Enough Followers?

I checked my Stats earlier, and realised that I am fast-approaching 9,000 followers on WordPress.

8,395 WP followers.
47 following by email.
382 following on social media.
Total : 8,824.

Okay, we all know that most of those don’t really ‘follow’. Some probably don’t even exist, or have long since stopped blogging.

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that I have 2,000 active followers. They produce around 325-475 views a day, and generate a lot of comments, depending on how many posts I publish.

Many people begin blogging hoping to get 10,000 followers. Some would like to have 100,000 followers, or ten times that.

But if you love to interact with the community, as I do, and if you love your fellow bloggers and cherish them, as I do, then how many followers is too many?

Would you have time to comment on all the blogs you follow, or to reply to the comments you receive from your own followers?

If you are a serious community blogger, with a love of blogging, and a sense of responsibility to your followers, then there is a limit, based on what time you have available on a given day.

So I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but almost 9,000 followers, active or not, genuine or not, is enough for me to cope with.

A Significant Time?

Last month, I wrote about a very bad dream I had.

I had checked the time when I woke up that night. It was 03:17, but that was of no significance to me then.

Last night, I went to bed quite early. I did not have a bad dream, but woke up feeling unusually hot. So hot in fact, that I threw off the duvet and sat up. The room is usually quite cold in the early hours, as there is no heating on until I get up in the morning. But last night it felt like midsummer.

I opened my Tablet to check the time. 03:17.

Now I am wondering if I should start to be concerned.

Messing With Time

In case any of my British readers are still unaware. the clocks go back tonight.

Yes, we get an extra hour in bed before getting up on Sunday. But that is small comfort compared to the start of the long dark evenings beginning soon.

Dark by 4:30 in the afternoon most days, and that extra hour of daylight in the early morning will hardly be noticed by anyone outside of the farming and outdoor community.

I say it every year, but I think it should be scrapped. Let time be what it is, and stop playing around with it.

Something About Stones…

I watched a lady throw a stone into the river this morning. It was to make her dog swim for it, but of course the small dog had no idea it was a stone that had sunk to the bottom before it had got there.

I have often wondered about stones. How long have they been there? Had that stone she threw always been there? Waiting for someone to pick it up and throw it, or put it to some other use. Stones were there before humans of course, and without scientific testing, their age remains a mystery.

(All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them)

These are flint pebbles, collected and shaped by hand to be used in the buiding of a barn on a nearby deserted farm. Flint was one of the earliest stones used by humans to make tools. Everything from a scraper to use on animal skins, to weapons of warfare in ancient times. They also used it to strike sparks to make fire. I stood wondering if any of those flints had been used at a time before history was written down, imagining a cave-man trying to crack one open to create a sharp edge.

Here are some stones used in the construction of a Norman chapel in the village of North Elmham. I took this photo wondering if they had been quarried for the purpose, or just picked up from the ground and fashioned into the right shape required. How long had they been there before the stonemasons used them?

A pebble beach at Pevensey Bay, on the south coast of England. This is the actual spot where William The Conqueror landed with his Norman Army, in 1066. I stood on that beach imagining the feet of Norman soldiers touching the same pebbles centuries before, and wondering if they could indeed be the same stones that have endured through time.

This is the sort of thing I think about when I am alone with my camera.

Time Slip

I have written a lot on this blog about how time seems to pass by much faster as you get older. Over the last eight years, each Wednesday seemed to appear two days earlier than I expected it to, and Christmas felt like it came around every three months.

Some individual days just fly by, even when I don’t have to go to work, and stick to a fairly regular routine. It often feels like I haven’t been up that long, and here I am at 6 pm starting to prepare dinner. I have to stand there and think back on what I have done. Blog posts, taking Ollie out for a couple of hours, maybe a drive into town, and a supermarket shop. I realise that it has actually been quite a long day, and I have been occupied for most of it.

But on the surface, it has felt like two hours, not ten.

Then it dawned on me today that it is still only just May. January seems a distant memory, as if it was two years ago, not five months. It has to be the unusual pressures of the coronavirus measures that have made 2020 seem like one of the slowest years I can remember since my childhood, but I have no real explanation as to why that has happened in my brain.

For the first time in a very long while, time has slowed down for me.

I rather like it like this.

Living In The Dark

I didn’t get up until 8:30 this morning. I thought it was much earlier, as it was still dark.

