field at the back of the hotel. In any direction you look in from there, all you can see are hills and mountains. The photo to the left of this text shows more of them. In fact, the hills and mountains serve to block pretty much all mobile phone signals. Once you arrive there, you are cut off from the outside world very effectively. Well, unless you ask for a log in for the hotel’s free Wi Fi to get onto the internet… 🙂 If you want to be incommunicado, this is the place to be. In fact, I completed Gods of the Sea over last Christmas because it was easier to open a word file and do some typing than it was to log into the wi fi to check the internets. Productivity was improved! Also, it has been scientifically proven (by me, just now, I shall post the results of my extensive experiments in a paper I shall send to the Lancet) that bleak, isolated, pretty locations are not only restful but also pretty cool and very good for the brain.
3) Dog Friendliness. The hotel for us absolutely defines the gold standard of the concept of ‘dog friendliness’. Some hotels claim to aspire to this but they all fall short. This is a place where your dog can walk in, put his or her feet up on the reception counter, and be given a biscuit from the jar that is always behind the bar. When Santa Clause appears in the bar on Christmas morning to give all guests a present, there are presents for the dogs too. There are also lots of places to walk them and a lake to swim in. And yes, dogs do go swimming in the lake on Christmas day… Insane creatures that they are.
4) The walking. You go to the lakes to go walking. With your dog if you have one. There are lots of places to explore in the local area, some of them more hardcore than others. One year we made the ill judged decision to take a seven mile hike around the lake on Boxing Day in some of the worst ice and snow seen for many years. It’s a route we’ve done before and found easy, even after 3 days of eating our entire body weight in food every day, but the solid ice made the gentle rolling hills far more treacherous. Especially when you have a sure footed canine on a lead trying to pull you into the valley because ‘there’s some interesting smells over there’. Crampons and ice picks may have helped. A sled, a few more dogs and some time to train them to all pull in the same direction would have been ideal. This year, we intend to pay more attention to the weather report before we leave.
5) Finally, apropos of the above, there is one thing that makes going to the Lake District a fun and interesting Christmas experience and that is the fact that it is more likely to:
There are other reasons, many of which would take too long to adequetly explain here. The upshot of it all is that, while I have in the past enjoyed Christmas at home (both at our home, my parents’ home or that of my in laws) the experience of spending a relaxing Christmas in a hotel where the people doing all the work are being paid to do it is one certainly worth doing at least once in your life.
You can find other participants to this blog chain here:
Participants and posts: orion_mk3 – http://nonexistentbooks.wordpress.com (link to this month’s post) Ralph Pines – http://ralfast.wordpress.com/ (link to this month’s post) pyrosama – http://matrix-hole.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post) AbielleRose – http://stainedglassinthenight.wordpress.com/ (link to this month’s post) writingismypassion – http://charityfaye.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post) Domoviye – http://lets-get-happy.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post) AuburnAssassin – http://clairegillian.com/ (link to this month’s post) Areteus – https://lurkingmusings.wordpress.com/ (link to this month’s post) Diana Rajchel – http://blog.dianarajchel.com/ (link to this month’s post) Alynza – http://www.alynzasmith.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post) SuzanneSeese – http://www.viewofsue.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post) robeiae – http://thepondsofhappenstance.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post) SinisterCola – http://acgatesblog.wordpress.com/ (link to this month’s post) MamaStrong – http://inamamasworld.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post) kimberlycreates – http://www.kimberlycreates.com/ (link to this month’s post) Cath – http://blog.cathsmith.com/ (link to this month’s post)