THE TROUBLE WITH BLOGGING

Unlike a song or film that gets massive media attention by being repeated on radios or rerun on television, a good blog is written, read, and left to decay on the invisible airwaves of the internet.

Unless massive media interest passes by your own blog page, your thought provoking words are swept under the radar.

To gain an audience not only requires time and energy but a huge amount of effort and research to carefully word what you want to portray.

To keep an enthusiastic following you have to write continuously interesting articles and often an article that you’re proud of is pushed to the depths of your blog as you write more and more. Only by chance will the history of your blogging prowess be dug up by someone searching your back catalogue in search of what makes you tick.

The real trick is to write what you want and not worry about who reads it, what people think or how it will be seen in eyes of someone you don’t want to offend.

Honest blogging is the hardest of all.

PEOPLE OF LYON AIRPORT

I recently had the luxury of waiting for a connecting flight in Lyon airport, France. It is currently being renovated and as this is the case, watching people from the bar in terminal 1 made for some interesting viewing. As I found out following the overhead signs that once made sense, it was advisable to arrive an extra hour early to help yourself navigate the mayhem. Here is my tribute to the ‘People of Lyon Airport.’

The people who leave, the people who fuss, the people who patiently wait for the bus,

The people who stand, the people who walk, the people who loudly shout and talk,

The people who sit, the people who stare, the people who comb and play with their hair,

The people who write, the people who read, the people who have babies to feed,

The people who watch, the people who clean, the people who stare at the TV screen,

The people who work, the people who sing, the people who answer the second ring,

The people who text, the people who drink, the people who travel generally stink,

People are there and people are here and people like me sat with a beer. X

TEN THINGS ABOUT TEN THINGS

When I see an article with the head line ’10 things about…’ I cringe.

1/any ’10 things’ list starts by repeating the headline; this is a list of ten things about ten things.

2/ the meatiest observation is always written here to make the reader think the list is going somewhere.

3/ number three is the tricky one, often the first three ‘10 things about…’ are seen on a webpage and you have to click ‘read more’ if you want to err, read more.

4/ is often the funny one to make you feel rewarded for having clicked on the ‘read more’ button.

5/ rebrands the trend of the first to stimulate interest.

6/ is the bloggers personal experience with disinteresting consequences.

7/ is short after ‘6’s lengthy tale about the ‘thing’ in the ten that might have once been funny.

8/ by now most people have stopped reading and have Google searched their own name to see how many people in the world share their initials.

9/ much like this list about ‘10 things’, the final few are a slight variation of the previous eight as the author struggles to find new material.

10/ and the tenth is always relating to the nine above but not actually giving new advice.

GIVEN MONEY AT CIGARETTE POINT

The queue at the sandwich kiosk had ground to a halt.

It took a while to notice the difference as the speed it was travelling was not exactly fast in CDG Airport, Paris, France.

Without looking around I can hear the British tourists loudly complaining about the delay to their destination.

Wearing baggy comfortable clothes, apart from the plastered makeup, you could be excused for thinking they had just got up.

The problem at the head of the queue which was getting longer every moment with disgruntled, delayed passengers was that a young Italian couple did not have an international bank card.

Trying the 5th time to swipe their card the cashier asks if they have another way to pay.

The elderly couple in front of me are getting impatient.

Looking embarrassed at each other the Italians apologise and attempt to return their chosen lunch to the shelves.

Before the cashier clears her total and the young couple have lost their place at the head of the queue I approach them and place my lunch down on their tray.

Motioning to the cashier that I will pay for it all, the Italians look clearly astonished.

Before paying with my Nationwide Visa card I ask if they have enough food between them. They nod without saying a word and when we separate from the queue they ask, clearly pleased but embarrassed, “How can they repay me?”

Leading them to a free table in the final waiting area before we embark on our separate ways I inform them of an event that happened to me whilst travelling.

TAKE MY MONEY!!!

Loaded with two rucksacks, a snowboard bag in one hand and a ski bag in the other, two locals of the Rose and Crown, a pub in down town Calgary, Alberta, Canada, open the double doors to me and my travelling companion.

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We had five blocks to walk to where a friend had just finished work and would welcome us to stay for a night.

We had been on the road for a little over a week, snowboarding through the Rocky Mountains, knowing that the next few hundred km’s were going to be flat prairie land we were already miserably missing the mountains.

As the doors of the very English named pub close behind us, the obvious leader of a group of smokers calls us over.

My reaction is to politely refuse, my hands being full of our now redundant mountain sports equipment.Two simple questions later he opens his wallet and tries to hand me 100 Canadian dollars.

If we were to take this offered gift it would have to be my friend who accepts it.

The gentleman pleads with us to take his money; his final words are “Get your selves a haircut.”

We promise to return in an hour and have a drink with the man in question, only to be disappointed when we do get there as he has already gone.

Armed with this extra $100 we feel like kings.

