The Modern Salonnière

Pippa has let us know the sad news of the death of Sarah Vernon. Accomplished actress and artist, and one of the cornerstones of our blogging community for many years. She published the sites Rogues and Vagabonds, First Night Design, First Night History, and First Night Art. One of the first bloggers I followed, and someone I am proud to say I counted as a good friend.

Pippa Rathborne's SCRATCH POST

This is a post from 2013 dedicated to my great friend, Sarah Vernon, who died last week.

Through bad health and bad luck, Sarah’s acting career was cut short. Like many actors’ children, she could never be sure if she would have gone into the entertainment industry if her parents had not been actors. It wasn’t an industry for Sarah: it was a romance and an art. Being an actor wasn’t a job for Sarah: it was body and soul, an act of love uniting emotional aspiration with technical accomplishment, a child’s dream of perfection made real. Don’t put your daughter on the stage.

Sarah could have been a casualty of the devil’s profession, but she had a brain, a life-sustaining sense of humour, and other artistic and literary talents. She engaged in the present and the past with equal intellectual force, she was computer and internet savvy, and…

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Happy New Year

I would like to wish all my lovely blogging friends a Happy New year for 2021. I doubt it could be worse than 2020, and we do have some hope now, with vaccination programmes being rolled out around the world.

Let’s all keep blogging, keep communicating, and continue to expand this great community that we love to be a part of.

My very best wishes to you all, Pete. X

A Blogging Year

Only a couple of days to go before the end of 2020, a year that most of us will be pleased to see the back of. Let’s hope that vaccination programmes will lead to some major improvements in 2021, and life might start to feel normal again for many of us. Those who have lost loved ones will still find it hard to cope of course, and the businesses forced to close, and those who have lost careers or jobs, will face a complete readjustment of their lives.

In the world of blogging, lockdowns and lack of movement saw an explosion of new bloggers like never before. Many hoped to increase their income, or just start an online business. Whether by offering SEO and other blogging services, online courses, or just selling cosmetics. Thousands of entrepreneurial people took to blogging as a route to make some money. Most found out that it doesn’t work like that. Bloggers do not rush to buy such services, especially blog promotion services, fake reviews, and social media accounts that are built up to 5,000 followers before being offered for sale.

Do people actually buy Twitter Accounts, Instagram Accounts, or someone else’s blog? That was a new one for me, in a strange year.

Like some other bloggers, a little more time on my hands meant that I posted more. As well as fiction serials, I explored some more random stuff, and the popularity of those posts took me by surprise. I hardly posted photos during the past year. I lost the ‘muse’ for photography, along with any desire to read fiction. That surpised me, as I had been doing well with reading up to that point. But lack of concentration seemed to be one side effect of tthe pandemic that tended to overwhelm me at times.

2020 also saw an increase in followers, as new bloggers looked around for blogs to follow, and blogging communities to become part of. The other side of that coin was losing some regular followers that had been around for years. Maybe they stopped blogging, got fed up with following my particular blog, or just found a new hobby to pursue.

Some died during the past year, which was sad to hear. Others took extended breaks from blogging; whether through illness, lack of continued interest, or the pressures associated with dealing with familiy and work during a very difficult time. I hope some of them come back, I really do.

Once again, I would like to thank everyone who has stuck by my blog, during this unprecedented year in our lifetimes. All the followers and friends who have been around since the start, and those new followers who have thrown themselves into blogging, and become great members of our small community.

I thank each and every one of you for your comments, your likes, and your emails. Thanks for reading my very long serials, and my everyday stuff about walking a dog in all weathers.

In your own ways, you have got me through 2020. I doubt I could have done it without you.

Blocks and Blogging: The Great Divide

The last few years have seen the world settle into pronounced divisions. People have been choosing sides, undoubtedly.

In Britain, we had the Brexit vote, leaving this country almost equally divided between Leavers and Remainers. The USA got Mr Trump, and after four years of him, the country is along the lines of a 56-44 split either for or against him.

Then this year saw the differing attitudes following the Covid-19 pandemic. Those who will wear masks and take precautions, and the others who think it doesn’t concern them, and might even be a gigantic conspiracy. Responsibility versus selfishness, you might think. I know I do.

More recently, WordPress began to force the Block Editor onto its bloggers, causing another division between those who think it is a useful improvement, and the rest of us who hate the very concept of the thing.

Returning from a holiday break and checking blog comments and emails, it seems to me that the Block Editor has created another worldwide divide. Already some long-term bloggers have changed from WP to other platforms, and in a few cases have stopped blogging altogether. Many have the other view, that the new system is easy to grasp, and better for them to use. Then there are the relatively new bloggers who had the first Block Editor and never knew the old one, so naturally see the revised version as a huge improvement.