When I went into the kitchen to let Ollie out, I had to switch on the lights. Then I went into the living room and opened the curtains, only to discover that it was as dark as early evening outside. I checked the clock on the microwave as my kettle boiled for coffee. Definitely morning.

Once the computer had fired up, the clock at the bottom of the screen confirmed it was really almost 9 am, not pm.

It is now 11:48, and still more or less dark. It will officially be dark just after 4 pm today.

But I will hardly notice any difference.

On the plus side, it isn’t raining!

The disappearing year

Hard to believe it is already the 6th of April. It won’t be long before some bloggers are counting down the days to Christmas, and I still have unused presents from the last one.

It must be an age thing, but this year seems to be flying past faster than any I have ever known. March felt like it only lasted a week, and before I know it, it will be May. I am haunted by the words of my late Mum, who talked often of how her life seemed to slip away, toward the end. When she remarked that she had hardly noticed a year pass by, in 2010, I thought she was exaggerating at the time.

Now I know exactly what she was talking about.

Maybe it is because I don’t have to work, and rarely leave the cosy confines of Beetley and central Norfolk. My days no longer drag waiting for work to finish, or dreading the shift to come the following day. I have an easier life, and a relatively contented one.

But a much quicker one, undoubtedly. 🙂

Blogger’s Books: Tarkentower

I am very pleased to be able to feature the latest book by writer, blogger, and magazine publisher, Daniel White. Daniel is the owner and editor of both Unfit Magazine, and Longshot Island Magazine, and has been kind enough to publish some of my stories and articles in that great publication.

D. S. White received his BA at Columbia College in Chicago and his MBA at National Taiwan University. He is the editor-in-chief at Longshot Press, which runs two imprints, Longshot Island and Unfit Magazine. While his expertise is in business, his passion is in writing. He was born in the mountains but now lives by the sea.

Here is a synopsis of his exciting new book.
“Meet Lewis Fuller, a simple kid with no idea of what’s at stake or how to fix anything. Just having arrived in the future, he’s got a lot of catching up to do.
Dr. Tarkentower had plans of changing the world forever. Tired of seeing so much pain in the eyes of his patients, he quit his job at the hospital and created a vast machine that could control time itself. From there, he put the whole earth into a loop, repeating the same day over and over.
Each day his machine picks a few people who go forward in time, escaping the loop, living on a future planet that is not so crowded. It sounds like the perfect solution.
But people stuck in the loop are slowly going insane. As they arrive in the future, they bring with them a world of chaos. Lewis has to find Tarkentower’s machine and turn it off to save the future. And to pull that off, he’s going to need a lot of help”.
“There’s nothing more dangerous than someone who wants to make the world a better place.”—Banksy

As you can see, this is a fresh look at the whole idea of Time, an interesting mix of science fiction and dystopian thriller that should appeal to a very wide audience. Daniel’s writing style is accessible, and his scenarios believable. This is a compelling read for any fans of both genres.
Here are some more links to the book.
If you have Kindle Unlimited, it is currently free on that.

In this link to Daniel’s blog, he explains the whole process of writing this new novel.

Please share this post, and the links, on all your social media platforms, and reblog if you think your own readers will be interested. Let’s get together to promote Daniel’s book. He is a very supportive publisher, a fine writer, and a big part of the blogging community.

Thinking Aloud on A Sunday

What’s O’Clock?

This is a rather ancient expression for asking the time. You might see it in a Shakespeare play.
I woke up thinking about Time this morning, specifically how to tell the time.

When I was young, I was taught to say “Do you have the time please?” when enquiring of an adult. Telling the time was something I remember learning from a very young age. A wooden clock face, with moving hands, and coloured numbers. My Mum asking me constantly, “If the big hand is on-, and the small hand is on-, what time is it? She would place the hands close together around the dial, explaining “This is a quarter-past, this is half-past”, and so on.

By the time I was in the ‘big school’, (juniors) it was taken for granted that I could tell the time. Every classroom had a big clock on the wall, as well as one in every corridor, and in the school entrance. Time was important of course. We had to be in school by a certain time, go for breaks and lunch at other times, and we all soon learned the time that school finished for the day. I was too young to be given a watch. Rough play and football games would almost certainly have resulted in it being damaged or destroyed, and watches were expensive, in 1959.

