Oh dear! From promising an exciting metamorphosis into a “blogger extraordinaire” I’ve now shrivelled back into caterpillar form – can’t even pretend I’m a chrysalis. What went wrong? Mark Thwaite would be so disappointed in me, failing my marriage in just the first week. So much for daily commitment.

How do regular bloggers do it? I follow Dovegreyreader Scribbles, one of the best literary blogs in the world (literally in the world as she has followers from around the globe) and she posts without fail every day. She actually posts the day’s blog at night-time and today when I saw some of her responses from other countries I realised why. Else it would be a day late across the water. I love her blog – she manages to review a book a day almost, and also chats about other ordinary things. She posted a little survey today asking about why people follow her blog (she’s giving a talk at Port Eliot LitFest later this month – more about this another time) and one of my responses was it’s because reading her blog is like popping into her sitting room – intimate and cosy and very interesting.

One of the problems I have with blogging is that I haven’t yet found my blogging voice – probably because I haven’t stuck at it enough. I’m torn between different identities and don’t know my audience. I feel that my readers who are complete Stonewylde obsessives already get a good dose of me on our community site. The more casual browser can find lots to read on the main website. So who’s reading this? What do you need or want? Tricky one. Darcy (one of the high profile members of our community whom I finally met last weekend) says he wants to read personal stuff that’s amusing. As he is a brilliant blogger himself, I feel I can’t write anything that will impress him. We’ll have to see. Let me know how I’m doing, Darcy!

Last weekend Mr B and I were in Buxton for the Health and Healing Festival. I managed to excel in my late-leaving. Four hours later than planned! Four hours!! So of course most of the driving from Reading to Buxton was in the rush hour (and didn’t I know it in the mish-mash of roads around Coventry!) and it took me five hours to reach the B&B. Absolutely pathetic – and to prove how bad this was, let me tell you it took us three hours to get back on Sunday.

We were staying in a gorgeous farmhouse B&B, and I’m now a complete convert to this form of accommodation. So much nicer than a similar priced hotel which can be grotty and impersonal. We stayed at Stoop Farm with Karen and her family and were made to feel so welcome. Karen has only recently converted a barn into B&B rooms (three of them) and no expense has been spared in making the place luxurious (for a farmhouse – it’s not the Ritz!) and personal. Every little detail was taken care of and the cooked breakfast (of which I’m not normally a fan) was so delicious. I definitely recommend the place.

We went for a wonderful walk in the Peaks that rise all around the farmhouse. We followed an old cobbled pack-horse trail down into a valley where it meets a river, an ancient stone bridge and a meadow. I’ve been trying to resize a photo of this to post here, but Mr B in his wisdom has a complicated system of storing photos. He also insists on taking large ones (I mean in terms of Mb’s) and the combination of these factors means I’ve just wasted a whole hour with no photo to show for it. Grrr! And I nearly lost where can i purchase phentermine hcl from kvk tech this post altogether and at this rate the whole blog thing is going to end in divorce. Sorry Mark!

Buxton itself was lovely – a really buzzing and attractive little town with proper shops rather than the homogenized chain stores you get in every town across the country. The Pavilion where the Health and Healing Festival was taking place was brilliant. A pink round interior with lots of glass, although the glass wasn’t so good in the stifling heat. Loads of my wonderful Stonewylders turned up to say hello and that was the best bit. I gave my talks under the most appalling conditions imaginable as the room I’d been allocated had a glass roof and no windows! The aforementioned Darcy was there, smiling and nodding to me through the ordeal, as were other Stonewylde readers. The funny thing was that Darcy mentioned afterwards in his blog how the electric fan I was standing in front of was blowing my hair all over the place, and every time I mentioned the word “hare” (which was often as this is largely what my talk’s about) my hair billowed out around me. I can’t say I noticed as I was busy fighting off waves of faintness, but Darcy said it looked quite dramatic. It’s what they do to models, isn’t it? Waft their hair around them to make them look windswept and glamorous.

We also visited Arbor Low whilst we were staying in the area. This is a beautiful stone circle set in a round ditch system. The huge stones are all lying on the grass rather than upright, with sheep leaping about. We watched a couple of sheep playing “dare” on a stone, going closer and closer to the edge until one pushed the other off. They kept climbing back on and doing it again and I really think they were playing. We basked in the setting sun for some time on the stones, on our way back to the car passing two small children clutching chicken eggs. “They’re still warm!” one of them cried, and I remembered how I dreamed as a child of growing up on a farm. There were muddy bikes everywhere and I thought how magical it must be to live so close to a sacred site with warm eggs in nests to collect on a summer’s evening.

It was a lovely weekend altogether, despite my late start. Attending these festivals is work, but not as we know it, Jim. We get to travel all over the country, stay in a variety of places we’d never normally visit, meet up with the most wonderful people who are all Stonewylded and so very friendly, and also get to publicise the books too! Darcy very cleverly described the festival as if he’d been transported to Constantinople in mediaeval times, and that’s exactly what these Mind/Body/Spirit events feel like. A complete mish-mash of smells, noises, and sights, with vendors ranging from gorgeous to downright weird all touting their wares and offering their services in an enclosed and crowded place. Very exotic.

I must now, after a quick dash to Waitrose for tonight’s food, prepare for our visit tomorrow to Quest at Newton Abbot where it will all start again. I’m not giving a talk tomorrow as by the time I’d accepted my invitation all the speaking slots were taken. But I’ll be at Bob Broadway’s bookstall signing copies of Stonewylde and chatting to people. And Sunday we’re in Bristol as I’m doing the Sunwalk – wearing a green bra covered in ivy leaves. If you’re very lucky Mr B might sort his system out so I can actually post a novelty photo of this. If not it’ll be another good old book-signing photo! Have a lovely weekend, folks.

1 Comment

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  1. Kath 15 years ago

    Love this post,I look forward to reading on a regular basis, you obviously have a varied and intersting life! best wishes Kath http://www.railwaycottage.blogspot.com

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