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Whenever we wanted to go somewhere or do something we were always ‘let’s do it,’ we have the extra money. I believe we spent the ‘extra money’ at least seven times.

The very next day we went back to the mountains for one last powder rush before heading to the flat snow covered prairies.

We brought a guitar, had a night on cocktails, hired a car in Winnipeg and drove to the frozen lakes of the north. We sampled fondue and stayed in a remote motel drinking Baileys and Port.

All this we might never have done if it wasn’t for the random act of kindness that served to us a lesson that we were only there once.

Don’t say no.

And as the Italians finished their lunch and the calls for us to go our separate ways came, they promised to repay me by doing something as equally as beautiful for someone else who finds them self in a moment of mercy.

FLASHING LIGHTS DIE IN THE DARK

The flashing lights above dream of a distant destination, the dashboard lights ahead show a different situation.

The flashing of the arrow, the flashing blue of force, in the dark the light shines clearer than before.

The flashing yellow indicates changes to satisfy a need, with every decision a different kind of speed.

The flashing blue an emergency, a show of force is real, as it speeds along the highway, rubber, blood and wheel.

THE RINGING TELEPHONE A THING OF THE PAST?

After the tragic storm that hit central USA in the last few weeks people are grieving the loss of loved ones. My sympathy is with the survivors as they struggle to come to terms with the destruction after the tornado.

In the wake of the storm I read a report on the internet which quoted a 50 year old man saying; “It is horrible the things we take for granted are no longer here.” He was talking about the fact that during the search for family members and loved ones, people had to talk to each other.

The article continues: ‘Cell phone signals were hard to find, internet was out and electricity indefinitely interrupted. In many cases, word of mouth conversations replaced text messages, Facebook status updates and cell phones.’

Little did I realise that talking had become a thing of the past.

A fifty year old man is quoting ‘the things we take for granted,’ A man I’m sure grew up talking to his fellow citizens without the aid of technology.

This made me ask; ‘Is the telephone invented by Alexander Graham Bell obsolete?’  Are we no longer in need of mobile phones to call each other as technology now allows us to share regular ‘status updates’ instead? Rather than ask how our friends and family are feeling we can just check out their status on social network sites.

Recently my Facebook homepage has been dominated with my brother and sister in laws ‘mobile updated status via blackberry’, so much that I think they have nothing to talk about when they see each other in the evenings. I receive news of my new baby niece through the updated status of my older sister in law. It was only a few years ago that I was sent a card with pictures of their first child happily welcomed to the world. Now this little pleasure of sending and receiving cards has passed to the electronic age.

This is not a criticism, rather a sign of the times and current trend. I myself prefer the free medium of email rather than pick up international calling costs.

My next book focuses on a relationship between a ‘traveller’ from the future, who after coming out of retirement is called into service to aid the human race one last time. The ‘traveller’ meets a retired human from our own age, and although he communicates with his own people through telepathy, he can talk, a rare occupation in his own human world.

Are we moving in the direction where our vocal chords will simply be surplus to requirements? Will evolution take these from us as they cease to be used?

I for one will keep singing to help future generations experience the necessity of vocal chords.

TRAVEL WITH EXPRESSION

“To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” Auldous Huxley

 

The word travel conjures up an image of not just somewhere exotic and mysterious but of tanned faces, smiling eyes and unusual odours.

The destination we choose is what we dream about before going but it is the people we meet that fuel our memories when we return.

It is known that a journey is not only the places we visit but people who smile at us along the way. This smile can come from anywhere. It doesn’t have to be anywhere at all handsome; a person waiting with you at an airport can have as much effect on a trip as a native of a far off land.

It’s the simple things that give us the gift of memory which turn any event from the mundane to something we will cherish, for good or bad reasons.

Body language has a massive effect on the people you meet. A smile and eye contact can grab the heart and attention of the hardest of people. It can remove fear and represent the outcome you are looking for, not only in friendly situations but this is also true with authority.

When dealing with customs or police attitude is everything.

When you land it can be lonely and fearful being away from familiar surroundings, with noise, heat, and often jetlag. Getting out there is the only way to overcome these emotions.

A simple chat in a shop or a bar can spear head a long lasting friendship.

But it can be hard to meet local people to get a sense for the passion and heart of some destinations.

These places I feel are the ones that speak your native tongue.

When landing in a place with no way of talking with its people, it is actions that speak a thousand words. The effort people make to show you what you’re looking for, the eyes wanting and waiting for you to comprehend. The hysterics of some lady pleading with you to show some sign that you follow her directions or an elderly man insisting on walking you to the place you seek.

Where you travel and speak the language the offer of help can often be short, reflecting negative energy and although not an unwilling helper, the memory is run of the mill.

There is nothing more frustratingly reassuring, than explaining yourself over and over again to someone who doesn’t speak one word of your language, and you not one word of theirs.

With this encounter you can get a real feel for the people who inhabit the place you have chosen to explore. And a happy memory that brings a smile. x