Happy New Year

Dear Friends,

May 2021 bring peace, hope, love, health and creativity and laughter to you all.

I know this is a BIG wish but I hope that, between us all, we can push foward with a sense of connection and support and know that there is fellow feeling to add to and draw from as the year unfolds.

Life is essentially fragile and so are we but it also has a glorious beauty embedded in it and we must seek that out and store it up, like animals who hibernate, for times when we need its nourishment.

I like to think of you all as friends who care and share and who know how to read between, in front and behind the lines.

Your presence has meant so much to me over the past decade and today is a day I want to thank you sincerely for that. You make me think, laugh, cry, explore, admire, travel and feel inspired. How lucky is that?

Thanks again and let us dance together into the seas of 2021 with hope in our hearts.

The Copper Coast, Co. Waterford, Ireland

With love,

jean

Happy Christmas

I’d like to wish you all a Happy Christmas and a day filled with peace, health and hope.

Please know that everyone who connects to this little social bridge is very special to me and thanks to you my thoughts are sailing around the globe as I write this.

Santa spent his time trying to get me to improve my geographical knowledge beyond the North Pole by bringing big spinning globes, jig-saws of the world, books about great explorers, picture books of The Wonders of the World, songs ( records) of musicians from the most exotic places and about the most exotic places ….. But, what he didn’t fully get was that I needed to connect with real people from those places, like him and the North Pole, in order to get my head around where places are.

YOU, dear friends, are these special people who bring places alive and make my heart sing.

I send my love to you all this precious day from my beloved Tramore, here on the south-east coast of Ireland.

Tramore Bay, Co. Waterford

The Geography of Blogging

I certainly don’t obsess about the stats associated with this little blog of mine  which comes to you from Tramore, Co. Waterford which is in the South-East of Ireland.

However, my sociological self emerges every now and then for a perusal of the stats page. Today was one of those days and I found myself looking at the countries from which my visitors came this month. I was totally STUNNED to find that they came from 62 countries. The USA heads the list with Ireland second and the United Kingdom third. This tends to be how it is for me practically every month.

I’d never really looked at the full list of countries before, mainly because I’m absolutely hopeless at geography and didn’t even know until I checked this evening that there are 196 countries in the world.

It absolutely humbles and intrigues me that people from 62 of those 196 countries have landed on Social Bridge this month. There are countries that I would expect to see on the list because I know from people who have commented that they live in these places but what about the others?  I’m wondering what brought them here. Were they here by choice or were they  accidental tourists due to their planes, boats or broomsticks being diverted?

Just in case you come from some far flung place and haven’t a clue about Ireland ~ like I haven’t a clue about so many of the 62 countries that are on my October list ~ here’s a little overview.

Political Location Map of Ireland, highlighted continent

As you can see, Ireland is an island at the very western edge of Europe. (Click on the map/s to embiggen, if you wish).

The population of the Republic of Ireland is 4,757,976, according to the Census which was taken on the 24th April, this year. Dublin is the capital of Ireland, and other key cities are Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford (which is just 8 miles from my home in Tramore town which has a population of around 10,000).

This finding about the 62 countries, even if I can’t be sure how reliable it is, has me seeing bridges extending from all these places with people approaching Ireland, and specifically Tramore, with smiling faces and outstretched hands. The bridge where I feel I meet the world is the little wooden one in my beloved Newtown Wood which is just out the road from here and which Puppy Stan and I cross every single day.

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My Social Bridge in Newtown Wood, Tramore, Co. Waterford.

So, to everyone who has visited the blog in October, many, many thanks or, as we say in the Irish language: Go raibh míle maith agaibh.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the global reach of YOUR blog, wherever you happen to be in this wonderful world which I’m determined to learn more about.  

 

 

 

‘I Want to be Stan.’

I’ve noticed Stan does a huge amount of existentialist staring out to sea. I want to be Stan.

I’m all of a dither after seeing this comment from a brilliant Irish blogger called Tara Sparling. (She writes about books but in the funniest way imaginable.)

Anyway, I had to go off an see what ‘existentialist’ means and my puppy brains are all mish-mashed after trying to get to grips with it. Why do people have to use such impossible words?

Here’s the first definition I came a across and I think it’s best that I stay at this point:

Existentialism is a philosophy that emphasizes individual existence, freedom and choice. It is the view that humans define their own meaning in life, and try to make rational decisions despite existing in an irrational universe.

This is pretty gobbledly-gookish, isn’t it? I’m wondering, though, if it’s gobbledy-gookish for someone to want to be me?  The gas thing about thinking that I spend my time staring at the sea,or anything else for that matter, is that those are the only times that anyone can manage to get a photo of me. Staring time is about 1% cent of my waking hours (and 75% of my dreaming hours.)

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The Existentialist!

Seriously, though, can anyone ever get to know someone else? I mean, people and puppies can come across in particular ways or as having their own little or HUGE foibles but can we ever know for sure what’s going on in their heads and their hearts?

I’ve heard Jean talking about a thing her father used to say and it’s stuck in my little head through a lot. He used to say to Jean when she’d be complaining about something: Would you throw your lot into the pile and take your chances with someone else’s? I can tell you one thing, I wouldn’t throw my lot in for all the dog bikkies  in the world. You’d never know what you’d end up with ~ I mean I could be a poor little puppy that’s beaten and flogged every day and never given any food or fresh water and there are lots of puppies in that kind of mess of a life.