Many people have shown just how generous the blogging community is when it comes to helping others. Adding links and tips, creating tutorials, and talking people through how to do things in blog comments and replies. Despite their kind and well-intentioned help, a number of bloggers either just don’t get it, or simply don’t want it. Like me, they just cannot be bothered to struggle to learn a new system at a certain time in life, and are hanging on like grim death to any chance of continuing to use the old editor.

Perhaps we have had our day? Every dog does, so they say.

If so, it is just progress, and blogging will continue with those willing and able to adapt.

A Reblog Offer!

Now I have posted the last one in my ‘Blogger’s Books feature, I have another free and genuine offer for everyone, in the hope of continuing to support our blogging community.

Do you have a favourite post that you wish more people could see?

How about a post that you really like, but has never had many views?

Is there a lonely and neglected post on your blog that not a single person has read?

If so, or for any other reason, I will reblog your post for you on

It will also be shared on Twitter, and have the potential to be seen by my 6,000+ blog followers.

Whether you want to kickstart your blog, feature a favourite, or just get your name out there, then I will reblog on here, and see what happens.

(As usual, you have to be a follower of this blog, or follow me on Twitter. No sales, advertising, or merchandising posts will be allowed, but I am happy if you want to promote a book you have published. Make sure you have a reblog button on your site that I can use, and send me the full link to your post at
All posts will be checked by me before being reblogged, but will not be edited.)

Blogger’s Books: Cathy Cade

Today I am featuring British blogger and writer, Cathy Cade. She has published a new book of short stories wich might appeal to many of you.

Here is her own short bio.

Cathy is a retired librarian. Her stories have been published in Scribble and Flash Fiction Magazine, and in anthologies, including To Hull and Back Short Stories 2018, Where the Wild Winds Blow and A Following Wind. Her story-verse, A Year Before Christmas, is available from and Her collection of short stories: Witch Way, and other ambiguous stories can be purchased from and, and from Smashwords.

Find Cathy online at

Her new book is ‘Witch Way, and other ambiguous stories’.

Here are some links where you can find out more about Cathy’s work, and also buy any books that you like the look of.

Please find some time to support this great member of our blogging community.

Thinking Aloud on A Sunday

For the love of dogs.

I woke up this morning hoping that Ollie would be okay. He was alright, considering his current problems, and happy to see me of course.

Not long after, one of my good friends telephoned from his home on the south coast, and we had some discussion about what might be causing these problems for my dog.

That got me thinking about how much care and concern there has been for Ollie since I mentioned on this blog that he was ill.

The two posts I published about him being ill received 145 Likes, and over 100 comments. Together, they had 250 views, and some readers also emailed me outside of the blog, or shared the posts on Twitter.

From all over the world, people expressed genuine concern about a dog they had only ever seen photos of, and read about on my blog.

American blogger Elizabeth Slaughter left this touching comment.
‘I am quite worried. I feel as if he is all of our dog.’

Connecting through a love of dogs, or any pets, is yet another example of what a wonderful place our blogging community is.

I would like to thank you all, and to let you know how much that is appreciated.

Blogging: A Worldwide Community

I had a big moan about dodgy comments and fake blog followers the other day.

So I thought I would counter that with something really positive about our great blogging community.

Little did I imagine when I started this blog in 2012, that eight years later I would be part of a huge worldwide community of bloggers. Just taking into account the smaller community of my own followers, and those who I follow, it is still an amazing thing to feel included in.

I have followers who comment from over 30 countries around the world. Most of those countries are ones I have never visited, including India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, The Philippines, America, Canada, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Poland, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Thailand, and Cambodia. (Among others) Yet I am able to connect with people who live there, in English, and learn something about their lives, thoughts, customs, culture; even their hopes and fears.

It has taught me a great deal, especially that wherever we live, we often are just the same. Separated by oceans or continents, most of us are trying to connect, to be decent people, and to share our life experiences, writing, photography, poetry or culinary skills with anyone who might be interested, irrespective of where they live.

The current Covid-19 pandemic in particular has highlighted our similarities, as bloggers write about their experiences of the virus, and how they fear the impact of it on everyday life, and their own future. I have found out about countries where there has been little or no social distancing, and others with far better reactions to dealing with the crisis than we have seen here in England.

With the George Floyd incident bringing racism into the spotlight once again, it is just wonderful to see that this is virtually non-existent in the world of blogging, where tolerance is our watchword.

Bloggers are rarely concerned with the colour of a person’s skin, their religion, or their wealth and influence. Blogging gives you a blank sheet of acceptance, whatever else is going on around us in this troubled world.

Whenever you might be close to losing hope, just think about Blogging. It is not an exaggeration to say that it can ease loneliness, help to combat depression, and offer true friendships from complete strangers who you will almost certainly never meet.