In central London, there was no shortage of clocks to see what the time was. Many churches had four clock faces, as did the local Town Hall, most other public buildings, and lots of shops, who used the clocks outside to double as advertising their name. Between my school and home, I could probably have seen the time easily, at least five or six times. Once at secondary school, I got a watch, given as a treasured present for a birthday, or perhaps at Christmas. It was mechanical of course, with an audible tick, and it had to be wound up every night, when I went to bed. Later on, I was given a more stylish example, with a date function visible under a magnified section of the glass face.

By the time I was 15, I had to get two trains to go to school, so time became more important than ever. I was bought an alarm clock, to make sure I got up in time; it had an incredibly loud tick, luminous numbers and hands, and two jangling bells on top. Once washed and dressed, on went the wristwatch, checking that I was in time for the train. As I approached the station, the large platform clock became visible, and I would check my watch against it, in case there was a minute or two difference. When I left school and started work, that routine continued for a while, as I soon discovered than employers do not like their staff turning up late. Technology was moving on with me, and watches now had batteries, and no longer needed to be wound up. But I liked my old watch, so kept winding it happily.

Not long after that, I saw my first digital watch. A clunky, black-plastic affair made by Casio, with red numbers telling the time. I thought it looked awful, and stuck with my conventional leather-strap watch. Those new digital watches soon became so common, they were giving them away at petrol stations if you filled up, or you could buy them for next to nothing, even in street markets. But I saw a real issue. They had no hands. You looked at the red or blue numbers, and they showed the time in a digital format, such as 3:10. You could press a button on the side, and the date would appear, usually the wrong (American) way round, like 11/23.

Much later, I realised the full impact of this change. Young people were no longer learning how to tell the time. The big clocks on public buildings and shops were not corrected anymore, and many were left showing the same time forever. Clocks in schools and offices were changed to digital displays in the main, and not long after, the station clocks were replaced with digital alternatives too. But all this was nothing, once the mobile phone achieved its modern popularity. All phones can be set to show the time, in a digital format. Watches became redundant, for those with phones. Car clocks became linked to DAB radios, and no longer had hands either. With the exception of the iconic clock known as Big Ben, there were hardly any hands on anything that told the correct time. Digital time-keeping had arrived, on everything from a microwave oven, to the central heating controller.

Generations of people have grown up not knowing something as simple as how to tell the time by looking at a clock face.

I don’t know about you, but I think that’s very sad.

Thinking Aloud on a Sunday

Time passing

The clocks went forward here this morning, so I woke up having already lost an hour of the day. I will have to wait until October to get it back.

More significantly, it is the start of the last week in March. Three months of 2018 have passed, and it seems like only yesterday that I was putting the Christmas decorations back up in the loft. January and February were harder months this year. Worse weather than usual, seemingly endless cold, and even some worryingly deep snow. But even being trapped in Beetley, spending time huddling inside in the warm, failed to make those months pass at a ‘normal’ rate. They flew by, just as March has done.

I have written before about how time seems to go by much faster as you get older. And it’s getting worse. Weeks feel like days, and days are almost over before I am even out of bed. I have given a lot of thought to why this happens, and at first I just wrote it off as an ‘age thing’. But lately, I have had a complete re-think, and now have a new theory.

For those of you still working (the retired among us will just have to use memory) you will be aware how long a day at work can seem. When it feels like it must surely be time to think about getting ready to go home, you realise you haven’t even had your lunch break yet. Even in an interesting or exciting job, days can drag, I assure you. If you work a normal Monday to Friday routine (I didn’t) then the weekend always seems to go by at twice the speed of two weekdays. You get home on Friday, and before you know it, you are getting off to sleep on Sunday night, having to face another five long days at work. It seems to be a law of Time, that a Saturday and Sunday must pass twice as quickly as a Monday and Tuesday.

After spending far too much time thinking about all this unnatural bending of time, I woke up this morning with the solution in my head. It was so simple, I should have worked it out many years ago. Work. Work makes time slow. One year at work feels like five, and one day at work can seem like a week. Time never goes by too fast at work. Nobody looks at the clock at finishing time and asks, “Where did that day go?” Giving up work, whether intentionally as in retirement, or because you have lost your job for some reason, is the moment that time starts to accelerate. Leisure time is not work time, not in the sense we understand the 24 hour clock.

So perhaps we should never stop working? We might not live longer, but it would feel like it.