But, I’d say to Tara that she’d have a great time if she was me but it’s probably not remotely like the great that she thinks. I’d quite like to be her cos of her funny blog but I’m not taking any chances. I’ll just hang around here where I know I’m loved ~ existentially and every other way!

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Being Me!

P.S. I bet you that Tara is going to win at the Irish Blog Awards that are being announced tomorrow night. Look out for her!

 

Blogging and Images

I’ve become acutely aware of how dependant I am on photographs when it comes to blogging. It’s almost like I feel I have to have an image to inspire me and another handful to illustrate every point I make.

Interestingly, this reliance on images tends to make other writing very difficult; somewhat like a kid trying to cycle for the first time without stabilisers on his/her bike.

I’m sure I’m not alone in this but I’m wondering to what extent image-dependence is an issue for the rest of you?

Now it’s half killing me to not add a photograph into this post.  Just think of all the possibilities …..

 

How Long to Write a Blog Post?

I sat down well over two hours ago to write a post and got so engrossed in what I was doing that time ran out on me as I have to dash off and do some taxi-driving!

Got me wondering, though, how long people generally spend writing their blog posts?

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Pondering Time: Photo by Son, Harry

Breaking the Silence

It’s been quite a while since I last posted and I would like to thank all those who were kind enough to get in touch to ask  if everything was okay.

It’s been a difficult period but the story is not mine to tell. I’m glad to report, though, that the sun is beginning to break through again, however tentatively.

The fragility of life has been at issue and it’s been a time of heightened sensitivity to everything that it is so easy to take for granted.

As always, the ebb and flow of the sea has brought immense comfort. While the world has seemed like a very uncertain and shakey place, the sea has continued to be its beautiful self – rising and falling at the predicted times.

Tonight, I would urge everyone to take time to count their blessings and stop, stop fretting about ‘stuff’ that doesn’t matter one weenchy bit in the grand scheme of things.

Sleep tight, Dear Friends, and thanks for your kindness.

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Sunrise over Tramore Bay, Co.Waterford

The Sleeplessness of Blogging

Kilfarrasy Beach, Co. Waterford
Kilfarrasy Beach, Co. Waterford

Ocean people are very different from land people. The ocean never stops saying and asking into ears, which don’t sleep like eyes.

(Maxine Hong Kingston)

Thinking about this quote this evening as I was walking along Kilfarrasy Beach, I got to thinking about the extent to which there is a similar difference between bloggers and non-bloggers.

It continues to be a source of amazement to me that lots of my blogging friends across the ocean will be blogging away merrily when I am fast asleep and that there will be a batch of surprise posts waiting for me when I wake.

There’s a kind of reassurance and comfort in that which I find hard to describe. Maybe, it’s the knowing that if I wake with nightmares in the early hours that I will always find a post which will bring me off to some other place far, far away in terms of either thinking or geography and make everything seem well with the world again.

More than two-thirds of the readers of Social Bridge are from outside Ireland and over half are from beyond Europe. I simply love that diversity and the range of time zones involved, not to speak of all the different individuals with their own histories and places to share.

March is well underway in places like Australia but only young on the West Coast of America. I sometimes look at the list of countries from which people read some of my posts and simply stare in awe. I’m no geographical genius and to see the names of small countries far, far away is a huge thrill. I wonder if these readers know as little about Ireland as I know about their countries.

These are the little things about blogging that keep me motivated. I suppose it all comes down to a sense of connection.

So Happy March Everyone and I leave you with this Irish blessing:

May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun.
And find your shoulder to light on,
To bring you luck, happiness and riches.
Today, tomorrow and beyond.

 

 

May I Say Something?

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Gems

There are some blog posts that come my way which demand to be put aside and read and re-read at times of peace and quiet.

These are little masterpieces that touch my mind, heart, soul and humour. I invariably have a little stash of them waiting patiently.

I would hate to think that delayed response to any of these gems might be perceived in a negative way and I would really like to thank you, my friends, for sharing them with me.

I’m not sure if other people have this ‘delayed response’ issue or what I like to call ‘a great blogging problem?’

Is Your Blog Wrapped in Social Media?

The more blogs I visit and the more WP themes I explore, it seems that bloggers are tending to be more and more engaged with a host of social media platforms from Facebook to Twitter to … goodness knows what.

I’ve taken quite a step back from all social media platforms over the last year or so. I’m still on Twitter and I’ve set my posts to go up there but as I don’t engage with Twitter for anymore than about 5 minutes per week, I’m not fully at ease with having my posts going up there.

All this has made me wonder to what extent people see blogging as a stand alone activity or as something that is almost inextricably linked to a range of social media platforms.

I see blogging as being qualitatively different to other social media platforms and I like the intimacy of it ~ or the sense of intimacy.

Somehow, other social media platforms make me feel headachy with all the traffic racing by. I want peace and quiet and not to feel like I’m standing in the middle of a big city at rush hour.

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Where are you about putting your blog out there on FB, Twitter and the like?